Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday Suggested Readings/Verses - Acts 17

Hello Project Ezra, and for those in the States, Happy Thanksgiving!   I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing day.  I also hope and pray that many of you are getting prepared to head out tonight or tomorrow morning to share the gospel with the Black Friday crowds.  For those of you who have not chosen to brave the crowds to snap up that really cheap Christmas present or latest TV/Computer/Game System/Smart Phone, Black Friday is by far the busiest shopping day of the year, and the evening/morning crowds at your local Walmart or Best Buy can provide a good opportunity to share the gospel through tracting or open-air preaching.  Do be careful, since some of the crowds will be on private property, and some late night shoppers can be cranky (DON’T go alone), but don’t miss the opportunity.  Millions will be out, many of them seeking to further support their idolatrous, me-centered lifestyle, and desperately in need of Christ,  the only true source of meaning and purpose.

We have used Acts 17 as our Black Friday/Thanksgiving suggested reading in the past, and it is still a great choice.  While those at the Areopagus spent their time looking for new ideas and beliefs, many in our day spend their lives looking for the newest fashion, the newest electronic device, or one of a host of other things that promise fulfillment that they cannot and never will satisfy.  They are really very much alike, below the surface, so this passage provides a great message.  I’ve also included a couple other passages, which you may want to use in place of (or more likely along with) Acts 17, which address some of the same issues.  You may also want to include several passages regarding being thankful to God for what we have already received, and particularly for the greatest gift of all, salvation through the blood of Christ.

I’ll be heading out for Black Friday myself soon (I work in the retail industry, and don’t have an option), and I look forward to hearing your testimonies and seeing your videos and pictures when I get back, sometime tomorrow.  I’ll be praying for the outreach, and God willing, will be heading out Saturday evening to share with and preach to those visiting a local Christmas event.  I’ll be praying for all of you, and would appreciate your prayers as well, for Black Friday and the outreach as well.  May God be glorified as His word is preached!!

All for His glory,

Paul in Athens
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  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.”

Proverbs 30:7-9 - Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of God.

Matthew 6:19-34 - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2013 & Project Ezra Holiday Plans

Hello Project Ezra!  It’s been a few weeks now, and I hope you are all doing well.  For those who did not read our most recent post, the project is undergoing some renovation and re-thinking.  Due a variety of factors, Tony Miano and I have been talking over changing the format and frequency of posts.  We are still considering exactly what that will look like, but for now we will likely be doing a smaller number of more focused reading, particularly around days and seasons where they can have the largest impact.  That was the original format of the project, so we will likely move back in that direction.  A list of suggested holidays is below, and we would love your feedback.  These are primarily US holidays, so we would particularly like feedback from those overseas, and more information on holidays where you are, so we can work on integrating them as much as possible.  However, nothing is final, and we are still talking about and praying about the future.  Your prayers would be very much appreciated as well.

Next week is the official start of the holiday shopping season here in the States.  For those abroad, next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, followed by Black Friday, by far the biggest shopping day of the year.  If you haven’t been out on Black Friday before (I certainly wouldn’t be if I didn’t work in the retail industry), people will be out in droves, many from the early hours of the morning until late in the evening, trying to get the best deals on their Christmas gifts.  Malls will be packed, shopping districts will be packed, and the heavy vehicle and foot traffic means plenty of opportunities to pass out tracts and preach the gospel.   I would encourage you not to go alone (people who have been up all night can get a little tense), so this is the perfect time to gather some friends and members of your church body, and make a short-term missions trip out of it.  Even if you can't make it on Friday, the whole weekend with be a shopping frenzy, so find a different time if you have to, but be sure to get our there! 

I'll be posting some suggested passages for the reading this weekend, so be looking for those.  Be sure to take a look at and sign up for our Facebook Event HERE, if you are on Facebook, and share with your friends.  Also, when you do sign up, let us know where you will be participating.  I will be putting together a participation map, which I will be sharing on the event page.  And finally, if you would like to be part of our event prayer team, please let me know.  I will have a separate list for our prayer team, hopefully with more specific information and updates.

Thanks again for joining us.  I'm looking forward to your event reports, pictures, and videos.  May God be glorified!

All for His glory,


Suggested Project Ezra Events for the Next Year
November 28th/29th     Thanksgiving/Black Friday 

December 25th     Christmas

January 31st     Chinese New Year 

February 14th     Valentines Day

March 17th     St. Patrick's Day

April 20th     Easter Sunday

May 5th     Cinco De Mayo

May 25th     Memorial Day

July 4th      Independence Day (US)

September 1st     Labor Day

October 31st     Halloween

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reworking Project Ezra

Hello all!  You may have noticed, if you follow this blog regularly (and I hope you do), that there have been no posts for the last couple weeks.  My apologies for those who were looking for them.  Don't worry, Project Ezra is not going away.  However, due to a number of factors (decreased readership, additional ministry responsibilities, etc.), we are looking at reworking the project, so that we can still encourage others in preaching the gospel from the word, while meeting other obligations.  We are still planning to have posts for Black Friday/Thanksgiving and for Christmas, so please be looking for those.  We will also be posting soon to let you know what changes, if any, we will to our weekly posts going forward.  We covet your prayers, and your feedback, as we look at what the Lord would have us do with this ministry in the future.  Thanks!

Dan Beaudoin
Project Ezra Administrator