Sunday, August 30, 2009

the Trail. . . .

Jen and I went to Bloomington, IL to visit her family. We were able to go out “the Trail” which goes for several miles thought Bloomington-Normal. Jen’s father's class has a ministry to take bottled water and witness to the runners, bicyclists and dog-walkers - Sowers Class

There were 8 of us in our location and another group a mile or so away. Most folks would not slow down but a few did and we were able to give out a case of water and several tracts. Overall, most were polite but focused on their exercise.

While Jen was speaking to a guy, she pointed to across the street where a few guys were discussing something outside at an apartment complex. It was not the kind of place I wanted to go to but the Lord had other ideas so I went. The result was pretty good. While a few of the folks did not want to listen, one fellow did and really was interested in what was said and how he could get to heaven. I left and felt I had accomplished what He has commanded us to do by presenting the Gospel.

Next was a more interesting event. A girl jogged by then stopped. She took a million dollar bill, acted very prideful and said she was a “Christian” but let’s just say her light was not shining. She left and within a minute returned to get more MDB’s to give to her family who at first she said were Muslim, then said they don’t believe in anything Muslim, etc…. This all went a bit nuts when I tried to give her a DVD about a converted Muslim which is entitled “Who is God”. Every time I started to speak she interrupted with an incredibly arrogant comment. She said that she was informed directly by “Him” and pointed up to the sky and she speaks for “Him”. One of the other guys with us (The church’s Pastor’s son) sure saw what it was like to witness or try to witness to a proud arrogant, false convert. If I had to try to fit her into a religion I would say she is a demonically possessed, false convert, former Muslim, Universalist, New Ager. Each time I would try to say something she accused me of patronizing her even though I got about 3 words out of my mouth, or she already knows what I am going to say – however it was her eyes that gave her away as she had an evil penetrating stare. Her point was that her family are Muslim and as she said, but they do not even believe in Allah or Mohammed. She said I don’t know them so I can’t witness to them. Also she said I can’t because I would have to approach them on their level which made no sense as I will witness to anyone, regardless of their religious claims. Unfortunately, there is no way that her family will see the fruit of a true Christian through this girl. Think about the influence she could have if only she were truly born again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Asleep at the wheel.

As I handed the Million Dollar Bill to the man I told him my name. He said his name was Carl. We talked for a bit and then I asked him if he knew where he would spend eternity when he died. He hesitated a moment and told me he hoped to go to Heaven.

I began to take him through the Law and he answered each question honestly. Realizing that he was destined for Hell he became concerned. He related that he used to be a long-distance truck driver until he'd had an accident. After a long day of driving he had called in to let the dispatcher know he would be taking a break to sleep. The dispatcher complained and told him that the load he was hauling had a strict deadline. Against his better judgment Carl continued to drive. Soon he fell asleep behind the wheel of his truck. He crashed into a mobile home where five people were asleep. Besides being horribly scared, one of them, an elderly lady, received a very bad injury to her leg.

I am not sure why Carl brought that up at that moment but it seemed to be lingering on his mind as something unresolved. I asked Carl to think with me for a moment about an earthly courtroom. I posed this question: If he were to be taken there because he was guilty of manslaughter would it be a possibility that he could go home if he gave a nice enough apology? Carl adamantly told me no.

"Well, if the judge passed sentence and gave you a million dollar fine or life in prison can you pay the fine?"

"No way."

"Looks like you'll be spending the rest of your life in prison..oh, wait! Someone you don't even know is coming into the courtroom with a million dollar check! The judge tells him to bring it forward. The judge examines it and says the court will accept it on your behalf...and then he looks at you , Carl. He wants a decision. Are you willing to allow this payment on your behalf?"

"Yes, I will."

"Did you leave that courtroom because of a great apology or because justice was satisfied?"

"Justice was satisfied."

"Carl, 2,000 years ago Jesus came to pay for you. This payment was something you couldn't make-God knew that and He made provision long ago for you."

Carl listened and even took a CD of Hells Best Kept Secret.

Our conscience never sleeps.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Carole's time.

This morning Rose met me at the nursing home. She told me that this would be her first time inside of one.

After explaining the layout to her we made our way to the 'short-term' hall. These are folks who have probably just come in for a rehabilitation term from the hospital. Others are here because they have transferred from other facilities and they are awaiting permanent room assignments.

When I go into a nursing home the first thing I do is systematically make my way into every room to discuss their eternal destiny. Depending upon the size of the home, it may take a couple of months tod o this. After seeing about each permanent resident I go to the short-term hall. There is a constant change in people here.

We had a couple of interesting conversations, but the one I want to write about is Carol. She is a fairly young paraplegic. She told me that since 1959 she has held a job and so she has no 'benefits'. She worries about how she will pay for this stretch in rehab. She has lost her husband and her sons...she is alone. Carol is gravely ill. She told me that she had grown up in a Christian Science household. She also told me she never believed it because it was just 'not realistic'. I agreed with her and we began to talk about stepping out of this life. She was quiet but very open. After honestly answering some questions, Carol agreed that God would find her guilty and condemn her to Hell for eternity. This concerned her greatly. Carol's eyes are very sunken and she has deep, gray rings around them. Her eyes spoke volumes when I told her about Jesus. She was familiar with Him but as I told her that He had the hairs on her head numbered and had even kept every tear she had ever cried, she was taken aback. I asked her if she realized that and she answered a quiet, "no".

When we finished talking I asked her if this decision was worth taking care of. She told me she had a lot of thinking to do. I left her with a Good Person booklet and asked her if we could pray for her. She smiled and said, "yes". When we finished she smiled and told us thank you.

It is always amazing to me when I meet someone who has never heard the Gospel. More amazing that God puts us right where He wants us to be at the appointed time. Today is Carol's 'time'.

Psalms 56:8 You number my wandering; O put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your Book?

Big Bill brings gnarly waves!

Hurricane Bill is going up the Eastern Atlantic and creating what the surfers dream of: Gnarly Waves.

While in California a few years, I heard the expression before so I was not clueless but . . .

Anyway – it did bring out the surfers and spectators to watch. I was blessed to speak to several people today and reject by others – Praise God for that!

The guy in the photo did not want to give me his name. We spoke for a few minutes. He said he grew up in a 'Christianity environment' (whatever that means) and said when we die we ‘dissipate’ . Our energy just goes back to somewhere. He believes in God and no real Heaven or real Hell because God would not send people to burn in fire and brimstone forever. He decided to pick and choose his Bible verses a while ago and likes his way better. Well we went through the Law, etc. and he was not really convicted but curious. I explained what would happen in a court if he was guilty and someone else paid his fine, and while he thought that was a good idea to be ‘redeemed’ by someone else, he did not want to agree that Jesus paid his sin debt. (I don’t record on the beach due to wind noise). He then left to watch the waves.

Then I spoke to a few folks who were truly born again and there it is rare sight these days. Gave out several MDB’s and prayed for the others.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Be Faithful...God is at work!

Friday night while I was trying to pass out tracts in the rain a man hurried past me who looked very familiar. I yelled, "Hey, I know you!" and he yelled back, "I know you, too!" and smiled. When he was out of sight I remembered who he was...the very first person who ever came to our booth! hmmm....I had wondered many times what happened to him!

The night went on and I had some great conversations. It was a difficult night for everyone. I think about every one of the group came and independently said something to the effect of, "..I had a really bad day and I found myself wanting to stay home-but I knew I should be here!" I readily agreed with each statement as I truly felt the same way that day!

There was a booth located across the street from us. It was sponsored by a church group. The group was made up of very nice people but very loud. They spoke from a huge sound system, and in between these times they blasted Christian music. Honestly, it was so loud we could not hear to have a conversation! I found myself a bit discouraged! It was a living picture of the world today. With their music and mime show they were able to draw a decent crowd of people, many of whom were clapping and dancing to the music. At the same time, we found it difficult to hear for the blaring music and 'feel-good' message. The female pastor kept saying things like, "In 20 minutes we will have a presentation of the 'sweet Gospel' ". The Gospel never was proclaimed there, just music and mimes. Oh yeah, and a loud prayer for healing anyone within earshot. As I stood up the street from the scene, I looked back to see smiling and clapping and dancing from their listeners. Across the street at our booth I saw faithful servants, willing to come out on this night, having trouble getting anyone to even take a tract. I kept praying, 'we must be faithful!'

Time went on and I went back to the booth and up walked Troy! I hadn't readily recognized him because of his new beard. I could not hear him but he pointed to a stack of Million Dollar Bills and was asking if he could have them. I handed them to him and yelled, "Your name is Troy, isn't it?" He said, "Yeah, sorry but I forgot your name!" I told him it was Jennifer. He came around into the booth and gave me a hug and smiled broadly. Away he walked into the night...

I dont' know Troy's heart, only God does. But I knew that God was showing me to set my face like a flint and be faithful. No matter what message the world has to offer, we are called to proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dennis told me later that 19 of us were out that night! I am so thankful for each of you.

2Ti 4:2-5 ...preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear. And they will turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned to myths. But you watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fully carry out your ministry.

Tiki Carver

Thanks to all who came out Friday night.
There were at least 19 evangelists who came out to proclaim the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Amazing? Not really as your hearts are with Him and His command. It was great to see many of the current WOTM class there and sharing their faith albeit with a little fear – yet the Holy Spirit was there with them! We hope to hear more great stories so please share and we will post here.

Mine is about the “All paths lead to a higher place” person (Mike) in the next space to us selling tiki carvings. He is an advocate of Gandhi, reincarnation and Shirley Maclain. The sad part is how he said religion was “shoved at him” in his youth at a Methodist church and that was when he started on his own journey. He was all bent out of shape at the Catholic church, Crusades, Constantine, Nicene Council…..

As I spoke to him about the irrelevance of this 1600 year old stuff and that he needs to be concerned about HIS eternal destiny, the more he zigzagged back to how we are all reincarnated and we all go back to when God formed man and we are all like Him therefore we are god. I explained that what he was saying not only is wrong but blasphemous, her shrugged it off and said that Christianity is narrow minded. This I did agree with and let him know that Jesus is the Narrow Gate and not everyone will enter. The discussion went on for another few minutes and we departed on good terms. I then prayed for Mike.
Unfortunately he is traveling on a well-traversed road and it will lead to Hell. The Good News is that there is the Good News – so for a little while there is time for Mike to realize he is wrong. Pray for Mike.
Of course, God knows what we need to hear and through a devotional I received this morning from Greg Laurie:

So why do it? Because I am a man under orders. I have a Commander-in-Chief called Jesus. He has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

As I have often said, it is not the Great Suggestion; it is the Great Commission. And I am not the only one who is called to do this. You are called to do this as well.

It isn't really an option for me to say, "I won't share my faith. I won't preach the gospel. I won't tell others about Jesus." For me not to do this, for me not to make an effort to reach others with the gospel can be sin, because there are sins of commission and omission.

The sin of commission is doing what you should not do, while the sin of omission is not doing what you ought to do. The Bible tells us, "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (Jams 4:17 NKJV).

Let's say that somehow I had discovered the cure for cancer. Would it be wrong for me to keep that secret to myself and never tell anyone? Of course it would.

How much more wrong would it be to keep it a secret if we have the cure, if you will, for eternal damnation?

We have the solution to humanity's problems. We have the way for people to know God. If we only apply that in our own lives and keep it to ourselves and never tell others, then certainly that is falling short of what God would want.

Yet most Christians do not engage in evangelism. I read a survey that said that 95 percent of Christians have never led another person to Christ. I don't know what percentage you fall into, and I don't want to lay a guilt trip on you. In fact, it just may be that you have been involved in more people coming to the Lord than you realize.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A little fish with my salmon...

We love Thai food and we have a great little place to go. Yesterday I noticed a new waitress. Now Dennis has issued a warning to me to wait until after we get our food to speak with the wait person. sigh...

I don't know about you all but I feel like the dog locked in the laundry room all day when I see an opportunity to fish! So I waited...and waited... Finally she came with the food. We were out with our pastor and right in middle of a discussion on HELL when she brought my salmon. I asked her name, to which she answered Veronica. I asked what she thought would happen when we died. She told me that she believed in reincarnation since she was Thai and Buddhist along with her Mom. I told her what scripture says about our lives (Hebrews 9:27)and asked her if she'd ever read the Bible. She told us that she never had but her Dad was a Baptist and when she saw him he was always trying to get her to listen (go Dad!). She told us that when she was little she would go to the Temple with her Mom and when she was with her Dad she would go to the Baptist church. She explained that she believed in doing good.

I asked Veronica if she thought she was good. She said she tried to be. After going thru a couple of the 10 Commandments I noticed a change in her attitude. A young couple had walked in the door and even though someone else could have helped them, Veronica exited the discussion. She never came back to the table. When we were finished we left a great tip and a Good Person booklet. I hope and pray that she will take the time to read it and realize our good is not good enough.

Wouldn't it be something to stand before the Lord and say with all honesty, "I told everyone you put in my path!" ?

Everyday people.

When I am out and about I like to talk to people about eternity. A boy named Christopher helped me to the truck with my groceries a couple of days ago. I took the opportunity to ask him where he would go when he died...

"uh...I don't know"

"Do you ever think about it, Chris?"


"How do we get there?"

"Being good people"

"Are you good?"

You can see where this discussion was headed. But to my surprise, I found a young boy of 16 or 17 who was already a proud liar. Chris told me he had never lied or stolen anything. Nor had he ever committed blasphemy. I gave Christopher a Good Person booklet and told him to go home and get honest with himself, because I didn't believe a word he said.

Even in the last few months I have noticed that younger people are becoming more calloused.

Jesus is coming soon...ready or not!