Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Check out our pictures from...
Click on our Missionary Team's Team picture to view photos:
Photography by Shawn David Holes of www.luketentwo.com
Learn more about CCN's Evangelism Camps!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you j wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am writing this on the tail end of the trip to New York City for the Repent and Witness Camp, for Change Collegian Network. This was an excellent camp! As my wife says, when it comes to New York City, I am like a kid in a candy store. There are SOOOO many people and so many opportunities to preach, to share, to hand out tracts, just to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. What a privilege! But, a close second is the fellowship of believers who are united in faith and in purpose to win the lost for Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.
My team was made up of awesome believers from around the country. Kris from North Carolina, Ryan and Bryce from Nev-ah-da, Aland Aaron (father and son) from Connecticut, and Jack Suehiro from California (fellow ambassador) This team had two associate Pastors, which means that my prayer is being answered that pastors would get out from behind the pulpit and preach to the lost who will never come into a church.
As we discussed goals, we had two who had never broken the sound barrier, both from Nevada.They both desired to get up and preach, but were tentative. They were both obedient to the Lord and proclaimed the Word with boldness on the very first day. I only had to do my Steve Sanchez (the Pusher) impression once. When Ryangot up and read John 3, he was shaking. When he got off, he was trembling. It reminded me, as I prayed with him, that we should all tremble before the Word. We should be reminded of Ezra and other prophets being undone as they read it. Both of these men were very humbled as they read the Word.
All the other members of the team had experience in the open air, but with the exception of Kris, who was with us last year, none had really done it in an intense urban setting like New York City. These guys all desired to get out and preach. Specifically, Aaronand Jack wanted to speak with doubter or atheists and practice with their apologetics, and to learn how to turn back to the law and the Gospel effectively. Both got their wish as we traveled to Times Square on that first night. Immediately after preaching the Gospel, conversations broke out. Aaron got the French athiests, and Jackgot the wider grace Catholic. They did excellent work in both these situations. It was very cool to see these men obediently be stretched with no real coaching on my part. As we headed back late to our location the excitement was palatable and the fellowship was very sweet.
The teaching was focussed on training and motive for Evangelism. From our first joint devotion time, which was on Unity, or how to extend grace to team members who are from different denominations which may have different focusses on issues not central to salvation or faith, because we were all in NYC to win the lost for Jesus Christ using Biblical methods. So, as we broke into small groups and studied, we solidified our bonds as brothers (and sisters) in the Word, and we prayed together for one another and fort the city as we went forth.
Shawn Holes then gave us an excellent teaching on counting the cost of being an evangelist. What we do and how we do it, as we know, is very opposite of what the world system recognizes as acceptable. It is really counter- cultural! Unfortunately, it is also counter church culture as well. Shawn shared that some of our worst criticismmay come from within the walls of the church and family! He encouraged us to not to look back once we began the mission which God had sent us on, so to count the cost before we would become an evangelist.
Pastorboy (Me) gave a message about our motive for preaching to the lost- the love we have for God. We should love God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind. Because we love God, he is an easy subject to speak about, and we ought to love Him and obey His commands. Because we love Him, our fear of man is suppressed, and we preach to honor God. But we love mankind because we love God, so we preach so that man might be saved, and that God might receive the glory above all else.
The focus, or purpose was very clear for us. We were not here to build a missions house or to do art projects with kids, or to paint homes. We were here to preach the Gospel. Many trips and much money is spent every year to give young people a ‘missions’ experience, but it has nothing to do with evangelism, that is, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. The things are good works that we ought to do because we love people and want to help them out, but it is not really missions. These are things we should do for our neighbors year round to show them love (as we preach the Gospel) The Great Commission is that we would preach the good news to every creature. Well…there are a LOT of creatures in New York City from all over the planet. Literally thousands of people heard the Gospel call in the 4 days of the camp. There are many stories, but in my dispatches that follow, I will try and detail some of the more unique ways that we did it.
I would encourage everyone who wants a Missions experience to get trained in Biblical Evangelism and make plans to attend either the Ambassadors Alliance, a Transformed Conference, a Crash Course, or a Basic Training Course, and then to make plans to come next year to New York City to get your Masters Degree in Evangelism. Because as the old song says- if you can
makepreach it here, you can makepreach it anywhere.