Oct 28, 2007

New Perspective and Hope

The idea that no news is good news is not always entirely accurate. But, that would depend on your perspective of news. This weeks news? There isn't a whole lot, at least by way of which I feel like writing about right now. There is some good news pertaining to a couple we have been ministering to regularly. They have been homeless, scared of separating, and fearing the future of their relationship together and a baby on the way. This individual was one that I had once attended school with (small world?) and we remembered some things from our past. I then gave him my testimony of my experience in the streets and the deliverance given by the Lord Jesus (irony?). He has recently been put into a situation where he has to face his past and deal with his issues in order to clear what keeps him from making progress (suggested in our discussions?) and the mother of his child is now staying somewhere safe and warm that is not in the streets. While these are only temporary means, they are not the ends to the situation. This news brought tears to my eyes as I learned that the only possession our friend wanted to take with him as he left his child's mother was his Bible. This is good news the we can rejoice and pray over! Please lift this up that the Lord has begun a good and perfect work in their lives and is leading them toward repentance and faith in him to save them from their sin.

I would also like to present to you a ministry that presents a new name to an old approach. This ministry has greatly encouraged, helped, and illuminated some things for me this past week and I would exhort you to listen to their recent conference messages from earlier this year. They also maintain a blog called New Attitude that has helpful and edifying posts each week, they also offer links to the abundant free messages, music, and resources available at Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Oct 23, 2007

This Church was Just Right...

I made an attempt to draw a parallel between the story of Goldilocks and man's desire to get what he wants from a God who has given what he needs. The issue is that man doesn't want it on God's terms, but his own.

I was sitting and pondering things just as I usually do, and in the course of one of the million thoughts speeding through my mind one in particular jumped out. It was a reminder of a story that most of us have heard in some form or another. It is a story that enforces the moral of “respecting other people’s privacy”. Just as with other things, we can make this relevant to a lot of different things, take it for what it is, or challenge it. We can readily apply it to something that is happening today. Right underneath our own noses the enemy plays his game. While the enemy is playing some of us are sleeping. Some of us, who call ourselves Christian, may not even be. We have just found a way to make this story end the way we want it too instead of how it really does. Have you figured it out yet? If not, let me explain.

The story I’m thinking of is the story of Goldilocks. Goldilocks stumbles onto a house that is unattended and appears that the master(s) of the house has departed for a short while. Well, Goldilocks was a very curious person likened to someone who we today would call a ‘seeker’. This seeker is so curious about what goes on inside the church that they walk in to see what all the fuss that it is making with all of her “Christian” friends is about. Just as Goldilocks tastes the porridge in the first, second, and third bowls, so does the seeker with services. Each service is different and each house she visits is different. She roams about in a trial and error method until she gets the one that is fitting to her taste. Now she is comfortable. Once she has become filled with satisfaction through the service she moves on to finding a place to sit and take in the surroundings. Now our seeker is looking to fit in, settle down, and become seeded in the group with the rest of the ‘seekers’. She tries the first program, second, and third. All of them seem of the same texture and substance, but the third, is just right. The third group relates to her, the programming is hip, cool, and isn’t that confrontational. The group is so entertaining and relevant to her life she decides to stay. The best part is that there are no distractions or loud alarms that will sound off, disturb her and cause alarm. She now feels welcome and comfortable enough to doze off into a constructed state of false reality that numbs her conscience and gives her peace from Sunday to Sunday.

Goldilocks has now established her comfort zone, and has wondered off into the joys of being with other like minded individuals. She frequents the gathering place of her choice and has petitioned for membership. In her membership she is pondering the idea of leadership and becoming a part of the larger network to become more influential. In all of these endeavors she has fallen fast asleep and has become difficult to awaken. She no longer responds to outside stimulus, the hard truth non-palatable and the soft truth is too mushy. But the middle ground, the moderate stance is just right. This has to be the way that will make the world a better place, so many are choosing it. The truth is in the numbers, if it weren’t that why are so many people responding to it? Can’t you see, it’s just too good……to not be true. Or is it?

Now I have quickly meshed our Goldilocks with the seeker. This is justifiable because it is befitting of the nature of the two. Both will pick and choose until their needs are satisfied and will only settle for that satisfaction. The point being illustrated here is incomplete. Briefly, we should stop to look at a few things. Our seeker is unresponsive to the hard truth, and does not desire the mushiness of the soft truth. The hard truth is our absolute and divine word of God. The soft truth is the concocted version of the love gospel that so many have given way to use in evangelism. Now we have created a problem in mainstream Christianity that is remedying itself much to our own dismay. In the middle, is an emerging school of though that has created a self-catered, sin-nurturing, truth-destroying anti-orthodox movement? Such thoughts of this movement include seeing orthodoxy as the “cultural Christianity that has neutered the Gospel”. Hello? Isn’t that exactly what this movement is doing itself? Please, do not let us forget, the enemy will disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

In conclusion I would like to make one thing clear. This illustration is not to institute a bout of mudslinging, nor is it an attempt to establish superiority. This is being written in hopes to demonstrate man’s innate nature to seek comfort in the pleasures he desires. God has laid a foundation in his word and it quite simply is just as the letters in our Bible’s, Black and White. There is no gray area brother’s and sisters. Just as the Day of Judgment will be one of either innocence or guilt so too is the line that has been drawn between good and evil. There is none good, not one but God (Romans 3:12) and if that be the truth of his word than simply we are left with one alternative. We are not good. Can we admit that personally or publicly? As a Christian I can. I can also admit I would much rather have my needs, desires, and sins catered too so that I may live life the way I choose instead of being told how I should. This would even work out better if I could inherit heaven on my own terms. But does this truly define freedom?

The freedom given us through Christ is the inheritance that sets us loose from the bondage of sin. This freedom is to be used for the good of the kingdom and the furthering of the Gospel of Truth (I Peter 2:16). In closing remember this, there are many gospel’s being portrayed in our world of American Christianity. There are also many sheep being led astray by false and deceitful shepherds. Some of them may be intentionally doing this, but also remember they may be deceived themselves. We must always consult the word of God before any thing we see, read, or hear is accepted as truth. Remember this; Christianity is a religion of inconvenience for those that do not wish to conform to the truth of God’s word. But for those who understand exactly what has been done for them and come to saving knowledge of his truth, then and only then, does salvation through the savior make perfect sense.

Oct 22, 2007

Friday at Greektown, Texas Toast, and Broken Cars

You know, sometimes you wonder if you are supposed to continue in what you set out to do on your "own" accord. Are our plans really within the bounds of what Jesus has set for us to do? Will we be doing his will if we persevere and overcome obstacles that he may have placed in our paths to hinder our progress? Or are they temporary set backs that prevent haste and keep us from harm? Possible guarding us against an accident on the freeway? A person in the downtown area that may want to fight? An encounter with the ever faithful Detroit Police? Seriously, how does one know when to pack it up and just go home?

Friday night began that way. Our team meets up in the downtown area and often we come from various areas within a 40 mile radius of the city. In one county, a sister's vehicle quit running and set her back more than expected. On my end of another county I was making provision to get a personally requested Bible for one of our friends in Hart Plaza. When I got the Bible, I got in my vehicle and the steering wheel and ignition completely locked down and would not allow me to start it! This is a newer vehicle and had me completely perplexed. Our sister was able to borrow another vehicle and meet up with the others to journey downtown. I however thought my night was over and it was time to wait on the tow-truck and catch a ride home from them. While waiting for the tow-truck someone came out to talk to me and tried a few "button-combos" on my key-remote and the next thing you know, it started! Now that I was on my way, our sister was on hers, all seemed well. Then upon entry to the freeway I came across an obstacle in the road. This obstacle appeared to be a brand new power/cordless drill that had possibly fallen off of someone's work truck. As I would have loved to keep it, I pulled into the complex that appeared to be the source of the loss and gave the drill to an employee to return to whomever lost it. I pray that it finds it's way back to it's owner.

So we were back downtown in Hart Plaza and Greektown. The night began with the feeding of our friends with some "Thirty" double-cheeseburgers from your favorite local fast food chain. We also hand delivered a special request for a larger print Bible that would be easier for our friend to read. His name was 'Reese'. After speaking with 'Reese' for quite some time he eventually shared with me that he was blown away having only asked for the Bible on Wednesday and having it in his hands on Friday. He said that this was such a powerful testimony and an indicator of the Lord trying to "tell" him something. I'll just take it has praise and glory for our Lord Jesus Christ! After we spoke with some of the regulars for a short time we were soon being invaded by another group of approximately 25+ others from a couple of other Steeple House's that had combined efforts and showed up with several five-gallon buckets of soup and bread for the rest of the homeless people in Hart Plaza. We were grateful for this and decided to move on to preach the gospel in the Greektown casino area.

Accompanying us was a brother from out of town. He came completely prepared with a backpack full of tracts, and unction to share the gospel, and a hope to reach the lost! He had contacted us through the blog site here and informed us that he would be in town this weekend. It was such an incredible blessing to meet and hit the streets with another brother in the Lord. The most intriguing part of this story is our brother in the Lord was here from Texas on business and still made a valiant effort to find some Christians in the are who are actively and biblically taking the gospel to the lost and depraved generation that is in need of the salvation of our Lord. Once we made it to the Greektown area we saw our friend "Mango Pete" on his corner and purchased some food for a couple of the 'regulars' who were attempting to hustle but were fed and given the gospel of Jesus Christ. We moved to a corner and set up there passing out tracts, speaking to those whom would listen, and building each other up with encouragement from the Word!

We were also able to see the mighty power of the Lord move in one of our other brothers who have not been out with us in a while. He is normally quite reserved, observant, and meek. However he was bold as a lion and made sure to pass out as many tracts as possible! This was such an encouragement and a blessing to witness has we all to often falter in our own zeal and allow our inhibitions and fears to clam us up and lock us down. This brother was incredible to watch and it was such a joy to see him doing what we all knew he had in him to do. Soon enough our night was winding down and the rain was beginning to fall. We were sad that it was all over and would have like to fellowship with our "visiting brother" and zealous friend much longer, but happy that all was well and thankful for the Lord's sovereignty.

No decisions, no converts, and no profound miracles manifest themselves before our very eyes, but we did do what we were called to do and praise God for His allowance of our participation in the spreading of His good news. We thank Him, praise Him, and love Him for all that He is, does, and has done in our lives, hopefully in yours, and those whom do not yet know Him.

Oct 13, 2007

Homelessness is not eternal....life and death are.

What do you think it feels like? What would motivate you to go to them? Who do you think can change them forever, whether they leave the streets or die in them?

I'm stuck at home tonight doing homework. I would rather be there with the others ministering to our "peeps". Unfortunately this is my fate for the night. It's much needed though. Here is a video to help paint a portrait of those whom we go to minister to and feed in the streets of Detroit.

(It is unknown what city these shots come from)
Just Ponder for a moment walking one mile in their shoes.

Oct 10, 2007

The Holy Bible and it's abundance!

Remember the Dust On Your Bibles Post?. Well, if you don't, go read it and then come back! Now that you remember, let's just say yeah, it was kind of stressful. Check this out, God in all his sovereign glory has made himself and his abundance known. Not only has he been abundant, he has been exceedingly abundant. I could take this post and go off into a breakdown of all the things that I WANT but don't NEED, or I could do the mercy and nature of God justice and speak about the things that he provides within his own personal will.

In the need of bibles for our ministry and outreach purposes we were able to scratch up a couple here and there. Of course they had been collecting dust on a bookshelf somewhere not being used. They were given out and prayerfully had gone to good use, but we still fell short of the need that we had. The irony of this situation is that within the month and a half of this situation occurring and some prayer, The Lord had answered...

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (emphasis mine)
(Joh 14:11-15)

This is the most incredible part of this post. Jesus Christ in all his glory provided what was needed for his work...

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
(Eph 3:20)

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
(Jer 33:3)

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
(Mat 21:22)

Alright what am I talking about? Here I'll tell you. Its all for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This past week we received two responses. The first came from a Sister who provided a case of NASB paperback bibles, and the second via E-Mail provided two cases of NKJV bibles. While we usually have some form of a New Testament or an outreach Gospel Of John to giveaway, rarely do we have decent Bibles that are good for regular use. In the need of just a few, the Lord has provided many. We began with needing less than ten, and now have at least seventy-five bibles! PRAISE the Lord of Hosts and thank him for his exceeding abundance.

For those praying for the Detroit ministry please continue to do so and thank you so much. To my Sister's who know their names we thank God for you and offer up prayer and thanksgiving for your obedience to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of the great commission.

May the Lamb who was slain receive his full reward...

Oct 9, 2007

Greektown Casino Open-Air Preaching

A few weeks ago we were able to briefly record brother Jim while he was preaching. Our friend "Mango Pete" and Carl were playing their instruments while we were camped out on a corner outside of the Greektown Casino. Of very much interest we found many people stopping to speak and many tracts were handed out. Here is a snippet of Jim's open air preaching....

Listen Now!

Oct 7, 2007

Friday Night Witnessing

This is from sister Lindsay at "A Wall At Jericho" and her take on our witnessing Friday night...

This post is really just a quick overview of the happenings in and around Greektown on a "harvesting excursion" if you will.

Last night, brother James and I made our way down to Hart Plaza for a "routine Friday night." However, the night was anything but mundane.
We started by making our way to two people we know in Hart Plaza who just recently found out that they are going to be having a baby. After some really open and hard conversation that lasted for over an hour, we headed on down to Greektown.
We found some of our fellow harvesters on a corner, and decided to stick with them for a while. Brother Carl played his guitar and sang as James "tract attacked" and Pete spoke the name of Jesus boldly (literally ;-) While we were set up on this corner, an older woman, whom we found out to be a widow, stopped and started singing with Carl. She ended up staying there with us for most of the evening, and was very enthusiastic about making sure people "knew Jesus."
Also on that corner God brought us an "appointment" if you will. A man named Al had stopped because he and his friend were having a tift. Al later told us that if that "tift" hadn't happened, they never would have stopped there that night. He told us that God had definitely ordained this meeting. We talked with him and his wife for quite a while. Brother James got a good word in and encouraged them to join us sometime. One of the most encouraging things was, while we were talking with them, his wife took a tract and walked away. I thought she had decided that she had heard enough. But a few minutes later, we looked down the street and found that had taken the tract and had begun witnessing to two girls. It was amazing.
Throughout the night we had other good conversations, including one with a couple who wanted to learn how to better witness to Muslims. The name of Jesus went forth boldly, even though, I will admit, my unction was more in observing than being extremely active at the time.
I ask, though, that you pray for all who were reached with a word from the Lord last night. And also pray that He will allow us to be continually used for Him in the future.
As for the name of this post, I expect that only one will understand it.

Oct 4, 2007

Book Review of "Why Christians can't trust Psychology"

I have just finished reading a book that was on loan to me from Pastor Alan Bates at Warrendale C.C.. It was an interesting read and presented a well balanced and interesting take on nouthetic counseling, integration of psychology with Biblical counsel, and a nicely painted portrait of the conflicts that come when the two worlds meet. While Ed Bulkey's credentials and presentation of his book come under fire by many "psychoheresy" critics I found the read inspiring. Given my choice of work and pursuit of a Bachelor's degree in Social Work it provided plenty of much needed information to help me remain aware and guarded against conflicted ideas that attack the Biblical Worldview of man.

Ed Bulkley does a nice job balancing scenarios and examples of the counselor's view of situations and provides an ample amount of information and evidences to inspire further investigation in the area of Psychology. The most important thing that I believe I have taken away from this book is somewhat troubling when its said, but must be properly understood. I believe the idea is this, No matter what side of the fence we are on it appears that in this world we are always getting ideas from the other side of the fence. And believe it or not, air passes through the holes in the fence just as the world's ways seemed to have infiltrated Christian processes, thought, and methods. I would suggest that while we see integration occurring on even the most minute levels of everything we do, we must remain constantly aware that man's main problem is sin and the ultimate solution (only) is Jesus Christ.

My Rating -3/5
Recommending Value - 4/5
Where Can you Get it? - HERE!

Oct 3, 2007

The Twelve Steps of......What?

Some of you may know this, but most of you won't. I spent the first two years or so of my walk fellowshipping within the Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous recovery groups. I am even responsible for founding a meeting in the basement of my old Methodist Steeple House. While I can list pros and cons, I'd rather not waste your time with an expositional read on the obvious, but will also promise a post in the future... Until then I would like you to visit my Brother Gene's blog at True Truth...in regard to the philosophy of a "Higher Power" of your "Own Understanding" concept...Just keep this in your mind...the first and second Commandments...

Here's The Link...

Oct 1, 2007

T.D. Jakes and Dr. Phil

It's absolutely astounding to see the things that mainstream $evangelicals$ will do to promote themselves (and their product) these days. Then again, maybe it isn't. The most ridiculous part about seeing Bishop T.D. Jakes on Dr. Phil was not his compromising acceptance of someone who's philosophy propagates another gospel, but that he endorses himself, his book, and the psychological theory of victimization, and vindication of responsibility. Two adults who owned a handgun experience the death of their three year-old son as a result of neglectful care. But they are free of blame, because it was not their fault. It doesn't take a rational, undecided, skeptical, religious, atheist, or post-modern mindset to see this is completely ludicrous. Then again, the idea that any of these positions would say there is no fault by the parents is absurd. I pray that child is in the arms of our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

By the way mister Jakes, I find it completely within your agenda and outright rejection of the truth to capitalize on the pain of people as a springboard for your "self-help" word-faith propaganda. Furthermore, you disgrace yourself, your congregation, and anyone who wastes their money on your garbage to deny the eternal healing power of salvation from Jesus Christ. Bishop? Did you even mention his name? Or would that hurt your book sales?