Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Zeitgeist Challenge Part 1

The Zeitgeist "Challenge" Part 1

What's this about?

I am interacting with some people on-line (a Mountain Biking forum on the website).  I was given an honest "challenge" of sorts...

"I see that you are definitely one of the faithful but please just watch Part 1 (The Zeitgeist Movie) and please let me know if you can disprove anything they are saying. There might be some discrepancies but I just don't like to see people eating up everything their "religion" tells them"

Part 1 of the Zeitgeist Movie is two hours long, so this may take a while...I don't know how many "parts" of my article there may be by the end, but I've only viewed through the 15 minute intro and decided to break this into digestible "chunks".  Thank you for the "challenge"...for making my brain work!

Intro - The Zeitgeist Movie/Movement

The Zeitgeist Movie

Zeitgeist Movie Transcript

Part of the "Statement" from the Zeitgeist Website:

"'Zeitgeist, The Movie' and 'Zeitgeist: Addendum' were created as Not-for-Profit expressions to communicate what the author felt were highly important social understandings which most humans are generally not aware of. The first film focuses on suppressed historical & modern information about currently dominant social institutions, while also exploring what could be in store for humanity if the power structures at large continue their patterns of self-interest, corruption, and consolidation."  

It certainly sounds like an honest and noble cause motivated by a desire to reveal truth.  I like it.  Isn't that why I speak to people about what I believe the "truth" is?

I move on over to The Zeitgeist Movement a stand alone website "The Zeitgeist Movement" where I find a lengthy statement about the Goal of the Zeitgeist movement.

"We intend to restore the fundamental necessities and environmental awareness of the species through the avocation of the most current understandings of who and what we truly are, coupled with how science, nature and technology (rather than religion, politics and money) hold the keys to our personal growth, not only as individual human beings, but as a civilization, both structurally and spiritually. "

"...where negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity will be constantly reduced and, idealistically, eventually become nonexistent within the spectrum of human behavior itself.

This possibility is, of course, very difficult for most humans to consider, for we have been conditioned by society to think that crime, corruption and dishonesty is "the way it is" and that there will always be people who want to abuse, hurt and take advantage of others. Religion is the largest promoter of this propaganda, for the "us and them" or "good and evil" mentality promotes this false assumption."

"In turn, once we realize that it is science, technology and hence human creativity which creates progress in our lives, we are then able to recognize what our true priorities are for social and personal growth and progress. These points denoted, we can then see that Religion, Politics and the Money/Competition based Labor system are outdated modes of social operation, which must now be addressed and outgrown. Our avocation is to achieve a social system which operates without money or politics, while allowing superstition to work itself out as education flourishes. It isn't the right of any person to tell another what to believe, for no human has a full understanding of anything."

Sidenote:  Within the "Goals" statement...I read "It isn't the right of any person to tell another what to believe, for no human has a full understanding of anything."  The statement seems self-disqualifying.  How can the Zeitgeist Movement claim "It isn't the right of any person to tell another what to believe, for no human has a full understanding of anything."...yet the rest of the Goal Statement states so clearly that the Zeitgeist Movement is the only way to cure all the ills of society?

What stands out to me?  OK...the Zeitgeist Movement proposes that "religion" is one of a few key factors that has contributed to many (if not all) ills of society.'s a cool thing, I agree with this on many levels.

The Zeitgeist Movie

So...the movie starts with a three minute philosophical/spiritual statement by Chögyam Trungpa, a "Buddhist meditation master, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and a Trungpa tülku." (quoted from Wikipedia )

Here is a little background I dug up on Chögyam Trungpa:

"His controversial career is characterized by his style of "crazy wisdom" by his Western followers. Physically weakened by years of heavy alcohol use, he died in terminal stages of heart failure at the age of 48." (Wikipedia )

"Shortly after his move to Scotland, a variety of experiences, including a car accident that left him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body, led Trungpa to the decision to give up his monastic vows and work as a lay teacher. This decision was principally motivated by the intention to undercut the temptation of students becoming distracted by exotic cultures and dress, and by their preconceptions of how a guru should behave. He drank, smoked, slept with students, and often kept students waiting for hours before giving teachings. Much of his behavior has been asserted as deliberately provocative and sparked controversies that continue to this day" (Wikipedia )

"In general, I think that nearly all of what passes for “crazy wisdom” and is justified as “crazy wisdom” by both master and enraptured disciple is really cruelty and exploitation, not enlightened wisdom at all. In the name of “crazy wisdom” appalling crimes have been rationalized by master and disciple alike, and many lives have been partly or completely devastated. (Andrew Harvey)

His wife Diana Mukpo summarizes: 'Although he (Chögyam Trungpa) had many of the classic health problems that develop from heavy drinking, it was in fact more likely the diabetes and high blood pressure that led to abnormal blood sugar levels and then the cardiac arrest'. One of his nursing attendants reports that in his last months, he suffered from incontinence, distended belly, discolored skin, hallucinations, varicose veins, gastritis, and esophageal varices -- classic symptoms of terminal alcoholism and cirrhosis -- and yet he was still drinking heavily." (Wikipedia )

Why would I point out some of these things about Chögyam Trungpa?  Two reasons.

First; one of the stated goals of the Zeitgeist Movement is to tear down "Religion" as one of the oppressive strata of humanity, yet it uses the statement of a Buddhist Monk (a religious man...right?) to open the movie.

Second; imagine if I created a movie to support what I believe.  Why my faith if accepted and followed by everyone on the planet would move to eventually eliminate 
"negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity", yet I opened the movie with a statement by Tedd Haggard (a big money, meth smoking, gay prostitue using "Christian" preacher).  Wouldn't you balk from the get-go at the hypocrisy?

Here is the opening statement by 
Chögyam Trungpa:

"Spirituality is a particular term which actually means dealing with intuition. In the theistic tradition there is a notion of clinging into a word.  A certain act is regarded as displeasing to a divine principles. A certain act is regarded as pleasing for the divine … whatever.  In the tradition of non-theism, however, it is very direct — that the case history are not particularly important. What is actually important is here and now. Now is definitely now. We try to experience what is available there, on the spot. There is no point in thinking that a past did exist that we could have now. This is now. This very moment. Nothing mystical, just now, very simple, straight forward. And from that nowness, however, arises a sense of intelligence always that you are constantly interacting with reality one by one. Spot by spot. Constantly. We actually experience fantastic precision, always.  But we are threatened by the now so we jump to the past or the future. Paying attention to the materials that exist in our life — such rich life that we lead — all these choices takes place all the time, but none of them regarded as bad or good per say — everything we experience are unconditional experience. They don’t come along with a label saying ‘this is regarded as bad’, ‘this is good’. But we experience them but we don’t actually pay heed to them properly. We don’t actually regard that we are going somewhere. We regard that as a hassle. Waiting to be dead. That is a problem. That is not trusting the nowness properly that what is the actual experience now possesses a lot of powerful things. It is so powerful that we can’t face it. Therefore, we have to borrow from the past and invite the future all the time. Maybe that’s why we seek religion. Maybe that’s why we march in the street. Maybe that’s why we complain to society. Maybe that’s why we vote for the presidents. It is quite ironic. Very funny indeed."

Spirituality: "the quality or fact of being spiritual.  predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone."
Intuition: "direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension. pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge."

Would you agree that it does not matter what I believe, it does not matter what Chögyam Trungpa does not really matter what anyone believes for that matter unless it is based on fact, not intuition.  We can't all be right can we?  The only thing that matters is the truth.  Say Chögyam and I stood atop a 2,000ft cliff and we both had to jump to jagged the rocks below - if Chögyam's intuition told him that he would float down and would land gently...and I said...the laws of physics tell me that we'll both be smashed to bits...what matters?  intuition or plain fact?

What would matter?  Truth would prevail - we'd both me stains on the rocks below.

The faith I based on evidential truth.  So, I disagree at the outset that "Spirituality means dealing with intuition" least in my world view.  The framework of truth that I rely on is built upon historical, archaeological, prophetic, even eye witness accounts of fact (or at least that's what I believe thus far).

Let's continue the movie...and see if the claims in the movie can shred...or at least tear at the fabric of the truth I believe.

-- To be continued --

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

As you know, I have been in the IT field for over 20 years, starting with the Air Force in 1986 and continuing with Protocol Marketing until August of this year. Way back in 1982 while in High School, the Commodore 64 computer got me started with computers/technology, and it has been a challenging and rewarding career since.

The last several years, however, God has been rewiring my heart. I used to have a driving passion to be working on any kind of IT project, solving any type of computer-related problem from a simple desktop computer that wouldn’t print; to a failed RAID element in a production SQL server; to complex projects like the physical relocation of an entire 300-seat call center and its data center with 50 servers, T1’s and all the re-engineering of the network infrastructure. Wow…that stuff used to really fire me up!

So what has changed?

In the fall of 2005, God started to place a burden on my heart for troubled teens and started to work me over with a conviction and a burden to share the Gospel. At first, I had no idea how this would pan out…how He would put things in place for me to go and do the things he was burdening my heart with. I began to lose interest in all the IT gadgetry and projects that had always fired me up. I began to pray and ask God where he wanted me to serve. "I don’t want anything but to glorify you…if it’s here in the IT world, show me – if not, then where do you want me?" I would often feel like a robot at work, merely going through the motions to get things done.

Starting in January of 2006, Dany and I took an eight week course on sharing the Gospel in a winsome, caring and compassionate way, modeled pretty much after the way Jesus shared. Then, in the spring of 2006, Dany was offered a position at Pikes Peak Academy (yes…another one of those Godincidences).

Pikes Peak Academy is a ministry for troubled high school students. It is, for the most part, the last chance any of these kids have to get a high school diploma before entering the world. The student body consists of kids that have been tossed between and out of public schools for any number of reasons, including drug and alcohol use, being social outcasts, fighting, truancy, etc. As we both soon became aware, Pikes Peak Academy is the polar opposite of any school we had ever heard of.

The school operates Monday through Friday from 8 to Noon, and each teacher has about 10 students at a time in his or her classroom. With four academic teachers, there are currently 45 students enrolled. In the afternoon, students are required to hold a job or complete volunteer work. Each student is also assigned a staff Advocate who meets with the student about once a week for counseling, encouragement and even admonishment. Most importantly, however, since Pikes Peak Academy is a private Christian ministry, we are able to share the glorious Gospel whenever a door opens in conversation with any of the kids.

The school principle, Mark, "drafted" me to help with advocating soon after Dany started. As my visits to PPA and away from my IT job had to be short, I often left the school emotionally torn. I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to spend with these kids that so desperately just wanted to be heard and loved on.

In November of 2007, a Pikes Peak Academy teacher gave his notice that he would not be returning after Christmas break. Mark asked me if I might be interested in the position. I paused…and, I’m ashamed to say now, asked what the salary was. It was "only" about 50% what I was making in the IT world…so I let the opportunity pass.

Along comes August 21st, 2008. I was laid off from Protocol Marketing. Remember that prayer from earlier? Surely this was answer to prayer that I should have heard earlier when Mark asked me about the teaching position. I wasn’t devastated from my layoff; I was elated! I was praising God. I went over to the school where Dany said "Hey…why are you here so early? Protocol let you go didn’t they?" We immediately prayed, we were oddly relieved and excited about what was to come next.

The first week I "unplugged" from the grid of life, communication, computers, Internet, radio…everything. I wanted to seek God in quiet solitude. That time "away" was…tough and beautiful (ask me sometime). After that first week, I polished up my resume and began to pound the ground for a new position…but with an utter sense of DREAD at trying to convince a prospective employer that I was the best candidate for a position when my heart was not even 1% into IT anymore.

At the same time, another teaching position in social studies at Pikes Peak Academy opened. Three weeks after being laid off, Mark again approached me about a position. My heart lit up like the Fourth of July. Even the prospect of a huge pay cut excited me. Had I ever really known what it was like to rely on God for provision other than my well-paying IT position?

So, why am I sharing this with you? I am sharing this because I know there are some of you who would be encouraged and blessed by giving to the ministry of Pikes Peak Academy. Like most ministries, PPA relies primarily on the donations of individuals and churches, those whom God moves to help support the mission.

The ministry has asked us to help in raising the financial support necessary to pay the salaries and health insurance for Dany and me. Would you please pray and consider if the Lord is leading you to become a supporter of our family’s new calling? Monthly or one-time gifts are okay. All gifts are tax deductible and should be made payable to Pikes Peak Academy. Please send your gifts to:

Pikes Peak Academy
Attn: Keith and Dany Donaldson
5590 N. Nevada Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Please note if your contribution is a one time gift or will be a monthly contribution.

We covet your prayers. It is a comfort to know that you will be praying for the ministry as we take the skills the Lord has given us, and, with great joy, use them to help teens we dearly love and have the opportunity to boldly proclaim Christ’s gospel to.

In Christ’s Love,

Keith Donaldson, FORMER Manager of IT Support
NOW Social Studies Teacher, Pikes Peak Academy
Dany Donaldson, Math Teacher, Pikes Peak Academy

If you want to learn more about the ministry, go to our website at:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Postmodern Quote

I am reading a book called "Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)".

I just read a quote in the book that speaks volumes about Truth and the Postmodern culture.

Paraphrased "It's really cool to search for God (or Truth).  It's not very cool to find Him (the Truth)."

Why is this so?

Well...isn't it all about pride?  On both sides of that quote...isn't it about pride?

Isn't it just so cool, intelectual and open minded to be searching for Truth?  To dig into all the nooks and crannies of so many different, diverse and often opposing world views, religions - even atheism?  To talk with, to interact with so many different writings, speakers and other people about how these different views effect you, what they mean to they have brought signifigance or meaning to different areas of your life?  How you choose to throw out the things that you don't like...and adhere to the things that appeal to you?

Isn't this pride?  Isn't this simply creating a graven image of what you WANT the Truth to be?

Now...what happens when someone finds the Truth (or doesn't the Truth really find you)?  Aren't there really only two choices that can be made?

Well...ok, so it is the irrefutable, proven, innerant Truth - but you'd rather have it your way, so you refuse to follow it, instead looking for more patterns in the world that appeal to you.  Pride.

Or...and this is the crux, the dilemma of the age.  You submit yourself to the Truth.  You decide that the Truth is and will be the ultimate authority in your life.  You allow the Truth to rule your life.  Submission and humility.

Why is it yet so hard to come under the authority of the Truth for Postmodern Culture?  Because we've been taught...that we are the center of the universe, that it is not OK to say "no" to our desires...we've built a unique and powerful altar to self-pride in each person.  Me, me, me screams the ego of the 21st century.

I still struggle with it...and I would like to think that I want to be fully submitted to the authority of the Truth.  Again...the beatitudes come to mind.  What a study those eight nuggets are, what remarkable contrast to all the world (and even much of Contemporary Church teaching) tells us we should be.

My heart aches to be blessed by being (Matthew 5:1-12)...

Poor in Spirit
Hungering and Thirsting After Righteousness
Pure in Heart
A Peacemaker
Being Persecuted Because of Righteousness
Being Persecuted and Insulted and Having all kinds of Evil and false things said against me.

"Lord God...convict me, humble me...lead me to seek these things, to live by these beatitudes.  To constantly seek to know what they mean by your example, by example of the Disciples and the first generation church.  To continue to bring Your Truth to the world no matter the personal consequences, no matter the persecution - yet to bring it with great Love and utter compassion. - Amen"

Tozer Today - No Limit to What God Could Do

Revival: No Limit to What God Could Do

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too." --Acts 17:6

There is no limit to what God could do in our world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this: 

"Oh God, I hereby give myself to You. I give my family. I give my business. I give all I possess. Take all of it, Lord-and take me! I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for your sake, let me lose it. I will not ask what the price is. I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen."

If even 300 of God's people became that serious, our world would never hear the last of it! They would influence the news. Their message would go everywhere like birds on the wing. They would set off a great revival of New Testament faith and witness.

God wants to deliver us from the easygoing, smooth and silky, fat and comfortable Christianity so fashionable today. I hope we are willing to let the truth get hold of us, even at the cost of rejection or embarrassment.

The faith of the heavenly overcomers cost them everything and gained them everything. What of our faith? Jesus Is Victor!, 116-117.

"Oh God, I hereby give myself to You. I give my family. I give my business. I give all I possess. Take all of it, Lord-and take me! I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for your sake, let me lose it. I will not ask what the price is. I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen." 

Monday, September 15, 2008

At the Sports Bar?

A couple of guys (Jeff, Tony and Don) and I drove down to Taos New Mexico on Friday the 12th to ride the famous South Boundary Trail.  We arrived in Taos around 6:30, checked into the Super 8 and headed out to find some grub.

We had four bikes on the back of Jeff's SUV, only locked on with a cable and a padlock - so we drove around the Taos downtown area for about 20 minutes looking for someplace we could eat and keep and eye on the bikes.

The Taos downtown is a serpentine maze of narrow streets, shops, eateries...but parking is pretty sparse.  We decided to head a little south of downtown proper to see if we could luck out with an eatery where we could watch the bikes with close-in parking.  Within a few blocks we spotted the "Downtown Bistro"...with a patio out front and open parking spots right up front.  So we pulled in and scanned the menu after the waitress got us situated on the patio.

Well...$28.00 for a 10oz Steak...and $15.00 for a burger - ouch.  We apologized, told the waitress we were looking for simple and cheap "bar fare".  She told us to head down the road just a little bit to a new Sports Bar called "Shadows Lounge", she said it was good eats at reasonable prices.

We found the place...but we had to park about 200ft from the bar, around the corner.  No way to keep an eye on the bikes...OK...whatever.

Typical Sports musician playing cheesy 80's covers in the corner, a bunch of college games on big screens - the waitress seats us at a high top "bar" table and we're perusing the menu.

Within five minutes...this lady steps up to my left, between Tony and I and starts talking about how all the guys at this place ("the locals") are all losers and asks if she can sit with us.  I said..."Sure..."  The other guys looked at me like "What are you doing?"

I knew why she was there, she was looking for someone to spend the evening/night with...I also knew why God had me there.

She was a bit buzzed, not drunk though...but it was obvious - she was trolling for a man for the night.  I saw that she was buzzed and asked her "Are you planning on driving home tonight?"...she responded "Well (with that look) all depends..."

I quickly said..."Oh I'm sorry...I can see that you're a little buzzed and I don't think it would be a good idea for you to drive for a while..."

She was making comments about the "b**ch" waitress and all the "losers" in town, etc.

She was chatting with Tony about some of the same garbage...I knew God had me on deck...I began praying barely out loud for the Holy Spirit to take guide the conversation and to open her up to the Truth.

After a few minutes...I asked her if she had any kind of Spiritual background...the food had arrived...I don't remember eating.  I do remember hearing Don say out loud..."He's witnessing to her right now!"  The rest of the place disappeared and it was me and her in conversation about the Gospel.  She was convinced that salvation was through "faith and works".  We worked around that issue for a while.  She kept saying "but faith without works is dead".  I carefully walked that mine field, trying to explain that works is only evidence of faith...and outward sign of salvation.  I quoted Ephesians 2:8-9 "...for it is by grace we are saved, through faith and not of works, lest any man shall boast..."  she did not believe me.  She wanted to see it for herself.  I went to get my Bible...and remembered it was in my bag in the room.  Doh.

We continued to talk through the Gospel...and how important it is to know what you have is the Truth...that there can not be multiple ways to salvation.  Then...she really started to pour her heart out to me...right there, in the bar.  Within 45 minutes...there at the table in the bar...she was BAWLING...tears flowing like a river.

She started telling me how lonely she is...her sister recently dying of cancer and that she was going in this Wed (the 17th) for a CT scan because they think she has liver cancer...and she's so lonely and didn't want to be alone that night dealing with it by herself, bawling her eyes out she told me how scared she was.  I asked her if I could pray with her.  I reached behind her head and pulled her head right next to other hand on her other shoulder and started praying for her.

I was not aware of anything else in that place...but for a few seconds I remember hearing the waitress standing next to me asking a question...and then I heard "what?  oh..." and she walked away.  It was powerful.  I prayed for her healing, for the Holy Spirit to reveal his Truth to her.

We finished praying...the other guys were talking...I don't have a clue about what though.  I carefully told her to look long and hard at what she thinks that "truth" is...because it won't matter what you believe when you die if it is wrong.  That God can show her what that truth is if she asks God...and she seeks it in the Bible.  I wrote my name and phone number on a card and got her info (which I lost...I'm an idiot)...I told her I would call her on Wed to see how the CT scan went.  She asked me to call her on Tuesday as she'd be on the road to and from the hospital all day on Wednesday.  Pray that I find her info...or that she calls me.

She's lost, scared and lonely.  I told her that God is the great comforter and healer of the Universe!  He can be with her to comfort her, to keep her company - to keep her from looking to alchohol and the company of a man. was powerful.

We were settling up the tab...she was still in tears.  I prayed with her again, gave her a hug and we left.

The other guys were asking me..."What happened?"  I could not talk for about 15 minutes.  Every time I tried to explain it...I started to break down.

Pray for that lady...for the only truth that will matter in 100 years to invade her spirit, to comfort her and to heal her.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tozer today

Tozer's prayer for the day:
"I look around me, Lord, and everywhere I see aimless wanderers on a course toward eternal destruction. Help me to be more faithful, even today, to point them toward the right destination. Amen."
Subscribe to the Daily Tozer "Insight for Leaders"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting laid off

What exactly happened today in those few minutes as I found out I was being laid off?

I was called into the main conference room at work...where I find seated at the table, my good old friend/old boss/site VP (who hired me ten years ago), my current boss who I've also worked with for ten years and the HR director. I've been around long enough to know what's up. Business hasn't been that great...I've seen this happen to other folks time and again.

I sat down and heard my boss proceed to give the "Business has been tough, you know that, we've had to make some very, very hard decisions about positions to eliminate...and we've decided to eliminate yours."

It was surreal. If you know me...or if you've read much here, you know that my heart has not been in this IT thing for a while...2 or 3 years. I want to serve God...100%

I sat back and sighed...asked my old boss/VP if he had anything to add. Can't remember exactly what he said...but it was standard, business is tough, tough decisions stuff, we've really appreciated your work, etc.

So I told them..."Spiritually, God has really refocused my life, especially in the last few years. He's shown me that if it won't matter in 100 doesn't matter. Sure a paycheck is nice...but God will provide. And I really have my life set towards eternal things now. The only thing that will really hurt me is if I don't hear from you two as friends in the future. This is transitional...this is only a job."

I thought my boss was going to pass out...she wears her heart on her sleeve and I know it was really tough as a friend to go through that. We all shook hands...I walked out with some paperwork and went to my car. The HR Director is going to meet me there Saturday morning so I can collect all my "junk" from the office.

I got to the car...realized there were a couple of things I would need this evening, so I went back to the front desk and asked them to call her back up front. The handed me the phone...she grabbed my stuff and brought it to me.

Again...I thought she was going to break down on the spot as she said " were so much more gracious about what just happened than any of us deserve. I'm humbled." I gave her a hug and told her...don't sweat it.

She is Jewish. And interestingly enough...God provided a wild opportunity to share the Gospel with her in her office of all places a few weeks ago. I pray that a seed has been planted and watered by the grace only GOD provided me to extend them during that "lay off" talk.

As I was leaving the parking lot, there was another lady walking out. I stopped by to say goodbye to her. She says "hey...I can't talk right now, I just got laid off"

I said..."Me too."

She says "YOU!?"


She was just at the point of tears...I said "'s only a job. If it won't matter in 100 really doesn't matter." She said "Yes...but I'm a single mom with two kids." I said "Hey...I've got four kids...and it will be OK." She shook her head "yes"...squeezed my arm and turned to walk to her car.

Interestingly...she's a Catholic...that I've also shared the Gospel with, and someone I'll be in touch with some more I'm sure.

I went to my wife's work. I told her what happened. So...she's on the same page. Basicly..."God...thank you, really...thank you...what's up next?" We went to an empty office and got on our knees thanking him...weeping through some prayers...asking for him to guide us.

Got home...eventually went to bed...

I was having a hard time I got up to journal this...and the Daily Tozer email was in my inbox. It usually doesn't come until the morning. So I read it.

And...wonder of wonders. Just another GodIncidence...well, you have to read it yourself:
The Longing After Eternity

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts.... --Ecclesiastes 3:11

We take it for granted and we are not surprised at all about the eternal nature of God but the greater wonder is that God has seen fit to put His own everlastingness within the hearts of men and women....

I believe that this is the truth about our troubles and our problems: We are disturbed because God has put everlastingness in our hearts. He has put a longing for immortality in our beings. He has put something within men and women that demands God and heaven--and yet we are too blind and sinful to find Him or even to look for Him!...

Men and women need to be told plainly, and again and again, why they are disturbed and why they are upset. They need to be told why they are lost and that if they will not repent they will certainly perish. Doctors and counselors will tell troubled men and women that their problems are psychological, but it is something deeper within the human being that troubles and upsets--it is the longing after eternity! Christ the Eternal Son, pp. 52-54

"Lord, we long for eternity, but there is so much commotion, activity, and noise in our world that that longing is too often drowned out. Help me to break through that madness with the message of Christ today. Amen."

That speaks so well on so many levels to all that happened today...and all that has lead up to it. My focus is on eternity...and on reaching the lost and giving them a fighting chance at eternity with God.

Taking the Red Pill

I've been on an interesting journey for the last three years.

I have a burden in my heart to break from my give it all over and serve God 100%, to quit going 1/2 way (if I've even been going that far) least that's what I've been going through. Been praying...asking God where he wants me to serve him. Telling him I'm tired of working for a faceless juggernaut that only wants to make more money.

I've been at this job as a professional IT Geek for ten years with this company...I get called to the main conference room this afternoon...they laid me off.

Nice, cozy, comfy job and a nice fat paycheck to zero in 5 seconds flat.

The cool part is how God lead me to respond...I'll post more later on that.

I feel a sense of relief, almost like a black cloud has been blown away.

Is this where the mental ascent gives way to a genuine burden of the heart? I'm pretty sure that I really want to serve God go "all the way" trust Him all the way.

So this new adventure begins.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tozer 18 August - Make my heart beat like this...

A Bond of Compassion

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. --Psalm 126:5-6

The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this: The world's pleasures and the world's treasures henceforth have no appeal for me. I reckon myself crucified to the world and the world crucified to me. But the multitudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my human tears. I want no blessing that I cannot share. I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept. I scorn a happiness that I must purchase with ignorance. I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellow men. I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam's sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam's tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave or up into God's heaven mourning for the lost and the perishing.

And thus and thus will I do as God enables me. Amen.

"Lord Jesus, give me that broken heart, give me that bond of compassion, as I interact with unsaved people in my ministry today. Amen."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CS Pride '08

We went to church Sunday morning, my wife didn't want to play hookie and she thought she might be able to talk another couple into going down to Acacia park with us. Acacia Park for what?

Pridefest '08.

My wife talked some good friends from our little church into coming with us. We arrived at about 2:00 and drove around to find a place to park, I noticed a "protester" on one corner holding up a sign and a cross. We prayed before we left the car - and asked God again to "bring the people to us, or bring us to the people He wants us to share the Gospel with..."

If you've read much here's astounding how God answers that prayer every time I pray it.

We headed into the park and split up into pairs. Don was with me, Laura with Dany.

I made a beeline to the "protester". Opened up a little conversation with him. He was holding up a sign with his left hand that said "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do", and in his right hand he had a typical Catholic Crucifix with Jesus still on the cross. I asked him what he was representing and he said he was Catholic.

We talked for a bit, talked about where he'd go if he died right then and there, etc. I was surprised that he answered heaven at first...but then I asked him about purgatory, asking him about why he thought there was such a thing. He said the story of the rich man and Lazarus was proof to the rich man "didn't seem like a man in Hell" so he must have been in purgatory. It was a pretty brief conversation, but I did leave him with a copy of "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven".

Don and I continued to walk around the perimeter toward the fountain...where Don said "If I'm making you uncomfortable or you think it would be better to split up, I'll just sit here by the fountain." I said "Ok."

So Don sat down in the shade by the fountain and I continued walking.

I handed out some tracts. The Evangelism Team "Homosexuality" tract is great for events like this because the front side looks like it is Homosexual literature...but here is what they say on the back:
Homosexuality has been under attack for some time now. Since the 1990s, when same sex marriage became an issue, the media ridiculed and publicized it in such a way, they forced us to take sides. As this caused such a stir in society, an even more important issue was being overlooked because we allowed ourselves to be caught up in the here-and-now. The more important issue is, what happens in the “there-after?” And because the here-and-now is only temporary, the there-after is worth looking into. Listen to what the Bible says. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” When you die, you will stand before God and be expected to give a detailed account of your life. On that day, how will you do? Here is a quick test. Have you ever told a lie (even once)? Have you ever stolen anything (the value is irrelevant)? Have you ever used God’s name in vain (this is called blasphemy)? If you have done these things, you have sinned against God and He sees you as a lying, blasphemous thief. On Judgment Day, you will be guilty of breaking His laws, the 10 Commandments, and end up in hell. But God doesn’t want that. The Bible says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Simply put, you broke the law and Christ died to pay your fine. Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. If you will repent (turn from your sin) and put your trust in Jesus Christ, He will forgive your sin, take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh to desire the things of God and grant you the gift of everlasting life. Isn’t that amazing? So, repent today. God will never let you down. Then read your Bible every day and obey what you read. See John 3:16 and John 14:21. God bless you!
They take a few minutes to read and for the reader to realize it's a Gospel if you're not feeling really "brave" it gives you a little escape time. "Did you get one of these?"...keep walking...

I have been really "shut up" lately. You can pray for me. Not even for boldness so much as just doing what I should be FIRST and that is trusting God. With EVERYTHING, especially in opening my mouth and sharing His Truth with this world.

I had a few brief conversations, but didn't really get anywhere. It's so selfish the way I/we judge "success" on our level...on numbers, on what we think a "good" conversation should be. I have to remind myself more often...that His word NEVER returns void! My job, my duty, my loving outreach to anyone is simply to speak the Truth in love and not ever have a concern for the immediate "results".

I kept walking around and found Dany and Laura talking to a lady, I walked over just as they finished and I see Don RUNNING across the park toward us. He runs up to us and says "Do you have another copy of 'One Heartbeat Away'?" I said yes...gave him a copy and he took off RUNNING with it!

Dany and Laura kept walking...and I went a different direction too. I stopped to pray briefly a few times - eventually working my way back around to the fountain. Don was sitting in the same spot talking to some people. Just as I got there I saw Dany and Laura talking to another lady. I sat down and picked up part of the conversation...the lady they were talking to was quite drunk and slurring most of what she said...but Dany and Laura were giving her the Gospel.

Don finished up the conversation he was having...came over and his eyes teared up as he started to share with me. He said he sat down...thinking this is a good "safe" place. Before he knew it, 2 hours had passed by and he had proclaimed the Gospel to a whole bunch of people. The first guy had been a "believer/christian" but had fallen away and really questioned just about anything in the Bible anymore. Don walked through some great proofs with him and that's when Don came running to find us to get a copy of "One Heartbeat Away" for the guy.

Don said the guy seemed kind of "dead" to what he was saying at first...but really opened up when Don seemed to really CARE and wasn't pushing a bunch of religious junk down his throat.

I walked back over toward the Catholic protester guy...and sat down next to some teen/pre-teen girls. They were really working hard to make fun of the guy, they were seeking "something" and the gay lifestyle had them locked in. The conversation really didn't go very far...

We all hooked up again after a total of a little over two hours. I talked to a guy from Jamaica (Don had talked to him earlier) and gave him a copy of "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" as well. He was a "Christian" and had stopped by the park on the way back from church. He had so many of the "right" answers, he had talked to Don about not being lukewarm and taking his faith very seriously........yet there he was sitting on a bench as 1,000's of people walked by.....and him not taking his "faith" seriously enough to TALK to them about the only Truth that will matter in 100 years.

All four of us started sharing from the few hours we were there. Dany ran into a girl she had talked to last year and Pueblo Pride. She remembered Dany, gave her a huge hug - they talked some more again and exchanged contact info. She told my wife "This is really good, I won't try to jump your bones...this will be a good spiritual relationship." Dany asked her if she'll be at Pueblo Pride..."Yes...and you?" "Yes"...she then told my wife she looks forward to seeing her and talking to here there.

Is God amazing or what?

"Lord God...bring US to, or bring to US the people you want US share the Gospel with! Remind us at that instant...we can trust you and you'll do amazing things when we open our mouths for you!"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Evangelism" in the local paper

Laughable and heavy with disdain for "Christianity"...

Evangelism may be losing its sway in the Colorado Springs Gazette

Who is this author? I'm calling the paper to see if I can buy him lunch, I'd love to have a loving conversation with him. It is just vividly apparent that the author doesn't have a clue what it means for us to be a "follower of Christ" and not to be a "religious christian hypocrite". As is the case with so many in the media and the culture...they've never heard the true Gospel from the mouth of a caring, concerned, passionate believer that's not pitching a political agenda or trying to entice someone to "go to church".

He doesn't even use the word "evangelism" properly...this really intrigues me.

"Historically, that's nothing new. Since the 1800s, evangelism as a political force has gone through peaks and valleys."

What did he just say? Evangelism is a political force?

And the article is fraught with near hysterical statements.

"The religious right staked its credibility on the Bush administration, which has proven to be morally bankrupt," Balmer said. "And now the movement is collapsing under its own weight."

"Two of the movement's most important figures, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell, are dead."

Kennedy or Falwell? Our most important, singularly most important, only important "figure" is very much alive and well Praise God!

Any of you "religious right" evangelism political force people (har har)...if you have the time read the article, comment on-line and pray that God opens a door to conversation with the author.

I noticed there are 33 pages of comments...sadly its mostly mud slinging between non-believers and so-called "christians". Way to represent there folks.

Do you like dogs?

Muslims don't...they see dogs as ceremonially unclean.

What's the big deal? I'll wager that within 5 years we'll be having the same kind of public backlash in this country as has happened in Scotland over a puppy dog shown in a Police Advertisement.

Muslims outraged at police advert featuring cute puppy sitting in policeman's hat...

Prepare yourself...because it will happen here and much sooner than you can imagine.

How will the public in general, the media, police and the government react when you try to go out in public to share the Great News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Will you still DO it? Scary to think about. This blog entry even has me thinking..."someone can google 'Muslim' and find this article...and backtrack and find me, find my family..."

I already have five dogs on the ranch...maybe I should start raising pigs and let them run free on the property...[just brainstorming here]...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

At the mall.

We hit the mall last Tuesday.

I hate that place...but there are so many lost people to talk to!

I prayed my witnessing prayer as we approached the mall. "Lord God, bring me to, or bring to me the people you want me to share the Gospel with. Open the doors to eternal conversations and provide me the words to show them your love through the Gospel."

We made a bathroom stop by the food court.

A few minutes earlier we had walked by three teenage kids, I couldn't remember that much about them but that I couldn't figure out if one of them was a boy or a girl and that they all had a bunch of face piercings and wild spiky colored hair. I thought..."That would be an interesting crew to talk to...", but the timing wasn't quite right.

I was waiting at a table for the girls to finish up their bathroom trek...when what do I see? The same three "motley" kids sitting down at a table about 20ft from me. They were not eating, just sitting. I was just waiting for the girls. Perfect time to walk up and talk...right? I could hear the Holy Spirit telling me to "Go."...I could almost feel the push in my back. But I just sat there wimping out. This lasted a few minutes. I kept glancing over at them knowing I should get my butt over there and TALK to them.

Guess what? God answered my prayer in spite of myself. Remember I had prayed "Lord God, bring me to, or bring to me..."

After a few minutes...the same kid that I had wondered a few minutes ago if it was a boy or a girl...stands up from the table in the crowded food court, walks over to ME and says "Hey you have a dollar to spare so my friends and I can buy something to eat?"

He walks over to ME? God is pretty amazing. That prayer has gotten me into more conversations than I can remember.

I stand up, shake off the fear as I realize..." moron...if this isn't real life flesh and blood God prompting you to SPEAK, nothing is!". What would he have done next...have someone announce over the Public Address system "Keith...GO TALK TO THEM!" ?

I said..."Well...actually, I'll buy all of you lunch if that would be cool."

So we walk over to their table and I ask them what they want...we all walk over to Taco Bell together, get them set for lunch and stand there in front of Taco Bell talking about the Gospel. I got to a point where for some odd reason I started fumbling over my perfect timing, my awesome wife walks up, introduces her self and picks up the ball and totally runs with it - and we finished up the conversation with them together.

Can you pray for Angel, Dom and the oddest named boy that I've ever heard, can't remember the name but he said it was Japanese. They're all two years out of high school and just as lost and wandering as you can imagine. Middle of the day on a Tuesday...nothing better to do than hang out at the mall...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Picture of a Prophet

Picture of a Prophet
By Leonard Ravenhill

The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.

Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, "No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected." The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his "brand name."

The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him "Man of the year" when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!

The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, "has almost always been that of recovery."

The prophet is God's detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.

He has no price tags.
He is totally "otherworldly."
He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.
He marches to another drummer!
He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration.
He is a "seer" who comes to lead the blind.
He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a "thus saith the Lord."
He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgment.
He lives in "splendid isolation."
He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
His message is "repent, be reconciled to God or else...!"
His prophecies are parried.
His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead.
He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few "make the grade" in his class.
He is friendless while living and famous when dead.
He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity.
He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen.
He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.
He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.
He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
He talks to men about God.
He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men.
He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in the marketplace.
He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.
He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.
He is ordained of God but disdained by men.

Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet!

I am bombarded with talk or letters about the coming shortages in our national life: bread, fuel, energy. I read between the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that the "seven years of plenty" are over for us. The "seven years of famine" are ahead. But the greatest famine of all in this nation at this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11).

Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years. Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made a vital contribution. "Come-outers" have "come out" and settled, too, without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations straddle the nation. BUT where, oh where, is the prophet? Where are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place? Where is the Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?

GOD'S MEN ARE IN HIDING UNTIL THE DAY OF THEIR SHOWING FORTH. They will come. The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history.

There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.

Let him be as plain as John the Baptist.
Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant "churchianity."
Let him be as selfless as Paul the apostle.
Let him, too, say and live, "This ONE thing I do."
Let him reject ecclesiastical favors.
Let him be self-abasing, nonself-seeking, nonself-projecting, nonself-righteous, nonself-glorying, nonself-promoting.
Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself but only that which will move men to God.
Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place where he has received the order of the day.
Let him, under God, unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism.
Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen.

God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men, totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon.

God have mercy! Send us PROPHETS!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I have lost count...

Just when your heart gets over the shock of hearing one horribly disgusting act of evil in this world...fathers raping daughters, kids murdering parents, moms drowning kids - those types of stories these days are the norm.

We hardly bat an eye at them now. Stop for a few minutes and think about the first time you heard of a crime like that...compared to how you react to hearing them now. [YAWN]

Think about it.

After you've thought about that for a minute or about this one, and brace yourself because it is so outwardly and unashamedly VILE it almost sounds like a joke perpetrated just for the shock value.

I have lost count of how many times I've asked the question (to myself and others...and in this blog)..."WHY should we be boldly witnessing with words the truth of the Gospel to as many people as we possibly can?"

Read about Yale art student Aliza Shvarts:
Art major Aliza Shvarts ‘08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts’ project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock . saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for “shock value.”

“I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts said. “Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.”

The “fabricators,” or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself…

…”I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity,” Shvarts said. “I think that I’m creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be.”

Shvarts emphasized that she is not ashamed of her exhibition, and she has become increasingly comfortable discussing her miscarriage experiences with her peers.

“It was a private and personal endeavor, but also a transparent one for the most part,” Shvarts said. “This isn’t something I’ve been hiding.”

The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.

Read it from the source...the Yale Daily News. No, unfortunately this is not a joke.

Can you imagine with a University putting up with this kind of thing a generation ago? Can you imagine the news media putting up with this kind of thing a generation ago? Can you imagine our society putting up with this kind of thing a generation ago?

How about merely ten years ago? Even five years ago?

Once a certain level of depravity becomes the norm, when we yawn at takes greater acts of depravity to get a buzz out of anyone. It is and will continue to get worse every day.

"But what can I do about it?"

God never intended Christians or even the church to be "activists" involved in protest marches. He, strike that...he has COMMANDED us each to proclaim his Gospel to the whole world. That means you and on one with whatever "them" you encounter - talking about the Glory of His Gospel.

Can you imagine the great turning of the tide if a stand was taken...not by some nebulous "church" in a great Hypocritical protest...

...but one by one...LOVINGLY, passionately, carefully and seriously taking the Gospel to the world!?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Ad Council and Karma

Listening to the radio today...I hear a short commercial sketch sponsored by the Ad Council. And it says something about "Staying on the Universe's good side" and mentions a web site. Well...I had to check this out...

Be sure to click "My Karma" and run through the "Karma Approximator" test.

How can any one of us not speak boldly for the truth of the Gospel at every possible opportunity when stuff like this is becoming more and more mainstream and accepted?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A powerful lesson from ER?

Some of you may have seen Ray Comfort's recent email with a "A Powerful Lesson From ER". Of course, Ray does a great job of breaking it down.

The extended clip (see below) however adds a lot of understanding to where the writers of the show ultimately went with the concept, how they wrapped up the scene...and it paints a very telling picture of what contemporary culture thinks about "faith"! Is it any wonder that most churches dumb down the hard truths (a partial truth is a lie...isn't it?) when relativism has been so finely crafted, packaged and sold to the culture by the vast majority of the media outlets, newspapers, TV, movies - and even so many contemporary pastors/religious leaders and religions?

And why? Because those pastors don't want to "offend" anyone with the hard truth about what judgment, sin and ultimately grace and "atonement"...the true Gospel means.

The guy in the clip is a former prison doctor that has administered the "medication" to kill death row inmates during their executions...he's now dying of cancer and is looking for answers...

Here is the extended clip from ER.

What will it take to turn the tide of contemporary moral relativism in our culture and in our churches? We have to take hold of this one person at a time, we have to proclaim it to the spiritually dead in our churches, to the pastors and leaders in those churches...and we have to boldly proclaim it to the world one on person at a time.

Remember the rich young ruler who fell to his knees before Jesus?
Matthew 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
What do you think most contemporary Christians and Pastors would tell the rich young ruler at this point? No doubt that most would simply tell him to say the sinner's prayer, that Jesus would fill the God shaped hole in his heart and that he would have lasting joy, peace and happiness.

How did Jesus respond? And how should we witness about the truth of the Gospel? By speaking to a person's conscience (God's law that is written on our hearts):
Matthew 10:18,19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.
And the ruler's response? He proclaimed his own goodness (though we know clearly from scripture that none of us are intrinsically good in God's eyes):
Matthew 10:20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
Jesus cut through this man's self perception of his own "goodness", his own self-righteousness by LOVINGLY pointing out to him that he had failed to keep the first commandment:
Matthew 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Matthew 10:22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
By the example of it loving to speak the hard clear truth of the Gospel? Or is it offensive, intolerant and simply not very "Christian" to show people their sinfulness, their unrighteousness before God through the lens of the His Moral Law?

And what does the New Testament say about the law?
Galatians 3:24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
Read through the New Testament again for yourself, pay careful attention to the relationship between the Law, sin and righteousness. Believe it or don't...I didnt' write it!
"If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself."
- Augustine.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

House Guest

We drive through a pretty rough part of town on the way to and from work (Nevada/Tejon and I-25). We often see folks begging with signs...or maybe just shuffling along the sidewalk. We've given a few people rides and shared the Gospel with them.

A few weeks ago there was a girl at the corner of Nevada and the I-25 off ramp, standing there with a sign that read "Pregnant and hungry". So we stopped and asked her if we could buy her some food. I'll call her "V".

She gladly hopped in the car and we asked a few questions to figure out how we could help her. She's 20 years old, pregnant (more on that later) and a bit strung out. Turns out she was staying in an apartment with a few other friends, including one other girl who was pregnant. We asked if we could take her to the grocery store and just buy them a bunch of food.

So...we headed to Safeway. This was the week that Heath Ledger had died, when the news came out I immediately prayed "God...please lead me into a conversation about the Gospel through Heath Ledger's death."

So we went through Safeway with her picking out a bunch of stuff they could eat in the tiny apartment. All the time I was asking God to give me a door to witness to her. I find out later that my wife was doing the same thing.

So - we are in the checkout line...V turns to me and says "Can you believe that Heath Ledger died this week?" Well...thank you God. So we chatted about Heath a few minutes and then I asked her "So...V...what do you think happens to us when we die?"

We got to share the Gospel with her for the next few minutes as we checked out and took her to the apartment they were in. My eyes well up with tears thinking back a few weeks to the conditions she and her friends were living in.

We helped them get the groceries in the place, chatted with them all for a few minutes - asked if we could pray with them. We all stood hand in hand and prayed for a few minutes. I left a copy of "One Heart Beat Away" with her and left my name and cell phone number written inside the cover.

Fast forward to three days ago (Wed evening).

I get a call in the evening on my cell phone, and it's V. She's desperate...she has a bus ticket to "home" in North Dakota but it doesn't leave until the following Tuesday. She's in a bad place...has shuffled to some townhouse with some people she barely knows and doesn't feel very safe. I thought for a few...thinking "well, we could put her up in a hotel - but she'd probably keep hanging around the same crowd - that wouldn't do a whole lot of good." I told her that if she was willing to trust us...that she can stay at our house until her bus leaves on Tuesday.

I talk to my wife...she says "Well...of course."'s an oddball thing to invite a strung out homeless girl into your house for a few days. You have all these fears run through your wonder what stuff to "put away" so it doesn't get stolen...what she might do to your kids...or at the least what she might say to them that wouldn't be "so good" for them. I had Dany call her back...we only gave her two rules. She couldn't bring any drugs with her and she had to smoke outside...she was cool with that.

We prayed quite a bit about it...and still didn't get a real sense of ease about it. But God kept reminding me that this crap we have is NOTHING, there's nothing we own that she could steal, break or destroy that would have any eternal significance anyways. I kept getting this image of me needing to give her/anyone anything that we own to serve them, love on them, protect them...even the clothes off my body if necessary. we picked her up on Thursday. Let's just say the place she had moved was no better than the apartment we had seen a few weeks before. Got her home, we had to jet to a Parent/Teacher conference so we left her with the in-laws (300ft from our house) to help cook dinner. On the way home we find out she was in the foster care system most of her life, her dad and her step-dad both sexually abused her...she's even prostituted herself out to live and get high. I am amazed at how much "living" someone can have gone through at such a young age.

She went in to work with Dany yesterday...hung out there and helped out as much as she could. Then Dany took her down to the police station for an appointment where she was picking up her "narc" money for helping the cops bust the prostitution ring she had worked for. Wow.

We get home last night...and as Dany and I were bedding down for the night, Dany asks me "Please, lets take some time to pray for V and for a real, heavy duty opportunity to dig back into the Gospel with her." We took some time...prayed fervently for it.

I remember drifting off to sleep at about 10pm.

Sometime in the middle of the night...I hear Dany moving around in our room...I ask "What's going on...?" She says "I'm talking to V". I drift back off to sleep praying...

I get the full story in the morning.

God woke Dany up at about midnight. Told her to get up and talk to V. Dany wrestled with it for a bit...saying "But...she's asleep..." God saying "Just get up."

Dany gets up...and the house is dark. She walks down the hallway and notices that V's door is open, but doesn't want to disturb her so she keeps the lights off. Dany looks around the house...goes into the kitchen and turns the light on in the kitchen, then walks back to V's room and realizes she's not in there.

Confused...she walks through the house again...looks out on the back porch and finds V out there. She's been having a rough night. She was on the phone with her (as we find out now) common law husband who is in North Dakota. She found out he's been cheating on her. We also find out she's not, nor never was pregnant - it was just a ruse to work people for money.

They chat outside for a bit, then come inside and talk for nearly two hours about life...and she gets a loving, heavy and convicting walk through the Gospel. She's reading through the book of John. She wants to know the truth...she desperately wants to be out of this social cycle of lies, deceit, drugs, alcohol, sex and sin.

Dany and I both want to offer her to stay here...she knows and we know that she'll just be right in the middle of all that junk if she goes to North Dakota. Dany is feeling lead not to offer her that until she's finished the book of John.

Pray for us all, especially for the Holy Spirit to cultivate the soil of V's heart and to draw V near

Monday, February 04, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to Basic Training

We've been attending a different church (a new one for us) for about three months, still small (they're all small in our tiny town!). Maybe 50 in regular attendance. We've been going to the adult Sunday school class and we've had some really good fellowship!

Well...we've talked to some folks about witnessing...and we've had some really, really great responses. I gave a copy of "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" to a guy one Sunday after church...he had read the book cover to cover by Monday evening. It has created a bit of a fervor among a few - so my wife and I decided to ask if they'd like us to lead a WotM Basic Training class.

The first class was supposed to be last Saturday night...we put it together a bit too quick, didn't "advertise" it very much - oops. So we got to the church Saturday night and only three people were there...but it turned out to be just one more God-incidence in my life.

As we soon found out...the Pastor came down ill just that afternoon and had JUST called the Spiritual Life Director shortly before we were supposed to meet for the Basic Training class and said he would not be able to preach on Sunday morning. He had called another alternate pastor and turns out he was out of town that weekend and couldn't preach either.

We got to talking and the two church leaders that showed up for the class were soon turning to ME and saying "Since we didn't get many people to show up for the class...AND since Pastor Jim can't preach tomorrow...can you come up with an kind of sermon/evangelism/conviction class invite to fill the gap and get people motivated about the class and sharing their faith?"


Wow...I was pretty wife and I looked at each other and said "That would truly be awesome"...

So...for church yesterday my wife and I tag teamed a sermonette of sorts built on our personal testimonies of witnessing, the journey God has brought us through, many pieces of Mark Cahill's and the WotM message...some of the hard sayings of Jesus and Paul, and some convicting video clips.

God lead us each the entire was very much like witnessing in the way the Holy Spirit lead us both. We had notes on the stuff we wanted to cover that we had cobbled together the night before...but I had prayed as an intro to our message "God...I don't want anyone here to hear what I want to say...but what YOU want them to give us the words and guide us." He sure did!

We now have twelve people signed up and committed...out of a church of maybe 50 - the most exhilarating thing is that the two core leaders of the church are signed up and really, really convicted, eager and read to rock and roll.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bold, passionate, extreme witness from...

Tom Cruise?

The video Scientologists don't want you to see (10 minutes).

So..will you let Tom Cruise proclaim his message more passionately, boldly and with more conviction and concern for others than you when you carry the Gospel Truth in your heart?

Now what will you do?

From William Booth (1829 - 1912) - Founder of the Salvation Army

On one of my recent journeys, as I gazed from the coach window, I was led into a train of thought concerning the condition of the multitudes around me. They were living carelessly in the most open and shameless rebellion against God, without a thought for their eternal welfare. As I looked out of the window, I seemed to see them all... millions of people all around me given up to their drink and their pleasure, their dancing and their music, their business and their anxieties, their politics and their troubles. Ignorant- willfully ignorant in many cases- and in other instances knowing all about the truth and not caring at all. But all of them, the whole mass of them, sweeping on and up in their blasphemies and devilries to the Throne of God. While my mind was thus engaged, I had a vision.

I saw a dark and stormy ocean. Over it the black clouds hung heavily; through them every now and then vivid lightening flashed and loud thunder rolled, while the winds moaned, and the waves rose and foamed, towered and broke, only to rise and foam, tower and break again.

In that ocean I thought I saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning; and as they cursed and screamed they rose and shrieked again, and then some sank to rise no more.

And I saw out of this dark angry ocean, a mighty rock that rose up with it’s summit towering high above the black clouds that overhung the stormy sea. And all around the base of this great rock I saw a vast platform. Onto this platform, I saw with delight a number of the poor struggling, drowning wretches continually climbing out of the angry ocean. And I saw that a few of those who were already safe on the platform were helping the poor creatures still in the angry waters to reach the place of safety.

On looking more closely I found a number of those who had been rescued, industriously working and scheming by ladders, ropes, boats and other means more effective, to deliver the poor strugglers out of the sea. Here and there were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of the consequences in their passion to "rescue the perishing." And I hardly know which gladdened me the most- the sight of the poor drowning people climbing onto the rocks reaching a place of safety, or the devotion and self-sacrifice of those whose whole being was wrapped up in the effort for their deliverance.

As I looked on, I saw that the occupants of that platform were quite a mixed company. That is, they were divided into different "sets" or classes, and they occupied themselves with different pleasures and employments. But only a very few of them seemed to make it their business to get the people out of the sea.

But what puzzled me most was the fact that though all of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone seemed to have forgotten all about it. Anyway, it seemed the memory of its darkness and danger no longer troubled them at all. And what seemed equally strange and perplexing to me was that these people did not even seem to have any care- that is any agonizing care- about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes... many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and even their own children.

Now this astonishing unconcern could not have been the result of ignorance or lack of knowledge, because they lived right there in full sight of it all and even talked about it sometimes. Many even went regularly to hear lectures and sermons in which the awful state of these poor drowning creatures was described.

I have always said that the occupants of this platform were engaged in different pursuits and pastimes. Some of them were absorbed day and night in trading and business in order to make gain, storing up their savings in boxes, safes and the like.

Many spent their time in amusing themselves with growing flowers on the side of the rock, others in painting pieces of cloth or in playing music, or in dressing themselves up in different styles and walking about to be admired. Some occupied themselves chiefly in eating and drinking, others were taken up with arguing about the poor drowning creatures that had already been rescued.

But the thing to me that seemed the most amazing was that those on the platform to whom He called, who heard His voice and felt that they ought to obey it- at least they said they did- those who confessed to love Him much were in full sympathy with Him in the task He had undertaken- who worshipped Him or who professed to do so- were so taken up with their trades and professions, their money saving and pleasures, their families and circles, their religions and arguments about it, and their preparation for going to the mainland, that they did not listen to the cry that came to them from this Wonderful Being who had Himself gone down into the sea. Anyway, if they heard it they did not heed it. They did not care. And so the multitude went on right before them struggling and shrieking and drowning in the darkness.

And then I saw something that seemed to me even more strange than anything that had gone on before in this strange vision. I saw that some of these people on the platform whom this Wonderful Being had called to, wanting them to come and help Him in His difficult task of saving these perishing creatures, were always praying and crying out to Him to come to them!

Some wanted Him to come and stay with them, and spend His time and strength in making them happier. Others wanted Him to come and take away various doubts and misgivings they had concerning the truth of some letters He had written them. Some wanted Him to come and make them feel more secure on the rock- so secure that they would be quite sure that they should never slip off again into the ocean. Numbers of others wanted Him to make them feel quite certain that they would really get off the rock and onto the mainland someday: because as a matter of fact, it was well known that some had walked so carelessly as to loose their footing, and had fallen back again into the stormy waters.

So these people used to meet and get up as high on the rock as they could, and looking towards the mainland (where they thought the Great Being was) they would cry out, "Come to us! Come and help us!" And all the while He was down (by His Spirit) among the poor struggling, drowning creatures in the angry deep, with His arms around them trying to drag them out, and looking up- oh! so longingly but all in vain- to those on the rock, crying to them with His voice all hoarse from calling, "Come to Me! Come, and help Me!

And then I understood it all. It was plain enough. The sea was the ocean of life- the sea of real, actual human existence. That lightening was the gleaming of piercing truth coming from Jehovah’s Throne. That thunder was the distant echoing of the wrath of God. Those multitudes of people shrieking, struggling and agonizing in the stormy sea, was the thousands and thousands of poor harlots and harlot-makers, of drunkards and drunkard makers, of thieves, liars, blasphemers and ungodly people of every kindred, tongue and nation.

Oh what a black sea it was! And oh, what multitudes of rich and poor, ignorant and educated were there. They were all so unalike in their outward circumstances and conditions, yet all alike in one thing- all sinners before God- all held by, and holding onto, some iniquity, fascinated by some idol, the slaves of some devilish lust, and ruled by the foul fiend from the bottomless pit!

"All alike in one thing?" No, all alike in two things- not only the same in their wickedness but, unless rescued, the same in their sinking, sinking... down, down, down... to the same terrible doom. That great sheltering rock represented Calvary, the place where Jesus had died for them. And the people on it were those who had been rescued. The way they used their energies, gifts and time represented the occupations and amusements of those who professed to be saved from sin and hell- followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The handful of fierce, determined ones, who were risking their own lives in saving the perishing were true soldiers of the cross of Jesus. That Mighty Being who was calling to them from the midst of the angry waters was the Son of God, "the same yesterday, today and forever" who is still struggling and interceding to save the dying multitudes about us from this terrible doom of damnation, and whose voice can be heard above the music, machinery, and noise of life, calling on the rescued to come and help Him save the world.

My friends in Christ, you are rescued from the waters, you are on the rock, He is in the dark sea calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you go? Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life, crowded with perishing multitudes rolls up to the very spot on which you stand. Leaving the vision, I now come to speak of the fact- a fact that is as real as the Bible, as real as the Christ who hung upon the cross, as real as the judgment day will be, and as real as the heaven and hell that will follow it.

Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances- men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea! Look at them from the standpoint of the great White Throne, and what a sight you have! Jesus Christ, the Son of God is, through His Spirit, in the midst of this dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling on you to jump into the sea- to go right away to His side and help Him in the holy strife. Will you jump? That is, will you go to His feet and place yourself absolutely at His disposal?

A young Christian once came to me, and told me that for some time she had been giving the Lord her profession and prayers and money, but now she wanted to give Him her life. She wanted to go right into the fight. In other words, she wanted to go to His assistance in the sea. As when a man from the shore, seeing another struggling in the water, takes off those outer garments that would hinder his efforts and leaps to the rescue, so will you who still linger on the bank, thinking and singing and praying about the poor perishing souls, lay aside your shame, your pride, your cares about other people’s opinions, your love of ease and all the selfish loves that have kept you back for so long, and rush to the rescue of this multitude of dying men and women.

Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous? Unquestionably it is so. There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for everyone who takes it, means difficulty and scorn and suffering. For you it may mean more than this. It may mean death. He who beckons you from the sea however, knows what it will mean - and knowing, He still calls to you and bids to you to come.

You must do it! You cannot hold back. You have enjoyed yourself in Christianity long enough. You have had pleasant feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, pleasant prospects. There has been much of human happiness, much clapping of hands and shouting of praises- very much of heaven on earth.

Now then, go to God and tell Him you are prepared as much as necessary to turn your back upon it all, and that you are willing to spend the rest of your days struggling in the midst of these perishing multitudes, whatever it may cost you.

You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon your mind and the call that is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning hands that are now before your eyes, you have no alternative. To go down among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your happiness from now on will consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into the very jaws of hell to rescue them.

Now what will you do?