Thursday, April 30, 2009
One thing that I do know for sure is that I was faithful with the opportunity that the Lord had given to me. I pray for those people and wonder if Jeff ever bought a Bible and repent? Did Ellen ever share the Gospel with anyone and was she encouraged? Did Christina ever recover from the shock of thinking about death? Here's the previous posts. http://chipperfisher.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-love-us-bank.html
I laugh at all those calls I received while being on the do-not-call list. But, I do and always will continue to pray for those people. I wonder if I will ever meet someone in heaven and the Lord introduces us by saying, "Your obedience was the means I had ordained for this believer to be saved. Yes, your obedience really did matter."
I know God isn't wringing His hands in heaven waiting for me or any other believer for that matter to act. I still am in awe that God would condescend to use a peon like me to share a message of salvation with anyone. Look for those opportunities especially the ones that come to you that He places in your lap. I know there were so many that I have had that I squandered. I am thankful that He gives me the opportunities that He does. It is the very least I can do for a God that is so great.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Also, a dear friend of the family lost his father after a long illness. My husband will be traveling to the funeral in a different city on Saturday.
Pray for travel mercies for us all and may the Gospel go forth!
In the Fall of 2008, I felt led to memorize the book of 1 Peter. My memory is horrible and I struggle to retain things after a car accident scrambled my brains in 1994. I'd never had the gumption to try to memorize a book before but I knew that I was impressed to learn this.
Then in early 2009, Pastor Mark Driscoll started a series on 1 Peter. Wow! How amazing that I had a primer on 1 Peter for 3 months and then the Lord allows extra exposition and practical application through this sermon series. Through this, I have felt the Lord's presence in ways I have never experienced and while I can't necessarily say that this is on the top ten list of things I would like to experience, it is so beneficial and I am thankful for what the Lord is showing me. Pastor Mark addresses the root of the difficulty that both my husband and I are experiencing during this season. This video addresses suffering when it is being committed against you and you are not committing any sin. You can start the video at 5:40 as this is where he begins the sermon.
May you be richly blessed, if perhaps, you are being sinned against for doing right and living with integrity and you don't know what to do with suffering.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The first one, began when I took my sons to get their haircut. There is a barbershop up the road from our house. A stylist whom I attended church with in another city almost a decade ago works there. She and I have always wanted to "catch up" but the last time I went in, I felt compelled to schedule a lunch time for fellowship. This wasn't the normal oh-I-want-to get-together-and-gab feeling this was a compulsion of necessity. I grabbed my calendar and scheduled a date. We had lunch on Monday. What a blessing! I got to know her better and she told me her story. She became a Christian after she had married. She has prayed for her husband's salvation for over 20 years. He is still unsaved. This is where the story get interesting. I scheduled the lunch date on the 15th. Unknown to me, she received a letter from their son the week-end of the 18th and we had lunch on the 20th. The news in the letter was devastating to both her and her husband and they wept that week-end.
On Monday, we met and I was able to equip her not only to share the Gospel with her husband but able to give her some tools for her workplace. She is a strong Christian and walks through difficulty well. Her gentle, quiet spirit will be winsome to her husband. Her words to me were that she didn't know how to share the Gospel and while she knows scripture, she is the ONLY light in her workplace. Her co-workers could be described as a bitter Catholic who is obsessed with performing rituals to make sure his salvation is in "good standing," a gay man who has frequent fights with his boyfriend, and the owner who commiserates with the gay man when she has a fight with her husband. She attends a questionable church that likes to read excerpts from books by Brian McLaren (one of the emergent church gurus).
My friend knows she has a mission field and she believes that every person that sits in her chair is an opportunity to share the Gospel. She just didn't know HOW. I gave her several examples and we role played several scenarios. I gave her a copy of Way of the Master and Hell's Best Kept Secret. I also encouraged her to attend an Academy out in Los Angeles. What a wonderful time of fellowship it was with this sister! Pray for her ministry opportunities and her personal family situation and the salvation of her husband and son.
Two days later, on Wednesday, I had to go to Sam's Club. I always like to see what they have in the back "clearance" corner. While I was there, I ran into a woman that I vaguely remembered. Our daughters attended the same preschool almost 10 years ago. She and I spied some Adirondack chairs and were curious about the price. Since I had arrived first, she asked if I was interested in them too. When I told her I was, she said that since I was there first she was going to go on shopping. She wasn't going to pursue them. The sales lady came with the price, but I decided against them.
So, I decided head to the check out. Again, there was a compulsion like I had felt when I knew I needed to schedule a lunch date and this time it was accompanied by what I like to call an "audible thought" that said, "Find her!" I thought, "That's ridiculous! This is Sam's Club and it's huge and packed and she probably didn't want them anyway." I pushed my cart further and was then told by the Lord, "You need to find this woman and tell her you don't want the chairs." I said, "Lord, if this is what you want, you will have to find her for me because I have to go and she already said she didn't want them." As I pushed the cart towards the check out what do you know, the next to the last aisle I found her. I went up to her and said, "Excuse me m'am, I just wanted to let you know that I decided against those chairs and just wanted to let you know." As soon as I said that, she remarked how that was kind and then began to tell me that they were trying to sell their house and she thought they would look good in her back yard to try to help sell her house. She then told me about some difficulty that she was experiencing and about job uncertainty with her husband as a major employer in our city just laid off over 300 people a few days before. About then she said, "You look familiar." I told her that I had remembered that our daughters attended pre-school together almost a decade ago. She then, shared a few more things and I then knew why I was there. I felt like I was to share a portion of the difficulty we'd been through recently.
I began to share with her the difficulty of the trials we had been through over the last 3 years and how they intensified over the last 8 months. I shared with her the wonderful things that resulted from these trials and that the trials brought us to the end of ourselves and our own self-reliance. Idols were torn down in our lives. I shared with her our own house woes having survived 22 months of double house payments and other difficulties and brought it back to how beneficial the trial was to my husband in particular.
As I began to tell her the things that changed in my husband as a result of the trial, tears welled up in her eyes. I gave her some resources to help her be encouraged in the Lord and I told her run to the Lord and stay there through this. She leaned forward and grabbed my neck and gave me a hug. All she could say was, "You have no idea how similar our stories are. I needed to hear this today because this morning I was at a particularly low point because we have many decisions to make. I think you were sent by the Lord."
I was stunned, but I believe I was too. I have to tell you, I don't normally go sharing such things with complete strangers or people I only vaguely remember from a decade ago, but I felt compelled. I truly felt that if I didn't find her and tell her about the chairs, that I would have been disobedient on an incomprehensible level. I know the chairs were only the mechanism by which the Lord provided so that I would be able to start a conversation with this lady. Even though my first thought was, "This is stupid," I know that it was orchestrated by God to encourage another sister in Christ.
It has also made me more mindful of obeying little promptings and not being so quick to dismiss them as just a capricious whim on my part. It also has made me to be even more faithful with Bible reading and memorizing the Word because I can not be used if I am empty.
I encourage you to train your spiritual ear to not only hear but obey the promptings that are placed within your heart even if they seem stupid or off the wall. I have had these things happen in the past, but not as often in the last 2-3 years. I believe it is because of the season that the Lord allowed us to walk through and with all the insights that He has given to me as a result of this time of refining, I believe that I can encourage others to run to the Lord. Keep your spiritual ears open and cultivate an obedient willing spirit that can be used be the Lord.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I read this quote the other day and was struck by the truth contained within it. We are all called to missions- some to go overseas, some to within their own neighborhoods- but by and large it is a command that is largely ignored even by evangelical churches.
How many times do we live and behave as spiritual consumers? I have been just as guilty of consuming and consuming and not obeying or giving back. I may not have started out on a really good spiritual diet and at times the availability of good teachings were few and far between. But now, I am like the bloated, obese carcass of a beached whale. I haven't "arrived" nor will I ever spiritually, but I have enough knowledge and life experience to give back and help teach and encourage new Christians and to share the Gospel with the lost.
I have 4 children and the oldest will be a teen next month and our next child will be a teen next year and have learned what works and doesn't work with pre-teen children. Why am I not encouraging younger parents? I will be married 20 years next year and am relatively mature in my spiritual walk yet there is a tendency to just sit in church, week after week and consume. We as women need to become that Titus 2 woman to the younger women. You don't have to wait until your life is almost over to do this. So there is an opportunity to serve within the body of Christ. But what about sharing the Gospel with the unsaved within your community?
I find that there is a lot of lip service given within churches to "go and preach the Gospel" but in reality, very little is done within the community they serve. We pat ourselves on the backs for taking the Gospel to remote places in the world, but locally besides Easter egg hunts or 4th of July picnics labeled as "outreaches" very little of the Gospel is really shared within the local community. I am not against outreaches to the community, however we need to couple sharing the Gospel with action motivated by love.
My Academy roommate who lives in Arizona shared her frustration that the outreach in her church amounted to handing out bottles of water to strangers on the street but not sharing the Gospel; not even a tract was handed out. These are just worthless gimmicks that are a waste of time. If we hand out bottles of water, food, or offer to change oil in the cars of single mothers we need to give them the reason for the hope we have within. Our action demonstrates we love but if we fail to tell them why we love then we have gained nothing. If they die going home in their car with newly changed oil or they drink the bottle of water and die on the way home without repenting and believing in Christ, their fate is sealed forever. This should alarm us!
We visited a church last year and I was angered to the point I almost stood up and left. The minister came out, sat on the stage and played a video clip. The video clip had the sound removed and showed a man holding a large sign which had a message about sin and hell while he was speaking into a bullhorn. I don't know what the man was saying, but the preacher then used 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and preached a horrible reductionistic sermon about how we are just supposed to love people into the kingdom by working and keeping silent! Here are the 2 verses:
11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
He took these 2 verses totally out of context and used these verses to say that God's Word says that this is proof that we are not to be overt in our efforts. He asserted that they WILL come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ if we just work quietly side by side with the lost and just "smile and wave at them" like the penguins from the movie Madagascar. The icing on the cake is when he brought out a book by Brian McLaren, the emergent church guru, and started reading a bunch of heresy to complete his sermon.
I am not a fan of the "sign people" although I do consider them brothers and sisters in Christ. But at least that man in the video is not sitting in his church as a spiritually bloated consumer unable or unwilling to share the Gospel.
We need to have a balanced approach to sharing the Gospel. We all don't need to be on a box on a corner to be successful. Have you shared the Gospel with your neighbor? Bake them muffins or bread, mow their lawn or offer to watch their house when they're gone because you need a touch point, but at some point you HAVE to open your mouth. What about getting involved with a local jail ministry? Did you know that most public schools are looking for tutors for school children and that this relationship can last over the summer break? What an opportunity to make the difference in the life of a child or their families by introducing them to Jesus. Have you volunteered at a local food bank? Most communities have a Ronald McDoanld House for families with terminally ill children. Go volunteer there by cooking and serving a meal or driving the van to pick up families at the hospital. They always need help. Homeless shelters are also a wonderful place to make a difference and meet people who may not know Christ.
You can even share the Gospel within the church by teaching a children's class. I have a friend in California that teaches Kindergarten through 2nd grade in her church. She is sharing the Gospel with these kids each week. If you have children, your greatest mission field are your children. Have younger couples over to your home to encourage them in their marriage and in raising Godly families. But to willingly neglect sharing the Gospel message is in error when you know that these individuals are not saved.
We are looking for ways to be more deliberate with our neighbors and to not only be Christ to them by our actions but to share Christ with them by opening our mouths. I encourage you to make a list of 5 neighbors that you don't know and make it a point to meet all 5 of them within the month. That's about 1 per week. Take something over to them, say "Hello" and find out if they have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Those first few months here, I communicated the truths of God and His existence. He told me that in Russia, he had asked many people how the trees got here? Where did the animals come from? Where did all the people come from? Everyone he asked, no one knew. But, he knew deep down there was something bigger in control. Even as a child in a godless country that had spent almost 100 years trying to erase any vestiges of God he, in theory, shouldn't have even ackowledged a Creator for none had ever been spoken to him.
The first book that we studied together was Romans. Romans 1:18-23 states:
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
He would read in his little Russian Bible and I would let the truth of God's word soak in to his heart and soul. Without Sunday school or a preacher to teach him, ONLY the Word of God, and our discussions I asked him one day if he now had an answer to his former questions? He had only been home for 4 months and we still communicated primarily in Russian and I'll never forget his answer as his eyes lit up as he said, "Это Бог!" (It is God!)
He KNEW instinctively in his conscience there was something bigger than him that had to have put this planet and everything on it in motion. He just didn't know who or what it was. Oh the arrogance of the professing "atheist!" You can not say in your heart there is no God only because you deny the muffled screams of your deadened conscience that you suppress! Please, humble yourself and repent and place your faith in Jesus Christ!
The argument which states that you can't use the Bible to prove that there is a God is just not true. God's Word states that even without the Bible that ALL of creation is testimony to the creative hand of the Almighty God. It proved to be true in the life of this little boy who knew there was something bigger than himself and waited until God sought him and plucked him out of a desolate land and revealed Himself to him. Think about these truths and let it sink in.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is what He did for all of us and especially for my son. While he was still a sinner He died for him and then because he couldn't seek God, God sought him.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
While I was reading, it began to rain. After it stopped, two gentlemen stood in front of me and listened to the whole reading. One was a homeless man named Paul and the other was Joseph. I was able to share the Gospel with them even though both of them professed Christianity. Paul said he was a bad Catholic but was a very good person. We were able to share law and grace and encourage him to not rely on his works to get him to heaven because there is nothing that he can do to get to heaven on his own. Joseph said he was a Christian and I asked him what he would tell me if I had a knife in my back and 2 minutes to live and wanted to go to heaven. He said call on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. I explained that repentance is key. I explained repentance and clarified the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow and encouraged him to walk in obedience and if he had habitual sin he struggled with, to repent and God would give him the strength to escape.
I'm not some whack job out there wildly screaming at people and never explaining that they are sick. Until they see they are ill the cure will never make sense. I am just someone who is deeply burdened for the lost and feel the weight of responsibility God has placed upon my shoulders to walk in obedience. I am grateful for what the Lord has done for me by His death on the cross that I could barely maintain my composure when I had to read, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
I guaran-dang-tee you those men would not have darkened the door of my church or perhaps any church this Easter Sunday. There is a dying world that needs to hear the Gospel and if we are going to continue with the arrogant thought and attitude that we will just keep building more and more churches and they will come, we are deluded. God doesn't need my help. He needs my obedience and EVERY Christian has been given the duty of sharing the Gospel and making disciples. This job is not reserved "just" for the pastor of the church. The pastor should be equipping believers to GO OUT and share the Gospel and make converts as well as feeding the flock. The pastor of a church has a great responsibility placed upon his shoulders, but he is not the only "authorized" person to share the Gospel.
When we as Christians stop playing church and actually walk in obedience, churches will become vibrant centers where living water flows (John 4) from them to quench the thirst of a dying world and it will stop being a holding tank for converts who have become bloated carcasses who do nothing but consume.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Over the holidays I had a conversation with my niece. She lives at a boarding school and graduates next month to go to college. In the name of having a "superior education" she has been indoctrinated by the post-modern, feminist, Darwinistic worldview which advocates survival of the fittest which was picked up by the likes of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. She is so educated she can't argue her way out of theological paper bag yet professes to be a Christian. It's sad. She actually believes that it's OK to abort a child up to a certain point because she reasoned that it can't feel and it is unconscious so it's excusable. However, when pressed to reveal that defining point in a pregnancy when it is OK to kill the child and when it is not OK, she couldn't answer.
In spite of being shown the video of Gianna Jessen (click here to see the video http://chipperfisher.blogspot.com/2009/01/in-honor-of-sanctity-for-human-life-day.html who was a survivor of a botched abortion attempt, all she could focus on was the fact that Ms. Jessen seemed to "talk meanly" to the men as she was exhorting the members of the Australian Parliament to vote against supporting a measure similar to the Infants Born Alive Act in Australia because she sharply admonished them, "to be men and act honorably and do what is right for the unborn, the weakest members of society because she was tired of doing their job."
After that, I became even more resolute about the education of my children and making certain that they did not become casualties of the culture. I am teaching them about the current world view that is so pervasive in America right now. They will be equipped to logically dismantle arguments that their peers try to use to justify a God-forsaken worldview.
A wonderful place for information on the current worldview and how to communicate these truths to the culture around you and equip your children is http://www.worldviewweekend.com. Attend a "Code Blue Rally" in your area and in a 3-hour seminar get an overview of the most dangerous philosophies invading the schools and the culture. I believe the information will also be very helpful when sharing the Gospel and you encounter the typical "atheist" (a.k.a. agnostic) who believes in evolution. It is imperative that you constantly expand the tools in your tool bag you use when evangelizing so you may be equipped to encounter the culture wisely.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
If you've spent anytime at all in Kentucky, you know what happens the first Saturday in May: The Kentucky Derby. This will be a wonderful time to share the Gospel because so many people converge from all over the world to Louisville, Ky. Many trust in the money and their family name to get them into heaven.
Bill Adams of Sport Fan Outreach will be attending the Oaks and the Derby and has a schedule of events on his website. Click here to find the schedule of events. http://www.sfoi.org/?p=530 They will be here Thursday through Sunday. The Kentucky Oaks is on Friday and they have an outreach scheduled for that event and the Kentucky Derby is the next day, on Saturday. If you participate through the Sports Fan Outreach site they can arrange meals, and accomodations for you at Southern Seminary in Louisville. If you've ever heard anything about the Kentucky Derby, it's probably been about the Infield. The Infield is where every form of debauchery and the like takes place under the guise of "having a good time."
There are several people who have been to the Ambassador's Academy who are planning on attending. If you are in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, or Kentucky please consider joining us.
If you are in the area, come join us for a concentrated time of witnessing and evangelism at an even where literally 10's of thousands of people will be.
Here is the official Kentucky Derby website which will give you more information about the event. http://www.kentuckyderby.com/2009/