Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This article is written by Pastor Shane Kastler, a friend of our ministry and we are grateful that he is permitting us to share it with you.

(NOTE: This is my "Seeking Higher Ground" article for this week's newspaper).

“For the land is full of blood; and the city is full of injustice.” (Ezekiel 9:9)

When you look over the course of world history, you will discover that Americans have a very rare privilege by being allowed to elect our leaders. It is an honor that we should not take for granted, realizing that many lives have been lost to gain us the freedoms we enjoy. The wise American will study issues and candidates, as time permits, then go to the ballot box and cast votes that honor the Lord.

The idea of voting was fairly foreign to Biblical times, so you won’t find the Bible commanding you to embrace one political party over another. With that said, Christians should make all decisions in life (including voting) with a Biblical mindset and worldview. Some issues might be nothing more than personal preference, with no moral imperative at stake. Economic and tax issues might simply boil down to whether or not you think the extra taxes you’ll pay are justified for what the money will be spent on. Other issues are blatantly moral and Christians should take these issues into account when voting.

For example, no Christian has any business giving unfettered support to a political candidate that embraces the murder of innocent children. Though this murder might be legal in our depraved nation; and though supporters like to use words like “choice” or “abortion” the truth is too plain to miss. Abortion is state sanctioned murder of our most innocent and helpless people.

So feel free to debate issues all day long; as long as the issues are truly debatable. Abortion is not. Abortion is vile. Too many politicians in our nation have exploited this issue to gain votes from those too ignorant to see they’re being exploited. Scare tactics that would encourage a woman to avoid any candidate that would dare take away her right to “choose” are all too common. And the result is too many political leaders who have strolled into office by walking over the top of the corpses of millions of dead babies. When politicians loudly espouse this “right” to kill the young as a virtue, then the citizenry needs to seriously give pause before granting political support to such a candidate. If the President of the United States doesn’t have the backbone to defend the most helpless people in his nation, what makes you think he’ll defend you when the chips are down? If the President of the United States is more concerned with appeasing radical feminists than he is pleasing Almighty God, there is a problem in the land. And while you might not be able to fully embrace or endorse any candidate, you can clearly disqualify some based on common morality and decency.

To the American voter, I simply say this: prayerfully vote for whomever you wish. But know that when your life ends, you will not stand before a Democrat or Republican to give an account. You will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ. Be prepared to stand with the assurance that you followed Christ and made all decisions in life based upon His Word and what He would have you do.


Reformation Sunday: Martin Luther

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Creed" Memorial Message

The below message was delivered by Travis Yates, Director of Ten-Four Ministries, at a Memorial service for "Creed", a Police K9 on August 15, 2012.

I want to thank Justin Adams for asking me to participate today and I want to thank the Panama Police Chief for permitting this Memorial.

I think most of us thought a couple of different ways this tragic event should go because it certainly isn’t what most of us are used to but I am grateful we have had the opportunity to do this.

Chief, thank you…this was the right thing to do.

I stand up here in awe of the relationship that a K9 has with his handler. I will not pretend to understand that relationship but anyone that has had the privilege to patrol with a four legged partner will tell you it is special beyond comprehension and that in of itself makes this event all the more tragic.

Pets have a special place in all of our hearts and much of that is because of their innocence and their loyalty. We all have stories, whether when we were kids or of today of a special place animals have in our life and when you talk about a K9 and its handler, it is so much more.

It is a special bond. It is a special relationship and in times like this, it is especially difficult.

But in that pain and sorrow, I want you to know this.

Creed has left Andy with memories that can never be taken away.

Creed has left Andy’s family with thoughts and joy that can never be removed.

Creed has left an impression on this community that will never be forgotten and I’m certain there are a few criminals that have some memories of Creed they would like to forget but they won’t be able to.

My friends, these are gifts from an animal to us and I will take that even farther and tell you the gift that Creed gave you and will continue to give you through remembering those happy times is a gift from almighty God and for that we are blessed.

In Genesis 1, God details the formation of this earth and everything on it and Day 5 even before man was made, we get the account of God Himself making animals and some just like Creed and God said something very important at the end of verse 25.

“And God saw that it was good”

Now that is a powerful statement. The Sovereign God of the Universe took the time to provide us with animals such as Creed. You see God is all knowing and despite what the evolutionists will tell you, God Almighty, on Day 5 of creation, knew the gift that Creed was going to provide us.

We need to understand this. That God did not have to provide Creed to us but He chose to do that very thing and we should be thankful and praise Him for that.

Job 12:10 tells us that “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

Think about that. God holds the life of every animal and every human being in His hand. The Lord gives and the Lord Takes away and in all that, our command is to praise the Lord.

With that said, I want you to know that with all the love and the memories and the great times that Creed gave us, he continues to give us a gift today.

This K9, this protector of His community, has brought all of us together today. There will be friendships that form, there will be fellowship among our brothers and sisters that wear the badge and more importantly, Creed’s sacrifice has brought you in this church at this very moment in time that God Himself has ordained.

With God there are no coincidences. Everything and absolutely everything happens for a purpose and Creed’s very name demands the message of eternal life.

The word “Creed” means a statement of belief and Wikipedia describes this statement of belief as a “statement of faith”.

Whether you are a believer in Jesus Christ or not, we all have a Creed….We all have something that we believe.

• Some of you may not believe in God. And that is a belief, that is a creed.
• Some of you believe in God but it is not the God of the Bible. Maybe it is the God that the Mormons talk about or the God that Muslims talk about or even a false God that any particular religion has discusses and all of that would be a Creed…it would be a belief.
• But as I close, none of those Creeds matter. You see the only thing that matters is truth and we live in a day and age where everyone seems to be seeking for the truth and all along it is right here (The Bible).

The truth is this. There is a separation between us and God. That separation was caused with Adam and Eve in the Garden and their sin was passed on to you.

The Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God but the Bible goes much deeper than that and I would be remiss if I didn’t explain that to you in detail. We are in the Bible Belt and all of us have heard that statement, “we’ve all sinned”, but do you know what that means?

You see it wasn’t until I really understood my sin and what it looks like to a holy, righteous, God that I knew I needed a Savior. You would not go to a Doctor if you didn’t know you were sick and you definitely aren’t going to care about Jesus until you know you need Him.

Well, just a few verses explain the judgment and wrath we are under as sinners.

Ephesians 2:3 tells us that by nature we are “children of wrath”.

Romans 3 tells us that none of us seek after God and that none of us are good and I could continue and I would tell you it doesn’t get any better for us.

Dr. A.W. Pink states that “A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God than there are to his love and tenderness.”

Indeed, everyone can cite John 3:16, “that God so loved the world that he gave His only son and anyone that believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”

But what about John 3:18? Just 2 verses later, we are told that if we do not believe, we are “condemned.”

These are not words that should make us feel good. These descriptions of God’s wrath and anger and fury are the truth but there is another truth that is so important.

God is good, He is perfect and he demands perfection and anyone violating God’s Standard will be punished. You see, God would not be good if he did not punish.

When we catch this criminal that did this to Creed and marched him in front of a judge, we would expect punishment if the judge was any good. We expect that until it comes to our judgment in front of God.

Your human nature can tell you that you are a pretty good person and in the eyes of society, you no doubt are. After all, you stand in the gap between good and evil and that is heroic in every sense of the word but according to Isaiah 64:6, your good deeds are nothing more than filthy rags to God.

There is nothing we can do to please Him and if you haven’t figured it out yet, that means we are all in trouble. The penalty for this sin is an eternity in hell. The Bible describes it as a place where there will be weeping and knashing of teeth…a place where the worm never dies.

If the story ended there we are indeed in trouble but praise God that while he is a God of judgment and a God of wrath, He is also a God of love.

He is a God that before the beginning of time, he knew Creed would bless your life and He is a God that has saved some of you into salvation before today and he is a God that has permitted some of you to come here today and to hear his message of redemption.

I’ve been asked since the death of Creed if dogs go to heaven and while I would like to stand here today and tell you many things, it is my responsibility to tell you what the Bible says and God has chosen not to reveal that answer to us. We simply don’t know.

The answer to that question is not given to us but there are many answers to many questions that God chose not to reveal to us on this side of eternity but
we know that heaven is a place where there will be no tears and it will be all joy and heaven is described to us in great detail and there is something else described to us in great detail.

And that is the redemption of man kind. You see, earlier I gave you the bad news and that is we are fallen and left on our own, we are walking towards a cliff of death and if it was not for a God of mercy and redemption, we would of all walked off of that cliff.

But God is good and over 2000 years ago he sent our redemption. His name was Jesus Christ. Both God and man, walking this earth just as we do today but this Jesus was different.

Jesus claimed He was God but many through the years and even today have made a similar claim but Jesus Christ was different.

Unlike you and I, Jesus was sinless…He was perfect and His claim to be God was just one of the reasons He was nailed on a tree and murdered in the most brutal fashion.

It was called a Cruxifiction and it was nothing unusual. This method of death was reserved for the most vile of criminals and the Romans were experts in this style of death penalty.

Jesus Christ, the perfect, sinless, lamb of God, hung on that tree and breathed His last breath, looking up into the sky and saying that “it is finished.”

Now the death of Jesus would have just been another execution with the exception of an event that will change the course of history forever.

Three days after Jesus was buried, He rose from the dead and He didn’t rise without anyone seeing Him. He was seen by hundreds and if you march a few hundred eye witnesses into any courtroom today, those jurors would believe it without a doubt.

Now believing those facts are not enough. The Bible tells us that demons believe and most of you know people that claim to believe but they live like the devil. The Bible tells us that the requirements for redemption of our sin is repentance and faith.

John the Baptist, The Apostles and Jesus repeat this throughout the New Testament. This repentance is a turning away from sin; a change of attitude about sin and a turning to Jesus Christ unto salvation.

Repentance doesn’t mean you are perfect but it means that your attitude and your life is a turning to God and away from sin.

Now you may say to yourself, “I don’t want that truth” and you can say that but I submit to you the truth does not consist of what you want….the truth is what God has declared. It’s not exactly popular to bring a message of wrath and hell and repentance but never the less, my duty is to tell you this.

And today, we are brought together by a four legged hero and God has declared His truth and the call for you today is to celebrate the life of Creed and to examine your own life in regards to the Creed that matters eternally…repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

In closing, I want to personally express my sorrow to Sgt. Andy Bevel, the handler of Creed and to his family. Andy, I speak for everyone here that:

• We will not stop until this coward is brought to justice.

• We will not stop until Creed’s successor is patrolling the streets of Panama.

• And we will not stop until the State of Oklahoma recognizes the murder of a Police K9 as exactly what it is…a heinous, violent crime where nothing short of multiple years in prison shall be required.

Thank you and May God Bless You.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cross Encounters Radio Program

Tony Miano, the founder of Ten-Four Ministries, who went on to work for Living Waters/Way Of The Master, started a new radio program tonight. You can listen tothe first episode here.

Panama (OK) K9 Murdered: Memorial Service

On August 5, 2012, the Panama Police Department K9 Dog “Creed” was killed in the line of duty, while protecting the home of his handler. The investigation is ongoing and it is believed that Creed was targeted because of his service to the Panama Police Department.

A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at 11 am. The Service will be held at the Panama First Baptist Church (107 Jones Street, Panama, OK).

Ten-Four Ministries, a non-profit organization that supports law enforcement across the country, has partnered with a local business to offer a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect in this crime. CherryBerry Yogurt Bar in Fort Smith (AR), an adjoining city, has joined in the efforts.

Creed was a two-year old German Shepherd that became a member of the Panama Police Department in August of 2011. During his service with the community, Creed assisted in the search of illegal narcotics in both Panama and Wister Public Schools and also participated in demonstrations for educational purposes during Red Ribbon week. In his short but successful career, Creed had countless alerts to narcotics on vehicle traffic stops and aided in the tracking and apprehension of numerous suspects.

The Panama Police Department is not mourning the loss of Creed but rather celebrating his many accomplishments.

Creed was the only K9 serving the City of Panama and a fund has been set up by Ten-Four Ministries to provide the Panama Police Department with a K9 and training. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made here

Monday, July 09, 2012

What Is Regeneration?

We have just posted some sermons by Pastor David Miller and he is truly one of the best expository preachers of our day.

The Glorious Gospel

Which Jesus Do You Follow?

Convert: From Adam to Christ

We look forward to telling you more about this important book.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Scandalous Message

This message was preached by Travis Yates, Director of Ten-Four Ministries, on July 1, 2012.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Profile of Tony Miano

Timothy needed a Paul and in a very important time in my walk with Jesus, He sent me Tony Miano. Tony founded Ten-Four Ministries and a friendship quickly happened but Tony was much more than a friend. He was a mentor in the faith and I am privileged to have met him. In 2008, Tony stepped down from Ten-Four Ministries and began working with an evangelism ministry called Living Waters. It is ten years since Tony founded Ten-Four ministries and the profile of him below shows why I count it a blessing to know him.

Below 100: God Bless Brad

Travis Yates, Ten-Four Ministres, speaks at the Crime Museum in Washington DC about the issue of seatbelt use in law enforcement. The Below 100 Campaign became an outreach of Ten-Four Ministries in 2012.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stand Up!

During my recent trip to Washington DC during Police Week, I had the opportunity to speak with Rob Carter with Code 3 International Ministries. Code 3 is doing some great stuff and this interview is well worth watching.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Run To The Battle

Running "Code 3" For Christ

I have enjoyed the newsletters by my friend M.C. Williams from the Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry. I have re-posted a recent study from his newsletter and I would recommend that you subscribe to it.

In the pleasant-sounding but wholly unbiblical and anonymously-written poem, The Last Inspection, the warrior (police officer, soldier...) stands before the Lord and is invited into heaven based on his service -- his works if you will -- as a cop or member of the armed forces. With National Police Week coming to a close, I am reminded once again that time is short and -- accordingly -- I'll be lovingly blunt: the message of this poem is a lie from the pit of hell!

Many will of course cry foul by this statement but the lives and eternal fate of our brother/sister servant-warriors are at stake! Understanding that what I say only matters if it lines up with God's position as expressed in His wholly sufficient and inerrant word, I'll let my Lord speak for Himself on this matter:

(1) Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6): Christ is the ONLY way.

(2) We are saved by grace and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-10): we CAN'T "earn" our way into heaven by our works.

Many will claim,

* "I'm basically a good person, so I'll go to heaven."

* "All cops (military, firefighters, etc.) will go to heaven."

* "God won't send me to hell just because I don't live by the Bible. Times have changed!"

* "Only really bad people like child molesters and murderers go to hell."

* And my all-time fav, "A LOVING God would never send any one to hell..."

These are all common rationalizations, but the truth is that they are all lies. Satan, the ruler of this world, wants you to believe the lie and he is working overtime to put out that false premise. Satan is a deceiver and often disguises himself as someone good -- 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that "...Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" - to the point of blinding those who do not have a firm foundation in God's inerrant word. "The god (small "g") of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Need more? Take the "Good Person Test" and let me know how you do based on God's standard (the only one that really matters)!

Bottom line? "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved"(Acts 4:12).

Most people "believe" in God -- even Satan does. But to receive salvation, we must turn to Him, repent (biblically defined from the Greek as "a change of mind that results in a change of action") from our sin, and enter into a life-saving/life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ -- literally trusting Him with everything we have and everything we do (including our salvation). Yes, our service as LEO's and combat military personnel matters -- but ONLY AFTER we are in a right-relationship with God in Christ!

Folks - make no mistake - HELL IS REAL! We MUST have a "Code 3" (running hot with lights and siren) sense of urgency in sharing this truth even if it is not popular to do so -- the consequences for failing to do so are untenable!

Like many of you, I've spent my adult life being up close and personal with evil and death on a daily basis. On both a professional and personal level, I lost 166 brother and sister officers in the line-of-duty in the US in 2011 alone (not including over 300 additional suicides), and every single one is real to me. Each time a fellow warrior, a friend or a family member goes down, I ask the same questions: Did they know Christ as Savior? Were they saved? If not, did anyone share the love of Jesus and His Plan of Salvation with them? If not, why not?

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus reveals what is referred to as the "THE GREAT COMMISSION" -- a command and NOT a suggestion to go and share Him with others.

How are we to respond? I'm not necessarily suggesting that we all have to be like Ray Comfort or Tony Miano and go preach on a street corner (nothing at all wrong with that...) but we are in fact called to LIVE and share our faith. We are called to step out, be bold, and be HIS 100%, 24-7.

(1) God will give you the strength and power to respond to our marching orders! Acts 1: 8

(2) Warren Wiersbe said that sharing Christ with others is "...not something that we do for the Lord, but rather something He does through us by the power of the Holy Spirit."

(3) LIVE your faith and walk in obedience. That is the greatest witness we can have on others. A cop (or anyone) living righteously for Christ will draw officers to Him!

(4) Pass on these newsletters! Invite a colleague to church and a FCPO Bible study! Be the servant-leaders at home and work that God has commanded you to be!

This life is FINITE. Save for those believers still living at the rapture, this life WILL end and there are no second chances once that happens. Let's have a "Code 3" sense of urgency in sharing Christ with others but be sure you are right with Him first -- then LIVE your faith in a way that draws others to Him through you.

Finally, many would rather run into a burning building or take on an enraged gunman than "witness" (share Christ) with others. Is your testimony and witness suffering from fear? Are you fearfully letting others take a free-will choice to spend eternity in the fires of hell when God is ready to rescue them if you'll but tell them about Him? The Lord repeatedly says that we are not to walk in fear but in victory. To that end, let me leave you with a repeat of Eric Ludy's "The Ancient War Cry." That ought to get you fired up -- now to it!!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Gospel Presentation At Ohio Fundraiser

Several months ago our ministry began working with a law enforcement motorcycle club that wanted to conduct a fundraiser for our Vest Outreach. The event was in Ohio and it didn't make sense for me to travel out there and likely spend any funds that were raised so I called on a great friend in our ministry and Ohio resident, Michael Coughlin. Below is the text of the message he gave to the entire group. You can read other postings from Michael at his blog.

I would like to thank everyone for being here on behalf of Travis Yates, director of 10-4 Ministries, all the supporters of 10-4 Ministries, future vest recipients and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jaime Padron joined the United States Marine Corp the summer he graduated high school in 1989. While in the Marine Corp, he received numerous recognitions, commendations and medals for serving his country honorably. He was a Veteran of Desert Storm and a very proud Marine. He graduated from San Angelo Police academy in 1995 and bravely served the City of San Angelo for over 13 years as a patrol officer and also served as a member of the gang unit and a narcotics investigator. Jaime received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a supporting degree in Criminal Justice, graduating with honors from Angelo State University in 2004 all while working a full time job and raising a family. He was a compassionate and caring man, who loved spending quality time with his family and his every devotion in life was for his daughters.

According to his obituary, he had a passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles and loved riding often and collecting memorabilia.

Jaime Padron joined the Austin Police Department around 2009. It was in his capacity as an officer for the Austin Police Department the he responded to a routine call on April 6, 2012; a call about a drunk man inside a Walmart around 2:30 a.m. When Padron arrived, the suspect tried to run for the front door and Padron tackled the man. As they fell to the ground, the suspect, Brandon Montgomery Daniel, produced a semi-automatic pistol and shot Padron at point blank range. Jaime was able to call for help using his police radio, after being wounded.
According to Police Chief Art Acevedo, “This was a routine call. What makes our job deadly is that there is no routine call.”

According to Brandon Daniel’s mother, he had been taking the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and drinking tequila. She said he had been acting unusually in recent months since a bitter breakup. He has no apparent memory of the event taking place.

Just a few weeks ago, Padron left a tactical unit to begin an overnight patrol shift, a move his former supervisor said he made so he could spend more time with his two daughters, ages 10 and 6. We will get back to the story of Jaime Padron in a minute.

The primary goal of the Armor of God project, Vest for Life and 10-4 Ministries is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The other deeds we do are secondary. The biggest question anyone can ask themselves is “where will I spend eternity.” We intend to help people find the answer to that question, and that answer comes from scripture.
According to the bible, and this can be confirmed with some simple self-examination, we are all born sinners. That means that our very nature when we are born is to sin. It doesn’t mean we never do nice things or love people, but it does mean that we have a natural inclination to rebel against God’s laws. Think about it, we are natural lawbreakers: have you ever just looked over a pond and thought how beautiful it was? But if you see a sign that says, don’t throw rocks in the pond…doesn’t it sorta seem to make you want to throw a rock into the pond? Hmm, maybe that’s only me, like I said, I’m in club sinner too.

Some examples of sins are lying, stealing, disobeying your parents, coveting other people’s possessions, murder and adultery. Many of you may think you’ve never committed adultery or murder, but according to Jesus, simply having lust for someone who is not your spouse makes you an adulterer in your heart and simply hating someone without cause makes you a murderer in your heart.

So here’s the problem. God is Good. Of course, most of us wouldn’t think that is a problem, but it is you see, because since God is Good, that means that God is Just. Since God is Just, that means he has to do something with sinners. Like a good judge in an earthly court, God is compelled by His own perfect nature to punish sin. Because our sin has been committed against an infinitely holy God, He has created a place we call hell for sinners to suffer eternally for their sins. Look, even a single sin against God is punishable, even the ones we consider “little.”

This is horribly bad news. Sinners, that is, people like you and me are on a very dark road. The end is punishment. Anything we do to try to change God’s mind, or get him to turn away from our sin is seen as an act of bribery. Think about it, you don’t forget that someone stole money from you just because they feed a bunch of homeless people and spend the rest of their life not stealing. Religious rituals and good works cannot take away sin.

But God who is Good and Just is also rich in Mercy and Kindness! He made a way. Since we could not pay for our own sins, but he so loved the world, He sent his only son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and died a brutal death to fulfill God’s eternal plan to redeem sinners. When he resurrected from the dead, he showed that he had power over sin and death. His command is that you must repent of your sin and trust him alone for salvation. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This is a call for all men, women and children to have faith that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised him from the dead. This is the gospel. You can have all your sins forgiven. Your sin can be transferred to the cross, and Jesus’ righteousness imputed, or transferred, to you by this act of God. God the Father punished the Son in the place of sinful men like me, and He sends His Holy Spirit to guide you and remind you of Christ’s promise to never leave you nor forsake you once you are truly His. This is good news. You cannot and do not need to work to earn God’s favor. It is offered as a free gift…like the vests you are here to provide for men and women everywhere! This is why we do what we do. We’ve been given so much, and freely we desire to give back.

Next let me read a portion of scripture from the New Testament. (I’ve combined two passages, you can read them straight through).

Luke 7:2-9 2And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. 6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Matt 8:11-12 11And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Very quickly, I want to share the point of this scripture. This man, this centurion exhibited two vital aspects that we all must understand. He showed humility and faith. This centurion, you need to understand was outside the people of God. At this time, only the Jews were the people of God. Everyone else was outside. This centurion really seemed to understand who Jesus was, the long awaited messiah.

A few things I want to note:

•He helped build the synagogue – the man had some religious good he had done, in a sense.
•He professes faith in Christ, and even though the Jews called him worthy, he calls himself unworthy. This is important. We must come to Christ acknowledging our unworthiness to receive Him. Thinking of Jaime Padron: I don’t know whether he was ever born again in this world. There is no indication in any research I did that this man acknowledged his own sinfulness and trusted Christ completely for forgiveness of sins. The fact is, I don’t know for sure what his status before God was when he died. But I do know that all the good he did in this world amounts to nothing in God’s eyes as it would pertain to earning Heaven. Good works cannot cover sin. I don’t say this to diminish his accomplishments and help to our society. He was clearly a model for police behavior and from all I read had a good work ethic and a lot of love for people.

•The Centurion also declares Christ as Lord. You can re-read it yourself, Luke 7 and Matthew 8, the centurion is making it clear that Jesus is master and Lord when he refers to authorities and the responsibility of those under authority. This is vital. Many people acknowledge God and know God exists. Many even know his name is Jesus. Mental assent to an authority and obedience to said authority are two different things.

•Finally, at the tail end of Matthew’s version of the story, Jesus makes chilling statements amounting to nothing less than the idea that many people who believe themselves to be “of the kingdom” will actually be cast away by God on the last day. It is those who have faith in the Christ who will spend eternity with him, enjoying His glory and presence. You must not only believe Jesus is God, you must trust that only he could pay for your sins, repent of your sin and follow him as Lord.

Some of you have already understood these things. Praise God! Some of you, this may be the first time you’ve heard this message. You’re thinking, “I thought I was just going to eat some wings and try to get some OSU stuff. That’s ok. I believe God put you here for a reason so you could hear this message.

And some of you may be quite offended at this point. Maybe you think I stepped on your religion, or your beliefs, or even Jaime Padron. Trust me, this isn’t easy to do, nor is it my desire to offend. My temptation is to only say things to tickle your ears so that you would like me and want to support the vest program. But real love tells the truth. And the truth is that some of you have believed in a false Jesus. You’ve believed in a Jesus who requires you to perform religious rituals to add to the work he did on the cross for you, and some of you, on the other end of the spectrum have believed in a Jesus that universally forgave your sins because you said a prayer or asked him into your heart, and now you freely sin under the presumption of forgiveness.

Neither of these are the Jesus of the bible. That is who I am representing, and however poorly I may do it.. I share because I care. I don’t know you, but I love you, and I desire for you to taste and see the grace of God as I have. A sinner condemned, nothing to offer, saved by grace.

Now I want you to imagine Brandon Montgomery Daniel in jail or prison somewhere. Remember him, he shot and killed Jaime Padron, a faithful officer of the law and loving father of 2 young girls. Imagine this man Daniel is in an Austin jail and someone comes to him and shares this message of hope and grace. He learns what I’ve told you today, that faith in Christ washes ALL our sins away. He has a change of heart. This murderer turns from sin and professes Christ as Savior and Lord of his life.

At that moment, Brandon Montgomery Daniel would be sealed forever by God to spend eternity in Heaven based on the righteousness of Christ. His sins are paid for on the cross and the resurrection seals his justification before God. How does that make you feel? Really, imagine this murderer freely enjoying eternity without punishment.

If this angers you, then you don’t love grace. There is still a part of you that thinks men can and should be able to earn favor with God. Please examine yourselves. I didn’t come here to be a downer; I came here because where YOU will spend eternity is important to me and it is of paramount importance to me that Jesus receives all the praise for all the good that any man does.

A few notes.

Thanks. I hope you don’t think I’m trying to appeal to your emotions for support. I desire that you make an informed decision with your money. We are honored if you find our ministry worthy of support of Praise God for you. Your support means so much to so many. A vest costs in the thousands of dollars, and the men and women who need them are not wealthy people. Many are part time or volunteers. The entire ministry is made up of unpaid volunteers and I can promise you that your donations will be used to support the ministry resources and get vests to people who need them.

We have resources here as well. Maybe you are hurting and could use biblical counseling, or you know someone who could. Please stop by our table and sign the prayer sheet and email mailing list. Berean Baptist Church is happy to pray for you and minister to your needs. Thanks for listening and supporting the Armor of God project.

For more information, visit VestForLife.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Philippine National Police Mission Trip: 2012

Four Tulsa police officers went overseas last month to train more than 100 of their Philippine counterparts in tactics designed to help them survive frequent battles with anti-government militants.

The training, sponsored by a police-focused Christian ministry, was intended to teach Philippine officers basic techniques for surviving shootouts, conducting vehicle stops and making arrests - with a ministerial twist.

"It's like they're an army on their own soil," said Detective Brandon Bennett, one of the Tulsa trainers. "We want to save their lives, but we also want to save their eternal lives."

The Tulsa officers - Bennett, Sgt. Bryan Bryden and Cpls. Carl Goforth and Dan Ward - paid their own airfare and hotel costs and joined several other American police officers in training a roughly 120-member contingent of the Philippine National Police from March 4 through March 12 in Batangas City.

Classes included tactical combat, special operations maneuvers and Christian-based ethics.

"Basic police tactics that we teach our rookies and our new officers right in the academy, a lot of these guys have never been taught that," Ward said. "I call it survival training."

And Philippine officers need plenty of it, he said.

The day the American officers arrived, an intoxicated motorcyclist slammed into their police transport van near the airport, Bennett said. The Philippine officers sped off, fearing an ambush.

"It's not uncommon for them to get in shootouts very regularly," Ward said, adding that three days before they arrived, a carload of Philippine officers was gunned down in Batangas City.

Many islands of the Philippines are havens for militant organizations that aim to undermine the government, including some with ties to al-Qaida, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Police officers carry assault rifles in case of attacks, even in cities, Bennett said.

The American officers' training included tactics for exiting vehicles during ambushes and reacting to sudden gunfights.

Much of the training took place on the Batangas City police training grounds - an empty field surrounded by the tin-walled slums of the city of nearly 300,000 people.

The police office itself has only a few cubicles to represent all major departments of the contingent, the Tulsa officers said.

Goforth said he went, in part, because of the working conditions. Ward estimated that each Tulsa officer spent more than $3,000 of his own money.

"You've got to kind of see it to really grasp it," Goforth said. "How could I not go?"

In addition to the course on ethical behavior, the Philippine officers were required to attend a church service, an inspirational speech and a showing of the movie "Courageous."

American officers also worked to teach their Christian values by example - such as by not participating in crude banter that is sometimes typical among police officers, Bennett said.

"They notice and ask why" we don't join in, Bennett said, adding that it's an opportunity to talk about Christianity.

"Police officers need a good ethical background, and we believe that being a good Christian provides that background," he said.

For the most part, the Philippine police were open to their religious message, he said. The country is largely Catholic, and its officers are familiar with the concepts but often do not live by them, he said.

"We can train the tactics all day long, but if we don't have the character and integrity, you're not going to be any good to us," Ward said.

It was the fourth year for the trip but the third year that a Tulsa officer has gone. It was the second time for three of this year's Tulsa trainers to make the trip.

Dubbed "Warrior Mission," the trip is sponsored by Ten Four Ministries, a national ministry directed by Tulsa Police Capt. Travis Yates, who made the trip in 2010 and 2011.

The ministry began donating bullet-proof vests to the Philippine National Police five years ago and "one thing led to another," Ward said.

Another trip is planned next year, along with a possible trip to Central America.

The ministry and its Philippine outreach are not sponsored by the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa officers who attend say they do not wear their uniforms during the training or speak on behalf of their agency while there.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20120401_11_A4_CUTLIN135698

Philippine Missions: 2012

Warrior Missions - Philippines 2012 from Ten-Four Ministries on Vimeo.

The Gospel Is Only Good News to A Needy Man

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ministry Board Member Recognized

TULSA - When disaster strikes, or there's an officer in need, you'll find a Tulsa police corporal who is making a difference.

In a quiet corner of Tulsa Police Department headquarters, you'll find Cpl. Dan Ward hard at work.

He's dedicated 17 years to the department, ensuring TPD's more than 600 officers have the uniforms and equipment and the training they need to keep them safe behind the wheel.

But it wasn't enough.

"We found out that there are 225,000 officers here in the United States that don't have ballistic vests issued to them by their communities," he said.

Ward joined the Vest for Life program to gather bulletproof vests for officers across the country. A total of 2,400 have been distributed to date.

Ward's used vacation time and spent thousands of dollars of his own money to travel as far as the Philippines to train and equip officers there.

Then massive tornadoes struck Alabama last April.

"When we got there we found most of the officers were working in civilian clothes because their houses got destroyed, their uniforms destroyed, work equipment was gone," he said.

One day after the tornadoes hit, Ward and his partners in "10-4 Ministries" were on scene with donated equipment and supplies to help their fellow officers.

"When we found out they were without uniforms we drove to the nearest uniform supplier and bought uniforms so they could carry on with taking care of their communities," he said.

Just weeks later, when the massive tornado hit Joplin, Ward was on scene again with a contingent of Tulsa police.

While Dan Ward fulfills his daily duties, he's already rounding up supplies for the next natural disaster.

He'll tell you, he's just doing his job.

"I don't think that I'm going to go out there and change the world but I do know that if I put my heart into everything I do that I can make a small difference for whatever person I'm dealing with right then," he said. "And if we would all have that attitude, we could change the world."

The Downtown Tulsa Rotary Club recently honored Ward with the Above and Beyond Award.

Read more: http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/problem_solvers/making-a-difference-tpd-corporal-goes-above-and-beyond#ixzz1oZ64cx6B