Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Will share after the New Year.

Our family just experienced an absolutely unforgettable holiday and I will return after 1/5/09.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The atheist and the agnostic

We are visiting my husband's family in good ole Alabama for Christmas! I have found that every stranger I shared the Gospel with this week is a Christian. Of course, I say that tongue in cheek but it is a common belief in most of the South that if you are a good person, have a good reputation, come from a good family and have gone to the same church as long as you can remember, you're saved. I'm not picking on the South because I live in the South too. But, by and large, many church going people believe that they are going to heaven when they die.

That's why one of the best fishin' holes is right inside the walls of your church. You don't have to go to another country to find people who are trusting in their own goodness to get to heaven.

You may also run into fishermen who are just starting out and you may be able to offer encouragement. That's what I did on Sunday. My husband and I were visiting my father-in-law's church and visited a Sunday School class. The teacher, Chris, was leading the discussion about Christians being salt and light to the world found in Matthew 5:13-16.

After the class, my husband and I were able to talk with Chris. He reads his Bible and is praying for deeper understanding and has contemplated attending seminary.

He shared an experience he had at his workplace. He is an executive and had to entertain some clients at a golf outing. One of his clients claimed to be an atheist. He boldly proclaimed Christ but said that he didn't believe he'd made a difference. He just wished he knew how to defend the faith to an atheist. As he recounted the story of sharing with this man, it became apparent that Chris stayed in the realm of the intellect. I shared with him the function of God's law and the proper use of it.

I began by sharing that Psalm 19:7 states, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul..." (NKJV). I used to believe I would not be an effective witness if I did not have a degree in apologetics. But, now I know the law does it all. Here are 4 functions of God's law:

  • Brings the knowledge of sin to the sinner. (Romans 7:7)
  • Stops the sinner’s mouth from justifying itself. (Romans 3:19-20)
  • Helps the world to realize that they are guilty before God. (Romans 3:19-20)
  • Acts as a schoolmaster/teacher to bring us to Christ. (Galations 3:24)

I then shared with Chris that, in all likelihood, the gentleman he spoke to was probably an agnostic. It is important to know the difference between an atheist and an agnostic.

a⋅the⋅ist -(noun) a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. Origin: 1565–75; Greek; from atheos "to deny the gods, godless," from a- "without" + theos "a god".

I've run into 3 types of atheists when witnessing. The first one has a lack of belief in a god. The second one believes that no god exists at all and cannot exist. The third believes there is a god but doesn't believe in a specific god (i.e.- the one true God of the Bible.) This last group is actually better defined as agnostic and not atheistic.

ag⋅nos⋅tic -(noun or adj.) Greek var. of ágnōtos "not known, incapable of being known" adj. deriv. from base of gignskein to know) + said to have been coined by T.H. Huxley in 1869.
  1. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
  2. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
  3. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
I found an interesting word history from an online source. Here is the supposed origin of the word agnostic. It is interesting to note that it did not come into existence until the time period that Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was alive. He published the book "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." I also observe how interesting it is how few proclaiming evolutionists don't know the full title of his work. They conveniently leave off the last 10 offensive words of the title. But, I digress.

Thomas H. Huxley

Word History: An agnostic does not deny the existence of God and heaven but holds that one cannot know for certain whether or not they exist. The term agnostic was fittingly coined by the 19th-century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley, who believed that only material phenomena were objects of exact knowledge. He made up the word from the prefix a-, meaning "without, not," as in amoral, and the noun Gnostic. Gnostic is related to the Greek word gnōsis, "knowledge," which was used by early Christian writers to mean "higher, esoteric knowledge of spiritual things"; hence, Gnostic referred to those with such knowledge. In coining the term agnostic, Huxley was considering as "Gnostics" a group of his fellow intellectuals—"ists," as he called them—who had eagerly embraced various doctrines or theories that explained the world to their satisfaction. Because he was a "man without a rag of a label to cover himself with," Huxley coined the term agnostic for himself, its first published use being in 1870. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Tips for witnessing to an atheist

When witnessing to one who claims they are an atheist, you can share with them that, by definition, an atheist claims there is no God. But, the laws of logic and reasoning demand that to make such a claim, you must possess ALL knowledge of the universe to defend your claim.

Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 state, "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." At this point, only a fool would keep holding to the foolish notion that they know and possess all knowledge of the universe. Only if one possessed all knowledge of the universe could one make such a claim. Scientists are still discovering the secrets of the universe everyday and thus, no one possesses all knowledge in or about the universe.

It is very important to know the difference between the two because many unassuming individuals' arguments collapse on the explanation of this one definition. Each hole you can punch in their argument brings you one step closer to tilling the soil of that person's heart and planting the seed as God commanded us to do.

Chris' eyes lit up as he could see that by knowing the difference between the two and then sharing the Gospel by using God's law, one would have a much better chance to plant the seed in the heart of the listener.

Always be ready to help by equipping a fellow brother or sister in Christ to share the Gospel Biblically. I gave him a CD of Hell's Best Kept Secret and told him that if he familiarized himself with this teaching, he would be better prepared to share the Gospel, even with an atheist. If you want to hear the sermon, Hell's Best Kept Secret, click on the link in the upper right hand column.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Creative Gospel Tracting


If you're looking for another fun way to get your Christmas Cash out there why not look for as many ways as possible to place tracts in restaurants?

Besides dropping a few on the floor, stick some in the napkin dispensers. You can see a million dollar bill on the counter and also in the stack on the counter. It just takes a second and nobody really noticed when we placed the tracts in.

Don't forget about the seats. You know you're always checking for change in the couch at home and people also lose change in the seats at restaurants all the time. Leave some Christmas Cash to find.

Can you find the Christmas Cash in this picture? Stick it between the pages of their dessert menu, tuck it back in so you can't see it and the next person that picks this up may find something sweeter than dessert- the good news of Jesus Christ!

If you are new to placing tracts and are just trying to work up the courage to speak to someone, try placing them wherever you go. You're still walking in obedience even if you do not speak to someone. Pray for those who receive the tracts after they find them. Pray that God uses the tract to bring them to a knowledge of salvation. When we as Christians stand before God on Judgment Day He won't care how large your ministry was or how important you were but how obedient you were. This is also a great way to train your kids to be diligent and diliberate about sharing the Gospel from a young age.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We interrupt this series for a tracting moment...

I have had an absolute blast handing out tracts this season! By far the Christmas Cash has been the most fun. Here's an idea: put some Christmas Cash in the deposit when you send the tube to the teller in the drive-thru. Tell them, "There's also some Christmas Cash in there for you."

I have been reluctant to hand out the original million dollar bills at a bank because they look so real and because some wingnut tried to cash one a couple of years back in North Carolina. So the Secret Service tried to confiscate all of the million dollar bills from a ministry in Texas and threatened to go to take them from a ministry in California even though they have the complete Gospel message on the back.

But, with the Christmas Cash, I assure you they are not going to arrest you when you hand them a bill that has a picture of a fat man in a red suit asking if you've been naughty or nice!

If you're just trying to get your feet wet by handing out tracts, then this is the time to start by handing one to your teller. Every single one I've handed out has been well received and I've not been arrested! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where to begin when you're a new Christian pt. 4

The previous post addressed having the right attitude when approaching God. So when you approach with the right attitude, you should then be able to apply scripture when you pray. Remember, the first thing you do as a new Christian is begin reading and memorizing lots of scripture. I promise, this is all leading up to the original question, "How do you share your faith when you're a new Christian? Where do you begin?"

So you ask, "OK, but how do I pray?" The absolute "gold standard" of prayer can be found in Matthew 6:9-11.

"This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For your is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.'"

It is more often known as the Lord's prayer. You should familiarize yourself with the Lord's prayer. Don't just recite it from rote memory. Really meditate on what it is saying. This is the most perfect model of how to pray. Look carefully: there are 6 requests; the first 3 concern God and His honor and the last 3 concern our own physical and spiritual needs.

Breaking it down, consider: Our Father in heaven. The creator of us, the angels, the heavens, and the universe. He is not just some distant God. He is our Father and we can approach Him as such. The beauty of this is that my sinfulness will never invalidate my claim of Him as my Father just like a child's disobedience does not invalidate his relationship to the parent.

Hallowed be your name. Hallowed simply means holy or to be set apart or revered. We should remind ourselves that it is a privilege that the breath of life He breathed into our bodies is allowed to call upon His sacred name. Don't bring God's name or character down to a common level.

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are to pray that His kingdom will come quickly and that in all things His will (not ours) is our desire and we agree by willful submission through prayer that it ought to be done this way.

Give us today our daily bread. I think this would be a great title for a book that should be released around Christmastime. This verse is the part of the prayer where God invites us to pray for our needs. But since we just uttered that we want His will to be done, be willing for the Lord to reclassify your "needs" to the "wants" category if He sees fit. How much can you eat, literally and figuratively, in one day? We should not be acquiring more than is truly needed because it hinders not only our ability to trust Him fully as the provider, but too much "stuff" takes our focus off of Him.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do you realize what a debt you owe to God? We ask that He not count our sin against us and He does not! He has redeemed us by the blood of Jesus and no longer counts our sin as a debt against us. We too, must forgive. If we do not forgive others, the Father will not forgive us (v.14).

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We must not rely on our own judgment, but rely on God's provision and Grace to keep us out of the plans of Satan.

For your is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen. Basically, it's all about God, all the time. Amen just means, "Let it be so."

This is the way I look at this prayer and not as some religious poem to be recited mindlessly. As far as the mechanics of prayer, there are some things I've learned that may be helpful to keep in mind.
  1. I fully believe that prayer originates from God. Yes, there are things we pray for that we believe originated from a particular need of ours, but I believe He initiates it and we respond. He desires to fulfill a need and puts the desire in our heart and is just waiting for us to respond in obedience so that when He meets the need, He gets all the credit and all the Glory. Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." This is not to be interpreted as, "I really love God and I really want a porsche so it says right here He'll give it to me." How about reading it as: when you seek first His kingdom and you desire to delight in Him, He will put into your heart the desires you should have.
  2. I also learned that a good litmus test of whether something I'm praying about originated from Him or from me is this: Do I have to keep "fanning the flame" to keep the prayer alive or does it stay aflame on its own? I'll give you an example. I prayed for something for over 20 years before it came to pass. I couldn't explain why I had such a deep desire for this particular thing to come to pass. There was no way that the answer could happen by normal physical means. The desire for what I prayed was so strong that at one point I begged the Lord to take it away if it wasn't from Him! I saw no way that it would be answered. In His perfect timing He brought it to pass in a way I never thought possible. But, I did not have to keep bringing it up. The desire forced itself to the forefront of my prayers with great frequency I never had to remind myself to pray for it.
  3. There are many decisions in our lives that need to be made that aren't clearly spelled out in the scriptures such as, should you take a new job in this state or that state? Follow the principles laid out in the Bible and keep in mind Proverbs 16:9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Don't be paralyzed by indecision. If you have prayed and your decision does not violate principles in the Bible, then proceed with your decision and pray that the Lord will stop you if it's not His will.

There are many books available which may guide you in developing a deeper prayer life, but make sure they are Biblically sound. Kay Arthur writes some fabulous books like, "Lord, teach Me to Pray." She is just one of several respected Bible teachers.

This post became rather long, so I will post suggestions about how to keep track of what you are praying for in the next post.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt. 3

Prayer: Deliberate, Consistent Communication

Prayer can be one of the most confusing aspects of the Christian walk, but it doesn't have to be. When I was younger, I prayed differently and found that I asked for an awful lot of "stuff" for myself. There is a lot of confusion in the Christian community with regard to prayer, especially when we are encouraged or taught to "claim" things such as wealth and comfort. Run, if you are ever encouraged from the pulpit to "Sow the financial seed of faith" so the pastor does not "lose" their anointing! This prosperity gospel is blasphemous! Remember that while here on earth, Jesus was a poor, homeless man. If you really examine the scriptures, acquiring wealth, jets, yachts, multiple homes, and the like are strangely absent from the scriptures. He didn't seek riches and neither should we.

Don't shun what the Lord gives to you, however, if you are consumed with the thought of how to get more and what your next purchase is going to be, you should examine your heart and make sure you are seeking first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Ask the typical American, "Are you well off financially?" and they are likely to reply that they are not. Due to the fact that America is geographically separated from most of the world, we do not realize that we are richer and more well off than 90% of the people in the world. Travel to a 3rd world country and you will see that you are richer than you believe yourself to be. I have seen poverty and while it does exist in pockets of America, on the whole our country does not have entire cities living out of cardboard boxes on streets covered with feces while children bathe and draw drinking water from a filthy contaminated stream. If you have clean, running water in your home and do not have to walk 5 miles one way with a water jug on your head, then you're rich. Let this thought sink in and don't forget it.

What does all this have to do with prayer, you ask? Simple: I hear far more Christians asking for God to give them the winning lottery number or to ease their financial situation instead of asking God what He would have them do to serve Him? It's not the other way around. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil, not money itself (1 Timothy 6:10). Make sure that you are not prostituting your heart to the wrong lover.

2) The second practice a new Christian should cultivate is developing a deliberate, consistent, Biblically correct prayer life.

Today's post will deal with possessing the proper attitude towards God when praying and tomorrow's post will demonstrate ways to keep track of what you are praying for.

There are far more brilliant theologians out there who can speak more eloquently than I. I am not even in their league nor do I claim to be. But, there are some principles that I have discovered that have helped me develop a satisfying prayer life.

Prayer is simply deliberate, consistent communication with God. You will bypass years of frustration and possible bitterness if you approach the Lord properly. I've known many Christians who have become imbittered when they didn't get what they thought they deserved from God. What they don't realize is that their perspective is wrong. God didn't give them what they did deserve: hell. Here is a simple acronym to help you remember the proper protocol for approaching the Lord:


  • A- Adoration- comes from the Latin verb adoro which means "adore" or "exalt." It is used primarily as a form of exultation, as in the traditional hymn "Adoramus Te", in which we sing "How we adore thee Christ." Are you an enraptured lover of God? Express to God your love for Him. After all, He gave His life in the form of Jesus Christ for you.

  • C- Confession- confession is an ongoing process that is somewhat revelatory in nature. The more that I spend in the Word of God, the more I become aware of the principles I should be allowing to guide my life. When I come across something that I had as a habit and see that it is contrary to the Word of God, I confess that to God and repent.

  • T- Thanksgiving- Psalm 100:3 says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." There is a protocol for approaching a King or Queen and likewise there is a proper way to approach the Lord. Notice the verse demonstrates that we enter the gate first and draw closer by entering the courtyard, the inner fellowship of God. We have so much to be thankful for. Even if you have lost your job, had cancer, lost a child, or had a debilitating injury causing you to live daily in pain, all of which I have personally experienced, your thankfulness is never to be tied to your circumstance! You have been saved from hell! You enter His gates thankfully and you will soon be praising Him for all He has done for you. That one thought should be enough to remind you to be thankful in all circumstances.

  • S- Supplication- comes from the Latin verb supplicare which means, "to beg on one's knees." It is a formal, humble request for help from one in authority. It is interesting that the very word implies humility by the physical position one making supplication assumes on the knees. To "supplicate" also implies earnestness to the appeal or plea being made. Psalm 119:169-171 says, "May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees."

Now, briefly revisiting the discussion before about the number of Christians who appear bent on consistently asking the Lord for their best life now here on earth or financial security, does the ACTS model reflect any of that?

You can ask God to supply your financial needs. It is not a sin. However, because God doesn't "jump" when you tell Him to does not mean that He is neglecting you. My husband and I had 2 house payments for 22 months from 2005-2007. Did God not care? Was He turning a deaf ear? No!! He took us through a process that refined us in ways we never dreamt possible brought about only through the fire of refining. He met our daily needs. We got to the point that we had to literally pray for our daily bread. He always supplied our need and we learned a whole new level of dependence on Him. My husband in particular shed the notion that he somehow sustained the family and learned that it was and always is God who sustains us. We would never trade that lesson or that season of our lives for anything!

Practice the proper approach to prayer and you will have the correct attitude when praying. Tomorrow I will share two ways to keep track of the things for which you are praying.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt.2

Laying the Foundation (pt. 2)

After you have chosen several verses that you want to memorize and have copied them, begin in earnest to memorize them. You just need to review them 2-3 times per day. Here are some ideas where you can squeeze just 10 minutes out of each day for scripture memory. Read them at breakfast or while you brush your teeth. Put some on the back of your closet door if you have a walk in closet and read while you're dressing. Read them while waiting at the doctor's office or in the car line to pick up your kids from school. You can read them at restaurants if you're by yourself or if you're with a friend, have them help quiz you. Read them while on vacation. If you can remember to pack sunscreen you can remember to pack your verses. Read them while waiting for the bus or an airplane. If you're a college student, review them on the way to class. If you're babysitting, instead of flipping through what's on late night TV, review your scriptures. This isn't obsessive or weird, it's Biblical.

Psalm 1:2 "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."
You'll find that the more time you devote to memorizing scripture, the less time you will have for foolish, mind-numbing activities such as TV watching. TV isn't evil, but if you were to answer honestly, most of the stuff on TV these days isn't God honoring and really is trash. The shows today are so voyeuristic in nature and appear to portray an abnormal situation (people having their every move filmed and every word captured for broadcast around the world) as normal. Who do you know that really walks around with a film crew filming their every move? I'll take it a step further, can you go a week without watching your TV shows? When you don't watch them, where do your thoughts wander? Do you long for the television show or do you long for time with the Lord? If it causes you pain to miss your show and you get anxious and agitated and are obsessed with knowing what you've missed, you may have unknowingly broken the 1st and 2nd commandments and allowed TV to become your God. I can say this from experience, so don't think that I am pointing some sanctimonious finger. When I grew up the TV was on constantly. I used to plan my activities around what show was on. I don't do that anymore.

In fact, I can't tell you the last time I sat down to watch a television broadcast. We don't have satellite or cable. But, that doesn't mean you have to be ill-informed. Don't go the other direction and become a hermit who can't communicate about daily events in the world. We get our news from the Internet.

Think of all the hours that you watch TV per week and ask yourself what you could do if you spent that much time memorizing scripture, instead? You're life would change dramatically! There is no reason why an adult of average intelligence can't memorize 52 new scriptures per year- that's one per week.

After you have begun memorizing, not forgetting to state the reference before and after the verse, you will learn them quickly. After you have memorized them word perfectly, you will need to remove some and add more on to your ring. No one wants to carry 52 cards or more around with them.

This video will supplement the information to help you set up your own scripture memory system.

Daily Review

Here's what I've done. I mark a blank card “Daily” as a cover card for the stack of cards I'm beginning to memorize. I stick these cards in my 3 x 5 file box behind the correct card. You can keep them on the binder ring or you can put a rubber band around them. But, stick them here every night so you can find them in the morning. I'd suggest putting this by your night stand. It's the first place you are when you wake up and it's also the last place you are when you go to bed each night so it's pretty convenient. Or, if you have a special place that you study the Bible, place them there. The goal is to keep them in a place that is accessible day and night.

Remember, you must review these DAILY, if only to read over each one carefully. Some days you may be able to spend more time on them, but at a minimum, you can read them in the morning and at night. You'll get better at recognizing little pockets of time throughout the day that you were unaware of and these times will become more and more precious to you. You will find the verses getting more and more familiar until you have some verses memorized after just a few weeks!

Determine a schedule for adding new verses to your Daily Review to be learned. You may want to add one every third day for a while, or once a week. Just make sure it is regular! (You may add more verses at first, then later change your schedule to add less often as you accumulate more verses and need a little more time for reviewing them.) Track your progress and write the date you start to review each verse in the upper right hand corner of the side of the card with the reference on for that verse.

You may also want to color code your cards. I want to memorize quotes by people like Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, but I primarily memorize scripture. Right now, white cards are quotations or facts about apologetics, yellow are books of the Bible or large chunks of the Bible that need to be memorized together, and green are just random verses that I am learning. They have so many colors out there that it should not be too difficult to come up with a system.

Weekly Review

Mark another blank card “Weekly.” As soon as you have any verse in your Daily Review stack learned so well that you can quote it and the reference word perfectly several days in a row without looking, transfer that card to this new stack. Review the cards in this stack just once a week. Write the date each time you review these on the Weekly Review cover card, so you don’t forget when it’s time to review them again. At first, pick just one day per week to review like on Sunday. Then, you will get to the point that you will have so many that you want to review that you can add another review date onto your schedule. No one has 7 hours to review scripture each day- that's impractical. We're not monks who don't have family responsibilities or jobs to do, but if you fail to plan you plan to fail. You just need to come up with a schedule and stick with it.

Monthly Review

After you've reviewed the verses in your Weekly Review stack once a week for a couple months or so, you will find that some of them just roll off your tongue with ease. So now transfer those into this new stack to be reviewed just once a month. Make a card that says, "Monthly." Again, write the date on the cover card when you go over these, so you can see when it will be time to review them again.

As you move more verses from Daily Review to Weekly Review, you may want to eventually divide your Weekly Review stack into smaller stacks for several different days of the week, so you won’t have to spend so much time on any one day reviewing those weekly review verses. I have a card that has all seven days of the week written on a card and I stick it behind the Weekly Review tab. Eventually, you will probably divide your Monthly Review verses into several smaller stacks and review on different days of the month. You will probably need to make or buy tabbed cards for the numbers 1-31 when your monthy review gets large. Eventually, you can have a Weekly Review stack for each day of the week, and a Monthly Review stack for each day of the month.

Don't let this overwhelm you. It's not as difficult as it sounds. So each day you will be reviewing your Daily Review verses, some Weekly Review verses, and some Monthly Review verses. Remember it's not going to take as much time as you think once you get going on this because your Monthly and Weekly verses will still be fresh in your mind and your Daily Review verses will only take a few minutes per day.

Whether you write only one verse per card and put the reference on the other side or whether you write both the verse and the reference does not matter. Just experiment and see which works best for you. Find a friend to be your "verse buddy" so you can quote to another person whenever possible. It really helps with the memorization and motivation.

Keep up this practice until you die or you get the entire Bible memorized!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt. 1

Laying the Foundation

How do you share your faith when you're a new Christian and there is so much you don't know? This will begin a series on the prep work needed to share your faith effectively. What I will share really affects your entire walk with Christ, but I have discovered it is foundational to sharing your faith. I know that the woman at the well in John chapter 4 walked right out and boldly began sharing. But, that will only sustain you for so long. You do need to study and prepare yourself to be used by God.

When I got to college, I remember coming alive in Christ. I finally understood what true Christianity was and I began maturing in my walk. God sent an older, godly woman who mentored me named Bev. I am still thankful for all the time she spent with me. I went to her home once a week and we met, usually on the front porch and went over scripture and a Bible study book. Little did I know that she helped prepare me for a lifetime of obedience by her example.

1) I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, the most important thing you can do to prepare for sharing your faith is to memorize scripture, and lots of it.

Here is a list of scripture memory resources I have compiled which will aid you in scripture memory. http://chipperresource.blogspot.com/2007/11/scripture-memory.html

Here are some verses that I highly recommend. I used a system over 20 years ago by the Navigators called "The Topical Memory System." Goto http://www.cbd.com/ and type this in their search box. The Topical Memory System is a set of perforated cards with the verses printed on the card. There is a carrying case for the verses too. Carry these with you wherever you go. There are several different versions you can choose to memorize scripture. However, I do NOT recommend memorizing verses using "The Message" Bible translation or the "Good News" version because they are only paraphrases of the Bible. I prefer the English Standard Version (ESV) or New International Version (NIV).

I recommend that you stick with whatever translation you begin memorizing scripture in and don't switch back and forth between different translations. These are just a few categories that you can use to memorize scripture. These scriptures were some of the first scriptures and categories I memorized over 20 years ago.

  • All Have Sinned:Romans 3:23 & Isaiah 53:6

  • Sin's Penalty: Romans 6:23 & Hebrews 9:27

  • Christ Paid the Penalty: Romans 5:8 & I Peter 3:18

  • Salvation is not by Works: Ephesians 2:8,9 & Titus 3:5

  • Must Receiver Christ: John 1:12 & Revelation 3:20

  • Assurance of Salvation : 1 John 5:13 & John 5:24

Whether you purchase the Navigator's or any other system is not important, but consistent, diligent study is. I now use 3 x 5 index cards and binder rings. You can purchase a box of binder rings at any office supply store.

  1. Write your scriptures on the lined side of the card. Add the reference at the top of your card. Include any Greek words you want to learn as well. I'm memorizing Philippians right now and want to learn the Greek words as well so I've included them.

  2. Read your verse out loud several times. Don't even try to memorize it at this stage. You just want to familiarize yourself with what you're studying. Do this for a few days.

  3. After you've read it several times over the course of a few days, then try to memorize. Your goal is to memorize it word and letter perfectly. If you leave out an "a", "an", or "the" keep trying until it's perfect. In times of doubt, Satan will use this weakness and exploit it to his advantage. I usually just put one verse per card unless the verses are really short. Here I wrote two verses on the card. Here's what I say verbatim when I am memorizing the scriptures. I say, "Phillipians 1:4 ...always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy,... Phillipians 1:4." I say the reference before and after each verse to solidify where it's found in the Bible in my mind.

  4. Another method for memorizing is to use a dry erase board or chalkboard and write the entire verse on the board. Say it several times out loud, and then begin to erase one word at a time and say it again completely. Do this until all the words are erased off of the board. By far, this is the fastest, most effective way to memorize quickly and accurately.
Tomorrow I'll finish helping you lay the foundation through scripture memory.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Use those long lines as opportunities

OK, so Black Friday has come and gone, but there are lines and lines of people. I used to get frustrated with long lines. I confess, if I've got somewhere to be, I can still be that way.

Now you can use these lines as an opportunity to hand out Christmas Cash and engage the person in front of or behind you in conversation.

Just hand them the tract and say, "Here's some Christmas Cash. Try not to spend it all in one place!" or "Did you get your Christmas Cash?"

When they ask, "What is it?" (90% of them will) tell them, "It's a Gospel Tract. Do you think you're too Naughty or are you Nice enough to go to heaven? " You could also try, "If God were like Santa and kept a naughty or nice list, which one do you think you'd be on?" Here is another one that a friend gave me, "This is the official currency of the North Pole."

These were just a few of the lines that have been rather successful these last few weeks before Christmas. Try them and see how many seeds you can sow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gospel tracts and Christmas Shopping

As you make your list and check it twice, make sure you pack plenty of Gospel tracts! Besides the Christmas Cash, I've had a lot of success with the "101 of the World's Funniest One liners" too. There are a lot of retail clerks that are bored or waiting to get off their shift and this not only breaks the ice, but is also not your typical "boring" tract. It's really quite funny and has 101 quips and the Gospel message inside.

I went shopping with my husband at "Sportsman's Warehouse", which I imagine, is the equivalent of a man going to "Ann's Hallmark." He could spend hours in there as I try not to slip into a coma drooling from boredom. But, there were plenty of clerks who were ready for some excitement and I handed this one out successfully.

We also had dinner (just the two of us) and were able to witness to our waiter and the owner of the restaurant. The owner gave us his business card and told us to come back for a meal on him. Hmmm, maybe we'll go back and witness some more at that restaurant!

The clerk at the Hallmark store, the hostesses at restaurants, the man selling newspaper subscriptions at the grocery store all received tracts and conversation about the Law and Grace.

Not all conversations can be in-depth due to the fact that they are working. But, try handing out tracts wherever you go. If you still can't work up the courage to hand some out, at least leave some in the restrooms. Just take baby steps and you will find that it won't feel as foreign to you the more you do it. But, I must confess, I still get nervous and almost chicken out almost every time I begin talking to a stranger. Don't let that stop you. Rely on the Lord to give you the words to say. Your obedience will be honored. He doesn't ask for the eloquent, the PhD's, or only pastor's to speak. We are all called to walk a life of obedience.

By far, Christmastime is my favorite time for handing out tracts. Not only do you not need to come up with a good opening line, since Christmas is about Christ, but people are just happier and seem to be in festive moods. I've experienced no reluctance from people to take a tract during this time. If you've never handed out tracts before, this is the perfect time for a beginner to start.

If you have never shared your faith and call yourself a Christian, examine the scriptures and see what the Bible has to say about sharing your faith by actually opening your mouth. We don't all have to stand on a street corner and preach. But, we are called to be faithful witnesses and if you are only "kind" to people and mention occasionally that you go to church, they are never going to see their absolute need of the Savior. To have never opened your mouth to share the hope you have is, in my opinion, denying Christ by omission. Sadly, in the past, I would let months or years go by without engaging a single person in a conversation about Christ. Don't live in the past. If you've never shared your faith, start now! You'll never regret it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Southern Lights & Baptist homosexuals

Every year one of our family traditions is going to see Southern Lights. It is a drive through Christmas light display at the Horse Park. There are 3 miles of over 1 million lights on more than 100 displays. It's so large that setup begins in September and final tear down is complete in February. Once you drive through the display there is an exotic petting zoo, pony rides, craft sellers, model train room and doll house display, and miniature train ride. It's fun for the entire family.

One of the most exciting places is the exotic petting zoo. There are animals there that you truly have never seen before. But, there are also familiar ones such as llamas and camels. Once inside I handed out Christmas cash.

This is the attendant reading the tract my son gave him. He read it several times. I did not have a chance to talk with him because of his job, the people, and a phone call he received. I just pray that the tract does its job and leave the rest to God.

They were such a hit people were reading them instead of looking at the exotic animals!

Forget the porcupines and emus, this is great stuff!

I handed out the Christmas cash by saying simply, "Did you get your Christmas Cash?" or "Hey here's a million- it's your part of the billion dollar bailout." Every single person took one, smiled, laughed, or engaged in conversation. I didn't get a single rejection. Don't be afraid! Try it while handing them out with a smile.

And then it happened- a man in a blue jacket asked, "What is it?" I told him, "It's a Gospel tract." He said, "I already got one." Then he turned to his friend and said, "Didn't I get one in my X-box at Best Buy or something?" His friend said, "No I think you got one in a Christmas Card." My mind was racing. I thought, "Could he have gotten a tract I shoved in a box when I was at Best Buy?!" That would be just wild!

I asked, "Do you have a religious background?" He said, "Yes, Baptist. But, I'm not a Christian." I asked, "Have you ever thought about what happens when you die?" He said, "No. I do NOT want to think about that." Gently, but with conviction I said, "But, you never know when you're going to die and 10 out of 10 of us are going to die." He still said he didn't like to think about it. His female companion piped in, "Did you hear what she said? She just gave you a real statistic." I guess it must have been a topic of conversation between them.

I asked him if he thought he was good enough to go to heaven? He said that he hoped so. I asked if he'd like to find out. He hesitated and I coaxed him by saying, "Come on, it's not difficult." He said OK and I asked, "Have you ever told a lie?" I started a dialogue with him and had only gotten through 2 commandments when his friend in the black jacket came over and told him they were leaving.

I wasn't going to let the fish get away so I walked with him and kept talking. The guy in the black jacket came up to me as the other walked away and said, "Look, we're homosexuals and my dad is a Baptist minister. I know how the Christian community feels about us." My heart broke. I just wanted to cry. What he doesn't understand is that God will not send him to hell just for being a homosexual. He was a lawbreaker way before he engaged in a lifestyle of homosexuality. If we break just ONE of God's commandments we are guilty of breaking His moral law. God doesn't hold homosexuality above all other sin and count it 10 times worse than all other sins, contrary to what the Rev. Fred Phelps and his hate mongers may bark at people.

I told him, "Look, it's wrong if people who call themselves Christians scream at you that your going to hell because you are homosexual. That's wrong. I said you've broken God's law not just because you're homosexual. Christ died on the cross for your sins and you don't have to go to hell. You need to re..." And then he said, "I've got to go," and walked off.

I pray that the tract will do its job powered by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We do nobody a favor by not telling them the truth, but I believe we do more harm than good if the truth is not spoken in LOVE. You MUST care for people you speak to. Please don't be guilty of pointing some sanctimonious finger at someone because you believe their sin is worse than yours. You only invite judgement upon yourself when you do that and you taint the Gospel.

I handed out more tracts and just kept these two young men close to my heart in prayer. I often feel unbelievable sadness when handing a tract to someone who rejects it. If they face God on judgement day, having never humbled themselves and repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus, God will replay the conversation that I had with them before their eyes. They will have no excuse as God casts them into hell and that is a horrible thought. Pray before and after all your witnessing encounters that God's good and perfect will be worked in their lives.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Tracting

The Christmas Season is here! Get your Christmas cash and hand it out everywhere. People are more festive than usual and readily accept Christmas cash if you hand it out without the usual reluctance.

Hand them out at :
  • Christmas Parades (check your local paper and find what parades are taking place)

  • Malls (kiosks, at the end of elevators, at the entrance to the mall, clerks)

  • Door Greeters (Wal-mart, Target, Sam's Club, etc.)

  • Gift Wrappers (While you're waiting for your gift to be wrapped, share the Gospel)

  • People you work with (Office parties, or others in the building you work in)

  • Neighbors (bake some bread or cookies and deliver them with a card and Christmas Cash)

  • Rest stops (if traveling, stick them in the restrooms or the rack holding information on attractions)

  • Waiters/Waitresses (hostesses, busboys, etc.)

    • Christmas Parties (These can be fabulous witnessing opportunities)
    I think you get the idea. This tract above is from http://www.customtractsource.com/.

    Here is another idea for sharing the Gospel using a tract. This link from Living Waters demonstrates the effectiveness of tracts. http://www.livingwaters.com/christmas/christmas_tract_card_insert.pdf. Share this document with your Sunday School class or friends and family who may be reluctant to share the Gospel or even hand out a tract. Stick these in Christmas cards that you mail out. Just like Halloween is the one time per year when potentially 100 strangers come to your door, Christmastime is when we all send Christmas cards usually telling about what our family did the past year. Click on the link, print it off and stick this in the card as well.