Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Christmas is coming are you ready? One of the first parades has come and gone this year. Jasper
had their Christmas Parade last night, Tuesday December 2nd. It was
a great parade. Our team entered a float again this year. Even though we had an
electrical glitch, the dc to ac converter would not power the light, I feel
very good about our entry. Alabama
You may be asking yourself, if the lights did not work, how can you feel good about your entry? Well the lights were a garnish on our entry. Our core entry was the Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Lamb of God, and the Savior. Our goal this year, as in years past were to present the gospel, the good news, to the people attending the parade.
In our first year we passed out 900 tracts, last year the team passed out 7,000 tracts. I was not able to participate last year because of work schedule, but Richard his wife, sister, nephew and some friends worked hard that year. This year was a little different from past years. This year we had more laborers than ever before.
This year Shawn Doss brought a team from his church to help us. I want to give a shout out and thank you to Shawn, Aaron (probably misspelled forgive me), John, and Joe. We also had a few more additions, Richard’s brother-in-law David, Amber a friend of Melissa’s. Another cherished addition to the team was Cynthia, a godly influence on Richard’s whole family and a leader in their church, Living Light Church of God in Jasper.
In previous years, it took everything we had to keep up with the float, in order to replenish tracts. This year I found myself behind everyone else, and most of the people had already gotten the tract. Previously, I had to force myself to just say “Merry Christmas” and hand out tracts, because in order to finish the job I could not take the time to talk to people. This year was different.
This year, once I realized how far behind I was, I started talking to people. I would encourage them to check the back of the tract to see if they were naughty or nice. As opportunity arose, I was able to take a few through the naughty or nice test. Almost all of those, I left with them being naughty. I did give them the good news that Santa does not use the Ten Commandments, so they do not have to worry about getting a presents from him. Then I gave them the bad news that God does use His Commandments as a rule of judgment. I then told them that there was another section of good news on the back of the track and they would want to read it later.
I did not explain the good news to most of them because they appeared not ready to hear it yet. However, there was one person, John, who was ready to receive it. I stopped and talked to John and his girlfriend. He said he was nice, and once I asked him if I could give the test, he accepted my offer. It turned out the John had lied, and not stolen. At that point, I asked him if he knew this girl standing beside him. He said it was his girlfriend. I asked her to cover her ears for the next question. I then asked John is he had ever looked at a woman with lust, he admitted he had. I said, “Check this out, Jesus said you have hear it said of old you shall not commit adultery, but I say unto you, if you look at a woman to lust after her you have already committed adultery in your heart.”
I asked John is he was judged by Ten Commandments would he go to heaven or hell. He said heaven,(typical wrong response). Hoping he was thinking that Jesus died for him, I asked why. He explained because he went to
I then carried him to a garden were Jesus lay weeping, drops of blood pouring
from His skin like sweat, asking the Father if there was another way to take
it. I asked Him, “since Jesus still went to the cross what does that mean?” He
said something like He died for our sins. I said something along lines of yes
He did, but not what I was going for. Jasper First
I told him, the fact that Jesus, Son of God, Beloved of the Father, most precious thing in the universe to God, the one who by which everything was created and sustained after pleading with His Father to provide another way, still had to go to the cross tells me one thing. There is no other way. If your going to church could have saved you from your sins, then God would have given His Son that request and would have not sent Him to the cross.
I explained to Him that God so loved him that He sent His only begotten Son. I shared with him one of my favorite verses. “God demonstrated His love toward us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I explained that a few verses before tells us that you probably would not die for a righteous man, you might do it for a good man, but God makes it clear that Jesus did not die for either one of those. Jesus died for sinners. He died for you even while you were an enemy of God in your mind through wicked works, He died for me when I hated Him and was opposed to Him.
I asked him if had a Bible, he said he did in the truck, I told him to read the Gospel of John. A chapter a day and talk to God about this. He shook my hand goodbye, and thanked me for talking to him. I held his grip a little longer, and told him to not harden his heart this day. That God was calling him now; there no guarantee God will call Him again. I told him that I had no offering plate, no credit card machine, and I was not trying to get him to come to my church, all I wanted was for Him to come to Jesus. I told him that I love him and that God loved him so much he sent me to him tonight.
I would love to say that John dropped to his knees and repented on the spot, but I would be a liar. I can tell you this, John’s eyes were red, and tear were forming on his cheek. I am praying that was the beginning of Godly repentance, not to be repented of, that will lead him to faith.
You see faith without repentance is not saving faith, just as faith without good works is not saving faith. They go hand in hand. We may quibble about which one comes first, but Godly sorrow, over our sins, leads us to repentance, the kind that will not be regretted by the repenter. Repentance takes faith, or else why repent in the first place. So I will not argue about order, but I will say on the authority of scripture that they both are present, or the one we think we have is not the real deal.
I wanted to tell you about John, because if we had not had enough people to hand out the tracks, then I would have not taken the time to talk to him. I would have been to busy trying to reach the most with the gospel. That is not a bad thing, and I have no regrets over the previous years were 1-2-1 was not possible. I have full faith the God can, will, and does use gospel tracts to saves souls. Over 50% worldwide come to faith through the printed Word, some kind of gospel literature. I just thank the Lord, I was able to take the time this year to talk to John.
I just want to thank God, for those who made it possible. Thank God for those who provide finances, time, creativity, prayer, and love. We gave out around 2500-3000 tracts this year. It was down from 7,000 last year. I noticed that there seemed to be fewer people this year than in previous years I have attended. The walkers also got passed up by Santa’s float, and once he goes by everyone leaves so we missed some near the end of the parade lines.
I also noticed on the way home that the Bingo halls were filled up with cars. I figure some that would have brought kids or grandkids to the parade were busy this year donating to charities through the bingo hall. I will not go into how much it grieves me to see this all over the place. However they are not a cause of the spiritual condition in
they just expose it so that it is plain to see. Walker County
I used to use tracts simply as icebreakers, and if the ice was broken I shared verbally, if not the tract was my witness to them. Others of you the Lord has chosen tracts as the primary method that you would spread the good news, especially to strangers, others may be through your music, or through your writing, or through teaching Bible studies, abortion recovery, reading the Bible on street corners as people pass by, or even in the pulpit.
We all are called to preach (proclaim) the gospel, but the setting and delivery method may be varied. Now do not get me wrong, God makes it clear that it is primarily through the foolishness of preaching, and you need to insure your method does not actually produce another gospel. It is still a Holy God who is Just, a sinful man who has transgressed God’s commands and is under judgment, and a Son who was sent to take God’s punishment on Himself, to save those whom God loves. Repent and believe in that Son.
Can I challenge you today? What setting has God chosen as your primary setting for proclaiming His gospel? What method has He gifted you to use in proclaiming that gospel? If you know, are you doing it? If not, why? Also, are you willing to set aside your own preference of proclaiming when there is another setting or method were there is a need for Laborers? Not for the long run, but from time to time.
You see Richard’s primary setting for giving the gospel is in service. He serves others, through a food bank, and he has served prisoners and taught Sunday school as the need has arisen. I do not know what Shawn’s primary gifting is or that of his team, except maybe Aaron. My oldest son, Walker, told me that they had to keep reeling her back in because she was skipping, hopping, down the road passing out tracts and getting ahead of the group.
All that to say sometimes we serve outside of our gifting for the greater good to help others serve within their gifting. As more and more laborers are thrust into the Harvest, we may have to do that less and less.
Monday, February 07, 2011
Who said the following? “It has been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion to would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness? “