The Conference I'm Going To in December

Yesterday registration opened for a conference I have been looking forward to for months. It's CROSS.

In 2013, this student missions conference hosted their first conference in Louisville, Kentucky (which I live-streamed from my basement in Halifax). Then, a year and a half ago they held a one-night simulcast, and, after watching it, I wrote about it here. But this December they're hosting a full four-day conference in Indianapolis, and I couldn't be more excited to attend in person this time.

From December 27-30, dozens of godly men (like John Piper, David Platt, and Kevin DeYoung) and a few godly women will speak to thousands of college-aged kids about the global cause of Christ. Musicians Trip Lee and Matt Boswell will lead worship, and Dad and I will soak it all in.

This is what the website says about CROSS:

"CROSS aims to mobilize students for the most dangerous and loving cause in the universe: rescuing people from eternal suffering and bringing them into the everlasting joy of knowing and worshipping Jesus.

CROSS is not a church. It is not a new campus ministry. It is not an offshoot of any existing ministry, as thankful as we are for so many likeminded movements and organizations. The aim of CROSS is simpler and more focused: We are a conference that, we pray, may be used of God to mobilize students in the cause of frontier missions for the glory of Jesus Christ. That’s our passion, our purpose."

Something tells me you'll be hearing more from me about this conference as it draws closer and especially once I've attended. After going to TGCWC last month with 7,000 other women, I'm pretty psyched to attend a conference full of passionate Christian guys and girls my age. I'm eager to hear truth preached and see the glory of Christ lifted up in light of the call of gospel work. 

And I am now counting down the days: 153 sleeps until CROSS.

The Conference I'm Going To Tonight

Thirty years ago, people had to relocate to attend a good conference. If the conference was in New York, you had to be in New York to see any of the sessions and glean anything from the messages.

Some people still relocate for conferences. In fact, my dad leaves Monday morning for sunshiny California to go to this conference.

But for the conference I'm going to tonight, I don't have to go anywhere. Designed for college students all over the world, CROSS is a simulcast, a live video streaming of an event. This event is one night and features five main speakers - Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Mack Stiles, and David Platt - with music from Matt Boswell.

CROSS is a missions conference for young adults. It was first hosted in 2013 in Louisville. This simulcast will take place tonight and then in 2016, CROSS will host another big conference in Indianapolis. This year's theme is Undaunted: Overcoming Obstacles and Opposition to the Advance of the Gospel.

See what the website has to say about it:

Is Satan winning? Between the growing hostility to Christianity in America and the troubling reality of unbelief among thousands of unreached people groups abroad, it’s easy to feel as if the gospel is losing ground to the powers of sin and hell. And yet Jesus, in Matthew 28:18, said, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” For that reason, God’s people, despite discouraging circumstances and the very real prospect of suffering, have the greatest reason for confidence and even joy. We serve an omnipotent God whose gospel kingdom is indomitable. 

Join us for FREE at live.CROSSforthenations.org on February 27th for a special simulcast event as we consider why we are undaunted by the darkness—near and far—given the certain victory we have in King Jesus.

The event begins at 7PM Eastern and will be over by midnight. Anyone can "attend" CROSS over simulcast. All you need to do is register (which is free and which you can do right up to the time the conference starts) and have a computer with a good Internet connection.

This is five hours of your time that couldn't be better spent. I've been looking forward to this simulcast for months and can't wait to see what the Lord will do through one night of college students watching their laptops with their Bibles open.

For more information, including a full schedule, speaker biographies, promo packs, and FAQ, visit the CROSS website.

Remember: IDOP 2014

Yesterday (or the Sunday before, as the date varies from place to place) was International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). While we live our everyday lives surrounded by relative wealth and comfort, millions of Christians are suffering in labor camps and jails, being beaten and killed, having their basic human rights taken away, and being oppressed by the government and the God-haters around them. This is a dark tragedy, especially since their sole reason of persecution is that they follow Jesus.

So what can we do? As the video below points out, the number one request of persecuted Christians everywhere is, "Please pray for us." Let's do that, not just on IDOP, not just when the pastor reminds us. Make a commitment to actively, continuously do it throughout the year.

For more information on how to pray and for resources on supporting the persecuted church, check out these websites:

Voice of the Martyrs - This is the Canadian site. You can also check out the American site. VOM has loads of helpful resources on particular countries and how to pray and assist.

Open Doors - This is the international website. Click on your country below to be taken to your national OD page. This is where you can find information on the most recent prayer requests, details on countries, and methods of support.

IDOP - Last but not least, here's the link to the official International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church webpage. Watch the videos, read the stories, and pray.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body (Hebrews 13:3).

The Innocent Woman in the Jungle (Who Doesn't Have Road Rage)

On Wednesday I wrote about a scene of intense road rage I witnessed in the parking lot outside of my work place, and I used it to illustrate the theological concept of fallen (wo)man's depravity. Before we were saved, we were depraved, groping in the dark, lost and blind. But then Christ rescued us and we were brought out of the darkness into the light. Yet everyone who has not trusted Christ is still buried under the thick, dark mires of their depravity.

Here is where a non-Christian will ask you a question. I got asked this question when I was emailing with an agnostic friend from my drama class. He asked me, "What about the innocent man in the African jungle who will never hear about God? Will he still go to hell?" He was trying to back me into a corner, to prove that the Bible's view of God's justice and His love are inconsistent and that humanity is really not totally depraved.

What my friend didn't realize is that there is no corner. I sent him the ten-minute sermon clip from David Platt below in response. The Bible is perfectly plain and clear regarding the "innocent man in the jungle." But people will ask you about this - if they haven't already, chances are it will happen in the future. You can be a mighty witness on them by responding with a gracious, biblical answer.

David Platt points to Romans 1 and provides that answer.

"The State of Theology" in America Today

Yesterday Ligonier Ministries published an infographic of the findings of a recent study, titled, "The State of Theology." This study is important for a variety of reasons; first, because our theology impacts every area of our lives. It shapes and drives us as humans. A.W. Tozer's oft-quoted line rings dead true: "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Second, this study better equips us for evangelism. Furthermore, it gives us better insight into America's religiosity and what the majority of our culture believes, as well as the majority of Evangelical Protestants. 

With sobering statistics, it sheds a slice of light on the theological convictions of Americans today. And the results aren't pretty.

There are six categories in the study: God, sin, heaven and hell, pluralism, ethics, and the church. The results consistently show a taming of God, a minimizing of (or disbelief in) sin, a belief in heaven but not in hell, a resounding advocate for pluralism, poor ethics, and a dark misunderstanding of the role of the church in society.

The conclusion of the study reads like this:

Our culture is anti-theological - we are in a new dark age.

"These responses show that we have a true mission for the church, to help the church think through and proclaim these doctrines." - R.C. Sproul  

The state of theology is more important than we realize. Dr. Sproul has said often, "Everyone's a theologian." This study demonstrates the stunning gap in theological awareness throughout our nation, in our neighborhoods, and even in the seat next to us at church.

Read the results of the study for yourself here.

Image Credit: http://s3.amazonaws.com/ligonier-public-media/blog/blog-post-images/620_StateofTheology_blog_oct27a.jpg

The Nicest Bad Guy in the Bible

There are lots of bad guys in the Bible. There are cruel soldiers, wicked kings and queens, deceitful priests, witches and prostitutes and whole cities and nations who loathe God. But there is one sinner who stood out to me recently. And what's so terrifying about this sinner is that he's still alive.

If you met this bad guy on the street, he'd probably smile at you. If you were behind him in Starbucks, he might have bought your coffee. He's never been convicted of a crime, because - based on the law - he's not really bad at all. In fact, he's remarkably nice.

Psalm 36 tells the tale of this nice villain. Verses 1-3 are as follows:

"Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good ... he does not reject evil."

This person turns away from God and trusts in himself. He is convinced of his own goodness. He has silenced his conscience, so that he can't even see all the sin wading in him like swamp water - or if he does, he's sure that no one else will be able to see it. He thinks he's a good person (and is perceived as one too).

He also doesn't reject evil. This statement implies some passivity about it. Rejecting evil is hard, but actively pursuing good is harder. The fact that sin is unimportant characterizes this man.

He remains unnamed in Psalm 36, and I think that's for good reason. This is probably not one specific person in David's time that lingers on his mind as he wrote this. This is the profile of a wicked man. And he lives on today. The North American religious climate seems plagued with this idea that sin is no longer vile, despicable, and worthy of rejection. They are convinced that they are good people. Psalm 36's bad guy walks the sidewalks of our cities, lives on our streets, teaches in our schools, hangs out in our coffee shops, judges from our courts, works in our offices, and even sits in our pews.

In the middle of Psalm 36, after the profile of this nice bad guy, David shifts his trajectory. Instead of continuing on in this explanation of the man, he begins praising the faithfulness of God. Where that sinner failed, God succeeded.

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings." 

Man is sinful. God is not. Man is lost. God is the glorious One who finds. That is the good news of the gospel. Psalm 36 sings this good news. And as David seemed to think that the gospel met even the nicest bad guy's needs, we too can be assured that it is hope for the hopeless, peace for the restless, and healing for the broken-hearted. So what are we waiting for? The nicest bad guys surround us. Who are we sharing this good news with?

Cowper, God, and Poetry: Part 3

Apparently Cowper saw a desperate problem in his time that still pervades our society today - an abuse of the gospel and the grace that it gives. People claim to love the Word of God, sing it, read it, and even preach it, but their hearts are far from it. Their hypocrisy struck Cowper and out of his musings came his poem, Abuse of the Gospel.

Too many, Lord, abuse Thy grace
In this licentious day,
And while they boast they see Thy face,
They turn their own away.

Thy book displays a gracious light
That can the blind restore;
But these are dazzled by the sight,
And blinded still the more. 

The format of the poem is a prayer, a mourning cry to God. Cowper begins with highlighting the hypocrisy of the day and the licentiousness, or lawlessness, that abounds. People claim to love the law of God but are not constrained by it. They say that they see God's face, but they're really turning "their own away." The second stanza is a picture of the work of the Word of God, using this metaphor of light. The Word displays a light that can both transform and blind, and you can see Cowper's literary skill come out. It is a light that transforms the blind but blinds those who think they're transformed. The power is not in the interpretation of the Word, insists Cowper, but the Word itself.

The pardon such presume upon,
They do not beg but steal;
And when they plead it at Thy throne,
Oh! where's the Spirit's seal?

Was it for this, ye lawless tribe,
The dear Redeemer bled?
Is this the grace the saints imbibe
From Christ the living head? 

Next Cowper paints a picture of the hypocrites approaching God with their stolen grace, a badly disfigured replica. You get a taste of Matthew 7:23 here, when the self-deceived try to shoulder their way into the Kingdom with good deeds, and Jesus says to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." What perhaps may seem cold is really just justice, though a painful justice, the result of a life wasted on selfish pursuits.

But then in Stanza 4, you get a beautiful picture of grace. The truly saved are the "lawless tribe" but have been saved by the Redeemer's blood. And we absorb "grace/From Christ the living head." Left to our own vanity and pride, we will deceive ourselves by our hypocrisy, but when Christ redeems a soul, grace is imbibed.

Ah, Lord, we know Thy chosen few
Are fed with heavenly fare;
But these, -- the wretched husks they chew,
Proclaim them what they are.

The liberty our hearts implore
Is not to live in sin;
But still to wait at Wisdom's door,
Till Mercy calls us in.

Now Cowper appears to take a spin on another well-known passage, the "you will know a tree by its fruit" from Matthew 12:33, except he uses what they eat instead of what they bloom. Their heart's loyalty is shown pretty evidently from what overflows out of their heart, he says. Do they feast on the "heavenly fare" or are they content to chew "the wretched husks"? Do their deeds bear good fruit or rotten fruit?

Cowper ends the poem with a call to holy living, to forsake sin, to embrace wisdom, and to wait eagerly for the final call of mercy. At the beginning of the stanza, Cowper highlights what the power is that gives us strength to do those things - "the liberty of our hearts," or the freedom in Christ.

This poem may seem tough and offensive and cold and loveless, but I plead with you to read it again and see that it's not. This is Cowper's prayer, and my guess is that it hurt him just as much to write it as it does us to read it. For it's a dark commentary on the times we live in and the sin that abounds. Let this be our wake-up call to never forsake preaching the gospel, loving, telling, showing, doing, being - in everything. Let no one say to us, "You left me deceived," so that Christ will say to them, "I never knew you." 

Clear Winter Nights: A Review

Twenty two year old Chris Walker is sure he's in his "dark night of the soul." He's broken off his engagement, stepped back from a church plant, is wrestling with painful secrets about his father, and is debating whether he should just abandon his Christian faith. Then he goes to spend a weekend with Granddad Gil, a retired pastor, and the conversations start. Trevin Wax's novel is aptly named: Clear Winter Nights: A Journey Into Truth, Doubt, and Whatever Comes After.

This is the first work of fiction I've reviewed on jaquelle.ca, and I think it's an appropriate start. I have read a lot of fiction before, but Wax's novel was unlike any other story I've ever read. That's because of its description. Wax himself called it, "Theology in Story." In an interview with Amazon, he said,

I'm being up front about the purpose of the story - to teach. Readers who pick up this book will learn something from the characters and their questions and conversations. It's not just a theology book, because this is a narrative about two people engaging the big questions of life. Neither is it just a fiction book, because there are certainly some theological teachings that come through in the dialogue. It's both - theology in story.

But the purpose is not just to entertain, and that's where Wax veers off the traditional novel path. The description of Clear Winter Nights could also be "Conversations about Theology," for that's what most of the book is. The back cover says,

What happens when a young Christian dealing with disillusionment and doubt spends a weekend with an elderly, retired pastor? They talk. And no subject is off limits.

They talk about what every disillusioned, doubting Christian (or non-Christian for that matter) wants to know. Is truth relative? What about homosexuality? Why is Christianity so exclusive? Forgiveness. Evangelism. Hate. Love. Sin. Grace. I found it beautifully refreshing to see a story about theology with theology, not the story, as the centerpiece. If I had to find one fault with this book, it would be that the plot (the story) lacked a little. It seemed to fizzle out at the end, but maybe that's how Wax wanted it - no wam-bam finish, just a quiet one.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially to a doubting or struggling Christian (or non-Christian) who enjoys fiction. There is enough narrative to make you feel like you're not reading a theology book, but enough theology to make this unlike any other fiction book you've read. I enjoyed both Gil's and Chris' distinctive voices, their parallel perspectives and individual fears, doubts, and beliefs. I feel like I have grown through reading Clear Winter Nights, and I think you will too.

Buy Clear Winter Nights here

They Don't Know the Words

"Joy to the World, Away in a Manger and Silent Night - and just the first verses, remember." I must have repeated that about four or five times, hands clasped, smiling down at the small faces. They nodded, seemingly understanding, yet there was a slight perplexity playing on a few faces. "Ready?" I prepared them. And then us leaders burst joyfully into song ... pretty much going solo. The kids knew a line here and there - "Joy to the world," "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed," "Silent night, holy night." And that was almost it. These three verses to three of the most well-known Christmas carols were falling flat to the five to nine year olds at my church's Kids Club. I was shocked. They don't know the words. They actually don't know the words.

Now some were just being spoilsports, it's true. Oh, they knew the words. They just weren't in the mood to sing. But I knew that blank expression on others' faces. They attempted to sing along when they could, but they simply didn't know the words. And sadly, it makes sense. All of these kids attend public schools and all but one don't attend church regularly, which means I doubt they hear these at school and they certainly don't sing them at church. So they wouldn't know.

But it still caught me off guard. At least they recognize the songs, I told myself. Will the next generation? Probably not. Perhaps a few generations down and most non-Christians will not even remember Christ was celebrated at Christmas. "Christian" carols won't be sung - they're already not sung in the public schools. Children will grow up not just not knowing the words to Joy to the World, but not knowing what the words even mean. They won't know the nativity story. They won't know what Christmas means.

And that's why we must endeavor to be faithful to teach the children we know the gospel - by both word and deed. That's why God commanded that the Law be taught to the Israelites' children.

Psalm 78:5-7:

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. 

It's one thing to forget the words of a song, yet another to forget the works of God. Tonight, like every Thursday night, we will teach the gospel to these kids and pray that God would change their hearts. We will teach them until they are so familiar with the "good news of God," they will not forget.

The Great Mystery of Answered Prayer

How God answers prayer is a great mystery indeed. How often is it that we pray for something, expecting the Lord to strike us with some miraculous gift or healing or saving, and we're answered so differently, so unexpectedly, yet so clearly?

For example, there have been times when I prayed for patience and just waited for the Lord to answer me with this clear of feeling of serenity and calmness that overshadowed all frustration. And He answered me all right, but instead of what I expected, He put me in places in His Word that speak directly of patience and then He would throw me in some seemingly especially difficult circumstances in which to practice that patience! But at the end of the day, when I looked back, God answered my prayers - He gave me patience, just not in the way I expected.

A more recent example is that of praying for witnessing opportunities. For quite a while, I've been praying for these opportunities to witness to my friends. A part of my has just been expecting the Lord to send someone walking up to me, asking, "Jaquelle, can you tell me about Jesus, please?" But that hasn't happened. Then suddenly I started talking to this one friend who I don't know really well. We were e-mailing, just small talk, and then suddenly I felt like a huge neon sign that said "WITNESS HERE!!!" whacked me over the head. This was an opportunity I had been praying for. So thus began a series of e-mails with this friend about the gospel!

Answered prayer is definitely a great mystery, but it's a really, really cool mystery! Sometimes the Lord answers prayer is ways we expect, other times, not so much. Do you have answered prayers that at one time seemed so unexpected and mysterious to you, but you now recognize were from the Lord? Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail - I'd love to hear about them!

The Gospel Is Big Enough to Fight for Itself

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself caught up in a struggle over defending the gospel to unbelievers, as if the gospel needs me to argue for it and back it up with scientific facts. Thus, I often lose sight of the magnificent, glorious truth that the gospel is big enough to fight for itself.

Russel Moore:
Sometimes believers will throw up their hands in frustration with non-Christian people they know. “I have said everything I know to say to her about the gospel,” one might say. “She already knows it all and doesn’t believe.” 
Often what we seek is another argument, a hidden angle that our interlocutor hasn’t thought through before. But that’s rarely how the gospel is heard and received. Think about it in your own case. Did you believe the gospel the first time you ever heard it? Perhaps you did, but if so, you’re quite unusual. Most of us heard the gospel over and over and over again until one day it hit us in a very different way. 
And what was different about it? Was it a new argument? Did you say to yourself, “Wait, you mean there’s archaeological evidence proving the historical existence of the Hittites?” or “Hold on, there were five hundred witnesses to the resurrection? Well, what must I do to be saved?” 
No, in most cases what we heard was the same old gospel — Christ crucified for us, buried, raised from the dead — and suddenly there was light (2 Corinthians 4:6). Suddenly what had seemed boring or irrelevant to us now seemed quite personal. We heard a man’s voice in that gospel, and we wanted to follow that voice (John 10:3, 16). We saw a light of glory that overwhelmed us (2 Corinthians 4:6). The same is true with the as-of-yet unbelieving world around us or the as-of-yet unbelieving relatives we have waiting for us at the Thanksgiving dinner table. 
You need not be intimidated by unbelievers, as though what you need is a more nuanced “worldview” to protect the kingdom of God from their threats. Yes, we engage in apologetic arguments, but those aren’t at the hub of our mission. By talking with unbelievers about arguments against the existence of God or scientific evidence for blind natural selection or whatever, all we’re doing is listening to the defense mechanisms of those who are, as we were, scared of the sound of God’s presence in the garden. We should talk about those things lovingly, but not so we can defend the faith. We engage others only so we can get to the only announcement that assaults the blinding power of the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). 
The gospel is big enough to fight for itself.
Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ110–111, paragraphing added.
(HT: Desiring God)

Reflections on the Big Apple: By Faith

Well, yesterday was the last day of Big Apple Adventure: Where Faith and Life Connect. Yesterday afternoon, we stripped the church bare, transforming New York City back into Gospel Light Baptist Church. We praise God for the work that He did through VBS this year. We had one young lady make a profession of faith and several other families mention the fact that they would like to start coming to church again or for the first time. The last two days of VBS were absolutely nutty, so that's why you didn't get any of my reflections on those days. Today I've included the music video for one of the Big Apple Adventure songs, "By Faith," performed by Jeff Slaughter, who writes all of LifeWay Vacation Bible School's music. "By Faith" was one of my favourite songs and a song with lyrics that I also loved. For truly, we can do nothing without faith.

Reflections on the Big Apple: Hearing, Believing & Connecting

Day 3 of the Big Apple Adventure wrapped up nicely here at Gospel Light. Today our focus was on salvation, the ABCs of becoming a Christian, and connecting with trust in God. This morning, as we started with our opening Worship Rally, we yelled our VBS motto together, like we do every morning. Our motto is:  

Hear it! Believe it! Connect it! 

I really like that motto because it stresses connecting faith with life. It covers the three practical steps of understanding the gospel:
  1. Hear it! The first thing that the kids need to do is hear the gospel, and they certainly do hear it every day at VBS! Our campers are faithfully taught the Word of God every day of this week, so there's no excuses. They've heard it.
  2. Believe it! Now the kids may not have had much of a choice in hearing it. If they were dragged to VBS against their will, they may not have wanted to hear the Word of God, but they did anyway. Believing is different though. Parents can't make the decision of believing in God for their kids. The kids have to step out in faith on their own. They have to believe the gospel because of their own convictions, not that of their parents. 
  3. Connect it! And once the kids have heard the gospel and believed in it, they have to connect it with life. They have to tell their friends and their family. They have to confess Jesus as Lord and live their life a different way because of that confession.
"So faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the message about Christ." 
Romans 10:17

    Reflections on the Big Apple: Where Faith and Life Connect

    Today was Day 1 of my church's Big Apple Adventure, Lifeway's Vacation Bible School. Our theme is New York City, the "Big Apple." The VBS is called Big Apple Adventure: Where Faith and Life Connect. The focus this year is on practically connecting faith and life. We're trying to teach the kids that faith is not something that's reserved for church buildings only. It must collide with life. True faith is something that must be a part of every component of everyday life; it must impact and influence daily decisions and choices. It has to leave the church buildings and enter the schools and the homes and the shopping malls and grocery stores.

    So this week, as the faithful volunteers at our church give up their time to share the gospel with the kids of our community, I'd encourage you to think about the practical connection of faith and life. And while you're thinking about that, here's our theme verse this week: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)

    Daddy's Daughter: Insights on My Dad's Sermon

    Today, I have no insights on my dad's sermon. I know, I know. You're shocked and appalled. But wait! Don't go! Today we had Mr. Kirk Hubick and his family at our church. Mr. Hubick is an open-air preacher (in other words, he's basically a street preacher). He taught Sunday School and gave a talk about the ministry he's involved in (Open-Air Campaigners) during the service. He shared some great evangelism quotes while he was speaking on and encouraging us to evangelize, many by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This one below wasn't shared by him, but is a great, encouraging quote ...

    "We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man's fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-ax and weapons of war."
    Let's dwell on and about this, but then let's get out there and proclaim "but the simple gospel."

    SPOTLIGHT: Quote of the Month

    I've decided to start a new monthly installment here at the Garden: Spotlight! Each month I will choose to highlight either a quote of the month, or a book of the month, or movie of the month, or song of the month or, well ... you get the picture.

    In Bible Study, we just finished our course on Way of the Master. One of the final quotes was by the brilliant "Prince of Preachers," Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This was the quote that the Way of the Master, a study encouraging and teaching us to evangelize, finished with:

    "Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." -- Charles H. Spurgeon

    "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." ~ Mark 16:15

    Jaquelle, The Firefighter ...

    Yesterday, in Bible Study, we started a new study called The Way of the Master, an evangelical video course. It will be teaching us how to evangelize to our friends, family, and perfect strangers. It goes for eight weeks. Yesterday's video started with a true story. It goes like this ...

    There was a fireman, who was charged with negligence on duty. Here's what happened: Apparently, the fire department got news of a fire in a family home. The fire fighters rushed over. A family of five (two parents and three young children) were trapped inside the house, the flames surrounding them. They had no way out. They needed rescuing. But our fireman (the one charged with negligence), remained in the fire truck. The reason: he wanted to test out a new CD player that he had purchased for the fire chief. He was oblivious to the family's screams as he listened to the CD player, sprawled in the back of the fire truck. The mother of the family, still holding the family baby, was engulfed by the flames. The fireman continued to ignore the father, who had the two little children clinging to his hands. "Help!" they yelled. The fireman ignored them. Then, the flames swallowed the father and the two children. The fireman had their blood on his hands. He could have saved them, but he didn't. When, he went to court, he encouraged the judge to keep in mind that he didn't save the family because he was testing out a gift for the fire chief.

    What punishment would you give this fireman? 2 years? 10 years? 20 years? Capital punishment? Make sure you decide on what you think is a good punishment.

    Because that fireman is me. That fireman is you. That fireman is all Christians who know people who are about to be engulfed by Hell's flames, but will not share the gospel. When we're before God, Who will be judging us, we may ask Him to keep in mind that we gave Him "the gift" of going to church faithfully every Sunday, or praying a lot. But He will say, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

    This really convicted me, and I pray that it will convict you too, and encourage you to share the gospel with others. None of us are guaranteed another day on this Earth.

    How to Be A Mr. Kimball

    On Saturday, our community experienced a power outage. Our power was back on by Saturday night, but it was off for 5 hours. Why was it off? Because of one person. One person lost control of his truck and crashed into a major power line, knocking out thousands of peoples' power, including our own. So, that reminded me of one other person's actions that affected thousands and thousands of people. You probably haven't heard of him. Does Edward Kimball ring a bell? No? Well, Mr. Kimball was Dwight L. Moody's Sunday School teacher. He was also the person whom God worked through to lead Moody to Christ.

    D. L. Moody, the famous Evangelist, when eighteen years of age, was a boot salesman in his uncle's store in Boston. His Sunday School teacher was a Mr. Kimball, and he had set his heart on winning the young man for Christ. After praying about the matter, he arranged to visit him at the boot store. "I was determined," to use his own words, "to speak to him about Christ and about his soul, and started down to Holton's boot store. When I was nearly there I began to wonder whether I ought to go in just then during business hours. I thought my call might embarrass the boy, and that when I went away the other clerks would ask who I was, and taunt him with my efforts in trying to make him a good boy. In the meantime I had passed the store, and, discovering this, I determined to make a dash for it, and have it over at once. I found him in the back part of the building wrapping up shoes. I went up to him at once, and putting my hand on his shoulder, I made what I felt afterwards was a very weak plea for Christ. I don't know just what words I used, nor could Mr. Moody tell. I simply told him of Christ's love for him, and the love Christ wanted in return. That was all there was. It seemed the young man was just ready for the light that then broke upon him, and there in the back of that store in Boston, D. L. Moody gave himself and his life to Christ."

    We can be Mr. Kimballs. One action on our part can affect thousands of people's lives. The non-Christian co-worker that we witness to can become on-fire for God. Like Moody, she/he might in turn witness to thousands more people. That classmate that will never be saved might turn to Christ if you witness to him. You might say, "I could never be a Mr. Kimball. I don't have enough experience." Or, "Me, a Mr. Kimball? No way! I just - well, I just couldn't!" But you can! With God's help. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." God will work through us to do amazing things, if we are ready to open our hearts and minds to be used by him as Mr. Kimball was.