So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

FRONT PAGE - here you will find the last 20 postings about recent conversations. Please pray for these people!

Many Questions

3/21/2018         Alejandro     (video)       mid 20's

Who is the only person who asked more questions than Columbo? (I’m showing my age!) 

Here are some clues…

“Why do you worry about clothes?”  “Why are you so afraid?”  “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”  “What did you go out into the desert to see?”  “Why did you doubt?”  “Do you still not understand?”  “Who do you say I am?”  “How long shall I put up with you?”  “What do you want me to do for you?”  “How will you escape being condemned to hell?”  “What did Moses command you?”  “Do you see all these great buildings?”  “Where is your faith?”  “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

These are just of the few questions Jesus asked in the Gospels, so now I have a question.  Why so many questions? 

Jesus, in whose likeness we are called to grow, asked far more questions than he answered.  In the Gospels, there are 307 questions asked by Jesus, with only 183 questions asked of him, and he only answers 3 in response.  That’s a ratio of answering only 1 question for every 100 he asks! 

As a Christian wanting to tell people the good news of Jesus, a whole world of opportunity opened up to me when I finally learned that the best way to “tell” is to “ask”.  First, I learned that if I want to initiate a conversation in the first place, all I have to do is ask.  Then I found out that the best way to earn the right to be heard by a stranger is to ask them about their story.  Most people enjoy talking about themselves, even to a stranger!   

 I also learned the value of asking clarifying questions, as people label their experiences but may have totally different definitions of what those labels mean. For example, in a recent conversation with Alejandro, early 20’s, I found out that his understanding of “original sin” is that he has inherited the sin of Adam but that these sins were washed away at his baptism as an infant and he began life with a “clean slate” because of Jesus.  But as he continues to sin as an adult, he would say that although Jesus gave him the opportunity to be saved, it is up to him to earn it through a combination of good behavior and confession.  I needed to speak to this misconception, but the only way I knew about his beliefs was to ask good questions.

I went on to ask Alejandro questions about how he would be judged by the Ten Commandments, getting him to judge himself rather than me feeling the need to preach at him.  I believe these questions all helped him see his need for forgiveness in Jesus.   

However, being aware of the limited timespan of conversations like this, I pretty much abandoned my many questions in favor of just sharing the Gospel straightforward.  In the end, I fell far short of Jesus’ example of asking so many questions and helping people discover truth for themselves.
Alejandro, to his credit, took over with the questioning, asking me repeatedly toward the end, “I may or may not have learned a few things in our conversation, but what have you learned?  If you take some time to think about it, I’m sure you’ve learned something.”
I’m know he is right.  I learn a lot in all my outreach conversations.  Ever since I started asking a lot of questions.

See our conversation HERE

Honest Atheist

      3/19/18                Thomas    (video)                21

I feel like many people who identify themselves as atheists are quick to hide behind one smokescreen or another that they use as the motivation for their claim that God doesn’t exist.  They are quick to blame apparent contradictions they see with, for example, God’s character in the Old Testament, or Church history, or between miraculous biblical events and science.

Not so with Thomas, 21, who was very gracious, open, and frank about his atheism and the reasons for it.  He mentioned some of these issues, but when it came down to it, he just honestly said he had made up his mind at an early age that God doesn’t exist and has really never taken the initiative to examine evidence to the contrary.  He really just doesn’t want to believe in God.

Despite his honesty, though, I’m not so sure Thomas really understood his own reasons for not wanting to believe in God.  What is at the heart of man’s disinterest in the things of God?  Why did Paul write in Romans 3 “…there is no one who seeks God”?  Is it really just an intellectual rejection of what they can’t understand, or does it go deeper, to issues of the heart? 

After we talked a while I wanted to help Thomas understand where he would stand if the Bible is true and he does have to give an account to his Creator one day.  Many atheists focus on their unbelief as the issue and would feel justified in blaming God for not giving them enough evidence.  They often come from religious backgrounds, and feel like they have taken a courageous, bold, and honorable stand in declaring their non-belief.  If it turns out that God does exist, many think that despite their unbelief they are morally superior to believers who they feel are dishonest about their doubts and hypocrites in their actions.

So, I wanted to help Thomas see that, biblically speaking, the core problem he would have with God is not his unbelief, but his disobedience.  I asked if he would be willing to see how he would be judged according to the Bible, rather than by his own standards or by comparison with other people.  I gave him a “good person” test, which is taught and demonstrated so well by evangelist Ray Comfort and based on Jesus’ example and the standard of the Ten Commandments.

Thomas was honest in his self-assessment based on God’s standard, and the conclusion was that by this standard he would be condemned as a sinner, not rewarded as a saint.  He took this in stride because, after all, he didn’t believe in God in the first place.  But the point that I wanted Thomas to understand was that because of his sin he had ulterior motives for not wanting to believe in God and refusing to even consider the evidence.

But God’s existence doesn’t depend on our belief.  One can’t wish Him away, just as one can’t wish away an oncoming truck simply by covering their eyes and claiming not to believe in trucks. We will be called one day to give an account, but for believers “…if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”  (1 John 2)

Thomas was candid and open about simply not wanting to believe in God.  May he be cognizant of his own true motivations and know that Jesus offers a better alternative than covering his eyes and declaring unbelief.

(See our conversation here)

Atheist to Agnostic

 3/15/18             Mike     video       about 30

When I initially asked Mike, about 30, about his spiritual beliefs he described himself as an atheist. But by the time we finished our conversation, he was an agnostic, and at least open to hearing the Gospel for the first time. What happened?

 A great shift has occurred in much of American religion in the past decade or two. For generations, the great middle section of people, between the polar opposites of committed Christian and committed atheist, used to identify themselves in the “Christian” camp because it was the socially accepted expectation. In reality they were disinterested, confused, or distracted for various reasons.

 In a “Christian” nation, they had heard God’s word preached at various times, but, just as Jesus predicted, the vast majority were not like the seeds of His parable that fell in good soil. Either the “evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart” or “
they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away”, or “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful”. (Matt 13)

One way or another, although they might have called themselves Christians in theory, they were really agnostic in practice. An agnostic is defined as “a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.” They are ignorant by intent or neglect of the things of God. The “Christian” agnostics may claim faith in God, but their actions indicate otherwise. Many attend church, providing support for the popular belief that our churches are full of hypocrites, just going through the motions.
Now, with the hypocrite reputation of churches and the progressive image of science and atheism, many of those “Christian” agnostics are finding it more socially acceptable to identify as atheists. But are they really atheist?

Mike’s claim to atheism quickly fell apart with just a short conversation and a few questions. He was, in fact, agnostic, wise enough to be able to admit that he just doesn’t know, and once he realized he was actually in the agnostic camp he was able to open up at least to the possibility of God’s existence and our accountability to Him. Those who claim atheism foolishly limit themselves to just one possible outcome, which is ironic because that is not a very scientific approach for those who claim to value human science, logic and reason.

I often commend people for their confession of ignorance as agnostics. It can be a very wise and humble place to be, leaving themselves open at least to the possibility of God in their lives. And I’m not even concerned that they no longer call themselves “Christian” as agnostics. That means a lot fewer hypocrites in our churches who are not doers of the word, but hearers only.

The day may come when uncommitted people of the middle section of America can once again come to Christ and identify as Christians without the social stigma that comes with such a proclamation. Whether it does or not, my hope and prayer for Mike is that as an agnostic he will feel the freedom and desire to explore Christianity without the restrictions that labels, both “Christian” and “atheist”, have put on it.

See our conversation at

New, or True?

3/12/18         Rafiq         video       about 30

When Paul visited Athens and spoke with the philosophers at the Areopagus, we are told that “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.”

I found a modern-day philosopher, not at the Areopagus, but at a McDonalds.  His name is Rafiq, and he describes himself as a “seeker of truth”.  I soon learned that he too delights in talking about the latest religious and philosophical ideas.  Unfortunately, Christianity is not in that category, and is seen by many like Rafiq as an outdated tool of oppressor cultures and nations rather than the path to a right relationship with God.  Instead, Rafiq is looking forward to a trip to Africa to rediscover the religious roots of his ancestors.

For many, the idea of Christianity as a tool of the oppressor begins with a mistaken idea about Constantine and the Council of Nicaea.  Many believe the Bible was constructed at this council by the powers-that-be as a manipulative tool to control the masses.  This is the beginning of a series of conspiracy theories that delight scoffers and sceptics by appearing to debunk Christianity.  Many delight instead in the “latest ideas”, which very often simply means “anything but Jesus.”

So what happened at the Council of Nicaea?  Although this gathering of church leaders was convened by Emperor Constantine, it had nothing to do with choosing the books of the Bible.  Instead, the Council was called from cities all around the Roman Empire to deal with the teachings of a controversial church leader from Alexandria named Arius, who taught that Jesus was a finite, created being rather than the Son of God as was accepted for generations by Christians.  The Council condemned Arianism and affirmed Jesus as the Son of God to be identical in essence with the Father.  This led to the writing of the Nicene Creed as a formal affirmation of that belief.  

Arianism continues in various forms to be a source of heresy today, such as in the teachings of Islam, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism, all of which claim to believe in Jesus as a created being rather than, as we read in John 1 -  the word that was “with God in the beginning”.

My hope and prayer for Rafiq is that he will reconsider the life and claims of Christ, that he will look past the false teachers throughout history who have abused Jesus’ powerful name to further their self-interest, and that he truly will delight in truth, even when he finds it in the words of an ancient Creed.

View our conversation HERE