Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Are you Jesus, or something?"

I'll explain what the title means in a minute. This has been Fall Break, and what a weekend it has been!

Thursday Night:

I took my boys to go see Team Impact at a local church. This is a group of body-builders who put on an amazing show of strength (breaking blocks of concrete, blocks of ice, blocks on concrete on fire, power-lifting telephone poles on fire, driving nails with bare hands, ripping phone books, and my personal favorite—rolling up frying pans into “burritos” with bare hands . . . and much more) and preaching the gospel. The reason why I took my boys to see this is to hear these men 1) put sports and body care in proper perspective. Many of these guys have worked out with and competed against big names, but walked away from the fame and glory of the body for 2) preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their testimonies are found on the webpage linked above.

We went back again Sunday night.

Friday Night:

Went to the State Fair. For some reason we got in less displays and more rides than our trip two years ago, but the day out was great fun—we needed the diversion immensely. I tell you, there is nothing better than seeing your kids laugh and scream and get turned upside down together for hours on end. Sure they scrap and bicker, but they spend more time having fun with one another—and watching my kids spin their guts out on “The Fireball” or some such contraption is the best thing in the world. Add to that the smells of Elephant Ears, fried mushrooms, foot long corn-dogs and very expensive lemonade . . . sorry, my eyes were rolling up in my head again. Good thing we tail-gate!

Only got to share the gospel in a couple of very brief encounters.


Leslie and I were able to enjoy a morning together sitting at the feet of Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Todd Friel and Emeal “EZ” Zwayne at the “Way Of Master ‘Transformed’ Conference.” We sat right behind Kirk Cameron’s mom.

Watch “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and other video here.

One thing that impressed me about the conference was how “normal” (not hyped) it was. I know that may not sound like much, but as much as I wanted to get a picture of me and Ray or me and Todd I chose not to do it because it would be all about me. Just shaking a hand, saying “thanks for the hard work,” was enough. It was easier to relate to Ray and Kirk’s mom as ordinary people that way, and our time was not glazed over by “celebrity.”

Todd introduced the conference with the charge, “Are you willing to do what you hear, if it is biblical? Then evangelize!” Then he showed the video, “8 Reasons Why I Don’t Share My Faith.”

Ray talked about the difference between “transgression” and “sin.” Sin misses the mark, transgression goes far beyond simply missing. He also spoke of contrition and the importance of valuing what is truly valuable: God. Ray stressed the truth that the death of Jesus was to take away sin, not merely die because of sin.

Kirk Cameron stepped up next and talked on the Five Fruits of True Conversion, that we are saved to righteousness, offering to God a cup clean both on the inside as well as the outside. True conversion takes place when God cleans the inside of the cup, filling, washing, spilling over, cleaning both inside and outside to the praise of His Glory. The Fruits are:

1) Repentance. Matthew 3:8. Hate sin, not just be sorry you got caught with it;
2) Good Works. Colossians 1:10. Works point out integrity, backs up what is being said for credibility. The Holy Spirit empowers both to “be” and to “do” (something I’ve said for years);
3) Thanksgiving. Hebrews 13:15. The value of His blood should drive us to gratitude.
4) Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22ff. Find out if you have these by asking others;
5) Righteousness. Philippians 1:11. We don’t want “decisions” but true conversions from sin to righteousness.

Christians have conflict in the world because we serve a God of righteousness, putting God’s will and good pleasure above our own.

Todd Friel gave a short talk on the nature and character of true repentance, then gave a short version of his article on “15 Reasons NOT To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart.”

Ray spent the next session talking about “How To Get On Fire For God” using 1 Corinthians 2:1ff to show that if we are fearful, weak, have no eloquent speech and are trembling, then we qualify for the awesome task of preaching the good news of Jesus Christ! “Enthusiasm” means “en” = in; “theos” = God. Get on fire for God and people will come to watch you burn! AMEN!

Ray and Kirk closed the conference by talking about the role and ease of using tracts in evangelism and Kirk demonstrated the WDJD principle with some video.

Sunday Morning:

We took the whole family back to hear Ray preach on 1 Timothy 6:11-12, “Fight the Good Fight of Faith.” I think this was a version of his sermon “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” He stressed:

1) Know your task: the supreme object of the church is the supreme object of the Savior: Seek and Save the Lost;
2) Know your weapons: God’s Word and Prayer. We cannot pray without preaching nor can we preach without prayer. Prayer is no substitute for obedient reading and proclamation of God’s Word.
3) Know your Enemy. Of the world, the flesh and the devil, watch out for the flesh!

Monday night:

Went to Taco Bell. Passed out a few Million Dollars. Found three teenagers who needed something to do, so did a little Street Magic to break the ice, and gave them a gospel tract. At first, one girl was upset that I was talking with them. I had crossed a racial barrier and she was trying to get her friends away. I made her the center of attention of the next trick, a number trick where a number is written down on a paper, folded and passed for one to hold without looking. I asked the now-calming “agitated girl” some questions that causes her to produce figures at random based on her birthday and age, etc.. After some math, the end result agrees with what is on the paper and hidden. When the trick was over, she laughed and almost screamed, “How did you do that? Are you Jesus, or something?” My wife quickly told them who I was and we had a good laugh. I gave them another gospel tract and stepped out to leave, but we were not able to do so immediately, so I went back inside. The teens could not decide what to order, so sat down near the door. I brought over another magic trick and was finally able to present the gospel clearly through it. I wish I had a camera as they sat quietly, listening, jaws dropped open as I spelled out “Hell” in torn letters from my trick and a cross from the remaining pieces. One girl looked visibly shaken when being confronted by her sin and I think she saw her need for a Savior. The other girl and boy listened, a strange stillness in the midst of tacos and piped-in jazz music.

God please save their souls.

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