Friday, December 30, 2011

Good News?

"Can you tell me about the 'Good News'?" "Come on, tell me. I've noticed your 'light shining', there's something different about you, you seem to have some sort of inner joy that I'm interested in."

This generally isn't going to happen, you're going to have to approach people and start the conversation. Are you prepared to give a reason for the hope within you (1 Pet 3:15)? How do you, as a Christian, share your faith (as you are commanded to in the Great Commission)?

There are those who would say that the Law is not applicable to us today. They might claim that it was only for the Jewish people, or they may say that it no longer applies since Jesus came with grace, as they cite "legalism" or "works-righteousness."

While it is true that no one is saved by the Law (Rom 3:20), the Law of God still has a prominent place in Christianity. It is based on His very nature, and is the standard He gives mankind to live by (Rom 8:7-8).

Scripture tells us that the Law is good if used lawfully (1 Tim 1:8), bringing knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7), and it acts as a tutor to lead people to Christ (Gal 3:24). Psalm 19:7 tells us that the Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Why have we forsaken the Law in the last 200 years or so (2 Tim 4:3-4)?

The Ten Commandments are all restated in the NT, except for the fourth one, which is opened up to worship on any day of the week, no longer limiting us to the Sabbath day (which is Saturday, btw).
Early believers started meeting on the first day of the week (Sunday), because that was the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

It is impossible to witness to someone Biblically without using the Law, you just need to learn how to use it properly, in an inoffensive way, by asking questions to allow a person to judge themselves by God's standard. This doesn't mean that no one will be offended - the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor 1:18), and some simply refuse to give up their sin.
But in order for the Gospel to make sense, people must understand their NEED for a Savior. Otherwise, why would they come? They consider themselves to be good people (Prov 20:6), looking around and seeing all the others that are far worse than they are - just watch the evening news - right?

We justify our own actions, and condemn the sins of others, which is what makes men such hypocrites. Hypocricy is not limited to church members, it's ramant throughout all mankind, it is a part of our sinful human nature.

But the question remains, are we good by God's standard? And the million dollar question: "Are we good enough to get into heaven?" The Bible says that there are none found good, not one, that we are all sinful and fall short of God's standard. But that's too general, God actually gives us specifics, let's look at His Law, summed up in outline form in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Have you kept them? Most people don't even know them, even though they are written on our heart (Rom 2:15).

We know it's wrong to murder (6th), to lie (9th), and steal (8th), don't we? We understand that adultery (7th) is wrong, that we should not covet other people's belongings (10th) and that we should not make idols for ourselves (2nd), right? We can comprehend the fact that we should honor our parents (5th), keep God first in our lives (1st), and not blaspheme His name (3rd). We know that God has given us every blessing we have, even our very life. Is it too much to ask for one day out of seven to give back in thanks and worship (4th), no longer limited to a Sabbath day, but any day of the week?

Examine yourselves to see if you're in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). Then go out and share the Good News with others, not waiting for them to come to you, but take the inititive (Mark 16:15), you have been commissioned by God to witness to others (Acts 10:42).

Don't be a hypocrite, crying, "judge not!" (John 7:24) while you yourself judge aperson as saved so that you can remain silent (Ezekiel 33:8-9). It's still judging, but a much more dangerous way of doing so. By simply assuming that a person is saved without digging a little deeper with questions so they can examine themselves by the standard of God could leave them in a false sense of security (Prov 16:25), only to be revealed when it is too late (Matt 7:21-23). You might as well just tell them to go to hell, because that's what you're saying by your silence (Acts 4:12).

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you're not saved yourself, be sure of that!" - Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Is Repentance Necessary?

The first recorded words of Jesus in ministry were the same as John the Baptist. They both started their ministry with "Repent."

We are accused of being judgmental, but we are simply asking people to judge themselves before they are judged by God.

We ask questions so people can compare themselves to God's standard and see where they stand before the Day of Judgment. People need to first be made aware of their NEED for a Savior in order for the Gospel to make sense.

Does that mean some people might be offended? How many are saved by this method of evangelism?

Both questions have the same answer. It simply doesn't matter, because it's Biblical. We are to be obedient to preach the Gospel, and anyone who preaches a different Gospel is to be accursed (Galatians 1:6-8). The Gospel is ALWAYS Law to the proud, grace to the humble. So often these days, the Gospel is watered down with love and grace preached, but no mention of God's holiness, His righteousness, and His wrath against disobedient sinners.

But, aren't we all children of God? That's not what the Bible says (1 John 3:10)

So, let's see if the message was sugar-coated in the Bible.

John the Baptist called the prideful Pharisees and Scribes "you brood of vipers" in Matt 3:7. He didn't say, "we're all God's children" or "Jesus loves you." He spoke the Truth and sometimes that was a hard truth. He was eventually beheaded.

Jesus said it in Matt 12:34, and also tells them "you who are evil." In verse 39 He called them a "wicked and adulterous generation" for seeking a miraculous sign.

In Matt 23, Jesus called people "hypocrites", "sons of hell", "blind", "full of greed and self-indulgence", "full of hypocrisy and wickedness", and asks them "how will you escape being condemned to hell?"

He also said there are none found good, and yet so many people, professed Christians and unbelievers alike claim that they are "good" people, just like the Bible says they will in Prov 20:6.

Paul was beaten and whipped with many attempts to kill him because of what he preached. I don't think it was the warm fuzzy "Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life."

Jesus said that if the world hated Him, they would also hate us. The world killed Him, and there have been many Christian martyrs since, and it continues to this day. But He rose from the dead, defeating death forever. We trust in Him alone, so preach His Gospel and no other, following His example. Law to the proud, grace to the humble (Prov 3:34, 1Pet 5:5, James 4:6).

How can you determine if someone is proud or humble? Simply ask them this question, whether they are a professed Christian or unbeliever: Would you consider yourself to be a good person? Then take them through the Good Person Test to see if they truly are good by God's standard.

Only then can one see their need for a Savior, and then repent and trust in Him alone for their salvation. There is no other way (John 14:6, Acts 4:12), and as a believer, you will be held accountable (Eze 33:8-9, Acts 20:26-27).

What Law?

What do we do with all those OT Laws? When some smug atheist asks you if, as a Christian you wear woolen blends (Deut 22:11 ), how do you answer?

What about eating pork, not working on the Sabbath, etc? What do we do with these Old Testament Laws that they like to quote out of Leviticus and Deuteronomy? Do we really just pick and choose what we like, as we're accused of?

Well, here are some answers to these ridiculous accusations, in order to answer the fool, lest they be wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 26:5)

The Law can be divided into three categories: Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial.

The Ceremonial Laws (animal sacrifices, the Sabbath, etc) were pointing us to a coming Messiah, and so this aspect of the Mosaic Law has been set aside, fulfilled in Christ.

Colossians 2:14-17
having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a new moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.


The Civil Laws were written to a specific people at a specific time and specific place. The basic responsibility for the civil aspect, showing the application of the moral Law in a community, has been transferred to human government.

Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.


This leaves us with the Moral Law. Here's how John MacArthur explains this aspect of it. He says that the Moral Law finds its basis in the character of God and is presented in outline form in the Ten Commandments. It still stands and applies to our lives now, having never been revoked or abolished, but finds its authority in the New Covenant.

MacArthur goes on to say that every unbeliever is still under its requirement of perfection and its condemnation, until he comes to Christ, and every believer still finds in it the standard for behavior.

Normally, unbelievers like to quote the most obscure Ceremonial or old Civil Laws, but the real problem they have concernes the Moral Law and submission to the Lord.

Besides the unbelievers, there are those who claim to know Christ, yet prefer to twist Scripture in order to allow for indulence in their own pet sins. They, like the unbeliever, claim that they don't have to follow God's Law. Yet they still consider themselves to be saved. These come to be known as "carnal Christians", but are they Christian at all? Or are these some who will hear those fearful words, "Away from Me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you" that Jesus says in Matt 7:23?

Revelation 14:12
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.


What's that say? Saints (believers) who OBEY God's commandments? The carnal "Christian" would cry, "Legalist!" but how could a believer not obey the commandments of the Lord (Luke 6:46)? They're based on His very character, how can a true believer despise them and look for ways around them (John 14:15, John 14:21, John 15:10, 1 John 2:3)? Only because they are not true believers (John 3:36,1 John 5:2, 2 John 1:6), they are not a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), they do not love the Lord (1 John 2:4).
Beware of these (Matt 7:15), they will attempt to drag you down with them (Matt 23:13, 2 Pet 2:1-2).

Do you find His commandments to be too great a burden (1 John 5:3)? You're a slave either way, it's just a matter of whom you choose to serve (Rom 6:16).

If you choose the easy way of the world, the wide road (Matt 7:13-15), going with the flow, ignoring God's law - whether an outright unbeliever or one who believes (James 2:19) yet doesn't actually follow - you can expect some good times. Sin is pleasurable for a season (Heb 11:25), and you will avoid a lot of persecution and tribulation from this world (Matt 24:9, Mark 13:13, James 1:2), as well as the spiritual attacks during the end times (Rev 12:17). But eternity is a lot longer than the short time we are living in the world (James 4:14), and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31, Rev 14:11).

Take the narrow road, the way God lays it out in the Bible, and you are promised trial and tribulation, hatred from the world, sticking to rules and morals that others will mock you for, but hold fast until the end, and you are promised eternal life.
Repent of your sins, turn away from them, forsake them, and trust in Jesus Christ alone, submitting to Him as Lord and Savior. Read your Bible daily and obey His commands.

It couldn't be any more clear than it is stated right here:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. - Hebrews 10:26-27

Check out the Test of Salvation to find out if you are truly saved or not.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

X-mas

I see Christians getting all uptight about using "X" in place of Christ during the Christmas season. I don't know how many times I've heard people getting all riled up about it.

It is true that the real meaning of the holiday has been getting lost in the commercialization these days. I actually saw Christmas decorations in the stores right next to Halloween stuff. It gets earlier every year - does anyone remember Thanksgiving? Oh yeah, that's the giant spending day when everyone is fighting over the hottest new items of the year. I don't even like the holiday season because of the crowded shopping, stress and craziness that it brings.

However, even though the true meaning seems to be getting pushed further and further away in all the frenzied shopping, the term Xmas is nothing to get all worked up about.

X is our equivalent to the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in Christ, and has been a common abbreviation for Christ in Church history, possibly all the way back to the first century. There's not a lot of evidence for that far back, but it really came into common use in the fifteenth century, during the time that the Gutenberg press was invented, in order to save time and space in printing.

Now, I'm sure there are some agnostics who use the X thinking that they're removing Christ from the holiday. I find it quite humorous that they've failed miserably in their ignorance.

Some think that Happy Holidays is replacing Merry Christmas as well, but that doesn't really bother me a whole lot, either. The word "holiday" actually derives from "holy day," so the atheists who think they're by-passing religion by using this haven't escaped it yet.

So let's keep the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) this holiday season, and not get angry when someone wishes you a happy holiday or writes Xmas on your Christmas card. It's all the same, and it's not really the words that are changing the season, but the attitude that we have.

Let's just be sure, as Christians, we are providing an example that glorifies God. And remember how blessed we are in having the freedom to share our faith and tell others the Good News of the Gospel, as we are commanded in the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 10:42). As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, there is ample opportunity to bring up the Reason for the Season, and to explain why He came to earth to provide salvation (John 3:16-18, Rom 6:22-23, Acts 4:12, Acts 13:47, Jonah 2:9).
God bless, Happy Holy Day, and Merry Christmas!

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Free or Slave?

Is there such a thing as "free will"? And if so, what is it, and is it good? This is not about Calvinism and Arminianism, but a much broader subject. Let's look into it.

Mankind has the freedom to be enslaved to one thing or another, let's look at the two choices to be enslaved to, and follow each to it's logical conclusion.

On one side, we have "freedom", which has many levels. You can have Arminianism, Free Grace Theology, Free Will, Carnal Christians, Seeker Sensitive movements, etc. Some of them may be saved and others may not. But this same freedom dangerously extends even further outside of Christianity, to evolution, which is a religion without rules, humanism, different kinds of paganism, such as Wiccans, who say "An it harm none, do what ye will."

That quote appears to be a modification to "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" that Aleister Crowley promoted, and this seems to be the direction we are headed in today. This brings us to the far end of the "freedom" side, where mankind has no responsibility, and can do whatever they choose. Whether it's because we are just some cosmic accident as Darwinianism teaches, or more subtle versions such as "God made me this way so it's His fault anyway, He can't blame me." No responsibility and no accountability, so where does this lead? This sort of freedom brings anarchy, chaos and disorder.

As we see the family unit destroyed through premarital sex, adultery and divorce, as well as the re-defining of marriage from one man and one woman, the increased sexuality in advertisements and clothing lines, homosexuality openly displayed and condoned, even in the clergy of certain denominations.

People are too busy, too distracted to read their Bibles that our ancestors fought, bled and died for, in order to get God's Word into our hands, and many throughout the world still do not have that privilege. And for those who might actually make the time to read Scripture, you've got the History channel, Discovery, and others promoting heretics who attempt to discredit the Bible, distort the truth found within it's pages and ridicule those who take it as it's written, making them out as narrow minded bigots and irrelevant fanatics so that no one will listen to them.

Our history books are being rewritten to leave out the Christian heritage of our nation, and the founding fathers are villainized if all traces of Christianity cannot be purged from them. Our children are indoctrinated in the name of tolerance in our schools to the point that they cannot even comprehend how to make a moral judgment.

All of this in the name of freedom, the right to choose, and to live our lives any way we want. Tolerance of all things.... except Christianity. That alone should make one contemplate why one particular worldview is set apart against all others.

So, on the one side, we have "Do what thou wilt" - freedom to do anything you choose, although everyone else has the same freedom, and it is inevitable that there will be conflict as one's freedom infringes upon anothers.

This is not really the freedom that it is made out to be. It is actually slavery to sin, ending in death. It's the same lie from the serpent in the Garden, you can be like God, you are completely free, accountable to no one. Selfish pride is promoted, and that is the exact same sin that lead to Satan's fall.

On the other end, we have Biblical Christianity, where Scripture is taken literally, in it's grammatical historical context. Here we find, not only the origins of creation (Gen 1), the meaning of life (Ecc 12:13), and explanation of the standard from which we get our laws of science and our moral values (from the very character of our Creator), but it also warns us of the dangers of the other side of the argument (mentioned in Judges 17:6, when Israel had no king, and everyone did as he saw fit).

Now, the Bible goes completely against living in chaotic freedom, and warns us of the dangers, even if it seems pleasurable for a time (Heb 11:25). Prov 14:12 and 16:25 tells us: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

This idea of total freedom to do anything you want is acceptable to mankind's heart because our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jer 17:9).

But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. - James 1:14-16

Every one of us will be judged one day, held accountable for how we've lived our lives (Heb 9:27) - are you ready for that day? Or will you listen to the lies of the world?

For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. - 2 Peter 2:18-19

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? - Romans 6:16

So, choose which path you will follow - they may all lead to the same place (the Judgment Seat of Christ), but they don't all end in the same place (Heaven or Hell). One seems to be freedom, going with the pleasures of the world, but ending in death - it is the wide road to destruction. While the other contains God's unchanging moral standards, the way of salvation only through Jesus Christ, and leads to eternal life - the narrow path, which few will find.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. - Joshua 24:15

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saturday 11-26-11

I haven't updated in a couple of weeks - it's been kinda busy lately, lots of stuff going on. Still, we went out evangelizing on Mill a couple of weeks ago. Here's a brief account:

Two young women, Azurelle and Megan, went through the Good Person Test (GPT) after checking out the Illusion board. They didn't seem to have a lot of knowledge of the Bible, having no idea how many of each animal was brought onto the ark. They didn't really seem all that convicted, either, but I took them through the Gospel and left them with a few tracts.

A woman was looking for a homeless artist named Herman, who she was looking for to help. She had stopped to check out the illusion board, but didn't want to go through the GPT. I was able to give her an "Are You Good Enough to get into Heaven?" tract to take with her, though.

Marcus and I talked with a girl named Heather who was handing out some bar coupons on the corner. She said she didn't really have any kind of Church background at all, and Marcus took her through the GPT. She had no idea what God had done for us to keep us from ending up in hell, so we explained the Gospel and left her with a tract.

Fox 10 News was out there, just around the corner from us. I'm not sure what they were doing, maybe a follow up to the parade that had been out there earlier.

Tom, Marcus, Alex and I stopped at Taco Bell afterwards for some food and fellowship afterwards. As we were getting ready to leave, Tom handed a guy a million dollar bill tract. He and his two friends were Muslims, so Tom talked with them for a while. I don't think it was a real productive conversation, but I think they did take a couple of tracts with them to read later.

Please pray for more opportunities to reach out to lost people, more divine encounters, and, as always, pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, November 28, 2011

Atheist Billboards pt 1


So, there's these "atheist" billboards going up around the Phoenix area lately.   http://ffrf.org/news/releases/phoenix-and-tucson-nontheists-come-out-of-the-closet/

I thought I'd type up some responses to these things from a Christian worldview, and give some ideas of how one might turn these attempted "attacks" on Christianity into an opening for sharing the Gospel.  Thanks atheists!   

Here are some examples of things we could say:

Hey, have you heard about those new "atheist billboards"?  What do you think of that?  Have you had a Christian background?

Isn't it interesting how atheists are being more evangelical in something they claim NOT to believe, while so many Christians won't talk about what they DO believe for fear of offending someone?  

Do you really think a person can be "good" and have "morals" without there being some sort of unchanging standard, such as the nature of God, to base them on?

Do you really believe that everything could have been created by random chance?  

Why are there seven days in a week?  It doesn't match up to a solar, lunar or monthly cycle of seasons in any way.  The only place a basis for it is mentioned is in the seven days of creation.

Has there ever been a code that was not made by some sort of intelligent being?  Codes don't just happen by themselves, right?  How about the DNA code?

Where do laws of science come from?  If there is no sort of Designer for them, how can they be trusted?  

Where do standards of morality come from?  If all living things are random accidents, why is there value to life other than one's own?
If survival of the fittest is true, why do we mourn the loss of a life?  

How do we all know that lying, stealing and murder are wrong?  Because it's written on our hearts by the Creator of all.  


Atheist Billboards pt2

I look at these billboards and I am not offended. They get people thinking about God, for or against, and bring the topic to the forefront of conversations, opening a door to speak to them about spiritual things. Now, don’t think that Christians hate atheists – we don’t. We’d like to see them saved. I looked at each and every one of the people in these billboards and I feel bad for them. Each of them were created in the image of God, yet they have been deceived by Satan and their own selfishness and desire for sin that they are completely lost and without hope. Please pray for them, that the Lord would work in them, convicting them in their heart, drawing them to Himself that they might experience true salvation. For such were some of us (1 Cor 6:11).

As usual, the self-proclaimed “atheist” has to borrow from Christianity. What would “heavenly” actually mean to an atheist? Does he mean the sky, or the atmosphere, or is he speaking of outer space?


Where does love come from? Of course we should think, and open minds are great, as long as you don’t let them open for so long that stuff starts to fall out. Not everything out there is something you want to let in. We have doors on our homes for a reason, and we should guard our minds even more carefully. I hope that one day, one of my daughters will meet yours, and be able to speak to them in love, that your kids will have an open mind, and realize the truth by simply thinking it through.


Ah yes, I am too old for imaginary friends as well. But look into it, study the Word of God and know the truth. Look at the archaeological evidence, the fulfilled prophecy, the science that is found in the pages of the Bible. Seek Him and you will find Him, when you seek with all of your heart, mind and soul. Eternity depends on it.

It is, but Christianity is not blind faith. There is more evidence for the authenticity of the Bible than there is for any other work of antiquity – more manuscript evidence, shorter timeframe between when it was written and when the events happened, and the fact that has never been any archaeological evidence to disprove anything written in the Bible, but there has been much that has proven the text.

“I believe in reason, not religion” I agree. Man made religion to reach to God, but it is an impossible feat. God has reached out to mankind by coming down Himself in Jesus Christ, paid for our sins by dying on the cross, then rose again on the third day. It is a relationship with the Living God, not religion that will save you.

You don’t know their deeds, and to be quite honest, you’re right about the creeds. People don’t always follow what they say they do. We are deceitfully wicked, but there is a cure. If you truly do have respect for deeds, know that there are none found good, not one, on the entire earth. God alone is good, and any good you see in mankind is purely by His common grace, no matter who you see it in.


Morality isn’t found in religion, but in the very character of God. I’ll tell you that you have no basis whatsoever for any morality in your own life if you claim to be an atheist. What would you base them on? You must “borrow” your ethics and morality from the Christian worldview, because they don’t make sense from an atheist worldview.


"Good for goodness sake"? What are you – Santa Claus? An atheist worldview makes no sense. If it’s just “survival of the fittest” then there is no right or wrong, no good or bad.
 I’d like to know how you define “good” and what standard you base that on.
I’d like to know how you think scientific laws exist, what morality is and what it’s based on, and how a DNA code just randomly created itself. There is no code of any sort that didn’t have a creator.


Well, I’d agree with this guy, that the Mormon god is fictional. There is a lot of incorrect theology that disagrees with the Bible in Mormon doctrine. However, being mixed up in a cult for a while shouldn’t cause you to throw out all belief in God. You just need to search for the truth.



I don’t know what sort of “Christian indoctrination” you received, but as a doctor, how can you look at life, at the human body, and think that it all just fell together by some sort of random chance? You’ve really got to jump through some hoops and have some strong faith in nothing to deny the God who created you.


Planes fly because of the laws of aerodynamics. I’d just like to ask you exactly where and how scientific laws came into being?
As an atheist, you cannot accept that God created them, but as a thinking, rational person, you must realize that these scientific laws don’t just create themselves, right?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Choices

I would say that I am "pro-choice"  Choices are good, right?  Are they always good?  Maybe someone chooses to shoot someone else on the freeway – good choice or bad one?  Are we now “anti-choice” because we don’t condone that?  How about rape – good choice or bad one?  I wouldn’t want to infringe upon the rights of a rapist, would I?  Choices.  So, let’s get down to the real issue – the choice to have an abortion.  

First of all, I’d like to point out that if you're reading this right now, you’re probably quite relieved that your mother made the choice not to kill you before you were even born.  Yes, that’s right, I said “kill” because every abortion stops a beating heart.  It’s not a “parasite” or a “blob of tissue” or some “cluster of cells”, it’s a human being at the time of conception.  By the time the mother is even aware that she’s pregnant, there is a beating heart of a human being inside of her, with his or her own blood type.  So, if we want to talk about rights - where are that baby's rights?

If a person were to cause a pregnant woman to miscarry, it is considered murder in a court of law, but if that same woman goes to Planned Parenthood to have an abortionist kill her child, it's perfectly legal?  Does anyone else notice something wrong with this scenario?  Either way, a life was ended, a heartbeat stopped, yet why such drastically different results to the one who caused it?  

Oh, I’m all for a woman’s right to choose, I just feel that the choice should be made earlier – perhaps the choice to abstain from sexual relations prior to marriage – there’s a choice that doesn’t involve murder.  Or, maybe there are some who would like to take it further in the other direction.  I mean, why limit the killing to the pre-born?  What if, within a couple of years, we decide we don’t really want a kid – should the mother still have the right to kill it?  What age should the limit be?  5?  Maybe 10, or better yet, let’s see how many would survive the teen years if it’s legal to kill your own children.

You see, every human life is important – every human being is made in the image of God, and we have no right to kill, simply out of convenience.

You can call me “pro-life” or “anti-abortion”, but to say that I am “anti-choice” is simply not true.  We would all disagree with certain choices, wouldn’t we?  Isn't that a choice in itself?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday 11-19-11


Tom, Marcus, Alex and I met Alan out on Mill Ave on Saturday night.  It was really crowded out there with the ASU - U of A game going on.  It took us a while to find a place to park and we had to walk for a few blocks to get to our usual place.  We met a Wildcats fan who asked, “Ready for what?” in response to the cross we were carrying with the question, “Are You Ready?” on the cross bar.  I said, “Ready to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account for your life.”  Another guy said, “but not today” as he kept on walking past.  I explained to the first one that we were talking to that 150,000 people die every day, and we never know when death might come upon us.  Most people don’t see it coming, but we are not guaranteed another day. 
He took an “Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven?” tract with him as he left. 

We eventually got to our spot where Alan was already handing out tracts.  There was an artist selling his drawings there, so I talked to him for a while.  His name was Ron, I took him through the Good Person Test and we found that he wasn’t so good when held to God’s standards. 

Please keep him in prayer, he had some erroneous ideas of God, but was willing to check out a couple of tracts I gave had given him and he said that he would definitely read the Bible that Alan had given him earlier. 

Later on, the guy who claims to be a Satanist hung around for a while with a friend of his, attempting to disrupt Tom as he was doing some Open Air.  We had a few more really rowdy guys who were very hateful towards the Gospel, but they didn’t hang around too long.  

 Two policemen on bikes stopped nearby to talk with some guy.  Apparently, things weren’t going well with that conversation, as he turned, hiked up his pants and ran.  The police tackled him to the pavement just a few feet from where he had started from.  I’m not sure what he’d done, but he was going to jail for sure now. 

The game got over as we were deciding to pack up, so it took us a while to get out of the area through all the traffic.  We hung out at Taco Bell while waiting for the crowds to thin out before heading home.  

Soli Deo Gloria


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday 11-12-11

We saw an angel out on Mill Ave this last Saturday.  I've seen a lot of interesting things on Mill Ave over the years - a guy walking his wolf, girls parading around in their underwear, various atheists attempting to prove ... well, nothing I guess.  I've seen people who call themselves "Christian" and then curse at us with language that would make a sailor blush.

I've even seen people who claim to be angels (one told us he could kill us), but this is the first one that I saw with wings and a halo.  I went over to find out what he was doing out there and took a picture.


It turns out that his name was Javier, and he was out there with a young girl named Anna.  They had come out to recite something that he had written, and she had a snare drum with her.  They were bringing a message of love, and asking people to put aside political differences in the name of peace.
After we listened to their message, I told them that we were taking a slightly different view, that the greatest problem in the world today is sin.
I asked Anna and Javier if they would consider themselves to be "good" people, and they said, "yes, pretty much."  So I took them through some of the Ten Commandments.  We found that they both admitted to being lying, coveting thieves and adulterers-at-heart.  They both agreed that, judged by this standard, they would be found guilty by the Almighty Judge of the universe and would be destined for hell.  I explained the Gospel to them, how God had made a way to keep all of us out of the hell that we deserve by paying the fine for us and the two things we must do in order for that sacrifice to pertain to us.  We must repent of our sins, turning away from them, stop committing them.  We should hate those sins we once loved as much as God has always hated them.  Then we trust in Jesus Christ alone for the payment of our sins, submitting our lives to Him.

They understood, and I gave them each a tract to take with them and maybe check out the Living Waters website for more witnessing tools.  
Other than that, it was a pretty average night on Mill Ave.  We distributed some tracts and talked to a few others, planting seeds of the Gospel.






Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Saturday 10-29-11

Halloween weekend on Mill Ave is always interesting. It was packed out there the entire time we were there.

We had a couple of Catholics that came out to try to persuade us not to talk to anyone who professed to be a Catholic. I explained that I could not make that promise. The lady, Jo Anne, walked around praying as we talked with different people, but she would speak out against us if we touched on anything about any errors in the Catholic church - such as ideas about purgatory, Mary worship, or praying to the saints - all false doctrine.

The guy kept Brandt busy discussing the differences between Protestants and Catholics, and anytime that I went over to try to get him free to talk to others, Jo Anne would come over and engage me in conversation. They were nice enough people, but wasting our time when there were plenty of others to talk to.

A woman named Keisha stopped to look at the illusion board, I took her through the Good Person Test (GPT) and gave her a tract to take with her.

Jordan, one of our friendly neighborhood atheists, was there with a rubber demon mask. Since there has been no real atheist presence lately, he was kind of bored, but hung around for a while. Every once in a while, he would bring someone he knows over to talk with me.

He brought a guy named Daniel over, and I took him through the GPT. He seemed to have a lot of knowledge on Christianity, listened to what I had to say and took a tract when we were finished. He seemed receptive.

A couple others came by to look at the illusion board, but got away when Jordan asked me a question. They had been drinking and I suppose they just took the opportunity to escape.

Another lady and her friend stopped to look at the illusion board, but took off before going through the GPT. I think at least one of them had taken it before, and they didn't want to hang around. They wouldn't take a tract, either.

Jason and Artie went through the GPT, and Jason asked a couple of questions later, like why would God condemn people when He loves everyone, so I explained that, in addition to being loving, God is also holy, righteous and just. In order for justice to be satisfied, the fine must be paid, and the wages of sin is death. This is what is so lacking in churches across America today, who only preach half the Gospel, only about love, when that is not the only attribute of the God revealed to us in the Bible.

I also explained how the same crime committed against different levels of authority will result in heightened levels of punishment in direct proportion to the level of the one it is committed against.

Jordan sent a couple more of his friends over (I don't know why he does this), but these were pagans and didn't really have any interest in a discussion on spiritual things. One of them did take a tract later on, though, so who knows how the Lord will work in them.

Some guy pushed Brandt, so I took his picture. He didn't like that much, but he wandered away after a little while, attempting to look cool and leisurely, but making sure he was out of there before any police came by.

We distributed a lot of tracts and planted seeds of the Gospel with many who were out for a Halloween weekend on Mill Ave.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saturday 10-22-11

We had a great night on Mill Ave last Saturday night. It wasn't overly busy, but the new illusion board attracted a lot of people. It has a 3-D picture of Einstein on it, and it seems that the face follows you as you walk back and forth in front of it. It has four questions at the top for people to test their IQs with some brain teasers, and then it mentions the Good Person Test (GPT) at the bottom for a prize. We usually give glow sticks since it's night time and people seem to like them.



I talked with Andre and Josh, who stopped to check out the illusion, and was able to give them an "Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?" tract after taking them through the GPT.

Tim, an atheist with his girlfriend stopped to look at the illusion, but didn't hang around long. Another couple, Kevin and Gabrielle, stopped to talk for a while. Gabrielle had a Catholic background and talked with Tom for a while, but I'm not sure if she saw the error of her beliefs yet. Please keep them in prayer to truly come to Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.

Lark and Jacqueline went through the GPT and I gave them a tract to take with them, then I spoke with another couple, Andrew and Melissa. They were receptive to taking the test and a tract when they left as well.

Saul, a homeless guy, was hanging around, so I talked with him for a little while. I asked him about lying, stealing, blasphemy and lust, to which he admitted guilt. He mentioned something on the lust part that seemed that he might have been a homosexual, but we didn't get into that. He had spoken with Alan out there before, but Alan had already left by this time. He seemed convicted somewhat, but didn't really get into too deep of a conversation. I left him with a tract and hope to see him out there again. Please keep him in prayer, that the Lord would work in him, convicting him of his sin and drawing him to salvation.

Divina and Chenice said they were Christians and I took them through the GPT. It's surprising how many professed Christians will still claim to be a good person when the Bible clearly says that there are none found good, not one. But the Bible also tells us in Prov 20:6 that people will profess their own goodness. I left them with a tract to see if they could look into things a little more Biblically in the future.

Tom was talking to a couple of girls that were prancing around the sidewalk in their underwear. They were cursing at him and telling him that they were saved and could do anything they wanted to. They told him that they were Christians. This is the sad product of "carnal Christianity" and the "love-only gospel" that is so prevelant in our churches in America today. Without knowledge or understanding of Scripture, people make up a god of their own in their mind, fashioned after their own image, one that will allow them to enjoy their sins without consequence. But they kid themselves thinking that they're saved and are in violation of the 2nd Commandment against idolatry.
Hebrews 10:26-27 is quite clear, we must turn away from sin when we come to Jesus Christ for salvation. Otherwise, we're just fooling ourselves until that day that we stand before Him and hear those fearful words of Matt 7:23.

Jim came out with a cane, it was good to see him out walking around. There was a time when he was the only one out on Mill Ave reaching to the lost.

It was a busy night, and the Illusion board was awesome in drawing people in to engage in conversation, with an easy transition into the spiritual.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday 10-25-11

Today, twenty of us hit ASU campus to distribute 3,000 free "180 movie" DVD’s, while others all across America were doing the same thing at major universities.  


As we were gathered together to pray in the parking lot, a car beeped at us because we were standing in the way. We moved over and the car parked in a space near us. We looked over and saw the bumper sticker, “I’m Pro-Choice, and I vote.” I wonder if they had any idea what we were there for.





We distributed all the DVD’s in about two and a half hours without much resistance. Most people were happy to receive a free DVD, and a few asked what it was about.


We explained that it was a documentary, comparing the Holocaust in Germany during WWII, to a modern day holocaust right here in America.



As far as I know, we only received one complaint, someone told a security guard that one of our team was too aggressive, but I didn’t see anything like that.


The security guard brought us some extras that had been left on a table inside, and Tom talked him into taking one for himself.

A policeman was riding by on a bike and agreed to take one. Many people on skateboards or bikes would grab one as they rode by.



I only retrieved a couple from trash cans, and one guy refused to take one because he said that he knew what it was about.
He claimed that he did not agree with the analogy comparing the Holocaust to abortion, but rode away on his bike before I could find out if he’d actually even watched it or not.









We all met up together after we were finished, then stopped at Chilis to compare notes and fellowship a little before heading back home.



If you didn’t get a free DVD, you can watch it for free here: http://180movie.com/ 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saturday 10-08-11

It was busy out on Mill Ave, with more people on the streets the later it became. The weather is finally cooling off and it felt good in the cool night air. We decided to pack up when we realized it was already 1:30 in the morning. Time flies when you're staying busy.

 I did some Open Air Trivia, and a woman named Allison agreed to go through the Good Person Test (GPT). Her friends wanted her to go, but she stayed to hear what we had to say. I didn't notice any conviction in her, but she was paying attention, and I left her with an "Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven" tract. I hope she will look through that when she has more time and realize the eternal importance of the Gospel message. Pray that God will work in her, convicting her and drawing her to salvation.

I talked to a man named Christian (who had some sort of theological degree) and Charlotte who was with him. She believed everyone goes to heaven, and that Christ just came to provide us an example. The both seemed to think that we can be sanctified after death and eventually get into heaven. They did not believe that homosexuality was wrong, and claimed that in the original Greek, the word was only referring to prostitutes and not to "consenting adults." But 1 Cor 6:9-10 actually mentions both male prostitutes and homosexuals separately, so I don't see how that point can be made.

This came up when I quoted Hebrews 10:26-27 to them, and explained the difference between falling into sin and living a lifestyle of it. He stated that if we ever walk past a poor person without helping them, we are willfully sinning as well. So, I guess that was his basis for rejecting the clear teaching of Scripture, and adding man's bias to it. Sounds like a false teacher if I ever heard one (2 Peter 2:1).

This is the primary reason that I am unimpressed with theological degrees and even seminary. I used to think that people who had an education in such things would know and understand the Word of God better. But it seems that, far too often, they are taught things contrary to the plain teaching of the Bible, develop an arrogance towards others, and are closer to the Gnostic beliefs than they are to the Gospel. They twist the Word in an attempt to make it say things that are actually quite the opposite of Biblical doctrine.

Our evolutionist woman came back to argue and blow bubbles. She says that she does believe in a God of some sort, but that evolution has truly happened and tries to reconcile the two ideas. I used to do that as well, before I actually read the Bible and did some studying. Then I found that the two ideas simply contradict one another and there is no way that you can honestly believe in both simultaneously if you have looked into each of them at all.

Then she gave me the old argument that "evolution is just a theory like gravity is just a theory" and that in the realm of science, everything is considered "just a theory." What a load of garbage. I have no problem with science, there is a lot of scientific fact found in the Bible, and I've posted a series of articles about that here on the blog.
But Darwinism is not science, is unproven and unprovable, and I have no respect for such lies being taught, deceiving people like this. It has no basis in science and is simply another religious cult. Then we managed to turn the conversation towards the Gospel. She said she couldn't believe in a God that would send her "nice atheist friend" and her "atheist brother" to hell. I explained that that is exactly why we are out there talking to people about these things. After that she blew a few more bubbles and went on her way.

Three girls stopped to check out the Celebrity Board, we looked at a few of the caricatures of celebrities to see who they could identify, but when we made the turn to spiritual things, they claimed they were atheists and took off.

We had a few people stop to check out the board, it works well to draw people's attention. Tom drew a lot of people with glow sticks for going through the GPT.

Brynn stopped to check out the Celebrity board and I took her through the GPT. She said she works in Sunday school, but didn't seem to have a lot of Biblical knowledge. It made sense to her, but I didn't really see any conviction there. I left her with a tract and she headed on her way. Seeds planted, only God will make an actual conversion.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saturday 10-01-11

Another crazy night on Mill Ave. There were quite a few people out, since there was another home game, so we handed out a lot of tracts.

A woman had had too much to drink, puked on herself and passed out on the sidewalk a few feet from where we were. We had two firetrucks and an ambulance on our corner, as they took her away on a stretcher. Please pray that the Lord would work in her, convict her of her lifestyle and sins and draw her to Him. I was once a part of that lifestyle of partying and poisoning myself with alcohol as well, and that very thing could have easily happened to me not that many years ago. But God kept me and brought me through that, and He can do the same with others.

I was doing some Open Air Trivia and talked with a guy named Rob (aka Canine), who is currently homeless. He said he had a Catholic background and his wife was Evangelical, so they met in the middle and decided to be Episcopalian. He thought sacrament was a requirement for salvation (still a little works-based ideas hanging in there), so I explained that it was repentance and trust in Christ alone, that there is no way we can earn our own way and that only He can pay our fine.

There was a strange guy who came out and yelled in general, but you couldn't really understand what he was ranting about. He kinda sounded like the Tasmanian Devil cartoon. Here's a picture of him, to the left.

Tom spoke with a young girl named Isabel and her mother for a while, and then prayed with them afterward.  He said that Isabel had felt convicted, repented of her sins and prayed for Jesus Christ to come into her life right there on the sidewalk.  We talked with both of them for a while and then they left.  I think Tom caught some of that on video as well, so keep an eye on his blog for more info on that one. http://tillthenetsrful.blogspot.com/

A man was riding by on a bike as I held out a Trillion Dollar Bill tract and he stopped to talk with me. He said he didn't understand English real well, and asked if I'd explain it to him.

So I briefly took him through the Good Person Test and he said it that it made sense.
His name was Achmed, and he was not a Christian, but did want to keep the tract to look into it further.

Later, he came back, because he had accidentally torn his tract and asked for another. So I gave him another Trillion Dollar Bill as well as an "Are You Good Enough to Get Into Heaven?" tract. He said he would read them.

We went to Denny's afterward, and Tom asked our waiter if it was ok with him if we prayed, and he responded, "Sure, as long as I can join you!" His name is Rodney, and he is currently houseless, living in his car. Without hesitation, he stuck out his hands and said, "Ready?" and so we prayed with, and for, our waiter. This was the first time we had such an enthusiastic waiter regarding prayer.

He was looking for a church, so I gave him the name and cross streets for Shiloh. It would be a bit of a drive for him from Tempe, but maybe I'll see him there one of these Sundays. Please keep him in prayer, and pray for the lost who are on the road to eternal destruction.

Also, pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday 09-22-11



Here's a guy who decided to stand up on the soap box as we were getting ready to leave on Saturday night.

There were 61,000 people in Tempe this past weekend for the ASU game (where they beat USC 43-22).  This generated a lot of traffic on Mill Ave, many of whom had been drinking a lot.  All of this and Tracy came out for the first time.  What a night for a first time out!

A disturbed guy who claimed he was some sort of Satanist stopped to babble at me, making no sense whatsover.  As a couple of girls were walking by in front of him, he said something to the effect of them getting out of the way and called them names.  One of them yelled at him that she was a Christian, probably thinking he was with us.  She said she went to Central Christian Church and proceded to curse at him as she walked away.

Her friend stopped and talked with Tom for a little while. Apparently she was some Unitarian minister who thought that love was all that mattered.  Tom explaining that God is also holy, righteous and just did not go over well with her heretical beliefs, so she was yelling and dropping a few F bombs at us as she walked away.  Then she went down the street to another corner and argued with Sean and Edwin who were preaching over there.

A woman named Ellie got all of my trivia questions right, and then agreed to take the Good Person Test (GPT).  In the end, she said that she was not concerned about going to hell because she was a Christian and had repented.  I told her there were two things that you need to do in order to be saved, and repentance was one of them. The other thing is that you must trust in Jesus Christ alone for the payment of your sins.  Even if we repent, those crimes in the past are still there and must be paid for. There is no statute of limitations on sins against God.  

We cannnot pay our own fine, because it is our own sin that condemns us to death.  No one else can pay our fine for us because they've all got their own sins to deal with.  Only God Himself could come down and live a perfect life, then lay down that life as a sacrifice, paying the penalty that we deserve, and He did exactly that, two thousand years ago.  If Jesus Christ is not God, then we are all still in our sins and condemned, because salvation is of the Lord.

A couple stopped by to interrupt who were both pretty drunk.  The guy wanted to unplug the mic and had threatened to smash the speaker, so I was keeping an eye on him.  The girl just wanted to argue.
She asked what if she believed in purgatory, and I told her there is nothing in the Bible even mentioning the concept, and that what we believe doesn't make something true.  People like the idea because it gives them a second chance, but the Bible says it is appointed man once to die, and then the judgment.  There are no second chances after we die.

Then she asked if I thought God would overlook some agnostic thinking because of some difficult situation that had happened in her life.  I told her no, I didn't think He would.  She didn't like that and tried to bring up some other arguments for a while before they both decided to leave.
God will not be mocked, and whatever bad things have happened in our lives do not give us some kind of excuse to deny His existence in a lame attempt to feel justified in our sins.

A few Catholics who were drunk were arguing with Brandt.  One of them was as tall as Brandt was on the stool.   One of his friends grabbed the mic to tell them he wanted to leave, and a couple of us grabbed the mic as well, since we cannot just let any angry drunk get hold of that.  That made him kind of mad, but he let go of the mic and threatened to beat us up then left.  

Haleh was talking to a guy for a while, who said his name was June.  He said he liked having discussion about religion but didn't believe Christianity.  Haleh had quoted a couple of verses in the Book of John to prove the deity of Christ, but he still didn't believe it, so I gave him a pocket testament Book of John and he said he'd read it. Maybe we'll see him out there again.

Marcus was talking with a guy for a long time.  He seemed to be just wanting to argue and waste our time, so Marcus eventually broke away to talk to others.  Then he came over to me.  I had seen how much time he had been wasting, so I didn't really want to talk with him, and I told him that.  He said that he sincerely wanted to understand and was not just being argumentative, so I talked with him for a little while.

He said his name was Fares and he is a Muslim.  We discussed some of the differences in the way Christians view the Bible as the inspired Words of God, as in the meaning of what He said, which makes different translations a matter of little importance.  But to a Muslim, the Qu'ran is the actual, specific word of Allah in the original language, and any translations changing those words into different languages makes a huge difference to them, no longer being the actual words that Allah spoke.

So, we view our holy books differently.  This helps explain why Muslims are so upset with treating their Qu'ran irreverantly, while to Christians, our Bible is simply a means of God communicating with us.
It was an interesting night, hopefully seeds were planted and tracts were read.

Soli Deo Gloria


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

180

You've got to see this!  First, click the pause button on the music player over to your right, then play this video.  It just may change your beliefs like it did for many others, doing a one - eighty.


Friday, September 23, 2011

What Happens On Mill Ave

You'll have to pause the music on the player over to the right, then watch this video of Tom taking a guy named Steven through the Good Person Test on Mill Ave last weekend.



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saturday 09-17-11

As we arrived on Mill Ave, we found Alan already out there, and the two musicians that have been hanging out in our normal spot. They have a guitar and sing some Christians songs, but usually pack up shortly after we get there, since they come out earlier. So this works out pretty well.

We played some music through the amp, handing out tracts for a while, and then Tom started doing some Open Air to give away glow sticks to people willing to take the Good Person Test (GPT). We had a few people stop by and go through the test and we distributed some tracts.

Tom went through the GPT with a few people. One particular guy seemed a little uncomfortable and convicted, but as soon as he was able to step away, there didn't seem to be any real change in him. He had told Tom that he was there with some friends, and as they came over, he took the opportunity to escape. So Tom took them through the GPT, too. One of them, a girl named Aubrey was very attentive and seemed to understand the need for a Savior.

Then a couple of guys stopped to heckle Tom, and some bystanders who were listening to him were offended by the hecklers. As Tom continued talking to Aubrey, one guy came out of the crowd and had some words with the heckler, before shoving him to the ground (I caught all of this on video). This, of course, only gives the heckler more ammunition. He jumped up and shouted that he'd been knocked down in the name of God. Great...

I talked to him a while after that, and also his friend named Michael. Each of them had a little knowledge of the Bible, but rejected it as truth. Michael said he liked the concept of Jesus and His teachings, but didn't believe that He actually existed. There is so much evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ that even a lot of atheists must concede this point. They still don't believe in Him as God, but cannot refute that He walked the earth as a historical Person.

Michael said that he believed in some sort of "higher power" but also believed in evolution. The real problem in all of this is simple: They choose to believe in an unknowable, supernatural god of some sort, but cannot know what is required of them, so they can continue in their sins, convincing themselves they are guilt free. But God will not be mocked. I told him that if there is a God out there, he better figure out who it is and what He expects out of us, or he may find himself in big trouble on Judgment Day.

There was an older guy named Charlie out there who plays a banjo and agrees that Christians should be evangelizing and preaching the Word. He said he doesn't like tracts, but talks to people on the streets whenever he can.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Marriage

The world tells you that marriage is boring and stupid, that you should keep your options open, play the field and enjoy yourself before your life ends with becoming permanently shackled to another person. The world lies. And why does it lie? Because it's currently under the control of the father of lies (John 8:44 ), and it hates you (John 15:19 ).

In reality, marriage is a beautiful thing (Prov 18:22), as a man leaves his parents and unites with his wife as one (Gen 2:24). I know some people have problems, and it takes two to resolve conflict, but divorce should be a much more rare occurrence than it is today (Matt 19:8-9). I say these things because I've been married for 25 years, have three children, one grandson and another on the way. I love my wife more than ever before, as we've grown, matured and experienced life together. I am blessed to have a Proverbs 31 wife (Prov 31:10-31).

To get to this point in a relationship, it takes a deep knowledge of your mate, the building of trust through sacrifice and difficult experiences, as well as the good times, uplifting one another, and enjoyment of each other, regardless of circumstances.

As we share our lives together, growing closer through all the Lord has given us and brought us through, we realize that humans long for this closeness with a spouse, we are designed to know and be known, and this intimacy cannot be gained overnight, it takes time to develop.

Marriage between a man and a woman is not only a beautiful gift, but an expression of love from our Creator, and an example of His relationship with us through the Church. That is what makes marriage so sacred, that is why it cannot be re-defined and defiled, attempting to make it something contrary to the guidelines that God has set. Anything else (fornication, adultery, homosexuality) is an abomination and rebellion against the God who has given us this wonderful gift.

Keep the marriage bed pure (Heb 13:4), do not listen to the deception and lies of the world that hates you, but hold fast to the Word of God and His moral standard for what He's given you.

Glorify the Giver of this amazing gift, be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth (Prov 5:18), protecting and caring for her even as Christ has provided the example in His sacrificial death for the Church.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Saturday 09-03-11

An atheist came up with a million dollar bill tract that he didn't think was appropriate, since he claimed that Jesus was against money. He and a friend were arguing about this, and Tom just handed them a different tract, and started the Good Person Test (GPT), but they left before we could get through the whole thing. I don't get it. How does an unbeliever think he can explain how our beliefs should work?

A woman was walking by and wouldn't take a tract, because she was a "Christian and didn't need it". Tom asked her why she wouldn't give it to someone else then. She walked away, but came back again to say that she does share her faith. So, Tom asked her to share with him so that he could learn more, but she refused, saying that she would not be quizzed on how she does it. This usually means that they don't. I offered her a "Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?" tract, and she claimed she was familiar with Ray Comfort's ministry and gives money to them, but she certainly didn't put it into practice in any way. It was kind of a weird night.

It was kind of slow at first, but got busier later on. Tom sang for a while with a couple of musicians that were out there in our usual space (I told ya it was a weird night).

As I was doing some Open Air Trivia, one guy got all three questions right and stayed for the GPT. He was found guilty of breaking God's law, and when I asked him if he would then be sent to heaven or hell and he said heaven, because he's already repented. He wouldn't listen to any more and walked away. I told him repentance is only half of it, that he must place his trust in Jesus Christ as well, but he continued on his way, too afraid to listen to any more.

A guy named Kevin stopped when I offered him a tract, and claimed to be a Christian. He said he shared the Gospel and was familiar with WOTM. I asked him what he thought of it, and while he wouldn't condemn it, he didn't use it, either. He seemed to concentrate on love instead, without showing people the reason they need a Savior. We discussed this for a while, but I couldn't pin him down to what his specific beliefs were. When people avoid clearly stating what they believe, yet attempt to sound as if they're in agreement with you, I find they are normally either unsure of their beliefs or they are so strange that they cannot share them with someone until they pull them in on a superficial level first, like some sort of cult.

I saw Brandt talking to some clown - no really, this guy was wearing clown make-up like the Joker. His name was Jimmy, (I think we've spoken with him before), and he claimed that he likes pain and will be happy in hell. The fact that he's talked to us more than once tells me he's not so sure about that. He had a friend who was hanging around, but wouldn't take a tract and said he didn't have to talk to me. He did his best to ignore me until they both headed off down the street.

Maybe we'll see Jimmy again. I pray the Lord will work in him, growing the Gospel seed that was planted.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fishing?

Jesus said, "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men." (Matt 4:19, Mark 1:17)

Wouldn't it seem then, that if you're not fishing, then neither are you following?

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? - Luke 6:46

The Great Commission is given in Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15 and Acts 10:42.

We are commanded to go.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! - Ezekiel 18:32

And how can they know, unless someone tells them? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? - Romans 10:13-14

This is not just pleading with you to reach out and witness to others, it is commanded and you will be held accountable:

When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. - Ezekiel 3:18-19

And no, this was not only for Ezekiel as a watchman over Israel in the OT. Paul states the following in the NT, which sounds like he's referring to that verse in the OT.

Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. - Acts 20:26-27

Don't misunderstand and think that you will be saved by doing good works. Obedience to these commands does not save you, for you are saved by grace alone, through faith (Eph 2:8-9 ), yet these works are evidence of that true saving faith (James 2:26).

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. - Matt 7:21

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Suffering

Listen carefully to my speech, and let this be your way of consolation. Bear with me that I may speak; then after I have spoken, you may mock. As for me, is my complaint to man? And why should I not be impatient? Look at me, and be astonished, and put your hand over your mouth. Even when I remember, I am disturbed, and horror takes hold of my flesh. Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes, their houses are safe from fear, and the rod of God is not on them. 
One dies in his full strength, being wholly at ease and satisfied; his sides are filled out with fat, and the marrow of his bones is moist, while another dies with a bitter soul, never even tasting anything good. Together they lie down in the dust, and worms cover them. - Job 21:2-9, 23-26

The wicked and the good, the suffering and the fortunate, all will die one day, regardless of the experiences we have in this life. I was reading the VOM Newsletter today and found this section on suffering (and it kind of related to Job 21, which I read today as well):
"After dedicating forty years of his life to missionary work among the Australian aborigines, a pastor fell sick. He suffered greatly as he was being transported on primitive roads to the city and was barely able to breathe. He asked his family to sing and to read to him from the Bible. Finally he said, "Stop praising! I have served Him my whole life and He does not care for me." He took the Bible from his wife's hand and threw it into the bush. He could find no answer to the problem of suffering."
This is the danger of the "prosperity" gospel and the "love only" gospel that is so prevalent in our churches in America today. This missionary expected something for his sacrifice in this world, yet the Bible promises trials and tribulations in this life for believers. The article continues:
"The only answer that I believe should be given is not to ask the question. Jesus, when He was on the cross, asked God why He had forsaken even His only begotten Son. His question is followed only by a question mark. All that is revealed to us is that the question exists and that we can live with it."
It is difficult though, isn't it? Yet if God didn't provide the answer to this question, then I guess we need to trust in Him anyway. His ways are much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and He has chosen to keep some things from us (Deut 29:29). Then the article moved on to another example:
"A sufferer once came to a pastor and asked him many questions. The pastor answered, 'Kneel here in church and ask Jesus for the answers.' The man replied, 'Do you really think I will hear a voice from heaven?' 'No, ' said the pastor, 'but by keeping quiet in prayer for several hours before God, you will realize that you can go along without answers to all your problems. This would have been Jesus' answer, and it will quiet you.' You do not need more than His peace, which passes all understanding. You do not need both peace and understanding, for understanding presupposes qualifications that most of us do not have." - Richard Wumbrand (from 100 Prison Meditations, pp. 16-17)
Sounds like good advice. It seems that most often, it's the atheists and unbelievers who want an answer to this question, but does it really matter? Whether they believe in Jesus Christ or not, they still have the problem of suffering in the world. The real problem that they should have is, why does it bother them? Where does morality come from? If it's just nature and there is no God, does that answer why there is suffering in the world?

So, why is there suffering? I think it's because there is no better means to build faith, to build confidence in God's sovereignty, than suffering. It will force you one direction or another, if a false convert, you will turn and walk away in suffering, just like the pastor in the story who threw out his Bible after 40 years. But if you are truly one of the Lord's, it will strengthen your faith, even unto death, which will affect others who see it or hear about it later as well.

I find that reading stories of persecution and martyrdom tend to convict us, to break out of our laziness here in America, to see past the vast luxuries, blessings and freedoms that we take for granted but refuse to use. Learning of the persecution of other believers helps us to understand the importance of evangelism, sharing the full Gospel with others that they would be convicted of their sins against God, and truly repent, coming to Him alone for salvation, never looking to the rewards or sufferings in this world, but to glorify Him and spend eternity with Him, solely out of gratitude, seeking only to serve the Lord, because He alone is worthy.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday 08-27-11

I talked to an atheist named George for a while last week. He was very set in his disbelief and wouldn't even consider the Bible at all. He doesn't see any difference in this world between himself and me. I explained the difference is not in this life but the next, but he saw no benefit if it wasn't profitable in this life, revealing that his god is his money. He was very hardened against the Gospel and argued with some of the others for a while as well.

This week, Tom's sign caught the eye of a guy named Kevin, who came over to see what we were doing. Tom took him through the Good Person Test (GPT) and explained the Gospel to him. Kevin said he was from IA, out here going to Mesa Community College, and seemed to understand and agree with what we were doing. Tom gave him one of his cards to see if he might email him and consider going to an evangelism class sometime.

A couple of guys named Stevo and Will came up to question us about the GPT. Will was a little more receptive, but still didn't seem to grasp the Gospel message that we were giving. They both thought that Stevo would be ok, having "basically repented without using the same words." I tried to explain that the words are important, and that there is no other name under heaven by which men might be saved. But in the end, Stevo considered himself to be a pretty good person, even after going through the GPT, and felt that he had suffered enough on this earth that God would allow him into heaven. I explained that He will not, but he rejected anything from the Bible and preferred to make up his own god. We had an amiable conversation though, please pray that both Stevo and Will would be convicted of their sins and self-righteousness and realize their need for a Savior before it's too late.

There were a few people preaching and handing out papers on the corner across the street, so Dan and I went over to see what they were preaching. We talked to Sirus and Patrick, who turned out to be from the Door. They could only name about four of the Ten Commandments, and didn't really know God's Law. They held to some charismatic beliefs, such as speaking in tongues, but they stated that it was not a requirement, so I didn't have a problem with that, even though I disagree and hold more to the ceasationist beliefs like John MacArthur.

They also claimed that we are saved by grace alone and not works, but they did seem to require some works. I guess it's a fine line between good works as a result of salvation and good works to keep your salvation, but it's a very important line. Sometimes it's not easy to tell were a person stands on that issue until you've been around them for a while. In talking with Marcus, who is more familiar with their teachings and has spoken to them on more occasions, he said that they believe you can lose your salvation and must do works in order to maintain it.

Melissa Trible, the woman with the URLs who comes out to hassle us, was back, blowing bubbles and arguing with anyone who would listen to her. She wastes a lot of our time in arguments, but who knows? Maybe the Lord will one day convict her of her sins, having heard the Gospel message many times on the streets. She likes to argue about Darwinian evolution and claims that "nylonase" is proof that things do get more complex (in violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics). She insisted that I look that up as proof, and so I did a search on it. I found that the idea is definitely debatable, and still the same old thing as Darwinists always do, in misinterpreting the evidence that they find in an attempt to make it back their bad theory. I printed off a couple of pages to give her the next time we see her out there.

It was hot, but a good night of witnessing and distributing tracts.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saturday 08-13-11

It was very hot and humid on the streets of Mill Ave this week. Still, a few of us went out to reach the lost. Robert had been out evangelizing with us a couple of years ago, and remembered going to Jack in the Box with Richard and David. He’s been traveling around some and is back, so we’ll probably see him out more often.

Tom started doing Open Air, taking someone through the Good Person Test, and a couple came over to talk with me. They said they were Christian, and didn’t agree with the way we were presenting the Gospel.

Their names were Raquel and Kirk, and they thought we were making people feel bad. I guess they had never hung around long enough to see that many people are glad to hear the full Gospel given, and how they say that it’s never made sense like this before. Raquel felt that there was nothing to “draw people” to Jesus, but I thought that was the work of the Holy Spirit anyway, and not some promise of prosperity.

She said that the Bible promises blessings to all believers and I asked her if she felt that she was somehow better than a nearby homeless person. She stated that she was not, but could not explain why she was blessed so much more than that guy. Dan asked them about Paul’s “wonderful life full of blessings”, when he was shipwrecked, beaten and imprisoned numerous times.

I asked if she could give her prosperity and blessings talk to the people in the Twin Towers on 09/10/01, knowing what would happen within 24 hours. She said that she couldn’t possibly know what would happen the next day and thus evaded the question.

Kirk, who was pretty quiet, seemed that he was starting to comprehend that our reward is not in this life, but the next. The Bible promises believers trials, tribulation and persecution, but that is not preached so often in many churches today. We only get half the Gospel, only about God’s love, but God is also holy, righteous and just. He is filled with wrath over the sins and rebellion on this earth, and when Jesus Christ returns, it will be in judgment. We need to make sure that we’re ready.

Later on, the drummers showed up, so we moved down a block to do some more open air preaching and distributing tracts, before heading home. Keep praying for more workers (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria