Saturday, February 28, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Ray

RAY "BANANAMAN" COMFORT

Ray Comfort is the founder of the Living Waters/Way of the Master ministries and his passion for evangelism is the heartbeat of what these ministries are all about. Originating from the South Island of New Zealand, he has brought gasoline to the smouldering ashes of American evangelism. Ray is so intense about evangelism that his attention span for all else can change direction at warp speed. In an age where ADHD is very much on the rise, he is the first diagnosed case of ADOW (Attention Deficit Ohhh Witnessing opportunity). If it speaks and moves then Ray will witness to it! He will be there in a flash charging into battle, tract in hand and urgent in voice.

This willingness to rush at every witnessing window of opportunity is probably the root cause of another field where Ray excels. If clumsiness was an Olympic sport then Ray Comfort would be a gold medal certainty. He is like a walking "ground zero" leaving a trail of debris everywhere he goes. When Ray is not witnessing it is only because he has collided with, fallen over, or broken some object within his fallout zone. New Zealand's reputation as a safe place to live only came about after Ray Comfort's relocation.

I weigh these words carefully but I do not believe it is an overstatement to say that Ray is the modern day penguin who dived through the ice barrier of engaging with the outside world through the forum of open air preaching. He is not the first nor the only, but I do believe he has breathed new life into a forum that had declined markedly since the days of Whitefield. Most open air I saw growing up was a one way street of proclamation (and I am grateful for godly people who had the courage to stand up and proclaim God's Word). But with Ray Comfort it is always a two way street engaging, contending, and pleading with sinners bound for hell.



One thing about Ray Comfort that boggles my mind is how he can write
so many books with his compulsive preaching disorder. He has written more than 800 books so far and I'm sure there are more rolling hot off the press as I write. A recent book to make waves carries the title You Can Lead An Atheist To Evidence But You Can't Make Him Think. Amazingly it is now the bestselling book in Amazon's atheist category.

He is outselling atheism guru Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" which may well be the latest thing that got up his nose. Dawkins, using his gigantic intellect, denies the existence of God. But he does believe in the "Bananaman" which is his pet name for one Ray Comfort. Yes, Ray Comfort is merely the mild mannered Clark Kent persona of the legendary Bananaman - taller than Gary Coleman, faster than airport security, sharper than a bowling ball, and able to leap onto soapboxes with great difficulty! No wonder Dawkins is afraid to debate him. But maybe Dawkins knows about the skeleton in Ray Comfort's closet - yes, he literally has a skeleton in his closet and I think it is the transitional form Richard Dawkins is still looking for!

The fact of the matter is that Ray Comfort understands what Scripture teaches about the atheist. That the atheist knows there is a God but suppresses the truth in unrighteousness as Romans chapter one tells us. I am grateful for the brilliant apologists out there who pull out the big argumentative guns on the evidence of God, but Ray knows the effective battlefront with the atheist is the realm of morality rather than knowledge - which sums up my joy in meeting and knowing Ray Comfort. I have rarely met a man more generous, who cares so much for the downtrodden, and loves his Savior. It is these three things that manifest themselves so strongly by his devotion to the most generous, caring, and loving thing anyone can devote their time to doing - proclaiming the glorious Gospel of our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ.

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sovereignty - Initially Painful, Ultimately Comforting

In recent weeks I have been brought face to face with major grief in the lives of dear friends. What compels me to write this post is that the long term grief these people are experiencing has a common root. Grief is not wrong in and of itself, but when it is caused by a lack of teaching on God's absolute sovereignty over everything it becomes deadly.

In recent years I have been brought face to face with preachers at funerals who would rather embrace open theism (that God is not omnipotent and therefore tragedies can happen contrary to His will) than point to the ultimate comfort of resting in God's sovereignty. That God ordains all things according to His purposes and that all things, ultimately, work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.

Think about it for a moment. Telling a parent who has lost a young child that it was not God's will or that the Devil took them. Making someone's healing entirely contingent on the level of faithfulness we can attain to in prayer for them. Claiming ambitious promises by quoting Scripture out of context. Initially these things may alleviate some pain from a tragedy. But what about the long haul of life - lying awake at night running endless permutations and scenarios through our human brains. Contemplating the "what ifs" - what if I prayed more, what if I didn't catch that plane, what if we went to the doctor 6 months earlier . . . Brothers and sisters, this thinking and understanding of God is not only wrong, it also wreaks havoc on our faith and understanding of Who God is.

Here is two of the many things the great evangelist and Bible Scholar AW Pink had to say on Sovereignty:

As a Supply of Comfort in Sorrow
The doctrine of God's Sovereignty is one that is full of consolation and imparts great peace to the Christian. The Sovereignty of God is a foundation that nothing can shake and is more firm than the heavens and earth. How blessed to know there is no corner of the universe that is out of His reach! as said the Psalmist, "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee" (Psa. 139:7-12). How blessed it is to know that God's strong hand is upon every one and every thing! How blessed to know that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without His notice!

How blessed to know that our very afflictions come not by chance, nor from the Devil, but are ordained and ordered by God: "That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto" (1 Thess. 3:3)!

But our God is not only infinite in power. He is infinite in wisdom and goodness too. And herein is the preciousness of this truth. God wills only that which is good and His will is irreversible and irresistible! God is too wise to err and too loving to cause His child a needless tear. Therefore if God be perfect wisdom and perfect goodness how blessed is the assurance that everything is in His hand and molded by His will according to His eternal purpose! "Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him? who will say unto Him what doest Thou?" (Job 9:12). Yet, how comforting to learn that it is "He," and not the Devil, who "taketh away" our loved ones! Ah! what peace for our poor frail hearts to be told that the number of our days is with Him (Job 7:1; 14:5); that disease and death are His messengers and always march under His orders; that it is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away!

As a Resting Place for the Human Heart:
The One seated upon the Throne of Heaven, the One who is Governor over the nations and who has ordained and now regulates all events, is infinite not only in power but in wisdom and goodness as well. He who is Lord over all creation is the One that was "manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). Ah! here is a theme no human pen can do justice to. The glory of God consists not merely in that He is Highest, but in that being high He stooped in lowly love to bear the burden of His own sinful creatures, for it is written "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). The Church of God was purchased "with His own Blood" (Acts 20:28). It is upon the gracious self-humiliation of the King Himself that His kingdom is established. O wondrous Cross! By it He who suffered upon it has become not the Lord of our destinies (He was that before), but the Lord of our hearts. Therefore, it is not in abject terror that we bow before the Supreme Sovereign, but in adoring worship we cry "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:12).

Here then is the refutation of the wicked charge that this doctrine is a horrible calumny upon God and dangerous to expound to His people. Can a doctrine be "horrible" and "dangerous" that gives God His true place, that maintains His rights, that magnifies His grace, that ascribes all glory to Him and removes every ground of boasting from the creature? Can a doctrine be "horrible" and "dangerous" which affords the saints a sense of security in danger, that supplies them comfort in sorrow, that begets patience within them in adversity, that evokes from them praise at all times? Can a doctrine be "horrible" and "dangerous" which assures us of the certain triumph of good over evil, and which provides a sure resting-place for our hearts, and that place, the perfections of the Sovereign Himself? No; a thousand times, no! Instead of being "horrible and dangerous" this doctrine of the Sovereignty of God is glorious and edifying, and a due apprehension of it will but serve to make us exclaim with Moses, "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Exo. 15:11).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Mark the Dean

MARK SPENCE

Mark Spence is the Dean of the Way of the Master School of Biblical Evangelism which is a distinctly unique course in that it's entire focus is driven by personal evangelism. I have completed the course and found it to be jam-packed with beneficial training for one on one witnessing, open air preaching, being salt and light, witnessing to cults and false religions, powerful apologetics, and a proper theological understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That last point concerning the Gospel is so critical in a culture of modern evangelicalism plagued by "decisional regeneration" and false conversion. Mark wrote the text book for the school and I have continued to use it long after graduating. It is a valuable resource whenever I find myself confronted with witnessing and evangelism challenges.

Mark likes to describe himself as the father of five (yes he has five kids) and the husband of one. He is a man who is most readily found discipling his family and it is this that he sees as his primary occupation and calling in life.

I first met Mark when Way of the Master were in Amsterdam filming their fourth season. I was very wary of Mark to begin with as I have a general policy of keeping well clear of anyone wearing a straight jacket. It turns out that Mark was being used as an illustration and crowd puller by Ray Comfort while he open air preached although I am almost sure it was used as a form of punishment for Mark's bizarre sense of humor. Sterner measures are obviously required because he always managed to escape the straight jacket before Ray had finished preaching. One of the things about that sense of humor is that it is almost impossible to tell when Mark is being serious and when you are the impending victim of his latest prank.

I also found out that escaping straight jackets was just the entree. Mark was also able to unleash a dazzling array of light shows and card tricks. While not necessary, special talents like these can be used powerfully to draw crowds, capture attention, and swing the subject from natural things to the spiritual realm.

When not wearing a straight jacket, Mark can also be found standing on the soapbox and preaching open air. This is when the hearer is left in no doubt as to the seriousness of the message and the sheer weight of eternity on the line. One of my favorite memories of my time in the USA was on Hollywood Boulevard when Mark used open air preaching as a forum to voice his oppostion to homosexual marriage. Soon after he'd poked his stick in the hornet's nest of gay activism they all came swarming around his soapbox. Mark managed to hold their attention as he intelligently debated with them drawing an even bigger crowd and paving the way for Tony Miano to step up and preach a thundering Gospel proclamation. Mark is a brilliant apologist and loves the use of presuppositional apologetics to dismember any non-Christian worldview as a springboard to preaching the Gospel. Let's just say that I like having him on my side. . .


Recent years have seen the rise of the "angry atheist". These are atheists who love to reinforce their own personal delusion by trying to launch an intellectual assault on biblical Christianity. The Christian has nothing to fear as all of these arguments are empty, lacking in logic, unable to penetrate Scripture's authority, and can be easily responded to. This reveals nothing more than what the Bible teaches in the first two chapters of Romans - that the real issue always boils down to one of morality rather than intellect. The atheist, like any unregenerate man, knows there is a God but loves his sin and will do almost anything to suppress that truth in unrighteousness. Mark recently spoke at an atheist lunch where he had the chance to respond to these many hollow objections that atheists like to throw at the God of the Bible. Dinner With 40 Atheists is a great DVD and well worth the view. It reveals Mark Spence in his element demonstrating his familiarity with Scripture and his skill as a Christian apologist. The guy has got to be at least half as smart as Ravi Zacharias!

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Lawman

TONY "THE LAWMAN" MIANO

Lawman is probably best known to regular listeners of Wretched Radio (formerly Way of the Master Radio) for his exploits as a phone fisher finding strangers to witness to over the phone during the program. Lawman worked for 20 years as a deputy in the LA County Sheriff's Department with the latter part of that career as a chaplain to the law enforcement community. This picture of Tony the Lawman was taken just after he downed a "Red Bull" in record time and may not accurately reflect the seriousness with which he approaches the task of evangelism.

My family and I spent two months in LA last year and a lot of that time was taken up by me covering Tony's back. Lawman trusted me in a lot of tight situations and knew I could handle the firearm he gave me to carry. Admittedly it wasn't a real one but it certainly played a big role in our bonding process. With 20 years of law enforcement experience he is someone I always felt safe with in the "hood" and never felt the need to wear neutral gang colors. Lawman is what we Aussies call a "unit" and not someone any sane criminal would want to mess with.

Lawman became involved with Way of the Master through his relationship with EZ. "Back in the day" when EZ was a gangster of epic proportions and tried to "roll Lawman up" only to become the "rollee" himself. They met regularly over the following years during visiting hours. EZ eventually offered Lawman a job soon after he completed his parole. Ok ok so this story is a complete fabrication. I just wanted to give the readers a window into the verbal jousting and role playing fantasies that can occur between EZ and Lawman during the course of any regular working day.

The truth is that Tony "Lawman" Miano is part of the Way of the Master team because he lives and breathes the Great Commission. You can read about Lawman's evangelism adventures on his blog "The Lawman Chronicles" which I have to admit is one of my favorite blogs and appears on my list of "xcellent blogs" in the right hand margin. He is a modern day George Whitefield with thunder in his voice as he stands upon his soap box and proclaims the Gospel. Lawman is not ashamed of the Gospel and willing to raise his voice to preach in almost any situation or location. But don't be fooled by this tough guy portrayal. Tony is a broken and humble vessel who pants for God's glory, weeps for the lost, and rejoices over one sinner who repents.

Lawman's experiences in evangelism have opened his eyes to the many parallels between his life on the beat and his life on the soapbox. The spiritual armor described in Ephesians chapter six formed the basis for his book"Take Up The Shield" which compares the uniform of a police officer with the armor of God. It is a great book and reveals that Tony Miano is no lightweight when it comes to grasping biblical theology and putting it "on the road". With the enormous mass of experiences, adventures, and discoveries within the bounds of Scripture I think it is only a matter of time before a sequel hits the shelf.

Lawman heads up the evangelism training conducted by Way of the Master through their "Ambassadors Academies" and they do a bang up job. I attended the October academy last year and it was one of the truly great experiences of my life. If you want to develop your witnessing, open air preaching, or need an environment to help break the ice with fear then these training camps are unique and powerful. I had a friend from Denmark attend the Academy with me who is shy by nature but is now a completely changed man with regards to fervency, zeal, and boldness. It was during this Academy that Tony "the Lawman" Miano delivered his landmark sermon "Don't Quit". Hear this sermon and be encouraged and challenged to take this glorious Gospel beyond the four walls of a church building.

I count myself extremely blessed to know Tony and hope it isn't too long before I get to wear my badge (and water pistol) as his deputy again as we hit the streets together.

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Friday, February 20, 2009

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Rob Bell (Part 8)

BULLHORN GUYS SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT

One of the most disgusting and cruel caricatures of open air preaching was a video called "Bullhorn Guy" by Rob Bell where he attempts to invalidate open air preachers and more specifically the Gospel itself. Some real Bullhorn guys responded with a devastating satire of Rob Bell's video (Bullwhip Guy) which clearly exposes the entire disconnect between Bell's teaching and Christianity. These videos were shown and discussed in part 5 of my series on Rob Bell.

Well, it seems that Rob Bell has become a big sacred cow among his legions of followers who are willing to defend him at great lengths. It would be great if they had half that much regard for Scripture and the Gospel contained therein. Criticising anything Rob Bell says or teaches is akin to poking a hornet's nest with a big stick. My critique of Bell's Nooma called "Dust" also caused a huge furore when I posted it on youtube generating over 6000 comments. The criticism that has been levelled at both Bullwhip and my Dust Expose has been almost identical and repetitive. I have never encountered so many judgmental people as these "defenders of Rob Bell" (I'm sure I don't speak for everybody influenced by Bell) who have cried foul and hurled an enormous number of personal insults. Of the hundreds of "angry emergents" I have attempted to "dialogue" with only three have showed a willingness to reason from Scripture and attempt to biblically critique my biblical critique.

Since most of the objections raised against both videos are so similar in nature I thought I would present the video response from Joaquin who was one of the people behind the "Bullwhip Guy" video. It is a response to his critics that is both sharp biblically and warm in tone. It covers most of the objections that have been raised and . . . well . . . you'd have a hard time arguing with Joaquin - he nails this one!



Coming tomorrow - Way of the Master Profiles continues with the Lawman.

Go On To Part 9
Go Back To Part 7
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Kirk

KIRK "GROWING PAIN" CAMERON

One of the real highlights of my last visit to the US was Kirk Cameron coming good on a personal promise to buy me an In'N'Out burger. For those of you unsophisticated, uncultured, unrefined, and uneducated people out there In'N'Out is simply the best burger joint ever and yet tragically will never expand beyond the California border (I think it was a Governator campaign promise). One of the few regrets of my two week visit to California was that I only managed to eat there twelve times. Just doing my bit to avert America's slide into recession!

Anyway, nothing says "Man Date" like red meat and this meat tasted so good it could have been sacred cow. Speaking of sacred cows, Hollywood is loaded with them. A-list celebrities that are untouchable and never get their "hands dirty". Kirk Cameron is another breed altogether. Sure he's seen the view from the "top", but he is a man who understands that Christians are people who start at the top and work their way to the bottom. Kirk is someone who understands what Jesus meant when He said "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 9:35). Kirk and his wife Chelsea are the real deal, people who live to serve and honour God with all they have been blessed with.

In a society full of tabloids obsessing about brangelina, botox, and busted marriages, Kirk and Chelsea are a true Hollywood abnormality. I mean how can Kirk possibly speak with authority on marriage (ie on O'Reilly) when he's only ever done it once and that was 17 years ago. Parenting is seen as their highest calling and they do this with evangelistic fervor as they hotly pursue the goal of raising true disciples from their tribe of six children. Kirk also manages the acting career of his tractor (true story) and even managed to get it a nonspeaking role in the third season of Way of the Master where Kirk gets to sit on it (does that qualify for a supporting role?) and take it for a drive. Like I said - Hollywood abnormalities.

It was great to do the "man food" thing with Kirk at In'N'Out, chew some red meat, and share evangelism war stories. Here's one Kirk lived to tell and a great example of his willingness to get his hands dirty . . .



But wait there's more! There is another chapter to this witnessing encounter that recently unfolded on Hollywood Boulevard during the October Ambassador's Academy. While out doing witnessing and open air preaching, Ray Comfort noticed another open air preacher who looked strangely familiar. It was none other than the big guy from the video who said "Jesus never said that" - remember him! Well it turns out that God radically saved him. In an era of "decisions" driven madness, faithfulness to the message has always been the barometer by which we should measure success. But it is a real encouragement to see real fruit from the labor of evangelism. This will hopefully send a strong message to those who are being seduced by church growth methodology to embrace biblical theology instead. It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and I rejoice to have co-laborers like Kirk who have the guts to take their Christianity to the battlefront where damned sinners stand on the edge of eterntiy.

Kirk is an actor by profession and his livelihood has a lot of dependance on public acceptance and popularity. To his credit he has refused to compromise on many issues that other "high profile christians" tend to be either silent or inactive about. By partnering with Ray Comfort, Kirk really stepped up to the plate of overtly contending for the Christian worldview, putting himself in the line of fire of every celebrity God hater. He has also confined himself to quality family projects with Christian themes (click here to find out more about his latest movie "Fireproof") and refuses to do on screen kisses with anyone but his real wife. I once heard a preacher describe a real man as someone who submits to God's Word and is being conformed day by day to the image of Christ by loving his wife and leading his family. In an "Evangelical landscape" loaded with high profile sissy boys forever apologising for the hard truths of Scripture, Kirk Cameron stands out as a "real man".

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Bottom Line's New Layout

You've probably noticed the new layout here in the last week. Did I suddenly develop nerd superpowers enabling me to make it look better? No not really - I just found a friend who does have those superpowers. It confirms what I always suspected about myself - that I work best in a "supervisory capacity".

I hope you like the new look. If you scroll down far enough on the right you will find "labels" or tags. I only just discovered what these do (tragic, I know) but they should be of help should you wish to read up on a subject covered in this blog such as sacred cows like Rob Bell.

And how about the pictures in the title block! No, it is not an Elvis sighting - it is a picture of me wearing shorts in Denmark which is just like an Elvis sighting anyway. The objects being held in the pictures are Gospel tracts which are an indispenasable part of my day to day life. I hope the same goes for you!

Coming tomorrow - I had the great priveledge of spending time with Kirk Cameron during my recent visit to the US. You'll get the inside word on that tomorrow . . .

Monday, February 16, 2009

The True Hero of the Titanic - John Harper

JOHN HARPER - A REAL MAN AND TRUE BOTTOM LINE HERO

Oh that I may one day grow to be half the man John Harper was. Unlike Leonardo and Kate Winslett and most movies produced by James Cameron, what follows is a true story about a true hero . . .

John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to "sow his wild oats." He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.

As John Harper's life unfolded, one thing was apparent...he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply "The Word of God!" After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married, but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.

Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next...

It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship's launch, it was the world's largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship's starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.

On board the ship that night was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner.

As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, "Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!" It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.

That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, "Are you saved?" The young man replied that he was not.

Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, "Here then, you need this more than I do..." and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris.

Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people,yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were, "Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." Does Hollywood remember this man? No. Oh well, no matter. This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!

Author Unknown. Sources for this article: "The Titanic's Last Hero" by Moody Press 1997," John Climie, George Harper, & Bill Guthrie from "Jesus Our Jubilee Ministries" in Dallas, Oregon

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Hip Hop


DAVID "HIP HOP" SHANNON

Hip Hop is the editing maestro at Wretched Radio (formerly Way of the Master Radio). All the good meat as well as a lot of funny stuff comes from Hip Hop's labor in sifting through the web and editing the gems he finds for each 50 minute program. I must say that due to much of Hip Hop's work on Wretched Radio, it has served on many occasions as my personal launching pad for finding golden nuggets of godly wisdom and/or narrowing the search.

I met Hip Hop last October when visiting Atlanta for the Deeper conference. With a name like Hip Hop my imagination conjured images of Snoop Diddy P Puffy Doggy with droopy drawers. What I found instead was a guy whose pants don't hang around his knees, and always has Purell on tap should any unclean redneck (I couldn't possibly be talking about myself . . . or could I?) enter the studio. Yes, that's right, Hip Hop has succumbed to Todd Friel's germophobia and now dwells inside a germ free bubble . . . at least that is what he thinks.

When I visited the studio last October I made a very serious breach of hygeine protocol with Hip Hop. Yes that's right, I drank from his can of drink (and the bottom dregs at that). Hip Hop wasted no time in pronouncing my crimes against the microscopic world of germs by informing Todd Friel of my misdemeanors. I told Hip Hop how sorry I was (not at all!) for drinking from his can. Please don't blame Hip Hop for his germophobia. It could only be the corrupt influences of Todd Friel that brought this about. The truth of the matter is that my breach was deliberate and I was merely testing the Wretched Radio office speed of response to any hygeine threat.

Hip Hop is actually a big part of what makes Wretched Radio and Wretched TV so hard hitting and powerful. He is the guy that makes Todd look good with his punchy and nicely edited audio and video clips. And not only that, Hip Hop adds a distinct dimension of humor to the Wretched Radio team as he satirically looks back on his church background.

Hip Hop is a guy who is passionate for the Gospel. As such he counts himself priveledged to be able to labor daily in his passion and even get paid to do so!

Hip Hop Trivia
Hip Hop and Mrs Hip Hop are the last known surviving case of people using cloth daipers on a baby . . . I guess we all have a claim to fifteen minutes of fame!
Hip Hop does the best ever impersonation of Creflo Dollar . . . better than Creflo himself without the Rolls Royce!

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Friday, February 13, 2009

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Tony Jones (Part 4)

Just when you Thought Tony Jones Had Run out of Heresies . . .

Is there anyone out there who can explain to me why Tony Jones of the "Emergent church" has not yet been condemned as anathema by prominent evangelical leaders? How heretical must one be to qualify for excommunication - it is a mystery to me why anyone would even refer to him as a Christian. Whatever he talks about never even remotely represents orthodox Christianity.

Not only is Tony endorsing unrepentant homosexuality as a lifestyle fully compatible with practicing Christianity. Not only is Tony embracing radical pro-abortionist and Universalist Barack Obama as a genuine Christian. Not only is Tony (or more specifically the emergent village) saying "so long" to sola scriptura. These provide just a snapshot of the heretical lunacy that Tony Jones tries to pass off as legitimate theology. But wait, there's more! Tony decided he wanted to take heresy to levels previously unseen among heretics who masquerade as Christians. And for that - I have to tip my hat to you Tony. While Brian McLaren and Rob Bell continue to sprout their unbiblical nonsense in a fog of christianese, Tony Jones decided to dispense with the fog and put up a big red flag for all those remaining with any degree of discernment.

The leader of the leaderless emergent movement has now decided to reject the doctrine of human depravity - you know the one which says that all people are sinners and deserve the wrath of God. The first question that sprung to my mind was "doesn't he have any children?". Unlike Bill Clinton, I think Tony must have "inhaled" something. Exactly what planet does he come from?

When I was growing up in a moderate, centrist church -- somewhere between mainline Christianity and evangelicalism -- Original Sin was a given. I first learned about it in youth group, and we regularly talked about it. Actually, it's more accurate to say that we talked about a life with Christ, and the notion of Original Sin was in the background. It was assumed. And I cannot remember that it was ever debated.

In other words, I assumed that the doctrine of Original Sin was a biblical notion, and that all Christians accepted it as gospel truth. Of course, neither is true . . . while in college, I also took a class on the theology of Augustine from an eccentric professor, Charles Stinson, and therein I learned that the great father of Western theology was the author of the doctrine of Original Sin. Of course, Augustine was not making it up ex novo, but was taking as his inspiration the account of creation in Genesis 3 and certain Pauline texts.

In seminary, I learned from John Thompson that John Calvin and his theological heirs reified the notion of Original Sin and that it hadn't played much of a role in medieval and Scholastic theology.

And sometime later, I discovered that whole branches of the Christian family tree -- most notably, the Orthodox Church -- has never embraced Original Sin.

I have come to reject the notion of Original Sin. I consider it neither biblically, philosophically, nor scientifically tenable.


So he considers it neither biblically, philosophically, nor scientifically tenable? Notice he doesn't qualify any of these outrageous claims. Not only is Jones not being honest in his own self assesment, he has to highlight large portions of Scripture with a black felt pen and avoid all social interaction in order to hold to this. There is so much Scripture plainly stating human depravity but I'll wield only one in the interests of an already lengthy post:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12).

And Tony seems to think it is an idea invented by Augustine and the Reformers. Furthermore, I can watch the news or my kids to see the "curse" in action. I didn't have to teach my children to lie or be selfish. Oh no, they were all born with a PHD in rebellion. If someone as thick as me can figure this out . . . .

Bare in mind that Tony is the "theologian in residence" at Doug Pagitt's church, "Solomon's Porch". They might as well rename it "the ditch" because that's the place you go when the blind lead the blind.

We need to pray for Tony Jones, the guy is seriously lost!

Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - EZ

EMEAL "EZ" ZWAYNE

EZ is the General Manager of Way of the Master / Living Waters ministries. He is highly organised, efficient, and disciplined - the perfect man for the job. I'm sure a cat scan would reveal something resembling the inside of an Ikea store with orderly rows and compartments of knowledge. His passion for order, structure, and cleanliness manifests itself in a level of germophobia not seen since Todd Friel's sanitised microphone. Rumor has it that EZ always travels with at least three pillowcases to maintain a comfortable buffer between himself and the microscopic world of bacteria and germs.

But beneath the responsibility and serious decision making that the job of General Manager carries is a man of a thousand faces and a million voices. EZ is simply one of the funniest people I know (aside from myself:) with an endless repertoire of impersonations and jokes. I spent a whole day on location filming for the TV series and EZ was there as a fellow "extra" making endless laughs between scenes.

You might recall him being mentioned in my profile of Duane Barnhart as one of the "chocaholic lynch mob". Please understand that those were very trying circumstances and completely out of character for a man who rarely eats more than a pound of chocolate in one sitting. The reality is that EZ is a man of impeccable character and integrity who is open to occasional bribery with good chocolate. Needless to say that EZ and I enjoy a strong friendship :)

As a poet and wordsmith of rare talent, EZ was about to embark on a career as a rapper before God radically saved him. God has now cultivated these talents to the point where EZ is one of the most eloquent, convicting, and powerful preachers I know of. His preaching seems to be one of the best kept secrets within the ministry. But that secret is now getting smaller and smaller and I, for one, hope to see a lot more of his sermons available on the web in the future.

One sermon that is a must hear is called "Passing the Torch" and needs to be ordered with a box of tissues. The message is based on the subject that EZ is probably most passionate about - raising and discipling children who will serve God faithfully and disciple the next generation. It contains some of the most powerful illustrations I have heard concerning teaching children the meaning of the Cross of Jesus Christ and Penal Substitutionary Atonement. The most lasting impact that EZ and his wife left on me is an attitude to parenting that demands hot pursuit of conformity to Christ and radical devotion to the task God gives parents of discipling children. It is a household climate where motherhood is shrouded in nobility that far surpasses any profession and fatherhood is embraced as a higher calling than public ministry.

Way of the Master is a ministry in very capable hands and Emeal Zwayne is a big part of that. A ministry where the main thing is always the main thing and is a major thrust behind the rise we are seeing in bold young preachers. Preachers who are willing to take the pure and undefiled Gospel outside the four walls of a church building. Here is a video of EZ in action open air preaching. He doesn't just teach it, he goes out to war on the frontlines as well. This is the heartbeat of Way of the Master ministries in raising up an army. After all "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).



Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Monday, February 9, 2009

CJ Mahaney Sermon Jam - The Cup

CJ Mahaney is definitely a preacher I can listen to for hours. The man simply bleeds passion. Listen to this powerful sermon jam as CJ zeroes in on Jesus anguish in the garden and the "cup" that horrified our Lord. What was this cup? Listen close and listen good and meditate on it for a good while . . . . .


Coming Wednesday - Way of the Master Profiles - EZ

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Duane the Producer

DUANE BARNHART

If you've ever wondered who makes Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron look so good on their TV series The Way of the Master with it's great production and direction quality then look no further than the man in the cap. I first met Duane Barnhart in September 2007 when Way of the Master (WOTM) were filming their fourth season in Amsterdam. This guy was the producer and director and he really knew what he was doing - at least he sounded like he did.

While filming in Amsterdam Ray Comfort (who is generous to a fault) offered to buy coffee for everyone at a coffee shop. As people placed their orders with Ray, Duane, realising he was in Amsterdam, decided to make the most of Ray's generosity and request a "joint". From that point on I knew Duane Barnhart wasn't your regular producer of reputable Christian TV. At that point I went over to Duane and told him that with a sense of humor that black he could be considered for Australian citizenship. It was then that Duane informed me that his wife is Australian and that explained everything.

As filming went on through the day it was obvious that Duane did a great job squeezing every ounce of potential from the surrounding locations and their extremely tight schedule.

As a regular listener of Way of the Master Radio I was well aware of Trish the phone fisher and her passion for good chocolate. So I brought a mother load of the finest Danish chocolate all the way to Amsterdam to bless her and the rest of the team. She gratefully accepted my gift and took it with her on the train as they all left Amsterdam. As Trish and the team slept on the train a "chocaholic lynch mob" rose in the black of night led by Duane, EZ, and Ray Comfort. It was a binge session not seen since Elvis in his "white jump suit" days. Sadly, as Trish sifted through the wreckage the next morning, no "survivors" were found. Now, one year later, I am glad to say that Duane and Trish are back on speaking terms.

Fast forward to January 2008 and my family were visiting California. One sunday I went to a large church of more than 3000 people. Little did I know that it was Duane's home church. Duane actually spotted and recognised me out of the 3000 people there and grabbed me at the door after the service. He and his family then took us all out for my favorite kind of lunch - the free kind.

Spending time with Duane that day it was obvious to see that he is an excellent husband and father dedicated to raising his family in the fear and admonition of the Lord (even though he still had issues with chocolate). I learnt that he is a man of the Word and that the Gospel is the driving force behind all his labor including his work in the media.

One thing that makes WOTM really stand out as a Christian ministry is that everyone I've met who is a part of the ministry is an active and fervent witness for Jesus Christ. Duane is no exception to this and practices evangelism behind the camera, in front of the camera, and off the camera.

I was later invited to be an extra on an upcoming shoot for WOTM season 3. It was an amazing day that I'll never forget. I really got to see a lot of the work that goes into making such a powerful TV show and the enormous skill required to produce and direct such a product. It was an amazing day and everything ran like clockwork . . . well almost . . . I did get run over by a tank in a battle scene (and I was under the false idea that Australia and the US are allies). Those scenes can be watched in the third season episode of WOTM called "Battle For the Lost" (still no sign of my royalty check). It was a surreal experience as all the cast, extras, and crew spent their time between takes either witnessing or discussing theology.

WOTM, the TV series, has won a host of awards including the National Religious Broadcasters' People’s Choice 2004, 2005, 2006, and Best Program, 2005 and 2006. The third season episode "Battle for the Lost" has already scooped the Silver Telly award.

If you are looking for quality media production and capitalising on Duane's award winning work then check out his production company www.pyropictures.com.

Here is a promo for the third season of WOTM TV series which reveals great Christian television with top class production values (you'll need HD to see it in it's full glory)


Continued Wednesday where EZ will be profiled!

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Hero Ralph

Last October I had the great joy of attending the Deeper Conference (run by Way of the Master) in Atlanta. It was an awesome conference featuring speakers Paul Washer, Ken Ham, Marshall Foster, Johnny Hunt, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Todd Friel, and Emeal "EZ" Zwayne. At the end of the conference many of the attendees gathered to hit the downtown area of Atlanta to preach open air and witness.

I have listened to Todd Friel on his radio show Wretched Radio (formerly Way of the Master Radio) for 3 years and I was thrilled to not only meet Todd for the first time but to also drive into Atlanta with him. Also in our car was a pastor from Pittsburgh called Ralph. Ralph witnessed fervently all night and the fact that he was usually the last to finish witnessing attested to his desperation to reach the lost. It is great to know that there are still many low profile pastors out there faithfully serving God and carrying out the Great Commission.

At the end of the night we all said our goodbyes. But within several weeks I recieved an e-mail from Ralph . . .

Hey Cameron! I was the guy in the back seat with you and Todd from the 500 outreach. I just wanted to send you an e-mail to let you know that I am praying for your ministry. I have continued to read your blog daily and have found it to be a blessing. I pray that the Lord continues to use you in a greater way. You have been blessed with many talents and gifts. From the brief time in Atlanta I know that you want to glorify God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. The day after the outreach I drove back home 12 hours. I was home for 1 hour and had a stroke that paralyzed my right side. I also lost my speech. While I was in the hospital I used the passion that I saw exhibited that night by both you and Todd as motivation to draw strength from. I have to say "Thank You!" May the Lord bless you and your family.

Considering Ralph's condition I was humbled by his willingness to be such an encouragement. I shudder to think how much selflessness I would display in that situation. I wrote back asking Ralph for updates on his condition. He wrote back . . .

Hey Cameron, I been getting better. The doctors have me going to physical therapy to get my strength back. I only have about 1/3 the strength in my right side. My speech is better and my memory is improving. I was able to witness to all the doctors and nurses in the hospital. Many came to tears so I was grateful that the Lord provided me the opportunity.

I am so inspired and honored to know Ralph. Instead of wallowing in a situation and asking for God to remove the trial, Ralph used it to glorify God and witness to his doctor who had a far greater physical ailment than Ralph - the wrath of God abiding on him (John 3:36).

I am all for praying for the sick and wholeheartedly believe that God still heals. But in a consumer driven society I believe we can sometimes obscure the most important need, that of righteousness found only in Christ, by making people's felt needs our first port of call. If their "felt needs" are fully met initially they can end up worshipping the "Problem Solver" rather that the "Rightoeusness Giver". I know this today because many modern churches are full of people who have realised their satisfaction in healing, love, acceptance, and community but without hungering and thirsting after the righteousness found only in Christ. May we tread with wisdom and care in this matter. We should be salt and light in a fallen world and we are compelled to love selflessly and sacrificially as our Lord commanded us - but beware lest you become the doctor who binds up wounds and never treats the cancer.

Ralph has a serious medical condition and I can only hope and pray that I would exhibit half as much godly character as Ralph did in that hospital. Ralph sent a message loud and clear to the doctors and nurses in that hospital . . .

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)

The medical staff in that hospital would have been strongly reminded that no matter how many lives they save, those lives (and their own) are still ultimately subject to the law of sin and death. Doctors can only temporarily save a life - and only God can save a soul. It is a powerful truth we should regularly remind the surrounding world of.

Ralph has since found out that his condition is more serious than first thought. Please pray for him and send notes of encouragement as comments under this post. Ralph is a regular reader of this blog and he will get to read them. If you are a member of Ralph's church count yourself very blessed to have a shepherd of this calibre. People like Ralph are the real heroes this side of eternity.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Way Of The Master Profiles - Brainiac


RICK "BRAINIAC" APPLETON
Ok ok, so this isn't a real picture of Brainiac - but it's what I imagined before I met him. Brainiac is the living breathing mass of theological knowledge that answers the really tough questions on "Wretched Radio" (formerly Way of the Master Radio) and "Wretched TV". As hard as it is to believe, situations actually occur on the program where the host, Todd Friel, doesn't know the answer. Brainiac is always there to save the day and teach us something about Church history, Reformed theology, conference happenings, or Mark Driscoll's latest escapade. He has to be at least half as smart as Ravi Zacharias (as impossible as that might sound).

When I first visited the Wretched studios I had my eyes peeled for Brainiac. I had heard so much wisdom and knowledge from his lips as I listened to countless podcasts in far away places. But here I was - finally - in the mothership. What would Brainiac look like. As I wandered through the studios and throngs of people I constantly scanned the area looking for someone with a massive head - I mean how else could a brain that size be accomodated? Eventually, Brainiac was introduced and to my amazement I met a man who was animated, friendly, funny, passionate for Christ, and had a normal sized head. Since I don't have a picture, here are a couple of short videos with Brainiac in action exposing the stupidity of many modern pro-abortion arguments. Brainiac plays the role of the conservative candidate seated on the left of Todd . . .





Brainiac is an integral part of the "Wretched" world and an excellent advocate of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has a powerful testimony and a strong witness. I count myself blessed to have him as a fellow laborer in the Gospel.

Brainiac Surprise
I was always told that it was wrong to pick a fight with a short guy who wears glasses. Brainiac is no exception to this rule but for a different reason. His brain is not the only muscle he knows how to flex. Here's the tip, If you ever go witnessing in a dark alley - do it with Brainiac.

Brainiac Glossary of Terms
"strict gun control" - keeping no more than 12 firearms in your house
"dress casually" - loosen your neck tie ever so slightly

Other Way Of The Master Profiles Can Be Read By Clicking On The Links Below:
Brainiac
Duane The Producer
EZ
Hip Hop
Kirk Cameron
Lawman
Mark Spence
Ray Comfort
Scotty
Todd Friel
Trish The Phone Fisher

Way Of The Master - Up Close and Personal


I make no secret of the fact that I love the "Way of the Master" / "Living Waters" ministry of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. It is a ministry that blows like fresh invigorating air through an overly sanitised "Christian media". These are guys who take the Gospel out of the sanctuary and to the coalface.

Where else will you find a Hollywood actor risking life and limb to witness to Hispanic gang members, pagans trembling under conviction of the Holy Spirit, open air preaching not afraid to engage in debate with the angriest of atheists, innovative Gospel tracts that hardened sinners gladly take, talkback radio not afraid to witness live or tackle controversial issues, and training designed to equip Christians for their primary purpose - the Great Commission.

Way of the Master (WOTM) is a ministry where the purity of the once for all delivered Gospel is paramount. Ray Comfort's foundational teaching "Hell's Best Kept Secret" awakened my senses to my inability to faithfully articulate the Christian message and the lack of faithfull Gospel preaching in many modern evangelical churches. It is a ministry that has been a MASSIVE part of my Christian education and as such I look forward to bringing readers a closer working knowledge of WOTM and the people that make it tick (Ray Comfort isn't even paying me very much for doing this).

I have had the great priveledge of meeting most of the WOTM team and the WOTM Radio team (now operating under the "Wretched Radio" banner. I will be profiling many of these people over the coming weeks. Some you may know, some you might not - but these guys are the real deal and I am excited to bring you a closer look at some of these humble servants who are the real deal and operate true to their teaching whether the camera is rolling or noone is looking.

Starting tomorrow and continuing every Wednesday and Saturday we'll be taking a closer look at the many varied and colorful characters that are a part of WOTM.

Continued tomorrow - "Brainiac"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Paul Washer Sermon Jam - Jesus Christ is Everything

Oh LORD - please raise up preachers like Paul Washer in Denmark and Australia. Listen and hang on every word this preacher says.

There are so many "modern churches" exploring every imaginable innovation to continually capture the attention of a generation with so much ADHD you might as well call it AD. John Wesley said set yourself on fire and people will come and watch you burn.

Young preacher, old preacher - set yourself on fire. Preach as a dead man to people on death row . . . after all - Jesus Christ is Everything! What else is there????



God please give me the strength to spend and be spent in labor that bares eternal fruit . . .