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Pastor Halts Sermon to Embrace Cursing Homeless Man During Church Service

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: May 13, 2024
Pastor Halts Sermon to Embrace Cursing Homeless Man During Church Service

Pastor Halts Sermon to Embrace Cursing Homeless Man During Church Service

A San Antonio pastor and church are receiving widespread praise after the minister paused his sermon to embrace and vow support for a homeless man whom he invited on stage after the man began shouting obscenities during a sermon on the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Pastor Ed Newton of Community Bible Church was preaching from Luke 15 in an April 7 sermon when the homeless man loudly shouted “bulls--t,” leading to a few laughs from the pastor and the audience, who seemed to be searching for the right response. The situation turned more serious, though, when the homeless man said he had been suicidal that morning until a parishioner invited him to church.

A video of the interaction has more than 1 million views on X (formerly Twitter).

“Let’s do something different,” Newton said before stopping his sermon and sitting down on the stage, where he invited Michael -- the parishioner -- up front.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a story Jesus told in which a shepherd leaves his sheep, 99 total, to find one sheep that had gone lost.

Michael told Newton he had attended an earlier service that morning and had been inspired by the sermon to be the light of Christ wherever he journeyed. On his way home, he saw a group of homeless people and -- remembering the sermon’s message -- bought them some food. He gave it to a homeless man named Anthony.

“Then we started talking and he started telling me about his life and some of the hardships that he’s had and how he’s in a bad patch right now,” Michael said.

When Anthony learned that Michael had been to church that morning, he asked him to take him. Michael did. (Community Bible Church has multiple Sunday services.)

“Michael preached the message,” Newton told the audience to lengthy applause. 

Newton hugged Anthony as the three men continued their discussion on stage. 

“I was about to run in front of a truck and kill myself. He saved my life,” Anthony said of Michael. 

As Newton talked, members of the church approached the stage, one by one, and placed money in a pile for Anthony. 

“I love you. … God sees you,” Newton, fighting back tears, told Anthony as they hugged again.

The pastor then told the audience, “Loading him up with a ton of money and putting him back on the street is not what we're doing.”

“What we're going to do is we've got to help Anthony get back up on his feet,” Newton said. “We have a responsibility.”

The church has a duty to be the hands and feet of Christ, he added. 

“What good are our songs and our sermons,” he asked, “if we don’t welcome home the one and give hope to the one? … [Michael] went out from here and put the sermon into practice.” 

Photo credit: Screenshot from ©CommunityBibleChurch

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Pastor Halts Sermon to Embrace Cursing Homeless Man During Church Service