Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Open Door in the Netherlands

Before leaving for the Netherlands last week on business, I made contact with the pastor at CC Netherlands to see if I could introduce him to the Way of the Master teaching course during my free time. When Pastor Stan Marinussen emailed me back he invited me to come and speak for a couple of minutes at the service on Sunday. I prepared some notes and a video to take with me. When I arrived the pastor graciously turned the service over to me! Since the service was in Dutch a translator was required. God put a girl in place named Serayah, who had seen some of the videos and was familiar with the Biblical basis and some of the scripture. This made the translation process much easier.

Afterwards, we had time for questions from the group of about 50. One lady, who is suffering with cancer, was very concerned about her daughter, an avowed lesbian. She cried as she expressed her frustration at not being able to reach her. Another person wanted to know how to handle it when you are pushed away and rejected. Everyone there seemed to enjoy the message and many look forward to learning more. Since the Lord knows what we need before we do, He had recently moved a couple to the Netherlands from Dublin. Thomas and his wife have been thru the Basic Course and expressed an interest in teaching it!! Matthew 6:8 …for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Pastor Stan and his wife Marnie have 3 daughters. They are doing a great work there in the Netherlands. We left him with a copy of the Crash Course and I am praying that they will offer this course to their congregation and watch God work!

When I can do some of this it sure makes the trip worthwhile.

Red Herring

Tossing crumpled bill booklets at the driver’s door of each car, I walked thru the parking lot at the doctor’s office. After waiting just a few minutes in the doc’s waiting room, my name was called and a very nice gal named Sasha ushered me into “my room”. While she asked me some questions I noticed that she had on a red bracelet. “Hmm…”, I thought, “our church is having a campaign in which people are supposed to wear red bracelets and this is supposed to remind them to ‘live dangerously’-some sort of reminder to ‘share their faith’. After Sasha finished I asked her what that red bracelet was for.
She said, “It’s from my church.”
“What does it say?”
“Live dangerously.”
“What does that mean?”
“Live by God.”
“Live by what God says.”
Now I stopped and looked her right in the eye and said, “How do I get to Heaven?”
Sasha stopped and her eyebrows went up and she sort of shrugged, leaving an unspoken ‘Your guess is as good as mine’ hanging in the air. I asked Sasha if good people went to Heaven. She said yes. I asked her if she was good and she said she was. I took her thru the Good Person Test (take it yourself-to the right side of this site). Sasha came to the swift realization that she was headed straight to Hell for eternity. When I mentioned Jesus she seemed relieved and gained confidence yet again. When we talked about the demons knowing Him, she stopped. We talked about the difference in just knowing Him and surrendering to Him as King. I asked Sasha if she had ever surrendered to Him. She said, “No.” I asked what would stop her from doing this now, since she wasn’t promised her next breath. She immediately bowed her head and prayed. I prayed for her when she was finished and then she stood and came across the room and gave me a giant hug. My camera was still in my purse from PIE last night so I asked her to take a pic of us…God bless you Sasha in your new life with Him.

Sometimes it’s easy to assume someone is ‘on their way to Heaven’ because they somehow fit the mold. If they use the ‘right’ language or wear something to indicate they have an awareness of God, we may feel as though we are “off the hook” in terms of evangelism. But since we will probably only have a brief window of time with them we need to make sure they are actually part of His family. I had someone tell me that they would be offended if someone came up to them to make sure they were really saved. 2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves… I would risk offending someone in order to make sure they are headed in the right direction.
2Timothy 3:16, 17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Demoniac of Steak 'n Shake

Still joyously passing out tracts in the aftermath of Cedric's salvation I heard Amy call my name. Looking to my right I saw her near a man at the back wall. She walked toward me and told me that this man asked her for a Bible. I asked if she had one and she said she did in her van. She went out to get it and I walked over to the man she was talking about. As I approached I saw him staring at me with a strangely familiar, very intense gaze. Any of you who have seen this look know exactly what I am refering to. I asked his name and he told me Alberto. He began to tell me that he heard voices and that he had a "guardian angel"-then he said, .."everyone does". Amy had come back in at some point and was standing next to me. I wanted to keep Alberto on task so I asked him to focus for a moment while I asked him some questions. I told him that I wanted him to tell me the truth-no lies. I began to take him through the 10 Commandments to see if he would answer me and he answered accordingly. After each question he would say, "Hey. I wnt to ask you one thing..." and then he would ask something like, "Why didn't God tell those people they were going to die on September 11th?" I asked him to focus and asked him another one. He answeed and then said, "God has no right to judge!" I told him that God was The Righteous Judge and it was He who alone had the right to Judge us all. When given an answer he would stop and then try to re-direct the conversation down another rabbit trail. At one point he made the sign of a gun and said something about someone we should be afraid of. I told him that we would fear no one save God-He woulld decide what happened to us. (Amy was probably thinking 'how did I get into this?' by now.)

Alberto kept staring at me and after a couple of minutes I gave him a courtroom scenario with Jesus as the one who steps in to pay the penalty. He quickly said, "OK I accept Jesus."

"It takes more than that Alberto. I am going to leave you with something to read if you will promise me that you will take time to read it."

"I will read it."

I asked if we could pray for him before we left. We prayed for him and he continued to stare at us intently. As soon as we were finished he said, "Are you going to give me the Bible now?" Amy handed him the Bible because we promised we would.

I have met so many like this young man. Those whose minds have been taken captive by Satan. Jesus came to set the captives free

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on Me; because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound...

Please pray for him and the many, many like him. The key is on the inside of the cell, Alberto.

Cedric Takes A New Direction

Amy and I wanted to do some fishing so we went to a local hamburger place. We thought we had our fish picked out but the hostess seated us on the other side of the restaurant. When I asked if we could sit on the other side she still didn’t take us where we thought she would. We decided we might just be in the place we were supposed to be. As we sat down we noticed there was not a soul near us. Amy looked a little disappointed, but I told her that we always had the waitress to talk to. She smiled. The hostess told us the waiter would be with us in a moment.

As our waiter approached us we could see he was very friendly. He introduced himself as Cedric and smiled broadly. We could tell he was very efficient and seemed to like people. I don’t remember how the subject came up but he told us that he believed in giving 100% and that he was a bit of a perfectionist. He took our drink orders and asked if we had any questions for him. I told him I did but this question was a very deep one and would require much thought. Straightening himself to his full height he stopped and took a deep breath. I could tell he was serious. I asked him if he would want to be warned if Hell were a real place. With a stunned look on his face, he quickly sat down next to Amy. He told us that he knew that Hell was real and that he was going there. He said he knew that God was not pleased with his lifestyle and that he prayed everyday that God would give him a love for women instead of men. We talked about God’s standard of perfection and how we have all broken it and then Cedric digressed by stating that he had never done anything really bad like murder. We went over the Law of God again and Cedric admitted that God would find him “guilty” and he was destined for Hell.

He told us that he had a lot to “clean up” before God would accept him. We told him that God catches the fish first and then cleans them. I asked him to define what stood between him and God and why he wouldn’t just ask God to save him now. He told us that he had 2 sons who were not living right and that he had to get them on the “right road”.
I said, “How can you do that when you’re not even on the right road?”
“Yeah…yeah….I know what you mean.”
“Cedric, Jesus is trying to reach out to you but you have your hands full of things you are trying to straighten up and you can’t take His hand because you won’t let go!”
Amy told Cedric about the thief on the cross not having time to clean up his act before coming to Christ.
He agreed with this but said, “I pray to Him every day and thank Him for my life and ask Him to help me.” Intermittently Cedric would quote scripture to us-he knew it!

“He will not hear your prayers, Cedric.”

He hung his head and stopped.

“Cedric, one of these days you are going to take your next breath in Hell and there will be no escape.”

He hugged himself, closing his eyes and said that I wasn’t the first person to tell him that. He told us that when he was 4 years old his great-grandmother sat him down and told him that God had something special for Cedric to do and that he would have to find out what that was. He also told us that up until one month ago he had been homeless.
I asked him again what was stopping him from surrendering to Christ right this moment- letting go of everything and coming to God. He stopped…then suddenly took our hands in his and bowed his head. He prayed a beautiful prayer of repentance and surrender to God, then thanked Him for sending Jesus to pay for him. After he was finished he wiped tears from his eyes and said, “I don’t know how to describe to you what I am feeling…I feel so “light”!!” Burdens are lifted at Calvary.
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?

Amy and I were so excited that we started passing out Million Dollar Bills to all of the other customers, but we didn't really expect what happened next!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day Fish-A-Thon

Saturday when we went to the beach we thought we’d bring the camera and mic. While we talked to many, many people I thought I’d share a couple of interviews…

Jeff found a couple who were in need of a wake-up call!

Diana and Tom had an interesting conversation, which left Tom with a lot to think about…

We had a great day of fishing and are so thankful for the opportunity to bring the Gospel. Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come.

The camera and microphone open doors that might not be opened otherwise. How do you bait your hook? May God be glorified!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Joan Meets Her Messiah

Joan is younger than some of the residents here. But of course, she is not here for long. When I came into her room she was sitting in her bed looking out the window. Val and I greeted her and she smiled. We sat with her and talked a bit about the weather and where she was from. When asked about a church background, Joan told me that she was Jewish but that she had never gone to Temple. I asked where she would be going when she left. She told me she would go home to live with her daughter. I said, “No, I mean when you leave feet first.” She hesitated for a moment and then with a hesitant voice, “Heaven?”. I asked her how she would get there. She told me that she tried to do the right thing. As I took her through some questions she became very quiet and I could tell that she was taking this very seriously. I asked her what the Jewish people celebrated at Passover. She said she really didn’t remember. I reminded her of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and she remembered the story, with a smile. We talked about the preparation that they made the night before they left. How they hurriedly killed a lamb and put the blood on the door posts. We talked about the Angel of Death and how it would pass over the house when it saw the blood. She was listening intently at this point. I took Joan to the courtroom and introduced her to the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world. Joan began to cry when she realized why Jesus came. She prayed that God would forgive her and she told Him that she accepted Jesus as Messiah!! I asked her if she had a Bible and she said she didn’t. I ran out to the truck and brought in a new large-print Bible for her. We make a label to put into the front cover of these Bibles. They are inscribed "On this day (date) I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior" then there is a line for them to sign their name. Joan took the pen and slowly signed her name. Then she held it to her chest and cried.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

They Came Two by Two

Last night was wonderful! Mary, Gail, Jeri and Tracy were all ready to go, Jeff was pumped and Diana was ‘blessed’ as usual. Ron and Tammy called to say they were on the way and after pizza and prayer we hit the ground running!
Gail, a first-timer, went with me. We met a man named Paul. He refused to take anything from us and told us he already had many tracts. Gail tried later to see if he would take a Good Person booklet from her but again, her refused. We will be praying for Paul.

At first, the fish were few and far between. I kept thinking, “Man, this is her first time out and we don’t have any fish!!” .
We walked the length of the parking lot and distributed the crumpled bill booklets at the driver’s door of each car. Gail remarked that this was an easy way to hand out tracts. If someone is new this is a great way to help them to get rid of the jitters
On the way back we saw a young couple leaving the beach. They veered out of our way but they didn’t realize we wanted to run into them! We changed course and met them face-to-face. They smiled as we gave them Million Dollar Bills When asked what they thought happens to us when we die, Sunita replied, “We go to Heaven?” At this point we noticed that 3 members of our group were not far away and it was clear that they were praying for us. I am so thankful that our team recognizes the importance of prayer! We can do nothing apart from God. (John 15:5) .

As we talked about the Law of God, they both became introspective. When they learned about what Jesus did so that they would not have to spend eternity in Hell, Worley smiled. Sunita remained serious. I asked them what stopped them from receiving this great payment. Worley said, “Nothing.” Sunita agreed with him. They both decided to settle their accounts with God right in the parking lot! When Worley prayed he thanked God for sending us to tell them the Good News. He also asked God to bless us. Little did he realize that God had already blessed us!! As we walked away, I prayed that God would guard their hearts! Gail was all smiles and remarked that they were very open. We always pray before we go that God will send His Holy Spirit to open their hearts and He certainly does. Thank you God!

As we walked back up the parking lot we saw another young couple walking to the boardwalk. We handed them the MDB’s and they smiled. We asked them the million dollar question and it took them both a second to reply. Victoria said, “Heaven” was her destination. T.J. wasn’t sure if he knew what the 10 Commandments were but after hearing them-he remembered. They answered each question honestly and quickly came to realize that they were on the wrong side of the proverbial fence. Victoria was carefully weighing each statement, while T.J. was still cracking jokes with each answer. When they realized what the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice was they both became solemn. As I explained to them how they both could avoid Hell, they listened intently. When asked if they would prefer to pay with their own souls they said they would not. Both Victoria and T.J. opted to pray with us right where we stood!

Rom 3:19-20 But we know that whatever things the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law; so that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may be under judgment before God,
because by the works of the Law none of all flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law is the knowledge of sin.

Not everyone heeds the warning of the rip currents but we would be remiss if we didn't post the signs.