Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Labor Day Reading - Matthew 11 and 12

Hello Project Ezra!  This weekend is Labor Day weekend, at least for those of us in the United States, and this is one of our special readings.  We will be reading Matthew 11 and 12.  As is usually the case with the special readings, we want to encourage you to do a couple things this week:

1.  Come up with your own outline - If you have been following Project Ezra for any length of time you know that we try to include a complete gospel presentation in outline form in the blog each week.  We also try to use a variety of Bible verses, illustrations, and analogies in those outlines.  This is a chance for you to read through the passage, identify a couple of verses that provide a good springboard into a gospel presentation, and center your preaching and your own outline around that.  Just make sure you include the key foundations of the gospel, which include man's sinful nature, God's holy and just nature, use of the law for conviction of sin, the fact that we deserve justice and punishment in hell, the good news of the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection, and repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation.

2.  Invite a friend - One of the great things about longer readings is the ability to split them up into sections and have friends and church family, particularly those who have not participated before, join you in the reading.  Perhaps you could invite two friends, have each read a chapter, and then share the gospel based on their readings.  It's amazing what some people will be willing to try with just a little encouragement.  And if you invite a few people and they all say no, don't be discouraged.  Keep inviting people.  Give someone a friendly call every once in a while and ask them to join you for the encouragement, or to pass out tracts, or just to pray.  Some time soon you may have a regular evangelism partner.

By the time you see this the Facebook event page should be up, so please be sure to log in and post your location so I can map it.  Our maps have been pretty rare lately, and being able to see and know that there are others around the world participating with you and praying for you is a huge encouragement to many people.  So please let us know where you are.

I look forward to hearing your praise reports.  See you on the streets!

All for His glory,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Job 12- The Lord Has Done This!

Hello Project Ezra! This week we will be reading Job chapter 12. If you have read the book of Job (and I hope you have), you know that although Job was a godly man, he spent much of the book complaining about how God had treated him. Satan tested Job severely, so under the circumstances I’m sure many of us would have done the same. But despite that fact, Job knew and proclaimed over and over again the truth that God was in control. In a day and age when many think that if there is a God He must be either apathetic or impotent, this passage and this book demonstrates that He is neither. He has complete authority over everything, and I pray that this week’s reading will reinforce that fact and encourage people to humble themselves before God.

All for His glory,


In the book of Job, Job complained many times about those things that had happened to him, which he didn’t understand.

But he also made many true and profound statements about who God was, and is. I pray you will listen as I share with you some of those truths about who God is.

Job stated that even the birds, and the beasts knew that God had done this, that God had acted.

God is sovereign. That means He is in complete control. This is His world, and He maintains absolute power over it.

In His hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind

If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open.

He humbles and He exalts. He humbles the strong, both people and nations.

He is aware of and supreme over every event and occurrence. Some things He causes, and some He allows, but all pass through His hands. Nothing is outside His control

He is the creator of all, and He is the sustainer of all. Everything you see is here because of Him, and holds together because of Him.

God is powerful beyond our ability to comprehend. His creativity is beyond our wildest imagination. His control is absolute, and unimpeachable. His plan and His purpose are good, and just, and right.

God has a love for His creation that is amazing, and His patience is beyond measure. But He is not to be trifled with. For those who are His enemies, His justice is terrifying.

Don’t be foolish enough to fight against God. You will never win.

You may not believe in a God of justice. You may believe that God is all loving and all forgiving, and that one day, every person will enter into heaven.

You may say “My God would not send anyone to hell.” But He’s not your God, and His word says otherwise.

God is not defined by your beliefs and desires, or by mine. He has told us clearly what He is like, and what His standards of goodness are.

How does your standard of goodness compare with God’s? Know that on the Day of Judgment we will not be judged by our own standard, but by His. And His standard is absolute perfection

How have you lived up to that standard? God gave us His law to show us our true condition before Him, to show us what sin is.

Please look into God’s law, and you would into a mirror, and see how you are reflecting His goodness, and His glory.


If you have broken God’s law, as all of us have, then you are guilty before Him and worthy of judgment and punishment.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says - Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:8 says - But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

God is holy, and will not allow any evil in His presence

God is a God of justice, and will not leave the guilty unpunished.

If you choose to remain in rebellion against Him, you are in great danger

But God is not only your greatest danger, and He is also your greatest, and only, hope

God is not only a God of justice and righteousness, but a God of love and mercy

2000 years ago Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, humbled Himself and walked the earth, not so that He might condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

You see, a price needed to be paid. Justice needed to be satisfied, and the Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

So Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, walked the earth and lived a perfect life. Then He went to the cross and became the perfect sacrifice for sin.

The wrath of God was poured out on the Son so that we might be forgiven. The Bible says Christ became a curse for us, and tells us it pleased the Father to crush Him, and that by His wounds we are healed.

Jesus now sits at God the Father’s right hand as our advocate, our lawyer for the Day of Judgment.

God demonstrated His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God

So come to God, humble yourself before Him, and cry out to Him for mercy, repenting of your sins and trusting in Him alone.

If you will turn from your sins and put your trust in Him, then He is faithful and just and will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

So decide today who you will serve, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

Turn to Christ now, trust in Him, and He will change you. He will take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh, and you will be born again.

Just as there is no greater danger than open rebellion against God, there is no greater joy and privilege than to be His child and to serve Him with all your heart.

So turn to Christ today, and live!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Project Ezra Participation Report - August 2011

Every once in a while I like to post a few testimonies, pictures, and videos from those who participate in Project Ezra. Hopefully they will be an encouragement to you all, and will be something you can pass on to friends and church family so they get an idea of what Project Ezra is really about.

Tyron Piteau –Vancouver, BC, Canada

It’s always a huge encouragement when we hear that someone has “broken the sound barrier,” preaching in the open air for the first time. Tyron shared a few reactions on our Facebook page.
I just did my first open-air preaching and to sum it up, I'd say it was interesting to say the least. Boy is it like fireworks out there or what!

It didn't go as well as I would have thought the first couple hours, however the last hour was much better as we were able to draw a crowd and were finally able to preach the entire gospel. We also had a few hecklers so I was prepared on how to handle them through what I've learned from you guys.

Each reading will be different. Even if you don’t see immediate results, don’t be discouraged. Trust in the Lord. His word will not return void.

Here Aaron Womack shares the gospel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, just a short distance from the White House. Tourist areas can be great for open-air preaching and tract distribution, and give you the opportunity to share with people not only from your own community, but from all over the country and sometimes the world.

Diane Durand Jackson – Zamora, Spain

Diane, a US native, is presently serving as a missionary in Spain. No matter what the location, the word of God is powerful, and the preaching of the gospel is God’s means of bringing men to salvation.

Thanks for your prayer support. This was the scene on our walking street in Spain tonight. We use the narrowest point to take advantage of the echo.
It’s always a good idea to try to use the natural elements to your advantage, and pick your spot carefully. Even if you have a small voice and can’t use amplification, you would be surprised how far the message will carry. And no matter what, God will bring exactly the people who need to hear the message.

Willem Pretorius – South Africa

Willem says - Finally did it - OA'd in the very rural town (cows walk in the road) close to Badplaas. Read Psalm 19:7-14 and John 17, doing some lay expository preaching here and there. Went through the The Law and asked a few times if the people died today where would they spend eternity? Spoke to a long line of people trying to withdraw money from a ATM. No one said anything, but a few seemed to listen. Please pray they understood (it's largely a Swazi speaking area and I had no translator) and that God's Word would ploughed heart to fall, grow into and bear much fruit. Thank you.

You don’t have to preach in a busy city or draw huge crowds. You just need to be faithful. God will be glorified in the preaching of His word, even if no one listens. And consider this. If you preached every day for the rest of your life, and only one person repented and trusted in Christ, would that be worth it? YES! The privilege of seeing even ONE soul saved is worth every minute of our time, every penny in our bank account, and every drop of blood in our veins!

Tim Rector – New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada

Tim is one of our most consistent, dedicated participants, and his praise reports are always an encouragement.

Thank you all for your prayers. Praise the Lord! Read John 17 and then John 8: 58-59 (listened to MacArthur preach on Jesus as Lord on the way). Today the Lord used my weaknes to exhibit His power! I had no charisma, no fancy words, just Christ. I couldn't find my vocabulary, but many people in the crowed park listened and engaged. I had a lady mock and yell at me that she was afraid, and without emotion I warned her of how fearful she will be if she stands before God with only her sin. Many people gathered, and afterward a man named Deet approached me in tears. He told me he loves the Lord but he has been struggling with His sovereignty lately. Another Romanian man came and blessed me, as his little daughter translated much of what he said. He told me his wife listened and what she heard was true. They are believers and together we praised God! Then a little Hispanic girl, about 5 years old came and gave me a frozen bottle of water and a cup of potato chips. Her parents, also believers, wanted to do that. Praise God for His tender mercy. He uses us in our weakness brothers! I had nothing to offer anyone, but God provides everything! Jesus Christ is Lord! Hallelujah!

This is fellow Ambassador’s Academy graduate Melissa Burdett lifting her voice and sharing the truth while standing atop a Dune Buggy at the Wooster Car Show in Wooster, Ohio.

And finally, Project Ezra founder Tony Miano at the Burbank Media Center in Burbank, California, USA. Although I write outlines every week, you are not obligated to follow those outlines. If you find something else in the chapter that you feel convicted to preach on, that’s fine. If you have a completely different chapter you would like to preach on or read, that’s fine too. The goal is to step out of your comfort zone, be faithful to God’s call, and preach His gospel.

Thank you for being part of Project Ezra. Let you believing friends know about the group, and encourage them to participate too. The harvest is plentiful, and the workers truly are few.

All for His glory,

Friday, August 19, 2011

1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 - Are You Ready for the Day of the Lord?

Hello Project Ezra! This week’s reading is portions of 1 Thessalonians chapters 5 and 6, and deals with the return of Jesus Christ. It warns that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, while people are saying “peace and security.” This is a perfect description of many people you will meet on the streets when you are out sharing the gospel on the street, and is a huge part of why we should read the Bible publicly. Many people, both professing believers and those who deny Christ outright, have been lulled into a false sense of security. They either think they are good enough to get to heaven through their own actions, or believe they will have plenty of time to get right with God at the end, if a God exists.

The Bible, or course, says something very different. It says that day will come like a thief in the night. And even if God were to choose not to return for another 1000 years, that says nothing about how long He will let us live. Any of us could die any day. We need to preach that, and reinforce the fact with those we talk to one-on-one. Some may call that a fear tactic, but it is the truth, regardless, and we need to share that fact because we care about people, and their eternal destiny.

Don’t forget to spend serious time in prayer before you go to the streets to read, preach, or witness. It can be very easy to try to accomplish things in our own power, when we need to be leaning on and trusting in the Holy Spirit for everything we do. Pray that you will be given the right words, and that you will be given a true, Godly compassion for the lost. Remember, the only difference between them and us is the grace of God.

I pray this outline is a blessing.


This passage is a reminder that there will be a Day of Judgment, a day when every one of us will stand before God and give an account for every thing we have done, every word we have said, every sinful thought, and every missed opportunity.

I don’t know when that day will come for you. I don’t know when that day will come for me. But please take a moment to consider whether you are ready to meet it when it does come.

God’s word says one day Jesus Christ, the Lord, will descend with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then those who are left will be caught up in the air, so we will always be with the Lord.

But Paul also speaks of those who will not be with the Lord. In this reading, where the Apostle Paul is speaking to Timothy, he tells him not to grieve like those who have no hope over those who have fallen asleep, referring to those who had died.

So, do you have hope? And if so, what are you hoping in?

We are told that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, and that while people are saying “peace and security” destruction will come on them suddenly, like labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape.

You, like most people, may prefer not to think about such things. But remember, every one of us will be dead longer than we will be alive, so now is the time to make sure you are prepared.

The word of God says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If you are like most people, you realize that you are not perfect, and that you too have fallen short of God’s glory.

What you may not realize is how seriously God takes sin. He hates sin so much that He will not allow it into His presence.
The Bible says His eyes are too pure to see evil and He can not look on wrong

It says He is a righteous judge, who tests the heart and the mind, and who feels indignation every day.

It says He Will by no means clear the guilty. There will be punishment for those who have broken His law.

Many people take sin lightly, and imagine a god who takes sin lightly. If you have ever said or thought that you will be accepted on Judgment Day because you tried your best, or because God knows your heart, then you have far too low a view of God’s holiness and have not looked closely at your own sinful, wicked heart.

Image someone were able to record every thought you had for a week, and then invited all your friends and family over and played it for them. Would you be proud of what they saw?

They would see every hateful thought, every time your anger overcame you and you wished to do violence to someone, even over things that have little or no significance.

They would see your dishonesty, every time you have lied, or even stretched the truth, for your own benefit and at the expense of those around you, even those closest to you.

They would see your covetousness, and your greed. They would see you longing after things others own, even though God has taken good care of you.

And they would see your lust, thoughts so dirty and depraved you would not dare share them even with your closest friend, for fear that they would be so disgusted that they would never want to speak to you again.

They would also see every time you saw a need in others, or saw what you knew was the right thing to do, and ignored it purely for your own benefit.

And, of course, they would see the record of every physical breaking of God’s law, and every one of us many sins, every day.

If we look at ourselves in truth, and listen to our conscience, which is God’s law written on our hearts, we will see our guilt before Him. God is just and will punish all sin completely, so if we die depending on our own goodness to save us, we will end up in hell. Every one of us, myself included, deserves hell.

But there is good news! The word gospel means good news, and we only share the bad news of sin, judgment and hell so that you will see just how good that good news is.

We deserved punishment, and someone bore that punishment for us. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2000 years ago Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to earth for our sake.

He lived an absolutely perfect life in thought, word and deed. He did not sin even once.

Then he willingly went to a Roman cross and was crucified, not by accident and not against His will. He willingly went to the cross to bear our sin.

On the cross Jesus suffered in ways we can’t imagine. He who knew no sin was made sin on our behalf. He was crushed under the weight of the father’s wrath and anger, so our sins could be atoned for.

Then three days later, as He had prophesied that He would, He rose again from the dead. He appeared to His disciples and then ascended into heaven, where He sits as God’s right hand.

I pray that today, you will get right with God, so that Christ’ sacrifice on the cross will be the payment for your sin. Otherwise, you will have to make that payment yourself in hell.

So do what the Bible says today. Repent, or turn from your sin, and put your trust in Christ alone to save you.

Only Jesus Christ was truly God in the flesh. Only He lived the perfect life and died as the perfect sacrifice. Only He bore God’s wrath to pay for sin, and then rose again. So only though Him can you be saved.

Don’t wait. None of us is promised a tomorrow, and over 150,000 people die every day.

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

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hebrews 9 - Idolotry and Jesus Our High Priest

Hello Project Ezra! This week’s reading is a portion of Hebrews chapter 9, and deals with Christ as our High Priest. This chapter, and indeed a good portion of the book of Hebrews, deals with Christ’s priesthood, and the fulfillment of the imagery found in the Old Testament sacrificial system in the person and work of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The Old Testament priests entered into what this chapter says was a copy of the true temple in heaven, and offered sacrifices that were only shadows of the sacrifice to come. While those sacrifices, offered in obedience, acted as a covering for sin temporarily, Jesus entered the true Holy of Holies, and His payment was permanent. The perfect sacrifice was made, and then He sat down at God’s right hand, with the ultimate sacrifice for sin complete, and sufficient for all. We need to make it clear when sharing the gospel that salvation is not something we do with a little help from God. It is ALL a work of God, and the work was completed 2000 years ago. And although the sacrifices in the temple have ceased, our High Priest still lives, and intercedes for us through eternity. I truly do love the book of Hebrews!

I also focused the use of the law a little differently this time. While I generally go through several of the 10 Commandments to bring conviction of sin, this time I focused specifically on the nature of our worship of God, and on the sin of idolatry. This is due partly to the theme of the chapter, and partly to the fact that idolatry is the foundation on which other sins are built. It is, as a wise man once said, the darling sin of humanity. If we have a false view of God, or are worshiping another god, idolatry allows us to justify our actions to ourselves and smother our guilt temporarily, while still having the appearance of religiosity and righteousness. So, this week we will focus specifically on a right view of God, and who He is, who Christ is and what He accomplished in the atonement.

As a side note, I would encourage you to ask yourself this; if someone were to challenge you as to why they should believe in the God of the Bible rather than some other god, what would you say? If you spend any amount of time sharing your faith and have not been asked this question yet, trust me, you will be. And the thought process of considering how you would explain this is an excellent exercise. I could cite many evidences for the truth of the Bible that I believe are compelling, but have been working on and thinking about how to refine my own approach. I want to make sure I am presenting my reasons for belief in God not only, or even primarily, in light of apologetic or philosophical evidence, but also taking seriously the Biblical statements that tell us all men know in their hearts of God’s existence, and are suppressing that truth. It can be a tough balance to strike, but I challenge you to give it serious thought and prayer.

I pray this outline is a blessing.


INTRODUCTION – Introduce yourself, and let people know the group that you are part of, or that you are part of Project Ezra. Give people an idea why you are there.

Read Hebrews 9:11-28

In this passage, Jesus is called our High Priest, our mediator with God. But what does that mean, and why does it matter to you?

Most of us believe some kind of god, or gods, exist. And in religion, priests are the mediators, those who bridge the gap between these “gods” and men.

But the first question we need to ask when we talk about how to get right with the eternal, is to discover if something is wrong. Is mankind at enmity with God, and if so, why?

The Bible says there is one true, creator God, and He says that indeed there is something wrong. That something is what the Bible calls sin.

To sin means to miss the mark. A sin is a moral crime, a crime against God’s law. It is an act of rebellion you take against your creator.

God says in His word that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) We are all sinners, myself included.

The Bible says God’s law is written on our hearts, and that our consciences bear witness to it (Rom 2:15). If this is true, then you have sinned, and your know it! Is this is true, then we are without excuse.

So look into God’s law, which tells us what sin is, with a tender conscience. See how you compare with God’s perfect, holy standard.

Look at your worship. Even if you claim no religious affiliation, you worship something. Do you worship as God has declared you should?

If you are giving your worship to a God other than the God of the Bible, you are in rebellion against Him, and are guilty before Him. There is only one God, and He is a jealous God. (Ex 20:5)

In fact, if you worship a false God of a false religion, you are not just making a mistake and getting the details wrong. The Bible says you are actually offering your worship to demons. (1 Cor 10:20)

If you believe in God in a general sense, but avoid dealing with the claims of any particular faith, then you are still believing in an idol. You are assuming that whatever god exists doesn’t care about your specific beliefs and doesn’t care how He is worshiped, and the Bible says something very different.

Even if you claim belief in no god, you will still idolize something. We were created to worship, and everyone finds something to devote themselves to. It may be money, it may be power, it may be knowledge, it may be sexual gratification, or it may the supposed freedom to act as you choose. Making any of these things your god, the object of your affection, is sin, and God will hold you accountable.

You may even claim to believe in the God of the Bible. But if you pick and choose the things in the Bible that you want to believe, and create a god in your mind, one that smiles at your sin and will accept everyone regardless of their belief, than that god can not save you. He can not save anyone, because he doesn’t exist.

God takes sin and rebellion seriously. God is a just judge, who will see that all sin is punished completely. He is holy and perfect, and thus will not allow evil in His presence. His word says that His eyes are too pure to even look on evil.

Those who live and die in their rebellion against God will spend eternity paying for their sins, their moral crimes against Him.

God says that payment will be made in Hell, a place of eternal torment. Revelation 21 describes it as a lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

You may be offended by the idea of hell, and eternal punishment, and think I’m trying to make people feel guilty.

My purpose is not to be offensive, but yes, I want to help you see your guilt before God. Hell is a real place, and I don’t want any of you to go there.

But there is good news! God provided a perfect High Priest, a perfect mediator, to make us right with Him

The Bible says that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ. And it says that God demonstrated His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God will not allow any evil to go unpunished. God’s word says without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Only through the shedding of blood can we be purified from our sin.

God so loved the world that He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, who was made the perfect sacrifice for sin, who shed His blood on our behalf.

Jesus Christ shed His own blood on the cross, and bore the anger and wrath of the Father, so that we could be forgiven. Isaiah 53 says He bore our iniquity, and by His stripes we are healed.

This chapter says the blood of Christ, offered through the Spirit to God, without blemish, purifies our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Any good works you do in hopes of being made right with God are dead. The full price has already been paid by Jesus Christ. He is our perfect High Priest, because only He could provide the perfect sacrifice.

The debt is paid in Jesus Christ and in Him along. So do as Jesus Christ Himself said. Repent, and believe the gospel, the good news that Jesus died to make us right with God.

Turn from your sin, and trust in Christ completely. Only He paid the price for sin, only through Him can you be made right with God. Only He can act as our mediator. So turn from your sin, put the full weight of your trust on Him, and you will be saved.

The Bible also says Jesus will appear a second time to save those who area eagerly waiting for Him. Someday I will be in heaven with God. I didn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it. But because I have repented of my sins and put my trust in Christ alone, I will be in heaven. And when I get there, I pray that I see all of you there as well.

Please, while God has graciously given you time, turn from your sin and idolatry and turn to the one God that can save you!

Stop trusting in yourself, and your own works. No dead works can help you get right with God, and no repeated sacrifices are needed. Turn to our perfect High Priest, trust in His perfect sacrifice, and be saved!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Deuteronomy 8 - Humble Yourself Before the Lord

Hello Project Ezra! Thanks for joining us for another week. There have been many posts recently from members of the group, talking about what God has done with their readings. God is amazing, and it is thrilling to see that simply reading his word in public has powerful results. Hearts are being touched and lives changed around the world because of your obedience. So please, keep participating, and keep posting your event reports. They are a huge encouragement.

This week’s reading, Deuteronomy 8, speaks a great deal about humility before God, so that is the focus of the outline. In the beginning of the chapter God reminds Israel of how He used the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness to test them and humble them. He then reminds them of all the good things He provides for them, and reminds them at the end of the chapter not to become prideful, and forget where those good things came from. This is a great reminder for us, and also great point to impress on non-believers. By God’s grace, I have the privilege of sharing the gospel with people one on one every week. And, more often than not, pride is one of the key components to people’s rejection of God. Whether they choose to deny Him outright or choose to live as if He doesn’t exist, it is pride at the root of the problem. We are all idolaters at heart, and our greatest idol is ourselves. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God if we are to truly seek Him and His will.

As I have mentioned in previous weeks, I encourage you to modify this outline and make it your own. In particular, I would highly recommend more use of scripture to highlight the key points of the gospel. The use of scripture is essential to any gospel presentation, and the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. One of the things I do during my daily bible reading, as I believe I have also mentioned previously, is to keep a notebook handy and write down verses that are especially poignant, particularly those dealing with salvation. I have them divided out by general subject matter, so I can reference them easily. There have been a number of times when I have not been able to remember the reference or exact wording of a particular verse, and have been to go back, find the note I made in my notebook, and easily find the reference. I keep that notebook with me all the time, and it’s a great blessing.

Thanks again for your participation in Project Ezra. I especially appreciate the event reports on the Facebook page and on the blog, and the encouragements many of you have sent. Please pray that many people will continue to be touched and encouraged through Project Ezra, and that God will give me the wisdom and humility to present each outline biblically and through the leading of the Spirit.

All for His glory,

P.S. I have started a new blog dealing with evangelism, tough questions regarding the Christian world view, and promoting good Christian materials and ministries. Feedback is greatly appreciated if you have the time. Thanks!

Read Deuteronomy 8

As I read this chapter I am reminded that if we are to come before God, we must come before Him with an understanding of who He is.

God is good, and loving, and forgiving, and patient. But He is your king, and your creator, whether you acknowledge Him as such or not. And you must come before a king in humility

If you believe you are seeking after God, you must first humble yourself before Him.

In this chapter God reminds the nation of Israel that after their deliverance from Egypt God led them in the desert for 40 years to humble them, and to test their hearts. God may, and I believe often does, do the same thing to us.

Perhaps life has been difficult for you, and you have wondered if God is really there. He is. God has not forgotten you, and He is not ignoring you. There is purpose in every decision He makes, and it may be that God is testing you and humbling you, so that you will depend completely on Him.

Perhaps life has been wonderful for you, and you have had all you wanted and more, and have chosen not to worry about God. Be careful that your pride doesn’t blind you to the incredible gifts God has provided for you. Every good thing you have is from Him.

Either way, you need to recognize that all that you receive, whether good or bad, only happens because God allows it. And whether or not you understand the details, God’s will is good.

I don’t know why God has allowed your particular situation, and I don’t need to.

I do know that God is trustworthy, and the wisest thing you could ever do is to put your life in His hands.

Do not allow despair, or pride, to blind you to God’s will, or turn you to idolatry. Be humble before God, and trust in Him.

But our greatest need has little to do with our physical situation. Our greatest need is forgiveness.

If you are like most people, you often feel guilt. You know that there is something wrong, and that the something that is wrong is with you.

No matter how hard you try to suppress it, you will feel guilt, as we all do. We feel guilt because we are guilty.

Every one of us has broken God’s law. Where we should have been humble and obedient, we have chosen to go our own way.

God is our Lord and our king, and He has given us His law. And every one of us has broken that law more times than we can count.


But despite the depths of our sin, God did the unthinkable. Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, humbled Himself and became a man, to pay for our sin. God demonstrated
His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2000 years ago Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, yet without sin, came to earth. He lived a perfect life, and then became the perfect sacrifice for sin.

When Jesus was on the cross, God’s anger and wrath and hatred toward sin was poured out on Him, so it didn’t have to be poured out on us.

The prophet Isaiah said it pleased God to crush Him, and that by His stripes we are healed.

The book of Colossians says that God satisfied the legal demands of the law, nailing them to the cross.

When Jesus Christ, the creator, died, His infinite value was sufficient to pay for our nearly infinite sin.

Our debt was paid, and justice was satisfied, so we could go free.

Then Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, just as He had said He would, and is seated at the right hand of the Father as our advocate for the Day of Judgment.

If you will do as the bible says, repenting, or turning from sin, and trusting in Christ alone to save you, then your sins will be washed away and you will be seen as righteous before God.

Not everyone will receive God’s grace, and be forgiven. We must humble ourselves, and throw ourselves on God’s mercy, to be saved.

If you continue in your pride, you will be lost for all eternity, and will pay the price for your sins yourself.

We don’t want that for you. We are here today because we have been forgiven. Like you, we are guilty before God. But because of God’s grace, our fine has been paid, justice has been satisfied, and we can go free.

When we get to heaven we want to see you there! Please, while God has given you time, repent and trust in Him, and in Him alone.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadan, Belial, and the Persecuted Church

This year the Islamic holiday of Ramadan runs August 1-30. According to Wikipedia:
Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, Arabic pronunciation: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn]) (also Ramadhan, Ramadaan, Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 to 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking[1] during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God. Muslims fast for the sake of God (Arabic: الله‎, trans: Allah) and to offer more prayer than usual. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon; thus, a person will have fasted every day of the calendar year in 34 years' time. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.
Sadly, some professing Christians around the world, including some noteable false teachers, believe it is somehow in keeping with the Christian faith to celebrate Ramadan. This is just one of many unbiblical efforts (such as Chrislam) to harmonize the false religion of Islam with Christianity.

The apostle Paul warned against such sinful, ecumenical efforts in his second letter to the Church in Corinth.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)."
According to the above passage of Scripture, Christians are not to enter into spiritual enterprise with followers of other anti-Christ religions such as Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, and Islam, to name a few. This would include any ecumenical prayer effort since the one, true God does not hear the prayers of the wicked (Isaiah 1:10-20).

Paul writes, "What accord has Christ with Belial." The term "Belial" is an ancient word used for Satan. The word's most literal translations are "worthlessness," "destruction," and "treacherous." Paul makes it clear that for a Christian to join hands or link arms with followers of false gods, such as the god of Islam, is to engage in worthless, destructive, and treacherous activity that furthers a satanic agenda.

Instead of searching for streams of commonality with practitioners of anti-Christ religions, instead of blaspheming the one true God by perverting prayer and worship through ecumenism, I want to encourage readers of this blog to follow the lead of Christian organizations like Open Doors USA. According to Open Doors USA:
With the start of the month-long Islamic fast called Ramadan that begins Aug. 1, Open Doors USA is launching a 30-day campaign urging Christians in the West to pray with persecuted believers in Muslim-dominated countries.

During August most Muslims will fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through acts of restraint. They believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self control.

To guide Christian’s prayers during Ramadan, Open Doors USA is offering a Ramadan Prayer Calendar. The calendar has multiple prayer points designed to help Christians pray with persecuted Christians around the world during the 30 days.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. “This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer with persecuted Christians throughout the world. I urge you to use the Open Doors resources to pray with our brothers and sisters.”
In an effort to assist Christians in praying for the Persecuted Church during the Belialian holiday of Ramadan, below you will find a list of the thirty largest Islamic countries. Pray for persecuted Christians in the Islamic country corresponding with the day of the month.

And here are some suggested topics for prayer:

Pray the Lord will provide physical and spiritual protection for His Church.

Pray persecuted Christians in Belialian nations will persevere through whatever trials the Lord allows.

Pray persecuted Christians will be faithful to proclaim the one, true gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of the personal cost.

Pray for Christians, both here in the USA and in Belialian nations who have compromised the gospel and shipwrecked their faith by entering into spiritual enterprise with worshipers of false gods. Pray the Lord will graciously bring them to repentance.

Pray for revival in Belialian nations. Pray that many will flee from the worship of the false god of Islam, repent, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

And here is the list of the largest Belialian nations:

August 1 - Indonesia
August 2 - Pakistan
August 3 - Bangladesh
August 4 - Egypt
August 5 - Iran
August 6 - Turkey
August 7 - Sudan
August 8 - Algeria
August 9 - Morocco
August 10 - Iraq
August 11 - Afghanistan
August 12 - Malaysia
August 13 - Saudi Arabia
August 14 - Uzbekistan
August 15 - Yemen
August 16 - Syria
August 17 - Kazakhstan
August 18 - Niger
August 19 - Burkina Faso
August 20 - Mali
August 21 - Senegal
August 22 - Tunisia
August 23 - Guinea
August 24 - Somalia
August 25 - Azerbaijan
August 26 - Tajikistan
August 27 - Sierra Leone
August 28 - Libya
August 29 - Jordan
August 30 - United Arab Emirates