Wednesday, April 25, 2012


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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

180 Wednesday

 Watch it now!
 If you haven't seen this yet, check out what over a million people have already seen. If you've already seen it, watch it again as a reminder to keep these things in the front of your mind.

Monday, April 9, 2012

First Friday 04-06-12 Good Friday

My wife and I took the kids with us out to First Friday in downtown Phoenix to hand out some tracts and evangelize. There were a lot of people out there, and the kids handed out tons of tracts. One person dropped one of the tracts our six year old had handed him. She wasn’t about to let that go, she went over and said, “Excuse me, you dropped this.”

Here's a couple of pics when there was a little break in the crowd.   Many times you couldn't even see the people on the other side of the sidewalk - it gets very crowded out there.

McKayla recited the Ten Commandments on the speaker system a couple of times, and Tom stayed busy taking people through the Good Person Test for glow sticks. Keith (from my current class) came out to see how things go on First Fridays, and we saw a lot of other believers out proclaiming the Gospel as well.

Please pray for the lost, that God would convict them of their sin and draw them to Himself for their salvation and His glory. And if you are a believer, make some time to be obedient to the Great Commission. God doesn’t need us, but what a privilege to be used for His holy purpose in saving people. There is no greater honor.

Luke 10:2

Saturday 03-31-12

There was an art festival going on during the day at Mill Ave last Saturday. Security would not allow us to use amplification because of the special event, even though it was all closed down for the night.

So, Tom gave the security guards some glow sticks and we continued without amps and didn't have any trouble the rest of the night.

We decided to set up in the middle of the street at Mill and 5th, since it’s not often that we can be right in the middle of the intersection.
 A drunk guy on a bicycle stopped by to look at the Celebrity board. I started taking him through the Good Person Test (GPT), and he looked kind of uncomfortable. He kept turning away, even as he was still talking to me. When I got to the part of whether he'd go to heaven or hell if he were judged by the Commandments, he said he had to go and he was outa there! Obviously convicted, though, so pray that God would continue to work in his heart.

A couple of guys stopped by, Skunk and Joseph, one with a spiked mohawk. Someone had been handing out the 180 movie, and so they had seen some of the GPT before, so I skipped forward to the end. Skunk's mother is a "religious fanatic" (kinda like us), so they had some idea of what we were talking about. They listened and said that it did make sense to them. I gave them a couple of "Are You Good Enough to Get Into Heaven" tracts before they left.

You can check out a couple of videos below.  Don't forget to press the pause button on the music player to the right first:

Steve, one of our newer people, has become pretty bold in sharing his faith. He was talking to some kids, with their parents listening nearby, so I gave them a couple of the Ten Commandments coins. Dan got up on the box and gave the Ten Commandments for the first time, while I was talking with Jordan, who is not a believer, but likes to stop by and talk with us from time to time.

Soli Deo Gloria