Friday, April 10, 2015

He is Alive! April 04, 2015

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then [it was] I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found [to be] false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
(NASB, 1 Corinthians 15:1-18)

Men's Breakfast
Calvary Bible Church

The month of March at Calvary was focused on growing the body in the area of evangelism through sermons, conferences, and outreaches.

The final 
evangelism-specific teaching was done at the Men’s Breakfast, where the team was given the opportunity to speak about what we do as an encouragement to the men to consider joining us.

Each attending member spoke for a minute or two as to the personal reason why they go out on the street to hand out tracts or stand on a box.  It was an opportunity to show the other men not how “spiritual” we are but, quite frankly, how even babbling fools like us can be used to proclaim the gospel!

After we spoke, Jeff Lambin preached for 45 minutes with sensitivity, yet directly on the hard doctrine of the eternality of Hell.

Download the audio from the following link: March 2015 Men's Breakfast

The next men’s breakfast will be with Bobby Scott, April 25, 2015. It is entitled “Devotion to Prayer” as we, as a body, focus on corporate prayer 
in April.  The breakfast is $7.00 and starts at 7:30 am upstairs in room 207.

Jerusalem Outreach

In preparation for Passion Week (the week long celebration that starts with Palm Sunday and ends on Resurrection Sunday) Calvary Bible Church held its third “Jerusalem Outreach”.
The Jerusalem Outreach is a laid-back, family-friendly event where people gather together after Sunday service to be divided into small groups, are given maps of the surrounding areas, and sent out to canvass the neighborhood for about an hour. Threefold Purpose of the Jerusalem Outreach
  1. Share the gospel during the outreach as the opportunity arises
  2. Invite people (personal invite and door hangers) to come to specific events at the church where they will hear the gospel
  3. Teach our body to evangelize through example
With members from the evangelism team joining in, as well as pastors, elders, and deacons, it provides an opportunity for those who have had more “street” and one-on-one witnessing experience to come alongside and disciple others who are nervous about sharing their faith with strangers.

Future of this Outreach Going door-to-door can be difficult in a city swarming with Jehovah Witnesses, and while we work hard to distance ourselves from the appearance of self-righteous holiness, it can be easy to understand why people are leery of us and our intention when we approach the door. In light of that challenge, the church is considering other and, perhaps, better ways of reaching out to our neighborhood. For now, however, this outreach has proven to be successful in terms of getting people excited for an opportunity to go out, multiple chances to share the gospel that would otherwise have been missed, and even people coming to the church to hear our Savior proclaimed from the pulpit. The next planned outreach will be in the summer to let people know about the VBS program.

The Morning Shift
NoHo Train Station

This week in the early morning hours at the North Hollywood Station, the resurrection of our Lord was proclaimed from Matthew and Luke and several Bibles were given out.

Come stand with us at 6-8 am most Wednesdays!
Watch for the Tuesday evening text announcement and please RSVP if you are coming, so we know what size of a team to expect.

Contact Steve for more details...

Thursday Outreach
NoHo Train Station

As it is not a Cavalry-organized outreach, we don’t often write about the Thursday night outreach in this blog.  This week, however, we wanted to mention an encounter Mark had with a “Black Hebrew Israelite”.

Please note that the use of “Black” as a qualifier in the title is how the group often refer to themselves, as well as a defining quality to be a member in this particular sect.  See CARM’s definition for more information:

Besides the implicit (yet denied) racism and exclusivity of salvation to those who are within this group (excluding even “white” Israelites), this group is no different than other works-based religions.  They remain under the bondage of sin, striving to fulfill a law which shows sinfulness, but is unable to save, bringing instead death to those who rely on it (Romans 7:7-13, et al).

Seven, as the man in the image identified himself, was full of pride and lies, and his theology and treatment of Mark reflected that. Worse than that, however, was that he was blind to seeing his serious error as he mocked the very notion that one goes to heaven by faith in Christ and His work on the cross.

Please pray for God’s mercy on Seven and all of those trapped by this peculiar deception of race + heritage + works = heaven.

It’s interesting to note that we see similar discriminatory aspects in other religions, as well.  We often talk about the “works” side of false religions, but it's not always just what you do, but who you are that defines either your ability to be saved or the level of salvation you obtain when you die.  Such partiality is the way carnal man thinks, and it shows itself in man-made religion.

This should be a wonderful reminder to us that what stands out about Christianity is not only can we not earn our way into heaven - that it is exclusively the work of Christ on the cross - but that there are no other pre-qualifiers to be able to benefit from this salvation.  No matter the background, lineage, melanin levels in the skin, sin in the past, etc.  None of that matters when you repent of your sins and trust in Christ and His atoning work.

How great our Creator who made us all in His image! See in the book of Revelation His promise to save at least 1 person from every people group:
When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” 
(NASB, Revelation 5:8-10, emphasis added)

About Dean’s “Magnet Evangelism”
Thursday nights are open for those whose churches don’t have an evangelism team, or where going out once a week just isn’t enough!  You are welcome to join us there.  Dean graciously opens his piano store in Burbank for fellowship and prayer at 4, with people arriving at North Hollywood around 5:15 pm.  Some stay for the entire evening (until 8:30 pm), others show up later after getting off work, and still others leave early for other activities.  Come as you can...

A limited supply of tracts are provided, though if you are able to bring some yourselves, that is always helpful.  But don’t let that stop you!

More information: Click Here

Abortion Clinic
Mission Hills

This last Saturday, the abortion clinic had a particular evangelistic flare to it.  It’s not that other weeks don’t, but most weeks the focus is on the very short-term issue of a baby about to be murdered.

As most "conversations" last the span of 10 to 15 seconds, with Don pleading with the couple as they walk from their car to the clinic door, not a lot of time is available to expound upon the gospel or our glorious Savior or man’s condition before a holy and just God.  Instead, conversations tend to sound more like:

“Are you here for an abortion today?”

“Can we speak to you for a moment?”

  [response (maybe)]

“Sir/Madam, what you are doing is murder in the sight of God.  Please, come talk with us before it's too late!”

The words and intensity may change, but that’s about the length of time it takes for someone to get out of their car, walk across the parking lot, and enter the clinic.  Generally speaking, these few words (and a round of silent prayers praying that this time the couple actually does stop) is an abortion clinic “conversation”.

This week, however, Jeg (we’re not sure the exact spelling) came out (from the clinic, we'd find out later) and approached us with "I don't agree with what you are doing".

Besides being polite, what stood out was he came to us not with the intention of defending abortion, but on challenging the very notion that God exists.  Or if He does exist, how do we know that our God is the right one and not the god of Islam, etc?

In short, and in a surreal sort of way, this was like any other conversation we have in downtown Burbank...except that upstairs, his child was about to be killed.

We spoke with him for about 30 minutes.  While he didn't say he was an Atheist, that would likely be his stated position had we asked.  Really, though, his intellectual arguments were thin, and the more we said who God revealed Himself to be, the more it became clear that he wasn't against the idea of a god, but wanted nothing to do with the God, as He has revealed Himself in the Bible.

We touched many topics while he was there, but at each point, what made him defensive was not when intellectual proofs were set before Him, but truths in the Bible.

As we turned the conversation from a general god to the true God then to the Son of God and the need for Him, it was clear that Jeg saw himself as blameless.  If one does not see their sinfulness, than Jesus' work is meaningless in their ears, so about 20 minutes into the conversation Don steered it to Jeg and his sin - specifically the abortion at hand (up to that point, we weren't even 100% sure that's why he was there).

His excuse was "I'm too old" (43) and "no time for another kid".  He justified his actions by claiming it would be the best option since he could not take care of the kid.  We let him know that there is someone who would adopt the baby (this is true).  Worked into a corner where he was without excuse for his sin and when presented with an alternative to killing his baby, he still insisted on doing that.

Actually, he went even further.  He washed his hands of all responsibility for the murder of his child on the grounds that God, in His sovereignty, had made him that way, so it wasn’t his fault.  He said if God wanted to, he could have stopped the baby from being conceived, or if God wanted to, he could have prevented him from coming to the clinic.  He hadn't, so it was His fault.

That is basically where the conversation ended as he headed back inside.

Father, we thank your for the mercy you extended to Jeg so that he would hear clearly of your wrath, mercy, and love as demonstrated through Christ in His dying for our sins.  We pray that you use our poor words, and even the murder of his child, to bring him to his knees before you in heartfelt repentance, and submission before he dies.  Your mercy is without end, and you alone are able to save him.  Please, Father, we humbly ask that you bring yourself glory through the saving of Jeg.  But, as in all things, we say "not our will, but yours be done."

Every Wednesday and Saturday at 8-10 am
10200 Sepulveda Blvd
Mission Hills, CA 91345

No Experience Needed and no need to say anything if you are not ready - come hold a sign, pray, and bring encouragement to those who are standing for the innocent.

Saturday Outreach

A beautiful evening had been prepared as we made our way to our normal corner at Magnolia and San Fernando.

Almost right-away, as Mark began proclaiming Christ, a heart-breaking scene unfolded as these kids came up to mock Christ as they showed off for one another.

When Mark asked if they knew who Christ is, the one in the middle (white shirt) said, "I already know all that - I'm a Christian." But when presented with a scenario of "if you died and God asked 'why should I let you into Heaven?', what would you say?" He didn't even have a poor idea what was involved in salvation.  Others in the group joked and boasted that they were going to hell.

However, in spite of this arrogant silliness, Mark spoke truth lovingly and kindly back at them.  After posing for pictures, and just generally laughing off the gospel, they moved on.

It’s times like this you wish you could just say...something that would cause them to see their foolishness.  It can be frustrating if we forget who our God is, and that His Spirit must move for salvation to occur.

One way the Lord seems to work is to use the chaos of a crowd like this to bring people interested in hearing what we are saying. Look at that picture again, behind the giggling kids - notice that what Mark is saying is not going completely unnoticed.

As Mark was asking why the kids would enter heaven, this other onlooker replied (as his answer) "I'm Muslim".

To lay the ground work for a conversation, Mark decided to start with “The Islamic Dilemma”.

A quick summary of the Islamic Dilemma
1) The Quran (and thus Mohammad) says that the Torah and Gospels are the unchangeable words of God.
2) The Quran contradicts the Torah and Gospels.

So either a) the Quran is wrong about the Torah and Gospels being the unchanging word of God, making Mohammad a false prophet,
or b) the Quran is right that the Torah and the Gospels are the unchanging word of God, which makes the Quran wrong because it contradicts that same Torah and Gospel, making Mohammad a false prophet.

See this video for a easy to follow presentation, including verses and surahs

Once Mark had established that the Quran, itself, refers to the Torah and Gospels as the word of God, he was then able to speak with the young man grounded on the authority of the Bible about Jesus, His deity, and His sufficiency for salvation.  The young man's questions were direct, but never arrogant or argumentative as he seemed to be honestly probing the subject.

Before he quietly walked away during an unrelated commotion, he was given a tract we have specifically for Muslims that, again, uses the Quran against itself and Scripture as the authority.

It was a rare encounter, with a genuineness that is uncommon, and we are continuing to pray for him.

Meanwhile, across the street, Andrew had the opportunity to speak with another Muslim.  There was a significant language barrier, and the area of contention was on the oneness of Allah vs. the three-in-one nature of the true God.

Here Andrew points to John 1:1. The man wasn't really interested in discussing the point, and the conversation lasted no more than a minute or two.

In the same picture, sitting down, is an Armenian man.  While Andrew spoke with the Muslim man, the Armenian man read from a Bible that Andrew had given him a few minutes earlier.  After the Muslim man left, the Armenian crossed himself and handed the Bible back to Andrew. Andrew tried explaining that it was a gift, but the man wasn't really all that interested in keeping it.

We're excited to finally have some copies of Armenian Bibles available, but, alas, this type of rejection is a common occurrence.  Armenians often boast in being the first Christians (in 301 AD they adopted Christianity as a state religion), yet at the same time have no interest or knowledge of the contents of the Bible. Instead it is little more than a good luck charm.

We’re blessed to have an Armenian member of the team, but this is a particularly hard group for us to reach as they tend to be willing to only speak with other Armenians when it comes to religion.  Please pray for more laborers in this area.

The rest of the evening included one-on-ones...

...with many tracts handed out...

...and the gospel of our Lord and Savior proclaimed yet one more week in Burbank, CA.

Come Join Us - 6-9 pm
See the calendar on the upper, right-side of this page for our location each week...
Tracts and Bibles supplied!

Homosexuality and the Supreme Court

This week saw the submission of the brief opposing same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court, which can be downloaded at: United States Justice Foundation

This is in anticipation of the Supreme Court's promise to rule by the end of the current session as to whether or not same-sex marriage should be protected as a right by the Federal Government, overriding state laws, undermining our existing Constitution on religious freedom, and a direct contradiction of God's word.

The last section of the brief (sub-section L of IV), God's Judgement on the Nation, is quoted below:
Should the Court require the States and the People to “ritualize” sodomite behavior [1 Kings 14:24] by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation. Holy Scripture attests that homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions violate the law of the land, and when the land is “defiled,” the people have been cast out of their homes. See Leviticus 18:22, 24-30. Although some would assert that these rules apply only to the theocracy of ancient Israel, the Apostle Peter rejects that view: “For if God ... turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:4-6. The continuing application of this Levitical prohibition is confirmed by the Book of Jude: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7 (emphasis added).
Of course the authors of the brief are not prophets, and one might argue that judgement is already under way, but it's a chilling thought, nonetheless.

One other argument in the brief that is worth mentioning is the anticipated ramifications to preaching (IV, C).  The issue raised was not something at least this author had really considered before.  We expect the loss of a government-protected right in identifying homosexuality as a sin but, as they point out, it's a step worse than that:
...All persons would be prohibited from the free exercise of religion, including “proselytizing”[21] others that their behavior constitutes sin, but that the penalty for their sins has already been paid through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:1-4.
In other words, we could lose the right not just to say that homosexuality is a sin, but also lose the ability to put forward the truth that Christ has paid the penalty of that sin (for those who repent and trust in Him).

A 2 1/2 hour session for oral arguments is to be held on April 28th, with a final decision by the end of June.


Jeff Lambin, March 2015 Men's Breakfast: Eternality of Hell

CARM: "Black Hebrew Israelites"

David Wood: The Islamic Dilemma

USJF: Homosexuality Brief

1 comment:

  1. Steve- your blog post blessed me. What a thorough job and so exciting to see what the Lord has been doing through you all.


    Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (‭Psalms‬ ‭1‬:‭1-3‬ NKJV)