Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So, what about the pygmy tribes in Africa?

You know, there are many times that I have talked with people about the Gospel and invariably I have someone that asks, "Yeah, well what about the pygmy tribes in Africa? What happens to them if they haven't heard the Gospel?" It's odd how it's always the pygmy tribes in Africa.

Interestingly enough, the Bible addresses this. It is very clear in Romans 1:19-21:

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Also, in Romans 2:14-16
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

To anyone who has been in that situation, I would first suggest becoming very familiar with the above passages. Read not only the passages, but read the entire two chapters so you are familiar with the context and then memorize those verses.

I have told these people the following 3 things when they try to assert that somehow God is unfair and is going to leave out the pygmy tribes of Africa:

  1. They offend the character of God and don't know what they are saying.
  2. They are limiting God's power and somehow suggesting that He is not powerful enough to reach these remote tribes or that they have escaped His notice.
  3. How do they know that God hasn't appointed them to go and tell them about His goodness, justice and mercy?

I just finished a book called Bruchko. It's a quick read at only 202 pages and I finished it in a few hours. To be honest, I couldn't put it down. It had some passages in it that I will probably photocopy and take with me when I am sharing the Gospel.

Bruchko is the story of an American missionary, Bruce Olson who goes to South America as a 19 year old young man in the 1960's and shares the Gospel with the Motilone tribe of Indians. The Motilone tribe was so feared that other tribes such as the Yuko tribe wouldn't even go near their territory for fear the Motilones would kill them. It is an amazing story about the obedience of a young man in the face of great trial and difficulty. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone contemplating mission work or anyone who thinks their life is difficult. You can not comprehend the words "difficult" or "trial" until you've read this book. The next time you're having a pity party because you think life is difficult, pick up this book and read it and you will quickly have your attitude adjusted.

Interestingly, on p.117-118 he is talking with one of the Motilones he has befriended asking why the greatest warrior/hunter, named Abaratutura was fearful of him (Bruce/Bruchko) and wanted to kill him.

"He thinks you're the cannibal with the magic flute," Arabadoyca said. "So he'll kill you before you kill him."

"What?" I said, "What do you mean?"

Arabadoyca stretched. "The time will come it's said, when a white man will come to the Motilones with a magic flute that he will play. He'll lead all the Motilones into a trap, and they'll be eaten alive."

They talked about how they had first met and then Arabadoyca continued, "When no harm camed to us because of you, most of us believed that you were all right. In fact, some thought, that you might be bringing God's banana stalk."

"What's that?"

"There is another prediction that a tall man with yellow hair will come with a banana stalk, and God will come out of the banana stalk."

Just to let you know, Bruce is a tall man from Minnesota and had a head full of blond hair. These predictions were made and by oral tradition handed down by the witch doctors who interacted with the people. You will have chills when you discover what the banan stalk is. Even in the depths of the jungle they are aware of God! They recognize that there is a supreme Creator over all the earth. They may not refer to Him as God as we do but make no mistake they already knew having never been "told" about Him.

Further, on p.126 he is working with the Motilone witch doctor. According to Bruce (a.k.a Bruchko) she didn't pray to demons but tried to help her people by praying to God in the best way she knew.

This next part is very important.

On p.127 he asks the witch doctor, "What's the cause of all these sicknesses? There doesn't seem to be any end to them."

She was surprised that I didn't know. "It's the evil spirits showing their power. That's why we use the chants. We call on God to cast the evil spirits out."

"And why doesn't He always do it?" I asked.

Her face fell, and she turned aside. "We have deceived God," she said in a low, sad voice.

I stood behind her, puzzled, feeling as though beneath what she said was something I needed to understand.

"How did you deceive God?" I asked.

"A man came who claimed to be a prophet," she said. "He said that he could take us over the horizon to a land where there was a better hunt. His name was Sacamaydodji. We left God and followed him."

"When did all this happen?" I asked softly.

She said nothing for a moment, then swept her arm out. "Many, many years ago. We have only heard the story. But we know that he has deceived us. We are far away from God."

The deceiver, Sacamaydodji was Satan and even this stone age, primitive tribe in the jungle of South America knew not only that there was a God but that they had offended Him and were far from Him and only He could save them.

Furthermore, when he is finally able to share the Gospel with the Motilones, he tells them that they were sinners and specifically it was their sin that killed Christ. They wept but understood completely and gave their lives to the Lord. None of this ridiculous watered-down message of salvation out of fear that they couldn't handle the truth or that it was too heavy for them. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation! (Romans 1:16)

So the next time someone tries to "trip you up" by asking about the pygmy tribes in Africa tell them that the pygmy tribes in Africa and South America and all the world, for that matter, aren't foolish enough to pretend there is no God as the fool in front of you is trying to assert.

I hope that this book helps to equip you to share the Gospel. You can learn more about Bruce Olson by visiting www.bruceolson.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hispanic Outreach

On May 30th, our family was able to participate in the launch of a church for the Hispanic Community in our city. The Pastor, David Agrinsoni is starting a new church and decided to have a family-oriented outreach to the community to help launch it. It was a beautiful day! We set up tables and chairs, blew up balloons, had the food ready, while a group went door to door to hand out tracts and invitations.

Under the pavilion, they set up speakers so they would be able to preach and have music later.

From left to right, my dear husband (in the sombrero), the pastor David Agrinsoni, Sean, and Tony. My husband and Tony were paired with another Spanish speaking person. With their tracts and invitations in hand, they headed out through the neighborhood. Many started coming by shortly just out of curiosity. They would walk by the park or drive up and just watch as we were setting up. I had ordered Spanish tracts for this event and was so glad to have these for the many Spanish speaking people we encountered that day.

Here is a man that I saw just sitting in his car watching what we were doing. I grabbed some information about the church and a tract and handed it to him. It was the "Are you a Good Person?" in Spanish. Don't let a language barrier stop you from trying since it is the Lord that saves. Just be obedient. He continued to sit in the car and read it from cover to cover.

Here, Shawn and Bill are able to witness to two men in the park. There were people and opportunities everywhere.

Two more outreaches are planned for later in the summer. There is one planned for July and on in August. If you are in the central Kentucky area, please join us. There will be more witnessing opportunities than you can shake a stick at!

To see one of the most memorable witnessing encounters I've had goto http://chipperfisher.blogspot.com/2009/06/im-coming-back-as-something-else-when-i.html and read about Randy Travis Hammond.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What does Biblical repentance look like?

Have you ever struggled with the meaning of the word "Repentance?" This is one of the most succinct explanations of repentance, Pastor Tim clarifies repentance from the book of Acts. I hope this encourages you when sharing the Gospel and are explaining repentance to the person. Perhaps this will equip you to explain this concept to them and clarify the difference between godly sorrow and worldy sorrow and what true repentance is.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interstate Witnessing

If you are looking for a new and exciting way to share the Gospel, try interstate witnessing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Catching Up

For anyone who regularly keeps up with this blog (all 3 of you), May and June have been a blur. We have traveled and done major home improvement projects which have interfered with me actually sitting down to write about all the wonderful encounters I have had. My family and I shared the Gospel in the Capital city of our state during a festival, at Ichthus, at a Hispanic Outreach and each encounter has sharpened me. I look forward to sharing these. Then I ran into technical difficulties. Translation: I'm just not sophisticated with technology and have tried for a month to get the pictures off of my phone and edit some videos. Pathetic, I know.

But one thing is for sure, I have a continued passion for the lost and make time to share my faith frequently and regularly. Since August of 2008, I have looked for and taken advantage of more opportunities to share my faith then I have collectively over my whole life. I have learned so much and each time I open my mouth to a stranger my mouth is dry and my heart is pounding in my throat, but I am driven in knowing that unless they know Christ they will be eternally punished.

That thought horrifies me.

Don't mistake for a second that I think that I have anything to do with the saving of the lost. But, for some crazy reason the God of the Universe has decided to use faulty human beings sharing the Gospel as the means by which many will come to a saving knowledge of Him. I don't try to understand or figure it out but I just try to obey.

I pray for all Christians who are reluctant to share their faith. Try to picture for a moment that you saw people driving along a road and you knew that the bridge was washed away and a 1000 foot drop awaited them. It would be unconscionable to not warn them if you had the ability to do so. Now, keep that thought in mind and go out and share the Gospel with a dying world!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm coming back as something else when I die.

This is Randy Travis Hammond. If you guessed that he was named after the singer, you’re correct. I had the pleasure of talking with this young father of 3 at the Hispanic outreach on May 30th. I gave him a million dollar bill, started with my usual, “It’s your part of the bailout,” got a laugh and we were off.

I asked him if he’d given much thought to the million dollar question on the back of the bill? He said that he believes that we will come back as something else. I asked if he believed there was a God and he said, “Oh, definitely!” I reasoned with him that the Bible says that we were created in God’s image. If that is true and we can see from evidence around us that we are smarter than the animals, God would not allow us to return as say, a worm, a tree, or anything else for that matter. Furthermore, I pointed out that in Hebrews 9:27 states that man is destined to die once and then face judgment.

I asked Randy if he gave much thought to being judged by God. He said that he had a hard time believing the Bible and knowing if it’s true which made him doubt Jesus and besides, he had an uncle who died and at the funeral people said bad things about him just because he was a drunkard who lived a reprehensible life. He also stated that he used to be involved in church and gave his life to the Lord but doesn’t go now because the church is filled with hypocrites. Um, OK, one rabbit trail at time, please.

I asked him, “Randy, have you ever gone to a restaurant and had a really crappy meal with really crappy service?” He said, “I sure have.” I asked him, “So, have you quit eating out at restaurants?” He said, “No,” and started smiling because he could see where I was going. I told him that just because some people do things that are unkind and unlovely doesn’t mean we can judge the entire body of Christ by those people and quit. I wish I would have told him that each man will give an account for his own life and not for anyone else’s. Oh well, maybe next time. That's definitely a scripture I'll use for that excuse. I also told him that if he had walked the aisle and said the prayer but now doesn’t believe in the Bible, Christ, or isn’t in fellowship at a church then he was never saved to begin with. Surprisingly, I got no opposition from him only wholehearted agreement.

We explored the next rabbit trail that I felt was causing him some very real unresolved pain: the uncle at the funeral. I listened to his story as he shared his hurt and disbelief that people would say true things about a dead man. It just boiled down to the fact that he believed that funerals were a place to pay respect regardless of what someone had done or how they had lived. OK, fair enough. So I asked him if he thought the man was in heaven or hell based on what he had shared with me. He said he didn’t know. I told him that was a cop out. He agreed. This was a wonderful place to take Randy to the courtroom scene where a man who had just murdered Randy’s entire family is standing before a judge. I reasoned with him that even if he protested that he only murdered once and wasn’t going to do it again and was only having a bad day the judge would be a bad judge if he took that defense and freed the man but would be a good judge if he punished that man. He agreed. I then took him into God’s courtroom and told him that he will be judged according to his offenses. We’d already established earlier that he was a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart and God takes very seriously these offenses and more. Anything that does not measure up to His standard of holiness will be judged and if they are found guilty will be condemned to hell forever.

I didn’t leave it there. I changed the story and told him that now he is the one standing before God and the gavel of eternal justice was coming down to sentence him because he WAS guilty and couldn’t pay the fine and just at the last moment someone he didn’t know shouted from the back of the courtroom, “Stop! I’ll pay Randy’s fine!” How would you feel? He said relieved. I told him that is what Jesus Christ did for him on the cross because He was morally perfect and therefore could pay his fine and turn God’s wrath away from him.

I then addressed the questions about the authenticity of Christ. I shared with him that Jesus is who He says He is because He fulfilled so much prophecy in the Bible. I explained that it was prophesied He would die by crucifixion almost 800 years before crucifixion was ever invented. I told him that he had no control over what name his parents gave him, the city of his birth, the fact that he would flee to Egypt as a child to escape death, or the city where he grew up thus, eliminating the possibility that he somehow manipulated His circumstances to “fit” so that he could be Messiah. I explained that there were at least 60 major prophecies concerning Christ and that Jesus fulfilled every single one. Furthermore, I explained that the odds of one man fulfilling only 8 of those prophecies was the number 1 with 17 zeros after it and he didn’t fulfill only 8 but ALL prophecies to the letter. I broke the size of the number down for him by telling him that if the state of Texas were filled with silver dollars approximately 2 feet deep an “X” was marked on just one silver dollar, we drop a man from a helicopter in the middle of the state and tell him he had one chance and one chance only to pick out the silver dollar with the “X” on it and then ACTUALLY did it that would be the odds he was up against and that man who pulled that silver dollar out was Jesus Christ. So, if He is who He says He is and He says He is the Son of God and the Bible is true he should really give some serious thought and consideration to what we have talked about today.

I told him that I cared about him and where he ended up and that I didn’t want him to go to hell and that God loved him so much with an extravagant love that He sent His son to die and pay the penalty for his sins but that He is also a good judge and lawbreakers must be punished.
He was very quiet. He was thinking and taking it all in. Then he shared that his mother was very young, when she was pregnant with him and he didn’t know his father. He never met him and said he’s glad that he is dead because he tried to murder Randy when he was in his mother’s belly by repeatedly punching his mother in the stomach. He then said he has been an alcoholic since he was a child. He credits his marriage to his wife as saving him and keeping him alive. My heart was breaking for this man. I told him that sounded like he had a difficult life but that he can have a different life and needs to read the Bible to see the truth it contains. Randy said that he can’t read or remember things because of his alcohol and drug use all these years. I told him that he can get the Bible on tape or CD from the library or even from the dollar store. I said, "God can restore your mind but you need to humble yourself and repent and believe and then do what the Bible says."

Altogether we talked for about an hour. He wasn’t a hard-hearted man but just doesn’t know. We shook hands and he said he appreciated our talk and that it gave him a lot to think about. I told him I'd pray for him and that I enjoyed our talk as well. Pray for him because he was not hard-hearted only confused from a life marked by sin. Pray that God pursues him and he responds in obedience.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Last Day of Ichthus Evangelism

Please be in prayer for our little team of people heading for the final day of Ichthus today. There are tens of thousands of people and they all love God but many have never heard or understood the Gospel message. It was shared numerous times yesterday and very few of the young people there could articulate what they believe or why they believed it.

Did you know that you will suffer for Christ?

I love John Piper. Listen to his words as he is speaking to a college aged group of people. How many people were honestly told the truth about the Christian walk before they became Christians? Were they told about suffering? Living the authentic Christian walk is only going to become more difficult in the years to come. Pay particular attention to the video at the 3:00 mark. Have you rejoiced that you have been counted worthy of suffering for Christ?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Convention Witnessing

I'm a bit behind on updating my witnessing encounters. We've had a busy Spring and I totally reworked our backyard. In 5 weeks I have hauled in 5000 lbs. of compost and 2000 lbs. of mulch and gotten our vegetable garden expanded and planted, planted another garden and got 9 trees planted. Now that things are settling down, I wanted to share with you some of the opportunities that God has allowed into my life. I have been stretched and challenged for sure.

In the middle of April I drove to Cincinnati for a homeschool convention that I attended over a period of 3 days. It was pretty large and there were ample opportunities to witness everywhere. Here is an overhead view of the convention hall.

I gave tracts to each of the vendors as I picked up information or purchased something from them. They all received them pretty enthusiastically. Never assume that because many people claim to be Christians that they truly are. Since this convention took place at a large convention center, the vendors cooking food in the food court and around the perimeter of the area were employees. There were several opportunities to hand out the million dollar bills to several employees.

Here is my fishing buddy, Kaitlyn. She is one neat lady. She is mom to 10, 8 of whom are teens. Their whole family loves fishing and look for frequent opportunities to share the Gospel. I count it an honor to have people such as them in our lives. These were the best fruit smoothies we'd had in our lives. Of course, everything tastes better with a parasol in it!

Kaitlyn was definitely more proactive then I was at first. I was afraid that I would be violating the "no handling out literature" rule and so in the convention center I was very reluctant. Not Kaitlyn. She'd whip out those million dollar bills and work the crowd before they even knew what had hit them! Here she is talking to a group of women and just being real telling them what Christ had done in her life.

Look for those opportunities to share the Gospel even at "Christian" labeled events. I handed out tons of Christmas Cash as a Christian concert I attended in December. I'm sure many of you have already come to that realization, but I guess I'm a little slower. It never occurred to me to hand out tracts at overtly Christian events until about a year ago.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Animated Pilgrim's Progress

This is definitely worth viewing. I found a digital animation of Pilgrim's Progress on Youtube. I believe that this would be excellent to show children in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. We ordered it from Amazon and our kids love it. It is so simple and which makes it easy to understand but it in no way is fluffy theologically. It is packed with so much solid truth. This version is a much more simplified version of John Bunyan's classic. In part 1 at approximately 3:39 into the video, evangelist enters the story. I hope that by watching this we are all encouraged and reminded that we all have a part we are to be obedient to with regard to being a Christian. Be encouraged by this simple video.

If you are not a Christian and have stumbled upon this know that this message is for you and explains simply the Christian walk. Humble yourself, repent, and believe in Jesus Christ.