Blood Bought Freedom

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I was in Washington DC last month sharing the Gospel with 100 other Christians. It was a glorious time. The Gospel went forth to thousands of people. We grew tremendously in our love for Jesus, and inevitably, in our love for the lost.

One afternoon, I went walking around the front of the Capitol building to spend some time in prayer. I saw a young woman from the Middle East taking pictures of the Capitol so I went over to her and handed her a Gospel tract. I explained that it contained the message of true freedom. She was very curious so a conversation began…

I learned that Rifat is from Bangladesh and is a strong Muslim. She told me she is a flight attendant for Saudia Arabia airlines and was in DC for a few days for a long layover.

Nice place to spend a layover!

I asked her if she ever had a close call during a flight and she told me about a time when she was a little girl and was on a frightening flight where the engine burst into flames and they had to make an emergency landing. Once safely on the ground, flight attendants deployed the inflatable slides that shoot out from the emergeny doors to the ground. Rifat told me she slid down, but fell off the slide before reaching the bottom and broke some bones. To this day, she suffers pain from her fall. Now she is a flight attendant!

I asked her where she would have gone if she had died that frightening day. She did not know. I asked where she would go if she died today and she did not know. She told me that as a Muslim, she works hard to do good hoping that her good will outweigh her bad so that Allah might allow her to enter Paradise.

What a tragedy – To work for something you can never earn. Salvation is a gift.

I went through a few of the Commandments with Rifat to show her that the Prophet Moses understood we are not good people because we cannot keep the Commandments. I shared with her how the prophet Isaiah said that our good works are like filthy rags in the sight of God. If we were allowed into Heaven because our good outweighed our bad, which it doesn’t, then God would not be just.

She asked me a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them.

Obviously, Rifat could not accept the fact that Jesus is God. To her, this was blasphemy. She was willing, nonetheless, to hear me out.

“Rifat”, I said “You believe that God is all powerful, do you not?”

“Oh yes, of course He is!” She exclaimed.

“So you believe He can do anything. He is absolutely all powerful, right?”

“Yes!” She answered.

“With that in mind, that God is all powerful, is it not possible that God could become a man in order to be a sin offering on our behalf?”

She didn’t know how to respond.

“Rifat, that is the beautiful message of the Bible. You see, God is so holy He cannot forgive sin without the shedding of blood. If God simply swept our sins under the rug, He would be corrupt and unjust. Because He loves you, Rifat, God devised a special plan to rescue you from your sins and grant you everlasting life. The only way He could do this and still remain holy and just was by becoming one of us, a human being, and being punished in our place. Rifat, Jesus was fully God and fully man. He lived a life of no sin. This perfect, spotless Lamb of God was mocked and mutilated and nailed to a tree that He Himself created. He was spit on and humiliated. On the cross, God the Father poured out His fierce anger toward sin on His very own Son and crushed Him. Jesus was punished in your place. He paid for your sins in His own blood shed on the cross. This is why you can never work your way to Heaven. Jesus paid your debt in His sacrifice. Three days after He died, Jesus rose from the dead proving that He is God. After showing Himself to over 500 people, He ascended to the right hand of His Father. He now offers you forgiveness of your sins, but you must recieve this gift. Jesus commands you to turn from your sin to Him, placing your complete trust not in your good works, but in the work that He did on the cross.”

She was silent.

Remembering that it was the Fourth of July, I smiled and said,

“Rifat, Jesus purchased your freedom!”

The two of us talked for nearly an hour at the foot of the Capitol that day.

She told me at the end of our conversation, “There is a Bible in the drawer of my hotel room. I will read it tonight.”

I pray for her often.

I am traveling back to DC tomorrow for a friend’s wedding and I’ve been earnestly praying to run into people I spoke with last month, Rifat included!

Please join me in prayer for this precious soul.

One Of The Greatest Moments of My Life

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One Sunday afternoon a few months ago, a couple of brothers and I went to a mall to share the Gospel before a Bible study. My friends and I had been going to this particular mall almost every Sunday for months and had some really great opportunities to share the Gospel. Malls are great fishing holes for evangelism because they are usually filled with people.

After arriving, I separated from the others because I needed to use the restroom. When I came back into the mall hallway, I immediately noticed a teenage boy running toward me to the exit. As I watched him make his way my direction, I wrestled in my mind whether or not I should give him a Gospel tract. Part of me thought, “Ah, he won’t take it. He’s in a big hurry. It’s not even worth a try.” But I felt the Lord impress on my heart the value of this young man’s soul. I don’t know his heart, but he certainly could be in danger of Hell.

Just before he passed me, I extended a tract toward him. He grabbed it and stopped right in his tracks and just looked at it. He finally asked me, “What is this?”

“It’s a Gospel tract!” I replied and realizing what an open door I had, I continued, “Hey, can I ask you a quick question?”

“Sure.” He agreed.

“When you take your final breath, where do you think you will spend eternity?”

He thought about it for a moment and then said, “I really don’t know.”

Most young people have at least some idea of where they will spend eternity, so I was somewhat surprised to hear his answer. I was also very saddened because it revealed that he was not born-again and I had almost passed him by.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Cameron.”

“Nice to meet you, Cameron. Do you have any sort of hope of where you’ll spend eternity?”

He answered, “Well, I guess I’d like to go to Heaven.”

“What do you think it takes to get there?” I asked.

“Be a good person, I guess.”

My heart always sinks when I hear this answer. The enemy is the great deceiver and his deceptive work is very apparent when you witness to the lost.

“So I’m assuming you’d consider yourself to be a good person?” I asked.

He thought for a moment and then told me he was.

“Okay. God’s standard for good and bad is the Ten Commandments. Let’s see how you do compared to them, okay?”

He agreed so I asked him, “Have you ever lied before?”

“Yes” he answered.

“What does that make you if you tell a lie?”

“A liar.” He answered.

“Have you ever stolen something?” He paused and answered reluctantly, “Yes, I have.”

“What does that make you?” I asked

“A thief.”

As I began to ask him about another Commandment, I noticed that his eyes began to fill up with tears.

“Are you okay, Cameron?” I asked. He assured me he was and tried to play it off like he wasn’t crying. I didn’t want to say or do anything that would embarrass him so I just continued on, “Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?”

He nodded his head.

I explained to him that when we take God’s name in vain, we are committing blasphemy because His name is holy and worthy to be praised and not to be used as a cuss word or just another conversational word.

By now tears were running down his face. I didn’t know what to say so I continued, “Cameron, here’s the deal – You and I are both guilty. Completely guilty. We deserve to go to Hell because we have turned our backs on God and have gone our own way.” He nodded in agreement and wiped tears from his face.

I continued, “But it’s absolutely amazing that despite all of our sin, God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ into this sinful world. He took our sins upon Himself and died in our place on the cross. The wrath of God that was reserved for us was actually poured out on His own Son. Jesus died and three days later rose from the dead! He offers forgiveness to anyone who will turn from their sin to God. If you come to Him, Cameron, with a humble heart full of faith and ask Him to save you, He will. He will wash your sins away as far as the east is from the west.”

As the tears continued to stream down his face, he could no longer contain his cries, so he began to weep. I waited for a few moments and then gently asked him, “Cameron, what’s the matter?”

He wiped his face with his shirt and replied in between his cries, “I just don’t understand why God would do all of that for us when we don’t do anything for Him?” His weeping immediately turned to sobbing. Standing there with him, I began to cry as well. You can imagine the scene: The two of us standing right in the middle of a busy mall crying together while people walk around us giving curious looks. It was a beautiful sight!

I said to him, “Cameron, God is opening your eyes up to the Truth. He is convicting you of your sin and drawing you to Himself.”

He agreed.

“Cameron, why don’t you right now in your own words ask God to save you and then I will pray for you.” He agreed and immediately began to pray out loud. He said a couple of words and then began to sob again. He apologized to God and asked Him to save him from his sins. He was so broken and full of faith. It was absolutely amazing to see such a contrite heart.

He was so emotional that a mall security guard came and stood near us to make sure everything was okay.

We prayed together and hugged and talked some more.

It’s been 7 months since that glorious afternoon and I haven’t heard back from Cameron. Perhaps he went home to be with the Lord shortly after our encounter in the mall. I don’t know. But I greatly rejoice in knowing this – “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

The Lord is awesome. Blessed be His name.

Diane Sawyer and The Gospel

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Just after I started sharing my faith regularly, I moved to Philadelphia for a summer. I was involved in a solid local church ministry and was able to learn how ministry is done in an urban setting.

One particular day I was supposed to go to a brother’s home for a barbeque but I felt the Lord impress on my heart to not go. So instead, I went downtown and witnessed for a while and then went into a hotel lobby to read the Word.

As I was reading my Bible, I was suddenly very burdened to go to New York City and share the Gospel. It was already around 5 in the afternoon and I knew that if I were to go to New York I would need to stay the night and I couldn’t afford it. I prayed for a while to make sure the Lord was leading me and not my flesh. God reminded me of what He told Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

About 45 minutes later, I was on a China Town bus filled with Chinese people en-route to New York City! When we arrived 2 and a half hours later, I was dropped off somewhere in lower Manhattan so I walked to the waterside overlooking New Jersey and spent some time in prayer. It was a beautiful evening and the sun was just going down.

After praying for the Lord to give me boldness and direction, I found a couple named Torio and Tamara who were taking a walk and enjoying the sunset. They were both young and very friendly. After some small talk for a few minutes, I asked them where they would go if they died today. They both agreed they would go to Heaven because they are good people. That is a very common lie from the enemy. So I walked them through the 10 Commandments to show them their sin and their need for the Savior and then shared the Good News of what God has done for us. They were very attentive and appreciated our conversation.

I caught a subway to Times Square and began witnessing to all kinds of people from all around the world. It’s amazing how many people you can meet in one evening in one city! After hours of great conversations with people, sometime around 3 in the morning I struck up a conversation with a man in an alleyway. He wanted nothing to do with me and told me to leave him alone, so I began to walk away but as I turned around to leave, he called for me to come back over to him. I didn’t know what to expect! He asked me, “Okay, what question were you going to ask me?” Startled, I began to witness to him and we ended up having an amazing conversation. 30 minutes later he said to me, “Josh, you have no idea how much this conversation means to me. Your trip to New York City was not in vain!” I was stunned. As he was saying those words, I heard someone call out from behind us, “Josh?!!” I turned around and it was Torio, the boyfriend from the couple I had spoken with at the beginning of the night! This was 8 hours later and more than 60 blocks up-town in a city of hundreds of thousands of people!

It turned out that Torio happened to be playing in a band at a club nearby. We got to continue our conversation where we had left off back in lower Manhattan. He was shocked that God had crossed our paths again – So was I!

Just a few hours later I walked past the ABC studios where they film Good Morning America. I could see they were setting up for the show which would begin in an hour, so I went over and watched them get ready. A line soon formed to get in the building and be a part of the live audience. All of the people in line had reserved tickets months in advance to be a part of the show and were excited to be on television. After a period of waiting, a woman who worked for ABC came out of the studio and collected tickets and gave instructions to the audience members. She noticed that I didn’t have a ticket as she walked past and asked if I had reserved one. I told her I was just there to watch from the outside if that was okay. She said to me, “You know what? You’re the only one here without a ticket and we have space inside so we’ll go ahead and let you be a part of the show!” I was amazed! I went inside with the group and we were able to be on television several times throughout the show. Kevin Costner was the guest that morning so the ladies behind me were very excited!

At the end of the show they give you the opportunity to meet and take pictures with the news anchors and guests. I really wanted to share the Gospel with them since God obviously wanted me to be there that morning, so I waited until every member of the audience had gone up and met the anchors and taken pictures. Once everyone had left, I walked up to Diane Sawyer and gave her a tract booklet and got to share the Gospel for a few minutes with her and the Good Morning America weather man! It was such a blessing! They were both very nice and listened to me and thanked me for sharing with them.

God truly orders our steps. Both mine and yours! Today He has placed specific people on our path that we have the privilege of sharing the Gospel with. It is simply a matter of obeying the Lord. We must recognize that time is very short and people are perishing, and we must understand that God has called us to share His Gospel with them.

The Lord is with you today, friend. Go find someone and share the message of salvation. This Gospel message is urgent and is backed by the power of God.

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16 Let us not be ashamed!

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Hulk Hogan and The Gospel

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“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

The Good News of salvation is only precious to someone who understands the darkness of their own heart. Without that key understanding, the Gospel is foolish and ridiculous; it’s a crutch for the weak. For the person who is lowly before God, broken and contrite of heart, the Gospel is more than a crutch, it’s an entire hospital! It is the power of God for the salvation for everyone who believes!!

I met Hulk Hogan at a grocery store a few years ago and followed him out to his car to talk with him. We ended up having a 15 minute conversation in the parking lot and he made it very clear that he did not understand the darkness of his own heart. He believed in Jesus, but he did not understand how desperately in need of His salvation he was. He shared with me how someone from the New Age movement “witnessed” to him on a plane flight a few years ago and totally changed his life. He began to read spiritual books (spiritual, yes – but demonic) He recommended a few for me to read and I recommended he read his Bible.

The gospel is nothing special unless you realize your sin. Who needs the Good News of salvation if they’re a “good person”? Who needs Jesus’ precious blood shed on the cross if there’s no judgement coming? Why repent? I haven’t done anything all that bad. Compared to most people, I am a good person.

If only they knew.

They can.

God chose you and I to bring them the Truth. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment to come, but God uses His children to be His ambassadors to bring His message to the world. It’s not your job to save anyone, but to love people and preach the Gospel.

Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and give you boldness and wisdom. Ask Him to open up doors to share the Gospel with someone today. He will.

Step right through that door and tell them about Jesus!

Jesus in the Josey Family!

I was recently in North Carolina visiting a dear family and I was blessed to share in their church on evangelism.  It’s amazing because I thought my purpose in going to North Carolina was to encourage people to boldly share their faith, but the opposite happened: They encouraged me!

When I arrived at the airport, my friend’s mom picked me up and because we were waiting for her son to fly in from a ministry trip, we went right to Costco where there are lots of food samples!! (Her son assists apologist Alex McFarland in his ministry and was returning from a trip with him.)

While I was with his mom in Costco, I was so encouraged by her boldness in taking opportunities to share the Gospel with people.  Every cashier or worker we met, she pulled out a 180 Movie Gospel tract, handed it to them and then encouraged them to read the back and take the time to watch the 30 minute video online.  She did this to many people – At Taco Bell, same thing!

I found out later that they have an entire book case at home filled with Gospel tracts, Mark Cahill books and 180 DVD’s that they give out to the lost.  They load themselves up at home with resources and take them with them into their day.

 In fact, last Christmas they went all around their neighborhood and gave out hundreds of 180 Movies as Christmas presents for their neighbors.  For some reason they think that the gift of eternal life is a gift worth sharing!!

While I was there, my friend and his mom and I and another brother went out into the town where the Andy Griffith Show was based and shared the Gospel with tourists.  It had only been a week since Andy Grifith had died, so there many people in town visiting.  We had so many great conversations and a blessed time of fellowship as we worked our way through the downtown area.  Each of us had God-ordained conversations!  Along the way, we were blessed to meet a godly family who were visiting from Charlotte.  We were so encouraged to learn that they love the Lord and regularly share their faith with the lost!  Since meeting them, I have kept in touch with the husband and have been so encouraged by his passion for evangelism!

My flights to and from North Carolina were such a blessing as well as my time being with their church, but the highlight of the trip was being with this family and seeing how much they love Jesus and how much they love people. I learned so much from them!

Mom and dad and son – redeemed from Hell, in love with Jesus, and wanting to see the lost saved and God glorified.

What a beautiful sight!

I hope this family encourages you to share the precious treasure you have with the lost and not keep it to yourself. 

By the way, there is a video below from a witnessing encounter I had on the plane flight home.  

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Witnessing on the Plane Ride Home From North Carolina

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There was a large group of loud high school girls on my plane flight home. I began to witness to a few of them in front of me and next thing I knew, they were reading the Gospel tract out loud for everyone around them to hear! I was able to share with a couple of them on camera.

There was a large group of loud high school girls on my plane flight home. I began to witness to a few of them in front of me and next thing I knew, they were reading the Gospel tract out loud for everyone around them to hear! I was able to share with a couple of them on camera.