Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ministry in Bozeman, MT (Spring 2012)

I wanted to update all of you on the ministry that I have been a part of this spring here in Bozeman, Montana, before I leave to go to Nigeria this summer. Throughout this spring I have done some street evangelism here in Bozeman with several different people, but primarily with Chris Jones and Jessica Jones.  During the winter months there weren’t a lot of people that were out on the streets during the day, but we handed out many gospel tracts. This Saturday was a really nice day. Praise the Lord for such nice weather. There was tons of people downtown to share the gospel with.

I want to tell you a little bit about what happened this Saturday.  We (Chris , Jessica and Aedine)  went out and people were willing to talk. We handed out a bunch of gospel tracts. Chris and I got the opportunity to talk with a fellow that is very lost. He kept telling us that we were wasting our time on telling people about an event that happened 2000 years ago and that we needed to get into politics so that we could change America that way. He went on to tell us that Republicans are going to turn this country into a dictatorship. He said he was a part of the Bahia religion and that he did not need God and proceeded to tell us that we were ignorant fools. He told me I had a big ego to think that my religion was right and that I was selfish for sharing the gospel. All of this happened with us unable to get much of a word in. Final, after listening to him and not getting to finish a thought with him, I decided it was time to straight up preach, and as I got going on it, he decided that it was time for him to leave. He told me that he was 75 years old and he could not believe that I would not listen to him and warned me that I should stop sharing the gospel and make my life into something worthwhile. Then he proceeded to walk off. A man stumbled up the street, toward him, yelling and walked right past him. I handed him a gospel tract and the fellow that we had just been talking with yelled back at us that we had a lot of guts to give out more gospel tracts, after what he had just told us. The only verse I could think of was Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “ (NASB)

Here are some other verses that have also come to mind.

2 Timothy 1:8-13 “ Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,  for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

2Ti 3:14-17  You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB)

I am convinced of these things. I am convinced that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that He rose again to show that He conquered sin and death.  I am convinced that He is the Son of God. I am convinced that the only way that a person can have true peace is through Jesus Christ. I must boldly preach the gospel for that is what Christ has commanded every believer to do and there may be persecution and people that hate it and try to tell you that you are wrong, like this fellow did, but we are convinced that our Savior Jesus Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality (eternal life) to light through the gospel. For if we are not convinced of these things then, what do we have to stand on? What do we have to cling to?  These are some questions to think about. Are you convinced of these things?

To continue on we kept on going and preaching the gospel. There were a few other people that we got to talk to briefly. Please pray for all of the people that received gospel tracts, that they might be convinced also of these things. Pray for this fellow we talked with that he would read the gospel of John that we gave him and that he might be convicted and that he might also be convinced of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for Tyler, Andrew, Dave 1, Dave 2, Paul, and Fen.  Praise the Lord for such excellent opportunities.
That was little about the evangelism that is going on here in Bozeman recently. Jessica and Chris will continue to go out and share the gospel with people this summer. Please pray for them and that the hearts of the people in Bozeman would be softened to the gospel.

I have also been helping out with a ministry called International student ministry this year. This spring has been really good and I have enjoyed getting to know the international students. It has been such a blessing to be able to share the gospel with them and to become friends with many of them. I will miss them a lot.  I am excited about next year as I will be helping out with it again this next year also.  Praise the Lord for such great opportunities.

I will be writing an update soon for my trip to Nigeria. It is coming very soon in less than a month. Please pray for the rest of the preparations for that. Thank you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What if Christ had not risen?

1Co 15:1 -20 “ 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. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (NASB)

I was thinking this week of how important the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to us. Paul tells us in this passage how important it really is.  He tells us that he delivers it of first importance. It is more important than anything else. That Christ died for our sins, that He was buried and that He rose again. This is the most important thing to Paul. He tells us this is why it is true: He was seen by many people like the apostles over 500 people at one time and He appeared to Paul.  He is telling them, here is the proof you need to know this is true. There are eye witnesses who saw Him. Then Paul goes on and He says if you preach Christ, that He was raised from the dead then why do some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead. Paul in the way He argues most of His things and in the way He writes goes on with logic. He says if there is no resurrection of the dead then not even Christ was raised from the death. If Christ was not raised from the dead then, everything we are preaching, what we stand for is in vain, it is worthless; we are following after a dead man. Our faith is in vain. Not only that we have sinned against God because we have lied about God raising Jesus from the dead. And in this case it was something God did not do so therefore there is no resurrection from the dead. Then He goes through the argument again, just to make sure they understand it.  He ends with “You are still in your sins.” Then everyone who believed it and died has perished. If our hope was in Christ alone then we should be pitied. This is how man in this day and age looks at us, because they do not understand that we serve a living Savior. Paul says “BUT NOW CHRIST HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD.”

What a case for the resurrection of Christ, Paul made. If Christ has not been raised, we are fools following a dead man. Paul’s confidence is great. Christ has been raised from the dead and we serve a risen Savior not a dead man. We serve the one who has conquered death for all time and who has made a way for us to go to heaven for all time.

Do we have the same confidence to say, “Christ has been raised from the dead”? Do we really believe that He has been raised from the dead? Or do we just say it, because that is what the Bible says or that is what we have been told? In our hearts do we really believe it and does that reflect in our lives?

Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead. We do indeed serve a risen Savior and not a dead man. Let us not forget that our faith would be in vain, without Christ being raised from the dead three days later.