Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bells Are Ringing


This weekend you will start seeing the familiar red kettles and bell ringers of the Salvation Army outside of everywhere from grocery stores to Wal-Mart and Target. It's the time of year again when we can reach out to those keeping the kettle with the Gospel. They are stationary for hours at a time and usually have little personal contact with shoppers other than a quick greeting as they drop their change into the kettle.


Last year I made it a point to witness to several Keepers of the Bell. My approach was to open with the question "Do you know anything about the history of the Salvation Army?" None of them did.


Then I gave them a short history lesson.



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.


They always seemed to be pleasantly interested in this information. That's when I would give them a tract and asked if they were Christians. This lead to several good conversations last year and I'm looking forward to many more this year. I found out real fast that here in the southwest, many of the bell keepers are Hispanic and speak only Spanish! I had to brush up quick as well as get ahold of Spanish tracts.


Please pray for those ringing the bell and remember to pass along the best gift of all. The life saving Gospel!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grooms Party on Mill



My friend Steven is getting married next week. He wanted to have a Grooms party (instead of a bachelor party) and have it on Mill Ave. About 10 guys met on the streets at the Drum Circle and had a time of prayer, bible study, singing and also sharing Godly wisdom with this new husband to be. We took communion together and prayed more.

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.

Love, Rob-roy

Monday, November 24, 2008

Otter the blogger


Hi Everyone,

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,

Otter

Help for Carol

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

Monday Morning Part 1


This is the first of a couple of parts to a recent street fishing outing.


If you are like me, you look at some of the blogs and videos of people like Tony Miano, or Steve Sanchez and think, “Man, they sure are blessed to be in such a populated area with beaches, piers and all sorts of tourist filled attractions, they’ve got it so good.” The truth is, we can’t all be in one place and really, no matter where you live, there’s plenty of work to do in getting the Gospel out. We can be just as obedient in a small town as we can at Huntington Beach or Hollywood Blvd.


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

House Cleaning/Maintenance

Hello all.

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.

Rob

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shai Linne: The Gospel

Crunk:
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

Why Use Gospel Tracts?

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.




Why Use Gospel Tracts?

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 streetfishingrob@aol.com

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tract Rack by Jack

A couple of months ago, my pastor called me in for a meeting. I knew it had to do with my ministry in evangelism, but I wasn't sure what he wanted to talk about specifically. We spoke mostly of what I was up to and how the street ministry was progressing. He then asked me about putting a couple of tract holders in the sanctuary foyer. "Great idea" I said, and I went to work looking online for a suitable display case.


They were a little on the pricey side with shipping and all, so I began to think about building one myself. After considering this for about thirty seconds, I was confronted with the ugly memory of the doghouse debacle from years past (details not necessary).


That's when I began to look within our church body for a craftsman worthy of this task. Jack Hanko was my man, and for this I give him a heartfelt thanks. What you see in the photos is Jack's creation. It means so much more than anything I could have found online. And..........he made two! Hats off to this great craftsman for his efforts.


This rack has eighteen over sized pockets for a variety of different tracts as well as three bigger pockets below for other materials. The construction plans for this rack will soon be available from Jack. If you would like them, please send me an email and I would be happy to send them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Welcome!

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.

Leaving Velvet Elvis in the Dust of the Rabbi

Friends,

Cameron Beuttel is a name I am familiar with who attended the Deeper 2008 Conference (not as a speaker) in Atlanta and is a gifted teacher in discerning the scripture. In this short video Cameron breaks down Rob Bell’s most famous teaching (Dust of the Rabbi) shown in an abbreviated form (Dust) in the Nooma video series. I watched this quite awhile back and it nails down the biblical issues with the “Dust of the Rabbi” message that many people love to hear Rob Bell preach.




Rob Bell is a very well known national figure among Christian leaders and his teaching is very influential. The question is whether the influence is biblical? Here is a list of problematic quotes from Rob Bell as found in his very popular book Velvet Elvis:

Inspiration and Hermeneutics


· "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

Sola Scriptura

· "...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 and Hell

· "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
earth." p148

· "The goal of Jesus isn't to get into heaven. The goal is to get heaven here." p148

The Fall

· "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

Ultimate Reality


· "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. When
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
The Virgin Birth and the Trinity


· "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:



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.


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.

Love, Rob-roy



Monday, November 3, 2008

Slain by The Law




"God never clothes men until He has first stripped them, nor does He quicken
them by the gospel till first they are slain by the Law. When you meet with
persons in whom there is no trace of conviction of sin, you may be quite sure
that they have not been wrought upon by the Holy Spirit; for 'when He is come,
He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."

C.H. Spurgeon

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Deeper 2008

The following is a quote from Paul Washer of HeartCry Missionary Society when he was preaching a breakout session at the Deeper Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia a few weeks ago. To view video or hear audio of all of the conference speakers, go here.

"We have no right to water down the gospel offence or civilize its radical demands in order to make it more appealing to a fallen world or carnal church members. Our church's are filled with strategies to make it more seeker friendly by repackaging the gospel, removing the stumbling block and taking the edge off the blade so that its more acceptable to carnal men.
We ought to be seeker friendly, but we ought to realize that there is only one seeker and He is God. If we are striving to make our church and our message accommodating lets make it accommodating to Him. If we are striving to build a church or ministry let us build it on a passion to glorify God and a desire not to offend his majesty. To the wind with what the world thinks about us! We are not to seek the honors of earth, but the honors of heaven."

"If you draw people using carnal means you will have to keep them by carnal means"

~ Paul Washer