I Give Free Hugs!

Today was our second annual outing to the St. Patrick's parade on Greenville Avenue. Last year we took out around 25 people and doubled it this year to around 50. As expected, we had a blast and dolled out thousands of hugs at no charge to total strangers. The responses we wonderful. Everything from massive group hugs to full body wraps. Many conversations were had about Jesus and the love He has for everyone down there. For a short description of who St. Patrick was and a snapshot of our outreach, see below. A big thanks to Steve Vanderhide for shooting video and taking photos, all while giving out free hugs!

Taken from The Resurgence //

One of the great revival movements happened in Ireland under the influence of St. Patrick. His life is surrounded by mystery, superstition, and myth, but is perhaps best known as the man who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. He was personally responsible for baptizing over 100,000 people, driving paganism from the shores of Ireland, and starting a revival movement that helped preserve Christianity during the Middle Ages.

Many of the myths that surround Patrick come from his spiritual clashes with the pagans who opposed him. According to legend, King Loiguire set an ambush to kill Patrick, but when Patrick came near, all the king could see was a deer. Patrick challenged the power of the druid’s black magic because he believed that God’s power was greater. He believed that signs and wonders verified God’s supreme superiority over the spells of the pagans. He was a bold preacher who was not afraid of magic, demons, or the devil. The story that he drove the snakes out of Ireland is symbolic of the fact that he helped transform pagan Ireland into a Christian country.

Patrick established many churches throughout Ireland. Like the Apostle Paul, he discipled new converts to become pastors to the local churches. Patrick was instrumental in the conversion of thousands, ordaining hundreds of clergy, and establishing many churches and monasteries.

Because of his ministry, Christianity spread like wildfire through Ireland and into other parts of the British Isles. The churches and monasteries that he was responsible for establishing became some of the most influential missionary centers in all of Europe. Missionaries went out from Ireland to spread the gospel throughout the world. St. Columba established the famous monastery on the Isle of Iona in the sixth century AD. It was the Irish monasteries that helped preserve the Christian faith during the dark ages.