Be a discouraging Christian, please!

There is so much talk about being an encourager. In fact, just mouse over Ephesians 6:22, Colossians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and you can quickly surmise that God is all about encouraging others.

So why would I tell you to be a discourager?

Allow me to explain what I mean. About 33 years ago, Brian Thomas Doucher was born. After a series of events, we were brought into each other’s lives. He truly was one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I would venture to say I was one of his best friends. On Sunday, April 8, 2012, Brian ended his own life. It is almost hard to type, but Brian committed suicide.

The circumstances are irrelevant. I’m not going to try to explain it (I don’t think I could), and I’m not trying to blame anyone. I want to talk about being a discourager in this post.

My goal is to exhort you to discourage others from following in Brian’s path. Let me explain. Brian actually was a great guy. He was very loved by many people, and had a positive impact on many folks.

Read some of the things people have written on his Facebook wall in just the few days since he passed onto eternity:

“Such a great guy, who’s silly jokes i’ll miss dearly!”
“Not a day goes by we will not think about you. Gone to Soon.”
“We all hope you knew how much we all love you”
“I don’t like many lawyers, and even fewer law students, but you were a good one buddy. One of the smartest people I’ve ever known.”
“Will really miss you buddy.”
“Thank you for all the great times we had together back in the day.”
“I will truly miss you bro. Through the years we went through the best of times and the worst of times. You had such a big heart and cared for others so much! I was heartbroken when i heard that you had passed!!”

So what’s my point? I guess I can’t say for certain, but I like to believe that Brian didn’t actually know how much people loved him. It is my guess that when he finally got to the brink of suicide, that he was literally hopeless. Now I’m not saying it is anyone’s fault, but I do believe we can impact people. I believe we can tell people how we feel about them, and ENCOURAGE them and be a DISCOURAGER for people who consider taking their own life.

I think: if Brian could’ve seen just his Facebook wall in the days after he passed, there is no way he would have done this. Of course, that isn’t truly up for argument. What I am saying is more along the lines of “I can’t imagine that Brian truly knew how loved he was and, frankly, how awesome so many people thought he was.”

Now for the real encouragement for YOU, dear reader: Let’s quickly discuss Brian’s eternal state. Many people would say suicide sends a person straight to hell; others would deny hell’s existence, or even assume all people go to heaven through some sort of universalism.

Let me put it this way, Jesus Christ, Lord of all came to seek and to save sinners (people: like me and you and Brian). All men have sinned against God, through our acts of faithlessness, disobedience to God’s laws and violations of His holiness. (Read The Gospel if you don’t get this or agree, it is worth investigating).

But God, in His kindness and mercy, while we were still enemies of Him demonstrated His love by sending His Son Jesus to die for sinners. God poured out His wrath on His Son on the cross. Jesus was buried as predicted and then resurrected. He was raised so that sinners might be justified before God. This means that God can forgive sinners because justice was served. God commands that men everywhere repent of sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. He offers this by grace and only by grace. You and I and Brian can and could do nothing to earn God’s favor. This is Good News. You can be reconciled to God if you will humble yourself and allow Christ’s righteousness to be the only righteousness you count on to be accepted by God.

What does this have to do with Brian? Brian confessed these things. Brian believed these things and had fruit in his life which indicated a desire to follow Christ. Was he weak? Yes, like we all are. But suicide does not disqualify someone from God’s grace any more than any other sin which Christ Himself bore on that tree. You, dear non-Christian, may live with a hope that Brian is in a better place, you may hope to see him someday or maybe you’ve “asked” him to say hi to your family member. I implore you to consider your own condition! I live with the rational hope that Brian truly did know Christ as Savior, that he committed a horrible and irreversible sin and that He went directly to be with His Lord by God’s grace. I hope you will live eternally praising and glorifying the name of Christ too!

Today is July 5, 2013. I just found this song today and wanted to share it with anyone who is dealing with a loss of friend.

Monumental Movie Review

Plenty of reviews of monumental have been posted. I ended up writing a friend an email about the movie and wanted to simply post my thoughts for the entire internet and the 15 people who read my blog (my wife promises me she doesn’t just click 15 times). There is more than just a review. The conversation started with me telling my friend it was “disappointing” and I sent him a link to a friend’s blog which explained many of my thoughts. Read it here.

My friend wrote me back:

From what your friend stated he was disappointed, but, he had several witnessing opportunities, what can be disappointing about that?

Here is my response with some editing:

Brother – there is nothing disappointing about witnessing opportunities. But that does not justify the means that provided the opportunity. Abortion centers provide witnessing opportunities; so does teenage pregnancy, death of loved ones and car accidents. Witnessing opportunities are what we make of them. I’ve witnessed at the same movie theater after other movies as well. So yes, I praise God Almighty that Fred Triplett as well as John Chizam preached the Word after this movie and someone I don’t know named Lance. I am glad I was able to give out tracts. But that has no bearing on the movie itself.

Now as far as the movie goes:

  1. It was a movie about Christianity, but it was missing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Many well known people were portrayed as “partners” with Kirk in this endeavor. In all cases, they are simply portrayed as Christians. This list includes:
    a. Alveda King – who may or may not be a Christian, but she partners with Catholics in the pro-life cause.
    b. David Barton – I don’t know who he is, but everything I found quickly wasn’t flattering.
    c. Glenn Beck – a well known denier of the one true God, Jesus Christ. Probably biblically qualified to be considered a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    I do not think that as Christians we should partner with those who are not Christian, particularly on such a spiritual endeavor. Kirk Cameron, whether wittingly or not, lended credibility to Glenn Beck last night. The Bible says to not even greet someone like that. 2 John 1:10

  3. 3. There was a sublte but clear postmillenial or amillenial slant. As members of Berean Baptist Church, we have affirmed a premillenial view of the Bible and eschatology. Many of the positive reviews I read celebrate the postmillenial slant that Kirk is now putting on things. This is actually a turnoff for me, but even if it had a premillenial slant, my other points would still apply.

    4. There was a touch of pragmatism involved, although Kirk tried to stem this off at times (by talking about the necessary heart change). The following concept or idea was implied:

    if we use God and His bible –>> Then we can get what we want (whether that is freedom, prosperity, whatever, often a very good thing could be the result).

    First of all, God is worthy of our praise, worship and OBEDIENCE regardless of whether we think it will achieve for us our desired effect. As well…many of the people who need the gospel will be turned off by this message. They (unregenerate, unrepentant sinners) do not desire the freedom offered by the gospel…they desire their sin. Promising a homosexual or an abortion doctor or a prostitute or a hardened criminal that a return to biblical roots will offer them freedom and help our country is asinine. They do not have any desire for the freedom offered by the gospel.

    What they need is to be told of God’s righteous judgment which is immminent, that His wrath is currently abiding on them, and the escape offered by grace through faith alone in the resurrected Son of God, Jesus Christ who became sin on behalf of His people. They need to know that Jesus Christ is their Lord, whether they acknowledge it or not. Attempts to convincing them that biblical basis for laws without a regenerated heart will not only be unfruitful, but somewhat insulting. You may as well tell a leopard to change his spots or an ethiopian to change his skin color…Jeremiah 13:23. You could make the argument that the country could be made better using these principles, even if people don’t believe them. That even false converts and members of apostate christian churches and groups could embrace the morality and promote it, but who cares? I’m not trying to make the world a better place from where people can go to hell. I praise God so many unbelievers still have a conscience, but their end is the same as the most violent criminal apart from faith alone in Christ alone.

Was there a lot of good in the movie? Yes, just like October Baby (which I do not recommend because of the universalist/ecumenical slant and no gospel), there were some good messages; Christian morality was exhibited and extolled. At one point, it was pointed out that not all churchgoers are Christian, and Kirk even mentioned that not all the founding fathers were Christian, yet they still saw the value in the Bible as a source of truth for governance. There was a ton of historical information which was offered (with little attribution to the source) which can pump people up for our nation. David Barton mocked secular historians for their lack of footnotes…yet this movie itself cited no source for its data either.

It was entertaining and somewhat inspiring.

But how does it inspire?

  • Did it inspire me to buy Kirk’s Monumental Homeschool curriculum? No.
  • Did it inspire me to buy Kirk’s Family Home Devotional? No.
  • Did it inspire me to encourage my friends to go, or my unsaved family? No. (In fact, I hope my unsaved family misses it because I’m afraid it will allow them to feel comfortable in their sin because many of them are on the right side of the morality fence.)
  • Did it inspire me to visit or demand others visit the demand this movie website? No.

It inspired me to do exactly what the movie itself needed to do. It inspired me to follow the Bible in my home, attempt to influence people in the same fashion, and hope that through the preaching of the gospel, the Lord will grant repentance and faith to lost souls and that the Holy Spirit will then guide their lives and we will being to live in a country that is actually converted.

Here is another review which I thought was fair by Jon Speed. You will notice the postmillenial praise (which I would expect from a postmiller) as well as a lot of very well-reasoned comments on the movie.

Anyway – I love you brother, and I’m not trying to argue. Go ahead and go see it if you want. Personally, with my budget and the abundance of gospel preaching missionaries and evangelists I know I’d have preferred to give the ticket and popcorn price to one of them, or just spent it all myself on tracts I could carry. Like I said, I love Kirk, but I think he made a mistake, and it happens to be a very public one, which requires public repentance, in my opinion.

I could be wrong about some of these things. I do believe the movie was “good.” But a missed opportunity and potentially a display of a direction that I hope Kirk isn’t headed into partnership with nonbelievers.

What is going to happen to the Denver Broncos for signing Manning and trading Tebow?

I live close to World Harvest Church so I occasionally predict the future especially when it concerns non-SEC football. I also know more about the Denver Broncos than anyone else, at least for the purposes of this story.

Manning will lead his Broncos to a 14-2 record this year. Constant comparisons will be made to the fact that he made better decisions than Tebow ever could and had better accuracy. It will be a miracle season, reminiscent of Elway’s final seasons when they chased 16-0 one time for a while, except they will win their last 10 after starting 4-2.

Malls everywhere will have Santa Claus in a Manning Denver jersey shattering records for parents lying to their kids and enticing them with rewards for good works.

After decimating the Colts in the 1st divisional round of the playoffs (as if to let Irsay know “Manning’s still got it”), Cotton Eyed Joe will be revived as a top ten hit and Bronco fever will abound. Families will be moving to Denver, claiming that it is because they hate daylight savings time, but actually it will be because of Manning, Elway and the broncos. Kids everywhere will dress as horses for halloween, inadvertantly removing some of the paganism of the entire day.
Then in the AFC Championship game, the upstart Cleveland Browns will travel with their 11-7 record after two unlikely playoff victories to PeyElManningWay Arena (formerly Mile High Stadium) so they can become the next victim of Manningpalooza.

But the weather wreaks havoc on Manning’s neck and it stiffens up. Terrelle Pryor, Denver’s new 2nd string QB enters the game with a comfortable lead of 13-7 with only 3 minutes remaining, asked to do nothing but QB sneak the ball in from the 1 yard line to give his team a 2 TD lead. Hut 42, Hut 42, HIKE…Pryor fumbles. Frosty Rucker (Thank you Bengals) recovers the fumble on the one. Lebron James angrily throws his New York Yankees hat on the ground, suddenly realizing that was a dumb thing to wear to Tribe games all those years.
For years, Broncos fans will claim the play before was a TD, but the official on the field, Ryan Schottenheimer and the replay official in the booth (Ernie Byner, Jr.) seemed to think Manning stepped out at the one even after replay.

The beginning of the end is near. The brownies, behind a rejuvenated Bernie Kosar drive 99 YARDS for the go ahead TD, converting nothing but 4th downs the entire drive. Broncos fans stare on in disbelief while little Denver kids’ childhoods are literally ruined by a visiting team during an unlikley drive. The game will always be remembered as “The Drive”. Men in the west will go to their graves “swearing there was another The Drive” which came first, but no one seems to recall a NINETY-NINE YARD DRIVE in the playoffs.

To make matters worse, the Browns then go to the SB and lose 42-10 to a team Denver already beat 21-0 earlier that season. Denver fans will tell you for decade how they “would’ve won that game.” All this is because the Browns players were out walking around the city and heard Jason Karroll preaching Christ crucified and they all got saved. They were up all night praying and repenting of sin and were too tired to play the game.

And somewhere in Ohio, grown men will cry tears of sadness over lost innocence, and tears of joy because of perfect justice.

Do you want free stuff?

There are a number of restaurants out there with “birthday clubs,” but only a few of them actually provide you with something for free without requiring a purchase on your part. I am compiling this list to help others who would like to dine out inexpensively! Note, this list is not comprehensive. I believe a lot of restaurants offer a free dessert with a purchase, just ask first.

I’ve included links to the enrollment forms where I had them.

Maybe part of what would help you is a budget…here is the software I use…it is really helpful. For fast, effective, financial relief: You Need A Budget

The Good …
Jersey Mike’s Free Regular Sub, chips and 22 oz drink on your birthday.
Disadvantages The coupon is redeemable on your birthday only, and you may have to supply proof! You will be sent ads and coupons year round from Jersey Mike’s in your email box.
Advantages Completely FREE, no purchase necessary.
How to enroll Enroll at any Jersey Mike’s or search online for an enrollment form.
BD’s Mongolian BBQ FREE Stir Fry on your birthday!
Disadvantages None – Totally FREE! You will be sent coupons and emails throughout the year that you may not want.
Advantages You don’t have have to actually use it on your birthday; you may go on or around your birthday. Ask the server first, but when I’ve used this coupon, I’ve been able to get the all you can eat version which is around $14 normally.
How to enroll Enroll at the restaurant or through their website. I believe when you enroll you get a coupon immediately to use the first month!
Club 84 Buffalo Wings N Rings Free appetizer for signing up AND Free wings on your birthday!
Disadvantages None – Totally FREE! You will be sent coupons and emails throughout the year that you may not want.
Advantages It doesn’t have to actually be your birthday, you can go on or around your birthday. You also get a FREE appetizer just for signing up.
How to enroll Enroll at the restaurant or through their website.
Bob Evans Free Kid’s Meal on their birthday.
Disadvantages None! You may show up and simply use the coupon without a purchase!
Advantages It doesn’t have to actually be your kid’s birthday, you can go on or around your kid’s birthday.
How to enroll Fill out a kid’s club form at any Bob Evans.
The Mediocre …
Max & Erma’s Free dessert for the birthday person.
Disadvantages You still must buy an overpriced meal.
Advantages It doesn’t have to actually be your birthday, you can go on or around your birthday.
How to enroll No enrollment! Just show up.
Cold Stone Creamery Buy One Get One Free coupon for birthday.
Disadvantages You still have to pay for overpriced ice cream…although it equates to 50% off.
Advantages You can enroll every family member, even children, and you can use the coupon once over a 2 week period.
How to enroll Enroll at Cold Stone or at their website.

The relentless pursuit of lent…

It is that time of year again. I think it begins 40 days before the holiday called Easter. Within a few facebook conversations, the topic has arisen. Here are my thoughts on Lent.

1. Lent as a Catholic religious observance is as useless and sinful as all other Catholic or false religious rites. This is based on Catholicism’s open denial of justification by grace through faith alone. If you are Catholic, you are free to celebrate Lent or any other religious ritual your religion allows. If you do not like that the Catholic church teaches a different form of justification than through faith alone, then your issue is with the Catholic church and it’s public confessions and not with me.

As for evangelicals –

2. The question I have is: Is Lent biblical? That is to ask, is there any biblical mandate for a season called Lent which we ought to follow. The answer is a resounding “No.” You will not find scripture to support Christians observing lent as a biblical mandate.

3. The next question I’d have is – is Lent allowable? It seems that there are a few things to be considered to determine this. If we can agree that Lent is solely a false religious practice, then I think a case can be made that no Christian should participate in a “lenten” activity. I can’t go so far as to prove that, but I tend to lean this way concerning lent.

But my current view tells me that we cannot be quite so dogmatic too quickly. Like Christmas and everything else in our world, there are pagan roots which abound. Let’s look at the heart issue surrounding lent.

If you are observing lent in order to do any of the following, you are likely in error:

  1. Be pleasing to God.
  2. Grow closer to God because you are observing lent.
  3. Earn salvation from God for forgiveness of sins.

My point is that there is nothing inherent in the work or deeds of observing lent (especially the man-made institution of it) which supplies the observer with grace or growth or knowledge of God. Did you get that? I’m saying that lent is not a magic formula for growing closer to God or being changed as a person. What I have noticed is that generally people do 1 or 2 things to observe lent:

1. Eat fish on Friday instead of meat.
2. Restrict/change their behavior in some way for the 40 days.

Let’s take a brief portion of scripture and review a little bit of why God has us do things like “fasting.”

Isaiah 58:4-7 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Replacing one type of food for another is really no sacrifice at all. The utter absurdity of this being pleasing to God even to a carnal mind ought to be evident, in my opinion. What about fasting from food entirely and donating money to the poor? I think that could be a good idea…but, if done with the expectation that because you are doing it for lent you are earning some favor with God, I believe you are in error.

As always, it is the heart attitude that matters. If you are doing it out of love for Christ and love for the oppressed and hungry, then it is likely a good thing! And indeed, YOU SHOULD BE DOING THAT YEAR ROUND. We all should be living year round in a way that pleases and honors God, giving Him glory in all things.

As far as point #2 – there seems to be 2 potential scenarios (generally speaking): people either seem to give up a sin for 40 days, or they give up something that isn’t sinful, but they know is potentially a problem or represents a real sacrifice.

Let me just say, you should be repenting of and turning from sin daily and a 40 day commitment is almost more insulting than the idea that you just continue in it. The presumption that somehow your 40 day commitment means anything to God is horribly idolatrous and you probably ought to examine yourself more deeply to see if you are even born-again. Born-again believers do not plan their sin in this way without great consequence. If God is allowing you to literally give up a sin for 40 days then pick it right back up, then you may consider that the Holy Spirit does not dwell within you.

Now on to the more reasonable purpose for observing lent: self-sacrifice of a particular thing for a short period. Again, I will divide this into two categories:

  1. Giving up something and focusing on Christ more for the period of days.
  2. Giving up something and focusing on the thing you can’t have and making a big deal out of it.

Alright, this already confusing blog post was too much even for me so I hope the last part is clear. If you truly want to give something up that is “legal (within your Christian liberty)” but you have decided to sacrifice it temporarily in order to spend more time in the Word or prayer or simply to discipline yourself, I think that is a good thing. In fact, you don’t need to wait until 40 days before the US calendar’s celebration of the resurrection of the Christ to do that! Starving our flesh and teaching ourselves discipline should be a daily practice. Things like forgoing seconds at dinner or desserts are good methods to train your flesh. I would just ask, “Why pick just the 40 days before Easter to do it?” And I would personally be concerned that it could lead others into other practices of Lent that I do not believe are to be followed.

Now, if you give up something and make a big deal out of it or focus on it in your heart the entire time, then you are just like the pharisees who plotted to kill Jesus. You are like a whitewashed tomb, and your heart needs to be changed. If you think that your outward appearance (even if representing real obedience to God’s commands) is more important than your heart attitude you are sorely mistaken. God will not be mocked. Consider Jesus’ words, a warning that our sacrifice for God is actually something that is to be between us and Him only! We are not to post on Facebook the various sacrifices we are making so that we can be seen by men

Matthew 6:16-18 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The contents of your heart will come out in your actions and your words. Examine yourself in light of scripture. I personally want nothing to do with lent, but prefer to hope that by God’s grace I will live every day for His glory, magnifying and exalting the name of Christ, dying to self and training myself to do all that He’s commanded.

Congressional Birth Control Hearing Involves Exactly Zero People Who Have a Uterus

Alright, I normally don’t like to link to articles that I don’t personally endorse, but to understand the context, you may have to read this link. WARNING – there are articles and images on there that may offend you, including immodesty.

Nevertheless, I wondered about the headline “Congressional Birth Control Hearing Involves Exactly Zero People Who Have a Uterus.” The headline alone is thought-provoking. The article generally outlines a story about a congressional hearing concerning birth control/abstinence/religious rights, etc. It is a typical instance of multiple Americans arguing that perceived rights are being violated. As is typical in a society which has no single ultimate authority, the result is that at any given time – your religious rights or mine will appear to be violated by a law intended to legislate morality. Think about it: A religion could be started tomorrow where adults have intercourse with children as part of a ritual. They followers would immediately claim that the “state” is stepping on the religious toes by prohibiting sex with children. This is the absurd case (not for long, I’m afraid will this be considered absurd), but sometimes you need to look at the extreme to be able to evaluate where you think a precedent or an argument will logically lead you.

My main question I want to ask is: Is it a valid or reasonable point that “only men” were discussing this issue? That is, does the author make a case which is logically sound whereby we should re-evaluate how this particular hearing should’ve been conducted (and thus, future hearings)?

What I want to caution you about, dear brother or sister, is immediately jumping into an argument without thinking about it biblically. Using the “don’t answer/answer” strategy from Proverbs 26:4-5, I am going to try to show you how I view the entire ordeal.

Proverbs 26 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Let’s start with the “Answer not” portion. Folks, you do not need to respond to this accusation. There is no merit in the idea that a “lawmaker” must have some level of participation in the application of the law. That is essentially what is being said here. By this notion, no one over 18 should establish curfews for anyone under 18. Utter senselessness. Whether or not a contraceptive is moral or government subsidization of them is constitutional is independent of “who it theoretically affects.” If someone disagrees, my stance is that the burden of proof would be on them to exhibit why we should believe that is the case.

Which brings us to the last step: “Answer a fool…” In this step what I would propose is that anyone who feels that only people with a uterus should make laws concerning contraception and government funding of contraception must be willing to apply the logic to other laws. This is where we say, “assuming you’re correct … ” one logical conclusion is that only pre-born humans should make laws concerning abortion, or at least they should be “part of the process.” It is obviously absurd to think that the very people that oppose a law are somehow rightfully the people who should be making it. The problem isn’t the laws or who makes them, but rather, from where the law is derived. Laws derived from human intuition and wisdom will be inherently failing, while laws derived from God’s Word will be innately offensive to the secular community, those who walk by the flesh.

So relax, if you were worried. There is no argument that a man (or woman) can give which will be logically valid and contradict God’s Word. That is exactly why incendiary and explosive language and headlines are needed to get attention and pull heartstrings. Be discerning, dear reader, and make sure everything lines up with scripture.

Movie Theater Witnessing

I planned to go out witnessing the first Saturday of 2012. My initial plan was to go to my normal fishing spot, downtown Columbus. There is plenty of foot traffic in the “bar district” to provide a lot of opportunity to distribute tracts and get into witnessing encounters.

But last night, as I was on my way out, (without my usual partner), I decided I’d try to stay closer to home. A large part of the Saturday night downtown witnessing is the fellowship in the car. And the Marcus Cinema Pickerington is only a couple miles from my local church, so I am always hopeful that if a convert was made there, they would be able to come to Berean Baptist Church as well!

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the theater building emptying quickly! I figured a movie must have just finished. I hurriedly parked my car and jumped out, excited to share the gospel. Popped opened the trunk and, voila!, no tract bag. I ALWAYS keep a tract and bible bag in the car! Alas, not tonight. So I walked toward the theater entrance with only the tracts that are “customarily” kept in my coat, about 40 of them.

I was walking toward the large entrance when I saw a couple of young men coming out the “side” exit. I strolled over and offered them tracts. Their names were Markell and Anthony. They are juniors at the local high school. I asked them standard questions about what they think happens after death; Anthony has a church background. They were both happy to talk. Anthony had a “mildly” strange belief that you go to 1 of 3 heavens. He said there was a heaven for people who accept Jesus and remain sinless, a lesser heaven for people who accept Jesus and still sin, and a third heaven for everyone else: which he said was basically hell. I had never heard anything like this before. I asked them what happens to a good Hindu boy who is raised Hindu and never hears of Jesus, and they were quite sure that boy would go to Heaven. When I explained the contradiction in their own “theology,” they understood and seemed interested in resolving the conflict. They each admitted to several sins and understood all the courtroom analogies about the good judge and the Judge of the earth doing what is Right. I explained to them about the glorious grace of Christ and challenged them to read the book of John: just 1 chapter a day. They agreed. Hopefully, the Lord will save them by his gospel.

One of the interesting notes of this conversation was their belief that people are born “basically good.” I explained to them about Adam and Eve and original sin and why we are all born sinners. This gave me opportunity as well to talk about the virgin birth. Praise God for the only consistent worldview, a biblical one. I honest can’t imagine how many cultists keep track of the lies they believe. But getting to talk about Adam and Eve was a blessing, because it allowed me to bring up the fact that there is only one race, the human race. These two young men, as well as most everyone I met last night would be commonly considered “black” and I would certainly be called “white.” I hope that being able to communicate to them that I believe we are essentially cousins through Adam and Eve greases any friction they may sense due to “racial” problems we’ve brought upon ourselves in our culture.

I then ran into Chris and Tiara. Obviously a ‘teen date-night.’ Chris was wearing an ornate rosary. I stopped him and asked him what it meant to him. I was, admittedly, shocked when he had no idea what a rosary is really for or what it represents. His girl was proud to point at it and say it “has Jesus on it.” So I asked them who they thought Jesus was and eventually got them to go through a good person test. Chris had a lot of trouble admitting sin or even keeping eye contact with me. Tiara is a professed Christian. Neither of them had any idea how they would obtain forgiveness, but Tiara seemed to know it had something to do with repentance and Jesus. I left them with tracts and a challenge to believe the gospel.

I continued to hand out tracts and finally made it near the large theater entrance. TEENS EVERYWHERE. I approached a couple young boys named Dayquan and DeBron. Another Dayquan and a boy named Christian eavesdropped as well. These kids were extremely interested in the entire conversation. Even when distracted, they kept coming back to the conversation. Dayquan (1), after the gospel presentation, indicated that he had been baptized. It always amazes me when right after a gospel conversation, people seem to have no idea what I just told them. I reminded him that salvation was offered by grace through faith alone and I trust the Spirit of God can and will use His gospel to regenerate the hearts of these young men if they are of His elect. I wasn’t trying to boast, but at one point in the conversation I was trying to communicate how important this message is. I told them that the message itself, and their souls, was so important to me that I was missing time with my wife, “and the Lions game,” I said. At that point, I realized how really low I God had to reach to pull me out of the gutter…I am sortof a Lions fan. 😉

I was pleased that these guys were apparently friends with Chris and Tiara, who came back. They chuckled when they saw their friends talking to me. Praise God that they all allowed me to pray for them (as did Anthony and Markell) as we stood in a circle in public. I can tell you I would have NEVER let some freak pray for me in public when I was in high school!

Finally, I found another group of teens “milling about.” As I approached them I reaching into my pocket and pulled out my tracts. Upon seeing this, these guys (who must be from a rough neighborhood?), sorta “freaked out.” I realized what they thought and I made a joke about a guy “pulling out a piece in public.” One of the guys laughed and said, “M0t4er f***er just said ‘pull out a piece!'”

This isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Of course, I personally try to avoid profane language (eph 5:29), but what is most interesting to know at this point is that during the course of the conversation with these 4 guys (Montrel, Doug and two unnamed individuals), I found out they all go to the same church. Salvation is by grace, but I don’t imagine God’s people using that type of language, at least not for long. When I asked them about what happens when they die, they said that they either go to hell, or if they get the “holy ghost” they can go to Heaven. I asked them how to get the holyghost. They weren’t sure, but Montrel had recently gotten baptized, which he indicated was a step in the right direction. This was a tough bunch, distracted through the conversation, proud of the fact they were ‘presently lusting’ and disruptive to the point that I sternly chastised the one young man to simply be quiet. I told him that if he did’t care about his own soul, that was ok, but I cared about it and maybe his friends cared about their own. I thanked him afterward for controlling himself.

I finished off all my tracts and took my frozen fingers to my car and returned to my wife. It was really a wonderful experience, and I hope the Lord will save one or many of these young people. I was really impressed overall and had a fun time talking to young people. Thanks be to God for the opportunity and for His wonderful faithfulness.