Witnessing Workshop, Dallas

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Attending a “witnessing workshop” is not in most people’s comfort zone. And attending a witnessing workshop where everyone goes out witnessing at local “modern-day market places” that afternoon is about a mile out of most people’s comfort zone.

Evangelism is not a topic that appeals to our flesh. Far from a “clean family comedy” event, this event was more like planning “war strategies” – (war against lies and deception) … planning strategies that scare us because we know WE are the ones to be carrying them out… that very day.

Therefore, it’s a miracle from beginning to end for this conference to be a success.

We prayed that the Lord would bring those He wanted. Registrations were coming in very slowly. But they did come in, and the little church was filled with an energetic joy. Some emphasized to me, “We knew God wanted us here.” One family from Florida heard about the conference, found a great airline deal, and had their airline tickets bought–all in a 3-hour time frame. Wow – praise the Lord!

IMG_7262 We were extremely encouraged by how we saw the Lord at work. We were thrilled that Dr. Jason Lisle was available to come and share two sessions. His talks on apologetics were fantastic. It was fun to see the audience captivated: laughing, learning, and asking questions.

DSC00551 I’ve heard Dr. Martin speak many, many times, but I think this was my very favorite. He shared practical advice on using tools (such as “Creation cards”) to engage the lost in conversation, and how to rejoice in rejection (Luke 6:22-23). He also shared a wealth of Biblical teaching on evangelism. Dr Martin speaks from much experience. Any who know the Martin family know that their whole lives are spent talking to people about the Lord Jesus!

DSC00620Questions and Answers with Dr. Jason Lisle and Dr. Jobe Martin

IMG_7278 One pressure that was weighing on me as we were planning the conference was Where are we going to send everyone to witness when we go out Saturday afternoon? Since I’m not from Dallas, I wasn’t sure which locations were best. But the Lord provided in a wonderful way: Mr. Noland, not knowing about this need, came over to the church a day before the conference (while Sarah was teaching the Bright Lights Leader’s Training that his daughter was attending). When he learned of this need, he offered to help, and he picked out five good locations for witnessing. Not only that, he also printed maps to each location. What a relief this was to me and my dad as we were using every minute we could to finish planning everything else!

IMG_7287 Around 4pm Saturday afternoon we divided into about 5 father-led teams of about 20 per team.

DSC00643 After a couple of hours we came back to the church to share stories of what we saw God do!

Often we’re afraid to witness because we leave God out of the equation. We forget that the miracle-working God is alive and strong! But when we step out in obedience to tell people about Jesus, asking Him to give opportunities, what do you think He does? He answers those prayers big time! That doesn’t mean everyone we share with falls on their knees repenting (He’s already told us that won’t be the case). But we see HIM blessing our efforts, arranging conversations, and working in lives…

Many who attended the witnessing conference had not done evangelism in this form before (in public places, shopping areas, etc.) and I was praying they’d have a good first experience. Praise God, we heard story after story of wonderful conversations that the Lord arranged.

We had over 100 people out there sharing the gospel! Who knows how many unbelievers had a positive face-to-face loving encounter with a Christian about spiritual matters that afternoon?! What an encouraging thought that is. Just two hours with a group of 100 believers scattered around Dallas and so much can be accomplished!

IMG_7309 I believe hearing these stories was a highlight for everyone.

When young people get on fire for witnessing, what an awesome path they have ahead. As they use their youth to do the most important work in the universe, they actually have more fulfillment and more excitement than all others. It’s a much richer life living for the One who died for us. And they’re an example to the believers (1 Tim 4:12). One friend of mine, Charis, 14, told me of a conversation she had with some other junior high girls about “what happens when we die.” Charis’ dad told me he was shocked by her boldness. I was so encouraged by her courage and growth!

IMG_7366 As stories were told, Sarah and I wrote down a summary of each story shared on the whiteboard so we could remember to keep praying for those we talked to.

IMG_7329 Abby sharing about a witnessing conversation

IMG_7255 We’re extremely grateful to Lalo for all he arranged to make this conference happen. He has been a wonderful friend to our family, along with Dara and their adorable children.

Belated Mother’s Day

IMG_7645 Our family went out for a belated Mother’s Day dinner last night and had a wonderful time. We also went to see the War Room and we’re praising God for the victory this excellent movie is and for the impact it will make. I was expecting it to be great and it was. I know it has already impacted me and it’s only been a few hours… I came home and started a new prayer journal to do a better job keeping track of answered prayer. I think it can be a very helpful thing for us to actually have a “hard copy” of some of the key things we’re asking the Lord to do.

Radiant Purity Conference, Dallas, Texas

11779985_871538086228420_8710486862946040913_o First session of Radiant Purity Conference, Dallas, Texas

In this first session, Sarah answers the question: “what is RADIANT purity?” Why don’t we just call it the “Purity Conference”? Sarah explains how it’s not just being pure yourself, but leading others in the way of purity. It’s having a life that stands out as different, and beautiful–and points others to Jesus Christ.

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It was very exciting to see the Lord’s hand working in girls’ lives at the conference. In the small group discussions, many voiced their thirst for answers. They were struggling and wanted help. The most encouraging part was seeing their decisions to actually make changes in their lives. For example, here are a few comments we received:

“I want to spend more time now working on becoming the godly woman I hope to be rather than just daydreaming about finding a godly guy all the time… I thought the speaker made a very good point about how most failed relationships go wrong because of seeds planted before the people even met. That’s important for me to consider right now… I want to make more time actively for exploring the Bible rather than wasting time on social media…” – 17-year-old

“I let go of a guy, told him that I don’t see a future between us (which was really hard cause I’ve really liked him for a while now) … Some decisions I was facing like currently this weekend I got answers to on how to handle it. It was like God was speaking directly to me through the speakers.” – 18-year-old

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One of topics the girls seem to appreciate the most is “Emotional Purity.” Sarah shares practical, Biblical advice on how not to be obsessed over a crush, and how to be a godly sister in Christ who is not flirtatious or rude. She encourages the girls to seek to build up young men around them rather than trying to get attention for themselves.

11222267_871854136196815_5648973731254630594_o We had a unique, unexpected problem (well, we always do, but this one was especially noticeable): the sustain pedal on the keyboard wasn’t working, which made the piano sound kind of like a harpsichord. 🙂 Stephen and I took a careful look at it during a break and saw that it was definitely broken. We weren’t sure what to do. You don’t realize how much of a difference a sustain pedal makes until it’s broken.

Sarah came into the office and told a couple of the girls, “I have a prayer request. Pray that the pedal on the keyboard starts to work.” My first reaction was, “Does Sarah realize that’s not possible? Stephen and I looked at it, and it’s broken.” But then I remembered Oh yeah. God could fix it. In the next session, I couldn’t believe it: the sustain pedal was working! Then it stopped working again, so Stephen had the idea of switching to a different keyboard for the rest of the conference, and that really fixed the problem, praise the Lord.

IMG_6998 It was really encouraging for me to hear how the Lord had been working in Brook’s life in the area of witnessing! I’m excited for how He is going to use her.

IMG_7003 Alyssa (left) came up to me after the conference and told me about how she was wanting to witness to the other girls on her swim team back home but was finding it difficult. I agreed that it is tough to witness to friends in that context. I mentioned that it’s actually a lot easier to witness to people at the park that you don’t know, because you don’t have anything to lose.
“But I don’t want to serve God in a way that costs me nothing,” Alyssa replied.
That was a great comment, I thought.
“That’s true,” I agreed.
“But in a way there is nothing to lose by witnessing to your swim team either,” I remarked…
“Well, friendships,” she said.

Praise God for young ladies like Alyssa who desire to lay down their own lives and desires out of devotion to Christ. Sharing the gospel IS a sacrifice. Living for Jesus DOES cost. And many aren’t willing to pay the price. But when we look from the perspective of the cross, it’s not a price–it’s a privilege.

IMG_7047 “We need to get over,” Nickie told me with an intense tone of voice. She was driving one of our 15 passenger vans and I was in the passenger’s seat texting someone. I looked up and noticed that smoke was filling the van. Since we were on a busy Dallas interstate, it took Nickie a little bit to get over to the side of the road. I was worried the van might burst into flames before we all got out. But God protected us.

dsc00422 Eventually my dad arrived, and then two men from a local Bible chapel came to help us. “Usually God sends angels in pairs,” my dad told them gratefully. 🙂 It turned out that a wire came loose from a power inverter and the insulation on the end was charred, thus causing the smoke.

As you can see, I’ve been very slow with sharing reports here this summer, but if you’re interested in more pictures and reports, Caitlin did a fantastic job updating her blog here.