Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday 02-27-10

I helped Tom out with a WOTM crash course. We only had a couple of people and no one was able to go out on the street in the evening for different reasons. I was still planning on going out, and some others (that hadn’t been to today’s class) were going to meet me out there.

Well, I got there a little earlier than usual, and no one else was around yet, so I started handing out some tracts. After an hour, no one else had showed up yet, so I got out the speaker to do some open air. I had a few bucks for trivia questions in order to draw a crowd. There were some people nearby waiting for the traffic light to change, and they answered the first few trivia questions and one of them decided to go for the Good Person test.
As I took him through, he admitted to lying, stealing, blasphemy and adultery in the heart. But when asked if he would be found innocent or guilty, he said, “innocent, because Jesus forgives all our sins.” Well, almost.

I tried to explain that if you’re innocent, you don’t need forgiveness. Simply by stating that he was forgiven is proof itself that he knew he was guilty. But he wouldn’t go there, and said he didn’t want to participate any longer. But he and his friends stayed at the light while I went through the Gospel and explained that we’re all guilty and deserve hell. But that Jesus Christ came down, lived a perfect life and then suffered and died on the cross, taking on the punishment that we deserve, and on the third day, He rose again, defeating death forever.
I then explained the two things that we must do in order to make this sacrifice pertain to us – repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ alone.

Dan showed up during this, and Alan got there a little later. We continued handing out tracts and talking to people. Marcus and Phil stopped by, but they had their own speaker, so they moved on to another street corner.

I did some more trivia, still didn’t draw much of a crowd, but a guy in a wheelchair stuck around after he got a couple of the questions. He was willing to go through the Good Person Test, so we went through that. It turns out that he wasn’t a good person, but a self proclaimed lying, coveting thief and a blaspheming adulterer at heart just like the rest of us. He realized that he would be found guilty before God and sent to hell. That thought did concern him, so I explained the Gospel to him, and left him with a “Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?” tract and a Book of John. He told me that he’d lost his leg about a year ago and had rejected God after that, but now he had a new understanding. His name is James, please keep him in prayer.

I talked to another guy later in the evening named Nate. He claimed to be a believer, but smelled of alcohol and cursed a bit when we were talking. I left him with a tract to read later. Please pray that the Lord would work in his life, convicting him of the sins he’s still holding onto and bring him to complete repentance and salvation.

My speaker ran out of power and it was starting to rain, so we headed out. I stopped to talk with Marcus and Phil at the other corner where they were. This was interesting – probably the best part of the night. There was a woman with them that I recognized from the atheists that used to come out to oppose the street preaching. Her name is Michelle, I think. I was talking to Phil and he said she was a new believer! She was even defending the Bible to an obnoxious guy that had stopped to argue with them.
Tom and I had talked to her and her boyfriend a month or so ago, and he seemed more open than she was at the time. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her, but was glad to hear that she had become a believer. It’s awesome when God allows us to see a change like this in someone.

Recently, at our men’s group, a guy had given his testimony. He had become a Christian about a month ago, and was an outspoken atheist prior to that. When he started looking into evolution and Christianity, he found that the Christian belief actually made sense and he could no longer deny that.

Glory to God!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Judge Not!

The new “unpardonable sin” is “judging.” What a blessing this “new commandment” is to "EZ Christianity Lite.” Hypocrites can flaunt their violations of the Word of God and yet parade around, calling themselves Christians. No one dares call them hypocrites, for that would be judging them.

“Judge not, lest you be judged.” Judge not? This verse is quoted often enough, but can anyone tell me where it says that in the Bible?
Probably not. It’s Matthew 7:1. Later in the same chapter (Matt 7:16-20), Jesus says, “You’ll know them by their fruits.” What does this mean? It means that your behavior is your beliefs put into action.

“Judge not” was addressed to a hypocrite, so quoting it out of context actually makes it pertain to the one misusing it in an attempt to continue in their sins guilt-free!
But we ARE to judge.

1 Cor 5:12
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

God will judge those outside.

Heb 10:31
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

I am trying to prevent you from being judged, by asking you to examine yourself and prepare.

John 7:24
Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.

Make a judgment, but do it justly.

Eph 5:11
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Use discernment, make a judgment.

Rom 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

How? By determining what is good and what is evil, by your judgment.

1 Thess 5:21
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Don’t leave your brains at the door, or you’ll end up in a cult.

Judge not” is so often quoted so that people can feel comfortable going about sinning in this life, suppressing their conscience, and they’re angry when reminded of it.
But let’s face it, the refusal to exercise moral discernment is a confession of your own moral bankruptcy.

You might say, “You can’t know my heart!” No, but your actions betray you. By your actions, it becomes clear if you are a true believer or a hypocrite. Whether you will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” or if you will be cast out.

Do you know what the scariest words in the Bible are? Matt 7:23 (the same chapter that “judge not” comes from). It says, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’”

To think that you’re saved, only to find out at the end of time that you are not. That’s got to be the scariest verse in the entire Bible.
So, how can you know for sure? Our behavior is our beliefs put into action. What do you actions show?

Christians are called to be separate from the world, putting the things of God first. Do you look any different from the world? Do you dress the same, look the same, watch the same things? Do you laugh and joke about the very things that nailed your supposed Savior to a cross?

Are you a true believer? Is your salvation sure? What do you base it on? Why should you be let into heaven?

Is it the good things that you’ve done?
All your works are as filthy rags before the Lord. The Bible tells us that there are none found righteous, not one. If a rapist or murderer were to help someone out, or give money to a charity, should he then be set free? No, he still broke the law, he still must be punished.

Is it that you’ve tried to follow God’s commands and be a good person?
The Bible calls us to endure, persevere and overcome, not try! Where in the Bible does it say, “Just do your best, try to live a good life and you’ll be rewarded? It doesn’t.

Maybe you feel that you’re a good enough person to get into heaven.
Are you? Don’t look at your friends, we won’t be judged by man’s standards, or in comparison to anyone else. When you stand before God, you will stand alone, judged by His moral standards, revealed to us in the 10 Commandments. Do you know them?

Ignorance of the Law is no excuse. It’s not acceptable in man’s court of law and it will not be acceptable on Judgment Day, either. This is because you’re not really ignorant of God’s Law. It’s written on your heart. Your conscience speaks of it. Con means with and science is knowledge. So when you sin against God, your own conscience testifies against you, and you do it with knowledge. You may harden your heart and suppress your conscience, but that doesn’t make it go away, and attempting to justify yourself in spite of what you know does not excuse you.

So why is punishment in hell infinite? Because you've sinned against an infinite God, the Creator of everything!
But even more than that, the reason it lasts forever, is because the rebellion lasts forever.
If you cannot repent here, where common grace has been spread all around by the loving hand of a loving God, what makes you think you’ll be able to repent in a graceless hell?

God doesn’t want anyone to be sent to hell. Hell was created as punishment for Satan and his demons. But lawbreakers must be punished, justice must be done, the fine must be paid. The wages of sin is death, but God provided a way.

Maybe you don’t feel like you need this gift. Maybe you feel like you’re good enough on your own. Let’s take a short test to see.

How many lies have you told in your life? That transgresses the 9th Commandment, every time you’ve done it – it doesn’t matter if it’s an exaggeration, a half truth, a fib, or a little white lie, the Bible tells us that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire.

Have you ever stolen anything, no matter how small it might have been? If you’ve taken a pen from work, or “borrowed” something without asking, you’ve broken the 8th Commandment and probably the 10th as well, because you would have coveted it before you actually stole it.

Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain – just cry it out as an expletive or curse word? That’s called blasphemy and violates the 3rd Command. This is very serious in God’s eyes, what if someone were to use your spouse’s name like that, as a curse word to express disgust?

This is only 4 of the 10 Commandments, there are 6 more. How did you do? It’s all or nothing, you must be perfect.

God provided a way, one way, to keep you out of hell, while still upholding justice. Do you know what He did?

He sent His Son, who lived a perfect life, sinless and innocent, never breaking the Law. And He was crucified, suffered and died to take the punishment that you deserve. On the third day, He rose again, defeating death forever.
Now, how do you claim that gift of yourself? You repent, turn away from your sins, forsake them, and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and obey His Words.

The Crutch of Atheism

As I was driving to work, I realized that I was going to be late. I don't like being late. But then I saw a car that looked like one of my co-workers, and I felt better, knowing I wasn't the only one running late this morning.
Now, why did I feel relief when someone else was late with me? It didn't change my status any. I was still late, yet somehow I felt safer, as if it wasn't a problem, as long as I wasn't the only one.

This reminded me of a recent discussion I've been having with an atheist on the subject of whether or not atheism is really the psychological crutch instead of Christianity, as so many unbelievers attempt to assert.

I was in the wrong being late for work and I knew it. Yet I felt better that someone else was with me in this experience, even though it changed nothing in my lateness. "Misery loves company" they say, so if I'm in trouble, at least there will be someone else with me.

I think this is the same sort of thing that happens with atheists, as they try to convince themselves that there is no God and no judgment. If they can convince others to agree with them, they feel like they must actually have a point, and if not, at least there are others in the same predicament. We tend to feel that there is safety in numbers, and want others around us, especially in times of trouble, for comfort.

The Bible even tells us of this.

Romans 1:32
Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Oh, by the way, the co-workers car that I thought I saw turned off before my work, so I was mistaken and got to work about ten minutes late, all alone. Not that big a deal, I worked ten minutes late as well, and will need to get moving a little earlier in the mornings from now on.

But a much bigger deal is the fact that every one of us will stand before God on Judgment Day, regardless of what we believe. We will not be graded on a curve or compared to anyone else in sinful humanity, we will stand alone before God, measured by His standards and we will give account for our lives and the things we have done or not done. His standards are high and perfection is required (Matt 5:48).

The standard is given in outline form in the Ten Commandments, and not one of us has kept them completely (Rom 3:10, Psalm 14:3, 1John 1:8) . Without Jesus Christ paying our fine for us, we will be found guilty and condemned. What will you do?

Repent and trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, for there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12, Col 1:28).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Are You Sure

Watch this, if you dare. It's convicting. You may realize something you felt comfortable to suppress, but you need to know..... because claiming ignorance will not be an excuse.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

¿Evangelism Method?

The Way Of The Master is not a method, but the Biblical principle of "Law to the Proud, Grace to the Humble" (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). The Law is designed to bring about the knowledge of sin (Romans 7:7). It silences the mouth, brings the whole world guilty (Romans 3:19) and is a schoolmaster to bring people to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Then they can see their NEED for a Savior.

The Bible is clear, God's Law is designed to be used on the sinner to help them understand their state, and I don't know how many times I've heard people say, "Wow, I've never heard it put like that before, that really makes sense."

The undeniable principle is to use the Law to the proud, give grace to the humble, but exactly how you do that, what "method" you use, is entirely up to you.

The method is the way that you apply the principle. WOTM simply models the principle of applying the law to the individual, it does not tell people exactly what they must say or do. Take your personality and the circumstances and apply the Law to the individual.

Remember, Law to the Proud, Grace to the Humble. The Biblical principle is always use the Law to bring about the knowledge of sin. Only then can we share the grace through the Gospel, otherwise you may end up casting your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wonderful Plan?

Where was Paul's "wonderful plan"? (2 Cor 11:24-26) If prosperity is the measure of God's love for us, then there are a lot of atheist rich people who are blessed, while a lot of Christian martyrs are not. What about the blind man that Jesus healed? Why was he born blind? (John 9:1-3)Aren't we promised trial, persecution, and tribulation? (1 Thess 3:3-4; 2 Thess 1:4; 2 Tim 3:12; James 1:2, 12; 1 Peter 4:12)

Didn't Jesus say that a servant will not be better than his master, and that since the world hated Him, that it will hate us as His followers as well? (John 13:16, 15:20)

So, exactly what is meant by God's wonderful plan for your life? Our rewards are not in this life, but the next. As we endure trial, tribulation and persecution, we are promised that He will be with us (Matt 28:19-20). We can be content in our lives, regardless of our circumstances (Phil 4:11-12). As Christians, we will have the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). We will have joy, which comes from within, while happiness comes from external circumstances. We can have joy while we endure hard circumstances because of the faith and hope within us.

Don't Go to Church, BE the Church

This week we did not meet for church on Sunday. Instead, the entire congregation went out into the community to work and show Christ's love in tangible ways. We had people cleaning up grafitti, visiting nursing homes, checking smoke detectors and cleaning up trash. Our group offered a free car wash at the church, no donations were accepted.

It started out a little slow, but picked up as the day went on. There were cookies and coffee for people as they waited, as well as a few Gospel tracts on the table. Some of the kids that were helping were impressed with the Million Dollar Bill (MDB) tracts and started handing them out to people as they showed up.

There was even a minivan with a lot of "tolerance," "gay equality," curse words and anti-Christian bumperstickers that came through. I didn't get a chance to talk to that person, but hopefully he came away with a different perspective of Christianity than when he first pulled up.

I would say that it was a very good day for the Church, and hopefully we'll do this more often.

Saturday 02-13-10

Tom and I headed out to share the Gospel Saturday night on Mill ave. Kevin and Vivi came out with us and we met Jean and Allan out there, so we had a pretty good group.
Marcus and Phil were already preaching at the post office, so we stayed there for a while, handing out tracts and talking to people one 2 one.

After a while, we moved across the street to gather a crowd with some trivia questions and shared the Gospel through the Good Person Test.

Over all, it was a pretty average night. We distributed tracts and talked to a few people, giving the Gospel to all who would listen.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Go to Hell

Harsh words, huh? People say this out of anger. Some think it’s funny. But a Christian shouldn’t say something like this, should they? I mean, it’s not blasphemy, but still, it’s not a very nice thing to say. Especially if you believe what the Bible says on the subject. We shouldn’t want our worst enemy to go there.

Hell is eternal, the Bible says that those who are there are weeping and gnashing their teeth (Luke 13:28), that the torment goes on forever and ever (Revelation 14:11). Jesus said that it would be better to rip out your eye or chop off your hand if they caused you to sin, rather than to end up in hell fully intact (Matthew 18:8-10). “Eternal” is the key word here – the torment never ends, when you’ve been there for a thousand years, you’re no closer to the end of your sentence than the day you first set foot there. Forever, with no hope of pardon or change of status.

Now then, could you say that to someone, and really mean it? Could you really wish eternal torment on any person, never ending agony, forever and ever?

Ok, professed Christian, do you really believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? Do you believe it when it says that there is a literal place called hell where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched (Mark 9:48) ?
Do you really believe it when it says that narrow is the path to heaven, but wide is the road to hell (Matthew 7:13)? According to the Bible we will all spend eternity in one of two places (Matthew 25:46).

So, have you told anyone to “Go to hell” today? Would you realize it if you had? If the Bible really is true, and few will find the small gate into heaven (Matthew 7:14), then that means that most of the people you come across in your every day life are actually going to hell. Do you care? God doesn't want any to perish (Ezekiel 18:32, 2 Peter 3:9).

150,000 people die every day, that’s two people every second – off into eternity at one place or the other. Did you at least give those people that the Lord placed in your path today a warning (Ezekiel 3:21)?

If you are a Christian, you know the way, you know the path, you know what it takes to get into heaven. If you truly believe and follow Jesus Christ, yet refuse to share that knowledge with other people in a way that makes sense to them, and you just keep quiet, you might as well go ahead and say it.
I'm no different from you, there are many that I’ve said this to through my own silence, and we will each be held accountable (Ezekiel 33:8-9 ). Let's not allow any more to drop into eternal torment in the lake of fire without even a warning. How are they supposed to be saved (Romans 10:13-14)? Weren't you saved yourself because you heard the Gospel?

Either explain to them how to be saved from the wrath to come, witness to them as we are commanded, or tell them to go to hell.
Because that’s what you’re doing by saying nothing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday 02-06-10

Saturday night didn’t go so well this past week. As Tom and I headed out to Tempe for some street fishing, we got caught up in a nasty traffic jam. No big deal, we were ahead of schedule, so that would be alright. Until suddenly, steam blew out from under the hood of my car and the engine died. We pushed it to the side of the road and called for a tow truck.

The interesting thing was, Tom’s car was in the shop for a radiator problem as well. It took a little while for the tow truck to arrive, through all the traffic, and when he got us all loaded up, he had to fight the traffic as well, and get turned around to bring us back home. We left him with a couple of tracts, and I’ll have to deal with getting my car into the shop to have it repaired.

For whatever reason, the witnessing on the streets door was closed this time. We’ll try it again next week.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Transitional Form?

This is what's known as a "turtle-duck." It is a replica (because there is no such thing) of a transitional species.
You've heard the evolutionists claim that there is some sort of connection between reptiles and birds, right? Maybe a “common ancestor” like humans and apes possibly shared (or that they just made up).

Well, the turtle and the duck may have had a common ancestor as well, the turtle-duck. It has the body of a duck, but with the added fins and shell of the turtle. The head is sort of a combination of both. From this point, there might have been a split, as one species carried their home on their back and seems to have developed themselves better for underwater maneuvers (but I’m not sure why they didn’t decide to grow some gills so they wouldn’t have to keep coming up for air all the time).

Anyway, the other seems to have decided that air travel would be best for them, so they lost the shell (or it simply turned into better wings for flying long distances, and they put webs on their feet so they wouldn’t need those four flippers anymore (although they could have evolved into speed brakes when a quick stop was needed. But for whatever reason, those who decided to turn into ducks voted against it.)

So there you have it. Scientific evidence that I just made up with a couple of old toys I had laying around the house. Just as good as any other transitional hoax – er, I mean mistake and correction within the “scientific” community, right?

Piltdown Man was an outright hoax. Nebraska Man was put together from a single extinct pig’s tooth. Java Man is nothing more than a piece of skull, fragment of a thigh bone and three molar teeth. Ever hear how they glued peppered moths to tree trunks to photograph “evidence”? Are Haeckel's (artistic renditions of) Embryos still found in school books?

Come on people, evolution is not science, any more than my story about a turtle-duck is.

Evolution is nothing more than a fairytale for grown ups.

Saturday 01-30-10

I picked up Richard and we headed out to Mill Ave for some witnessing. We met Tom, Allan, Jean and Dan out there, prayed and passed out a few tracts.

I did some Open Air with trivia questions, but didn't get much of a crowd. However, one guy stopped by and listened to the Good Person Test and looked a bit convicted as he realized that he wasn't really "good" by God's standards. He heard the Gospel, but I wasn't able to leave him with any follow up info, as he took off pretty quickly.

Allan got up on the soap box to see if anyone could name any of the Ten Commandments, but no one was willing to attempt it, so he went through them anyway, for anyone who might hear it. The Word of God does not return void.

Tom was doing some trivia and one of our old friends from the Skeptic Tank happened by. This is the same one who was heckling one of the other street preachers a few weeks ago. Tom took him through some trivia and the Good Person Test, even though he had heard it many times before. He was able to conceal any effect it might have had on him, but once again, he heard it.
The thing is, people can hear it, have it make perfect sense, yet still reject it for their desire to remain in their sins. We do not make conversions, only God will do that. We are just obedient to proclaim His message.

Over all, it was a pretty average night on the streets.