Sunday, April 22, 2007

Back from Jamaica, Mon

Great time in Jamaica. It didn't hurt that my company sent me there on their dime. Since they paid for two, I took my daughter on this trip. At eight years old, this will hopefully be a trip she remembers for a lifetime. We started off in the Ritz Carlton, completely behind guarded gates. I was told that Jamaica can be pretty rough, and that I should be very careful with myself and my daughter. Well, I can tell you that inside a Ritz Carlton, there was not even a hint of fear. Unless, you're afraid of a maid coming to your room at 10pm to offer you a turndown of the bed and to leave you some chocolates. Needless to say, I had a very good time, and pockets full of tracts, I proceeded to talk with just about every staff member of the hotel. They speak Patois naturally, but dial it down to regular English for the guests of the hotel. I had a great time learning to speak a few phrases in Patois, and learning about their history. I was surprised to find out that they had been under British colonial rule until 1962. And, they were very much a Christian nation. Where a penny pressed with the Ten Commandments would be a cheap trinket here, they were met with those that I gave one to with great delight. Their eyes lit up and they were so pleased that I would give them a souvenier with the Ten Commandments. This led to many great conversations where I was able to share the Law and Grace with several people. Everyone in the hotel knew me and my daughter, and many went out of their way to give her a gift or come over and ask me to pray with them. I doubt asking guest to pray with you is in the Ritz Carlton operating manual. But, it was great.

I was feeling that there was no way that there could be anyone to fear anywhere on this island, and planned a trip out of the hotel into the "Hip Strip" of Montego Bay. I was told that there would be several people swarming us and asking to sell us trinkets or offer to braid my daughter's hair. Well, this was sort of true, but armed with 300 "Million Dollar Bills", I passed them out like candy to everyone within sight. I got swarmed alright. But, they were also very excited that I was giving them this 'valuable' souvenier. I told them all that it was a gospel tract and that it was important for them to read the message on the back. They did with delight. I had several people quoting Scripture to me, verbatim. I even had one gentleman tell me a great story about using a deck of cards as a Bible, and then proceeded to sing me an impromptu reggae melody. I passed out over 300 tracts in about an hour and had one of the best times of my life doing so. Try as I did, I could not find a Rastafarian. In fact, everyone I talked to was a professing Christian. I left them with some better tracts to read the gospel in more detail. I even met a fellow who is building houses for the poor. One week's work and $2000 will put together a house for a family. His ministry website is I need to check it out more to find out the details.

When it was finally over, I was glad I got to sleep in a nice hotel, but I really enjoyed meeting all the people the best. Everyone was so friendly, and so open to discussing the gospel. Even back in the airport, I was still giving away tracts. As we were about to board our plane, we ran into a local second grade class. Sierra, my daughter, who is also in second grade posed with them for this picture. Sierra was doing her homework, and the teacher was very excited to see that the curriculum we have here in California was the same as the one she had in her classroom. The only difference was that we actually have books, and she might have one for the whole class. They have to rely on copying as many pages as they can afford, and the rest of the kids have to share. I asked her how much it would cost for her to get books for her class. She said, three books per kid (per year) at $25 each. And, there are about 30 kids in the two second grade classes. I got the school's address and the teacher's email. I would really like to get Sierra's class to have each family sponsor one kid for one book, and maybe the other two books can be picked up my my fellow evangelists and possibly the mission department at our church. However we find funding, I want to make sure that each kid, and their family, gets a clear gospel message along with their books. If you have any interest in helping, or any ideas for this project, please let me know.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

End Times at Ridgemont High

Last night we happened upon a new fishing spot, the Sherman Oaks Galleria, hangout of the kids in the 1980's movie Fast Times. It has since been completely rebuilt, but it was more packed with kids than ever. Joey, Jeff, and I had at least a dozen conversations with kids. Jeff talked with a Sikh, and I met a group of four kids, one Orthodox, one Christian, one Jewish, and one Moslem. All four friends were happy to talk with me about Jesus, and even shook my hand and told me they would see me next week.

I also met a group of about 8 catholic girls who almost got my $20 by naming nine of the Ten Commandments. I didn't sense much conviction in their voices and one girl even said that she would be fine with going to Purgatory for a thousand years. After all was said and done, they still were happy to have had the conversation and everybody got a "Good Person" tract before the night was over.

Tonight, though, I am going on my farthest fishing expedition to date. I am going with my company to Jamaica for a week, and my backpack is loaded up with tracts and I have my voice recorder. Pray for me (and my family while I am gone) that I don't get arrested in a foreign country preaching the gospel, and that I reach some open hearts with the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection. I'll be back next Friday, hopefully with some recordings of conversations with Rastafarians.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Basic Training Course

Every Saturday morning in 2007, Shepherd of the Hills is hosting the Basic Training Course. Come and equip yourself to be able to give reason for the hope that lies within you.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Everyone who does evil hates the light

Tonight, I walked into a bookstore and started browsing the display shelves. One book (pictured to the left) grabbed my eye. It looked like it was still wrapped in brown paper for shipping. As I opened it, I found the pages filled with postcards that had been sent in to the author. They were all filled with what looked to be confessions of secrets. From crimal..."I switched my parking ticket to another car and it got paid" to perverse... "I had gay sex in church three times" to insane... "I pray to get anorexia."

It was difficult to put down, and I found myself reading it for a while. I wondered what people were doing. I turned to the front to find out that the author, Frank Warren, came up with the idea of having people anonymously send a postcard with a secret that is true and that has never been shared with anyone before. I guess when you are anonymous, the truth really comes out. One person on Amazon gives this in their review:
I read select postcard secrets out loud to a group of friends. Some of the secrets were hilariously funny. Others were very disturbing in that they revealed, long-held secrets of various abuses by and toward others, and the resulting expressions of anger, regret, guilt and sadness appeared all too often throughout the book. The boldness of people reaching out through this medium made me read their secrets with some measure of trepidation. No doubt, many readers will recognize themselves, their desires and longings, in the postcard writings. This visually-stimulating book should be a wake up call to everyone, that emotional mental health issues are inadequately addressed in our culture...
I find myself thinking of another wake up call. The problem isn't our mental health system. The problem is man's sin. Our inherent wickedness. Some Bible verses come to mind.

  • The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5
  • O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? Jeremiah 4:14
  • Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. Acts 8:22
  • For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
The wake up call is warning us that God is going to judge the world in righteousness one day. Every thought, word and deed will be brought to the light. When I witness to people, inevitably, I meet people who minimize their sin. I hear people justify themselves so much that I am tempted to believe them. It is difficult to look at people and imagine that there are horribly wicked thoughts rolling around in their heads. But, reading this book, I clearly see that there is a lot of stuff out there just below the surface. I recognize my own sinfulness in the confessions. It sickens me, but I see myself in so much of it. And, clearly, hundreds of other people have the same problem, sin.

If we start from the supposition that we are good people and God just sends people randomly to hell, then I agree, that sounds cruel. But, if we understand that our basic nature is to sin, and we do that daily in thought, if not in word or deed, and that God loved us enough to offer salvation anyway, THAT is the Gospel. If you are over 18, you can check out a bunch of examples at the author's web site,, and see if you see yourself. Think about how gracious God is to pay the penalty for your sins. Then, next time you head out, think about all the people out there who need God's forgiveness as well. Let your compassion for those people swallow up your fear and let them know the Good News. Someone did it for you.