The state of things 2018

The state of things (2018)

The PIE team has continued to operate for the past 6 months, but it has been a very busy period in my life. I apologize for lapsing on the weekly and then monthly updates, so here are some highlights of what has been happening.

We have primarily continued to go to the Galleria at Tyler on a weekly basis as our local “fishing hole” to reach people with the Gospel. The PIE team is currently Chad, Stan, Judy, Frank, and Sue. Each of us has our own unique way of conversing with people and presenting the Gospel to people who may or may not need to hear (yes, we do encounter Christians from time to time!).

One conversation that I remember vividly and wrote down so that I wouldn’t forget was with a father and son named Aaron and Henry. The father was in his 40s (give or take) and the son looked to be about 15 years old. Aaron said that they weren’t very religious but that they believed in God. When I asked them how they think a person can go to heaven after they die they both said “by being a good person/your good outweighs your bad.” I then asked them “so do you think you’ve been good enough to make it?” to which they both shrugged their shoulders (while smiling). I then asked them if they had kept the 10 commandments. They both said “I don’t know,” so I took that as an opportunity to ask them if they have ever told a lie, ever stolen anything, ever used God’s name in vain, ever looked with lust, ever been angry or had hatred, and if they have ever prioritized other things before God. Like us all they had done several of those things. When I asked them why God should allow them into heaven when they are guilty of having sin in their life they both said “He shouldn’t.” It was at this point that I shared that God has always loved them and that He demonstrated that He loved them by sending His one and only Son (Jesus) to suffer and die on the cross for their sins (not His own sin – He had no sin). He was buried and rose again on the 3rd day, and that through repentance and faith in that Gospel message they could be born again and have a home prepared for them in heaven. I told them “you broke God’s laws (the 10 commandments), but Jesus paid the penalty for your crimes on the cross.” I asked them if they understood the Gospel and they told me “yes.” They let me pray for them and we parted ways. They thanked me for taking the time to speak with them about this. Henry said “I’ve never heard it explained like that before.” Please pray for this father and son to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Overall, the months have been fruitful. I’d estimate that 500 people (that estimate is very conservative and probably low) have heard the Gospel shared with them through 1 of the 5 PIE team members over the past 6 months. Two Friday’s ago I (Chad) shared the Gospel with 18 people by myself on a Friday night. Last week Stan and I had less success, but still managed to share verbally with 9 people total. In any case praise God for the number of people hearing the Gospel. Praise God for those who have received Christ while we speak with them, and praise God for those who will receive Christ as Savior in the future. Pray for the people who have heard, but also pray for GCC to be a church known for sharing the Gospel and fulfilling our mission statement – to take Jesus Christ to lost people and lost people to Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”

Advertisements

November Update (2017)

Acts 5:20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”
 

This month was very fruitful, even if it only saw us share the Gospel on two Friday nights. Malik, Jeremiah, Andres, Ricardo, Jonathon, Jose, Celine, Jessy (just out of prison), Jose, Melissa, Andy, Brandon, Ryan, Jeremy, Gilbert, Alonso, Luis, Elijah, John, Tyree, Jaden, and Ashley (has a brain tumor) were the people who Stan and myself were able to speak with during this month. Judy, Sue, and Frank were also able to speak with about the same number of people this month. If you see them at church ask them about all of their wonderful encounters! I wanted to highlight a few of our conversations from this month for you to read about. We actually had 2 cancellations (one at the beginning of the month and the Friday after Thanksgiving). One was a planned week off and one was not. Early in the month we had to cancel due to illness.

Jessy was a young man we spoke with who had just been freed from prison, so he had experienced first hand the punishment that can come from doing wrong. Sometimes you assume in your head that someone is ready to receive Christ, but then you start talking with them and they’re further away from God then you would assume. Jessy was one of those guys. He heard the Gospel. He acknowledged that he had done wrong. However, he was far from God in his thinking and his decision making. Even though the conversation fell flat at the end when we finished sharing the Gospel and asked him what was holding him back from giving his life to Christ. He didn’t have any good reasons, but knew that he wasn’t ready to commit his life to Christ. Pray for Jessy and he rebuilds his life after getting out of prison. Pray for his physical needs to be met, but also that he would recognize his spiritual poverty without Christ.

Another conversation that the PIE team had was with a lady named Ashley who had a brain tumor. When a person is going through a crisis like this they need lots of prayer and support. Pray that Ashley would be healed from her brain tumor. There are few prognosis’ in life that are as grim sounding as hearing news that you have a brain tumor. Pray for the surgeons, doctors, and nurses to be fantastic at their jobs. Pray that Ashley wouldn’t lose heart. Pray, most of all, that she would find comfort and rest in the one, true God by believing in Jesus. Thank you for praying for Ashley.

All of our other conversations had one thing in common. By the end of them the person (or people) had heard the glorious Gospel. Please pray for them all to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for reading and praying!

~The PIE Team

October Update (2017)

Acts 20:24
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”

This month the PIE team has so many God appointed conversations that it blows my mind. From Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, atheists, agnostics, to Jewish people there was no shortage of quality conversations this month.

We spoke with a Mormon named Ramon and his girlfriend Monica who was a Buddhist. Ramon comes from a Mormon background but admitted that it was more of a family thing than a hardcore faith thing. For his girlfriend though, her Buddhism was an entrenched part of her identity. The good news about the Gospel is that it is for ALL people – no matter your background. By the end of our conversation the law of God had shown Ramon and Monica their personal shortcomings while the Gospel had shown them the Glory of God and the forgiveness He offers us all. They both said that they would think about it (and I believed them when they said that). Pray for their journey to end at the foot of the cross with a newfound belief in Jesus!

Josh and Sherri who were far from God in their beliefs, but seemed close by the end of our conversation were another couple that we spoke with this month. Josh had grown up in a Christian home but soon faded from the scene after getting out on his own. It had never been a personal faith for him. Meanwhile Sherri came from a non-religious background, but she still believed that there was a God. We shared with them that even though they had sinned against God that He wanted them to be pardoned from the guilt of their sin. They listened intently to the miraculous, true story of Jesus dying for their sins. Both seemed close (as mentioned previously) but did not make a personal commitment to Christ that night. Pray for them to be surrounded by Christians who love them enough to verbally tell them the Gospel and to live out the changed life that comes as a result of belief in the Gospel. We want to see them in heaven!

Ramses who was a professing believer, but seemed like he was struggling in his faith. Sometimes God sends us to Christians who are down on their luck or who have struggled in their faith. Stan took charge of this conversations and was able to encourage Ramses by reminding him of the truth of the Gospel and other truths from the Bible. We all can have a spiritual downturn from time to time, but it’s nice to know that God still cares about us. Pray for Ramses and all of the other people like him who, while still being believers, are struggling a bit and need God’s help.

Anthony who was from a nominal Catholic background. Stan was able to share his own experiences coming from a Catholic background with Anthony. Anthony sat with wide eyes as Stan proclaimed to him “I was never told that I had to make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. I had always thought that I was saved by being a Catholic.” The law of God was used to show Anthony his personal sin, but then the Gospel was shared to show Anthony the way out of the guilt that comes from sinning. Stan shared “You can’t be good enough to get into heaven. You don’t have to move to Africa and feed starving orphans for 40 years for God to accept you. You just have to believe in His Son Jesus. Take Him up on His offer of forgiveness.” What beautiful news!

Our team was faithful to proclaim Christ this month and we thank you for your prayers. Judy and Sue have so many wonderful stories of people who they have prayed with, people who have received Christ, and people (especially their Jewish friend) who they keep running into due to us going to the same fishing hole most Friday nights. Please pray for them all to repent and believe the Gospel! God was good to us and was good to the people who heard, because salvation comes through the hearing/reading of the Gospel and over 60 people verbally heard the Gospel this month as a result of the PIE team being used by God. Additionally, many people received the Gospel via tracts. We hope to dine with them all at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Thank you and God bless!
~The PIE Team

September Recap (2017)

September has officially come and gone. The PIE Team had its ups and downs, but we were still blessed to be able to talk to a lot of people and hand out some tracts. Due to being talked to several times by the same security guard we haven’t been able to pass out as many tracts at the mall. It might be time to find a new fishing hole, even if it is just for a few months, until the mall gets back to being free and open for conversation and tract distribution. Please pray about that for us.

As for the people we spoke with they came from all sorts of different backgrounds. Sue talked to a young man who quickly told her that he was an atheist, but by the end of the conversation seemed like he was open to the Gospel whereas he wasn’t open at all at the beginning of the conversation. We missed Stan and Frank for a few of the weeks due to health problems (please lift them up in prayer). Overall though, it was a good month.

Here is a list of people who I was able to speak with this month. This by no means is all of the people that the PIE team spoke with this month. Judy, Sue, and Frank have talked to lots of people and have even seen a few people profess faith in Christ. While those people remain nameless on this blog post, God knows each and every one of them. Christian, Shelly, Yesenia, Katrina, Angel, Nikia, Alberto, Mauricio, Dylan, Victor, Elsa, Danny, Anthony, Sabrina, Oscar, crying teen (never caught his name), Porter, Louie, Chris, and Betty (took Bible).

I wanted to write specifically about two meaningful conversations that happened this month. The first one was with an older man named Oscar. I noticed that he was standing against the railing upstairs staring straight off into the distance. After introducing myself and asking him if we could talk (he said yes) I shared the Gospel with him. He sounded like he had been a church going fellow at one point in his past, but had since walked away from it. When we got to the end of the conversation I asked him if I could pray for him (he seemed like he needed prayer). When we opened our eyes at the end of the prayer he was in tears and gave me a giant bear hug and said “thank you.” I think in all of the years that I’ve done PIE that is the first hug I’ve received. I’ve gotten lots of handshakes, seen lots of tears, but I don’t know that I’ve ever been hugged. In any case, please pray for Oscar. He has a lot going on in his life and needs God.

The other conversation I wanted to write about was with Dylan. We only talked with Dylan because his friend Benny was wearing a shirt that said “sinner” on it. We were basically done for the night, but I wanted to walk over and see if Benny was wearing the shirt for any specific reason. Turned out that Benny was a believer (which is what I assumed), but his friend Dylan was not a believer. Dylan was very open to hearing the Gospel and seemed like he understood everything that we talked about. Please pray that Benny would also share with him and that Dylan would become born again through repentance and faith in the Gospel.

Thank you for reading and praying!

August Recap (2017)

August is the beginning of the end of summer. Slowly throughout the month you can see the smaller crowd sizes at the mall. The big crowds were good while they lasted, but they’ll be back in a few months for the Christmas season. We were still blessed with the opportunities to share with loads of people this month. People who came out with the PIE team this month to share the Gospel were Stan, Judy, Sue, and Frank (along with myself). We may not be the most well spoken but we were willing to go and share. I hope that as you read this you are lead to pray and to go share the gospel with someone.

Hector, Alex, Megan, Felipe, Luz, Enrique, Sydney, Ivan, and Joey were people who we spoke with from Catholic backgrounds. Whenever someone comes from a religious background it is both a good and a bad thing. Good because they believe in God and are able to commit to a faith/religion. Bad because people are very reticent to acknowledge any shortcomings in their belief system or leave that faith system. These people all understood why they needed Christ by the end of our talks but brought up their Catholic heritage at the end of the conversations. Almost as if that is good enough to get them to heaven. Stan was brought up in a Catholic home and he frequently tells people “They never told me that I had to personally come to faith in Christ; it was a personal decision.” Pray for these people to not trust their church affiliation for salvation, but that they would put their trust in Christ for salvation.

Gene, Karl, Steven, Angel, Christian, and Daniel were people from an agnostic or atheistic background. In fact, Angel had a guy next to him get up and leave the conversation because he didn’t like what he was hearing. Often people of these belief types will try to intimidate you as if you are the person with a lesser intelligence. So when you stand firm on your faith, the Word of God, and basic common sense it can be unsettling to them. You don’t get paintings without painters, you don’t get buildings without builders, and you certainly don’t get a planet full of life without a planet/life maker. Stan had a particularly good conversation with Christian and Daniel. He remarked afterward that they seemed like they were not far off from believing in Christ – “They understood.” Reports like that are encouraging while hearing that Steven left the conversation practically unchanged and unfazed by what he’d heard is discouraging. In any case, please pray for all of these people that they might come to Christ.

Then you have guys like Marzell who claim to be Christians, but when you start talking to them you figure out pretty quickly that they are all over the place with their beliefs. At first I took him for his word, but as he described how to get to heaven (good works and praying) and that he never had made a personal commitment to Christ both Stan and I thought he needed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. He had never repented and believed the Gospel for his salvation. In all probability Marzell had gone to a wonky church in the past that never told him what he must do to be saved like Peter did in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. Pray for the Marzell’s of the world who are genuinely seeking God, but have been given a bill of false goods.

Frank, Judy, and Sue usually are very active downstairs in the mall talking with whoever will listen. Both Judy and Sue have reported talking to Israeli men and women who are here on 6 month visas to work. Please pray for these Jewish people to study their own scriptures and come to the realization that their Messiah has already come and that they can have forgiveness of sins and the 2nd birth through this crucified, buried, and resurrected Yeshua.

Thanks for reading and praying. Until next time, go serve your King!

~The PIE Team

July Recap (2017)

The month of July was a bit hit and miss for the PIE team. Due to circumstances beyond our control and a personal vacation we only met 2 of the 4 Friday’s available. Nevertheless we were able to share the Gospel with quite a few people during those two Friday’s. The harvest is truly plentiful. The Lord only asks us to go into His harvest field to share with our fellow humans.

Here is a list of the names of all of the people who we spoke with on those two Friday’s in July.

Marcello, Christian, Gabriella, Rick, Kris, Cassidy, Juan, Charles, Edith, Manny, Cesar, Jaime, Jesus, Estephanie, Ruby, Roger, Anthony, Perla, Steven, and Enrique.

In addition to those names there are numerous people who spoke with Frank, Judy, and Sue. I don’t have their names on hand, but God knows each and every person who they spoke with during those two Friday’s.

It’s always interesting when you talk with someone and let them explain their worldview to you. Many times the people who are sharing with us seem to be making it up on the spot. That hits the nail on the head for the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is the creation of a “god” in the image of that person. They create a god in their mind who is okay with most (if not all) of what they are doing and may or may not be concerned about what other people are doing. In olden times they would carve a statue, be it made of stone or wood. Today we are much more clever. We turn God into a cosmic genie or a benevolent Santa Clause type figure who is waiting to shower us with His gifts and goodness.

I don’t mean to sound rude or arrogant about the beliefs of other people. That’s not my purpose. I myself have held to many wrong ideas and beliefs during my life. In my early 20s I had the “I’m saved – I’m good for eternity” mentality mixed with the worldly, relativistic thought pattern that people could believe whatever they wanted. I knew I needed Jesus. I wasn’t 100 percent sure why everyone else needed Jesus. Thankfully God changed my thinking and made the Scriptures clear to me through great teaching. So when I hear a guy like Marcello say that he is a good person and that God won’t send him to hell because “a loving God would never do that”, I empathize because I too once thought incorrect things about God. I shared the truth of the Scriptures with Marcello though and hope that God will do a miracle in his heart and mind.

Christian, Gabriella, Kris, and Cassidy came from a Catholic background. While Stan was sharing with them he shared his experiences growing up in the Catholic church. He made sure to emphasize to them that a religious system alone can’t save you. Only Jesus Christ can save. He told them that they needed to personally receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Their grandparents, parents, and church affiliation couldn’t do it for them. Stan has a great way of letting people know that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” while he speaks with them.

Please join me in praying for all of the people, named and unnamed, who heard or read the Gospel in the month of July as a result of the outreach of the PIE team. Pray for repentance, faith, and truth to reign in their lives!

Thanks for reading AND praying!

~The PIE Team

June Recap (2017)

The month of June was extremely busy and for falling behind with the weekly updates ISpurgeon Quote apologize. The month was filled with the return of loved ones, adventures, mishaps, and harassment by mall cops. I hope you are edified and led to pray for the precious people we encountered this month.

I’ll start with a praise report. We had prayed for weeks (5-6 in total) for the healing and return of our beloved Stan. He was in a dire place, but God saw fit to bring him through that trial and return him to his family (and us). I can’t express enough how much Stan means to me. He is a man with a singular vision of seeing God glorified in his own life by showing and telling others how they can be saved. He has a saying- “Our great purposes in life are to be saved and to help others be saved.” (I’m paraphrasing) I’m grateful that he has returned and that God will continue to use him to challenge people on Friday night’s (in season) and at other times in his daily life (out of season). Please continue to pray for Stan to recover his strength and health fully so that he can do all of the things for God that he desires to do.

I’m going to type a full list of the names of people we spoke to this month:

Sandra, Albert, Ruben, Yvette, Efrain, Jackie, Abel, David, Pablo, Miguel, Lisa, Anthony, Manuel, Enrique, George, Jose, Sharon, Nico, Michael, Caeser, Jose, Angel, Lanette, Juan, German, Rosales, Daniel, Wendy, Jacob, Kevin, Steven, Bridgette, Roger, Manny, Enrique, and Estephanie. In addition there were dozens of people who Judy, Sue, and Frank spoke with whose names weren’t written down by me (or lost). Though I don’t have all of the names, God knows them all!

It’s interesting to see a list of names like that and not know anything about them other than the fact that they were given the Gospel. They ranged from questioning atheistic skeptics like Yvette and Sandra to agnostics like Jackie and Abel to non-practicing Catholics like Lanette, Juan, and Enrique. They are all real people though with their own personal rebellions, their own personal tragedies, and own personal questions. One young lady recounted a tragic tale of being abused to Stan while another young lady couldn’t get past the fact that a person born in the remotest tribe could be sent to hell for failing to believe in a Christ that they had never heard about. We did our best with each person to gently, yet firmly, recount to them the glorious remedy for a fallen and broken humanity. With each person there was a period of questions and answers (getting to know each other), a period of going through God’s standards (the 10 commandments), a period of going through God’s justice and our personal accountability to Him, and a period of talking about God’s amazing love for us which was displayed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Please pray for each of these precious people as they wrestle with whatever is holding them back from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ!

One particular night, I was confronted (for the first time in a while) with dismissal from the premises of the mall because I was talking with someone about Jesus. The mall cop was unconcerned with the teenagers throwing things off of the balcony onto the sidewalk below and was instead more preoccupied with letting me know that I was not welcome on the mall premises if I was going to talk “about that” (he refused to tell me what words, phrases, and topics I was allowed to talk about…he just kept saying “you’re not allowed to talk about that“). We were given legal information from Stan’s brother after the fact, but for that night I was consigned to places other than the mall after my first conversation. Please pray for the mall cop who was against the Gospel being shared. Pray that God would soften his heart and lead to him to a saving faith in Jesus Christ!

Thank you for reading and praying. It is truly appreciated!

~The PIE Team