Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Transformed in St. Louis

This past Saturday, my girlfriend and I, along with two of the youth from church went to the Transformed event in St. Louis. It was put on by the Way of the Master team of Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron and Todd Friel. It was an awesome day as we got to meet each one. They were all very cordial and friendly and they did what they were there to do...



Each one of them has a different skill and ability when it comes to speaking to the public. Each one sort of fed off of the others to the point where the audience was completely filled with God's Word.

Todd Friel (yes, he is freakishly tall!!) led off the day! He was followed by Ray Comfort, who displayed the kind of humor that is funny, without taking away from the message of God! Kirk Cameron came on next. They took turns for the 4 hours that we were there.

The example was given about churches that have fallen away from biblical preaching and teaching. A church that has 80's music blaring over the loud speakers, spandex pants wearing pastor who wants to make the Word relevent for today's culture. It is those kind of churches that are doing the greatest harm to Christianity! While people are dying each and every day, these churches are playing loud music solely for the purpose of bringing people into the church to hear a happy-clappy sermon! But what they truly need is to hear the Truth. They need to hear that unless they repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation, they will end up in HELL. Why are we spending so much time entertaining people with either VanHalen, the Beatles or please don't say it, the Gospel according to Elvis Presley?
What we should be doing is preaching the Word in season and out of season. We should be standing BOLDLY for the faith. We should be expositing the Word of God so that the body of believers can be edified. Then we need to be taking our faith out into the streets reaching the lost. I saw a dead rabbit lying in the road on my way home today. Flat as a pancake! And it is just another sign, that we don't know when "our" last days will be. Drunk drivers kill innocent people each and every day. People who are in the prime of their life are sent to an eternal home every day -- which home will it be? Heaven or Hell?
Let's love our neighbors with the kind of love displayed by Jesus. Let's show people that Jesus is alive and well. Let's shine the Light of His Word into the darkened world so that sin may be exposed. Once exposed, then let's show them the great love as demonstrated by our Lord and Savior as He hung up on that cross! Let's tell all people the Good News!
Kirk Cameron gave a great illustration Saturday night. I might not get this exactly right, but the idea will be the same.
You can see in one of the pictures above that Kirk is hold a cup in his hand. Imagine you were going to give a cup to your pastor to drink out of. You cleaned the outside of it so that it was nice and clean, but on the inside, you knew that someone had poured dirt into it. Would you hand it to your pastor? No! of course not. you would want to make sure the inside was clean too. In fact, it is more important that the inside be clean than the outside.
Now, let's take a look at you and me...
We spend so much time trying to make ourselves look good to the outside world. We do good things for people, we walk people across the street, we mow our neighbor's yard, we are just downright nice people. We look good to the world. And we should be nice people, we should look nice to the world. Our behavior should be above reproach. As Christians, we have a duty to be different than the world. So, on the outside, we look very good.
But here lies the problem...
From the side point of view, our neighbors can see how clean and good we look, but they cannot see inside our heart. Looking at the cup only shows the outward appearance. Now, God is above looking down into the cup. He can see all of the lust, the hate, the envy, the pride, the malicious attitude, the hypocrisy, the idol worshipping, the disrespecting of parents, the blasphemous heart, the covetous behavior and he knows every lie we have ever told. He see's it all. We can make the outside look very good, but when it comes to God, we are filthy. We are filled up with dirt. We are unclean. If all we do is try to put on a good appearance we are only fooling ourselves and people around us. We are not fooling God. Do you have a habit of making excuses about why you can not worship God? Do you have a habit of making excuses of why you can not evangelize the lost? It all comes out of the heart. It is time to no longer make excuses. It is time to start acting out your life in Christ!
When we are filled with the Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ, He will overflow out of the cup of our lives. He will instill within you the desire to reach the lost and you will not make excuses. If you deny this, then search to see why you do. Is it possible to love God and the fact that He saved you from HELL, and still not care about the lost who are headed there? It selfish behavior that says "hey, I know I am going to heaven. The other people are on their own!" Jesus did not tell us to "Go and make yourself a disciple of mine and then sit home and watch TV and wait for my return!"
No, He said, "Go into all the world preaching the gospel to every creature"
The Apostles went out preaching repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. And that is what we should be doing!
If you have a chance to go to a Transformed Conference in your neck of the woods, I would humbly suggest you go. It is a life changing event and it will help to ignite the fire within you for reaching the lost.
Ray Comfort talked about Luke 18:18-23
"And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT KILL, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
Ray went on to talk about how every person will proclaim his own goodness. The Bible tells us so. What we need to realize is that, "sure, our neighbors might think we are good people." But the reality is that in God's eyes, we are not good. In fact, we are filthy. Just as Kirk mentioned earlier, God looks into our hearts. He knows every thought we have ever had. He knows every deed we have ever done. When we use the Ten Commandments as a mirror, it shows us just how much we are "not" good people. We are liars, thieves, adulterers. We are a covetous people, we are murderers because of our hate, we have not always honored our parents and we most definitely have not put God first in our life each and EVERY day! We are all on a road to destruction. Hell is waiting for us because we deserve it! There is no one person on earth who deserves to go to heaven. But because of God's wonderful love for us, He sent His Son to die on the cross to take our punishment so that we can go to heaven. All we have to do is put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins. It's as simple as that and it is as hard as that! It is EASY to say you believe in Jesus and it is EASY to "say" you have repented of your sins.
The truth of the matter is this...
Have you "really" repented of your sins? Do you have secret sins that you think no one knows about? God knows! Do you accept other people and their sins? God doesn't. So why should you. His patience is running out and His return is coming quickly. Rather than accept the sins of others, why not tell them about the wonderful Savior that we have. But first, and I want to emphasize this again, FIRST tell them about the Whole Gospel message of sin and the need to repent and THEN tell them about a God that loves them so much He sent His Son to die for them!
Transformed is awesome! If they are in your area, please go! You will be glad you did!
May God bless each one of you today and may you be convicted to begin reaching out to the lost.
Go into all the world preaching the gospel to every creature!


Chris Kratzer said...

Brian, thanks for your powerful reflection on your experience! AMEN to what you have said and shared.
Most of the modern contemporary church has put style over substance, preference over purpose, and satisfaction over salvation. Let it never be with us.

Jessie said...

SOOOOOOO wanted to be there :(

stella said...

jessie took the words right out of my mouth.

btw...im going to west lafayette, indiana at the end of july for a few days...so i WILL be in the area! :)

Question of Identity said...

'When we are filled with the Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ, He will overflow out of the cup of our lives'

This is so right. How can anyone who has Jesus in them want to keep Him to themselves - May Christ overspill out of the cup of our lives into the communities that we live! Let us shout the Gospel from the mountain tops. Let us proclaim the Gospel with an exuberant heart!

pastorbrianculver said...

Neil, Amen and Amen!!

Chris, I agree 100% with you on this.

Jessie, I would have loved to have seen you and Jason go with us!

Nicole, Indiana is our close neighbor, if you come on Interstate 74 you can make it to Galesburg, I am just 4 hours from Indianapolis!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being entertained as much as the next guy. But the Bible doesn't need to be culturalized in order to be relevant. It is very relevant in that it shows us the perfect Work of God from the very beginning! And it will culminate into a perfect ending (For those of us who believe!)

Roland said...