Important Messages

Sunday, July 25, 2010

As Usual....

Acts 14:1 says "At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed." 

Acts 17:2 says: "As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures… "

Friday night I had a great time seeing and ministering with Eric, Tony, Jeff, Carlos, Arlette, John, and Helen. If you are ever able to join us I encourage you to come out on Fridays with us to the RB Pier. We usually get there at 5pm and leave by 630pm.

This past Friday I talked with 4 young adults just hanging out. We had a good conversation and they were thankful we were out there and that I stopped to talk with them. Near the end of our conversation one of them asked me if I was from a specific church. I told them I wasn't, but the fact that they associated what I was doing with a particular church in the area says a lot about that church.

As the above verses indicate, it was Paul's "usual" and "customary" business to go and speak about Jesus. It is what he was known for because he did it so regularly. After reading these verses, it made me wonder what my "usual" business looks like and to make sure that I am always seeking to bring glory to God through my thoughts, words, and actions.

To listen to the audio click here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Birthday First

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a birthday full of firsts. It was my first birthday being 29 years old! It was my first birthday being a father! It was my first birthday where my wife got me a really (and I mean REALLY) expensive present! It was also my first birthday where I got to share the gospel with a stranger!

After I got home from work my wife and I decided to walk down to the Whole Foods shopping center on PCH and Beryl. I wanted to get a smoothie and enjoy a nice walk with my wife and daughter. On the way down to the store we passed by a gentleman named Tyler and before I could say anything to him my wife was already saying “hi” to him. Apparently they had met a few weeks prior at the local grocery store. Tyler is a professional Volleyball player who just participated in the Hermosa Beach open and will be competing in the Manhattan Beach open in August with the AVP Tour. He plays Volleyball every day down at the beach and also teaches lessons. That sounds pretty fun! He asked me if I played and that he knows someone who is about 5 feet tall who is an absolutely awesome volleyball player. That was encouraging since I thought I was always way too small to be any good at volleyball. I might take him up on lessons sometime since he offered to teach if I'm interested.

After talking to him for a bit, I handed him a gospel tract and I asked him if he had ever received one of them before. He told me he had but had never taken the time to read it. It was a million dollar bill with the million dollar question on the back, “If you were to die, would you go to heaven?” His answer was that “he hoped so”, but wasn’t sure. He believed in heaven and hell and believed that a person had to be good to go to heaven. He considered himself a good person so I decided to take him through some of the Ten Commandments. He told me he had never lied or stolen anything in his life, which I found pretty unbelievable. He did admit to blasphemy, adultery of the heart, murder of the heart, as well as dishonoring his parents. By the standard of the Ten Commandments, he recognized that God would see him as guilty on Judgment Day and that he would have to go to hell because he had broken those commandments.

He told me that everyone had done those things so no one would be innocent on Judgment Day. That is exactly right according to Romans 3:23 and Romans 3:10-12. If everyone had done those things, he thought he would be ok, but I reminded him that God will deal with each person individually. Just as an earthly judge has to deal with each lawbreaker individually, so God won’t look at other people and compare you to them; He will judge us in light of the Ten Commandments and each person will be judged according to what they have done (Romans 2:6). And even if you don’t break all the commandments, the Bible says that if you are guilty in one point, you are guilty of breaking the entire Law (James 2:10). It is as if you are hanging by a chain with ten links and if just one link breaks you’re going to fall.

Tyler seemed to understand the justice of God and was concerned that if he died today and stood before God he would be guilty and the punishment would be eternity in hell. I was then able to share with Him what God did for us so that we wouldn’t have to go to hell. I explained how God sent His Son Jesus Christ to take our penalty upon himself by dying in our place and that if we repent and put our faith in Jesus Christ to save us then God can legally let us go on Judgment Day because the penalty has already been paid by Jesus Christ. We have to receive that gift by faith, turn from our sin (repent), and trust in Him alone to save us.

He thanked me for talking with him and I gave him my contact info in case he has questions about what we talked about. He told me he had a Bible at home and was going to read it later that night. It also turns out that he only lives about 10 houses away from me. I encouraged him to read the Gospel of John and to get right with God as soon as possible. I hope to see him again sometime soon.

Jesus said "it is more blessed to give than to receive" and I am thankful He gave me the opportunity to share the greatest gift of all with Tyler on my birthday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

RB Pier Follow Up 2010-07-16

I had a great time last night at the RB Pier, it is always an exciting place to go witnessing. I hadn't been out with the group on Friday for about a month and was glad to be back out there with them. I went with my friends Tony, Eric, Carlos, and Matt. At the end of our time down there, Tony shared with me that one of the gentlemen he shared with was broken by what he heard and asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of his life. That never gets old! It was so encouraging to hear that. 

I can't encourage you enough to join us on Friday evenings or to begin your own group that regularly goes out. Most of us go to different churches but we share a love for the Lord and for lost people. Glory to God! He is our worthy King! We "GO" to bring our Lord joy, but in doing that we receive joy in serving Him!

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John15:11

While we were out there, I had the privilege of meeting an Army Veteran named Sean along with his family. His wife was the "church-goer" in the family and we all had a good conversation. I pray that he considers the things we talked about and takes the lead as husband and father in making sure he and his family are in heaven together for eternity.

I also got the chance to talk with two young men. One was wearing a cross necklace but didn't really know the significance of what it represented. I pray that the truth they heard will bear everlasting fruit in their lives.

Here is the audio: 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Get in the Game

As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Mark 2:14–17

I’m an engineer by trade and I have a tendency to over analyze and complicate things. In the above excerpt, Jesus didn’t give a whole lot of theology or philosophy, just a simple message to follow him. In other words, we are to do what He does, stand for what He stands for, and follow what He says. That is where all of us should be in life. In 1 John we read “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” Jesus doesn’t ask us to watch Him, but to obey Him. How many of us have turned into spectators when it comes to Christianity; watching, rather than obeying? If you were a hockey player and practiced all week long but didn’t get to play one shift, would that be okay with you? If you have any competitive juice in you, you want to be out there making a difference. So why do we play Christianity that way? We go to church, attend Bible studies, read books, but are we in the game making a difference and reaching the lost?

God wants you in the game! He doesn’t want you riding the bench. You are a key player and important to the team. The beautiful thing is that you get to decide if that is something you want to do. You can get in the game right now if you want to, you can do something about it today! What if the ticket to church this weekend was that you had impacted the life of a lost person during the week to bring them closer to a relationship with Jesus Christ? How empty would our churches be on Sunday? As the 4th of July just recently passed, I was reminded that there is going to be a light show before the throne of God one day (Rev 4:2-5), and how important it is that we are getting people ready for that show. If you’ve read the news recently, you might have noticed that we are continuing to lose our freedom here in America. Who knows how much longer until we are not free to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in public. But remember that you are always free in Jesus Christ. Make sure He has set you free and that you use that freedom correctly.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life....Sentence

John Piper DVD Trailer...awesome.

A brief study on the word "Go"

In Mark 16:15 Jesus commands his followers to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." My understanding of this command is that we are to proclaim the gospel wherever we go to friends and strangers alike. As I try to understand this verse, I decided to a study on the word GO to help understand what Jesus meant when he said this. A brief summary of what I discovered is below.

The word "go" in Mark 16:15 comes from the Greek word πορεύομαι (poreuomai/por-yoo-om-ahee). This word translates as go” 117 times, depart” 11 times, walk” 9 times, go (one’s) way” 8 times, and is translated miscellaneously 9 times. By far, it is translated simply as "go" more than any other translation. In Mark 16:15, the translation is also "go." Simply stated, "go" means "do not stay" and I think that is exactly what Jesus was saying to his followers.

To get a better understanding of how this word was meant to be understood, I compared it to other similar verses where this same word is used in a similar context. This verse is a command from Jesus to the disciples telling them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Jesus is telling his disciples to go to a specific place (the world) and to do a specific task (preach the gospel) to a specific audience (all creation). Other similar passages where the word "go" was used to give people specific direction are shown below. In the below verses, the same word for "go" is used as in Mark 16:15. In each instance, it was a specific statement that was meant to be followed deliberately and actively as opposed to casually or passively. We see phrases such as: "Go and search carefully for the Child; Go and tell John what..., Go into the village in front of you, go quickly and tell his disciples, Go and tell that fox, go and sit in the lowest place, Go and show yourselves to the priests, Go and prepare the Passover for us, Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life, go into Damascus, and there you will be told...."

The implication was not to go "when you get around to it", "when it's convenient", or "when it fits into your schedule". It was to be a priority in the lives of Jesus' followers. There seems to be a sense of urgency in this command and it was implied to do those things now, not later. This fits with Jesus' call to make us fishers of men as we follow him. Fishermen go to the fish, deliberately. Fishermen don't wait for fish to come to them and jump into the boat. That will rarely, if ever, happen. A good fisherman gets his rod, line, bait and tackle, and then goes to the fish. He studies the fish to know which bait works best, and likely has favorite spots to fish because he knows where the fish like to hang out. Christians (aka Fishers of men) should be going to the fish (men) and not waiting for them to come to us. It should be an active and regular part of our lives. "Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:29. There truly is no higher calling in life than for the living God to call you to follow Him and make you fishers of men.

Reference Verses
Matt 2:8 “Go and search carefully for the Child;
Matt 2:20 Go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.
Matt 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’
Matt 10:6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matt 11:4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what
Matt 18:12 and go in search of the one that went astray?
Matt 21:2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you,
Matt 22:9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite
Matt 25:9 go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.
Matt 28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has
Matt 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
Luke 5:24 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
Luke 7:22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you
Luke 9:12 Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding

13:32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox,
Luke 14:10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place,
Luke 14:19 I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them.
Luke 15:4 and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him,
Luke 17:14 “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
Luke 22:8 “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”
John 20:17 the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 
Acts 5:20 Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 
Acts 22:10 and go into Damascus, and there you will be told
Acts 28:26 Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Homeless in Redondo Beach

A couple weeks ago I blogged about an encounter I had with a homeless man named Jerry at the gas station. Since then, I have had several encounters with other homeless people, far more than what seems normal based on past experiences. The experiences have been so common over the past two weeks; I am really wondering what exactly God is trying to teach me through these situations. In summary, these are the experiences I’ve had with homeless people over the past two weeks:

1. Jerry – homeless man at Shell gas station from Cleveland Ohio. He had not eaten for two days. Mobil or Shell?

2. Mike – homeless man who was picking trash out of our dumpsters behind our home. I talked with him for about 10 minutes and learned that he regularly recycles cans to get bus fare out to LA to go to the Union Rescue Mission for food every day. He takes the bus back to Redondo Beach every night to sleep behind a dumpster in a local shopping center. He has been doing this for the past 10 years. I was able to give him some cash, share the gospel with him and leave him with a gospel of John. He was very thankful to have met and said his faith had been strengthened.

3. Ron – homeless man going through the dumpsters behind our home at around 9am one Friday morning. I told him about a homeless BBQ our church (King's Harbor Church) was having that afternoon at 4pm and sure enough he was there. He has been living on the streets for the past 8 years.

4. Sherry – A homeless lady I met at the RB Pier where we go to proclaim the good news to people every Friday afternoon. I invited her to the BBQ and she walked with me over there. She told me she was a Christian, loves to sing and worship the Lord, and is 100% sure she would be going to heaven if she were to die today. I was able to encourage her and share a meal with her. She is currently living on the streets in Redondo Beach and is from Austin, Texas.

5. Sam – A man I met at the homeless BBQ. He spends his days doing research at the library and has been on the streets for 53 days now. He has 3 children, has auditioned for the Apprentice and fights in MMA events for charity. I was able to share the gospel with him and leave him with some literature and contact info in case there was any way I could help him in the future. He was a very intelligent man who is looking for any type of work in the South Bay area.

6. Maria – My wife and I went to eat at the Habit for dinner Monday night. As we were getting Nevaeh into her stroller a lady named Maria came up to us with a foreign accent with despair in her voice asking for money. She was with her 8 year old son whose name is Nicholas. She was almost in tears asking us for anything. We had no cash and asked if she wanted some dinner. She asked for groceries and told us she had a prescription from a doctor for her 2 year old son’s rash on his back. We told her we would be happy to buy the prescription for her and help her with groceries and walked over to Albertson’s/Sav-On with her. We came to know that she is from Bosnia, a single mother of 4, who just lost her job housecleaning and doesn’t have enough money for rent the coming month. It was almost overwhelming listening to her and seeing her desperation for her children. Giving her just a little bit to help her with groceries and a prescription for her son seemed like so little, but we were able to pray for her and continue to do so today

Some things I’ve learned from these experiences:

1. Pray for God to use you every day when you step out your front door. I have been specifically asking God to use me, to move me to the right, to the left, to direct each step, and to show me why I was alive today when I lay my head down at night. So, God has been giving me more opportunities to bless people, to share His love and grace with them, and to open my eyes to the tremendous need that is all around us every day.

2. Homeless people don’t expect us to show them any attention. They are similar to the Samaritan woman in John 4 who didn’t expect Jews to show them any respect. But Jesus shows us a different way, a better way. We all came from the same Adam and Eve, we are all made in God’s image, and we are commanded by Christ to love all.

3. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35.

4. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:26. Homeless people have next to nothing. One homeless man named Ramon told me “he has a free ocean view” where he lives; all he has to do is peek his head around the dumpster! So many spend their lives chasing money. Make sure you are storing up treasures in heaven and inviting as many people as you possibly can to join you there. It is a free invitation, open to all, and it is our job as Christians to invite as many people there as we can.

5. Seeing these people remind me that there is only one thing that can meet their eternal needs, Jesus Christ. If all I do is give them money or food and don’t share the gospel with them, I’m not doing them a favor at all. It is important to not only bless them with what God has given me, but to make sure they know the truth about eternity and where they will spend eternity. We need to explain to them that the reason anyone goes to heaven is because God acquits us from the Courtroom of Eternal Justice on the grounds that Jesus Christ paid our fine. We are "justified" (made right with God) by His suffering death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was God's seal of approval of the fact that His precious blood was sufficient to pay the fine.

Please pray for Jerry, Mike, Ron, Sherry, Sam, and Maria. Pray for God to use you, He will! Pray for His eyes to be your eyes and be looking for opportunities to bless people and make His Name known where you live.