Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Encouraging and Anointed Worship

And I looked, and I heard the many angels around the throne and the living creatures and elders; and the number of them was myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.
And the four living creatures kept saying, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Rev. 5:11-14.

On Monday, when I should have been working I went on YouTube and this video was recommended to me. It said the Revelation Song by Kari Jobe with Christ for the Nations. I thought that was interesting as I am finishing the book of Revelation in my Bible reading. As I listened, I felt the anointing all over the song and listened to it over and over again. I was so blessed by it, that I forwarded the YouTube link to my wife and fellow Kingsmen at SBWC (as well as our Worship Pastor and Prayer Leader). I later posted this on Facebook. I hope you are as blessed as I was. Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Keep Christmas Simple

At South Brandon Worship Center on Sunday, December 21, 2008, the following message will be delivered by Pastor Len Harper:

How to Keep Christmas Simple! - 12/21/2008

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“Christmas is a story of promise, hope, and love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a Savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. When it’s all over, many are left with presents they don’t want or need, debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what you really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas once again became a world-changing event?” (adventconspiracy.com)

Join us this Sunday and bring a friend, as we look at 5 "Simple Steps" to make your Christmas both special and memorable!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Testing the Rule of Talking Politics and Religion

This brave man decided to take the challenge of talking about his faith during a Joe Biden rally. He began his discussion with a few light-hearted trivia questions. The crowd enjoyed his fun and games. Note the hostility near the end when he starts talking about Jesus. I suppose now, it is okay to talk politics, but religion is a big no no.


Spreading Good News During Early Voting

During the 2008 Presidential election, Florida had early voting for two weeks prior to Election Day on November 4, 2008. One of the locations that had early voting included the Bloomingdale Library that I pass on a daily basis between my home and my office. Each day that I passed the library, I noticed a long line of people waiting to vote. Viewing these lines, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to drop off some tracts. At the same time, there was a great reluctance to try to initiate witnessing encounters with total strangers, some of whom were very passionate about the elections. Who knows, someone may have talked about the separation of Church and State.

Two days before the end of early voting, I had to drop some books off at the library. I had my four-year-old son, with me and decided to take a small handful of million dollar bills with me. For those not familiar with the million dollar bills, they contain the following message:



The million dollar question: Will you go to Heaven? Here's a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God's name in vain? Jesus said,"Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart." Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things God sees you as a lying, thieving,blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. That's not God's will. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. Jesus took your punishment upon Himself -"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will grant you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it. Pray something like this: "Dear God, today I turn away from all of my sins (name them). This day I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He is the only way for me to be saved. He is 'The way, the truth, and the life.'" Please
forgive me, change my heart, and grant me Your gift of everlasting life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."








The time was around 11:00 a.m. and there were more than 100 people waiting in line to vote that morning. After dropping the books off, somehow I got up the courage to hand out the bills. First, I turned to three of the poll workers, and handed each of them a bill telling them thanks for their hard work. Next, I stepped outside and handed the bills to the first 15 to 20 people in line, saying this is not a political message, but it is meant to help in this bad economy.

After my supply of 15-20 bills was exhausted, a lady approached me and said that I skipped her. I was holding the plastic bag and said I think that I am out. Then, I remembered that I had a copy of the Gospel of John in my pocket, with a MDB tucked inside. So, I reached in my pocket, handed her the Gospel and she told me thank you, as she returned to her place in line.

In order for me to do this, I had to step outside of my comfort zone. My only real disappointment is I only had a small handful of bills to hand out. It was also neat to have my four-year-old walking with me as I was sowing some seeds in my community.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Religion and the White House

This is really a difficult topic to address. Also, I do not want to use this page to address my political views. Still, President Bush has recently made comments that will certainly generate controversy in the evangelical community. See Bush Says Creation Not Incompatible With Evolution. Perhaps his position on faith will be less diplomatic when he leaves the White House, but the following will raise a few eyebrows:


WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush said his belief that God created the world is not incompatible with the scientific theory of evolution.

Asked about creation and evolution, Bush said: "I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution."

The president also said that he prays to the same God as those with different religious beliefs.

John MacArthur recently aired a series on whether evolution is compatible with Christianity, which differs from the President's position. He also wrote about this subject in a book entitled, The Battle for the Beginning.

In response to the universalistic statement, Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6. The Bible also says, He who has the Son has life. He he does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12.

Changing the Conversation on Cold Sales Call

I received a phone call from a financial rep from the Maxim Group located in New York City. The caller was working in their Long Island offices and this was the second time that he called my office. The first time, I failed to initiate a witnessing encounter.

During the call he was trying to get me to buy some shares in Yahoo! After repeatedly telling him that I had no money, he got the message and prepared to hang up. I decided to turn this cold call into a witnessing encounter.

To be honest, I was nervous and was not sure how to break the ice. So, I asked him about his work, how long he was there, etc. I learned that he obtained my contact information from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce list.

Shifting to matters of faith, I said, may I ask you a personal question? He said, sure if you will make a purchase. I reminded him that I do not have money. I then said, I have a blog that addresses spiritual questions and would like to ask you some questions.

First, I asked, how does someone get to Heaven, assuming you believe in Heaven. He replied that is a hard question to answer. You have to live right, don't do anything wrong. He was setting himself up for the good person test.

Next, I asked are you going to Heaven. He said he didn't know, but did not believe he did anything really bad. So, then I took him through the good person test: lie, stole, Lord's name in vain, lust.

At this point, the nervousness was gone and the conversation flowed well. He admitted guilt on all points and he said, what about you, and I said, I am guilty too.
So, I said recognizing that you are a lying, blaspheming, adulterer uhhh, thief (yeah I almost forgot thief) will God find you innocent or guilty.

He went straight to saying that he would forgive me. I used the timely example of OJ and said that last week he asked the judge for forgiveness and it got him nowhere. He argued that God is different from a judge. I pointed out that God is a righteous judge and he will punish the guilty.

He was really emphasizing the forgiveness issue. I noted that he was missing something and said, you have to repent and put your trust in Jesus. I went into more detail on the repentance issue and talked about David's sin with Bathsheba. I then pointed to Ps. 51 (this is becoming my favorite illustration on repentance) and noted David's sincerity in confessing his sin. I then went back to his earlier statement on how he said he was not sure if he was going to Heaven and noted that 1 John 5:11-13, can give him that assurance.

I thought that he got it, but the last things that were said suggested otherwise. As the witness encounter was ending, he still tried to sell me shares of Yahoo! I then noted that 100 years from now, that won't matter. He said you have to live for the now. I responded that 80 years is a very short time in light of eternity.

I hope this encounter will generate interesting water cooler conversation within his Long Island office.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Witnessing to a Muslim Evangelist

After church on Sunday, I stopped at a convenience store to pick up a Sunday newspaper. I’ve been to this store about 4-5 times before and encountered the same cashier. As I reached into my wallet to pay the cashier, there were three million dollar bills waiting to be used.












During my previous trips to that store I did not find this cashier to be very friendly and yesterday was really no different. So staring at the million dollar bills, I decided to take a chance on the cashier.

After paying for the newspaper I asked him, if I had ever given him one of these before. He looked at it and initially laughed and I added, this will help you with the difficult economy. Then, he turned the bill over and I told him, “you have to read the message on the back; it asks if you are going to heaven.” Normally, at this point I would leave, but for some reason, I decided to stand by to see his reaction. At the time, I was in a hurry because my family had somewhere to go at 1:00 pm, it was about 12:50 and my wife was waiting for me at home. Also, my four year old, who was with me, started to get impatient and I motioned for him to wait.

Then the cashier spoke. I don’t remember his exact words, but they were along the lines of you need to read the Mary Sura. Mary Sura? Uh oh, this guy is a Muslim. I should have known better, but the possibility that this guy might be a Muslim did not occur to me. He then started talking about if God could create Adam and Eve, he could also create Jesus. I allowed him to draw me in and I almost proceeded to debate with him. As I was trying to tell him, “the Bible says,” he interrupted me and said, you need to read the Mary Sura. Recognizing where he was going I responded, “which Sura is that” – i.e. trying to get him to identify chapter and verse. He replied, you need to read the Koran.

I responded, I have two things for you to look at that shows Jesus was present at the creation, check out Genesis where it says let us make man in our own image and also Colossians. I could not remember the verse (Rich that is Col. 1:16-20). I then told him that I would come back next week to bring him something to read – i.e., a copy of the Gospel of John. He noted that anything I gave him would not change anything and went back to his comment about God creating Adam and Eve.

As we are having this conversation, two men were making purchases as they listened to my poor effort to witness to this Muslim. I think that one of the men, though not agreeing with my approach was amused with our discussion.

As I left the store, I said so, what is your name. He said Abraham. I said, Abraham, I will be back next week with something for you to read. Before pulling away, I decided to check my glove compartment and found a copy of the Gospel of John. At that point, I told my son to stay here and went back into the store and handed Abraham the booklet.





Although, he had dug his heels in throughout our entire conversation, he did not refuse a copy of the Gospel and he also did not return the million dollar bill.


As my son and I drove off, we had a little discussion about what happened at the convenience store. Yes, I had a conversation with a four-year old about sharing the Gospel, which I found interesting since the children in his preschool class had been learning about John 3:16.

As with other encounters, there are quite a few woulda, coulda shouldas in this conversation. For instance, instead of debating the deity of Christ, I should have asked him whether he knew if he was going to heaven and why. Maybe in the next week or two I can follow-up with him and try to pick up where we left off.

As there are many Muslims, who are receiving Christ, do keep Abraham in prayer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parallel Universes?!!

Atheists who rely on evolution can really get irritated when you challenge their views on the origins of life. They will argue that evolution is scientific fact, but have difficult addressing the question of origins. Their thinking goes like this, there was a pond of goo that was struck by something, maybe lightning creating amino acids that formed the building blocks of life. Over time, everything evolved so that we have the life that is walking on the earth today.

Okay. Professor who put the goo in the pond? This is the question that would get the poor college sophomore in trouble with his biology, chemistry, and/or physics professor. In normal settings the professor would proceed to ridicule the student for asking such a bad question.

Dinesh D'Souza revealed that now the atheist professors have a response to students who would dare challenge their views on evolution - parallel universes. This discussion appeared in an article by D'Souza entitled "When Science Points to God." In addressing what evolutionists has termed the "Genesis problem," D'Souza writes:

Science is the search for natural explanations for natural phenomena, and what could be more embarrassing than the finding that a supernatural intelligence transcending all natural laws is behind it all?

Consequently many physicists are exploring an alternative possibility: multiple universes. This is summed up as follows: “Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse.” Folger says that short of invoking a benevolent creator” this is the best that modern science can do. For contemporary physicists, he writes, this “may well be the only viable nonreligious explanation” for our fine-tuned universe.

In other words, the evolutionists reject any role played by God and suggest that somehow we got here through some parallel universe. I guess you can think of evil Spock from the old Star Trek series. So what is next, Space Aliens? If this is the best that they have to offer, there is no need for Christians to be intimidated by their arguments. Paraphrasing something I heard a couple of weeks ago, the more you stare into a telescope or the deeper you look into a microscope the more that you will see the handiwork of God. So, Professor, exactly who put the infinite number of multiple universes in place.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. - Ps. 19:1

Friday, November 21, 2008

10 Ways to Pray for Barack Obama

Immediately following the elections, J. Lee Grady, an editor with Charisma Magazine, wrote a column encouraging Christians to pray for President-elect Obama. Grady made it no secret that he supported McCain. Still, he wrote "when I got up this morning, I turned all my attention to the fact that Jesus Christ is still on the throne." Grady has called for all Christians, regardless of political affiliation to pray for President-elect Obama. Some of his key points are below:

1. Pray for Obama’s protection.

2. Cover his wife and daughters in prayer.

3. Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom.

4. Ask God to keep our president humble.

5. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him.

6. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation.

7. Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions.

8. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president.

9. Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to the church.

10. Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration.

You can find Grady's article here in its entirety: 10 Ways to Pray for Barack Obama. See also Dr. Del Tackett's post entitled A New Day: Praying for the President-Elect.

On that note, we should also continue to pray for President Bush. 1 Tim. 2:1-2.

Enough of the political commentary and back to more exciting discussions.

Rich

A Mother is Persecuted for Her 4-Year Old's Wisdom

At a blog entitled, The Virtuous Woman, a young mother in the United Kingdom tells the story of how her 4-year old daughter came to the understanding that she cannot be good on her own. The child then told her mother that Jesus can help her become good. See A Four Year Old Who Knows She Needs a Saviour. In the post, the lady relates her excitement over her daughter's understanding. The child understands a lot more than many lifetime church attendees. In Matthew, Jesus quoted from the Book of Psalms stating
Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes thou hast prepared praise for thyself.
Matt. 21:16. The radical atheists got wind of the young lady's post and started screaming child abuse. Sad to say, England's version of the Department of Children and Families is launching an investigation. Prayers are needed for this young lady and the protection of her family. Prayers are also needed for the atheists that they come to a knowledge of the truth.

I wonder if I need to proceed with caution before commenting on the wisdom of my 4-year old son.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Equal Time - the RNC seeking donations

A couple of months ago, the Obama campaign called my home seeking donations. I turned a political conversation into a witnessing opportunity. Some may claim that I was biased and would not do the same for the other guy. On Sunday, Oct. 26, I had the opportunity to show the lack of bias.

After listening to all the reasons why the RNC needs money – he’s a socialist, we have to stop Pelosi, they will try anything, blah, blah, blah – I attempted to change the direction of the conversation.

I was very disappointed because I was not able to make much progress. Trying to remember the script from the Obama caller, I asked her what will it take to get to heaven. She responded that it would take a good Christian. That was a half way decent answer, though sitting in garage does not make someone a car. So, I asked her, what does that look like. Initially, she said it would take a long time to answer, but then she cut me off. She said her calls were being monitored and she could not answer a question like that because they have very strict rules. I told her that I had a similar conversation with an Obama caller, but that got me nowhere.

Then, I pointed out that matters of faith are more important than election results. She acknowledged that many of the people she called had similar sentiments. With that, the conversation ended. Maybe there was something I could have said that would have kept her on the phone. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with the RNC.

Regarding other callers, I have to admit that I've let them hang up, missing perfect opportunities. I pray that I will do better in the future.


Now Lord . . . enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.

Acts 4:29

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drive Thru Witnessing

This is a great witnessing tip. This works when you are going through one of your favorite fast food restaurants. Yum yum. Here Trish drops off tracts with the cashier and pays the bill for the car behind her.

I haven't paid for the car behind me, but every now and then I give a million dollar bill to the cashier. So far, I haven't had anyone in the drive thru resist a million dollar bill. Last week, I had to remind one young man that he cannot deposit the bill at the bank around the corner.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Christian Salesman uses the Good Person Test/Way of the Master

I am not trying to promote the product that is being sold on this website entitled Selling Among the Wolves. I was impressed on that the author almost missed out on a witnessing opportunity. In the article, the author noted that the last thing he wanted to do was witness to the nearby beer drinker on the airplane. It was after being convicted by the Holy Spirit, that the author decided to witness to this man. Not only did this author try to witness to the guy, but in trying to persuade him, he took the man through the good person test. Take a look at the article entitled "Two Beers Please" from October 23, 2008 and the rest of the article here.


In the time that remained, I asked him if he had ever lied, cheated, stolen or committed adultery. While not being specific, he readily agreed that he had done some of those things. I shared with him that we all have done things like that and we all have fallen short of the standard God has. I let him know there was nothing we could do that was good enough to make it right with God, that Jesus came and gave His life to pay the price we could never pay and give us a life we could never otherwise have.

Amazingly, his heart was pricked and I asked him if we could pray with him to receive Christ. After explaining that a little, the three of us took hands and we all three prayed. His prayer was repentant, genuine and moving. As the plane touched down on the runway he became a new creature in Christ, smiling, teary eyed and holding on to my wife’s hand all the way to the gate.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Posting Articles - Bailouts and Persecution

I feel like I am far behind the rest of the world in putting these blogs together. There are two articles that are before me that I feel are worth linking to and commenting. The first is from a financial site entitled "Mortgage Bailout Passes, Finally, Now What." The second is from J. Lee Grady of Charisma Magazine, entitled "In India, They Hack Christians to Pieces."

Now, what does the latter article has to do with the former? In Grady's sub-title he writes "Before you spend time fretting about the drop in the stock market, pray for Indian believers who have been attacked in the state of Orissa." The following quote, which is highlighted in the article is telling "While we are complaining about high gas prices in the United States, some Indian Christians are being doused with gasoline and set on fire." Indeed, we worry about bank bailouts literally hundreds of Indian Christians have lost everything -i.e., homes, possessions, their lives - simply because of their faith. This is truly suffering for the sake of righteousness.

Complaining about my inability to decorate this blog is insignificant in light of what our brothers and sisters are enduring in India's state of Orissa.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Obama Caller Seeking Donations

I've posted this story on about two or three different locations (if not more), but I still enjoy sharing it. I need to do this more often and confess that I do not do this enough. This is probably the best way to respond to those unsolicited phone calls that you receive at home with someone asking you for money or seeking your responses to a survey. Enjoy.

For more than two weeks in August, the Obama people had been calling our home looking for a donation. On Friday, August 15, a man was on the phone and asked for my wife. I told him she was not home and he hung up. They called again on Saturday, August 16, and I said I will keep them on the phone. This time it was a woman and she asked for my wife. I said this is her husband. She then started talking about victory in the primaries and the need for contributors. I told her that I am also receiving phone calls from the McCain campaign. Then, I told her I was not committed one way or the other.

I asked her about judicial nominees and she said Obama would pick someone who followed the Constitution (Sounds like I caught her in a lie).

Then, I asked her if I could ask her a few questions. I said, so what do you think it will take to get to Heaven. She said you have to be a good person. You have to be someone who believes in people and someone who believes in animals (huh?). She then talked about how a horrendous person whom she knew was a heroin addict and turned his life around and changed for the better. (nothing about faith in Christ, repentance etc.).

I then asked her if she was going to Heaven. She said, she did not know. I asked would you like to take a test. I referred her back to her good person comment and went through the good person test. Have you ever told a lie? Yes. What do you call a person who tells lies? Human. But would you call a person who told lies? When I was a child I would call them a liar.
I asked have you ever stolen something? She said when I was a kid I stole a comb. What does that make you, besides a Pittsburgh Steeler? A thief. Then I asked her about taking the Lord's name in vain and if she was ever angry with someone.

Next, I said, if you stand before God will you be innocent or guilty. She returned to this whole good person thing. She was really big on "reforming oneself." I then went straight to saying Jesus said that you must repent and put your trust in him. (whoops, I skipped a step. More practice needed).

She complained a little about trusting Jesus and I explained the difference between receiving Jesus and being a false convert. I used a person who prays a prayer then continues to go to strip bars as an example of a false convert. I talked about true repentance and referred her to Psalms 51. I also told her that feeding the homeless or going to a missions trip in Haiti will not save her. I talked about how salvation is a supernatural work and Jesus will change you from the inside.

I ended by letting her know that I appreciated her talking to me. She also indicated that she appreciated what I had to share. And after two weeks of calling my house everyday, the calls from the Obama campaign had ceased.

Finally My Own Blog

For nearly a year I wanted to set one of these things up, but it seems that I've been too busy to set one up. So finally, I have sat down to start a blog. For now, I am calling it a Warrior's Two-Edged Sword from Hebrews 4:12. I am an attorney. But more importantly, I hope that people recognize me by my faith. I would like to use this page to present my thoughts on matters of faith and the practice of law. Of course, you must understand that nothing on this page constitutes legal advice and should in no way be construed as a legal opinion, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

Rich