Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shepherd's Conference Evangelism

I am really looking forward to the Shepherd's Conference next week. Not only will I have the blessing of gorging on wonderful teaching from God's Word, from some of my favorite preachers/teachers, I will also have the blessing of connecting with some of my favorite evangelists.

If anyone would like to hang-out with me during the conference, I plan to attend the following seminars (in addition to the General Sessions):

Seminar Session #1 - "As a Dying Man to Dying Men" with Alex Montoya (Worship Center)

Seminar Session #2 - "Is Justification Enough?" with Phil Johnson (Worship Center)

Seminar Session #3 - "Charles Spurgeon: with Steve Lawson (Worship Center)

Seminar Session #4 - "The Way(s) of the Master" with Jesse Johnson (J370)

Saturday is always a "free day" at the Shepherd's Conference, giving attendees from out of the area to enjoy the sights of SoCal. Well, instead of going to Disneyland or some other unreasonably expensive attractions, I would like to invite my fellow conference attendees to join me Saturday afternoon/evening for some open-air preaching, street evangelism, and dinner (bring cash so we don't have to split the check) at Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade.


Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012

Time: 3-8 PM

Location: Santa Monica Third Street Promenade

Parking: There are multiple parking structures surrounding the Promenade. Any of them will put you close to our meeting spot.

Meeting Spot: Outside of Johnny Rockets

What to Bring: Gospel tracts and your Bible (or whatever else you would like to bring)

Dinner: California Pizza Kitchen (We will probably eat around 5-5:30)

If you would like to join me, PLEASE let me know by leaving a comment on this post, which includes your full name and where you are from.

I'm looking forward to the fellowship and serving alongside my Christian brethren.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ministry Spotlight: To The End of the Earth

"Ministry Spotlight" will be a recurring feature on the Cross Encounters blog. Ministries spotlighted will be evangelistic ministries that are an encouragement to me, led by godly men for whom I have a great deal of respect--not only for the ministry, but for their godly character as well.

I first me Bobby McCreery when he attended Living Waters' Ambassadors' Academy. I was immediately struck by this young man's humility and love for the Lord and His gospel. Following the Academy, Bobby and I developed a friendship via phone conversations. The Lord allowed me to encourage Bobby; and the Lord allowed Bobby to be an encouragement to me.

Over time, Bobby made the decision to step out in faith, trust the Lord, and follow his calling by setting aside the physical security of working in the secular world to establish a full-time street evangelism ministry, To The End of the Earth.

From Bobby's website:
To the End of the Earth is a street evangelism ministry dedicated to glorifying and worshiping God through the proclamation of His son Jesus Christ.

We exist to: Preach the gospel to the unsaved (Matthew 28:18-20), equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12), and be an encouragement and prayer support to other evangelists (1 Thessalonians 5:8-11).

We accomplish this by proclaiming Jesus in the streets everywhere to all peoples, passing out gospel tracts, and having one to one conversations with people about the Kingdom of God.

We pray God grants us the grace and mercy to follow the command He gave to His disciples in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

We do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and may only do so if the Lord wills (James 4:15).
Bobby is a faithful herald of the gospel. He is a gentle, loving, yet uncompromising ambassador of the King. Bobby's is a ministry worth supporting--prayerfully, physically, and financially. Bobby, along with his wife and children, are true missionaries. And their mission is a simple one: "To the End of the Earth is a street evangelism ministry dedicated to glorifying and worshiping God through the proclamation of His son Jesus Christ."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cross Encounter: A Moment of Grace (Archives)

The following story was written on May 12, 2010, on a different blog.

Like every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, my family and I have faced many trials during the last six months--some as difficult as we have ever faced. Just this afternoon, Mahria suggested I start to journal those moments in time--moments of grace--when the Lord, who is always faithful, allows us to see His faithfulness in the midst of our trials. Philippians 4:8 is the verse that is my motivation for the journal.

I started the journal shortly before dinner. After dinner, I decided to take out my cross to the street corner where I started this aspect of my evangelism. If you are new to this blog you can read Part 1 and Part 2 of how the cross became a part of my ministry.

It has been months since I've been on the corner of Avenida Entrana and Lyons Avenue with the cross. It was blessing to be on that first street corner again. And I was further blessed to have Michelle along with me.

We stood on the corner for about an hour, enjoying some wonderful daddy/daughter fellowship. I was afforded the opportunity to hand out a few tracts and to wave at those who either yelled in anger or waved and honked in affirmation.

It was getting dark and we were about to head home when I saw a young man on a motocross bike across the street. The light changed and he rode toward us. He was wearing a dark plaid shirt, dark rimmed glasses and what appeared to be a brand new Yankees baseball cap.

"Every Yankees fan gets a million dollars tonight!" I said as I handed him a tract.

"So how have you been?" he asked. "Do you remember me?"

"What's your name?"


"Oh, hi, Walter."

"You were here with your cross last August when two of my friends and I came up to you. You talked to me for an hour."

"I remember! So, how are you doing?"

"Much better. You see, not long after you talked to me, Jesus Christ found me and saved me."

"Really? How did that happen?"

"When you talked to me last August, I was in a pretty bad place. I was running around with the wrong so-called friends. I was always angry, always in a bad mood. My family was evicted from our house. I got kicked out of every school in the district, and I eventually dropped out.

"I thought about our conversation. You gave me a Bible. And one day not long after we talked, I walked into the church down on 15th Street and Walnut."

"The Baptist church?" I asked.

"Yeh, and there's a Spanish congregation there, too."

Walter continued.

"I realized that I needed Christ. And He changed my life. People told me before that I needed therapy, that I needed a psychologist. Not anymore. All I need is Christ."

"So, are you telling me that you have repented of your sin and have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation?"

"Yes. He saved me. He did it in His timing."

"Praise God!" I said.

"And whenever I share my story with people, I start by telling them about the day I talked to the man on the corner with the cross."

"Walter, it's been months since I've been on this corner."

"I know. I come by here a lot and I always say to myself, 'I wonder what happened to the guy with the cross.'"

"Walter, you have made my day."

Walter extended his hand. Instead of taking his hand, I put my arms around him. "Walter, I thank God that I can now call you brother."

We talked for about thirty minutes. Walter shared that he was able to get back in school and graduated in December. He now has a job at a local bike shop. He was on his way to a home Bible study when he saw us on the corner.

Walter's new passion in life is sharing his faith in Christ with other young people in the neighborhood--people with whom he used to roam the streets. Today he walks those same streets looking for people with whom he can share the gospel.

It was time to say goodbye and Walter made his way across the street. Michelle and I marveled and rejoiced in what we just saw the Lord do. We praised Him and thanked Him all the way home.

It was a moment of grace.

Feasting on the Word of God

"The Feast" occurs periodically at my church. Pastor Steve leads "The Feast," which is a six-hour Bible study of a book or five chapter segment of the Word of God.

"The Feast" is different than what you might think when you think of a Bible study. Pastor does not spend six hours preaching. Let me explain by giving you a snapshot of last night's feast. The study last night was of the Letter to the Philippians.

About twenty of us gathered in the church foyer. We sat in a circle. We began our time together with prayer.

Pastor began the study by providing historical background for the City of Philippi and the Philippian Church.

Our first assignment was to read Philippians in its entirety, give the letter a one sentence or phrase title, and make a list of all of the major themes we saw in the letter. After a period of time determined by the pastor, we regrouped and shared our suggested titles and lists of major themes.

Note: "The Feast" is not a "this is what the verse means to me" kind of study. The focus of the individual times of study during the evening is making observations of the text and growing every minute in our familiarity with the text, the writer, and the audience.

Once each person had an opportunity to share the information they gathered, Pastor then led the group in a study of the major themes of the letter.

Our next four assignments, based on each of the four chapters of Philippians, followed a consistent pattern. With each of the last four assignments we were tasked with reading the chapter of the letter that corresponded with the assignment. Once we finished the reading, we were tasked with giving the chapter a title and then making thirty observations about the text in each chapter.

In making observations of each chapter of the letter, I employed the hermeneutic principles I learned in seminary. As I observed the text, I asked three questions: What does the verse or passage say? What does the verse or passage not say? And what are some questions that come to mind as I read the verse or passage?

After each assignment, we regrouped, shared our observations and chapter titles, and was led in deeper study by our pastor. We were able to interact with our pastor by asking and answering questions about the Scriptures.

But for a few short breaks, we studied Philippians for six hours!

I've led and been involved in many Bible studies over the last 23+ years. I can say, without hesitation, what I experienced last night was by far the most fulfilling experience I have ever had in a Bible study. My brethren and I truly feasted on the Word of God.

I highly recommend this form of Bible study, not only for churches, but for times of personal study of God's Word.

What a joy to feast on the Word of God!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mission Trip: 2012 Summer Olympics - London

This summer I will have the special privilege and blessing of joining my brethren from Sports Fan Outreach International for a mission trip of a lifetime--two weeks in London, for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

For more information regarding how you can join this special team of evangelists, on this special missionary journey, click here.

Speaking: Mount Hermon Law Enforcement Couples Retreat in the Redwoods

Mahria and I will travel to beautiful Mount Hermon Christian Camp and Conference Center for the 2012 Law Enforcement Couples Retreat in the Redwoods. I will serve as the conference's key note speaker.

If you are an active duty or retired law enforcement professional, I hope you and your spouse will join Mahria and I for a weekend of encouragement, worship, and the study of God's Word.

Speaking: Southeast Evangelism Camp

I will be in Atlanta, GA, April 27-29, to speak during the Southeast Evangelism Camp and to hit the streets with camp participants during the annual Dogwood Festival.

If you have any questions about the event, or if you would like to join me and some of Georgia's finest biblical evangelists, click here.

Hope to see you there!

In the Presence of Greatness

Mahria, the girls, and I went to the Reagan Library, today, for a special program: "Medal of Honor - Lessons of Bravery and Personal Sacrifice." The program featured for Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients: 2nd Lieutenant Walter Ehlers (WWII), Colonel Jay Vargas (Vietnam), Major General Patrick Brady (Vietnam), and Lt. Colonel Bruce Crandall (I encourage you to click on the links for the heroic stories of each man).

Some eight hundred students--from elementary school through high school, along with teachers, school administrators, and parents filled the auditorium. Everyone in attendance were there to see and here from heroes.

No one was wearing sports jerseys with the names of heroes of a lesser kind stitched on the back. No one was dressed with their pants sagging to their knees, decked out like their favorite gangster rappers--heroes to only villains and those who are ignorant as to what true heroism is. No. Students, teachers, and parents alike were dressed modestly and respectfully. Everyone understood that they were about to be in the presence of greatness--true greatness--in the presence of true heroes.

Once the program began, the four heroes shared anecdotal stories, with self-deprecating humor. They answered questions asked by students with the straightforward, yet gentle, demeanor of loving grandfathers.

2nd Lt. Ehlers, who will turn 91 in May, brought himself and us to tears early in the program. Ehlers recounted the time when he went to his parents to sign the parental authorization for him to enter the Army. His father signed the document. His mother, before she would sign, took her then seventeen-year-old son by the arms, looked at him with tear-moistened eyes, and with a quiver in her voice, said, "If you are going to enter the Army, then you must promise me you will serve as a Christian soldier."

All four of the brave, sacrificial, and heroic men mentioned the importance of faith in their lives. But there was something distinctly different about the words of 2nd. Lt. Ehlers. Ehlers spoke as one who truly knew the Object of his faith. For Elhers, the Object of his faith was not some mysterious or esoteric "higher power." Elher's God was not a generic "big guy in the sky." Elhers spoke as a man who knows the Object of his faith--who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

How encouraging it was to hear a man with nine decades of life experience recite, with tears, the words of his mother, from seventy years ago.

As the program drew to a close, the four men of valor were asked by the moderator to leave the students with one more pearl of wisdom. I appreciated what Lt. Colonel Bruce Crandall had to say.
"In America, we don't have kings and queens, or dukes and duchesses; but we do have nobility. And the nobility in this country are our veterans."
What an apropos and honorable way to end what was a memorable time--a memorable time in the presence of greatness.