Hey - a fishing update! : )
Greetings to our fellow laborers and
prayer partners in the harvest, in the name of our Master and Savior Jesus Christ.
These past 2 weeks have been very busy! God keeps training us how to talk more about Him and helping us study His Living Word and He keeps opening up new doors. It's exciting!
The past 2 weeks we have witnessed at malls, and we had some good conversations. A number of people thanked us for giving them gospel tracts, apparently they just appreciated that someone would take the time to talk to them about eternity. Death is scary to those who don't know where they are headed, unless they are so distracted by their sin right now too much to think about it. In those cases, we try to remind them in one way or another - how many breaths do they have left?
By the way, 'One Heartbeat Away' tracts are very popular with most people! It talks about the one main thing on un-saved people's brains, even if they never talk about it. : )
One story that stands out to me was when I saw this group of youth (8 or so) and at the mall. I went over to them and asked them if they got one of these ('101 Funniest One-liners'). They hadn't gotten one and were curious what it was. I told them it was a gospel tract and then I quickly followed up by asking if they knew what was on the other side of death - when we 'check out'. They didn't really know, but they sort of did (probably hadn't thought much about it). After I shared the gospel with them, several of them were still hungry to know more. They were thinking that you just add Jesus to your life and then you can go on doing whatever you want to. I had the opportunity to point out that Jesus went through excruciating pain and suffering, taking God's wrath that we deserve - He gave everything to offer us salvation, and He requires everything in return. We talked some more about it. They seemed to really appreciate the conversation. I ended it by challenging them to study the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, for themselves, to see what Jesus really said. I also mentioned that my favorite book is Matthew because it shows how Jesus is so to-the-point on who He is, where we are, and how to change directions to become His followers. One of those guys' names was Matthew - so he really appreciated the challenge/encouragement. : ) I plan pray for them as often as I remember them. It is interesting to see how the more you talk with people about God and His Word, the more people God brings back to mind to pray for. And I know we appreciate people praying for us that we will continue to grow in our hunger/passion for Jesus and His Living Word, so that's how I pray for them too.
This past week, the spiritual warfare was pretty interesting. We had a couple mall security stop us from sharing the gospel at the mall, so we went to other areas. In our brain-storming session afterward, we came to the conclusion that some places are better for just one-2-one conversations. Conversations are fine, but apparently some people don't want us to hand out gospel tracts. But if they ask for one - that is completely different ~ : )
I've been studying Galatians 6:7-9, and working my way through Exodus - 2 exciting studies! And, I've been getting a better understanding of what sin really is, and how offensive it is to God, and even better: how to explain it clearly. I hope this little explanation will help you to be able to explain it more clearly to others.
Sin is obviously more than a list of 'do nots'. Sin is, at the core, a willful rebellion. Even though we know, in some form, what is right, we, humans, all too often willfully choose to do it our own way - rebelling against God. That's the simple of it. We know that the 10 Commandments are more than a guideline for living. They are God's standard: if we are perfect, we can get into Heaven; if we aren't, then we are in big trouble. Obviously we have all lied, stolen things, coveted (wanting something that doesn't belong to us), dis-honored and dis-obeyed our dad and mom, etc. The 10 Commandments are very useful, like that, to show their sin and to help them see how they need to repent, learn to run from their rebellion and embrace "the love of the truth". After we are saved, we won't just be wanting to keep the 10 Commandments. No, what God is asking of those who choose to follow Him, is that we learn a whole new perspective. To not just 'not want the "bad" ', but also, for us to be learning to love and embrace the truth, righteousness and obedience. Here are a couple verses that I've been mentally 'chewing on'. "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9) "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (1st Thessalonians 5:21-22) "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17) "... who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Romans 1:25) "... because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2nd Thessalonians 2:10) "... and did not choose the fear of the LORD." (Proverbs 1:29)
I have found sharing this simple truth challenges those I talk with to make sure they become a genuine follower of Christ. "But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 13:8-9) Also, I have found that pointing out how we naturally choose to do the rebellion, and that we don't go out of our way to do what's right - emphasizes how, until we become followers of Christ, we are walking in willful rebellion, and therefore it is clear how we need to take a complete u-turn and learn to embrace the "love of the truth". Or as the apostle John puts it: "... we walk in the light, as He is in the light." (1st John 1:7)
Thank you again to each of you who prays for us. God continues to open His Word to us, teaching us more and more how to serve and follow Him with all of our hearts!
your fellow laborers in His harvest,
and fellow prayer partners,
David, Barbara, Steven, and Paul