26 December 2009

Who's that knocking on my door?

For the past few years I would hear my friends talk about how the Jehovah Witnesses came knocking on their door only for them to either politely tell them to leave of just hide and wait them out.

I have been patient hoping I would be home when a JW or two would come knocking on my door.

Today was my day.

I was checking my email right around lunch time when I saw a full size pickup pull into my driveway. The way the truck pulled in I thought they were a little lost and was just using my driveway as a turn around. But the passenger door swung open first and then the driver's door and as a couple young men stepped out of the truck I knew it was the JW's.

I quickly turned to my right and grabbed a couple pamphlet tracts that go into more detail than the MDB's and I grabbed a hat (still had morning hair) and headed towards the front door.

My heart was racing a million miles and hour.

I opened the door (I think before they even had a chance to knock) and greeted them. One of the gentlemen gave me the quick, "We have some information we would like to talk with you about" line. It must have been a shock for them when I invited them to come on in the house.

We exchanged the introductions and then one of the young men (They both looked like they were in their late 20's or early 30's. Now that I'm almost 50 I can call them young men!) started talking about the world and it's condition today and asked me if I have ever thought about life after death, etc.

For the first 5 minutes or so I just let him talk. To be honest, I can't remember almost anything he was saying. It was like that Pink Floyd song, "Comfortably Numb" where the lyrics say, "Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying"

I was praying, "Lord, please slow my heart rate down. Please give me the wisdom and the words to say right now."

The young man said something about Jesus dying for the sin of everyone so, when they die, all could live in paradise.

Everyone, I said?


What about Hitler? Do you guy's think Hitler is in paradise?

Well, that's for Jehovah to judge.

The conversation went back and forth about the real reason for Jesus' sacrificial death, propitiation, the reality (or not) about eternal punishment, works versus faith alone in Christ, living a godly life, etc.

It came to a point where I tried to give the good person test but, like they have been trained to do, they avoided the questions and went back to other points they were trying to make.

After about 15 minutes or so they told me that they would be happy to come back and discuss a single topic if I liked. I told them that would be cool. I said, how about we talk about faith alone in Christ alone for salvation? They said that would be fine.

I gave the the tracts I had and they said that they were genuinely thankful for the kindness I showed them in letting them into my home and having a civil conversation about spiritual things. They said they have had a lot of people scream and yell at them and slam doors in their faces.

They said they would come back in two or three weeks after I have recovered from my surgery next week. I said that would be fine. I don't know if they will come back or not.

I figure if I can try to show them that salvation comes by faith alone in Christ alone I can also, by default, explain the Deity of Christ to them; show how Jesus is not a Archangel but is indeed God Himself.

The conversation didn't go as I thought it would go, but I'm sure it went the way it was supposed to go.

Stay tuned!

24 December 2009

Christ; the ultimate gift to man.

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Isaiah 7:13-14

Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:21-23

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Luke 2:8-14

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


Merry Christmas to all of my blog friends I have made over the past couple years!!

10 December 2009

What is missing?

From Leon Brown at Press On Until Glory

Every year, Christians are trained around the nation in order to learn how to share the gospel. You are familiar with the programs because they are many. Some programs are professed to be better than others. Are they really? The final determination is up to you!

But throughout these training sessions, I've noticed something is missing. Or to be more specific, I should say, the first step is missing.

It's extremely easy to gather 100 people into a room and tell them a certain formula to share the gospel. I've done it, and you've probably done it. Initially, it seems to help people. They are thankful that they are learning to share the gospel, and rightfully so. But once the training session is complete and they're on their own, sometimes the enthusiasm to share the gospel tappers off.


I believe it's because something is missing.

You know, just the other day I watched my interview with Dr. J.I. Packer. At one point, I asked him about evangelism. He told me that his African friends would think we are quite strange for talking about evangelism because they do it so frequently and so naturally. As I began to think about this, I wondered, "Why do they do it so frequently and so naturally?"

Many answers came to mind and this is one of them: Joy!

These African brothers have joy in the Lord. And as this joy builds inside of them, they cannot help but share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's kind of like a pot that boils over because it has too much water in it. Initially, the waters are calm, but as the pot heats up, the water come out the top.

The same thing can be said about sharing the gospel. Once the pot gets burning (the pot is you), the gospel will come out. It may not come out perfectly or even the way you'd want it to, but it comes out. (Remember, God works in spite of us often, so don't be discouraged if the gospel does not come out exactly 'like you planned.')

Moreover, sharing the gospel becomes natural. There are too many instances when non-believers will make this comment once they've heard the gospel or watched a video on YouTube: "Oh, I've heard that before."

Question: "Heard what before?"

They are not talking about the gospel insomuch as they are talking about the "formula" that was used to share the gospel. You're familiar with them. There is no need to name names. There are a bunch of them out there.

So, back to my original question. What's missing?

Instead of teaching someone how to share the gospel as a first step, as best as it is possible (and this is hard with a large group), let' see if they have joy in the Lord. I think it's too much to assume that they have joy just because they're there. Many people simply want an easy way out, and this includes Christians. People want a 1-2-3 step program. Whereas, evangelism, as I've had to learn, is so much more than that.

So, as we continue to train individuals in the body of Christ, as far as we are able, let the first step, or one of the first steps, be in talking to the trainee about joy...because if they have joy, chances are they've already been sharing the gospel, but they're coming to you to be refined, not initiated. Then, once the trainee leaves, he or she will continue to share the gospel (naturally, I might add) regardless of whether he/she thinks their local assembly is sharing Christ. Why?

Because they have joy! And joy about a particular subject is hard to keep to yourself! Thank God there is joy in Christ!

03 December 2009

When is it Time for True Christians to go to the Mat?

From Proclaim the Truth

When I was in my early twenties, I found myself in a place of turmoil. My religious beliefs were no longer valid. They could not sustain me. Since I was merely religious and had not yet experienced true salvation, I was trusting in a false belief system that could not help me. Because of this reality, I was being tempted by Satan to abandoned Christianity altogether. One of the lies I began to buy into was the lie that said to me, “Christianity is not true. Look at all the strife and all of the denominations. Such a confused system of beliefs cannot be true.” For a season, I struggled with this question. This was resolved the moment I became truly saved and saw the light. However, the question lingers for those on the outside and so I want to approach this question, but from a different angle. I want to ask the question, when do Christians “go to the mat” for truth?

Here is my purpose: If we can say that there are truths in the Bible that are universally true and that cannot be compromised, then we must resolve that those truths require us to fight the good fight. We must fight that fight in love, but we must fight nonetheless to reserve, to conserve, and to proclaim that very truth. The natural result is that feelings will get hurt and that unsaved people will look on with the support of Satan to question this strife within visible Christianity. And yet, what else should we expect? True Christianity is always in a struggle with the false version being peddled by false converts. It is always the lie that is closest to the truth that is most difficult to contend with. And so, true Christians are always left with the task of proclaiming a truth that the world hates and that false Christians will chastise and diagnose as being hateful. The enormous irony is that true Christians are often ostracized as some strange religious sect despite preaching truth, while false Christians are living a lie and celebrated.

Because Christianity has been, and will continue to be invaded by tares (false Christians), we must understand that this is a battle we will always have to fight. And yet, it is not easy. It is not easy calling out friends and family, and other supposed Christians when they are preaching a false gospel. So, the question remains: when do we go to the mat and when do we remain silent? That is not an easy question to answer because the danger is always present that we become divisive in the name of truth. We have to be delicate and balanced. We have to go to the mat in love. We have to proclaim the truth, but try to do so in as winsome a way as possible. We will offend people because of the gospel, but we have to try to not be offensive in the way we do it. To my regret, I have not always done this correctly. All Christians will fail at this from time to time. But, it must be always on our mind as we seek to be salt and light.

I submit to you that any time truth is at stake in general, and the gospel in particular, we must go to the mat as if our very life depended on it. We must resolve in our minds that no matter whom we offend and no matter what the consequences, we will proclaim the truth. And we must do this while in the Word, while in prayer, and with love for the unregenerate in our hearts. And when we fail to do this in the right way – in a winsome way, in a loving way – we must repent and start anew. We must love the unregenerate even when the unregenerate hates us. It is a tall order to take up our cross and follow Jesus, but it is what we are called to do. So, we must go to the mat for truth. That is a given. And we must do it whenever truth is at stake. The question now before us is what truths in the Bible are so clearly evident, so obvious, and so crucial that we do not compromise them? That is a more difficult question and one I would like to spend some time discussing. I am going to spend a few weeks considering that question and will write again on it in the future.

Brian Dufala

Hat Tip - The Word Street Journal

01 December 2009

Jesus' Use of the Law in Evangelism - Massimo Lorenzini

Our Lord Jesus provides us with a very simple and striking example how to use the law of God in evangelism in his confrontation with the rich young ruler.

The Rich Young Ruler, Mark 10:17-27(2)

17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
19 "You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.' "
20 And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up."
21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
23 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!"
24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?"
27 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."

Jesus would have failed personal evangelism class in most Bible colleges and seminaries.

Our text describes a young man who looked like the hottest evangelistic prospect the Lord had encountered. He was ripe. He was eager. There was no way he would get away without receiving eternal life.

But he did.

Instead of getting him to make a decision, in a sense Jesus chased him off. He failed to draw the net. He failed to sign the young man up. Should we allow our ideas of evangelism to indict Jesus? Or might we need to allow His example to critique contemporary evangelism? Christ's confrontation of this young man gives us much-needed insight into reaching the lost.

The rich young ruler was, humanly speaking, an ideal prospect for conversion. He was young, had prominence (a ruler), was wealthy (v. 22), was moral, was enthusiastic for spiritual things ("came running"), was bold (out on the road, v. 17), he was respectful (knelt before Him, v. 17). On top of all this he was begging to know how to be saved!

Wouldn't any evangelist just love to open his Bible and show him the plan of salvation? The rich young ruler would make a fine trophy to the soul-winner. He was just ripe for today's decisional methods of evangelism.

But Jesus had the nerve to rebuke him, discuss the ten commandments with him, demand immense sacrifice, and then let him get away.

What was He thinking?!

Jesus had two motives for the way he handled the rich young ruler: (1) love for the lost, v.21; (2) even greater love for God, v.18.

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