Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Is Your Evangelism Style?

God calls every believer in Christ to tell others the good news that Jesus came to save people from their sin.

One of my favorite verses in all the Bible is 1 Peter 3:15: "In your hearts set apart Jesus as Lord. And always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

Notice three quick things about this verse.

1. You must have it settled in your heart that Jesus is Lord. He is not only Lord over all, but for you to be saved He must be Lord of your life. And if He is your Lord, then He is your boss. If He is your Lord, then that means you have been forgiven & set free from your sin - you have been saved - you are born again!

2. If you truly know Jesus as Lord, you will display hope, and people will notice it. They will ask you about this hope. And you will have an opportunity to witness for Christ.

3. The way you witness for Christ must be with gentleness and respect. Too many people witness for Christ with arguments and/or condemnation. That is not gentleness or respect.

In the course of your lifetime, you will probably be a witness for Christ in all of the ways listed below. But some will come more naturally than others, based on how God has wired you. And some will need to be utilized depending on who you are talking to about Christ. These are not in any order, but here are six evangelism styles:

Confrontational - Those who use a confrontational style of evangelism are very bold witnesses for Christ. The apostle Peter was this kind of witness when he preached in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

Intellectual - Those who witness intellectually always study and give an appopriate response using facts, logic, reason, and Scripture. In modern-day times, apologists include Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, and Josh McDowell, among others. In the Bible you see the apostle Paul giving a defense of the faith many times.

Testimonial - When you give your testimony, you are sharing with others how Jesus has changed your life. You are telling how He has forgiven you, changed you, given you peace & joy, guaranteed you a home in heaven, and so much more! The blind man who was healed at the pool of Siloam went and told others that Jesus had given him sight. Later when he realized that it was Jesus who had healed him, he confessed Jesus as Lord!

Conversational - For some people, engaging people in conversations is as natural as breathing. They see opportunities everyone to talk to people about God. This is the way Jesus was when He used everyday events and objects (birds, mountains, fields, flowers, banquets) to talk to people about the kingdom of God.

Invitational - At times the best thing we can do is to invite someone to come with us to see for themselves what Jesus is doing, and what He says. The woman at the well did this when she invited her entire town of Samaria to "come and see" this man she had met, the one who knew everything about her yet showed her love and compassion just the same. Some people will respond wonderfully if you invite them to attend a Christian concert or Bible study or worship service. Keep inviting!

Service - Jesus said that the greatest among His followers would be the one who was the servant of all. Jesus served people by meeting real needs, thereby displaying the love and compassion of God. There are simple, everyday ways you can serve others. At times there are great opportunities to serve people in big ways. Whenever you serve others, give all the glory to God!

As we consider these various evangelism styles, we should be encouraged. We should be encouraged that God can use us to lead people to Jesus. We should be encouraged that the salvation of others is not totally dependent on our persuasive words or techniques. We should be encouraged that God's Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of people, drawing them to Christ. Our job is to be faithful in every situation, sharing Christ in one (or more!) of the ways explained above, and leaving the results to God. And don't forget to pray for the people that God gives you the privilege of witnessing to. Pray is a powerful weapon.

May God bless you as you witness to others about Christ. To Him be the glory!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Twenty-Dollar Blessing

How can you be a blessing to others, and possibly open up opportunities for the gospel to go forward? Check out this true story. It happened in Lake Placid, NY in fall 2009 and was passed along to me. The "man" in the story is an athlete who is deeply devoted to Christ. Here is the first-hand account:

A Twenty-Dollar Blessing

October 7, 2009 a man walks into the store.

“Do you have any gift cards?” The man asked pleasantly and yet skeptical. “Yeah, all these right here are our gift cards.” I replied, trying to hide the slight tone of annoyance in my voice as I pointed to all the gift cards right in front of him. Little did I know, I was about to be a part of an awesome blessing.

“If you could put twenty dollars on this and I will also get a Grande Americano, too, please,” the man said pleasantly, while handing me the gift card. “Okay," I replied. "Would you like a card holder for it?” “Naw, I’m good. But if you could just use this card for the next people coming in until it runs out.”

I looked at him puzzled and assumed the people coming in next were relatives. However, when the next couple came in, that was not what occurred.

“Two Grande coffees please,” the older man said. “Okay, you’re all set.” I said back. The man looked at me curiously, then glanced at his wife, confused about the situation he looked back at me shaking his head saying, “What?”

“You’re all set,” I said smiling. “That gentleman over there got your coffees.” They both looked at each other, glanced at the guy who paid for their coffees and said, “We don’t know that guy.”

My mouth kind of dropped because I thought I gave the wrong people the free drinks. I looked back at the man who gave the card and he was shaking his head as if I did it right. After the couple received their coffee, I then asked if he wanted the card back and he repeated, “No, just keep using it until it’s gone.”

I finally realized that he was buying these strangers coffee.

“I know it’s weird but someone did it for me once and now I am just passing on the blessing.” The man said as he picked up his drink and started heading towards to condiment bar.

The first couple that received the blessing went up to the man who was at the condiment bar and said, “Thank you”. His reply was, “You're welcome, have a great day and God bless.” My heart sank because of my previous attitude towards this nice man and he was giving God glory amidst it all. Needless to say some repenting was done for my ‘stinking thinking.’

I had a blast draining the card for each individual. It was a blessing for me to watch the surprise sweep across their faces when I said they were all set and hadn’t even taken any money out of their wallets. A few costumers were suspicious that someone else would do something so nice, for no reason, for nothing in return, and for a complete stranger.

It didn’t stop there either. This simple act of kindness opened a door for me to witness to my co-worker about God. We talked about how hard it is for people to receive something free such as a simple cup of coffee or as big as Jesus Christ who died and suffered for us. We talked about Jesus and His return and how the world is showing many signs that it is going to be soon; and it is better to be prepared than to be left in wonder about where we will go for eternity. We talked about how God isn’t religious but people make Him some sort of traditional religious act, instead of a relationship; which results in people being unable to differentiate truth from imagination.

A simple twenty dollars that the man gave not only blessed a few people with a free cup of coffee but an opportunity to win a soul for Christ.

Only twenty dollars.


True story written by: Ellysia Blinn

Monday, December 7, 2009

How Leaders Think

A few years ago I heard an audio message entitled "How Leaders Think" by John Maxwell, noted speaker/author/pastor whose specialty is leadership. I've thought of that message often.
Recently I shared with the athletes at the Athletes Bible Study in Lake Placid a series of Bible studies with the same title. What follows is a summary of our Bible studies. I hope they help you to think like Christ, to think like a leader, to be a great leader for Christ.

1. Leaders think BIG. When the armies of Israel looked at the giant Goliath they saw a man too huge to defeat. When the young boy David looked through the eyes of faith and confidence in himself and in God, David saw a giant who was too big to miss. David knew what it was to Believe In God. That's thinking BIG.

2. Leaders think about other people. One of my favorite John Maxwell quotes is, "He who thinketh he leadeth and no one followeth - he is just taking a walk." If no one is following you, then you are not leading. And leaders think about those who follow them. Just like the Good Samaritan, leaders take their time, resources and energy to help others, sometimes risking their own safety and security to help others.

3. Leaders have focused thinking. With the Egyptian army behind him, a raging Red Sea in front of him, and a complaining group of followers all around him, Moses focused on what he knew God called him to do: stand in obedience and see the salvation of the Lord. The result? All of the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land, and their enemy perished in the sea. The ability to stay focused in the midst of tremendous distractions is an important quality of a leader.

4. Leaders think creatively. When you notice the diversity and creativity in God's creation, you should be amazed. Whether you're looking through a telescope or a microscope, God's creativity is jaw-dropping. The colors, the shapes, the systems, the list could go on and on. When we studied this lesson, we had fun. And Christian leaders should unleash the creativity within them (that God put there) to find wonderful solutions to complex problems and to bring more beauty to the world.

5. Leaders have realistic thinking. Like Jesus said, if you're going to build a tower you better make sure you count the cost of building. Because if you don't, when you are half finished, people willl come by and ridicule you. And if you're going to war, you better make sure you can defeat the enemy even if you are outnumbered. A Christian leader acts on faith, yes, but he also is connected to reality. Leaders think realistically.

6. Leaders think strategically. Gideon was the runt of the runt litter, leadership wise. He was the smallest of the smallest clan of the people of Israel. Yet when God called him to lead the people to overcome their enemy, the Midianites, Gideon devised a plan (given to him by the Lord) that included torches, clay jars and shofars. The result was that their enemy was shocked, turned on each other, some fled, and the rest lay dead. God's plan for Gideon and the army was strategic. And it was incredibly successful.

7. Leaders think success is possible. They really believe. Their faith inspires others. They look at the mountains and really believe they can be moved. They look at obstacles and believe they can be overcome. They look at Jesus and walk on the water, just like Peter did. Leaders always see the glass as half-full. Because it is.

8. Leaders have reflective thinking. The Psalms are filled with words to reflect on, to memorize, to meditate on. Leaders follow the examples of the Psalmists and reflect on God, on His Word, and on the events of life. Jesus Himself took time early in the morning to get alone with God and pray. Leaders know the discipline of silence, solitude and reflective thinking. This is where some of the most amazing ideas come from - ask any inventor.

9. Leaders question popular thinking. The way is wide that leads to destruction and there are many that find it. The way is narrow that leads to life and there are few that find it. Leaders notice which way the crowd is going, and don't just go along. Christian leaders realize that the way of Christ may be hard, but it is always the right way to go. It's the only way that leads to life.

10. Leaders think with others. Christian leaders know that there is wisdom with a group of counselors, and they surround themselves with godly friends. They know that "iron sharpens iron," and so they seek to strengthen themselves by surrounding themselves with sharp thinkers. They don't presume to have all of the answers. They bounce ideas off of godly people - friends, mentors, pastors, others.

11. Leaders think unselfishly. They know that God put them on the planet to help others. They think about how their life can make a difference in the lives of others. They know what Jesus meant when He said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Leaders are willing to serve others, to help them succeed, to help everyone do their best. Without neglecting their own responsibilities to be their best, leaders find ways to unselfishly help others.

12. Leaders think bottom line. The bottom line means "success." For a Christian leader, success means having a pure heart, seeking first the kingdom of God, making the one goal of their life to be pursuing the prize God has set before them - eternal life. Therefore they are seeking their entire life to be successful in God's eyes. Everything they do is for the glory of God, to expand God's kingdom, to show their love for Him.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Tender Plant

He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground.—Isaiah 53:2

The coming of Jesus was like a tender plant in the midst of a parched ground. Parched ground offers little hope for survival; it is dry and too hardened to allow most plants to penetrate its crust. Yet Jesus was prophesied as a tender plant that would break through the hostile soil and overcome the dry and lifeless environment in order to bring life.

When Jesus was born, His people were hardened to God's Word. There is no written record of God's having spoken to His people for four hundred years. The religious leaders of Jesus' day had studied and memorized the Scriptures, but the words were lifeless to them. So hostile had they become to the truth that when God's Son came to them, they killed Him. Nevertheless, despite the enmity of the people, Jesus brought life to all who believed in Him.

Jesus is capable of bringing life to any person, society, or culture no matter how hardened or hostile they have become to the gospel. Even the most calloused sinner will discover that Jesus knows how to penetrate the heart and bring life where there was only bitterness. The work of Jesus in a person's life may seem fragile at first, but like the mustard seed, it will eventually grow into something strong.

As you pray for someone you care about, don't be discouraged if this person has not responded to Jesus. Just as a tender plant finds a way to grow in a hard and unreceptive environment, so the love of Jesus has the ability to emerge in a life that seems completely unresponsive.

(From Experiencing God Day by Day: A Devotional and Journal)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

20 Things I Am Thankful For

Here are some of the first things that come to mind when I ask the question, "What am I thankful for?"

1. Salvation. I've been following Christ for over 25 years, and the journey gets greater all the time.

2. My wife. Kim and I have been married for over 15 years. What a blessing she is to me.

3. Our children. We are so thankful for Grant, Andy & Emma Grace.

4. The Bible. The very words of God, written down, passed down through the generations, preserved so that I might know Him better and follow Him.

5. Our church. I am so thankful to serve as pastor of Lake Placid Baptist Church. Wow. Eight years go by fast!

6. The Adirondacks. The mountains here in Lake Placid and surrounding communities display the creative glory of God. Thank you God for making them for us to enjoy!

7. My parents. My parents are godly, loving, sacrificing, encouraging and just wonderful.

8. My parents-in-law. Kim's parents likewise are a huge blessing to me/us.

9. North Country Ministries. I am so thankful that God allows me to be a spiritual encouragement to athletes from all over the world through NCM.

10. Prayer Partners. Thank God for all of you who pray for us!

11. Bible Studies. It is so exciting every time I sit down with a group of people to read and discuss God's Word, and then to talk about how we are putting the Bible into action in our daily lives.

12. Athletes, Soldiers and Farmers. In 2 Timothy, Paul uses these three examples to show what it's like to follow Christ. Read the Bible and see for yourself.

13. Football. OK, maybe it's not very spiritual, but I like football. And if I can get some of those eye-black things that Tim Tebow has, I can write Bible verses on my face too.

14. NY Yankees. World Champs. #27. Go Yanks.

15. Facebook and Twitter. My two favorite social networking sites. Good way for me to keep up with friends (Facebook) and also other info that I'm following -- news, thoughts from leading pastors, sports, more (Twitter).

16. Solitude. It's wonderful to be able to sit and be quiet, just to pray and think about God, and to reflect on the Bible and on how I see God at work in the world.

17. My Blackberry. I appreciate being able to send and receive prayer requests from friends immediately, being able to find information quickly, and being able to respond to emails in a timely manner. I like that I can read the Bible on it, and a ton of other things. Oh yeah, you can call people on it too. Thanks, Eddie, for the Storm. Glad you and Rob didn't like it. ;-)

18. Friends & Family. The great thing about friends and family is that even if you don't get to see them for a long time, or put them as #18 on your list, they are not offended and you can pick right back up where you left off last time you saw them. They are always there for you.

19. Food and Water. Thank you, God, for providing the food and water that we need. Help us to help people throughout the world get what they need.

20. The United States of America. Yes, our country has its problems. Yes, our country needs prayer. But I am thankful for the USA, and I am thankful for the soldiers, police officers and others who protect our nation. And I am thankful for the freedoms and blessings we have in our nation. May the people of our nation turn their hearts toward God and turn away from sin.

Feel free to add to my list. There are so many more things I could have written.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Serving at the World Cup Bobsled and Skeleton 2009

On Nov 16-22, about fifteen different people from North Country Ministries (NCM) served at the World Cup Bobsled & Skeleton races in Lake Placid. Some were from Lake Placid Baptist Church and others were from New Hope Baptist Church (Watertown, NY). We helped out at the race in a variety of ways, and gave away scores of goody bags, hand warmers and NCM cowbells. The weekend was a blessing in a lot of ways. Here are some of them.

Eiko Nakayama's red and white sled displaying her faith in Jesus Christ:
Other blessings included getting to catch up with friends that I only see a few times each year. These are the guys and gals who put on the World Cup bobsled & skeleton races all over the world. It's great to be able to help out as a "scabbard slugger" or as the "chief of acetone control" or whatever else they need me to help with.
A video crew from the North American Mission Board came in town for a few days to film us at the track. It was great meeting Tony, Pete & Tim. They tell me the video will be posted on the web in February 2010, right before the Olympics begin. I'll keep you posted. Speaking of videos, Stephen Colbert was there on Sunday to film a segment for his show that will air in February too.
Another cool thing: USA bobsled driver Erin Pac decided recently to put a North Country Ministries sticker on her sled to display her faith in Christ as she slides. Check out the picture:

Here's another encouraging thing that happened. Some of the bobsledders and skeleton athletes did not get to compete this weekend because of injury or other circumstances, and yet their encouraging attitudes were a blessing to me and others. "Praise You in the storm," as Casting Crowns would sing.
Also, those who did compete did their best. Some won, others did not. But the testimony of the Christian athletes was powerful. Check out the websites of Brock Kreitzburg, Erin Pac, Jesse Beckom and John Napier. You will be encouraged.

One of the most exciting parts of the weekend was on Saturday when John Napier, who was recently baptized at Lake Placid Baptist Church, and who is a courageous follower of Jesus Christ, won Gold Medal for the World Cup 2-Man Bobsled Race! His team didn't stop there. They also won two silver medals (4-man bobsled and bobsled/skeleton team competition) on Sunday! Below you will see a picture of John's baptism, then a picture of his sled, then a picture of him letting our son Andy try on one of his medals!

The Bible tells us to give thanks for all things. Thank you, God, for all the blessings you gave to us during the World Cup bobsled & skeleton. May God's Holy Spirit continue to move among the bobsled & skeleton athletes of the world!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Story

As a kid, the most important things to me were family, sports and church. My sports were baseball, football and basketball. At an early age, I realized that just going to church did not make me a Christian. I realized that many things I had done in my life were displeasing to God – lying, cheating, swearing, being disobedient to my parents, just to name a few. I realized that these things, along with all of the other wrong things I had done, were called ‘sin,’ and that this sin had separated me from God. As the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). I realized that the payment – the penalty, no less – for my sin was death, and that if I died right then I would spend eternity separated from God in a place call hell. That reality was overwhelming. I knew I needed to do something. The deep desire of my soul was to be forgiven, to be cleansed of my sin, to be assured of an eternal home in heaven, to find peace with God.

I realized that the Bible said Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sin. The second half of Romans 6:23 says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I wanted that gift of eternal life. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). At a point in my life this reality became crystal clear in my heart and mind: if I would simply ask Jesus to forgive me of my sin and be my Lord and Savior, He would do it. As Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I believed in my heart that Jesus died for my sins, that He rose from the dead, and that if I asked Him to forgive me and save me that He would. Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” So, I knelt on my knees in prayer, and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sin. I told him that I was trusting in Him as my Lord and Savior, and that I want to follow Him all of the days of my life.

In an instant, He forgave me of all my sin – past, present and future. He put His Holy Spirit to live in my heart, giving me a peace that passes all understanding. He gave me assurance that I will spend eternity with Him in heaven. He began to change me from the inside out, day by day. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold all things have become new.” He continues to work in my life to this day, helping me to be more and more like Jesus in every way.

Through the years, I have had many successes, failures, triumphs and challenges, related to sports. I have played on undefeated teams and on teams that never won a game. I have been a starter at times and I have sat on the bench. I saw my dreams of a college football career shattered because of a staph infection that almost killed me and deteriorated my ACL. Through all of this, God has been with me, teaching me things, leading me, guiding me. He has never left me, and He never will.

I would love to hear your story. I would love to tell you more about how Jesus can be the Lord and Savior of your life. Feel free to contact me at

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ironman USA Lake Placid 2009

We had a tremendous week and weekend of ministry during Ironman USA Lake Placid. The race was wonderful, the people we met were great, and God moved in powerful ways. Here are some of the highlights.

Several churches and ministries joined together for ministry under the umbrella of North Country Ministries:

-New Bethesda Baptist Church (VA)
-Oak Grove Baptist Church (MD)
-Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Delmarva)
-FBC Kennesaw (GA)
-Rolling Hills Baptist Church (GA)
-FBC Springfield (VA)
-Immanuel Baptist Church (VA)
-Lake Placid Baptist Church (NY)
-Saranac Lake Baptist Church (NY)
-Calvary Baptist Church (NY)

Here's some of what we did:

-Served at Ironman Registration
-NCM Booth in the Expo area (sno cones, prayer station, face painting, balloon animals)
-Set up tables & chairs for the Ironman banquets, decorated them, welcomed the athletes and their families as they arrived at the banquets
-Concert at Mid's Park in Lake Placid, overlooking Mirror Lake
-Fed pancakes to 1300 people at our Pancake Breakfast on the day before the race
-Worshiped and prayed with 250 people at the IronPrayer Service at Lake Placid Baptist Church on the evening before the race
-Led an Aid Station on the Bike Course of the race
-Led an Aid Station on the Run Course of the race
-Served as Road Marshals around town during the race
-Baptized 3 people in Lake Placid (the lake) on the Fri & Sat before the race
-Rejoiced when 16 people made professions of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior at the IronPrayer Service
-Met some wonderful people
-Rejoiced, prayed, encouraged, served, fellowshiped, laughed, had an amazing time
-Saw a great Ironman race
-Thanked the Lord for the great weather on race day

At the IronPrayer Service, athletes Brad Seng, Carrie Chavez and Jay Fetterman shared testimonies of their walk with Christ, and the difference He makes in their lives. If you'd like to hear the podcast of the IronPrayer service, click here:

Many people took photos throughout the weekend, and they are posting them on their Facebook pages and other places online. If you have some photos to share with everyone, write a comment to this blog post and give us a link to see the photos. To see some great photos taken by my friend Jordan Craig of our week of ministry, go here:

In addition to all of these Ironman-related ministries, the mission teams also cut and stacked firewood, helped to re-roof a home, traveled to a couple of nearby communities for ministry there, and even had time for some great ice cream at the many ice cream shops in the North Country!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


What are idols? Technically, they are statues, relics, figurines, all sorts of objects that people worship. In the OT, they are referred to as "nothings, vapors, images" - in other words, hollow and empty, containing no power. The pagan nations in the land of Canaan worshiped gods of fertility, of the sun, of produce, of livestock, and more, and they would make idols to represent their deities. God warned His people to make no graven images, no idols (Exodus 20:4-6). He didn't even want them to make idols representing Him because, first of all, He is spirit and He can't accurately be represented by any image, and second of all, because He knows that human nature would lead people to worship the object rather than Him.
In reality, an idol is anything that is more important to you than God. (
Col 3:5 equates greed with idolatry.) For some, their car is their idol; for others, their bank account; for others, their favorite sport or hobby; for others, entertainers may be their idols - ever heard of "American Idol"?; for others, it is sin; for others, it is a religious relic, just like the people of Canaan from thousands of years ago.

Satan - the devil - the evil one - is so crafty that he has convinced people to worship idols rather than worshiping the true and living God. People justify this in their own mind by saying things like "it's no big deal" or "this thing brings me good luck," or "I enjoy this" or "I don't want anyone telling me what to do" or "you can only trust what your eyes can see." They don't even realize that this "thing" is controlling their lives, taking their focus off of the One who is true, keep them away from the one who can give them life.

The truth is that God is more real than anything you can see, or hear, or feel. Idols are made by people, and are formed into whatever image the person who makes them wants them to be. Idols may have ears but they cannot hear. Idols may have eyes but they cannot see. Idols may have mouths but they cannot speak. Idols may have hands and feet but they are paralyzed to move or act. But God is spirit, and He is moving, speaking, seeing, hearing, acting, loving, revealing Himself. No one made God; He made us. And He loves us with an everlasting love. Read the words of
Isaiah 44:6-20.

God does not want us to bow down to idols. Why? Because the Lord is a jealous God - His name is Jealous (
Ex 34:14) - Yahweh Qanna. To see how strongly He objects to idol worship, read Exodus 32:1-14.

But God is not jealous in the way we get jealous. We get jealous when somebody has something that we think we deserve. We get jealous because we are greedy. We get jealous because we are needy. Guys get jealous when their girlfriend talks to another guy. But God is not like us. God is completely satisfied in who He is. He does not need us to make Him happy. God's jealously is rooted in His love for us. God wants what is best for us. God wants us to have joy, to enjoy His blessings, to have peace, to have life. God is not jealous of the idols that we bring into our lives. God is not jealous of us. No, God is jealous FOR us. Like a faithful husband, He loves His bride and wants the best for us. He knows the truth, and He knows that idols will always disappoint, they will always let us down. And He wants to give us the best. He wants to keep us from sin, to keep us protected from Satan, to give us understanding, to show us the truth, to give us life! He is the true God and eternal life is in Him. He has great plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and He wants to give you abundant life. He knows that Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Idols do not deliver what they promise. But God always does. And He is all that you need.

When people bow to idols, they are settling for less than God's best. They will always be disappointed. They will never be fulfilled. They are trusting in something that cannot bring them real joy, lasting results or eternal life. At best, they are putting their hope in something that is nothing. At worst, they are putting their trust in something that is demonic, destructive, and will lead them to eternal death.

Idol worship will destroy your life.

Idols cannot help you. Idols cannot save you. Idols cannot guide you. Idols will lead you astray. Idols will let you down. But God has a better way - He is the way. God knows the truth - He is the truth. God can give life - He is the life.

Notice what
1 John 5:18-20 says:

1. Know the practice of your life - Whoever has been born of God does not sin. (That is, if you are born of God you will not continue in the practice of sinning). The word of God is your guide to overcoming sin (
1 John 2:14). There are always consequences for sin. Idols cannot help you to overcome sin. But a child of God can have victory over sin every single time he is tempted.

2. Know the protection on your life - Jesus protects us from the evil one. Satan will try to attact us, discourage us, tempt us, hurt us. But he cannot touch us, literally it means he cannot "attach himself to us," because Jesus is protecting us. Satan cannot do anything to you that God does not allow, and God's purposes are always to give you life, to strengthen your faith, to draw you closer to Himself. He will never let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear (
1 Cor 10:13) and He will always be faithful to help you be victorious.

3. Know the pressure on your life - A child of God recognizes that there are two groups of people on this earth - those who are of God and those who are under the sway of the evil one. They see the distinction. And the longer they walk with the Lord the more repulsive the evil one becomes. They realize that the fleeting pleasures of sin are not worth the consequences. They recognize that there are lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes and the pride of life, but they know that as a child of the King they do not have to be swayed by the evil one any longer. (
1 John 2:15-17) Satan doesn't care which idol you worship, as long as it's not Jesus.

4. Know the Person in your life - We know that Jesus has come and has given us understanding that we may know the true One. Not only that, but we are literally in the true One, that is we are in His Son Jesus Christ. It is a great mystery but it is true. We are in Christ, and His Spirit lives in us. He is the true God and eternal life.

So what should our response be?

1. If a person is not yet a believer, they should hear the words of Paul in
Acts 17:16-34 and repent and trust in Christ.

2. Guard yourselves from idols - get rid of them, keep them away.

3. Live victoriously.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Silver Medalist from the World Championships of Skeleton Tells How God Was With Him

After a very challenging 2008-2009 sliding season including injuries, successes, and disappointments, British Skeleton team member Adam Pengilly competed in the 2009 Skeleton World Championships in Lake Placid, NY. After heat #1, he was in 15th place. At the conclusion of the race, he had won the silver medal. How did he come back from so far behind? What was his secret to success? How did the downpour of rain on the first day of competition threaten to ruin his chance at victory? Listen to his inspiring story of competition, of faith, of highs and lows, and seeing God at work in the midst of good times and bad. Listen to his story here: