Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recommended Reading December 2011

I just finished reading this book, "The Intentional Spiritual Life", that my good buddy Ben sent me. It is written by a brother in Christ by the name of Paul Yanchek. Paul, is the pastor at Lighthouse Alliance Church in Ohio and he has by the grace of God written an amazing book that should not be overlooked. Now that being said, be warned. If there is any lukewarmness in you or a lack of desire or effort to spend time with the Lord each day, The Intentional Spiritual Life WILL make you squirm in your chair. It WILL make you mad at times. It WILL make you want to throw it, rip it, trash it, or worse. This book is intended to make you yearn daily to want to grow in your relationship with Christ. It succeeds and the end result of spending more time with Jesus is surely more than enough to overcome a little discomfort while you read through these 10 chapters. If you don't think so, this book is definitely for you. Paul does an amazing job at presenting the idea of discipline in time spent with the Lord without being legalistic. He gives many scriptural references to back up his encouragements to believers who would take the challenge to read his book, all the while emphasizing the grace of God through it all. It's not a flashy title. All your friends haven't read it. It's not a New York Times bestseller. But if you, like Paul, look around and look at yourself and wonder why,"Only 15% of born-again Christians recently surveyed stated that their relationship with God is their top priority in life", then this book could be what you are looking for. I would recommend buying two so that you will have an accountability partner to help you through the challenges presented in this writing. You can get your copy by clicking here. Leave us a comment after you've read it and let us know what you think! Blessings, Virg/SaulBecomesPaul.

Hebrews 5:12-14

English Standard Version (ESV)

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Monday, September 26, 2011

180 Movie

Warning: Intended for Mature Viewers. Content may not be suitable for all age groups.

Visit for more info and click HERE to order this fantastic documentary. Make sure you share this with your friends and family!! Lastly, be sure to "Like" the 180 Movie on Facebook by clicking here!! God bless, Team DiG

What people are saying about 180 Movie:

“We live in an age where Satan rules the pool of the internet and all of his “disciples” dive in after him. Well, God didn’t waste time dipping His toes in the water to chase them out of the pool. He cannonballs in with this amazing documentary on Hitler, the holocaust, and abortion and it’s party over for the devil and his pro-choice followers! There’s absolutely no limit to what God can do with this YouTube gem from Ray Comfort and Living Waters! Even amid the already present controversy surrounding the film, people’s minds will be changed not only as it pertains to abortion but also to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The “180” has begun. ”-

"This movie is awesome! Notice that those nay-sayers here can't argue with the logic of Ray Comfort! Instead they resort to name calling.... can't get past shallow thinking! For those that can think beyond the surface level of things, this documentary speaks volumes of truth about what is going on and the similarities to what happened in Germany.
"-Lee Ebbs

"This documentary does a GREAT job presenting the truth of the present-day holocaust and the gospel is presented clearly also, in keeping with the Great Commission. Well done!! If you have not watched "180" yet, what are you waiting for?
"-Jeff Libby

"Great comparison, great documentary. Sadly, many will remain blinded by Satan (2 Cor 4:4). Pray that God would let them see and that He alone will be glorified by this powerful movie, "180"! Soli Deo Gloria"-Virgil Patterson

"Simply jaw dropping! Praise Jesus and all glory to God alone."-Mark Sixteen-Fifteen

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"-God (Jeremiah 1:5)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


"If we spent 5 minutes in Hell, it would make an evangelist out of us"-Philip DeCourcy
Look at this picture and it will tell you a lot about where our society is today as a whole. Everyone wants to get rid of a little place called Hell. Even the spell check on my iPhone has gotten in on the act of trying to rid society the idea of this horrible, horrible place by changing Hell to He'll. With such an assault on this place that is the fiery eternity for the unrighteous, I am so thankful to go to a church that is not afraid of the doctrine of Hell. After all the Bible is clear that it is a real place, just like Heaven is a real place. Jesus, speaking of Heaven, says in John 14, "And if I go and prepare a place for you". Neither Heaven or Hell is just a state of mind like many in our culture would have us believe. Sadly even many in the church have fallen into thinking this way. Whether you believe that we are in Hell right now or that it's just a particular event in your life you go through, these ideas are not biblical in any fashion. Jesus spoke of Hell more than anyone. He spoke of a place where the "where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched". A place where "there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". Not only is Hell a real place, it is also an eternal, conscious punishment for those that do not repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation. Many who try to do away with the doctrine of Hell have come up with the idea of annihilation. The idea that people who don't come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ just simply cease to exist. That's what the people who come to your door on Saturday mornings believe. The concept of annihilation is worthy of cult status, not biblical Christianity. If you really think hard about it, does it really make sense that someone can do whatever they want their whole lives and just cease to exist? No eternal consequences for Hitler, child molesters, rapists and murderers. They get to have their own little "Heaven" on earth and then they are just gone? I don't think so and neither does the Bible. Consider the words of Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, in his epistle. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. You see punishment, just like reward of Heaven, is eternal and Eternity is a long time to be wrong about Hell. I just want to finish by reminding you that the word gospel means "good news". The good news is that if you repent and trust in Christ you will have everlasting life. This gospel message only makes sense if there is a flip side, or bad news. The bible says that there is and that bad news is Hell. If we are in Hell now or if we are just going to cease to exist, then the good news doesn't make any sense at all. Pastor Philip DeCourcy's quote at the top of this page would mean nothing apart from Hell being a real place. The bible says we will walk the earth 0nce, then judgment. Sadly, our society takes God out of everything from schools to courthouses. Kids have almost zero knowledge of right and wrong. Now even the spell check on our "smart phones", which most kids are glued to these days, is trying to take away the idea of Hell. We need to make sure everyone we know understands that Hell is very real because Satan, the god of this world, will use everything in his "power"(yes, even spell check) to have you believe otherwise. Judgment is on it's way. The consequences of sin is God's wrath. Hell not He'll. Believers share the Gospel. Non-believers, please repent and believe the Gospel.

Here is a great 3 part sermon by Pastor Philip DeCourcy regarding Hell
How Can Modern Man Believe In Hell? - Pt. 1
How Can Modern Man Believe In Hell ? Pt. 2
How Can Modern Man Believe In Hell? - Pt. 3

Matthew 25:46

English Standard Version (ESV)

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Awesome Paul Washer Sermon

Below here is a video of a great sermon by Paul Washer as well as the transcript of a particularly powerful segment of this sermon. Enjoy.

"Let’s imagine that I show up late and I run up here on the platform,and all the leaders are angry with me and say, “Brother Paul, don’t you appreciate the fact you’regiven an opportunity to speak here and you come late?”And I’d say, “Brothers, you have to forgive me.”“Well, why?”“Well, I was out here on the highway, and I was driving and I had a flat tire and I got out tochange the tire, and when I was changing the tire, the lug nut fell off, and I wasn’t payingattention that I was on the highway and I ran out and I grabbed the lug nut, and as soon as I picked it up in the middle of the highway, I stood up and there was a 30-ton logging truck going120 miles an hour about ten yards in front of me, and it ran me over and that’s why I’m late.” Now, there would only be two . . . I know no one studies logic anymore, but there would only betwo logical conclusions. One, I’m a liar or, two, I’m a madman. You would say, “Brother Paul,it’s absolutely absurd. It is impossible, Brother Paul, to have an encounter with something aslarge as a logging truck and not be changed.”And then my question would be to you––What is larger? A logging truck or God? How is it thatso many people today profess to have had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and, yet, they are not permanently changed?"-Paul Washer

Mark 1:15

English Standard Version (ESV)

15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blood in Blood out

Warning: Intended for Mature Readers. Content may not be suitable for all age groups.

Flaco walked slowly toward the waiting Chevy Impala, looking back over his right shoulder to make sure no one was watching the scene. Flaco wanted to be certain that his busybody neighbors weren't focused on him and his waiting "homies". He then looked back over his left shoulder to acknowledge the door being slammed by his girlfriend Marisol. It wasn't her house nor was it Flaco's. It was his parent's house of 34 years. She was there due to lack of options since her parents kicked her out of their house for dating a known criminal. Flaco's parents didn't really like either of them being there but were fearful to say much. She turned back to the slamming door just in time see the Crucifix bounce gently back into place on the wall to the left of the entryway. She then looked out the small window in the door to catch a glimpse of her boyfriend's skinny, tattooed leg being pulled into the car. Those legs with his zip code, 90023, tatted on them were the source of his street name Flaco. His parents, girlfriend and the local East Los Angeles postman all called him by his real name which was Hector Guzman.

Hector had been in and out of jail for what he deemed "small time stuff". Drugs, thefts, fights, etc. All those were child's play compared to what he was headed for now. Blood in, Blood out. He was on his way to accomplish the "Blood in" part of joining one of the most feared gangs in his neighborhood. What that means is that someone is about to have lived their last day. Murder. 150,000 people die each day; this would just be one of them. As Chuey's Impala rolled along, all of its inhabitants were quiet. The only sound was that of an old school Kid Frost rap pounding from the top of the line, stolen sound system. "This is for la raza". The thought reverberated through Flaco's mind as he pondered who his target would be. Mother of four? Policeman? Office worker? How many lives would be impacted by the death of one? That didn't matter to him. So long as one person went down, Flaco was in.

Flaco looked down as the car rolled on. His eyes followed the gold chain he wore down past a tattoo of two roses, the stems of which intertwined through and around two matching pistols. One of the guns had his name on the barrel; the other read "Marisol". The names matched the roses, having a deep red color. The diamond cut chain ended with a hanging, graven image of Christ on the cross which rested on an oversized picture of the Virgin Mary tattooed on his chest. He pulled it out from under his wife-beater style tank top, kissed it and slid it back into place. Flaco, like his family and most of the people in his hood , was born into the Catholic religion. He had done all the works that the Church deemed necessary for salvation. He was baptized as an infant. He had done his First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Even to this day he prayed the Rosary regularly and he still went to church when he wasn't too hung-over. He took communion on those days when he felt like getting up and "doing something for Jesus". Flaco's mind raced as he thought about his upcoming murderous deed but remembering that he had given up video games for Lent, which started today, was somehow comforting to him. In Flaco’s mind, his 40 day sacrifice might somehow help outweigh the bad he had done and all he was going to do. As he wrestled with all of these thoughts, sweat rolled down his forehead and blurred the already smudged ashes that he had gotten on his forehead earlier this morning.

Flaco hoped that all these religious duties would be a sufficient offering (or even bribe if you wanted to call it that) to God in spite of all the sin in his life. After all, he was washed of the original sin as a baby right? Didn't that mean he was saved and could live however he wanted and do whatever he felt like doing? That's the example he was given throughout childhood. His parents lived with no fear of the Lord and they were supposed to have the same "faith" that he did. Yet every Sunday after church, Alejandro Guzman, Hector's father would shout out expletives accompanied by God's name to express his dislike with people's driving in the church parking lot. Alejandro would deny this in the company of certain people which made sense since lying was never an issue for him. As a matter of fact, Flaco’s dad was pretty much the person who taught him how to lie. A partial truth is a whole lie would have been the opposite of Guzman motto. Not only that, Alejandro had cheated on Hector's mother, Maria, several years ago. He had done so more than just that time but that was the only instance he got caught. Maria was no saint either even though she had somehow forgiven Alejandro for his transgressions. She coveted things. That coveting almost always led to theft. She was guilty of not only stealing, but also teaching her son Hector how to do so as well. Who knows how many free things she and her son had gotten from the Walgreens near their house? None of it was of great value but did that matter Flaco thought? Stealing is stealing. He knew because he was guilty of theft too. He, however, had moved on from his mother’s petty theft of nail polish remover and candy bars to cars and money. Did he still have a conscience? The notion brought him back to what he was on his way to do and trying to justify it. Was murder so different than the things his mom and dad did on a regular basis? Weren't blasphemy, adultery, lying, coveting and theft all part of the 10 Commandments handed down by the God of their religion? What would make murder different? He could just go to church Sunday if he didn’t get caught by man’s law and say a few prayers and be ok. He could work off his own sin right? If his parents could be religious and still blatantly live in sin, Flaco felt he should be just fine with his breaking of God's Law.

Chuey mashed on the gas to catch the yellow light and the acceleration brought Flaco back to the situation at hand. He felt a tap on his shoulder and looked back to see a Beretta 9mm pistol being handed to him from the back seat. Lil' Piaso was quiet as a mouse back there but he spoke volumes with just a nod and another thrust forward of the "acquired" handgun. Flaco grabbed it and knew that it was time. Who knows what other weapons Piaso had back there? The '64 Impala screeched to a halt in front of the Pacific Commerce 14 Theater. The door was already opening and out came Flaco with Beretta in hand. He ran up to the closest person and began to raise the 9mm pistol to her head. He tried to steady the gun and his shaking, sweaty hand. As the girl turned toward Flaco, a nearby woman screamed. The young girl tried to process what she was seeing. What she was looking at was a loaded, shaking gun pointed at her face and a skinny, tattooed, pale faced Mexican with eyes that looked as if they were beginning to water. She dropped to her knees before he had a chance to pull the trigger and she began to pray. Flaco seemed unmoved by the girls last ditch effort for salvation. That's when it happened. He looked over to an upcoming movie poster. "Priest" was the name of the movie. The titular character was perched on a building. The poster said only one thing besides the title. REPENT. He lowered the instrument of death as he pondered the word. What did that mean? Chuey and Lil' Piaso yelled for him to hurry from the blue Chevy. "Rapido, rapido!!" He couldn't move. Something had grabbed a hold of his heart. The word repent captivated him. At that moment he realized that all of his attempts to follow church tradition meant nothing. He was supposed to turn from sin in response to what Christ had done on the cross for him. He couldn't continue with the lies and the blasphemy and the stealing anymore. He certainly couldn’t go through with a murder. God's grace wasn't a license to continue sinning like his family had demonstrated to him all of these years. He looked down once again at the sobbing teenager before sliding the gun towards his impatient homies. Flaco took off running as fast as those skinny legs would take him.

Flaco had a small head start due to Lil' Piaso jumping from the back of the car to pick up the weapon which he had taken from his girlfriend’s father’s nightstand. He got back in the front seat and they took off after Flaco. The small tires chirped as the Dayton rims started spinning. The woman who had screamed called 911 and went to comfort the terrified would-be victim who was sitting in her own urine. Meanwhile, Flaco ran towards home. When he was almost there, he stopped in an alley that he thought would be safe and called Marisol. He told her that he didn't go through with it and that he had turned from that thug lifestyle to follow Jesus. She could hardly believe it. Marisol hung up the phone and packed up her things and left Flaco's parents house. She didn’t want him to go in the first place but his new condition was worse to her than his previous one. Hector, the name he had resolved to go by from now on, looked down at the phone. He knew she left but it didn't matter. He had finally found forgiveness. Hector had found true forgiveness with Christ as his Lord and not some sort of just-in-case Savior to be left on the back burner of life. Hector waited quite some time. When he figured the coast to be clear, he headed towards his parent's house. He actually didn't have much of a choice with the General Waste Disposal truck coming toward him down the one lane back road. He got to the end of the alley that was perpendicular to his street when he saw the front of the blue Impala. He had nowhere to go. The trash truck was blocking the only way back. He looked at the open window of the creeping Chevy. A face covered with a blue bandana and dark Ray-Ban sunglasses stared back at him along with a pump shotgun. He knew what was about to happen and he feared not. He knew now where he was going. Time seemed to crawl as Lil' Piaso pumped a shell into the chamber of the Mossberg shotgun and Hector reviewed his life. All those years of religious duties Hector and his family had partaken in meant nothing. Christ had done everything that needed to be done when He died on the cross then three days later rose again and defeated death. Blood in. "Sinners like me can get in to Heaven now thanks to His blood", thought Hector. At least he had the chance to tell one person the good news before this moment even though she didn't accept it. He wished he could have gotten a hold of his mom and dad. Maybe Truth could have triumphed over tradition with them too. Maybe it still will. Hector could no longer be a part of any of that. This was it. Repentance and trusting in Jesus alone for salvation alone was the only thing that helped him now as the flash came before his eyes and his life ended. Blood out.

Ephesians 2:13

English Standard Version (ESV)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Proclaiming at the Car Show!

So I had the pleasure of meeting some new friends down at the annual car show down in Wooster Ohio for some Evangelism. They have a prayer station and some old cars that were part of our setup. They close off the main street and allow folks to come in and setup their cars and allow folks to walk around admire their cars and all that they have done with them. There were many different types of cars and that brought a great crowd out. Jeff and his team had an amazing tract that they created for this specific event.

The front of it looked like this:

and on the back it had a great presentation of the Gospel!

So many people received these tracts and had great conversations that were both revealing and convicting. I personally had several amazing conversations with these particular tracts, I in fact put my million dollar bills away and used these exclusively! I would grab someone walking by and ask them if they could name the TV shows that these cars were from, most everyone got the first 3 only a few folks got the last one, "The Waltons" then I asked folks if they were good with the years of the cars, most were not so I didn't try that, I then went one of two ways I either asked them the question on the back of the card, "What's the number one cause of death in car accidents?" which then led into another question about what do you think it takes to get to Heaven, which resulted in most people saying something like being good enough or something to that effect or I had them turn the tract over and asked them if they would read the back and tell me what they thought of what it said. I learned this from Jeff and it really worked well, not only are they getting the Gospel but then they are telling you what they liked or didn't like about it and then you could go right from there. So I was able to engage a lot of people and most were really receptive to the Message, I was surprised how many conversations I had compared to rejections!

So all throughout the night our folks were giving away free raffle tickets for a chance to win a $30.00 Gas card. I missed the first one, basically what they did was announce to everyone when the next drawing was and that would draw a crowd, once the crowd got big enough they would share the Gospel via open air from the top of the back of the Dune Buggy they had. So I got to talking to Jeff as they were getting ready to do the next Open Air for the 2nd drawing and he asked me if I would do it? I agreed and so he prayed with me and away I went. I climbed up there and did my first open air to that size of a crowd in a venue like that so close to home. It was weird, I wasn't even nervous, I was so excited to be there and to be used for the Kingdom.

Once I finished I announced the winning numbers and when the folks came down to get their card I stepped down and shared the Gospel with them both, the man told me he just recently had a brush with death and was happy to be there that night. You see he was robbed by a dozen kids in Mansfield and beaten and left unconscious, he had his nose and arm broken and several other injuries as well. He was fortunate to be alive. I assured him God wasn't done with him yet and that conversation we were having was a divine appointment. We had a great conversation and they left thinking about all that they had heard. I pray that they come to true repentance and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ!

So many more conversations were had and people requesting prayers and there was one final drawing so my sister in Christ, Melissa got up on top of that Dune Buggy and delivered a reading from the Word followed by a great Open Air you can see it below:

What a great Outreach and amazing new friends I have met that are so passionate about fulfilling the Great Commission! I truly am excited for what God has in store.

Friday, August 19, 2011

August/September Recommended Reading-Slave

Ben, our very own Death is Gain, sent me this book last month and I am finally getting around to reading it. To be honest I had a hard time putting it down even to write this. Slave, by John MacArthur, is an amazing look at what it truly means to have Jesus as the Master of your life. Of course if He is the Master, that necessarily makes His followers slaves. This book looks at all of that and it also takes time to look at some of the history of the Reformation. Please take the time to check out this book and find out what your true identity in Christ is today! There is also a study guide that allows slave to be used in a small group setting. If you are involved in some sort of shepherd group this would be a great book to go through together! Below are some links to where you can pick up your copy! Hope that it blesses you as it has me, Virg.

Grace to you


Romans 6:19

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tears Like Rain

The first drop hit her blue jeans. It didn't even have to time to spread out across the surrounding denim threads before the next one hit just an inch away on her right thigh. Almost simultaneously her left leg found itself in the storm of tears. I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. She reached up to stop the outpouring of sorrow in water form but two hands just weren't enough. It was like trying to put a piece of gum in the Hoover Dam to plug up an 8" hole. No one had ever seen the ten year old girl so upset before. As her parents, we tried to comfort her but the words barely seemed to help. God is sovereign. Her shoulders shook as she continued to try to be brave and hold back tears. She looked up at mom and me and gave a brave nod as we further explained the situation to our young girl. Lean not on your own understanding. Even though she had great understanding for a girl of her age, the sadness in her face began to intensify as the tears again slid down her long black eyelashes. What could incite this kind of reaction in a girl of only ten years? Was her fish found floating in the $9.99 tank from Petco? Did her favorite doll break after years of not being played with? Was she grounded from games and TV for a week? Surely those were too petty to get this upset about even for a fifth grader. Did a family member die? Once to die, then judgment. A close friend? Was someone in the hospital? As she ran to the bathroom to get some tissue, I thought that I had followed close behind to comfort. It was however, to learn. Make me know your ways, O Lord. I was amazed at the amount of tears one could emit at one time. Jesus wept. As I talked, she responded only with sobs and even more teardrops. It was then that I realized I was looking at the example. My eyes watered, my heart ached and I truly understood that I was witnessing the archetype for how every Christian should react if they had received the news that she just did. She reacted like Jesus would have. He knows the Truth, he just doesn't want to follow it. Someone she loves isn't saved.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Extra Life Charity Gaming Event Oct. 15th 2011

Hey guys, it is that time of year again! Every year Team DiG participates in the Extra Life 24 hour charity gaming event. All proceeds go to children's hospitals within the Children's Miracle Network. So, the big question you might be having is,"where do the proceeds come from?" Well the short answer! Team DiG needs your help in sponsoring one of our 3 participants, either Dan, Ben, or Virg. There are several ways that you can help out with this fantastic cause.

1. Monetarily
100% of all your tax-deductible donations go directly to helping the kids at these children's hospitals. The recommended donation is 1$ per hour($24) to sponsor the participants. If you can do more great! If not, every bit helps these kids. Just visit one of our team member's pages below and click "Support Me".

2. Teaming Up
Consider joining Team DiG in this effort. Just visit our team page(here) and join us by clicking "Join this team"! You can make your own page and raise money for a children's hospital in your area and start collecting donations for kids local to you!

3. Prayer Warriors
We understand that times are tough for many out there and you don't have the money to support something like this financially. Fortunately, prayer is free!! Pray that these kids would be healed for God's glory and that all funds generated would be used wisely by these hospitals to help out these kids in need. Pray also for the wisdom of the doctor's who are trying to help out these afflicted children. Also be sure to pray for the family members who are trying to deal with their kid being in a hospital for these days, weeks, even months and years. Lastly, pray that people would come to Christ in the midst of whatever trial they are going through. I came to Christ through my daughters sickness, maybe they can too.

So those are some ways you can help. Even if you are planning on doing one or both of the first two options, all of us should be doing option 3. Prayer changes things. Below are the links to our individual member's donation pages. If you can help out by sponsoring one of them, that would be fantastic. Thank you so much and God bless, Team DiG.

Sponsor Ben and support UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital by clicking here!

Sponsor Dan and support Children's Hospital Los Angeles by clicking here!

Sponsor Virgil and support Children's Hospital Orange County(CHOC) by clicking here!

Keep track of how Team DiG is doing below!!

Ephesians 2:10

English Standard Version (ESV)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Classroom Shooting

Warning: Intended for Mature Readers. Content may not be suitable for all age groups.

31 frightened, shivering students huddled together at the back of the classroom that is designed for 32. The teacher, known by his normally jovial bunch of kids as Mr. K, stepped over the thirty-second student. Mr. K took this step carefully, as to not slip in the blood that now covered the once white tile floor. He made his way toward the remaining students with his Kimber Custom II ACP .45 in hand, 7 shots left. The kids looked at the blood splattered mess of a teacher walking towards them and one of the girls screamed. He kept walking, ignoring the high pitched sound. Mr. K was standing above them now. With 7 rounds left in his gun, it would only take 8 student heroes at most to make this problem go away but no one was volunteering. He looked back to his desk of 18 years and the body on the floor; also 18 years old. Billy, gone. The remnant of trembling kids could not comprehend their formerly lovable teacher's actions. What happened? Divorce? Pay cut? Termination? They did not have to ponder any longer. "Freeze! Drop the weapon!" shouted the savior in blue with his state issued 9mm aimed at Mr. K's head. It was finished.

18 months later...

"How do you plea Mr. Khmelnitski?", asked the judge. A stunned crowd, judge, and jury looked in amazement as the chain bound ex-teacher boldly proclaimed, "not guilty!" Judge Grunnell leaned forward as his demeanor transitioned from amazement and shock to interest and curiosity. "The hallway camera caught the event on tape through the square shaped door window. You had traces of Billy Medeiros' DNA and blood on you at the time of arrest. There were 31 witnesses of the shooting and on top of all that a well established officer of the law found you at the scene with the murder weapon in hand. Can you explain this ridiculous plea to me please?", the judge of 27 years sarcastically inquired. The courtroom artist was completely incapable of capturing the look on the faces of the people present after what Mr. K replied. He said,"Well sir, I did more good than bad on that day. True I did kill one boy. But after that I did not kill 31. I had the means to do so. I had four 8 round clips with me that day. Not only that, before I went to the school that morning, I made arrangements to pay for two of my previous student's college education since I have no children. I have no plans to do anything wrong from this day forward. I would say my good outweighs my bad your honor and I am truly sorry."

Present day....

Please don't worry about Billy or Mr. K. They are fictional characters. The truly sad part is that there are real people out there who respond like Mr. K in regards to being guilty to the Law of God, the 10 commandments. So many of the people that I talk to out on the streets feel that they are good people and that their good deeds outweigh their bad. Some people think that repentance is just stopping sinful acts and that doing the right things from this point forward will be sufficient in the sight of a Holy God. It's a tough battle for people who are born again and who have the Holy Spirit as their guide and Christ as the Lord to walk a narrow path. To think that in an unregenerate state you can just all of the sudden do "good" for the rest of your life is absurd. The reality is, just like in the story above, doing good doesn't make up for being bad. Did it matter to the judge that the teacher in the story didn't kill 31 kids? Absolutely not! It only mattered that he did kill one. Mr. K could have paid every student's way through college, fed the homeless every day, contributed to charities, adopted kids, bought girl scout cookies outside every market in town, walked old ladies across streets, whatever. These good deeds would not have erased Billy's death in this case.

Now, back to God's Law. Apart from repentance and faith in Christ, God's wrath abides on unregenerate sinners. All have either lied, stolen or wanted something that did not belong to them, fornicated, adulterated, blasphemed, idolized, murdered(including hatred), or worse yet not put God first in their lives. To think that they would be able to stand before God on Judgment day with all of that against them and say, "but look at all the good I've done!" is woefully laughable. The Law was broken. It doesn't matter what good you do from that point on. So if just doing good from now on isn't good enough to get us into Heaven yet God want's us to go there, then there has to be something else. It would seem that all would be headed for Hell. Think of the story again. If Judge Grunnell in the tale is a good judge and has to punish Mr. K for his wrongdoing despite all of his "good" acts, just imagine our Judge on Judgment day. He is not only a good judge. He is a great, wonderful awesome, and amazing Judge! So with knowing all of that, if God is indeed a good Judge, He MUST punish sinners for their crimes against His Law. All of the good deeds in the world are not going to be taken into account in any way. So justice must be served...and it was. Jesus Christ. Fully God. Fully Man. He never sinned. He took the penalty for our sins. The justice that should have been taken out on us was taken out on Him on that cross that He died on all those years ago. He rose from the dead three days later, defeating sin and death. If we repent and trust in Him for salvation alone we can escape the punishment due to us in Hell. We broke God's Law, Jesus paid the fine. That means that God can throw our case out because justice has been served for our crimes against Him.

For my fellow street evangelists out there, this analogy of killing one student but not the rest has been effective for me when speaking with the lost. It really helps them see that their good won't undo the fact that they are already guilty. If you are not saved and are reading this, please realize your true state before a righteous and Holy God. Listen to your conscience. It bears witness of your guilt. Apart from repentance and faith in Christ you are daily storing up wrath for yourselves on the day of wrath and any attempts to do "good" from here on out are only attempts to bribe the great Judge. Today is the day of salvation. Ask, plead, beg God for salvation. Repent and believe the gospel. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved. Then read your bible daily and obey it.

2 Corinthians 5:21

English Standard Version (ESV)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June/July Recommended Reading-Ultimate Proof of Creation

What happens when different groups of people look at the exact same evidence and come up with two completely different conclusions? Will one side ever be able to convince the other using the same information that has already caused them to believe what they already do? It's like having a bloody glove in a murder case. One side says, "the glove proves so-and-so was the murderer." The other side replies, "if the glove don't fit, you must acquit" while going out of their way to make it not fit. Likewise, in the creation vs evolution battle, we all have the same evidence. One side however goes out of their way to make the evidence "not fit" making their view of it totally impractical. So, if we cant use evidence to convince evolutionists that there was a Creator, what do we do? What is the Ultimate Proof of Creation?

This book by Dr. Jason Lisle from Answers in Genesis will help you use things like morality, laws of logic, and uniformity of nature to show how the biblical worldview is the only one that has any legs to stand on in these areas and how any attempt by the evolutionist to adhere to any of these is trespassing on christian grounds. This is a must read for anyone who is serious about sharing their faith with the new breed of people who oppose Christianity these days. There is also a DVD that accompanies this book which can be found here. Additionally there is an article on the Answers in Genesis website by Dr. Lisle called Evolution: The Anti-Science that you should check out. I highly recommend reading this so you can get a better idea of what kind of content you will find in the book. This is really great information!

Finally, I am embedding a video of an episode of On the Box from Way of the Master. It features Sye TenBruggencate( talking about pre-suppositional apologetics. This episode is where I found out about Dr. Lisle's book from Sye as well as Chad Williams. Fortunately for me, my wife had already bought it about a year ago along with the DVD! If you read the book, leave us some comments and let us know what you think!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When Great Work Goes Unsaved

Imagine working on a super important project for work, or school, or let's say even just for fun. You put hours, days, maybe perhaps years of research into this depending on what it is. It doesn't really matter whether it's a spreadsheet, a slideshow, or even just a Word document. What matters is the time and effort that has gone into your task. You feel great about the great things you have done to get this project in order. The idea has flowed from your brain to your computer screen better than you could have ever intended it to. You have found the perfect quotes, pictures, and anecdotes to go with your ideas. You hit spell check and find that, as usual, there are no squiggly red lines under any words. Everything is spelled correctly. There are no green squigglies to indicate run-on sentences or fragments. Just as you begin to pat yourself on the back and reflect on how great you are, the screen goes black. Your computer begins to smoke. The computer just died and all of your work with it. You look down at the Lexar 16gb USB flash drive with the horrible realization. "I never saved."

Now for a moment picture your life as your work. Maybe you have lived a great life. Masters degree on the wall. You don't drink. You don't swear. You've never been to jail. Never even gotten as much as a parking ticket. You go work at homeless shelters a couple times a month and even swing by church on Christmas and Easter or to light an occasional candle or two. The final "period" of your work is the Ugandan refugee boy that you adopted last year. Your self righteousness is at an all time high. The world just looks at you and says, "man, that is one great person!" If there was a "spell check" of life, yours would be devoid of any red marks. You of course pat yourself on the back in agreement. The drunk driver that just t-boned your car isn't impressed. Now your computer screen goes black. Life is over. Your good works didn't save you as indicated by the flames, anguish and screams of torment. Hell is real and you and the other people who thought good was good enough are there, wondering why.

Hell is the destiny, sadly, for many people who the world would consider "good". This fiery Eternity is also the end result for people in works based religious systems. As sad as it may seem, being good and doing good works and being religious just won't cut it on our day in Eternal Court. We are not going to be able to bribe the Judge with our righteous deeds, kind acts, and religious fulfillment of duties on Judgment Day. The only way to satisfy God's wrath is the only Way He gave us. Jesus Christ. John 14:6 tells us, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He makes no mention of any other "way" to the Father. There is no "auto save". You are not going to Heaven because your mom is a Christian or because you fed the homeless. You are not going to get past the pearly gates by way of infant baptism, ashes on your forehead once a year or flying a plane into a building. All of those are religious "duties" and none are sufficient. Remember what Jesus told the religious people of his day after He gave the list of righteous activities they would display for him. "Depart from me, all you workers of evil." Why is this the case? Because it doesn't matter if you like to go to Church once in a while to make yourself feel better. It won't matter if you've fed every homeless person from Los Angeles to Amarillo if you have ever told one lie. Even a lie, which is minor in human estimation, is punishable by the Lake of Fire according to the Bible. If you use your eyes to look with lust, that is adultery according to Jesus. Hatred is murder according to 1 John 3:15. These are just 3 of the 10 Commandments. We are all guilty regardless of whatever good deeds we have done or how religious we are.

Now some are going to say, "doesn't the Bible say that faith without works is dead?" Well yes, yes it does. What this means is that you should do good things if you are saved so that you will be known as a Christ follower by your fruit, not because you will be saved by doing them. So how does one get saved? Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross as the payment for your sins. God will accept no religious filler or bribes as a substitute for His perfect sacrificial Lamb, Jesus. Ten out of every ten people die. That is the ultimate statistic. Don't get to this black screen of life without being saved at the end. Ask forgiveness. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. Repent and believe the Gospel. Read your Bible daily and obey what it says.

Job 34:25

English Standard Version (ESV)

Thus, knowing their works,
he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.(italics added)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not enough time...

So it's been a real long time since I posted. I have had a lot of adversity going on in my life. More than words will allow to fit in this blog, I know I mentioned in the past to update all with whats going on but I don't think its time for that quite yet, instead the message I have for you today is that no matter what you are going through, you are not going through it alone. God is right there with you and if we are to be Christ-like and obedient then we are to be good stewards for Him. We are to carry out what Christ had commanded, whether we are busy or have all the time in the world. We need to make the time to share the Gospel with everyone that we can, if you are busy or in fast paced environments and time doesn't permit for you to preach or have a 1 to 1 conversation than that is when a Gospel tract becomes a perfect message for Christ. God's Word will not return void, we have that as a promise. What we can do is carry tracts and pass them along to someone in passing, be that walking or a cashier or even through the drive through.

Lately for me its been in the Hospitals, going through parking garages and giving to attendants or placing them in the Hospital for others to find, its not about me being the messenger as much as it is about being obedient about delivering the message and allowing God to use that for His Glory. So while I do carry tracts and hand them when I can and share with folks, I also do something else twice a month. When I pay the bills, I send out tracts. If you haven't tried this method I highly encourage you to do it. When you get that junk mail every other day in your mailbox, dont rip it up or throw it away without first opening and removing the self-addressed stamped tract carrying envelope.
Every month I send out anywhere from 5-20 tracts with my bills that I mail each bill gets a tract and the free postage envelopes from the junk mail get one too, I pray for those who might open and that God would reveal Himself to them and that someone might read the Gospel for the first time or maybe the tenth time and come to true repentance. So while I have been busy and each of you in your own way, don't quit sharing the Gospel, use whatever vehicle you have, be it tracts in your pocket or tracts with your bills and junk mail or on your social media pages that we all seem to have more than enough time to loiter on. If you are discouraged or going through a tough time think about this, your adversity or tough times does not make who you are, you are who God created and you need to be ready to answer the call no matter what is going on in your life. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel, get out there and share the Gospel!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God's Word is alive and well. The old lady in the shoe, not so much.

There was an old woman,
Who lived in a shoe;
She had so many children,
She didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth,
Without any bread;
She whipped them all soundly,
And sent them to bed.
Even if it's been a while since you've read or heard the above story, we all recognize the story of the old lady in the shoe. We don't really sympathize with her plight because we can read this and instantly know that this is obviously not a true story. It is without a doubt, a fairy tale. Now I want you to read something that many claim is simply just a "fairy tale."
2 Timothy 3:1-5
English Standard Version (ESV)
1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Many, especially our youth, have discounted the Bible. They feel it is only a fairy tale book of stories. The above passage doesn't sound like a fairy tale book to me. It sounds a lot like where we as a society are at today. It sounds very, very real. And it is. That's because the Bible is always 100% accurate in it's words and predictions. So you can take it to the bank that when God says in His Word that "it is appointed for men to die once then judgment"(Heb 9:27), that it will happen. How will you do on that day? How about if you were to die today? How would every lie, theft, hatred, lustful look, blasphemy and idolatrous thought that you've ever committed look on Judgment Day in the sight of a holy and righteous God?
You may think that you are a good person. And compared to the next door neighbor, co-workers, family, even someone you know who claims to be a christian, you might very well be good. Perhaps very good. But God's standard is not "the next guy". He doesn't grade on a curve. His standard, the 10 Commandments, has never changed. The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. It tells us that no thief, idolator, or adulterer(lust) will enter the kingdom of Heaven. God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name. So by His standards, not your own, how will you do if you were to die right now?
If we are reasonable and listen to our conscience(Romans 2:15) we will see that our best attempts at being good won't be good enough (Isa 64:6) in light of God's standard on Judgment Day. So since we can not count on our own goodness to save us, maybe you are thinking that God's goodness will save you? Don't count on it. God is a good judge. He can not simply overlook sin. He is a just judge. Justice must be served for the breaking of these commandments. Justice that damns guilty sinners to a real place called Hell.
I know that it's not looking good. Hasn't everyone broken these commandments? Not exactly. Everyone except one. And therein lies the good news. That God sent His Son Jesus Christ, as prophesied, to be born of a virgin(Isa 7:14). He was fully God, yet fully man(John 1:1-14). He lived a sinless life yet He died on the cross for all of our sins(Romans 5:8). God's justice and wrath was carried out on Jesus so that it wouldn't have to be taken by us. Jesus rose from the dead three days later, defeating death so that if we repent(turn from sin Mark 1:15) and trust in Him alone for salvation(Acts 4:12, Eph 2:8-10) we shall not perish but have everlasting life(John 3:16). Your part in all this? Pray to God today for forgiveness. Repent. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead and you can be saved!(Romans 10:9) Then read your Bible daily and obey what it says.
Go back to the top and re-read 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 1-5. Is that where you are today? Are you fulfilling the Words of the Book that you deem "just a fairy tale"? You can look all day and be hard pressed to find a lady who lived in a shoe that had so many kids she didn't know what to do. It will take you less than 5 minutes to find a person such as described in Paul's letter to Timothy. A self loving, God hating, disobedient, unholy, lover of pleasure is very, very easy to track down these days. 8 years ago you could have looked to me to find that person. God, who is rich in mercy, called me to salvation through repentance and faith in His Son Jesus-the only way to get to God (John 14:6). Please consider and pass along this message to your unsaved friends and family.
2 Peter 1:16
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Monday, June 6, 2011

3 Questions

Two Fridays ago, our Kindred outreach went to the Gardenwalk out here in Anaheim California. This is a great place to witness because it has a sidewalk near the street that is public property. This means that we are able to freely hand out tracts, have great one to one conversations, and even do some open air preaching without getting chased out by security. I got to speak to a man named James who had been, as he called it, "out of the game" for a while. The conversation went really well. I also got to talk with David, who believed but wasn't quite living for the Lord. That also went pretty good. There were a few others that I talked to but one person still stands out to me. A big teddy bear looking guy named Sean. As I saw him walking towards me, I handed him a million dollar bill tract. He looked at it and knew what it was. He informed me that he had rejected the message on the back of the bill some time ago and that he was in a hurry to meet a friend for dinner at a nearby restaurant. So I asked him if I could as him three questions before he ran off. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Would you consider yourself to be a good person?
Sean: Yes
Me: Have you ever told a lie?
Sean: Yes

Timeout. So at this point I realized I only had one question left. I then told him that it might be more like 6-8 questions, to which he said, "hey now you're lying!" We both started laughing and I reiterated that I would stick to my original three questions, as promised.

Me: What do you call someone who tells lies?
Sean: A liar

Me: Ok Sean, the Bible says that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. It also tells us that if you try to keep the Law but stumble at one point you are guilty of breaking all of it.

I proceeded to tell him what God did so that did not have to happen. That Jesus Christ lived a perfect life but took our sins on Himself and died on a cross. Three days later He rose again, defeating death so that if we repent and trust in Him we won't perish but will have everlasting life.

Sean did not start weeping over his sins but he did shake my hand, thank me, and even folded the tract and put it in his front pocket. I wanted to share this with you guys so that you will have a way to get the good news to a person who is in a hurry and even use the Law to show them their need. The conversation lasted literally no more than two minutes and Sean was able to meet his friend at the restaurant right after we talked.

Final Thought: Why does lying make me a murderer, adulterer, blasphemer, idolator, and covetous person? How is it fair that if I break one commandment, it's like breaking all of them? Well Greg Crouse, fellow team leader, said it best during his open air preaching. Imagine hanging over a pit of fire from a chain made of ten links. Your handle is hooked to the bottom link. Does it really matter which one you cut? No! Any of the ten links of the chain, if broken, will make you fall. And that is the point. We are all sinners in God's eye and apart from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, God's wrath abides on us. Some of you are hanging over the Lake of Fire today. Which link(s) are gonna cause you to fall into it? You don't have to fall. Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself because God doesn't want anyone to perish. He will catch you. All you have to do is ask. Repent and trust in Jesus. Get down from that chain today and fall into the hands of the loving savior.

James 2:10

English Standard Version (ESV)

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friends in the Alley

Ok so there was this group of homeless guys. They always hung around together in the same dark alley. One day they noticed that one of their friends, Chris, was gone. Life went on as normal for all of them until one day they noticed a man walking down the alley toward them. They could see right away that this man did not belong down here with them. He was clean, dressed in clothes that were not torn, smiling. As he got closer to the group, they all began to recognize him. It was Chris! They were all happy to see him, at first. But he had a couple things to tell them. The first thing was that a law had been passed that anyone found in this alley would be arrested and sentenced to life in prison. That didn't make them too happy at all. They resented the fact that they would be condemned for just being who they were. Fortunately, Chris had good news for his friends in the alley. Apparently a local man had died and left money to build a house for homeless people in the area. This house had room for all of Chris' friends. They would be given clothes, food and money to get back on their feet. Great news indeed for this group of down and out people. All they had to do is humble themselves, see their need for help, and come ask for a spot in the house. Matt was the first to speak out, "That can't be true! Bad things happen to good people so I don't believe in your house!" The rest followed with similar nonsensical retorts. "I'm perfectly happy with my life, being dirty, and eating garbage in the alley here!" "What about the guy in Africa who never gets to hear about this house?" "I don't believe in men dying and leaving houses to people!" "I'm glad you've found something that makes you happy, just don't push it on us!" After a while, Chris finally told his friends that the window of opportunity to accept a room at this house would be closing but he did not know when. The "friends" continued to ridicule him and not believe his claims despite the visible changes in his life and proofs he had shown them such as money in his wallet, new clothes and even a copy of the last will & testament of the man who had left they house to the community. "That will was written by man so why should we care what it says?" Jerry screamed as he hurled a garbage can at Chris. This final comment and action was all Chris could think about that night as he prayed for his friends. Chris went back all the time, up until the house wasn't taking anymore people, to tell his friends about the new life they could have.

Now I know that this isn't a perfect analogy but it's pretty close. I see my friends on facebook and on the streets not only getting these ridiculous rebuttals but getting garbage thrown at them, cursed at, etc. We have good news for people who have lied, stolen, lusted, blasphemed, hated and not put God first in their lives. These are people who one day will be judged for these things and the place of punishment for the guilty is indeed Hell. However God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us! Jesus lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all of our sins. He rose again three days later defeating death so that if we repent and trust in Him we will have eternal life and escape the punishment due us in Hell. We can go to our new "house" in Heaven when we die because God made a way for that to happen. If you are a non-believer reading this right now, I wouldn't be so concerned with what happens to what you deem "good" people or the guys in a jungle somewhere who haven't heard the good news. You've heard it and what have you done with it?? I'd really be more concerned that if you've ever told one lie, you're a liar and that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. But, as mentioned, God has made a way for you to be forgiven of that lie through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just like the house giving out rooms in the above story, the window of opportunity is closing to accept this free gift God has given to us. No one knows the date or time of the Lord's return. I wouldn't want to not be ready. For you believers, let your light keep shining among men. Show them joy unspeakable. Not because life is a bowl of cherries but because your name is written in the book of life! Also, most importantly, don't quit sharing the good news verbally. As famous atheist Penn Jillette said, ""How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?"

John 14:1-3 (English Standard Version)

1 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Monday, May 16, 2011

George Street Sermon

This is a very encouraging story for you evangelists out there. Maybe you are not seeing any fruit from your laboring in the harvest field but that doesn't mean that there isn't any. Listen to this amazing story of one faithful man who used gospel tracts to witness to people. Also remember that Jesus, our example, did not get a decision when He witnessed to the rich young ruler. The ruler ran off, money still being his god. Keep up the work guys. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. Don't quit!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Luke 17:32

While reading the Word today, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a verse I've read over numerous times. It's an easy verse to overlook because it is so short. Not "Jesus Wept" short but it's also not much longer. In fact it contains only three words. I can still hear the voice of the Lord booming the words of the titular verse, "Remember Lot's wife"! Not sure why this hit me so hard today. I mean, I've been in the Word daily. I've been trying to be in prayer more often. I've been doing the regular witnessing. So why the reminder of Lot's wife from the mouth of Jesus? Perhaps because of my excitement over the new Call of Duty maps or the Gears 3 beta. Could be because of my over-excitement for the release of Brink on the Xbox today. Could be because of how badly I would like to go see Thor in the theaters at some point this week. For these and I'm sure many other reasons, Jesus wanted me to understand something today. The living God, Jesus, is quoting the Old Testament as historical fact for us to learn from. Thankfully, the Bible, as always, has shown itself to me as the living breathing Word of God. Like Lot's wife, I was looking to the world and worldly things and God has just disciplined me with one of the shortest verses in the entire Bible. Yet it screams volumes. Genesis 19:26 says, "But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." Now her crime wasn't looking back, it was looking back longingly. She wanted to be back in the world, not escaping from it. I indeed was looking to worldly things this past month or so. Maybe not longingly, but looking nonetheless. I am very thankful for His "slap on the wrist" because He disciplines those He loves. I am also thankful that He did not deal with me by making me a seasoning. I just felt compelled to share this with you all because there is a danger for all of us to look back to the world because these days, lets face it. We are utterly and eerily surrounded by distraction after worldly distraction. So my encouragement to you is not to get wrapped up in all of this surrounding nonsense. Stay focused on the Lord. Yes we have to be in the world but we are not to be of the world. Now, I'm not saying something crazy like not to play games or watch movies. Just be mindful of your affections towards the things of this world and make sure your main focus is on Christ. God bless.

John 18:36 (English Standard Version)

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amazing Video

Its been a long while since I have posted on the blog and I apologize for that, but things have been extremely hectic and busy in every aspect of my life. There is a blog post for that in the very near future. In the meantime I wanted to share this video of a friend of ours whose son, Jacob, delivers the true message, check it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Does Melanoma Happen to Good People?

For those that don't know, I was recently diagnosed with a type of cancer called melanoma. Thankfully, this trial has only served to bolster my faith. I feel fine and so far I have no evidence of this anywhere in my body since surgery. Praise God! Now, don't let the title of this article fool you. I have zero ideas that I am a good person and I am fully aware that I deserve far worse than this. Like R.C. Sproul has said, "Why do bad things happen to good people? It only happened once, and He(Jesus) volunteered." Nevertheless, the question always arises. "Why do bad things happen to good people?" This is a big stumbling block for atheists, keeping them from repenting and trusting in Jesus. This could also be an issue for those who are young in the faith. So, my hope is not only to address that question but also show non-believers God's greatness through this trial and to encourage Christ followers through trials similar to this.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

What exactly is melanoma? Most people think that is just like skin cancer and that if you get rid of it's source you're good to go. That is simply not the case. Melanoma can and will spread to your lymph nodes or it can also spread through your blood stream to other vital organs. It is simply one of the nastiest forms of cancer you can possibly get. In the words of the melanoma specialist I have been seeing, "melanoma can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, wherever it wants." Not the most of encouraging of words. Combine that with the notion that doctors can never deem a melanoma patient "cured", and you can really have a recipe for self destruction and self pity on your hands. I mean, how can someone who has no other health issues get something so awful? Are they worse than the guy next door? Not likely the reason. The bible tells us in the Gospel of Luke, And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." We see that bad things happen and people suffer, get sick, and die regardless of whether they are better than the next guy or not. Basically we see bad things happening to "good" people. So what's the answer then? Is there one? I can assure you that there is an answer to all this but to retrieve it we need to go back to the beginning.

Genesis 3:12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."

Most people in the world can't or won't accept the Genesis account of creation. Even among professing bible believing Christians you will find some who will compromise the 7 day creation(6 days of work, 1 of rest) and even try to add evolution to the mix. However in order to understand where sickness, death and sin have their roots, you have to fully commit your heart and mind to the fact that Genesis is literal and real. Otherwise, by the time you get from chapter 1 to chapter 3, you have compromised too much of God's Word to have it all make sense. As we saw in the verse above, chapter 3 of Genesis speaks of Adam's disobedience to God and how that brought upon mankind a curse. Unfortunately, melanoma is just a part of that fall of man. Romans 5:12 confirms this Genesis account of where death and sickness reared their ugly heads.
"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—" I can't imagine going through this and not having an understanding of these biblical truths. With these truths and trust in Christ, you can be steadfast and say with confidence like Job, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" If you try to deal with the bad news of melanoma or any other sickness apart from this foundation of stone God has given us in Jesus, your house of morale and mental well being will no doubt crumble on a bed of shifting sand.

Matthew 5:45b For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

In everyday life we can all plainly see, whether we believe in God or not, bad and good things happen to "good" and bad people. So where does this leave us? Go back to the story of the Galileans and the Tower of Siloam in Luke chapter 13. We see this in all of it's practicality. Jesus clearly tells us that these people who had terrible things happen to them were no better or worse than anyone else. Now you may still be thinking, "if these are good people why did this happen to them?" I want for you to consider whether or not they were really good. What is the standard of good? Your definition maybe way different than mine and different than that of all the billions of other people on the planet for that matter. With billions of definitions of good we need to settle on one. So let's use the standard Jesus uses, one that's never changed, the 10 Commandments. If you've ever told a lie, stolen or wanted something that wasn't yours, misused God's name, looked at someone with lust(which is adultery Matthew 5:28), hated someone(which is like murder 1 John 3:15), dishonored your mother and father, or haven't put God first in your life then you are guilty of breaking God's Law. These sins disqualify you from being a candidate for the "good" title in God's eyes. This is the line in the sand and you want to be on the right side of the line on Judgment Day. Hebrews 9:27 tells us, And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. Ten out of every ten people will face this inevitability called death. It could be melanoma or an out of control bus. Will your definition of good be good enough on that day? Not likely. The prophet Isaiah tells us that, "all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment." There is good news though. There is a way for us to be on the right side on Judgment Day. God sent His Son Jesus, fully man and fully God, to live a perfect life. Jesus died on a Roman cross for all of our sins. He rose from the dead three days later, completely defeating death so that if we repent(turn from sin) and trust in Him we can be saved from an eternity in Hell. If you've never repented and trusted in Jesus, today is the day of salvation. Not only will you receive Christ's imputed righteousness and eternal life, but when you read and obey the Bible daily you will have a clearer understanding of sin, sickness and death.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For you believers out there who are going through melanoma, other sicknesses, or any other trial please take the above verse to heart. Be an encouragement to others around you. You have the luxury of knowing where your sickness comes from. Take the attitude of Epaphroditus in Philippians chapter 2. "for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill." He was near to death and wasn't concerned with himself as much as he was the others who had only heard that he was sick! Amazing attitude to have and one that I say with all certainty is only available to those who are Christ followers. If you are a believer and know someone is going through this please remember that blurting out Romans 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose, is not always helpful. Sometimes the only "good" that can come from something like melanoma/cancer is if the sick person and the people around him or her become more like Christ and glorify God as a result. Basically don't do Romans 8:28 without 8:29 which says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son." Sometimes it is just better to be there and be quiet like Job's friends at first(they messed up by opening their mouths).

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

This may be hard to swallow for some (like the cottage cheese mixed with flax seed oil my beautiful bride has been feeding me lol). Just know that I write this not for my own good but for the others out there who are either lost or are going through a sickness or trial. Like the flax seed oil for me, if you fully digest what I am telling you here it will be good for you. If you've ever come to Christ for a wonderful plan or a better life, something like melanoma can be a faith shaking, deal breaker for you. That's because none of that is promised in the bible. We broke God's Law and Jesus paid the fine as the perfect substitute and sacrifice for our sins. That's the message. Just look above at what Jesus promises his followers in John chapter 16. "In the world you WILL have tribulation." Doesn't sound like a wonderful plan or a better life to me. However if you repent and put your faith in Christ because you see your sins as exceedingly sinful, knowing that the road will be full of trials and tribulations, you will be comforted that He has overcome the world, looking forward to the day you go to spend eternity with Him. You will be able to look at anyone with full assurance and say, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!"

Philippians 1:22-23 (English Standard Version)

If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.