Evangelism Numbers and Thoughts

I did a message talking about evangelism and started thinking about numbers of people in the world that do not know Christ.  I then read something that kick started me down this path and these numbers have been ringing through my head.

So think about this:

There are about 7 billion people on Earth right now and the average life expectancy is about 70 years.

So if you divide 7 billion by 70 years you get 100 million and that on average would be how many people die in the world each year.

If you divide 100 million by 365 days you get 273,973 which are how many people die in the world each day.

If you divide 273,973 by 24 hours you get 11,416 people die each hour.

If you divide 11,416 by 60 minutes you get 190 people who die every minute.

If you divide 190 by 60 seconds you get approximately 3 people die every second.

Just think – the reality is that 3 people die in this world every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month of every year!

How many of them know Jesus? I am going to be very generous and say about 33 percent of those who die know Jesus. That means for every second that ticks on the clock 2 people go to hell and 1 person goes to heaven.

In the time that it took you to read this about 180 people died and went to hell.

That is the truth and that alone should motivate you to want to “Go” share with people who Jesus is and the difference He makes in life (Matthew 28:19).

If that does not convict your heart – you need to check yourself spiritually!

What keeps you from “going” to others?  When was the last time you shared your faith with anyone?

Thankful and Blessed!

Yesterday I wrote about my roadside experience and today I shall give you the rest of the story.

The spare tire that we finally got on the Explorer looked like it needed some air in it.  The next day I thought I would stop at the garage here where I live on my way to town with my family to get lunch and get some air put in the tire.  I stopped and the man who owns the garage and is the only mechanic there and he really just does state inspections said he could put some air in it and told me to pull in.  He is also a church member and I think a lot of him and his wife – they are quality people.

He checked the tire and put some air in it.  He then asked me about the flat which I had with me.  I pulled it out and he said why don’t we see if we can plug this.  I was on my way to have lunch with my family and I was going to see if I could get someplace to check this out.  We looked at it to put the plug in and it had a pretty good gash in it and it did not look like it was fixable.  The mechanic friend of mine then said, stay here a minute and went and came back with a tire.  He took the flat tire off the rim and put a new tire on it.  After that he then rolled it over to Explorer and took off the spare and put the new tire on.  Funny thing is I turn around and the man who helped me the night before walked in to get one of his vehicles inspected.

I am amazed the way God works.  In all this stuff that had happened to us,  God brought people along our way who blessed us richly.  It serves as such a good reminder to me that even in those frustrating times of life, God is there and working.  God is actively working and it is such an encouragement to see!

I got to see first hand the church in action.  I saw the love and compassion of the great people where I live.  I am sure that even if I was not the pastor,  the people would have just been as compassionate, loving, and a great blessing to me.  Thanks to those who were our mechanic angelss last weekend in this adventure.  Thanks for being the hands and feet of God.  Thanks for being an example as to how to treat people and deal with people in a Christ like manor.  I pray God blesses all of them abundantly!

For us, the take away today is to be bright examples to Christ’s love by acting in ways that shine it brightly!

Anything or anyone that you are thankful for today? I am thankful as I said before for all those who helped us out!

The Powerful Story of Phocas

I came across this story a few weeks ago while doing some sermon preparation.  It is  is too good to not share – please take the time to read about Phocas:

The True Story of Phocas as told by Dr. John Macarthur…

It’s a story of man who really lived, his name is Phocas. He lived in the fourth century. He has been revered through the years as a real precious saint of God, who lived in Asia Minor. He lived in the city of Sanopae and he had a little cottage outside the city gate in which he grew a garden. The whole story of the man is recorded by one of the ancient bishops and somehow has found its way down through history. The story goes something like this.

Travelers passed his door almost all hours of the day and night as they went in and out of the city gate. And by the wholly ingenuity of love, he stopped as many of them as possible. Were they not weary? Let them rest themselves, sitting in his well-tended garden. Were they in need of a friendly word? He would speak it to them in the dear Master’s name. But then quite suddenly one day life was all changed for Phocas.

Orders went out from Emperor Diocletian that the Christians must be put to death. When the persecutors entered Sanopae they were under orders to find a man by the name of Phocas and kill him. About to enter the city one hot afternoon, they passed in front of the old man’s cottage and garden by the gate. In his innocence, he treated them as though they were his warmest friends, begging them to pause a while and rest themselves. They consented. So warm and gracious was the hospitality they received that when their host invited them to stay the night and go on their way refreshed the next day, they agreed to do so.  “And what is your business?” said Phocas unsuspectingly. And then they told him that they would answer his question if he would regard it as a secret. Well it was obvious to them by now that he was a man to be trusted. Who were they? Why they were the soldiers of Rome searching for a certain Phocas who was a Christian. And please, if their kind host knew him, would he be so good as to help them identify him? After all, he was a dangerous follower of this Jesus about whom the Christians talked and he must be executed immediately. “Oh, I know him well,” said Phocas quietly. “And by the way, he’s quite near. Let’s attend to it in the morning.”

His guests having retired, Phocas sat thinking. Escape? That would be easy. He had only to leave under cover of darkness and at daybreak he could be at least 20 miles away and he knew fellow Christians who would give him hospitality by hiding him. And when the persecution had passed, he could reappear and once again cultivate his little garden. The decision to flee into safety or stay unto death was apparently made without struggle or delay. We can only imagine what he was thinking. Out in his garden Phocas went and began digging in the middle of the night. Was there any earthly thing he loved better than this little plot of ground, the odor of the humus, the feel of the soil, the miracle of fertility? What were his thoughts as he went on digging? Well, there was still time to run away but the Savior didn’t run. He didn’t run from Gethsemane and He didn’t run from Calvary. Or perhaps he thought of his fellow Christians to whom he might go for rest, would not his coming endanger them? And as for these executioners that now were soundly sleeping under his roof, they were, after all, only men who were carrying out orders, and if they failed to find their man, their own lives likely as not would be taken and they would die in their sins. Deeper and deeper Phocas dug. Before dawn he was done and there it was, his own grave.

Morning came and with it the waking of the executioners. “I am Phocas,” he said calmly. And we have it on the word of the Christian bishop who recorded the story that the men stood motionless in astonishment. They couldn’t believe it. And when they did believe it, they obviously were reluctant to perform an execution without mercy on a man who had shown them nothing but mercy. But it was a duty, he reminded them, that they were required to perform. And he was not bitter at them. Besides, death did not terrify him; his heart was filled with hope of heaven. Toward them he bore nothing but the love of Christ and moments later it was all over. The sword had done its work and the body of Christ’s love mastered man lay in the stillness of death in the garden he loved so dearly.

I am struck by so many things in this story:  the faith shown, the love of others, the resolve to do what is right, and wisdom in knowing that the men sent to kill him were just doing their job.

What sticks out to you in the story?  How do you see it fitting in with how we live our daily lives?

Dear Lord – I pray that I might have the faith, show the kindness, the love, resolve, and wisdom as Phocas does in this story.  Lord, my I always consider others and be filled with your Spirit and have eyes that are looking on to heaven. – Amen

When God calls….

Back in the summer of of 1991 something happened and it is quite a story.

I went home from college to do an internship at my home church after my senior year of college.  My internship was dealing with several areas in the church and the Senior Pastor told me he had something special for me to do.  The special thing was to run a phone system that called homes, it was one of the systems that telemarketers use.  I would program the list of numbers it would call and the time it would call.  It could only hold some many numbers so I had to keep track of the numbers and the church wanted it only to call homes between 3pm and 8pm.  It would give the gospel through an automated voice and then record everything that would be said by the person.  It was quite amusing to listen too at times as you can imagine. People saying things to other people in the room with them like “It is some computer thing talking about God” or people not understanding what it is and responding with things like,”Why do you keep talking to me?  Who are you?”.  It really was quite amusing.  But it was effective on occasion as I did go to the home of a lady that it called and led her to Christ and there were others I get to go share with.

On one day off I went water skiing with some friends and we got a huge storm.  This storm knocked off the power, which meant I had to reprogram it, and I was in a hurry because I had a Bible study to get too and I was running late.  Again it had to be programmed to run from 3pm till 8pm and so I reprogrammed it and then ran out.  The next morning I got to the church to listen like I did every morning to the tape and see if I had any visits to make.  As I began to listen I realized that something had gone terribly wrong – I mean I could tell it was terribly wrong.  I programmed it from 3am till 8am.  Think about this – it was calling people from 3am until 8am in the morning and giving them a gospel presentation.  There were many angry people on the tape!  You can not even imagine how angry people were and what the recordings were like.

As I stood listening to  the tape, the Pastor’s wife was in the next room because she was the church secretary and she came in and ask me if what she thought happened – happened.  I said it did.  I was so embarrassed but I also laughed a lot as some of the responses to people who you could tell were awaken by the call but listened and answered the questions about their faith and the gospel. You can not imagine I am sure but  it got even worse!

A few weeks later my I believe it was my dad who said to me,”Did you see what was in the paper today?”.  I got the local paper out to read an article written by the consumer editor.  It was titled “When God calls at 4 A.M.”.  The machine the called the home phone number of the  consumer editor of the local paper.  Again – it was a seriously embarrassing moment for me in my life but it a funny story in many ways.  In the article he mentions getting the call and then goes in to tell what the laws were regarding telemarketing.  By the way, the message never mentioned the church so only a small handful of people ever knew that it was that particular church.  This is just one of the many bone head things I have done in my life.

No questions  today or “spiritual” point other than I just hope I put a smile on your face today.

Memories of days gone by

I shared a brief story with a collage here on Saturday about a trip to Africa back in 2007.  The trip was a 12 or 13 day trip to Kenya and it was an evangelist trip.  We landed in Nairobi and then made a 4 hour drive out into the middle of the Great Rift Valley.  We stayed in a town called Nakuru but each morning my team would drive out about 45 minutes from there to a Pastor’s house that was trying to build a church and then we would go down the road from hut to hut and share the Good News of Jesus with an Evangecube (see this if you do not know what that is).  It was an awesome experience!  I was privileged to share the Gospel with many and lead many of them to Jesus but there is one that stands out in my mind.

One of the huts/farms/compound I went into was simply just an awesome experience.  I and my translator walked through some bushes where a path was into an opening and there was a man sitting there by a fire.  The translator began talking and introduced me to the man and I began to share the gospel with him when he stopped me.  He told me his mother needed to hear this and so I stopped and waited.  He went into the house and he and his mom came out.  I was able to share the gospel with them and that day they both accepted Christ.  The man I shared with was 71 years old and his mother was 91 years old.  It was an awesome experience.  I had my camera in a bag and I asked them if I could take their picture and they said yes.

Here is the picture:

New Life for mom and son

God works and moves!  God changes and transforms lives!  We need to be sharing the good news with those around us and be living it out!

Let me ask you this:  When was the last time you saw God change someone from death to life?  What is one of your favorite times of sharing the Good News – this is for sure one of mine.

Hope found in an August Rush

My wife and kids spent five days away visiting family this past week.  My daughter got me to promise her that I would watch the movie August Rush. I am a man of my word and watched the movie.  I enjoyed the movie and love the one of the points of that the movie made.

If you are unfamiliar with the movie let me sum it up.  It is a movie that has three stories that mold into one.  The main story is about boy who is in an orphanage who hears music in everything and holds on to the idea that his parents (whom he has never met) will show up and get him.  He ends up on the streets living and then by circumstance ends up in Juilliard because he is a musical prodigy.  He hopes that his music will bring him to the point where he and his parents will be united. The other two stories are the stories of his parents and what happened and happens to them in their lives.  It is much better than I explain  - really it is.

The thing I really loved about the movie is the hope that August has that he will be back with his parents and that his gift of music will be the thing to lead him to them.  It is a story of hope and hope that is put into action.  This reminds me of the following:

Romans 15:4
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

We have hope and we read about the hope we have in the Bible.  The Bible is a book of hope.  Do you find you hope in the Word of God?

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

We have hope in Jesus who is our risen Savior!  Do you find hope in the resurrection of Christ?

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

We need to be prepared to share with others the hope which we have in us.  Do you share your hope?

In the movie you see hope in August hoping to seeing his family and you see it  modeled in his behavior which is great but I think we as believers in Christ have  important things to model in life.  The questions are these:  Do you model someone who has hope?  Do you model hope found in the Word of God?  Do you model hope found in the risen Savior?  Do you have Hope?