Maraca with Bible Verse

Maraca with Bible Verse
1 Timothy 2:5

Good Reads From Amazon

Monday, March 26, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - What a Waste of a Day, From My Perspective

Today started out like any other Monday, except that I was able to get up earlier, knowing I was going to be picking up products as soon as the truck arrives, which used to be around 10 am. I got there at 10:40 and heard the truck was going to be a little late, so I went home and came back an hour later. I heard the truck was on it's way, but it would still be a while, so I went off shopping at Target. It feels very strange to give out tracts here because a couple of years ago, I was caught giving out tracts and ended up being banned from this shopping center for a year. So I opted to be careful and use smaller, less noticeable tracts. This shopping center now has a 'Security' tower, which is elevated and I suppose if someone is in it can pretty much look over the whole shopping center. So I carefully have to give out tracts here. My time is over for the ban, but I know how possible it is to get caught again. Perhaps I would never be allowed in this shopping center again. Sad.
   We waited a long time for the truck, and I went into Target to pick up some things. On my way out, I saw two men walking and called out to them asking them if they ever got one. They looked like they were waiting, so I talked with them and explained the Gospel. I didn't realize one of them was the father of the other one. I talked for a couple minutes and explained the Gospel in more detail and gave him another tract. I also invited him to church and gave him a map to the building, since he didn't have a place where he was going to church at this time.
   He gave himself a 9 on the Good Person Test score, but he seemed to understand the Gospel when we were done talking. Please pray for him and his son. They are both named 'Aaron'. I don't know their hearts, but I pray that the connections to the Gospel would be made in their hearts. Pray that they would see their sin as serious before God.
   I don't know what will become of that, but what I do understand is that God is in complete control of everything. Perhaps he allowed the truck to be late so I could talk to Aaron and his son. Maybe God will work in the hearts of the other people I gave tracts and toys to. I don't know what He will do, but one day, it will make sense to me.
  As long as I am faithful in telling the Gospel to other people, it is up to God to bring about the results. From God's perspective, it wasn't a wasted day. Perhaps we will know on the other side what happened the day the truck was really late and we had time to kill.
  The truck did end up coming. And I was one of the last ones to leave the parking lot. But I felt joy because I was able to tell the Gospel to someone today.

"Then they left the presence of the council, erejoicing that they were counted worthy fto suffer dishonor for gthe name. 42 And every day, hin the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and ipreaching jthat the Christ is Jesus."

Here is a message on evangelism taught by one of our pastors, Aaron Law: 

Both audio and notes are available for this message.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - The Solo That Didn't Make Sense

  A couple of years ago, I had learned how the Old Testament and New Testament work together. They have the same message, and they compliment each other. The Old Testament is the foreshadow, and the New Testament is the fulfillment. That is why it is hard to just see the Gospel from the New Testament perspective, in some ways. The Old Testament is like the backdrop. If a person doesn't have a good understanding of the Old Testament, he won't appreciate as deeply, the Gospel of the New Testament. To say it more clearly, and in a simplified way, a person won't understand or appreciate the 'Good News' (of the Gospel), unless he understands the 'Bad News' first. We have to understand that we are sinners first, before we can understand why we need Jesus to be our Savior.
   I was thinking of that a couple of years ago, when my son was going to do a trumpet solo for a solo competition. This was serious business. The child has to learn the solo so he or she can perform as best as possible before a judge. The accompanist is a piano player. He or she has to have an original copy of the music that will be played, when the student is playing his or her instrument before the judge.
    My son had  a piece to practice. And practice he did. I could tell he was playing the right notes. But there were long pauses in the song. It just didn't make sense. In some ways, it didn't really even sound like a song! He practiced and practiced. Then the week came and we had to get ready for his solo.
   Even at this point, when the song was perfected, it still didn't sound right. It wasn't that he was doing anything wrong. It just sounded incomplete. I couldn't figure out why. Until the night before the solo was going to be played before the judge, I just began to see something new.
   We went to the trumpet teacher's house, where the teacher's wife was the piano accompanist, and she played the song on the piano. Then they practiced the song together. At that moment, I understood the song. I made perfect sense now. The song had another part that would compliment itself. The trumpet and the piano played in harmony together, and the song was beautiful. My eyes were opened to something that didn't make sense, now making perfect sense.
     I think the Bible is like that. I don't think it is wrong in any way to sow seeds. We have to do that. But if we have the time, and hope someone understands the Gospel, they first have to have the background information (Old Testament). The Old Testament is the 'why' of the New Testament. Why do we need the Gospel? Because we are sinners. How do we know we are sinners? Because we break the Law (10 Commandments) all the time. We are trespassers. The New Testament explains the Old Testament. The Bible is one book with a continuous story. Both Old Testament and New Testament compliment each other.
    In the Old Testament days, people would offer lamb sacrifices for their sins. In the New Testament, Jesus is the Lamb of God. The people that lived during the Old Testament days, who offered sacrifices for their sins, would have understood what it meant when John the Baptist called Jesus the 'Lamb of God'. The Gospel would have made sense to them.
   The point of this article is, practically speaking, that when we preach the Good News of the Gospel, we need to tell people the Bad News of the judgment for their sins. They need to know that they have broken the Commandments and will be judged by God. They need to know that God has provided a way for them to be cleansed from their sins, when they repent and trust in what Jesus did for them on the Cross. Only then will true conversion take place. And just as the piano and trumpet playing together sounded beautiful and made sense, so will a person's understanding of the Gospel be beautiful and will make sense to him or her when they understand the whole Gospel story, from beginning to end.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - Are You On Satan's Hit LIst?

      In the book, 'One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven', there is a chapter called, 'Hit List'. The whole book is great and has several experiences recorded of Mark Cahill talking with people about the Gospel. There are some really interesting stories in the book! In the last chapter called 'Hit List', Mark talks about a situation where he goes into a prison to meet men who are prisoners and tell them the Gospel. Well, Mark was talking with a man who wanted to defect from a Mafia group, but this man's name was on a 'hit list'. In other words, the man who was leaving the Mafia group, wanted to get out of the group, but if the Mafia group knows that a person is leaving, they will put that person's name on a hit list, and make plans to kill him. Mark talked with the man, but had to be quiet because there were other prisoners who were part of this Mafia group and would kill the man he was talking to if that man were found out. The prisoner indicated where the cell was of a man who was planning on killing him. So Mark went to that cell and talked with the man in there. Mark explained the Gospel to him, and the man was ready to respond to the Lord. These people can be reached with the Gospel if we are willing to talk with them.
    The man who came to know the Lord had a hit list with the names of the people he was planning to kill. He gave the list to Mark, and Mark tried to contact them, so they could hear the Gospel message and be saved. What a wonderful story this is. What an impact this prisoner will have for the Kingdom of God.
   Just as the Mafia has a hit list with the names of the people they plan to kill for defecting, Satan has a hit list as well. Satan hates the Gospel. If we are taking an active stand for the Gospel, Satan won't be happy and will try to discourage us. He will do whatever possible to stop us. He will attack us with sickness, difficulties, discouragement, fear, and the list goes on. Don't get me wrong, God is in complete control and Satan has no power over us, unless we give it to him. Nothing will happen to us unless God allows it.
   Are you on Satan's hit list? Is the light of the true Gospel shining through you? Are you hungry for God's Word and for the Truth? Are you giving away that which God has given to you? Are you willing to stand up for the Gospel when it is compromised? How about going against the tide of what everyone thinks is ok vs. what is right in God's sight? These are questions I have to ask myself. We should all be asking ourselves these questions.
   If we are growing in the Lord, are spiritually healthy, and our identity is with the Lord, we will be on Satan's hit list. When we are gone, Satan will be celebrating. Will there be those who will be following in our footsteps? Do we want to be on Satan's 'hit list'?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - Evangelizing Around the Security Guards Part 2

   On Saturday I wrote about the episode having to do with our group of five people, out at Blanchard Park, giving tracts away and talking to people. I am still amazed at what happened that day, and as I continue to think about it, I realize that we need to be praying for our country. I know people today are ignorant about true historical events and even what the Constitution says. I have to try to not take it so personally, I know.
   My son had some insight into something that happened while the security guard was trying to make us leave. Remember I said that 'Ed' accused us of 'solicitation', and he then ordered us off the park property. When asked, Ed did not know what to say to the question, 'Do you believe we have freedom of speech here?'. You could tell that Ed was not experienced with people like us. He had no category for us. He threatened to call the police, but then didn't go through with his threat.
   The man Ed was conversing with, got a business card from Ed, with his supervisor's name on it. With that, he called the supervisor. When he got a hold of the supervisor and explained the situation to him, the supervisor definitely said that Ed was in the wrong, and that we had the right to be in the park and giving out tracts and Bibles. He also sent an apology to all of us.
   But here is what is most interesting; My son pointed this out tonight as we were talking about this event; while we were having the discussion with the security guard, and he was explaining to us that we were 'soliciting' (which we weren't because we weren't selling anything), an ice cream truck was coming though the park. You could hear the unique sound of the ice cream truck. They play that music to let people know they are coming through. If they see people on the side of the road, they will stop and people will buy their goods. Isn't it amazing that there were no security guards going after the ice cream truck? Wouldn't that be considered 'soliciting'? People can sell ice cream in a park, but they can't give out beach balls that have Scripture on them because that is soliciting? What is wrong with this picture? I think we have an idea what it wrong with it. And I think that it is common knowledge (although wrong knowledge) for people who work at parks, to believe that it is wrong for people to be at a park, and using their freedom of speech rights, to communicate the Gospel in any way. They put a label on it, even though it is a wrong label. If the people in our group were ignorant, we probably would have assumed that the security guard was right, and we would probably never go back again. And every time we go to a new place and get kicked out, we probably would think that we were caught doing something we weren't supposed to be doing, when in reality, we were doing the right thing, in the right place, all along. Ignorance is a very wicked enemy. But we know better. And I know enough to become familiar with the law and carry the Constitution with me from now on (Hey I didn't realize, but I have the Constitution on my I-Phone!). Also will print out the page from ACLJ and have it with me.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - How Can We Get People To Feel the Weight of Their Sin?

We were talking yesterday about different approaches that people have in evangelism. Some people have gentle voices and others have strong ones. Some people show love and concern, while others seem more serious. But when it comes to helping people see their sin, how do we do that?
    Some Christians feel strongly that they must pound in the fact that the person they are talking to will burn in hell if they don't repent. Many times they are expressive and try different ways to communicate that the person they are talking to must immediately feel his guilt and repent. What kind of dangers does this present though?
   If we are the ones pounding in the fact that the other person is a sinner, could we be, maybe even unintentionally, trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit in that person's life? Isn't it the work of the Holy Spirit to show and convict people of their sin? Are we ignorant of the fact that 'salvation is of the Lord'? If we try to do the work of the Holy Spirit, wouldn't that be a form of manipulation? God grants us repentance, according to the Bible. God also gives us the faith we need to have to trust in God.
   The danger with this kind of thinking could actually lead to legalism. We are, for all practical purposes, not acknowledging the person of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person. He is the One who reveals Christ. He makes God real to a person. He works in the individual's heart, helping him or her to see his or her sin, and to own that sin. And, He makes the Gospel 'make sense' to us. He helps us to understand our need for a Savior, and that Jesus is the only Savior. We can't do those things. Are we doing the work only reserved for God?
   How hard should we be pressing people to repent? What was your conversion story like? Did people bang on your heart and try to make you feel bad for your sin, or, was it God who was beginning to do a work in your heart, and you responded to that work, and were drawn to the light? Was your salvation experience the work of people, or was it the work of God in your heart?
   Yes, I do believe, (and I know that if you know me, you will believe me) that we need to do the work of evangelism. We need to lay the foundation down, explaining to people who God is, and what He is like. They need to understand what sin is, and how they are affected by it. They need to understand that God is holy and perfect, and He will punish sin. We need to tell them what God did in order to take care of their sin problem. They need to repent and turn to God and trust in Christ. I wish we could be out there every day doing this. But if we are coming down hard on people, and showing anger and hatred to them (trying to explain to them by our appearance, how God feels about sin), we are acting in the flesh. We are not in faith believing that God is not big enough to help a person see his/her sin. We are trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit.
   God's word never returns back to Him void. It accomplishes what it is intended to do. We give it out. We ask people questions. We serve and love people. But we preach the Gospel to them.
    The Bible tells us that we are 'constrained by the love of Christ'. It also describes the Apostles as people who could not contain the Gospel. They had to tell others. Not to get brownie points, but because they realized how great their sin before God was, and what a great salvation God had provided for them. They sowed, they watered, but God gave the increase.
   Let us love people and go out and give them the Gospel. And let us be filled with the Holy Spirit and ask God for boldness to make His name known.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - Evangelizing Around the Security Guards

    Today started out as a usual day. I prayed God would hold off the rain so we could go to Blanchard Park and do evangelism. There were going to be four or five of us altogether.
   We prayed when we got out there. It wasn't overly crowded but there were a few people to talk to. I brought my beach balls, maracas, frisbies, and crayons and had them in a big laundry bag in a cart. As I would see kids and teens, I would give them out to them.
  The weather was beautiful and we were walking on the bike path. One of our guys started a conversation with a man on a bike, when the security guys in their golf carts came by to let him know that he was not allowed to be soliciting. After about five minutes of reasoning, it looked like Steven was able to help them see that we really were allowed to do what we were doing.
   Not too long after that, Richard was over by the river talking with a man named Malcolm. So we were just hanging around and talking with people we would meet. Daniel was throwing a basketball to some kids and I was coming back from talking with a young man and his step sister, when, another golf cart came our way. This time, the man identified himself as 'Ed' and he was trying to convince Steven (poor Steven, not again!) that he was soliciting, and that we were not allowed to do that. We were not allowed, according to this security guard, to pass out tracts and give toys away. Ed continued to argue with Steve and threatened to call the cops. Steven is a very soft spoken person who preaches the Gospel very well, so it is hard to imagine what this conversation looked like. He stated the truth. We had every right to be there since we pay taxes and it was public property. But Ed wouldn't budge. He stuck with his story and said he would call the cops. That would actually have been ok, since we weren't breaking the law. Ed saw my cart and asked whose cart it was, to which I replied 'Mine'. He asked me what I was doing with the items in it. I told him I was giving them away, to which he replied, that I was passing them out. He indicated that I needed to be going to my car and leave. I was angry, not so much because we were preaching the Gospel and someone got angry about it, but I was angry because this man was believing a lie, and asking us to respond to it. First of all, we were not soliciting. We were not asking people for money, or anything else. I was not advertising my business out there. We were giving tracts and toys away to people who would take them, and talk with people who would engage in conversation with us. Ed said that people come to the park to relax, and what we were doing would violate that. Steven managed to get a business card from Ed with the name of Ed's supervisor. He was going to call the supervisor. With that, I left, but let Ed know that this would be dealt with.
    I posted a message on Face Book for people to pray. I am so thankful for my praying friends. We left Steven and Daniel behind talking with Ed. Rich was obscure to Ed because he was still talking to Malcolm, but when Ed found out that another person was part of our group, he wanted to know where Rich was. I got a phone call from Rich because his wife called him when she saw the Face Book post.
   So we were heading to the other side of the park where my car was parked. What would happen? Would the police come? What if they were hostile to the Gospel? Could we be arrested? What about our rights as citizens of a country that is still free? What could I do to respond to this in a godly way?
    I thought about going to the police department, and planned to research to find the one that corresponds with Blanchard Park. Since our rights were being violated, what else could I do?
   When we got to the car, we all prayed. We prayed for Ed. We prayed for the people we talked to. Then Michael got a phone call. It was Steven. Steven was now telling us that he called the supervisor of the park and talked with him. The supervisor apologized for what happened and said that we could go back into the park and give out tracts and talk to people! The only thing he asked is that we don't disturb the people.
    Please pray for Ed. He may be in trouble with his supervisor now. He needs to hear the Gospel. Pray for Malcolm. Also, for a man on roller blades who told Michael that he was not allowed to give out tracts and tried to run after the cops car that was going through the park. Pray for Isabel and the group of kids I talked to. Also, for the other young man and his step sister. I have that conversation on tape. I didn't get their names. And for the man on the bike Steven was talking to.
    There is a place where we can get legal help in situations like this. They are a Christian legal group that has researched the rights of American citizens. I am going to print out the page and bring it with me when I am out doing evangelism. This organization also helps you understand what is meant by 'solicitation' and its variants. Here is the web site address: American Center for Law and Justice . While we have freedoms and rights, we need to use them.
   On a better note, I got to see Justin and gave him a Gospel of John. I met Justin when he was carrying out my bags one day and he was commenting on the tracts. He said that he didn't understand the meaning of the message (the Gospel). So I took some time and went through the Gospel with him. Please pray for him. I hope he contacts me through email and I wish I could get him a regular Bible (he said he didn't have one). I got a Gospel of John when we were at the parade at Christmas time. Pray that God will deal with his heart and help him to understand his need for a Savior.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - Top 10 Myths About Evangelism

   There is a link on the web site that takes you to a page entitled 'Top 10 Myths About Evangelism'. I must say, this article is excellent, and if you have a chance, go to the web site and click on the link to read the whole thing (It is not long).
  I was thinking about which one to discuss, and as I read the second myth, it talked about preaching the Gospel without using words (by osmosis). It reminded me of a quote that may have been from Saint Francis of Assisi, 'Preach the Gospel. Use words of necessary.' Well, that could be like saying, 'Feed the hungry. Use food if necessary.' How can you preach something without using words?
  On the other side of the spectrum, the Bible does talk about a woman who has an unsaved husband winning him over to the Lord by her life actions. I would think that the husband probably already knows the Gospel, but hasn't responded yet. He will see the demonstration of the Gospel in the life of his wife.
   I firmly believe that if we are to be preaching the Gospel, we need to be living lives that are demonstrating the Gospel. But demonstrating the Gospel is not the same as preaching the Gospel. We need to have both in our lives.

Myth #2. We can witness by osmosis (i.e. without words)
By definition a witness is “one who testifies.” What if all the “witnesses” in a court trial only answered in mime? As Christians our lives need to be consistent with our words but they are not a substitute for them.

Yes, we need to have a healthy relationship with the True and Living God. We need to be abiding in the Vine. We were appointed to bear much fruit. We need both demonstration and proclamation. We need the power of the Holy Spirit on us/in us to do the work of God.

Here is what we need. If the Apostles needed it, we do too.
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - What Happens When People See God

   I would like to take two different people from the Bible, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament and compare them as they both experience seeing God. They both had a similar, life changing experience. 
  In Isaiah 6, we see Isaiah as he encounters the true and living God. For some reason, he never saw this until this point in his life. First, he has a vivid description of God. He now 'sees' God with eyes he never had before. He sees God in His holiness now. Compare that with the man in the New Testament named Peter. Peter was learning who Jesus was, but suddenly one day, his eyes were opened to something he had not ever seen. 
   After Isaiah saw God, his words were "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5). Here is what Peter said in Luke 5; "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.". What was it that both Peter and Isaiah saw? They saw the holiness of God. They both also saw their sin.
   Both responses were almost identical. Both Isaiah and Peter immediately saw their sin. They both knew their sin had to be dealt with. In Isaiah, the angel brought hot coals to Isaiah's lips. Jesus told Peter to not be afraid, for he would now be catching men.
   Peter's story goes back to a time when the men were fishing all night. Fishing was Peter's occupation and he depended upon catching fish for his livelihood. Peter was down on his luck, so to speak, and he and his companions did not catch any fish during the night. What a waste of a night! Or was it? What was God going to do to turn this unfortunate night around, and use it for His glory?
       He was going to use Peter's challenging situation to show forth His power in holiness. That is exactly what happened. Peter saw God's holiness when Jesus did what only God can do in a situation like that. And he realized at that moment that he was on holy ground.
   What did those incidences produce in Peter and Isaiah? It produced repentance and faith. They both recognized their sin and God's holiness, and that something needed to be done to fix the problem. 
   Once all of the sin was dealt with, they were both commissioned to preach the Gospel. In Isaiah, God asks the question 'Who shall I send, and who will go for us?'. Isaiah answered, 'Here I am. Send me". (I like verse 8. It has a hint of the Trinity in it). But with Peter, Jesus told him that he would be catching men from that point on. 
   The important thing is that they saw their sin and didn't want it anymore. God dealt with it, then commissioned them to tell the Gospel. This is what should happen in our evangelism. The Bible says that 'Salvation is of the Lord'. God reveals Himself to people, and when that happens, they have new eyes to see Him. Salvation is no longer a formula to follow in order to escape hell. The issue has been dealt with. The people who see God understand that He is so holy, and they are so sinful, and they need help. 
   Notice also, that neither Peter nor Isaiah 'cleaned up their act' before God. They made the mess in the first place, but God cleaned them up as they acknowledged their sin and their need for help.
  Let us pray for those we talk to, that they will have eyes to see the Lord, and that God will be gracious to them and grant them repentance and faith. Pray that God would open up their hearts and minds to the Scriptures as we communicate the Gospel to them, and may God soften their hearts to the Gospel message.