Monday, March 25, 2013

Mission Good Friday - Year 5!

This is the fifth anniversary of Mission Good Friday, the event which became Project Ezra.  Mission Good Friday was started by Tony Miano of Cross Encounters (who was at that time with Living Waters, and is now a full time missionary street preacher) just a week before Easter, 2009.  Since then many people around the country and the world have been encouraged, through Project Ezra, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ by the reading of scripture.  Some who participate are seasoned public evangelists and street preachers, but many have shared the gospel in public for the first time as part of Project Ezra.  We are praying that you will consider doing the same, and will encourage the Christian brothers and sisters around you to do the same.  All it takes is a spot where the public gather, or with good foot traffic, a Bible, your voice, and your bold desire to bring glory to God through the saving of souls.  Just find a stool, ladder, bench, concrete wall, or anything else that will give you elevation, open your Bible and your mouth, and proclaim the glories of the God who gave you life.  His word will never return void, so step out in faith and read the account of His incredible redemption of sinful man through the blood of His son.  Please share this with friends, and post it wherever you can.  The text below is an outline of what Mission Good Friday is, taken from previous years.  If anyone has any more specific questions about how they can get involved, feel free to contact me HERE.


The mission is simple and can be accomplished anywhere.

This is a call to all Christians everywhere, whether or not you are a street evangelist.

Find a public place--preferably a place where people gather (the size of the crowd matters not). Climb atop a box. Open your Bible. And read Matthew 26-28 (that's right: all of it) aloud, using the voice the Good Lord gave you.

If you have never open-air preached, and you don't think you are ready to do so, then simply read the text with love in your heart--love for God and love for lost people. The Scriptures can speak for themselves. The Word of God is true, powerful, and entirely sufficient.

Open-air preachers: Read Matthew 26-28 as your springboard for heralding the Law and the Gospel.

Join me in bringing Good Friday to the people who likely will not darken the door of your church.

Think of it. Men and women around the world, in large cities and small towns, reading the Gospel to the lost.

Who's with me?!

Now, for our fifth anniversary, the challenge is the same. The book of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

So let’s go out, and let the living and active word of God pierce the hearts of those in our community this Good Friday. If you are an active member of Project Ezra, or even if you are not, and challenge you not only to participate in our anniversary reading, but to invite others to participate with you. We will be reading three chapters, and it is easy to divide them up so multiple people can read. Also, please post this on your social networking profiles and email it to friends and family, and let’s let more believers know about Project Ezra. More and more, people are falling away from the Church. Inviting people to church is fine, but what if they won’t come? Then we need to go to them! The book of Romans says:

Romans 10:14 - How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

It is possible that through the reading of God’s word, and through public evangelism, you or I may have the amazing privilege of being the instrument God uses to bring the gospel to someone for the very first time, or be the encouragement he uses to draw someone to repentance and faith. Why would you not want to be part of that? What could be more joyous?

So start praying and preparing now. The event is up on the Project Ezra Facebook page HERE, and I will be making up a Google map for the event, so be sure to sign up for the event and post your location on the event wall.  This has been a great encouragement to people in the past, and I think it's time to start it again.  Also, please try to post all your pictures to the main page photo album in the future, so they will still be visible after the event expires. Let’s see how many people we can get to participate in our anniversary event and start into our fifth year strong. Thanks so much to all of you for being part of Project Ezra, and please pray that the group will continue to make an impact for the glory of God and the edification of his saints.

All for His glory!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Psalm 36 - No Fear of God Before Their Eyes

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray you are all doing well.  I’m keeping this week’s outline short, since I still have a lot to do on Mission Good Friday, but this week’s passage is an excellent one.  I’m sure most of you know that the verse and chapter divisions we see in our Bibles were not in the originals, but were added long afterwards, probably during the 13th century.  But sometimes, there are two lines of thought that are so distinct that I almost wonder if the chapter divisions shouldn’t be different.  This is the case with Psalm 36.  Verses one through four talk about the wickedness in the hearts of men, and the rest of the chapter talks primarily of God’s steadfast love and goodness.  Of course, the two are in no way mutually exclusive, and that is part of the point of this week’s reading.  The beginning of the outline addresses those with no fear of God before their eyes, and later sections show God’s steadfast love as demonstrated in the cross.

Don’t forget that Mission Good Friday is just a week away.  We have had quite a few people sign up, and are praying for more.  There is still plenty of time to gather a group and plan a trip to your local downtown area, shopping district, park, bus stop, or anywhere else where people gather.  Many people open air preached for the first time through Project Ezra, and specifically through Mission Good Friday.  Though it was not my first time, it was one of my first, and is one of the reasons I was able to continue preaching regularly.  I would be willing to bet that each person reading this either is a person who needs that encouragement, or knows someone who needs it.  So plan now to join us on the streets next Friday.  We would love to have you, and God will be glorified through your obedience.

See you on the streets, and pray for many testimonies of hearts changed by the gospel.

All for His glory,



This passage tells us the wicked man has no fear of his God before his eyes

He flatters himself that his transgression cannot be found out and hated

Transgression is sin, and every one of us has tried to hide their sin

Every one of us has imagined that those things we do and think in private are ours alone, and are not known to anyone else.

But God knows every thought, word and deed

He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows our hearts 

And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)

He knows our transgression.  And He hates it.

Some don’t believe God hates, because the Bible says He is a God of love.

Indeed He is loving, but He is also just and holy.

God hates sin.  And we are sinners.

Most of us are quick to spot sin in others.  Do you see it in yourself?

Take a moment to look at yourself in light of God’s moral law


Those who have sinned against God deserve nothing but His justice

The Bible tells us people will be punished in a place called Hell, a place of darkness and fire and pain.  That punishment will last for all of eternity

Does this mean God is evil?  No, it means He is just.  This is the justice we deserve for our moral crimes against God’s perfect holiness

But Psalm 36 also speaks of God’s steadfast love.  God is not only a just judge, but a loving Father

And because of that love, God made a way for our sins to be paid for, so we would not have to go to Hell

He demonstrated that love through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His work on the cross.

God tells us this:
2Co_5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1Pe_2:24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

On the cross, all God’s anger, hatred, and wrath toward sin was poured out on Jesus Christ so it did not have to be poured out on us.

Romans 3:20-26
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

So the cross of Christ is a demonstration both of God’s justice, and His mercy

And blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin (Rom 4:8)

What about your sin?  Is your sin counted against you, or have you given it to Christ?

Simply believing Christ existed isn’t enough.  Simply believing He died and rose is not enough.  Faith is more than knowledge.

To be saved means to turn from your sin and place your trust in Christ alone, and in the 
word He has done, to save you.

Do that today!  Turn from your sin and trust Christ. 

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that nobody comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6)

So come to Him.  Turn from your sins and turn to the savior today, while He has given you time.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Job 26 – Consider the Nature of God

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray you are doing well.  This week’s suggested reading is Job 26.  It is another passage in which we and the listeners are challenged to consider the nature of God.  It seems that many people, though they may profess otherwise, live as if God is very small.  They act as if He either doesn’t care what they do, or has no power to react even if He does care.  They live as practical atheists, believing only so long as it doesn’t interfere with their personal choices.  I don’t know if that applies to those talking to Job, but it does to many in our day, and because of that the message has impact.  I pray it will impact those who hear it this weekend, and that it will be an encouragement to you as well.  It’s easy for us a Christians to slip toward compromise as well, and we should constantly be in prayer for the wisdom to understand and follow God’s word faithfully.  I pray this is a blessing.

All for His glory,



In this passage, Job is challenging his accusers to consider the truth of who God is.  He is challenging them to consider His nature.

Today we would like to challenge you to consider the same thing.

Listen to the words of Job, and consider them yourselves

Job asked, “With whose help have you uttered words, and whose breath has come out of you?”

God is the creator and sustainer of life.  It is He who gives us breath.

Job said “The dead tremble under the waters and their inhabitants.  Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.”

This life, and the next life, are under God’s control

He said “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.”

The world and the universe are His creation, and His to control.

He says “These are just the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him.”

All power is His

"The thunder of His power, who can understand?"

God’s power is indeed beyond our understanding

Look around at His creation, and consider the power it would take to create, and to sustain that creation

You are at the mercy of that power, and on the wrong side of it.

But more than that, look at the complexity of the world and think of the intelligence behind such design

That intelligence sees you, and knows your every thought

Not only does God have all power, but He has all knowledge

And God is good.  He is perfectly good, pure, and righteous.

What should a good God, with all knowledge, and all power, do with people like us?

Imaging you could hook a computer hard drive up to your brain, and download every thought that has gone through your mind in the last week.

Now imagine we took that hard drive, hooked it up to a big screen TV, and invited all your friends and family to come over and watch it.  What would they see?

They would see your lies, exaggerations, and half-truths, all of which are sins before God.

They would see your lust.  All of us have had impure thoughts about those we are not married to. 

Jesus called those thoughts adultery, and Revelation tells us that adulterers will one day be cast into a lake of fire, what we usually call Hell.

They would see your hate and anger.  Hate is murder of the heart, and we know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

They would see our coveting. Have you ever taken a moment to consider how selfish and greedy you really are?

They would see these and much more.  They would see wickedness beyond imagination
Would you be comfortable with that?

No, of course not.  You would never want to see those people again.  You would be horribly humiliated.

You and I have both had thoughts run through our minds in the last week that are so vile, so wicked, that we would not share them with our closest friend.

Yet God sees and knows every one of those thought.  He knows every thought you have ever had, even those you forgot long ago.

And we will be judged by those thoughts, just as we will be our actions.

God is good.  And we are not.  God is a good judge, and we are guilty criminals

We deserve nothing but justice for our wickedness.

Hebrews 10 tells us it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God

But though that power can be terrible, it can also be wonderful

The power that can crush can also heal.

The greatest miracle, the greatest act of God’s power and healing, is the saving of a soul

Ezekiel 36 says God will take out your heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh

2 Corinthians 5 says He will make you a new creation.  He will remake you from the inside.

This change of heart, this new creation, comes when you repent and trust in Jesus Christ.

2000 years ago Jesus Christ came to earth.  God became flesh and chose to live with His creation.

He lived for about  30 years.  He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed thousands with a few loafs of bread, and calmed storms with a word.

Then He went to a cross, and bled and died, that those who believed in Him might be saved.

But He didn't stay in the grave.  He rose again on the third day, as He had prophecied He would.

Christians serve a living God!

Are you trusting in that living God?  Or are you trusting in a dead, or imaginary god?

A god who is not pure, who is not holy, and who is not good can not pay for your sins.

But if you will turn from your sin, and turn to Jesus Christ, trusting in Him alone, you will be saved.

So turn.  Turn to the God who is mighty to save.

Turn to the God who created all, yet who humbled Himself and lived among His creation.

Turn to the God who sees all our sin, knows how wicked we are, and chose to come to save us anyway.

Turn to the only true God, and live!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Revelation 18 - Babylon Today

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray that you are doing well, and it is a privilege to share with and encourage you again this week.  I pray that you will consider encouraging your friends and church family in sharing the gospel as well.  If you are anything like me (and I’m guessing at least a few of you are), then it is much easier to share Christ with encouragement and accountability.  It took an evangelism training seminar and a local public evangelism team to really get me motivated.  I believe that, by God’s grace and His conviction, that I would have been led to Biblical public evangelism anyway, but it would have been a much more difficult process.  I’m sure there are people around you who are wanting and waiting for that encouragement as well.

With that in mind, we are now about three weeks away from Mission Good Friday, year 5!  It’s amazing to think about how much God has done and how faithful He has been over the last four years.  Many have been introduced to public evangelism and street preaching, and have shared the word in public for the first time, through the working of the Holy Spirit in this group.  Often I feel like I’m just along for the ride, watching what He has done in many of you and reading your testimonies, and it is absolutely thrilling!  I would encourage you to step even farther out of your comfort zone, and make a point of bringing at least one other person with you this year.  I’ll put together an information sheet and post it on the event page soon.  I expect to put up the event page this weekend, so be looking for it and praying about who you can invite.

This week’s reading is Revelation chapter18, and talks about the fall of the wicked city of Babylon.  In reading the chapter it was impossible not to see parallels between Babylon in the ancient world and our country in our day.  In my case, living less than an hour from San Francisco in California, a city known for sin and particularly alternative lifestyles, sometimes I wonder if it isn’t worse today than it was then!  But worse or not, there is certainly a lesson to be learned and preached to our society, particularly in the wealthy Western culture.  So this week I took the example of Babylon and tried to draw some parallels with our day, and then moved the discussion to more personal sin.  Don’t forget that many, though they admit they are sinners, think it’s a small thing since after all, everyone else does too.  They think God can’t condemn everyone.  But He could, and it is only through His grace shown on the cross that He doesn’t, so make sure that truth is clear.  I pray that it is a blessing and an encouragement, and that hearts are impacted.

All for His glory,


Babylon is frequently referred to in the Bible as an example of the worst rebellion against God, and the worst moral depravity

The Bible also frequently talks about the ultimate destruction that will come on Babylon because of her sin

Many of the sins that were true of Babylon are also true of our country today

We worship the gods of money and pleasure, and have little care for the things of God

If there is a natural disaster somewhere, a mass shooting or act of terrorism, we may thing about God and eternal things for a short time, or show up at church for a Sunday or two, but
then most of us will go right back to our worship of money, power and pleasure.

The Bible says that God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11).  It would be foolish to think that God isn’t horribly angry with our country.

If you don’t think God has reason to be angry with us, consider our country’s sin before God.

Consider our adultery.  Broken marriages and families abound.  Many couples live in sin and never consider marriage.  The God-given institution of marriage is redefined to include same sex unions that the Bible calls wicked and pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Yet God tells us that no adulterer will inherit the Kingdom of God.

Consider out murder.  We glorify violence on television and in video games, and then wonder why our young men, who have been told by our schools that they have no purpose in life, go on shooting rampages.  And in the name of choice we have slaughtered 25% of our unborn children over the last 40 years.  Yet God’s word tells us no murderer, whether in fact or even in thought, has eternal life in him.

Consider our blasphemy.  Misusing God’s name is so common and so accepted that we think nothing of it when we hear if on TV or in the movies, and it frequently rolls off our lips if we are frustrated or angry.  Yet we know from scripture that God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.

Consider our coveting.  Our whole economic structure seems to be built on greed.  What we want seldom has much to do with our needs.  It has to do with our public image, with impressing our friends and neighbors, and with keeping up with the latest trends.  We spend thousands of dollars on clothing, cars, and electronic trinkets while the spiritual treasures God offers are laughed at and families in poor countries, or even here in our own country, go for days without food.

One day, God will judge this country for its wickedness, as He did Babylon.

None of us know when that day will come, but even if the United States continues for a thousand years, all of you will stand before God in less than 100.

When you do stand before God, will you be good enough to enter heaven?
No.  None of us will.  Even if you believe you have no guilt for our country’s sins, you have plenty of your own.

You are a liar, like we all are.  And all liars will one day be cast into the Lake of Fire, the second death.

You are a thief, like I am.  And thieves who are judged by God’s perfect justice will not enter His kingdom, but will feel His wrath.

In truth, every man, woman and child is a guilty sinner, deserving of only God’s judgment.

But though Hell is what we have earned, our Creator is not only just, but merciful

God’s justice and holiness mean sin must be punished, so He Himself chose to carry that punishment.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth 2000 years ago, not to Babylon, but to Jerusalem

He came to the one city which should have immediately recognized His identity and His mission.  Yet they rejected Him.

He lived a perfect life, obeyed His Father in every thought, word and deed, and then died a perfect death for the sake of His children.

The anger, hate, and wrath that we rightly deserved was put on Him, the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for sin, and our debt to His perfect law was discharged.

Then He rose again, proving His power over death, and now sits in power in heaven, as our eternal mediator and high priest.

And now, because of that perfect life and glorious resurrection, you can be made right with God, through the one mediator Jesus Christ, if you will repent of your sin and turn to Him in faith.

Repentance is a change in direction, and a change in heart.  True repentance is when you take your eyes from your sin, which you love and God hates, and fix them on Christ instead.

With repentance must come faith, since they are two sides of the same coin.  Faith in trust placed in Christ, and Him alone, to save you from your sins.

Only Jesus Christ was, and is, God in human flesh.  Only He lived the perfect life we could never live.  Only He died the death we deserved.  And only He rose to stand as our mediator, our advocate, with God the Father.  Therefore, only through Jesus Christ can any man be saved!

My friends, have you done that?  Have you turned from your sin?  Have you put your faith in Christ alone?

Life is short.  Psalm 103:15-16 says “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”

Though we hope you will live many years, even the rest of tonight is not guaranteed to any of us.

God has been very patient to us all.  It may be that the only reason you are still living is that God is waiting for you to repent and trust in Him.  And He tells us that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn and live (Eze 18:23).

So today, while He has given you time, turn to Christ and live!