Fireworks and the Gospel

Praise God for the great “witnessing team” He brought together two nights ago to share the gospel downtown Cedar Rapids before the fireworks!

Beginning with prayer

Together we passed out a couple thousand short patriotic gospel tracts on the price of liberty. But we also prayed for good conversations with people, and really saw the Lord answer that prayer.

We find that when we approach small groups like this, they are often eager to answer our “Freedom Questionnaire.”

Freedom Questionnaire:

“Hey, I’m taking a short questionnaire about freedom. Do you have a couple minutes to answer a few questions?”

1) What year was the Declaration of Independence signed?
2) What freedoms are you most grateful for?
3) Who said “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free”?
4) What is that “truth that makes us free”?

(This last question leads into the gospel.)

The exciting thing is that when you have a whole team of Christians witnessing with these questionnaires, you can reach a lot of people in just a few hours! Together we had personal gospel conversations with somewhere between 100-150 people (many in small groups).

My mom said that these teenage girls were very sweet and polite and quite interested in hearing the gospel!

Afterwards, we came back to “home base” and discussed how things went. Here my dad is talking with Aaron, a friend who came to our recent “Just Men” conference, and then came back to join our group for witnessing.

Chris and Aaron praying about the conversations they had just had.
“Prayer is not preparation for the work; it is the work.” – Oswald Chambers

At our “home base” we had coolers, blankets, chairs, and — most importantly — people praying! As you can see, the ladies on the left are praying for some of the names of people we had just shared the gospel with. Teamwork!

Beth even brought a notebook to record names of the people we witnessed to, in order to remember them more specifically in prayer. Here Emily is sharing names with her.

Here are a few quick reports:

– Aaron talked with a guy who, after about 30 minutes of meaningful back-and-forth discussion, said, “I used to do a lot with church but I’ve been straying the last few years. I really appreciate you guys coming up and talking with us.”

– Chris had a conversation with an atheist who said he got him thinking.

– Sarah talked with a girl who said she was from a non-religious family, but she had started reading the Bible because she was interested in learning about God. Sarah gave her several tracts, as well as a suggestion of where in the Bible to read.

These are just a sampling from the stories I’ve heard (there are many I haven’t heard yet).

Praise the Lord!

Some conversations go better than others, because some people are receptive and some are not. But it’s worth doing, because some are receptive and super grateful. What a thrilling experience those conversations are. And for those who don’t act receptive, we still know the Lord is powerful to use His Word in their lives.

… And the exciting evening ended with a front row seat watching fireworks, celebrating both our freedom and the joy of having been His ambassadors, delivering the greatest news on earth, together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our next big outreach will be at the Iowa State Fair. The Testify Training Camp (witnessing training and fellowship) will be August 9-13. We’re praying that the Lord works in big ways and excited with anticipation about what He will do. Thanks to any who are joining us in prayer.

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary” (Psalm 107:2).

Scrolls Multiplying like Bread and Fishes

Last week a group of young people from our church loaded up into our van to pass out “Christmas scrolls” downtown before a parade.

Here was our team who braved the cold, 23 degree F weather! 😮 The only problem was that we had more helpers than anticipated, and we didn’t have as many scrolls as we would have liked. It’s a disappointing situation to have the manpower but not enough resources to give away.

Thankfully, Edie and Brad Dukek had rolled and brought several large bags of scrolls downtown and had them waiting for us (about double the amount you see in this picture). What a wonderful sight that was. God had fixed our problem.

We had a good hour passing out several hundred of them before the parade. My dad liked to tell people with enthusiasm, “This is the Christmas story FROM THE BIBLE!” and he said people responded with warmth to that–like they were getting “the real thing.” And they were!

I was also grateful for a few discussions I was able to have because of a Christmas questionnaire I used. I thought I’d share my questions in case any of you would find it useful in starting discussions this season. I’d start by saying, “Hello, I’m doing a little Christmas questionnaire — would you be able to answer a couple questions?” Then I went through the first four questions fairly quickly and spent the most time on the 5th question.

1) What was Jesus’ primary purpose for coming to earth as a Man? (John 12:27-28, Hebrews 2:14)
2) Do you know what the name “Immanuel” means?
3) Can you name some of the prophecies that were fulfilled at Jesus’ birth? (Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2)
4) What was the good news of great joy that the angel spoke about? (“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:10-11)
5) Jesus is called a “Savior.” What does He save people FROM and how does He do it?
6) The Bible tells us quite a bit about Jesus’ first coming. Do you know what it says about His second coming?

One man named Carlos told me he thought you get to Heaven by faith plus works. I was just about to explain the key concept found in Ephesians 2:8-9 when a drunk guy came up and was a big interruption to our discussion. Thankfully I was able to get back to Ephesians 2:8-9 and Carlos told me he was touched by the encounter. These interruptions at key moments are common and they are a reminder that we are in a spiritual battle and need to persevere in sharing the truth.

We returned invigorated, ready for a warm dinner, and grateful for those who helped us get God’s Word into many hands, and thankful to the Lord who allows us to be involved in His work.

Dad Witnessing At Christmas Tree Farm

After my dad and I picked out and cut down our Christmas tree this afternoon, we began talking about how we should witness to the guy who was working there. We thought that a good strategy for getting into a conversation would be to ask what he thought the second coming of Jesus would be like.

After my dad tied the tree to the top of our vehicle, he remembered he never paid for the tree. 🙂

When he went to pay, he asked his question about the second coming and they ended up talking for 10 – 15 minutes. I joined part way through.

“How’d that conversation go?” I asked dad as we were pulling away.
“Great,” Dad said.
As he began to explain the story to me, I pulled out my camera and started recording, hoping it might spark some new idea for others who might get into discussion this Christmas.

Dad Shares About Witnessing to Christmas Tree Farm Workers from Grace on Vimeo.

St Patrick’s Day – The Valuable Opportunity

St Patrick’s Day is coming up very soon! We are grateful for the response we received to the tracts we printed last year, and we are almost out, so we just placed an order for 20,000 more.

My dad, explaining about who St Patrick was to a group of ladies at the parade last year at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa parade.

Here is a report from our friend Tony Ramsek, who took his children to pass out St Patrick gospel tracts at the parade in Cincinnati last year: “It was a really fun time of walking the parade and handing out tons of gospel tracts … people were eager to take them and even asked for more … Basically we gave out tracts before it started and then walked with the last float giving out more. It was a blessing. BTW the children were so happy to give out your gospel tracts because they were so well received but we ran out fairly quickly. So next year I think we’ll order 2,500 …”

(Tony and his family passing out the tracts at the Cincinnati, OH parade)

It is surprising how many tracts can be passed out in such a short time. People are curious about his history, and eager to learn. Plus, everyone likes to be handed stuff at a parade. 🙂 How encouraging to be getting the gospel into so many people’s hands.

We also like to give the tract to cashiers, neighbors, the UPS man, Fex Ex man, you get the idea. Basically anyone we come into contact with from now until St Patrick’s Day. We say “Here’s something that explains the history of St Patrick,” and people are intrigued.

See last year’s blog report from the parade here, or, a short video about our St Patrick gospel tract here.

Click here to order a pack of 100 tracts for $7.
Click here to order a pack of 500 for $30.
Note: We will not be shipping the tracts until Monday, March 6th.

Witnessing to Protesters Outside the Ark Encounter

“Lord, please let the atheists be so touched by the love of Christians tomorrow that they are bewildered,” we prayed, anticipating the events of the following day.

We were volunteering at the Ark Encounter on our way home from the Answers in Genesis NEA gospel outreach in Washington D.C.

A surprise opportunity arose to join Eric Hovind and some other friends to talk with the protesters, and to bring them lunch.

When we told one of the other volunteers that we would be visiting with a group of protesters, she lit up. “Let’s pray for them right now!” she exclaimed. Her face reflected the feelings of us all. How beautiful that God was bringing a whole group of atheists right to our “doorstep,” so that we could share the love and truth of Christ with them.

img_5661 Eric Hovind did a great job spear-heading this ministry effort to the protesters. He wrote a comprehensive report of the whole day here.

img_5658 Some of the protestors were pretty angry about the Ark. However, many of them were very willing to have conversations with us.

img_5673 Three different atheists told Sarah that they really enjoyed their conversation with her, and thanked her for talking with them.

One atheist actually blogged about the conversation she had with a Creation Museum staff member named Kendyl. The atheist wrote, “I hadn’t planned on talking to any of the Christians there, but found myself engaged in a couple of one-on-one, deep conversations with them anyway. They were calm, meaningful discussions about faith that I actually quite enjoyed. During one of the conversations I and the girl I was talking to were both tearing up talking about our experiences. It was a very touching moment and one I will not forget. The thing I often remind myself of is that we’re all just humans trying to figure out the world around us. We shared our disagreements and debated a few issues, but sometimes you just have to push all the divisive stuff to the side and connect with someone on a deeper level. We did that and it was beautiful.”

img_5656 Unfortunately, not all of the protesters were as willing to converse. In fact, when the Christians first arrived, the atheist leaders were telling their group not to speak to us at all. Praise God, He had different plans for them. 🙂

img_0588 They weren’t too excited about the food we brought for them. They put these warning notices on them.

img_5662 Nickie and I talked with these ladies for about two hours. Our goal was simply to listen and understand what made them so upset that they would come and protest. They had much to say, especially about the way religions have affected women’s rights.

After about 45 minutes of discussion, a guy who had been listening in, piped up, “Do you guys mind if I jump in, as a male hearing this talk?”
They laughed.
“Seriously, it’s not very often I get to hear females talking about female issues that involve religion.”
“Yep!” she said.
He pulled over his lawn chair, and then looked over at Nickie and me to make introductions.
“I’m assuming, Christians?” he asked politely.
“Yes,” we smiled.
“Uh, conservative? Like, super conservative?”
“We’re volunteering for the Ark encounter,” I said, smiling.
“Oh! Well then that explains it,” he said.

His big question was, “How do you reconcile being a female and having to read the Bible?”

Smile.

If only he would have given us the opportunity to answer!

It was clear that these atheists wanted to sit on the judgement seat above God and judge Him. This guy, (I’ll just call him “Jay”) told us, “If God knocks on my door tomorrow … I will tell Him, ‘I’m not praising you, I’m not getting down and worshiping you, I’m not going to thank you, we’re going to sit at my dining room table and you’re going to sit here and answer every &$%*!@#$! question that I have. And I still may not worship you. I’ll respect that you’re here now … way to show up … ‘bout time!”

I share his disrespectful words to show the attitude that many of them had towards God. They are not merely atheists, but anti-theists. Many of the people that came to protest were extreme anti-theists, not your average atheist that you meet every day. Most atheists I’ve encountered over the years aren’t as angry as some of these were.

It was sad to hear how Jay became an atheist. He told us that he was confirmed a Lutheran, but once he had his second child, he began thinking, “Okay, I’m a parent, I have to start laying the groundwork for my kids. Are we religious?”

Jay began getting advice from people about religions. One guy advised him, “Look at the different faiths out there, and pick your holy book of choice. Then get away from the cheerleaders of it (pastors, priests, activists) and read it for yourself from front to back.”

At this point I was becoming very interested in Jay’s story!

He continued, “I couldn’t even get through the first page of Genesis without thinking, ‘what in the @&)%*$%# is this about? On the 4th day, God created light? Well how in the *#%$!(@& did the first 3 days happen?’ … And then I jumped on the Internet and started typing … trying to get the other side of it.”

(I guess he forfeited the advice of his friend, who said to read it for yourself before getting others’ opinions!)

I asked him, “Don’t you think you should have read the whole Bible before you came to that conclusion? Don’t you think that’s a little unfair to stop right there?”

“Not when you understand how the Bible came to be,” he said. “The Bible is not one consistent story from start to finish. It just a bunch of jumbled whatever. Did you know there’s THREE different versions of the resurrection story in the Bible?”

Jay claimed that coming up with a consistent resurrection story can’t be done.
“But I’ve studied this myself!” I told him, “And Tim Chaffey over there in the white cap wrote an article on this — I could send it to you!”
“It can’t be done,” he repeated.
“It CAN be done. I’ll explain it to you!” I offered excitedly.
Another lady, entertained, commented, “I just have to say, you guys are so cute. I love people.”

I am not sure that “cute” was the most complimentary thing she could have said at the moment, but whatever. Haha.

And regarding the issue of light before day four, there are many easy answers to that question. Here’s one by ICR, for example. Genesis 1:3 says that on the first day “God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. So Jay was confused when he said on the fourth day “God created light”. The Bible says on the fourth day God created the sun, moon and stars.

Though Jay hadn’t read the Bible, it was obvious that he had been reading all kinds of things ABOUT the Bible. Atheists like Jay love to pull out obscure verses from Leviticus to act like they know the Bible really well, hoping to stump Christians. But in reality, they usually don’t actually know the Bible — they just go to atheist blogs or watch debates where they acquire “ammunition” to use against Christians. (It’s not really ammunition because their objections have simple answers, but often they don’t actually want answers. Rather they “suppress the truth” as Romans 1:18-22 explains. 🙁 )

For example, Jay claimed the Bible is extremely immoral because of the account of Lot offering his daughters to the evil townsmen. He felt that because that event was in the Bible, the Bible must be condoning Lot’s behavior.

Nickie and I explained that Lot’s actions are not lifted up as godly in that account! The Bible gives all kinds of examples of evil… and it is not condoning it, it is simply showing the depravity of men’s hearts.

But Jay wasn’t satisfied with our answer. He asked scornfully, “Does it bother you that your God in that book didn’t jump out of the sky and condemn it (Lot’s actions)?”

He continued, “The moral compass wasn’t there. Why wouldn’t God jump in at that moment and intervene? He intervened and turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. Why did he just sit on the sidelines in this part of the story [when Lot was about to offer his daughters to the townspeople]?”

“But He didn’t!” Nickie replied. “Did you read the rest of the story? The angels inflicted the townsmen with blindness.”

Although Jay wasn’t really listening and didn’t really care, I was grateful for Nickie’s quickness to catch and correct his misunderstanding of the history recorded in Genesis 19. Either Jay was lying or hadn’t really read the whole account himself. The truth is that God DID intervene to protect Lot and his family from the evil men outside. In fact, God did it by the personal visit of an angelic team who powerfully blinded the enemies! How is that “not intervening” ?

You see, these atheists act like they have dozens of great arguments against the Bible, but their arguments crumble when evaluated.

“Can I ask you ‘how far creationist’ you are on the scale? Like do you believe humans hung out with dinosaurs?” Jay asked me.
“Yeah, we believe God created dinosaurs on day six,” I said.
“So you literally think that humans hung out with dinosaurs?”
“Why do we find dinosaur bones with blood vessels in them?” I asked.
“Is it to trick us?” he asked.
“It wasn’t found by [Creationists],” I replied, “it was found by Mary Schweitzer who doesn’t even believe in young earth creationism, but she found this tissue and these blood vessels in these dinosaur bones and then did the experiment again and again…”
“In which facilities? Christian facilities? Independent?” Jay asked, and then immediately switched the topic to kangaroos.

img_5676 I was thrilled that Tim Chaffey could come and join our conversation. He responded to each of their objections (which seemed endless) with clear and articulate answers.

One guy had a question about how the water could have covered the planet.
“You’re assuming Mt Everest was there [at the time of the flood],” Tim replied.
“Yes, because geologically, Mt. Everest, even though it is a young mountain, is still very old,” the guy said.
“It’s covered with sea shells,” Tim replied.
This led into a discussion about how the sea shells got there.

At one point Jay said to Tim, “Why would one planet in this galaxy be *so important* to a creator?

“Well,” Tim began…
“I’m not looking for an answer,” Jay said.
“Well I’m going to give you an answer,” Tim said, seizing the opportunity to answer that good question, “Because if this is where He creates life — and in the Bible the earth is made before the sun, moon and stars — ”
“Which doesn’t make any sense at all,” Jay said.
“I think it makes perfect sense, if He wants to do it that way,” Tim replied.

[I found it interesting that Tim, without knowing my previous conversation with Jay, brought up the VERY TOPIC that had been the big turn off for Jay — the fact that God made the sun, moon, and stars, on day four.]

Tim continued to explain that God cared about this planet because this was where He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

“We really appreciate you talking with us” we told Jay, as things were winding down and we had taken friendly pictures together and exchanged contact info.
“Oh this is wonderful,” he replied.
We both agreed that talking in person is better than online debates.
“[Online] it just turns into a shouting match … My caps lock is louder than your caps lock!” Jay joked.
We laughed.

img_5668 Meanwhile, my dad, Sarah, Haley, and our other friends were having good conversations too. Praise the Lord.

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img_0597 The great news was that twenty-one of the protestors agreed to go on a guided tour of the Ark — guided by Tim Chaffey who is the content manager for the Ark (he wrote the signage). He blogged about the day here. The Ark Encounter also blogged about it here.

img_0609 Eric Hovind, giving a great explanation about geology and the flood.

img_0601 The atheists even agreed to do a 10 minute Q and A time with Tim Chaffey at the end of the personal tour.

2016 Prayer Letter 6 Ark Do you notice how intent the look on their faces are? They aren’t mocking anymore. They’re listening respectfully. Praise God that many of these atheists — who began the day by chanting at the exit ramp — ended the day as our friends!

img_0618 A beautiful sunset closed that first long day. Wow, so much had happened, and that was just opening day! What else is the Lord going to do at the Ark Encounter? How else will He use it as a beacon for the gospel? Perhaps that will depend on how much we are praying towards that end!

2016 Prayer Letter 6 Ark The next day, some of the leaders of the atheist protest came back! Our friend, Tony Ramsek, invited them into the IT office for lunch. They talked for several hours about Creation Science and more importantly the person and work of Jesus Christ!

Tony shares interesting details about his interactions with the atheists in his presentation called “Beginning in the Beginning: The Power of Creation Evangelism” given at our recent Witnessing Workshop (blog post coming soon!).

Witnessing Workshop – Beginning in the Beginning: The Power of Creation Evangelism from Tony Ramsek on Vimeo.

Praise the Lord, who thrills our hearts by giving us the opportunity to be His hands and lips, reaching out to those He loves.

Gospel Outreach at the NEA Convention, 2016

Let me set the scene: Washington D.C. July of 2016. Thousands of Public School Teachers. LGBT Activists. Hillary Clinton in person.

Enter: Answers in Genesis supporting a 20-foot gospel booth, giving away thousands of Christ-centered books and DVDs, engaging teachers in gospel conversations, and showing fly-over drone footage from the Ark Encounter on a huge flat screen TV.

nea-2016-1-smaller I want to share just a taste with you of how the Lord worked.

img_0445 Victories are only victories when they are the work of the Spirit of God. That is why we fervently ask Him to speak through us and touch hearts.

img_0470 One benefit of sharing the gospel from a gospel booth is that discussions can be started easily and naturally as we simply explain the message of the materials we are giving away. The books and DVDs teach many topics about science and why we can trust the Bible, but each one ultimately points to the gospel.

img_0455 This Mormon man (grey hair) had talked with us last year (I wrote about it in this post) and praise God, he came back this year to visit more! It was a delight to see him again. Bryan Osborne is talking to him in this picture, and Dr. John is pulling up material on his laptop to share. (A typical scene.) This man came back again near the end of the conference to say goodbye to us. I think he could tell we cared about him, and a little bond had formed.

img_0443 Here’s our team getting smoothies afterwards one night. If only our team wasn’t in such a serious mood all the time! 😛

img_0495 This was a pro-life booth run by some Christian friends of ours. One morning, Tony Ramsek began talking with a young man in a booth neighboring this pro-life booth. (Tony often goes around and witnesses to other booth vendors.) The theme of the neighboring booth was “Protecting Human Rights.” While talking with the young man, Tony pointed to the collection of babies displayed at this Pro-life booth. (The display shows models of babies from peanut-size to birth size.) Tony asked this young man, “At what point does the baby get their human rights?”
The young man looked at the sequence of babies and said, “Whoa. I’m a really liberal person, but you just changed me into a conservative.”
It was by hearing Tony’s question and seeing the model babies that he saw the truth. Tony proceeded to share Jesus Christ with this young man. Please pray for him. Praise God that He is still working and opening people’s eyes, one by one, even in some of the very darkest places, such as the NEA convention.

img_0503 Our team this year (minus Dr. John who had to leave early).

This was the first year that Answers in Genesis speakers Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson (Harvard graduate) and Bryan Osborne were a part of the team. Dr. Jeanson is in the green tie, and Bryan is standing directly behind me.

I loved just listening to them talk to people.

One lady thought our booth was advocating bad science, but her tone changed dramatically as Dr. Jeanson addressed her questions.

Her concern began when I showed her the topics on the back of the Answers 1 DVD, which we were giving away.

“So you guys advocate that the earth is only a few thousand years old? Alright. You lost me,” she told me with disdain in her voice. “I’m open to the idea that the Bible can be applicable to life today—but there are so many things in there that you can’t take literally,” she said.

I noticed that Dr. Jeanson was not engaged in another discussion, and he gladly agreed to join the conversation. He began sharing why carbon 14 dating methods do not prove an old earth. She asked, “So I guess what I was trying to get to is this: does your organization promote that the Bible is literal truth?”

Dr. Jeanson affirmed strongly that yes, it does.

“Why can’t it be that the seven days happened longer ago then we thought?”
“That’s a good question, and there are a couple of different ways to answer that,” Dr. Jeanson replied. He continued, “Is it possible that God took millions of years? Sure, He can do whatever He wants to. Is it possible that a day could mean a thousand years? Again, it is theoretically possible, but I have learned that the best way to judge what the text means is not necessarily my interpretation—but to ask, how do other writers of Scripture interpret it?”

Dr. Jeanson then explained how the Bible is one book, with a beginning, middle, and end. And the writers assume that you’ve read what came before. For example, when John records Jesus’ crucifixion, he makes an obscure reference to the Old Testament, saying, “For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, ‘NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.’” This is referring to a passage in Exodus 12:46 about the Passover lamb (thus, John was teaching his readers that Jesus was the ultimate Passover lamb). This is an example of a big arch in Scripture—a tie from Exodus to John. It’s all the same story. Dr. Jeanson gave a few other examples of “arches” in Scripture: concepts that are established in the beginning and fulfilled at the end.

Dr. Jeanson’s point was this: What does the rest of Scripture say about Genesis? What are the other writers assuming? In Exodus 20, Moses gives the Ten Commandments, the fourth being to “rest the seventh day.”

[It says, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:9-11 ESV]

Dr. Jeanson explained to this lady that the word “day” in Exodus 20 is the same Hebrew word used for “day” back in Genesis chapter 1. In fact, there are other equivalent words used. For example, the Hebrew words for “heaven and earth” in Exodus 20:11 are also the same words used for “heaven and earth” back in Genesis 1:1. So there are multiple links from Exodus chapter twenty to Genesis chapter one.

Dr. Jeanson continued, “Now, in Exodus 20 is it telling us to work for 6 million years and then rest for the 7th million? That could be a really, really bad thing, or a really good thing depending on which part you are in,” Dr. Jeanson said.

She laughed.

He continued, “I think we’ll all agree that means 6 literal days … so those are plain days and he connects it right to God’s creation week.”

She said, “I feel there are so many wonderful things in the Bible to focus on, I just wonder if you are marginalizing yourself by focusing on whether the Scripture can be interpreted exactly today. None of that is about the lessons you’re supposed to learn from the Bible, is it?”

“You’ve just set me up for what I was about to say,” Dr. Jeanson said.

“Okay, go ahead,” she laughed.

He continued, “Because the Bible is a book, the beginning is all the more important. You can’t just jump into the middle of a novel and understand what’s going on. You have to start from the beginning to understand that plot and character development … similarly, there are all kinds of huge arches that start in Genesis and really don’t get finished until Revelation.”

Dr. Jeanson emphasized, “When Paul explains salvation, the whole background to it (why we die in the first place, why we need a Savior) Paul explains by pointing back to Genesis (one man sinned, therefore one Man saves) and then he ties it to Christ (Romans 5). So Paul is connecting Genesis to the central truths of Christianity. I have colleagues who think that Genesis 1-11 is an ancient myth narrative, and who do not believe in a literal Adam and Eve … ”
“Paul lived ‘back in the day’ also,” she said.
“But if we are going to trust Paul [the New Testament] on salvation then we would be logically forced–”
She interrupted, “I could trust someone (like Paul) who is writing back then on what salvation is, more then on what they knew about science.”
Before Dr. Jeanson could really answer this statement, she had to go off to an appointment.
But she said to him, “I really appreciate the conversation, and if I can, I’m going to find you later today.”

This lady was not anti-God or anti-Bible. But she has a low view of the Bible. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” Since the Bible is the very Word of our Creator, then why could it not be trusted when it comes to issues related to science? God made the world that scientists study!

And if she cannot believe all of the Bible, then how can she believe any? How can she be sure which part is accurate? This is why it is so important that we stand upon every word of God, and help others see that it CAN be trusted.

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Our final evening in DC, we went to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner. Our waitress was from the country of Georgia. She was warm and chatty, and after a little get-to-know-you discussion, we asked her about the spiritual beliefs of her country. Then we asked her about her spiritual beliefs. It felt like just about every time she left the table we’d discuss what we should ask her next time she came back. 🙂
“So you believe in Heaven and Hell right?” I asked.
She did.
“So if you died, where do you think you would go?” I questioned. Her answer surprised me. She replied, “I have never thought about this question before.” This opened the opportunity to share the gospel with her.
It was evident she was enjoying the discussion and loved the positive attention. She even went out of her way to make all of us very delicious [and very gritty!] “Turkish coffee” that you can see us holding.

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.

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.

IMG_9702

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.