25% Success Rate

After hearing the gospel and praying the sinner’s prayer to give their lives to follow Jesus, why do so many people ultimately turn back?

The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) speaks of 4 men:

  1. The first man ‘hears the Word and does not understand it. Satan comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. ’
  2. The second man ‘hears the Word and receives it with joy, yet has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation and persecution arise on account of the Word, immediately he falls away.’
  3. The third man ‘hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful.’
  4. ONLY the fourth man ‘hears the Word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

ONLY 1 of 4 men continued in the faith. That is a 25% success rate.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, (mega church) masses followed Him around waiting for the next miracle, wanting to be associated with Him, wanting Him to set up an earthly kingdom in Israel. But when He spoke hard truths, many turned back (John 6:51-69). Speaking hard truths reduced mega church masses to a small handful of true followers.

FANS of Christ follow when…

  • The message is “positive and encouraging” .
  • The majority appears to be doing the same.
  • Following requires minimal life changes.
  • Following means exalting self.
  • Following involves chasing emotional highs.

TRUE FOLLOWERS of Christ follow even when…

  • The message is convicting and offensive (John 6:69).
  • Following requires standing alone, against the majority.
  • Following requires surrender and sharing embarrassing truth about how bad we were and how good Christ is (Matthew 10:38).
  • Following requires dying daily to self to live for Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:31).
  • Following requires reading God’s Word daily.

New Years Eve at an Exciting Church:
In an effort to spice things up a few years ago, I periodically attended a Saturday evening or special service at an exciting church. After one service in particular, I remember being so caught up emotionally that I sat in my vehicle and sobbed.

Two years in a row, I attended the New Year’s Eve service. The preaching was dynamic. We were encouraged to trust the Lord for BIG things over the coming year. At the end, we were all asked to kneel and pray for something for which we were going to trust the Lord. As we prayed, the minister began to speak “Words of Faith” over us: ‘Somebody here has had trouble paying bills this past year. Better days are coming this year. Somebody here has been having marriage problems. God’s gonna fix that this year… Somebody here is going to adopt a child this year…‘ Adopt a child? Are you serious? That’s EXACTLY what I had been praying. As a new believer, that was all the confirmation I needed. I jumped on it. He named it, and I CLAIMED IT.

All was well and good until… it didn’t happen. Impatient and hot tempered, I was more than discouraged. I was angry with a just God, who created all things and knows all things, who is faithful. I tried to hold Him accountable for something He never said. A man said it. Big mistake.

This fall caused significant delays in His work in my life. In the church, we say, “God has a plan for your life.” It has been my experience that the train doesn’t leave the station until I’m onboard.

Had I acted out by going back to my old life, the penalty undoubtedly would have been much more severe. Did God promise that I would adopt a child that year? NO. Now that we are farther down the path, I am thankful that He did not. His plan is better than mine.

We must search the Word of God to see if what we are being taught is true (Acts 17:11). Things are not always as they appear or as they feel.

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

We are at war. Our enemy is the author of confusion. Bombarded by voices, we struggle to discern truth from counterfeit. We are confident of one thing- Our Commanding Officer never goes against His Word. Know the Bible. Compare messages against it.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13-14

Lesson Learned: Don’t follow your heart.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked…” – Jeremiah 17:9

Lord, please give us wisdom and discernment. Show us the difference between popular false teachings and Biblical doctrine. Remind us to read your Word daily. Help us to apply it.

Smoke & Mirrors dangerous teaching

Once upon a time it was announced that the devil was going out of business and would sell all his equipment to those who were willing to pay the price. On the big day of the sale, all his tools were attractively displayed. There was Envy, Jealousy, Hatred, Malice, Deceit, Sensuality, Pride, Idolatry, and other implements of evil on display. Each of the tools was marked with its own price tag. Over in the corner by itself was a harmless-looking, wedge-shaped tool very much worn down, but still it bore a higher price than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what it was, and he answered, “That is Discouragement.” The next question came quickly: “And why is it priced so high even though it is plain to see that it is more worn than these others?” “Because,” replied the devil, “it is more useful to me than all these others. I can pry open and get into a man’s heart with that when I cannot get near him with any other tool. Once I get inside, I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is worn well because I use it on everybody I can, and few people even know it belongs to me.” This tool was priced so high that no one could buy it, and to this day it has never been sold. It still belongs to the devil, and he still uses it on mankind. (Author Unknown)

The War Is Not Over Yet!

Strange as it sounds, I think there is value in being encouraged by the level of opposition we face. Somebody said, ‘If there weren’t significant (spiritual) opposition to what we are doing, it would be an indicator that we’re not moving in the right direction.’

A German Sunday School teacher took his teenage child to visit a Christian university in the U.S., and this is what he said upon return:

‘In Europe, the (spiritual) war has been decided, and it’s over. People have made their decision. For the most part, no one wants to hear about Jesus anymore. In America, the war rages on. And that is what was thrilling to me- the fact that there still IS a war.’

Testimonies of the men Castaway serves can be knock-down / drag out. Just when you think the game is over and the man will be ushered off this earth into eternal darkness, the Lord steps in. Just because it looks bleak doesn’t mean the war is over. As my Dad used to say, ‘Maybe the Lord just hasn’t spoken yet.’

On American Independence month, let’s be encouraged that Satan still considers the U.S. a significant enough threat to load our churches, universities and media outlets to the brim with his troops.

We’re at war. Stay in the fight!

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:11-12

Key Initiative: Serve the Church

FB_IMG_1497842747234-1Friends:

Thank you for your prayer support.

Considering the sensitive nature of this ministry, providing a public blog update is a challenge to say the least. We apologize for any lack of clarity. Please feel free to contact us with questions.

Castaway Ministries purpose is:  “To share the gospel of Jesus Christ by word and deed in the U.S. and abroad. To teach.”
We consider our primary costumers (those we are called to serve) to be:

  • Those who struggle with same sex attraction and gender identity
  • Families & friends of those who struggle
  • Churches who want to reach out

A few weeks ago, my wife and I attended her friend’s wedding outside of town. There on a Sunday, we prayerfully researched local churches. During food & fellowship after the service, we encountered a very sensitive SSA situation. The Lord opened the door to help.

These and similar situations have reiterated that we need to actively pursue speaking engagements at churches.

We do this primarily through testimony and song. In short, the message is:  “Stop beating up the broken.”
We aim to:

  • Be the Voice of the Broken- to stand up for the young man or woman in the pew who feels alone.
  • Build compassion through awareness for the reality of these struggles.
  • Encourage churches to accept the broken and provide a compassionate safe place for them to come to know Christ and grow in Him.

We plan to generate a growing list of churches that preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and are willing to accept the broken.

We piloted with two churches. The Lord led to a church with whom I had a previous relationship dating back to 2011. Pastor agreed to add us for the Sunday service. I shared testimony and a call to compassion: ‘(testimony)…Praise the Lord… Maybe people will accept me now that I have a wife. But there are many others out there who have repented and given their lives to Jesus but continue to struggle. Maybe it’s not God’s plan for everyone to have a wife. I don’t know what it’s like to be you until I have been you. You don’t know what it’s like to be me until you’ve been me…. Please have compassion…’ My wife and I then sang “Amazing Grace”.

Now let’s step back for a moment and imagine this ministry. A man walks into a church and claims that God changed him from a sinful gay lifestyle to a monogamous heterosexual lifestyle. My wife standing there in the flesh gives Doubting Thomas something he can see and touch. Without my wife next to me, this type of ministry is only marginally effective. Praise the Lord for my wife.

“A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22

Would you like for us to visit your church or ministry? Please click here to request.

The Lord is driving to do more. We need your financial support. Click here to Donate to Castaway Ministries.