Sunday, November 20, 2011

God Alone is 'Awesome'

"Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, 'O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules'" (Daniel 9:3-5).

"The great and awesome God"--that is how Daniel described his God, the one and only God, Creator of everything, Master of the Universe, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

God is awesome.

Modern dictionaries define the term "awesome" this way:
1. inspiring awe: an awesome sight.
2. showing or characterized by awe.
3. Slang. very impressive: That new white convertible is totally awesome.
I found it interesting that the word "awesome" doesn't appear in Noah Webster's 1828 edition of the "American Dictionary of the English Language." However, Webster defines the word "awe" (from which the word "awesome" is derived) this way"
"To chastise or correct. To be astonished. Fear mingled with admiration or reverence; reverential fear. Dread inspired by something great or terrific. To strike with fear and reverence; to influence by fear, terror or respect; as, his majesty awed them into silence."
The English Standard Version translation of the Bible uses the English word "awesome" only 33 times. Every occurrence is in the Old Testament. The only reputable translation of the Bible in which the word "awesome" is found in the New Testament (Acts 2:20) is the New King James. It's interesting to note that the King James version of the Bible does not have a single use of the word "awesome" in either the Old or New Testaments.

In the English Standard version of the Scriptures, with the exception of two verses in the Song of Solomon (6:4, 6:10) in which Solomon compares the beauty of his wife to an army with colorful banners, every use of the word "awesome" is in reference to either God Himself, where He is, an aspect of His character, or something He has done (Genesis 28:17; Exodus 15:11; 34:10; Deuteronomy 7:21; 10:17; 28:58; Judges 13:6; 2 Samuel 7:23; 1 Chronicles 17:21; Nehemiah 1:5; 4:14; 9:32; Job 37:22; Psalm 45:4; 65:5; 66:1, 3, 5; 68:35; 89:7; 99:3; 106:22; 111:9; 145:6; Isaiah 64:3; Ezekiel 1:18; Daniel 9:4; Joel 2:11; 2:31; Zephaniah 2:11; Malachi 4:5).

God clearly describes Himself in His Word as awesome. Scripture also makes clear that God is unique. There is none like Him.
"For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth" (Exodus 9:14).

"There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God" (1 Samuel 2:2).

"There is none like you, O LORD, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears" (1 Chronicles 17:20).

"There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might" (Jeremiah 10:6).
During episode #221 of "On the Box," at the 8:15 mark, I referred to Mark and Brad as "awesome." I quickly corrected myself before moving on to the next segment. At the 20:50 mark, someone in the chat room asked, "Why is it wrong to use the word 'awesome?'" I learned later there was at least one person in the show's chat room found my position legalistic.

Words have meaning. The meanings of words change and multiply, over time. "Bad" can mean "good." "Sick" can mean "impressive." And "awesome" can be and is often applied to anything we enjoy, appreciate, and about people and things we describe with amazement.

I understand unbelievers find many things, other than God, awesome. And I understand Christians use the word "awesome" much the same way unbelievers do, with no intention of acting irreverently toward God, or placing anyone or anything above Him. I don't think it is automatically a sin when Christians ascribe the word "awesome" to people, places, and things other than God.

However, considering how the word "awesome" is used in Scripture, coupled with the dictionary's definition of the term, the question I must ask my Christian readers (a question I asked of myself and answered some time ago) is this. Should Christians use the word "awesome" to describe anything other than that which can be directly attributed to the person, nature, character, and work of God? For me, the answer is no.

The word "awesome" has, as part of its definition, an evocation of fear. God and God alone is to be feared. Is this to say Christians do not become afraid at times? No. Christians, like everyone else become fearful at times. But whatever Christians fear other than God is a result of sin. Fear of man, fear of circumstances, fear of the unknown, fear of the future--all such fear is birthed from a lack of trust in God. All such fear is birthed from a lack of reverence for God. All such fear is birthed from a failure to recognize God as omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and sovereign over all He has created. When we are afraid, whatever we fear is, at that moment, what we are worshiping.

God is awesome. He alone is to be feared, reverenced, and worshiped. And those who fear the Lord, those who recognize that He is awesome, are those who are wise. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever" (Psalm 110:10)! How comforting to know that God keeps a protective, loving, fatherly eye on those who understand He is awesome--on those who reverently fear Him. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine" (Psalm 33:18-19).

God is awesome. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).

"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth" (Psalm 57:5)!

"Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it" (Job 38:3-5)?

The image of the sunburst over the Earth is beautiful, but it is not awesome. The God who created the heavens, the God who instilled in man a desire to discover and who enabled man to develop the technology to view the heavens--He is awesome.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).

"Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3).

Albert Pujols* is arguably one of the greatest major league baseball players of this or any other era. It is easy to mistakenly describe his varied skills as awesome. But neither Albert Pujols nor his skills are awesome. The God who made Albert Pujols is awesome. The one who knit Albert together in his mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) is awesome. The God who numbered Albert's days before he was born (Psalm 139:16), He is awesome. Every talent Albert possesses is a gift from God (James 1:17), the awesome God.

I could give other examples, of course. But suffice to say God alone is awesome. And His awesomeness is plainly seen to all who do not suppress this inescapable truth by their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-23).

As a Christian, it is important to me that I declare the glory of God whenever I have occasion to do so. One way I do that is by trying never to give glory to or take any glory for anything made or accomplished. Rather, I try to give all the glory to the Maker and the One who enables His creation to accomplish anything. One way I try to do this is by seeing to it I assign the word "awesome" only to that which can be directly attributed to the person, nature, character, and work of God.

Some may see this as a legalistic restriction on a commonly used and universally accepted word. I see it as an act of worship. Again, I am not saying a Christian sins by assigning the word "awesome" to someone or something other than God. I am not saying that Christians who use the word "awesome" as just another slang term are less worshipful than I am.

However, as Christians, we are called to love the Lord our God with all of our being (Mark 12:29-31). We are to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Our worship of and love for Him should make our affections for anything and anyone else to appear as hatred by way of comparison (Luke 14:25-27). And for me, referring to God alone as awesome is one small way I have determined to love and worship Him.

"Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man" (Psalm 66:5).

God alone is awesome!



*Photo of Albert Pujols taken by Dave Herholz, September 2006, and used with permission.

Friday, November 18, 2011

'180' Saves Unborn Baby's Life as Mother and Father Change from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life After Watching

This just in! We've received word that another unborn baby has been saved as a result of an expectant mother and her boyfriend watching "180." The couple is no longer pro-choice because of the compelling arguments made in "180." And once again, the Lord has used Alicia, who is interviewed in "180," to help change people's hearts.

Here's the story:

"Just wanted to share with you that a young girl (20 years old) I work with announced that she was pregnant and was a little worried about my reaction once she told me. Probably because I'm an assistant pastor at a local church. I wasn't upset with her, but rather more surprised that she was pregnant when she had told me previously that she broke up with her boyfriend, [then to] learn he's the father.

"Well, they both saw this movie and are both firmly convicted about not having an abortion. She kept saying the blonde girl in the film really brought it home for her, to really understand that it was wrong to murder a child like that. [The young girl] recently had an ultrasound and heard her baby's heartbeat too and she's committed to delivering this baby, and that she and her boyfriend will raise the child together. Thank you for making this compelling film and what it has done to change the hearts and minds of many people, especially the power of the Gospel that makes all the difference, for time and for eternity."

Model Uses '180' to Bring the Truth about Abortion to TV Show Producer

Yesterday, we received the following email from a young women who works as a model. Read, now, how she used "180" to bring the truth about abortion to a TV show producer.

"Hi. My name is Christina Boudreau. I am a 21 year old eating disorder survivor who became a plus size model to help change the unrealistic image that the world calls beauty for Jesus Christ. God has called me to influence those in the media who have great influence for HIS GLORY. Today I had the opportunity to model for TJ Maxx on a fashion segment on the 'Good Day L.A.' TV show.

"Yesterday as I was praying about how God wanted to use me today on set, he put it on my heart to give a copy of the 180 video to the producer at 'Good day L.A.' My mission usually when going on set for a modeling job is to share the gospel with the models, and to point them to the only perfect beauty in this world--Jesus Christ. But today he had a different mission for me. It was to influence the influential in the media by showing them, through the 180 video, that abortion is wrong.

"'Good Day L.A.' is a very worldly, secular, liberal TV show. But today I know that God used an ordinary person like me to influence those who speak into the homes of millions of people for HIS glory.

"Thank you Ray and EZ for inspiring a young person like me to make a difference in my generation. Please be praying that God will use that video, and this campaign on the TV show, so that more people will know the truth."

Thank you, Christina, for having the faith, hope, courage, and love to bring the life-saving, life-changing message of 180 to the secular model and television industries.

9th Grader Uses '180' in Speech Class to Sway Fellow Students to be Pro-Life

More reports are coming to Living Waters from high school students who are using "180" to make a pro-life stand for the unborn, in their schools. This just in from a young lady who is taking a speech and debate class.

"I'm a 9th grader, and I am in the speech and debate class in my school. We are required to give a monthly speech, and for this month I chose to do my speech 180 Movie style. I used tactics similar to Mr. Comfort's in the movie, of course making it work as best I could for a speech. Even after watching the movie many times, I was surprised at how effective it was. Needless to say, my whole debate class is pro-life now. Tomorrow, I will be giving this speech at an actual debate tournament. Dozens of people will hear it. 180 Movie is an amazing resource, and it's tactics are the best I've used. Thank you for making it and sharing it with us. God bless."

Our hope and prayer is that many more high school students around the world will follow this young lady's lead (again, she's only in 9th grade) and courageously bring the life-changing, life-saving message of "180" to their schools.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Comparing Abortion to the Holocaust: Public High School Class Sees 180!

I was very excited to receive the following email, yesterday:
I gave my history teacher a 180 movie card and a couple days later he showed the video to the class. He introduced the video as a video [comparing] the holocaust and abortion. After watching the video, we had a class discussion on how it changes your perspective on both the holocaust and abortion.
I had a phone conversation with the high school student who sent the above email. Here are a few more details.

The student attends Northridge Academy High School, which is a public high school that operates under a cooperative effort between the Los Angeles Unified School District and California State University Northridge. Northridge Academy is a relatively new high school, opening its doors in 2004. Presently, 1,070 students are enrolled at the school.

As the student stated in her email, she handed her 11th grade history class teacher a 180 business card. Two days later, and to the student's surprise, the teacher announced to the class that he was going to show them a documentary that compares the Holocaust to abortion. According to the student, the teacher told the class of 40 students that "180" was the best documentary about the holocaust he had ever seen.

The teacher proceeded to screen the entire documentary to the class, which means every student in the class also heard the gospel!

According to the student, a good and spirited conversation about the holocaust and abortion followed the screening of the documentary.

Are you a high school student? Can you, will you follow the lead of this courageous young lady and give the "180" DVD or business card to your teachers? How about to your fellow students?

We need the help of high school students everywhere to get the life-changing, life-saving messages of "180" to the students and faculty of every high school, in the world.

Let's get to work!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

180 is Saving Babies from Abortion

At Living Waters, we are very excited to receive emails from young, pregnant women who, after watching "180," decide not to have an abortion. Here is one of those emails. I've previously posted it on the blog; but it's worth repeating.
My Name is Vanessa. A couple months ago while at Santa Monica Pier. A brother in Christ approached my brother and I while we were listening to another brother give the word on a speaker box. After speaking to us he gave us this DVD. At that point no one knew I was expecting. After seeing this video I made the solid decision to proceed and keep my baby. I have since went to live at a maternity home for futher help and to help me be in a safe enviroment for myself and the baby. I have also showed my family the video as well.

My family is happy and supportive. I am 22 weeks along now and trusting in God for my baby's life.

Thank you for your ministry. I have also attached a picture of my most recent ultrasound picture.
Our hope and prayer is that more young, pregnant women like Vanessa will see "180" and decide to give their babies the precious gift of life.

180 is Changing People from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life

"The proof is in the pudding," as they say. The hearts and minds of people around the world are being changed! People are moving from a pro-choice to a pro-life point of view, as a result of "180."

Here's just one example:
A month ago I was assigned a research paper. The topic was, Should Abortion be legalized? I was "Pro Choice" when I started this paper, I accepted abortion in cases of rape and incest or if a woman's health were at risk. I was introduced to this movie by way of my Pastor's wife. I watched hoping I would find material for my paper supporting "my views". I never thought I would have to re-write my entire paper from a "Pro Life" point of view. This movie changed my views halfway through!!! Four points my Professor wanted four points she got. (1) An unborn baby in alive from the moment of conception. (2) Religious people find abortion "unethical". (3) Women seek abortion for selfish purposes. (4) "180" -- The movie that changed my opinion on abortion. I e-mailed her the link to this movie. I also recommended it to a classmate who is Pro Choice.
The young lady who sent the email to us, via 180movie.com, changed her mind. But, as you can see from the email, the impact of "180" did not stop with one student's research paper. Her classmates and teacher have now also been exposed to the life-changing, life-saving message of "180."

It is critically important we get "180" into the hands of high school and college/university students. The young people of this present generation are being indoctrinated to believe that abortion is not only ethical, but laudable. We can change that by distributing "180" on college and university campuses, and outside of high schools.

Join the effort!

180 Exposes the Dark Side of the Pro-Choice Movement

We've received literally thousands of emails in response to "180," via the 180Movie.com website. the overwhelming majority of them have been positive. But there have also been hundreds of negative responses. Most of the negative ones make the same, old, tired arguments in favor of killing unborn children in the womb. Some are so disgusting that one cannot read them and deny the depravity of man. Still others just leave you scratching your head to the point that the only response I can muster is, "I'm so glad your mother didn't think the way you do when she was carrying you in her womb."

Today, however, we received an email that is best described as chilling. It's an email that exposes the dark side of the pro-choice movement.
Let me begin by saying I was raised catholic and even had a confirmation. Went to church every sunday with my parents, and have been a good person all in all, I saw your 180 video and must say I completely disagree, heres why: Its OK to kill a baby in the womb when... There are 7 billion (or 7 thousand million) human beings in the world, the majority of which are living unsustainably. Abortion is at least slowing the human population growth (US population would likely be over 400million without Roe vs Wade).Genocide and war also help lower the population but it should never have to come to that.The difference is that a baby hasnt experienced life, hasnt felt love or happiness, all it is higly evolved endoparasite with undefined potential. Genocide and war involve killing, which is robbing people and their loved ones of life (and the feelings associated with it), this is not right, but it does help reach the final goal. Hitler had the right Idea, but he was too Machiavellian with his "ends justify the means" mentality, and did not the chose the right method (too impatient if you ask me). Selective breeding of people with high IQs, strong immune systems, and athletic abilities, and sterilization of the rest, would create a new raze of super-human beings and lower natality rate. Smarter stronger humans would work more efficiently and a world economy could be supported without such a high population and toll on the earth. We are a pest to this planet and all those who dont realize that, or who value human life are simply naive and blind to reality. Argue with that... Think about it, you can save all the immature lives you want... ultimately youre accelerating the deaths of many many more mature lives. Preach abstinance,thats time better spent... or change circumscision into castration... I dont know, I feel if everyone got on my bandwagon the world would be a better place: Only the smart and strong would bear the economic burden (rewarded with the blessing of having a child/genes passed on), the dumb and weak would slowly fade off, being able to work and spend their money on themselves. Polution, consumption, poverty, animal cruelty, among other world problems would eventually disappear, especially with greater minds being able to takle these problems.
This is the side of the pro-choice movement the pro-choice movement doesn't want you to see.

Based on the wording of the email, it is obvious the person who wrote the email considers himself among the "greater minds" who would be part of a master race bred, in part, by the murder of millions of unborn children. Interestingly, even a cursory look at the email reveals no less than nineteen grammatical mistakes. So much for "greater minds." (Note: I'm sure there's a few typos in this post. But I don't claim to be a "greater mind.")

What I do appreciate about the email is the candor with which the writer articulates his Eugenics/Planned Parenthood worldview. Most pro-choice people who think this way do not have the courage of their convictions to express them publicly.

It's emails like the one above that deepen my resolve to make sure "180" finds its way into the hands of as many high school and college students as possible. And here's how you can help.

Twitteneutics - Day 29

Here's what I gleaned from God's word, over the last few days.

God is so long-suffering and patient. That God gives anyone the opportunity to repent is one more chance than anyone deserves (Jeremiah 15:19-21).

Jesus is coming back. He said it. It will happen. That's all there is to it (John 14:3).

Jesus asserted time and again that He was/is God. He made this truth abundantly clear to Thomas and Philip (John 14:5-9).

The Holy Spirit is not a "force." He is the third Person of the one and only triune God (John 14:16-17).

Only a living God can give life. Only a living God can give eternal life. Jesus is He! All other gods are dead and demonic lies (John 14:19).

God's Word is always timely. Found not only wisdom, but encouragement for today in this proverb (Proverbs 20:22).

I've read the Bible for 23 years and today I decided to look up the word "goads" (Acts 26:14). Every word of the Bible is important.

Paul hated Jesus as much as on ox hates being pricked by a goad. Paul did not seek/choose Jesus. Christ chose to save him (Acts 26:14-18).

Jesus did not give Paul an option. By His own perfect will Christ called Paul, saved Paul, commissioned Paul, and sent Paul (Acts 26:14-18).

Paul knew nothing of the gospel-less testimonies so common among professing Christians, today (Acts 26:19-23).

Like the common heckler, Festus could not make a logical argument against Paul's testimony, so he resorted to an ad hominem (Acts 26:24).

Any ministry that is quick to say their goal is not conversions, would not receive Paul's support (Acts 26:25-29).

I can do nothing God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, or Spirit-honoring apart from genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ (John 15:5).

Authentic, lasting joy comes from abiding in the love of Christ. Lord, by your sovereign grace, help me to abide in Your Love (John 15:9-11).

I did not choose Jesus. He chose me. Such great comfort in knowing my salvation has nothing to do with my choices, but His grace (John 15:16).

If the unsaved world loves you, your ministry, or your church are you sure you, your ministry, or your church is in Christ (Jn 15:18-19)?

Are you a Christian trying to live under the God-hating world's radar? Then you might be seeking to be greater than He who save you (John 15:20).

Seeing the full glory of God will kill any earthly, sinful man (Exodus 33:18-23). By His grace, I will one day see Him face-to-face! SDG!

Peace with God ONLY comes through justification by faith, through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

Endurance, character, and hope--these are the blessed fruits of suffering (Romans 5:2-5).

If you don't speak to others about sin, righteousness, and judgment, then your evangelism is not led by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11).

Real peace comes by way of agreement with God (Job 22:21).

Instead of just asking God for good things, may I walk uprightly before Him so that He may choose to bless my obedience (Psalm 84:11-12).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Taking "180" to High Schools!

That's right. While our college/university campus distribution for 180 was a huge success, we're not stopping there. Our next stop is high school campuses around the world. High school campuses are are the front lines of the battle for the hearts and minds of this generation. Kids are being lied to about life in the womb. Students are being told by various sources that a child growing in the womb is not a human being deserving, as much as they are, the right to life. It's time to help high school students hear and see the truth about abortion--the murder of unborn children.

We are calling all Christians everywhere to join us in the fight to stop abortion and to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ top this lost generation.

Here's how you can join the effort to bring 180 to high school students.

Let's get to work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twitteneutics - Day 28

Here's what I gleaned from God's word, over the last several days.

Yes, I believe by faith. So does the atheist. The difference? My faith is in the Creator. There's is in creation (Hebrews 11:3).

This world never has been, isn't presently, and never will be worthy of Christian martyrs (Hebrews 11:35-38).

Allow me to testify about my Lord (1 Timothy 3:16).

Paul did not shrink back from the public, open-air preaching of the gospel. Sad that so many churches have shrunk back (Acts 20:18-21).

Pastor: do you preach sermon series about Star Wars and personalized license plates? Then the blood of your people is on your hands (Acts 20:26-27).

Jesus was speaking of Gentiles who would repent and believe the gospel, not Mormons who would blaspheme God by their idolatry (John 10:16).

What blessed assurance to be numbered among His sheep (John. 10:1-20)!

One reason why unbelievers hate Christians is because they are undeniable testimonies of the power of Christ (John 12:9-11).

Sadly, too many Christians will not testify about Christ for fear of being put out of the synagogue of the world (John 12:41-43).

God-given power, love, and self-control are the remedies for the sinful malady of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

Christian isolationism is an oxymoron and dangerous to the spiritual health of the believe. Christians need other Christians (Proverbs 18:1).

I need to be a better listener in conversations with both believers and unbelievers. Sometimes I answer too quickly (Proverbs 18:13).

Mahria is evidence of the truth of this verse. I am blessed beyond measure by my wife (Proverbs 18:22).

Paul wouldn't find acceptance among many evangelicals, for he dared to speak of righteousness, self-control, and judgment (Acts 24:24-25).

Oh, Lord! Forgive me for every time I have lacked humility and for every time I have put myself before others (John 13:12-15)!

To love is Jesus' overarching command to His people (John 13:31-35). But love must be biblical and not simply based on selective definitions.

It cannot be any more clear. Sola Fide (Romans 3:28)!

When I need strength for the moment, for the situation, for the day I must meditate upon the grace of God (2 Timothy 2:1).

I must die to self and endure every day--not as a means of salvation, but as fruit of salvation. He is faithful when I am not (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

Lord, cleanse me from anything dishonorable in your sight, and help me, by Your Spirit, to cleanse myself (2 Tim 2:20-21). I want to be holy!

I KNOW that my Redeemer lives (Job 19:25)! His name is Jesus!

If there are times when you think integrity is all you have, thank God for how rich He has made you (Proverbs 19:1).

While fear and rest my seem paradoxical to the unsaved, to the believer it makes perfect sense. Fear God and rest in Him (Proverbs 19:23).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Twitteneutics - Day 27

Here's what I gleaned from God's word, over the last several days.

Jesus didn't practice what is referred to as "friendship evangelism." His evangelism would be deemed "confrontational" today (John 4:1-26).

So very thankful God is compassionate (Exodus 22:26-27).

Jesus is the King of righteousness and peace. He is the Great High Priest and the eternal Son of God (Hebrews 7:1-3).

As the Eternal High Priest, Jesus is able to save sinners to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:22-25). Blessed assurance!

Job's life is a testimony to the fallen nature of the most righteous among us, as well as the great patience and mercy of God (Job 10:1-22).

I humbly ask you pray for me as they prayed for Paul (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).

It is indeed good to be near God (Psalm 73:25-28)!

My Lord, my Savior, my Manna (John 6:32-34). Lord Jesus, please give me this bread always.

Do you think you can help God save you by doing anything--anything at all? Then you contradict what Jesus said about salvation (John 6:63).

Yes, Christians are to judge. They are to judge with righteous judgment (John 7:24).

Jesus is my favorite open-air preacher (John 7:37-39).

This is why the Roman Catholic mass is unbiblical. Jesus Christ suffered ONCE to put away sin--not repeatedly (Hebrews 9:25-28).

No human priest can forgive/absolve anyone of their sins against God. There is only one Great High Priest. His name is Jesus (Hebrews 10:11-14).

Those who mire themselves in and enjoy vain discussions have deviated from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5-7).

Paul, one of the most learned men of his day, came to recognize that his unbelief was a result of his former ignorance (1 Timothy 1:12-14).

Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I, like Job, sinned by arrogantly and self-righteously believing I can argue a case before You (Job 13:3).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Postal Proselytizing

I think it's time for Christians around the world to take the phrase "going postal" and turn into something very positive and God-glorifying. Christians can do this by engaging in what I like to call "Postal Proselytizing."

Postal Proselytizing is an excellent way for those who may not be able to hit the streets, due to physical limitations or other circumstances, to share the Law and the Gospel with lost people in their community and around the world.

Too cold or rainy to hit the streets? Having a hard time finding good fishing spots in your neighborhood? Always wanted to share the Law and the Gospel with that particularly unfriendly or cranky neighbor, but you just haven't been able to work up the courage to do it? Postal Proselytizing may be the answer. It's easy. It's fun. It's as inexpensive as you want it to be. And it just may have your neighborhood talking for some time to come.

Just follow these simple steps:

1) Go to http://www.whitepages.com/

2) Click on Reverse Lookup.

3) Enter your phone number (if it is listed), or any residential number from the phone book, into the "phone number" field; and click "search."

4) A box will appear that will include the name and address associated with the listing. Beneath the listing, you will see several buttons. One reads: "Find Neighbors."

5) Click the "Find Neighbor" button. You will be redirected to a page that will tell you how many listed numbers are in close proximity to your entry.

6) Click the "View The First Ten Results" link and in an instant you will have the name, addresses, and phone numbers for every phone book listing in close proximity to your entry.

7) Copy and paste each address into either a Word document or a label program.

8) Create a nondescript e-mail account through gmail or one of the many free e-mail services. I will explain why, shortly.

9) Buy some Million Dollar Bill gospel tracts.

Now that you've easily and legally collected some addresses, it's time to write your letter. Allow me to help with that, too. :-)

The tone of your letter is extremely important. After all, you want the people who receive the letter to read it. To the extent it can be communicated in a letter, you want to try to convey genuine care and concern for the recipient. Be thoughtful. Be kind. Let the recipient know how you obtained their address to put their mind at ease.

Here's the letter I use. Please feel free to use some or all of this letter, if you like.


Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for not throwing away the envelope in which this letter was contained, before opening it. I’m sure it struck you as odd to receive a letter addressed to "My Neighbor." I obtained and selected your address randomly through the White Pages.

I assure you that this is not a solicitation or a scam of any kind. I do not want to sell you anything or sign you up for anything.

My hope is that you will continue to read the letter. My hope is that, in the end, you will see this letter as so much more than "junk mail." I am writing to you because I care about you--one member of the community to another.

By now, I am sure you've come to realize that the Million Dollar Bill you are holding in your hand is not legal tender. But what if I had sent you a million dollars--real, cold, hard cash? What would you do with the money? Buy a house? Buy a car? Take a trip around the world? Invest or save it? Put yourself or your kids through college? Give to charity? Would you do all of the above, or something different?

Now I would like you to consider this. What if I told you that you could keep the million dollars if you donated one of your eyes to science? Your eye would be replaced with a beautifully matching prosthetic eye; but, of course, you wouldn't be able to see out of it. Would you sell me your eye for a million dollars? Would you sell me both of your eyes for, say, five million dollars?

If you are a reasonable person, you would probably say no. Why? Well, because you would likely agree that your eyes are precious to you. You would rather go through life poor and able to see than to go through life rich, but blind.

With the above in mind, I would like share with you something very fascinating that someone once said. "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell."

Jesus said those words (Matthew 5:29-30). Jesus also said, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul" (Matthew 16:26)?

Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this. I have but one more very important request. Please read the back of the Million Dollar Bill. The text asks and answers the "million dollar question."

It is not by mere coincidence that your received and read this letter, today. While you do not know me, and the likelihood is that we will never meet; please know that I am praying for you and I care about you. My motive for sending you this letter is simply this. "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Galatians 5:14).

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at: [enter your nondescript email address here]

With care and respect,

Your Neighbor
More Tips:

1) The reason for obtaining a nondescript e-mail address is so that you can make yourself available to any recipient for questions or further discussion, without identifying yourself. Remember, Jesus said that if people hate the followers of Jesus Christ it is because they hated Him first. While the Christian should always be willing to lay down his or her life for the furtherance of the gospel, the Christian should also be a good steward of the life God has given them. So, use a reasonable amount of care and caution when identifying yourself to strangers.

2) Address the envelope "To My Neighbor." Even though White Pages provides the name of the resident along with the phone number and address, there is no way to be certain if the name given represents the people presently living at the residence. If you put the wrong name on the envelope, the recipient may not open it.

3) Do not put a return address on the envelope. Again: the thought, care, and goodwill you put into the letter may not be shared by the recipient. Not everyone who receives your letter will appreciate it. You do not want to have an angry, God-hater knocking on your door one night. :-)

So, there you have it--Postal Proselytizing. Now, go get some million dollar bills, envelopes, and stamps. Collect some addresses, write your letter, and make sure to put a million dollar bill in every envelope.

And pray. Pray for each and every person to whom you send a letter. Pray that the Lord will use something that may seem silly to the world (and, sadly, to some in the Church) to bring Himself glory, as He uses your proclamation of the Law and the Gospel to draw sinners to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

About the Word 'Do'

I love this photo. Frankly, I love any photo that includes my beautiful wife, Mahria. I love this photo because it was taken before Mahria and I served side-by-side, distributing 180 DVDs to our neighbors.

The documentary has been viewed more than 1.3 million times on YouTube. 180,000 copies of the DVD were distributed on college and university campuses throughout North America, on Tuesday, October 25, 2011. And we are trusting God to provide the financial and human resources to distribute as many as 500,000 copies of the DVD to high school students across the country.

To date, the documentary has been subtitled in 14 different languages: Albanian, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, and Swedish. The documentary has been subtitled in these languages by request. The message of 180 is literally being heard around the world.

Instructions for accessing subtitles in the above-listed languages, are found in this instructional video.

The full impact of 180 is yet to be determined. Most recently I blogged about Vanessa, a young woman who, after watching 180 decided not to abort her baby.

We've received many emails from people who have changed their mind not only about abortion, but about how they decide for whom they will vote in the future--emails like this one:
I have been pro-life since I was a teenager. When I was faced with an unplanned pregnancy, the father and my friends advised me to get an abortion. I didn't listen to them and [now] have a 16 year old son. I had voted [for a] pro-life presidential candidates just because they were pro-life. My husband asked me if that president stopped abortion from happening, and I said no. We both voted for a pro-choice president the last election. After watching this documentary he said to me in tears that he was wrong. We have had our minds changed about who we vote for.
Both men and women have emailed us, broken over their sin--the sin of encouraging, forcing, or having and abortion. One woman simply wrote: "GOD, GOD FORGIVE ME!"

And another young woman wrote this:
I grew up in a christian home. I'm a pastors kid in fact. But I made a horrible mistake. I had a boyfriend for over a year. I thought I was going to marry him, so I slept with him. And as a result I got pregnant. I didn't know what to do. And out of the fear of being found out I had an abortion. As a result I lost everything. I lost my child, I lost my boyfriend. I lost his family. I have felt nothing but anguish and guilt every since. After seeeing the promotional video for 180 I knew I needed to write to you. People need to know. They need to not make the choice I made. There is no excuse for what I did. I knew what abortion was. I knew it was wrong. Yet I did it anyways. The world needs change. And it needs it now.
Emails like this do not go unanswered. We do whatever we can to point hurting people to organizations best equipped to help them through the trauma of abortion. And we also take every opportunity to speak the truth in love to them, by sharing with them the law and the gospel.

And of course, the most wonderful emails of all, are those who, as a result of watching the video, have come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This movie has changed my heart! I stopped after the movie and just repented my God for my forgiveness. The movie is just amazing and it really moves you! Thank you very much for the movie.
We have been blessed before and after the release of the documentary to receive endorsements from Christian leaders such as: John Piper, David Platt, Francis Chan, Randy Alcorn, and Ken Ham--just to name a few. And recently we received the endorsement of one of the most respected Bible teachers and pastors of this generation--Pastor John MacArthur.
“This is a powerful, confrontational treatment of abortion that rocks its defenders back on their heels. Don’t miss it!”
I share the above as a rather long preface, before I answer a reoccurring question about the documentary--a question asked by Christians.
In your movie you are telling people what they need to do to get saved. You quote John 3:16 and then you say "what you've got to do is repent, turn from your sins, trust in Jesus, God will give you everlasting life." My question is, do you believe that Christ's blood is enough or do you believe that there is something that we must do?
Some have suggested that by including the word "do" in the gospel presentation, Ray Comfort (albeit unintentionally) is promoting a works-righteousness formula for salvation. By telling people there is something they must do to be saved, Ray is telling people they must complete a work to receive salvation.

Ray Comfort and Mark Spence deal with this objection in the Friday, October 28, 2011 edition of our live, Internet-based program On The Box. You will find their answer to this objection beginning at the 26:14 mark, in the program.

I would like to affirm and add to what Ray and Mark said.

Those who know me well know where I stand theologically when it comes to the sovereignty of God and salvation. I could not and would not serve in any ministry that does not promote and proclaim a biblical gospel. Having now served alongside Ray Comfort for four years I can say unequivocally that Ray Comfort believes and preaches a biblical gospel. And I am hard-pressed to think of any man I know who loves the Lord, His gospel, His people, and the lost more than Ray Comfort. I would gladly charge the gates of Hell with Ray Comfort armed only with a squirt gun.

With that said...

Salvation is by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, completely separate from any human work or effort. Telling people what they must “do,” (namely to repent and believe the gospel), having given them a clear and biblical presentation of the law and the gospel, is consistent with a biblical presentation of the gospel. After all, Jesus likewise called people to repent and believe (Mark 1:15). By telling people they must repent and believe, the evangelist is not telling them they must work for their salvation. Rather, we are calling them to respond to the gospel with repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I thought about my answer to this objection, I was reminded of the scene in Acts 16:25-30.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
The jailer, fearing for his life, asked a very direct question. "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

Paul, a chosen messenger of God, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ who was commanded by Christ Himself to serve Him as a herald of the gospel, could only respond to the jailer's question one way--biblically. Paul did not say, "There is nothing you must do to be saved." No. Paul said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." There is no way around it. Paul told the jailer to do something.

Should we therefore accuse the apostle Paul of proclaiming a false gospel of works? Of course not. To do so would be to deny everything else Paul said and wrote affirming salvation by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 1:17; Romans 2:4; Romans 4:13-25; Ephesians 2:8-9); 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Titus 3:4-7).

Salvation is of the Lord (Psalm 3:8; Psalm 96:2; Psalm 119:166, 174; Jonah 2:9)!

Regardless of the theological camp in which you find or place yourself, you cannot share the gospel with an individual, you cannot herald the gospel in the open-air without telling people to do something--namely, to repent and believe the gospel. You must inevitably tell them to do something.