October 28, 2008

What Is Your Vote Worth?

It's coming down to crunch-time! Some of my friends have already voted and I plan to soon. How about you? Do you know why this election is so important? No, it will not challenge the sovereignty or alter His plans. But He has raised up this government and used the lives of millions to shape our country and give us the privilege to vote. Please don't waste your opportunity.

That's why my post today is to help bring the main issues into focus before you vote. The first article comes out of Massachusetts and it details the changes in that state that have already come to pass due to homosexual influence. And same-sex "marriage" isn't even legal there yet!
PLEASE! Take some time to read this first article to feel what this issue will do if it's allowed to spread like a cancer across our country:
What Same-sex "Marriage" Has Done To Massachusetts
It's far worse than most people realize
This next article is by Randy Alcorn on the abortion issue and how it effects his vote:
Commentary: I'm Not Voting For A Man, I'm Voting For Generations Of Children And Their Right To Live
by Randy Alcorn, guest columnist
And here's a video that's being promoted by Focus on the Family for some, odd reason ;-):
Online Video Calls On Christians To Get To The Polls
Pray for our country. Pray without ceasing. Pray that God's will would be done and that no matter what the outcome, we will live each and every day to glorify Him and learn to enjoy Him forever.

October 21, 2008


Lydia and I visited a LARGE church near Atlanta this past weekend. It was the First Baptist Church of Woodstock. It's large enough to be called a mega-church but luckily it's lead by a godly man, Pastor Johnny Hunt (who now happens to be the president of the SBC), who keeps his eye on Christ, and preaches the Word and the TRUE Gospel! We were here about two years ago for the Transformed conference and coming back to a familiar venue was almost refreshing in itself.

Take a look at this ginormous building:

This 3-story building is huge and it's just one piece in the overall campus. The area set aside for just the children's playground equipment is larger than most church properties! There are many other buildings which house dozens of classrooms, many conference rooms and chapels, and even gym and other recreational/sport areas.

Gotta love these signs adorning all of the entrance door side panels:

And then you step inside and it practically takes your breath away due to its size. But this is what I love to see the most:

Here are some more inside pics of the rotunda surrounding the main auditorium:

Then stepping inside you are greeted by two floors of chairs that can seat approximately 7000 people and a not so small stage:

Why were we there? For the Deeper Conference, of course!

Anyone who knows me understands the impact that Ray Comfort and The Way of the Master (WOTM) have made upon my Christian walk. Words are simply not enough to express how they have helped me to grow over the years and this conference was the pinnacle of glorifying God and preaching the Gospel! The purpose of this conference was simply to take Christians deeper into their walk; to preach, teach, edify, inspire and encourage.

The speakers at this conference included Ray Comfort (founder of Living Waters, The Way of the Master TV and radio programs, and author of over 60 books and dozens of Gospel tracts), Kirk Cameron (co-founder and lead in the TV program not to mention his awesome work in Fireproof), Todd Friel (host of The Way of the Master Radio [WOTMR] program and "Wretched" TV program), Emeal Zwayne (Ray's son-in-law, pastor and executive vice-president of Living Waters), Paul Washer (missionary, church planter & the closest equivalent to a modern-day Apostle Paul that I know of), Pastor Johnny Hunt, Marshall Foster (president and founder of Mayflower Institute), and Ken Ham (president and founder of Answers in Genesis).

And our worship time Friday night and Saturday morning was led by Scott Krippayne (who my wife forced me to buy three of his albums they were selling there - luckily she doesn't know that he has 8 others or I'll need to hide the credit card).

We arrived for Friday's session around noon at it actually began at 1pm. We did not leave until 10:30pm! And it was awesome! When you have such godly men who are glorifying God with their words, preaching Scripture rightly and lifting up the Gospel, you can't help but be energized, encouraged and challenged. And the time just FLIES by! Saturday we got there just before the doors opened at 8am. The first speaker started at 9 and we left to go home a few minutes before 5:30pm.

Here's what we saw and heard on Friday:

Ray Comfort opened the conference with "Gethsemane - The Missing Link to the Cross." As expected, Ray preached on evangelism. And while many see him as abnormal for continually praying for lost souls, handing out gospel tracts and open-air preaching, Ray says this should be the norm for true Christians. We should have the same compassion for the lost as God did for us. But our pride gets in the way. We are more worried about the reaction of men than disobeying God. And for that, we'll have sinners in Hell who will wonder why the Christian never shared with them the words of eternal life instead of being left to an eternal death. The Great Commission by our Lord and Savior is to go and make disciples. And we can not have someone to disciple until we get them people saved first.

And during the course of his talk, he talked about an experience he had as a pastor when he rushed to a hospital to stop a woman from having an abortion. The child was born and years later, whenever he looks at that beautiful child, Rays makes the emphatic statement that he will never vote for a man who would condone the killing of babies in the womb! Praise God!

Here's a picture of me and Ray just before he went on stage (he still gets a bit nervous and I enjoy leading him through some calming Bible verses):

Emeal Zwayne's talk was "Mind Matters." This was some very convicting preaching as it pointed out our lack of love for God and how, as Christians, we have given up our calling to have an influence on our culture (which very much tied into what Ray just preached). Emeal told how his family has a vision statement which hangs in their living room and reminds them of their daily duty to serve Christ in all that they do. Lydia and I will be doing the same!

Pastor Johnny Hunt is quite the character! Thanks to Way of the Master Radio I've heard plenty of Hunt's sermon snippets. This man knows how to bring the Word! His talk was on the sufficiency of the Bible. Talk about a message many of today's churches need to hear!

Paul Washer talked on the "Essential Truths of the Cross" and "The True Gospel Call." These were our favorites. Pastor Paul is about the most humble, quite and godly man you will probably ever meet. But give him a chance to preach Christ and Him crucified and watch out! Give him a microphone to talk about a godless American culture and you'll see sparks fly! What an incredible blessing it is to hear him preach, and sit under his teaching and even conviction! There's plenty of him to see on GodTube.com. I would strongly suggest talking in all you can of Mr. Washer and what he has to say. And if you get a chance to see/hear his testimony, tell me you can do it without shedding a tear and I'll tell you that you have no heart!

Here's a pic of brother Paul bringin' it:

Kirk Cameron gave one of the longer talks (as well as handling the two teen breakout sessions to teach them practical evangelism skills) on basic apologetics. While it's important to stick to the conscience and Gospel when witnessing, we need to be ready to give a defense of what we believe for those who are truly seeking answers (contrasted against those who have no interest in what we have to say and are just looking to fight and lead us down rabbit trails). A little bit of preparation and memorization will do wonders to help give credibility to your witness and convince people that you know what you're talking about.

The past "Growing Pain" himself:

We finished off the night with great time of worship thanks to Scott Krippayne on the piano!

Saturday's sessions gave us even more great things...

After the welcome message, we got off to a rousing start with a time of worship thanks to Scott Krippayne who led us through some of his songs as well as some very old hymns! Paul Washer was also there to read selected Bible passages.

Todd Friel gave two talks on the supernatural aspect of the Bible. One talk was about Biblical Covenants and the other was about the "scarlet thread" which is woven throughout the Bible. It linked Christ in the Old Testament shadows of His coming to His life and fulfillment of prophecy in the New Testament. Wow!

After his talk, I met up with Todd and gave him some feedback so that he could be even better in his afternoon session:

And after his talk, Todd lead us in a time of communion through the Lord's Supper. What a time to reflect on our walks with Christ, ask for forgiveness and cleansing, and to do so with a body of fellow believers over 2200 strong while going through parts of the Athanasian Creed!

Marshall Foster gave two talks on how God has and is working through history to transform our world, spread the Gospel, and chart the rise and fall of nations. It was amazing to sit back and listen to this knowledgeable man go back through time and, by recounting historical events (most of which have been lost to modern-day history books), show how God has worked people, places and things for His glory, and how we are to be a part of what He is doing now in our nation. While no man can predict future events, it is clear that America is waning and China is rising in both Christianity and world dominance.

Ken Ham gave two great talks that gave us lots to think about. His first session talked about the need for a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 and how it forms the foundation for all the rest of what we believe. He showed how departing from Biblical knowledge leaves us with man's folly and why it explains so much that is wrong with our church and culture. His second session was on how the Christian and non-Christian (specifically the scientific community) have access to the same facts but we choose to interpret them VERY differently which leads us to VERY different conclusions. Using a Biblical point of view, the Bible and science can be easily reconciled but the same can't be said for approaching the Bible from man's perspective and limited knowledge.

Lydia and I will be working to arrange a "field trip" for our church to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky. This is one of those "must sees" for every Christian family!

And finally, Todd, Ray and Kirk worked together in the closing session to plead with everyone in the audience to make something happen after leaving this conference. While such happenings are great for encouraging and inspiring people, they will have ultimately failed if people don't take what they have learned and applied it to their walks in service to Him. Todd begged us to go home and for each of us to start our own ministry. We need to find out what our skills and spiritual gifts are, go to God in pray and ask for wisdom, read our Bibles and seek out counsel from godly and wise people close to us. As the apostle James stated so well, we need to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Amen!

Most of the talks were recorded on video and we decided to buy this DVD set which was given to us only minutes after the last session concluded. Talk about efficient!

First thing on Monday's Way of the Master Radio program, Todd stated that he was already missing everyone. He made the comment that this type of worship and fellowship was just a small taste of what Heaven will be like. Amen to that!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone at Living Waters, WOTM, etc. and FBCW both in the spotlight and behind the scenes for helping to make this go so well and showering us with so many blessings! Great is your reward in heaven!

So listen up followers of Christ! Deeper is already planning to come back to Woodstock in September 2009. Block off your calendar now and Lydia and I will be sure to let you know when to sign up. You'll be glad you did and likely never be same! Soli Deo Gloria!!!