Satan’s Worst Nightmare preview #2: A Different Kind of Yard Display

“Resist the devil …” James 4:7

(Another excerpt from my new book, “Satan’s Worst Nightmare”)

                                      Middle-Class Mission Field

The Tucker’s house, unlike ours, was located on a very busy street in a neighborhood of closely spaced houses and lots of children. Kelly described it as a “thoroughfare” for trick-or-treaters. Scores, if not hundreds, of young people and their parents traipsed down the sidewalks each Halloween Night, presenting a formidable mission field. But somehow, we felt that merely giving out tracts along with the candy was not enough to make the kind of bold statement we wanted to make that year.

With my theater background that included a semester or two of set design, I began envisioning how we might decorate the Tuckers’ yard in a way that was distinctly different from the others. As it was already October, we didn’t have much time, but never underestimate the creative energy of two unorthodox sisters on a mission.

Since yards full of tombstones seemed to be the thing, and since people stopped to read the clever sayings on them, we decided to provide a little surprise for those who stopped to read ours. We selected about a dozen verses from the Bible for our display, each following the theme of Resurrection and Jesus’ triumph over death and hell.

He lives!

He is risen!

Oh death, where is your victory?

I know that my Redeemer lives.

“‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.’ – Jesus”

“‘I was dead and am now alive, and I hold the keys to death and hell.’ – Jesus”

Kelly enjoyed sitting in her living room, sipping her morning coffee and watching the people walking their dogs or on their way to work or school. Glancing at the tombstones, they sometimes did a double-take, sometimes smiled, sometimes stopped to read every one, not realizing that on the other side of the window someone was praying for them. Although we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare that first year, ideas were brewing for subsequent years, and the multimedia outreach was to get bigger and more complex every year. But for that first year the yard itself was the show.

                                                   “Oops…!”

A decoration that was popular that year was the form of a witch on a broom with arms and legs splayed out, painfully straddling a tree or telephone pole after a head-on collision. Kelly relished the idea of poking fun at these allegedly “powerful” people.

I wanted to take it a step further. Why not portray the Devil himself getting tripped up? We made a kind of scarecrow, attached a devil mask to it, and laid it sprawled in the yard, its foot hung up on the tombstone it had apparently just tripped over – the tombstone that declared “Every knee shall bow,” with its counterpart next to it, adding, “…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

                                         Getting the Word Out

We decided to pass out tracts Halloween Night, not just one tract per person, but several. We ordered some comic book-style tracts that we thought were clever and appealing, and Kelly put them in gallon-sized Zip-loc bags, along with a large bag of Skittles. (No puny little treats from the Christians – and definitely no tracts in lieu of treats!) We decided to dress our darling daughters as angels and let them give out the bags, and the little girls were excited about being able to dress up. (The Tucker girls with their round faces, curls, and big eyes already resembled the cherubs in a Raphael painting.)

The local paper got wind of the “different” yard and sent a reporter and photographer to take pictures of the girls in costume, the Devil’s mishap, and the Good News tombstones. The resulting picture and article made it into several papers throughout Michigan, as I learned from friends as far west as Manistee and as far north as Traverse City.

                                                 The Big Night

Halloween Night we played festive worship music from a boom box on the porch. I had decided that the girls shouldn’t be the only ones having fun, and I donned some angel garb myself, grabbed a couple of swords from the Shakespeare unit I’d been teaching my English class, and stood guard at the front of the yard holding out the swords in the form of a Cross. People got into debates about whether I was real or a mannequin, and I had some fun winking at some of them when the others weren’t looking. My arms went to sleep a few times, but the entertainment value was well worth it.

                                         Another Little Angel

At one point in the evening I noticed a little girl of about five who was walking among the tombstones, asking her father, “What does this one say, Daddy?” Her father didn’t seem nearly as enthralled as she was, and I could hear him dropping hints that there were other houses to hit up for treats. At one point, he said bluntly, “Come on honey, we need to go.” He clearly didn’t want to read any more tombstones.

At that point I stopped playing “Guess Whether I’m a Mannequin,” and offered to walk around with her, and her dad consented. As I read the scriptures to the wide-eyed little lady, I talked to her about what the verses meant. When her father finally insisted that she go visit some more houses, she still seemed reluctant to leave. And swords or no swords, this angel’s heart was melting.

                                       Throwing Down the Gauntlet

All evening a steady stream of people stopped at the Tuckers’ to collect treats, read the Scriptures on the tombstones, smile at the cute little angels, take our literature, and of course, laugh at the devil.

We should have known we were in for some battles.

Prayer: Lord, You have given us the greatest news ever and called us to be Your messengers, to the ends of the earth. Send us where You want us to go, inspire us, and strengthen us, in Jesus’ name. Amen

29 thoughts on “Satan’s Worst Nightmare preview #2: A Different Kind of Yard Display

    1. LOL. That was my friend Kelly’s house, and they have moved, after we did our outreach for 15 years. I hope you’ll read the book when it comes out. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to get something like that going in YOUR neighborhood! 😉
      PS Forgot to tell you, I nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger award. 🙂 Check out yesterday’s post, if you haven’t already.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Just fantastic and beyond the grave faith at work with a bit of humor to dress it up! Giving the devil a taste of his own medicine and tripping him up; I love it! Reminiscent to me of past times when some strong persons of devout faith like as in the fictional story based on a true to life man, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER by Stephen Vincent Benéttook; where Daniel Webster was up to the challenge and tossed down the gauntlet to the great deceiver when as a lawyer takes on the devil defending a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the devil, claiming he take the soul of this American because the devil can’t claim citizenship, which is very funny to me too!
    I also remember reading long ago how the devil only has power over you if you give it to him, as a trickster using bluff and con to get his victims to trip themselves up and thus cause pain and suffering; and fitting this theme to a tee the adage FDR uttered to America and the world at the start of the big “war to end all wars” WWII, proclaims this truth, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself!” But, most of all what did our Lord Jesus do in the, Garden of Gethsemane to the serpent when he tried as he would to even tempt the Lord, He stopped it under foot declaring it has no power over God! Yes indeed we are up to the challenge with our Lord Jesus leading us unto paths of righteousness for His name sake and in some cases giving the “devil his due” or a “taste of his own medicine!” I like how it’s also a Kung Fu style attack in your taking of positive force and applying it to a negative as in martial arts; using your adversaries energy or aggression against him by utilizing countermeasure technique! I must say I love this and quite ingenious of you to come up with it; as well indicating to me that you are attuned to our Lord who instructed you on what to do, trusting in Him as you do! I want to order a hard cover edition if available when publishing commences to add to my classics collection! I’m old school and prefer actual bound paged books over electronic, but if that is all that will be available I’ll of course still want my own copy! God Bless!

    Lawrence Morra

    Also for anyone that wants to take a few moments follow this link to read about the story with a view old school illustrations of the time it was written.
    http://www.tkinter.smig.net/Stuff/DevilAndDanielWebster/index.htm

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember “The Devil and Daniel Webster” from my English literature teaching days. I’m so glad you like the book – so far. I don’t think there will be any hard cover editions, but definitely hard copy, in addition to e-books. Thanks for your encouraging enthusiasm. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Sally, that’s all fine and works for me! That’s nice it brought back some memories from your teaching days what I had to say. I hope they still include required reading of such older classics for the younger students these days! I want a hard copy is what I meant too if no hard cover edition so i will be waiting to hear when it’s time! Oh you are the one I should thank because you are a very inspiring and enthusiastic lady and writer so it’s great to be in this circle of creativity and spiritual hope and love for our Lord! Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry for the typo in my long comment, “takes on the devil defending a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the devil, claiming he “CAN’T” take the soul of this American because the devil can’t claim citizenship, which is very funny to me too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love! Love! Love! So worth the wait to read! I was intrigued from start to ending. Enjoyed the scene of the enemy bowing – and the seeds planted into each passerby’s heart. My friend, you have sowed seeds and I’m confident the Lord will have them watered. He that begun a good work, is able to complete it! Keep on the fiery line 🙏🏽❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I greatly enjoyed this! I have four kid’s so I’m always doing catch up on posts here! I used to do ministry on Halloween as well at my husband parents home but we don’t go anymore and I would do it at home if anyone came down my street but no one does (it’s pretty dark and not a safe walking road) What a great idea I hope it inspires other Christians to do it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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