Feats of strength point to power of Christ

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By Margaret Colson, Florida Baptist Convention

November 8, 2015

Six-feet, five-inches tall and 330 pounds, Zeb Bishop took a deep breath, bent his arms and clenched his fists. Then, as the audience of about 200 gasped in amazement, he smashed his forearms on the stack of concrete blocks with enough strength to scatter broken chunks of concrete across the stage of First Baptist, Lynn Haven.

Even with such incredible feats of human strength, his fellow team member Joel Caldwell told the crowd that the only One who can break down walls in their lives, such as bitterness and addition, is Jesus Christ.

Throughout the demonstration, Bishop and Caldwell wowed the clapping and chanting crowd as they ripped phone books, bent steel bars and broke baseball bats with their bare hands.

Then, as the crowd grew quiet, Bishop shared his Christian testimony, confessing that, as he searched for happiness, he had become an alcoholic by age 17. Still unhappy, he finally committed his life to Christ at a youth retreat.

“I traded the king of beers for the King of Kings,” he said.

The strength team “connects with people by doing something unbelievable and then they point to a God who can do unbelievable things in their lives,” said Troy Varnum, director of missions for Northwest Coast Baptist Association. They connect with an audience, young people and young adults, who are often difficult to reach with the gospel, he said.

As the evening drew to a close, Caldwell challenged those gathered to make personal commitments to Christ. Eight people, mostly children and teens, made first-time commitments to Christ, and six others rededicated their lives to Him.

The strength team event was a part of Crossover: “Love Northwest Florida,” an evangelistic effort spanning across 27 venues in the Panama City region. Crossover is an annual effort held in the city hosting the Florida Baptist State Convention.

Strength team members visited several venues during the Crossover effort, including block parties, youth rallies and school assemblies. At a rally in Wewahitchka, 22 people made professions of faith and 23 rededicated their lives to Christ.

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