31 March 2012

Are you willing to reach down into the fire?

Suppose that, by some painful operation, you could have your right arm made a little longer, I do not suppose you would care to undergo the operation; but if you foresaw that, by undergoing the pain, you would be enabled to reach and save drowning men who else would sink before your eyes, I think you would willingly bear the agony, and pay a heavy fee to the surgeon to be thus qualified for the rescue of your fellows.

Reckon, then, that to acquire soul-winning power you will have to go through fire and water, through doubt and despair, through mental torment and soul distress. It will not, of course, be the same with you all, nor perhaps with any two of you, but according to the work allotted you, will be your preparation. You must go into the fire if you are to pull others out of it, and you will have to dive into the floods if you are to draw others out of the water. 

You cannot work a fire-escape without feeling the scorch of the conflagration, nor man a lifeboat without being covered with the waves. If Joseph is to preserve his brethren alive, he must himself go down into Egypt; if Moses is to lead the people through the wilderness, he must first himself spend forty years there with his flock. Payson truly said, "If anyone asks to be made a successful minister, he knows not what he asks; and it becomes him to consider whether he can drink deeply of Christ's bitter cup and be baptized with His baptism."

I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depression of spirits. I know the borders of despair, and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone; but hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their deep despondency. So I believe that the darkest and most dreadful experience of a child of God will help him to be a fisher of men if he will but follow Christ.

Charles Spurgeon -

23 March 2012

Depravity's Got Talent

 From Tony Miano at Cross Encounters

Does today's post title have you a little perplexed? Allow me to explain.

It was only 100 degrees, today, on Avenida Entrana. I think it may be premature to call it a "cooling trend." Once again, affirming and friendly motorists far out numbered the angry ones. But of all the motorists who passed by, one in particular is etched in my memory.

Traveling at no less than 40 mph, a man on a motorcycle approached the intersection, heading eastbound on Lyons Avenue. Before he entered the intersection, he rose to his feet and stood straight as an arrow. Then he slowly stretched his arms out to his sides, with his palms facing forward, and tilted his head back. He maintained this position all the way though the intersection. He was living proof that depravity's got talent. But his talent was overshadowed by his blasphemous display as he mockingly tried to mimic Jesus hanging on the cross.

The Lord, however, would redeem the time on Avenida Entrana.

I was just about to leave to meet Mahria and the girls at In-n-Out Burger for dinner when I was approached by two Hispanic gang members. Now, some who read this may jump at the chance to call me judgmental for referring to the two young men as gang members. But having worked as a gang investigator for a number of years, I believe the old adage is still true. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck; well, it's probably a duck.

Both were dressed in the latest in gangster apparel, complete with baggy pants, monogrammed belt buckles and matching dark baseball hats, and the usual array of costume jewelry. Both had tattoos that looked like they either etched their own body or an even less talented body artist did it for them. One was short. One was tall.

"Ready for what?" The short one said with a sarcastic tone and a grin on his face.

"Eternity. Are you guys ready for eternity?"

"When is that?" The short one asked.

"When you die. We're all going to die someday. Right?"

Both nodded their heads and agreed. In their answer, each tried to express their lack of concern with a little false bravado.

"So, what's going to happen to you guys when you die?" I asked.

Neither knew for sure, but both affirmed a belief in heaven and hell.

"What does a person have to do to go to heaven?" I asked.

"Be good." They answered.

"Have you guys been good?"

They laughed and shook their heads.

I took the two young men through the Law, with both admitting to being lying, thieving, blasphemous, murderers-at-heart. Before I could even ask what they thought God would do with them if He found them guilty of breaking His Law, the shorter one looked at the ground and said, "I'm going to hell."

The taller one nodded his head in agreement.

"Does that concern you guys?" I asked. Both said that it did.

"Do you have any idea what God did so that you might not have to spend eternity in hell?"

"Jesus died on the cross." The taller one answered.

"Have either of you been in a courtroom?"

"In a courtroom?" The shorter one asked.

"Yes--in a courtroom."


"Me, too. In fact, I probably spent a lot more time in courtrooms then either of you. I was a deputy sheriff and I worked COBRA (the gang unit at Santa Clarita station)."

Their eyes grew as large as saucers.

The shorter one chuckled and said, "Oh, man. I'm outta here."

"Don't worry about it. I'm retired, now."

I took the two young men through the courtroom analogy. As I did, a sheriff's patrol car slowly made its way through the intersection. I made eye contact with the deputy and gave the customary nod of acknowledgement. I'm sure the sight of a guy holding a large cross talking to two gangsters was probably something he doesn't see every day.

When I turned back around, both of the young men's eyes were fixed on the patrol car. Their posture seemed to indicate that they were ready to run if the patrol car stopped.

I stepped between them and their view of the patrol car. "Relax. Nothing is going to happen." I said.

I shared the gospel with them. The taller one said, "I understand what you're saying."

"Get right with God, you guys. You're not promised tomorrow. And the time to get right with God isn't when you're standing before Him waiting to be judged. That would be like standing before a judge in a courtroom and saying, 'Judge, I didn't think I would get caught. I didn't think the jury would find me guilty. And I didn't think you would punish me. So, I think you should just let me go and forget about the whole thing.'

"A good judge would turn to you and say, 'You should have thought about that before you broke the law.' And the same will be true when you stand before God.

"Does that make sense?"

"Yeah it does." They answered.

We shook hands and I asked them to think carefully about what I told them. They said that they would.

They started to cross the street.

"You guys be careful."

"We will!"

I walked to my car, praying for those two young men the entire way. Once again, I thanked God for using the cross to give me the opportunity to share the gospel with two young men I may not have ever met, otherwise.

15 March 2012

Quote of the Day - B. B. Warfield

I believe that God requires of me, under the gospel, first of all, that , out of a true sense of my sin and misery and apprehension of his mercy in Christ, I should turn with grief and hatred away from sin and receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation; that, so being united to him, I may receive pardon for my sins and be accepted as righteous in God’s sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to me and received by faith alone; and thus and thus only do I believe I may be received into the number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.

B. B. Warfield

12 March 2012

Quote of the Day

"If our preaching does not center on Christ--from Genesis to Revelation--no matter how good or helpful, it is not a proclamation of God's Word."

Michael Horton

03 March 2012

The Message

Great advice from Ray Comfort - 

The Apostle Paul followed in the steps of Jesus by using the moral Law to bring the knowledge of sin (see Romans 3:19,20). When a rich young man ran to Jesus and asked how he could find everlasting life, Jesus didn’t speak of a wonderful plan, or even of God’s love or the cross. He firstly reproved the man’s understanding of the word "good," then He gave the man five of the Ten Commandments (see Mark 10:17-21) so that He would know how the nature of God’s goodness. He had to be confronted with his crimes against His Creator.

So if you want to be faithful to the Word of God and to the Great commission to “preach the gospel to every creature,” don’t change the message. Don’t adjust it because you want to make it more palatable to the sinner or because you are afraid of rejection. Don’t change it because you want to follow in the footsteps of modern preachers, because they are not going in the right direction. Modern methods have wreaked havoc within the Church—filling it with tares among the wheat, resulting in a Church that looks little like the God-fearing, fiery, fearless, evangelistic Church of the Book of Acts, who faced death rather than compromise the message.

So, if you profess to be a follower of Christ, do what Jesus did. Take courage and open up the divine Law before you preach the mercy of the cross. It is the Law that makes the cross make sense. Who is going to want mercy if they aren’t shown their sin? There are some, however, who are of the belief that sinners are well-aware of their sin and don’t need the Law. But such a belief is diametrically opposed to Scripture, which says that there are “none” who understand (see Romans 3:11).

Opening up the Commandments as Jesus did on the Sermon on the Mount was the way of Wesley, Spurgeon, Whitefield and all the faithful men of God, who knew the great biblical truth that we must diagnose the disease of sin before we prescribe the cure of the gospel.

02 March 2012

A Gift and a Lift -

Here is a great post I just read over at The Word Street Journal from my brother in Christ, Paul Latour!!

A very close and dear friend of ours, Nicole, a sister in Christ and street evangelist extraordinaire, was feeling a bit on the downside in recent days. We all have days like that. I certainly do.

Christians, despite the joy we have in Christ, are not immune from suffering "the blues" from time to time. We, like everybody else on the planet, have feelings and emotions that cannot be ignored but, at the same time, we must be careful not to allow them to overwhelm us to the point of desperation. The benefit we have over nonbelievers, of course, is Christ in our lives and we know we can depend on Him to see us through the tough times just as He sees us through the good.

 I sent an e-mail to Nicole the other day to remind her that one of the best ways a Christian can have his or her heart lifted up and brought out of the duldrums is to go out and share his or her faith with people. I take it she welcomed the advice as I came home from work tonight and found this e-mail waiting for me:

Hi brother Paul,
Thanks for your reply... you were right it would boost my spirit.  I went out to the store tonight and prayed that God would give me the boldness to approach different people and have an opportunity to share with someone and He did, praise the Lord!
It was a glorious time and am so thankful the Lord answered my prayer.  Ever since I saw the video with the little old man from George street I've been wanting to approach people and ask them that question - "Are you saved? If you were to die tonight do you know where you would be going?". 
It was funny to see the reaction of the first two that I actually asked them directly like that. 

I got to give one of your tracts to a young man who is catholic.  

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