Sunday, August 31, 2008

Street Witnessing

A few years ago I used to take groups out to go street witnessing in local skateparks, etc. Then, my family and I moved out of state, and street witnessing went on hold, so-to-speak. Sure, I would give a gospel track to a truck driver delivering a load to the metal shop I work at - or witness to a co-worker, etc., but that was about it. Then the LORD began to put it into my heart again to begin to go out witnessing. A couple of weeks ago it was my daughters birthday, and one of the things she wanted to do was to go to the local mall and witness - so we did, and had a great time (my 2 oldest boys joined us). So then, when my wife's birthday came along (about a week later), she decided to uphold the tradition, so back to the mall we all went for some more gospel preaching/witnessing. It was great.

This last week I was in Ignacio, Co. doing some work (putting up a rental fence for American Fence around an extension tent/concert stage set-up that the Sky Ute Casino was putting up for "Bike Week" - a four day biker event not unlike a mini Sturgis), and thought that it would be a great place for some street witnessing, but lamented the fact that I didn't really have anyone to go with. I wasn't too sure about taking my kids to such an ordeal, not knowing how immodest, and who-knows-what-else it could/would be.

Saturday evening I received an email from some friends telling us that they had watched some Ray Comfort DVD's that day, got convicted, and went out witnessing on the streets! My wife emailed them back and told them that I had wanted to go witnessing in Ignacio, and that I would be willing to go out with them some time if they would like. They emailed back and said "how about tomorrow (Sun. - TODAY!!). So today, I, along with my daughter and 2 oldest sons, met up with our friends in Ignacio for "Bike Week" to do some street witnessing - and man was it interesting! I'm so proud of my 3 kids - they gave out gospel tracks like pros. It was interesting to watch my younger son hand gospel tracks to some big, leather clad bikers! The responses were, for the most part, not too welcoming, but we had a great time serving our King Yeshua (who said, in some of His last words to His disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"). Our friends did great too, especially considereing the fact that they really hadn't done a lot of street witnessing, and handing out tracks. We all certainly stuck out like sore thumbs out there amidst a sea of Harleys and black leather. Oh, we also got rained on pretty heavily. The greatest part though is that my kids absolutely LOVED it, and my younger son told his Mom when we got home that he decided he didn't want to use his money to go buy toy army men anymore - he wants to buy gospel tracks and "preach the gospel!"

If you have not handed out gospel tracks in the streets (or malls, schools, etc.) - and if you have not personally witnessed in the streets, let me tell you that you are missing out on one of the most blessed, terrifying, awesome, and glorious things you could do as a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ. And if you are not sharing your faith at all, you are in disobedience to Jesus who told His disciples to preach the gospel to everyone. Please let me encourage you to allow your desire to obey Jesus - and your compassion for others, to see them saved by the gospel TO God, and from eternity in hell, to motivate you to open up your mouth and tell them the good news; to hand them a gospel track (and run if necessary for fear :); to leave a gospel track in a waiting room/gasoline pump/grocery store/bank drive-up teller/library, etc. Time is running short. The Messiah is returning. Get in your bible daily. Seek the Lord hourly. and last but definitely not least, do something for the kingdom.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dealing With "The Shack" Again...

Another great article concerning the popular book "The Shack."



Saturday, August 16, 2008

Many Shall Come in My Name

It has been oft-times pointed out by many a Pastor that the first warning that Yeshua (Jesus) gives to His disciples in Matthew ch. 24 is to not allow themselves to be deceived, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (vs. 5). We are told (and rightly so) that He was/is warning His followers that many would come, claiming to be "Christ" (which is the Greek word in exchange for the Hebrew "Messiah", which means "anointed"), and would lead many astray. In fact, He warns of this very thing again in vs. 11 (where He says that false prophets will lead people astray) and again in vs. 24 (in which even false "signs and wonders" accompany them). And it is becoming more apparent, and more pervasive day by day as we see the growth of the "New Age" movement (who's ideas are beginning to permeate even the "Church"), along with random nutballs here and there, claiming to be some incarnation of Christ. The New Age claims that each individual should seek to attain the "Christ-consciousness", thus becoming an individual "christ" (which invariably leads to the notion that if I am an individual "christ", I can save myself - something Marianne Williamson is promoting, via Oprah's XM radio program). So, as we live and breathe day by day, we see more and more of this way of thinking seeping it's way into the American (and world) mindset.

What is far more insidious to me, though, is the underlying meaning of what Yeshua was telling His followers (I believe). For, if you are a follower of the TRUE Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, and you are in His word (the bible) on a regular basis (as He indicates that His disciples would do, cf. John 8:31), you (we) will be able to see through the various attempts to get us to follow the multitude of false "christs" out there, or even worse, believe that we are some sort of "christ" ourselves! However, we can still be deceived, if in fact He was/is warning us of something far harder to detect, especially if we do not exercise true biblical discernment (which can ONLY be obtained by acting as Yeshua Himself said would mark His disciples - ABIDING in His word, which means reading, studying, and applying it to/in our lives daily). And this deception will come in the form of the following: someone who claims that they follow Yeshua (Jesus) - says that He (Jesus) is the Christ, and then proceeds to deceive others, by leading them contrary to the bible. Case in point: Oprah. She, while proceeding to promote more and more the teachings and ways of all sorts of New Age mumbo-jumbo, will still quote from Paul, or Jesus, etc. This is pretty easy to see through for many Christians (though there are MULTITUDES of professing "christians" who apparently have little more biblical discernment than a gnat following her). But how about someone like Barak Obama? Though he claims to be a believer and follower of Jesus, it does not take long to listen to his words, watch his actions (via his Senatorial voting records, et al) and see that he is not following the Jesus of the bible. Was HE one of the deceivers Jesus was talking about in Matt. 24, vs. 5? Folks, it gets worse than that. The way many high profile Pastors are going, it makes one wonder, ie. Joel Osteen. Now, before I go on, I would like to say that I will withhold judgment concerning salvation - that is God's and God's alone to make. But I AM told to judge "righteous" judgment (cf. John 7:24), and to take heed that I am NOT deceived. How am I to do that without making judgments? So, please refrain from throwing out "judge not, least ye be judged..." without first understanding the context with which Yeshua spoke those words. Since I mentioned Joel Osteen already, let me justify my mentioning of him. I am not seeking to judge whether he is a true, saved follower of Jesus our Messiah. That's not my job. But I AM to discern whether or not he teaches and promotes biblical truth; and if he does not, then I am to disregard his teaching (cf. Deut. 13). So with this in mind, what do we do with the teachings and actions of Benny Hinn? Kenneth Copeland? How about the now becoming more and more famous Todd Bentley? Shall we dig further? How about someone like Rick Warren, regarding whom there is an ever increasing divide among Christians concerning what he is promoting, his agenda, actions, AND associations? Tell me, is his P.E.A.C.E. plan a biblical plan that brings Yeshua to the Nations, and the Nations to Him, or a humanistically driven plan that unites a conglomerate of religions (contrary to Jesus own words that if He be lifted up, He would draw all peoples to Himself, not to each other in the name of "P.E.A.C.E."? I realize that simply bringing up some of these very popular teachers I put myself in danger of being attacked for being "judgmental", "legalistic", "unloving", etc. My intention is to sound a wake up call (see my second post - July, 2008) to the body of Messiah (Jesus' followers), and urge everyone to begin to take a hard look at where we are going as a whole, and just what we are really willing to stand for. If any/all of these men are truly Christians, and are saved, then I suggest that at the least, they are leading people off course, and thus putting those that listen to them at greater risk of being deceived even further. I do not (I repeat, do not) judge whether or not they are saved. But I do highly question the ideas and teachings that they promote, and all I ask is that you do the same.

"Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." - 1 Cor. 14:20

This brings me to my ultimate point. I believe that the underlying warning that Jesus gave to His disciples in Matt. 24:5 was this: that there would be MANY (can I say it again? MANY) who would come, in His name (don't we pray in His name, ie. His authority?), claiming that He, Jesus, is indeed the Christ, and would deceive MANY. In other words, MANY false "christians" - MANY naive believers who listen to them. Friend. Dearly beloved in Jesus. We MUST seek to take hold of His word, the bible, and dive into it DAILY, seeking the LORD for wisdom, understanding, and discernment, that we might not get sucked into the whirlwind and plethora of false christs, AND false FOLLOWERS (so-called) of Christ. We MUST begin to seek His word, AND obey it.

In the Name of The only begotten Son of God, the Holy One of Israel and our Great God and Savior, the Lord Yeshua (Jesus) Mashiach.


Friday, August 15, 2008

The Shack

Many of you are probably familiar with this (now very popular) book. I have my thoughts on it, but I have read several other articles about it that I thought were well done. Since I can't figure out (yet) how to get the direct link in my posts, I will simply give the URL and you can paste in into your browser address bar.




(The above is a little lengthy, but good.)


(The above is from the Berean Call - simply scroll down to the Questions and Answers section to read the Question, and Dave Hunt's response.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shadows of Messiah

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." - John 5:39

We are told that the "scriptures" (ie. the Tenakh, or "old testament") contain allusions, shadows, and types of the Messiah. Jesus Himself confirms it in the above verse. So, with that in mind I wanted to share, from time to time, some "shadows" that I have found, or at least give examples that I have read from others, along with some that are an amalgamation of my observations with others.

Here is one example from my journal on 03/27/08. I'm just going to copy it straight out of my journal -

"This weeks Parasha (Torah portion of the week) is Sh'mini - Lev. 9:1-11:47. It begins with the sacrifices that Aaron and the Priests offered for themselves, and for all of Israel. Last weeks Parasha ended with Aaron and his sons being set apart for 7 days prior, in order to be set apart (that they might not become "unclean") and consecrated to the LORD. This weeks Parasha, Sh'mini, means "eighth", and it was on the eighth day that the Priests were called forth to offer sacrifices for Israel. The pattern is that in ch. 9, verses 1-21, we read of the various sacrifices being offered. Then, in verse 22 we read: "And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them (we read of the specific blessing in Num. 6:23-27)...." Next, in verse 23, Moses and Aaron go into the Tabernacle. So the pattern is: 1) sacrifices are offered 2) bless the people 3) ascend into Tabernacle.

In Luke 23, we read of the death of Yeshua. We are taught in the New Testament that Yeshua's death was/is an atoning sacrifice (cf. Heb. 7:27; 9:11-15; 10:10,12,14 et al). In Luke 24, Yeshua is resurrected, and in verse 50 of ch. 24 we read: "And He led them (His disciples) out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them." Then, in verse 51 it says "...while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." We know that the true Tabernacle, which the LORD pitched, is in heaven (cf. Heb. 8:1,2), which is where He ascended to. So the pattern is 1) He Himself is the offered sacrifice 2) He blesses His disciples 3) He ascends into the heavenly Tabernacle.

Aaron was the High Priest in the wilderness Tabernacle. Yeshua is our High Priest in the Heavenly Tabernacle (cf. Hebrews to read of Yeshua's Priesthood). Isn't the bible amazing! We could spend forever finding these correlations, and in fact, God intends for us to do so. It is for our benefit, not only to learn of God Himself, but to learn of His patterns; His ways, so that we can direct our steps accordingly. The Israelites went to Aaron and His sons as mediators for them before God. We are to go to Yeshua our mediator (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5), gaining access through Him directly into the "throne of grace" (Heb. 4:16). We know that our prayers will be heard, not because of us, but because of our Great High Priest, Yeshua the Messiah!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Final End

The link below is to a teaching by Dr. Michael Brown of ICN Ministries. It is very good, and very relevant to all of us, so please take the time to listen to it if you get the chance (be cautioned: he incorporates a couple of illustrations that are somewhat graphic in the sermon). It is called "Acharit: The Final End". It is available for personal download at his website www.icnministries.org, or you can follow the link below:



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Honoring Parents 3

So, we left off last time with the plan to go over some examples of how we can honor our parents, and what we could do to fight the trend (at least in OUR circle of influence) of disrespect in general that seems to be pervading our society (and world).

First- parents of children/kids/teenagers: You are the parent. You are the boss. You must remember that you have the authority, and the final say in any matter between you and your child. I don't mean to encourage parents to act as tyrants, but we need to realize that no matter what our children are to show respect toward us; they must be respectful in how they answer us; they must not lash out at us without being corrected, and if need be, disciplined. I know we all have seen the typical scene in the grocery store: the child is crying and carrying on for something he/she wants, and the parent is coddling them to a sickening level, and you wonder just who is the authority (I take that back-it is obvious who is the authority!). Sometimes I think we forget that we don't always (if ever) have to give a reason for our answer to our child if we say no to them. And they need to learn to accept what we say without pouting, being angry, complaining, etc. Parent, if you tell your child no, or you administer correction to them, DO NOT let them walk away with an angry tone in their voice, or with obvious anger in their countenance toward you-it is a sign of rebellion in their heart. They are only obeying in body because they have to; they are not submitting their will to you as their parent. If we let them get away with this, it will sew the seeds of further rebellion in their hearts toward us, and towards authority in general. This can have huge ramifications later in their dealings with God. If they have not learned to submit their body AND mind/emotions/will, they have not learned to submit to authority at all! We must labor with our children, seeking to teach them to honor us, and respect authority in general. (a separate issue, but relevant to mention here briefly is that we must teach them what is true authority is-ie. some strange adult telling them to come over to their car, etc, is NOT authority that they need to submit to. Our children need to be taught how to deal with that if it were to happen, and that they need not obey that person. There's much more to be said about this, but it will have to be dealt with in a different post). The bottom line, parent, is that we need to remember that WE are the parent, and thus have a position delegated by God to us-a mandate rather, that we teach our children to honor their parents, thus having respect for all true authority. We do this both by direct instruction, AND by our action or inaction. Parent, if you do not deal with that sassy attitude; if you do not deal with their sour disposition; if you let them speak disrespectfully toward you, you ARE in fact teaching them to dishonor you, and to be rebellious toward authority by your inaction. On another note, if you act disrespectfully toward authority yourself; if they see or hear you being dishonoring to your parents, etc., you are teaching them by example how to not honor you.

That said, we must realize that the command to honor parents has no deadline; it does not end at a certain age, and is not even cancelled by death. Our speech toward them, or about them must be honoring always. As adults, it means taking care of them physically, financially, etc. (I know of 3 examples of this over the last few years, and though it has been hard-emotionally and physically draining, I believe it is so important in the long run-it has been an example to me of how we are to endeavor to the end to honor our parents by doing all we can to care for them in their latter years.)

There is far more that could be said about this, and surely you yourself have thought of many things that could be added, but I need to end this here for the sake of time and length! At the very least, my hope is to get you (us) thinking more about how we can battle this trend of disrespect and dishonor all around us. The Apostle Paul said that this would increase exponentially in the last days. But may it not take a foothold in my home, nor yours as we move toward the soon coming of the LORD and KING, YESHUA THE MESSIAH!