The Best #EndOfTheWorldConfession(s) #Apocalypse Now?

Ok folks, here are some of my favorite tweets as everyone considers the Mayan calendar’s predictions….
Here’s a summary of the entire thing:

This is what I’m doing too!

Be careful:

The 5 year plan? Really?

Now these are just for entertainment:

Now we know! Call Baha Men!

This is astounding!

But here is what we really need to remember:

And finally:

Who Really Took the Lives of the Newtown Victims?

It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post. As expected, bloggers everywhere have capitalized on the recent shooting; varieties of Tweets/Posts/Articles/Videos and whatever else have been authored, many in an attempt to provide insight or healing; some to call the nation to awareness and others, simply to try to generate ratings and web site hits.

I hope that you will understand that I hope to bring comfort to those affected, conviction to the contributors, and glory to God for all His Good works. I consider the vast array of immediate public communication and sincerely appreciated this tweet by Lane Chaplin.

Let me begin by making it clear that I find this to be a real tragedy. And, frankly, I’m not sure we are being useful or insightful by “comparing” tragedies. To the victims or those left behind after ANY tragedy, that is the bad one which needs to be memorialized. I don’t need for any more or less people to have been murdered for this to be considered truly tragic. What I can say is that I believe I have biblical justification for feeling that this crime is in some way more heinous than a lot of other crimes because the crime directly hurt so many children.

I can personalize this enough to say that I know the grandparents of one of the victims. They are close family friends to someone close to me, so their pain is shared by people in my family, and we spent the day concerned for them in a more personal way than I had when witnessing any other event of this nature in my life. My own children, when they heard about the incident had questions which we discussed. This devastation reaches far and affects people everywhere in different ways, often negatively.

I mean – how do you explain the feeling when you hear about it and you are so glad that it was someone else’s kids that were killed and not your own? Is that selfish? Is that normal? Don’t we all feel that way or am I alone? We cannot escape the reality that it happened…and I thank God for my family’s safety that day and every day…but I can’t help feeling even a bit of guilt. Why doesn’t this happen to me?

So let’s talk about the blog title: Who really took the lives of the Newtown Victims? Here’s my answer. God did. It is impossible for God to be God without God having ABSOLUTE sovereign control over everything. This is extremely hard to comprehend and reconciling this with the fact that God is not responsible for evil is something with which man has much trouble.

But you cannot fear a God that wasn’t in complete control of every bullet. You cannot worship a God who was powerless to stop the shooter from pointing his firearm and firing. You cannot be punished or rewarded by a God who wasn’t present or couldn’t see this coming.

You cannot trust a God who lacked control of any atom of the universe for even a second.

And you cannot take comfort in a God who is impotent to carry out His will at all times. You can never feel secure with a God who is powerless over evil. You cannot love a god who is not God.

But you may take great consolation in knowing that God was there at the school. He was bringing comfort and peace to His children in the midst of the tragedy. He took the lives from those to whom He gave life at the time He had known from the beginning, and He preserved the lives which He desired to continue.

God never left His throne. Oh, He is much grieved. He hates the hands that shed innocent blood. But God is still ruling; He is still in control; and He still freely offers the gift of Jesus Christ to all those who turn to Him in repentance and faith for the forgiveness of sins.

Do you wish to see those children and teachers again? Your only chance is to realize that God has allowed YOU another day to repent. He has graciously extended YOUR LIFE even so that you are reading this message right now! Come to Jesus all you who are weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest.

If you are a direct relation to a victim, let me say I am so sorry for your loss. This is a terrifying tragedy, and I cannot fathom your pain. I hope the Truth of God’s Word can bring you some consolation.

It is also theologically important to be clear that

  1. Little children do not become angels. None of us do.
  2. When human die we pass onto a new life where we will be judged by God for our sin.
  3. The only way to escape that judgment is for God to forgive you of your sins based on the work of Christ on the cross.
  4. Pre-born babies, infants and little children are saved by the grace of God through faith, not because they are innocent, but because of His tender mercy and the precious doctrine of the election of little ones as revealed in scripture.
  5. We do not know for certain at what age or understanding this is reality, but we trust God does what is right all the time.

For further reading about God’s sovereignty and evil, check out my blog post on Habakkuk 1:13.

Maybe you disagree with me. You may think this is out of place. There are some more resources available to you. Click here to read the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry’s take on the shooting. Leave a comment and let’s discuss this if you desire.

Christmas, Cowards and Killing

November 24, 2012. Today I led a team of Christians to share the gospel with folks outside the Ohio State vs Michigan game. About 8 of us went to OSU’s campus from 8:45-11:45 am. I preached the entire time, while others passed out tracts or preached on another corner.

After watching the first three quarters of the game at home, 3 of us returned to campus to continue to share the gospel with the lost around 3:45pm. Considering we returned to the same corner, it was no surprise that several people asked, “Are you still here?” I love that we are recognized.

I decided to use Luke 2 as a springboard to some of my preaching today. I also read Psalm 34, Colossians 1, John 1, and 1 John 1 in the open air today, but I read the Christmas account numerous times. Click the preceding link to see whether it is ok for a Christian to celebrate Christmas.

Here is my attempt to embed one of the videos from preaching. It was essentially what is known as “stoplight” preaching, and so you will see me continuously repeat myself as I share the gospel with a new crowd every few minutes.

But toward the end of the video few things happen. For the first time in my preaching career, I was physically affected. A man comes up to me while I’m preaching and you hear him yell that I’m bad for Christianity. Then you can see him push me off my stool. This was the first time today that I was physically pushed from my stool. Although this man wasn’t very rough, you can even see that his own friends know what he did was wrong. Fast forward to the 13 minute mark to see when the more exciting action occurs.

Later that evening, at the corner of Lane Avenue and High Street I was again pushed from my stool. This time is was a much more aggressive push from a man who ran up to push me, so I saw it cominmg. I even braced myself for it and pushed back in an attempt to keep my balance. The significant part of the second encounter is that I was not preaching; I was simply reading the first chapter of 1 John. The simple public reading of God’s Word is enough to convict the hearts of men and draw out their hate – and, as I loudly pointed out to the man who “attacked me” as he ran away, public reading of God’s Word is enough to put men’s cowardice on display as well.

I do not entice people or say extreme things in order that I might elicit a reaction; I used to do that when I first started open air preaching. But today, on several occasions I used the opportunity afforded to me by the public display of evil and rebellion to call out sin. The filthy mouths of the women of Columbus, the hateful and blasphemous men, and the homosexual girls who put their affection for each other on display were not spared the public embarrassment they asked for with their behavior. They also were not spared an opportunity to hear of the forgiveness offered in Christ that I wished for them to receive.

Here is the video.

You will see in the background a woman standing with a couple of signs. These were pro-life signs which depicted an aborted baby and pro-life statements.

Near the end of the video, there is a time when people vocally protested the image on the anti-abortion sign. There are times in street preaching when calling out people for their sin and unrighteousness needs to be done in a dramatic fashion; clearly I believed this was one of those times.

For those of you who are concerned that I sounded “angry;” I was. I believe that I exhibited righteous anger against sin, and use language and a tone which was intended to bring conviction to evildoers and show defense for the innocent. Although I do not agree with the woman’s religious beliefs who held the sign, I agree with her belief that humans are worth protecting from conception, and I believe in she has a right to be there and to be treated with dignity. I watched this woman repeatedly yelled and cursed at, and even spit at once by a man. I am pleased that Christ gave me the courage and boldness to defend her as I loudly and boldly declared the men who committed these acts against her to be cowards. None of them returned to defend themselves.

I do appreciate the amazing amount of support that was given for this weekend. There were people who supplied food for the conference and prayer time we held at our church Friday night. A dear saint acted as a taxi for us throughout the day today; several others prepared lunch and supplied drinks for us between evangelistic trips; and my dear bride served people and cooked and cleaned for two straight days.

Most of all, my precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ provided exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have asked. The answers to prayers were numerous. The appointments were divine; the fellowship was sweet; and the preaching was Christ-exalting, by His grace and power.

Here is the second video of the day:

Disingenuousness and Logic

There is what seems to me to be a “new trend” among evangelicals. Thanks to wonderful brothers like Jason Lisle and Sye TenBruggencate (among others), many evangelicals are embracing and using logic. In fact, contrary to many Christians – they are employing it properly and using it to stop the mouths of unbelievers. I encourage you to click those links above; they will open in a new tab.

This is wonderful, but like a lot of “new toys,” some people use it incorrectly or unnecessarily. Some folks have learned just enough of it to be dangerous – as the saying goes. I have a couple of reasons why I think this way.

One of the reasons is that I’ve seen folks who are really excited about spotting logical fallacies. But I’ve seen it done with more zeal for the “winning of the argument” than for the “winning of the lost.” I could be mistaken; but that’s just the way it seems to me sometimes.

Ultimately, I expect people to be rational and logical. I am not bashing presuppositional apologetics, as I believe it is, in fact, the only kind that exists. But I’ve noticed that sometimes, the zeal to be a “fallacy-spotter” can tend to certain errors in logic. One of those errors I want to point out here.

In light of the upcoming election, many people have been posting their “logical” arguments for why people should vote for whoever. One of the arguments offered that I’ve seen Christians make to other Christians is: “A third-party vote or a no-vote is a vote for Obama.”

I’m not here to refute that. That’s been done. It goes like this: “Well, if a 3rd party vote is a vote for Obama, then a 3rd party vote is the same as a vote for Romney, too.”

Fallacy-spotters everywhere are quick to point out that not voting for Romney means a vote for Obama MUST mean the same thing as not voting for Obama is a vote for Romney! Therefore, everyone who says a no-vote for Romney is a vote for Obama is wrong. Now we can move and and implement our Christian Ideology on this nation by voting or not voting for whoever, because it is all the same!

Not so fast, I say. The thing that is missing from this seemingly valid, but trite argument is the fact that there are more underlying assumptions which are not being rationally dealt with. When an individual states that a no-vote or a 3rd party vote is a vote for Obama – they are revealing their underlying assumption that if the person to whom they are speaking would, under more restricted circumstances have to choose one or the other…they would choose Romney.

Do you get it? They are actually ignoring both theirs and the other person’s presuppositions. The speaker’s presupposition is that we must always vote for the perfect candidate, (or the best of ALL POSSIBLE candidates). But they are arguing from a different playing field. The “pro-vote-Romney-ite” is arguing from the position that states, “your vote can be your best choice between all the VIABLE options…and I don’t believe anyone but Romney and Obama are viable.”

Do you see it? Think about it from a popular vote standpoint (which is effectively how you ‘win’ a state in our electoral college style), if one candidate receives 48% of the vote, and the other candidate receives 47%, but it can be known that the other 5% who voted 3rd party really would’ve preferred the 47% candidate…then the logic is valid. The same is true the other way…a person who is a serious liberal, but is disappointed in Obama is effectively helping Romney win the election by voting 3rd party or a no-vote.

The point is, it isn’t illogical for someone to suppose that we live in a system where Obama or Romney will be elected president in a couple weeks – and no one else. Along with that supposition comes the valid conclusion that whichever candidate of these two you would not prefer is actually being helped by your no-vote or 3rd party vote.

Now – you may have a great reason for that. Your reason for voting the way you do may have more significance to you that keeping one or the other out of office – not that you’re correct – but you may have that sense.

I just wanted to clarify the logic – and the disingeniousness I believe I see in some posts. Logic is a wonderful tool, and can be used superficially by the untrained. But like all “big boy” tools, you need to wield it like a man or it may actually hurt you instead of be used by you to help you accomplish your task.

Report Concerning 180 Day @OhioState

To start, let me provide a little background information about how this entire project started. On Thursday, September 27, I received an email containing the following:

We have a donor who is interested in getting 1000 “180” DVD’s into the hands of young voters on college campuses in time for them to understand the content of “180” and the importance of their voting pro-life, particularly for the President of the United States in this election. He would like to target southern Ohio.

The faith of the donor is inspiring to me. For someone to feel so strongly about getting the message out is exciting. I’m glad that this generous donor had a desire to invest into sharing this movie with people. But to me, what is more exciting is the faith they must have to trust their large investment to someone they do not even know! Dear Christian, will you please take time to pray for the loving couple who desired to see our Lord exalted in Ohio this week? Ask God to grant them joy and peace and continued blessing.

So by early October we had settled on dropping in on the Ohio University campus with 500 copies of 180 (the other 500 are being sent elsewhere). Excited about the day we had picked (October 11), I began planning. Fred found that OU would be celebrating National Coming Out Day the same day! My soul was excited to be ministering in an environment where people clearly needed the Word. In order to complete the mission, I decided to use a vacation day at work. In order to ensure we were following the rules, Fred Triplett and I did research concerning OU’s policies. What we quickly found was they had some tight restrictions on the time and place for free speech, as well as a $100 fee for the use of space which I was not inclined to invest. Considering the fact that there were similar locations where we could distribute the DVD for free, we opted to switch to The Ohio State University. I was reminded (loosely) of the scripture where Paul’s plans were diverted in order to preach the gospel where the Spirit would have him.

Acts 16:6,7,10 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Great joy was brought to me as our change of venue allowed two dear saints to be able to commit to attending! I had a small team of 4, maybe 5 people by October 8, only 3 days before the drop. By the evening of October 10, we had a team of 9 people, plus our dear driver Jerry Murphy who carts us around and saves us the cost and trouble of parking! One saint had to opt out, but that still left us with a nice size team!

Please pray for my team. These dear saints really made this day great for me.
Fred Triplett, Vince Montgomery, Melissa Burdett, Ben Cuenin, Ryan Muniak, Andrew Zunic & his friend Chase whose last name I don’t know.

After finally finding each other in the center of the “Oval” on Ohio State’s gorgeous campus, we prayed and began passing out movies. Traffic was light at 9:30am, and a bit of discouragement came over me as I expected the movies to be gone quicker. Ryan got on the microphone ever once in a while to invite people over, and we had some fellowship as well. We started to see a pattern as classes would let out and then start. It was a generally noneventful day until noon, when we realized we had finished distributing the 180 Movies.

After this time, only a few of us remained. Armed with thousands of tracts, bibles and a gigantic speaker and stool, we decided to stay a while. I got on the stool and read John 19, then preached for a while. A very kind man named Arthur was watching and listening. I invited him over and allowed him to interrupt me to ask what sounded like legitimate questions. He finally asked me what I thought of homosexual relationships. I continued to preach while answering him. I pointed out to him that as a biblical Christian I’m FOR relationships which are according to God’s design and opposed to all relationships which are outside His design. I was firm, but made sure to add that heterosexual relationships which are sexual outside of marriage are in danger of God’s judgement, as well as homosexual. He then revealed to me that he was homosexual. Up to this point, his questions had seemed hypothetical.

Then he asked me why do I care. He wanted to know why I couldn’t just let other people live the way they wanted. He even said what if he didn’t care about an afterlife, he just wanted to enjoy him time in this earth with his partner. I stayed on the microphone and explained to him that there was a two-part answer to his question. First, I told him that I love Christ and have a desire to see righteousness exalted. So part of my mission on this earth is to promote good and restrict evil. I pointed out that just like he desires laws which protect him from murder, theft and cheating in business, I desire rules which protect people from evil. The difference is my broader definition of what is evil. Then more importantly I showed him that according to my worldview the only loving thing I could do would be to speak up about homosexuality. I said, because homosexuality is sin, it is damaging to society and to him. I let him know I loved him, and as trite as it sounds, that I really did love him as a fellow human and wish the best for him. He understood that my actions were loving based on my worldview and he actually thanked me for my kindness. He said, “You’re not like the other guys. You’re not rude.” That, dear brother or sister, is a direct answer to prayer.

Will you take time to pray for Arthur?

Finally, I preached from Psalm 34, my favorite chapter of the bible. I used that as a springboard to speak about “security in Christ.” OSU’s campus is often used by sinless perfectionists, and I wanted to let people know that they are secure in Christ. I read from Romans 8:28-39. While I preached for about an hour, Ben, Melissa and Ryan distributed tracts and talked to people. Finally a precious young man named Danny approached as I was packing up. He seemed to be very knowledgeable about the bible and inquisitive. He was semi-confrontational. In a sense he was disagreeing openly with me, but he was very kind about it. I had a great time talking to him, but I did feel we were going in circles a bit. He did not have the same understanding as I had about what it means to be born-again, Christian or how to interpret the bible. This could be frustrating, but I chose to enjoy his presence and his desire to speak to me. He even invited me to eat lunch with him sometime. I hope I get the chance.

Will you please pray for Danny?

As usual, I appreciate if you’ve read this far. You are a dear friend. I hope that you are encouraged by the Lord’s work in Ohio this week. Many people heard the preaching of the Word or received tracts or 180 movies this week. May God provide an increase!

And I’ll Throw a Hearty Amen on That!


Random pix & Evangelism love

I took a few pictures recently (2 of them were taken of me), and I wanted to share with you. Often when you evangelize, you get unique opportunities to talk to people you normally wouldn’t see, or approach…

I’m not sure what to say – this guy basically had underroos on the outside of his pants.

This is outside the Miami @ OSU game

And just for fun: