Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mission Israel


It's hard to believe the time has come. After months of planning, meetings, and prayer the Living Waters team is heading to Israel. The purpose of this trip is to film footage for thirteen episodes of Season 5, of "The Way of the Master" television program. The trip will be conducted Ray Comfort style. In other words, it is going to be a non-stop, action-packed, ministry-filled ten days. And I'm sure it will be filled with surprises.

We leave for Israel tomorrow morning (Sunday), and we'll return Tuesday (May 10).

The Living Waters team will consist of a good portion of the Living Waters staff, professional camera, sound, and photo technicians, support personnel, and more than twenty friends of the ministry. The team will be divided into two groups--the Production Team and the Travel Team. The Production Team will consist of everyone directly involved in the production of the thirteen television episodes. The Travel Team will consist of friends of the ministry and members of the Living Waters staff who will shepherd the group on a tour of the Holy Land.

Chad Williams and I will serve as the mission correspondents. Chad will represent the Production Team and I will represent the Travel Team.

Time permitting, the two of us will write daily blog posts that will chronicle highlights from the mission trip. We hope to bring you, the reader, along with us, through the blog posts, as we walked where Jesus walked. We will try to post pictures and video whenever we can. Our hope is that these blog posts will serve to encourage you and motivate you to draw closer to Christ.

Please pray for the Living Waters team pray intentionally for us. Pray also for the members of the Living Waters team who will hold down the fort at headquarters while we are in Israel. And pray for our families.

Join us, now, for Mission Israel!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Logical Fallacy: (Straw-Man)

The "straw-man fallacy" simply put is a misrepresentation of a particular position. A detractor will erect a misrepresentation of his opponents view and then hack apart as if to stand over it and champion a victory! In reality there was no such victory to champion, there was no genuine engagement with the opponents views and the detractor has only succeeded at setting up and knocking down toy soldiers as-it-were while their real opposition remains fully intact and unscathed.

Examples:

"Well, you don't believe in science! You just fill in the blanks with the God of gaps."

"Since you are a Christian you believe that you should stone homosexuals!"

"Christianity is responsible for the crusades"

"like all religions, it is all about controlling the uneducated masses." (Jdiver)

*There are plenty of better examples out there...Have you had a straw-man thrown your way lately? Throw it in the comment section below.

Pictures Peeve Planned Parenthood Peddlers

I got a call from my sister. She had received word that representatives of Planned Parenthood, the government-funded organization responsible for an untold number of murders of pre-born children, were standing outside the local Whole Foods Market. They were thought to be collecting signatures for a petition.

According to my sister, the management of Whole Foods allegedly repeatedly asked them to leave, going as far as to make multiple calls to the local sheriff's station. The deputies who responded to the call allegedly told the store's management that there was nothing they could do because the Planned Parenthood representatives were on "public property." (The location is actually private property open to the public.)

My sister asked me to go to Whole Foods to see what I could do.

Well, I knew what I couldn't do. I couldn't make them leave. As unconscionable and indefensible as Planned Parenthood's pro-murder operation is, they have the same constitutional rights as any other citizen in the United States. But what I could do was go to the market and try to share the gospel with them.

My youngest daughter, Amanda, went with me.

As Amanda and I pulled into the parking lot, we saw a young woman, probably in her early twenties, standing outside the front doors of the store and holding a clipboard. I parked the car and Amanda and I prayed.

We walked up to the girl and said hello.

Her name was Jenani [sic]. I introduced myself and explained to her that I maintain a YouTube channel and a blog. I asked her if I could interview her about her activity outside the store.

She said that since she worked for Planned Parenthood she could not talk to the media without the permission of the national office.

I told her I understood and asked her if we could have a conversation. She said yes.

I told her that I was "pro-life." I asked her if she could explain to me, in a minute or so, why I should be pro-choice. Her response was the standard "woman's right to choose" and "a woman's control of her own body" argument.

She maintained that the baby in the womb was only a "potential human" until it could survive on it's own. When I explained to her that life saving surgeries are performed on baby's as young as twenty-one weeks, she maintained that while that was true a baby that young was not human if the mother didn't want the baby.

So, according to this employee of Planned Parenthood, human life and viability is determined by the choice of the mother, not by whether or not the baby is actually alive in the womb.

We had talked for several minutes when another young woman, not much older than Jenani, marched out of the store.

"I've been watching you from inside the store!" She barked. "We're trying to do a job, here; so why don't you just leave!"

"Well, if you have the right to exercise your freedom of speech, here, so do I." I answered.

"Well, I'm her supervisor; so I'm going to order her not to talk to you!"

I looked at the supervisor and asked, "Doesn't she have the right to choose?"

The supervisor, getting angrier by the minute, said, "Shouldn't you be in front of a Planned Parenthood holding a big picture of a bloody fetus?"

I paused for a moment, and in a quiet voice, said, "Wow. What a rude, intolerant, and judgmental thing to say. I've never stood in front of a Planned Parenthood (not that that would be wrong)."

I asked Jenani why they were collecting signatures. "We're not." She said. "We're collecting donations. Planned Parenthood has lost $19 million in government funding."

"Good." I thought.

A customer walked out of the store and said to me, "I think I probably agree with you." She then began to speak her mind to Jenani regarding the terrible wrong that is abortion.

Amanda and I stood quietly and listened. Then it dawned on me. I was in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy. And I was under no obligation to adhere to Planned Parenthood's policies regarding "media contact" with their minions.

So, I pulled my camera out of my bag and readied to take a picture of the supervisor. Had you seen her reaction, you would have thought I was about to throw a bucket of water on the Wicked Witch of the West (cue memorable old movie scene).

Although Jenani reacted by trying to hold her clipboard in front of my camera, she was slower than my trigger finger.


"We can't be in the media!" They both yelled.

"This is a public place, so I can take pictures if I choose." I calmly replied.

The two women walked into the store.

Amanda and I stood there for a few minutes when something else dawned on me.

"Amanda, you know what?"

"What?"

"While they're in the store, they're not collecting money for Planned Parenthood."

We both smiled.

"So I think we're just going to stand here for a while." I said.

I looked inside the store and I could see that the supervisor was on the phone--presumably with either the sheriff's department or someone from Planned Parenthood.

A few minutes later, the two women walked out of the store and collected some things they had left lying on the ground. They didn't say a word; and I didn't say anything to them.  They walked into the parking lot, got into a car, and drove away.

While I had hoped to share the gospel with the women, the trip to the Whole Foods Market was not in vain. The manager of the store couldn't get the minions of Molech to leave.  The deputies didn't believe they had the authority to make them leave. And while my intent was not to make the women leave, I'm glad they did. Maybe the result was a little less blood money into the coffers of the greatest enemy to unborn children.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hollywood Conversions

Most of the world is enamored with big-name celebrities. This is, of course, tempered a little for the average Christian. We pray for their salvation, not just for their sake, but because we know that their conversion could potentially influence millions with the gospel. But such conversions are very few and far between. It is not that God is not willing to save the really big-name celebrities. He's just not aware of any, because God is "no respecter of persons." 

There may be another reason for the dearth of Christians among top celebrities. God resists the proud, and Hollywood sure is filled with puffed-up people. Actors crave the world's praise. Of course, a self-centered pride isn't unique to Hollywood. It's human nature to want to be the center of attention. But celebrities have an even greater strike against them. Successful actors are usually talented, good-looking, and very self-assured. They are therefore not the sort who will naturally gravitate toward the humility of Christianity. So if you are looking for a group of people who are far from God, don't look to the primitive tribes of the Amazon with bones through their noses. Instead, look to the proud and godless tribes that inhabit the dark jungle that is Hollywood. 

Greg Elsasser is a good friend who was recently invited to attend a Hollywood dinner, given in honor of the very gifted Barbara Streisand. She was praised that night by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Faith Hill, Prince, President Clinton, Bill Maher, BeBe Winans, Herbie Hancock, LeAnn Rimes and more. Clips were screened showing highlights of her many contributions to film, theater, and music. It took ten minutes just to list all her awards and accolades. 

Finally, after several hours of worship and praise, Barbara Streisand stood up, and the first thing that came out of her mouth was blasphemy. She not only neglected to thank God for her many gifts, she used His holy name in place of a cuss word, and added, "I love music for what it does for the soul. It lets me express myself when I have no other outlet." 

She did acknowledge an afterlife, saying that someday when we stand at the gates of Heaven, our acceptance won't be based on "how much we've been loved but on how much we've loved others." 

Let's imagine for a moment that Barbara is right. How deep must our love be to merit everlasting life? Is it God who is doing the daily love-measuring, from which He will make a judgment as to whether or not we get in? 

If she's right and a deep love for others is the criteria to earn eternal life, then few Hollywood celebs will make it. Their love seems to be a little shallow. Most have left a trail of failed relationships and ruined marriages, and been involved in angry, bitter divorces.

Still, I can't help but think how wonderful it would be if this talented, aging Jewish woman stood up and told this world that she had found the Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth. That would certainly squash the praises. And how good would it be to hear her say that everlasting life has nothing to do with our deeds but comes only by the mercy of God, and that's available only to those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ alone! 



For further information about Hollywood and God, see Hollywood Be Thy Name and What Hollywood Believes. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Logical Fallacy: (Taxi-Cab Fallacy)


What is the Taxi-Cab Fallacy?

The “Taxi-Cab Fallacy” is committed when one hops in and assumes a certain system of thought or worldview in an attempt to make a particular point but then jumps out of the system of thought when it suits their fancy. Such practice lacks logical consistency and is therefore a logical fallacy.

A detractor of the Christian worldview cannot hop into the Christian system of thought by erecting an objection grounded in the Bible and then demand an answer be given without the use of a Bible.  Again, they cannot appeal to the Bible in raising their question and then insist we throw our Bible out of the equation when we give an answer!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

May They No Longer Be Strangers

Yesterday, Marissa and I went to the North Hollywood Metro Station so that I could read Matthew 26-28 as part of the Project Ezra: Mission Good Friday outreach.

When we arrived, the area outside the subway station was alive with activity. There were many people waiting to catch buses, and just as many people hanging out. If you're interested in seeing video footage of our time at NoHo, please click here.

I began by explaining to the people within the sound of my voice why I was there and what I was about to do. By this time, Marissa moved to a concrete planter about fifty feet away where she sat down next to two young ladies who seemed close to Marissa's age.

I read Matthew 26-28 aloud. As I read, I couldn't help but notice that the two girls sitting next to Marissa seemed to listen intently. It was as if they were hearing the story for the first time. When I open-air preach, I always scan the crowd for those who seem most attentive. Finding such people amongst crowds of hecklers and the indifferent is an encouragement and it serves to motivate me to preach with more compassion, conviction, and clarity. I also look for the attentive in the crowd, with the hope of having conversations with them when I have finished preaching.

Once I finished reading, I began to preach the Law and the Gospel. As I took the crowd through the Law, a very large Hispanic man wearing a rosary approached me. He didn't say anything, but he seemed very agitated as he paced around me.

Several minutes later he returned, as I called the people to repent and believe the gospel. As you will see in the video, he leaned toward me and pointed his finger at me. In a hushed and angry tone he repeatedly said, "You're a fool, and your hope ends here!" I would later learn from a Christian named James who was encouraged by the preaching, and who had overheard the angry Hispanic man talking to another man down the street, that the two men were plotting to "club" me.

The man accused me of disrespecting Roman Catholics. I asked him why he was wearing a cross around his neck (not that there is anything inherently sinful about that; but the man was threatening me while wearing a cross). He would not answer.

The man's anger revealed that something in the preaching of the Law and the Gospel got a little too close for comfort; too close to the religion he thought would save him; too close to the god he had created in his own mind. Since that was where he wanted to wage battle against the Gospel, that was the issue I began to address in my preaching. The man eventually walked away. The encounter with the man seemed demonic.

As I try to do every time I preach in the open-air, I thanked the crowd for listening and I offered a free Bible to anyone who wanted one. The two girls sitting next to Marissa immediately got up and walked toward me. They both wanted Bibles. Their names were Juliandra (17) and Xiomara (19). I told Xiomara (often pronounced "Samara") that I thought her name was pretty and that I had never before heard that name. I asked her if she knew the origin and meaning of her name. She said the name had several meanings, but didn't share what they were.

I asked the girls, who had sat for more than forty minutes to hear the reading of the Word and the preaching of the Gospel, what they thought of what they heard.

"We grew up Catholic. And, oh, you didn't say anything to offend Catholics. I don't know what that guy's problem was." Xiomara said. "People our age are clueless. When we go to church what we hear just doesn't make sense. What you said made sense." Juliandra, quiet during much of the conversation, nodded her head.

Xiomara looked at my cross, which was leaning against a nearby tree. "I think I've seen you before." She said. "Do you ever carry the cross in Santa Clarita."

"I've lived in Santa Clarita for more than twenty years. I've been going out with the cross for a couple of years, now, hoping to have conversations like the one we're having."

"I knew it!" Xiomara exclaimed. "My boyfriend and I were driving through Santa Clarita a couple weeks ago. He lives in Saugus. We saw you on a corner and my boyfriend looked at me and asked, 'Are you ready?' We talked about it a lot after that."

"Well, ladies, it's not a coincidence that we met today."

"I know." Xiomara said.

"Do you believe what you heard today is true?" I asked them.

Both of them nodded their head and said yes.

"Is there any reason why you wouldn't turn from your sin, turn to God, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?" I asked. "Is there any sin in your life that you love so much that you are willing to die and go to Hell, so you can enjoy that sin in this life?"

Both girls said no.

"Then repent and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior." I said.

"I think I'm doing that right now." Xiomara said. "But I'm scared."

"Why are you scared?"

"I'm afraid that Jesus still won't accept me."

I explained to the girls the amazing qualities of God's grace, mercy, and love. I shared with them about the assurance of salvation they could enjoy--not because of anything they might do, but because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross.

For some reason, my attention was drawn to Juliandra.

"There is no sin you have ever committed that is beyond Christ's shed blood on the cross to cover or His ability to forgive. His grace is sufficient for you. Turn to Christ and live. He will set you free. Life won't be perfect. God doesn't promise that. But He does promise a perfect joyful life in His presence, in Heaven, forever. And knowing that we will one-day be with Him forever is what makes life here not just bearable. We can experience His joy."

Both girls wore dark sunglasses. But even through the darkened lenses, I could see tears in their eyes.

I asked the girls if it would be all right if I prayed for them. They said yes. And together we bowed our heads in prayer. I asked the Lord to save them. I asked the Lord to bring them to repentance and faith. I asked the Lord to protect them from anyone or anything that would distract them from the critically important matters about which we were speaking.

I gave each girl my business card and invited them to contact me if they had any questions. I assured them that I would be praying for them. They have been on my heart and mind much, ever since.

We shook hands. The girls thanked me. And they walked away. It was an extraordinary encounter--one I believe was ordained by God.

I did some research on Xiomara's name when I got home. Her name is Greek in origin and means "stranger," or "guest." Interesting.

My prayer for both Xiomara and Juliandra is that they will no longer be strangers to the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, may they rather be sojourners in this land as they await being translated to a glorified state, in the presence of the King--forever guests in His mansion and at His table.

Yes, may they no longer be strangers. Maybe the Lord has already accomplished this--causing them to be born again and extending to them the precious gifts of repentance, faith, and eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Another Dimension to the Resurrection

By Stuart Scott

We are all familiar with the story of the resurrection… but there is a fascinating insight that is not widely spoken of, that will add a new dimension to your understanding.

The following verses describe the scene as Peter and John reached the sepulcher after being told a fantastic story by the returning women that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead.

To Mary, the angel said:

"Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him" (Mark 16:6).

Speaking of Peter and John:

"So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.
 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet he did not go in.
 Then came Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and saw the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed" (John 20:4-8).

I had always wondered a little about John's immediate belief that Jesus had risen from the dead upon simply seeing only a cloth and a folded napkin lying in the tomb where the body had lain. That is, until I heard Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith talk on the subject. (You can hear his teaching at the website dedicated to him and listen to the audio entitled Time and Creation)



Dr. Wilder-Smith brought up the point that the biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus exhibited an extra-dimensionality to His resurrected body in the following manner.

"And after this Joseph of Arimathaea… besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then they took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury" (John 19:38-40).

1) Myrrh is a very fragrant gummy resin the Jews turned into a powder.
2) Aloes is a powder produced from the fragrant sandalwood tree.

The two-component compound when mixed would produce a very fragrant and sticky mixture that was used to counter the stench of a decaying body and in-case the body with wrappings, as was the manner of the Jews at the time. They would have washed the body of blood and dirt and packed this mixture around the body of Jesus. The sticky mixture would also act like a glue to coat the strips of linen they wrapped around the body and the cloth around his head. The myrrh and aloes mixture would then harden like concrete forming a shell or cocoon around the body and head of Jesus.

So when Jesus rose from the dead, His physical body not only came back to life; He was changed in a new way altogether. He not only moved and breathed as He had before; but He took on a whole new dimension as well; an eternal dimension that was not restricted by the restraints of mortal men. We don’t know all the particulars of that eternal dimension; but whatever it is, it transcends the boundaries of our physical existence and He just simply came right through the cloths without disturbing them, leaving an empty cocoon behind.

When Peter and John saw the empty shell of the body and head, yet intact and unbroken; they knew that something remarkable had happened; and went home wondering and amazed at the things that had been reported to them. Had Jesus indeed risen from the dead? It seemed the only possible explanation. In just a short while though, Jesus would confirm their wonder and amazement Himself.


Some Points To Ponder:

The Scriptures confirm that the extra-dimensionality of Jesus’ resurrected body was able to transcend the physical dimensions of space.

For instance the account of the two on the road to Emmaus; Jesus apparently disappeared right before their eyes (Luke 24:31). Jesus also appeared to the disciples in the upper room when the doors were closed. And it so startled them that they thought he was a ghost. Again, eight days latter, He appeared in the room where the disciples were, Thomas present, behind closed doors. He simply appeared in the room, and the walls or closed door did not prevent Him (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:26).

Jesus simply passed through or over the walls and door like you would step over a two dimensional line on the ground. Because we live in three dimensions, a two-dimensional line cannot hold us; you just step over the line.

In the same way, though it appeared to the disciples that Jesus vanished in one place and appeared in another, in reality, He simply had the capabilities of a new dimension, one which not only included our three dimensions of space, but also transcended them.

Jesus, though He did not appear to be in the room when Thomas said that he would not believe unless he put his finger in the Lord's nail prints and his hand in his side, had in fact been there and observed every word he said. Afterward, when the Lord appeared again to Thomas as well, the Lord repeated his words and Thomas believed.

Now think of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20. He said where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Jesus said that He was preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3); a body, if you will, like His.

Think of what Jesus said to Thomas when He appeared the second time.

"And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace be unto you.' Then said he to Thomas, 'Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said unto him, 'My Lord and my God.'

"Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.'

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 
But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name" (John 20:26-31).

It wasn't just the physical dimensions of space and time that Jesus transcended; it was the boundaries of life and death as well. Jesus rose from the dead, and because He lives, we can have life for evermore.

"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11).

"Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we know not where you are going; and how can we know the way?'
 Then Jesus said to him; 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:5-6).

Modern Day Holocaust (Abortion)

Today Ray and I (Chad) will go to one of the local SoCal colleges intent on changing minds and sharing the Gospel truth with women that are pro-abortion and/or indifferent to the modern day holocaust that is taking place as I write and as you process these words in your mind.

As many of you know, the LW team has been working on a documentary involving Hitler, interviews with Neo-Nazis, the holocaust and so much more; but I can't reveal the specifics just yet. You simply would not believe how many people there are amongst us that have no clue who Hitler is! Even with help and prompting the following words "Uh, is he an actor" have come straight from the mouth of one of our most recent interviews on a college campus. The purpose of Ray's documentary is mutli-faceted. A natural by-product in researching and thinking about the holocaust of the past that is now in the rear-view mirror has been the modern day holocaust that is storming this world with destruction of human life every .75 seconds! In just the U.S. alone it happens approximately every 23 seconds and 3,700+ times a day. Include the rest of the world, and we are looking at 42,000,000 silent screams a year! It's horrible!

For those that attempt to play the part of little gods and think they are the determiner of God's design and created order, I would like you to meet Samuel Armas who is now a young man! The below photo was shot by Michael Clancy who was hired by USA Today to capture photos of what went on that day (August, 19, 1999) in the operating room as 21-week-old Samuel thrust his hand into the air!

Here is glimpse of Clancy's perspective during those precious moments in the operating room:

"As a doctor asked me what speed of film I was using, out of the corner of my eye I saw the uterus shake, but no one's hands were near it. It was shaking from within. Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening, then pulled back until just a little hand was showing. The doctor reached over and lifted the hand, which reacted and squeezed the doctor's finger. As if testing for strength, the doctor shook the tiny fist. Samuel held firm. I took the picture! Wow! It happened so fast that the nurse standing next to me asked, "What happened?" "The child reached out," I said. "Oh. They do that all the time," she responded."

Please lift us up in prayer as Ray and I go out this morning with a message of God-given human value here on earth and a love that offers the hope and promise of eternal life to those that "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name!" (John 20:31)


Related Article: (Tip on combating abortion) Trotting in the Toddler

Posted By: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"

 ___________________________________
Clancy's site: http://www.michaelclancy.com/story.html

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Project Ezra: Mission Good Friday

What is Project Ezra?

Project Ezra is an outreach of Living Waters' Ambassadors' Alliance. The mission of Project Ezra is to encourage, equip, and mobilize born again followers of Christ, from around the world, to read the Word of God in public.

The History of Project Ezra

Project Ezra began a week before Easter, 2009. While reading my Bible one afternoon, I read: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). As I read that verse, I was reminded of the account found in Nehemiah 8:1-8, where Ezra gathers the nation Israel and, for hours, reads the Law of God to the people. And then the thought came to my mind: “What if people around the world gathered on Good Friday to read the account of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?”

So, with only a few days for people to prepare, I called on my friends on Facebook to join me on Good Friday to read Matthew 26:1-28:20 aloud, in the open-air. The response was amazing. More than 170 people from more than 30 states and several foreign countries participated in the first “Mission Good Friday.” Even more exciting were the testimonies that poured in after the event. Many of the people who participated had never open-air preached. Having stepped so far out of their comfort zones to stand on a box in public and read the Bible aloud, a number of people reported that “Mission Good Friday” was the catalyst and encouragement they needed to try preaching the gospel in the open-air.

The next Project Ezra event was “Sermon on the Mount Saturday,” which was held on May 23, 2009. Once again, more than 170 people from around the world participated. More amazing testimonies came in, with many accounts of people breaking the evangelism sound barrier, as they read God’s Word in the open-air.

"Sermon on the Mount Saturday" was followed by “The True Gift of Christmas,” where once again teams of Christians, from around the country and around the world, gathered to read the Word of God in public. This time the reading was the entire Gospel of John. Once again, many participants broke the sound barrier, sharing the gospel in the open-air for the first time.

Since then, Christians have taken to the street at least once a week or more to read the Word of God in the open-air.

Project Ezra is now led by Dan Beaudoin, an Ambassadors' Academy graduate and one of the leaders of the NorCal Seedsowers.

Join the Effort!

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Unfortunately, the sometimes all-too-pagan Earth Day coincides with this year's special day of remembrance for Christians around the world--a day when Christians remember the loving and sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. One way you can turn the hearts and minds of people away from worshiping the Earth to worshiping the God who created the Earth is by joining us for the third annual Mission Good Friday.

Simply go to the Project Ezra Facebook page and request to join the team.  Then post on the Facebook page wall where you plan to read Matthew 26-28 aloud, in public.  Dan Beaudion will then add your name to the Mission Good Friday map.  I will be reading in Santa Clarita, CA

I hope you will join me, along with Dan and the rest of the Project Ezra team, to lift up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ tomorrow, on Good Friday, and every week until the Lord returns.

Should Christians Question the Salvation of Others?

This article was revised, edited, and expanded (04-21-11, 1530 hrs).

Our Customer Service Representatives at Living Waters do a phenomenal job providing answers to questions varying from information regarding Living Waters resources to weighty theological questions. They are not counselors, but they do their very best to answer the call to give answers for the hope that is within them, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

One of our CSR's recently entered into a protracted email discussion with a man named Gary. I was asked to join the conversation. I asked Gary to summarize his question for me. Gary wanted to know if Christians should ever question the authenticity of the salvation of other professing Christians. Gary wrote, "I am talking only about saved individuals -- real confession and belief per Rom 10:4-13, the object of their faith the Real Jesus. Is anything else needed for salvation?"

Here's the answer I gave him:

Gary,

The short answer to your question is, yes.

There is something critically important and essential beyond a verbal declaration of faith in Christ, beyond one's own perceived sincerity regarding their confession and belief, that is necessary for salvation.  Many people sincerely believe they are Christians who deny the truth of God's Word, who deny the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and who deny the just and holy character of God.

What is this critically important and essential element? In a word, it's conversion, which is something only God can accomplish in a person’s life.  The undeniable truth is that those who are soundly saved, those who have been converted by God, are born again--not because of what a person says or does (although every person is responsible to repent and believe), but because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross.  They are people who have repented of their sin and believed, by faith alone, in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  And they continue to repent and continue to believe by the wonder-working power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within them.

We must remember that without the shedding of Christ’s blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22b). Unless a person is born again, born from above, they will not enter the kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3, 7). Unless a person is saved by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 1:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7), they will perish in their sins and spend eternity in Hell as the just punishment for their sins, regardless of the verbal profession of faith they have made. Those who do not repent, turn from their sin and turn toward God, will perish (Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32; Luke 13:1-5; Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30; Acts 26:19-20).  Christ alone receives the glory for the Christian's salvation.

Salvation is of the Lord (Psalm 3:8; John 1:12-13; John 6:44; Hebrews 5:9-10). There is salvation in no other (Acts 4:12). God alone is sovereign and omniscient.  And, in the end, only God knows with 100% certainty who is saved and who is not.

You and I, Gary, do not know the true condition of anyone's heart. We likely do not know our own hearts as well as we might think. And no one other than the Lord Himself knows perfectly the true conditions of our hearts. I shouldn’t presume to know your heart, and you shouldn’t presume to know mine. And we shouldn’t presume to know the hearts of others. That being said, there are millions of people around the world who would say, “I’ve really confessed Jesus as Lord. I’ve really put my faith and trust in Jesus as my Savior. I believe in the real Jesus.” Yet they might not be saved. They might not be converted. Again, salvation is not based on what a person says and does. Salvation is of the Lord, according to His sovereign and gracious work in a person's life (1 Peter 1:2-3).

The fact that a person professes faith in Christ does not mean that we must take them at their word, simply because the words come out of their mouth. At the same time, no person has the right or authority to declare another person saved or unsaved, simply because of what the other person says or does. The question, then, is not so much are other people saved. The question, then, is do we believe they are saved. Are we obligated to believe someone is saved simply because they say they are saved? The answer to that question is, no.

Should we extend grace to others when it comes to their inherent human frailties? Yes (Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:1-3). Should we give those we see as our brothers and sisters in Christ the benefit of the doubt regarding the genuineness of their profession of faith in Christ? Yes (Romans 14:10-13; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5).

However, as Jesus discerned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees of his day, so too Christians are called to discern, to the extent we are able, true converts from false converts.  After all, we will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-19).  That being said, we should not set out arbitrarily or with malice in our heart to separate the weeds from the wheat, because in doing so we may injure the wheat--we may hurt those who are truly saved by causing them to doubt their salvation (Matthew 13:24-30).

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul goes as far as to say that those who profess to know Jesus Christ yet are practicing immorality should be put out of the church (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). James makes it clear that those whose faith does not produce good works possess not a living, but a dead faith (James 2:14-26). Jesus declared that those who are in willful, unrepentant sin should be removed from the church and treated as unbelievers (Matthew 18:15-17). And the writer of Hebrews warns that those who profess faith in Christ yet sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, those who willfully disobey God, should live with a terrible expectation of judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31). All of these admonitions are pointed at people who claim to know God. With the exception of the Pharisees, the rest of the people spoken to in the before-mentioned passages were people who professed to know Christ.

Jesus taught that we should judge, not by appearances, but with right judgment (John 7:24). By appearances, Jesus means that we should not judge people by setting one person over another or one people group over another. There is no caste system in Christianity. There are no “haves” and “have nots” in Christianity. There are no divisions between the worthy and the unworthy in Christianity. That being said, by appearances, Jesus does not mean we should not judge the behavior of others. Jesus affirms this in John 15:1-11.

In the end, Gary, what we as Christians should be doing when we see a professing follower of Christ in willful and habitual sin, or when we hear a professing follower of Christ spouting false doctrines or affirming a false gospel; we should speak the truth in love to them (Ephesians 4:15-16). We should lovingly encourage them to examine themselves and test themselves to see whether or not they are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Again, we do not have the right or authority to declare someone saved or unsaved. But we do have the freedom, even the obligation, to warn people to question the authenticity of their faith in Christ if they are not bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8); if they are not exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit as a way of life (Galatians 5:22-24); if they are living a life of wanton sin (Hebrews 10:26); if they are refusing to repent (Matthew 18:15-17); and if they are claiming to know Christ while believing a gospel other than that which is proclaimed in the Scriptures (Galatians 1:6-9). To do otherwise, to simply turn a blind eye to the hypocritical life example of another in deference to their verbal profession of faith in Christ is to be unloving to our brother. We must love both the true convert and the false convert more than that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Comfort for Dummies

My TV co-host, Kirk Cameron, passed me his cell phone so that I could speak to his eight-year-old daughter. He said that she had been laughing a lot as she read my book 101 of the Dumbest Things People Have Done. I'm the book's main character, and she said that her favorite incident was when I made a four-year-old Asian boy laugh. I told him to look up, and when he did I gave him a gentle tap under the chin. He loved it (I'm great with kids). When he then told me to look up, I played along with him. I love making kids happy, so I smiled as I gazed heavenward and waited in anticipation for his gentle under-the-chin tap. He karate-chopped my throat! 

When she asked if I had done as many dumb things as the book said, I told her that every word was true, and that I could easily begin Volume Two. 

That afternoon we were filming post-production for our television program. We had traveled to 13 European countries in 13 days to film 13 episodes, and I had penned the "Vienna" script. I loved Vienna and had fond memories of it, despite the blur of going to so many countries in such a short time. So I had skillfully woven in the fact that even though the 400 gondolas in the city were popular with tourists, the locals preferred taxis. 

As we began filming, Kirk asked, "Isn't Venice the city that has gondolas and canals?" We quickly changed the script and carried on filming. 

I had also skillfully used venetian blinds as an allegory for the blindness of a godless world—how, as a team of evangelists, we wanted to "open the shutters and let the light of the gospel come to the locals." But for some reason Kirk questioned my blind metaphor. Sure enough, venetian blinds originated in Venice. Duh. 

Later that day I laughed with my staff about the incident. I'm close to each of them—knowing each staff member personally is important to me. Then I said, "I hope your wife has a safe delivery, Chad." He responded, "I'm Brad." I knew that. As Kirk dropped me off at home, he smiled and said, "I'll be sure to tell my daughter about today." 

The next day I watched as Chad (not Brad) addressed envelopes in his office. He was in his twenties, had little to do with "snail mail," and was therefore handwriting the address in the wrong place on the envelope. It was way too high and lacked the professional look for which we strive. There was a dry-erase board beside him on his desk, so I picked it up, cleaned it with one swish of my hand, then grabbed a marker and drew a rectangle to show him where the address was supposed to go. Now he could see at a glance exactly where the address should be placed for the rest of the envelopes. Excellence is that for which I strive, and I want our staff to do the same. 

His eyes widened and jaw dropped as he pointed to the erased board. That's where he had written the addresses he was transferring onto envelopes! I picked up the board and looked at the addresses that were now nothing but powder on the palm of my stupid hand. Then I touched the rectangle I had just drawn and noticed that I had used a permanent marker. So now Chad had a permanent reminder of where to put the addresses he no longer had. 

A few days later, I told Sue that because of the high cost of gas, I was going to secretly fill up the van in which five of the staff members travel to work. I said not to tell a soul, because the Bible says to give "in secret." If anyone even suspected that I had driven the van to the gas station, they would conclude it was me, and my giving wouldn't be in secret. 

I quietly told her to, without anyone seeing her, bring me the spare keys for the van. She came back and whispered that they weren't where they were supposed to be, and that I would have to ask Mike for his set. I gingerly approached Mike and quietly asked, "Do you have the keys to the van?" Mike's a biker, and he has a good strong voice. He said, "I don't have the keys to the van" loud enough for Ron to hear him as he walked by, and as he was walking down the stairs he called back, "Miguel has the van keys, Ray!" Mike then said, "You will have to get them from Mark" because Miguel was working from his home that day. 

In a matter of seconds, my secret was now known by Mike, Ron, all the customer service representatives, and anyone else within a two-mile radius. I walked into Mark's office, gently asked for the keys, and walked out into the parking lot toward the van. 

By now Ron was in the parking lot, no doubt wondering why I was heading toward a van I never drive. Scotty was doing his daily workout and watching me as I walked to the vehicle. I took no notice and opened the van door to quietly sneak out and fill it with gas. Suddenly its stupid alarm went off, sending me into a wild panic. It was so loud Sue came running out of the building to see what was happening and Scotty immediately burst into a song my son-in-law had written about me doing dumb things. It's called "Ray Comfort's in Town," and talks about how, when everything is breaking, and everyone is left aching, that there's no mistaking, Ray Comfort's in town. 

I ignored Scotty's silly song, Sue staring at me, Ron and any of the neighbors who may have been looking, turned the deafening alarm off, jumped into the van, turned on the ignition and noticed that the gas tank was on "full"! 

I walked back up the stairs, into Mark's office, tossed the van keys onto his desk, and said, "Here's some cash for gas," and walked out with the knowledge that I had more material for Volume Two. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is Saturday Sabbath an Obligation?

No, for at least three reasons.

Firstly, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ nowhere in the NT is the early church recorded as affirming the Saturday Sabbath. Quite contrary the early followers of Christ are recorded as gathering on the first day of the week "Sunday."

Secondly, only 9 of the "10 Commandments" are repeated in Scripture after Christ's finished work on cross in Whom we have the ultimate rest, restoration and liberation from sin! Can you take a guess which one is not repeated? Jesus Christ did not do away with the 4th Commandment, rather He is the fulfillment and One we have eternal rest in!

Thirdly, If you only hang onto one of these reasons let it be this one here! Again, if you are ever challenged to "given an answer" remember the following!  Two places in Scripture Paul clearly spelled out that we are not to let anyone judge us regarding Sabbath keeping and let every man be fully convinced in his own mind as to whether we esteem one day above another or all the same (Col. 2:16; Rom. 14:5).

You better memorize those two Scriptures! You will be confronted with this in street evangelism, you will call upon these Scriptures, and you will be happy that you learned them! Below I have provided FREE mp3 clickable downloads, ready for your itunes library, ipod/iphone/droid ect.

Simply Click The Links Below For Download:



Quote: "If those who insist on keeping the Sabbath were as zealous about the salvation of the lost as they are about other Christians keeping the Sabbath, we would see revival."
-Ray Comfort, Evidence Bible p.1552


*If you found this to be helpful please share it with others via Facebook, Twitter, Email below. Thank you and God Bless!

Alex at Cerritos College

Was Jesus Sinless?

Often times in street evangelism it is forgotten to make much of the Person Jesus Christ. We take the time to work through the commandments and correctly articulate the justice and judgment that sin calls for but; we forget to emphasize the nature and character of Jesus Christ.

For this particular post let us focus our attention upon the "Sinless Nature of Christ." You know that Jesus was sinless but have you hidden those Scriptures in your heart? If asked on the street to produce Scriptural proof right now, could you do it from memory?

The apostle Peter affirmed: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." (1 Pet. 2:22)

The author of Hebrews wrote: "[He] was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15)

The apostle Paul declared: "For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21)

Jesus Himself challenged his detractors: "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" (Jn. 8:46) They couldn't do it.

I cannot fully express how important it is for us to memorize Scripture! It is God's living Word (Heb. 4:12)! King David "The Man After God's Own Heart" wrote: "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You" (Ps. 119:11). The apostle Peter exhorts us all to "always be ready to give an answer" (1 Pet. 3:15). Our answer MUST have it's roots in Scripture first!

With that said, what is the best way to memorize Scripture? Repetition! When I was a Navy SEAL we had a way of being the best at everything we did and that way was repetition! We would practice loading our weapons, reacting to malfunctions, zeroing in on a target, entering buildings for close quarters combat COUNTLESS times until it became an automatic function of muscle memory! As Christians we are called to be soldiers of Christ (2 Tim. 2:3)! We are to be the Navy SEALs of "The Great Commission" armed with "[weapons] not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4-6).

So what is the best way to be a Navy SEAL of the Scriptures? I personally record myself saying whatever Scripture it is that I intend to memorize, then I loop it over and over on one track, convert it to mp3 in "itunes" and then load it onto my "ipod." From there I will do the bulk of my training while on my way "to and from" work in the car. I also have a water-poof casing and headphones for my ipod so I will do some training in the pool/hot-tub at my apartment complex too. There are two ways you can listen to your ipod in your car:

1. Auxiliary cord that hooks directly into your car through an Aux-input and headphone jack of your ipod (Only newer cars have this functionality).

2. ipod-adapter which will plug into you cigarette lighter.

I want to make this as easy as I can for you folks and offer you something I wish already existed. I have uploaded my recordings for the previous proof texts of Jesus' sinless nature, converted them to mp3, and made them available as a FREE & "clickable download" below!  In other words, these Scriptures are ready to be downloaded into your itunes and loaded onto your ipod/iphone. Lets go, lets do this, memorize these and I promise you will find yourself calling upon them in your street evangelism... You won't regret it!

Click The Links Below To Download The Audio

1 Peter 2:22
Hebrews 4:15
2 Cor. 5:21
John 8:46

*If you found this to be helpful please share it with others via Facebook, Twitter, Email below. Thank you and God Bless!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rightly Divided, with Lane Chaplin

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who Made God?

The most common context in which the old who made God question comes in is after a detractor of the faith concedes that the universe has not always existed but, had a beginning! So picking up the conversation from there the Christian will point out that the universe could not have just popped into existence uncaused out of absolute nothingness! It is cause and effect (science 101), the universe (effect) must have a cause (God) that brought about it's existence. God (caused) the universe (effect) to exist, cause and effect! In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It is science 101 meets Genesis 1:1. 

In typical fashion and swagger the detractor will then parrot the infamous "Ok then who made God?"

By just asking the question who made God, the detractor has revealed that they don't really understand what they are asking, for if they had, they never would have honestly asked the question to begin with. We must illuminate and reiterate the point previously made, for this is where the conversation will be most fruitful. So tell them that by definition your question is malformed. Ask them if they understand why? Then help them!

The question itself is a category mistake. God by definition has always existed! More to the point, God is not an effect that requires a cause! No, He has always existed, uncaused! Break it down some more and show why the question is a category mistake by unveiling what they ask -if they intend to properly represent God- is what caused that which is uncaused? Have more examples ready: Who made that which was never-made/always-existed? It is equivalent to asking: What is the name of the married bachelor? It is a category mistake. Bachelors are single (non-married) men and God is the Infinite uncaused Cause. God by definition has always existed.


Posted By: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"

Rob Bell’s Bad News for Jews

I watched a lot of holocaust footage while researching for, Hitler, God, and the Bible and its accompanying “Hitler’s Religion” DVD. I read eye-witness accounts of families of Jews being shot, and some of them buried while still alive. I stared through tear-filled eyes at photos of innocent Jewish women (some in their teens) being paraded through the streets, and then hung publicly. They weren’t given the mercy of a quick drop to break the neck. Instead, thin rope was deliberately used to make the hanging last longer. The photos show other Jews being made to watch, and German soldiers smiling as they dangled by the rope. 

Jews were made to pull teeth from the dead bodies of their fellow countrymen that had been gassed, and extract gold. The corpses were then thrown into ovens for cremation. If gold was missed, those doing the extracting were thrown alive into the ovens. 

Adolf Hitler systematically and cruelty slaughtered six million men, women, and children in the horror we call the “holocaust.” After the war, Hitler shot himself, and many Nazis fled to the haven of Argentina to happily live out the rest of their days without being brought to justice. 

In Love Wins, Rob Bell informs us that the Bible’s references to a place called "Hell"--are speaking of nothing more than Gehenna, the burning trash heap outside Jerusalem, during the time of Christ. Instead of justice, love wins, and Hitler will be in Heaven along with every evil unrepentant Nazi who threw Jews alive into ovens, buried them while still alive in mass graves, tortured, raped, and murdered so many. Enjoying the pleasures of Heaven with the Nazis we will find every throat-cutting rapist, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-tung, Uganda’s machete-wielding murderers, the man who cut the head off Daniel Pearl, Osama Bin Laden, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, all 19 of the al-Qaeda 911 terrorists, and every child-molester that ever lived. They may all make it to Heaven. 

Rob Bell goes as far as to suggest that people will have an opportunity to change their mind about God and make their way into Heaven, after they die. What's clear in his book is that the god in whom Bell believes will not exercise a just and holy wrath against anyone. He says that no one will be eternally punished. 

I didn’t write, The Defender’s Guide for Life’s Tough Questions—to counter Bell’s twisted theology—but it thankfully does. It lists all the references to Hell in the Old Testament. It addresses the “Hitler is in Heaven” issue, and it deals with why God allows suffering, why He allows evil, His ‘sanctioning’ of slavery, why He lets children get cancer, and His merciless judgments. 

This is one good thing that is coming from Love Wins. It’s making people think about this issue, question men like Bell, and ask how he managed to make it into a pulpit. They are rethinking the Bible’s warning about ear-tickling preachers and how Jesus warned “Woe to you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” God is love, but He is also just and holy. Hitler will get his dues, and that is good news for those who lost loved ones in the holocaust and want desperately to see that justice is done. 

God showed both His great love and His perfect righteousness, through the cross. He provided a Savior to save us from His just wrath and, in His great mercy, give us everlasting life. Those who refuse to repent and trust in Him will find that God keeps His Word. There is good news for Jews. There is a Hell. Justice wins. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Must One Be Baptized To Be Saved?

Boy if I had a nickle for everytime this one comes up during an open-air. I remember one stint that lasted for several weeks, every location and everytime I got up on the box I ran into the old shower you with a compliment and then comes the objection! It goes something like: "I listened to everything you said and I agree with it all except for one thing...You didn't mention to the people here that they must be baptized to be saved!"
There are a couple of ways I can go about addressing this to you folks. 1. Get exhaustive and examine all of the proof texts. 2. Simply give a solid knock down argument against what is commonly referred to as "Baptismal Regeneration." Considering this is street style apologetics (street apologetics) we will go with the latter which will be very fruitful to put to memory.

Quick overview of what we will accomplish: (a) We will show that baptism is not part of the Gospel. Again, it is excluded from being part of the Gospel. (b) Then, we will show that it is the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation.

Detractor: "I listened to everything you said and I agree with it all except for one thing...But why didn't you mention to all of us here must be baptized to be saved?!"

Street Apologist: "Great question! I would love to not only tell you why but show you why friend. So that I can better answer your question, I would like to ask you something. Do you believe that baptism is part of the Gospel?"

Detractor: "Yes, of course it is!"

Street Apologist: "I see...What if I showed you otherwise"

Detractor: "I don't think you can."

Street Apologist: The Apostle Paul makes a point that baptism is not part of the Gospel as he says in 1 Cor 1:17 "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel!" You see, Paul excluded baptism as being part of the Gospel!

Detractor: Ok, fine. What difference does that make anyways?

Street Apologist: I am glad you asked. The Apostle Paul also says in Rom. 1:16 that "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes!"

Detractor: "So what is your point?"

Street Apologist: My point is that according to God's Word baptism is not part of the Gospel (1 Cor. 1:17) and it is the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation! (Rom. 1:16).

*Unfortunately, it has been my experience that at this point the detractor will realize they have been caught and want nothing more than to escape the situation by hastily shouting out something like "Your just wrong!" And then they will turn around and walk away in an effort to evade. Sometimes I can chase them down and remind them that my motives are pure, I care about them, and I want them to know the truth ect. Other times they just get away from me and want nothing to do with it anymore.

For the rare times they do stick around, they might just attempt to blow off what has been said by flat out ignoring it and try to get you to follow them down a rabbit trail of other things. Don't fall for it. Harp on those two Scriptures as necessary and be watchful for the opportunity exercise their God-given conscience by use of the Law and sow the seed of the true Gospel. I tend to see that an unbeliever really can't understand the deeper things of God until after they have believed the true Gospel and are born-again.  (Jn. 3:3; 1 Cor 2:14)

Downloadable Memory Verses Available Below

1 Cor. 1:17

Rom. 1:16

Quick Disclaimer:

Should we get baptized? Certainly!

Does it save us? No!

Why do it? As an act of obedience to God and conscience sake (Mt. 28:19; 1 Pet 3:20-21)

Posted By: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Donor Registries and Evangelism

Recently, I read the story of Mia Stoutenborough, a beautiful 17-year-old who suffers from aplastic anemia. Anti-seizure medication likely contributed to her contraction of the disease. A bone marrow transplant could save her life.

I read the article as if it were just another human interest story until I came to the following:
Because of her deficient blood cell counts, Mia was forced to leave high school and was homeschooled for her sophomore and junior years.

The usually active girl, who was involved in water polo, snowboarding, surfing, swimming and dirt-bike riding, could often not muster the strength to walk up the stairs of her house.

Mia's low white blood cell counts made her susceptible to infections, so she was rarely allowed to leave the house, and if she did, she had to wear a surgical mask.

Her parents, Doug and Candy , found a doctor at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin who was experienced in bone marrow transplants for aplastic anemia patients. After being told Mia had five matches off of the European donor registry, her family was preparing to move to Wisconsin so Mia could have the transplant and post-transplant care.

One of the donors ended up not being a perfect match and three others were unavailable, leaving Mia with one possible donor who ended up being a perfect match.

When the woman was called, she declined to help and asked not to be contacted again.

"I thought it was like the end of the world. I was just really crushed because I didn't think I'd get better any other way," Mia said.

This is one of the most devastating scenarios for patients, says Kendall, and it's why potential donors need to be committed to helping anyone when they join the registry. Those who join are on the list until their 61st birthday or until they remove themselves.

"It is something you have to be committed to because if you decide you are not willing to help once you're called, you've offered a lot of false hope to a patient who is searching," Kendall said.

Donating bone marrow is relatively safe and routine, the biggest risk being related to the anesthesia, says Kendall.
When the woman was called, she declined to help and asked not to be contacted again.

Did you react as I did when you read that the woman who was a perfect match for Mia refused to help? Did you become angry? Were you shocked? Appalled? Disgusted?

Now, you might want to rush to the woman's aid by offering up some plausible, understandable reasons why the woman would refuse to offer Mia the gift of life. Maybe she is ill herself and is no longer in a stable medical condition that would allow her to help Mia. Maybe the woman is under some other kind of emotional or physical duress that prevented her from helping Mia. Is it possible? Certainly. But let us, for the purpose of this article, draw a conclusion based solely on the information the article provides.

The woman simply did not want to be bothered. She had the ability to help but, for reasons known only to her, the woman simply no longer wanted to help. Mia's life and death struggle was no longer a compelling-enough reason for the woman to undergo a procedure, with minimal risk to herself--a procedure that could very well save Mia's life.

Two words come to mind: "depraved indifference." The legal definition of "depraved indifference" is that a person's "conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting."

While in this specific case the woman in question will not be held civilly or criminally liable for her decision not to help Mia, it certainly can be argued that the woman is morally liable for her decision.

Now, to my Christian readers, I want you to hold on to your feelings toward the woman who had the present ability to help Mia, to possibly save her life, yet refused. I want you to hold on to those feelings as I ask you to consider the following question.

Are you like the woman who refused to help Mia?

The woman's name was placed on a relatively small registry of names. Far more people are not on the registry than are on the registry. With placement on the donor registry comes a great deal of responsibility and commitment--a responsibility and commitment she neglected to her shame.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, your name has been written in the Book of Life. The list of those whose names are written in the Book of Life is far shorter than the list of names of those who will spend eternity in Hell (Matthew 7:13-14). With the gift of salvation comes the commitment and the genuine desire on the part of the believer to obey the two greatest commandments (Mark 12:28-34; see also John 14:23-24) and to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15).

To claim to be a Christian--to believe that one's name is written in the Book of Life--while at the same time, with depraved indifference toward the lost, refusing to share the gospel with those who need to hear it, is to be no different than the woman who claimed to be a committed member of the donor registry while at the same time, with depraved indifference, refusing to give Mia the help she so desperately needs.

Sadly, I hazard a guess that there will be Christians who read this who will now be more motivated to join a donor registry (a good and noble thing to do) than to share the gospel with the lost. They will be more eager to prolong someone's physical life with little care about the eternal life of those who are lost in their sin and bound for Hell. They wouldn't think of letting a person physically die if there was something they could do to keep that from happening; but they won't give a second thought to letting someone dying an eternal, spiritual death. And their reason for doing so will be no better than the woman who made the conscious decision to refuse to help Mia. "I just can't be bothered."

Too harsh? There is a good way to get over it; and it's not sitting around sulking about the apparent harshness of my words. The best way to get over it is to repent and share the gospel with the lost. Stop living as a hypocrite--insisting your name is written in the Book of Life while intentionally shirking the God-given evangelistic responsibilities that come with the reception of the gift of eternal life.

If you had the ability to help Mia fight the physical fight of her life, would you? I'm sure you would. And sharing the gospel with the lost? Should not your answer to that question be every bit as emphatic, compassionate, and committed? You know you should.