Saturday, April 20, 2013

Jubilee 2013

Wow, it's been about a year since I wrote a blog. As I look back through I can see my posts get further and further apart. I still do evangelism, but just haven't been blogging about it. Maybe it has something to do with life...  : )

Seriously though, I wanted to share how the Jubilee Outreach went this year and address a topic that I think desperately needs to be addressed. I've never been more blessed by a single outreach. The help from my church, Chisholm Baptist, tripled from last year, we had a pastor who is a friend from a Hispanic church come setup a Way of the Master booth, and then my good friend who got me started at the Jubilee had their Star Wars Way of the Master booth setup. If you have read any of my very early on blogs you can tell that I was frequently irritated with the lack of biblical evangelism and pastors involved in evangelism, and me not being a part of a good biblical church. I spent thousands of dollars on "solo outreaches" and evangelism by myself until we were blessed with a church home, which we have been attending for 3 years, such a blessing! And now I have pastor friends who do outreaches too!


Friday I went to help out with an outreach at the Jubilee and while I was wrapping up a conversation with 2 teenagers a man walked up to me and asked if he could have one of the Gideon's Bible's I had handed out. Thankfully I got to witness to someone who was Jewish who showed genuine interest and took a New Testament right before, which has been difficult in the past. The man who came up to me told me his testimony and how he was homeless. He said he was saved a week ago so I asked him about his testimony and conversion. I was very blessed by listening to him and intrigued by his journey and current walk with Christ. Being a false-convert for many years my first reaction to anyone around the Bible-Belt who claims to be Christian is a little skeptical. We talked about spiritual things for over an hour and I had the pleasure of ministering to him. He shared his goals and what he believed to be his calling with me. I've talked with homeless people before and there was something different about this man. He wanted to hang out with me and was glad he had made a new friend. He watched and listened as I witnessed to some other people and he even chimed in from time to time.

The booth I was at was about to have a Star Wars fight scene which lead into a short open-air sermon. They needed a volunteer to be Obi-Wan (a Jedi) ((yes, I'm a Star Wars nerd)). They asked if he wanted to do it, a little reluctant he said he would. He put on the costume, took the light saber, and fought Darth Vader. Drawing a big crowd, it was the perfect setup for a good gospel presentation. He then handed out gospel tracts to the onlookers and posed for pictures with them. He told me this was one of the best days of his life and he felt like he was doing something important and meaningful. He was. He served with us the rest of the night and then we parted ways. He has a second job interview next Friday, please keep him in prayer.

Saturday, today, I got there early to setup the booth for my church. One of the good things about running church outreaches is that I am now funded to do so! It is absolutely amazing to have a church passionate about the Great Commission. The morning started out a little slow, but then when my friends showed up with their booths it started picking up. Some people from my church and I ran the Spanish booth for a little while (my Spanish is not too good, but I knew enough to point them to take a tract or DVD). The rest of our church helped run our booth until the guys from the other church got there. I was running, literally, back and fourth to the Star Wars booth to swap out tracts and DVDs and also checking on some new brothers in Christ that joined me for their first outreach along with going between the two other booths! It was really cool to meet some new Christians who are also passionate about serving and sharing their faith!


Overall, I believe everyone had a good time. It was neat to see brothers and sisters in Christ from my church hand out tracts and engage in conversations with what appeared to be such ease. Nearly everyone in the College & Career Sunday school class I teach came out and helped too! I remember how deathly afraid I was to even hand a tract to anyone. Their help was truly priceless and I'm sure that God was glorified from it. I did talk to a couple people who said they went to church, but never heard the Gospel or understood what it was. Despite my allergies being horrendous about half way through, my sneezing would always cut out just long enough for me to engage someone in a conversation, coincidence or God? I don't believe in coincidences.  : )

I had two really good conversations that stuck out to me besides my friend from Thursday: one with an agnostic (someone who claims to not know or believes you cannot know if God exists) who just starting to consider Christianity and another with someone who had a little church background, but had never heard the gospel. His most spiritual experience he had ever had involved a "ghost". I'll save that for the blog another day!

The conversation with the agnostic really blessed me. We discussed agnosticism/atheism for a bit. She was actually a preacher's daughter. I explained how we can see the evidences of God through His word, creation, and conscience, but I told her that ultimately I could not convince her with any evidence that His existence is true because salvation is a work of God. I did ask her if she believes in moral absolutes, to which she replied, "no". I then asked if rape is always wrong, to which she said yes. That is a moral absolute. By using what we consider extreme examples, people soon see that they also hold to certain moral absolutes. She accepted this. Moral absolutes are written on our hearts.Where do those come from? God, which leads us to His law that shows us our true condition and why we need Christ.We discussed the Christian worldview and how we all suppress the knowledge of God through our unrighteousness before salvation. She had never heard this before and seemed intrigued by it. I asked if she heard the gospel before and she said, "no not really". Again, a preacher's daughter. Everything we talked about she said actually made sense and would seriously think about our conversation. She took a Bible, tracts, and DVD. Please be praying for her!

Unfortunately, there were many churches, but not much evangelism going on. The closest I got to a spiritual talk with someone at a church booth is they told me they were a cafe-style church and I could come and eat donuts and have coffee with them at round tables or I could spin their big wheel and win a $25 Wal-Mart gift card. No mention of God, no mention of the gospel, I could have been a lost soul who lost my life that very day and gone to hell. Blunt, but true. I honestly couldn't tell by the names of some of these places if they were a club or a church. Strange. I did have some conversations with these booths and gave them some resources on evangelism and the importance of it during outreaches as they believed they were doing evangelism. I have no problem with church advertisement and using games/toys/etc., but without the gospel it is not evangelism. Many churches are trying harder and harder to be so relevant and entertaining that they are losing sight of what is truly important...for more info. I recommend researching the Seeker Sensitive Movement. I'm going to leave my soap box at that for now because I could go on for pages!

Anyways, it has been a good day. The Lord kept my family safe, I made new friends, shared the gospel with others, had good fellowship, and got to see many in my church in action! I didn't think anyone read my blog anymore, but I have some made some good friends and contacts on here in the past couple of months. If you have any questions at all about God, religions, or evangelism, PLEASE shoot me a message on here. I would love to talk to you.

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a great day.

In Christ,

Joey

*If you are not familiar with the Way of the Master you can find more info. here @ www.wayofthemaster.com

This is a great and solid ministry. I have met Ray and Kirk and received training from them. They are genuine, humble, and the real deal!











Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chisholm Spring Fest

Today's outreach at the Chisholm Spring Fest went great. It wasn't a huge turnout, but everyone turned out who the Lord wanted to! I sneezed my way through the whole event, haha, but I enjoyed it! I think something blew in because my son's eyes were pretty much swollen shut when my wife got him home.

The men of Chisholm did a great job with their Turkey Shoot set up. A few others and myself set up a table with tracts, DVDs, and candy. As I said, there wasn't a big turn out, but there were some really good conversations and quite a few people took the materials we had there. We also had some good fellowship, which is always priceless amongst brothers in Christ!

I had one conversation with a young man who said he had accepted Christ as a child but stopped going to church and was trying to be a good person. He knew church language very well, but after some questions he admitted he was very concerned that he had violated God's law and understood what sin actually was. When someone says they are trying to be good that is an excellent opportunity to take them through "the Good Person test". So we went through the Ten Commandments with him and discovered he is not good and what God's standard of good is. We also discussed the difference between accepting Christ and receiving Him. While it's not necessarily wrong to use the word "accept" Jesus, it may not be entirely biblical. Often we use the word accept as God need's our acceptance, when in reality it's quite the opposite. WE need the acceptance of the great creator and sovereign ruler of the universe! The Bible tells us that we have all transgressed God's law and that He is angry with the wicked everyday. The problem is, is that before Christ, WE are the wicked! While that is a hard truth, Romans 3:11-12 tells us...“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God; All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Another reason is that if we use the word "accept" it easily contributes to the idea that we just merely need to accept the idea or story of Jesus and we will be saved, which we know is contrary to what scripture teaches. We are to take up our crosses and follow Him.


It may seem silly to pick apart words, but it's important as we must understand that different words have different meanings to different people, which is what the case was here that happens again and again.Words can shape our theology and view of God. My point being, we and others must RECEIVE Christ. We are to receive Jesus through repentance and faith in Him. The most important thing anyone can ever do in this life is repent and trust in Christ (be saved). Then we may glorify Him and enjoy Him forever as the Westminster Catechism says. 


It was a great conversation though! We prayed with him and encouraged him to get right with God, read his Bible, and find a church, whether it was ours or another. We had another conversation with a lady who said she believed in the idea of hell, but was reluctant about believing it to be reality. Her son actually said he believed in hell because then why would all the bad people get to go to heaven? I was thrilled at his response because it was a springboard to ask if they were indeed good or not. Asking someone if they believe in heaven or hell or what they think happens after death is a great way to start a conversation that leads to the Gospel. With that being said, we went through the 10 Commandments and concluded that they were not good and the only person who was truly good was Jesus Christ. I explained for a moment how morality does have a standard and how awesome it is that we have a God who is holy, righteous, and just, while also extending mercy and grace to those who believe (repent and trust)! Her and the other two boys at the table took a DVD and some other materials and thanked us for the conversation.


After the conversations and people left we packed up and I headed out being joyful for the fellowship and encounters with others. I pray that the Lord uses the seeds that were sown today and that the Lord will draw the lost to Himself. It is my hope to see some in our church, but if not, I know the great shepherd will guide His sheep.  : )


Thanks for reading and keep in mind, when doing evangelism and outreaches you may go in dragging your feet, but all to often you'll come out skipping for joy (not that I literally skip...).


Thank you and may God bless you and yours!

In Christ,

Joey Acker



Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Terrell Jubilee Outreach

It's been so long since I have done a blog post that I actually forgot my password! Life has kept me busy, but I believe this is definitely blog-worthy. I recently had the honor and privilege of training my Sunday School class and utilizing our Wednesday night church services for evangelism training. In working closely with another Way of the Master ministry we were able to put together a very good outreach for the Terrell Jubilee/Carnival. As I read back on some of my first posts it's hard to believe that I am now plugged into what I consider a solid biblical church where I actually get to teach and plan outreaches. While many churches have lots of amenities, state of the art technology/music, and coffee (that you actually have to pay for), or super playgrounds, it is certainly a rarity today to find one that practices and uses their resources for biblical evangelism. That is, to train others and go out and preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world, not just going door to door or setting up something to just invite people to your church, but taking the initiative to go and open our mouths to share the Gospel and get it into the hands of others!

Last night was truly awesome. If you haven't read my blog posts before you'll notice that I use the word "awesome" a lot. I mainly write about God and evangelism, which are both awesome...so that's why. : ) Friday night I headed to the Terrell Carnival. We usually have our worship band praise party on that night, but it was canceled so the team could come make it out for some prayer, fellowship, and evangelism at the carnival. I was absolutely thrilled at the turn out. We had church members hand out tracts and engage in conversations for the very first time with strangers. I was and am still very encouraged! There were many good conversations. I talked to a trucker who hadn't been in a church in a long time because he had bad experiences with the church. He was very interested in coming to ours an wanted to go to my Sunday school class when he could. He graciously took a Hell's Best Kept Secret/True and False Conversions CD and said he would listen to it with him and his buddy on the road. There were others who claimed they did not go to church due to bad church experiences, some as they actually blew smoke in my face as we talked. Often at times, as I told them, we may blame the church for our lack of spirituality or faithfulness in God, but in reality our relationship with Christ is personal as well. A church cannot ultimately prevent someone from being saved as it is the work of the Holy Spirit, but they are obligated and can surely be obedient to the model that is provided in scripture. So often others will cast the blame on the church or say that the church is too judgmental when the problem at times is that the person isn't truly regenerate ((born-again)).

There was no serious opposition overall. We are very blessed in America when it comes to evangelism. The biggest thing we usually have to fear is feeling a little embarrassed when someone gets riled up or chews you out, or you are falsely reprimanded from the authorities. I've never experienced the second, although those freedoms may be thinning if things keep going the way they are going in our country unfortunately! Regarding the current state in our country, I want to give a shout-out to a documentary called Monumental. It will blow your mind and open your eyes as it reveals much forgotten truth, is very well made, and God-honoring. It is in select theaters so go to www.monumentalmovie.com to check it out! As I was saying... I was so excited to see brothers and sisters in Christ (including youth!) who handed out Gospel tracts and talked to strangers! What a blessing! Prayer is so important when it comes to outreaches and there was definitely prayer going on. I am incredibly thankful for our prayer warriors that are out there!

Saturday was a great turn out. I have never been to the Terrell Jubilee before, but it is basically like a big fair. We had a booth setup next to my friend's booth where we handed out creative Gospel tracts, booklets, Bibles, coins, and DVDs. One of the highlights was having my pastor come out and evangelize with us. Talk about seeing something rare! I mean that in the context in when you do see churches do outreaches you rarely see the pastor out there unless they are inviting people to church. That is so important because if you want to get your church on fire for evangelism then it's important to have your pastor involved because where the shepherd goes the sheep will follow. I was and am very blessed to have a pastor who has a passion and puts his faith into action outside of the church walls! I also had great fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ, old and new.

While there were lots of great conversations there were two that really stuck out that I would like to share. There was a boy and girl (probably in their late teens/early 20's) that came to our table. The girl asked us what we were...if we were witchcraft, Scientology, or what not. We said we were Christians and she began taking one of everything off the table (we had a LOT of stuff!). I asked her boyfriend if he wanted to take the Lie Detector Test (a box with the question, "Are you a good person?" you point with a pointer to one of two circles that say YES or NO). It always goes to NO because of a magnet. It is a great draw and ice breaker for presenting the Gospel.) Anyways, he said, "**** no! I already know I'm a ****** person!." I then asked why is that? He said that because he has sinned and done very bad things, but through Jesus Christ he has been saved because he accepted what Jesus did for him. While this was odd on so many different levels, the girl chimed in. I noticed she had what appeared to be self-inflicted marks on her left arm and a demeanor I hadn't really experienced before. She told me she used to be involved in witchcraft and used to do very bad things too, which some she named. I proceeded to go through God's law (the 10 Commandments) with her. We went through those and something happened that has never happened before. When I asked her if she had every murdered anyone she paused for about 15 seconds, teared up, and replied that he hurt her, did horrible things to her, and he wouldn't leave her alone. This caught me off guard, but I went on and my dear brother in Christ later helped with our conversation as well. He made great points about distinguishing between emotions, truth, and faith. She said she could see angels and demons and hears voices.

I'm not a gullible person whatsoever, but this is one of the few times I felt like there was some serious spiritual warfare going on through talking to her and her boyfriend, which is why praying as you speak, and relying on the Spirit is so important. We explained the Gospel thoroughly to her. She had a few misconceptions about the person-hood of Christ as she was familiar with the claims from the Davinci Code and Zeitgeist film. This was interesting because I just finished redoing research on this exact topic for a friend! After we explained that it was fiction and the twisted facts she asked how she could be really be saved. She also said she had just gone to the Will Graham Celebration and dedicated her life to Christ, but she was battling good and evil and didn't know what to do and wanted to know more. Throughout the conversation somewhere I explained that we weren't "church recruiting", but if she needed a place to go to church and fellowship she was welcome with us and we would love to have her. She pleaded for our church information and to give us her number. We gave her information and reassured her of the hope that is only in Christ. She constantly mentioned battling with her past, but we explained how Christ's sacrifice covers our past, current, and future sins. The two started arguing while the boyfriend continued to use colorful language. We parted ways as my heart went out to her while being slightly stunned at some of the things I had just heard. I believe it was a good encounter. The Holy Spirit was definitely in it...and in my opinion possibly another.

I also got to talk to a very nice young man who was Muslim, which doesn't happen very often as they usually are not open to talk about such things in my experience. I asked what he thinks happens after we die and he said heaven or hell. We went through the law of Moses and concluded that he would be in trouble on Judgment Day. When I asked him if he had a church background he said that he goes to a mosque. I explained the differences between Islam and Christianity and how they claim Jesus was a prophet, but if He was a prophet then they must accept the things that He said pointing to His deity and claims. We discussed grace versus works and how Christ is our mediator. It was a really good conversation and he wanted to check out more. He took a couple of tracts and a Why Christianity DVD.

As I said, there were other great conversations. We had encounters with people of various religious backgrounds and those who proclaimed Christ, but did not follow His Word or understand the Gospel. One of the key things that I kept stating is that believing in the fact that there is and was a Jesus, and that He also died on the cross, that kind of belief will not save you. That is like jumping off a plane and not putting on the parachute while saying "I believe in the parachute!" the whole way down to your death. It is the same with Christ. We must act by putting on the parachute and trusting in it the whole way down just as we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him alone. A true convert will keep the parachute on even when the ride gets bumpy, but a false convert will throw it off at the first sign of turbulence. I think I just mixed those two analogies, but hopefully you get the point! It was a great illustration I heard by Ray Comfort. Another point is that the demons also believe that Jesus is the Christ, but we know where they are going. The belief the Bible calls for is a belief of repentance and trust that equals genuine faith. A faith that bears fruit in keeping with repentance, a faith that produces good works (as an evidence, not a basis of our salvation), and a faith that is so strong that it moves us to tell others about it.

I feel very blessed and am so thankful for those who were involved and the prayer warriors in this event! Please, please, PLEASE pray for all those who heard the Gospel and for those who labored today, that they would continue in their evangelism endeavors in serving the King! If you are interested in sharing your faith please feel free to shoot me a message on Facebook or @ jlacker3@yahoo.com.

Thank you so much for reading and may God bless you and yours!

Joey Acker

www.needGod.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zen Buddhism and Crickets

Wow, yesterday witnessing was really awesome! I didn't plan on going out this week, but the Lord really put it on my heart yesterday morning that I needed to go out and share the gospel that evening. I was very blessed because it wasn't my usual "false conversion" encounters. Meaning, when I talk to people they usually proclaim that they are Christian, but yet do not understand the gospel, know what they believe, can tell me what to do be saved, or they even admit that they are not after I explain to them the law and the gospel.

Don't get me wrong though. People who think they are Christian need to have the biblical gospel shared with them as well. It's just rare sometimes to find people in the bible belt that are honest about their faith and don't just say they are Christian because they grew up that way or it is more of a cultural thing. We can't always be sure about somebody's salvation so we are to love and share the gospel with them regardless. People often say that we are not to judge, "just not, lest you be judged", which is referring to a hypocritical judgment if that verse is actually taken into context. But we are told to judge in a righteous way.

"Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” - John 7:24

In the same chapter of the famous "judge not, lest you be judged" Jesus tells the disciples - "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits."

"The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one." - 1 Corinthians 2:15

And it gives more details further into the verses. So there are instances in which we are to judge discerningly.

Anyways, my point of this post today is to explain that we need to be worshiping the right Jesus and understand that different religions have different views of who He is. Even those who claim to traditional Christian teachings can have the wrong idea of Christ. And if we have the wrong Jesus, it is the wrong gospel because it is all about Him.

What got me thinking about this was my encounter last night. I talked to a Zen Buddhist. I'm familiar with traditional Buddhism, but not Zen so he explained to me and basically said that he doesn't believe in Buddha as a deity (god), but he just believed it was in himself to go to a better place and reach the state of nirvana. He was well versed in the teachings of different religions, could quote scripture, and had a rehearsed argument on why he believed what he believed. After I explained the gospel to Him he said he believed that there was someone named Jesus who did good things, but not that He was son of God.

We got to the root of one of the issues when he said that he believes that all paths lead to the same place, which is very popular now. I told him if that I believe that I would turn into a cricket would I definitely turn into a cricket after I die? I also asked that if I thought the sun is blue and he thinks it's yellow then who is right. Am I right just because I really believe it's blue? It was basically a case of relativism, where someone believes that what is true for you is truth and what someone else believes is truth is truth for them. They make it sound fancy, but it's really silly logic. You just turn it back around on them to show the silliness of it. He saw my point and after some more discussion he asked me if he really wanted to be forgiven what he had to do. I explained who Jesus really was and the nature of God and the atonement. He actually mentioned atonement early and I explained why we cannot atone for our own sins and evil that we do. Zen Buddhism and all other religions is man centered and that there is a way that we work our way to heaven/nirvana or whatever that good place in the afterlife may be. Christianity is the only "religion" where you must completely surrender, repent, and put your trust in Christ instead of your own efforts.

The conversation was a real blessing because he showed genuine interest and actually knew what he was talking about even though it didn't make much sense once we unraveled it. The next conversation I had was with a group of guys, which was rather interesting. One guy was agnostic, one Catholic, one Mormon who was training another guy there to become a Mormon. We went through the good person test and then I explained the gospel (which is the most important thing to share with someone). The Mormon was well versed in a lot of his teachings, but the odd thing was is that he agreed with everything I said. I had to explain to my new Catholic friend how purgatory is not a biblical doctrine because that is what a lot will say where we go after death. To the Mormon I asked him if he had taken his two year mission trip yet (Mormons are usually required to take one). He said he was about to go in a couple weeks so I pleaded with him to check out the roots of his faith and gave him some points to consider.

Our terminology is the same in many ways, but there are different definitions to the same words. For instance, I brought up that the Mormon teachings believe in the celestial, telestial, and terrestrial heavens (they have three levels of heaven), baptism of the dead, becoming your own god, the origins of Joseph Smith. They also believe Jesus not to be the God-man, deny the trinity, and that Christ was the brother of Satan. He was a really nice guy and wanted to know more so we exchanged contact information and he wanted me to send him some links and info. on everything I was telling him. Please pray for him because the other guy with him there was also training to become a Mormon.

Overall it was a great experience. I love talking to people of different religions, especially when they actually practice and understand what they proclaim. The danger I see is that there are many people who are not Christian, are of different religions or have different system of beliefs (including atheists)know more about the Bible than many self-proclaiming Christians. More than ever we all need to understand and apply this truth...

"but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect," - 1 Peter 3:15

Whether you go out and witness, hand out tracts, or just even claim to be Christian, this is a truth that we must all apply. One of the biggest dangers I see today is self-proclaiming Christians having the wrong idea of Jesus, which I had for most of my life. I believed Jesus to be someone who winked at my sin, would let me hold onto my secret sins, and live like hell Monday through Saturday and play church on Sunday because that somehow made me good or worthy. I was so wrong. Jesus is Lord of all. And to be born again meant that I wouldn't keep diving into sin because my heart had genuinely changed. That's what it means to become a new creature in Christ. You begin to hate the sins you once loved and love the things God loves. You repent, turn from sin, because of who you are sinning against, not because it makes you feel cruddy or you want to be "morally better". You trust in Christ instead of your own efforts for your salvation.

I want to wrap up with this. In my blogs I often discuss other religions. While I believe that to be vitally important you do not have to know all the things that I am talking about to witness or share your faith with someone. The most important thing to know is the law and the gospel. Apologetics does help and I believe people should be versed in it, but we have to understand what we believe and be able to share it with the lost as it says in 1 Peter. Just like I tell people when I share the gospel with them, I cannot convince you that Christianity is true. I can help you make some sense of it and show you why what you believe can't be right, but ultimately you have to repent and trust in Christ in alone for your salvation. He is the only way, the truth, and the life!

If you are interested in sharing your faith, want some resources, or have any questions in general please shoot me an message! I plead with you to please pray for all the people that heard the gospel last night. Pray that the Lord would save them, that they would repent of their sin and trust in the one true Savior. Thank you for reading!

In Christ,

Joey

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Evangelism and Aspasians

Life lately has been busy, but blessedly so! I had the pleasure and privilege of going to an event this morning to do some long over due evangelism. My first role is of course being a husband to my wife and father to my children, but it was good to hit the streets and spread the Gospel. I can't wait until my wife and children can come with me frequently. It's a little harder to tag along a three year old and nine month old. : )

I first want to say thank you so much for those who prayed for the outing. I believe the Lord was truly glorified! My church, Chisholm Baptist, had a booth setup with crafts, cookies, suckers, a presentation with the meaning of the cross, and information about our church, along with members and my pastor talking to those who stopped by. It was encouraging to see a church, especially mine, to take the time and effort to go meet and greet people.

The fair is called the Aspasians Fair...I'm assuming the name was coined from Aspasia the famous Greek/Athenian woman. Either way I know some of the Aspasian were doing their job well in monitoring, but for some reason they seemed to keep nitpicking at the church booth because the table stuck out too far, which it didn't compared to the others. I think it's just because it was a "church" booth while others were trying to sell things. Many still stopped by and received information though, which was great!

I mainly walked around and handed out Gospel tracts, engaging in one-2-one and group conversations with people. I decided to go with Big Money Tracts from Living Waters. These are really neat to use in parades and big events because they catch the eye of people, including curious Aspasians, and they either say something about it or ask for one. Some things you can say to others when using these are, "did you get one of these, did you get your big money today, and here's some big money for you, I wish it was real, but the message on the back is." The responses are often humorous. : ) It is always fun to be creative with tracts and it loosens people up to a conversation about their eternity. If someone says they are already a Christian, knows what it is and tries to hand it back, you can always say, "well could you please give it to someone that I can't reach, thank you!"

As I often see in Rockwall, I talked to three members of a large local church who told me they did not believe in the existence of hell and said they had to leave when we started discussing the 10 Commandments. This is an unfortunate trend I have noticed in the community over the past two years I have been witnessing, which just reminds me that the god of the Bible belt is not the God of the Bible. Much of preaching nowadays in many churches has been watered down to a seeker-friendly/sensitive Gospel, when in reality the only one a church should be seeking for is God. Anyways, I'll save that for another blog and another day! I would appreciate prayers for these boys and that the law would be a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ through the Gospel tracts they received. See Galatians 3:24

The biggest blessing for me was when I was walking down the street outside of the fair and saw a guy who was sitting alone. He looked kind of familiar when I approached him. I handed him a big money tract and he said that he got a million dollar bill from a guy at the Harbor who was talking to him and some others a while back. I asked him if it was me because I go out there pretty often and he said he thinks it was and I believe it was him as well. Either way I was very thankful. He told me that he feels as if God has changed his heart and he prays and reads his Bible because he wants to and not because he has to. We discussed the law a little bit more and talked about the evidence of salvation. We even prayed afterward that the Lord would open his heart more and continue to give him further repentance and trust in Christ alone. It was a real blessing! It was nice to have a church home to invite him out to!

I was also honored to meet and thank an older veteran for his service who was walking by himself. He received a tract and thanked me with a hug.

The last conversation I had was with an agnostic fellow who said that he thinks we probably just turn into dust after death and he doesn't really know what happens with things concerning the afterlife. He said he just lives his life one day at a time and is into truth. I explained that I am into truth as well and was able to provide him with the greatest truth! The conversation went really well and he seemed to really be interested and appreciated the encounter. Please pray for him and the rest of the people who received tracts and heard the Gospel. Pray that their hearts would be unhardened, the Lord would draw them to Himself, and that they would repent and trust in Christ alone for their eternal salvation.

Thank you so much for reading and I greatly appreciate your prayers as always!


In Christ,

Joey



Are you 100% percent sure you know where you are going? If not, please check out this link at www.needGod.com for an answer to the most important question or send me a message and I would love to talk to you about it. There is nothing more important than your eternal salvation my friend!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Reflection

In the Facebook world everyone has been posting about their goals and agenda's for this new year, but I thought I would do something a bit different and reflect on the previous year, 2010.

This time two years ago the Lord graciously drew me to Himself. By His grace I was born again. I was convicted of my sin and how wretched of a man I really was. I was granted repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, He saved me. It was nothing of my own effort as I had nothing to offer an almighty, perfect, and holy God. It was also my second year to be involved in the proclamation of the Gospel through street evangelism and I can say in all honesty I have learned much and been humbled even more so throughout the year. Please understand that the purpose of this entry is not to draw attention to myself, but that God may be glorified through the work that He has done and I have experienced this past year.

It has been a great year of evangelism and growth for me personally. I have seen some of those close to me be drawn to Christ, which I am so thankful beyond words for. I now have a brother in Christ I am also thankful for that I have learned much from and we serve together under our King for His glory as we go witness to lost souls on an almost weekly basis. I believe I may have possibly been lead to a church home for my family that I have desperately been searching and praying for since the Lord changed my heart. This has also been a great year because my wife and I celebrated our 4 year marriage anniversary together with a new addition to our family, my beautiful daughter Ella Grace who is another blessing beyond words. I am also amazed at how much my family has grown in the Lord this year and how much information a 2-3 year old can retain! We are so thankful and pray that we will raise our son and daughter to be godly, caring, humble, and bold followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I can say though that the most change in my life this past year has happened within the last couple of months. By God's providential will one night, while I was out witnessing alone, he established what I believe to be an eternal friendship with two of the most godly people I have ever been privileged to know. In one of my first blog posts concerning my testimony and the Ambassador's Alliance I expressed how beautiful and encouraging it was to be around true brothers and sisters in Christ as we trained, prayed, and served our King together in the streets during that weekend in LA. I also expressed in that post how I was grieved and heart broken that we all had to leave each other. I did not think I would experience that feeling again so soon.

Within these last couple of months I have been encouraged by example and exhortation from these friends and conviction from the Holy Spirit. I believe I have learned and will continue learning from these experiences and future experiences to come. I love my dear brother and sister in Christ and have been reminded how important relationships are and how sweet the fellowship of the brethren really is. This has been a great year. The Lord is awesome, He is sovereign, and He is truly glorious. I am so thankful for His mercy, His grace, and the fellowship He gives through Himself and His bride, the church. I don't mean the building, I mean brothers and sisters in Christ who are truly of Him. I have had many down-falls this year and a few of those being relationships and my prayer life. I am lousy at relationships other than my family and I hope to build them this upcoming year so that the Lord may be glorified in them. I also pray that my prayer life honors God and not my conscience.

My Facebook says I have around 3,000 friends and I receive about 20 friend requests a week on here. So one of my "goals" is going to be to significantly down-size my list to those of people I know either through school, witnessing encounters, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ...in other words, people I actually know. My hope is that I can be more of a committed friend through this venue of communication at least, as I have too often let things in the name of evangelism take priority over things in the name of God-honoring relationships.

So here is to another year. I pray that those of Christ, including myself, would love, honor, and give God the glory in every avenue of their life. To those who do not know Him, I pray that they would repent, turn from their sins and trust alone in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, for He is the only way.

Thank you so much for reading and I pray that everyone has a blessed year.


Soli deo gloria!


In Christ,

Joey Acker

Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh Black Friday...

Black Friday is a special time for me. Back in the day I used to work in Toys R Us and Target where I served in battle on this crazy, crazy day. I was nearly pushed off of a ladder, hit by carts, handled disgruntled, impatient, and unruly "guests" (we were not allowed to refer to them as customers or shoppers). A couple of years later (January 2009) the Lord got a hold of my carnal, wretched, filthy heart and saved me by His grace for His glory alone. He then opened my eyes to biblical evangelism and the necessity of the Great Commission to every believer in Christ.

Last year when the Lord saved me I went back to the battleground on Black Friday, haha. It was a much more pleasant experience spreading the Gospel, handing out tracts, than working for the company! The whole experience was awesome and I was able to hand out hundreds of tracts at Target and then witness at Town East mall afterward. This year I have been looking forward to this day once again, however, I planned to go to the Mesquite Super Target instead. There wasn't a really good spot to begin handing out tracts so I just went down the line. Within about 20 tracts I was asked to stop soliciting by what appeared to be the manager. I then proceeded to go in a rant on how the company owes me and...just kidding. She told me I could not be soliciting on Target property. I explained that I wasn't selling anything or asking anyone for anything, but she was persistent and asked me to leave once again. So I said yes mam and went on my way. I really didn't want to get held up by security so I left pretty quick so I could go somewhere else. God's plan is always better than mine anyways!

I headed over to Best Buy because I knew they opened at 5am and it was about 4:25 at the time. I was a little discouraged because I knew that Best Buy was higher in security and I would probably get shut down pretty quick. When I pulled up there was an even bigger crowd and much to my surprise there was a McDonald's cart set up and a catering company going down the line. I don't know if they had permits or not, but it was good news to me! So I began to hand out million and trillion dollar bills all down the line. Glory to God that I was able to pass 500+ to everyone. The comments always crack me up, sometimes people say some ugly things and rarely you will hear something encouraging, but my favorite line today was from a much older gentlemen. He said, "is this Obama Bucks?", I said no sir, he strongly replied, "good, because they they're worthless!"

It was ironic because last year at a parade I had many people angry with me because I was passing out trillion dollar bills with Obama's face on them. I soon discovered that was not a very smart thing to do in Texas. Now they make them with Lincoln so I don't have that trouble anymore. Best Buy went great. Somehow the cart guy ran a cart into me, but it was all good. Next, I went over to Town East mall. I was pretty hyped up on Mountain Dew and the fact that I was able to tract the whole time at Best Buy, so without thinking much I began passing out tracts inside of Macy's and at the foot of the escalator. Now that is not the best idea or best place to pass out tracts. For the second time I had a manager come at me like a hawk saying that I could not do that here and that I needed to get out and go into the mall. At least she didn't call security. So I said alright and went on my way. She even followed me the whole way out. I wasn't making a scene nor was anyone getting upset, oh well, God is sovereign.

As I walked into the mall it was pretty packed. I always like finding the groups of people sitting down and engaging in conversation with them especially the guys who think they are too cool for school. To simply put it, I had an amazing time. I wholeheartedly believe that God was working on the hearts of some of the people there today who heard the Gospel. Please pray that they would respond in repentance and trust in Jesus Christ. There were many conversations, but there were a few that really stuck out. I had one with 2 youth pastors and a worship pastor. When I asked them how to be saved they gave me the typical Bible belt response along the lines of believing in Jesus and accepting Him into your heart. I praise God I was able to share the Gospel with them and stress the importance of sharing and preaching the law. I had a similar conversation with about a group of 4 other church goers that are involved in ministry.

In two of my encounters I heard very foul language and cussing going on as I approached. When I asked these individuals if they believed they were good enough to go to heaven they responded in a very confident yes because they said they were Christians and asked God to forgive them a long time ago. In one of those conversations there was a girl who very skeptic about Christianity. She made some of the best claims I have ever heard that addressed today's modern Christianity. She said, "how is God good if He lets everyone into heaven just for saying sorry. He just let's everyone off the hook?" She replied this way, because her cussing friend was saying that all you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart and ask for forgiveness.

We proceeded to go onto how God is holy and that He hates sin and the fact that we are sinners and sin every day. I told them that God is angry with the wicked and WE are the wicked. I always explain that this is not a popular concept, but it is biblical. To understand the grace and love of God one must understand that He is righteous and hates sin. That is what makes the cross that more important, because Christ saved us from God's just wrath. I believe a lot of this clicked in the girls head as she had been a witness to so much Christian hypocrisy that goes on today. She had lots of other great questions. The girl with the potty mouth began to question her salvation because she said she had been saved in 6th grade, but was backslidden and not living right. She said that she kind of goes in circles with it. That is when I explained the different between worldly repentance and repentance with a godly sorrow. Turning over a new leaf or trying to stop sinning because it makes you feel better or think it will get you to heaven is not repentance. Biblical repentance is a change of mind, action, and attitude towards sin that produces a godly sorrow. Meaning, you feel bad because you have sinned against God, not because it goes against your morals or makes you feel better. The other conversations went very well too.

I am so incredibly thankful for the experience today. Although, I was sad as usual with a lot of the responses I heard from professing Christians I pray that God will open their eyes to the true Gospel. I was a little shocked to meet those who were not familiar with Christianity and was thankful for that. I also want to state something. My hope and prayer by posting these events and blogs on Facebook is that you might be exposed to biblical evangelism, encouraged, have an opportunity to pray for those in these conversations, understand what people really think out there about these things, and most importantly, that God would be glorified.

Please understand that this is not about me. It is about the lost and it is about Christ being glorified through the foolishness of the preaching of the only Gospel that saves. We only have 70-100 years on this earth, if that. I plead with you to please go serve your King while you still have time. For more information on sharing your faith or resources please check out www.livingwaters.com

In Christ,

Joey

God bless you and thank you so much for reading.