Monday, June 30, 2014

First John on July 4th, 2014

Hello Project Ezra! It’s time for our next reading, First John on July 4th.  The 4th is Friday, so there is still time to talk to your friends and church family about you in participating in this year’s reading.  You can participate anytime this weekend, though Thursday or Friday will probably be the best days.  If you want to spend the evening of the 4th with your family, look for a local picnic, parade, or the like, and go there.  They make perfect venues for reading and open-air preaching.

1st John is five chapters long, and the chapters are not very long.  its a good book for dividing up, so if you bring someone along, even if they may not have been planning to read, encourage them to do so anyway.  It’s also got an amazing amount passages that are good transitions into the gospel.  It’s one of my favorite books to read from before I open-air preach, particularly since it deals so directly with those who falsely profess Christ.  When I meet someone who states that they are a Christian, but I have questions due to their behavior, this is the book I recommend they read.  A false believer will have a hard time getting through 1 John without being seriously convicted, so use that to your advantage.  Press people on the passages regarding false conversion, and encourage them to take out their own Bibles when they get home, and read it for themselves.

 If you invite a friend or two to join you, recommend that they visit our Facebook page below, and let us know where they will be participating, and who they will be joining. The group has been very slow of late, and I would like to post an outreach report this year, so if you are able to provide pictures, video, or a written testimony, please send them to me or post them on the event page, which is now up.

Project Ezra on Facebook:

Here are a few suggestions for gospel springboards that I have shared in past years.  You can use one of these, combine them, or use your own.  But more than anything, please be sure to spend time in prayer and in study of the scriptures to prepare yourself, intellectually and spiritually, to share the gospel in a way that honors and glorifies God.  Don’t forget, we are just the vehicle that caries the message.  By God’s grace we have the incredible privilege of being used for His purposes, and of seeing His power in operation.  But the work is not ours, it’s His. 

Please be sure to post your location on the event wall, so we know where you will be reading and so others can be praying for you.  May God be glorified in your obedience!

All for His glory,

1 John 1:1-4  The words of life, being manifest through Christ Jesus, with the Apostles as eyewitnesses

1 John 1:5-10  Walking in the light, confessing our sin, and being cleansed by the blood of Christ.  If we say we have not sinned, His word is not in us.

1 John 2: 1-2  Jesus Christ, the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 2:3-6  Walking in obedience out of love for Christ

1 John 2:15-17  Do not love the world.  The world passing away along with its desires

1 John 2:18-28  The Antichrists, the deceivers who deny the Father and the Son

1 John 3:4-10  The practices of sin and righteousness.  The fruit of true repentance and faith

1 John 4:1-6  Test the spirits.  The Spirit of God and the spirit of error

1 John 4:7-12  The love of God made manifest through us in Christ Jesus

1 John 5:1-5  Those born of God overcoming the world

1 John 6:6-12  The testimony of God concerning His son.  He who has the Son has life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sermon on the Mount Saturday 2014

Sermon on the Mount Saturday 2014
Hello Project Ezra!  It’s almost time for this year’s Sermon on the Mount Saturday.  It kind of snuck up on me this year (again), but I will still be reading the Sermon on the Mount this Friday and Saturday outside a local anime convention, and pray you all will participate in your neighborhood, and invite your believing friends to participate as well.  The mission is this:

Invite a few friends to join you in taking to the streets this Saturday

Choose a spot with good foot traffic, or where people gather

Climb up on a bench, box, ladder, or something else that elevates you

Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and share the truth of the gospel

Be ready with tracts and Bibles for the follow-up conversations that follow!

There are lots of different places you could go for this reading.  A local park, particularly one with picnic tables (which are very likely to be used this weekend), a downtown shopping area (lots of sales going on), or near sporting events or parades are all excellent places to read the word.  Find a spot that allows many people to hear, but try to avoid blocking foot traffic or setting up right in the middle of someone's event.  The message of the gospel is offensive enough.  We don't want our personal behavior to add to the offense.

The Sermon on the Mount is one of those passages in scripture that I believe provides very easy jumping-off points into the gospel, and I would suggest that you read through the Sermon on the Mount, and spend some time considering what you should focus on.  I will be posting some suggested springboard as well in the next day or two, but there is no substitute for spending time in prayer and meditation on the God’s word.  Consider reading through it once or twice a day, as part of your devotional time, and praying for God’s leading.

If you will be participating, be sure to join our Facebook event (see below), and pass it on to your believing friends through social media.  I look forward to hearing what God does through you this weekend.

All for His glory,

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mission Good Friday  Suggested Gospel Springboards 

Hello Project Ezra!  It's time to start our readings for this year's Mission Good Friday.  Though today is the official day, any day surrounding the Easter holiday will work just fine.  People will be thinking about Easter this weekend, but very few will be thinking about the death and resurrection of Christ, the true meaning of Easter.  That's why we will be going to the streets, to share that message with many who will not hear it otherwise.  Please pray that God will work in a powerful way, and that hearts will be changed and souls saved.  

Matthew 26 through 28 is the Easter story, so it is the passage we have chosen for this reading.  If you are an experienced open-air preacher, you will likely be able to find multiple points of entry into a good gospel presentation.  For those of you will less experience, here are some things to consider when using this, or any, passage of scripture for evangelism:   

What the passage says and doesn't say - Some pastors, and some open air preachers, will try to shoe-horn the entire message of the gospel into any passage they read.  If you do so, you are not handling the Bible rightly.  What you should try to do, if the message is not explicit, is to look at the passage and see what it's focus is.  Some will cover aspects of sin or judgment, some will talk about God's mercy, or grace, or goodness, some will recount details of the life of Christ, and almost all will have something to tell us about the nature of God.  Try to read the passage with an eye to the original intent of the author, and find the place that point has in a Biblical gospel presentation.  

The Nature of God - The gospel is what it is because of who God is.  His nature and character is why Jesus came to die and rise again.  A good idea is to contrast our nature with God's, and explain why that is a problem.  Then explain the solution.  Consider these:  
God is good, and we are not. What must a good God do with people like us?                                   

God is a good judge and we are guilty criminals.  What must a good judge do with criminals like us?  If He is a good judge, He must insure that justice is satisfied.                                                           

What if someone paid the fine and satisfied justice so we could go free?  What if that someone were God Himself?  God demonstrated His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God is a good and loving God.  But because He is just, He cannot ignore sin.  Instead, He paid for it on the cross.

Be sure you cover the basics - Every gospel presentation, and every open-air preaching session, will be different.  This is due to the change in the scriptures used, the audience, the location/situation, and even the convictions of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer at that time.  But regardless of the situation, we want to make sure that we cover the basics of the gospel.  A general outline is below.
            God created this world perfect 

But mankind, out of pride, chose to rebel and fell into sin 

Now, all men are born sinners, in rebellion against their creator 

And because of our rebellion, we are deserving of God's justice 

The scriptures tell us that justice will be carried out in a very real place called Hell 

But because God is not only a just judge, but also a loving Father, He made a way for justice to be satisfied, so we would not have to go to Hell 

Jesus Christ, God the Son, humbled Himself and came to earth 

He lived the perfect life that none of us did, and then died a perfect death on a Roman cross 

On the cross, all God's anger and wrath toward sin was poured out on Him, so it would not have to be poured out on us. 

Then He rose on the third day, as He had prophesied He would, and after appearing to His disciples, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven. 

He now sits as both judge, and advocate, and if we will turn from our sins and to the free gift of grace offered by our one true savior, then the price of our sins will be satisfied, we will be seen as righteous before God, and we will be free. 

Then we will spend eternity in loving relationship and worship of God, as we were designed to do. 

I pray that this is helpful, and I look forward to hearing how your readings went.  God bless, and have a great Easter weekend!!

All for His glory,
Dan B.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mission Good Friday 2014

Hello Project Ezra!  I know the group has been dormant for a while, but we are now approaching the 6th anniversary of Mission Good Friday, the event that started Project Ezra, so it’s time to get going again.   
So what is Project Ezra about?  The idea is simple.  We suggest a passage of scripture, along with some ideas on how you can use that passage to transition into the message of the gospel.  You can choose to use that passage, or pick your own.  Then you invite your friends and church family to join you.  People around the country (and often several other countries) do the same.  Then you pick a spot in a public area with good foot traffic, climb up onto a bench, box, ladder or stool, and read the passage aloud.  If there are several in your group, you can split the passage up and each read a section.  If you have people on your team with experience in sharing the gospel, they can do so, either one-on-one with those who stop to listen, or aloud from the box.  And most of all, pray that God’s Spirit will fill you and empower you as you share, and that He will convict and change the hearts of those listening. 

Mission Good Friday, 2009, was the first Project Ezra event.  Evangelist Tony Miano invited others to join him in reading Matthew 26 through 28 on Good Friday.  He posted the idea as an event on Facebook, and hundreds of people responded, going to the streets to share the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ.  Several other events followed, and then, for a number of years, Project Ezra was a weekly event, with leaders taking a different passage each week from one of the Bible book lists used in Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System (which I highly recommend, by the way).  After a while interest waned, and life and church commitments made it difficult to write weekly.  However, many people have been encouraged by the project, and many street preachers stepped onto the box for the first time as part of Project Ezra.  So we are asking you to join us, not only in participating and inviting your friends, but in praying that God will continue to use the group to encourage others to share their faith. 

This event's suggested reading is the true Easter story, told in Matthew 26 through 28, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Easter is just over a week away, and the holiday is on many people’s minds.  But most have no idea what Easter is really about.  They think of candy, the Easter Bunny, or maybe of getting an extra day off work.  But few will realize that the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ is the celebration of the greatest gift, the greatest act of love and mercy that the world has ever known.  Will you open your mouth to tell them?  Will you step out of your comfort zone, and encourage others to do the same, in the hope that some will be drawn to salvation?  We pray that you will.  Join us next weekend as Project Ezra goes out to share the truth of Salvation through Christ.  Check out our Facebook event here: Hope to hear of your experiences and see your pictures.  Praying God will be glorified and you will be encouraged.  All for His glory, Dan B.