Creation Evangelism Training Camp Schedule

FairPic1 copy Over a million people come to the Iowa State Fair each year … which means tons of opportunity for gospel impact!

Iowa St Fair - Creation Booth 1 (1024x768)[3] This is a picture of the Creation gospel booth that Roger Bishop has been leading at the Iowa State Fair for the past fifteen years. This year, he asked Ken Ham if it could become a ministry of Answers in Genesis. Mr. Ham agreed and he put our friend, Tony Ramsek, in charge of the outreach.

Iowa St Fair - Creation Booth 3 (1024x768)[6]

Naturally, since this is in our home state, we are excited to get on board — and to get others “on board” also, which is why we are running a Creation Evangelism Training Camp to coincide with the outreach. (We will have training sessions in the morning and then go over to the fair in the afternoon to put into practice what we are learning.) We are grateful for all that the Lord has been putting together, and look forward to seeing what He has in store.

Tony is bringing 60,000 Noah’s Ark million dollar bill gospel tracts to pass out. Please be praying for all who will be receiving the gospel, that they would receive the good news with soft and humble hearts and turn to Jesus to be saved! Please also be praying for God’s mighty hand at work during our “Creation Evangelism Training Camp.” Here is our teaching schedule:

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If you live locally and would like to come for just a couple sessions, please ask and I will email you more information on this option. We would love to have as many as possible benefit! (Please note that the schedule above is subject to change.)

Click here to see flyer with more information about the camp. Click here to register.

Witnessing Workshop Next Weekend!

Next weekend we will be running a Witnessing Workshop in Cedar Rapids. I am anticipating the Lord to answer prayers and work in big ways! If you know any who would be interested in attending, please spread the word.

Here is our schedule:
witnessing workshop schedule_small

Click here to register. For families, please note that there is also a special family price.

We are excited that Tony Ramsek from Answers in Genesis will be teaching many of the sessions. Tony has led the Answers in Genesis gospel outreach to the NEA Convention for many years, and this year he will also be leading AiG’s gospel outreach to the Iowa State Fair. We have greatly appreciated his insights in witnessing and his heart for the lost!

Tony came to Cedar Rapids in May for some planning meetings about the Iowa State Fair outreach, and we were grateful to have him speak for our church. We were blessed by his sermon on Romans 1:14-16.

Please join us in praying that the Lord raises up a whole army of witnesses in the Cedar Rapids area who are so overflowing with the gospel that they, like Peter and John, “cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)!

Also, for more information on the Creation Evangelism Training Camp that we are running on August 15-19th in connection with the Iowa State Fair gospel outreach, see this post.

Early Registration Deadline for Witnessing Camp is TODAY

Today is the last day to receive the early registration price for the Evangelism Camp happening August 15-19th. Click here to see flyer with more information.

Click here to register.

For information on family discounts, please email me.

If you can’t make it, we’d appreciate prayer! Witnessing is one of those things that I believe Satan is very opposed to, and witnessing (or witnessing training) is certainly not something we can do without the help of the Lord.

We’d also appreciate prayer that God would bring the ones He wants to this camp. I have personally seen that one of the biggest ways I’ve grown in evangelism is by rubbing shoulders and working side by side with others who are more experienced in witnessing than I am. The passion is contagious, and watching others in action is a wonderful way to learn. I’m super excited about seeing many have this experience by helping with the evangelistic efforts that will happen at the fair. Also, I believe everyone will really enjoy the interaction and fellowship.

Click here to see a short video we made that shows a little bit about what it’s like to help at a gospel booth (such as the one we will be running at the Iowa State Fair in connection with the camp).

Note: If you’re interested in coming from Texas, there is a vehicle coming that may have extra room. Let me know if you are interested.

Ark Encounter Opening!

IMG_0626 Nickie and I, standing outside of the Ark Encounter after the official opening day (July 7th).

IMG_0629 On our way back home from helping with the Answers in Genesis outreach in Washington DC, my dad, Sarah, and I, together with Nickie and Haley, have been volunteering at the Ark Encounter for the past several days to help with the needs of opening. It has been a very exciting time and God is doing many things.

Loading up a 70 inch TV at Answers in Genesis

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Today we had the interesting experience of having seven men from the IT department at Answers in Genesis help load a very heavy 70 inch flat screen TV into the back of our van. Early tomorrow we head to Washington DC to help with the gospel booth that Answers in Genesis will be running at the NEA convention. The TV will be used for showing drone footage from the Ark Encounter. Please pray that it will cause many public school teachers stop by our gospel booth on July 2nd and 3rd to hear how Jesus is our Ark of salvation and He rescues us from coming judgment.

Example of drone footage of Ark Encounter:

Pray for girls here in St Louis!

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Please for girls and parents who are here tonight and tomorrow at our “Strong in the Lord” conference in the St Louis area. In this first session (going on now) Sarah is challenging the girls to be one of those few who does not go the world’s way, but lives their lives for Christ! Please pray that the Lord works in a powerful way in their hearts. Thank you.

Evangelism Training Events 2016!

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I’m excited to announce two evangelism training events that we will be running together with our friend Tony Ramsek from Answers in Genesis this August. For the past 15 years, Tony has led Answers in Genesis’ annual evangelism outreach to the public school teachers at the NEA convention. We’ve been blessed to participate in this outreach, and we’re thrilled that Answers in Genesis will now be doing a similar outreach at the Iowa State Fair on August 11-21.

The information below describes the two training events for those who desire to be challenged and encouraged in evangelism.

Witnessing Workshop
August 5-6 • Cedar Rapids, IA

Learn How To:

• Think Biblically about Evangelism
• Start Gospel Conversations
• Grow in Boldness
• Develop a Family Ministry
• Use Creation as a Starting Point
• Explain the Gospel with Clarity
• Defend the Reliability of Scripture

Schedule: Friday: 6pm–9pm, Saturday: 9am–9pm. Includes afternoon time of witnessing on Saturday in Iowa City, followed by pizza supper for sharing highlights.
Registration: $15 ($50 family max). Includes pizza, snacks, and gospel tracts.
Location: Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel • 3412 Oakland Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52302
Optional Next Step: Attendees also are encouraged to put into practice what they learned by volunteering at the Answers in Genesis Gospel Outreach to the Iowa State Fair the following week.

See my blog post from last year’s Witnessing Workshop in Dallas for more information about what the Witnessing Workshop is like. (Note: the speakers are different this year.)


Creation Evangelism Training Camp

August 15-19 • Des Moines, IA

An intensive, 4-day (4-night) camp consisting of training in the morning, and opportunity to practice what is learned as we witness together at the Answers in Genesis Gospel Outreach to the Iowa State Fair in the afternoon and evening.

Experience:
• The fellowship of teamwork evangelism as we witness together
at the Answers in Genesis gospel booth inside the fair
• Apologetics training and discussion
• Digging into the Word to examine passages on evangelism
• One-on-one coaching and encouragement
• Prayer times for the people we will encounter
• Evening campfires for debriefing and Q&A

Location: Willowbrook Bible Camp, Des Moines, IA
For: Ages 16 and up (parents welcome). Younger ages may attend with a parent.
Registration: $175 ($200 after July 25) Includes housing / most meals.
Other expenses: $8 daily fair ticket and three evening meals at the fair.
Space limit: 85 people.

Evangelism_2016

Click here to see the PDF of this flyer.

For those who are potentially interested in some of these options and would like to be on the email list to receive updates, please fill out this short online survey. (Note: even if you can’t come to either of the training events, you are still welcome to volunteer at the Answers in Genesis gospel booth.)

To Register:
Click here to register for Witnessing Workshop.
Click here to register for the Creation Evangelism Training Camp.

Brand New Tool We’ll Be Using:
As most of you probably know, the Ark Encounter will be opening July 7th in Cincinnati, so it will be a good conversation starter with people anywhere. We are hoping to pass out about 60,000 of these brand new gospel tracts at the fair:

ark_million

If you cannot be a part of either training events or the gospel booth physically, we would so appreciate it if you’d pray for the Lord to do great things. Please pray that many believers will be “much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14), and than God would work in the hearts of many unbelievers so that they will place their faith in Jesus for salvation.

The Sales Call I Hated to See End

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“Hello, this is Grace!” I answered the phone last Saturday morning.

The voice on the other end offered me a special deal for senior citizens … something that may pay for my entire funeral.

Curious if this was a recorded message or a real person, I replied, “Can I ask a question?”

“Yep, yep,” he answered.

Guess it’s a real person.

Next I realized, I need to think of a question real quick now!

“Well …” I began, “our family believes that what is most important is that people know where they are going when they die—and that they will be with God in Heaven forever. Do you know where you are going when you die?”

(A little blunt for my first question, but it seemed to work well for this call.)

“Well, I am not completely sure,” he replied. “I hope I am going to Heaven.”

“Did you know that the Bible tells us how we can know for sure that we are going to Heaven when we die?” I replied.

“No, I didn’t know that. What does it say?” he asked.

“Well, first it explains that we actually deserve to go to Hell because of our sins. The Bible says God’s standard is perfection and He promises to punish sin, because He is just. If we have lied, stolen, disobeyed our parents, had impure thoughts … the punishment for sin is death and Hell — separation from Him forever.”

The caller seemed to agree.

I continued, “Sometimes we measure ourselves by an ‘American nice guy’ standard and think that we’re doing fine – but God’s standard is SO high and perfect that He says in the Bible that all our goodness is like filthy rags in comparison. That means we are in big trouble. Would you agree?”

“Yeah …. we’ve all done some bad thing,” he said.

“Yeah. So if you stood before God and He asked you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you say?” I asked.

“I’d say because I’m a good person, and I believe in You and have faith in You. What would you say?”

“Good question,” I replied. “Well, I am sure I would go to Heaven when I die, but it isn’t because of good things I’ve done—it’s because I have trusted in the plan that God made to rescue us, and that is that He became a Man, Jesus—who was fully God and fully Man. Jesus lived a perfect life and then died on the cross in our place …”

He laughed.
“So you believe Jesus was actually God in a human body?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“So,” he asked again, “You really believe God put Himself into a human body and walked around on earth?”
“Yes.”
He laughed again, surprised.
“That’s what the Bible says,” I explained. “Do you believe the Bible is true?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, it says in the Bible that Jesus claimed to be God. For example, when Jesus was standing before Pilate, Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the Son of God’? and Jesus affirmed that He was.”*
Son of God, but not God,” he said.
“No, He was really God.” I replied. “He said, ‘I and the Father are one.’”
“That’s impossible!” he replied.
“God can do anything He wants. I am just telling you what the Bible says. You said you believed the Bible.”
“I believe some of the Bible. I’ve read the Koran too, and it says that Jesus was God’s messenger.”
“Well, Jesus claims to be more than a messenger. He also told the Jewish people, ‘Before Abraham was, I Am’ … I Am was the name by which He made Himself known to Moses. He was saying to the Jews that He existed from eternity past,” I replied.

After more of his objections, I explained that the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary and God put Himself into a human body.

“Well, why would God have put Himself into a woman — in such a vulnerable spot like that? What if someone would have killed her?” he asked.

“He’s God! He’s in control,” I said, “Plus He was outside of her, too. God has three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit … But there are NOT three Gods – there is only one God,” I emphasized.

“Well, it makes a lot more sense that Jesus was God’s messenger to teach us about religion and about right and wrong,” he responded.

I replied, “If Jesus was just a messenger, He could not have been our Redeemer. God did send messengers—the prophets. But Jesus had to be more than a messenger—He had to be of the human race so that He could die as a substitute for our sin.”

“But why would God downplay Himself so much to become a human?!” he questioned, emphatically.

“You just put your finger on it — that’s the beauty of it! God showed humility. Let me read you this portion of Scripture.”

I read him Philippians 2:5-11 with emphasis, especially at the part where it explains Jesus was exalted above every name.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). NASB

I finished and waited for his response.

“Yeah I totally get what you are saying,” he replied.

At this point, someone in his office told him he had to get back to work. Before we hung up, I recommended the book Seeking Allah Finding Jesus .

I hated to see the conversation end. He was so engaged in this discussion, and much of this information seemed to be new to him. Please pray for him. Pray that he orders and reads that book–and most of all, the Bible.

*Note: It was pointed out to me in a comment that the actual question Pilate asked Jesus was “Are you the King of the Jews?” It was the elders, chief priests and scribes who asked if him if He was the Son of God. See Luke 22:70.

“Speak Truth in Your Heart” Bright Lights Conference

Speak Truth Banner

I’m very excited about the brand new Bright Lights conference that will be taking place in Dallas, Texas on June 7-8. As girls replace lies with the truth, they see how God’s Word transforms each area of their lives as the truth sets them free.

Sarah has presented this material at camps, but this is the first time she will be teaching a Bright Lights conference using this material. See more information on our flyer here. Click here to register.

200 Young People. 26 Below.

This report is about 2 months late, but I figured better late then never.

IMG_9320 Almost 200 young people joined together for the first Midwest 26 Below Retreat: a missions focused retreat for young people. Sarah and I were thrilled that about 26 of our friends from the Cedar Rapids area came along with us.

IMG_9336 Sunrise Saturday morning

Nate Bramsen spoke on “Counteracting Counterfeit Christianity.” I’d say Luke 9:23 sums up the whole weekend pretty well: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me.” As Nate often emphasizes, taking up a cross isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you choose. It’s not comfortable. It’s not popular. It’s not normal. But it’s the way to walk closely with JESUS – and nothing in this world compares to that.

Those who follow Jesus radically are not the ones truly sacrificing – they are gaining the greatest Treasure imaginable. It’s those who forfeit a close walk with Jesus for the love of this world who are the ones making the great sacrifice.

IMG_9264 In this session, Nate had everyone out of their seats participating in a group activity that illustrates how quickly evangelism can happen when people are discipling others as Jesus commanded. Many of my friends told me this session on evangelism and discipleship was their favorite. Messages available to listen to online here. (Scroll down to the bottom of page.)

IMG_9232 Brady Collier, sharing with my friends about the Bible study he and his family do with international students.

IMG_9305 Missionary Panel (Missionaries answering questions and sharing from their experiences)

In this photo, Joel Hernandez (former missionary in Mexico) is sharing about the importance of reaching out to Hispanics here in the states. Countless Mexicans bring the gospel back to their home villages because someone in the States shared it with them while they were here. Many of these villages have no other way to hear the gospel.

One of the reasons I wanted to post about this retreat was because it is a reminder of the way God is raising up young people with a heart to serve Him. So often, we hear bad reports. We hear news of sin, rebellion, and young people leaving the church. But God is working, answering prayers, and raising up “warriors” for His kingdom … warriors for truth who have a heart to know Him and bring His love and light to this confused and hurting world.

I’ve been reading Jeremiah recently and I especially appreciated Jeremiah 24:7 which says, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” I thought, What a good prayer to pray for others. That God would “give them a heart to know Him.”

May that be the passion of each of our hearts: to know Him.

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10-11).