Friday, June 30, 2006

Dad's Daughter

Dad, you must get this one right. If you mess up here, all that you have invested in your daughter could be wasted on a dud.

The guys come around asking for her hand, but they really want much more. They want the entire twenty or so years you have invested in your precious daughter. They want all the training, the money you sank into dental and medical, and all the clothes and education. They want to reap the harvest that you have so carefully tended and protected for the best part of your life. When that young man comes around asking for your daughter, or maybe just announces that he is taking her, he is making off with the major fruit of your life.

Raising daughters is not a good business deal. You make a twenty-year investment and then just up and give the whole thing away to an inexperienced boy who doesn’t at all appreciate the value of what he is getting, and is probably not worthy of the gift, or “theft,” as it may be. To top it all off, he changes her name – takes her out of the family, and erases all traces of her lineage. Her children will not carry on your family name!

But there is comfort in knowing that all your investment was not really for that bonehead son-in-law; it was for your daughter – for her sake. Because you made her your life’s work, no matter what befalls her later in life, you can know that she will face it with courage and wisdom, bringing glory to God. She was God’s gift to you and your wife, precious and vulnerable, just raw material, and by means of his grace, you gave her back to him to be one of his stars in eternity. We dads are God’s teachers, his priests, entrusted with his most beloved creation, his last crowning feat of creation – the human female.

It is an act of faith to give our daughters in marriage. It must be how God felt when he turned away and left Adam alone in the garden with Eve. His work, as is ours, was complete. Their lives are now theirs to live – for better or for worse.

The Bible speaks of fathers “giving” their daughters in marriage, as if everyone respected his right to legislate in such matters. In an ideal society, fathers would always be wise, daughters would be mature, and suitors would be transparent and righteous. But fathers are usually clumsy and dull of discernment; daughters, selfish and impatient and suitors may be lustful and coy. Sadly, statistics show that new “Christian” marriages are more likely to end in divorce than not. And of those who stay together, most are not happy and holy. Holy matrimony is nearly a lost grace, as rare and blessed as the appearance of an angel.

Fathers, those of you with daughters yet to be married, I am speaking to you now. After you are satisfied that you have put your best into your daughter and after you have prepared and preserved her for her day of marriage, you have one last task that you must get right. If you miss this last turn in all your preparations, you have missed your life’s most vital purpose as a father. You must make absolutely sure that the one to whom you give your daughter is indeed worthy of her. This is not an easy task. Outward appearance is deceiving, and you are quite capable of being deceived. You will need help, more than I can give, in screening the young men who would court your daughter. It is this screening process that we are going to talk about. You are the chief screener. Do you know what questions to ask and how to ask them? Do you know how to get behind the young man’s facade and know the real man? Keep Reading...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ten Ways to Break the Stronghold of Pornography

Before you go through these... have you looked at yourself under the penetrating light of God's Law? Have you come to a place of genuine repentance? Do you know that your heart is desperately wicked; that it's an enemy of God? Do you see your Adamic nature as a Judas living within you, raising his hands and crying "Master, Master," but at the same time betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? Then put that traitor to death. Never trust your own heart again. It cares for nothing but self. The instant gratification of thirty pieces of silver is better than Heaven's approval. It is self-serving, self-gratifying, and self-deceiving. It is "earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3:15). Look at what Philippians 2:12 says about the "self" nature:

" out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ)" (The Amplified Bible).

1. Would you ever take pornography to church and look at it during worship? You may as well, because God is just as present in your bedroom as He is in the church building.

2. Face the fact that you may not be saved. Examine yourself to ensure that Christ is living in you (2 Corinthians 13:5). See Romans 6:11–22; 8:1–14; Ephesians 5:3–8.)

3. Realize that when you give yourself to pornography, you are committing adultery (Matthew 5:27,28).

4. Grasp the serious nature of your sin. Jesus said that it would be better for you to be blind and go to heaven, than for your eye to cause you to sin and end up in hell (Matthew 5:29).

5. Those who profess to be Christians yet give themselves to pornographic material evidently lack the fear of God (Proverbs 16:6). Cultivate the fear of God by reading Proverbs 2:1–5.

6. Read Psalm 51 and make it your own prayer.

7. Memorize James 1:14,15 and 1 Corinthians 10:13. Follow Jesus’ example (Matthew 4:3–11) and quote the Word of God when you are tempted (see Ephesians 6:12–20).

8. Make no provision for your flesh (Romans 13:14; 1 Peter 2:11). Get rid of every access to pornographic material—the Internet, printed literature, TV, videos, and movies. But don't just stop there... you also need to begin to think about how high God's standard of holiness and purity really is. What the general public would have called "pornographic" just 60 to 70 years ago is plastered through your Sunday morning newspaper, the billboards you see on your way to work, and the magazines that line the counters at the grocery checkout. Even television commercials are filled with images that if you printed them off and stood in front of an elementary school showing them to children... you would be arrested. The fire is being fed from all different directions... not just those that the world lables as "pornographic." You must stop feeding the fire.

9. Guard your heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). Don’t let the demonic realm have access to your thought-life. The Bible commands you to get control of your thoughts; read what Romans 13:14 says, "But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts)" (The Amplified Bible - bold added for emphasis). If you give yourself to it, you will become its slave (Romans 6:16). Read the Bible daily, without fail. As you submit to God, the devil will flee (James 4:7,8).

10. The next time temptation comes, do fifty push-ups, then fifty sit-ups. If you are still burning, repeat the process (see 1 Corinthians 9:27, and 1 Corinthians 7:9). This is not just a random "get your mind off it" exercise. This produces a physical reaction that is the equivalent of what is often called a "cold shower."


Are you at least 18 years of age? This free adult site contains hardcore truth, so only real men should enter. Do you like to lust? Do you long for adultery? Then this is a must see site for you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Parachute Analogy

The Gospel: Why not preach that Jesus gives happiness, peace, and joy?

Two men are seated on a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first, since he can’t see how wearing a parachute on a plane could possibly improve his flight. He decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he puts it on, he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact he was told that the parachute would improve his flight. So he decides to give it a little time.

As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him for wearing a parachute on a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they continue to point and laugh at him, he can stand it no longer. He slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because as far as he was concerned he was told an outright lie.

The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he’ll be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without the parachute.

Let’s now analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers, disillusioned, and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned, it will be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again.

The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come. And because of his knowledge of what would happen to him if he jumped without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward those who gave him the parachute is one of heartfelt gratitude.

Now listen to what the modern gospel says: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness." In other words, Jesus will improve your flight. The sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution—the other "passengers" mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ; he’s offended for the Word’s sake; he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered...and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, and fulfillment, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed at those who gave him the so-called "good news." His latter end becomes worse than the first, and he’s another inoculated and bitter "backslider."

Instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning sinners that they have to jump out of a plane. That it’s appointed for man to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). When a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking the Law of God, he will flee to the Savior, solely to escape the wrath that’s to come. If we are true and faithful witnesses, that’s what we’ll be preaching—that there is wrath to come—that God "commands all men every where to repent: because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30,31).

The issue isn’t one of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, or how much he is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, without the righteousness of Christ, he will perish on the day of wrath. Proverbs 11:4 says, "Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death."

Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation, but it’s not legitimate to use these fruits as a drawing card for salvation. If we continue to do so, the sinner will respond with an impure motive, lacking repentance. Can you remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart? It was because he knew that the parachute was going to save him from sure death. In the same way, as believers we have joy and peace in believing because we know that the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver us from the wrath that is to come.

With that thought in mind, let’s take a close look at an incident aboard the plane. We have a brand-new flight attendant. It’s her first day. She’s carrying a tray of boiling hot coffee. She wants to leave an impression upon the passengers and she certainly does! As she’s walking down the aisle she trips over someone’s foot and slops the hot coffee all over the lap of our second passenger. What’s his reaction as that boiling liquid hits his tender flesh? Does he go, "Man that hurt!"? Yes, he does. But then does he rip the parachute from his shoulders, throw it to the floor, and say, "The stupid parachute!"? No, why should he? He didn’t put the parachute on for a better flight. He put it on to save him from the jump to come. If anything, the hot coffee incident causes him to cling tighter to the parachute and even look forward to the jump.

If we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ for the right motive—to flee from the wrath that’s to come—when tribulation strikes, when the flight gets bumpy, we won’t get angry at God, and we won’t lose our joy and peace. Why should we? We didn’t come to Christ for a better lifestyle, but to flee from the wrath. to come If anything, tribulation drives the true believer closer to the Savior.

Sadly, we have multitudes of professing Christians who lose their joy and peace when the flight gets bumpy. Why? They are the product of a man- entered gospel. They came lacking repentance, without which they cannot be saved.

-from The Evidence Bible

Sunday, June 25, 2006

James 5:19-20 Caring Enough to Confront

(Outline from a Dudley Rutherford sermon)

19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

I. The Reality

A. People are going to wander from the truth.

1. Behavior

Judas turned on Jesus for the equivalent of $16, King David turned away from the faith for the love of money, John Mark got discouraged and just quit when the problems of life distracted him, people are like lost sheep who just wander away carelessly. Whether is it corruption, greed, problems, or just laziness, how big would the church be if nobody quit? We need to make sure that we come to church with the right motive, holiness, and not something like happiness, so when life challenges us, we cling tighter to the Savior.

2. Beliefs

People are not grounded enough in the Word of God, that they get blown away when another doctrine comes along. How many people raised in the church, who never heard the Gospel clearly explained, and didn't spend time in their bible getting the truth into them, left the church for a cult, or the New Age Movement, or even a liberal (not literal) interpretation of the bible.

I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

People raised in a Christian home go off to college and come home with a morality that is relative, believing that the bible is not reliable (though their textbooks are), that abortion, pornography and homosexuality are all OK. Once you discredit the bible at THE standard of truth, you can pretty much make it up as you go along, and people certainly do.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ! Colossians 2:8

B. People are in danger of spiritual death.

Hebrews 10:26-27
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

It is clear that God in the New Testament is angry at people who keep on sinning, calling them His enemies, and promising judgment and raging fire. Spiritual death is dangerous. Much more dangerous than spending fifteen minutes with someone who does not share your beliefs. Anyone who believes that becoming a Christian is just 'saying a prayer' and then continuing in their old lifestyle has not read this verse. I hear people who say that they "confess" their sins all the time, but have yet to actually "repent" and turn from them, actually forsaking them as we are required to do. Hebrews is talking here about people who show up every Sunday and call themselves Christians, but their lifestyle clearly shows otherwise. These are the ones that will say, "Lord, Lord" and He will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you."

2 Peter 2:20-22
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit,"and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

The problem with the watered down, modern Gospel, is that it produces false converts. People who are willing to give this Jesus thing a try to see what it can do for them. They have never seen their sin as God sees it, examined themselves in the mirror of the Ten Commandments, and, like a dog, return to their own vomit at the first chance. If someone truly sees what God thinks of their sin, and sees His righteous anger at their sin, they don't have to try not to look at pornography on the Internet. When someone realized their sin makes them an enemy of God, they don't have wandering eyes, looking at anyone else from their spouse. People who have truly surrendered to Christ, cannot be slaves to sin anymore.

II. The Responsibility (to restore)

A. Follow the Scriptures

Matthew 7:1-5

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. - This seems to be the only verse that non-believers can quote from memory. Why do you think that is? They don't want to be told what they are doing is wrong. But, they neglect to read on.

2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
�3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
We not only have a right to restore those who have drifted away, but the responsibility to do so. It is not just the job of the pastor, or the elders. James just wants to be sure that we make sure our walk matches our talk. Then we are called to go bring our brothers back into the fold.

Matthew 18:15-17
15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
There is a biblical order to confronting people with their sin. It starts with one on one witnessing, so that you don't embarrass a person in a crowd. Ultimately it ends with treating him like a tax collector. How would that be? Well, you don't have to be best friends with the person, but always show them respect and humility.

Galatians 6:1
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Clearly the scriptures want us to restore lost sheep, but tells us to do so with humility and gentleness. Watch your motive and tone when you talk with someone. Are you trying to win an argument? Passion is OK, as long as you have compassion. This is another reason to ask people about their keeping the commandments, and not accuse them of doing so. We don't need to judge people, their conscience does that. But, telling people the truth of God's judgment is not the same thing as judging people ourself.

B. Follow the Steps (Nathan) 2 Samuel 12:1-13
1.He mustered the courage to go. - Let your fear drive you to your knees. That is where our true strength comes from... prayer. It's not always fun, but we need to put people's welfare over our own comfort.
2.He had the right timing. - Pray about it every time you confront someone.
3.He had the right facts. - Make sure you are not acting on a rumor or a false accusation.
4.He chose his words carefully. - Make sure you confront someone biblically. (see how Jesus did it)
5.He maintained communication. - Waiting around on your high horse for people to ask for your opinion will never work. You need to be the one to reach out and communicate the truth to people.

III. The Reward

A. Save him from death.
B. Cover over a multitude of sins.

The bible is clear that death is the consequence of sin. Our reward comes in the form of saving someone else, showing them how their sins are covered, all, ultimately to the glory of God, not ourselves.

20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Weekend Humor

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse........You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a
building full of lawyers, judges and politicians -- it creates a hostile work environment.

A Greek priest is driving down to New York to see a show, and he's stopped in Connecticut for speeding. The state trooper smells alcohol on his breath, sees an empty wine bottle on the floor, and asks, "Sir, have you been drinking?"
The minister replies, "Just water."
The trooper asks, "Then, why do I smell wine?"
The minister looks down at the bottle and exclaims, "Good Lord, He's done it again!"

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother," she asked "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."

Q: Who was known as a Mathematician in the Bible?
A: Moses, he wrote the book of Numbers.

A boy was sitting on a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great!" he yelled without worrying whether anyone heard him or not.
Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the boy about the source of his joy.
"Hey" asked the boy in return with a bright laugh, "Don't you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right through the middle."
The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy and began to try to open his eyes to the "realities" of the miracles of the Bible. "That can all be very easily explained. Modern scholarship has shown that the Red Sea in that area was only 10-inches deep at that time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across."
The boy was stumped. His eyes wandered from the man back to the Bible laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had enlightened a poor, naive young person to the finer points of scientific insight, turned to go. Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice and praise louder than before. The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.
"Wow!" Exclaimed the boy happily, "God is greater than I thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in 10 inches of water!"

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Old Testament God

Some people think that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are different. They think that in the Old Testament, He was wrath-filled, but in the New Testament, He lightened up and become more congenial. Not so. He never changes. God is just as merciful and kind in the Old Testament, and just as wrath-filled in the New. He killed a husband and wife in the Book of Acts simply because they told one lie.(Acts 5:1-10) Read the Book of Revelation and you will see wrath on almost every page. But His fury was never seen so clearly as at the cross. It was there that His righteous anger against sin was revealed. Wrath was poured on the Savior so that we could have mercy. He suffered and died, so that we could be blessed and live. There goes another minute. Gone forever. Go share your faith while you still have time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Evangelism, Evangelism, Evangelism

Evangelism isn't necessarily an Christian phenomenon. Everybody, at some level is out to evangelize.

Gnostics evangelize. Here, they distinguishe between evangelism and proslytization

Evangelism: sharing the Good News of the Gnosis revealed through Jesus the Christ with people so that they may have the opportunity to know what I know.

Proselytization: intruding into a person's psycho-spiritual world space with the intention to deconstruct and change the person's way of thinking and perceiving...
I guess his idea is that you should offer your ideas and give others the opportunity to accept or reject. Though, he admits that his desire is that people would accept, of course.

Atheists evangelise. They would like to spread their belief in an effort to make the world a better place.
Since atheism is a positive worldview, there would seem to be a reason we should bring it to others. ... Since our goal as atheists should be to increase human happiness, we should spread this message as widely as possible and work to persuade people to join us.
They also debate over how to evangelize without offending people or being perceived as intrusive. They suggest "coming out" to your friends and family as a non-believer, and perhaps writing editorials as an effective form of evangelism.

Even moral relativists evangelize. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but at the root of their belief is the idea that they are right. They believe you should not be telling others what you believe to be true. Certainly not that you have the "only truth". (they do)

This approach is very popular with post-modernists, that breed of radical skeptics whose ideas command unwarranted respect in the university today. Their rallying cry, "There is no truth," is often followed by an appeal for tolerance.

For all their confident bluster, the relativists' appeal actually asserts two truths, one rational and one moral. The first is the "truth" that there is no truth. The second is the moral truth that one ought to tolerate other people's viewpoints. Their stand, contradictory on at least two counts, serves as a warning that the modern notion of tolerance is seriously misguided.

Everybody has some belief. Everybody believes their beliefs are true. Everyone wants others to believe their truth. (Even if their truth is camoflauged as "everyone has their own truth") The question is, what is the appropriate measure to be taken to get someone else to believe your truth. A lot depends on the consequence of believing that truth.

Take some time to look at your motive for evangelizing. Are you trying to prove your superiority? Are you trying to earn notches on your spiritual belt? Are you trying to influence the world to change so you can feel better? Are you motivated by compassion for other people? Are you motivated by the 'fear of the Lord'? What is the correct motivation? Out of that, what should the correct method of evangelism be?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

James 5:7-12 Patience in Suffering

7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.

Patience is the word of the day today. I am so excited and anxious about this ministry that the Lord has me in, that I sometimes get ahead of myself. I must be having an impact as I have gotten more emails this past week than I have since I started writing about my witnessing. I find that when I stand up and preach the truth about what God says in the Bible, people get irked. I want two reactions when I preach the word. I want people to get mad, or to get converted. At least I am having some impact.

I am still sometimes anxious to see some results that are positive every time and I get frustrated when people misjudge my efforts. I've got to remember to be patient, and stand firm. I'm not here to argue with people. I'm not here to grumble with my neighbor, nor to judge them. The Judge of the Universe is more than capable of doing that for Himself, and is standing at the door ready to do so.

It would be easier for me to sit back and enjoy the Christian music and the wonderful fellowship with those in the church rather to stand up and be ridiculed by those who consider themselves intellectuals. But, I am called to preach the truth. I'm called to preach the reality of the coming judgment against all of us who sin, against all of us who lie, steal, lust, blaspheme, and don't put God above ourselves. I'm also supposed to tell of God's mercy and compassion to those very same people

If I can remember how patient He was with me, and how much compassion and mercy I've been granted, I can only pray that I have a fraction of that to all who ridicule me. I can only pray that God will be just as patient with everyone, and I know that His will is that none shall perish. I'm willing to perservere and see what the Lord plans to finally bring about.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

John Wesley

John Wesley told his evangelist trainees that when they preached, people should either get angry or get converted. No doubt, he wasn't speaking of the "Jesus loves you" gospel, but about sin, Law, righteousness, judgment and hell.

The purpose of the Law is to stop the sinner's mouth of justification. The Law tells him what sin is and stops him proclaiming his own goodness. Its intent is to drive him to the cross. John Wesley said, "The first use of [the Law], without question, is to convince the world of sin. By this is the sinner discovered to himself. All his fig-leaves are torn away, and he sees that he is wretched and poor and miserable, blind and naked. The Law flashes conviction on every side. He feels himself a mere sinner. He has nothing to pay. His mouth is stopped and he stands, guilty before God."

"If doing a good act in public will excite others to do more good, then 'Let your light shine to all.' Miss no opportunity to do good."

"Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God upon earth."

"I desire to have both heaven and hell in my eye."

"The very first end of the Law [is], namely, convicting men of sin; awakening those who are still asleep on the brink of hell... The ordinary method of God is to convict sinners by the Law, and that only. The gospel is not the means which God hath ordained, or which our Lord Himself used, for this end. "

"To slay the sinner is then the first use of the Law, to destroy the life and strength wherein he trusts and convince him that he is dead while he lives; not only under the sentence of death, but actually dead to God, void of all spiritual life, dead in trespasses and sins."

"...when Felix sent for Paul, on purpose that he might hear him concerning the faith in Christ; instead of preaching Christ in your sense (which would probably have caused the Governor, either to mock or to contradict and blaspheme,) he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, till Felix (hardened as he was) trembled. Go thou and tread in his steps. Preach Christ to the careless sinner, by reasoning of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come!"

"You have nothing to do but save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work."

"While [every true believer] cries out, Oh what love have I unto thy Law! All the day long is my study in it; he sees daily, in that divine mirror, more and more of his own sinfulness. He sees more and more clearly that he is fullness a sinner in all things that neither his heart nor his ways are right before God, and that every moment sends him to Christ. Therefore I cannot spare the Law one moment, no more than I can spare Christ, seeing I now want it as much to keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to Him. Otherwise this evil heart of unbelief would immediately depart from the living God. Indeed each is continually sending me to the other - the Law to Christ, and Christ to the Law."

"It is the ordinary method of the Spirit of God to convict sinners by the Law. It is this which, being set home on the conscience, generally breaketh the rocks in pieces. It is more especially this part of the Word of God which is quick and powerful, full of life and energy and sharper than any two-edged sword."

"Before I can preach love, mercy, and grace, I must preach sin, Law and judgment."

John Wesley was asked what he would do with his life if he knew that he would die at midnight the next day. His answer was something like this: "I would just carry on with what I am doing. I will arise at 5:00 a.m. for prayer, then take a house meeting at 6:00 a.m. At 12 noon, I will be preaching at an open-air. At 3:00 p.m. I have another meeting in another town. At 6:00 p.m. I have a house meeting; at 10:00 p.m. I have a prayer meeting and at 12:00 midnight, I would go to be with my Lord."

If we knew we were to die at 12 o'clock tomorrow night, would we have to step up our evangelistic efforts, or could we in all good conscience carry on just as we are?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sermon on the Mount

Matthew Chapter 5

This sermon not only reveals God’s divine nature, it puts into our hands the most powerful of evangelistic weapons. It is the greatest evangelistic sermon ever preached by the greatest evangelist who ever lived.

The straightedge of God’s Law reveals how crooked we are:

  • Matt. 5:3: The unregenerate heart isn’t poor in spirit. It is proud, self-righteous, and boastful (every man is pure in his own eyes—Proverbs16:2).
  • Matt. 5:4: The unsaved don’t mourn over their sin; they love the darkness and hate the light (John 3:19).
  • Matt. 5:5: The ungodly are not meek and lowly of heart. Their sinful condition is described in Romans 3:13–18.
  • Matt. 5:6: Sinners don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness. Instead, they drink iniquity like water (Job 15:16).
  • Matt. 5:7: The world is shallow in its ability to show true mercy. It is by nature cruel and vindictive (Genesis 6:5).
  • Matt. 5:8: The heart of the unregenerate is not pure; it is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Those who are born again manifest the fruit of the Spirit, live godly in Christ Jesus (Matt. 5:3–9), and therefore suffer persecution (Matt. 5:10–12). However, their purpose on earth is to be salt and light: to be a moral influence, and to bring the light to those who sit in the shadow of death (Matt. 5:13–16).

Look now at how the Messiah expounds the Law and makes it "honorable" (Isaiah 42:21). He establishes that He didn’t come to destroy the Law (Matt. 5:17); not even the smallest part of it will pass away (Matt. 5:18). It will be the divine standard of judgment (James 2:12; Romans 2:12; Acts 17:31). Those who teach it "shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). The Law should be taught to sinners because it was made for them (1 Timothy 1:8–10), and is a "schoolmaster" that brings the "knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:19,20; 7:7). Its function is to destroy self-righteousness and bring sinners to the cross (Galatians 3:24). The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was merely outward, but God requires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6). Jesus shows this by unveiling the Law’s spiritual nature (Romans 7:14).

The Sixth Commandment forbids murder. However, Jesus shows that it also condemns anger "without cause," and even evil- speaking (Matt. 5:21–26): "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

The Seventh Commandment forbids adultery, but Jesus revealed that this also includes lust, and it even condemns divorce, except in the case of sexual sin of the spouse (Matt. 5:27–32).

Jesus opens up the Ninth Commandment (Matt. 5:33–37), and then shows that love is the spirit of the Law—"The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart . . ." (1 Timothy 1:5). This is summarized in what is commonly called the Golden Rule: "All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the Law and the prophets" (Matthew 7:12, emphasis added).

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:8–10).

When a sinner is born again he is able to do this (Matt. 5:38–47). He now possesses "the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). In Christ he is made perfect and thus satisfies the demands of a "perfect" Law (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25). Without the righteousness of Christ he cannot be perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). The Law annihilated his self-righteousness leaving him undone and condemned. His only hope was in the cross of Jesus Christ. After his conversion, knowledge of the Law that brought him there keeps him at the foot of the cross. John Wesley said, "Therefore I cannot spare the Law one moment, no more than I can spare Christ, seeing I now want it as much to keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to Him. Otherwise this ‘evil heart of unbelief’ would immediately ‘depart from the living God.’ Indeed each is continually sending me to the other—the Law to Christ, and Christ to the Law."

Excerpted from The Evidence Bible

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Honest Feedback

Here is part of a letter from someone in Oklahoma, who had some people try to witness to him using this basic approach. He was brave enough to email me with some honest feedback. Is this what we are leaving people with?

a.) I felt that my space was invaded. I felt that the other two gentlemen were impersonal and quick to assume that my faith was in need of help. I understand religion and theology to be an extremely difficult subject for some people and I only have the intention to talk to people about it if they are dear and close to me or if they come up to me and ask. I will completely shut myself off to someone I have never met while try to tell me what I am doing is wrong.
His impression was that they were "telling" him what he was doing is wrong. While that may be the truth, we shouldn't have to "tell" people this. Their conscience should be more than capable if we ask the right questions.

b.) In this specific case, we were lured in by being told that if we could answer two questions right we could win a chili’s gift card—and that it would only take two minutes (we stood for fifteen).

I felt taken advantage of. I felt lied to. The two questions were if we could name 10 beers (we could) and if we could name the Ten Commandments (We could only name seven. I also should have asked which commandments they were referring to, as the Bible has three different versions…). Afterwards, one gentleman said to the other that they should give us the gift card just because we were good sports about everything. The other fellow said, “No, we did not get the answers right.” I suppose that this is the result of having a dominant divine right and wrong theology…
If the impression you are leaving people with is that you have just cheated them, you certainly have destroyed any progress you have made by presenting another example of hypocrisy from a Christian.

c.) I was not given any chance to defend my thoughts or beliefs and the conversation was completely one-sided.
This one is big. Are we so busy trying to get through a script that we forget that we are talking to a real person with real questions. If you don't have enough respect and compassion for people that you really care about their questions, you should rethink your motives.

d.) Also, in this specific case (which of course, may be a coincidence and/or may solely be in this case), the woman in our group was hardly looked at or talked to during the talk. This may be coincidence, or it may stem from the male dominant attitude rampant throughout the Bible.
Do you think the people doing the witnessing had any idea they were doing this? This goes to show that you really need to pray and be a good witness above reproach above all else. Something that they had no idea about was a sticking point for this person. What might you need to be aware of, or be better at, doing that might be destroying your testimony? People are really watching your actions, your tone, your heart, way above the words you are saying.

e.) I did see sincerity in the two gentlemen’s faces. I did see an honest concern for my well-being. They did say that they were not out to condemn people, but they lacked the understanding that based on their theology-they were condemning people. If they really wanted to talk to me in a constructive manner, they should have asked if I would like to talk and then have a mutual conversation with me over a Dr. Pepper they had just bought me.
He said he would have been open to a converation, if the premise had been a little more honest. And, just telling people you are not condemning them is not enough if your tone tells them otherwise. People need to be clear that YOU are not condemning them. You stand condemned as much or more than they are. Their transgressions are the thing that condemns them. God's wrath is waiting to pour out on them JUSTLY for their conscious lifetime of sin. YOUR message should be to explain that they are already condemned, God has made provision for them, and it is not His desire that any should perish. I'm not sure about the Dr. Pepper comment, must be a midwest thing. ;)

Bottom line, you need to pray before you get out and witness to people. Pray for the right motive. Pray for a right heart. Pray that you can tell people the truth in love. Not everyone will get on their knees and repent on the spot. But, as you can see, you WILL leave them thinking. They should be thinking about Jesus, though, and not you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Teaching and Preaching

The Basic Training class started up again today. I think four weeks was a little rushed, so we will take six weeks to go through it this time. As we went through the Fireman episode today cultivating our compassion for the lost, I started thinking about two things. First, we should be out 'preaching' (for lack of a better term) the Gospel to the lost. I spend a lot of time presenting the Law to people and when they realize their need for a Savior, I tell them about the Good News of the Gospel. I think we are all called to fulfill the Great Commission by doing this very thing.

But, in class, I noticed a different group of people. People who are in the church, but have no idea how to seek and save the lost. Or, some of them have no idea that we should be doing that. We need to find time, in addition to preaching, to be 'teaching' others how to share their faith. Many people feel motivated, and filled with compassion, to save the lost, but have no idea where to start. So, if you are already sharing your faith, try to find someone to mentor. Bring someone along when you witness. First, for support and prayer, and second, to equip them with the tools so they can witness as well. If everyone in the church were sharing their faith regularly, I think we would see true revival in our world.

Regular Witnessing

Tonight, I was not as full of energy as I usually am. I had a long day of work, and really didn't feel like getting out there to witness. I was dragging my feet, even while keeping my commitment to be faithful. When I got there, I noticed two kids (pictured) telling a group of kids about the Law and Grace. One of them was 16 years old, from Cornerstone Moorpark. OK, a tall cup of coffee, and seeing these two out there was all the motivation I needed. (Listen here.)

One advantage of finding a regular fishing spot is you start to build a relationship with the people there. As usual, tonight there were plenty of people who had not heard the Gospel and needed to.
But, tonight, I also met up with a couple of kids who I spoke with two weeks ago. They approached me and said, "Hey, we've been good. We haven't sinned for two weeks! Well, we've tried not to sin, anyway."
I reminded them that even if they lived a perfect life from today forward, they still have all the wrath stored up from their lifetime of sin waiting to condemn them. They obviously have had a change of heart if they were trying to live better lives. But, they need to take the next step and really "repent", and of course, put their trust in the Savior. They can't trust their own goodness, but they must trust that Jesus Christ paid the price for complete forgiveness of their sins, past, present and future. I left them with a Bible to read, and told them I'd see them in a couple weeks. That really made my night to know that the Holy Spirit is at work in someone's heart.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

James 5:1-6 Warning to Rich Oppressors

1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

What will you tell God when you see Him? What will you impress Him with? Your bank account? Your DVD collection? How fat are you going to be on the day of slaughter?

The rich swell up with pride, the poor from hunger.
Sholom Aleichem
Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we'd want to get involved.
Bill Gates
Religion I have disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give to them, and that is the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one cent, they would be rich. If they have not that, and I had given them the world, they would be poor.
Patrick Henry
No man is rich enough to buy back his past.
Oscar Wilde
Instead of trying to fill your portfolio, get out there and fulfill the Great Commission.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Eight Tips to be a Winsome Ambassador

  1. Look for opportunities - always be alert for what might turn out to be a Divine appointment.
  2. Don't give too much information - You don't need to talk about evolution, young/old earth, eschatology, prophecy, Darwinism, pretribulation rapture, amillenialism to be effective. The gospel is plenty enough for a non believer to get their head around.
  3. Stay away from religious language, terminology, affectations - speak in language that the person can understand. People might be interested in Christ before they are interested in Christian religion.
  4. Focus on the truth, not personal benefits of Christianity - It doesn't matter what people like or don't like, examine the truth claims of Christianity, not the promises of personal benefits.
  5. Give evidence - Everyone else in the Bible did as well. Give the scripture evidence for what you are witnessing to people. People do respond to that, even in a post modern age.
  6. Stay calm - don't get crazy or frustrated. The more calm you stay, the more confident you look, the more persuasive you sound.
  7. Let them walk away - When someone is finished with the conversation looking for a way out. Let them go. They are not listening anymore. "Don't bruise the fruit."
  8. Leave them with something - The gospel of John, or a clear gospel tract is a great way to give them more to do after you are gone. If they read the bible, Jesus can speak for Himself. Give them some way to make the next step.

Adapted from the Stand to Reason podcast with Greg Koukl

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Law to those at Pride

Today, I visited the Christopher Street West event along with the gay parade in West Hollywood. The codename for this whole event is pride. Yes, pride.

I don't have a problem walking around people and feeling for them and viewing them as just as valuable in God's site as any of His children. But, this is a tough group to witness to. They are so caught up in their one issue that they don't want to hear anything about God, or His word. I didn't have to look very far to find people that blatantly broke each of the commandments and wore it as a badge of honor. What I found most interesting today was the number of churches that had booths set up inside this event. They weren't there to let sinners know of their fate without the Savior, they were there to attract people who wanted to be openly gay inside the church.

I had a great conversation with a guy from one church. I said I would lay aside the question of whether homosexual acts were sinful, but my question was, "Is anything a sin?" He explained that his church was embracing the postmodern mindset and thinks that though we all should embrace Jesus (whatever that means) that we are not supposed to be so arrogant as to tell others what Jesus said. Each is supposed to find out for themselves what their path is.

I asked him how I could get to heaven. What would I need to do in his opinion? It was hard to get it out, but basically, I need to embrace Jesus. I asked him point blank what happens to those who don't embrace Jesus. He waivered between saying that they go to a not nice place, or maybe Jesus saves them anyway. I showed him where the bible tells what happens to unrepentent sinners. I asked him if he considered himself a good person. Of course, he did. After taking him through the Law, and presenting the Grace of the cross in light of that Law, I think it made sense to him. I left him with a plea to think about all the people here who have not repented of their sin, who have not trusted in the Savior, and are depending on him to reach out and let them know how to avoid the wrath to come.

I don't think the irony is lost on those at the Los Angeles Gay Pride festival. It's no coincidence that Pride is the codeword for gay. I didn't even argue with anyone about their orientation. I didn't have to. Nobody put God first. Or for that matter, second. It may be tongue in cheek, but their consciences tell them that they will "burn twice"(see picture). Oh, lost ones please listen to your conscience. Don't harden your hearts. The walls are pretty big in that community, and today might be the only time you get to hear God's plea. Please turn. Please repent. Please trust in the Savior. Don't depend on the postmodern church to save you. Read your bible daily, trust God, and He will never let you down.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Like Father, Like Son

Jameson, 11 months old, already has a million dollar tract in his shirt pocket. Aww, how cute.

Well, the first group is through. All in all, we had about twenty people that made it through the Basic Training class. A few missed a bit, and plan to start in again next week as we do it all again. Today's lesson was all about getting inspired and motivated to get out there and make evangelism part of your life. This lesson is not just a class you take and put a certificate on your wall. The idea is to actually use it. We learned to have a compassion for the lost. We learned how to craft a biblical message to use the Law to bring about conviction in a person's conscience. We learned to present the gospel while not getting sidetracked down "rabbit trails". Today was time to make a commitment to seek and save the lost.

As we left the classroom, in the parking lot of the church was an antique auto show. There were easily a few hundred people there. Everyone looked at me as if to say, "Hey, professor, let's see your stuff." I had spent the last four weeks convincing people that they could actually swallow their fears and get out there and share their faith. This was no time for me to get weak kneed. I pulled out some million dollar bills and walked around. I was actually trembling because I didn't want a bad encounter to color the experience for everyone. I ended up talking to the parking security guys, and another group at one of the booths. It turned out fine. Hopefully, this whole experience will show people that it is pretty simple, albeit scary, to get out there and talk to a complete stranger about Jesus Christ. But, we are called to be faithful, and I pray every day that I can answer that call.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday at the Mall Again

Tonight we had six of us. Nathan and Kevin from Cornerstone came with Joey. I didn't spend as much time here as last week because I got there late, and started getting pretty tired around 11PM. To get warmed up, I did a lap in the mall passing out the pink and blue optical illusion tracts. Then watched as Nathan talked to a group of 12 big guys. They were acting pretty rowdy and we decided to pray for him. Joey, David and I prayed for their mouths to be quieted, and their hearts to be pierced and for the Holy Spirit to really get in there and convict them of their sin. When we looked up, they all were staring quietly at Nathan and listening very intently.

I talked to a group of kids and one of them was already a Christian. I went through the complete Law and Gospel anyway as all of his friends were listening. He knew his stuff, but still didn't name all Ten Commandments. Before I got there, both David and Joey had lost a $20 bill to the people they witnessed to. I decided to try it without the $20 contest. I wanted to get one more recorded so I would have some audio for this post. Nathan pointed to a group of kids dressed in black with several piercings and said, "When they are dressed like that, it is always difficult." Great, this was the group I was going to talk to then.

Jason was the most receptive in the group, and one other boy actually asked me, "What is a commandment?" They didn't have a preconceived idea of where I was leading them. Jason was sixteen and had just gotten confirmed. It was because his mother made him do it and he really had no idea what he was confirming. As I proceeded with the Law, the two girls in the group high-tailed it out of there, but the three boys stayed till the end. They had a few questions along the way that I was able to answer briefly and get them back to the topic. By the end, Jason was swooning like he was going to fall down. I asked him if he was alright, and he said, "Wow, I need to go home and think about this stuff." I found out he didn't have a bible, so I got him a pocket Gospel of John and told him I'd see him here in a couple of weeks to see how he was doing.

All in all it was a great night, and our biggest turnout yet. Hopefully next week, we'll have some people from the Basic Training class be bold enough to come out and join us. In the meantime, please take a moment to pray for all the people that we witnessed to tonight. Pray that they will be convicted with a hunger and thirst for righteousness. And, pray that they seek out the living water so that they need never thirst again.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Personal Witnessing - How Jesus Did It

John chapter 4, verses 7–26 give us the Master’s example of how to share our faith. Notice that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well when she was alone. We will often find that people are more open and honest when they are alone. So, if possible, pick a person who is sitting by himself. From there, we can see four clear principles to follow:

First: Jesus began in the natural realm (v. 7).
This woman was unregenerate, and the Bible tells us “the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14). He therefore spoke of something she could relate to—water. Most of us can strike up a conversation with a stranger in the natural realm. It may be a friendly “How are you doing?” or a warm “Good morning!” If the person responds with a sense of warmth, we may then ask, “Do you live around here?” and from there develop a conversation.

Second: Jesus swung the conversation to the spiritual realm (v. 10).
He simply mentioned the things of God. This will take courage. We may say something like, “Did you go to church on Sunday?” or “Did you see that Christian TV program last week?” If the person responds positively, the question “Do you have a Christian background?” will probe his background. He may answer, “I went to church when I was a child, but I drifted away from it.” Another simple way to swing to the spiritual is to offer the person a gospel tract and ask, “Did you get one of these?” When he takes it, simply say, “It’s a gospel tract. Do you come from a Christian background?”

Third: Jesus brought conviction using the Law of God (vv. 16–18).
Jesus gently spoke to her conscience by alluding to the fact that she had transgressed the Seventh of the Ten Commandments. He used the Law to bring “the knowledge of sin” (see Romans 3:19,20). We can do the same, “Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Do you think that you have kept the Ten Commandments?” Most people think they have, so quickly follow with, “Have you ever told a lie?” This is confrontational, but if it’s asked in a spirit of love and gentleness, there won’t be any offense. Remember that the “work of the Law [is] written in their hearts” and that the conscience will bear “witness” (Romans 2:15). Jesus confronted the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18–21 with five of the Ten Commandments and there was no offense. Have confidence that the conscience will do its work and affirm the truth of each Commandment. Don’t be afraid to gently ask, “Have you ever stolen something, even if it’s small?” Learn how to open up the spirituality of the Law and show how God considers lust to be the same as adultery (Matthew 5:27,28) and hatred the same as murder (1 John 3:15). Make sure you get an admission of guilt.

Ask the person, “If God judges you by the Ten Commandments on Judgment Day, do you think you will be innocent or guilty?” If he says he will be innocent, ask, “Why is that?” If he admits his guilt, ask, “Do you think you will go to heaven or hell?”

From there the conversation may go one of three ways:

1. He may confidently say, “I don’t believe in hell. Gently respond, “That doesn’t matter. You still have to face God on Judgment Day whether you believe in it or not. If I step onto the freeway when a massive truck is heading for me and I say, ‘I don’t believe in trucks,’ my lack of belief isn’t going to change reality.”

2. He may say that he’s guilty, but that he will go to heaven. This is usually because he thinks that God is “good,” and that He will, therefore, overlook sin in his case. Point out that if a judge in a criminal case has a guilty murderer standing before him, the judge, if he is a good man, can’t just let him go. He must ensure that the guilty man is punished. If God is good, He must (by nature) punish murderers, rapists, thieves, liars, adulterers, fornicators, and those who have lived in rebellion to the inner light that God has given to every man. Then tenderly tell him he has already admitted to you that he has lied, stolen, and committed adultery in his heart, and that God gave him a conscience so that he would know right from wrong. His conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit will do the rest. That’s why it is essential to draw out an admission of guilt before you mention Judgment Day or the existence of hell.

3. He may admit that he is guilty and therefore going to hell. Ask him if that concerns him. Speak to him about how much he values his eyes and how much more therefore he should value the salvation of his soul. (For the biblical description of hell, see Revelation 1:18 footnote.) If possible, take the person through the linked verses in this Bible, beginning at the Matthew 5:21,22 footnote.

Fourth: Jesus revealed Himself to her (v. 26).
Once the Law has humbled the person, he is ready for grace. Remember, the Bible says that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The gospel is for the humble (see Luke 4:18 footnote). Only the sick need a physician, and only those who will admit that they have the disease of sin will truly embrace the cure of the gospel.

Learn how to present the work of the cross —that God sent His Son to suffer and die in our place. Tell the sinner of the love of God in Christ; that Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death. Take him back to civil law and say, “It’s as simple as this: We broke God’s Law, and Jesus paid our fine. If you will repent and trust in the Savior, God will forgive your sins and dismiss your case.” Ask him if he understands what you have told him. If he is willing to confess and forsake his sins, and trust the Savior with his eternal salvation, have him pray and ask God to forgive him. Then pray for him. Get him a Bible. Instruct him to read it daily and obey what he reads, and encourage him to get into a Bible-believing, Christ-preaching church.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

James 4:13-17 Boasting About Tomorrow

13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

We talk a lot with people who are not believers. It is easy to identify some personal sins they have committed. Who hasn't lied, stolen, blasphemed or lusted? What do you do with a person who claims to already be a Christian? How about if they admit their sin, and say that they are a Christian, but something seems to be missing?

James is a great book about Christian living. Not about how to become a Christian, but how to act like one. When I meet someone who says they are a Christian, I take them through the Law just like anyone else. If someone tries to justify their sin, or minimize it, rather than admit it, it raises a red flag for me. Then I ask if they read their bible daily. Someone who can't remember when they last picked up their bible also raises my suspicions. Finally, if someone has definitely repented and put their faith in the Savior, I ask them if they are regularly sharing their faith verbally, at least with people they know, if not necessarily with outright strangers.

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." - Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tuesday, July 22, 2042

I don't smoke. I weigh what I should. I'm not in any high risk group. But, I'm still going to die one day. Tuesday, July 22, 2042, to be exact if has anything to say about it. As I am typing this, I'm watching the seconds tick away. 1,140,063,850 ... 1,140,063,849 ... left to go.

Wow. I wonder if God will ask me my high score on Bejeweled on my phone. I wonder if he'll be impressed that I still know how to solve a Rubik's Cube. I wonder if he'll ask me my annualized return on my IRA. Or, will he be more concerned about my relationship with His Son.

Did I repent of my personal sin? Did I trust in the Savior alone to pay for my sins? What did I do with that salvation. Did I practice 'grace abuse' and keep living for myself? Did I get out there and tell somebody, plead with somebody, pour my heart out to somebody to get themselves right with God today.

Man, there goes more seconds. Tick... Tick... Tick...

Friday, June 02, 2006

And Then There Were Four

Well, we have only been going out a couple of weeks now, but we're growing. David (pictured here) from the Vine, Joey from Cornerstone, and Vangy from a home church here in the Valley and myself from Shepherd, made four of us tonight for witnessing. When I go out by myself I have to really get my courage up to start speaking to a group of people. With two of us, we had some better momentum going, encouraging each other to talk to the next group. We would talk for a second and then say, "Hey, how about those two?". Tonight, with four of us, we kept pairing off, talking to people, switching pairs, and doing it again. In three hours, we lost count, but figured that we must have personally witnessed to well over fifty people.

When I first started learning to do this, I mostly walked by people, then when I got the courage, I handed them a tract and quickly hurried off before they figured out what it was. Then I started handing them out to more people and making sure to let them know that it was a Gospel tract, and that they should read it. Every once in a while, I would get the nerve to spend ten minutes and witness to someone.

Now, as I am filled with the Holy Spirit, who equips me for service, I find myself witnessing to more people and rarely just handing out a tract and walking away. I find that once I get over the scary part of approaching a stranger, most people are really willing to talk about spiritual things and when I transition to the Law and start to ask about people's personal sin, I find myself just getting into the zone. If I use a tract lately, it is usually just to give them something after we talk to recap our conversation, and point them to a website for futher information.

It was such a blur tonight, but I had a few great encounters. One group of kids included a Baptist and a Catholic. The Baptist had it almost right without any prompting. We just went through the Law and then to the Gospel, including the need to repent, and put your trust in the Savior. What I didn't notice at first was how the Catholic girl was listening to our talk. She blurted out that she was really scared now. The realization that her sin was sitting there waiting to condemn her if she died tonight was too much for her to sit on. That changed the mood immediately. She was really scared. I spent the next few minutes telling her that it was NOT God's will that any should perish and told her exactly how to get in a right standing with God. My big concern was why the Baptist girl had not told her friend in all their years of friendship how to access salvation.

I talked to a group of people who had huge diamond and gold crosses on their necks(bling bling) and they could only name about 5 commandments. I talked to a kid from a public school who named nine commandments; so many I thought for sure I would lose my $20. I talked to a few Catholics who skipped the second commandment, but named number eleven. I even talked to a girl who confused the Commandments with the Ammendments, as she thought for sure that, "The Right to Bear Arms" was in the list. Before long, anyone who comes to the Northridge Mall will be able to name them all, and will have heard the Gospel presented at least once. Tonight especially I noticed that sometimes the people who were listening the most were the ones who were silent to the side of the person I was addressing. I got very little resistance and arguing tonight, and got several people who broke down right there and wanted to give their lives to Christ. Near the end of the night, Joey and I traded recorders and recorded a few of our last witness encounters. Please pray for all the people who heard the Gospel tonight. Pray that they will not be able to sleep because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit on their hearts. Every time we reject the Gospel, our hearts get a little harder. Pray that tonight will be the night of salvation for some young people.

Let's keep planting the seeds. Let someone else come and water them. And, always, let God get the glory!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

James 4:1-10 Submit Yourselves to God

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble."

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

The main focus of my witnessing is to find out where a person thinks they are in relation to a holy God. Whether they say they are an atheist, a Christian, a Jew, a Catholic, or whatever, 99% of people tend to lift themselves up. Everybody thinks that God just owes them an answer to their prayers, and by God not answering them, they feel that God is evil. Unwashed sinners have no right to come into the throne room of Almighty God. It's the ultimate paradox that you can never get there if you think you deserve it, but when you really humble yourself, and hand ALL the glory to God, He will grant you direct access.

I am getting really good at this, at getting people to see their true condition by using the Law in evangelizing. But, therein lies the paradox for me. The second I think that it is ME doing anything good, I am putting myself up as some sort of good person. I have to ask, am I witnessing for some sort of glory for myself? Please, Lord, let me continue to die to myself and stay faithful to the great commission only because YOU are such a great and merciful and holy and just Creator. Lord, please don't let me get so proud that you resist me, and let me always have a humble heart.