Friday, January 30, 2009

Food, Flames, and Fellowship

Keep Kentucky in your prayers

Winter finally hit Kentucky! Before the snow came, we had almost 2 days of freezing rain. There are downed powerlines and trees everywhere. Last report said that 607,000 people are without power and the temperatures are dropping to about 7 F tonight. Shelters are maxed out, food pantries are almost empty and there is another storm coming next week. In Grayson, Ky 95% of the residents are without power and it may be more than a week before they can cut their way through the downed trees to get to them. Our roads are relatively clear, but if you don't have power you can't operate your business, have functioning traffic signals, or even live in your own home. Some people have been without since Tuesday and the power companies estimate another week or more in some areas. Seven schools do not have power in our city. During the ice storm of 2003, we were without power for 10 days but were fortunate enought to have a generator.

This road is one road you can take to get to our house. The branches are bent over touching the road and you don't want the roof of your car to touch a low hanging branch for fear that it will break off and crush your car.

This is a closeup of the tree in our backyard that has the kids' tire swing on it. In the bottom left hand side of the picture you see the tire on the ground. When the tree isn't bent from the weight of the ice, the bottom of the tire is normally 2 feet off of the ground!

This was a time lapse photo I took. It was pitch black outside except for a little light coming through the night sky and one lonely street light down the street. There is no snow on any of these trees- it's all ice.

This is the road approaching where we live. When the snow starts to melt will be the most dangerous time due to branches breaking and flooding. It will be a major concern for most of the state.

Aside from all of that, it is absolutely breathtaking. When the sun hits the trees and powerlines it is as if millions of brilliant diamonds are being lit up and the sight is truly unforgettable.

How does this tie in to evangelism? Well, now is the time to invite people over to stay with you if you have power and most of all HEAT. Call it "Food, Flames, and Fellowship," and minister to people in need. Check on your neighbors and make sure they are doing OK. This is the time to reach out and be Christ to those around you. Long after the snow melts, your neighbors will remember your act of kindness.

If they are unsaved, this may be a great way to share the Gospel with them. It doesn't have to just be non Christians, take care of the body of Christ and find out if there are families in your church that need help. In fact, we are having a soiree this evening with 3 families one of whom doesn't have power. Take advantage of these opportunities and don't whine about the inconvenience of a little cold and no electricity. Obviously, if you don't have electricity you can't do this, but invite someone over and get to know them. Make the most of it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Super Bowl Outreach

Please be in prayer for the Evangelistic Outreach that is being coordinated by Sports Fan Outreach ( and The Lost Cause Ministries ( In the South we are getting snow and ice for the next several days and conditions are hazardous for travel. This isn't happening in Florida,.but for everyone trying to get there it is quite challenging. There are so many who are driving or flying to share the Gospel this week-end during Super Bowl.

Pray travel mercies on every brother and sister traveling to witness and on Jon Sweet and Bill Adams and the others involved in this effort that they are protected and effective this weekend. The Super Bowl Outreach begins this Thursday and lasts through Sunday.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Law & Grace in under 8 minutes

I had the privilege to share the Gospel at an Upward Basketball game on Saturday, January 24, 2009. I shared the Gospel two times during the halftime of each game. In the gym and standing in the doorways were approximately 110 people at the first game and 156 at the second game.

The task: give my testimony in under 8 minutes. This is what the Lord allowed to come out of my mouth.

If this bar doesn't work, try this link: . When you get to the audio website click on the "7.5 MB" link under the Windows Media heading in the table.

If you have just happened upon this website by chance, listen to this recording and if you are a Christian, but you struggle with habitual sin you can't dismiss that by believing if you're highly involved in church that you're fine. I urge you please, examine yourself in light of God's Holy Word. Read the book of 1 John and the whole book of James and even Galations. Do you have any fruit in your life? Don't say you are saved and have a relationship with God if you still have the same patterns in your life. You need a new relationship with sin- you need to turn your back on it.

If you are not a Christian, I urge you to listen carefully and ask yourself, "If I died tonight, when I stand before God (and you will stand before God whether you believe He exists or not) what will I hear?" Will you be welcomed home into heaven or will you be sentenced to hell?

You may not be able to see in the photo, but my shirt says, "WARNING: Plugging your ears won't change the truth."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Upward Basketball = Free Open Air Opportunity

Do you feel like you'll explode if you don't preach the Gospel?! Here is a creative opportunity to practice open air preaching and to share the Gospel in a heckler-free environment. Too good to be true, you say?

Have I got GREAT news for you! During this season for approximately the next 8 weeks, Upward Basketball is hosted in many churches across the nation. Their mission is: To introduce children to Jesus Christ by creating opportunities to serve through sports. Check them out at Locate a host church near you and offer to do a half-time devotion.

Sometimes you'll be able to open air 2-3 times on a Saturday! Now, the host church usually asks, begs, cajoles, and frets over finding people who will be willing to give a halftime "devotion." This is your opportunity to step up to the plate and be an obedient servant of Christ and boldly proclaim the Gospel on their P.A. system in the gym before a captive audience of approximately 60-100 or more parents! No hecklers. No need for a heckler mic and kill switch. Save those $1 bills you use for trivia to buy more tracts. Keep those stuffed animals you use for drawing crowds, at home. This is better than when you had training wheels on your first bike!

Hand out some Gospel tracts. Be prepared to stay and answer questions. They're not going anywhere until their kids are done playing. I plan on sharing the Gospel during halftime since our church just signed on to be a host church.

If you've never open aired- now's your chance. Try not to be an open air hog. Encourage others to join you. If you just returned from the Ambassador's Academy, this is a wonderful opportunity. And for those of us who are not fortunate enough to have sunny, warm weather year round (we got snow tonight), then this will be the cure for your open-air-cabin-fever blues!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Train up a child in the way he should go...

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

This past week-end our oldest son who is 12 went to the next city to a train show. He has had a love of trains since he was a toddler and now over a decade later, still loves them. The show was set up in a rather large expedition hall. He had planned on attending this show for several months and was very excited. Our good friend drove him to the show because he too, is a fellow train enthusiast.

We really try to train our children to have a love for the Lord and to serve Him with passion. Our biggest fear is that we don't want any of our children to bumble along for several years into adulthood before they get a clue as to what their purpose in life is like we did. We are convinced that it is our responsibility to train them deliberately and diligently in all that the Lord requires of them. I can't say that we've always been successful, but we keep praying that the Lord guides us with the lives He's entrusted to us.

Our son has accompanied me on frequent fishing trips and really enjoys putting out Gospel tracts and has shared the Gospel a few times already. He is growing in grace and stature. He had some trains he wanted to sell but he also was excited about the opportunity to hand out tracts. I gave him a package of million dollar bills and he was stoked.

He saw many trains that day and managed to hand out the entire package of 100! I was thrilled that he was able to walk in obedience at such a young age. He even got our friend, who was rather reluctant, to hand one out. Perhaps his obedience in this one small area will encourage our friend to be deliberate about sharing the Gospel. There were several hundred people that day.

He said he dropped several on the ground and saw many pick them up and read them. One man in particular, was a vendor and noticed that our son had put some tables and in boxes for sale. After our son walked to another part of the expo, they walked back by and the man apparently had gone and gotten a tract from one of the boxes and was reading it! He just kept reading it.

I always tell the kids that when they hand out a tract, pray for the person that receives because that it is the Word of God that revives the soul.

He handed them to people, set them on displays, in boxes, in the restrooms, or wherever he could stuff them. God will reward the obedience of a 12 year old boy who has a purity of heart and understands decades before I ever did what it means to put Christ first in thought and action. I learn so much about obedience from my kids.

Encourage your kids to just hand out tracts if they don't know what to say. Hudson Taylor, one of the greatest missionaries ever to China, was soundly saved by reading a Gospel tract.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Would you witness if a gun were pointed at you?

If this isn't a story of sharing your faith " season and out of season..." then I don't know what is! This is an incredible story of a 92 year old woman, Pauline Jackobi, from Dyersburg, TN who shared her faith at gunpoint. Something I noticed about her that they noted in the story, she reads her Bible every day. Ladies, you can't have that presence of mind or courage without staying in the Word of God and walking in obedience. What would you have done? Would you have shared your faith?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Order your Christmas Cash now!

Now is the time to order your Christmas Cash for next year! It's 25% off at Click on the bottom left on the sidebar under "Specials."

They also have Halloween Cash on sale too. Pick up a pack or two of those while you're at it. Why think of this when Christmas is 11 1/2 months away? Do you budget money for buying tracts each month? If not, do you have a membership to Netflix or Napster? Do you have a gym membership that you never or rarely use but pay for monthly? Do you get your nails done every few weeks at $20-$30 per session?

If you've never even considered budgeting for tracts each month, consider starting something new this year. There are all kinds of places you can make cuts in most budgets. If things are really tight, go in on some tracts with a friend and split the cost and cut down on shipping costs as well. We canceled our newspaper subscription and now get our news off the internet. We use the amount we used to pay for the newspaper as part of our monthly tract expenditures.

It's not a sin to watch movies, get your nails done, have a magazine subscription or anything else like that. God's not going to send you to hell because you didn't buy tracts. But, I do believe that if you stand before God on Judgement Day and He is looking over your life to give out reward, perhaps you might regret not having ever spent a single dime of the money He entrusted to you to spread the Gospel. We tend to reveal what is most abundant in our hearts by following the money trail of our checkbooks.

Until a few years ago, I'd never bought a single tract nor was it ever a thought in my mind. Truth be told, I thought tracts were worthless and a rather foolish waste of money until I understood obedience and realized what a wonderful asset a good tract can be. Now, purchasing tracts, is something we do with regularity and we wouldn't dream of going anywhere without tracts. Don't ever doubt the effectivenss of a tract coupled with your obedience. If you think, "Well, that's good for you, but I don't need to do that," watch the video below.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

In Honor of Sanctity for Human Life Day

January 18th, 2009 is Sanctity for Human Life Day. Shouldn't ALL life be protected?

The incredible story of Gianna Jessen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stephanie from

I had been catching up on some work this morning when I got a phone call. I didn't recognize the number but was quite certain that it was a phone solicitor since none of my friends call from 1-800's.

Today, I received a call from a new phone solicitor. I guess U.S. Bank sold my name to and now they are very concerned about the postal needs of our business.

Stephanie was very sweet and I answered her questions politely. She asked if she might have my e-mail address because if I tried out the stamp program, she promised somebody would call back in a couple of weeks. "That's awesome!" I thought, "I'll talk to them too!"

I said I had a few questions for her. I prefaced my question with, "Stephanie, may I ask you some questions? My questions don't really have to do with the subject of stamps and may seem unusual." She giggled.

I have found that with phone solicitors you only have a small window of opportunity because they want to get off the phone. Remember, she is trying to sell stamps. I'm about ready to ask her about death, heaven, and hell. If you don't want their brain cells to clench up, give them a warning that the conversation is about to be transitioned to another topic.

I asked her, "Stephanie, have you thought about what happens when you die?" She said, "Uh, no. Not really." I asked, "Do you believe in God?" She said, "Yes." "Do you believe in heaven?" She said, "Yes." I said, "So do you believe you will go to heaven or hell after you die?" She said, "Yes." I asked her, "Where do you think you will go?" She said, "I don't know. I've never really thought about it. I am pretty young."

Let me share something I learned from my past experience working for multi-level marketing companies. There are some basic phone skills that are always going to be helpful no matter who you talk to. Whether you are trying to resolve a dispute with a utility company or talking to a phone solicitor, here are 3 things that will make communication more effective:
  • Always be polite. The key to getting them to have a conversation with you is giving them the courtesy of listening politely to them.

  • Always get their name and use it when speaking to them. Nothing is sweeter to ones ears than hearing one's own name.

  • Smile as you talk with them. No joke, the shape of your mouth and throat changes when you smile and as a result, your words sound different when they come out of your mouth. Try it in front of a mirror if necessary, and you will hear the difference. You can actually hear a smile in someone's voice.
Knowing that the clock was ticking, and not wanting the caller to disengage and disconnect before I'd gotten to share the Gospel, I said, "Stephanie, you said that you believed in God. He has a standard by which He will judge everyone and based on that judgement will determine whether you go to heaven or hell. His standard is so high that if you have ever told just one lie or have stolen even one thing, even if it was small in value, you will be guilty of breaking His law. (speak softly, sincerely, and smile) When you stand before God on Judgement Day, He will judge you based on that standard. Stephanie, I care about where you will end up and if you've never given it much thought that concerns me. This is real."

Since she said she had never really thought about death, she relly isn't thinking about the value of her soul. I continue with trying to establish with them that their soul is valuable and use the analogy of selling your eyes.

I continued with, "Stephanie, would you sell your eyes for a million dollars if the doctor said they could remove them painlessly and replace them with glass eyes so that no one would be able to tell?" She said, "No way!"

I said, "Of course not, Stephanie! Your eyes are precious to you! How much more precious is your soul?! If you think that you are good enough to go to heaven because you've been pretty good, it doesn't work that way. If you had murdered someone, not saying that you have or will, but if you stood before a judge in one of our courtrooms and said, 'Judge, I'm sorry for murdering that person. I promise I won't ever do that again,' you know that no truly good judge would accept such a plea, right? (She said, "Right.") Stephanie, God won't accept you saying that you're really sorry for breaking His standard as the reason He let's you into heaven. Here's the good news, Jesus Christ paid your fine and if you put your faith in him and repent- that means totally stop living in habitual sin, doing the same thing over and over again,- you will go to heaven instead of hell. You will still mess up, but you won't have the same desires to do the same things over and over again. Does this make sense?"

She said, "Uh, yes," very quietly. I asked her, "Do you have a Bible? Read the book of John. It explains why this is necessary. I care about you Stephanie. Death is real and so is eternity. Please consider what I shared with you today. Thank you for letting me share with you today."

If I had had more time, I would have talked longer about repentance and what Christ did as well as help her see her true standing before God right now. But, when the clock is ticking and you only have a few minutes you pray that your words will be God honoring and leave the rest to God.

She was polite and thanked me for talking with her and told me that someone will be calling in a few weeks. I can't wait!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The most difficult encounter I've ever had

This was the hardest witnessing encounter I have had thus far. It is definitely harder to witness to those you love or know well when you know they are in danger of a Godless eternity.

This story actually begins in January of 2008. My husband and I had just returned at the end of December from a conference seeing Paul Washer among others, one of our favorite preachers. With the new insights I always gain listening to him, I was focused on obedience in my life. Meditating on the scripture and some notes I'd taken during the conference, I suddenly had a flashback to an event in my life from over 20 years ago.

Years ago, when I went to college, I realized that I had only made an intellectual ascent to Jesus and had engaged in a life of moralism since I made my profession of faith at age 9. I went to church, participated in Bible drill competitions, choir tours, was at church anytime it was open and just tried to be good. But, I was not saved.

That was my first mistake: believing that I understood what good meant. I was using the typical definition of good thrust upon the majority of teens at that time: don't drink, don't do drugs, don't have sex until you're married. I made it through high school without violating the sacred three and thought, "I'm really, really good." I then set out for college. I guess it was that first-born seeking to please syndrome.

I walked the aisle and said the prayer when I was 9. I knew what I was doing and so can't claim amnesia, but I literally thought that now that I have made this profession I am going to try to be really, really good to please Jesus and keep my salvation status in "good standing." I was baptized at 12 and went through a little class that taught me principles from the Bible. I can look back and see God's hand as it guided me to places and mentors, since I had none.

By the time I headed to college, I met a woman named Bev, through a campus fellowship group that began mentoring me. I started memorizing large quantities of scriptures and understanding more principles of holiness. I was finally arrested in my ignorance of the true nature of repentance and the arrogance of my true state was revealed. True growth as a Christian began.

About that time I had a boyfriend. There was another couple whom we double-dated with often. I'll never forget the conversation I'd had with my boyfriend's good friend, Brent. One night in a parking lot when I asked him about what his belief in God was he angrily replied, "If God is so loving, why did He send a flood to kill everyone on earth?" At least that is how I remembered it.

I was new at this and had never heard the principles of using the law. I had no answer for him nor did I offer one. I didn't know him very well, at the time, but I did know that he was still angry that his father had been killed sometime during his childhood. All I knew is that his father died in a helicopter crash and that's it. I knew that there was a lingering anger towards God that had never been addressed. The question haunted me. I didn't know the answer myself.

Fast forward to January 21, 2008. I didn't know why, but on this particular date, I had a flashback of that conversation as clearly as if I were watching a movie only my eyes were open and it played in front of me. I felt regret that I didn't know how to answer his question which was obviously masking deep pain and anger he had towards God for the loss of his father. I wondered if he ever accepted the Lord as his savior. I didn't know how to find him. It had been 20 years. So, I just prayed for him and let the memory slip back to the recesses of my mind.

I believed that I had an answer for Brent now. It is simply: because He is God. To even imply that God is somehow not good for killing wicked people in a flood is the ultimate in arrogance and contempt. For, not understanding the character and attributes of God left me powerless in the past. Knowing what unbelievable price He paid through Jesus Christ leaves me speechless at times knowing that I could never do anything to repay him for giving me life when I so clearly deserved death. Not understanding that I deserved death was what led to the delusion that I possessed anything that God would consider "good."

Right before Halloween 2008, I remembered the same flashback of this same conversation I'd had in January. I got on the internet and tried to find his contact information. I felt compelled by something beyond my own will to find him and share the Gospel. What I found stunned me. I not only found him but found an article about his father's death. He had died on January 21, 1978. Well, that was weird. That was the date that I had the flashback earlier in the year. I prayed for the words to say. I mean, how do you call someone out of the blue and say do you know if you're going to heaven or hell?

On November 5th, I called him. He was surprised, but pleased to hear from me. I asked how he was doing and he told me about his family. I then told him the purpose of my call. I said, "Brent, you said something 20 years ago that has haunted me. I never knew how to answer but you had asked, 'If God is so loving, why did he send a flood to kill everyone on the earth?'" Without missing a beat he said, "No, what I said was, 'If God is such a loving God, why did he send a flood to kill everyone and then says, 'Thou shalt not kill?'" Wow, twenty years had not erased the pain of an angry young boy. Obviously, the question was still in the forefront of his mind.

I asked him if he knew now. He said that he goes to church and he's a Christian. Something wasn't ringing true so I asked him, "If I were dying right now and had 3 minutes to live and I was scared that I wouldn't go to heaven what would you tell me?" He got really quiet on the phone and said, "Uh, I don't know." He told me that he was 'alright' with God and that he and God had come to an understanding. He shared that a personal crisis involving the near loss of his wife and son to death is what led him to that understanding. I still didn't hear anything come out of his mouth that sounded like he had a repentant heart. I pressed further.

I asked him if he read his Bible and he responded that he attends church. I asked if he repented and he said he had come to an understanding with God. Hmmm...

I tried to lead him through the law and he wanted nothing to do with it. So, I shared with him my experience of thinking that I was OK, only to find that I was a sinner even though I was "good" by the world's standards. I took myself through the law. I explained that if I would have stood before God on Judgement Day without repenting and believing in Jesus, that I most certainly would be sentenced to Hell.

He listened to the whole conversation, and at the end said, "I don't mind if you call and want to stay in touch, but I don't want to talk about religion. I'm fine, really." I told him that I wished him well and that I hope he would consider what I shared.

Since I am married, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to "keep in touch" with another married man, no matter how innocent. But I had two very real promptings that I believed I was to be obedient to share the Gospel.

I wept after I got off the phone with him. I have not been able to write about this experience until now. I have prayed for him and his family since November because I have never experienced a real Christian who didn't want to talk about their Lord and Saviour. All indications are that he is a pretender.

I was told that I should have reacquainted with him for several months or years and then gradually hope that he would "see my light shine." I disagree. I am not God, and thus I may not have had that time. We never know when we are going to die. I certainly wasn't going to take liberties that weren't mind. Obedience. It's a hard thing. You just want people to see the simplicity and truth of the Gospel and fall to their knees and repent, but when they don't, you grieve and pray that God brings that seed to fruition.

He was a dear friend so many years ago and I fear that he is unsaved and still an angry young boy trapped in a man's body shaking his angry fist at God. Please pray for Brent.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creative Gospel Tracting

Toy Stores

If you have kids, I'm sure you've made a trip or two down the toy aisle. Why not place some tracts in some of the boxes?

Can you find the hidden Million dollar bills? There are 3 in this photo:

We had some leftover Christmas Cash and decided to place the last few bills we had at a Children's toy store. We stuck them in the bins of new stuffed animals...

We put them in one of the drawers where you select what sound you want you animal to make. Did you guess #11?

You're right!

Now we'll go to the really difficult ones. Can you find the Christmas Cash and Million Dollar Bill in each of the two pictures below? There is only one per picture. This is like playing, "Where's Waldo?" with a Million Dollar Bill.

Have you given up yet? Remember, there is only one in these last two pictures.

Everywhere you go there is an opportunity to plant a seed. Use good tracts- the kind that get people's attention and then place them everywhere you go.

Answers to where the money tracts are located. Don't read any further if you don't want the answer.

In picture one the tract 3 million dollar bill tracts are in the end of the boxes, Picture two is Christmas Cash tract tucked into the top of the pink outfit. In the third picture, it is at the bottom of the left foot of the bear and is a million dollar bill.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Partial Obedience is Disobedience

Sunday was a momentous occasion in our family. We went to the mall to get our 8 year old daughter's ears pierced. She has asked for about two years and we believed she was ready. The mall is on the other side of town but near our church. So the plan was to get her ears pierced and then go to church.

I got excited not only for her, but I knew that this particular mall has a lot of Jewish workers working the kiosks in the mall. Many are newly arrived from Israel. I went to my favorite free Jewish tracts website (, printed some tracts off and was ready. Here is what they look like when you print them.

The plan was to pierce the ears and then look around a little before evening church. This would give us plenty of time to witness. Once we arrived, our plans changed because our daughter saw a 4 yr old who got hers pierced and when she started crying our daughter changed her mind. It was understandable. But, she had looked forward to it for such a long time.

We went to another part of the mall and dropped tracts and stuffed what remaining Christmas cash bills I had in all kinds of places. We saw a group of three men reading the tract that my son dropped. He was the most faithful that night as he placed all the tracts that were given out.

I guess I was distracted, but I just couldn't seem to gain the presence of mind to talk to the very people that I had wanted to talk to! One of them had even tried to sell me the Amazing Dead Sea Salt scrub on the way to getting her ears pierced and I told her I'd be back.

Aaaah! I chickened out. I never talked to her, but I talked to her co-worker last year. I was so disappointed with my lack of obedience. It may not be a big deal to others, but I know the mandate I've been given and I just felt like I didn't really do what I was supposed to.

However, I realized that I had looked at the wind and the waves of my circumstances, (time constraints, didn't want to be late, etc.) and let those influences what I should have done.

Now, before you think that I've beat myself up over something insignificant and that I should lighten up and get over it I want you do think and ask yourself this question: How many things do I dismiss as unimportant because they are little and not large? Do I respond to the work God gives me with integrity and complete obedience?

Whose definition of important are you using? See, what I've realized is that there are a whole lot of "little" things that I casually dismissed for so long in my life that I thought they were unimportant and that God didn't really notice. But, He does! I'm studying the life of Moses this year and I have learned so much about obedience and the lack thereof in that man's life that it has really caused me to look a little closer at my life and caused me to walk in obedience more closely.

Benefits of Obedience

  • Clear conscience
  • Joy
  • Unobstructed Fellowship
  • Safety from consequences of disobedience

By total obedience, even in little things, God give His glory, presence, and leadership to His obedient workers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I love U.S. Bank!

How obedient are you to share the Gospel when you are in the midst of a trial or difficulty?

My husband had a very difficult problem dumped in his lap a few Saturdays ago. He was discussing the details of a difficult conversation he had with a family member. As we were discussing the particulars of the situation, the phone rang. When, I looked at the caller I.D., I said, "Look! It's a phone solicitor- let me take it." Wouldn't you know, it was my favorite bank: U.S. Bank.

They have called two previous times. You can read those encounters here: and

So, the caller on the other end gave me the familiar scripted appeal to try to entice me into more debt and I politely listened. After they are done, I say something to the effect of, "I don't believe I will be opening an account today, but since I politely listened to you, may I ask you a question?" Always be courteous. Remember, you are an ambassador of Christ and they probably have the phone slammed down in their ear more times than they would like to admit.

So, she said, "Sure." I asked her name again. It was Christina. I said, "Christina, this may sound like a weird question, but have you ever given much thought to what happens when you die?" She said, "Uh, no." I said, "You mean you've never thought about it?" She said, "Well, not really. I don't like to think about it. I'm kind of young. I'm only 20." I said, "You know, when I was younger I didn't think much about death either. That was always something that happened to other people, but not me. (she laughed)." I said, "Christina, if someone offered you $1million for your eyes, they could take them out painlessly and replace them with glass eyes so that no one could tell the difference, would you do it?" She said, "yes."

I was shocked because I've never had anyone say yes before! So, I asked her the question again with emphasis, "You mean that you would allow a doctor to take both eyes in exchange for a million dollars?" She said, "Uh, no, I don't guess so, but it's a lot of money." I said, "Of course not! Your eyes are precious to you! So, Christina, how much more precious is your soul? You know one day when you die you will have to face God on judgement day..."

She said, "Uh, I'm going to have to cut this call short. But, if you are interested in applying for a loan call 1-800-..."

My mind was racing! This girl had the typical, "I'm young and never going to die," mentality. I never got to sin, judgement, or the good news. So, I just blurted out, "Turn and trust Jesus. He will save you," and then she hung up.

The first thought I had was, "Doh!" But, then I realized I did the best with what I had under the circumstances. I also believe that if this bank is going to continue to provide me these fine witnessing opportunities, the least I can do is make sure that the Gospel is going out. So, I think my strategy for next time will be to tell them that I have a question for them before I give them my answer.

In hindsight, I believe that it was a deliberate opportunity sent from God to strengthen and to test my obedience. Without sharing details, suffice it to say, that our family has been under spiritual attack over the last few months the more deliberately we walk in obedience. After my husband had just shared the details of the latest difficulty that entered our life, the LAST thing I wanted to do was share the Gospel.

But, God doesn't allow everything to run smoothly all the time in your life before you're required to obey. I may not have blurted out the most theologically sound answer to this young lady, but considering the circumstances and the fact she was hanging up, I did the best I could. Her salvation is not my concern. It's truly in God's hands.

Meeting of Central Ky Alliance

I know there are several people in Kentucky who may be reading this. A group of us who are trying to consistently share their faith but looking for a group to participate with are meeting on Friday, January 16th, 2009 at 6:00 pm at Buck Run Baptist Church, in Frankfort.

This will be our first meeting. The goal is to meet other like-minded believers who are eager to share their faith. We are bringing a calendar and event dates that we know are upcoming so that we can plan to attend throughout 2009 as a group. This is also the initial stage of planning for the 2010 Equestrian Games- only 620 days away!

All are welcome. For more information e/m

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt. 6

Building on Your Foundation

Just to recap the first two steps: (Laying the Foundation)

1) The most important thing you can do to prepare for sharing your faith is to memorize scripture, and lots of it.

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

Now you're ready to actually begin building on the foundation you have laid. Today's next steps to help you prepare to share your faith are:

3) Develop a lifestyle of obedience.

How obedient are you to the things of the Lord? Do you have a standing appointment with Him every day to discover what His bidding for you is for that day? Do you have an appointment with a personal trainer you wouldn't dream of missing? Do you have a hair appointment you wouldn't dare not show up for? I think you see where I'm going with this. I have been just as convicted of disobedience in my own life. I ask forgiveness and then take deliberate steps to retrain my brain and break bad habits that contributed to this disobedience. Trust me, you don't want to be a Jonah.

This summer, I remember clearly being prompted by God to speak to a complete stranger at a restaurant and I refused. My family left the restaurant for the event we were about to attend and guess who I ran into at the event? You guessed it, the stranger that the Lord wanted me to speak with!

Immediately after accepting Christ and being baptized, begin studying His Word, and speak to Him frequently through prayer, He will begin to prompt you. For me, He prompted my obedience in little things. I am convinced that not only are they spiritual confidence builders, but God isn't going to use someone to accomplish His will who can't even be relied on to speak with a complete stranger when He asks.

Your palms may sweat and it may look like you turned garden hoses on underneath your armpits, but if you become paralyzed by inactivity then you need to examine who is really in charge- you are. You need to repent and submit to His instructions.

4) Educate yourself how to share the Gospel.

One of the first things many new Christians do is rush out and try to get their families and friends to make "decisions for Christ" as if they are in a Multi-level Marketing Company trying to acquire as many people in their downlines as possible because Jesus is in their upline. To approach evangelism in this way is a grave error and just plain stupid.

Educating yourself doesn't mean memorizing a script. You need to understand the nature of salvation and that salvation never comes from "making a decision" but through repentance. Repentance originates from God and is given by God as 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says, "And the Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (25) correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, (26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

The Bible teaches that no one can come to the Son unless God "draws" him. If you press to get a decision out of someone, but they are not convicted of their sin, you will only obtain a false convert at best and become blinded by pride at worst. Pride, indeed, does go before a fall. If you are more concerned with having another notch in your belt, you need to repent of your pride because you are trying to insert yourself in a place reserved for God, alone. You have nothing to do with their salvation, only God alone.

It is so important that you spend the time necessary acquiring knowledge of His Word and what He desires so that you don't proceed and have "zeal without knowledge." Likewise, you shouldn't take the stance that you will not open your mouth until you're fully equipped because God will equip you through the power of the Holy Spirit. This would be a good time to purchase some tracts and start dropping them places or handing them out. All He asks from you is obedience.

Pray for wisdom and that you will be sensitive to God's timing.

As far as how to witness, don't be concerned by a program or a script. I am familiar with Evangelism Explosion, The Roman Road, FAITH, Contagious Christianity, and The Four Spiritual Laws. The first thing to ask is,"Is the program biblical?" I prefer to use the Law (10 commandments) to bring knowledge of sin to stir the conscience and silence the mouth. Way of the Master seems to use the Law to accomplish this. Understanding that Psalm 19:7 says, "The Law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul" (KJV) coupled with working under the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be sharing the Gospel Biblically.

Which brings us to the next thing you should do to prepare yourself to share the Gospel:

5) If you are not familiar with the 10 commandments located in Exodus 20, learn them!

I am a very visual person and was able to learn them in and out of order in about 10 minutes. Use the link to either print them off and laminate them until you learn them or learn them from the pdf. document. Either way, how in the world can you share the Gospel if you don't know what your talking about? Everyone I've shared the Gospel with believes they're basically "good." But, that's because they are using their standard to assess their goodness. If you tell them that only God's standard matters, but you don't know what it is then you are proceeding with zeal without knowledge.

Also, as parents we are instructed to train our children in the Lord. It is my observation that most children and teens today within the church can name at least 10 Hannah Montana songs, can rattle off at least 10 stats from the particular sport of interest (baseball, basketball, football, etc.), and adults can name the last 10 contestants on some show like "Survivor" or 10 brands of beers, but if asked, "Can you name the 10 commandments? Any of them?" you're liable to hear crickets chirping in the background. Learn them. Teach them to your children. It is inexcusable to not know or to not have your children know one of the most basic foundational instructions given to man by God.

You're almost ready to actually open your mouth and share the Gospel! If you've laid a solid foundation, you can begin building, and then you will watch with joy as your house takes shape! I'll share the last few suggestions in my next post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

If it can happen to Hudson Taylor, it can happen to John Travolta

I'm sure you all have heard that John Travolta's 16 year old son, Jett, died in a tragic accident on 1/3/09 while vacationing with his family in the Bahamas. I couldn't help but think how sad I was knowing that he will never stare in the eyes of his son ever again or hold his hand this side of eternity. There were so many pictures in the media of the two holding hands, which to me, didn't mean that Jett was growing up to be a "sissy," but that he had a close, loving relationship with his dad. I know many young men that would have killed to have, what John and Jett appeared to have; a close, loving relationship with their fathers.

Many people also know that John is actively involved in the Church of Scientology, which is a cult. I don't know how people cope with the loss of a child unless they are a child of God. Then I remembered, nine months ago, he was given a million dollar bill gospel tract. Here is a short video of the encounter.

Pray that he didn't casually toss it aside, but that he actually read it or that he still has it and the Lord will cause him to find it now. Pray that the words will be brought to mind and that he humbles himself, confesses he's a sinner and repents and throws himself at the foot of a bloodstained cross. I do pray for his salvation. I also pray for comfort for his entire family during this time as they grieve over the loss of their son and brother. If you think this is foolish notion and that tracts are a waste of time or ineffective, they're not.

Don't ever discount the effectiveness of a tract. The missionary, Hudson Taylor's conversion is an amazing story. When he was 17 years of age he went into his father's library one afternoon in June, 1849 in search of a book to read. This was in a barn or warehouse adjacent to the house. Finally he picked up a gospel tract entitled, "It is Finished," and decided to read the story on the front. He came upon the expression, "The Finished work of Christ," Remembering the words, "It is Finished," he raised the question -- "What was finished?" The answers seemed to fall in place and he received Christ as his Saviour. biography compiled by Ed Reese

If Hudson Taylor can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and became one of the most notable missionaries to China, then is it also possible that God could also use a tract put into the hands of John Travolta to bring him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt. 5

We now return to the "Where to begin when you're a new Christian?" series already in progress...

Prayer: Deliberate, Consistent Communication

Today will begin the 5th part in the series, "Where to begin when you're a new Christian?" The series arose from questions I've had from people who understand they need to incorporate new habits in their Christian walk but just don't know how to do it. These are just suggestions from things I've tried or heard others try. It certainly isn't the only way. But, I submit these to you in hope that it encourages true growth which leads to obedience in you Christian walk.

As far as keeping track of your prayers there are several ways to. The 1st is in a paper bound journal and the 2nd is kept on the computer.

Paper Journal

Some people use the journal to keep track of prayers and others use it to help keep their minds from wandering when they pray. If you simply want to keep track of your requests then get a small 3-ring binder. It is 5 1/2" x 8 1/2 ". I like the 3 ring binder better than a spiral because it is easier to reorganize your journal. At first, I divided a sheet of paper in half and wrote requests on one half with the date and the date it was answered and a description of how God worked. I had a running list where I'd write requests down. I then had different sections such as "Family", "Friends", "Missionaries", "Personal", "Ongoing Requests", "Government Leaders", etc. I also had a section for things I was thankful for or things I praised Him for. It is really good to read over those when you're having a whiny-hiney moment and want to feel sorry for yourself. God is good and we too often forget how incredible He is.

This became difficult to keep track of because I would have to flip back and forth between the pages trying to update things as the prayer was answered or the situation changed.

Computer Journal

Now, with the ease of computers, try using your computer to maintain your journal. There are so many possibilities you have with using the computer. I've just recently begun keeping track of prayer requests this way.

If you have a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, you can create a document and password protect by clicking on the "Review" tab and then clicking on the "Protect Document" button. This feature is great if you don't want anyone else to see your journal or if you have to share a computer with someone else. If you don't have this you can google "journaling software" and will find a plethora of programs available for you to start.

I'm liking this more than my paper journaling because you can cut, copy, paste, and even search which is very helpful if you have a journal that spans several years. You could even set up a journal online and keep track of it that way. For example, most blog accounts have the ability to be password protected or kept private and best of all, they are free. Theoretically, you could access this journal anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access.

If you keep your journal on the computer (not online), create a folder called, "Prayer." Then you can have different folders within this folder such as, "Daily- ongoing", "Daily- temporary." Then you can break them down further into days of the week. Have a folder labeled, "Weekly" and within that add folders titled "Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", etc. You can also incorporate certain items that need to be prayed for once a month. To do that create a folder labeled, "Monthly" and within that add folders titled "1", "2", "3", etc. all the way to "31". List some things to be prayed for once a month under each of the dates.

I have needs or people that pray for on a continual basis. But, I also have things such as my pastor, concerns for our nation, the president, that I relegate to weekly or monthly prayer.

After you start this you can list a request for each day in the month. Here's how you keep track: when you sit down to pray use the FIND function to search for your daily requests. Use FIND NEXT to locate the date of the month and so on until you've covered all topics or themes that you're praying about. Experiment with what you believe is best. You'll find a system that works.

Miscellaneous Tips

I have also found that sometimes my mind is so cloudy that it is easier for me to journal my prayer out and confess my sin. Sometimes, it just seems easier to spill it all out in one place. Just experiment with it and see what is easier for you.

Also, keep a pad of paper and pen with you because I believe that as an attack, Satan tries to distract us by bombarding our minds with all kinds of other things that need to be done. Keep that paper and as they enter your mind, write it down. Then you can attend to it later.

If you maintain a computer prayer journal, it's a good idea to insert a photo in the document when you're praying for specific people. Again, I am just a visual person and I like to see them as I pray for them which is one of the reasons I take so many pictures during witnessing opportunities. My wallpaper on my computer is of a particular witnessing opportunity with a guy named, "Will" and I pray for his salvation every day.

Since prayer is a conversation with God, consider writing down different things and themes that you believe God is showing you.