Open Air Preaching from Home

I am sure you’ve heard of “working from home.” But have you heard of open air preaching from home? I want to share what I think was a singularly unique experience to me. Maybe you’ll think so, too!

My 3 year old son Wesley had just gone outside into the backyard. My teenagers were on the couch with my 9 month old and my wife was gone. All was quiet on our little street and then I heard the doorbell, or a knock. I looked over and saw a man in a suit with a young boy. I figured they were Jehovah’s Witness, and headed over to the door.

The young boy showed me a pamphlet and was trying to talk to me. You could tell it was taking some courage for him to do whatever he was doing. Had he been a boy scout or a basketball player raising money for a trip, I’d have bought popcorn or candles or whatever he was peddling to encourage him.

After I took the pamphlet I looked quickly at it to find the JW markings. The man was saying something about Scriptures and the boy was talking about love…and I told them to hold on, while I went and grabbed a tract.

I always try to give JWs a tract because I have been told they are not allowed to take them. It’s a test, in a sense. If they take it, fine. If they refuse, it opens the door to asking them why I should take their stuff and they don’t take mine, etc.

So I went out on the porch and started asking the boy what he thought. He kept saying they were walking around to ask people what “they thought.” I asked him if he believed Jesus died on a cross for sinners, and he mumbled yes and then the older man corrected me and said Jesus died on a stick. I repeated that He died on a cross and then asked if they believed Jesus is God. The boy just stared and the man said “No.”

I don’t intend to prove this here, but if you do not believe Jesus Christ is God, (and not just “a” god, but the God) you do not believe the saving gospel.

So I started talking to the boy and telling him that whatever the man he is with has been telling him is false and will lead him to Hell. I started explaining that Jesus had to be God to die in the place of sinners; that if Jesus was only a man that He would not have been able to satisfy God’s wrath for sinners!

The reason I did this is twofold.

  1. I have found that JWs usually travel in pairs, (like Sith), and, like Sith, there is usually a learner and a ‘master.’ I believe all men who hear the saving gospel of grace and of Christ’s glorious resurrection can be saved, but I’ve found experienced JWs particularly hard to interact with. But a 9 or 10 year old child who was obviously nervous about whatever faith he had? I was sure I could get him thinking and maybe be used of God for his salvation.
  2. As I mentioned, the context was that I had a 3 year old alone outside, a couple of teenagers watching a baby and no wife at home. I didn’t believe I had time for a friendly conversation where I slowly tried to lead them to the gospel. Nor, honestly, do I want to listen to their beliefs. I know many wonderful Christians who will sit and listen to pagans share their thoughts and many times blaspheme Christ. I do not believe it is my duty to allow them the privilege.

The man immediately recognized what was happening and saw he would get nowhere with me and said, come on, let’s go. And he led the lad away. So I quoted Matthew 18:6 to him. They, of course, kept walking, so I kept talking, louder and louder. Within seconds I was open air preaching from my porch to this man and this child as they met with one of their cohorts across the street. I continued to preach the necessity of the new birth, believe in the deity of the Christ and the truth of the resurrection for the justification for sinners. You could see the bewilderment as I do not think they expected this, nor probably ever encountered it.

I started to hope I had neighbors who would hear the preaching too! I saw a family walking toward the house who looked like they may be the young lad’s family and I started preaching in their direction. Finally, they all headed as far away as they could until I could no longer see them.

I am sure some (Christian) people would not feel comfortable with this story. But when was this young man going to hear the gospel if not from the preacher whose door he was brought to providentially? Do I know how many more days any of those folks had before they met their maker? Do you not believe that it is through the foolishness of what we preach that men are saved from the wrath of almighty God?

I am not saying that is the only way to interact with JWs (or anyone). But I am grateful to God for the opportunity to preach His Word today, even if it was only for 3 minutes. 6 people heard the gospel, my own children heard me preach the gospel and saw the importance of it.

Maybe the sweetest part was coming inside and praying with my children for the salvation of sinners and then singing hymns together as worship of Jesus Christ! May God be praised and may He have mercy on the men and woman and children who visited my neighborhood today.

Our Identity (EDIFY 2016)

Here is where you can find my 3 part series on Identity.

Encouragment Today

I made an error recently which resulted in $70 in overdraft fees in my ministry account. I felt really bad about this and that the stupid mistake I made had cost so much money. I want to be a good steward in all my affairs, but I feel especially obligated to be watchful with money donated for God’s work.

This morning I called Bank of America and just threw myself on the mercy of the person who answered the phone, Ben, and I asked him if he would reverse the fees as a courtesy to me.

And he did! I was so thankful! That would have been enough to make it a great morning.

But then he started asking about the ministry, and we ended up talking about the Lord Jesus Christ for several minutes, too; it was very encouraging. He was glad to hear of our preaching ministry and wasn’t ashamed to talk about the gospel! Praise the Lord!

Giveaway: Is Genesis History?

“Is Genesis History” is a film by Del Tackett. It had a short exhibition in theaters, and was released for viewing online or by Blue ray or DVD at the film’s site: Click here to buy the film.

Lots of Layers

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! From the start to the finish we were impressed with the artwork and beautiful scenes which were presented. The movie follow Del Tackett around the United States as he asks experts in different areas of science about the likelihood of Genesis being actual history, in contradiction to theories such as the Big Bang and macro-evolution.

There is no doubt from the onset of the film that the goal is to present the Genesis account of creation and early history as factual. Very little sympathy, if any, is offered to adherents to ideas contrary to the Bible’s clear teaching about creation.

There is one extra feature where Del and a theologian/author named Douglas Kelly discuss the history of the church’s compromise in this area. The church’s errors in this area are spoken of as mistakes, and never was an excuse made for those mistakes.

But I thought they could have been harder on people who have compromised in this area than they were. I wish that was just my personality, but the fact of the matter is this, false doctrine kills people. It damns souls to hell and it pulls even Christians away from the joy of the Lord. False doctrines always lead to more false doctrines. And there may be no bad doctrine which is as damaging or insipid as doctrines which undermine the authority, inerrancy or sufficiency of the Bible.

Exploring the Text

To the film’s credit, they made me want to learn more. There was even a challenge given during a special feature where the viewer is encouraged to ‘dig deeper.’ The scientists admitted that in order to make a film short enough for people to watch they couldn’t possibly include everything they might know or believe about a topic discussed. As well, they were taking facts and distilling those facts into the best possibly layman’s terms they could in order to give people tastes of the truths they hold dear.

It’d be like having a brain surgeon or rocket scientist explain what he does in a matter of minutes. It wouldn’t truly convey the complexity that is beneath that discussion. So my challenge for creation skeptics would be to watch this film, and then, when you are not convinced, to do the homework to learn the science behind what is being presented and analyze it for yourself.

Fish Whisperer

I do not believe this film would convince a harsh critic or skeptic of creation. In my opinion, this movie will be an EXCELLENT resource for the church. But the question has to be asked – was yet another resource proving that Christians ought to believe Genesis is literal history necessary? Will a film of this type be watched by “those who need to watch it?” That I doubt sincerely. I also doubt my unbelieving neighbor will go to the website and buy the movie and watch it, neither out of personal interest nor by my prodding.

I think the Christian’s only hope would be to buy a stack of these movies (after watching it him or herself), and have them ready to be given as gifts to people, or to host a showing of the movie, maybe for discussion. I’d love to see an effort made to create events at colleges where people can come see this movie.

My final comment is that I am never going to be pleased with a movie which purports to be Christian but never actually clearly states the Christian gospel. The gospel is mentioned. Jesus is referred to. But the minds of folks will never be opened to the truth of Christ without His gospel, and this movie had multiple very logical places where a brief presentation would have fit.

I don’t propose to know the hearts of all those involved, but it seemed odd to really come out with a bold stance concerning Genesis, and then basically miss the point of why we defend Genesis¸ which is because it is the foundation upon which the sin of man and the forgiveness found in Christ stands.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie. I believe it will be a help to anyone who watches it. And, despite the few areas where I’d have done something differently, I think it can be a valuable resource for people to use to being a gospel conversation with a neighbor, coworker or friend.

Click here to buy the film.

Would you like a DVD of the film for FREE? If so, leave a comment on this post and I will select a winner at random on or about May 1st. No special rules, just leave me a comment so I know you want the DVD.

Preaching to the Choir?

Dear reader, the question this article proposes to answer is, “Why would I go to a Christian worship event to preach?”

Do I just want to start trouble?

Is this literally a form of preaching to the choir?

Do I believe only that only I and 14 other Calvinists on the internet are the “true church?”

Please join me along with my friend Brandon Hines as we lay out a case for why Christian street preaching and evangelism is not only acceptable outside a Christian worship event, but why in fact, it is necessary outside many events designated as Christian worship events.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Watch Your Mouth!

Michelle Lesley has graciously let me post at her blog again. I hope you’ll read it and comment.

Here is the post:
Mackerels, Schmoley, and the Spirit of God

Divine Revelation? Wisdom? Intuition?

The good folks at The Domain for Truth have let me post on their blog again.

This post actually got some comments for discussion.

Receiving divine revelation has become so blasé that people who normally would affirm sola scriptura don’t even bat an eye when someone proposes to be hearing from God. Now I know a lot of people use various forms of language when describing their feelings or senses or intuitions, often ascribing revelatory meaning behind them unintentionally, but there are still many Christians today who believe God does, in fact, divinely reveal things to some folks apart from the Holy Scripture.

The following two anecdotes are opposite sides of the same coin which I hope will demonstrate the danger and seriousness of this kind of thinking and speaking, and show the illogic of at least some instances of people who claim spiritual gifts such as prophecy.

Here is a link to read the entire post. Don’t forget to add to the comments and see the interaction. It is edifying.

Ultimately, ministering alongside anyone can be fraught with difficulty for a variety of reasons such as immaturity, or if someone has an anger problem, for example. But to minister alongside someone who is open to the sign gifts requires an extra level of prudence and comes with inherent difficulties due to the nature of denying soly scriptura either in word in in practice.