Loading up a 70 inch TV at Answers in Genesis

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Today we had the interesting experience of having seven men from the IT department at Answers in Genesis help load a very heavy 70 inch flat screen TV into the back of our van. Early tomorrow we head to Washington DC to help with the gospel booth that Answers in Genesis will be running at the NEA convention. The TV will be used for showing drone footage from the Ark Encounter. Please pray that it will cause many public school teachers stop by our gospel booth on July 2nd and 3rd to hear how Jesus is our Ark of salvation and He rescues us from coming judgment.

Example of drone footage of Ark Encounter:

Pray for girls here in St Louis!

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Please for girls and parents who are here tonight and tomorrow at our “Strong in the Lord” conference in the St Louis area. In this first session (going on now) Sarah is challenging the girls to be one of those few who does not go the world’s way, but lives their lives for Christ! Please pray that the Lord works in a powerful way in their hearts. Thank you.

Evangelism Training Events 2016!

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I’m excited to announce two evangelism training events that we will be running together with our friend Tony Ramsek from Answers in Genesis this August. For the past 15 years, Tony has led Answers in Genesis’ annual evangelism outreach to the public school teachers at the NEA convention. We’ve been blessed to participate in this outreach, and we’re thrilled that Answers in Genesis will now be doing a similar outreach at the Iowa State Fair on August 11-21.

The information below describes the two training events for those who desire to be challenged and encouraged in evangelism.

Witnessing Workshop
August 5-6 • Cedar Rapids, IA

Learn How To:

• Think Biblically about Evangelism
• Start Gospel Conversations
• Grow in Boldness
• Develop a Family Ministry
• Use Creation as a Starting Point
• Explain the Gospel with Clarity
• Defend the Reliability of Scripture

Schedule: Friday: 6pm–9pm, Saturday: 9am–9pm. Includes afternoon time of witnessing on Saturday in Iowa City, followed by pizza supper for sharing highlights.
Registration: $15 ($50 family max). Includes pizza, snacks, and gospel tracts.
Location: Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel • 3412 Oakland Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52302
Optional Next Step: Attendees also are encouraged to put into practice what they learned by volunteering at the Answers in Genesis Gospel Outreach to the Iowa State Fair the following week.

See my blog post from last year’s Witnessing Workshop in Dallas for more information about what the Witnessing Workshop is like. (Note: the speakers are different this year.)


Creation Evangelism Training Camp

August 15-19 • Des Moines, IA

An intensive, 4-day (4-night) camp consisting of training in the morning, and opportunity to practice what is learned as we witness together at the Answers in Genesis Gospel Outreach to the Iowa State Fair in the afternoon and evening.

Experience:
• The fellowship of teamwork evangelism as we witness together
at the Answers in Genesis gospel booth inside the fair
• Apologetics training and discussion
• Digging into the Word to examine passages on evangelism
• One-on-one coaching and encouragement
• Prayer times for the people we will encounter
• Evening campfires for debriefing and Q&A

Location: Willowbrook Bible Camp, Des Moines, IA
For: Ages 16 and up (parents welcome). Younger ages may attend with a parent.
Registration: $175 ($200 after July 25) Includes housing / most meals.
Other expenses: $8 daily fair ticket and three evening meals at the fair.
Space limit: 85 people.

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Click here to see the PDF of this flyer.

For those who are potentially interested in some of these options and would like to be on the email list to receive updates, please fill out this short online survey. (Note: even if you can’t come to either of the training events, you are still welcome to volunteer at the Answers in Genesis gospel booth.)

To Register:
Click here to register for Witnessing Workshop.
Click here to register for the Creation Evangelism Training Camp.

Brand New Tool We’ll Be Using:
As most of you probably know, the Ark Encounter will be opening July 7th in Cincinnati, so it will be a good conversation starter with people anywhere. We are hoping to pass out about 60,000 of these brand new gospel tracts at the fair:

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If you cannot be a part of either training events or the gospel booth physically, we would so appreciate it if you’d pray for the Lord to do great things. Please pray that many believers will be “much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14), and than God would work in the hearts of many unbelievers so that they will place their faith in Jesus for salvation.

The Sales Call I Hated to See End

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“Hello, this is Grace!” I answered the phone last Saturday morning.

The voice on the other end offered me a special deal for senior citizens … something that may pay for my entire funeral.

Curious if this was a recorded message or a real person, I replied, “Can I ask a question?”

“Yep, yep,” he answered.

Guess it’s a real person.

Next I realized, I need to think of a question real quick now!

“Well …” I began, “our family believes that what is most important is that people know where they are going when they die—and that they will be with God in Heaven forever. Do you know where you are going when you die?”

(A little blunt for my first question, but it seemed to work well for this call.)

“Well, I am not completely sure,” he replied. “I hope I am going to Heaven.”

“Did you know that the Bible tells us how we can know for sure that we are going to Heaven when we die?” I replied.

“No, I didn’t know that. What does it say?” he asked.

“Well, first it explains that we actually deserve to go to Hell because of our sins. The Bible says God’s standard is perfection and He promises to punish sin, because He is just. If we have lied, stolen, disobeyed our parents, had impure thoughts … the punishment for sin is death and Hell — separation from Him forever.”

The caller seemed to agree.

I continued, “Sometimes we measure ourselves by an ‘American nice guy’ standard and think that we’re doing fine – but God’s standard is SO high and perfect that He says in the Bible that all our goodness is like filthy rags in comparison. That means we are in big trouble. Would you agree?”

“Yeah …. we’ve all done some bad thing,” he said.

“Yeah. So if you stood before God and He asked you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you say?” I asked.

“I’d say because I’m a good person, and I believe in You and have faith in You. What would you say?”

“Good question,” I replied. “Well, I am sure I would go to Heaven when I die, but it isn’t because of good things I’ve done—it’s because I have trusted in the plan that God made to rescue us, and that is that He became a Man, Jesus—who was fully God and fully Man. Jesus lived a perfect life and then died on the cross in our place …”

He laughed.
“So you believe Jesus was actually God in a human body?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“So,” he asked again, “You really believe God put Himself into a human body and walked around on earth?”
“Yes.”
He laughed again, surprised.
“That’s what the Bible says,” I explained. “Do you believe the Bible is true?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, it says in the Bible that Jesus claimed to be God. For example, when Jesus was standing before Pilate, Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the Son of God’? and Jesus affirmed that He was.”*
Son of God, but not God,” he said.
“No, He was really God.” I replied. “He said, ‘I and the Father are one.’”
“That’s impossible!” he replied.
“God can do anything He wants. I am just telling you what the Bible says. You said you believed the Bible.”
“I believe some of the Bible. I’ve read the Koran too, and it says that Jesus was God’s messenger.”
“Well, Jesus claims to be more than a messenger. He also told the Jewish people, ‘Before Abraham was, I Am’ … I Am was the name by which He made Himself known to Moses. He was saying to the Jews that He existed from eternity past,” I replied.

After more of his objections, I explained that the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary and God put Himself into a human body.

“Well, why would God have put Himself into a woman — in such a vulnerable spot like that? What if someone would have killed her?” he asked.

“He’s God! He’s in control,” I said, “Plus He was outside of her, too. God has three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit … But there are NOT three Gods – there is only one God,” I emphasized.

“Well, it makes a lot more sense that Jesus was God’s messenger to teach us about religion and about right and wrong,” he responded.

I replied, “If Jesus was just a messenger, He could not have been our Redeemer. God did send messengers—the prophets. But Jesus had to be more than a messenger—He had to be of the human race so that He could die as a substitute for our sin.”

“But why would God downplay Himself so much to become a human?!” he questioned, emphatically.

“You just put your finger on it — that’s the beauty of it! God showed humility. Let me read you this portion of Scripture.”

I read him Philippians 2:5-11 with emphasis, especially at the part where it explains Jesus was exalted above every name.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). NASB

I finished and waited for his response.

“Yeah I totally get what you are saying,” he replied.

At this point, someone in his office told him he had to get back to work. Before we hung up, I recommended the book Seeking Allah Finding Jesus .

I hated to see the conversation end. He was so engaged in this discussion, and much of this information seemed to be new to him. Please pray for him. Pray that he orders and reads that book–and most of all, the Bible.

*Note: It was pointed out to me in a comment that the actual question Pilate asked Jesus was “Are you the King of the Jews?” It was the elders, chief priests and scribes who asked if him if He was the Son of God. See Luke 22:70.

“Speak Truth in Your Heart” Bright Lights Conference

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I’m very excited about the brand new Bright Lights conference that will be taking place in Dallas, Texas on June 7-8. As girls replace lies with the truth, they see how God’s Word transforms each area of their lives as the truth sets them free.

Sarah has presented this material at camps, but this is the first time she will be teaching a Bright Lights conference using this material. See more information on our flyer here. Click here to register.

200 Young People. 26 Below.

This report is about 2 months late, but I figured better late then never.

IMG_9320 Almost 200 young people joined together for the first Midwest 26 Below Retreat: a missions focused retreat for young people. Sarah and I were thrilled that about 26 of our friends from the Cedar Rapids area came along with us.

IMG_9336 Sunrise Saturday morning

Nate Bramsen spoke on “Counteracting Counterfeit Christianity.” I’d say Luke 9:23 sums up the whole weekend pretty well: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me.” As Nate often emphasizes, taking up a cross isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you choose. It’s not comfortable. It’s not popular. It’s not normal. But it’s the way to walk closely with JESUS – and nothing in this world compares to that.

Those who follow Jesus radically are not the ones truly sacrificing – they are gaining the greatest Treasure imaginable. It’s those who forfeit a close walk with Jesus for the love of this world who are the ones making the great sacrifice.

IMG_9264 In this session, Nate had everyone out of their seats participating in a group activity that illustrates how quickly evangelism can happen when people are discipling others as Jesus commanded. Many of my friends told me this session on evangelism and discipleship was their favorite. Messages available to listen to online here. (Scroll down to the bottom of page.)

IMG_9232 Brady Collier, sharing with my friends about the Bible study he and his family do with international students.

IMG_9305 Missionary Panel (Missionaries answering questions and sharing from their experiences)

In this photo, Joel Hernandez (former missionary in Mexico) is sharing about the importance of reaching out to Hispanics here in the states. Countless Mexicans bring the gospel back to their home villages because someone in the States shared it with them while they were here. Many of these villages have no other way to hear the gospel.

One of the reasons I wanted to post about this retreat was because it is a reminder of the way God is raising up young people with a heart to serve Him. So often, we hear bad reports. We hear news of sin, rebellion, and young people leaving the church. But God is working, answering prayers, and raising up “warriors” for His kingdom … warriors for truth who have a heart to know Him and bring His love and light to this confused and hurting world.

I’ve been reading Jeremiah recently and I especially appreciated Jeremiah 24:7 which says, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” I thought, What a good prayer to pray for others. That God would “give them a heart to know Him.”

May that be the passion of each of our hearts: to know Him.

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10-11).

Sarah in Washington State

WA 1 Last weekend Sarah flew to Washington state to speak for a girls’ weekend camp. I wasn’t there, but thanks to Melodie Kirk (on Sarah’s right), I still have pictures to post to share about the special weekend.

Since I wasn’t there to kill the spiders in her cabin like she usually has me do, she had to kill all 5 of them herself. But she said they stood still and let her kill them, so she was grateful for their compliance.

Washington 3 We’re grateful for Kimbrlee, the 18-year-old Bright Lights leader who hosted the camp. Sarah said she did a wonderful job, and it sounds like the Lord really blessed … even more than anyone expected!

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The theme was “Speaking the Truth In Your Heart.” Here were the topics Sarah covered over the weekend:

Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly
Learn to discern lies of the world that are not consistent with Scripture, to delight in God’s Word, and to build every area of your life upon it!

Speaking Truth about God
Choose to reject the lies which girls often believe about God and to trust in Him fully. Grow deeper in your personal walk with Jesus Christ by getting to know His character.

Speaking Truth about Self
Take your eyes off yourself and put them on Jesus! Understanding who we are in Christ is the key to security and joy.

Speaking Truth about Emotions
Learn the dangers we as girls face in the area of emotions, and how to use your emotions to glorify the Lord.

Speaking Truth about Sin
Understand that the answers to dealing with guilt, regrets, and temptations are found in God’s Word. Only in Jesus will we find forgiveness, and gain power over sin and strength to walk in victory!

Speaking Truth about Purity
Choose to honor the Lord in your relationships with young men, to wait for God’s best in marriage, to walk by faith, and to use your single years for Christ.

Speaking Truth about Witnessing
Overcome common excuses and fears, and gain practical ideas about how to be a bold witness for Christ!

Washington 2 There were four small group discussion that met four times.

IMG_0643 There was also some free time for hiking, Frisbee, games, mother/daughter time, etc.

Today Sarah received an e-mail from a camp attendee with these words: “… We had a wonderful seven hour discussion on the drive home. 🙂 [My sister] and I were just talking today and saying how what Jesus did there is indescribable in a way… partly because we’re still processing everything, but it was just so good. We were trying to figure out how to describe it to people who asked us about it. We decided that one way we could say it was getting plunged into Truth, and soaking all weekend. :)”

Of course, that wasn’t Sarah–that was the WORD OF GOD bringing comfort and encouragement to their lives. Praise God for the Truth that sets us free!

If you are interested in hosting a “Speaking Truth in Your Heart” camp or weekend in your area, contact us for more information.

IMG_9817 Nickie put together a 31-page booklet that includes an outline of Sarah’s sessions.

IMG_9811 It includes the content of her Power Points (common lies girls believe, and Scriptures which refute them) as well as extra little Biblical studies.

IMG_9815 Lies have consequences! Often when we get to the root of our struggle, we see that we are telling ourselves something that is not true about God’s character. That’s what this little activity Nickie created is about. (She actually created it and some others like it for Sarah’s latest book-in-process on this subject. This is just a little preview. 🙂 )

Upcoming Bright Lights Conferences in St Louis

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be running Bright Lights conferences in St Louis in the end of June. We are praising God for how details have been coming together, thanks to the hard work of our friend Allison Whisler who is our hostess in St Louis.

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This is our image designed for sharing on social media. We also have an email with more information about the conferences for spreading the word. If you know families in Iowa, Illinois, or Missouri who might be interested in the conferences, you can email us and request this informational email. Or if anyone would like actual paper flyers [smile] we’d be happy to put some in the mail to you.

Bright Lights Conferences 2016 from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.

We would greatly appreciate prayer that the Lord would use these conferences to point the hearts of young ladies and parents to Jesus Christ.

See the conference flyer and more info here. See our online store to register for either of these conferences.

Saint Patrick’s Whirlwind

IMG_9672 Here was the group who came with us to the St Patrick parade to share with people about the history of Saint Patrick and the gospel. With the flurry of activity going on downtown, the afternoon feels a bit like a whirlwind. Praise God the gospel was part of the whirlwind.

IMG_9669 Patience and Adde — ready to get busy!

IMG_9695 These were my two helpers! They did fabulous.

IMG_9676 Hannah passing out tracts (Sometimes the dogs are even more interested in the tracts than the people, haha )

We praise God for the many good conversations He arranged. Nickie and Patience shared that one of the girls they talked with was so grateful she gave them a hug as they were leaving.

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Some people at the parade start acting extra animated because they’ve been drinking. My dad gets extra animated because he’s so excited about the gospel conversations he’s having 🙂 . He was running around giving tracts to everyone and then he had a couple sentences he’d explain with great enthusiasm…

IMG_9708 “… America needs a Patrick. God used Patrick to change Ireland by bringing them the gospel. That’s what we need in America. We need more Patrick’s!”

People would usually smile and agree. My dad told us later he talked at length to a total of eight individuals who were very serious about the gospel. Praise the Lord!

IMG_9710 Dad was also very tickled to discover that this man is an acquaintance of ours. He lives across the street from our church.

There are too many good things that happened to report them all. Praise God for the privilege He gives us of being His ambassadors.

Evidence for the Resurrection Video

Evidence for the Resurrection Gospel Tract from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.

I was vividly reminded a couple weeks ago that when GOD is coordinating encounters, we can move forward with courage and excitement. I pray the story on this brief video encourages some of you to use these three questions that lead into gospel conversations.

Remember, for the next two weeks people will be focused on the resurrection of Jesus more than any other time of the year. Talk about OPPORTUNITY!

To read our gospel tract on “Evidence for the Resurrection,” click here.