Friday, September 24, 2010

This Week's Reading - Ecclesiastes 11 and 12

Greetings! Thank you for being part of Project Ezra, and for being faithful in sharing the message of God’s grace. After you read this week’s outline, please be sure to check out the information at the bottom of the page regarding upcoming events, such as our Halloween outreach, for more information on the new YouTube video we are putting together, and to check out a brief review of Go, Stand, Speak, a newly released documentary on biblical open-air preaching.

This week the suggested reading is Ecclesiastes chapters 11 and 12. Both chapters are relatively short, so you could choose to read them together, or you could invite someone new to participate and have them read as well. A good idea might be to read the first chapter yourself, then allow them to read the second chapter before you share the gospel.

These chapters remind us that life is short and tomorrow is not promised, and that we need to look to eternal things. Solomon speaks more to young men here, telling them they should enjoy their youth, but should also be mindful of God and His law. Many, if not most, people work very hard to deny or drown out the reality of their eternity. This is not only true today, but based on the fact that this is a recurring theme in the bible, it has always been true. But I find it interesting that the young, even though you would think they are less aware of and concerned with their own mortality, often seem more willing to listen to the gospel. As we get older our hearts can become harder, and our pride stronger, and we become more resistant to change. So specifically addressing the young, as Solomon does here, seems appropriate.

We are also reminded that we can and should take joy in our lives, and in God’s creation, but with a thought toward eternity. God intended us to take joy in His creation. But none of the good things of the world are eternal, and we need to remember our creator while he has given us time. The things of earth will all break and perish, and the soul will return to God who created it, so we need to remind people to be prepared.

Finally, we are reminded that it is our duty to obey God’s commands, and that every deed will be brought into judgment. Another recurring theme that people frequently choose to forget is the fact that God, in addition to being loving and merciful, is also holy and just, and will hold us accountable for our actions. We need to show people the truth of their own sin and the reality of judgment, and they tell them of the wonder of the cross of Christ. Perfect love and mercy displayed alongside perfect holy wrath and justice, all demonstrated in Christ’s willing suffering and death for our sins.

So consider these bullet points for your preaching:

11:5 - As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
We do not know the work of God, who is high, holy, and transcendent, and we do not know what tomorrow will bring

11:7-8 - Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
Enjoy life, but remember that the days of darkness will be many. You will be dead longer than you will be alive, and you can’t take anything with you.

11:9 - Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Rejoice in your youth and enjoy your life, but remember that God will bring all these things into judgment. Youth does not last.

12:1-2 and following - Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, "I have no pleasure in them"; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened…… before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Remember the creator in your youth, before you grow old, before you die and your spirit returns to God who made it. Youth is vanity.

12:13-14 - Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The Facebook Halloween event is now up here:
If you are part of the Facebook group you should be getting an invite soon, if you haven’t already. I would encourage you to start gathering your team for Halloween now, and to start thinking about Black Friday and Christmas as well. The True Gift of Christmas in particular was a very successful event last year, with many people participating.

As I mentioned in our last post, I am also in the process of updating our Project Ezra YouTube video. The original video is here:
The new format will be similar, but since the existing video was made early on in the project’s history, I want to add as many pictures and videos of recent participants as possible. So if you have pictures or video of your Project Ezra participation which you have not posted, and if you are willing to share them, please send them my way. Of course, we can’t include every picture or video, but I will include all I can.

Finally, a new apologetic documentary on biblical open-air preaching by the name of Go, Stand, Speak was released a couple weeks ago. I highly recommend that anyone and everyone involved in or interested in public preaching get a copy. Also, consider getting one for your pastor, and any Christian brothers and sisters who you think could be encouraged toward public preaching. The DVD covers some of the history of public preaching, the biblical precedent for it, and interviews many faithful men of God who practice this gift and train others to do so. Tony Miano, the founder of this group, is among them.

I hope that through Project Ezra you will continue to be encouraged to share your faith in the public square, and that you will encourage others as well. Thanks for your participation, and may God be greatly glorified as you share His message of grace today.

For the praise of His glory,


Friday, September 17, 2010

This Week's Reading - James 2 and 3

Greetings Project Ezra! This week we will be reading a combination of two chapters, starting from James 2:14 and continuing through James 3:12. These passages are a perfect illustration of what Solomon meant when he said there is nothing new under the sun. As in New Testament times, there are many people today who claim faith but have no fruit. True faith will make itself evident through the works that flow naturally from the new heart. Faith will also make itself evident through the taming of the tongue. The first and second chapters of 1 John address this as well. The one who says he believes but walks in darkness is a liar, but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, then the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. This is not a matter of working for your salvation, but of the true fruit of salvation.

Have you ever noticed that when a non-believer is around a committed Christian, their behavior frequently changes? They may choose not to bring up certain subjects, or change the subject of conversation when you arrive, or they may catch themselves using bad language and apologize to you for it. I believe much of this is as a result of the person’s conscience working on them. After all, we all know God’s law, and are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, not in ignorance. And it is that truth that makes the use of the law in evangelism so appropriate and effective. People can suppress the truth, but can never quite get rid of it, and it will jump out when the person least expects it. We need to preach in such as way as to capitalize on this fact, understanding, of course, that it is truly the Holy Spirit doing the work, and not us.

Strongly encourage people to examine themselves with a tender conscience. We have discussed this before, and I don’t believe it can be overemphasized. The law must be put in charge, or made the schoolmaster, to lead people to Christ. Nearly everybody believes they are a sinner in a general sense, but that sin needs to be made personal to them so they feel conviction for it and see their need for the Savior. As chapter 1 verse 23 says, the man who is a hearer of the word and not a doer is like the man who looks at himself in the mirror and then goes away and forgets what he looks like. We need to hold the mirror back up so he can’t help but see himself in truth. The following passages, both from the suggested reading and the chapters around it, will help him see his reflection better:

1:26 – If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is useless.
One of the fruits of the spirit is self control.

2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
This is a good one to have ready for those who actually claim they are righteous. There are always a few. We may look good by man’s standards, but will never measure up to God’s.

2:14 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
The kind of faith that does not produce works in not true faith at all! True faith in Christ will always produce a change in the person’s behavior.

2:19 – You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!
Belief in isolation, or mere intellectual assent, is insufficient. Even the demons believe the truth of God’s existence, and they are certainly not saved.

3:5 – How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.
3:9 – With is we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Look at these verses in combination with 1:26. The fruit of salvation will be control of the tongue.

I pray these ideas are helpful to you in sharing the gospel.

This weekend I will be putting up the event page for our Halloween reading, and possibly for our Black Friday reading as well. These major readings are among the best times to invite other brothers and sisters to participate in Project Ezra, and the longer lead time will give you more opportunity to form your team. The longer passages also make it easier to divide the reading up, and most people will be more likely to join in if they have someone with more experienced sharing the reading with them. It is truly amazing the difference it makes when even one or two other believers join you, and what an encouragement their prayer and moral support can be. Some events, like Halloween (particularly if you will be doing your reading in the evening, as our group will be) are also likely to bring out some, shall we say, more “colorful” characters, so a group adds an additional level of safety for all participants.

Also, the dates for the 2011 Ambassador’s Academy season have been announced, and you can find out more information here:

And watch an informational video clip here:

Many members of Project Ezra have already attended the Academy, which is a 3 day evangelism boot camp in Southern California, and will testify that it is an absolutely life-changing experience. At the Academy you will receive training from Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Tony Miano, and a team of some of the best open-air preachers and evangelists in the country, if not the world. The Academy was my first introduction to open-air preaching, and gave me the skills to do so effectively and biblically. In addition, several regular Project Ezra participants (including me) will be serving as team leaders for the Academy in 2011.

If you have not attended, please prayerfully consider doing so. If you have already attended, encourage someone else to go. I have had the privilege of seeing several good friends of mine attend, at my encouragement, and have seen their lives change as my life was changed. I can’t describe what a blessing that is, and exciting it is to see more biblical evangelists come back and help re-energize our team. And if you were impacted by the Academy, please consider writing a short testimony detailing your experience. I would like to post those testimonies, and possibly pass some of those testimonies on to the Ambassador’s Alliance team, so others outside Project Ezra may be encouraged to come. Your testimony could be just the push someone needs to help them take that step of faith, and that step may lead to many people hearing the gospel and coming to faith in Christ. What could possibly be a greater blessing than that?

Finally, please keep posting your Project Ezra pictures and videos. I am still working on the new Project Ezra Youtube video, and want to include material from as many members of the group as possible. For an idea of what I am looking at doing, take a look at the first video, put together by Tony Miano here:
Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to post this to your social networking sites!

For the praise of His glory,


Friday, September 10, 2010

This Week's Reading - 2 Corinthians 5

Greetings Project Ezra! This week the suggested reading is 2 Corinthians 5. This is a passage that should not only be for this week’s reading, but should be remembered every time we share the gospel. This description of our ministry of reconciliation, for indeed it is ours as it was Paul’s, if we are truly born again and are preaching the biblical gospel, is the pattern we need to be holding fast to. Listen to some of the things it says:

Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.

The ministry of reconciliation was given to us by God.

The love of Christ controls us.

We are ambassador’s for Christ, God making His appeal through us.

What a privilege to be entrusted with such a message! We may be the tool that God uses in bringing someone to faith in Him. This should bring us amazing joy, but also must make us consider soberly what we are doing. We must not take God’s word lightly. We must not take the fate of the lost lightly. If we love God, we will study to show ourselves approved, learning and memorizing His word. We will also go to fervent prayer, to make sure our hearts are right before Him, so that we are speaking with wisdom and humility as we persuade others. We must be controlled by God’s love in our actions and words. And If we really love the lost, knowing the fear of God, we will plead with them to be reconciled with God.

Please take a few minutes to watch this YouTube video. It was put together by Tony Miano, who founded this group, and I watch it from time to time to help remind me of where my heart needs to be when I go out to evangelize or preach:

There is another group of open-air preachers in my area who seem to preach in a very different style that this. They preach many things regarding the gospel which are true, but they seem to focus primarily on obedience to the law, and condemnation for those who do not obey. Several times recently I have had random members of the groups I have been preaching to come up to me and thank me for not being angry and hateful like “those guys”. I don’t say this so that you will think more of me, or to denigrate this other group. But please know that when you are reading the word and sharing the gospel publicly, even if it doesn’t seem like anyone is listening, they often are, and if you are putting your heart into the message, they notice the difference! If you care, they can tell. And we should care. We need to remember every time we face a crowd of lost souls as we step up onto our box or ladder, or as we pick up our microphone, that before we were saved, that was us.

So, I would encourage you, as you start your message this weekend, to share with those listening exactly why you do what you do. They will likely expect arrogance and condescension, and no doubt they have heard that before from professing Christians. So show them what a true heart for Christ looks like. And plead with them to be reconciled with Christ.

I would like to ask for your help in getting the word out about Project Ezra. I am in the process of putting together a new Project Ezra YouTube video, and would like to include more pictures and video. We have a lot of pictures on the event page, but I know there are more out there, and I know there are a number that were posted on former event pages that I am having trouble retrieving. So if you have any good Project Ezra outreach pictures, please send them over or post them. If you have any good video you would be willing to let us use, email me the footage. I’ll be putting most of the video together using Microsoft Movie Maker, so most general movie formats will be fine.

Finally, I will be posting the event sign-ups for several of our larger events a bit earlier. Particularly for The True Gift of Christmas and our Halloween readings. Both of these have tremendous outreach potential, so I would recommend starting to collect a team to participate sooner rather than later. And, of course, please ask them to join our Facebook group or follow the blog.

For the praise of His glory,


Friday, September 3, 2010

This Week's Suggested Reading - Deuteronomy 4:15-40

Greetings Project Ezra! This week the suggested reading is only a partial chapter. We will be reading from Deuteronomy chapter 4, and specifically verses 15 through 40, which deal with the sin of idolatry. I got a chance to preach this passage early this week, last night at a local street fair. The response, when I started to speak of the God of the bible as the one true God, and pointing out that likely many of those listening were believing in false gods, was immediate and intense. These truths strike a nerve, since men know in their hearts that they are without excuse and are choosing to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. So be prepared for some strong responses.

In verse 15 Moses points out something interesting. God chose to reveal Himself and speak to the Israelites through a pillar of fire, and at least part of the reason appears to be to specifically stifle the people’s natural tendency toward idolatry. God spoke from the fire, and Moses said that since the Israelites saw no form, thus they should not create idols in the form of anything in creation, and thus act corruptly. Mankind will always try to pull God down toward our level, to try to reshape God to make Him something we can control and manipulate. If God seems to get smaller, man seems to get bigger and more powerful. This is the sin that we should focus on, not only because it is a horrendous sin in it’s own right, but because it gives birth to many other sins. A false god will allow us to do what we want.

So here is a suggested outline:


We are here to share the knowledge of the one true God

Not simply a God created in our minds to make us feel better, but God as He represents Himself

The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end

Are you trusting in the one true God? Be careful what you are believing, because Isaiah 42:8 says He will not give His praise to another.

Read Deuteronomy 4:15 – 40

God appeared to Moses and Israel with no form, so do not form any image to worship

You may not have worshipped an image of wood or stone or precious metal, but the idols made by hands started as idols created in the human heart, and many of you are worshipping false gods you have created in your hearts

If you worship a god who ignores your sin and loves whatever you do, you are worshipping an idol
If you worship a god who is all love and grace and no holiness and justice, you are worshipping an idol.

Why are you worshipping an idol? Examine yourself in light of God’s law. A god of your own making will allow you to sin, or convince you that you can meet his standards by your own efforts, and reach heaven based on your own goodness. The truth is all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Go through the law

God is a jealous God, and will not be controlled by men. But he is also loving and gracious, and provided a way for our sin to be atoned for.

Preach grace and the cross

Preach repentance and faith

So examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 3:15)
Are you showing the fruit of repentance that demonstrates that you are in the faith?

Make your peace with the true God of creation. Psalm 2:12 says kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way. God is gracious, but there will be consequence for those who deny Him.

All roads do lead to God, for the word says in Romans 14:11 every knee will bow, and every tongue confess to God. On that day each one of us will stand in judgment and give an account of himself to God, so insure that when you do your account is paid in full. Repent and trust in Christ while He has given you time.

I hope this is helpful. Have a wonderful weekend in the Lord, and I pray that God will be glorified in you through the preaching of His word and through hearts being drawn to repentance and faith.

For the praise of His glory,

Dan Beaudoin