Thursday, June 26, 2008

PIE Night June 24, 2008

We decided last week that we needed a break between classes and this would include our PIE Nights. We both moped around Monday and then Dennis came to me mid-morning and said, “Do you think we should have a PIE Night tonite?” We both jumped up and I ran to the computer to put out the call. Every email notification I got stated that people had already made plans and could not make it. I was disappointed but undaunted. We went to the beach at the appointed time and around the corner walked Diana!! While eating a slice up walked Sharon!! God had doubled our team! We grabbed our new 4th of July Million Dollar Bills and we were off!

We quickly engaged Teddy, a man from Indonesia who turned out to be a follower of Jesus Christ! He told us that his impression before coming to the United States was that it was a Christian nation. “But…I think this is not true.” He told us that although he had been in the country for six months, not one person had come up to him to tell him of Jesus. Why aren’t we shocked at this statement? Will it take a tsunami for us to wake up?

We met Joe, a lifeguard who had held a dying baby in his arms. He is disillusioned with people who call themselves Christians and don’t live it out. He was also unimpressed with ‘organized religion’. We talked to Joe at length and he didn’t seem concerned at the prospect of spending eternity in Hell…until we talked about ‘believing’ we can swim vs. the reality of not being able to swim. We told him that whatever he believed it certainly better line up with what was true. We explained why Jesus had to live and die and he stopped us…”Wait a minute! I want to ask you something…is that why Jesus came here?” He explained that he had seen a ‘documentary’ on Jesus the night before.

“Yes Joe, He came to live a perfectly sinless life in order that He might be able to provide the perfect sacrifice that was needed to pay for us...the Judge stepped down from the bench after sentencing you and took the punishment himself so that you could be free!!” Joe’s face began to take on a troubled look. “It was no coincidence that you were watching that last night and then God sent us to speak with you tonite.”

“I’ll give you that one.” He stood and gathered his things. We thanked him for talking to us and gave him a booklet called “Are You a Good Person?” along with a copy of the Gospel of John (provided free from ). Please pray for Joe-he has some searching to do.

Diana found a man named Dick who was watching the waves from a bench. He is hurting after recently losing his wife. Diana knows hard times and she was able to speak with Dick first hand on that subject. God will take the trials we’ve been through and use them to minister to people. They had a great conversation and he wants to talk again.

Sharon and I approached two men, one had a ponytail and the other said his name was Gary. When Sharon walked over to Ponytail he said, “I am re-born!” and had a creepy smile on his face. While she talked to Ponytail, I started talking to Gary about his spiritual beliefs. He immediately said, “I’m saved.” I asked if he would humor me and let me give him a little test. As we went through the questions he became very sober and anxious. He almost cried as he realized, “I am going to Hell!” I told Gary that there was Good News. Ponytail began to sing loudly, “I surrender all...” Gary and I moved away toward the water and I asked Gary what was stopping him from following the Lord right then. He said, “Nothing!” and he prayed right then and there! Praise God because He still works today!!

Dennis spent his time between two Muslim men and a "Christian" who said he didn't want to talk about the Law but rather his style of talking to people included deep theological discussions in order to bring whoever he was talking to up to the 'next level'. Hmmm...wonder how that works for him?

I love to fish!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Graduation Night

We continue to be amazed at how God works in our lives. Two more classes have just graduated, and to sum it up in the words of one of the graduates, “I am addicted to this! I now know what I am here on this earth for!!” Amen to that Jeff! He is a former addict who had his one year spiritual birthday at graduation!! Among the enthusiastic people in the evening class- we had an eleven-year-old named Jordon. In the morning class Sally had the pleasure of graduating a great group, which included Harry, a man who is 97-years-young, along with his beautiful wife, Lillian! We trained people from many walks of life…one graduate describes herself as “recovering Episcopal Clergy”! In her words, “This teaching has changed my life!” Carol has a ministry to the homeless in the north end of the city and says now she can offer them real hope instead of just sandwiches.

After watching our last video together and eating some refreshments we talked for awhile about the impact of this teaching. We asked them to give the reason why they signed up for the class. Many signed up because it is a prerequisite for a Missions trip at our church; others had a friend talk them into it. Some signed up deliberately trying to enhance their skills at sharing their faith, but they were not the majority.

Each student in turn gave a quick statement about how the class has changed them. A common thread which ran through these thoughts was that they would never look at people in the same way.

Jeff had these comments for us all-"While praying this morning James 1:22-25 came to mind...I am pretty sure it is not His plan for us to have gone through this class then just go back to the way we were before. We have not completed a class but have been introduced to Gods plan for our life. Consider yourselves blessed to now have had God reveal His purpose for your life to you. So many people go through life asking why am I here and what is my purpose in life? You now know. Please do not see this as a end of a class but as a beginning of a new way of life."

Congratulations to all who worked very hard. See you on the streets!

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Found: One Lost Sheep

Val joined me at the nursing home this morning for the first time. She seemed at ease as we walked in. Hallways and silence greeted us. We met a man with no legs named Chris. He gave me a hug and asked if we would go see a new friend of his named Reed in a room down the hall. He described a man with cancer of the kidneys and liver, who had just been told he had two months to live. With the Holy Spirit in the lead and hearts pounding, we made our way there.

The room was very dark and quiet. I was familiar with this room because of the man in the first bed, Michael. Although he has a severe brain injury I have spoken to him of Law and Grace, never really sure if he is hearing or understanding. I know that my job is to sow the seed and the Lord will take care of the rest. There are many days that I fight to keep this in my heart-but I know that God is Faithful!

In the far bed we were able to see a small, frail figure under the covers. We greeted him and he was friendly. After talking with him a bit we discovered that he had not attended church, even as a youngster. We talked about what he thought would happen after death. He wasn’t sure. We talked about the destination for all of us-the real ‘us’, our souls. We talked about the fact that our bodies fail us. Reed thought he was a good man but after speaking with him a bit he realized that God saw him in a different way. He was humbled under the Law of God and when he learned of his certain destination in Hell, he was very concerned. When Grace was introduced to him he immediately saw his need of a Savior who defeated death. After Reed was finished praying he asked God to bless us and thanked us for coming to tell him. We left Reed with the story of the God Shepherd and the 99 sheep. I asked if he knew what the name of the lost sheep was. He seemed puzzled, but when I told him it was Reed, he smiled.

We saw Chris later in the hallway and gave him the great news about his friend. He smiled widely and went to look for Reed. Chris is the grandson of a preacher from Alabama. He was wayward and ran from God until the Law stopped him in his tracks last year.
Val told me later that when her own mother was dying she kept asking the Lord, “Why does she have to die in a nursing home? It was something that she always dreaded and never wanted.” She said that her prayer was answered the very first time she went in to visit her Mom. She walked in and saw all of the people and knew that they needed someone to tell them.

As I read through the obituaries in my local paper, sometimes it makes me sad-but mostly I smile when I think of the reunions going on.

Luke 15:4-7 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?... I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

P.I.E. Night-June 10th

Slightly overcast, it was very pleasant as we gathered for our weekly P.I.E Night. After grabbing a slice of pizza we met to pray. We split up into small groups and hit the beach.

Even before the others had finished their pizza Jeff decided to do some one-on-one with a man standing nearby.

After praying Trish, Diana and Sandy headed straight for a young person on the bench. This turned out to be a 15-year-old young man in need of a Savior-and these ladies led Mike straight to Him!!

I met a young man named Jason, while he was dog-sitting Lilly and Versace. He is in a transitional phase in his life. After going thru the Law Jason admitted that he needs to talk to God about his future.

Val brought her friend Jenny, and Jenny’s two sons Nathan and Dane! We may just have 2 great evangelists here because they were intent on looking for fish!!

Turning around I saw Tim and Warren happily engaged in a great conversation with two ladies, who were enjoying a relaxing evening at the beach.

Dennis and Jerry were deep in dialogue with James, who turned out to be a Catholic attorney. (Good thing Dennis watches Law & Order!)When going through the Law, he began to see how he was a sinner and had not repented. He was convinced that he needed to do some soul-searching!

I met two young Muslim men, Ferris and Ali and we had a nice exchange which left them some thinking to do. Ali was surprised to hear that “Prophet Abraham” had lied in his lifetime…

Val boldly walked up to another couple of Muslim men who were eating some ice cream and said, “Did you get one of these?” They smiled and took the Million Dollar Bills, and then she introduced me as her friend. We had a nice chat about all things “Prophet”. They had many questions about Jesus Christ. We talked for about 15 minutes but were interrupted by a call to prayer. I told them that we are here each Tuesday and I hope to see them again. I respect their wishes not to have their pictures taken.

While I didn’t get any pictures of Ken, John, or Dan, I am confident that each one was busy because there were enough fish to go around! I can’t wait to hear about how their night went!!

Sometimes We Reap

As a laborer in the fields, I know that while we are planting the seeds we look forward to reaping…

I met Lorene after I looked into her room and saw her sitting alone. We talked about Ohio, where she was born, and years gone by. We talked about the Lutheran church that she attended and then conversation turned to her destination after this life. She was hoping that she would go to Heaven. Lorene became very concerned when she discovered that she was bound for Hell. She discovered that the reason Christ came to this Earth was to defeat Death and Hell-for her. Bowing her head, she prayed and asked God to forgive her and then she thanked Him. Lorene told me that she needed to speak to her son about all of this, so I gave her some GP booklets! She gave me a hug before I left and thanked me for coming to tell her about Jesus. Even in her 90’s it wasn’t too late for her!!

Just one room down the hall I met Don, a retired member of the U.S Army. He has recently fallen down, breaking his hip, some ribs and an arm. He was in a lot of pain and had two black eyes but wanted to talk to someone. He is a Catholic man and told me that he felt he was a good man. Our conversation revealed Don’s destination was quite a bit different than he was planning. He digressed a bit, but then came around when reminded of God’s Law-it completely stopped his mouth. I thanked him for fighting in a war so that I could be free. I reminded him that although he didn’t even know me, he sacrificed all he had for that purpose. He was very attentive as I told him about a Savior who came for him. He then told me that he would like to pray so we did. I told Don that even though he might go home before I see him again, I do look forward to seeing him in Heaven and he smiled.

Charlotte was waiting for her lunch when I noticed her. She is very friendly and told me that she was from Pennsylvania. We talked about her family and then she told me that she used to attend a “Christian church”. I asked her where she thought she would spend eternity. She said she would probably go to Heaven. I asked her if I could ask her some questions and she was very hesitant but honest. She became troubled when she realized Hell was her future home. As I told her about Jesus she hung her head. When I finished talking with her I asked what she was going to do. She replied, “I would like to accept Jesus Christ!” She prayed, asking God’s forgiveness and she thanked Him for Jesus. I asked Charlotte if she had ever heard this message before. She replied, “I heard this once when I was about 15 years old.” I asked her if it made sense then. She told me that “it did make some sense but I just didn’t get it”. Charlotte also told me that long ago, her parents would get the children dressed every Sunday, and they would all walk to church together. Her grandparents met them there.

One thing I am reminded of often is that when we pray, God hears our prayers and remembers them. Sometimes they are answered long after we are gone from here.
Psalm 22:31 They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness to a people that shall yet be born, that He has done this.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A great "link" with a fellow evangelist

Jennifer and I are blessed to have friends such as The exchange of evangelistic adventures is always a wonderful experience and part of His commission to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to all the creation.
Rob-In a time of learning so many new things, you were absolutely instrumental in the formation of our new blog. Thanks, for all of the encouragement and wisdom you’ve given us. Thanks for the generous spirit of helping us “for no reason at all” (Matt 10:8;John 15:25)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Joseph Smith Loses Another One…

Greeting my friends in the nursing home Saturday I noticed a new patient that was alone. Taking quick note of her name outside the door, I walked into the room. She smiled and I introduced myself as a volunteer and asked if her name was Shirley. As she smiled and nodded, I noticed she had a recent stoma.

I asked the usual questions and she slowly mouthed enough to let me know that she lived nearby and had family around the area. It was difficult to hear her because of the ventilator. I asked her if she had any church background. She formed a word dreaded to me… “Mormon”. I quickly asked the Holy Spirit to speak to her and give me the words that she needed to hear.

As I took her thru the Law, Shirley was very honest. She pronounced herself guilty under the Law and her eyes locked onto mine as she admitted she was destined for Hell. She tried to tell me something and I leaned closer to hear her whisper “…accepted Jesus Christ…” When asked if I heard her correctly, she said, “Yes”. I read to her from the book of Revelation 22:18-19 “… If anyone adds to these things, God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life”. I asked Shirley if she understood what this meant. She very soberly mouthed, “Yes.” I reminded her that John 14:6 states… Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. As I quoted this verse she said it with me, and I saw a tear roll down her cheek. When she heard that demons knew of Jesus (James 2:19) but would not be spending Eternity in Heaven, she looked concerned. We talked about the thieves that died with Jesus and what their reactions and destinies were. The one who spent Eternity with Jesus never had time to add anything to his life.

We talked about the fact that many people admit their guilt and are sometimes even sorry for their wrongdoings when they realize that they are guilty under the Law. But the death sentence is still hanging over our heads-until we pay it with our soul OR...someone steps in and takes our place. Surprise and then recognition came over Shirley’s face. I asked her again if she had ever accepted Jesus Christ’s payment for her. She shook her head, and mouthed the word, “No”. I asked her if she would like to and she quickly said, “Yes”. Shirley paused a long time and then prayed. No pictures are allowed in the Nursing Homes- but just try to picture a very big smile.