Saturday, December 13, 2008

Should you bring your kids to see santa? Sure..To share the Gospel of course!

We chose a few years ago to tell our (now 4 y/o) daughter that Santa isn't real. We did so to make sure we focused on the right things at Christmas, but we are sure to constantly remind her that other children do think he is real and it is important to not ruin that for them. Besides, we should spend our time telling people the Gospel of Jesus Christ...not debunking some story of a velvet wearing home invader. :P

Anyway, this morning I was shocked when my daughter asked if we could go down to a local store to see Santa. She actually prefaced the entire question by saying, "I know it's not really Santa, it's a guy dressed up like Santa". I was thinking of this as a great parenting opportunity, but my wife had a great idea and rightly said it would be a great witnessing opportunity. We decided that what we would do is ask our daughter if she wanted to bring a million dollar bill along and share the Gospel with the man dressed like Santa. She said "Yes". Praise the Lord!

There are a few lessons that I've (re)learned through this experience.
  1. Everything we do should be about spreading the Gospel. Believe me, I think of this all the time...but somehow I got lossed in "Being a good parent" & trying to teach my daughter something. All the while I neglected to teach her the most important lesson of all. That we must share the Gospel to all people.
  2. My wife is fantastic, and I am so blessed to have such a Christ focused woman as my bride.
  3. You can preach the Gospel everywhere, anytime. And we need to think harder about this when we plan our day.
Matt 28:19-20 (NASB)
19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

-W.S. (Mike)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Fished With Trish - And Saw God's Hand @ Work

I have a lot to debrief on from my trip last week, but I will post on this topic first b/c Trish released the video last night:
(I'm the one with the beanie & goat tee in the video)

Some background:
I had to be in Fort Worth first thing Monday AM for work last week, so I had to travel on Sunday. I dropped Trish (from an email to find out the details on her church (more on that in another post) and see if I could "phone fish" with her for her "Wretched Radio" (formally "Way of the Master Radio") segment.

Our schedules worked out and I (and my buddy Chris) met her at a local Ft. Worth area shopping mall to spread the Word. What an amazing experience, the Lord brought two people into our path that He had been working on for quite a while.

Sierra was first, she was such a sweet young lady who was still struggling with the loss of her father several years ago. Did Ray (Comfort) use that pain as a lever to deliver the Gospel and try to convert her? Nope. He used the 10 Commandments to show Sierra that she had violated God's law and explained how without her repentance and trust in Jesus Christ she would be punished by a Just and Perfect God. Sierra will never be the same again, all Praise and Glory to God!

Then there was James. I had actually seen James sitting in the car right next to us for a few minutes and he was listening to his music and bobbing his head up and down. I even made eye contact at one point and thought to myself, "He isn't going to be open to the don't even try to walk up to him." Boy was I wrong, and what a lesson that taught me. (Todd even spoke along the same lines on the show about how we can get in the Lord's way when it comes to "who" we choose to share the Gospel with)

Good thing Trish didn't feel the same way. Trish walked right up to the car and asked him to roll down the window, and he was very willing to hear what she had to say. It turns out that he often thinks about the Lord, and really wanted to know what we had to say. When he was done with the radio segment, James was clearly moved and you could see the spirit working on him right in front of our eyes. He kept saying, "This is crazy, this is so crazy" and not in the bad way, but I believe it was the only way he could articulate the feelings he had as the Spirit was working him over.

Sierra & James, you were such a blessing to me. I pray that you will become a new creature in Christ through repentance and trust. I will never forget either of you, I look forward to when our paths cross again.
-W.S. (Mike)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Lost The Baby. (My 3 Word Response)

Psalm 19:14 (NASB)
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."

Last Thursday was Mrs. WretchedSinner's first OB appointment since we found out we were pregnant 10+ weeks ago.  We were quite excited at the  prospect of another addition to our family, and this would make 4 children in 5 years...I guess you can say we like it a bit crazy around the house. :)

We had grand plans, we planned out how we were going to move the boys around to sleep in the same room and we were already picking out names.  Sure, we experienced some trouble with Super George but we knew God would be faithful again and His will would be done in this situation as well.  We prayed a bit, but as I reflect back I realize I was really taking the whole thing for granted.   So much so that I didn't go with my wife to her first OB appointment.  I haven't misssed many (actually I can't think of one) OB appointment's with our first 3 children, but I "needed" to be at work that day.  Then I got the call.

My cell rang, I answered it expecting to hear some great news.  There was a pause.  My wife was almost speechless, but in her typical gracefull manner she said, "Are you busy?"  I knew something was wrong.  She began to cry.  "The Dr. can't find the baby's heart...pause...the think the baby is dead.  They are sending me to get another ultrasound"   

I immediately found out where they were sending her, and ran out of the office.  I made some quick phone calls to two of my most trusted friends for prayer and guidance and then called my wife to talk to her on the way 30 minute ride to the Dr.'s office. 

Now I need to pause a minute to illustrate how the Lord is so amazing and how He was preparing us for this.

At the previous week's Wed night bible study at my church I sat in with the youth group.  My buddy MKB was sharing on Creation vs. Evolution and (as is typical) the youth kind of took it in another direction.  I'm really not sure how it ended up there, but the discussion moved towards questions of why things happen to us as believers...good or bad.

This has been part of my study as of late, so I chimed in and tried to tie it all back together with the topic at hand.   I asked the youth, "Why did God make us?"  After a few blank stares and some silence I said, "Three Words...For...His...Glory!".   I immediatley followed up with "Why do good things happen to us?  I'll give you a hint, it's 3 words."  They responded back "For His Glory!"  Now for the hard part of the mini lesson.  I asked them, "OK then, now I need to ask you why "bad" things happen?  Why is there pain and sadness?"  They paused.  They knew the answer, but I think they were afraid to say it at first.  I gave them the same "3 word" hint and they responded, "For His Glory!"

Little did I know I was going to be on this side of that mini lesson just a few days later.  I knew the answer to "why", and it was so simple and beautiful. I didn't desire to challenge the Holy God and creator of the universe to provide me (a wretched unworthy sinner) with questions or explainations.  It was clear...this happened for His Glory!   And with or w/o my help God would be glorified through this.   Did I know how He would be glorified?  Nope.   Did I care how He would be glorified?  Nope.  Did knowing this make my wife an I less sad?   Nope.  Did knowing this make me cry any less at thoughts of what could have been? Nope.  Did knowing that answer provide me with the real understanding and a senstivity to be able to see how God was using it right in the midst of this challenge?  You betcha.  
We serve an amazing and Holy God, the best thing we can do to give Him the Glory He deserves is to fully submitting to His will in our lives. 

All praise and Glory to God!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Outwitnessed: My Shameful Testimony

Do you have a routine every morning?  I do.  Have you ever had a situation arise that was so totally out of the norm that it blindsided you?  I did.  Were you prepared at all?  I wasn't.

So there I was, at the gas station I stop at every morning.  I drove up to the pump, started filling up and went in for my cup of coffee.  Things were going as planned.  At least how I planned.

I pay for my cup of coffee and head out to my truck...and off to work for the day.  Or so I thought.

As I place the nozzle back in it's place and turn back towards my door, this man litterally  from around the side of the island and says, "Hi".  Kind of shocked and still not properly caffeinated I respond, "Hi!  How are you".  He responds to complete the greeting and proceeds to hand me a gospel tract.  After thanking him I said, "Wait, I have something for you and leaned in and grabbed a "Million Dollar Bill" for him.  I handed it to him and started to share the Gospel with him.  This is a summary of how the conversation went:

W.S. - Here's the million dollar question...what is going to happen to you when you die?"  

J.W.  - What's going to happen to you?

W.S. - Me?  Or all of humanity?

J.W. - Humanity

W.S. - Well, anyone who dies apart from Jesus Christ will receive the Justice of the Lord for their sins and the bible says they will go to hell.

J.W. - *Pause* And you?  

W.S - I have repented and placed my full trust in Jesus Christ who has paid the penalty for my sins.  I will go to heaven.  Jesus is the only way to heaven.

J.W. - Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven.  Look right here on the front page of this book, it says "What will happen when you die".

This is when I looked down at the literature he had given me and noticed exactly what was going on.   On the back of the book towards the bottom were the words "The Watchtower" which I remember from a recent Way of the Master T.V. Show dedicated to talking about that particular "faith". 

Here's the problem.  I couldn't remember anything from the show.  I couldn't remember anything to ask him.  I knew he was totally prepared for me, but I wasn't prepared for him.  I choked.  I thanked him.  I moved on.

I was and continue to be ashamed.  I failed.  I wasn't prepared to give an account and 1-Peter 3:15 echoes in my mind.

1 Pet 3:15 (NAS)
"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always {being} ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;"

But all Praise & Glory to the Lord!  He has used this to strengthen me, to make me desire Him more, to make me see Him more.  Do you know what he has taught me?   Do you know what the difference between a Jehova's Witness & a "regular old" (as Todd Friel said on last weeks WOTM radio) Christian is?  One word.


Sure, the man agreed that Jesus was the only way to Heaven.  But what I neglected to ask him (and will next time) is "Who was Jesus?".  The Jehova's witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God.  They believe he is the Angel Michael.  

Here are some other facts about the Jehova's Witness that may prove valuable at your next encounter:
  1. They don't believe in a literal hell
  2. They don't believe the bible can be understood without the help of the watchtower organization.
I hope that by my failure in this situation others may be prepared in the future and all Glory will go to our amazing God!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Kids Listen to your actions..

I know this makes two consecutive posts about my kids, but this story I need to share for all of you out there may have children, know some children, or were ever a child.  Really, this isn't about my kids at all, more about my amazing Lord.

Each day before I leave the house for work my wife (who is pregnat) , and my 3 kids form a circle and pray.  We pray for the day ahead that we will seek Him first in all we do, and that we will have(or make) the opportunity to share the Gospel with those who don't know Him.  

Last Thursday was a great example of the Lord answering this prayer, but He followed it up with one of the greatest blessings a parent can have...a child concerned for the salvation of others.

You see, my wife had just finished sharing the Gospel with her cousin over he phone (for the 2nd time) and had quite a lengthy discussion about repentence and trust and what it really means to be a Christian.  My oldest child (4 y.o. daughter) "Minnow" sat there and intently listened to the entire conversation.  When my wife was done on the phone this is how the conversation went:

Minnow:  "Mommy, what were you talking to Aunt xxx about?"
Mrs. W.S.:  "I was talking to her about God's Law, and sharing the Gospel with her."
Minnow:  "Mommy, does Aunt xxx not believe in Jesus?"
Mrs. W.S. "No honey, unfortunately she does not yet."
Minnow: "Does this mean that yyy (her daughter who is Minnow's age) does not know about Jesus either?"
Mrs. W.S. "Unfortunately, probably not honey.  yyy only knows what her mommy teaches her"
Minnow: "Mommy, do you think I can tell yyy about Jesus next time we go up to visit?"

Praise the Lord!  

Brothers and sisters our children are watching us.  Make sure you are who you pretend to be.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Meet Super George: 1 in 4000? Or 1 in 44,444?

Meet "Super" George. He is 3 years old and he has Down Syndrome (D.S.) He is not alone, every year ~4,000 children are born with Down Syndrome [1]. But then again, he is more alone then he should be.

According to a report[2] from 2002, 91%-93% of pregnancies in the United States with a diagnosis of Down syndrome were terminated. By terminated, I mean the baby was killed.

For some reason I have a hard time visualizing percentages, and understanding what those numbers actually let's do some quick math to help both of us. Please understand that my calculations are not concrete, they are simply provided as a illustration. Here are the two sets of stats we are going to use as our basis:
  • 4,000 children born each with D.S.
  • 9% of children diagnosed with D.S. live long enough to be born without someone killing them (100%-[the 91% that are "terminated"] ).
Here's our equation:
(children born) = (9%) x (# of children diagnosed with D.S.)

Let's sub in our numbers:
(4,000) = (.09)x

Now, we solve for "x":
44,444.44 = x

So based on the above numbers 44,444 children are diagnosed with D.S. each year and if 91% of those children are "aborted" (y) we get:
y= (44,444)*(.91)

Summary: Over 40,000 children are murdered every year just b/c they have D.S.

Now I have to let you in on a little secret. Super George is not just some random little kid I found on the Internet to use as an example. He is my son.

Some of you who read this blog know me personally, and know George as well. You know that indeed he is special. He has that "something" that few people on this planet possess. He has the ability to light up a room with his smile alone and always seems to know just when to give you a hug or a smile that just makes you melt. All of our children are a gift from God, but George is different and it doesn't have anything to do with D.S. No matter what challenge he has faced in his brief life (aheart defect, open heart surgery, 3x week physical/occupational therapy) he just keeps smiling as he goes.

When I stumbled upon these stats the other day I could not help but think of George. However, my attention immediately turned to the election, and what could happen if (and possibly when) a pro-abortion candidate is elected. I don't know who is going to win, and frankly I only pray that the Lord's will be done in this election. But please, please think of George before you cast your vote. He could have been one of the 40,444 instead of one of the 4,000.

I leave you with Psalm 139 (NASB)

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”

12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

20 For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

22 I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Abortion Arguments: See How Absurd They Are

I heard this a while back on Way of The Master Radio but I just stumbled upon this today.  It's very interesting to see what happens if we apply the same logic used to defend abortion is used to defend other "issues" in societity: (from "Wretched" TV w/ Todd Friel)

Part 1:


Part 2:


Creation vs. Evolution : Online Debate

I'm really excited about this!  If you haven't heard there is an online debate happening right now between Ken Ham (Answers In Genesis) and Karl Giberson on creation vs. evolution.  If you have your prayer list out, please be sure to pray for Brother Ken, that the Lord will be Glorified through this ministry opportunity.

Check it out here:


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why I Was So Scared To Preach

If you had a chance to listen to my first sermon posted here, you may have noticed that I started off talking about what an honor it was to be asked to preach the Word, and how seriously I take that honor.

I was absolutely petrified by the thought that I was to be responsible for conveying the message of God to the people of my church. It's not the public speaking part that bugs me, I do a lot of public speaking and teaching at work. Since I can't say it any better than the Lord:

James 3:1 (NASB)
"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."

Now do you see why? Preaching is so much more than just getting up in front of a group of people and delivering a message on what I think the Lord wants me to teach. worked on my message for 2 months prior to last Sunday, and had it pretty well finished going into last weekend. I wanted to preach on 1-John, but the Lord had other plans

You see, when I was reading my bible on the plane ride to Atlanta last weekend for the deeper conference the Lord hit the reset button on my Sermon. 

I wish I could remember how it happened, but it was a combination of things I had spoke with about my with Pastor and my study that made it happen. All I knew was that the sermon had too much ME in it, and I needed to empty it of ME and fill it with Him. You see, as I got closer to Him and His Word, it all started to become clear:

James 4:8 (NASB)
"Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

It is no conincidence that I was reading James on the plane. It is no conincidence that I had spent nearly 2 months studying 1-John developing a sermon that the Lord would just erase.

You see, the Lord used my study of 1-John to teach me something I will never forget. I articulated this lesson to my pastor this weekend with this statement, "The Lord has taught me that I need to study it like I'm going to preach it". 

Ultimately what I've learned over the past 2 months was that regardless if we are going to be delivering a sermon, we need to approach our study of the Word like we are. And if you are going to preach, you better make sure you put everything you have into making sure that you are doing in right. Not in your eyes, but in His.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Presented With Humilty: My First Sermon

I struggled on whether not I should post this b/c I am still overcome by the emotion after delivering this sermon last Sunday (it was my first). It is such a humbling experience, and something I don't take lightly.  I was asked to deliver this sermon as a part of an ongoing series on Stewardship.

I post it here today not for any type of recognition for myself, but for the Glory of God. Please pray that this message will be received by those who need to hear it.

This is the illustration I reference in the begining of my sermon.  This was put together by our Assiociate Pastor based on the sermon our Senior Pastor preached the week before entitled "The Greatest Return".  Pastor Randy asked each person to fill out a card which said "I once was..." and the congregation laid it at the foot of the cross.

You can listen to the Sermon here:

Here are the notes:

The Greatest Testimony- "Becoming a Doer"
(James 1:19-27)

Your Testimony
  1. What is a testimony? 
    • Having personal and immediate knowledge of something”
    • This “something” is God
  2. How do you get a testimony? (vs 21)
    • Receive the word of God, (this is God’s promise)
    • “Receive it in Humility
    • put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness
    • repent & no longer live a life marked by habitual
Proving Your Testimony

Signs of a “Doer”
  1. You are obedient to God’s Law (vs 25)
  2. You control your _tongue (vs 26) (James 3)
  3. You remain “unstained From The world” (vs 27)


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Deeper Conference: Recap

Wow, what an amazing weekend. It's going to take me a while to recap it all, but let me tell you that this was the best conference I've ever been at in my life. Not just b/c of the speakers, but to have so many like minded (evangelism focussed) people under one (very VERY large) roof was simply awesome.

I have some great stories to share, stay tuned. But until then, here are some pictures:

Here's a quick glimpse of Paul Washer doing some open air for a segment on Todd Friel's show "Wretched"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday: Powerful Lyrics - "Belong" By Chris Rice

I want to start posting a bit more consistently, and one way to force myself to do that is to have a theme day.  Today I'm going to post the first (of hopefully many) Friday posts of some of the most powerful lyrics to Christian songs I enjoy.  

Before I do, I have to ask you a question.  Do you actually listen to the words of the songs that you sing?  Whether it is in church, in your car, or wherever you enjoy listening music I challenge you to closely examine the music you listen to.  Try to not just examine the lyrics by themselves, but focus on the theology behind them.  You'll be surprised by how much theologically shallow (an innacurate) much of the Christian music out there has become.

Today's installment is the song "Belong" by Chris Rice.  It's from the album "Smell The Color 9".   I absolutely love this song b/c of the way it forces me to visualize salvation, when I actually see the lyrics typed out it actually is a fantastic poem w/o the music:

"Belong": By Chris Rice

Fading memories ignored
I crawl across the forest floor
Pool reflects an orphan child
Dirty, lost, alone and wild
Fatherless and nameless still
Fallen heart and broken, will
there ever be a place where I belong

I cower ‘neath the monster trees
And try to stand on tired feet
But gravity knocks me to the ground
Where I give up, and tears roll down
I claw the dust and beg the end
Curse the day that I began
to hope there’d be a place where I belong

I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin and seek my eyes
Song of love You sing to me
I ache to sing it back to Thee
“Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong!”

How did I miss this wondrous song?
The forest sang it all along
“River rinses all your shame
Father offers you His name
Father Love prepares a home
Brother Jesus leads you on
Follow to the place where you belong!”

“Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong
Follow to the place where you belong!”

There are many parts of this song that I love, but the one line that gives me chills every time I read or hear it is this:

"I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin and seek my eyes"

Can you visualize that?  You are broken, you have realized you have sinned against God, the creator of the universe.  The one who gave your breath, and b/c of your sin you  destined to hell. The first verse sums it up perfectly, you are "Dirty, lost, alone, wild, Fatherless, nameless, broken, and have a fallen heart."  You don't deserve to come before him, to even plead your case.

But then, you hear something.    You recognize the sound, but you don't know why.  And what happens?  Jesus reaches down into the your life and gently lifts your chin up from off the cold ground created by your sin.  Then, he looks for your eyes.  That implies a sincerity and compassion that I can not even comprehend.  You are overcome with the Sin in your life, but the one and only true God still seeks you and lifts you up, despite the wretchness of your current state.

What is his response of this incomprehensible display of love, compassion and salvation? 

"I ache to sing it back to Thee" 

Ache.  Everything in your entire body and soul desires to show Him how grateful you are for the amazing gift He has given to you, and the amazing Grace He has displayed.  If you looked at your life today, would you say you are "Aching" to sing praises and glory back to the Lord?  I think the real question that we as Christians have to ask ourselves is....How can we not?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"You're in my thoughts.." - So?

I was having a conversation at breakfast with friend this AM, we'll call him "Rudy".  Well, "Rudy" and I were talking about a mutual friend who is going through some tough medical struggles now and our waitress overheard us.  She gave us a quick update on his condition and his treatmen schedule and ended the conversation by saying "..Yeah, our thoughts are with him".

That got me to thinking.  Is someone actually supposed to draw comfort or peace from that?  When we were going through our struggles with Super George (his birth, heart defect, & surgery), people would always tell me that their "thoughts" were with us.  I'll tell you what, it didn't make me feel any better at all.  Don't get me wrong, it is a nice feeling to be thought of...but what really made me feel better was knowing people were praying that whatever the outcome that we would praise the Lord and He would be glorified.

Next time you decide to send your thoughts to someone, just send flowers.  They are prettier anyway.

Or, you could always tell them that you are praying that Lord will use the situation for His glory.....but you already are doing that, right?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Men's Retreat: An Amazing Answer To Prayer

Last weekend, I traveled with about a dozen men from my church to Marengo Ohio for the Ohio Church of God Men's Retreat and Ox Roast and I was able to witness one of the most amazing answers to prayer in my life. Let me set the stage a bit:

The original worship leader for the retreat had a death in the family and had to cancel the night before things were set to begin. This led the organizers of the retreat to scramble around to try and find a replacement at the last minute. They were able to find a very talented Christian artist from Indiana who plays with the Gaither's. No that isn't the answer to prayer, well at least not mine.

While leading worship at the Friday night service (and doing a fantastic job) this individual also mixed in a few songs that they had written themselves, one in particular which was about how Jesus called us to be the "salt and light" of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). That by itself wasn't the issue, however it gave me pause when he went on asking us if we ever noticed "that neither salt or light make a sound". His primary point in the song was that as Christians we have to live "right" and let the Lord's light shine through us. Don't get me wrong, he was right we ARE called to do that...but that is a biproduct of salvation...not our primary goal.

While he was singing his song, I just bowed my head in prayer. This is something I often do when I don't agree with the theology of a particul song in worship (even at my own church). Rather than get myself upset and lose focus on the fact that I am there to Worship my Lord, I simply continue to worship through praise and prayer. This time I prayed (hard) that the Lord would find a way to make the message clear this weekend that we are NOT called simply to live a good life, but we are called to seek others and share the Gospel with them.

Enter Joel Penton. Joel is a former Defensive Lineman for the THE Ohio State University. (This made him quite a hit in the middle of Ohio, and everyone was elated to have him be there). Joel delivered a message on Friday night that was powerful entitled "Real Men Love Jesus", but the answer to my prayers came on Saturday.

It turns out that Joel noticed the same thing I did about the artist's "Salt & Light" song on Friday. He struggled quite a bit after hearing that song (and other conversations in fellowship afterwards), and decided to work late into the night and change the message of his Saturday sermon to clear things up. He delivered an amazing message on "How Do We Respond To Jesus' Coming, Dying, Rising? We Must CLEARLY Articulate The Gospel."  The entire message was focussed on how we are all called to share the Gospel clearly, not through our ambiguous actions...but through the Word of God.  

Think about it.  What if you were wathing as a friend of yours was out for a walk one day while listening to their iPod.  Now this friend is so engrossed in their music that they don't realize they are walking right out onto a busy 8 lane freeway, and a tractor trailor is bearing down on them at 65 MPH...and you know they will surely die.  Which of these would you choose?
  1. Just sit back and walk back and forth on the shoulder, hoping that they will see your example and realize that they should stop walking on the highway?
  2. Yell, scream, and run and get their attention doing everything in your power to warn them about what is about to happen?
I bet you would choose #2.  But yet each of us know countless people that are headed to hell b/c of their sin, and we don't do a single thing to warn them. We just sit back and hope that they will notice what we are doing, and come to be saved that way.  We are called to warn them about their certain peril and tell them about the Gospel and what Christ did.  The real display of love, knowing what we know about Jesus and what he has done, is to share the Gospel and persuade them to Repent & Trust in Jesus so they don't end up in hell: 

2 Corinthians 5:11 (New American Standard Bible)

 11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.  

Wow, how awesome was that? What an amazing answer to Prayer!  Here is a little bit of Joel's sermon, mixed together with some photos...all put to the special theme song that the worship leader wrote for the Ox Roast:

Thanks Joel for allowing yourself to be a vessel of Truth, all Praise and Glory to the Lord!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Make War!

Things have been crazy the past few months, don't worry I haven't forgotten about this blog.  I've got a bunch of things I'm working on and ideas for posts, but in the mean time I wanted to share this.  It is one of my favorite Sermon Jams put to text on youtube, it is titled "War" and it was made from a message delivered by John Piper.  It's a bit long, but I really recommend you take the time to watch'll rock your world:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

10 Reasons NOT to Ask Jesus Into Your Heart: By Todd Friel

I heard about this post the other day on Way of The Master Radio and finally got around to reading the full thing this afternoon. I think Todd Friel makes some real good points in this article. Think about it. What does it mean to Ask Jesus into your heart? I know what you're's just a "Christianese" euphemism for getting saved, right? But I challenge you to think about it a little deeper, does it cheapen the glorious gift of salvation? Read the article below, I'd love to hear you comments.

By:Todd Friel

The music weeps, the preacher pleads, “Give your heart to Jesus. You have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” Dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who want to get their spiritual life on track make their way to the altar. They ask Jesus into their heart.

Cut to three months later. Nobody has seen our new convert in church. The follow up committee calls him and encourages him to attend a Bible study, but to no avail. We label him a backslider and get ready for the next outreach event.

Our beloved child lies in her snuggly warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy. I want to ask Jesus into my heart.” You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks. You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it. Puberty hits and the answer reveals itself. She backslides. We spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.

Telling someone to ask Jesus into their hearts has a very typical result, backsliding. the Bible says that a person who is soundly saved puts his hand to the plow and does not look back because he is fit for service. In other words, a true convert cannot backslide. If a person backslides, he never slid forward in the first place. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (II Cor.5) No backsliding there.

Brace yourself for this one: with very few if any exceptions, anyone who asked Jesus into their hearts to be saved…is not. If you asked Jesus into your heart because you were told that is what you have to do to become a Christian, you were mis-informed.

If you have ever told someone to ask Jesus into their heart (like I have), you produced a false convert. Here is why.

1. It is not in the Bible. There is not a single verse that even hints we should say a prayer inviting Jesus into our hearts. Some use Rev. 3:20. To tell us that Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts begging to come in.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” There are two reasons that interpretation is wrong.

The context tells us that the door Jesus is knocking on is the door of the church, not the human heart. Jesus is not knocking to enter someone’s heart but to have fellowship with His church.

Even if the context didn’t tell us this, we would be forcing a meaning into the text (eisegesis). How do we know it is our heart he is knocking at? Why not our car door? How do we know he isn’t knocking on our foot? To suggest that he is knocking on the door of our heart is superimposing a meaning on the text that simply does not exist.

The Bible does not instruct us to ask Jesus into our heart. This alone should resolve the issue, nevertheless, here are nine more reasons.

2. Asking Jesus into your heart is a saying that makes no sense. What does it mean to ask Jesus into your heart? If I say the right incantation will He somehow enter my heart? Is it literal? Does He reside in the upper or lower ventricle? Is this a metaphysical experience? Is it figurative? If it is, what exactly does it mean? While I am certain that most adults cannot articulate its meaning, I am certain that no child can explain it. Pastor Dennis Rokser reminds
us that little children think literally and can easily be confused (or frightened) at the prospect of asking Jesus into their heart.

3. In order to be saved, a man must repent (Acts 2:38). Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of repentance.

4. In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith.

5. The person who wrongly believes they are saved will have a false sense of security. Millions of people who sincerely, but wrongly, asked Jesus into their hearts think they are saved but struggle to feel secure. They live in doubt and fear because they do not have the Holy Spirit giving them assurance of salvation.

6. The person who asks Jesus into his heart will likely end up inoculated, bitter and backslidden. Because he did not get saved by reciting a formulaic prayer, he will grow disillusioned with Jesus, the Bible, church and fellow believers. His latter end will be worse than the first.

7. It presents God as a beggar just hoping you will let Him into your busy life. This presentation of God robs Him of His sovereignty.

8. The cause of Christ is ridiculed.
Visit an atheist web-site and read the pagans who scoff, “How dare those Christians tell us how to live when they get divorced more than we do? Who are they to say homosexuals shouldn’t adopt kids when tens of thousands of orphans don’t get adopted by Christians?” Born again believers adopt kids and don’t get divorced.

People who ask Jesus into their hearts do. Jesus gets mocked when false converts give Him a bad name.

9. The cause of evangelism is hindered. While it is certainly easier to get church members by telling them to ask Jesus into their hearts, try pleading with someone to make today the day of their salvation. Get ready for a painful response. “Why should I become a Christian when I have seen so called Christians act worse than a pagan?” People who ask Jesus into their hearts give pagans an excuse for not repenting.

10. Here is the scary one. People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. How tragic that millions of people think they are right with God when they are not. How many people who will cry out, “Lord, Lord” on judgment day will be “Christians” who asked Jesus into their hearts?

So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1) The Bible makes it clear that all men must repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Every man does have a “God shaped hole in their hearts,” but that hole is not contentment, fulfillment and peace. Every man’s heart problem is righteousness. Instead of preaching that Jesus fulfills, we must preach that God judges and Jesus satisfies God’s judgment…if a man will repent and place his trust in Him.

If you are reading this and you asked Jesus into your heart, chances are good you had a spiritual buzz for a while, but now you struggle to read your Bible, tithe, attend church and pray. Perhaps you were told you would have contentment, purpose and a better life if you just ask Jesus into your heart. I am sorry, that was a lie.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deeper Conference: Man am I excited

If you have been reading this blog, you know I'm a huge fan of the Way Of The Master and their approach to sharing the gospel. When I found out about the Deeper Conference in October and the people that are on the speaker list, I just had to sign up. I even spoke with my Pastor about it and we're going to make the trip together. We're still not sure how we're going to get there, but I guess we'll figure it out as we get closer. :D

Anyway, here's a quick look at the speaker list (click on their name to see their BIO):
I can't wait! I think I'm most excited about the chance to hear Paul Washer in person. Both my wife and I have been listening to his sermons online and I must say I have never heard a more powerful biblical (and convicting) delivery of the Gospel then Brother Paul.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Seeker Sensitive?

I know it has been a while since I posted, I have a myriad of excuses but none are really that good. I have about a 1/2 dozen unfinished posts on a variety of recent experiences but each of them need some work before I'm ready to post. So I'll just post this one today. I first heard of this on Way Of The Master Radio a few months back, but they played it again recently and it is fresh on my mind:

Obviously this is a spoof, but pay close attention to how accurate it really is. The same attitudes they are spoofing are exemplified by people in all of our churchs, if not our church as a whole. We focus so much on what we're going to get out of a worship ceremony rather than thinking about both what we're putting into it and who it is really for. We need to remember that it isn't about US, it is all about HIM. It doesn't matter if we like the music, or if we even are "touched" by the message.

Next time you start to think about your worship "experience" and think it wasn't that great, think about what our Lord thinks about it. Ask HIM if he was happy with it, and then think about how much you put into worshiping HIM. If you didn't get what you "needed" out of the sermon, think about how you paid attention or how you are going to take that 30 minute message home and expand on it to feed yourself on His Word. Then and only then will we begin realize the real meaning of worship.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Are You Crazy?

I must admit, I am not much of a contemporary Christian music fan. There are a many songs (and artists) out there that have been labeled as "Christian"...but in reality the message they deliver is far from biblical. But I suppose that that is a blog for another day.

On my way to the airport last week I decided to switch things up a bit and not follow my daily routine of listening to the Way of the Master Radio podcast and/or 10:31 Sermon Jams. Instead, I dialed up a playlist I have not listened to in quite some time. This playlist is made up of a select few of my favorite praise and worship songs has been on my iPhone for quite some time. I call it "Fire Me Up". Quite a while back I added a song called "Crazy" by Mercy Me to this prestigious list and it never sounded as clear to me as it did in my truck last week. If you haven't heard it before, the opening verse goes like this:

"Why would I spend my life longing, for the day it would end?
Why would I spend my time pointing, to another man?
Isn't that crazy?
How can I find hope in dying, with promises unseen?
How can I learn your ways better, and everything I'm taught to be?
Isn't that crazy?
I have not been called to the wisdom of this world, but to a God who is calling out to me.
And even though the world may think I'm losing touch with reality,
it would be crazy to choose this world over eternity."

Wow. Those are some pretty powerful lyrics, aren't they? In the eyes of the world, WE ARE CRAZY for believing what we do. But it is easy to say "The World" thinks we're crazy, isn't it? That is so impersonal and so void of responsibility. So let's take a different look at it...a real look.

Does anyone (or everyone) we know who is not a Christian think we're crazy? Do they see daily examples of our living not for the things of the word, but rather our longing for Christ? Shouldn't everything we stand for as Christians be in stark contrast to the things of the world? Shouldn't there be some evidence that we reject the things of the world? : (1 John 15-17)

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

I think that if we each take a real look at our lives we will find we do so much in our attempt to be relevant and fit into a world from which we should be striving to separate. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that we should do things so that others will know that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. I'm simply saying that if Jesus is truly our Lord and Savior the world should know we do not love it or anything in it.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Devil's Advocate?

In the course of a discussion, have you ever had someone tell you that they were just playing “devil’s advocate”? Perhaps you’ve even used the phrase yourself, but have you ever put much thought into what that phrase really means? Let me tell you why I bring this up.

This afternoon, my wife shared an exchange she had while witnessing to her cousin on Saturday and I was struck by the irony and wanted to share it here. My wife was explaining what the Bible means to her, and stated something along the lines that she believes everything in it is the inspired Word of God and that everything in it is true. Of course, that is crazy talk to the world so her cousin didn’t understand and began asking a lot of questions. That part isn’t the problem, as we should always be prepared to defend the Word of God but I was struck by the words her cousin used to preface her challenges by saying, “I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but….”

I’m not sure that phrase has ever been used in a more appropriate context. In fact, I would imagine we have all probably used that phrase at one point or another without thinking about what it actually means. Words are powerful and they have meaning. As a believer, the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has incredible power and simply the hearing the name spoken makes my heart jump. Now why in the world would I want to advocate anything in the name of the enemy?

Let’s not get crazy and start a movement against devil’s food cake or anything, that’s not my point here…besides we all know that the devil doesn’t even like cake. ☺


Thursday, March 6, 2008

What does it mean?

In my time as a Christian I have heard many people talk about what it means to be saved. I have heard extremes from some speaking of a "warmth" they felt in their entire body when they gave their life to the Lord, and I've heard some say that they really couldn't actually remember when they got saved. But is getting saved really a feeling?

I don't believe that it is, and scripture doesn't think that is either. (1John 1:5-7)

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

I came across the message below which was delivered by John Piper and really hit home with me:

Getting saved isn't about a feeling at all, it is about a commitment. It's about "walking in the light" Despite what many out there preach on T.V., it isn't about your best life's about your best life for eternity. I have thought about this a lot lately, don't you think that if we truly have given our lives to the Lord, it should feel like that every minute of every day? Every minute.

As John Piper asked in his final line in the video above, "Has He become the light that is the joy of all your joys?" Well, has He?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


A few posts back, I referenced a website called 10:31 Sermon Jams. They do an amazing job taking excerpts from sermons and putting them to music. It really helps deliver a powerful message in a quick format and I have them all loaded on my iPhone and listen to them daily.

While shuffling through them the other day, I came upon a sermon jam entitled "He Has Now" which was built from a sermon by Rick Gamache on Colossians 21-23 which is a strong parallel with my recent post on my numbness. I really felt inspired to take that sermon jam and add some visuals so I could display it here in my blog. I pray it will touch and inspire you (as it inspired me) to take a look at yourself and how you must stop yourself from becoming "overally familiar" with the Gospel.

There are several more powerful sermon jams to which I plan on adding visuals, and they will be stored at my site at youtube ( Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


This morning I had an appointment with my dentist to get a couple cavities filled. After a few minutes of small talk, the Dr. injected the right side of my mouth with Novocain and stepped away for a little while to let the numbness set in. As I was lying there, I gazed up at the examination light and began to praise the Lord for Novocain, without which I could not deal with the pain that lie ahead. Think about it, can you imagine having to go through such a procedure without half your face being numb? I know some people can do it, but I certainly could not.

A few minutes later the Dr. returned and went about her business..drilling..sealing..and drilling some more. I thought to myself, "Wow, how great it is to be numb!" After about 15 minutes the entire procedure was complete, and I headed back to the waiting area. My wife had just pulled in with our 3 kids (she had the appointment immediately after mine), we greeted each other and I went out to take her place in the car with the kids.

The kids were excited to see their Daddy, and I hopped in the car to say hi and give my daughter (4 years old) a hug and a kiss. "Dad-eeeeeeeeeee!", she screeched as I entered the back seat of our SUV. We proceeded to squeeze each other in the type of embrace that only a father and daughter can appreciate, followed up with a big kiss. That was when it hit me. I couldn't feel her kiss. I tried again…nothing. The numbness that saved me from the pain of drill was the same numbness that interfered with me realizing one of the greatest joys I have as a father.

What exactly is numbness? Numbness, is the result of being desensitized; to become insensitive or callous. Wow, I thought to myself, where else in my life have I become numb or desensitized? What worldly attitudes, actions or perceptions have I allowed to invade my life and make me insensitive or callous? How have these actions or attitudes interfered with me enjoying the greatest joys that I have as a follower of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

How could I have let this happen? I have lost focus on what is Right, what is Pure. Sure, in the moment my attitudes, actions or perceptions may have helped dull the pain. Sure, in the moment they may have even made me feel good. Sure, in the moment they may have made me think I'm happy. But at what cost?

The Bible is clear as to what we are to focus our lives on the numbness and indifference which come with things of the world, and equally as clear to the consequences:
Romans 8:12-14:

"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."

Brothers and Sisters, we must stop numbing ourselves to the Spirit of God and put to death the misdeeds of the body. Only after the numbness introduced by sin is removed can we truly be led and utilized by the Spirit of God. And after all, that is what we are called to do as Christians. That IS our primary reason for being here.

I pray you will examine yourself, examine where you have become numb. But it doesn't stop there. YOU must do something about it. Today's the day.


Monday, February 25, 2008

How do you know?

This is my first post here at WretchedSinner, and I wanted to share this video that really hit me. The video is entitled "How Do You Know?" and adds some music and visuals to a sermon preached by Paul Washer:

If you like how things sound with the beats behind the sermon , check out 10:31 Sermon Jams and Relevant Revolution for some additional sermons. Both of those groups do a fantastic job.

I will be updating things around here soon, fixing things a bit. Stay tuned.