This topic is becoming more front and center than ever. I notice displays of affection more and more among people of the same sex. It is particularly disturbing that many of them are jr high or high school age. Please pray for these young people who are so misguided.
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Sunday, December 28, 2008
This topic is becoming more front and center than ever. I notice displays of affection more and more among people of the same sex. It is particularly disturbing that many of them are jr high or high school age. Please pray for these young people who are so misguided.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Sure, Christmas day has come and gone once more. But the impact of the true meaning continues. Here is a short video I found at Cameron Buettel's blog that brings it all into focus.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I have talk with Omar a few times briefly. Below is part of my write up from when he chatted with me for an extended period last May. It is obviously from my perspective and bias. One of the tracts being given out by the Atheists promoted that Atheists are Good People which got us started talking about “by what standard” and “where does that standard come from”. During that conversation he brought up the faith to move a mountain challenge as well. Please pray for Omar and the other Atheists on Mill.
He seemed certain that we could not know for sure if God exists. I asked him if he could be absolutely sure that I could not know that God exists? After thinking about it he told me he could not be 100% sure that I did not know that God exists. I explained to him how God had saved me and how I know God is real and that God's promise is that if you seek him with all your heart in repentance from sin you will find him and he will give you a new heart. He told me that I could not demonstrate to him that God exists. I told him that may be true according to whatever standard he has set as being sufficient but that my being able to or not able to demonstrate the existence of God did not determine truth. God either exists or does not exist completely independent of whether I can demonstrate that to him in a way he determines is sufficient. Omar asked what I meant by that. I asked him if a lone witness who observed a crime that no one else saw and who could not demonstrate sufficient evidence of the crime to a court of law meant that the event had never taken place and was not true? The crime was either a true event or not regardless of whether the witness was able to demonstrate sufficiently to others that it occurred. Omar acknowledged understanding.
He asked me if I was an atheist toward Buddha, Brahman and Thor. I told him I was. That those gods do not exist. Omar mentioned to me that there are millions of gods throughout the span of time and questioned how I could know that they all are false since most of them I have never heard of or examined. I told him that was a fair question and gave him an example to help him understand. The example is that there are an infinite number of wrong answers to the question "What does 1 plus 1 equal?" I do not need to know every single possible wrong answer to that question to know in advance that all of them are wrong provided I know the true answer which is 2. Knowing that the correct answer is "2", I can tell you that all other answers are wrong. Even the answers that I have not even heard of yet. The same applies to God. Having sought after the true God and having been saved and touched by Him I now know that he exists and that only He is the true God. And I told Omar that is my claim to him and that just because I claim it does not make it true. And just because he denies the claim does not make it false. It is either true or it is not true that the God of the Bible is the one true God. True or false regardless of our claims or experiences.
Omar pressed further as to getting "proof" as in having me demonstrate even a little bit of my faith and thus move a mountain for him right then and there as the scriptures say. This is a common request from my atheist friends. On the spot proof in the form of a miracle. If you read the Bible you will find that God was put to the test by people all the time and it was considered to be a sin. In a sense making God roll over and do tricks on your command. I told Omar that I was going to take a risk and make a prediction about him that he could correct me on if I was wrong but I asked him for his honesty in considering my assessment of him.
The prediction I made was that if in the next 10 seconds the car that was 10 feet from us were to flip over and spin 3 times that he would awestruck and amazed and for a moment consider that God existed since it would have happened on my command in the name God. And then after about 10 minutes to an hour and certainly the next day when he woke up he would start being skeptical. He would start thinking that there are natural explanations for what happened that better describe what occurred in place of "God did it". He would think that somehow I did some sort of David Copperfield trick on him and therefore ultimately deny the miracle and the God behind it. It would not be sufficient proof. To Omar's credit he said that it would be very compelling evidence to see the car flip 3 times but that yes he would start to discredit it for a more natural explanation his mind could understand. With that I explained the context of scripture, asking for the right things with the right motive, what true faith looks like and that we see miracles every day. That the tree we were next to and that Omar himself was a miracle but we take it for granted. He replied that the "explanation" was a "convenient" one. I told Omar that whether it was or was not convenient had no bearing on whether or not God exists. It is either true or false regardless of how "convenient" the explanation may seem to him.
I wrapped up with Omar and I thanked him for talking with us. He had talked with some of the others before I had a chance to talk with him that night.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
…the early church gathered on Sundays for believers to worship God. The emphasis
is that the design of the meetings was for believers. Unlike so many worship
services today, no real emphasis was given to the nonbeliever. They did not
spurn them, of course. And if they came in they might be convicted by what they
heard (see 1 Cor. 14: 24-25), but the church was not focused on attracting
outsiders during these services. Because of this they could pray long prayers,
hear long sermons, get on their knees, etc., all practices which would not be
appealing to the outsider. In other words, worship and evangelism were consider
two different things. The Lord's Day gathering was about worship. The rest of
the week was about evangelism. Jim Elliff - Copyright © 2006
…the early church, to my knowledge, did not plan any meetings for attracting
nonbelievers. The history shows that they always borrowed the crowds of others.
Over a dozen times, for instance, the early Christians went to the Jewish
synagogues to spread their message. Sometimes they conversed or reasoned with
the people for months in these settings. Even in Athens, Paul went to the
synagogue first. They also used any mob settings where people would gather in
opposition to them. They sometimes saw crowds gather through the apostolic
miracles or by just preaching in the marketplace. Again, they went on the other
man's turf. Jim Elliff - Copyright © 2006
Unlike the early church, the major way evangelism is done today is byWe must Go and compassionately share the grace of the Gospel without neglecting the hard words of Jesus such as judgment day and righteousness. It is the Father that draws men to the Son (John 6:44, John 10:29) through the preaching of the Gospel (1 Cor. 1:21) by those He sends (John 17:18) which are those He has already saved (2 Cor. 5:19). It is the Son that when lifted up in the Gospel proclamation that draws men to Himself (John 12:32) which is the only way a man can come to the Father (John 14:6). Any other way to the Father apart from Christ will reveal the person to be a thief and a robber (John 10:1).
arranging various gatherings for the nonbeliever. When you design meetings for
evangelism, you have to ask the further question, "How do we get them there?"
This is what is driving the whole entertainment evangelism movement. At first,
churches would use any means as long as it was close to the gospel. That is,
they might use music as a primary means. But now, anything goes, whether it is
systemic to the gospel or not. And, because people generally don't want to hear
the gospel preached, the methods are getting more and more unusual and dramatic.
This has the following results, in my thinking. First, it trivializes
the gospel message. Coming to Christ is a very serious thing. A person is damned
and is going to hell because he or she is rebelling against God. But now they
are reverting from that whole way of life to enter into relationship with
Christ. Entertainment does not mix well with such a serious message. The result
is that the message suffers.
Second, I believe that it produces spurious results. When persons
respond to such a message that is so intermingled with entertainment, they often
misunderstand the calling of God given in the gospel. An emotional appeal at the
end of an emotion packed and excited period of entertainment causes people to
act without clarity and sensibility. At times, even a kind of group response to
the gospel can take place. Many of these so called converts fall away and show
no signs of really entering into relationship with Christ. Jim Elliff -
Copyright © 2006
If we draw men through any other means, hoping they will come, what will it be that they come to if indeed they come at all? Will it be a clouded message that obscures the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation? May nothing obscure the greatest message of all eternity for it is through the Gospel and the clear teaching of it that men can even begin to understand the unending glory of God and the richness of His mercy.
Monday, December 15, 2008
There is a group of atheists that follow one of our local teams to Mill Ave. in Tempe. They hate The Lord and work hard to do anything to disrupt our efforts to share the gospel. Usually, this takes the form of them setting up their P.A. equipment very near to where we are preaching and being generally disagreeable. Last week at the Phoenix art walk, it was no different. The one thing they all seem to have in common is their total disdain for God and the bible. It isn't just a difference of opinion, but an angry and blasphemous presentation of their views. Please pray for them.
But because God is sovereign and merciful, He still continues to offer His forgiveness to those who seek Him. Here, Valerie attempts to reason with a young man from the scriptures. I think he was either Jewish or formerly a Jew and now an atheist.
While the atheists have made it difficult and sometimes frustrating, everyone has continued to remain faithful and preach The Word. Please pray that God would grant us wisdom in witnessing to these young people and that He would even draw them to repent of their sin and unbelief.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The song is "It's about The Cross" by Gofish. You can find out more about them at gofishguys.com. I'm not sure who put the video together, but they did a great job.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I wanted to share some thoughts about Christmas and the Savior who was born to die and rise again. As Christmas approaches there is much in the news, as in previous years, about "Christmas" being removed from company advertisements, school programs and public events in favor of the politically correct "Happy Holidays". More people are taking a stand to say "Merry Christmas" in the face of what some have called "persecution".
I would submit that the only thing sadder than Christ being removed from Christmas in the market place is when Christ is removed from being the focus of His people and His church. Could the move by Christians to invest so much energy and resources to protect Christmas actually have very little to do with the Christ of that Christmas? Could it be the focus to stand up for the phrase "Merry Christmas" is distracting from the real call to share the Gospel and Christ Himself?
Corporations, whether they use Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, are almost exclusively about money. Even when they use Christmas it is a "business" decision based on money and not a spiritual one. If there was a guarantee that end-of-year revenue would increase by 25% for businesses that adopted a full out “Merry Christmas” marketing approach you can be assured that stores would trip over themselves to put “Merry Christmas” over every square inch of their facility. Money talks. The world listens. Even if it is Christian money. As long as it is money then the world will build a business plan to get it.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In my last post, I discussed some of the differences between Reason and Faith. Today, I want to conclude this discussion talking about how they are related to each other and why they can never contradict each other.
Much of the world holds to the idea of “rationalism.” Rationalism holds that everything we know by faith can also be understood, or discovered, or proved by reason, but not vice versa. In other words, faith is a subclass or subset of reason (see figure below).
Very few Christian thinkers subscribe to this. Most people would agree that the most reasonable view of truth is that it comes through three different kinds (classes)(see figure below):
a) Truths of faith and not of reason,
b) Truths of both faith and reason, and
c) Truths of reason and not of faith.
Truths of faith alone (class a) are things revealed by God but not understandable, discoverable or provable by reason (e.g. the Trinity or the fact that Christ’s death atoned for our sins). Truths of both faith and reason (class b) are things revealed by God but also understandable, or provable by reason (e.g. the existence of one God, or an objective moral law, or life after death). Truths of reason and not of faith (class c) are things not revealed by God but known by human reason (e.g., the natural sciences). Thus the defender of Christianity has two tasks: to prove all the propositions in class b and to answer all objections to the propositions in class a.
We cannot prove the propositions in class a (e.g., the Trinity) but we can answer all objections to them. For example, suppose a Unitarian objects to the Trinity because “it splits God into triplets.” We can show that this is a misunderstanding; it does not mean three Gods, but one God in three Persons. Or suppose a logician says it is a contradiction to call anything both one and three. We can reply that God is one nature, not three, and three persons, not one. This is not a contradiction, any more than we are: we are two natures (spirit and animal, mind and matter, soul and body) but one person.
And so a natural question would be, “How much of the faith can reason prove?” The best answer seems to be some. Another question we may ask is, “Can faith and reason ever contradict each other?” Aquinas (the great Christian philosopher) concluded that either Christianity is false, or reason is false, or - if both are true – there can never be any real contradiction at all between them, since truth cannot contradict truth. Opinions can certainly contradict faith, but reason itself cannot.
Aquinas also showed that every possible argument against every Christian doctrine has a rational mistake in it somewhere, and therefore can be answered by reason alone. If this were not so, then one of those argument from unbelievers against one of the doctrines of Christianity, at least, would really and truly prove the doctrine to be false, that is, prove Christianity untrue.
This is great news for us believers! But remember, we are not claiming that all Christian doctrines can be proved by reason, only that every argument against them can be disproved. Nor are we claiming that any given person can disprove them. Reason is flawless, de jure, but reasoners are not, de facto.
And so as defenders of Christianity or preachers of the Gospel, we can rest assured that faith and reason are both on our side. Stand strong in the Truth of God’s Word. If someone presents an argument against what you are saying, as long as what you are saying is truth, there will be an argument that can disprove the opposing argument. And so, do not get discouraged! If you are unsure how to respond, just tell them you will check on it and get back to them.
Much of what I presented above comes from Peter Kreeft’s book, “Handbook of Christian Apologetics.” Let me know what you think.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Have you ever been talking with someone about religion or God and they try to tell you that “faith” is not reasonable. They may say something like, “Oh faith is subjective or relative. I only believe in things that are rational or reasonable.”
Really? Can someone actually live his or her life that way? The answer is a resounding “No!” We all live our lives using faith in one degree or another.
The act of reason means all the subjective, personal acts of the mind by which we (a) understand, (b) discover or (c) prove any truth. For instance, we can understand what a star is made of by human reason alone. We can also understand why the universe is so well ordered: human reason tells us that there must be a superhuman intelligence behind its design. We can discover that the planet Pluto exists by human reason alone and we can also discover the historical existence of Jesus by human reason alone, by historical research. We can prove the Pythagorean theorem in geometry by human reason alone or prove by reason alone that the soul does not die as the body dies, by good philosophical arguments.
The act of faith is more than merely an act of belief. We believe many things – for example, that the Bulls will beat the Celtics or that Norway is beautiful – but we are not willing to die for these beliefs, nor can we live them every moment. But every time we drive our car we have faith the other drivers will stay in their lane. We have faith in an unknown pilot every time we get on an airliner. Each one of those faiths is a faith in which we are willing to risk our lives. Religious faith is similar and is something to die for. It is something to live every moment. It is much more than belief, and much stronger, though belief is one of its parts or aspects.
Reason is relative to truth; it is a way of knowing truth: understanding it, discovering it or proving it. Faith is also relative to truth; it is a way of discovering truth. No human being ever existed without some faith. We all know most of what we know by faith; that is, by belief in what others- parents, teachers, friends, writers, society – tell us. Outside religion as well as inside it, faith and reason are roads to truth.
On my next blog, I will conclude this discussion on faith and reason by showing why they can never contradict each other and that God is the teacher in both.
So “Keep the Faith!” and let me know some of your thoughts.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The cross is a both a warning and call to peace through pardon. The same action that demonstrated God’s love was the same action that demonstrated his judgment. The same action the demonstrated his mercy also demonstrated his wrath. The same action that paid for our salvation reveals the depth of our condemnation apart from that very payment. Is this serious? Just look at the cross and the risen Savior to get the answer.
Friday, December 5, 2008
This was submitted by Edwin Lo. Edwin is active in local evangelism on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona as well as various local skate parks and just about anywhere there are people.
Please read this inspiring encounter he recently had in an airport in Utah. Keep up the good work Edwin!
Hello Brothers and Sisters,
Many of you know that I recently attended the funeral of friend and fellow seed sower, Jim Jones in Oregon. On the flight back, I had a three hour delay in Utah. While waiting for my flight, I decided to go through and arrange all of the tracts and resources I got from Jim. I spread them out on a table in the airport and decided I would just hand out tracts while people walked by.
Twenty minutes went by and I handed a tract to security person, not knowing who he was. He asked me what I was doing, and ended up calling a supervisor to report that I was handing out religious materials. After making the call, he told me I needed a permit to hand out my materials. Looking at my table, he said I was not allowed to hand anything out, and that if he saw me distributing anymore, he would take me to jail. He did allow me to keep the table, but only if people stopped and asked would I be able to engage them. He also reminded me that there were security cameras on me.
I sat down to read, Matthew chapter 5, James chapter 1, and 1 peter chapter 2. I prayed for forgiveness for misrepresenting The Lord, and decided to obey the airport authorities. Soon after, a man came along and was excited to see all of the different million dollar bill tracts. He took a Way of The Master new testament and more, I was so eager for him to take anything he liked, making sure he knew everything was free.
I looked over to see two security personnel. I’m pretty sure they were talking about what I was doing, but they left me alone. I was rejoicing that the man who stopped was able to get some resources. God gave me grace and encouragement in spite of my zeal without knowledge.
I hope this information helps you next time you’re in an airport wanting to give out tracts and witness. It would be a good idea to be aware of their policies. I can’t tell you that what I did at the beginning was wise or foolish; wanting to give tracts and not using much discernment. But God helped my discouragement when I encountered the security personnel. I just wanted to get the Gospel out.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I first saw this last year. Also included in the second video is this years' update.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Ask anyone who engages in regular one on one evangelism, and they will tell you that we meet professing Christians all of the time. We learn very quickly that just because someone says "Oh, I'm already a Christian" doesn't mean we shouldn't probe further. Far too often what they say after that is jaw-dropping. "I hope I've done enough good things" or some kind of works righteousness is among the most common. Just a few days ago, I met a woman on a college campus that thought reincarnation is compatible with biblical Christianity. She also claimed to have been born a Christian.
Friday, November 28, 2008
The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up
the comfort of his pulpit and decided to take his message of the Gospel into the
streets where it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the
destitute. He also ministered to their physical needs of food and clothing.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Once concluded we all then set up to share the Gospel with the crowds on the street there at Mill for the next few hours. We talked with cabbies and atheists. Lot's of students and professionals. Also a number of gothic teens. Many were catholic or mormon or new age. Many many conversations and the gospel proclaimed.
Please pray for Ali, Albed, Alan, Markum, Kyle, Brian, Brandon and Jamie. These are a few of the names I remember from sharing the Gospel. Jamie is a photographer for a local paper called New Times that is doing a story on the atheist group that actively opposes Christianity and especially street preachers and tracts with their more logical message. He took our picture with our water bottles and signs we set up that have the Gospel message on them along with our Free Stuff table of bibles and tracts.
Jamie believed all roads lead to the same place and evil and good are just terms man uses to describe something that does not exist. We had a good conversation and when going through the law and the gospel he showed some signs of conviction and openness. He admitted that he thinks about what will happen when he dies all the time. Pray that God will grant him repentance and he will not stop thinking about such things as there will be a day of judgment.
Monday, November 24, 2008
This is my debut blog on Streetfishing and I am looking forward to getting to know some of you out there who read this blog. Robert is a close friend of mine and he has asked me to share some thoughts about our encounters street witnessing together. But please allow me to introduce myself as I would like you to know a bit about my background in order to help in your understanding of where I am coming from when I write something.
I was reared in a home where we played Christian on Sundays but put God on a shelf the remainder of the week. During high school, I began going to a non-denominational church that preached "easy grace" and I caught on real quick. It wasn't long before I was using God to help me accomplish what I wanted in life. After striving to become a US Naval Officer and fighter pilot and then airline captain, I would like to say that God was my "Co-pilot" but He was actually only a passenger. Pride is what motivated me to accomplish things and obtain things in life.
To make a long and hypocritical life-story short, I will tell you that the Lord allowed me to nearly lose my marriage and kids. Through this trial, the Lord brought me back to Himself. No longer was He my passenger or co-pilot but He became my Captain. To put it more accurately, I finally recognized that He was the Captain all along and I was now going to submit my life to His authority. Only by His grace was I allowed to live long enough to truly make the God of the Universe my Savior AND Lord.
Today, my incredible marriage and family is testament to God's sovereignty and mercy on a man (that's me) who was full of pride, lust, and self-centeredness. Every day I must wake up and pray that the Lord will protect me from anything that would draw me away from Him again. Just as Paul wrote in Romans 7:24 & 25, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
So you ask, "What's with this Otter business?" Well, I am so glad you asked even if you didn't. The callsign, "Otter" was assigned to me when I became a fighter pilot in the Navy. This was one of my first humbling experiences because I had always dreamed that if I made it as a fighter pilot I would choose a callsign like "Maverick" or "Iceman." But a fighter pilot does not get to choose his callsign; it is chosen for him by his squadron mates. Yes, they get together and decide what you will be known as for the rest of your Naval career. Usually, the callsign is not a name the designated pilot would choose for himself. Believe me, "Otter" was not on my preferred list. The callsign is chosen based on any number of things: a personality characteristic, a physical trait, or an obnoxious behavior or mistake the designated pilot made. You can see the callsign is usually not flattering.
I have chosen to continue using this silly callsign for a couple of reasons. I am no longer working for the airlines but an advanced flight training company and they still call me "Otter" at work. But the main reason I would like to use it here on the blog is that it reminds me that God was the One who called me. He has chosen me. He is the One who set the world in motion and He is the One who allows me to write the very words I am writing now. As good a person as I think I may be, I still fall gravely short of God's inconceivable holiness. For forty years I thought I was a great success and a better-than-average person in the world's eyes but in God's economy, all my "good works were as filthy rags" -Isaiah 64:6. It is in spite of myself and because of His grace that I get to live and serve Him!
And so I am looking forward to sharing thoughts and witnessing adventures as my family and I strive to fulfill the Great Commission. I challenge anyone reading this and any following blogs to be as the Bereans. Search the scriptures to see if what I say is true. Please put me to the test. I want to be humble enough to admit mistakes yet bold enough to proclaim the truth in the midst of adversity.
Thanks for stopping by StreetFishing!
Serving our Lord with Robert,
My friend and fellow blogger over at Truth Matters has a real need. I don't post stuff like this very often. In fact, this is the first. I know Josh and his family would appreciate your consideration and especially your prayers for this most urgent situation. Check out his post, "Prayer and Help for my mom Carol."
Saturday, November 22, 2008
On a sunny Monday morning, I had planned on going to Chandler/Gilbert Community College here in Gilbert, but I hadn’t gotten my monthly request in on time and they turned me away. Clarke and his wife were already on their way and I was scrambling for a “Plan B.” “Where in Chandler, Arizona on a Monday morning at 10AM can we get some fishing done?” was my thought. I scouted a shopping center near the college. With a Wal-Mart, Staples and Home Depot there, surely there must be some fish—Nothing really.
That’s when my least favorite option came to mind. The Chandler Mall. Not only is security highly motivated to keep us out of there, but it was even further for Clarke to drive and I felt as though I hadn’t planned this out well. I was sure there weren’t many more fish there this time of day. There weren’t.
We hung out in a breezeway area I like because there’s a timed fountain there, and at least we’d have something to look at every fifteen minutes or so. Businesses were open but few people were around. It’s then when I got the idea to actually go into the various stores and engage the clerks.
The first man I talked to was Tony at the Stone Cold Creamery. He said he was a Christian and attended “that church near the 101 and Ray Road.” He couldn’t remember the name. I was a bit nervous, Tony was about four inches taller than me and probably outweighed me by a fair amount. He was a big guy. This qualified him for the two types of people who I’m scared of: People bigger than me (I’m 6’2” and around 300lbs) and, anyone I perceive as being 50 and above in age. Yes I’m 40.
I gave Tony a Million Dollar Bill tract and proceeded to tell him what I was out doing, all along giving him the Gospel. Tony admitted to having broken many of God’s commands and heard the bad news of God’s coming judgement for sinners. Then we got to the Cross. I was reminding Tony of things he probably already knew, but perhaps in a way he hadn’t heard before. As I thanked him and left the store, he called out “Hey thanks, good luck spreading the word.” Tony was a nice guy. Please pray that if he is saved, that God is renewing his heart, and if he isn’t, God is working there too.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
From time to time "stuff" happens. To those of you who have linked to this blog either by simple text or by way of my nifty graphic, I offer a heartfelt thanks.
It has come to my attention that the code on the graphic link (found on the right hand side of this blog about three quarters of the way down) was broken. This resulted in an error message when folks clicked on the image from your blog/web site. I believe that I have fixed the problem, so if you would be so kind as to correct the code on your site, I would be very grateful.
Please check to see if this fixes the problem. If not, send me an email and I will send the code in a file. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for being faithful readers of my blog. Your emails and comments are always an encouragement.
Posted by Unknown at 7:43 PM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Part of Speech: n
Definition: a style of hip-hop or rap music featuring repetitive shouting of phrases accompanied by electronic sound
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
You may have noticed in my last post that one of the pockets was empty on the new tract rack. That's because my Why Use Gospel Tracts informational pamphlet was still at the printer. I actually adapted several sources to come up with the one below. Let me know what you think, and if you like, please copy some or all of what I've put in this new informational.
In his book, The Coming Revival, Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ reported that “Only 2% of believers in America regularly share their faith with others.” (New Life Publications p 65) Born again Christians in the Bible and through history have shared their faith boldly, but the modern church has turned Jesus’ command for believers to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20) into something optional. Apathy toward the lost has taken hold in most of American Christianity.
Consider that in the next 24 hours, 150,000 people worldwide will enter eternity and most will end up in Hell. (Matt 7:13-14) What good reason can any born again believer give for not doing something to bring the life giving Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost?
Maybe you think you don’t know enough to share, or that you might not be able to answer a difficult objection to the faith. Perhaps it’s just plain fear of looking like a fanatic or of persecution. Let us not forget Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He promises to meet us and sustain us in a time of persecution. The goal is to study and develop in sharing our faith boldly and openly. Think back to when you first believed. For the majority of us, it was through someone caring enough to share with us. It is through the preaching of The Gospel that people get saved. (Romans 10:14)
Whether you are comfortable sharing your faith or mortified at the thought, a great place to start is with good Gospel Tracts. George Whitfield and Hudson Taylor were saved by the means of a Gospel tract. The fact that God can and will use tracts to draw people to Himself should cause us to consider them a useful resource.
You can use them as an ice-breaker to get into a spiritual conversation with someone by simply saying “Did you get one of these?” or you can just hand them out and move on. Even if all you can do for now is to leave them somewhere for people to find, you are doing something to get the saving message of Jesus Christ into the hands of a perishing world.
Consider this: Tracts can go places that we cannot long after we’ve distributed them, like homes, wallets, dashboards, nightstands, desks and as bookmarks. Tracts never argue or make excuses. They stick to the point. A tract may be read in private by someone who is too proud to read or discuss such matters openly. They continue to share The Gospel long after you’ve gone. Tracts are a great ice-breaker—“Did you get one of these?” works great last thing before you leave the drive-thru window. Lastly, God can use a simple Gospel tract to save someone!
Remember, you are distributing the most “church” many will ever experience. How important should it be that the message they receive is the Gospel? You will simply be amazed at the joy of moving toward sharing the life giving message of Jesus Christ!
These tracts are provided free of charge as a ministry of Calvary Chapel Queen Creek, however they have been purchased for use. Please be good stewards of this resource and give away every tract you take.
Please note that the best Gospel tracts are ones that clearly speak of sin, righteousness, judgement, heaven/hell, the cross and repentance. The tracts in this rack are good examples. There are a lot of tracts produced today that appeal to a seeker sensitive mindset and that are watered down. There are many resources on the Internet for tracts, the three following sites are a suggestion for your convenience and produce good, sound Gospel tracts.
Livingwaters.com Evangelismteam.com Customtractsource.com
Try to get into the habit of carrying Gospel tracts everywhere you go. Keep them in your car. Here is a list of some places you could leave tracts:
· At the hairdresser/barber
· Pay phone directory in the “Escort” or “Strip club” section
· With a generous tip
· With fast-food workers, and cashiers
· In restrooms tucked partially behind the mirror
· On ATM machines and bank counters
· In elevators
· On newspaper racks
· In waiting rooms of doctor and dentists offices
· On seats at airports, buses, cabs, subways
· With flight attendants and cab drivers
· In plane seat pockets
· In Laundromats
· Truck stops and rest stops
· Send along with your bill payments
· At libraries in books and magazines
· Tuck inside of twelve packs of beer at the store
· With tax returns
· Inside diaper bags for daycare workers to find
· Vending machines
· In New Age books at Barnes and Noble
· Pinned to bulletin boards
For more information or questions about sharing your faith, contact Robert Tewart at email@example.com
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Join me in extending an official and warm welcome to our new StreetFishing contributor, Rob-Roy Nelson. Rob-Roy has great insights into theology and doctrine as well as being able to communicate them with love and urgency. He is an active evangelist and leads a team here in Arizona. We look forward to his valuable and compelling aricles.
· "The Bible is a collection of stories that
teach us about what it looks like when God is at work through actual people. The
Bible has the authority it does only because it contains stories about people
interacting with the God who has all authority." p65
· "...it wasn't until the 300s that what we
know as the sixty-six books of the Bible were actually agreed upon as the
'Bible'. This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the
absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that "Scripture alone" is our
guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church,
a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only
need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from
the church voting on what the Bible even is. So when I affirm the Bible as God's
word, in the same breath I have to affirm that when those people voted, God was
somehow present, guiding them to do what they did. When people say that all we
need is the Bible, it is simply not true. In affirming the Bible as inspired, I
also have to affirm the Spirit who I believe was inspiring those people to
choose those books." p68
· "Doctrine is a wonderful servant and a horrible master." p25
· "Heaven is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people.
Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of
forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for. The difference is how we
choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality
we trust. Ours or God's." p146
· "When people use the word hell, what do
they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires
things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death,
slaughter--they are all hell on earth. Jesus' desire for his followers is that
they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth. What's disturbing is
when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here
and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to
· "The goal of Jesus isn't to get into heaven. The goal is to get heaven here." p148
· "I can't find one place in the teachings of Jesus, or the Bible for that matter, where we are to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners. Now this doesn't mean we don't sin; that's obvious. In the book of James it's written like this: 'We all stumble in many ways.' Once again, the greatest truth of the story of Adam and Eve isn't that it happened, but that it happens. We all make choices to live outside of how God created us to live. We have all come up short." p139
· "For a Christian, Jesus' teachings aren't to be followed because they are a nice way to live a moral life. They are to be followed because they are the possible insight into how the world really works. They teach us how things are. I don't follow Jesus because I think Christianity is the best religion. I follow Jesus because he leads me into ultimate reality. He teaches me to live in tune with how reality is. WhenThe Virgin Birth and the Trinity
Jesus said, 'No one comes to the Father except through me', he was saying that his way, his words, his life is our connection to how things truly are
at the deepest levels of existence. For Jesus then, the point of religion is to help us connect with ultimate reality, God." p83
· "What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry's tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of
Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that
time, the word virgin could mean several things. And what if you discover that
in the first century being "born of a virgin" also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?” p26
· "…is the way of Jesus still the best
possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?...if the whole faith
falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn't that strong
in the first place, was it?" p27
Rob Bell does claim to personally believe in the virgin birth of Jesus but he does not view it as an absolute truth and an essential doctrine of the Christian faith. Casey Freswick is the pastor of Bethany United Reformed Church in Michigan and he wrote the following assessment:So how important is the virgin birth of Christ? If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then the Scriptures cannot be reliable and He would not be God conceived in the flesh by the Holy Spirit but a mere man with a biological father and the human sinful nature that comes from being the son of “Larry”. If the Scriptures are not reliable and Jesus is the biological son of “Larry”, then we are of all men most miserable, our faith is in vain and we are dead in our sins. Please test all things and hold fast to that which is true.
He (Rob Bell) claims that denying the virgin birth is not outside the Christian Faith. What matters is how we can best relate to the culture of our day. But the Bible declares, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of theHoly Spirit" (Matthew1:18). The angel does declares, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).
Christians confess in the Apostles Creed that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was "conceived by the Holy Spirit" and "born of the virgin Mary." Rob Bell claims this is a flexible interpretation of the Bible. He teaches that people claiming that Jesus had an earthly father who understand the apostles' words about the birth of Jesus as a cultural myth (lie) to get the followers of Mithra to embrace the Christian faith is not a denial of the Christian faith. We may deny the virgin birth as long as we continue to live in the reality of God's love. Doctrine is not that important. "Doctrine is a wonderful servant and a horrible master."
Rob Bell is absolutely wrong. The virgin birth, like the doctrine of the Trinity, is a doctrine of Christ essential to having God. These doctrines are not horrible masters but blessed truths. The truth of the virgin birth is stronger than Rob Bell's feeble attempt to distort the nature of Biblical truth. The virgin birth is true because God's Word reveals it as true. This is not an interpretation of Scripture; it is the clear teaching of the Bible. If this makes me arrogant according to Rob Bell, then it makes Paul and John and the Word of God arrogant as well.