Monday, September 29, 2008

Evangelistic encounters on UF's campus

I have been continually challenged by God to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the students on the campus. I have embraced the challenge through one to one sharing about three times a week, and I have a few encounters that I would like to mention from earlier today.

I left my room this afternoon at about 1:30pm to get started with evangelism. I was walking next to the Murphree dorms toward the Racquet club when I saw a guy from my floor studying a calculus book. I noticed that this was someone that the Lord had laid on my heart to speak to. As I was walking, I reasoned to myself that he was probably too busy to talk, so I walked passed him saying to myself, "I will talk to him another time", but I stopped myself and turned around. I approached him and told him that I had a question for him that I have been wanting ask. I then asked him if he was going to heaven when he died. He said that he was because he believed that Jesus Christ could save us. He then admitted that he was not in fellowship nor did he read his Bible, so I probed further about what he meant about salvation, and believing in Jesus Christ. He seemed to have a basic understanding of salvation, though the articulation of his faith could have used some improvement. I then shared my testimony with him of how I got saved my freshman year in college. I encouraged him to get involved in fellowship, accountability and to desire the pure milk of the word (1 Peter 2). He said that it was interesting that I approached him because something happened to him that really caused him to turn back to God from wandering. I encouraged him a little more and invited him out to Gator Christian Life and my small group. He was not comfortable with coming out to the small group but said that he would check out the Sunday service.

Next, I approached a girl sitting on a bench reading a book next to Pugh Hall. I walked up to her and told her that I was asking students if they would go to heaven if when they died. She replied, "I don't want to talk about this". I then replied to her, "are you a Christian?" "Yes, Catholic", she said. I then ended with, "I want to encourage you that if you are not sure where you are going, please think about this because this is one of the most important things in life". She smiled, nodded, and I was on my way to speak with another person about their soul.

I then took a walk through Turlington Plaza to see if I could spot a friend who preaches with a pvc pipe cross, but he was not there, so I walked over next to Chik-Fil-A and Einsteins Bagels. I saw two guys chatting with one another at a picnic table. I approached and told them that I was asking students if they would go to heaven when they died. They both quickly answered, "no" and I said "why is that?" They told me that they were atheists and that the they did not have sufficient evidence for the existence of God. They said that the one making the statement needed to provide the proof. So, I gave them my proof for God's existence with a simple creator/creation argument and order/orderer argument. They did not agree, but I objected with the fact that something cannot come from nothing. They admitted that science did not have the answer of where everything came from. I then found out that they both had an exposure to Christianity growing up. I asked them if they would consider themselves to be good people, they both thought so. One of them even said that he would have a chance of getting into heaven if it was real! So I walked them through God's Law, the Ten Commandments. They both admitted they were guilty, not good according to that standard and that they would go to hell if it was real! However, I did not directly proceed to the gospel because they had absolutely no concern, and did not think that it was true. They then began to question me about the validity of the Bible, and the reasonableness of the existence of the God of the Bible versus the existence of the Greek gods. We went off on a huge tangent about the books that did not make it into the Bible and the Justice of God. I indirectly shared the gospel with the two guys while explaining the difference between the old and new covenants. After about 20 minutes of conversation they had to go to class. They told me that it was one of their hobbies to talk about this subject.

I then saw a guy sitting under a tree eating and studying. I walked past him and thought myself ("I shouldn't approach him because he is studying

After I talked with them, I continued to look for another person to proclaim the gospel to. I went in front of Chik-Fil-A and saw a guy sitting a concrete wall smoking a cigarette. I got really excited and approached him. When I got close to him I saw that he was a guy that I talked to a few weeks before. He is not a Christian, but I can tell that he is in a mini-search mode. I talked with him for a little while about class and how he was doing. I then asked him his opinion about Jesus Christ. He then had to leave to get on a bus that he was waiting for. I got his email address, and I will try to talk to him further about these things.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Satan's Water Hose!

I wanted to post this thought that I have had for a while and it is something that I have experienced myself, and to be honest it causes discouragement from time to time! It is something that I believe that the devil uses to quench the zeal of the Christian who wants to work for his master. We know that Satan is the Father of lies (John 8:44), and he uses lies against Christians to make them ineffective in their service and weak in their walks with God. I have noticed, especially since I have started witnessing regularly for Christ that Satan likes to throw out lies to me which hinder me from what I am doing and cause me to second guess what the Lord has commanded and put on my heart. This just recently happened on Friday afternoon when I was out witnessing with another brother in Christ, and him and I approached a couple of guys sitting on a brick wall. One of the guys got up and went to talk to someone so we began conversation with one of the guys about his spiritual beliefs. After about two minutes the other guy came back and we asked him about his belief in the after life. The other guy had no religious convictions, and this guy said that he did not like to think about the afterlife. So we began to take them both through the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) to show them their need for a Savior.

After we had took them through the Law the guy who did not like to think about the afterlife quickly responded with the fact that Christ died for our sins, so that we are all forgiven. We replied that we must receive Christ through faith and we are not all automatically forgiven. He then said that he was saved through Christ, but he was living for himself at the moment. We then challenged him to take up his cross and follow Christ with his life (Luke 9:23-24), and he replied that this is not relevant to us today, and that he was comfortable with his own faith. He then looked at the brother that I was with and said to him, "Are you trying to make me feel bad? You are taking your own interpretations of the Bible and shoving them on me". On the inside I kind of felt a since of rejection, and then the following thought came, "Maybe I am just pushing people away with my zeal, maybe this is a bad approach, maybe I won't be effective with this, maybe I should back off from this". At this point I felt like my enthusiasm and excitement were lessening, but soon after I thought about it and saw that of course this guy isn't going to agree with what we are saying because what we are saying condemns the state that he was in. Of course he will accuse us of this because his own heart was not right! However, Satan wanted to use that encounter to discourage us and make us think that it was our fault that he did not receive the Word of God. We were just doing what God had sent us out to do. We had a holy fire to do the will of God, but Satan pulled out his water hose to put out that fire so that we would be discouraged for the rest of the day. I am happy to inform you that afterwards I kept pressing on and had a some good conversations.

My encouragement to you is not to let Satan discourage you from service in ministry, no matter what that may be. But especially in reaching out to the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He will try to use subtle ways to discourage you if the blunt threat of fear does not work. Keep hold to the promises and commands of God. If you find that what you're thinking or feeling is in contradiction to what God has promised or commanded then there is a problem. Do not let the devil use negative thinking to discourage you from ministry and a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch the thoughts!

Now the following is a story of the evangelist D.L. Moody in one of his evangelism encounters where he was met with a threat and discouragement because of his approach. Read and be encouraged!

Taken from "Why God Used D.L. Moody" by R. A. Torrey.

"One night Mr. Moody was going home from his place of business. It was very late, and it suddenly occurred to him that he had not spoken to one single person that day about accepting Christ. He said to himself: "Here's a day lost. I have not spoken to anyone today and I shall not see anybody at this late hour." But as he walked up the street he saw a man standing under a lamppost. The man was a perfect stranger to him, though it turned out afterwards the man knew who Mr. Moody was. He stepped up to this stranger and said: "Are you a Christian?" The man replied: "That is none of your business, whether I am a Christian or not. If you were not a sort of a preacher I would knock you into the gutter for your impertinence." Mr. Moody said a few earnest words and passed on.

The next day that man called upon one of Mr. Moody's prominent business friends and said to him: "That man Moody of yours over on the North Side is doing more harm than he is good. He has got zeal without knowledge. He stepped up to me last night, a perfect stranger, and insulted me. He asked me if I were a Christian, and I told him it was none of his business and if he were not a sort of a preacher I would knock him into the gutter for his impertinence. He is doing more harm than he is good. He has got zeal without knowledge." Mr. Moody's friend sent for him and said: "Moody, you are doing more harm than you are good; you've got zeal without knowledge: you insulted a friend of mine on the street last night. You went up to him, a perfect stranger, and asked him if he were a Christian, and he tells me if you had not been a sort of a preacher he would have knocked you into the gutter for your impertinence. You are doing more harm than you are good; you have got zeal without knowledge."

Mr. Moody went out of that man's office somewhat crestfallen. He wondered if he were not doing more harm than he was good, if he really had zeal without knowledge. (Let me say, in passing, it is far better to have zeal without knowledge than it is to have knowledge without zeal. Some men and women are as full of knowledge as an egg is of meat; they are so deeply versed in Bible truth that they can sit in criticism on the preachers and give the preachers pointers, but they have so little zeal that they do not lead one soul to Christ in a whole year.)

Weeks passed by. One night Mr. Moody was in bed when he heard a tremendous pounding at his front door. He jumped out of bed and rushed to the door. He thought the house was on fire. He thought the man would break down the door. He opened the door and there stood this man. He said: "Mr. Moody, I have not had a good night's sleep since that night you spoke to me under the lamppost, and I have come around at this unearthly hour of the night for you to tell me what I have to do to be saved." Mr. Moody took him in and told him what to do to be saved. Then he accepted Christ, and when the Civil War broke out, he went to the front and laid down his life fighting for his country."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Dinosaurs, Pride, and Rebellion

It has been a while since I have blogged here. A few months actually, but I wanted to just post an evangelistic adventure that I had at the Tallahassee Mall in July. I do not do much evangelism in the mall, but the times that I have done it have been enjoyable. It makes me nervous when I think about but It is a great place to proclaim the gospel of Jesus as long as the authorities do not try to throw you out ;).

Back in July I went to the Tallahassee Mall with a Pastor do spread information about church services and to do some evangelism. We prayed in the car and then proceeded to head into the mall. As soon as we got to the entrance we approached a young woman smoking a cigarette and invited her to church. I wanted to ask her if she would go to heaven if she died that night, but I did not muster the courage to do so. She was friendly however, said that she was looking for a church. After we talked with her a bit we walked into the mall and saw four teenage boys talking amongst themselves. My Pastor began a conversation with them, and almost immediately one of the boys said that he was an agnostic one of the others said that he only goes to church during the holidays. My Pastor started to explain to him about the main theme of the Bible. the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and why we believe that it is true. The Agnostic then brought up dinosaurs and questioned whether or not they are written in the Bible, but it seemed to us almost like a smoke screen. Then he said that he did not want to be controlled by anything. He wanted to be in control of his own life and did not want the Bible of God dictating the way that he lives his life. That seemed like the root of his unbelief. We reasoned with him some more and told him to consider the things that were spoken to him.

We then continued to walk through mall and approached a jeweler. He said that he already went to a church, so I asked him if he would go to heaven if he died, to which he quickly responded, "I can't talk about that on my job". We courteously said goodbye and told him to have a good day. He seemed like a nice man. Next we saw a man dressed in bicycler's clothing sitting on a bench. I extended to him an invitation to the church service and he refused it saying that he did not have any pockets. Then I asked him if he would go to heaven if he died and he looked at me with a prideful stare and he burst out with laughter. He said that the Bible was a myth and I spent the next 45 minutes trying to reason with him and the gospel was declared to him as well. He was full of pride and said that he used to believe what we believed until he got educated. I continued to patiently reason with him with a smile on my face and with gentleness, but he kept insisting that what we believe is foolishness! I eventually proclaimed the gospel to him and our conversation ended.

So why did I call this post, Dinosaurs, Pride, and Rebellion? Because that is what we came across at the mall. However, my time there reinforced the fact that we can witness anywhere and most of the time people are willing to talk to us about spiritual things. We must make ourselves available and step off in faith and initiate. God is faithful, He will be with us, and He will empower us (Acts 1:8)! Trust Him and go!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's eating me!

I just woke up this morning and the pervading thought of my heart was this.......... speaking to the souls of people about Jesus Christ! It is eating at me day after day and it is distracting me (Is this really a distraction? This seems like almost an insult!). It is burdening me more than any ministry than I am involved in at the moment yet I cannot seem to continuously follow through it. Oh sure, I go out twice a week for evangelistic outreach and have experienced mild results, but there is more and I feel as though the Lord is wanting to push me further! My motivation is not merely results, but it is all-out obedience to the heavenly burden given by Christ! How do I know that this is from heaven?! Am I 100% sure? I walk by faith and the most convincing evidence are my journal entries of the past three years! I talk about evangelism and gospel preaching frequently. Through seeking the Lord and reading His word this is still something that permeates me! I am scared to death though, and I can come up with many excuses as to why I should not reach the world around me with the gospel. I do not like to say this but I believe it to be the truth: I am an evangelist at heart. If you know me and are reading this then this probably comes to no surprise to you, but I blush when I admit this for some reason...

Because of these things, I live in almost constant discomfort everyday. I am disobedient to the burden which I believe is from the Lord, but I have found a way to suppress it with other thoughts about school, life, and personal comforts. This has kept me from being driven crazy. This sounds bad and it is but I value my humanity, earthliness, reputation, and comfort. What a wretched man I am! I cannot escape from it even with all of the power that I can muster! I am tied to the wharf of self will as I strenuously paddle my small boat. I paddle and paddle and paddle tiring myself out only to see that I have not gone anywhere because I am tied to the wharf! Oh Lord help me cut it, the seas may be dangerous but the wharf of inactivity is not where you want me to be! There is a dying world out there going to hell and all I can say is I'm scared and uncomfortable! I cannot love the lost properly or say that I do without their eternal destiny at the forefront of my mind. If I am too afraid to speak about the Savior Jesus Christ then I will not speak too much at all. I will withdraw myself and push down the urge, showing no love whatsoever! I must speak, I must speak, I must speak!

Jeremiah 20:8-9- 8:

For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, "Violence and destruction!"
For the word of the LORD has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
If I say, "I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,"
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.

Until next time, God bless you!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Four Keys to growing in maturity as a disciple

Hey, here are four keys for becoming a stronger disciple of Jesus Christ. This is from Jaeson Ma's blog, . Jaeson Ma is an on fire believer for the Lord and I thought that I would keep what he posted for my own records. Here are the four simple keys:

Dear Bros and Sis,

I pray each of you will grow into strong and mature disciples of Jesus Christ by keeping these 4 key Biblical principles below active in your life. This is what the early Christians committed to in the New Testament and the Church grew in power and their lives changed the world. We must also commit to the below. I have done the four following things in my life since I was born again 10 years ago, and by practicing these four keys I have become a stronger and stronger disciple of Jesus Christ.

Click to go to the Wheel Illustration

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42

1. Pray Continually

Talk to God and let God talk to you. Everyday, every moment, pray continually. Find a specific time daily to be quite and pray with the Holy Spirit. Then talk to the Holy Spirit and listen to His voice throughout the day.

2. Love & Live the Word of God

Be committed to studying God's word like your life depended on it. Without it, we cannot know God's will. All success goes back to how obedient we are to knowing and doing God's will found in His Scriptures. Love the Word and Do it!

3. Share Christ w/ Someone Daily

Everyday, ask God to give you the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone. Look for open doors to share the Gospel with everyone you meet.

4. Fellowship with other Believers

You must be committed to a local church. People are like elevators they either take you up or take you down. You must be consistently in fellowship with other disciples of Christ in order to be held accountable, to be encouraged and to grow in your walk.

If you practice these 4 keys daily and continually in your life, I guarantee you that you will grow into a strong disciple of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we must all be surrendered to His Lordship and follow Him at whatever the cost. Amen.

A prayer a friend sent me recently, let it challenge and inspire you to pursue Christ with your all.

The Wesleyan Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Constant Desire

These are more random thoughts that I have about my walk and service to God.

Everyday that I wake up in the morning I think of evangelism and bringing the word of God to the lost. I do not talk about it as much as I used to because most who know know that to be the case. It's a constant burden and desire for me to do this. Knowing myself though, I am an introvert and not an extremely relational person. However, I have the desire to tell everyone about what Jesus Christ has done for all of us on the cross. I always want to do this, and even when I don't want to do this it is still on my mind. I wonder if this is from God? :) I know that it is, but I do not act on it as I should! In a sense, I live in a lot of disobedience to God, yet He is gracious to me and encourages me to press forward. There are people in my classes that I wish to speak to, people in Turlington Plaza, the Reitz Union, Einstein's and everywhere, but alas, they will think that I am mad if I speak to them about their souls on such a random occasion... ahh!! "Who cares?" says the Spirit! "I do!" says the flesh! They will reject me or think that I am weird and I will have to live with awkwardness for the rest of the semester! Ugh I must die to self because such an attitude is a hindrance to what God wants to do in the world! It is selfish, self-seeking, self preserving and self loving! It must go because I am not my own.... I have been bought with a price, I must continue to preach and hand out tracts and witness to unsuspecting, idle people because of God's love for them. This is the desire that is on my heart, and I must follow it because it is a gift from God, and it is how He has wired me as a believer!

This is My Desire which is really God's Desire!

The Young Minister's Pit

I haven't written in two months, though I have had the desire to type my thoughts. So now I have taken the opportunity to write something that I have been thinking about from time to time, and what I believe I heard from a Paul Washer teaching last year. It's called the Young Minister's Pit. It's the term that I have just coined, but its quite common for young preachers and ministers I believe and I have even seen it in my own life to a certain extent.

Some of us young men can get excited in our preaching or ministering and look critically at how we have spoken or delivered our message. Here are some of the following thoughts, "Did the crowd like it? , Were people moved?, How did I feel about it?, How many people were saved?" etc. These are interesting thoughts I must admit and can be encouraging or discouraging.... but be careful young minister.... that this does not become your motivation for service or your effectiveness or worth. Do not base your spiritual walk or your worth on the results of your ministry or you will have one huge roller coaster ride as you walk with the Lord. One week you'll be clicking your heels, and the next week you'll be dragging them.
Be careful young minister that you do not rest in your accomplishments nor boast in them! Do not stop to build an altar to your success in ministry, but rest in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ! It's all about Him and it is His power and leading that makes a young minister effective. Don't boast in your self, but boast in the Lord. Your walk, ministry, and success is the Lord's and even if you seem to have failed, you are still to keep your trust in the Lord. Failure can be used by God to put into desperation for Him so that we can really rely on Him.

Careful young minister that you do not boast in your success or focus on your failures by living introspectively, but rest in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Breaking down and no answer

I have not blogged in over month, but I wanted to just talk about an adventure and what has been going on inside at the moment.

Lately, I've been battling apathy with sharing my faith, still getting out, but knowing that the Holy Spirit is nudging me to speak out. Do you know the feeling? A lack of fulfillment, a feeling of needing to do something, or an uncomfortable feeling in the heart! It's kind of hard to describe, but I believe that God's Spirit has been nudging ever since I have come back to school to continue to spread His wonderful gospel! I know that there will be opposition rejection, rudeness and possibly persecution, but disobeying God and omitting what He has said is far worse that any of the former things that I have just named!
So what slows me down?
I believe it is the fear of man, and the fear of how others will respond. I have been thinking about it how to combat these things, and I think I have found out! We must deny ourselves, we must lose ourselves in Christ and carry our crosses! Oh how painful it is though! It hurts!!! My flesh cries out and says "What are you doing?!! "Stop that!", all the while the Spirit spurs me on reminding me that the old Samuel has been nailed to the cross, and reminding me of His precious promises which far outweigh what this world has to offer. I must continue the fight even when it hurts or is not convenient. But here is what I see: To disobey God, pain, to carry the cross, pain, but with it comes a great joy and refinement and life in our walks with the Lord Jesus Christ! We can identify in His sufferings.
I've resisted, and been reminded over and over only to obey when I am about to get the shakes or cry! I get convicted and break down my cage of omission and fear in order to run into battle with the Lord where there again is discomfort.............. but it's different, it's soothing, it brings a smile, it brings me running to the Lord, like a two year old running to mommy and daddy after hurting himself. And I remember that I'm just getting a taste of what other believers have been going through for almost two thousand years.

Today I went out to get some food and I saw a guy sitting on a bench with his cell phone. I walked up to him and asked him if I could ask him a question. He declined and said that he was having a financial crisis. As I was walking away I thought to myself "Doh!!! I should have asked If I could pray for him!" So I went inside of Chipotle (Mexican restaurant) seeing the opportunity to talk with someone who was in line (It was a long line). I walked inside, stood in line and about 5 minutes later I struck up a conversation with a young man about my age. I made some small talk with him, asked him his name, and then I told him that I had a question for him. "If you died tonight are you 100% assured that you would go to heaven?" (Sometimes I freak out about asking this question, but this time I was calm believing that I was doing what God had asked me). His face developed a suspicious looking smirk and he asked me, "Are you just trying to get me to go to your church?" I replied with a smile, "No, I'm interested in what people believe about the afterlife" Then he said, "Well if I knew you better I would talk to you, but I don't know you so I'm not comfortable with to you about it." I then asked him if he went to a church, then he said yes. I left the spiritual topic alone after the rejection, but something struck me on the inside. If he is a Christian Jesus should roll right off of his lips, there should be some interest in that area. But he is either a Christian with no such conviction, or he wasn't a Christian, and I say that the former would show a discouraging state of the church. But God however gave me joy nonetheless and I headed back to my room praying for both young men and my roommate whom I am going to speak with about Christ."