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.