Maraca with Bible Verse

Maraca with Bible Verse
1 Timothy 2:5

Good Reads From Amazon

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat - No Tricks Here

I have always loved working with children. They are so honest and open about things. They say what is on their hearts, even if it hurts listening to what they have to say! Many of them seem to have a basic fear of God in their lives. If someone were able to talk with them about the Gospel, they would probably listen and consider what is being said.
   Tonight I did what I usually do now on October 31st, which the world calls 'Halloween' and children dress up in silly costumes and go door to door to collect candy. We had our usual share of children (and adults too) who came to the house hoping to get candy. By this time in my career at doing this, I have had several 'toys' that are imprinted with Scriptural truth, and a URL for the recipients to go to. The one  I use a lot now, especially for kids, is  . One the last item I had imprinted (coloring books) I have another url imprinted; Test for Good Person Blog Page  . So far, I have had Frisbies, coloring books, crayon boxes, beach balls, maracas, paddles with balls, and maybe some other things. It looks cool when they are all in a box for people to take.
  I had the poster on an easel that has a sculpture like picture of Einstein along with some I.Q. questions. I have had a few people look at the questions and ask themselves out loud. One of my favorite questions is 'How many animals did Moses take on the Ark?' On the bottom of the poster, it talks about the Good Person Test. It provides an open door (ice-breaker) to talk about the Gospel with.
   One guy was there with a girl around the same age. They were in their upper teen years, it looked like. The guy was asking himself the questions and trying to answer them. I asked him questions about the Good Person Test. It was an easy decision for him to admit that he had broken the 10 Commandments. I was able to talk with him and the young lady about the Gospel. I brought them in the house and gave them each a 'How Good Are You' tract. Please pray for them to consider the Gospel and let God work in their hearts. I don't know if I will ever see them again, but I pray that they will be in heaven one day because they would respond to the Gospel. Their names are Kerby and Allison.
    Last year, there were a couple of girls looking through the toys. They were having a discussion about whether or not this house was the house where one of them got a million dollar bill tract with Justin Bieber's picture on it. I gave out the celebrity Million Dollar Bills, but I am not familiar with whose pictures are on them. Anyway, while these girls were talking, one of them seemed like she just realized something. She said something like, 'Oh, this is the God House'. Chances are good that she had been here before and realized the things she read on the electronic billboard, or maybe she had already taken a toy with Scripture on it. I wondered if they would be back this time.
   I was getting ready to close down and bring everything inside, but there were some kids still walking on the sidewalk. Two girls were coming closer to the house, and I heard one of them say something like, 'Oh, I love this house' She started talking about something that probably had to do with the toys. The other girl told her to be quiet because she could see that I was able to hear them. They came up and one of them mentioned that they received a million dollar bill here one time. I have to wonder if those two girls were the same two that came by last year, and decided that my house was the 'God House'.
   I do hope that through doing this, I will be able to bring about a Presence in our neighborhood that will help people to be aware of God. I would love for people to be reminded about God when they pass my house. I would love it if people would stop by the house and ask for prayer, or even ask deeper questions about God. I think this could possibly bring about an open door for the Gospel to begin to penetrate our neighborhood. What a great open door this could bring about in proclaiming the Gospel!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Am I a Whistle Blower or a Gossiper?

I think I have just learned about the term 'whistle blower' recently and thought it is a good description of what I think it should do. A whistle blower alerts someone to danger. The Bible does not actually use this term, but I believe the concept is there. A whistle blower exposes the works of darkness. A whistle blower warns people of the danger of heresy or false teachers. Those are important things for people in the church to be doing. But can there be problems with being a whistle blower? You can be sure that there are.
  One of the biggest problems of being a whistle blower stems from pride. You see, the problem is that each person is blinded to their own sin. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us to take out the log from our own eyes, before we take the splinter out of the eyes of other people. We have to deal with our own sin first, before we can help others deal with their own sin. Pride doesn't let us do that. Pride keeps us from seeing our sin. That's why we need accountability and God helping us to see our sin that blinds us.
   If we are a whistle blower and our pride has not been dealt with, problems will begin to fester. What will happen is that we may see something that needs to be exposed or brought into the light, but our flesh will not want to stop there. If we are not careful, our whistle blowing can easily turn into slander, or idolatry. If we catch a false teacher who seems to be regularly teaching false doctrine, then we should expose it. But if we continue to press into the area of seeking out false teachers, or if we continually hound the false teacher we have discovered, we are going into an area beyond what we are asked to do. We are putting ourselves on dangerous ground, and entering into slander.
   The Bible has a lot to say about slander. It is pretty dangerous to practice it. Our flesh loves to slander and gossip. It is part of the outworking of our human nature and sin weakness. How much do we have to 'warn' people about that false teacher? How much time do we have to spend cutting him or her down in public forums like Facebook? Should we spend our precious time 'hunting' down these false teachers, or should we spend that time developing a relationship with the Lord, and with His people (the church)?
  I don't want to say its wrong to expose a false teacher. It is wrong to continually pick at it though. What about that Christian leader who has hurt someone? Should we create blogs to destroy that person? What does Matthew 18 tell us to do? It tells us to work with that person, and if he doesn't cooperate, work with the church. If he still doesn't cooperate, we are to treat him like a pagan. We treat him like an outsider. We pray for him and do what we can to restore him to the broken relationships. What we must not do is to take our complaints to those outside of the church. That is when it becomes slander. Let's be careful how we use our tongues and words with people. Let's also be careful to not air out the dirty laundry of a church in which we have no personal connection with the offending parties. Love covers a multitude of sins. Let's practice love and mercy, like God has done with us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Are You Ready To Answer Questions?

    Have you ever had questions about God, Heaven, and Eternity? I hope so. As you talk to people on the streets or in their homes about the Gospel, some of them are going to have questions for you. It is not wrong to try to answer their questions, nor is it wrong to tell them that you don't know the answer, if you don't know.
  Some people ask questions or make bold statements because they are being antagonistic. But others are asking questions because they are curious about the things of God, and probably never had the opportunity to ask anyone. Some people have deep seated doubts and fears, and would like another knowledgable person to help them with their questions.
   There are times that it would be better to not answer the questions asked by a Skeptic. It takes practice and skill to know when to answer and when not to answer. "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." Proverbs 26:4 and 5 (ESV).
  The Bible says to give a reason to every person who asks a reason of the hope in you. It also explains that Paul 'reasoned from the Scriptures' with people. 
   The big accusation people have, when sharing the Gospel, is that unbelievers generally think that Christians are not intelligent people, and that they have 'blind faith'. Sadly, in the past, this has been true, at least in part. I had seen a video recently about a discussion between creation/evolution and God/Atheism. There was a host person, along with a 'Christian' and Richard Dawkins. When the Christian man was asked about the origin of human beings, he simply pointed to Richard Dawkins and said to ask him, since he (Richard Dawkins) would know. 
   But we do know Who we believe in and are trusting in, and we know why we believe as well. Are you prepared to give answers to people while evangelizing or teaching? Or, are you just going to tell them that they have to have faith? After all, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it!" It might be settled in your mind, but its not settled in the minds of many other people, some of whom you may be talking to this week. Could this be the reason so many children leave the church when they become adults?
   Let's stay on track with sharing the Gospel, but let's also consider the questions of those who are asking. Write them down, and get back with the person later on. And find answers to those questions before you go out next time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"You Are Not Far From the Kingdom of God"

     I really don't have the exact blog space to put this in, but this is the closest one. I hope this will be helpful to you. The reason I am writing this is because I am concerned about people becoming false converts. I don't mean to sound condescending or judgmental, but I care about people.
    There seems to be an epidemic of people who seem to have an understanding of the Gospel and would profess to be Christians, but there is something lacking in their understanding when you continue to ask more questions. And the fruit of salvation seems to be missing.
Here is a story in the Bible, where Jesus was talking to a Scribe. The situation is recorded in Mark 12: 28-25. The Scribe asked Jesus what He thought was the most important commandment. Jesus answered, "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength." He also said that you should love your neighbor as yourself. There are no commandment greater than these two. The Scribe agreed. He acknowledged that God is one. He also said that loving God and people were greater than whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. The Scribe had the right idea. He was beginning to understand the Gospel. The lights had come on for him. But he was not there yet. Jesus told him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God'. The Scribe was not in the kingdom of God. He was close to it though.
   There is a big difference between being close to the kingdom of God and actually being in it. A person may experience being close to the light. God might be working in his heart. The person might have questions about God. He may even be on a 'God quest'.  We sometimes confuse this stage, with the actual stage of receiving the Gospel. If the lights come on for someone concerning the Gospel, it doesn't mean that they are saved yet necessarily! We have to be very careful to not think of that as genuine fruit of repentance and faith in itself.
  People sometimes think they are a Christian because God did a miracle for them. Or they may have had an experience with God, or in a setting where God was moving, but that doesn't mean they have had saving faith activated in their hearts yet.
  I remember hearing a story of a Jewish man who was in our church, whose dad was not a believer. Somehow, by God's grace and mercy, God miraculously healed the father of an illness. He never came to know the Lord though. It would be easy for us to think that since God healed him, it must have meant he was saved, or going to be saved. God works in mysterious ways, for sure, and we don't always understand what He is doing. We just need to be careful to make sure we are in Christ, and proclaim the Gospel to others so they can be in Christ too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Evangelizing Children

Almost 40 years ago (wow that sounds like a real long time ago), I was taught how to evangelize children. One of the methods of telling the story of the Gospel was by using different colors that correlated with different aspects of the Gospel. Gold=heaven, black=sin, red=blood of Jesus, white=clean heart, green=growing things. I used a plastic nut that had a rolled up ribbon inside of it with those colors. I would go up to children and ask them if they had ever heard a nut that told a story. Then I would proceed with telling them the Gospel using my nut with the wordless story colors.
   I believe the idea of using colors to tell the Gospel story with came from Charles Spurgeon. The organization called 'CEF' (Child Evangelism Fellowship) was started by a man with the last name of Overholzer. I can't remember his first name, but when Mr. Overholzer was 12, he asked his Christian parents about how he could be saved. His parents responded by telling him that he was not old enough yet. Mr. Overholzer went to college, and he was still wanting to know God. Once he came to Christ, he was driven to start a ministry for children so they would be able to come to know the Lord. (I just read this story somewhere, but I can't remember where it was!).
  I would still love to go out with my nut and tell the Gospel story to children and grownups, and whoever else wants to listen. I don't know where my nut is now, and I can't find another one, but I can use anything that has those colors in it. Here is a blog page explaining the meaning of the colors: . I also found another web site that ministers specifically to children: Children Desiring God   
  Children can understand the Gospel and God can reveal Himself to them, but we do have to be careful to not create false converts also. It is easy for us to think that if a child does certain things or says certain things, that he must be saved. We can get the children to give us the right answers to the questions we are asking. We really do need to look for true fruit to come out of this. Even if the child is searching, he still might not 'get it' yet. We keep working with him or her until he does understand. God is the One who makes His word come alive to the child. His word is activated by the Holy Spirit working in the heart. We can't make it happen.
   We want to reach children with the Gospel. We want to reach old people with the Gospel. We want to reach college age kids with the Gospel. Everyone needs the Gospel. Let's practice as often as we get opportunities to open our mouths and preach the Gospel to everyone around us.