Tag Archives: Georgie

Resurrecting the Blog

Whatever happened to that evangelism blog? Wasn’t it called Good News for Toronto … or something like that? It was, it still is; in fact, it has been resurrected!

My last post was in March of 2010 (yikes! … it was  year of Sabbath rest!). Lots has happened since. Caleb was born (Dec 4, 2010) – Georgie and I love him so much!!! Praise be to God for such kindness to us! I served as Pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church for a year! And well … lots of other stuff too.

Something really cool just happened a couple of weeks ago. My dear brothers and sisters at the Grace Fellowship Church plant in Don Mills hired me to help in the work of establishing the Church! Georgie and I have long-standing friendships with many of them so we are very humbled to receive this mercy – this opportunity to walk in the works that God has prepared for us here (Eph 2.10).

My beloved brother Julian Freeman has invited me to c0-labour with him in the Gospel! I am so thankful to God for him … and I am deeply humbled by this opportunity to assist him. I am so thankful for his friendship and the gift he is to me and to Christ’s Church. May God be pleased to use GFC Don Mills for the praise of his mercy! May God work through us to save many sinners – that they might taste and see that the Lord is good.

My first day on the streets spreading the Gospel of the kingdom was this past Saturday (Don Mills & Lawrence bus stops and surrounding area) … posts coming soon!

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The Importance of Praying for Open Doors

This post was written by my good friend Peter N. He is a faithful man who loves Christ. I asked him to write this post after watching him faithfully evangelize at a restaurant this past weekend. I have learned much from him and I hope you will too. In this post he shares the story of what happened while attending my highschool alumni basketball game. This story serves as a great reminder of the importance of praying for open doors (and also attempting to turn conversations toward Christ). I trust you will profit from reading it.

Unexpected turn of events

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to join Steve F., John M., Paul M., and Georgie M. to a yearly alumni basketball game in Listowel, Ontario, where they grew up and went to high school. The players were made up of past and present students of Listowel District Secondary School who played basketball. After the game, the tradition is to eat dinner at a particular restaurant. I had personally not planned on attending this event, but in God’s sovereignty I went along with them.

Praying for open doors

Paul M. had prayed before the game for evangelistic opportunities throughout the day. Once again the five of us prayed before dinner in the car for doors to open to share the gospel during dinner. The Lord answered us.

Discerning the situation

We entered the restaurant and only three of the players were already seated, T, S, and K. Once seated next to them we began to engage in small talk with the three who were there, snacking on peanuts and waiting for others to arrive. Others began to arrive while I was intentionally probing the three to see if a conversation would develop where the gospel could be presented. Nothing seemed to be going anywhere with K and T (they were not that talkative), but I began to have a conversation with S (who was quite talkative), asking about his work, life, and family.

The Lord opens the door

By this time, most had arrived, were seated, and we had ordered our food. As I continued to ask S about his family he mentioned his sister on an exchange program in another country. He remarked how she would come back next year “guaranteed.” That word struck me, guaranteed. “There really are no guarantees in life,” I thought. I proceeded to say that to him hoping that it would lead to a spiritual conversation. Thankfully, it did. He responded by asserting that if there are no guarantees in life, how can that statement be a guarantee? He was right. But the statement is still true from a human perspective. We as humans can make no guarantees apart from the promises of God. In that sense there are no guarantees in life. I asked him, “What do you think happens to you when you die?” That began an hour-long dialogue between him, Paul M., John M., and me.

He claimed to be a good person and on that basis God would accept him. He was skeptical of the exclusivity of Christianity and the Bible’s claims. He argued that he could not simply accept our testimony without having studied them himself. Paul M. clearly described the gospel to him. Paul M. challenged him to repent and believe the gospel, and by waiting he was actively rejecting the gospel. He needed to make a decision now. He chose to reject the gospel, excusing himself by stating he was going to wait for it to be revealed to him. In the meantime, he would continue searching for truth and be a good person.

I challenged him to search for the truth; not to dismiss the claims of the Bible and Christ without first having studied them himself, and without bringing presuppositions to the text. I urged him to read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel because it adequately explains the history behind the formation of the canon. Steve F. suggested he read The Reason for God by Tim Keller. This is another excellent book, which highlights the rationality of believing in God and especially the God of the Bible. He said he would read them. I pray he does. I got his e-mail address to follow-up with him. I will in the coming weeks.

It all started with prayer

It all started with the prayers in the car, before and after the game. The Spirit gave us the willingness and intentionality to proclaim the gospel to S, not to mention in the hearing of T and K. The Lord was sovereign. He answered our prayers. He gave us the boldness we needed. To Him belongs the glory forever and ever.

Talking with a Grade 12 Couple: What is Faith?

Georgie and I were at the bus stops for a bit yesterday morning. We saw a young couple (grade 12 students) sitting on the step in front of the church beside the bus stop. The young man was talking on his cell. I was hesitant to go to them, for I usually do not like to interrupt people. However, his girlfriend was not talking on the phone. What do we do? I went back and forth, deliberating . . . but since no one else was around, we finally decided to go talk to them. We approached them handing them the 10 commandment coins and telling them who we are and what we were up to (spreading the Gospel).

I asked the girl if she knew the Gospel, she said that she did, but that she did not know it well, nor much about it. With a smile and joy in my heart I said, “Well then, have I got something to share – this is the best news ever!” She smirked, but must have wondered “what’s up with this odd guy? And how did he score such a lovely and pleasant fiance?” I went on to share the Gospel with them; by this time, her boyfriend was off the phone and listening. I started in Genesis 1-3 and preached the Gospel in conjunction with Romans 5: Adam as our representative (sin, death) and then Christ as our redemptive representative (obedience and life). Were they listening? Yes, they really seemed to be listening. After this I opened up the Bible and read to them Mark 1:15 telling them that God commands them to turn to Jesus and to believe on Him.

Now, he was Catholic and I am not sure what her background was. Whatever the case, I asked, “Is Jesus number one in you life right now?” He said “no, not always.” I responded, “Me too. I cannot say that he is always number one in my life.” He replied, “Having faith can be hard sometimes – how do we know (Christianity) is true?” I said, “what is faith?” He said, “It is what you believe but you do not know.” I discerned a problem with that concept of faith. Thus, I turned to Hebrews 11:1 and gave him the Bible to read for himself. He read (silently) Hebrews 11:1, which says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV). I said, “Faith is being certain of would you do not see.” I explained to him that you can be certain of things that you have not seen.

Whatever the case, they live in the neighbourhood. Georgie and I explained how we are moving into the neighbourhood soon. We gave them Bibles (with our personal and church contact info) with a pamphlet of the  Gospel. We opened up the doors for further dialogue, whether it be over a coffee or at our church. May the Lord guard the Word that was cast upon the soil of their hearts. Hopefully it is good soil; if not, may the Lord make it so.

P #4: God’s Presence Points to Christ

This past Wednesday marked our fourth evening of Grace Kids Summer Remix! We continued our series in Exodus, focusing on how God’s presence points us to Christ! I was delighted to have Chisso teach another truth using a trick. This time he helped us recap the 10 commandments. Caroline V. led us in a really cool song about how Jesus came to earth to work on our behalf! Carrie helped out with the actions! And the Chandrasena’s joined us for the night as well! Oh, and the boys vs. girls game was a thriller – the girls barely won and Kelly the Caterpillar competed with great fervour and hunger!

As for the weather, it was a slightly cool evening – hey, who is that beautiful young lady putting on a blue sweater?

tarp

Eric was happy to be there . . . and so was Ryan, Lauren, Sophie and Rebbecca:

eric and girls

But who had the bigger smile? Eric or Ryan? Compare above and below:

Ryan

I preached on the presence of God which points us to Christ:

me preaching

Though it is hard to see the above sketch with clarity, I will briefly outline the message. In the top left box, we looked at how God came to Moses. God was present. Then in the top right box, we considered how God came to meet with his people at Mount Sinai. God presence was resting at the top of the mountain. God was present. In the bottom left, we focused on one of the ultimate purposes of the taberacle: “I will dwell among the people the Israel and will be their God” (see Exodus 29:43-46). God was present.

Thereafter, the Lord gave me grace to preach Christ. We considered how Jesus is Immanuel (God with us). God came not only to be with us, but to work for our salvation so that  – as we saw in the last box – one day, God will be with his people on the new earth! John writes: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3). I preached the Gospel, questioning the kids and as to whether they will be on the new earth – “are you truly trusting in Christ?”  He is the only way to the new earth where He will dwell in the midst of his people forever!

Though there is only one more Grace Kids Remix (on August 19th), we finished covering all four P’s in our summer series (Exploring Egypt to Sinai: 4 P’s that Point You to Christ!). The four P’s are God’s Promises, Power, Provision and Presence.

And what do we do after the preaching? What else . . . other than . . . go to the PLAYGROUND! Ammiel led the way, and Wes and Victoria were not far behind:

playground

  See you August 19th! We have much to review!

Bus Stop to Coffee Shop to Church: He Came to Church!

Bus Stop

Phil K. and I hit the bus stops Saturday evening. We had some good talks about God’s righteous standards and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God gave us grace to continue ministering in a spirit of prayer. We continued to pray for the Lord to lead us to the right people. Interestingly, we saw a man sitting down at a bus stop just a minute or two away from us (corner of Islington and Elmhurst). Thus, we went and met him. I approached him giving him a penny with the 10 commandments on it. I explained that we are from the church down the road. I also told that we were out spreading the Gospel. I had asked him we could talk to him while he waited for the bus. He was fine with that. I learned that he is originally from India and currently attending an Anglican church.

He was thankful for the coin and wanted to know, “Why are you handing these out?” So, why do I hand out penny’s with the 10 commandments on them? Well, there are a few reasons why I do this (possibly I will post on this in detail later); but I only took the time to elaborate on one. I explained, “The 10 commandments were given to Israel. Israel agreed to obey the law, but they failed. But God, in his love, sent Jesus do be faithful in a way that Israel had not been faithful. And all of us, well, we are like Israel, we have failed to obey God’s standards which Jesus taught when he came.” He wanted to talk more. When the bus came, he suggested that we jump on the bus to keep talking. Now that was an exciting suggestion! I asked Phil, “you got your metro pass?” I had change . . . on the bus we go!

We got on the bus and though it took me a while to dig out the right change (pocket full of 10 commandment pennies!), I eventually sat down and we resumed our conversation. If my memory is correct, I think I went on to talk about the righteous standards of Jesus, which he preached when he came (cf. Matthew 5-7). However, we did not talk long on the bus, for we got off soon to go to a coffee shop where he wanted to treat us to some coffee and to sit and talk more! Bus stop to coffee shop! I love it!

Coffee Shop

We sat down and began to talk for a bit. Before long he explained to us that he had recently talked to his pastor and asked, “If I follow the theory of Christianity and the principles of Jesus and his teaching, what will happen to my soul when I die?” His question was not simply a theological test for his pastor; his question was sincere and he was concered about his soul. His pastor told him that he would get back to him with the solution (sometime in the next week or so). He told us, “I know my body will go into the ground, but what about my soul?” I was stunned. I have not met too many people at the bus stops who seem to be truly concerned about the state of their souls. I was (and I am) really thankful to the Lord for orchestrating this meeting. I told him, “Do you want the answer which is small in length, medium, medium to large or large?” He looked at the clock. Seeing it was almost 9 PM, he needed to go and get milk before a neighbouring grocery store closed. Accordingly, he went to go get his milk. While he left, Phil and I stayed put with his stuff. We prayed for the Lord to help us. I was a little troubled – where do I start? Matthew 25 came to my mind. This passage is the clearest passage which I know of which clearly spells out eteral life and eternal punishment (thus, telling us about our soul). Then he came back and our conversation resumed. We studied the Bible for well over an hour!

I gave him a New Testament which we hand out for free. We started in Matthew 25. Phil was our public reader. He would read the Scriptures aloud as my friend and I followed along in our Bibles. After the reading of each portion, we would go back and study it, interacting with it and talking about the meaning of the text. We read Matthew 25:31-46. Conclusion: the condition of our soul will depend on whether we are righteous or cursed. The righteous go into eternal life and the cursed (non-righteous) go into eternal punishment. Out of curiosity, I asked him, “is there an emphasis on explaining and teaching the Bible at your church?” He said, “no.” I encouraged him to come to our church where the Bible is explained and taught. I told him how important it is to better understand the Bible, for it is the very Word of God.

After that, we looked at Luke 18:9-14. We spent a while studying this passage. I tried to teach that there are two kinds of people in this passage – (1) those who believe not only in the need for God’s grace, but who also “trusted in themselves,” and (2) those who rely completely on God’s mercy and do NOT trust in themselves at all. He seemed to understand the point of the parable; however, he was not identifying himself with the Pharisee. I find this to be the greatest problem with most of us . . . we do not realize the we really are the Pharisee; even though our self-righteousness is not nearly as blatant, we really do tend to believe that our performance counts for at least something (even in a little bit) when it comes to gaining God’s acceptance.

Phil also directed us to John 11:17-27. We looked at how Jesus is the resurrection and the life. We spent quite a bit of time in Romans 3:9-26, especially 3:19-20. He seemed to understand that we are all guilty before God. I think we also looked at the standards of Jesus in Matthew 5-7, that we cannot even lust after a woman (5:27-28) and that we must be perfect (5:48). I tried to explain Jesus’ subsitutionary life for all who believe, and his substutionary death for all who believe. The major point of concern seemed to be his apparent misunderstanding of faith alone in Christ alone which results in works vs. faith in Christ + works for Christ in order to gain God’s acceptance.

Phil directed us to Hebrews 9:11-28, and he explained the sufficiency of Christ’s work, specifically in his sacrificial death. I cannot remember where we studied after that, but we kept talking about the sinfulness of man and the sufficiency of Christ’s work. Whatever the case, we helped him carry his groceries as we walked him home. On the way home, he made mention of the “theory of Christianity.” We took time to passionately emphasize the Christianity is centered in the person of Jesus Christ who has risen and is alive. I explained that Christianity is not simply as system of principles to believe, but a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  I referred to John 17:3, telling him, “this is eternal life, that you know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent.” When he got to his place, he invited us in and we watched a video of him performing music and dance for a Christmas festival (he is certainly talented!). Thereafter Phil and I both prayed for him. We encouraged him to come to church in the morning.

Church

Guess what! He came to church! I was delighted to see him again. He really enjoyed the teaching. The saints welcomed him with much love. Georgie (my fiance) and I took him out for lunch and at we had a great dialogue again Sunday afternoon. Again, we talked about God’s standards and the Gospel. Georgie mentioned that it is not our performance that gets us right with God (or keeps us right with God). She emphasized that it is Christ’s work that seals our standing with God.

He wanted to know about hypocrites who say that they have faith but do not have works. He was convinced that they have no right to assurance. Georgie and I agreed that those people to do not have real faith (cf. James 2); however, works do not equal saving faith. An important distinction is the following: are our works simply the result of genuine faith (which is faith alone in Christ alone), OR  do we believe that our works somehow contribute, in conjunction with Christ’s work, to make us right with God?

If someone is trusting in their works to help gain God’s acceptance, they ought to take these words to heart: “you are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4). Now, of course, the Galatians did not think they were saved by works of the law alone; they believed in Jesus and knew that Jesus was the Messiah. However, they started to think that trusting in his work alone was not sufficient. They started to believe that they must obey certain parts of OT law in order to help make themselves fully acceptable to God (to be a full/real son of Abraham). However, notice what Paul says, if you want your works to count at all, you are “obligated to keep the whole law” (Galatians 5:3). So, for God, you must trust in Christ alone; if you don’t, you will be judged according on your own performance (Christ’s work does not count for you).

Near the end of our discussion he indicated that though he knows he is a sinner, he does not think he deserves eternal punishment. Thus, I spent a while sharing about the holiness of God, referring to Isaiah 6, 1 John 1:5 and especially Genesis 3. Thereafter, I asked, “In the courtroom of heaven, if you were to die today, do you think you will be innocent or guilty?” He said, “A little bit of both.”

I am thankful to God for all the time we spent together. He is a very friendly man. I am really hoping that he will keep coming to the church to hear the Bible expounded clearly. I am also hoping and praying that God would open his eyes to see that, like me (and like all of us), he deserves eternal punishment, so that in believing so, he may beat his chest and cry out to Jesus, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” I also gave him the option of doing Bible studies together. We will see how the Lord leads. Praise God for this amazing weekend! You never know where bus stop evangelism may lead!