‘Man with a sign’ speaks at church

Pam Griffin
Capt. Ben Marler, kneeling, was prayed for by youth at Destin Assembly of God after his talk.

Mike and Sheila DeMass, youth pastors at Destin Assembly of God, met Capt. Ben Marler through Facebook.

“I read what he was saying and literally my heart and spirit were drawn to him,” Sheila told The Log. “His love for Jesus was so contagious, and I love Jesus like that also. I knew I needed to know him.”

Marler is the man you see holding signs proclaiming the love of Jesus at the Destin Bridge and other spots around Destin and Fort Walton Beach.

After a couple of months as Facebook friends, Sheila asked if the youth group at the church could come hold signs with him and talk about Jesus. And of course Marler said yes — that is one of the things he loves the most.

“We met at the Commons corner for at least two hours,” Sheila said. “It was amazing for all of us. That day I asked him to come and speak to our youth, and he said yes. This man’s heart is sold out to Jesus and it is so contagious. He is spreading the love of Jesus everywhere and with whoever will listen. A true inspiration.”

This past week, Marler went to the church on Wednesday night.

“I arrived as the youths were worshipping the Lord and was instantly caught up in it with them,” Marler told The Log. “They are so intent on Jesus and it showed.”

Marler shared with them the story of five stones, about David killing Goliath with one stone and the Philistines running for home when they saw David had four more.

“The end result was the beginning of greatness for David, who later became the King of Israel,” Marler said. “I did my best to show the kids that David had a relationship with the Lord and it was the Lord who guided the stone after Goliath cursed The Living God again.”

Marler said he did his best to keep the story focused on Jesus, and not David, for only Jesus is worthy of praise and worship.

“The best part for me was when the kids came forward and prayed for me,” Marler said. “Each youth was praying softly and I’m positive the Lord heard each one. I know I ‘received’ them.”

“Thank you for being a humble servant of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Sheila said. “Thank you for ministering to our youth. May we all be as in love with Jesus as you are. You truly inspire me and all you meet.You are loved.”