Monday, March 31, 2008

"For The Gate Is Small and The Way Is Narrow"

I received a call about 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. Our Sunday School Teacher had become ill and the Education Minister asked if I could teach the class. I had just a few minutes to prepare but I already knew what I wanted to talk about.

Matthew 7:13-26

I couldn't remember if I had ever heard these scriptures at my church and when I mentioned to my wife that the lesson could upset some in the class, she lovingly said "who cares." I opened up the class by reading the scriptures and discussing them in detail. In the last half of the class parts of the below sermon by Paul Washer were shown. If you haven't watched this sermon, please do. It is an incredible blessing. I will post additional links about the sermon and the comments I received after the class later this week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Million Bucks Buys A Lot Of Gas

With gas over $3 per gallon, a Million Dollar Bill would pump a lot of gas. Fortunately, what the patrons were about to receive were not real Million Dollar Bills but a gospel tract that would tell them how they can live in eternity with the Almighty God that created them.

I left work like I had done hundreds of times and I passed a local gas station like I had done thousands of times but this time was different. I don't know why the Holy Spirit convicted me but I simply tried to listen and follow. I'll admit, it wasn't easy. Pulling my car into a gas ststion full of cars at rush hour and walk up to every person and give them a tract wasn't exactly something I had planned on.

I pondered and prayed before I got out of the car. I could leave without doing anything. This option was promising. I was already running late plus I could stop the next day.

Then again, I could get out of my car, get a few "weird" looks but ensure that everyone there had an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ. That day could have been someone's last. The decision was easy and after everyone received a Million Dollar Bill, I got in my car thanking God for the opportunity.

So many Christians do not witness because it is not "comfortable". While they may go out of their comfort zone to give a speech at work or talk to someone, they do not step out of their comfort zone when it is a matter of following what Jesus commanded us to do - "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

On the day we die, it won't matter how much success we had at work or how many friends we had. It will matter what we did for His Kingdom.

Who have you told lately about Jesus?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is Your Radio Turned Up?

You always have to be prepared to share the Gospel and when I took my son to baseball practice on Friday I did not have plans to do anything but a little work on my laptop. As I dropped my son off and positioned myself in the car, turning the computer on, Brian approached me.

Brian is in his 30's and is mentally disabled. He is a nice guy and is seen all over town riding his bike and listening to his radio. He has never met a stranger and I have said hi to him a few times over the last several years. This encounter with Brian was different.

Brian approached me at the car and asked me what I was doing. I told Brian that I was doing some work on the computer. Brian said "I want to pray for you while you work." I thanked Brian for his prayers and exited my car. I asked Brian if he prayed often and he said he did. He said he was a Christian and attended a local church.

I asked Brian what it meant to be a Christian and he said it meant that he tries to act good. I asked Brian if he wanted to take a test to see if he was good and with an exciting tone he said he did. Brian admitted to being a liar and an adulterer at heart.

When I started to explain God's judgement, something very interesting started to happen. Brian always has a radio on and when he received the news that there was a place called hell and those judged guilty by God would have to go there, he would turn his radio up louder. He did this over the course of our 20 minute conversation. When I explained the good news of the Gospel, Brian would turn the radio volume back down. Brian was doing externally what many others do internally. We want to ignore the Bible when it talks about judgement and wrath and only pick out the parts we want to hear.

Several minutes into our conversation, another dad there for practice and fellow Christian, Corbin, joined me in speaking with Brian. He quickly noticed Brian's reaction to the law and pending judgement.

It was indeed a blessing to talk to Brian. I have no doubt that despite the challenges he faces, he understood that repentance and trust in Jesus is the only way to salvation and an eternity in Heaven.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Way of the Master: Season 3 Promo

Here is a promo for the third season of Way of the Master.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Packer Country

I am in Green Bay, Wisconsin today speaking on the issue of Police Pursuits. I have been blessed with the opportunity to do a lot of training and writing in the field of pursuits and law enforcement training and once in a while I get invited to speak on the issue. When I became the Director of Ten-Four Ministries I almost gave up these trips to focus more on the ministry but then I quickly learned that this is part of the ministry. The opportunity to meet officers from across the world has been very valuable in an effort to reach lost.

My morning started off very early as I boarded a plane in Tulsa headed for Green Bay, Wisconsin. I sat in seat #1 and was able to have a great conversation with the stewardess, Mahria. She was young, had been out very late the night before and had a great personality. When I bring up matters of eternity, I like to find something in common. This normally doesn't take long and with Mahria it revolved around her addiction to Starbucks.

"Since you like Starbucks so much, you need a lot of money. Look at this million dollar bill. In fact, I will give you two. You keep one and give one to the waitress at Starbucks."

Mahria: "This is great. Thank you very much."

"There is an important Gospel message on the back. It is important for you to read."

Mahria did read it and was very impressed by the tract.

As you can see, it doesn't take long to figure out where you are when you land in Green Bay.

I was told that the weather conditions were mild for this time of year.

I will speak in the morning to a large group of officers about the importance of training and the issue of police pursuits. I will give all of them the chance to know Jesus Christ.

Wherever you are today, God has placed people around you that needs to know Him. Each of us has an incredible opportunity today, tommorrow and every day to speak to those around us about our Savior. I encourage each of you to do so.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lunch With Three Atheists

When a courageous Christian dropped a handful of Ray Comfort's "The Atheist Test" onto a table in a restaurant in California, it set of a string of events. The local IHOP was where a group of atheists were having their monthly meeting. They then invited Ray to join them for dinner, which he gladly accepted. He decided to take Mark Spence with him (the Dean of the "School of Biblical Evangelism"), but before they went, they obtained permission to film the discussion. While most of the atheists preferred not to be on camera, ten did. The video is now available here. I can’t wait to see it.

While I don’t have it on tape, it wasn’t planned, and there weren’t as many, I had lunch with three atheists a few weeks ago. The setting wasn’t the plush environment of IHOP but rather a small coney shop. As I sat there eating with three co-workers, one of them said in a joking manner: “You know, I’ve been thinking of forming a police officer atheist organization. It would pretty cool. We could schedule meetings but because none of the members would believe in the meetings, no one would show up.”

All three of the proud self-proclaimed atheists looked at me for a comment. I finished the bite of the tasty hot dog and asked him where he was sitting.

“I’m sitting in a coney restaurant”

You are? How did the restaurant get here?

“It was built”

Who built it?

“A builder”

How do you know that?

“What are you talking about”

You didn’t see the builder building it. How do you know there was a builder? Take a look outside. Look at mountains, oceans, rivers and everything out there. Do you really believe that there was not a creator?

He smiled and told me he just didn’t know. I told him (and everyone else listening in the restaurant at this point) that it was easier to believe in God than not believe. It just doesn’t make sense that everything we see just appeared without a God.

I have spoken to all three of the atheists before about the gospel. I have given them books but I got the feeling that our lunch conversation made each of them think about eternity. Lets pray that it does.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Seed Planting

I ran across a show about patients in drug rehabilitation and the doctor made an interesting comment. He said:

“That (Sobriety) is not the ultimate measure of our success here. I believe that they have all experienced something here that has planted a seed that one day will lead to sustained sobriety”.

This should be our goal in evangelism. To many times, Christians think that the measure of success in evangelism are decisions for Christ. In fact, a recent survey of members in my church on why they don't witness is this very reason. Most of them cite a bad experience trying to witness or a lack of decisions.

In John 4:37 Jesus tells us that "..One sows and another reaps." In one of the last commandments that Jesus gave us before he ascended into heaven and sat down at the right of God was to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

Jesus didn't say go out and get decisions. He said to preach the gospel. Decisions for Christ are not up to us but between the unbeliever and Christ. As Jesus commanded, we must play our role but we should stop measuring our success by decisions.

The great evangelist Billy Graham was on an airplane and a stewardess told him that an intoxicated passenger wanted to speak with him because he had led him to Christ many years ago. Billy Graham said that it must be someone he led to Christ and not God. One of the greatest evangelists of our time recognized that he cannot lead anyone to Christ. We should stop trying and simply follow what Jesus wants.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"Take Heed That You Do Not Despise..."

I have the privilege of facilitating the Way of the Master Basic Training Course at my home church. Week three of the course is one of my favorites. We discuss the use of tracts and the students get to take a ton of tracts with them to give out during the week. The students were impressed by the wide variety of tracts and the potential they saw in their use.

We were having a great discussion when one of the students said something that got everyones attention.

"I've been exposed to tracts before. Why is it that Christians make you feel like a fanatic if you wanted to use something like a tract to give to others?"

That hit me like a ton of bricks. She was right. Maybe I'm out of the habit of noticing but I've gotten funny stares from my fellow Christians. I can remember passing out tracts during a youth group visit to a homeless shelter and I remember the strange looks I received. You would have thought I was a crazed madman when I stopped to witness to a young man outside of a movie theater one time.

In Matthew 18:10, Jesus warned us to not belittle another believer:

"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Divine Appointment

I have been a police officer for almost 15 years and I grew up watching my father do the same job I do now. For as long as I can remember, law enforcement has been in my family. It is hard to explain to individuals that have not done the job but officers have certain instincts that keeps them safe and aware. Some officers are better at it than others but almost every officer gets that "gut" instinct in certain situations. This happens often on duty but it also happens off duty.

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether the feeling you have is real but most officers I know follow their instinct. As a Christian, I get similar feelings. I sense the Holy Spirit leading me in a certain direction and by faith I follow it. There are times I follow that direction and I never know why it happened. Then there are those times that I rejoice for the divine appointment God gave me.

It was late and I wanted to get home quick and go to bed but I had promised my 7 year old son that I would get him a new video game. He loves football and he had rented a game that he really wanted. I decided to head out and drop a movie off at Blockbuster and head to Wal-Mart to pick the game up. I had the plan down. If I went to Blockbuster first and then to Wal-Mart, I would save at least five minutes and get home as quick as possible. That was what my plan was.

As I approached Blockbuster to turn in I heard that voice telling me to get the game first. That didn't make any sense. After all, I had a plan to save time. At first I resisted but the urge was as strong as I had felt in a long time. I figured saving a few minutes wasn't all that important so I drove on to Wal-Mart. I hurried in still thinking I could make this trip fast and to be honest when I got back to my car I had forgotten about the earlier instinct and was focused on driving back to Blockbuster when it happened.

As I got in my car a woman approached me. This was the divine appointment I had.

The woman looked dazed and upset. She asked me if I had any money for gas. I told her I did but I wanted to talk to her about something much more important.

Do you go to church?

Woman: "No, but I'm a Christian. I was saved in 1999."

How do you know that you are saved?

Woman: "I pray every day. I mean I get high every day but I pray."

2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves"

You need to be sure you are saved. Do you think you are a good person?

Woman: "Yes"

Have you ever lied?

Woman: "Yes"

Have you ever stolen?

Women: "Yes"

Now it looks like you want to leave. I am going to stop there. You just admitted to violating two of the Ten Commandments and when you die, you will face God on judgement day. Do you think he will judge you guilty or innocent?

Woman: "Why are you judging me?"

I am not judging you but God will and you need to make sure that you are saved by His grace. If you are not saved, you will go to Hell. You see Jesus died on the cross for our sins and he raised from the dead three days later. To be saved, we must repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ. I'm concerned that your admission of getting "high everyday" of whether you understand true repentance. You must turn from your sin. You must hate what God hates, which is sin. I'm begging you to examine your faith.

At this point, this woman began to cry. She quickly turned around and started to walk off. I only had a couple of minutes with her. I could sense from the beginning that she wasn't going to stay talking to me very long. I frequent this location often and it is not common for people to approach you asking for money. God wanted this encounter to happen. Every divine appointment is a blessing to be a part of.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

"...Fellowship of the Unashamed!"

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed! I have the Holy Spirit's power! The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made-I'm a disciple of His! I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sence, and my future is secure. I'm finished with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, depend on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. That's what it means to be a disiciple of Jesus!"
(A national pastor who was later martyred in Zimbabwe Africa).