Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christians in America

I would have to disagree that most people in this country are Christian. Most of them may THINK that they are Christian, but the Bible itself warns of false converts and those who are self-deceived. And THAT is most of your "Christians" in America today.

I used to think, you know, I'm a Christian, I believe in Christ and all that, but I'm just not weird about it. I've since learned that if you're not "weird" about it, you probably aren't saved at all.

Some may throw out the old "No True Scottsman Fallacy" on this, but it simply shows the utter lack of understanding the basics of Christianity in the first place. It's not about trying to look good, or presenting some kind of superiority over other people.

The Bible never hides the shortcomings of the people written about, but records the mistakes these men have made. To me, that really lends to the credibility of Scripture. Why would anyone write down the mistakes and problems of their heroes if it weren't true? David, a man after God's own heart, was an adulterer and murderer, Jacob was a deceiver, and Solomon fell into idolatry. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples doubted, Peter denied Christ when it was convenient, Paul persecuted believers.

None of us are perfect, not one. That is what needs to be understood about Christianity - our NEED of a Savior. And God has provided. When one is truly converted, their lives will show a difference. If guess you can call it a fallacy if you want, and maybe there are some who use it in that way. But a true Christian is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) and all will be revealed when we stand before Christ to give account for the lives we lived on this earth (Matt 7:21-23), regardless of what you choose to call it.

I'd even have to say that professed Christians in this country don't even have a decent knowledge of the Biblical doctrine. Here is part of a praise report from my church: This person had recently had a family member die, and had went to the fire station in order to thank the men that helped get her to the hospital. She also shared with them that this family member was saved before she died. Afterward, one of the men asked what she meant by "saved". She got to tell him about the Gospel and has since given him a Bible. Praise God!

You'd be surprised how many people don't have any idea about the very basics of Christianity. And of those who do, they often have a skewed version, never even having read the Bible for themselves.

As one who shares the Gospel with people on a regular basis, I know this fact from personal experience, and it actually surprised me at first, because I also thought that everyone knew what Christianity was all about. I guess it shouldn't have been all that surprising, though, as we see look around at how far our country has turned from basic Biblical teachings to where we are now.

"The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell." - William Booth
...And here we are.

They listen to prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen who are nothing more than secular motivational speakers. Some of them watch the antics of Benny Hinn and think that is what Christianity is about. Others think that the Westboro Baptists are Christian. There are heretics in the pulpit, false teachings abound, and Biblical belief is mocked and ridiculed.

There is more need of true Bible-based street preaching than ever before, but it must be in love while never compromising truth. That will offend some, but it should not be our intent.

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Saturday 12-01-12

The art festival was going on at Mill Ave during the daytime this past weekend. There are tents set up all through the streets. Everything is closed by the time we get out there, but the tents remain for the next day, and it’s awesome to be out sharing the Gospel in the middle of the street with no vehicle traffic.
So, I set up the Einstein Illusion in the dead center of the intersection of Mill and 5th.

I went over to talk with Dan, who was already set up near the post office. As I was waiting for him to finish speaking with some people, a couple named Dessa and Brian stopped to see what we were doing. Brian took a phone call and missed the entire conversation, but I took Dessa through the Good Person Test (GPT) and gave them each an “Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven?” tract to take with them.

Another couple stopped to look at the Illusion board. I asked them to go through some of the "genius" questions, like “spell the word ‘shop’ out loud...” but she said she didn’t want to. They read them quietly to themselves, but then had to leave, as she was going to work. Maybe we'll catch them out there another time.

A man and two kids stopped next. The guy wasn’t too interested, but let the kids go through some of the GPT. Tony talked with him, while I talked with the boys. However, Tony quickly learned that the guy hated the Bible and took the kids and left before we got through it all. What else could you expect on a Saturday night on Mill Ave? That's why we go there, the Word is needed - a Light in the darkness.

After that, a couple of drunk girls stopped by and went through the genius questions, but didn’t hang around for the GPT.

Two Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped to talk with us for a while. Marcus spoke with them for a long time, I saw another couple looking at the Illusion board, so I went over to engage with them. Their names were Tom and Monica, and they said that she was a missionary who had been to Africa. Tom had seen an episode of WOTM on TV, but didn’t know much about it. I gave them each a card so they could keep in touch and maybe go through some training the next time we offer a class (sometime in January or February).

We met Fernando and Conchetta, who went through the GPT. She seemed to be a Christian, while he wasn't, but they listened and it seemed to make sense to both of them.

I talked with a guy named Trenton, who held to reincarnation and a lot of New Age beliefs, yet he claims to read a 19th Century Bible every night. I explained that the Bible flat out denies reincarnation with,"...it is appointed man once to die and then the Judgment." I also told him that the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way we can get into heaven, but he still held to his New Age beliefs. He did take an “Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven?” tract with him when he left. Please pray that the Lord would work within him, convicting him of his sins and idolatry and show him the true way to salvation.

Pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2). ><((('>
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Read God's Word Daily

Satan works in subtle ways. One very effective way I have discovered is "busyness." If he can keep you busy with trivial things in this life, it will keep you from the more important things - Bible reading and prayer are at the top of the list. Every high profile preacher that has publically fallen from grace has stopped those two things prior to their fall. Another attack related to this is to convince people that they have "all kinds of time," yet we have no idea when our end will come.

We need to be reading our Bibles and obeying what we read, and praying continually. When are you going to talk to that neighbor or friend or coworker about their eternal salvation as we are instructed to do by the Great Commission? Don't wait around for God to tell you who to witness to, He has already given us the command. It should really be the opposite, you should speak to everyone you meet unless God specifically tells you NOT to.

Back to the devil's subtle ways. Satan doesn't care who or what you worship - as long as it's not the one true God of the Bible - and he doesn't want you obeying what you read, either, especially when it comes to evangelism. He doesn't want this Message to get out. There are methods that he uses in an attempt to prevent it. If he can keep you from even reading your Bible, it will effect your life in many areas.

Keeping you from God's Word leaves you more susceptible to the influence of sin. And it keeps you from obeying what is written in it, namely witnessing to others about the Gospel. This is because you feel like a hypocrite for not even knowing the Bible. You cannot answer any questions skeptics might have and this hurts your own faith even more. Pride sneaks in under the guise of fear, but what you're really afraid of is of looking foolish, because there is no serious, life threatening persecution going on in America at this time. We're also lazy, so instead of studying and learning more, we just shy away from even talking about it.

But there are some who are more passionate and don't give in that easily. There are not many of those, but the devil must do something about them anyway, because they can be very effective.

If Satan can tie Christians up in silly arguments amongst themselves, they will not be using their time wisely in reaching out to the unsaved. Debating which day to worship on, what we can eat or drink, or conspiracy theories, which brings us to the subject at hand. If he cannot keep you out of the battle through busyness, fear or pride, then he will create useless arguments to keep you on the sidelines. Unimportant conspiracies such as the KJOnly movement. This has no basis to it at all, and if a person would seriously look into it, it becomes painfully obvious that the allegations made against all the "modern" translations are simply irrelevant.

KJOnlyists claim that the deity of Christ is taken out, the virgin birth is down played, the doctrine of the Trinity is hindered and some verses are removed completely. However, I find no one adhering to heretical doctrine solely due to using a version other than the KJV. Quite the opposite, I find many theologically sound Bible teachers, many who have studied the original languages even, that use a wide variety of versions. Why aren't they KJOnly?

The supposed results of these "dangerous translations" simply do not hold up, which in itself proves the allegations unfounded. But when confronted with this fact, the typical KJOnlyist will ignore the evidence, maybe give some lame excuse that you must have somehow been influenced by the KJV, and continue to tell you about all the problems with your particular version of the Bible. All this while they overlook many of the same issues in their own favored version. This kind of reminds me of the speck in your neighbor's eye contrasted with the plank in your own in Matt 7.
In the end, I am convinced that this entire argument is just another tool of Satan to keep believers busy arguing among themselves, and possibly even preventing them from reading the Bible at all.

So, pick a major translation that you will read - it's all God's Word, except for a few minor versions such as the New World Translation used by the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the "gender neutral" version which is simply political correctness run amuck. Choose the NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, NLT, NKJV, or the KJ version, if you prefer. Just choose one that you will read daily and can understand. Then obey what you read.

Saturday 11-24-12

I was a little late getting out to Mill Ave (working a second job for some seasonal opportunities). Dan, Alan and Steve were there, and Marcus showed up a little later. We handed out some tracts and talked with some people.

Two guys named Shane and Ralph stopped by. Shane claimed to be a Mormon and gay. Ralph said that he was not a Mormon, but used to do some street preachering himself. I never reall did get any detail of how that went or what changed his mind - he said that he just "grew out of it."
He said that he had been one of the type of street preachers that calls people names and yells at them that they're going to hell. I explained that we didn't do that, and was able to talk to them, explaining that it is not Biblical to call people names and hate them. The Scripture says, "Come, let us reason together" and that's what we attempt to do out on the streets. I gave them each a tract to take and read through later.
We went through the questions on Dan's board, and into the Good Person Test. It didn't appear that there was any conviction for either of them, Ralph seemed mildly interested, asking about my testimony, while Shane was pretty drunk and just asked random questions. Please keep them both in prayer, that the Lord would convict them of their sins and draw them to Himself for their salvation and for His glory alone.

After that, a homeless guy with a guitar stopped by. He said he was a Christian, and I didn't hear anything wrong with his theology, but he would not leave, keeping us from talking with the lost, which is our main purpose out there. Marcus and I moved to another corner (by Urban Outfitters) and gave away quite a few tracts over there before heading out for the night.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saturday 11-17-12

Our (not so) friendly neighborhood atheist girl, who used to come out with Shawn to oppose the street preaching, was out and about. It seems that she has a new guy to hang out with, but no time to hassle us so much. She shouted some obscenities at Tom as she walked by and indicated that she thought he was number one with a gesture. She seemed to be a bit confused as to which finger means "number one," though.

A guy in a security jacket stopped to look at the Einstein Illusion and went through the "genius questions." I asked him if he wanted to try the Good Person Test (GPT), since I had just opened up a glow stick, but he said he was not interested in my prize, so he walked away. Maybe we'll catch him another time.

Another couple stopped for the Illusion Board and went through the top questions, but said they were in a hurry and would not go through the GPT, so I didn't catch their names, either.

Marcus and I spoke with a guy named Eric for a while. When asked if he would consider himself to be a good person, he stated that he was a horrible person and deserved to go to hell for eternity. However, he said all this with a smile on his face. He said that it didn't concern him because the blood of Christ washes away all his sin. Now, that all sounds pretty good, but you've got to dig deeper. He downplayed sin and the need to repent from it, stating that, "we all still sin" as if it was no big deal. I gave him Hebrews 10:26-27, which shows that we must turn from our sin or there is no longer any sacrifice left for us.
He spoke with some others from the group for a while, and I saw them praying for him later on. Apparently, he has brain cancer and not much time to live. Marcus doesn't think that he is even truly saved, and I'm not sure. There are a lot of false converts out there, and sometimes it's difficult to discern the tares from the wheat. Please pray for Eric, that the Lord would work in him, convicting him of his sin, giving him the proper understanding of the consequences of it and that he would turn from that sin and rely on Jesus Christ alone.

I spoke with a man named Kamaul for a while, taking him through the GPT, and he even seemed a little convicted at one point. But after we got through all of that, he claimed that he did believe in some sort of Creator, but not necessarily Christianity. He started talking about Horus and the origins of life on the African continent. He said that as long as we believe in some sort of deity, that "deity" will help us. I explained that it is not the strength of our faith, but the OBJECT of our faith that makes the difference, but he was too caught up in relativism and thinking that we all end up in the same place. Tony came over and got into the discussion, so I took my opportunity to escape. I could see that this was just going to get into a debate now, and I had already taken him through the GPT and given the Gospel. Seeds planted, moving on.

A man from India named Borouv (sp?) stopped to look at the Illusion Board with Cordovia, who was from South America. The "genius" questions did not work on him due to the language barrier. He spoke very good English, but if it's your second language, people tend to take it too literally, and concentrate too hard, so that the way most people are fooled by the questions is rendered useless.
I took him through the GPT, he was very polite and we had a nice conversation. I don't know if he really felt convicted or not, but was able to explain the Gospel and give him a couple of tracts for him and Cordovia to take with them and read later.

Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, November 16, 2012

Saturday 11-10-12

Ok, I'm a bit late updating the blog. Last Saturday night on Mill Ave was a bit chilly. It wasn't real busy out there, but there are always some people walking around, no matter what the temperature.

Dan and I both brought our boards with removable curved illusions and some fun questions on them to attract people's attention, and I brought my Celebrity board as well. I think the Einstein illusion still works best, but it's nice to have some variety.

A couple of girls stopped to check out the Celebrity board. I was able to get through the entire Good Person Test (GPT) with them. They didn't want to admit that they would be headed to hell for breaking God's Law, but we finally got there. One of them asked, "So, what's your story", but they took off before I could answer them, and I never did get their names. One of them said that I "blew her mind" when we were going through the GPT, showing our need for a Savior and the Holy Spirit convicting them of their sins. Pray that God would continue to work conviction in their lives and draw them to salvation.

I handed out a few tracts, and a couple stopped when I handed them a smart card.

The guy began reading it. He was drunk and hiccuped as he was answering the questions about how "good" he was. After it didn't change colors to show that he was a "good person." He said, "What, is this thing telling me I'm a piece of crap because it didn't change color?" I explained, no, it's simply showing us that none of us are good by God's standard and that we need a Savior. He said he goes to church and tithes, but works will not save us.

So, I also gave him an "Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven?" tract to take with him and read through later.
 
I didn't catch their names, either, but God knows who they are. I need to work on that.

After a while, we packed up and went to Denny's - we hadn't been there in a while. Nikki was not our waitress, but she came over to talk to us anyway. We had spoken with her many times in the past, but it doesn't always stick. When asked how she was doing, she replied, as many of us do, "Good." and Tom likes to ask a few questions to see if that is true. It's a nice opening into the GPT, which she has heard many times previously. However, as he went through it again with her, it was as if it was all new to her.

So, here's the lesson in all this - don't stop proclaiming the Word, even if people have heard it before, you never know when God will work in them, convicting them to repentence. I normally wouldn't have went through it again with her, but after seeing how this all went, I now understand that we need to continue, even if we've spoken with them before and left tons of tracts for them to read through.

Keep praying for more workers (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saturday 10-27-12

Mill Ave was a little crazy this last weekend. We had an Evangelism class and 6 new people came out with us from the class, and one other that couldn’t make it to the class came out as well. There was homecoming game and Halloween weekend, so there were a lot of people on the streets.

A guy named Benny decided to step in and join us in prayer – he was one of the drunks that was out there last weekend, I remember seeing him passed out on a bench as we were leaving. Tom talked with him for a while after that, and I gave him a “Gift For You” tract.

A lot of people in costume out there. Here are a few pics.



Hey, there's Waldo. 

 



We met Mike Salman, who had recently been arrested for having a home fellowship in his backyard. He had come out to Mill to scope the place out, maybe looking for a place to share the Gospel.







Mike started talking with a man named Drew, who said he had a problem with Christianity, mainly because he has a lot of homosexual friends and disagrees with the Bible, which states that it is wrong.

Mike talked with him for a while, but Drew was pretty drunk, so Mike gave him a card and asked him to call him the next day when he was sober. Mike had the guy take out his wallet and actually placed his card in there so that he wouldn’t lose it. I don’t know if he actually called him or not, but I hope he did.


We didn’t have a lot of one to one conversations, but did hand out a lot of Gospel tracts.
Please pray for the lost, and pray for more workers in the harvest field.

Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday 10-21-12

A few of us went out to Mill Ave to share the Gospel this past Saturday night. We set up in our regular place in front of the post office.

Andrew and Jeff were a couple of drunk atheists who stopped to look at our illusion board. We went through the fun questions and then into the Good Person Test (GPT), but of course, they weren’t real receptive. They mentioned something about science, so I gave them a “Science and the Bible” tract to take with them to check out later.

After that, a couple stopped and went through the “genius” questions at the top of the board, but were not interested in going through the GPT or taking any tracts.

Then, a strange guy stopped to check out the board. He said he would take the GPT, and when I asked him what he would call someone who told lies, and he said, “A thief.” When pressed, he claimed that they “stole truth,” but in reality, he just wanted to answer with silly responses. I asked him if he wanted to bother going through the rest of it and he claimed that he did. So we went through some more with him answering normally. But in the end, he reverted back to nonsensical responses and just chooses to believe what he wants to from a social aspect and his own personal experience.

I talked with a man named Sam, who said that he had no religious background at all. He stopped to look at the illusion board and the “genius” questions. He was open to listening and took a couple of tracts with him, but didn’t seem convicted or willing to make any changes in his life. I told him that we’re out there every Saturday night, if he wants to stop and talk more sometime.

Ben and Andrea stopped by. She seemed to be a believer and waited quietly as I took Ben through the GPT. He was a bit drunk, and she seemed to be silently agreeing with us as we went through the questions, showing him his need of a Savior. He seemed to understand and we gave them both a couple of tracts to take with them. They said that they appreciated what we were doing on the streets.


Then there was this guy, dressed as Paul Stanley from KISS. It turns out that he’s an ordained minister, and plays in a tribute band. He was out promoting their show next weekend and posing for pics.

Tom took the opportunity to ask him a few questions to determine whether or not he was a good person. He didn’t hang around for the whole thing, but Tom was able to talk to him for a little while.
 


Please keep these, as well as all the others that we’ve simply handed a Gospel tract to, in your prayers, that God would convict them and draw them to Himself for their salvation and for His glory alone. And please continue to pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saturday 10/13/12

It was busy on Mill Ave this past weekend. Apparently, there had been an Oktoberfest celebration at Tempe Town Lake from noon to 8:00 pm, so there were a lot of people leaving that area and coming down Mill Ave as we got there and set up.

Lance and Katie stopped by as soon as I got set up. They were Christians and seemed to have a good grasp of the Gospel. I went through it with them anyway, and gave them an "Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?" tract. I asked them to pass it along to someone else after they read it and they said that they would.

Another couple stopped and went through the top four “genius” questions, but when I asked them if they would consider themselves to be a good people, they both said no, and they didn't want to hang around. So, I gave them a tract to take with them before they headed out.

I handed a guy a Smart Card tract and he said, "Here, I'll trade you." We will often take whatever someone else is offering so that we can get a tract into their hands. Most of the time, it's just some bar coupon, but this one was a Gospel tract, and the guys name was Aaron.
He asked about the Smart Card that I'd handed him and I told him that it would tell him if he's a good person or not, and he said that none of us are good, and that's why we need Jesus Christ. This seemed to convict himself a little, as he then told me that he knew he shouldn't be out drinking, and I said, "You're out drinking and handing out tracts?"
He admitted that he had just gotten the tract from Matthew, and was passing it along. So, I gave him an "Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?" tract, which goes a little more in depth, and asked him to read that when he has time. I told him we're out there most Saturday nights if he ever wanted to stop by and talk some more.

Dan and I talked with a guy named Silas who stopped to check out the Illusion board. Dan took him through all the "genius" questions and the Good Person Test (GPT). It seemed to all make sense to him and he said that he was a believer. We were out of glow sticks, so I gave him a Ten Commandments coin and showed him how to do the illusion of making it appear out of thin air.

If you are a Christian, but haven't been sharing your faith, let me ask you, why are you being disobedient to the Lord who saved you and commands you to go out and tell others?
Many people don't feel equipped to be able to share their faith. If that is your reason and you live in the Phoenix area, we've got a free Evangelism Crash Course coming up on Saturday (10/27/12), from 12:30 - 5:30, and then we'll take you out on the streets to see how this all works in real life. Details HERE.
You must sign up ahead of time so that we know how many people are coming.

If your reason is simply fear, remember that courage is not a lack of fear, but having fear and going ahead and doing it anyway. Overcome your fear (False Evidence Appearing Real), it is only a tool of the enemy. The best way to overcome it is by getting yourself equipped, pray up and get out there and do it. There will be spiritual attack, often minor inconveniences or lack of time - busyness - to keep you from going, but don't let anything stop you, get into the battle. If God is for us, who can stand against us?
Read the Book, we win in the end! The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Saturday 10/06/12

A couple of people dressed like some sort of superheroes were hanging out near the corner, having a smoke break, cursing and talking about whatever issues they had been involved in earlier in the night. You never know what you'll see out on Mill Ave.

A guy named Bobby and a couple of his friends were talking with Rachel. He was saying that he didn't have to read his Bible, that he had read it once and that's enough. He claimed that God speaks to him but couldn't really explain to me how that worked. Do you hear voices? Doe He leave you a note? I tried to explain that God speaks to people through His Word these days, and that it is important to continually read the Bible. They seemed to have a buzz going, I'm not sure if was drugs or alcohol. He kept claiming that the Bible was subjective, which to me is simply saying that he feels that he can twist Scripture in a vain attempt to justify himself. I quoted him Hebrews 10:26-27, but it didn't really seem to penetrate the haze he was in. After a while, they decided to take off and continue whatever it was they were doing that night.

Kevin stopped to check out the Illusion board, so I talked to him about the questions on it. He kept smiling and laughing as we went through the Good Person Test (GPT), but it seemed to be a more nervous laughter. I thought I could see some conviction in him behind the mask of apathy, so I took him through the grace as well. He said he wasn't real "religious", but he took a tract with him when he left. I think some seeds were planted with that guy.

Dana and Steve were a couple of Christians that stopped to check out the illusion board. As we went through the GPT, they didn't like the part about hell and punishment and, like a lot of people, tried to jump forward to the grace and repentance before understanding the need for it.

So I explained this to them and they seemed to understand. They took tracts with them when they left, and I think they understood the idea, but still didn't really like the approach to get there. However, it is a Biblical approach, and although God can use any method He chooses to reach people, it is no excuse to use unbiblical or heretical ideas to reach them. The Bible shows us clearly - Law to the proud, Grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Pet 5:5).

The Law is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7). The Law is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24). Paul said he didn't even know what sin was, until the Law explained it (Rom 7:7).

People must understand their NEED for a Savior, otherwise the Gospel doesn't make sense. If you ask the average person how to get into heaven, they will usually claim it is by being a good person (Prov 20:6). If that were true, if there were any other way to get in, then Jesus Christ died in vain. If there were any other way, He did not have to suffer and die to pay our penalty that we could never pay. If there were any other way, then we could boast of how we earned our way in (Eph 2:8-9) by good works. But as it is, in the Biblical sense, no one can boast, no one deserves it and no one can earn their way into God's good graces. It is a gift of God and our good works are merely evidence of our salvation, that we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) and desire to please the Master.

Later on, there was a guy named Eric walking by. As we handed him a tract, he told us that he didn't believe in God. Then he stopped and asked Marcus and I if we believe in Satan. We told him, yes, of course, you'd have to, because he's mentioned in the Bible. Then he said that he believed in God, just not an afterlife. He had a Catholic background, and seemed to be having a rough time lately. I explained some of the problems with the Catholic church and that the Bible never teaches that we'll have an easy time in this world. I told him to make sure he was right on what he believes about the afterlife and to dig into it to find the truth.
We were able to talk to him for a little while and gave him some tracts to read through later. Please keep Eric in prayer, he seemed to have deep down belief, but it has been corrupted through the Catholic church and some hard times. I believe the Lord is beginning to work in him, to draw him closer.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, October 1, 2012

Saturday 09/29/12

It seemed that things were going to be kind of slow on Mill Ave this past Saturday night. But it definitely livened up a bit after a while.

We had a group of "flying spaghetti monster" followers (Wiki), as well as a Native American who was arguing with Tom and a group of Muslims who talked with him for a few hours.

A couple named Natalie and Chris stopped to look over the Illusion board and I took them through the 4 "genius" questions at the top, then went into the Good Person Test (GPT). They are Christians from TX, but Natalie would not admit that she would end up in hell if held to the standard of the Ten Commandments, always referring to God's grace. But I explained to them more fully the reason that we need a Savior is because we cannot be saved without Him. I explained the Gospel and the way that we do it, and gave them each a tract to look over later. They understood and seemed to agree with our Gospel proclamation as they headed out.

Next I spoke with a guy named Raul, who said that he was not a good person, but we went through the test anyway He said he'd been to church and he did have some knowledge. I explained it to him that there are none found good in God's eyes, we do not deserve to go to heaven and there is nothing we can do to earn our way. Salvation is a gift of God, and we simply must repent of our sins and trust in Him alone. I gave him a prize of a glow stick, even though he didn't earn it and didn't deserve it, as a demonstration of God's grace. In the same way, we don't deserve to be let into heaven and we cannot earn our way there.
Later, Dan took a few of Raul's friends through the GPT as well.

A man named Bill was looking at our board, so we talked with him and took him through the GPT. He stated that he was a Christian as well, and trying to raise is son right. I gave him the curved illusion tract to show his son (kids like the illusions) and a tract to read through for himself later on. He was agreeable and said that the way we explained it made sense to him.

Later, a taxi stopped behind our board and 5 or 6 people got out. Two of them came around to the front of our illusion board to see what it was. I took them through the first questions, but the guy would not even answer the one about how many of each animal was on the ark, claiming, "It's all fictional anyway." But the girl answered and we went through all four. They had been drinking and looked like they were going to head out, so I gave them each a Smart Card tract to take with them. Then the entire group, having gone nowhere since exiting the last cab, all got into a different cab and went somewhere else.

It was a pretty productive night, proclaiming the Gospel to the lost on the dark streets of Mill Ave in downtown Tempe, AZ.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blind Faith?

Here's a common objection by self proclaimed atheists - they say, “Your religion is based on blind faith.”

Don't we all place our faith in many things during our everyday life? Not blindly, of course, but based on past experience and the evidence that we see. The same evidence that we see in creation (Rom 1:20). Thus, we see that it is not blind faith at all, but faith based on reasonable evidence and logic.
And we can also see from this that "atheists" don't exist at all, they simply suppress the knowledge of God out of hatred.
I mean, seriously, why would anyone gripe, complain and rail against what they claim they don't even believe exists? That almost seems insane, doesn't it?

With the understanding that there really are no atheists, we must also recognize that there is more to being a Christian than simply believing. Even the demons believe - and tremble (James 2:19), yet they have no salvation.

Our belief, based on all of the archaeological evidence, the fulfilled prophecy, and the promises given to us through the historical account given in God's Word, can still leave one as a false convert.

We must also place our trust in Jesus Christ, relying on Him alone for our salvation. We repent of our sins, turning away from them, even hating those sins that we once loved, as much as God has always hated them. We will be a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), our lives will be different. We won't want or do the same things that we once did. Not that we could ever earn our way into God's graces, but out of gratitude will flow good works.

150,000 people die every day, that's two people every second - off into eternity. At that point, your fate is sealed (Heb 9:27), there is no longer any time, you will either be with the Lord or suffering eternal torment forever.

Don't put it off until tomorrow, because you are not guaranteed another tomorrow. TODAY is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). Repent and put your faith in Christ alone before it's too late.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saturday 08-25-12

We had a WOTM class with a total of 13 people, but no new people were able to come out on the streets afterward. Maybe another time.

Tempe has banned amplification on Mill Ave, except for the businesses there, so there are no more loud musicians or street preachers with loud amps. There was a couple nearby, playing accoustic guitars and we set up our Illusion board.

We met Courtney out there, and his friend Elvis, who brought another friend named Mark. Courtney got on the box and did a little Open Air even without the mic and amp, and that went ok. It wasn't really all that bad without amps. I miss being able to play some music through ours, but it was nice not to listen to all of the really loud ones out there. We were able to have better one 2 one conversations with people.

Asha and Mariah stopped to check out the Illusion board. I took them through the GPT, and they said they were believers and that God loves all of His children... Wait a minute! That's not what the Bible says. I had to explain that we are not "all God's children", but start out as children of wrath (Eph 2:3, Col 1:21), and are given the right to be God's children through Jesus Christ (John 1:12).

They didn't really like that, but when I questioned them further, I found that they were NOT universalists who think that everyone ends up in heaven. They did understand that we need Jesus Christ to get there, so I think we got back on track. I gave them each an "Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven" tract to take with them and read later.

Dan brought his friend Mike and his son Miles out. They hadn't been to a class, but have been watching WOTM on TV for the last year or two, and were excited to come and check it out in real life.

Some people stopped by to look at the Illusion board, and Mike took them through the first four ice breaker questions on the board. I hung around in case he wanted to pass it off to someone else for the Good Person Test (GPT), but he went ahead and jumped right into it. So, his first experience was with some argumentative atheists, but he held up very well and kept them on track when they tried to change the subject. I think he did an awesome job of it and hope that he joins us more often out there.
Keep praying for more workers (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday 08-18-12

It was a busy night on Mill, people started coming up right away, as soon as we had the illusion board set up. Tom was talking to a man and his wife who had stopped, taking them through the Good Person Test (GPT). While he was doing that, another guy stopped to look at our board, so I talked with him, taking him through the questions and the GPT. His name is William, and he said that he is a believer and liked the fact that we were out sharing the Gospel. I gave him a "Save Yourself Some Pain" booklet that contains some good information for Christians and new believers.

A guy named Richie stopped to question some of our beliefs and Robert stopped by a short time later. They seemed to know each other, but not real well and they were not traveling together. They both held to some mystical type of beliefs and seemed to have a Catholic background. Robert stated that he would hold the Bible to his heart and pray, then flip through to find an answer to his prayer. Both of them recounted experiences with a dead relative communicating with them from the grave. I told them that I don't know what happened with their experiences, but the Bible should be our final authority on what God says to us today. If it contradicts the Bible, then it is not of God.

Two guys and a girl were walking past the back of our illusion board, recognizing Albert Einstein on it, so I called them around to the front so they could see the illusion. Then I took them through the "Genius Test" which are just some fun questions to test your thinking.
They were in a hurry and a little drunk, so I gave them each an "Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven?" tract and they went on their way.

A drunk girl stopped to go through the "Genius Test" and got half of them right. Her friends were calling her away, so I gave her a tract and told her to read through it later.
Then another drunk guy came up and said he wanted to go through the GPT. We started, but he gave some crazy answers and comments that didn't make any sense at all. Then he said he had to leave, and I thought that was probably a good thing, so I let him go. Apparently, he was angry with me, though, because Marcus said that he was cursing at me as he left.

A homeless man in a wheelchair was looking at our illusion board, and I was able to talk with him a little bit. His name was Bruce, and he claimed to base his beliefs on the Bible, but had a very strange interpretation of things. For example, he said that a third of God's children left to follow "a loser" and believed that we are reincarnated. The verse he was referring to is speaking of angels (and people are not, nor ever will be, angels. The Bible actually teaches quite the opposite of reincarnation, "..it is appointed a man once to die and then the judgment..."). I gave him a couple of tracts and he went on his way.

Dan was talking to a couple of people named Josh and Alissa, who were Christians that go to Central, so we exchanged cards and invited them to Tom's upcoming class. They seemed agreeable to our evangelism methods, so hopefully, we'll see them there.

Later, someone walking by asked Dan if the tract he was handing out was "offensive, because THAT is offensive", pointing at Tom, on the box. Then they gave him a one finger salute, they must have been telling him that he was number one. Maybe not, wrong finger. Ah well, you can't please everyone. God is the only One that matters.

I talked with a woman named Shay, who went through the GPT. She said that she was a Christian, raised by a deacon, so she felt that she was good. I explained the Gospel to her and gave her a couple of tracts to take with her.

We met a guy named Roger, who stopped by to check out our illusion board. When he had the opportunity, he spoke with us, telling us that he liked what we were doing. He hung out with us the rest of the night, even passing out some tracts. He went with us for some fellowship afterward, even buying our late night dinner. It was refreshing to meet a like-minded believer out there, which doesn't happen too often. We hope to keep in touch with him, as he does a lot of traveling.

Over all, it was a very busy night on Mill, with a lot of productive conversations. We have a class coming up next weekend, so hopefully we'll get more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2), keep praying.

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Saturday 08-11-12

It was a strange night on Mill Ave this week, with a lot of what could only be described as spiritual warfare. I guess that’s good, because then we know that we’re making a difference on the front lines in the darkness.

There were some people holding signs in our regular spot, so Tom, Keith, Rachel and Matthew decided to move across the street to set up, while Dan, Marcus, Alan and I remained there. At one point, we looked over and saw a big guy, standing face to face with Tom (even though Tom was on a step stool), and he looked angry. Dan and Marcus went over to make sure things didn’t get out of hand. It turns out, he was quite drunk and angry, but he eventually went away without too much trouble.

A woman told one of us to get away from her because he had “crazy eyes” whatever that is supposed to mean. Another guy started yelling at us when someone handed a tract to a man wearing a turban, saying, “How dare you give that to a Muslim!” calling it blasphemy and that he wouldn’t allow that in his presence. I told him that we do not discriminate and that everyone can have a tract. He didn’t listen. I saw him around later, but he was quiet the rest of the night.

Another guy threatened to shoot Tom, and of course, Tom told him that he didn’t care. He said, “Then I’ll be with the Lord and you will be in jail.” The man threatened him a bit more, then angrily turned and walked away. We didn’t see him the rest of the night.

Heidi, with her husband Rick and her daughter Hannah, stopped and went through Good Person Test (GPT). This was a great encounter and I was able to present the Gospel and give them each an “Are You Good Enough To Get Into Heaven” tract to take with them.

I did some more Open Air (OA) and a drunk guy came over to go through the GPT. There was no one else around, so I thought I’d go ahead and take him through it. Things went ok for a while, but he claimed that he could not repent. Would not is more like it. After a little while, he started cursing at me as he walked away. I went over to him to give him a tract that includes money inside, but he took it and flung it into the street and cursed at me some more.
As sad as it is that this man is lost, I always find just a little humor in it when someone will throw money away, simply because they were unwilling to look inside. Someone else will find it, maybe that will be the intended recipient in God’s sovereign plan.

A woman named Cora stopped by for a glow stick necklace, since she already had glow stick earrings. She was in a hurry, so we went through the GPT quickly, as she chewed on a very inappropriate shaped straw (she must have been at some bachelorette party or something). By some of her answers it seemed that she might have had a Catholic background. She didn’t seem real convicted, but the Gospel was shared, seeds planted.

Tom, Keith, Dan, Matthew and I went to Denny’s afterwards for some food and fellowship.

Pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2)

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, August 6, 2012

First Friday 08-03-12

Last Friday, we went to Chick Fil A to check out the protesters, and found a few supporters as well. We met a nice lady named Joy, and Tom asked her if she was a good person. She answered, “No, but she knows Who is.” We talked with her for a while. She had been there for breakfast, lunch and dinner, talking with anyone who was interested.

We also saw a couple of families that Tom knew from a church he used to go to. We gave them invitations to the upcoming Way Of The Master crash course.

After that, we headed out to Roosevelt and 3rd for First Friday.

I spoke with three girls went through the Good Person Test (GPT), but they just didn’t seem to care, too busy with the things of the world to worry about the future. I pray that changes before it is too late for them.

I did some Open Air, and Kaley and Lindsey stopped to go through the test. They were attentive and listened, then we got a pancake mix guy. Ha, I hadn’t seen one of these guys in a while, they come up to interrupt by yelling, “You ain’t got no pancake mix!” over and over again. I told him I didn’t like pancakes, and someone else told him there was a Safeway down the street. I continued with Kaley and Lindsey, explaining the Gospel and their need for a Savior.

Another couple came by, they wanted a glow stick but were unwilling to go through the GPT because they just wanted it for their kid. They were not willing to do what they had to in order to get it, so they left.

Marcus was doing some OA, and there was a kid with a skateboard and a couple of girls hanging around. They were giving him a hard time, saying that they thought a lying thief would still be a good person. Tom was standing to the side, and said, “Well, I want this, so I’m just going to take it.” He grabbed the kids skateboard and started walking off. Shock gave way to anger across the kids face as he ran after Tom, who had stopped a few steps away. He explained that he was simply making a point that a thief would not be considered to be a good person, and I think he really got the point across.

Pray for the lost, that the Lord works in their hearts, convicting them of their sins and drawing them to Himself for their salvation and for His glory alone. And pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2).

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Saturday 07-07-12

Out on Mill Ave again to share the Gospel with the lost. If you consider yourself to be a Christian, you need to be taking steps to get yourself equipped to carry out the Great Commission as we are commanded by our Lord and Savior.
As Charles Spurgeon said, "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you're not saved yourself, be sure of that!"

I pray for more compassion for the lost, for more opportunities to witness to people and that the Lord would use me to draw people to Himself for their salvation and to God's glory alone. And I pray for more workers in the harvest field (Luke 10:2).

A young man named Dillon was looking at our illusion board, so I asked him what he thought. He seemed to have some Christian knowledge, so I asked him what he thought and explained the Good Person Test (GPT) to him.
He seemed to take the idea of "once saved always saved" to the carnal Christian level. I quoted Heb 10:26-27, explaining that there must be a change in our lives if we are truly saved in the first place. He claimed that verse contradicted the one in Ephesians that says we are saved by grace, not by works, lest anyone should boast. While I agreed completely that works cannot save us, they are evidence of salvation. I explained 2 Cor 5:17 that says we'll be a new creation, we will be different.

I told him about Matt 7:21-23, where there are many who will come before Jesus Christ at the end of time, fully believing that they are getting into heaven. Only to be told that He never knew them and sent away as workers of iniquity.

He didn't like to hear it, and would not agree with me, but I could see that he was considering what was said. I pray that he will go home and read his Bible and learn what the Lord requires from him.

A guy named Joshua stopped to check out the illusion, and I took him through the GPT. He had some knowledge of the Bible and seemed convicted by the message. I gave him a tract and a prize, even though he didn’t pass the GPT, we like to give them out as a demonstration of God’s grace in giving us eternal life that we do not deserve and cannot earn. It is a tiny example, but gives them something to consider.

The police stopped by to tell us we had to move off of the post office property. They were very nice and friendly about it, and we just moved to the other side of the sidewalk near the street. However, I have looked into some of the post office guidelines and I believe they are incorrect. I'll have to see how that goes.

Dane was a young man who didn't look very happy as he walked by. I handed him a “What If” card and he took a couple of steps further and stopped to read the entire thing right there. Dan noticed that he had a huge knife on his belt, but I couldn't see it from where I was standing. After reading the tract, he approached me and shook my hand, and simply said, "Thanks."

We went to Denny's afterward and Marty was our waiter again. We had talked with him before, and prayed that he would be able to meet his grown children, which he hadn't seen in a long time. Well, now he had a praise, saying that he had not only spoken with his daughter, but that she is moving out here soon, so we praised God and asked for a safe trip for her.

"Lord, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a mile post on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another in facing Christ in me." - Jim Elliot

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, July 9, 2012

Consider Today

My dad was a bit older than my mother, and thus I have a few half-brothers. My sister called me a few days ago to let me know that Richard had died. They said that he was up in the middle of the night and someone went to check on him, and that he looked more scared than they'd ever seen him. Now, my half-brothers are tough guys from Montana, they don't scare easily. They called an ambulance, but he died of a heart attack on the way to the hospital.

This gives us time to consider the fact that every one of us will face death one day. We will face it alone, no matter who may be physically around us at the time. We will all kneel before the Lord one day and give an account for our life. How will you do when that time comes for you? Keep in mind that 150,000 people die every single day. We never know if we will have another day or not. What will you say to the Lord on the day that you face Him?

I'm not certain of Richard’s fate, but he has passed over to the other side where the judgment is final. The all-powerful God of the universe will judge every single person by His Holy standard which was given to us in the Ten Commandments. How will you hold up to His standard when your time comes?

If you've ever told a lie (9th Commandment), stolen anything, regardless of value (8th Commandment), or used the Lord's name in vain (3rd Commandment), you've broken His Law (Ex 20:1-17). If you've ever hated someone without just cause, He sees it as murder in your heart (Matt 5:21-22), because the heart is where the sinful action begins. If you've looked at someone with lust, Jesus says that you've committed adultery with that person in your heart (Matt 5:28). You don't have to break all of God's Laws, just one will condemn you. And the simple fact of it is, we have all broken God's Law, and in doing so, every one of us actually deserves to go to hell. If we stand before Him on our own merit, that is exactly where we will go, and rightfully so.

However, in addition to being a holy and just God, He is also a loving God and has provided us one way to keep us from the eternal punishment that we all deserve. He came down Himself as a Man in Jesus Christ, as a hand fits into a glove, fully man and yet fully God at the same time. And He lived a perfect life, keeping all of those laws that we couldn't keep. Then He suffered and died, crucified on a cross, taking on the punishment that you and I deserve. But death couldn't hold Him, and on the third day, He rose again, defeating death forever, as a sacrifice for all our sins. We committed the crimes, with no hope of ever being able to atone for them, but He paid the fine in full for us. Now, all we must do is repent of our sins, turning away from them, and trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.

If we do that, we will not be judged for what we have done in this life, but will be forgiven through Jesus Christ. Our lives will be different as evidence of this change in us (2 Cor 5:17). If your life is not changed, then you must consider that maybe you've never truly received salvation (Heb 10:26-27). And if that is true, then you will face the wrath of God as He judges you against His Moral Law (Rom 2:5), which we've already shown that none of us have kept.

I do not know if my half-brother was saved or not. But I do know that people had spoken to him about eternal things, and if he called upon the name of the Lord, even at the last minute like the thief on the cross, then he was saved.

But you never know when your time will come, two people die every second, many without the opportunity to consider such things. Don't put it off until tomorrow, TODAY is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). You're not guaranteed another day, repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today.

And if you are a born-again Christian, fully assured of your salvation, then go forth in obedience to the Great Commission to proclaim the Word to every creature. There are those who are sure within themselves that they are saved, but will one day stand before the Lord, only to be told, "Away from Me, I never knew you." Check it out in Matthew 7:21-23. Look at the context of this verse, read before and after it for a full understanding. Jesus says that many will profess His name but not enter heaven. Only those who do the will of the Father will actually get into heaven. He's given us His will in the Bible, and has given the mandate to all Christians, commonly known as the Great Commission. It is not God's will that any perish (Eze 18:32), shouldn't we have the same mindset? He's told us what to do, and told us we'll be held accountable (Eze 33:8-9, Acts 20:26-27).
Are you doing that?
Or will you be one of those who hears those fearful words at the end of time, "Away from Me, you worker of iniquity, I never knew you!"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Saturday 06-23-12

A guy stopped by wearing a back pack. He said he was a Christian, and started asking about what we were doing. Dan explained briefly how we evangelize and tried to show him our illusion board. But the guy wouldn't budge from his place to even look at it. He claimed that he didn't need any "gimmick", just the Holy Spirit.
Ok, then.
He said he was a musician, walking around on Mill "discerning" people or something like that. That was about all the information we could get from him.

We could see that he was going to be disagreeable and Dan wandered off, not wanting to waste time on this guy. I was intrigued, however, and wanted to see what he believed. I asked him if he'd heard of WOTM. He wasn't familiar with the teaching, and had nothing to argue on that point, but said he didn't like how they "compromised" themselves by being on TBN. I had to agree that TBN is not a good source of solid Christian teaching, but if you want to get on TV to reach people with your message, you've gotta take what you can get. Besides, don't the people watching Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn need to see some real Christian teaching, too? He didn't seem to care.

I was playing some music over the PA, and about this time the Ozzy parody by Apologetix came on. Apologetix takes popular secular music and changes the lyrics to Christian ones. They do an awesome job of sounding like the original band, but the lyrics are Christian based and often funny as well. Anyway, he didn't like that, either, claiming that the origins of the song were somehow bad. I said, "Listen to the lyrics, that's what matters", but he would not. Finally, I gave up talking with this guy as well. He left, but walked by again later. He wouldn't even look at us.

Dan and I went for a walk around Mill to see what was going on out on the streets. We distributed a few tracts and talked to some people. Dan had a good conversation with John, who was trying to get petitions signed.

A lady stopped by to look at the illusion board. I took her through the questions on the board to catch her interest and then we went through the Good Person Test (GPT). As usual, she tried to jump ahead to repentance instead of admitting guilt. She said that she had actually stolen a car when she was younger, I explained that if we really look at God's standard, we realize that we've all broken His law and deserve punishment. Then I explained the Gospel and gave her a tract to read later. She had to catch a bus, so she headed out before I could get her name.

Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday 06-16-12

It's been busy around my house and at work, but I'll try to get a quick recap of last Saturday night, witnessing on Mill Ave. A few of us met out there to proclaim the Gospel to the lost.

A homeless guy in a wheelchair named James stopped by. I talked to both him and a woman with him for a while, and took them both through the Good Person Test (GPT). They seemed to understand, but afterward he just wanted to argue. He wanted us to leave so he could “work” on that corner. I gave them a couple of bucks and some tracts, and talked with him for a while. He eventually left, after spitting at a couple of us.

Another group of people stopped by after that. Paul, April and Lisa said they were all Christians, but I took them through the GPT anyway. They wanted to jump to being saved before fully going through the fact that we each deserve hell, but I kept them on track. They understood the message and liked what we were doing.
We handed out a few tracts, and talked with a few others before leaving Mill Ave and stopping at Denny’s for some food and fellowship afterwards.

Please keep the lost in your prayers, and better yet, get out there and talk to them! We are all commanded through the Great Commission to preach the Word to all creatures. We should start where we are, and spread out from there.

"You really have no right to go to another country and share your faith in Jesus Christ if you're not sharing your faith in Jesus Christ [here] ... in America." - Mark Cahill

Acts 1:8 (NASB) "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Jerusalem means locally. Judea and Samaria are next - a little further away, maybe a weekend trip. And the remotest part is taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth, until all hear.

Go!

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday 05-19-12

Our kids were spending the night elsewhere, so Jill and I went out to dinner, and then to Mill Ave to witness to the lost together. Dan, Tom, Alan, Joe and a couple of new people from Tom's class were there.

A couple of Muslims stopped to talk with Jill when she handed them a tract, and we were able to take them trhrough the Good Person test and explain the Gospel to them before a few of their friends showed up to take them away. They said they'd like to talk with us about it later, and headed out, but we didn't see them again on this night.

A guy named Dave stopped to check out our illusion board. I took him through the four "fun questions" on the top of the board, and he called his friend Mitch over to try them. So, I started over with Mitch, meanwhile, Dan took Dave through the Good Person Test (GPT) while I did the same with Mitch. Mitch seemed to understand and said that it made sense, but he was uncomfortable and wanted to get away. Dave, on the other hand, was very interested and was talking with Dan and I for a while afterward, As we were talking with him, his phone rang, and I looked over to see Mitch at the corner, on the phone. "Was that your friend over there?" we asked Dave, and he admitted that it was as he hung up and so did Mitch. I guess Mitch was tired of waiting around on him and didn't want to come over and get into a conversation again. We talked for a few more minutes before he took off. I gave him a "Save Yourself Some Pain" booklet, which goes a little more in depth.

A drunk stopped by and I asked him how he was doing. He said, "Not very well" so I asked him what was was going on. He looked up and said that if I wanted anything from him, I would have to say something positive. I didn't want anything, so I just stood there. He asked if I wanted him to sign a petition or something and I said no, I didn't want anything from him. He asked what I was doing out there, so I told him that we came out to preach the Gospel, and he started cursing and saying that he hated religion. Understanding that there are a lot of bad "religions" out there, I explained that we were just preaching from the Bible. Then he started cursing about the Bible, so I decided it was going to be pointless to try to talk with this guy. I had a Paper Jamz drumset plugged into the amp, so I thought I'd play with that for a little while until he went away. Sometimes it's hard to get rid of a drunk who wants to argue. The PA speaker was sitting right next to him, so when I started drumming, he jumped off the window ledge and went over to argue with one of the people with petitions.

The illusion board works really well for catching people's attention and getting a conversation started. A lot of people stopped to check it out, but some of them would take off before we were able to go through it with them. We handed out a few more tracts and then packed up for the night.
Please keep the lost in prayer, reach out to them wherever you find them, and if you need training in how to evangelize Biblically, get yourself equipped. Check out LivingWaters.com for more information.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What's Love Got To Do With It?

What is truth? That is what Pontius Pilate asked Jesus Christ, having no idea that Truth was standing right before him. So, here's another question: What is love? Definitions are important. Without knowing how one defines something, we may think that we're in agreement when actually, we couldn't be farther from it. For example, take Joel Osteen and his "loving" message of encouragment, and contrast that to Paul Washer, who offends people with his convicting preaching. Who is more loving? Be like the Bereans, search Scripture to see which of these two men is preaching the truth.

Is it ever loving to tell a lie?
Some might use the old analogy of your wife coming up and asking if this particular dress makes her look fat. Oh, that's a favorite one by atheists and so called Christians alike, as an attempt to justify a "little white lie", but let's really look into this shall we? You don't have to be brutal about it, saying something like, "It's not the dress that does it, Honey!" But neither do you have to lie.

You could say, "I don't like the way that looks on you, something else might be better." Now it's up to her if she wants to take your opinion or not.

But to tell her, "No, it looks great on you." when that is not the case, thinking that you're sparing her feelings is really only making matters worse. She now thinks that this dress looks good on her when it doesn't, and she goes out in public, while people are looking at her and laughing behind her back, ridiculing her and commenting, "Why would she wear something like that?" And it's your fault that she is publically humiliated because of your "little white lie" to spare her feelings. Who's going to spare them now that she was made to look foolish in public? And after she asked you the question in order to help determine what she was going to wear. The devil works in subtle ways, doesn't he?

What's even worse is to deceive someone into thinking that they're saved, not wanting to hurt their feelings, or anger them, or offend them, so you never confront them. And they fool themselves right up until they stand before the Lord and learn the truth (Matt 7:21-23) - can you call that loving? Real love would put others ahead of themselves, even allowing them to be angry, maybe to the point that they no longer want to be your friend! But you love them so much that you will take that loss if there is even a possibility that it will help them to be saved from eternal damnation. Lay down your pride!

So, what's the Biblical definition of love? That's the definition we really need to use, if we call ourselves Christians.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV1984) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Does it say that no one will ever get angry with you? No, they were so angry with Jesus that He was crucified. Does it say that love will not confront? No, nothing of the sort. Are we not to confront sin, or do we just leave it alone, lest someone accuse us of being judgmental?

Love must include truth, for if it does not, can it really be love, tainted by even the slightest lie? Who is the father of lies (John 8:44)? It doesn't matter if you label them differently, "little white lies", "stretching the truth", "tall tales" or whatever, they all come from the same place, don't they? Where does the Bible teach that any one type of lie is ok? Rather, it teaches that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8).

The Gospel is truth, so even if the Gospel is preached with contention, we should rejoice (Phil 1:18). God's Word will not return void (Is 55:11). So the question is not so much, "Am I loving enough?", it's more complete in asking, "Am I Biblical enough?"

If you find another believer that you feel is unloving, check what they are saying. If it is contradictory to Scripture, you've found a wolf among the flock. However, if it is doctrinally sound, and you cannot argue against it with Scripture, then maybe it's not unloving at all. Then you must face the possibility that it is a tough love that God is using in order to get your attention. Rather than unloving, it might just be the Lord convicting your conscience, and you are responding in anger and rebellion instead of repenting and acknowledging His truth from the sources that He chooses.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Saturday 05-12-12

Dan, Alan, Joe, Tom and I went out to Mill Ave to reach out to the lost with the Gospel.

A guy named Royal stopped to get a glow stick by going through the Good Person Test (GPT). However, he wouldn't cooperate, saying he was some sort of universalist, just going by his feelings. He couldn't answer any questions, as those stuck in relativism are unable to make any sense at all and only like to hear themselves talk.

Then another guy who was playing the drums nearby, came over. He said his name was John Connor - Dan asked him about Skynet (a reference to the Terminator movies, since this is the name of the main character), and he said this really is his name. He gave me a bucket drum and stick to play while he sang a Christian rap song that he wrote. Tom filmed him, so you can probably find this on his blog soon. Link to Tom's Blog

Fernando, Amy and Jasmine stopped by with some younger kids to go through the GPT with Tom. Tom explained some of the error in the Catholic church once he realized they were Catholic. They stayed and listened, got glow sticks for all the kids and I handed Fernando an "Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?" tract. He replied that they were still Catholic, but I insisted, telling him that it went through the Ten Commandments, which are found in the Catholic Bible, so he took it. Pray that he reads it and God convicts him and draws his entire family out of the Roman Catholic church to be truly saved.

Ella and Shannon were a couple of young ladies that stopped by to check out our illusion board. They did pretty well on the initial questions, but were tricked by the last one. Then I took them through the GPT, and gave them some tracts to take with them. They thanked me and took their glow sticks and continued on their way.

A group of young Muslim men stopped by to talk with Dan. They debated for a while, and we split into smaller groups to speak with them. It was a very interesting conversation, and I think we've talked with some of these guys before. I mentioned that the Qur'an says to obey the Bible, but the guy didn't think so, and I couldn't remember the reference. I'll have to make a reference sheet for this sort of thing.

After that, we went to Denny's, and asked if we could pray for our waitress, Meeka again. She remembered us from before and requested that we pray for her friend Deante, who is currently in jail, unsaved and has even considered suicide. Please pray for Deante, that God would get hold of him, convict him and save him before it is too late. Also pray for encouragement and peace for Meeka, as she has not been able to speak with him and has no way to be able to reach him for a few days.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saturday 04-28/12

Tom had a class on Saturday, and Reuben came out on the streets with us afterward. Dan showed up a little later and tested him. Reuben did pretty good, he brought Dan over for Tom to help him out, but Tom played along and let Reuben give it a try. He did real well, explaining the Gospel and the need for a Savior.

Tom talked with Becki, who had stopped for a glow stick. Her friend wanted her to leave, but she stayed and went through the Good Person Test (GPT). She had some knowledge of Christianity, and called herself a believer. She said she was married, and her husband was home with the two kids. She was out with a friend and they had met some new friends at a bar. Tom explained the Gospel to her and gave her more to consider as she left with a glow stick.

Dan and I wandered around to other areas, since Sean and Edwin were out, too. We stopped and talked with a lady handing out tracts, who didn't recognize us, so we talked with her for a while. She was surprised that we knew the Ten Commandments until we told her that we were out doing the same thing.

Then we went across the street and talked to a young man named Kyle, who was passing out some tracts. We stopped and questioned him some. He told us that Jesus loved us, and that not believing in Him was sin. Then he told us that we're all sinners (a bit judgmental, don't ya think?). We asked him some hard questions to get him to think about what he was saying, and he stumbled a bit. Then we told him that we were Christians out evangelizing as well, and he said, "Are you shh.... are you serious?" We told him to watch his language and he tried to play it off, but we know what he almost said. We took him a bit by surprise. We asked if he was familiar with WOTM, and he'd heard of it, but obviously wasn't using it. So we gave him an "Are You Good Enough to Get Into Heaven" tract to show him how to use the Law to explain the need for a Savior. Then we headed back over to our own corner.

Another guy that stopped by to talk to us about the importance of speaking in tongues. I asked if this was a requirement for salvation and he said no, but went on to tell us how we should seek this gift. He was wasting our time in reaching out to others, so I told him that I agree with John MacArthur as a cessationist, believing the sign gifts had ceased.

The guy that likes to heckle us after he's done singing was on the corner, and when he got done there, he claimed that it was "garbage hour" and that he was done. Apparently, he was talking about us, but he went on to keep repeating himself about someone having more kids with their daughter than their wife. He seemed to think he was funny, but just sounded like a broken record. Garbage hour indeed. Eventually he left.

After that, a drunk Hopi Indian, who said he was not a Navajo, which seemed to be important for us to know, came over and talked with me. He wasn't making much sense, and said something in his native tongue that I couldn't understand. Where was the guy with the tongues lecture now? Anyway, this guy wanted a couple of tracts, so I gave him some and he passed them on to others who actually took them. He said his sister was a Christian, but he followed his native beliefs, whatever those were.

Over all, it was a pretty average night witnessing on Mill Ave.

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Witnessing

I was recently listening to "You Can Be an Effective Witness for Christ" by John MacArthur. Here's what he said regarding witnessing, using the story of the rich young ruler:

"What do I have to do to obtain eternal life?" That was a felt need, wasn't it? But the Lord didn't say, "Hey, sign on the dotted line, guy and you're in!" "Hey, believe!", ya know? The Lord hit him with something that was absolutely unbelievable. He said, "Keep all the Commandments." Keep all the Commandments? Which Commandments? God's Commandments, remember He listed some of them there in Matthew.

"What was the Lord doing? The Lord was taking him to the next step in evangelism. It's got to be beyond a felt need, they have to realize that they're living in sin and rebellion against God. And sometimes that is the hardest thing to tell someone.

"You can find a person searching for purpose and they can get all excited about that. "Oh man, meaning and purpose and value and life and fullfillment and potential..." And then you say, "But wait. You see, the real issue with you is, the reason you don't know those things, is because you're living in rebellion to the God who gives those things. And you'll never know them until you come to grips with that rebellion. You're living in violation of God's Law, you're a sinner. You have broken God's Commandments. And then you can name those Commandments, and you need to bring them to the point where they admit it.

"Now, Jesus gave all those Commandments to the rich young ruler and what did he say? "All those things have I kept, what am I lacking?" Impossible to bring that guy to conversion because he didn't admit that he was, what? A sinner. I mean he wouldn't admit that he was out of sync with God. Therefore, all he was looking for was a placebo, all he was looking for was a panacea, a temporary relief from the symptoms and he wouldn't admit that there was a deeper problem. And so you have to take people to the point where they really affirm the fact that they are sinful. And that sometimes is hard to do."
End of MacArthur quote.

Now then, using the WOTM, I have found this is not so hard to do at all. In fact, Ray Comfort uses this same verse to explain how to witness - I mean, this is Jesus Christ Himself, in an encounter with a man who comes right up and asks how to get into heaven, we should be paying attention if we call Him Lord.

The first thing Jesus does is ask the ruler, why do you call Me good? Only God is good. People really need to understand God's definition of good, as contrasted to man's ever changing definition. We compare ourselves to people like Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein, to murderers and rapists, and then we claim that we are pretty good compared to those people. But that's not the way God does it. He has given us a moral standard and He demands perfection. We will not be graded on a curve or compared to other people. We will stand alone, compared to His holy standard, which is based on His nature and revealed to us in the Ten Commandments.

We can open a conversation fairly easily by giving a person an interesting Gospel tract - a million dollar bill, a smart card or a coin with the Commandments on it (interesting tracts can be found at Living Waters or Custom Tract Source, as well as other websites).

Follow up with, "The million dollar question is, do you think you're good enough to get into heaven?" Or, "That coin has the Ten Commandments on it, do you think you've kept them?" Or, "What do you think happens to a person after they die? Do you believe in heaven and hell?" Any number of inquiries can transition from the Gospel tract you've just given them to "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?"

Most people do, just as Prov 20:6 says they will. Then, just like Jesus did, we can bring out some of the Commandments to see if this person can hold up to God's standard.

It may sound harsh, but it's really not taken that way as long as you ask these questions with a tone of concern and not in an accusing way. We want to do this out of love, so the person can judge themselves by God's standard, not out of self-righteousness, or arrogance because we want to prove ourselves right (if that is the sort of attitude you have, stop witnessing immediately and examine your own life - check out the Book of 1 John, and test yourself by Scripture).

If you ask these questions with loving concern and the person still gets angry, simply apologize and move on to someone else who God has prepared to hear the Gospel. We're not going to convince anyone, only God will make a convert, so don't feel like you have to get some sort of confession, or feel bad because someone rejects it. We are only called to be witnesses, in obedience to the Lord. He will bring the increase.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saturday 04-21-12








It was a typical night in Tempe this past Saturday. Police, zombies, belly dancers and fireworks - you never know what you'll see out on Mill Ave.


 The police had a DUI center set up just around the corner, and a couple of them came over to make us take down our sign that we hang up on the post office. He said we could be there because it's closed, but could not hang anything on the building itself.


A group of belly dancers were making their way around Mill Ave, and stopped nearby for a while, which helped generate a crowd.


 For some reason, there was a fireworks display for a few minutes, but we had no idea why.

It was a pretty busy night, zombies were riding bikes tonight - I had heard of the "zombie walk", but wasn't really sure what tit was all about, so I looked it up. You can find some info here: Zombie Walk
Although it is an annual thing in most places, it seems to be every weekend at Mill lately.

Tom kept different crowds with his Open Air for glow sticks, and a group of Christians from Gilbert were interested in coming to his class this Saturday at Redemption Church.

There was an older couple named Don and Carol, who were from Oklahoma City, and they spoke with Alan for a while. I'm not sure how all that went, but they came back again later and talked with me. They wanted to discuss justification and that you cannot live for yourself after you've accepted Christ. I agreed with that point, but wasn't really sure where he was going with all of his stories. He told me different ones of going to places and "knowing that God was going to shut these businesses down" and how they were later replaced (a bar was replaced with a blood bank in one of the stories). I'm not exactly sure of what his point was, since it did not seem that he actually spoke to people to explain the Gospel to them.

Keith came out to Mill for the first time tonight. He had been out to First Friday earlier this month, and has just completed the Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith class. When Dan showed up a little later, Keith, as any good evangelist, handed him a tract, not knowing who he was. So, Dan decided to test him a bit, asking questions to see how he would do with witnessing to him. Keith did an awesome job at taking him through the Gospel and answering any questions that Dan asked him.

I talked with a couple of girls, one of them was named Mariah, and she agreed to go through the Good Person Test (GPT). She started out with a bit of a self-righteous attitude, claiming that I called her a liar. I explained that I had done no such thing. I asked her questions and she answered them, admitting herself that she had lied in the past and would refer to such people as liars. She also admitted to blaspheming and adultery in the heart, but claimed she had never stolen anything. As we continued, she seemed to be more convicted and have less of an attitude against what I was saying. She seemed to understand that we all deserve hell for breaking God's law, and to comprehend the sacrifice He made on our behalf to keep us from that punishment.

Even though she did not pass the GPT, didn't deserve and couldn’t earn the cash that I had offered in the beginning if she could pass it, I still gave it to her as a demonstration of God's grace. Just as we don't deserve salvation and cannot earn it by anything that we do, He still offers it to us. In the same way, I gave her the cash, which seemed to confuse her. She later asked if she was supposed to give it back, and I explained that she could keep it and use it anyway that she chose to. I also gave her a "Are You Good Enough to Get Into Heaven?" tract to read later.

Meanwhile, Tom was talking to a young guy who had been drinking and was quite self-righteous. He said he didn't care, and that he had much more life experience that Tom (even though he looked less than half of Tom's age). That conversation didn't go far, since the guy was not really open to hearing anything from us.

Mariah was waiting for this guy, and I told her that he would not be a good influence on her and her friend. Please pray for Mariah, that she would stay away from the bad influences on Mill Ave, be convicted of her sins and turn to Jesus Christ for her salvation. I pray that she would read through the tract I left her with and that the Lord would give her understanding and draw her to Himself.

After we packed up, we went out for some food and fellowship. We asked our waiter if there was anything we could pray with him for, and he asked that we pray for his relationship with his adult children. Marty had been separated from them for some time, and is trying to get reconnected (hopefully sometime in July). Please keep him is prayer for this.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Concerns with WOTM?

So, I've read through this critique of the WOTM by Jesse Johnson on the Cripplegate blog, I've read the response from Ray Comfort and John MacArthur as well. I thought I'd go ahead and listen to the whole thing in it's entirety at the Shepherd's Conference website, and came up with a few objections of my own to this critique.

I want to pick this up where Jesse starts giving specifics of what he sees as a problem with using the Ten Commandments in evangelism. He goes through a few of them.

The Fourth Commandment, not breaking the Sabbath. Jesse asks if this is a Saturday or a Sunday. Well, the Sabbath has not changed, it's always been Saturday. Yet, the early Christians started meeting on the first day of the week instead, because that is when Christ rose from the dead. The Sabbath is no longer limited to a specific day, it has been fulfilled in Christ, so pick a day, who cares? But to think that you shouldn't give God thanks for all that He's given us, one day out of seven, seems a bit selfish, doesn't it? I think the WOTM makes the most sense of anyone of how the Sabbath Commandment applies to us today.

Then he goes into the Second Commandment, saying that it was only given to the Jewish people, making images like the golden calf. But then he cites the NT, saying that we are commanded to keep ourselves from idols, and says that the human heart is an "idol making factory." Yet, he thinks this is somehow "apart from the Second Commandment." How do you figure? He goes on attempting to make sense of how the two are not related, but it never does.
"Do you understand what I'm saying?"
No. No, I don't, not at all.

The Third Commandment - taking the Lord's name in vain. Jesse says it's not when you hit your thumb with a hammer and curse with God's name. He states that it's only something a believer can violate. He seems to liken it more to hypocrisy than anything else, saying that when we lift up the name of the Lord and claim to be followers, yet live an empty life. Again, it makes no sense at all in the plain reading of the text. You shall not use the Lord's name in vain, using it irreverently, as a curse word. I'm gonna have to side with WOTM on this one again, because that's what actually makes sense without jumping through hoops and twisting Scripture to make it mean something else. It's really quite plain and simple. And again, he states that it was given specifically to Israel, yet goes on to say that it applies to us today. Make up your mind.

The Ninth Commandment - Jesse claims it's not about lying, but bearing false witness against your neighbor, and of course, with a specific context of Israel settling disputes within their camp. Seriously? Come on, lying is lying, and it's included in the Ninth Commandment. He says that we should use 1 Cor 6 and Rev 21 with people (and he claims those do not come from the Ten Commandments). Well, guess what? We do use them. So much so that I know which verses he's talking about without looking them up. 1 Cor 6:9-10 lists five of the Commandments and Rev 21:8 brings two more in it's list. I often use these in connection with the Ten Commandments when witnessing.

He claims that the way certain passages are used are very troublesome to him, saying that Rom 3:19 is referring to Psalms and Isaiah, not the Commandments, and that it only applies to Israel as referenced in "those under the law."
But the passage goes on to say "...every mouth may be stopped and the whole world..."
Now, no one has ever said that the Law is confined to only the Ten Commandments, but the Ten Commandments are all of the moral law in outline form, so why not use them as such?
Again, he seems to be nitpicking, agreeing with the basic concept, yet attempting to undermine it at every turn. Why?

He says there is an over emphasis on the Law verses the Holy Spirit. Can't the Holy Spirit work using the Law? The Law is based on the very nature of God. The Law is used to condemn, the Spirit gives understanding.

I really don't understand what Jesse Johnson is saying. His arguments are reaching, as if he simply doesn't like it, but he defeats himself on every issue by explaining how it is biblical and necessary. It seems to me that Jesse is attempting to please people who have a problem with this type of evangelism, and even though he cannot truly make an argument against it biblically. He makes an attempt in order to keep people happy who don't like it.

Jesse said that the most troubling aspect of the WOTM in evangelism is that it teaches that people are going to hell for violating the Law rather than for rejecting Jesus Christ.

Doesn't that make more sense? I have had unbelievers come up and argue that God is not just, because He has given us all free will and just because we don't believe in Jesus, we will go to hell. In his mind, this unbeliever saw God as some sort of bipolar dictator, giving people freedom on one hand, while condemning them to eternal hell on the other, because they didn't believe in something without being given any proof or evidence at all.

So, I explained to this guy that he isn't going to hell for not believing in Jesus. He's going to hell because he has broken God's Law, which is written on his heart and testified to by his conscience. He is guilty and actually deserves to be punished, just as any guilty criminal does. This explains God's justice and stops his mouth, just like Scripture says, when I take them through the 9th, 8th, 3rd and 7th Commandments.
Then I can tell him about the love and mercy of God in providing a way to keep him out of the eternal hell that he deserves while still remaining just. And He does this by coming down Himself in human flesh, keeping all of the Law that we couldn't keep, and then laying down His life as a sacrifice for us, paying the fine that we owe. So, although repentance and trust in Jesus Christ can prevent him from going to hell, rejecting that is not the primary reason he will go there in the first place.
I can't even tell you how many people have said this makes more sense than any explanation they have ever heard of the Gospel before.

"One size fits all approach to evangelism"? Law to the proud, grace to the humble. That's what the Bible says, I don't see any reason to try to change it now.

In the end, I wonder how Jesse teaches people to evangelize? How is he equipping the saints? And do any of them feel equipped enough to go and do it on a regular basis? Or do they feel overwhelmed, like they don't know enough, and find themselves quite comfortable to sit at home because they don't have the "gift of evangelism"?

Soli Deo Gloria