Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lifehouse skit

Although not theologically correct, this is a great depiction of the spiritual battle people go through in this world. The ending will amost bring you to tears of joy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Atheist Central

Peters, Yoshi, and I met up for another day of sharing the gospel. It seems like we ran into mostly atheists today. We did our usual route through Carroll College, past the movie theater, through hill park, to the walking mall and library and then back. The campus was dead because of Christmas break. We hit the movie theater which was not dead at all. It seemed like everyone was going to the movies. There was a big line, so I went to the front and handed a stack of gospel tracts to a guy and told him to take one and pass it back. He did and the people in line passed out my tracts for me. Yoshi gave out around 100 tracts as the people funneled by.

I found a smoker at the theater and asked him about his beliefs. He was an atheist. I eventually got to his conscience and he admitted that if the Bible was true he would be guilty of breaking God's laws and end up in Hell. He said he wasn't concerned at all about Hell and it seemed he didn't want me talking to him. I told him to look into the things I told him, as he walked away.

We moved to the walking mall. I did a trick for a couple guys. They must have been late 20's early 30's. They had many demonic symbols hanging from their necks. One guy said he was an atheist and the other said Catholic. I looked at him and told him he wasn't Catholic but was an atheist. He actually agreed. They said they were atheists because of all the bad in the world. I explained why there is a lot of bad in the world by showing them that they are bad according the law of God. They admitted they were not good and after some reluctance of one guy, they said they would be in Hell. At this time, the devil, who always distracts us, sent one of his minions in the form of a drunk homeless guy. We have witnessed to this drunk guy before and knew he was very belligerent, confrontational and loud. He came up looking for a smoke and wouldn't leave. Peters, seeing the distraction, took him aside and starting sharing the gospel. He got very fired up with Peters, but it allowed me to explain the gospel to the guys I was talking with. They were convicted. I gave them tracts and my email if they had questions.

The walking mall was pretty dead so we moved down towards God's love shelter. Peter's shared the gospel with a guy that we saw earlier in the day at the church. He said he was saved but couldn't tell him much. Peters directed him and gave him tracts.

It was a good winters day of sharing the gospel. We gave out a lot of tracts and got to share the gospel with a few people. Even if we only get to witness to one person it is worth going out. Praise God!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How should a Christian celebrate Christmas?

It seems like this time of year people have a lot of different ideas about Christmas. The world say’s it is all about Santa Clause, presents, trees, lights, and spending more money than they have. On the other end of that are Christians that don’t celebrate Christmas at all because it’s roots are pagan. Then in the middle we have Christians who celebrate Christmas in the same worldly way as their unbelieving friends and some who remove Santa Clause and focus on the birth of Christ, still indulging in some of the worldly traditions.

So how should a Christian celebrate Christmas? Well I think it is a matter of conscience. I think it is between you and God since you will be accountable to God for the way you lived and the way you taught you’re kids. We do know that Jesus was not born on December 25th and that the wise men, also in the manger scene, didn’t show up until some time after Jesus was born. So it is very clear that we are not celebrating on the actual day Jesus was born.

No matter when Jesus was born I think we should celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This was a one time miracle when the God of the Universe, the Creator became a man in the person of Jesus Christ. Whether you celebrate this on December 25th or in September I don’t think it matters. One thing I think does matter though is actually focusing on the birth of Christ and not just adding Jesus into the mix of all your other traditions.

So many Christians are crying out this time of year that “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas”, but how many of these same people actually take the time out themselves to focus on Jesus. Look at yourself. How much time do you spend shopping for gifts and how much time do you think, discuss and tell people about the birth of Christ? How much time do you spend opening presents Christmas morning and how much time do you take to read the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth and discuss it with you kids.

It is so easy, as a Christian, to say we celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas but how much do we actually do it. Look at your kids, their actions, are they more excited about presents or Jesus? I think we all fail at this and need to strive to be separate from the world and focus on Jesus Christ this time of year.

I have to add one more thing to this and that is Santa Clause. How many Christians tell their kids that a fat man in a red suit who is omniscient actually exists? As a Christian should we tell our kids this? When we tell our kids that this mythical figure does exist and he really doesn’t we are lying to our kids. We know that God hates lying (Prov. 12:22, 13:5, 19:5, 9, Ex. 20:16, Jer 9:8-9, Eph 4:25, Revelation 21:8) and does not take it lightly. He even says in Revelation that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. So it is a huge danger to justify lying to God. So lying is a sin, it is actually the 9th commandment, and we know not to do it so why do we? Another danger is when we lie to our kids about Santa Clause for the first 10 years or so of their lives and then we have to crush them with the truth, they have to question us. They must ask their parents why they were lied to their entire life. They might even turn to their parent and ask if God is fake as well, if this whole bit about Jesus they were told their whole life is also a lie. So why do we do it? Why do we lie to our kids and sin against God? Why do we give our kids false hope in a mythical man when we can give them true hope in God? Is it because some Christians are so ingrained in the world that they are no different?

As true Christians let us focus on Psalm 115:1 this Christmas which says, “Not unto us O Lord, not unto us, but to your name give glory.” Why give glory to a mythical fat man and indulge in worldly traditions that distract and diminish the glory of God when we can give all the glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain, who bore all our sins and has cleansed every stain. Just something to think about.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Devil's schemes

My buddy came over my house with his two brothers to make hamburger in the meat shop. When we were done I sat his brothers down to explain the gospel. As we were getting deep into it and they were getting convicted, an electrical fire started on my bench. The cord to the heater had a crack in the insulation and was sitting in some water the was dripping off some furs. It started sparking and smoking as my buddy pulled the plug. Now that is distracting. It was hard to explain the cross as my garage was about to go up in smoke, but better my garage than the boys I was sharing the gospel with.

When the World beats you down.

It was one of those nights when the world beats you down. For me anyway. I met Peters, Brent, and Yoshi for another winter night of sharing the gospel. We started out with prayer and hit Carroll College first. Peters got into a great conversation for a long time with a kid that was very convicted.

I did share the gospel with a kid who grew up Catholic but now has many problems with the church and is trying to figure things out. We went through the Law and Gospel. He gave the usual responses. He didn't seem convicted but wasn't offended either. Seed planted.

While we were sitting there waiting for Peters another guy came by so I asked if he wanted to see a card trick. He said he saw it before and wasn't impressed. He said it really snarky. I asked him if I did it for him and he said, "yes, you are the guy who does the quarter trick and talks about Jesus". I told him that was me. He said very sarcastically, "Are you out trying to save people again?" I said that only God can save, I have no control over saving people. He asked me why then am I even out here. It was clear this kid hated the gospel and me proclaiming it by his angry voice. I told him I was here telling people the truth and what they do with it is up to them. I said that people could think about it, accept it or spit on it. I looked at him and told him that he spit on the truth last time. He asked how I knew that and I told him I could tell by his reaction now. He said I told them they were going to Hell. I reminded him that we went through the law and he himself told me that he was going to Hell. He said, "I believe in Jesus!" I told him, "so does the devil and it won't save him." I was being hard on this kid because he was looking for a fight and wanted to justify his sin. He argued for a while longer and said it was too cold and left.

We moved downtown and the 15 degree weather was starting to bite so we headed into Starbucks. There were 4 college kids playing cards at the table so I did a card trick, which they liked, and then started talking about Jesus, which they did not like. We went through the law and they were very hardened. On girl, who said she was not a Christian, said she knew theology and began to tell me all about it. I told her that I too love to study theology. She told me that all real theologians will tell you the Bible is wrong in many places. I disagreed. She told me she knows a lady at the Vatican that has many of the original copies of the New Testament and she said they were all very different. I disagreed. She said, very upset, that she would rather listen to that lady than a man she met at Starbucks. I told her not to believe either one of us but to actually research it herself to find the truth. I asked her what she thought Jesus meant when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me." She said that clearly that was not true and the Bible writers changed what Jesus said to what they wanted. She would not listen to reason and was getting more angry so I ended it and told them to have a good night.

We walked up through the walking mall and Brent got into a few good conversations. It was pretty dead so we called it a night. Sometimes the world just beats you down. Praise God! Like John Wesely used to say, "When the gospel is preached people should be getting angry or converted."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why do we seperate the youth from the local assembly during service?

This is from Leon Brown's Blog: Press on until glory.

A lot of things have changed over the years concerning how we "do" church. The liturgy, to a large degree, is gone, churches rarely sing hymns and psalms, preachers really don't preach, and the emphasis on preaching the gospel to the body of Christ has diminished--the gospel has merely become an evangelistic tool.
I don't desire to be this negative, but all of the above statements are true. And if this list could not get any longer, there are typically 3 or 4 churches operating under the same roof.
What do I mean by that?One of the things that has changed over the years, which by the way is no where in church history, is "youth church." Typically, a youth pastor will preach to those 18 and under. Sometimes, however, the age group may be college-aged and under or 16 years of age and under. I guess it all depends on the church and the programs being run.
That's one church under 1 roof.
Then, right along side youth church is, I guess, "adult church." That's two churches under 1 roof.
Then, next to adult church, some churches have 2 or 3 services, and each service operates as previously discussed (e.g. adult church and youth church).
So...How many churches do you have under 1 roof? 1, 2, 3, 4, or more?I know, at this point, it's probably easy to say, "We only have 1 service--1 for the adults and 1 for the youth." To me, that's no better. Why do we separate ourselves from our children during this most precious time of worship on the Lord's Day? Are we afraid our children will be a distraction? If so, train them not to be? Are we afraid our children won't understand the message? If so, are we willing to explain the message to them afterward? And are we conducting family worship at home? This would definitely help them.
And besides, what are they learning during youth church? Have you ever set in to listen? Is the youth pastor even qualified? Do you know him by name?
All of these questions and concerns are essential. The individualistic mentality of America has bleed into many churches. This is why the youth must be separated. Adults worship their way and the youth worship their way. Separation!Please understand the point of this blog article. It's not to tear down, as some may envision. I only want to challenge you to question why "certain" things happen. As I've said in a previous post, if my wife and I had children and we were visiting a church, I would not dare let them take my children. But chances are, we wouldn't visit a church like that to begin with.
If you are one that falls into this category (i.e. you have 2, 3, or 4 churches under 1 roof), what should you do? Well, that's a big question. I'm not saying you should leave your church, nor am I saying you should go on strike, but you should definitely question things.
Consider how many people you don't know in the service you attend, let alone if your church has 2 or 3 services. And what about the youth? Don't you want to worship God with your children, regardless of the age?
God works through families. We shouldn't dare separate them, nor should we separate the local assembly into 2, 3, or 4 services (or separate churches).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Miracle

It was the middle of a Montana blizzard last night. It snowed all the night before and all day today and the temperature was about 19 degrees. I picked up Jeremy R. at our church and met Peters and Yoshi at their church in Helena at about 2:45 for a day of sharing the Gospel. God convicted Peters, Jeremy and I during the week about prayer. We seen how the persecuted church prays for four hours every morning. We decided to do the same. We all prayed for 2-3 hours by ourselves before we went out witnessing. After seeking God in prayer like this we sure were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, boldness and authority in Christ.

The Mormons were having a Nativity display at their church so we figured it would be a good place to share the gospel. Peters witnessed to a girl and got into a deep conversation about the gospel and the girl was questioning all kinds of things about her beliefs but the Mormons found out what we were all about and pulled the girl away from Peters. I was witnessing to an older couple. They were nice but hardened. He said you just have to keep the commandments to be in heaven. So of course we went through them and he said he broke them all. I explained the gospel but he wanted off the subject and started telling me a story about his great grandfather in Russia. While we were talking they introduced me to a lady who was a host and left, so I started sharing the gospel with her. She named 5 things you had to do to get to heaven. I questioned her about her beliefs and explained the gospel. She couldn't really answer the question and was confused. She just knew what she was supposed to believe but couldn't tell me why. She asked me what me and my friends were doing here. I told her we came to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. She asked me why we would do that. I said because Jesus told us to in Scripture, to go into all the world and preach the gospel. She swore she was a Christian and the LDS was another branch of Christianity. I explained a few differences and gave her a tract, which she had a hard time taking. I told her to compare everything that I or her teachers tell her to the Bible to see if it is true. The Mormons, seeing what we were here for, told us about the refreshment room. I told them that refreshments sounded good and that there was nothing better on a cold day than a good cup of coffee. (Mormons can't drink coffee). The old man gave me a talk on how coffee is bad, even decaf. I told him that he was missing out. Yoshi witnessed to a few people and then met an older man. The man, when introducing himself said, "We fought some of you guys in Japan" (Yoshi is Japanese). What a weird thing to say. Yoshi responded by saying, "so you are the one who shot my grandpa." It was a good joke. There wasn't a lot more people to witness to so we left.

We moved over to the Civic center in Helena to the Festival of Trees. We got there in between the tree showing and big dance that cost $25 to get in. I did witness to a couple kids there. They were lost and had not concept of getting to heaven. I don't think they ever thought about it. The girl did say she was good but after the Law she seen she wasn't. Their mom came in the middle so I left them with a tract. We were not going to pay $100 to get in so we decided to go to the mall. I told the boys that unless God gives us $100 on the street we won't go, but if we did find $100 it was a good sign God wants us there.

We moved over to the mall and I witnessed to a kid with giant earrings that make his ear lobe hole giant. The ring was huge! You could fit a nickle through it. That is what I used to start the conversation.
We talked about his earrings and tattoos and then I swung to spiritual things. He didn't believe in God and thought he would be worm food when he died. We talked about where his conscience came from and went through the Law. He was guilty but still proclaimed his own righteousness. He thought God would see him as a great person. We talked about his logic. He said whatever a person believes is true, typical new age. He also said he was the one that determined right and wrong. I asked him if that goes for me too. He said yes. So I said that it is right for me to stab him with a knife and then asked him if I was right. He said no and then stumbled around for an answer but couldn't come up with one. He questioned the Bible and had objections about tattoos, piercings, homosexuals and all the usuals. I avoided them all and stuck to the gospel. He got fired up at the end and said he didn't believe in the Bible and never would and he didn't like me telling him about it. He started shaking and getting ready to blow his top and hit me. Peters was ready to jump in and besides it didn't look like he could hit to hard anyway. I settled him down and told him the good news of Jesus Christ. He asked me why I was her doing this. I explained our motives that it would be easier to stay home and watch TV but I didn't want him to be in Hell and if he didn't hear the gospel he couldn't be saved. I explained the cross and the most loving gift of God through Christ. He mocked it and left.

We moved down the mall and seen a guy we know named Roger. Out of the blue he said he had 6 tickets to the Festival of Trees dance and asked if we wanted them. This was the clear sign from God that He wanted us there. God never gave us a $100 bill on the street but instead gave us $150 in tickets to get in. It was a miracle. We went and ate dinner and were back at the Civic center at 7:00pm. We gave out tracts as people walked in the doors and gave out our two extra tickets with tracts to a couple. There were a lot of people there, maybe 500. The fields were ripe for the harvest and we had four laborers.
I shared the gospel with a group of caterers who were loitering around. One was nothing, one was Catholic and another Protestant. I started in on the law and the Agnostic left and a lady came and whispered something in the protestant girls ear and she left also. The Catholic guy stayed. We went through the law and gospel. He was not too convicted and had all the usual Catholic responses. Seed was planted. I witnessed to a couple that were the security for the place. They were both Catholic and lost. I asked them how many brands of beer they could name. They had no problem and I stopped them at 10. I then asked them how many commandments they could name. They struggled to get 2 out. I asked them if they were concerned that they know more about beer than the commandments they will be judged by. They said it never concerned them. We went through the law and justice, Heaven or Hell. They admitted Hell after a while but were hardened and not convicted.
I found a couple sitting down away from the crowd and started a magic trick for them. Another couple came to sit down at the same time so I asked them to join in the trick. They all like the trick and then I went into witnessing. We went through the law and gospel. They were actually all Lutheran except the Asian girl was a Christian, she said. As I explained the law I seen the Holy Spirit convicting them all very seriously. They knew that if they walked out of the dance tonight without Christ they would be in Hell. I explained the Cross and the gift of God in Jesus Christ and how he bore the wrath of God in their place. It made sense to them and one of the men started deeply thinking and gave an illustration of something a pastor told him once about switching places with Jesus. I left them with an urgency to repent and believe the Gospel.
Peters managed to open his mouth big enough to fit his foot in it. A saw a girl he had been witnessing to at the bank. She came up to him and asked him what he was doing here and Peters said he was sharing the gospel. Peters then asked her a question he did regret. He meant to say, "Do you want to be my guinea pig?" Which is a weird thing to say as it is but he knew the girl already. It never came out like that though, he said, "Do you want to be my pig?" She was shocked and Peters, realizing what he said, almost fell out of his chair. He apologized profusely.
The band started and it got loud and was hard to witness so we were ready to get out of there. I witnessed to two "cowboys", or so they claimed. They were ignorant. I did a magic trick and then asked them what would happen when they die. They didn't know or care. I took them through the law and were almost bragging about breaking the law, especially about lusting. They didn't like that I was asking them questions. They asked me why I was asking them these questions and what I was doing here. I told them I was here to share the gospel. They asked me why I would ever want to do that. I explained our motives. They were hardened. I shared the cross to them and it seemed to make sense and I left them more sober. They were mocking and getting fired up at first but when I left they were thinking for a time anyway. Seeds planted.
Yoshi got into a good conversation with a guy who just got out of jail yesterday. He was emotional and as Yoshi explained the gospel the guy was coming to tears but did not repent at that time.
Praise God! What a great night of sharing the Gospel. We saw God provide us with tickets and put us in the path of many people who needed Jesus Christ.