September 2006 Mom’s Corner: Scheduling for Priorities and Flexibility

As I mentioned last week, we’ve just started our 22nd year of homeschooling. The Mom’s Corner for this month discusses some of the scheduling changes that we’ve made over the past week in starting school once again. Even now, we continue to modify our schedule as our needs change.

If you would like to read the Corner online, click for the September Mom’s Corner.

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Trusting In Jesus,
Teri

September 2006 Dad’s Corner: Just a Family, Sir

We’ve been sending the September Corner’s over the past few hours. My Dad’s Corner is based upon some of the interactions we had at the County Fair outreach, and also brings up the issue of Youth Mission Trips.

If you would like to read the Corner, here is the September Dad’s Corner.

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In Christ,
Steve

Posted in: Ministry News

22nd First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of our twenty-second year of homeschooling. I have five completely different students than I had on that original first day of homeschool in 1985. First-day-of-school photos have been a yearly tradition. Joseph is in 12th grade, John in 10th grade, Anna in 8th grade, Jesse in 7th grade, and Mary is in 4th grade.

We have also learned that we have our first-day-of-school the week before we want to begin our academic work. I spent all my scheduled school time meeting with each child, going over his schedule, looking at every book, setting up school notebooks, and evaluating if there was anything else to be done in order to begin our book work.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

First day of school, 2006-2007

Million Dollar Bills and the Good Person Test

Some have asked for more information about the million dollar bill tract, as well as the good person test.

We bought the million dollar bill tracts from Ray Comfort’s ministry, at LivingWaters.com. The front of the “tract” looks very realistically like a million dollar bill (although there is no such thing as a “real” million dollar bill); on the back, around the edge in small print, is a short gospel message (we usually like to combine the Million Dollar Bill with a more detailed tract when giving them away). While you are visiting LivingWaters.com we would recommend you watch Ray Comfort’s teaching titled “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” as well as “True and False Conversion.” (free online videos)

The principle of the “good person test” has long been used in evangelism, but we came to know of it through Ray Comfort’s Living Waters ministry. The idea is that it is crucial for a sinner to start out realizing that, in God’s eyes, we are not a good person. The “good person” test isn’t a script that must be followed, but more of a principle, and yet we’re amazed at how often the test follows the same pattern.

In talking with someone at the Fair there were a number of ways to bring up the Good Person test. Perhaps we were handing them a tract that was titled “Are You a Good Person?” Or, we’d hand them a million dollar bill, and then say that it was a gospel tract and had a variation of the Good Person test on the back. We’d ask if they have ever taken the Good Person test before. The usual response was that they hadn’t.

First question of the test is to ask if they consider themselves to be a good person? Proverbs 20:6 tells us how most will answer: “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness.” We then generally ask if it is OK to ask them a few questions to see if that is true, or we’ll go straight into the commandments. Are they familiar with the ten commandments? Most will say that they are, but that they can’t name them all. That’s OK as we’ll only be looking at a few of them.

The 9th commandment: have they ever told a lie? Most will admit that they have. Ask what they are called if they tell lies. Most will say “human” or a “sinner” but the right response starts with the letter “L” and isn’t the word “loser” (the right answer: “liar”). I’ll also admit to having told lies and, hence, being a liar. It only takes one lie for a person to become a liar.

The 8th commandment: have they ever stolen anything? Irregardless of the value: a cookie from their parents, a toy from a friend, something from a brother or sister. Most will admit to having stolen something. Ask what they are called if they’ve stolen in the past. Common response is a “stealer”, but the correct word is “thief”.

The 3rd commandment: have they ever taken God’s name in vain? Again, most everyone will readily admit to this. No one will likely know what this “sin” is labeled, so you can share with them that doing so is called blasphemy, and that God says He will not hold anyone guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.)

Sometimes we’ll cover the 6th or 7th commandments. You can either ask them if they have broken them (do not murder, do not commit adultery), or go straight into the “heart application” of the commandments (anger is equated to murder of the heart, and lust is equated to adultery of the heart). Most will admit to these.

The entire time it’s important to make sure one is sharing in love. Many people will often be laughing and having a good time going through the commandments. Generally, I will admit my guilt (I’ve broken every one of God’s commandments, if not in action I’ve done it in my heart) along with the person. Things generally become a bit more serious as you proceed from here.

You then summarize the person’s condition: “While you might seem like a good person compared to others around you, in God’s eyes, and based on your own admission, He would see you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, murderer, and adulterer at heart.” They will agree with what you say, because you are sharing in love and they have already admitted those things to you.

Next question is, “If you were to die, and God judged you based on the ten commandments, as He says He will, would you be innocent or guilty?” You’ll be amazed at how many people will say “Innocent” and you can then remind them that they just admitted to breaking every commandment you asked them about. The goal is for them to see themselves as God sees them and to acknowledge they would be “Guilty.”

The final question is, “Would you then go to heaven or hell?” The majority will say “Hell” and you can ask if it concerns them. A good portion will say “Heaven”, or “I don’t know.” From there, you need to share as the Holy Spirit leads. Perhaps asking why they would go to heaven. If they don’t have a good reason, maybe a Scripture or two demonstrates God judges those who break His commandments (Revelations 21:8 is a wonderful verse to illustrate the danger of hell for everyone who has broken the 9th commandment, “but the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”).

Each opportunity to share is different. We’re amazed at how many professing believers will answer that they are headed for hell. The proper response for a believer would be to say that God would judge them as guilty, but they would be headed for heaven. When asked “why?”, they should say “Because I have repented of my sin and am trusting in the blood of Jesus for my salvation.”

That, in a nutshell, is the “good person test.”

In Christ,
Christopher

County Fair-report by Christopher

What an amazing week it turned out to be. We ended the week feeling a bit drained, yet praising the Lord for the strength He provided us throughout the week and Sunday was truly a wonderful day of worship and rest.

Friday night and Saturday were much busier and seemed to blur together somewhat. We ended up staying quite late Friday night, but the Carnival was open late as well. Saturday morning most of us went to the Mission and were there until mid-afternoon. Sarah went with Nathan and Melanie out to the Fair around lunch time but things were very quiet until the evening. We joined them around 6:00p.m.

The temperature Friday evening was much more moderate (especially once the sun had set). Saturday was quite warm, but nothing like Wednesday.

We probably gave out about 750 sodas/waters Friday evening, and a similar quantity on Saturday. It became even harder to hand out “new” tracts to people that had been by a number of times during the week but it was good as we recognized them to have more opportunities to share one-on-one. In fact, I felt that Friday and Saturday were the best nights for one-on-one sharing.

I kept doing balloons each night and did hundreds of additional balloons. Nathan helped with pumping them up and tying some of them to give my fingertips a break (and speed things up!). It can be a challenge to keep rolling along quickly when you have a group of 5~10 children (and their parents) waiting for balloons. But, the parents (and children) that were waiting for balloon provided good opportunities for conversations.

I can recall several instances of being able to share with people about their salvation. One teenage boy started by asking about dinosaurs in the Bible, and after we talked about that we moved onto salvation. He seemed typical of so many we spoke with: he admitted that he didn’t truly know the Lord (despite having prayed a prayer when he was younger and occasionally attending church). We talked about the missing part of salvation in his life: repentance (not only feeling badly about sin and confessing it, but turning from it); and how the Bible never says to “accept Jesus” but to repent and believe on Jesus. He hadn’t given control of his life to Jesus. You could see the Spirit working in his heart. I gave him a Gospel of John at the end of our conversation.

Friday night I enjoyed an opportunity to talk with a “goth” couple. They had walked by the booth a number of times throughout the week and refused the offer of free soda’s. Finally, late Friday night, when I offered them a balloon they stopped and said “sure.” Turns out the girl had young twin sisters and was interested in two identical balloons for them – and they accepted sodas and tracts while they were there.

We haven’t figured out the totals for the week, but I would guess about 2,000~2,500 sodas/waters, perhaps 4,000 gospel tracts, and likely had opportunity to share individually with several hundred people.

We believe that one of the biggest keys to the Lord’s blessing throughout the week was the fact that we were not affiliated with any church, and that we were not “bankrolled” by a church advertising/evangelism budget. Quite a few people asked us what church we were with, and we’d say we were just a family that had a desire to share the gospel. People were genuinely surprised that we would invest in such a project without having as a goal the building of a church’s membership roll.

As a final example of how the Lord so tremendously blessed during the week, I would love to share an amazing story, but am limited because this isn’t an anonymous blog. Suffice it to say, it was a perfect example of how the Holy Spirit works in hearts. A young person that had been watching us closely throughout the week, at one point came up to one of us and was asking questions about salvation, and sharing how the Lord had been working in their heart! They had been broken by what they heard and observed.

In Christ,
Christopher

And now here are the promised photos!

Jesse, Mary, and Anna stamped thousands of tracts with the FamiliesForJesus.com web site address:
Jesse, Mary, and Anna stamping tracts

Stamping tracts...

Here is Dad, Nathan, Melanie, Sarah, John, and myself at our booth
(Joseph took the picture):
Standing in front of the booth

Here is our booth from the back. We had a table at the back for stacking tracts and Bibles, and would resupply our aprons from there. We used Home Depot aprons for this year, but if we do a Fair outreach again we’ll cover up the Home Depot logo 🙂 We put the coolers on little plastic patio furniture stands. You can see the carnival in the background:

Our booth - from the back...

Here I am making a balloon bumble bee and talking with a young fellow:
Making a balloon for a little boy...

Here is a series of photos showing John giving out a tract. If you look closely (it’s a bit hard to tell since the sun was on the two pieces of paper right then), you’ll notice that in the first photo the John has asked the boy which piece looked larger, and he is pointing to the blue one (on the left). In the second photo, John has swapped the tracts around and now the pink one appears larger. The third photo shows John explaining that they are gospel tracts (the writing is on the back side) and he’s giving them the tracts. Notice the young boy on the far right with the big smile. The pink/blue tracts came from Ray Comfort’s Ministry (LivingWaters.com):

John handing out a tract (and soda).

(more information about the “million dollar bill” and the “good person test” coming up next)…

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.