Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Revelation 15:3-4

And they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

Great and amazing are Your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed."

Revelation 15:3-4 (ESV)

Enough said.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Day With My Niece

My niece, Emily, spent the night on Saturday. She's 8 years old. She likes to go to Sunday School at our church. So when the opportunity presents itself, we pick up her up on Saturday, she spends the night, and then goes to church with us on Sunday morning.

She's a joy to have around the house. A few months ago we gave her a Bible as a gift. She brought it with her when she spent the night. She knows Greg and I often read the Bible as a family in the evening (because we include her in that process when she's around). So, she brought out her Bible in the evening in anticipation of that event. I asked her if she reads her Bible at home. She said, "No. I don't know how to find the books. I don't know what to read. If I had a schedule, I would read it."

We set up some tabs in her Bible, so she can find the books. Greg made some bookmarks to go along with our "read through the Bible in a year" plan. The bookmarks are set up to check off the chapter as you read it each day. So, I gave her a set of those. She promptly started reading Isaiah and Psalms in accordance with her bookmarks.

It was fun to see such an interest in God's Word. May it be so in my own life, and I pray it continues in Emily's life.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baptism

Today, at church, we had a baptismal service. To my recollection, in the last year 4 people have been baptised through the ministry of our church. All of them have been over the age of 35. Baptism is exciting at any age, but when we're talking over the age of 30, you know a lot of thought has gone into it. There is often some pride to swallow when making that decision. It is an act of obedience. It is a declaration to the world (through the symbolism involved) that you have died with Jesus Christ, was buried, and raised again to new life. It also presents an opportunity to testify before a congregation of God's goodness in saving you and regenerating you.

I was particularly moved at the baptismal service today because I am counted among the 4 people baptised in the last year. I was baptised on June 27 of last year. God has been so kind!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Self Test

Right now I'm reading the book Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein. The book is written for young people growing up in Christian homes. The book offers many opportunities to examine yourself and see if you're in the faith or trying to ride along on the faith and beliefs of your parents. At the end of the chapter More than Mimicking Mom and Dad, there is a self-test that gives an opportunity to examine yourself and ask what you believe and why you believe it. I think the questions are worth asking, and they are questions everyone should have an answer for, so I thought I would include them in this blog post:

1. What would you say to someone who asked why you believe God exists?

2. What would you say to someone who asked why you believe the Bible is true?

3. What would you say to someone who asked why it is wrong to lie?

4. What would you say to someone who asked how you know heaven is real?

5. What would you say to someone who asked why you believe Christianity is true and other faiths (such as Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses, New Age) are false?

6. What would you say to someone who asked why you attend church every Sunday?

7. What would you say to someone who asked how you know Jesus is truly God and not just a great prophet?

8. What would you say to someone who asked why you are a Christian?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Frigtening Fridays #6

Tonight I experienced a special treat. Greg (my husband) went with me to the skate park, and I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with three young men. When I finished sharing the gospel, I asked, "Have you ever heard that before?" The reply was "No, not even at church." It may surprise you to know I have heard that response several times since I started intentionally sharing the gospel with others just a couple months ago. All the more reason to be sharing it every chance we get.

I was so grateful to have Greg with me this evening. He and I read the Bible and prayed for the evening ahead before we left for the skate park. It was so encouraging. Neither one of us felt brave, but we asked God to use us in spite of our weaknesses.

Tonight Mr. and Mrs. Chicken went out witnessing together.


If you are on this blog today because you received a tract from me, please check out the "My Testimony" post under the May blog posts as well as "my favorite links" at the bottom of the page. I welcome your comments.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My God Wants Me to Die to Myself

Today's heading from my What Do I Know About My God? notebook is My God Wants Me to Die to Myself/the Flesh.

Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 4: 22-24 (NKJV)

That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3: 1-5 (NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.


Colossians 3: 8-10 (NKJV)

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created Him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God of Reconciliation

Again from my What Do I Know About My God? notebook, today's heading is My God is a God of Reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5: 17-18 (NKJV)

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Colossians 1: 19-22 (NKJV)

For it pleased the Father that in Him [Jesus] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

Hebrews 4: 14-16 (NKJV)

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot symphathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet withou sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My God Gives Hope

This week I will continue to post entries from my What Do I Know About My God? notebook. Today's entry is from the heading My God Gives Hope.

Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perserverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8: 18-25 (NKJV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eargerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know the whole creation gorans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cookie Baking Night 6/22

It's Cookie Baking Night again. Last week, just two kids from one side of the family. Tonight, just two kids from the other side of the family. My nieces, Emily and Kylie, joined us this evening. Kylie lives a distance from us, so we don't see her much. It was fun to have both of the girls here. It was 90 degrees outside today, so we ended our time together with a water balloon fight. The girls had a blast!

 

 

 
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sharing Your Faith-Part 2

A theme in my thinking process right now is "how to share the gospel with others" and "why share the gospel with others." As that is a theme in my thinking in daily life, it is also a theme on my blog at the moment. In the past, I have viewed a couple videos containing atheists giving their thoughts on Christians sharing their faith with others. I find their comments interesting, so I thought I would share the videos with you. The first is Penn Jillette (from the Las Vegas magician act of Penn and Teller). He is a devout and very outspoken atheist. The second video is of an interview with an atheist (college student) done by The Great News Network (www.thegreatnews.com). Both are very thought provoking.





Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sharing Your Faith-Part 1

It was about three years ago now that I started to feel conviction from God about sharing the gospel with other people. I used to be of the mindset that I would live my Christian faith out loud in front of people and that would be enough of a statement (by simply standing out in the crowd in my choices and lifestyle, living a moral life, of which I wasn't even doing that great of a job). Then I started to give my stance some more thought. When I started studying the Scriptures on a regular basis and understanding the message of the gospel, I started to question my original position on sharing my faith. I tried to picture in my mind how that would work and asked myself if it really made any sense.

Would my coworker really come up to me one day and say, "Hey, I was noticing at the last work event we attended, you didn't drink any alcohol. By watching that I said to myself, I suddenly realize I have sinned against the righteous and holy God of the universe, and I deserve to be punished."

Would my neighbor come up to me and say, "Hey, I noticed you keep your yard really neat and tidy, you've brought cookies to my door a few times, and you always go to church on Sundays. With this observation, I've come to the realization that I need forgiveness of my sins, and Jesus Christ died on a cross (and rose from the dead) as punishment for those sins. I need to repent of my sins and put my trust in Christ alone for my salvation."

When I started thinking about the practicality of my original position, it seemed ridiculous. Jesus said in Mark 16:15 "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." I can't think of a way to proclaim the gospel clearly without using the words of the gospel message to do it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Frightening Fridays #5

Mark 6:15 (ESV)
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."

That is the reason I go out on Friday nights and seek to share the gospel with others. There is nothing brave in me (just ask the people closest to me). Every week I try to talk myself out of it. Every week I feel very brave and outgoing when I go over possible scenarios in my head, but I want to run and hide when it comes down to the reality of approaching a total stranger.

Tonight I went to the local mall to hand out gospel tracts. I handed out several tracts and failed miserably at a couple attempts of engaging people in a conversation about the gospel. I shook the dust off my feet and handed out a few more tracts.

As I wandered around the mall, I saw the evidence of a lack of gospel preaching in our country (it appears God has been forgotten in America), and it only spurred me on to continue in my feeble attempts as long as the Lord allows me opportunity and freedom to do so. I pray for a love for people beyond what I am capable of on my own.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty

I was reading in Revelation chapter 4 this morning. I was stopped by verse 8. John was describing his vision of the throne room of heaven, what it looked like, who was there.

"Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the thone, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:"

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!

Revelation 4:6-8 (NKJV)

They do not rest day or night. They exist only to praise God. May it be so in my own life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tips for Growth in the Christian Walk

Right now I'm reading the book Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein. I'm only part way through it, but so far I'm impressed with what I'm reading. The book addresses the person who grew up or is growing up in a Christian home. It challenges the reader to examine himself/herself to know if they are truly in the faith and not just riding along on the coat tails of their parents (my words).

I just finished reading a section called Tips for Growth. I found them all thought provoking, so I thought I would share them with you.

The following paragraphs are quoted directly from Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein:

Tips for Growth

What can we do if we want to grow in our appreciation for the grace of God? Here are seven tips to consider:

1. Pray. Growth starts with God, and it is essential that we start by asking him for help
(Matt. 7:7-8). We need His help to more clearly understand his character as opposed to our sinfulness.

2. Study the holiness of God. The more we learn about God's holiness (Lev 19:20)--His separateness--the more we will appreciate His saving and forgiving grace.

3. See your sinfulness in light of God's holiness. To grow in our appreciation for the grace of God, we need to have an accurate view of our natural sinfulness and its offense to our holy God.

4. Learn more about God's wrath--His just response to sin. If we desire to increase our appreciation for the grace of God, we must understand the nature of the object of His wrath.

5. Think deeply and often about Jesus' death on the cross. When we understand the significance of Jesus' death on the cross, we will grow in our appreciation of the grace of God.

6. Study the doctrine of justification--forgiven and declared righteous. The more we understand about our salvation, the more amazed we will be at God's love and kindness toward us.

7. Sing great songs that focus on the grace of God. Worshipful songs and hymns are powerful tools that God gives us to praise Him and ingrain truths in our hearts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My God Wants Me To Be Set Apart

I'm going to share another heading from my What Do I Know About My God? notebook (see the What Do I Know About My God post in the May archives for further explanation). This heading is called "My God Wants me to be Set Apart From the World" (it was too lengthy to put the whole heading in the blog title). The Bible has a lot to say about this subject, and this is but a short list of some of the verses.

Romans 12: 1-2 (NKJV)
I beseech you, therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God.

Ephesians 5:1-5 (NKJV)
But fornication and all uncleanness or coveteousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving thanks. For this you know that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sins of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Ephesians 5:8-11 (NKJV)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), find out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the darkness, but rather expose them.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJV)
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and preverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

1 John 2:15-16 (NKJV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Gregory!

Greg is my husband, and today is his birthday. I am grateful to God that Greg is my husband. I appreciate the leadership he gives to our family and his desire to know God more. He thinks through what we do as a family and what it says about our God. He sharpens me in my Christian walk and calls me to a standard higher than my own (the Bible). For this, I am grateful.

Happy Birthday, Gregory!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were the pagen names given to these four Jewish boys when they were taken from Jerusalem and put in captivity in Babylon. They left Jerusalem with names that honored God. (Daniel 1:1-7)

Daniel means "God is my judge." He was renamed Belteshazzar meaning "Bel protect the king" (Bel was a pagan god).

Hananiah means "The Lord is gracious." He was renamed Shadrach meaning "command of Aku" (Aku was a Babylonian god).

Mishael means "Who is like the Lord?" He was renamed Meshach, meaning "Who is what Aku is?"

Azariah means "The Lord is my helper." He was renamed Abednego, meaning "servant of Nego" (a god of vegetation).

I was thinking: How is it that when children's songs were created to help us remember this story, it is the pagen names that are highlighted and not the names that honor God. Are we doing a disservice to our young people by giving them part of the story and not the whole counsel of God straight from the book of Daniel?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Daniel Chapter 6

I was reading in Daniel chapter 6 this morning. Daniel disobeyed the command that he should not pray to any god or man except King Darius for thirty days (by praying to the one true God). The punishment for this crime was that he was to be locked in a den with lions overnight (usually a death sentence). God spared Daniel's life. In the morning Daniel was found alive and unharmed.

Daniel 6:19-21
Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you."

After the pagan king witnessed the sparing of Daniel's life by God he wrote these words:

Daniel 6:25-27
To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.
I make a decree that in every dominion of my kindgom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever. His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

I don't think we do this account justice by simply calling it "Daniel and the Lions' Den", maybe something like "What a Great God We Serve" would put the emphasis where it is due.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Frightening Fridays #4

This week, I was heading out on Friday night with my sights set on the new skatepark in our community with hopes of handing out a few gospel tracts and possibly engaging a few people in conversation about the gospel.

On my way home, I passed a carnival/festival that sets up just off the main highway every year at this time. I had forgotten this was the weekend this festival was taking place. I've never attended it before. In years past, I've just inched my way along in the slowed traffic with my goal set on arriving home after a long day. This year I had a different interest in this traffic stopper also known as a festival. I knew that would be a great place to stop and engage in some witnessing, but I was pretty afraid/intimidated to do that by myself. I prayed for courage, swallowed my fear, and turned my vehicle in the direction of the festival/carnival.

Yep, it was a carnival. Interesting thing about today's entertainment culture, though. People seem to get easily bored, even at a carnival, which means there are a lot of people standing around doing nothing. I seized that opportunity and handed out gospel tracts (even gave a few to the carnival hands running the rides but had no one in their lines). I handed out several gospel tracts and then hit the road again. I didn't have any one-on-one encounters at the carnival (probably more because I was a big chicken than because of a lack of opportunity).

I headed to the skatepark. When I arrived there I could see maybe three kids hanging out at the skatepark. By the time I made the hike up to that area, not a soul was left. No kids anywhere. I hung around for about 10 minutes. I finally got a chance to read the Rules sign posted at the front of the skatepark. I've been too intimidated to get close to it when kids were there(interestingly, it had an egg thrown at it already, a little tough to read some of the words through the egg).

Alas, I headed home. No one-on-one encounters tonight but still had the chance to spread the gospel via the written word. I'm learning every Friday night is a little different.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blessed Be The Name Of God Forever

Yesterday I read Daniel chapter 2. I observed a few things:

* King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. He was disturbed by this dream.

* King Nebechadnezzar wanted an interpretation for the dream, but he wasn't about to explain the dream to anyone. He wanted the interpreter of the dream to know his dream (without having it told to them) and he wanted them to interpret it correctly.

*Interpreting the dream without hearing the dream was deemed impossible by those surrounding the king (Daniel 2:10 "The Chaldeans answered the king and said, 'There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.').

*Daniel (and his three friends) sought mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery. He (they) prayed. (Daniel 2:18)

*The mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. (Daniel 2:19).

After Daniel's prayer was answered and before he told the king his dream and its interpretation, Daniel prayed these words:

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes time and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter." Daniel 2:20-23 ESV.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Study the Last Question Asked

When I was at the Ambassador's Academy (evangelism training) in May, there was a question and answer time with a panel of people who share the gospel with strangers regularly. The question was asked, "What if someone asks me a question, and I don't know the answer?" (I think that is every new evangelist's fear). The advice was given to simply say "I don't know" when this situation comes up, and it will come up. The advice was also given to study the last question asked. When a question is asked, and you don't know the answer (and it is a reasonable, valid question) go home and study that question. Find out the answer. Be prepared when it is asked again.

When I was out on Friday talking to people about the gospel, a young man said he was reading the book of Daniel in the Bible. He said he was on chapter 2, so he didn't know much at that point. I realized I didn't know much about the book of Daniel either, not enough to have an intelligent conversation about it anyway. My knowledge didn't go much beyond "children's church" information--Daniel and the lion's den--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

This week I am studying the book of Daniel.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jesus Christ, Our Ransom

Jesus Christ, Our Ransom was the title of the sermon preached in our church on Sunday. I've been dwelling on it all week. The text was Matthew 20:28:
"even as the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

That message has kept the gospel ever on my mind this week (as well a sermon should). I sinned against God, causing a debt I could not pay, Jesus paid my fine in His life's blood. Jesus is my ransom.

This chorus has been running through my mind since Sunday:

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed me white as snow

Not just words, reality, truth.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cookie Baking Night, Again


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Tonight was cookie baking night with the nieces and nephews (happens every other Monday night, barring holidays), just two kids tonight, Ethan and Carissa. We ate supper, baked brownies, read Bible stories, played games, watched some of a video. Fun was had by all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Scripture Memorization

As mentioned in earlier posts, I teach the 3-6 year old Christian Education (also known as Sunday School) class at my church. This quarter we've been working on memorizing Psalm 8 (nine verses). I have been challenged watching these young minds soak in God's Word and hide it in their hearts. I've been learning Psalm 8 with them, and I want to learn more. I want God's Word to spill out of my mouth in every circumstance because that is what is in my heart.

I'm going to share this video with you of a man (Ryan Ferguson) reciting Hebrews 9 & 10. It has challenged me greatly to memorize more of the Bible, to seek to understand the text I am memorizing, and to recite it with the inflection, joy, and seriousness it deserves.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Frightening Fridays (Week 3, Part 2)

Please see Frightening Fridays (Week 3, part 1) for the lead in to this post.

Before I start this story, please understand my time leading up to these Friday nights is spent in prayer, and I have friends and family members praying for me as well.

I had made up my mind to stop by the newly built skatepark in our community to engage in some evangelism on Friday night. I had no idea how to go about this task. Before arriving at the park I filled a small cooler with pop (soda for those of you who aren't from Minnesota) and bottled water. When I arrived at the park, I had to hike about a quarter of a mile from the parking lot to reach the skatepark section (with my cooler slung over one shoulder and my purse full of tracts over the other). When I arrived at the skatepark, I felt very out of place. There were about 20 kids (boys and young men, all male) rolling around on skates, skateboards, and bikes. A few kids recognized me from my visit to the park (before the skatepark section was built) a couple weeks ago. I had witnessed to four of the boys the night of that visit. When they recognized me they started yelling out, "Hey, it's that church lady. I recognize her. She talks about God." (This did not help my nerves). Despite that greeting (if you can call it that) no one came up to me or even near me. So, I sat down on a rather large rock (feeling extremely conspicuous and out of place), observed the action, contemplated what to do next, and prayed.

After about five minutes of sitting on the rock, watching, thinking, and praying, I stood up on the rock and said at the top of my lungs, "Hello boys. Tonight I'm giving out a free pop or water with every gospel tract I hand out. If this interests you, come on over and talk to me." When I said that, every biker, skater, and skateboarder stopped. There was silence for about 15 seconds. Then one bold, rather indifferent-sounding young man broke the silence with these words, "No thanks. I'm good." Several young men echoed his sentiment, the action resumed, and everyone went back to whatever they were doing before I stood up on the rock. (I'm thinking at this point, "I just stood up on a rock and yelled something out to total strangers to no avail, now what do I do?) About 1 minute passed, and boys started coming up to me and asking for pop and gospel tracts. I was able to engage two young men in a give-and-take conversation about the gospel, and I had conversations with several other boys about the Bible, who created the earth, and the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. I gave out at least 12 cans of pop, and each can of pop accompanied a gospel tract. Many seeds were planted. I can tell several of these young men are curious about the gospel message, and I think they will be watching to see if I am consistent in showing up to talk to them about it.

Hmmm, another lesson learned. God uses even the chickens and the uncool.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Frightening Fridays (Week 3, part 1)

If you've been reading my blog on a regular basis you know that I recently attended some evangelism training in California (Ambassador's Academy through Living Waters/Way of the Master ministries), and you would also know that since I've returned from that training, I've committed to going out one night a week with the intent of passing out gospel tracts and engaging people in one-on-one conversations about the gospel. I've decided on Friday evenings for my one day a week, thus the title Frightening Fridays.

There is nothing in and of myself that compels me to do this. Every week I want to chicken out. Every time that evening approaches, I try to talk myself out of it. This week was no different. In fact, this week I tried even harder because I had a spot in mind that intimidated me. Recently (in the last week or so) the county completed the construction of a skateboard park within a park/playground/sports field area in our community. The project has been complete for only a few days, and the area is swamped with kids every time we pass it.

I couldn't feel more uncool or old than I do when I think of engaging in conversation with young people at that skatepark. It would have intimidated me when I was young!

But every time we pass that park (and we pass it on our drive to church), I'm struck by all the young people just hanging out for hours on end (no parents, just kids, lots of them). I ask myself, "Has anyone ever shared the gospel with them? Have they ever heard that message?" I don't want to take the chance that they haven't, so that is what compelled me to come up with a plan to visit the skatepark on Friday night.

Stayed tuned for details in tomorrow's blog post.

If you are reading this blog and you are not a Christian, please click on My Testimony in the blog archives section to the right of this post for more information on the gospel message.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just like Gilligan

The dress code at my place of employment is business casual. About three years ago, I made the decision to start wearing a uniform to work everyday. I've changed the uniform a couple times (that's the beauty of a self-imposed uniform rule--you have freedom) but currently it is black pants and a white polo shirt. Here's how this decision has benefited me in my walk with God and my relationships with people.

* Not a lot of time is wasted on clothing decisions in the morning. It frees up time for Bible reading (seriously, it makes a big difference).

* It cuts out some of the trivial conversation with people. No one comments on what I wear because no one really notices it. It allows for other conversation during brief encounters with coworkers in the hallways.

* It keeps me from the temptation to rely on myself (instead of God) in daily work situations by trying to bolster my confidence or mood with the clothing I wear.

I find that this "uiform thinking" has leaked into my casual wear as well. I tend to find one modest top that I like, in a color that I like. I buy several of them, and that becomes my standard outfit.

Very few people notice this about me and an even fewer number of people ask me about it. Occasionally, I talk about it. When I do talk about it, it's hard for people to get their heads around the concept and the reality of it. I always get the question, "You mean you wear the same thing everyday?" I usually say, "Yeah, you know, like Gilligan did."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What Do I Think?

One fruit of regeneration in my life has been a desire to think about what I do and why I do it. That desire was not there for me before God saved me. In fact, that was the main catalyst driving me to examine my life and see if I was truly born again, truly regenerated. I used to give very little thought to why I did anything in life. And I gave no thought to what God or the Bible said about my decisions. I called myself a Christian but I made all my decisions based on what I wanted. It was that frightening realization (and the realization that if I had to make those decisions again I would have done it the same way) that one day (about 6 years ago) drove me to my knees, crying out to God in repentance.

Now I can't seem to shut off the thinking. I know that a desire to think Biblically is a fruit of salvation from God because it is not natural in me.

One of the reasons I am enjoying my notebook, What Do I Know About My God?, from my monthly Bible study through church, is that it is causing me to think Biblically. Every word of the Bible was put in there for a reason. The Bible tells us about God, His character and nature, and His expectations for us as people.

The more I know the Bible, the more I know God. The more I know God, the more my thinking lines up with His desires for me (a monumental task in itself but not too big for God).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My God Justifies Me Through His Son

These verses are from another heading in my What Do I Know About My God? notebook. The heading I chose today is My God Justifies Me Through His Son. I turn to this heading in my notebook often, and I find that it is growing rapidly in number of pages as I read through the Bible this year.

Galatians 2:16 (NKJV)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Galatians 2: 19-21 (NKJV)

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

Ephesians 1: 3-6 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spirtual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Romans 8: 33-34 (ESV)

Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My God Wants Me To Be Content

This week (Tuesday) our monthly women's Bible study meets, so I will be sharing verses from a few pages in my What Do I Know About My God? notebook throughout this week. Today the verses come from the heading: My God Wants Me To Be Content.



Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV) Paul speaking in these verses


Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content; I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brough nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

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