Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Follow Me" 6/13/2015

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:21-27 ESV)

Saturday Outreach

Burbank  6/13/2015

It was a tremendous joy to be back out with the team on the streets of Burbank. It is a testimony to the saving and equipping power of the Holy Spirit that so many Christian brothers and sisters are answering the call to step out in faith and SHARE THE GOSPEL in a lost and dying culture. There is perhaps no better way to grow in the faith than to allow the Lord to use you in this exciting and challenging way. Are you concerned that you won't be able to answer any and all questions that someone may ask you? Good! Our sufficiency is in CHRIST, not our own wisdom and knowledge. You can be sure that "in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3) What does matter is to have a heart of compassion for those who do not yet know the truth. 

Thanks to brother Jeremy for his steadfast stewardship of the Evangelism Team week after week. Besides filling in for Steve during his recent absence, Jeremy has recently been providing help with the blog, writing and editing the last two months of posts. If you've noticed the new level of quality and the edifying content lately, you can thank this brother. Thanks also to our brother Mark who has always been our mentor, chief Berean, and prayer leader. And let us all give glory to God for putting together a dedicated team of evangelists who love the Lord and their neighbors. 

Sometimes the Fire Department obliges the outreach by showing up to provide an object lesson on the uncertainty of tomorrow, and that today is the day of salvation.

This man provided a curious kind of editorial heckling. As Mark was preaching this man stood quietly and focused his attention. Finally at one point he spoke up and said, "And we are not saved by works." Mark immediately agreed, saying: "It's a matter of grace. It is a gift from God. We are not good enough. We cannot earn our way into heaven." With that the man gave Mark a thumbs up sign and proceeded to enter the mall.

Many tracts were received. This location, in front of the Town Center Mall, is an ideal location due to the constant stream of foot traffic coming into and out of the mall. 

Indeed, these photos show some of the many people of all ages who stopped to receive Bibles and tracts.

Our only resistance came from the management of the restaurant behind us. They called mall security who came out and observed. The only request security made was for us to avoid the tile floor area immediately in front of the steps. Otherwise they were fine with our amp and preaching.

This man was one of a handful of classic truth deniers. He made a point of plugging his ears as he waited at the light. Another elderly man, later on, was offered a tract and he loudly proclaimed, "No thanks, I have plenty of toilet paper at home." Indeed, the gospel is an aroma of death to some.

Burbank June 20, 2015

Providentially, the Lord opened up a spot on the mall. We obediently set up shop and began preaching the Gospel and handing out tracts.

That is not a halo above Dean's head, but simply a decoration on the wall behind him.

Steve M. attracted a lot of interest during his turn on the box.

Steve: You see, the rich young ruler was like many of us. We're going on our way, and we are saying, "Hey, I'm okay! I don't need Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I can do it all on my own."  But then we run into the fact that we are caught in our trespasses and our sins. And if you were to die tonight without Christ's forgiveness and His love, then we would be guilty and worthy of hellfire and brimstone. Listen, hell is hot. Hell is a place of punishment. And you see what the rich young ruler wanted to know was, "Am I good God? I've done all these things. I've obeyed all the commandments. Now what must I do to inherit the Kingdom of God?" And the answer was, "Anyone who desires to come after me must deny himself, pick up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever loves his life in this world will lose it in the next. But whoever loses his life in this world will keep it until the end. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul."

Many came up to ask questions.

The Morning Shift - NoHo Station 6/17 & 6/24/2015

Praise the Lord, we are back on duty at NoHo station. 

Please stand with us for morning evangelism on Wednesdays at 6:00 AM at the North Hollywood Metro Station on Lankershim Blvd. It's a great opportunity to share the truth with the thousands of commuters who pass through this area. Please watch for text announcements on Tuesday evenings. Please always RSVP if you plan to join us on Wednesday mornings.

Abortuary Duty  6/13/2015

Brother Don has been calling people to repentance for about three years now. He has seen some 60 rescues out of the hundreds of determined, pre-meditated murders that have taken place here at the Mission Hills Clinic.

Although God's grace is sufficient to motivate and empower Don's steadfast obedience to the calling he feels on behalf of these innocent victims, it is always encouraging when Christian brothers and sisters join him on the front lines. It is amazing how the Lord can use a humble, peace-loving, witness to move mountains by simply standing alongside and holding a sign. Countless times they have seen young couples with serious faces, drive by, slow down, look in, and then drive away, never to be seen again, convicted by the presence of a sincere sentinel watching their actions. Perhaps they did not imagine that anyone would be here to pay attention. 

Article: Love at First Image  

News Items

Apologetics Corner

Video:  Veteran of Foreign Wars at Trafalgar Square (VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED)

Video:  GO! - Paul Washer

Join Us!

Please join us as we proclaim the glorious Gospel to a lost and dying world on the streets of Burbank, Glendale, Hollywood and beyond.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Together They Have Become Corrupt - June 6, 2015

Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a flying scroll! And he said to me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.” Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole land. For everyone who steals shall be cleaned out according to what is on one side, and everyone who swears falsely shall be cleaned out according to what is on the other side. I will send it out, declares the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter the house of the thief, and the house of him who swears falsely by my name. And it shall remain in his house and consume it, both timber and stones.”
(Zechariah 5:1-4 *)

Saturday Outreach

By the Lord’s kind providence, we were down in front of the mall this week because our usual spot near Ross already had a performer when we arrived.  We only had two men for the box this evening, and being in this more “open area” allowed an amp to be used so that neither needed to strain his voice.

(See last week’s blog regarding changing policies to our use of amps)

After several chilly weeks, it was a “just right” evening!  Many people were out, giving ample opportunity for the gospel to be heard...

...and even ignored.

The man in yellow, Mark, was paying attention.  He came up, took a tract and said, “We're Christian”.  He looked at the tract, paused for a moment, looked back up and said “born again Christians”.  “Are you Christian?”

It’s always encouraging (though infrequent) when fellow believers check our theology and don’t take us on face value just because we call ourselves Christian.  It means there are those out there with a discerning ear!  Likewise, it reminds us to be quick to test and slow to embrace those who pass by professing Christ.

After a brief talk, we found out that he, his wife, and Colin (blue shirt), go to Grace.  They were encouraged to see people preaching the word of God, and we were encouraged that we weren’t the only ones out there who love hearing His word!

This man also seemed enthusiastic that we were there, and it sounded like he said, “Praise God” when he first arrived.  But after boldly standing there filming us for a few minutes, he suddenly took off.  As someone in our group said, “I wonder where that video is going to end up…”

It’s one of those times where we probably should have “tested him” as we, ourselves, had been tested.  Not to stop his recording of the gospel (let him record and share it with others - and if none of them are saved, let them watch it a second time, too!) but since he did give an indication that he considered himself to be a brother, we probably should have made more of an effort to see if he really was.  It was a potential evangelism (or fellowship) opportunity, missed, as we were fascinated with his filming.

Speaking of fellow believers, this group of crazy college and soon-to-be-college young folks came by from our church on some kind of scavenger hunt.  It was fun, but unfortunately between three such groups running around, it caused a bit of a ruckus while they were there!  It wasn’t intentional on their part - they just happened to choose the same location that we were at to run up to "famous knockoffs" (people they pretended looked like someone famous), asking for their autographs.

This girl (in blue) took a free Bible and excitedly ran over to her mom who was visibly upset with her for taking it.  While this girl appears to have run up on her own (not prompted or solicited), it brings up a point...

Kids are a conundrum in street evangelism!  In their innocence, they so eagerly take what is handed them, and of course we want them all to take tracts and Bibles and read and be saved!  But when it comes to kids, we need to remember that there's also a parent who may not want their kid to receive the tract or Bible.

So what do we do with kids?  Do we hand the Bible or tract to the kids, not taking the parents wishes into consideration in the name of Christ's gospel going forward?  Or do we filter all material through the parents, knowing that some will reject it for both themselves and their children?

While it's not an easy answer, the following three points might help illustrate why we should use caution when handing directly to kids:

  • God has placed the parents in authority over the kids.  They have the responsibility of being the "gate-keeper" to their child, and will ultimately answer to Him for their actions.
  • Our zeal to see these young ones saved should not undermine the gospel by giving the impression that we are attempting to bypass that authority or to "indoctrinate" their kids.
  • The carnal man is looking for any and every reason to profane Christ's gospel, so while we won't compromise it, we want to try to limit the offense to the message of the gospel, itself.

Getting a parent's "permission" is as simple as handing the parent the tract, first!  If they take it, it's fair game to give one to the wide-eyed kid who's thinking, is that real money?  Often the parent will even just turn around and give it to their kid, anyway (which is why, on another note, this author advocates for handing a parent with young kids two tracts, so that they keep one for themselves!)

There will be parents who say "no", and when their kids reach for one, will even jerk them out of arm's reach.  That's the authority God has given them being exercised.  It may break our hearts that the cute kid didn't get one...but it should break our hearts all the more that the parent didn't take one because they likely had a good idea about what it was they were rejecting.

If only all our hearers were kids!

This man doesn’t believe in God and said he was too tired to discuss it.  Praise the Lord He allowed him to take a tract.  Pray that he reads and is affected by it.

Anyone who has done evangelism for any amount of time knows the verse, “The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'”.  While we say (echoing the Bible) that all men are sinners, if we are honest with ourselves, we take particular joy in applying this verse when speaking about an atheist.  Probably because it let's us feel a little justified in calling someone a fool who often uses very illogical logic as a defense (though "dumb" is not what the Bible has in mind by "fool"!).

However, if we look at the section of the Bible with that verse (choose either Psalms 14 or Psalms 53 - effectively the same), we read (starting at v1):
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
So far, "Yeah!  They are fools - they do abominable deeds!"

But then the psalmist (David) continues in the next verse:
The LORD looks down from heaven
on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
(emphasis added)
God is said to be looking for anyone who understands...anyone who seeks after Him...

Then verse 3:
They have all turned aside;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
(emphasis added)
The state of the "non-fool" is as bad as the state of the "fool"!

Paul refers to these Psalms in Romans 3:12, when he says:
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
(emphasis added)
Together, as children of Adam, we are all corrupted, all worthless, and all lost.  Really, in a very true sense, we are also all fools!

Praise the Lord He came to save the lost by living a perfectly sinless and righteous life so that all we who are corrupted can repent of our sin and have His righteousness credited to us!

Sergio sometimes attends a Catholic church but never reads his Bible.  He did agree that salvation is by faith alone, as well as agreed to just about everything else that Razmik said - and yet has no personal walk with God.  These types of "full apparent agreement, zero apparent regeneration" talks are some of the most frustrating because you know that they aren't getting it yet it's hard to find a place to start to explain what they have misunderstood about the gospel.

As Christians, we are taught that Catholics earn their way through works, and yet it's not entirely uncommon for a Catholic to agree that it is faith alone which justifies!  Which is puzzling because we know that's not true!  We see their works and blasphemous sacrifices through their Sacraments and the attempts to have their sin forgiven through confessions and reliance on purgatory to burn up what sin they didn't take care of before death.  Clearly they aren't demonstrating the fruit of faith alone!

What gives?

Catholics who say they believe in faith alone (and who follow what the Catholic Church teaches) have a different understanding of what “faith alone” means.  When we say “faith alone”, what we mean is that we are justified (made right before God) by the repentance of sin and faith in the once for all, atoning work of Christ.  When a Catholic says it, they are saying that they are justified by faith, and that proper (true) faith includes good works (otherwise it is a dead faith).

In an article posted on the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network, the author starts by trying to clear things up that they do believe in faith alone - as long as that faith is properly formed:
Whether a Catholic rejects the idea of justification by faith alone depends on what sense the term faith is being used in. If it is being used to refer to unformed faith then a Catholic rejects the idea of justification by faith alone (which is the point James is making in James 2:19, as every non-antinomian Evangelical agrees; one is not justified by intellectual belief alone).
However, if the term faith is being used to refer to faith formed by charity then the Catholic accepts the idea of justification by faith alone. In fact, in traditional works of Catholic theology, one regularly encounters the statement that formed faith is justifying faith. If one has formed faith, one is justified. Period.
(EWTN, JUSTIFICATION: "BY FAITH ALONE"?, James Akin, emphasis added) 
So what is a "formed faith" (fidas formata)?  It is a faith accompanied by good works (charity).  Bit of a slight-hand trick, really, and is faith alone that isn't.

James is a “stumbling block” to them on this.  If we read James out of context, it is very true that it does say, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (2:17) and “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (2:24), etc.  However, James is not talking about how to be justified, but the evidences of someone who has been justified.  Their true faith drives their actions (rather than their faith being true by their actions).

A simple illustration of what it means that by works is faith made evident, is like watching TV in your house and someone running in and telling you that the house is on fire.  If you believe it's on fire, you will run out.  This is what James means as he effectively says You have faith?  Then show me your works.  Running out doesn’t make your faith true (or formed) - it means that you really believed the building to be on fire and you ran out in response to that belief!  If you say you believe the building is on fire, but keep watching TV, your actions betray you.  You don't actually have a saving belief.  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Make no mistake about it: the difference between a Biblical "faith alone" and a Catholic "formed faith alone" is the difference between heaven and hell.  Any reliance on anything except faith in Christ's work on the cross is no faith at all - it's damning.

As time progresses, we should see this use of "fuzzy, right sounding" terminology being used to convince people to unite across faiths.  Mormonism is another example of a false religion with lots of right sounding phrases intentionally obscuring completely different (and heretical and damning) meanings.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Eph 2:8,9)
We must always be on our guard, and always studying our Bibles so that we can tell truth from error!

Jerry, the 18 year old in the hat, said that he believed in God and expected to go to heaven when he died.  When pressed as to why he thought he would, he said, “Because I just believe that”.  Rasmik explained that just believing something doesn’t make it true, and worked to show that one is saved through true, heart felt repentance of their sin, and that he, like everyone else, is a sinner.  He listened patiently and promised to think about it.

We know that all men know God exists (Romans 1:21).  However, knowing that God exists - even believing that He does - and having a contrite, repentant heart before Him are two different things.  The Bible is clear that it’s not merely a general belief in a higher power or just any god (such as Allah or the god of Catholics) and that it's not mere intellectual assent but it is belief in the true God as revealed in Scripture and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(John 3:18)

Continue to pray for our brother Mark, interim-leader during Steve's absence, as he has been physically weak and was ill during the outreach last week.  We thank the Lord that He has given Mark strength for these last 1 1/2 months to stay longer and proclaim more than he is usually able to do.  Pray that he will soon be able to relax and recoup as we anticipate Steve's return.

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

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Abortion Clinic
Mission Hills

It was a nice morning as we gathered once again at the abortion clinic.  Our God remains sovereign, and we know that while it causes us to fear Him, that there is not one single crime against a defenseless child that will go unpunished.

He is not off somewhere trying to fix things, but rather is long-suffering.  We can’t begin to comprehend how much patience He has...nor the wrath to come when the time of His patience is done!

Don expressed a bit of exasperation near the end of the day after this Catholic lady (in front of the picture) left for the second time after coming for 20 minutes to offer blasphemous prayer to Mary and to encourage others going into the clinic to do the same.  Though Don has tried reasoning with them, it has not yet pleased the Lord to grant hearts of contrition as the Catholic ladies remain in a state of refusing to humble and submit themselves to God’s word.

At times when speaking with the ladies about the goodness or providence of God, all their words sound reformed and right and it can be tempting to forget just who it is that they serve.  It's only when they begin rubbing their beads and mumbling that you remember the god they worship isn't the God of the Bible but one compiled from tradition and papal authority with some Bible references thrown in.  In some regards, a very convincing knock-off.  In others, blasphemous.

James White has a loving, yet firm stance when it comes to Catholics.  In this interview he talks about different issues with the Catholic church, why we should remain separate from them, and to take care that we don’t get lulled into a false sense of togetherness.  About half-way through, he talks briefly about his own convictions of having to break from a particular pro-life organization because it meant otherwise withholding the gospel from Catholics to be “united” in the cause of abortion.

This lady came out while Don was warning another couple going into the clinic that what they were doing was murder.  There were classes (IV and CPR) going on, and she seems to have been there for one of them.  She was a very nice lady with a very common (and sad) justification on abortion, best summarized as if the baby is going to be born to a family that can’t take care of it or if it’ll have a hard life or if it might be deformed, then it’s better if it was killed.  She never said it explicitly, but from her examples of people struggling to afford a child and drug addiction, what she meant was it was better for the mom if the baby was killed.

There are many hard situations into which a child could be born - we couldn’t begin to itemize them all - but most that bring a couple to an abortion clinic arise directly out of sinful choices.

No matter the cause or reason, there’s no situation where sinning in response is the solution.  We are blessed to have pregnancy clinics with trained nurses to offer people help for a wide array of problems, from medical to drug addiction to no money to even finding a parents who will adopt an unwanted child when born.

While we appreciate that there are certainly complicated and very difficult situations, when all of those excuses to kill a baby are removed, people intent on doing that...still do.  Their heart is exposed and it comes down to what it's really about - me.  Don tried to help this young lady understand that.

But as a nurse who, as she said, had seen people in lots of bad situations, she still struggled with not wanting to “judge others”.  She alluded to the oft misquoted passage starting in Luke 6:37.

Don expanded on that and that we are not judging based on our authority, but on the Creator’s.  In response to God saying that it is murder, she acted as if that only applied to those who believed in God, and that religions were even a part of the problem.  She used ISIS as the example for this - see how they murder and kill in the name of God?

The Catholic lady, who wasn’t helping, said that we don’t serve the same God as ISIS (true) - our God, she said, is Love and then she began trying to make a case for a god who handed out sweets instead of demanded justice, but the lady saw right through it.  No, she pointed out, they have the same OT testament, as you do.  They have the same laws and judgement as you.

Praise the Lord, the Catholic lady got distracted and walked off.  Don was then able to talk unedited about the true God who revealed His holiness and our sinfulness in the OT laws, and why that points to our need for Christ - and why ISIS who tries to earn Paradise through Jihad, and a Catholic who believes He will wink at sin if the right works are done, can never make it on the very fact that they are trying to make it based on fulfilling the law, themselves.

The lady ended up leaving (politely) without being convinced, but at least hearing a good, straight-forward presentation of the truth of all men's depravity and standing before a holy and just God.

Differing world-views were at the heart of the discussion, but we know that it’s not the world-view, but the creature, that must change first.  The world-view will change naturally once one has been given a heart of flesh and begins being conformed to the image of Christ.  So we pray not that she is convinced that abortion is murder, but that God shows her her own sinfulness in what Don told her, and that she ultimately repents and is saved.

Originally we were going to include a link here to an article on an abortion performed because of a deformity.  Instead, rather than show the evil side, we've provided this link by Matt Slick (of CARM) of how he and his wife decided to not abort their deformed baby, knowing he would likely die after birth: No money and Jacob, my deformed son, in the womb

This guy dropped someone off (maybe 15% of the time, the woman is just dropped off at the door, and picked up later when the abortion is done).  As he drove out, he stopped his truck like he was going to talk, but rolled down the BACK window and yelled out something that we couldn’t understand.

What we could see, however, was that there were 2 or 3 kids in the back seat.  It’s understandable why he was so angry - we were calling him out in front of his kids for killing their brother or sister.

Don tried to get him to roll down his front window so they could talk, but the man drove off.

A confusing thing happened where this lady showed up with a guy and went inside, ignoring Don's appeal to talk.  We thought she was going for an abortion, but, after talking with the Catholic ladies up front, we learned they were there for another girl who came in a different car.  This lady later came out, walked by Don without saying a word though he tried to speak to her again, and went for a morning jog around the neighborhood while she waited for her friend’s abortion to be done.

So many others came today that we lost tract and them all.  It was a very busy two hours.

Don got his exercise moving back and forth between doors!

There was one particularly unusual event that was sad but encouraging.  A car pulled up in front with a Christian couple going to the clinic.  The thing was, what that they didn’t know it was an abortion clinic.  The wife’s child had died in the womb, and Kaiser had referred them here to do the “DNC” procedure.  She was horrified when she saw us outside and began to cry as she realized where she had been sent.  Don was able to give them information on a pregnancy center in Northridge, where they hoped to get a referral to a place that didn't also do abortions.  Again, truly sad, but encouraging that even in sorrowful matters of a dead child, they were unwilling to compromise on their belief and give business to a clinic that specialize in death.

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.

Articles and Media

Paul Washer: The King will be Exalted

Dr. James White: Total Depravity vs Free Will (“slave to sin”)

Dr. James White: Catholic Interview

Note that this informal interview was prepared for a Czech audience and, while spoken in English, has Czech subtitles.  The audio is also a little on the quiet side.

Matt Slick: No money and Jacob, my deformed son, in the womb
"Some of my non-Christian in-laws politely let us know that we should abort Jacob.  They were upset that we were going to go through with the birth--having my wife suffer the great pain of childbirth only to deliver a child that would die."

* All verses from the ESV translation unless otherwise indicated