Archive for the ‘The Gospel’ Category

Awesome week!

May 20, 2019

Experiencing God while you’re living. There is nothing quite like it. And, if you have been born of the Spirit, i.e. the Spirit of the living God is inside you, you have a testimony of what God is doing currently in your life. So….. share it! Give God some credit, some glory!

The most awesome thing that took place this week (Tuesday) was the salvation of “Jose”. God chose to save him. We saw him down the sidewalk waiting for the bus. The Spirit said to go over to him, so we did. We handed him a “Born of the Spirit” card, like we usually do, and God took it from there. Before long he was praying to the Father, asking for forgiveness and confessing upon the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. We (the Holy Spirit and i) prayed with him just after he prayed. It was a beautiful experience to see how God moved at just the right time. What a God! A God who saves!

Later that same day, we met a fellow believer on the bus. Awesome time of fellowship. We sensed that he had a personal struggle going on in which he didn’t disclose. God, being all knowing, knew just exactly what it was. We continue to pray for him.

On Wednesday, we believed God to head out on the train towards Santa Monica. We we got off the bus and got to the train platform, He had a guy waiting there. We approached him and handed him a card. He read it as we stood off at a distance. Afterward, i asked him what he thought of it. He said that he hadn’t heard of the message of being born again like this before. It was straight from John chapter 3. So, it asked the question, “what has he heard regarding the gospel?”. We encouraged him to seek God and be born of the Spirit. And as we have said on many occasions, “It’s like walking into a dark room and flipping the light switch on. Boom! Now i can see!”

On Thursday, we believed God to head up north on the bus. He had a guy sitting in his car right next to where we were waiting for the bus. Come to find out, he was a believer, who was on his lunch from work. We had a good time “fellowship” (two fellows in the same ship :-). We believed for him to be encouraged to step out in faith and share Jesus more often. Yes! Glory to God!                                                                                                            Later that day, we met a young guy on the train who was encouraged by what the Holy Spirit spoke to Him. He believed, but needed a spiritual boost that he was certainly not going to receive from the world. He couldn’t wait to share it with his girlfriend who he was headed to see. It is always a blessing to know that there is no “happen chances” with God.

On Friday, we believed God to go to downtown and preach the gospel. The Spirit gave us liberty and many heard what they would probably of not heard that day. And what was that? That they are separated from God because of sin. But, that God did indeed made a way for them through the cross of Christ.                                                                                After finishing, we were drained physically. We took a break and texted my wife to pray. Soon, we arrived at another corner, and was led to share there. It wasn’t but a few minutes into sharing the gospel, i noticed a guy off in the distance listening. He changed positions every so often. For the rest of the time, probably like an hour, he was there. When we finished, he came over and shook our hand. He was a believer, bless the Lord! He was encouraged at hearing the gospel. He had been praying the whole time. Many times over the years, i have seen this. God sends people to stand off in the distance and pray. That’s the God we serve! Always He has our best interest! He alone knows what is needed so His gospel, mixed with His Spirit, can do what He declares it to do…. speak to people, draw them to Himself.

Hallelujah! It’s good to be back at it on a more regular basis. He is good!

 

 

Jesus and a testimony of reality

April 23, 2014

 

He told the story of the rich man in hell and how he begged Father Abraham that he would send Lazarus to his five brothers so that they would not come to this place of torment.

Now remember….. this is Jesus telling the story.

The rich man begged Father Abraham that he would send Lazarus so he could “testify” to the reality.

But Jesus points back to the necessity of the only way in which to not end up there. And that being, the scriptures that testified of himself.
“Abraham said to him (the rich man), “They have Moses and the prophets; let them (his five brothers) hear them.”

But the rich man still thought of another way that they might believe.

“And he (the rich man) said, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Here we again see a spiritually dead mind thinking in the natural.
However…. the man knew the value of repenting now, but it was too late.

Then Jesus sums up the story with the only way of salvation. The gospel that was even spoken through Moses and the prophets.
“But he (Abraham) said to him (the rich man), “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead (and tell them).”
(The story of reality as contained in Luke 16:19-31)

Power in the simple Gospel

April 27, 2012

The simplicity of the Gospel has been lost. It was never meant to be complicated, but religious minds have and will continue to complicate it. When the intellect and the natural man combine together to try to share the Gospel, it goes into a long run up hill. If the Holy Spirit is presenting it, it will be precise, to the point, short and spoken in love. It will not drag on and on. The natural man wants to try to convince the unbeliever through the intellect when it’s a heart issue.

We need to be continually reminded that it has to be the Father drawing them to himself. And, it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts them of sin (pricks the heart). If the Gospel is not presented in the Spirit, then of course, the Holy Spirit is not going to be doing its work. We could be going through the routine motions, but where is the power? The Holy Spirit power to draw and convict?

Man likes to give the Gospel his own twist. He likes to make it like himself so he can receive some of the credit. The Gospel outside of the simple bible gospel, is only man’s gospel. And, man cannot have any “good news” to offer. Oh, it can be good news in the natural, but there’s no Spirit behind it.

If it’s been a while since you have read the book of Acts, it’s a very good place to find out what the Gospel looks like. Once it is given out in the Spirit, then the offer to “Repent and believe the Gospel” is made.

Bathe yourself in it. It never gets old. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been saved for 50, 60 or 70 years. High theology won’t save a soul.

Noon time Gospel

April 15, 2011

I was passing by on my usual prayer walk downtown going through the crowd of people ordering their food at the local food trailers, I heard, “would you be willing to stand there and share the Gospel?” Well, of course I would. That’s one of the things that I do. But, because of the weakness of my flesh, and because it was a new spot, and of a different type, I heard, “you are going to have to die to self, before you can”. I thought, “why would that have to be?”. Then as I was finishing my prayer walk, I thought, because I would be standing right in the middle of people who had nothing to do except to wait for their food and listen to someone “preaching”. Also, because it was a new place for me, and kinda small and up close and personal.

So, I came back around from my walk and landed right in the middle, between the block. It took no time at all to sence that this was not going to be the typical, raise the voice so that many could hear approach. No, this was close to a normal voice, yet strong enough to be found clear and convincing. We started with reading from the scriptures, then went with what the Spirit gave us. And as usual, God placed those who He had pre-determined to hear once again.

The nice thing about this spot was that besides its close proximity, there were several who stayed around and actually ate there. I believe that the Spirit had me speak in a tone that did not run them off. There was no need to share with those who were down on the corner. He had me in the middle of the two corners, sharing with those who were close by. There were maybe 10 to 15 at any given time.

After having noticed a couple of men who were obviously listening as they ate, I picked up on two ladies that were right in front of me, about 10 feet away. They were eating off of the lip of a trailer that had been closed because of the owner having gone to Cuba for the last three weeks. It was convenient for them to use as a table, as they stood there. And yes, all the time, they got to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ once again in their lives. How awesome is that!

A lot of what I do, is just giving people another opportunity to hear. Most don’t go to “church”. And, if they did, would they hear the Gospel? They should be able to hear it if they went, right? Most, are not going to hear the Gospel in a given week, outside of a “street preacher” sharing it with them. All I see in it all, God’s love, letting them hear of His Son one more time in their life time. Believe it or not, that’s love. Why? Because God is always pursuing mankind with His Love. He loves mankind so much that He let’s them hear about His Son, who He gave for them, that whoever would believe in Him, they would not perish because of their sins, but would receive forgiveness of their sins and receive everlasting life.

So, towards finishing sharing the message of Christ, I particularly noticed the two ladies in front of me. They had been there the longest, and they were the closest to me. I was getting close to finishing, when I noticed them saying good-bye to each other with a hug and a kiss.

When it was all over, I sensed God had filled his bucket with love and poured it out on those who He had there that day and time. He had them there because of his love for them. Bless the Lord!

Don’t forget the “Main” reason….. to come to God

October 19, 2010

 

We live in a day where believers are sharing all kinds of reasons for people to come to God.

Just a few of them are :

Come to God, he will take all your pain. Come to God so you can go to heaven. Come to God so you can escape hell. Come to God he will get you a job. Come to God because he loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Come to God so you can be happy. Come to God and he will supply all your needs. Come to God so he will make everything better. The list goes on and on……….

While the above may be true, these are not the main reason for one to come to God. If any one of these reasons are shared as the reason to turn ones life over to God, big disappointment can come. Many have fallen away because they were sold on a reason to come to God that had to do with their needs being taken care of. Yes He does take care of our needs in his timing and way, but it not the reason to come. Many have come to God for the above reasons, then they have experienced difficulty after a period of time, then they have decided that this God turned out to be something other than what was promised.

An example would be:

Come to God and he will take all your pain. So this person who has just lost their husband, turns to God and finds great comfort for her loss. Time goes on and she begins to heal from her loss. She meets this guy and falls in love with him. He also is a believer. They get married and life is good. Five years pass, and soon he meets a lady at his workplace. They start having lunch together, which eventually leads to sex. The wife finds out and her life is crushed. She no longer wants anything to do with God. She has had pain once before and now she is done with this so-called God.

Another example would be :

Come to God because he loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. This persons life is in a mess before coming to God. He has no job, no wife, no home. Soon after coming to God, he gets a job. He meets a beautiful lady in church and they soon get married. They eventually buy a house. Life is good.

Three years into it all, he gets laid off from his job, they lose their house, and life takes on some bad stuff. To top it off, his wife comes down with breast cancer and dies a year later. He now is finished with this God. He has found temporary relief with the bottle now.

We must all realize that this life is not going to be perfect, and one should not strive to make it so. This life is filled with pain, sorrow and death. Turning ones life over to God is not going to make it care free, nor take all the problems and make it better. In fact, most believers would say that since they have given their hearts to God, they now have more battles, more difficulties and struggles than before. In no way does one’s life become a bed of roses when they give their lives to Christ. Usually, quite the contrary.

So what is the “main” reason to come to God? What is the main reason that we should be sharing with others?

First off, we must be reminded that we cannot properly share the Gospel without first getting into the subject of sin. Any other door that we open could very well be a misleading door that could set them up for fail.

I am well aware of how awkward the subject of sin is today. I have spent most of my saved life looking into the subject, studying the subject, teaching the subject and sharing with countless people on the subject. And as I have always said, God’s word deals with the subject front to back, more than any other subject. So we as believers must dig into the subject. We must learn it more than all the rest, if we want to be effective in bringing souls into the Kingdom.

So, the main reason for one to come to God through Christ is…….. forgiveness of our sins. There can be no other way to have a true relationship with God, unless we receive Christ as our own sacrifice for our own sins. In sharing the Gospel, one most first talk to them about their sins. We must, with the help of the Holy Spirit, convince them that they have sin. That there is sin in their heart. Now the good thing here is, that most don’t have a problem realizing that they have sinned. The problem is them knowing that they need forgiveness of their sins, if they are going to have a relationship with a Holy God.

One must share the holiness of God, and that He hates sin and will not look upon it. We cannot approach this righteous, Holy God on our own merits. Our sinful being is not capable. We must have someone to stand between us and God.

One must share in some detail the nature of sin. It is death. Not only physical, but more importantly spiritual death, which is “separation” from God. The sinner must realize that he or she is separated from God because of sin. I liken this to a wall. People that have yet to receive Christ, are separated from God. They must know that there can be no true relationship with God until the wall comes down. And it can only come down through the only gift that God gave for our sins, that being The Christ. For more on the subject of the wall and seperation see my post  https://rjperalta.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/the-wall-and-the-wrecking-ball/

YES, EVEN IN 2010, WE MUST TALK ABOUT SIN AND THE FORGIVENESS THEREOF.

There seems to be very little conversation going on about it, especially these days. We as believers must start the conversation as the Spirit leads. Be prepared to be looked upon as some “nut case”. So was Christ in his day. If we are afraid to talk about sin and forgiveness, then we are ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. How can you tell them about Christ, without mentioning sin? It can’t be done. You can’t offer the cure until they understand their condition.

So, if you are not talking about sin currently with those who He leads you to, what are you talking about? If it’s Christ centered, you must share the subject of sin. We must get used to it, if we are going to share Christ. I say, “sharing Christ”. It does little good, talking to people about God, without never mentioning Christ. Are we comfortable talking about Christ? Do we only just mention God, because of it’s more comfortable? Remember, the devil is somewhat satisfied if all you talk to them about is God. He also believes and trembles. But, if you mention Christ, the devils usually rise up. I see it all the time.

So in the end, don’t forget caught up in the popular reasons for coming to God today. Stay with the time-tested way of God’s Word. God bless you all!

How many times have you shared the Gospel this week?

April 23, 2010

I am not asking this question to see who wins with the most times in one week. No.

I was riding home this afternoon on the bus, and this question came to me. I think it is a valid question that every “born of the Spirit” believer should ask themselves. And at the end of every week would not be an over kill either. I believe it would fall into “accountability”.

Now to back up a little here and try and make this an encouraging post, not a discouraging one, do you know that you are called to share the Gospel? Of course, if you don’t understand this, or don’t believe it, or you have not been taught this, then it would certainly be understandable why you don’t. Like anything else in life, if your not taught, encouraged, or understand how to do it, then why would you even try. If you were told that you didn’t have to evangelize, then what’s the worry, right?

One of the most “damnable” things as far “witnessing” goes, is the ever so popular “heresy” of  “just live the life”. That is about as far from the teaching example of Jesus and all his disciples, as is the Earth from Mars.

One big quote that a lot of Pastors, teachers etc. have used over the years to try and encourage their flocks not to worry about witnessing vocally, is that from “Saint Francis of Assisi”, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words”. While there is some truth here, and that being, “Preach the gospel at all times”. This is a true statement. The later however, leaves you thinking, well, sometimes, or once in a great while, I should try some words.

My answer to this would be a simple one. First off, who is our supreme example? You got it, Christ Jesus. Did He never use words? Yes, He certainly did the example of “living the Gospel” like no one else, nor will anyone else ever do.

But the key to remember here is “The Holy Spirit”. He changed everything when He came. Christ said that He would and He certainly did. The foundation point to understanding witnessing, is The Holy Spirit. Without it, we are reduced to a small set of a few books on “how to evangelize”. Oh, did I forget to mention that it would also be “powerless?”

Commonly called the “Great Commission”, it was given to all believers after they had received The Holy Spirit. Without the baptism of The Holy Spirit, there is no power to witness. For only He gives The Power. The power to become a witness of The Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke’s account leads us up to the account given in the Book of Acts.

After Christ opened up their understanding, He said,

“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of my Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:46-49)

In verse 47, Christ said the word “preached”. The meaning of this word is : “to herald (as a public crier), preach, proclaim, publish.”

In the book of Acts, Christ’s last words are as follows,

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

So, if you have been baptized in The Holy Spirit, you have the power to become a witness. The question is, when was the last time that you used that power? How many times this week?

One good way is to always have on hand some good gospel tracts. Not that you fall into the trap of never saying anything to anyone, but only leaving or giving them a tract, No. Listen to the Spirit as to what to say or do. Each situation will be different. Why? Because each person is in a different place in their quest for God. And The Holy Spirit only knows where that place is. Ask Him, He just might let you know some things that would help.

I will end with just one challenging statement:

We will all give an account on that day when we stand before Him and he asks us what did we do with what He gave us? Be it “talents”, “gifts”, “money”, “good looks” etc. We will give an account of our lives spent here on this dirt, called earth.

May He continue to bless you as you go out!

God’s top priority

April 14, 2010

His top priority is, the saving of an eternal soul, which He created.

If this is fact,(and it is) then what do you think our top priority should be? Yes, I know that we don’t save the soul. This is for the guy that always says, “all we can do is live the life”. I say, “BULL”.

If we are saved from eternal death, should we be contented only with ourselves and our own salvation? Is  this the only reason we are saved? Should it be a “got mine” attitude?

If this was the case, than immediately after our conversion we should fall over dead physically and then go to the grave (sleep) and wait, or go up to heaven and be with God. (depending on your theology). However, in most cases this doesn’t happen right after conversion. Why?

He saves us, then reveals to us His plan and purpose for us while still here on this earth. Why would He save us to keep us all to ourselves? I don’t get it! Is this the nature of God? Selfishness?

In most cases, He chooses to involve people in His plan of saving a soul. Take a look at your own conversion. Was there any people involved in the process? If this is usually the case, than don’t you think that He has purpose and plan for you in His Kingdom in helping rescue those who are perishing? (by the way, in Jn.3:16 where it says, “perish”, the word means, “to fully destroy”)

Do you think that everything is by happen chance? The job that He has blessed you with, is it only for money? Is it only for prestige? Is it only to “get ahead?” Is there people around you at your workplace? Are they eternal souls? Do you believe that they are? Do you believe in the biblical fact that their soul is going to spend eternity in one of two places? Does this concern you?

Or have you bought into the very popular teaching of the day, and that is, that there is no Hell. If we believe that, then why should we be concerned about their soul? They are going to make it somehow, because God loves them. No worries. I don’t need to say anything to them, they will make it in the end.

If this teaching hasn’t come your way yet, it will soon. It could very well be the fastest growing false doctrine today. Why? It removes all consequences for our sins. If the devil can do that, then he has gained souls for eternity, and that’s what his purpose is, to destroy mankind’s soul for eternity. With the teaching of  “no hell”, people are coasting into eternity with the deception that they have nothing to loose with their sinful lifestyles while here on earth. After all, the God of love, loves me and my sin so much, that He would never send me to hell. All the time, the whole message of Christ and why he came, and what was He given for, is never received, or in some cases never shared.

If we take out the fact of eternal damnation to the soul who rejects Christ, then we mise well throw out the Bible and take up with some new age teaching of the gospel. I would say, lets all take up with fairy tales, that makes us all feel good.

So, God’s top priority is the saving of the soul. Our should be the same. Whatever He has called us to, it should have the purpose of influencing them somehow towards Christ for the salvation of their soul.

Wherever there is people, God is at work. He loves them and wants to spend eternity with them. He wants to show forth His love and tell them about His Son, Christ, as the only way to Himself, and the only way to escape death because of sin. The only way to have real life! AND HE CHOOSES PEOPLE TO DO THIS!

As a reminder, they need to first understand that they are sinners (yes, many of them already do, but not all). After that, they need to know that they are separated from God because of sin. Sharing this with them is key. They need to understand the nature of sin. We must be taught about this in our churches, before we effectively share The Gospel. Are we?

They need to understand that God loves them and wants to spend eternity with them. Tell them how God gave his love in the form of Christ for the sacrifice of their sins. By receiving the sacrifice of His love, they can escape eternal separation from Him because of sin, and receive eternal life now, and enjoy it now!

May He bless you as you share Christ today and enjoy the privilege of God’s top priority as yours!

Sharing the Gospel with the pope

May 1, 2009

As I looked out the window, there he was. I could not believe my eyes.

I was headed out to an area that I had not been to for a while. It is a popular part of town, especially for the younger crowd.

The bus was making it’s usual stops along this road that leads to this district that I was headed to. At this one stop, I looked out the window, and there the pope stood with his tall headdress(mitre) on. He also was holding on to his staff with it’s cross on it.

As I watched him get on the bus, he started to sit up towards the front, but his eyes caught mine as I was bending over to get a better look at him down the aisle. He turned and headed back to where I was sitting at the back of the bus. We smiled at each other and began to talk right away.

We talked for awhile, then I handed him a “Why do you need Jesus” tract. As he took it, he smiled and said “now I get it”. This is why I came to the back of the bus.

He shared how he had went to “Catholic School” when he was a kid and also church. He talked a lot about how he was raised etc. I told him how it was not about “Religion” and all of man’s ways. I shared about how Christ was the Way to The Father. Not Religion, nor church. He agreed, which really surprised me. We had one awesome visit. I can’t remember the last time I shared with the pope.

And now “The rest of the story”.
Remember when I said that when he had first came to the back of the bus, “we talked”? At that time, I noticed that he had a Portland Trail Blazers jersey on. Come to find out, he said that he was “The Blazers Pope”. He had just spent all night camping out for play-off tickets. He had scored tickets for the first two games at home as was very happy.

Through it all, I had one awesome opportunity to share Christ with this guy. He listened well and I am believing that good seed was planted that day.

This all happened in the city that has signs everywhere that say, “Keep Portland weird”. I am blessed to be a part of what God is doing here in his Kingdom. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, no way.

Went out expecting today

February 19, 2009

I must admit, it isn’t everyday that I expect a soul to be saved.

But is it not God’s desire that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth? Is there not enough in His word that says that He is concerned with saving souls?

Today as I hit the streets, I begin to ask God to draw a soul to himself. I went believing that he would save a soul. I have done this before, however I must admit that it has been awhile since I went expecting that God would save a soul.

After prayer walking my usual course, I stopped by at one of my usual stops at a local square. Standing there as I do from time to time holding out a tract to get things in motion, I noticed an older man and woman coming towards me. One on one side and the other on the other side of me. The older man grabbed a tract and said something which I did not understand. Come to find out he was from the Ukraine.

Now I love these encounters. This man did not understand I lot of what I was saying, but the Holy Spirit was drawing him. I love how God can transcend the language barrier. I talked slowly and mentioned Jesus Christ while pointing to the tract that had on it the name of Jesus Christ.

After a while, it had dawned on me that this was the man that God had sent my way that was going to be saved. Joy began to fill me as I remembered my prayers that day and how my faith was stirred up for a soul to be added to His Kingdom.

I asked him if I could pray with him and his response was nothing that said no. So I did. After I finished, he smiled at me with untold joy saying something in an unknown tongue. I didn’t care, the angels were rejoicing for sure, that was all that mattered.

I was reminded of the scripture that says, “no one comes to the Father unless The Father draws them”. And so it was today. I had just gone too many days without expecting that God did want to add a soul to His Kingdom. After all, isn’t it all about getting saved (born again) and being a disciple of Christ?

Most of what I do has to do with “seed planting”, but maybe I am not expecting enough?
How about you?

Don’t forget the un-obvious ways to share the Gospel

December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving day I received a text that said “happy thanxgiving”. I looked at the incoming number and did not recognize it, so I checked my address book. Huh, I thought. Who is this?

Then it went “click”. Ah, a chance to share Christ again. So I text him back and said also “happy thanksgiving” and mentioned Christ. I never heard back from him. But the awesome thing is that once again he (or she) got to be reminded about Christ. On that day there will be no excuses such as, “I never heard about Christ”. He will play back the DVD (or something that will be out of this world) and show them all the times they had opportunity.

What about the telemarketing person that calls and tries to sell you something? That is a human being that God loves and gave his Son for.
How about the person that knocks on the door selling something?
The tow truck driver coming to retrieve the locked in keys?
The person that just backed into your car?
The cable man that just showed up to install the Internet?
The service person that has come into your home to fix your appliance?

The list can go on and on. The main thing is don’t forget the opportunities out there in one given day. And be ready at all times. It might be an un-obvious opportunity.

God bless you as you get ready!