29 August 2009

"Are You Ready" - Ready!

After reading about a couple passionate street preachers (Tony Miano from the LawMan Chronicles and Paul Latour from The Word Street Journal) and their zeal for creating an evangelism tool with the words, "Are You Ready" boldly painted on 4' by 3' cross, I knew that this ole North Georgia boy could find a few uses for such a tool in the deep south.

I gave a call to one of my witnessing partners who has all the tools Tim the 'Toolman' Taylor could ever dream to have and set up at his house to cut some boards and drill a hole. A couple other of my witnessing buds came by and supervised the project.

We didn't get to do the lettering last week as someone : ) forgot to bring the stencils.

My goal was to have my wife (the steady hand ) paint the letters on this morning and I would go down to a busy section of road and debut the cross.

Unfortunately a kidney stone had other plans for me today.

After a few hours of unwanted pain I got the materials together for my wife to put on the lettering. She did a great job but the time had already slipped away from me and the goal of heading down to a busy road in Woodstock, Ga.

That's Ok....next Saturday!

27 August 2009

What would Ted Kennedy say to us now?

From Tony the Law Man

Do you profess to be a Christian, yet after hearing the news of Kennedy's death do you see it as an opportunity to celebrate, or to tell an off-colored joke, or to make a political statement? Well, if as a professing Christian you don't regularly share your faith with the lost, this would certainly explain why. After all, it's what comes out of the mouth that reveals the condition of the heart.

And for those Christians who are obedient to Christ's command to preach the gospel to the entire world, if you too are making light of Kennedy's death, don't you see the hypocrisy in the behavior?

While pundits and others from every political and spiritual persuasion will have much to say over the next several days about Ted Kennedy's life and legacy, if Ted Kennedy could say anything to us right now it would be this.

"Don't miss heaven."

Ted Kennedy's understanding of who God is and what God requires of every person is now perfect. No longer limited by the fallibility of a finite human mind as we are presently, Ted Kennedy's theology is now perfect. Regardless of where you believe Ted Kennedy is at this moment, I am confident that his plea to his fellow man would be, "Don't miss heaven."

My hope is that as he made the long and painful journey from life to death to eternity, Ted Kennedy came to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Although I saw Ted Kennedy as an enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, my hope is that I will one-day see Ted Kennedy in heaven.

Lord, help me to love my enemies.

What about you? Where will you spend eternity? Have you ever thought about it? Do you care?

You will one-day die and stand before the Creator, Almighty God, whom you've denied and mocked. He will judge you according to the perfect, moral standard of His Law. If He finds you guilty of so much as one lie, or one theft, or one greedy desire, or one selfish act, or one lustful look, or one hateful thought, or one blasphemous utterance; He will find you guilty of breaking His Law. The sentence you will receive will be just and good: eternity in Hell.

Your arguments against the righteous justice of Almighty God, my King, are irrelevant. My King is sovereign. You are not. And any man who tries to defend himself before the Great White Throne of the Creator and Judge of the Universe has a fool for a client.

God, who is rich in mercy, who is loving and kind, has provided only one way for you to escape His just and holy wrath. This is your only hope, whether you believe it or not.

Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent His Son to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ--fully-God and fully-Man, but without sin. Unlike you and me, He never once violated the Law of God in thought, word, or deed. He couldn't. He was God in the flesh--the sinless Lamb of God. He was born of a virgin, just as the prophet said He would be, 750 years before His birth.

Thirty to thirty-three years into that earthly existence He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered, shed His innocent blood, and died a horrific death. The Bible says that he was so badly beaten and mutilated that He could barely be recognized as human. He suffered and died, taking upon Himself the punishment you and I rightly deserve for violating God's Law. Three days later He rose from the dead and forever defeated sin and death. Unlike the false gods of every other religion on the planet, Jesus Christ is alive and He will return at a time of the Father's choosing.

What He commands of you is that you repent--that you turn away from and forsake your sin; and that you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Jesus said that unless a person is born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God. If God causes you to be born again, then when you die and stand before Him, instead of receiving what you deserve for breaking God's Law (which is eternity in hell), you will receive what you don't deserve (which is grace, and mercy, and everlasting life in heaven, with Jesus Christ).

So, repent and believe the gospel while my King has given you time. Please, I beg of you, don't miss heaven.

I believe Ted Kennedy would agree.

24 August 2009

Evangelism Tip

Here is an unusual evangelism tip that Greg S. suggested, taken from the Adventures in Christianity website.

I was at the airport (where I work) yesterday and I saw a huge group of Japanese tourists, and some Muslims all decked out in their Mohammad outfits. Well, if you go up to them and start sharing Christ they will ask the security to get rid of you quickly, but what I do is just pick up my cell phone and put it up to my ear and let her rip for Jesus!

I can preach to my heart’s content if they think I am talking to someone on my phone; they have never yet complained or even let out a peep of protest. If you want to really cover yourself you could call a buddy and tell them what is going on. Or you could call someone you know who needs the Lord and get two jobs done at once! At any rate, I have really enjoyed cell phone preaching lately… [It's a great way to avoid security problems when] we can’t preach in these private property venues.

With a cell phone in hand, you can preach wherever and whenever you want!

HT - Stone the Preacher

20 August 2009

Law - Gospel

"The law sheweth us our sin; the Gospel sheweth us a remedy for it. The law sheweth us our condemnation; the Gospel sheweth us our redemption. The law is the word of wrath; the Gospel is the word of grace. The law is the word of despair; the Gospel is the word of comfort. The law is the word of unrest; the Gospel is the word of peace.

The law saith, Pay thy debt; the Gospel saith, Christ hath paid it. The law saith, Thou art a sinner, despair, thou shalt be damned; the Gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved. The law saith, Make amends for thy sins; the Gospel saith Christ hath made it for thee. The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? The Gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, and satisfaction. The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell; the Gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all."

Patrick Hamilton (1503-1528)

17 August 2009

All roads lead to God -

Sometimes, when witnessing, a person will tell me that its fine that I believe what I believe but he has his own way to get to God. Sometimes I will even hear a person say, "All roads lead to God".

Whenever I hear that from a person I immediately agree with them. I say, "You are right, all roads do lead to God!"

If you are an atheist, your road leads to God. If you are a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Wiccan, an agnostic, a Jew, a mother Earth worshipper or any other belief system; your road leads to God.

However, if you want forgiveness of your sins and eternal life in Heaven, then there is only one path and it is a narrow one. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life and that no one goes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

Only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ can you be forgiven of the thing that separates you from God; sin.

Yes, all roads lead to God. But the real question should be, "What will become of me at the end of my road that leads to God?"

Not sure?

Please visit http://www.needgod.com/

12 August 2009

What should be the result of a witness encounter?

Todd Friel in the Wretched Radio Newsletter.

When all is said and done, what should be the result of a witness encounter?

Like Horshack, you probably just shouted, “Ooh, ooh, pick me!”

Not so fast Ron Palillo.

Let me give you four options before you give your final answer.

1. The heathen feels like a wretched sinner.

2. The heathen understands the love of God.

3. You made it all the way through without passing out.

4. Jesus is exalted.

The correct answer: 4.

Yes, 1, 2 and 3 are important, but if you take a survey through the book of Acts, you will discover that the ultimate goal of apostolic Gospel preaching was: Jesus.

Let’s see if I can prove it. And if I can, you and I may need to reconsider how we share and preach the Gospel.

Acts Sermon #1: Acts 2:14-40
The Holy Spirit has fallen on the apostles and 120 others as they begin to speak in foreign languages. After Peter explains to the devout Jews that they are not drunk but fulfilling the prophecy in Joel 2, he launches into his sermon. How does it begin?

“Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst.” The remainder of Peter’s sermon is all about…Jesus.

Acts Sermon #2: Acts 3:11-26
After the lame man was healed and a crowd gathered, Peter sees the opportunity to launch into an open air sermon (gotta love that). How does Peter begin the sermon? By explaining that the miracle was performed by Jesus. How does Peter end the sermon? He proclaims the resurrection of Jesus. What did Peter talk about in between? Jesus.

Interestingly, the reason why Peter and John were arrested was because “they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 4:2)

Acts Sermon #3: Acts 4:8-12
Peter and John have been arrested for healing the lame man and Peter gives his defense. What does he preach? Bingo! “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

What is that name? Jesus.

Eleven More Sermons

There are at least ten more sermons in the book of Acts and each sermon either begins with Jesus or climaxes with Jesus.

Consider Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7. He didn’t give the learned Jews a history lesson for nothing. He preached through the Old Testament to demonstrate that it was all headed toward a fulfillment in…Jesus. That is when the rocks started flying.

“Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.” (Acts 8:5)

Phillip then approached the Ethiopian eunuch and “preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:35)

Saul got saved on the road to Damascus. The scales were removed from his eyes and what did he do? “Immediately he began to proclaim Jesus.” (Acts 9:20)

Peter preached “peace through Jesus Christ” to Cornelius and his household. (Acts 10:36)

Paul preached Jesus in the Areopagus in Acts 17. Paul preached Jesus in Acts 22 as he presented his defense before the Jerusalem mob. Paul preached Jesus to Felix in Acts 24 and to Agrippa in Acts 26. In fact, “Agrippa replied to Paul, ‘In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.’” (Acts 26:28)

Consider the last words of the rather abrupt ending to Acts. “And Paul stayed two full years (in Rome) in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.”

The conclusion is unmistakable, the main emphasis in the preaching of the apostles in the Book of Acts is: JESUS.

What do we do with this? Well, I am not entirely sure. I am still digesting the above information since hearing a magnificent sermon by Pastor Ty Blackburn just ten hours ago. I think I have three conclusions (ugh, that sounded kind of emergent).

1. Lighten up on the apologetics
Do we lose apologetics entirely? Nope. We are always prepared to give a reason for the hope we have (I Peter 3:15). But as we study Paul’s apologetics, he reasoned with people from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2). The emphasis of Paul’s apologetics was not big bang cosmology, but Jesus. Paul used the Old Testament Scriptures to demonstrate their fulfillment in Jesus.

Yes, we use apologetics; after all, the mind has to be convinced of the truth. But perhaps we have been letting the atheists take us down apologetics rabbit trails that take the focus off of the name that gives them the shakes.

2. Start in different places, end in the same place

It is obvious in the Book of Acts that each sermon has a distinctly different starting place. With the Jews, the sermons typically began with Jesus the Messiah. With the Greeks, Paul began with creation. We also notice that each circumstance demanded a different opening. The first words out of our mouths don’t need to be “Jesus the Nazarene”, but our sermons and witness encounters should be like the apostles: Jesus centered.

While we may spend some time (and it may be quite a bit of time) discussing creation and the Law, we better make sure that we end our message with the name that saves.

3. Dwell on Jesus

Does this mean we should no longer use the Law and preach the Ten Commandments? Certainly not. But I am suggesting that maybe our (ok, my) witness encounters have not been as Jesus centered as they should be.

As Pastor Blackburn preached, “After our witness encounters, Jesus should be left ringing in their ears.”

What does all of this look like?

I am not sure.

As we make our way through the month of August, will you ponder this with me? How can we make sure that Jesus is the star of our message?

I will be trying to do this in witnessing and preaching. Will you kindly offer your suggestions and give your critiques? If I fail, chastise me. Should I stumble across a particularly good presentation, tell me.

Be listening. I will be trying. Give me your advice, opinions and suggestions.

Together, let’s make sure that Jesus rings in everyone’s ears.

- Todd

Hat Tip to Street Fishing!

07 August 2009

Evangelism, AMISH Style

Ephraim Stoltzfus, raised in the Amish culture, was disfellowshipped from his community for having the audacity to share the gospel with the lost, conducting Bible studies with his family, and for reading the Bible in English. As he studied the Word, he realized that that his leaders’ traditions didn’t exactly line up with Scripture.

This clip is taken from a one hour BBC documentary of this incident called “Trouble in Amish Paradise” (currently unavailable, but you can read a synopsis here), and you can listen to Ephraim’s amazing story by clicking here to go to Ambassadors’ Alliance Radio. Ephraim’s tesimony is at the start of the second hour.

Hat Tip - Stone the Preacher