Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Project Ezra! Regrettably, due to being quite sick and having to work a very long shift on Black Friday, I was not able to post a reading for this week. However, I know a number of you have already been out this morning preaching to the Black Friday crowds. For those of you who haven't, what are you waiting for? This is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, at least here in the States, and every shopping district and shopping center is likely to be packed. So pick a chapter and head out to share the gospel. If you are not sure what chapter to pick, I would recommend Isaiah 53. It very clearly speaks of Christ and His atoning sacrifice even though it was written hundreds of years before His birth. I have used it to lead into open-air presentations many times.

I will be putting up the event announcement for the True Gift of Christmas by the end of the weekend. For those newer to Project Ezra, for that event, which will be taking place in several weeks, participants will be gathering local teams and heading to a busy Christmas shopping or event area to read the Gospel of John. The whole thing, front to back. I will also try to do some re-posts of reports from last year's True Gift readings. I pray many of you will participate. It is absolutely the most perfect time of year to share the gospel. Not that there is ever a bad time. :-)

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and take the time to share the gospel with someone, for God's glory.


Friday, November 19, 2010

This Week's Suggested Reading - Genesis 22

Greetings Project Ezra! It is a blessing to be able to write this blog every week, and I hope it is a blessing to you as well. Every week I have to dig a little deeper, and every week I learn something new. I was talking to a brother in Christ recently about his desire to get more practice at open-air preaching. I encouraged him to try practicing Project Ezra style. I don’t mean just reading this blog, although I hope you do. I meant finding his own reading occasionally, and I would encourage you to do the same. I would recommend following the lists in Horner’s bible reading program, for the simple reason that it will caused you to explore sections of the bible you have likely merely skimmed over in the past, and give you a much fuller view of God’s word. Find a chapter with a good springboard into the gospel, and spend some time with it. Read it and reread it, look it up in commentaries, spend time and study and prayer over it, and then bring it to the streets. I guarantee it will encourage you and help you grow!

This week’s suggested reading is Genesis 22. I think one message in this passage is clear: God is trustworthy, a truth that many, if not most, in our day doubt. People doubt His word because they want to conform God’s will to their wants, rather than the other way around. But God IS trustworthy!

Think for a moment on the position Abraham was in. God had graciously given he and Sarah a child in their old age. God had also promised that from Isaac He would create a great nation, and that Isaac would be the father of twelve princes. And now God was telling Abraham to take that child of promise, bring him to the top of a mountain in the land of Moriah, build an alter, and kill him. I can’t even begin to think what must have gone through Abraham’s mind! I love my own children more then I can express, as I’m sure Abraham did, and have trouble imagining life without them, much less sacrificing them. But regardless, Abraham choose to obey, and trust, in God, because he knew God to be trustworthy. He had seen Him work, and must have known He had something planned.

Abraham’s response did not surprise God. Though God was testing Abraham, He knew what the outcome would be. As Abraham told Isaac, when Isaac asked about the lamb for the sacrifice, God did provide. God never planned to let Abraham kill his son, but to strengthen his faith, and Isaac’s faith, and ultimately our faith, through the reading of the story. When Abraham demonstrated his faith, God stopped his hand, and miraculously provided a ram for the offering instead. And because of Abraham’s obedience and trust, God promised to bless him.

But the story doesn’t end there. Isaac was still under a death sentence, as we all are. We all have sinned, fallen short of God’s glory, and deserve a violent death, and worse, an eternity in hell, as punishment for our moral crimes against a perfect, holy God. But 2000 years ago, when God placed His own Son on the alter, Christ Jesus, who had come to the alter willingly, He did not stop His hand. He slaughtered His own Son, as payment for our sin debt. As Abraham said, God provided the lamb for the offering, the perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Because on He paid the price we owed, only through Him can we be made right with God, and thus be seen as righteous on the day of judgement.

So encourage people to examine the scriptures, letting them know that they will find them to be trustworthy. They encourage them to examine themselves, and see their motives for not trusting in Christ. Some people may have legitimate questions about the bible, or who God is, or of claimed contradictions in the word, and we should attempt to answer those. But ultimately disbelief is an issue of the heart, not the mind. So aim for their conscience, and bring them face to face with God’s law, so they feel it’s conviction and see their need for a savior. Then introduce them to the lamb of God.

We are just over a week away from Black Friday. If you are able to get up early enough, I would encourage you to grab a team of people and head out to a local store like Target or Walmart at opening, or to your local mall. Thousands will be out looking for good deals, and many will be waiting in line for hours. I have seen people at one of our local Best Buy stores start to line up for the doorbuster sales at noon on Thanksgiving, and by Friday morning when the store opens, the line is thousands of people long. It’s a perfect time to pass our tracts and talk to people, or even open-air if the situation allows it. I’ll be putting up the Black Friday reading and the event sign-up on the Facebook page soon.

For the praise of His glory,


Friday, November 12, 2010

This Week's Suggested Reading - Matthew 23

Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ. This week our suggested reading is Matthew 23. Like the Pharisees and scribes, many people you talk to will be convinced of their own goodness and worthiness before God, based on outward appearances and acts. This chapter, the woes pronounced against the religious leaders of the day, will hopefully be an encouragement to people to examine both themselves, and those they choose to follow, to see the truth of their spiritual condition. I pray the outline below will be helpful.

Read Matthew 23

Do not be deceived!

These woes were directed to the scribes and Pharisees, the leaders of the Jewish nation in Jesus day. We may not be the Jewish nation, but you know these people. You may be these people.

Jesus warned of hypocrisy, and I want to warn you of the same. I can’t point out who the hypocrites here are. I don’t know you and it’s not my place,

But I plead with you to examine yourselves, and make sure you are what you think you are. And examine those you follow, to make sure they are what they claim to be.

Your soul matters! It matters to God, and by His grace and His conviction, it matters to us. That’s why we are here. We don’t want your money, and we don’t just want you to join our church. We want you to repent, turn from your sins, and trust in Christ alone. We want you to be in a right relationship with your creator.

Examine yourself, and examine the truth of the bible. Please don’t fall into the traps of the religious hypocrites. Come to know the real God, the true creator, and savior, of the universe.

Don’t be fooled by pious appearance, and religious trappings, like the Pharisees were. Because someone has a nice suit, a fancy church and a big bible doesn’t make them trustworthy. Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, pretty on the outside but filled with filth. Listen to what you are taught, and know your bible so you sift the true from the false.

Don’t believe your own appearance of piety. An hour or two on Sunday morning, a cross around your neck, a few “spiritual” T-shirts in your closet and a check to the church won’t save you. There’s nothing wrong with them, but don’t deceive yourself and buy into your own lie, like the scribes and Pharisees did.

Know yourself in truth! Know that you are guilty before a holy God, but that God has provided a way for your sins to be washed clean, by the blood of the perfect, sinless lamb of God.

Don’t neglect the weightier matters of the law, such as justice and mercy and faithfulness. Be faithful to God, and to His word, which tells us that He is a God both of mercy, and of justice.

Don’t be like the Pharisees and scribes, who wanted to call themselves true men of faith, and then killed those sent to convict them of their sin. Before you attack someone, possibly sent from God, who “judges” you, stop for a moment to see if they are right! If they are, turn to God, confess your sin, and put your trust in Christ.


Don’t believe the lie that if you try your best you will be fine. God is righteous, and holy, and perfect, and all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags before him. There is no one righteous, not one. All have turned aside and have together become worthless. Look at God’s law, and you will see this to be true. The law was given to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

God is good, and will cleanse you of sin if you will humble yourself and submit to Him. Turn from your self righteousness to His goodness!

We are here because we care about you! We care about your souls. We are not looking to abuse or brow beat you, but to warn you. Heaven is real, but hell is just as real. God is loving, but God is also just and must punish sin.

Every one of us will be the recipient either of God’s justice, or His mercy.
The only way to receive His mercy is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, who paid the price for sin and satisfied justice so we could be seen as righteous before God.

Look, examine yourself. You know the truth. Listen to your conscience.

Repent and trust in Christ while He has given you time.

I pray that this will be an encouragement to you in your outreach. I would also love to get more feedback on our weekly posts. Feel free to post either on the event page or in the blog comments area. We also have not had many Halloween outreach posts or pictures, so please let us know how things went. I have posted a YouTube video from our local group, which was filmed on the 30th, but I would love to add more. I will also be posting the Black Friday and Christmas reading events soon, so be talking to people and gathering a team. Both of these are also amazing opportunities for sharing the gospel.

For the praise of His glory,


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Norcal Seedsowers Halloween Outreach

On the night before Halloween the Norcal Seedsowers, out local evangelism team, headed out to the streets of Downtown San Jose to share the gospel. For those of you not familiar, San Jose is about 45 minutes south of San Francisco in Northern California. San Jose, a city of about 1 million people, is the heart of the Silicon Valley. Many of the world's top technology companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Cisco, Intel, and Ebay are located in San Jose or one of it's suburbs. Although there are not many large public gathering places, the downtown area, particularly on weekend nights like this one, can be very busy. We were able to share the gospel with many people via open air preaching and one on one conversations. I hope this video is an encouragement to you.

Thanks to Jared Duba of Depraved Wretch Design (also know as Jesus Disciple when he sings and writes Christian Hip-hop) for putting this video together. Be sure to check out his site when you get a chance.

Friday, November 5, 2010

This Week's Reading - Acts 22

Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ. This week our suggested reading is Acts 22, in which the Apostle Paul gives an account of his conversion and early Christian life. I have used the life of Paul as an evidence for the truth of Christianity many times. Paul is the perfect example of someone who had nothing to gain and everything to lose by becoming a Christian. He already had social status, the best education, power, political influence, everything you could want from a worldly perspective. Why would Paul throw all that away? Because he had an encounter with the risen Christ, and it changed him forever. A similar argument could be made for the other disciples. What took them from cowering in a upstairs room for fear of the Jews to standing in the Temple preaching fearlessly just after breaking out of prison? They had seen Jesus raised from the dead, knew Him to be God in the flesh, and thus had no fear of man or earthly government. Consider adding these facts to your apologetic arsenal. They make very quick, concise arguments that can quickly be brought back to the gospel, and I have found them to be very effective if the listener is open-minded at all.


I’m here to tell you the truth.

I’m here to share a chapter from the bible, which is the truth of God, and the truth of history.

Please understand that I am not sharing things that are just true for me, that make me feel better, or give me comfort when times are tough. They are either actually true or actually false.

If what I am reading is not the truth of God, and is not the truth of history, it is useless

If it only makes us feel good, but has no eternal benefit, it is a horrific, dangerous lie.

1 Corinthians 15:17-19 - if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the bible and Jesus Christ as something interesting that helps some people. They are true, or they are false.

I believe one of the best evidences for the truth of Jesus Christ is the life of the Apostle Paul. Listen to this recount of his conversion and early life as a Christian.


What is special about this? Paul had no motive to become a Christian unless Christianity was true

Paul had status is society. Among the Jews, he has a Hebrew of Hebrews and a Pharisee of Pharisees, one of the religious elite with all the right pedigrees. Among the Romans, he was a Roman citizen, a title which was highly prized.

He had the best education, having studied at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the greatest Jewish teachers and intellects of the time.

He power, and political influence. He was trusted enough that he was given letters by the Jewish ruling council that allowed him to go from city to city and round up Christians and have them thrown into prison.

He had zeal. When Stephen, the first Christian martyr was stoned to death, he was there holding the cloaks of those who stoned him.

What would make a man like this change his mind? He had an encounter with the risen Christ

God in human form came to him and confronted him on his rebellion.

Are you in willful rebellion again God, as Paul was?

Do you know God’s word to be true? Listen to your conscience. You know you have broken God’s law, as I have.


If you have sinned against the living God, you are in serious danger, and deserving of eternity in Hell. But God, in his mercy, has provided a way for you to be cleansed of your sins.

Repent of your sins, and put your faith in Jesus Christ to save you. If you do, Christ’s righteousness will be credited to your account, and you will be able to stand before God on the day of judgment.

Don’t take my word for it. Look into God’s word to see if these things are true. Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith, and are bearing spiritual fruit that shows that God has changed you.

Don’t put this off, and presume on God’s patience. Repent and trust in Him while He has given you time.

Remember that none of this outline material is set in stone. The purpose of the suggested chapters and outlines in not to force you into a mold so you preach the same as me. After all, I’m no expert, and certainly no great theologian. It is simply to provide encouragement and ideas for those of you wishing to grow and mature in your ability to share the gospel, both through open-air preaching and in one-to-one conversations. One member of Project Ezra recently mentioned keeping a notebook of open-air preaching ideas. This is an excellent idea, and one that I would suggest for all of you. I have kept my own notebook of ideas for a while now. Also, while you should spend some time with the chapter before you read, don’t get too tied to your outline when you go out to preach. Sometimes you will get through your gospel presentation front to back with no interruption, but sometimes you may be interrupted early in the presentation, or may end up in a conversation that keeps you from doing the reading at all. That’s OK! The goal of this endeavor is that God may be glorified through our obedience to proclaim His word, and how He chooses to do that will be a little different every time. So relax, give your time completely to Him in prayer, and hang on to see what He does!

For the praise of His glory,