Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Reading 2012

Greetings Project Ezra. We are just one week away from our 2012 Halloween reading.  I’m looking forward to hitting the street with our local crew to share the gospel, as I know many of you are.  I would encourage you not to miss the great opportunity Halloween provides to talk about spiritual things.  Images of death are front and center (and sadly used as entertainment), which provides a great transition point, and opportunity to draw people’s attention away from lightly dismissing or laughing at death and the hereafter to, by God’s grace, carefully considering the afterlife and their true condition before their creator.

Some suggested themes, with several verses attached to each, are below.  They should provide good transitions into a gospel presentation, if you choose to give one.  If you are new to Project Ezra, and choose simply to read the scripture, that is fine too, though I would encourage you to bring tracts and Bibles if possible, so you can be prepared for one-on-one follow-up.  Either way,  I would encourage you to spend some time with the text and in prayer, prior to going to the streets, asking God that He will prepare you for sharing the gospel, and for handling his word faithfully and well. 

All for His glory,

What Hell is really like – Not an oasis of sinful pleasure
Many people have a very skewed view of what hell is like.  You have probably heard people say they would rather go to hell, hell will be more fun, all their friends will be there, etc.  Each of these statements shows a radical misunderstanding of what Hell is like.  It is not freedom to sin with impunity.  It is not controlled by the devil and his angels, but was made for their punishment.  And it is a horrible place of pain and suffering.  All these point can be linked back to God’s law, the fact that we have broken that law, and that we rightly deserve the punishment described, and how justice can be satisfied and that punishment averted.
The terrors of hell, and the lake of fire

You will not be in hell enjoying the pleasures of sin with Satan and your buddies.
Satan does not rule hell. It is a punishment for him as it is for us.

Revelation 20:10 – The Devil, the Beast, the False Prophet tormented

Revelation 20:14-15 – Death and Hades (those not in the Lamb’s book of
life) thrown into the lake of fire
            Luke 16 - The rich man begging for one drop of water to soothe his tongue

The Reality of God’s Judgment – God is more than just a God of love
As above, emphasize that God’s wrath is real and deserved.  God’s loving nature is often presented as if it were, for all practical purposes, His only attribute.  Revelation gives much evidence showing this is false.   It shows wrath and final punishment, but it also shows the glorious grace and kindness of God toward those he has redeemed, and the place He has prepared for them.  Be sure to balance them.  We want to bring strong conviction of sin, but not at the expense or to the exclusion of grace.  We want to drive people to Christ, not to despair.
 The great white throne judgment and the Lamb’s book of life – Anyone who’s name is not in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Earth and sky fled from the presence of He who sat on the great white throne.

All of us will be judged by God’s perfect holy standard

Revelation 20:13 - All of us will stand before the great white throne and be judged according to what they have done.
            Revelation 21:8 – Have you committed any of these sins?

The lamb’s book of life – Who’s name will be in it? Will your name be in it?
John 1:29 - The lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world

Revelation 5:6 – Jesus described as a lamb, standing as though slain
In the temple, a perfect lamb was sacrificed to cover sin, but only for a time
Hebrews 7: 23-25 - The former priests were many in number, because
they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds
his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he
is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him,
since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Jesus can take all your sins, permanently. How?

The New Heavens and the New Earth – What God has prepared for those who love Him
The wonders of heaven, and the New Jerusalem

Gold, which many of us would live and die for, is so common and mundane that it is used to pave the streets!

Revelation 21:4 - He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall
be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.”

Jesus is coming soon, and bringing His recompense with Him. (Revelation 22:12) Are you ready?

Additional Verses for Halloween
What God says about the occult:
Deuteronomy 18:10-11- There shall not be found among you anyone who
burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices
divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a
charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,
Are you celebrating Halloween by making entertainment of things God hates?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Psalm 2 & 3 and Project Ezra Intro

Hello Project Ezra!  This week I've done our suggested reading outline, along with and introduction to the group, for those of you who might consider inviting friends to next week's Halloween reading, in video form instead of written.  I pray it is a blessing, and that you will be encouraged to invite your friends and church family to participate in Project Ezra with you.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Job 36 and 37 Revisited – The God of Power and Might

Passage used with first chapters from this list by Tony

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray you are all doing well and are looking forward to sharing the gospel through the reading of God’s word this weekend.  What a privilege it is to be able to read His word!  Our suggested reading for this week is Job 36 and 37.  We used these passages once before during the first couple months of Project Ezra, back in 2009.  In these chapters Elihu is speaking to Job, praising God’s power and majesty, and we want to use the chapter to do the same.  It is amazing to realize that the God who is our creator and our judge, and God who holds all things in the palm of His hand, is the same God who humbled Himself and came to earth to die for our sins.  Because of Jesus Christ we can have an intimacy of relationship with God that is amazing, but often that is emphasized at the expense of God’s greatness and power.  Both truths must be grasped, and the truth of God’s majesty makes the truth of our relationship with Him that much more amazing.  So try to speak of those truths this week, and particularly in relationship to the cross. 

Also, we have one of our larger readings coming up for Halloween.  This is the time to invite friends to join you, so they can see what Project Ezra is about.  We will be using several chapters from the book of Revelation, so it will be easy to have three or four people participate (or more if you want to divide the chapters into smaller pieces, or read more than once), with a chapter per person and another person sharing the gospel at the end.  I’m sure there are many possible locations near you.  I will be outside the bars and clubs with our street preaching team the weekend before Halloween, and outside the World’s Largest Haunted House on the 31st.  Should be an interesting time, and will try to post pictures and video if possible.  I hope many of you will do the same, and with share about those you talked to, so we can pray for them as well.

God bless, and have a great day in the Lord!

All for His glory,

READ JOB 36 AND 37                                                                

These passages describe the God of the Bible

Though the speaker in these passages makes mistakes about how God chooses to act, he is accurate in his description of God's character

He is a God different from what many people imagine, and possibly different from the God you believe in

Not a God who exists for the purpose of our pleasure, or who is obligated to answer your every desire

Not one god among many, or one choice among many equals

God is not part of a belief system that may or may not work for you

The God of the Bible is THE God!  The only God.

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:

“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”
 Isaiah 44:6-8

He is the creator and sustainer of all that exists.

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.  Colossians 1:15-17

God is great, and mighty, and powerful

All that exists is His, and is a demonstration of who He is

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.  Psalm 19:1-3

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20

And these chapters in Job also remind us of His power

They tell us that by His hands the clouds are formed and the rain falls

By His will the lightning flashes and the thunder finds its voice

In fact, His voice is described as thundering majestically, and we are told He is clothed with awesome majesty

Scripture says it is by His word that the wind blows, and the skies are spread like a cast metal mirror

His existence and power are evident, and we all know it

But our sinfulness and rebellion before Him is also evident

He is mighty, and we are His enemies, in rebellion against Him

Power is a dangerous thing if you are at odds with it

Look at God’s holy law, and listen to your conscience, and see how you stand before Him


Job 36:23-24 Tells us of God’s justice and abundant righteousness

But no man is righteous, and we are thus deserving of His judgment, and an eternity in hell

Revelation 14:10-11 - he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Revelation 21:8 - 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.”

Hell is a horrible place.  I don’t want to go there, and I don’t want any of you to go there either

The good news is this: Despite His power and His anger at us, He chose to show us mercy

Jesus, God the Son, humbled Himself, took on human flesh, and died that we might live

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus Christ, John 1 tells us, is and was God, yet took on human flesh, and lives among us.

He lived the perfect life none of us could, then willingly went to the cross to pay the price none of us could pay.

On that cross God’s anger and hatred toward sin was poured out on him, so it wouldn’t have to be poured out on us.

And as Jesus surrendered His spirit to His father, He said “It is finished!” letting us know the debt for our sins had been paid in full.

But we do not serve a dead God, but a living God.

Three days after His death, Jesus rose again from the dead, and is alive today!

And now He commands all men everywhere to repent and trust in Him alone for salvation

There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved than the name of Jesus Christ

So today, hear God’s command and accept the sacrifice paid for your sake.

Repent, or turn from your sins, and trust in Christ alone.

Don’t trust in religious ritual, or your own good works to save you.  They won’t.

Trust in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, and be saved!


Friday, October 5, 2012

2 Thessalonians 1 and 2, and Our 200th Post!

Hello Project Ezra!  Believe it or not, this is our 200th post!  It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but since this group was started by Tony Miano back in 2009, following the first Mission Good Friday, a lot has happened.  It has been a true blessing to me.  It has forced me to grow, and to dig deeper into scripture than I ever had before.   I am often amazed at the treasures hiding in portions of scripture seldom read by most church-goers.  I know there have been many who have been encouraged over these several years, but I am sure I have been much more encouraged by the faithfulness many of you have shown, and the testimonies you have shared.  I pray that this will just the beginnings of a group that will last for many more years to come, and by which God will call many more laborers into the harvest fields. 

We have one of our major events taking place at the end of this month, our yearly Halloween outreach.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that at this time of year sin is very often celebrated, with all varieties of sexual immorality and all thinks dark and terrible are given center stage and being glorified.  I hate Halloween, but I love the opportunity it provides to share the gospel.  I would encourage you to start inviting friends now, and to start checking local newspapers and news websites for information on Halloween activities, parties, and haunted houses.  All will provide ample opportunity for tracting, one-on-one conversations, and open-air preaching.  I believe scripture reading is particularly powerful in such circumstances, and we will be reading from the book of Revelation, as usual.  This is the type of outreach I would not suggest taking on alone.  Christ send his disciples out two by two for a reason, and particularly around Halloween people’s inhibitions often disappear, not to mention many people in masks.  So do be careful and bring backup.  I’ll have more details on the event up here and on Facebook soon.

As some of you likely know, Project Ezra founder Tony Miano has now moved into missionary work as a full time public evangelist and open air preachers.  I would highly encourage you to consider supporting him as His family as they follow the Lord’s calling on his life.  Tony’s ministry has been a great blessing to me, and I’m sure to many of you, so at the very least, please be in prayer for the Miano family.  And if it is possible, please consider supporting him yourself, or asking your church to take him on as a supported missionary.  He is also available for speaking engagements.  His web site is

This week we will be reading the first and second chapter of 2nd Thessalonians.  It’s another powerful reminder of the truth of God’s judgment, and the fact that unbelief is not primarily an intellectual problem, but a moral problem.  People reject God because they hate His law and love their own sin, not because they don’t know Him or about Him.  The scriptures say exactly the opposite, that we all know Him and are without excuse, and it’s not hard to find that truth in conversations with those who have rejected Christ. 

I vividly recall a conversation two friends and I had with a couple young men, a few months ago while sharing the gospel in a local town center.  The young men, one of whom professed to be a believer while the other did not, where going to a local night spot specifically for the purpose of drinking heavily.  They were very open to conversation and we spent an hour or more going through the gospel in depth, and reminding them of the seriousness of their condition before God.  Finally, one of the young me (who did not profess Christ), after stating that he believed everything we had said was true, thanked us very kindly and very sincerely for our time, and stated that he was going to get drunk anyway.  He knew he was in sin, he knew the terrible consequences if he died in his sin that night, but he loved his sin too much to turn from it.  He loved his sin more than he loved or feared God, and that is exactly the condition of most of our world.

So this weekend, I pray that the Holy Spirit will work through the reading of and preaching of His word, and that, by His grace, a few like these young men might be brought to a saving knowledge of Him.  I will be praying for you all, and I look forward to hearing what God does.

All for His glory,



In this passage we hear about the return of Jesus Christ, and His judgment

We are told of those that are perishing refused to love the truth and be saved

More frighteningly , we are told that because of their rejection on God’s truth, God will drive them into further deception

God tells us that those who did not believe the truth, and took pleasure in unrighteousness, will be given a strong delusion, so that they will believe a lie, in order that they may be condemned

Why do so many people reject God and His word?

God is not rejected or ignored because of lack of evidence, or knowledge

People reject the truth of God because they want to, because they love their sin

I would ask you to consider your own heart.  Does this describe you?

That truth is between you and God.  I am not your judge.

But I pray that you will look at yourself in truth, and in light of God’s truth, so that you will not be driven into further deception

God’s word tells us every one of us has knowledge of Him, and has no excuse in denying His existence

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)

This perfectly describes what many people do in denying God

God also tells us he has written His law on our hearts

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  (Romans 2:15 ESV)

So look at yourself in light of that law, and that knowledge, and see yourself in truth

God’s word tells us all have sinned and fallen short of His glory

And all sin is primarily against God, and is a denial of His rule over our lives

We deny God to escape the guilt of our lies.  But the God of truth is not fooled.  We are only lying to ourselves.

We are thieves, not only stealing from those around us, but stealing glory from God by denying Him and our duty to worship and serve Him

Just as we look with lust and thus commit adultery in our hearts, we are also unfaithful to the God who gave us life, and by whose mercy we are given all good things.

When we hate, and thus commit murder in our hearts, we are taking something that is not ours to take, but which belongs to God.

And as James 2:10 reminds us that if we fail in one point of His law, we are guilty of breaking all of it.

In truth, we are all guilty before God, and though the God of the Bible is loving, patient and forgiving, He is also a God of wrath and justice.

This passage tells us of God’s justice.  Jesus Christ will descend from heaven in flaming fire with an army of mighty angels, and will inflict vengeance on those who are in rebellion against Him

For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  (Hebrews 10:30-31 ESV)

But because of God’s patience and love, He provided a way for us to escape his righteous vengeance, and to be cleansed of our sin.

That way is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ himself. 

Jesus Christ, God the Son, though He is the deliverer of the judgment of God, is also our one escape from it.

2000 years ago He humbled himself, took on human flesh, and came to live among us

He lived the absolutely perfect life that none of us could live, fulfilling God’s law in every detail.

Then He went to a Roman cross, not by force, but willingly

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, Jesus blood was shed as payment for sin.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

Jesus died a horrible bloody death on a Roman cross, then was laid in a borrowed tomb.

But three days later, He rose again from the dead, proving His power over death and proving who He was

He now sits at the right hand of the Father as our advocate, or lawyer for the Day of Judgment.

And if we will repent, or turn from our sins, and put our trust in Him, and in Him alone, then we will be cleansed of our sins by the power of His blood, and will be see at righteous because of His righteousness.

So now, while God has graciously given you time, turn from your sin, and your rebellion, and fix your eyes on Christ.

Only He was truly God and truly man.  Only He lived the perfect life none of us could ever hope to live.

Only He laid His life down for our sake.  And only He rose again to stand for us in the courtroom of God.

So turn today and put your trust in Jesus Christ to save you.

Today is the appointed time, today is the day of salvation.  So turn today, and be saved!