03/11/10

An Open Letter to Non-Christians

1803780526 d49a807a52 An Open Letter to Non Christians Dear Non-Christian,

I’ve known you for a while now, ever since I broke out of my Christian bubble and met you on the college campus. It has been refreshing to engage a bigger world. It has spurred me along in growth and understanding.


Yeah, I Envied Your Swagger

To be honest, I was a bit envious of you when we first met. I envied your humor, your carefree attitude, and your swagger. So when you first opened up and told me you were insecure and desperately seeking hope and change…it came as a bit of a shock. I didn’t know you were so much like me.


What I Never Told You, and Why

There’s something I never told you though. I knew where to find those things. I knew where to find hope. I knew the secret to change. I knew the path to peace. I knew the key to unlocking joy. It is all found in a relationship with God through salvation in Jesus Christ.

Why didn’t I tell you? I blamed it on fear. What if you rejected me, scorned my message, mocked my weakness, or laughed at my childlike faith?


Fear Wasn’t The Root Problem

Fear, though, never was my problem. It was just a convenient excuse. You see, fear is just a surface symptom of a deeper problem. I myself lacked deep enough relationship with God in Christ. I had been able to speak of Him as a lover speaking of his loved one, I would been unafraid.

But things have changed now. I’ve never known God before like I do now. I’ve never loved the gospel of Jesus Christ like I do now. And I want you to find the same things. It is impossible to have such a high appreciation of Christ and have a silent tongue. There is real change and hope in Jesus Christ.

I’m not talking about using a lot of vague theological terms to describe some sort of uselessly abstract path to salvation.


Know the Real God

I’m talking about really knowing the real God. Stop running from Him towards things that never satisfy. Find freedom from destructive desires and habits, and replace them with a lifestyle that is filled with hope, love, sacrifice, humility, security, and contentment. It is all found in Jesus Christ. It is radical. It will completely change who you are, how you view life, work and people.

I hope to keep writing and explain these things further. There isn’t a discussion of greater importance that we could engage in together.

Sincerely,

Daniel Wilson



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09/10/09

7 reasons why God used D. L. Moody

dl moody 7 reasons why God used D. L. MoodyD.L. Moody was a strikingly ordinary human used powerfully by the Almighty. How did that come about? Why was Moody used powerfully? R. A. Torrey gives us 7 reasons in his biography of Moody:

1. A Fully Surrendered Man
Moody had no will and goals outside of God’s. The heart of the Father filled the heart of Moody. Not a mere agreement to cooperate with God in addition to a personal agenda, but a full-scale submission to God’s will alone.

2. A Man of Prayer
Practical belief in God powered Moody’s prayer life. “He was a man who met every difficulty that stood in his way — by prayer. Everything he undertook was backed up by prayer, and in everything, his ultimate dependence was upon God.”

3. A Deep and Practical Student of the Bible
Every morning, Moody shut himself up alone in a room to meet with God in the Word. He was unwilling to sacrifice time with God for something of lesser value.

4. A Humble Man
Moody was convinced of his own inadequacy. This led him to trust God for strength. It also allowed him to enjoy putting himself in the background and others in the foreground.

5. His Entire Freedom from the Love of Money
Millions on dollars passed through Moody’s hands, and as Torrey put it, “He loved to gather money for God’s work; he refused to accumulate money for himself.”

6. His Consuming Passion for the Salvation of the Lost
As a new believer, Moody resolved to never let a day pass without speaking to at least one person about the gospel. Sometimes, remembering that commitment stirred  him from his bed and out into the streets late at night.

7. Definitely Endued with Power from on High
“In his early days he was a great hustler; he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power,” Torrey described Moody, “He worked very largely in the energy of the flesh.” That changed after he began praying for the power of the Holy Spirit, not his human effort, to drive his ministry.

Which one of those evidences of God’s grace in Moody’s life strike you the most?

Click to download the short (15 pg) book, Why God used D.L. Moody, by R. A. Torrey.



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08/12/09

Proclaiming the gospel: What we learn from casting nets

800px Sea of Galilee 19001 300x220 Proclaiming the gospel: What we learn from casting netsIt was the tenth or so time I had slung the 12-foot net into the waves while fishing where I am vacationing in Florida. As my biceps burned from casting the lead-weighted net into the gulf, the text of Mark 1:16-20 came to life. Indian Shores, Florida, started feeling a lot like Galilee. I could taste a little of how Simon, Andrew, James, and John experienced as they spit sand and mopped sweat.

4 observations on fishing with nets
In the text, the soon-to-be disciples of Jesus Christ (Simon, Andrew, James, and John) teach us about casting nets.

1. Fishermen.
They cast their nets because they were fishermen. Fishermen cast nets, it is just what they do. Notice also that they fished in teams instead of trying to manage boats and nets alone.

2. Fatigue.
They cast nets even with fatigued biceps, wiping sweat from their brows with calloused hands. Casting nets exhausts the body.

3. Failure.
They cast nets even after pulling many empty nets into the boat, shaking their heads and wondering where all the fish went. It is ridiculous to expect a large catch with every cast.

4. Fish.
They cast nets with the goal of catching fish. This involves being in a place where there are fish, and pursing the catch.

4 challenges to the fishermen

1. Proclaim the gospel as a lifestyle, because that is just what disciples do. It is expected that a Christian will witness in the same we that we think “duh!” when told that fishermen fish. Also, work with a team to share the gospel by supporting and encouraging one another to keep fishing. Hold each other accountable. Being a loner is arrogance, not bravery.

2.
Persevere in sharing the gospel. When you’ve have a grueling work schedule, proclaim the gospel. Calloused hands belong to those who have pushed on through pain and exhaustion, not to those too self-conscious to try. The marks on Christ’s hands show that He gave His life to the Father’s business. Let our hands show that we are about our Father’s business.

3.
When the nets come up empty and we fail to see the results we expected, by all means, analyze the situation and figure out what might have gone wrong. Mend nets. But never let the fear of failure keep you from fishing. The only reason to stop and mend nets is for the purpose of gearing up to try again the next morning at sunrise.

4.
Be where the fish are. Sitting on a pew is not fishing. Listening in the pews on Sunday morning may serve to help you mend your net, but go out and engage the lost.

We proclaim the gospel by His power for His glory. Let’s cast our nets.

Can you think of any other elements of fishing with nets that have parallels to proclaiming the gospel? The idea of drawing a net in reminds me of John 6:44. Fish can’t resist the net once drawn up in it. Fish don’t willingly go into nets, they are surprised by them (and we don’t willingly love God first either). The net brings death. I haven’t fully thought out all of that though…

Lastly, a prayer request
I have a prayer request. I spent time casting my nets and fishing Tuesday afternoon with a man named Mark. He was doing some construction work on a beach house nearby and we joined up for the afternoon to fish. Lord willing, this morning (Wednesday) I will be fishing at sunrise with Mark. And I will put some of this to practice and share the gospel. Will you lift Mark and I up in prayer to the Father who alone can change hearts, open eyes, and save sinners?



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08/9/09

The struggle to believe in rebirth

1201952 61178703 300x164 The struggle to believe in rebirthAs the movie screen went black, the concluding feeling was one of unsatisfied needs in the characters. The popular movie reflects the hungers in the hearts of the ordinary McDonalds cashier, school kid, tennis coach, and everyone else.

They are starved for truth that brings freedom. The fascination with themes of redemption point to the heart’s longing for the gospel message, the very message the movie can only crudely hint at.

That gospel message has been entrusted to followers of Jesus Christ. God opens eyes to the truth, and chooses to use us to bring His gospel of grace to the lost.

The honest truth: I struggled to believe the power of the gospel.
Do you want the honest truth? I have not always believed all men really needed the gospel. I knew I needed salvation, and that the Bible says other men need it.  But when I engaged in a conversation with an agnostic on campus, he seemed to be getting along fine without God. He was decently moral. More conscious of poor than I am. Hard working. What did he need God for, other than to avoid hell (which he didn’t believe in)?

What does man need God for? Everything. Even the seemingly moral and compassionate agnostic needs to be set free to serve God and enjoy the relationship. Even if he blindly denies it, the agnostic’s daily existence was a life-size testimony to his inability to satisfy his extreme desires with earthly vanities. The question is not “Does man need God?” The question is, “Does man see his need for a Savior to reconcile him to God?”

Thanks be to our Lord for opening my eyes to the reality of man’s need for the gospel. I may not confidently say that I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16)

Real beliefs change real life: Living like we know there is a way to be born again.
When I really believe that all men need the blood of Jesus Christ to bring them into the relationship they crave, it opens my mouth. There is hope to proclaim. Men can indeed be born again.
Let me close with a quote from Spurgeon:

“…he who really has this high estimate of Jesus will think much of him, and as the thoughts are sure to run over at the mouth, he will talk much of him. Do we so? If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself; you will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of his sweet love. Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor. Recollect that. You either try to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love him at all. It cannot be that there is a high appreciation of Jesus and a totally silent tongue about him.”

Do you believe the gospel is powerful? Have you ever fought these same struggles? What did God use to bring you to understand your need, and see others’ need in such a real way that it motivates you to verbally proclaim the word of God that brings saving faith to lost men?



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07/31/09

Weekend Resource: Free book – Tortured for Christ

310wK4BYcrL. SL500 AA226  Weekend Resource: Free book   Tortured for ChristResource: The Voice of the Martyrs invites you to request complimentary copies of Richard Wurmbrand’s international bestseller, Tortured for Christ. Completely free.

Also, when you order the book, you’ll receive a free subscription to their monthly award-winning newsletter to “keep you informed on Christian persecution worldwide while sharing practical opportunities to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith.”

Click here to order the book.

Click here to visit their website and get involved in supporting the persecuted church through the VOM ministry.



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06/17/09

Colombia bound

 Colombia boundPrayer warriors, we request your support again. In a few hours a small team will fly out for Colombia to train a large gathering of youth at a local church. The focus is on decision making, which means bringing the gospel of grace to bear on the issue, pointing our hearts to Christ Jesus our Lord who alone is able to transform our hearts to seek the Lord in all decisions.
It is not a lengthy trip, but because we are partnered with nationals in the country who are already working to train small group leaders, the stay need not be long for the Spirit to work.

Please pray “that words may be given to us in opening ours mouths boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which we are ambassadors, that we may declare it boldly, as we ought to speak.”



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02/14/09

New eyes

Hell. Can I say I believe in its reality, if I can walk by someone headed for it and not say a thing? Hell, a place of torture like we have never experienced on earth, where God’s presence is completely withdrawn from them. The coming withdrawal of God’s presence  caused Jesus to sweat blood in the garden and to cry out on the cross, “Why have You forsaken Me?” I think if I am honest, I would have to say that I am not living like hell is real. I saw a short video clip at church recently where an atheist asked the basic question, “How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about hell?” His point was that if you truly believe in God and hell, then how much do you have to hate other people to keep from warning them about hell and sharing the news of salvation with them?

Christ. How real is He to me? Yes, I am His child. But when I look at what He says…

John 14:15, 21, 23-24
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

…I am left with a sickening conclusion: I don’t love Him enough obey. He told me to go make disciples, He didn’t ask me. He directly commanded us all to go make disciples of all nations (Mat 28:18-20). How did I find an exception for me in that command? How did I fall for the, “Evangelism is not my gift,” lie of the devil? Sure, some are gifted for it better than others, but is that any excuse for me to watch someone walk through hell’s gates? Those demons must be gleefully propagating such a lie, finding great mirth in the idea that Christians think that they can decide not to proclaim the single message of salvation to all men. We act like we know better than our Lord, we have something more important than our God-given mission to make disciples. How arrogant and destructive!

I have lived like evangelism is optional. No, evangelizing is not an option, for anyone. Both of Old and New Testament makes it clear that the one who has the message of salvation, but declines to declare it (or keeps someone else from declaring it!) is responsible for the blood of those he didn’t tell.

Jeremiah 26:12-15
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. 13 Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you. 14 But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. 15 Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Ezekiel 33:1-9
33:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, 3 and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
7 “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Acts 20:24-26
24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

I come to a clear conclusion that I can not say I love my Jesus unless I am obeying. He has given me commands that I am completely ignoring. I can not say I am following Him, if I am not doing what He gave His entire life up to do: bring men to God. What part of Christ’s life am I imitating if I am not imitating His love for men in bringing salvation to them? What a mockery of love to say, “I love You, but I won’t follow You. I don’t have enough love for you to give my life to Your mission.”

This is not a works-based salvation. I don’t evangelize to my own salvation. However, it is a clear barometer of my love for Him. I don’t love Him much if I won’t obey Him, and following Him in loving others by telling them the only thing that matters. I can tell someone anything I want, but if I didn’t proclaim the gospel, then I have only told them things that will be ultimately worthless if they are in hell. I have failed if I have refrained from boldly proclaiming the gospel.

It’s time to step out and forget about the results of my evangelism effort, and focus on just making the effort. What an amazing idea faith is! I can do something, trust the results to God, and just have faith that He will do His part (saving someone) if I do my part (telling someone). What a statement of faith it is to evangelize.

Father, I need to see the reality of hell and Christ. Through Your Holy Spirit, Make it so real that I see how clearly the eternal things are to be valued above the earthly. Open my eyes to the comfortable lie that there is a value in pouring my life into “worthy” things that have nothing to do with the gospel. Please forgive me for living life practically ashamed of the gospel, even if not outright saying so. Let me live in this reality, so that my whole life is dedicated to “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”

“Give me Your eyes” – Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere,
Why have I never cared?

Chorus:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Chorus
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

I’ve Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all along

Chorus (x2)
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see



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