Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sermon on the Mount Saturday 2012

Hello Project Ezra! Our fourth year of Sermon on the Mount Saturday is this weekend, and we are praying many of you will be able to participate. Sign-ups are starting to come in, and I’m looking forward to seeing many more names added to the list.  We’ve also had a few people ask to join the group recently, which is always a huge encouragement.  If you are one of them, we are very happy to have you!
The chapters are Matthew 5 through 7, so as usual for our larger readings, I would like to encourage you to divide up the reading and invite your believing friends and church family to join you. Many of them likely do not share their faith regularly, if statistics are true, and most have probably never shared their faith publicly. This is a great opportunity to encourage them to step outside their comfort zone. If you have already signed up, please post the event info on your Facebook or other social media page, or email it to people you think might be interested. A link to the event page is below, along with our blog’s introduction and history page, for those new to Project Ezra.

As an additional encouragement, I have posted the event report from Mission Good Friday 2012 below. I would love to post these event and testimony reports more frequently, and eventually put together an intro video as well, so the more pictures, videos and reports we get, the better. If you cannot participate, please pray for those who are. Any public evangelism is also spiritual warfare, and prayer support is very necessary. Thanks all, and I’m looking forward to your praise reports!

Remember, although it is great to have many people listening, and we pray for that, there may be one specific person God brought you out to preach to that day. I truly believe this has happened to me multiple times. There have been times our group has met at our usual Starbucks to go out and talk to people, and never made it more than 20 feet because God has given us one witnessing opportunity after  another.  In fact, that’s what happened to our group last Saturday night. The important thing is not the number of tracts you distribute, or how loud you can open-air preach, or that you have immediate and compelling answers for every question that is asked. The important thing is that you give every situation to God, praying for His wisdom and that He will be glorified in all that you do, and then step out in faith and enjoy the privilege of watching Him at work!

All for His glory,

Norcal Fire Biblical Evangelism Conference - This July in California

What is Norcal Fire?

Norcal Fire is a conference with two primary purposes: to train believers in Christ to glorify God by sharing the gospel faithfully and Biblically, and to get them fired up to warn the lost of the fire to come.  It is free of charge, and we would like to encourage you to come, and to invite your friends and church family to attend as well.

Where: Campbell First Baptist

When: July 20th (Friday evening) and 21st (All day, followed by evening outreach)

Who:    The event is coordinated by the Norcal Seedsowers evangelism team, a multi-church, multi-denominational public evangelism ministry based in the greater Silicon Valley area.  We are presenting the conference in partnership with Striving for Eternity and our sister conference, Jersey Fire.  Our speakers this year will be:

Andrew Rappaport – Pastor and founder of Striving for Eternity Ministries, Andrew is a very active street preacher and evangelism trainer, and the primary organizer for Jersey Fire.

Tony “The Lawman” Miano – Tony, a twenty-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department, is the director of the Ambassador’s Alliance, a branch of Living Waters, best known for The Way of the Master TV show.  Tony also co-hosts a daily web show with Ray Comfort called On The Box.  He has for the last four years been the director of the Ambassador’s Academy, an evangelism boot camp that now has nearly 1000 graduates.

Jeff Rose – Jeff is a full time missionary preacher and evangelist, and founder of Jeremiah Cry Ministries.  He has been involved in public evangelism for a number of years, including leading short term street ministry mission trips to the UK and Jamaica.  He was also featured in the documentaries Go, Stand, Speak, and Street Preacher, A Day in the Life.

Not only do we want to help equip you to share your faith, but we are committed to helping you take the next step, by asking you to join us on the streets after the conference, or by helping you to find a seasoned public evangelist in your area, who can continue to encourage you and mentor you in taking the gospel to those who desperately need it, for the glory of God.  So we pray we will see you this July.  This is an event that could very well change your life and your Christian walk forever!

To register, visit
Donations to support the conference can be sent through PAYPAL

Friday, May 18, 2012

Judges 6

Hello Project Ezra!  Thanks for joining us again this week in sharing God’s word through the public reading of scripture.  If this is your first time reading this blog, or considering reading God’s word in public, we want to be an encouragement to you.  There is nothing more important than giving glory to God through sharing His message of grace, and I believe there in no more appropriate and effective way to do so than the reading of His word.  Not everyone is called to be a street preacher, as I believe I am, but everyone can stand up and read the Bible.  And when we stick to what God has said in His word, it is hard to go wrong.  The concept may seem odd at first, and it may seem like you are making a spectacle of yourself by reading God’s word aloud in public.  But the gospel has always been a spectacle, and will always be off-putting to some, because of what the message is, and we need to be willing to stand for our faith regardless of what people and culture think of it.  I believe that in itself, and the confidence we can gain for sharing our faith, is enough reason for public evangelism and scripture reading.  Add to that the fact that sharing the faith in the public square has, for the last 2000 years, been not only a common means, but the primary means, of the word going out into the world, and the choice becomes obvious.

A great way to start is through one of our major reading events, like Sermon on the Mount Saturday, which will take place next weekend.  For this event we will be reading Matthew 5 through 7, and since these are longer chapters, it is easy to break the reading down into smaller pieces, and have several people participate.  If you join us regularly, be sure to invite a few friends, whether to read or just to pray and pass out tracts and Bibles.  I have seen many times when people who didn’t plan to end up reading a chapter anyway, and it is always an encouragement to them.  I will have the Facebook event up in the next day or two, and will be putting together a participation map, as I did recently for Mission Good Friday.  Please let us know where you will be participating by posting your location on the event wall or on the main group page, if you can.  Also please repost the event and invite your friends.  Social media, like Facebook, is a great way to do this.

This week we are reading from Judges chapter 6, part of the story of Gideon.  In this chapter, once again the nation of Israel has rebelled against God, and God has allowed them to be punished for their disobedience.  Then He called Gideon as His means of delivering them from the Midianites.  This is another example of both God’s wrath and judgment and his mercy and grace being demonstrated in the same chapter.   People have a tendency to focus on one or the other of these truths, depending on whether they want to reject God entirely, and thus characterize Him as a tyrant, or want to claim His name and hold onto their sin, in which case He is presented as all mercy and love.  But neither view is faithful to His word.  We need to look at the entirety of His character, and we need to present Him to others the way He presents Himself.  If we have repented of our sin and trusted in Him, then we have no need to worry about His judgment.  But for those who don’t know Him, if they do not come to understand their own sin, and the wrath they deserve because of that sin, they can never come to true repentance.  So in the outline below I have attempted to emphasize understanding the truth of God’s nature and character, and using that as a springboard into his law, and then grace.  I pray that it is a blessing.

All for His glory,


What is God like, and how do you know?

Most important thing you can know

What God is like and what He expects of us has everything to do with our standing before Him on the Day of Judment

Is He a God of love and mercy, or a God of justice and wrath?

What does this chapter tell us about God’s character?

This chapter, like many others, tells us that He is both

A God of wrath and justice

Also God of mercy and love

God allowed Israel to suffer due to their disobedience

Chose to deliver them, through Gideon, according to his mercy and according to His promises

Everything God does, or allows to happen, is for a reason

That reason may not always make sense to us, and may not be what we expect or like

Don’t make the mistake of judging God as if He were man

Don’t make the mistake of deciding what He would do based on what you would do

Don’t act on what you would like God to do

Act based on what God says He will do!

God is completely consistent in His character, and always keeps His word

Keeps promises for good, promises for judgment

Don’t be surprised when the judgment He has promised arrives

Don’t make the foolish mistake of ignoring the parts of the Bible that are unpleasant

It is foolish to ignore difficult truths

But God says He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and neither do we

We don’t want to see that judgment fall on you

Here to tell you truth of the coming judgment, so you can repent and turn to Christ

Do you think about judgment?

Most people don’t because they think, if heaven exists, they are good enough to get in on their own

Most people believe in their own goodness.  Is that you?

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
 (Mark 10:18 ESV)

God’s standard of goodness, His law

Shows us ourselves in truth.  The mirror of the law to reveal sin

Take the time to look in that mirror.

One verse says the law was put in charge, or made our schoolmaster, to lead us to Christ

Learn from that Schoolmaster.  Hear what he says.


As the nation of Israel was deserving of judgment and wrath in the book of Judges, so are we

God has given us His word, the evidence of His creation, and the inner voice of conscience, His law written on our hearts

We have chosen rebellion against Him                                                                                                                
He is a perfect, holy judge.  Will punish our sins perfectly

Bible calls the place of punishment hell

Describes it as a place of fire, pain, and despair

A place of darkness, where there will be weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8)

If God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell, He will certainly do the same for us (2 Peter 2)

In our hearts, we all know that is what we deserve

We are not here to just to preach about judgment and hell, but to preach about the hope, the one hope, of escaping God’s judgment and wrath

The one and only hope found in the blood of Jesus Christ

God is a just and holy God, and thus sin could not be ignored, but had to be paid for

And just as the blood sacrifices in the Jewish temple had to be perfect and spotless, the sacrifice that cleansed our sins had to be perfect and sinless

That is why Jesus Christ, God the Son, took on a human nature, and came to earth

He lived a perfect life that no other human being could live

Then He willingly went to a Roman cross.  He laid His life down of His own free choice

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”  (John 10:17-18 ESV)

On that cross His blood was shed, God’s wrath was poured out upon Him, and our debt was paid

Then, as was His right, three days later He took up his life again, and is now seated at God’s right hand

He is the one and only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2)

Only through Him can we be made right with God

So as Gideon did in Judges 6, tear down your idolatrous altars

Repent of your rebellion against God

Turn from sin, from those things that God hates

Put your trust in Christ and His sacrifice to save us

Not just a choice to try to do better, but a supernatural change of heart

God takes out our heart of stone, gives us a heart of flesh (Ez 36:25-27)

Puts His Spirit within you, and you will never be the same

Turn to Christ today, while He has graciously given you time, and live!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Proverbs 20 - Our Lord and King

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray that you are having a wonderful day in the Lord.  I’m looking forward to sharing the gospel this weekend, and I pray you are as well.  I sent out an event recap a few days ago with some testimonies from Mission Good Friday.  If you have not had time to read it, please do.  The post can be found HERE, and I would encourage you to pass it along to any friends who you think might be interested in participating, or those who might have said they would, but for one reason or another have not.  It still amazes me sometimes how many different ways the enemy will try to keep us from sharing our faith.  Spiritual attacks of different types are inevitable in a Christian’s life, but you can be sure they will increase when you start sharing your faith regularly.  Between that and the fear of confrontation and humiliation, which I still struggle with every time I try to witness to someone, it can be nearly crippling.  But He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world, and by the work of the Spirit of God (and ONLY through His work), we have all we need to be faithful in our proclamation of His word.

Earlier today I was exchanging comments with an atheist on Facebook.  I generally avoid Facebook or other online debates.  I much prefer face to face discussions when possible, since clear communication is easier, and both your heart and the heart of the person you are talking to are much more evident.  However, in this case I thought it was important to address some issues, so I did.  During that conversation, one of the comments made was to the effect that “Your Bible has nothing to do with me!”  This is a common objection, particularly in this age of moral relativism, where feelings are the only evidence you need to support your beliefs or deny someone else’s, and it is generally thrown out in a very thoughtless manner.  In this particular conversation, with several people involved, I repeatedly challenged them, as lovingly as I could, to state and defend their world view, to support why their beliefs were correct and mine were wrong.  None even responded to me on that point, but simply stated what they wanted to believe, without even attempting to argue rationally or support their point of view with anything other than name calling and blind assertions.  I eventually left the conversation, sad at their blindness, but reminded that some people will do anything and believe anything in order to avoid submission to God.

A key theme in this chapter of Proverbs, and a key truth to understand in order for the Christian world view to make sense, is the Kingship and Lordship of God, and how we are to submit ourselves to Him.  If someone is a true king, and the creator of all that exists certainly is, then their authority must be recognized.  It doesn’t matter if someone chooses to deny that authority.  If the king owns that authority, he can exercise it, whether his subjects choose to acknowledge it or not.  They can choose to break his law, but consequences will follow.  We are subject to the king and lord of the universe.  Someone can deny God’s law, can say they don’t believe in Him, or claim they have the right to make their own moral decisions and that He can’t tell them what to do, but if you are breaking God’s law it will eventually break you.  Regardless of what you claim, on the Day of Judgment you will have no excuse, and outside of the grace found in Jesus Christ, you will also have no escape.

So this week’s outline focus will the kingship authority of God, and how amazing it is that the king and judge would leave His throne, humble himself, and give himself for His subjects.  Thanks for joining us this week, and see you on the streets. 

All for His glory,


Many people say Bible has nothing to do with them

You don’t get to choose which laws apply to you

If you break man’s law, you may escape for a while, but it will eventually have to pay for your crimes

If you try to break nature’s laws, such as the law of gravity, they will end up breaking you.

If you break God’s law, there is no escape.  His knowledge is perfect and his authority is absolute

God’s authority is not based on or limited by your consent                

God is your sovereign king whether you acknowledge Him or not.

A king who sits on a throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes

Who can say, "I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin"?

Many people consider themselves to be good, and believe they are worthy to enter heaven

Is that true of you?  Do believe God owes you entrance into heaven?

God is your king, your creator.  He owes you nothing, and you owe Him everything.

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life

Have you angered your king by breaking His law?

And if you look at yourself in truth, based on His standard of goodness, you are not only unworthy.  You are a rebel against Him


A wise king winnows the wicked and drives a wheel over them.

God is powerful, and his justice will crush His enemies.  None will escape

But God is not only a just and wrath-filled king.  He loves his people

He has provided a way, not just for you to be pardoned of your crimes, but to be adopted into His family

And this way is through the punishment of His son, who He has made judge and ruler of all.

This Son is Jesus the Christ, God in human flesh, who came to earth for our sakes

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

The king and judge of all humbled himself, took off His judges’ robes and came to earth. 

He lived, He died, and He rose again, becoming the perfect sacrifice for our sin, and then the perfect high priest, the mediator between us and our God.


And He tells us that if we will repent and trust in Him, and in Him alone, He will apply His perfection, His righteousness, to us.

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
(Acts 17:30-31 ESV)

If we repent, and turn to Christ as our only hope for forgiveness and salvation, will be seen as clean and pure when we stand before God on Judgment Day

Not through our own goodness or righteousness, but through His righteousness credited to us, through faith

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Romans 4:5 ESV)

But we will not only be forgiven servants, but spend eternity in heaven with Him

So today, while He has graciously given you time, repent of your sin and turn to Christ

Trust in Him alone, and you will be pardoned of your sins, and made right with your king.