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


“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?” (

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.