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