Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Do You Have Financial Peace?

"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7

Numerous scriptures speak about money, debt, investment, lending, budgeting and contentment. Over half of Jesus' 39 parables used money or work as a teaching tool. If you were to ask yourself whether you have financial peace many of us would say no. I have gone through the majority of my adult life not understanding many basic principles of money. Police officers can have particular problems with this area.

While wanting the next new car or boat is not isolated to just the law enforcement profession, low wages combined with the seemingly easy access to extra duty or "part-time" jobs can easily create mountains of debt and problems. I've seen it happen too many times to count. An officer wants the new car so they just get a four hour a week security job to make the payment. Next comes a bigger house or private school or their spouse wants to quit work. Before the officer knows it, they are working 7 days a week just to pay the bills. A veteran officer once told me to never "rely on extra job money." That is great advice but rarely adhered to.

Two years ago I went to a seminar hosted by Dave Ramsey. He is a Christian based financial advisor that really made a lot of sense. He has written a great book on the subject of money, Financial Peace, and has his own radio and television show. More importantly, his 13 week course is offered in churches across the country. I have facilitated this course twice and I highly recommend it. You can locate a class near you by typing your zip code here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"I Am Heaven"

The actor Jim Carrey recently appeared on the Oprah show and he was asked if he had a personal motto or creed. Oprah is watched by millions and what he said should motivate all of us to run out and witness to anyone we see.

When asked about a motto or creed, Jim Carrey said "I am Heaven."

Oprah: "Did you just make that up?"

Carrey: “No that’s how I feel. That’s what I have to come back to when I get lost out there.....Just remember your heaven.

Oprah: “I love that”

Carrey: "Heaven is not a place to get to or wait for or spend your life in a mine hoping it will be some day. Have it now.”

The audience broke out in a huge applause after this conversation. Obviously, Jim is tragically wrong about his assessment of Heaven. Heaven is a place to get to and you don't have to "hope" to get there. Through repentance and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation it will be a reality.

It is sad that so many watching the show could be influenced by these words and as Christians we should do everything we can to influence others with the truth of the Gospel.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Nebraska Street Preacher Wins Free Speech Battle

I read an interesting article from Hastings, Nebraska where a man was standing on a public sidewalk and would share his faith with anyone willing to listen. The police intervened several times and the man was eventually arrested. The U.S. District Court for Nebraska ordered the City of Hastings to repeal the unconstitutional ordinance that was used on the man. That action will guarantee he can share the gospel on public sidewalks without fear of reprisals from police. You can see the complete article here.

While reading the comments from the readers of the article, I came across an interesting comment:

"I see that all of the comments are positive on this story. One thing that I wondered is, was this street preacher standing on the street screaming REPENT to all passers by or was he sharing his faith in love. I know that it does not make a difference on the fact that he had the right of freedom of speach whichever way he was conducting himself, but it does make a difference to me, a Christian. I say this because if he was SCREAMING his faith (which has no love in it) he was doing harm, and not good to the cause of Christ. Jesus said and showed us with His actions that we are to share our faith in love. Just wondering which this preachers actions were."

While I agree that "screaming" is never a good idea, we must be careful when we say to never discuss repentance. What a shame it would be to tell someone about the Gospel and not mention the absolute need for repentance (Luke 13:3-5, Acts 2:38). While we should do that kindly, the ultimate sign of love is presenting the Gospel accurately so that conversions are real and we do not give an individual a false sense of security in their salvation.

I listened to a preacher present the Gospel and an altar call a few months ago and he never mentioned repentance. I thought his sermon was very good but by leaving repentance out was like being in first place in a marathon and stopping a few feet from the finish line and never completing it.

I asked the pastor why he left out repentance and he told me "Travis, if someone is truly converted we will see repentance from them." I agree with that but why aren't we telling them about it? What are we scared of? We should be scared that thousands if not millions of our church members have never repented of their sins and while they may have a knowledge of Jesus Christ, the scriptures clearly tell us they are not saved. All of us that play a role in these false conversions should be scared.

I have sat through countless sermons and numerous churches and I honestly cannot recall the word "repentance" being said in a service. I know there are a ton of preachers and churches that do discuss repentance so I am in no way saying it is not ever done. In my humble experiences, I have not seen it.

How about you?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mark Cahill & Ten-Four Ministries

It is always a blessing to hear or read the words of Mark Cahill. Mark has graciously agreed to provide his books to Ten-Four Ministries for distribution to law enforcement. I enjoyed his last newsletter and it is right on point. I hope you enjoy it.

What a great time it is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ! It just continues to amaze me that when we go out with a mind and heart open to reaching the lost, God places people right in front of us with open hearts of their own. I always get excited as I pray for opportunities to share my faith, and how God provides those opportunities. Why does He do that? He is faithful.

I was reading an article from the USA Today newspaper
( http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-10-10-christians-young_N.htm), and I noticed a quote that intrigued me. Andy Stanley, a pastor here in Atlanta, said,
“If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity, I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers, serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted, only then would we earn the right to share the gospel.”

One thing I do now when I hear quotes from Christian people is to see if the quote can be backed up with Scripture. One pastor told me one of the mistakes we regularly make with Christians is that when we listen to them we put our guard down instead of putting our guard up. We implicitly trust people, but with so much false teaching going on, we really shouldn’t trust anyone. We must make sure what they say is backed up by the Bible.

Andy states above that only after doing certain things for lost people do we earn the right to share the gospel with them. I have been hearing this a lot more lately that we must earn the right to witness to people. The only problem is that I cannot find that teaching in the Scriptures and that is where we must go to find truth.

Jesus speaking in Mark 16:15 states,
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Where in this verse, or anywhere else in the Bible, does it tell us that we must earn the right to share our faith? Once you are a Christian, you have the right. We are compelled to share the gospel with the lost. We know hell is real, and it is our responsibility to try and stop all people from going there.

When Jesus tells us to follow Him and He will make us fishers of men, He means it. When Jesus says He came to seek and save those who are lost, then it is also our responsibility to do the same.

When Jesus witnessed to the woman at the well, did He get her water first before He earned the right to share the gospel with her?

When Jesus was talking with the rich young ruler, did he help him with his stock portfolio before He shared eternal truth with him?

And what nice things was Stephen going to do for the people that were stoning him, because he was telling them about seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father? Should he have asked them if he could wash off their rocks first, before they threw them at him?

When the Jews were having Paul arrested in Acts 21 and Paul got a chance to preach to the crowd, should he have handed out skittles, given away free concert tickets, or washed their cars before he shared the truth of Jesus Christ with them?

Hogwash and balderdash is all I can think of. One more time we are being duped by what people say instead of listening to what God tells us. As one guy said, if you were at the World Trade Center on September 10th, and you knew all those people would die the next day, what would you say to them? It doesn’t seem like to me that you would have had a lot of time to get them to like you, or to do a bunch of nice things for them. If you really want lost people to love you, then give up Christianity and go and find another faith to believe in. 2 Timothy 3:12 says,
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Persecution goes with the territory when a life is committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some lost people like you and some don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Are you pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ with your life because He is the only One you need to please in your existence down here.

On my plane flight tomorrow, how am I supposed to earn the right to witness to that person? Am I supposed to pour his drinks for him? I have the right commanded to me by Almighty God to witness to him or her and you can be assured I will pray for that opportunity and I will take advantage of that opportunity.

Paul states in Ephesians 6:18,19:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,”

Paul is not praying for boldness to go and do nice things for someone today. He is praying that he will have the boldness to tell someone the truth about the whole counsel of God, eternity, sin, heaven, hell, repentance, and the judgment of God.

Click on the link below. It is a short video called A Letter From Hell:


You may not have time to do nice things for people just so you can try and earn the right to share the gospel with them. You have already been commanded to witness to people (Mark 16:15,16 and Matthew 28:18–20). Make sure there are no letters from hell postmarked with your name on them.

And by the way, how can you keep the most important thing in your life away from someone that you know? That would be the definition of selfish. Please be selfless in the coming days as you reach the lost, and not selfish.

Until the nets are full.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Train

This is from Ray Comfort's Blog. I thought it was excellent and wanted to pass it on.

A 72 year old Chicago drunken man became disorientated when his minivan became stuck on a railway track. A passerby saw the man, who police said “was seconds from losing his life,” and coaxed him to safety. Imagine if the drunken man stood on the tracks and said “I don’t believe in trains,” or said that he believed that the tracks upon which he stood came there by accident.

Such is the frustration the Christian has with those who the Bible says are “unbelievers.” Like the drunken driver, “their understanding is darkened.” They don’t see their terrible danger. We know the train is coming. There is a massive vehicle of Eternal Justice heading for humanity, and yet they refuse to believe.

Despite this, we must continue to plead with them. That is what we have been commission to do—to “warn every man.” The world will misunderstand and despise us, but we have Heaven’s smile, and that’s what matters: “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:15-17).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fishing At The Pond

I grew up on seven acres and as a kid I would go fishing at our pond. I have wonderful memories of fishing for catfish with my dad, friends or just by myself. It was always nice to be able to step into my backyard and go fishing.

The fishing I do now in my backyard is very different and an incredible blessing. The memories from these fishing expeditions are incredible and this past Saturday was no exception.

It was the first time I went fishing with Jason and Jeremy and they are fantastic. It was a full day of events. I was bit by a chihuahua who thankfully could only reach my ankle; we met a group of jehovah witnesses playing basketball and ran into two guys who thought I was going to steal their car. In the middle of that excitement, we saw eyes tear up and individuals listening intently as the Law & Gospel was presented.

Ramon (above) didn't know what would happened if he died. He thought he would have to go to hell because of his past and his face grew happy as we explained to him what Jesus did for him. Ramon listened intently as we explained to him what it meant to repent of his sins and place his trust in Jesus Christ.

You can see Downtown Tulsa (above) in the background as Jason talks to a man that doesn't follow Jesus because he lost his family.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ten-Four Ministries on Police Link

I received a call from the owner of the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org) last week and was asked to contribute some training articles to his new site, www.policelink.com. I was familiar with Police Link but I didn't know Chris owned it as well. I originally met Chris a few years ago and I have been impressed by his dedication to the law enforcement profession despite the fact that he is not an officer. Chris started the Officer Down Page as a college student and it has become one of the most visited law enforcement sites on the internet.

In our discussions I mentioned Ten-Four Ministries to Chris and he told me that he thought Police Link could help. Chris told me to form a 'group' on Police Link to advise officers about Ten-Four Ministries. He said it would be a good idea to copy some posts over from the blog and he anticipated a new section on Police Link in the coming months that could feature Ten-Four Ministries. I thought it was a good idea. There would be more opportunities to expose law enforcement officers to Jesus on Police Link so I told Chris I would give it a try.

I started with posting the article on Matthew 5:9. A response to the article took less than 24 hours:(The original and subsequent responses were placed on the public group for public viewing. Since they are already for public view, I have copied them below).

"Travis, thanks for the info-mercial bud.

I have absolutely no problem with your interpretation of the bible, everyone it seems has their own take on the meanings, depending upon the denomination. I do, however, take exception with your idea of “false convert”. You’ve absolutely no idea what is in the heart and mind of an individual, nor do you know what is required by God, only what is your opinion. It is not required of any man (or woman) to become a member of Ten Four Ministries to obtain the heavenly prize. Your idea of “context” is a matter of opinion and I am certain I could find several other forms or ideas from different members or groups.

Some verses of the bible suggest salvation by works, such as what we see in Matthew 19: 16-18. “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Or how about Micah 6:8, “”...what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Some verses suggest pre-destiny, such as Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Or Ephesians 1:4-5 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

And, of course there are the verses you quoted which infer salvation through faith. Now before I get accused (yet again) of Christian bashing, this is in response only to your stated contention that you possess the correct path and all others are suspect. Please feel free to address any of your concerns via PM."

My Response:

"The context I spoke of was my opinion based on what I have seen personally and I said it in love for the officers that think they are going to Heaven but are not. My mention of false converts (Matt. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits) is also out of my deep concern that our fellow officers are not saved. I do not know anyone’s heart but the Bible mentions what I speak about here

Matthew 7:22-23. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

You mentioned Matthew 19: 16-18, and I am glad you did. Please read that closely. It speaks of Gods Holy Law, the Ten Commandments and how only God is good. Romans 2:12 tells us we will be judged by this law (see also Romans 7:7). Have you ever stolen, lied, used blasphemy, dishonored your parents? We are all guilty of breaking God’s Law and deserve a punishment in Hell (Matthew 25:46).

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”

There is good news though. I never suggested that I possess the correct path to Heaven. I am telling you that Jesus Christ gave us the path to Heaven (John 14:6). I am not making this up. It is in his Word, the Bible and I am desperately hoping that you read the next paragraph very closely.

We cannot get to Heaven out of our good works. You see belief in God is not good enough (James 2:19). The Bible is clear on what we must do to have eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ.

We must Admit our sinful ways with a desire to turn away from them (repentance), and being delivered, through faith in Christ, from the judgment sinfulness brings. A person must acknowledge what Christ did for sinners on the cross, which was confirmed by His resurrection from the dead. A person must receive Jesus Christ as the only means of eternal life, acknowledging Him as their Lord and Savior. (John 1:12, John 6:40, John 11:25, Acts 3:19, Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 2:10-11)

I am stating that because it is true. The Bible is infallible and God breathed. It is completely accurate. I am praying that you think about what I have discussed. All I care about is your salvation. Please consider what I have written and please don’t hesitate to contact me privately if you would like to discuss these issues further. Thank you"

His/Her Response Back:

"Interesting, though I completely disagree with you. This is your opinion and I value that as such. I could of course go through the entire bible and pick those verses that would support the complete opposite of any and all of your statements. There are several religions which use the bible as their “Godly” text and all disagree on most and completely disagree on some of the very points you mentioned.

What you are stating is opinion, your opinion. Because you believe it, does not make it true."

My Response:

"This is not my opinion. Please don’t let various religions get in the way of the absolute truth found in the Bible. I ask that you consider what I have said carefully. If you got on top of a building and didn’t believe that you would fall when you jumped, you would still fall. On Judgement Day it will not matter that you don’t believe. God is righteousness and Holy and he must Judge us based on His Law. Just like a judge in a courtroom must punish those that break the law, God must as well. It doesn’t matter if the common criminal in our courts doesn’t believe they did anything wrong. If they broke the law, the judge must give them the punishment they deserve.

The punishment on judgement day is much worse than any punishment our courts can give out. It is Hell. I don’t want to see you or anyone else go there. While we have all broken God’s Law by sinning, there is a way to avoid being punished. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose three days later. If we repent (turn away from our sins) and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, our fine is paid in God’s courtroom and will will spend eternity in Heaven. Please consider this. For additional information, I encourage you to go here: http://www.livingwaters.com/articles_growth.shtml

I am always available to discuss this with you if you like. Thanks"

Monday, February 04, 2008

May Ambassadors' Academy Dates

As anticipated, the April Ambassadors' Academy registration closed quickly. The April Academy will include people from twenty-one states and South Africa; accomplished street evangelists and people who are new to biblical evangelism; six married couples and a total of fourteen women; four pastors and a missionary to the Philippines. It is sure to be an amazing experience for all of the participants and leaders.

Registration is now open for the May 29-31 Ambassadors' Academy. Apply today!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Matthew 5:9

Matthew 5:9 - Blessed Are The Peacemakers For They Shall Be Called The Children of God.

This is by far the most cited scipture within law enforcement circles. I see it on the Bibles of officers, cited on law enforcement message boards and in most cases the context somehow implies that because law enforcement officers keep the peace, they "will be called the Children of God" and thus will enter Heaven. Combine this with the context that so many of our officers have with them being the "good guy" and the criminals being the "bad guy" and the thought that spiritually they are somehow superior due to a profession, we have nothing short of heresy within our law enforcement ranks. Walk into any police department in America and ask the officers if they are good and will they go to Heaven and they will give you the same answer that most citizens will give you. Of course they are good and they are going to Heaven. While this is a similar issue what makes it even more difficult to deal with in law enforcement is that the improper use of Matthew 5:9 in many ways solidifies this belief.

Lets take a look at Matthew 5:9: "Blessed Are The Peacemakers For They Shall Be Called The Children of God."

In Romans 5:1, Paul tells us that "...since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Jesus describes Peacemakers not as those that create peace as it pertains to social reforms but about those that are reformed by the power of the Gospel and Jesus Christ. Since they have peace with Jesus they can then spread this message to a troubled world. God has called Christians to bring back the peace that was forfeited as a result of sin. By spreading this message, they are the children of God. Throughout these passages in Matthew, Jesus is describing the importance of having these life-changing qualities to be citizens of His kingdom. Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) so it only makes sense that the citizens of his kingdom shall be peacemakers.

You have likely seen this scripture quoted within law enforcement circles. We must ensure it is used correctly. Taking Matthew 5:9 out of context is a potential tragic step to false conversion and a salvation through works.

Are you a false convert? Please don't wait another minute to address any concerns you may have. Let me encourage you to read or watch True & False Conversion.