Monthly Archives: May 2011

May 31, 2011

    Today is my 50th birthday. I am working today, as I seem to do on many of my birthdays. One birthday I remember very well; my 25th birthday in 1986. I had been considering taking a motorcycle trip out west. Actually I was going to move back out there, somewhere. I had planned on moving in the fall of 1985, but I crashed my motorcycle and decided to stay one more winter in IL. All spring I made my plans. I gave my car away; a 1967 Impala Supersport with a 327 4 barrel, dual exhaust, slap stick shifter, bucket seats. I loved that car.

    Anyways. After I put my motorcycle back together during the spring and saved some money, I packed my tools, art supplies, portfolio, and favorite clothes onto a Kawasaki 550 and left Mundelein. I didn’t drive too far. I went to Wilmette to visit with my grandparents. My grandma Bear was so excited for me. She loved adventures. My grandpa Bear was glad to see me, and hoped to see me again, since I did not know if I was ever returning. I went to my grandma and grandpa Rengels next. My grandma Rengel made me lunch and I stayed around for a few hours chatting politics with my grandpa and my uncle Tom.

    I finally left and drove south on the tollway and drove to Champaign, IL. Jane Teresi was living there and a friend of hers allowed me to stay the night for a few days before I moved on . . . but that is another story. What I remember about my 25th birthday is heading off on a great summer adventure and spending the day with my grandparents. As I turn 50, all of my grandparents and 2 of my uncles are dead. What adventure will I begin today?

EE 5/10/11

    My final night witnessing at CLC this semester: First I had to have a cup of coffe and tell the vendor to have a good summer and give him a nice tip. I ran into Peter at the coffee kiosk. He did not have enough money for what he wanted. I gave him the rest of the money he needed and thanked him for being so kind to me during the semester. He was one of the first people that actually listened and dialogued with me in the common area. It was because I had a relationship with Peter that allowed me to step into a group of folks talking in the commons and not be seen as a “stranger”. Somebody knew me, and that somebody was Peter. After our initial conversation many weeks ago I never pressed Peter for continual dialogue. Why? Becuase after we had spoken for a good 40 minutes Peter knew where I was coming from. Every week when he would see me handing out tracts or sharing the gospel he could evaluate me and knew he could always seek me out if he wanted to talk further. Whenever I saw him I said hello, so there was ample opportunity for him to speak to me. I planted seeds and even watered them, but God is responsible for the soil and God gives the increase. Please pray for Peter that God will complete the work in his life to salvation.

    After that I did some reading and prayed for divine appointments. I had a dialogue with a man I will call “Douglas”. He found out that I had a screenprinting business doing T-shirts and called me over to sit by him, so we talked about that for quite some time. When he said he had to get to class for his final I gave him and his friends gospel tracts. I built a bridge of friendship in 15 minutes and earned an opportunity.

    I went walking around the college handing out tracts when the opportunity presented itself. I did get to walk and talk with a young man who was a former Lutheran and was now an agnostic. He said he beleived in science. I said, “so do I”. During our dialogue I spoke to him about great scientists, men of intellect, who were also Christians; men like Newton and Copernicus. His tome began to change and he said he was going to re-think what he believes. I also had a short dialogue with a young lady who was waiting outside for a pizza delivery. Turns out her dad has a screenprinting business as well. So we chatted about that and she kept the tract I gave her. After this it was nearly 8 pm so I headed back to the commons.

    My last encounter was with a man named Dan. Dan was counting pennies to see if he had enough money for a coffee. I told him to put away his pennies and that I would buy him some coffee. We sat down and chatted for about 45 minutes. Dan is 38 and hears voices. He is heavily medicated. He has attended many churches during his life, has been baptized, but does not believe that Jesus is the Savior. He believes in a lot of stuff. Right now he is into hinduism and quantum physics (basically that there are billions of universes with minor variations overlapping one another and that each universe is a seperate reality). Dan has read the hindu scripture; the “Bhagavad Gita”. I know a woman who was raised in the Nazarene church (her father was the pastor) who read the “Gita” and that is when she aquired “many new voices”. At this time she is so heavily medicated that she barely goes out anymore.

     I told Dan that he is in bondage, not only with sin but also with false teachings. The false teachings have brought demonic activiy into his life to the point where he cannot live normally. He requires serious and powerful medications that prevent him from having a job or a family. I prayed for Dan to be set free from the bondage of demonic influence and that people would come into his life to love him into the Kingdom

Matthew 16:1-4

    Recently, while sharing Christ at the college, a young man named Kevin told me he was looking for a sign from God before he would believe. In Matthew 16:1-4 Jesus talks about this; “The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested Him by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven.” Why were they testing Jesus? Because they knew that everyone was claiming that he was the messiah, and he was not denying this claim. He was teaching with authority and, since they were the religous leaders, they wanted to judge for themselves and for the people that he actually was the messiah.

    But Jesus gave them an answer they did not expect; “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah”. The sign was to be three days and three nights in the grave just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish (whale?). When people are looking for a sign to “prove” that Christianity is true point to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Those are historical facts that can be proven legally. Every time anyone has attempted to disprove the resurrection of Jesus they have become a Christian.

    In fact, whenever anyone brings up things like Noah’s flood or dinosaurs or other questions from the Old Testament I give a quick answer and then bring them back to the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus validated Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Jesus spoke about them and the entire Old Testament as if they were historical facts. So if Jesus is God in the flesh and he died and rose again, then all of the OT is true as well. Witnessing becomes a lot easier when we point to our RISEN Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Anniversary 5/5/11

    Happy Anniversary Tina. Today 5/5/11 Tina and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage. Some may ask, “what is the secret to a successful marriage?” For me the answer is found in a scripture I memorized many years ago; Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church.” How did Jesus love the church? He sacrificed for the church. He gave His life for the church. Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially. This is not an easy thing to do and I cannot say that I do this on a daily basis, but I try as best as I am able to with God’s guidance by the power of the Spirit. In my own strength I fail.

EE missionary

      It is an endless frustration to listen to pastors who want to “grow the church” or have the people “do evangelism”. They will try anything from washing cars to revival meetings and concerts in order to attract people to “come to church”. What they will not do is basic discipleship. Why? It’s hard. It takes time. It brings on spiritual warfare. It’s not as fun as picnicing, concerts, or 4-wheeling. I have known pastors who will allow their churches to dwindle to a handful of church attenders rather than disciple them how to share their faith. There are other pastors of larger churches where the members are having tons of fun, but the pastor does not know if the members are saved or not. Hey, they’re coming, maybe eventually they will hear a message and “give their heart to Jesus”.

    Everyone in church and church leadership “talks” about evangelism and if you attend a baptist church you may hear someone praying for “revival”. While I appreciate sermons on discipleship, what we really need is pastors and leaders “modeling” discipleship. How does that look? Open the Bible. Jesus had 12 disciples. They walked, talked, and ate together. Some were closer to him than others; Peter, James, and John. Jesus brought them with Him as he ministered to individuals and to the masses. We also have Paul’s example. He took Timothy and Silas with him as well as many others. He travelled with Barnabas and John Mark. The Great Comission in Matthew 28:18-20 is to make disciples. Implementing EE into the church gives us a wonderful tool to accomplish this goal. It is not a program. My faith, my knowledge, and my passion to share the gospel with the lost is way stronger because I was trained in EE when I first became a Christian.