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Monday, April 30, 2007

We're back!

It seems that eons have passed since my last post. We’ve been very busy and I’ve not had the time to make postings of any significance. The last part of March and most of April was consumed with Accreditation research and writing, so by the end of each day, I really had nothing left over for anything else. The next day after I submitted my final draft to the committee for review, we packed up the family and vacated to New Mexico where I officiated my sister’s wedding ceremony and attended a grave-side service for my wife’s brother, Andrew. Andrew died in December but now the ground is unfrozen, my wife’s family waited for us to come before laying him to rest.

New Mexico was so incredible—I cry every time I enter Albuquerque, or leave it. And I am tired of leaving it. The weather was perfect: 60’s in the day and freezing at night. My sister wanted an outside wedding, but it got moved indoors. The combination of high winds plus rain-turned-snow and hail drove us indoors—but it cleared up nicely. The wedding was better inside anyway because a rodeo was being held about 100 yards away and the fresh flowers, pine and lavender scents would have been overridden with the smells of horses and what they do after they eat said salads. Besides, I was not excited about performing a wedding over the sounds of who was riding what out of chute #2 . . . although for New Mexico, such events don’t seem out of place. I suppose some good wedding jokes could be made upon the combination of the two events.

We had a great time of R & R out West, though the prodding of my wife kept me alert to remembering the people and places associated with our call to ministry and the first places visited associated therewith. We attended church on Sunday with many friends we had not seen in 17 years and seeing old friends was quite joyful—a little slice of heaven.

While in New Mexico, I had the awesome opportunity to share the gospel in four significant events: the first was the day of Andrew’s grave-side service. We went to lunch with friends and family and I sat next to one of Andrew’s friends. The Lord worked marvelously as Lloyd (on right in pic below) and I talked. Seeds had been planted before, so there was some cultivation and watering that took place. I pray he moved from intellectual consent to Jesus’ finished work to repentance and faith.



The second gospel opportunity was in the wedding itself. I could not let the opportunity go to emphasize that love alone does not provide abundant life, but love of God in Christ Jesus for those who will repent and place their faith and trust in Him will bring abundant life. Following this does love for one another blossom in a heavenly context. The message was heard loud and clear and some comments were made as to the clarity of the gospel—I praise the Lord for making His voice heard.

The third gospel opportunity was with my sister-in-law, the widow of my wife’s brother. She has heard the gospel before, but has not realized the seriousness of sin, though she has felt the weight of the guilt of sin as we went through God’s law. We had a great conversation, but she is not ready for the Lordship of Christ yet. Please pray for her salvation and the salvation of her niece and daughter.

The last and final gospel opportunity was on the airplane from Albuquerque to our first lay-over. I sat next to a man and his wife, where I learned she was a medicine-woman (since she was working on her Master’s degree, an “herbalist”). We had a tremendously enjoyable conversation, but they too need to wrestle with the true and living God over the seriousness of sin and cry out to Him for mercy and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were filled with wonderful questions and I believe they actually surprised each other as each expressed his and her own viewpoints.

I wish I could reproduce the conversation here, but one part stands out to me: her philosophy through the healing arts is to do her part in bring peace, harmony and unity to the earth. Imagine her consternation when I asked how she was getting along with such an immense project. I was actually surprised when she told me she had not reflected on her success that much. When I asked if she’d ever lied, stolen or blasphemed, she quickly agreed she was not doing so well. I reminded her these were just 3 of 10 areas of the moral laws given by the true and living God, who implanted the knowledge of right and wrong on the conscience—she was in trouble and needed outside help. They both presented wonderful and sincere questions as to the identity of Jesus and His purpose and I explained to their satisfaction. They were very grateful for the talk and allowed me to pray for them before we disembarked. Please continue to do the same until God gives you satisfaction.

Well, by now it’s “back to the grindstone.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First place in your thoughts

Well, we're heading Southwest for a vacation, so pray for safe travel, good family time and effective communication of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime, here's a contribution from Brooks, "The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures"

Friends, these things must have first place in your thoughts:

1. Your sins--to humble you and abase you before God.

2. God's free and rich and sovereign grace--to soften and melt you down into submission to His holy will.

3. The Lord Jesus Christ--to assist, help, strengthen, and influence you in all your duties and services.

4. The blessed Scriptures--to guide you and lead you, "and to be a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your paths."

5. The afflictions of the godly--to draw out your charity, mercy, pity, sympathy and compassion to men in misery.

6. The glory and happiness of the eternal world--to arm you and steel you against all your sins, snares and temptations.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Professing Christians Warned

"Evangelistic methods employed in evangelical Christianity over the last century and a half have given rise to a policy of equating salvation with a profession of faith in Christ. Many never doubt the eternal destiny of their souls because they followed the procedure prescribed from the pulpit or in the "gospel" tract. They have been told that to question one's salvation is to question God. They have obediently followed steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 which supposedly adds up to salvation; therefore, because they have followed the plan, they assume themselves to possess eternal life. However, I encourage every professor of faith in Christ to "give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:1O).

Scripture provides ample cause for us to assert that there will be multitudes of Professing Christians cast into Hell at the Day of judgment (Acts 8:5-24; Gal. 4:19, 20; Heb. 6:1-6; 10:23-31; 2 Pet. 2; Jude). The most profound warning to professors was issued by our Lord Himself and recorded in Matthew 7:21-23. He stated unequivocally that in that Day many would make their profession, would declare Him to be "Lord," and even point to certain apparent spiritual achievements in an attempt to substantiate their claim to salvation. However, He will in turn command their damnation! How that ought to stir each individual who professes faith in Christ! Why will such a tragedy occur? The answer is contained in verse 21 and the conclusion of verse 23 - they do not the will of God, but rather they "work iniquity," even though professing allegiance to Christ. The phrase "work iniquity" means to perform against the law, suggesting that one lives in utter disregard of God's holy law."

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The tragic environment

"Most Westerners live in a tragically mindless environment. Life is too fast, and our contact with other persons too impersonal for any real thought or reflection. Even in the church we are far more often encouraged to join this committee, back this project, or serve on this board than we are counseled to examine our relationship to God and His Son Jesus Christ. So long as we are performing for the church, few question whether our profession is genuine or spurious. But sermons should suggest that members of a church may not actually be saved, although they are members. Teachers should stress that a personal, self-denying, costly, and persistent following of Christ is necessary if a person is to be acknowledged by Jesus in the last day...In the absence of this teaching millions drift on, assuming that because they have made a verbal acknowledgment of Christ ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago and have done nothing terribly bad since, they are Christians, when actually they may be far from Christ, devoid of grace, and in danger of perishing forever."

James Montgomery Boice, Christ’s Call to Discipleship (Chicago: Moody, 1986), pp. 15-16

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Praying for a key

I finally understand now why God allows people to be brought together into clubs, bars, concerts and other diverse congregations. He allows Satan to bring people together so they can hear the gospel! Thanks for showing me that Mark Cahill! You know, my little train might be slow, but it does eventually pull into the station, knowwhutImean?

I’m praying about going down to Headliners, but will need a team to go with me. This is a local concert hall wherein gathers many Columbia youth who need to hear the gospel. Part of what is spurring me on to this is a text message I got from one of my kids who went down there to hear a band. The message read, “I wish I had some tracts.” How cool is that?

Why do I need to pray about going to a place like Headliners? Because, frankly, I’m an old guy, I’m scared, I have a family, a job . . . and I have a message to proclaim (which means I have no excuse not to go). When Jesus said, “Follow me,” He also included things like being made a fisherman and a cross-carrier. What I get from that is that if I am not fishing or cross carrying, I am not fully following. You follow?

I’ll never forget the conversation I had with a Jehovah’s Witness a few years back. She said, “I go out knocking on doors with the gospel every night. What do you do?” I felt ashamed to think how at that time I only spent two hours every Friday night on the street . . .

Years ago when I began in street ministry, a team member prayed that God would give us a bar. This was in a town where alcoholism caused the town to acquire a nation-wide nick-name of “Drunktown, USA.” This team member prayed and every time we went out to witness, we visited the bar (outside, of course). That first night two bouncers were on their knees repenting and we never saw them again. The bar owner got mad and offered free drinks for every tract that people brought in. Over the course of time, God gave us the bar; that is, it closed down and is now a parking lot—flattened like Tyre and Sidon. Other bars in that town have been converted into churches or centers of outreach and treatment, but the town is not dry.

I am asking that God would bring a team together for Headliners.
Each person in Headliners needs to either get mad or get converted.

What we need is the key to the place, like the woman at the well who was the key to the city of Sychar . . .

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A word to those who demand signs, wonders, and private messages

posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Wait for Signs and Wonders," a sermon Spurgeon preached on the last Sunday morning in October of 1869.


ou are acting the part of an idolater. What does an idolater do? He says, "I cannot believe in an unseen God; I must have a golden calf or an image, that I can see with my eyes and touch with my hand."

You say just the same. You cannot believe God's naked word, you demand something you can feel, something you can see. Sheer idolatry. Do you not see it? You make your own feelings and emotions, or strange impressions, to be more worthy of trust than even God himself. You make them idols, and put them into God's place. You, so far as you can, undeify the Deity.

O tremble at such a crime as this!
C. H. Spurgeon

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