Wednesday, August 31, 2011


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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I didn't go out to Mill Ave last Saturday, and missed First Friday as well. I was at Huntington Beach for vacation. I thought I might see Ray Comfort out there, because he goes there for some open air, but there was a huge surfing competition going on. It was so crowded we couldn't get near the place, so we went a little further down the beach until we could find a parking spot.

When we got there, I found a bank card laying in the sand, so I picked it up. I didn't see anyone looking for it, so I put it in my pocket, wondering how I was going to find the owner of it. There was no lifeguard station and I had no idea where I could turn it in. Finally, I figured that I would just drop it off at some branch of that particular bank. But then I saw a guy walk by, casually looking around. When he came back by again, I asked if he was looking for something. He said, "Yeah, you haven't seen a bank card around here anywhere, have you?" I said, what's your name? and he told me. I said, yes, I have it right here. He was very thankful, I didn't have any Gospel tracts on me, but gave him one of my cards. Maybe he'll check out the blog.

When we left the beach and were hanging out in a lawn area to fly kites with the kids, I found another guys drivers license and cards laying there. So, I picked those up, and since we had his license, I was able to look him up on the hotel computer and get a phone number. I called and left a message that I had found his stuff. He called back a little later. It must have been nice to have a message that someone had found your stuff before you had to cancel all your cards and get a new license. He came to the hotel and picked it up, offering a reward. I gave him a Gospel tract and my card and asked that he read that instead. It was a busy day of finding stuff and returning it to people.

We went out on the pier the next day, and met a guy and his sons who were handing out Million Dollar Bill tracts. I showed them the coin trick with the Ten Commandments coin, and gave them the last one that I had.
It was nice to get away from the heat for a weekend. Back out to Mill Ave next weekend to share the Gospel with the lost.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, August 1, 2011

Saturday 07-30-11

It was a little later than usual when we arrived on Mill Ave tonight. We had a WOTM Crash Course today for training people in evangelism. If anyone is interested, and you're in the Phoenix area, check out the link on the right for Getting Equipped to see when the next class will be.

Dan was already there, talking to a guy, who seemed to have some odd beliefs. I'm not sure if he's following some sort of organized religion or just making stuff up as he goes along. He was talking about the book of Enoch and different names for God and trying to sell CDs that he had made.
Tom spoke with him again later, and he ended up telling Tom that he's going to hell for calling God by the wrong name or something. The guy felt that the 66 Books of the Bible were not enough, and believed that he had more to contribute. He refused to listen to any kind of reason and didn't make a lot of sense.

Tom started some trivia questions and talked with a guy who had already spoken with Edwin and Sean on another corner. He had some tracts that they had given him, but didn't seem to have a grip on the Gospel message. Hopefully, he'll take the resources we've given him and the Lord will use them in reaching this man.

I did some trivia questions, but wasn't able to get a crowd, people would answer one, take the money and continue on their way. But later, a group of girls came back for more trivia that they heard earlier. One agreed to do the Good Person Test. She obviously had a Catholic background, as she was correcting my numbering of the Ten Commandments. Catholics divide them differently than Protestants, but both get them from the same text - Ex 20:1-17 (they are not numbered in Scripture, just listed). They'd been drinking and they left before we could finish.

I talked with a guy named Dave for a while. I had offered him a tract and he told me he didn't need it, that he was already a Christian. Since it was one of the untearable tracts, I told him that if he could tear it in half, I'd take it back. He tried tearing it and it wouldn't budge, so I asked him if he would take it with him and read it, and he said he would.

I explained that not all who call themselves Christians actually are, and he agreed with that as well. I asked if he would consider himself a good person, and after some thinking it over, he decided that he was, overall, a pretty good person,as people generally do (Prov 20:6).

I took him through the test, and he realized that, by God's standard, none of us are found good. But he claimed that his belief in Jesus would save him. I told him that Scripture says that even the demons believe, so that's not enough.

He had said that we must do the best that we can do and that Jesus does the rest, and I explained that was Mormon doctrine, that Jesus saves us "after all we can do." He'd had a Catholic background and didn't like or realize that he was holding to Mormon beliefs, so he was going to look into that. But both are works based.

Later, he said it again, and I asked him if we could reverse that, and he agreed with me that Jesus saves us and then we do good works out of gratitude, not as a means to earn our salvation. Rather, it's the evidence that we are truly saved, a new creature, born again and changed from what we were before.

Over all, I don't think we were too far off in our beliefs of salvation, and we had a pretty good conversation before he had to go. Pray that the Lord continues to work in Dave.

Soli Deo Gloria