Church- Find a Good One

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:25

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Why Keep Busy?

As your parents always said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness…” 2 Thessalonians 3:6

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

A dog can be a good idea for those coming out of addiction. The Lord used him to show me unconditional love and to teach responsibility. Snoopy was with me through a lot. 🙂

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Witnessing in Southern Thailand & Salvation Story

“And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” – Acts 17:32

Immediate responses to the gospel could be classified as: (1) Yes, (2) No and (3) Maybe Later.

Thailand’s capitol Bangkok and beach towns Pattaya and Phuket are high priorities on the evangelism hit list because they are popular hubs for LGBT+ culture and prostitution.

We live and witness in Bangkok. Seeds were scattered in Pattaya (closer to Bangkok) earlier this year. This week, I hit Phuket for the first time.

Conversations typically begin with small talk, then testimony, then often the gospel. Additional armament includes tracts in Thai and the Bible in virtually any language via Bible app.

We try to connect with as many on Facebook as possible and post Scripture regularly so that they will be exposed to the Bible and lines of communication remain open.

Facts:
Majority of folks engaged: Thai Buddhists
Most common response to the gospel: ‘You (Westerners/Americans) believe in Jesus. Thai people believe in Buddha.’
Example seemingly appointed engagement:
Transgender male-to-female- met outside her workplace. In response to testimony, she said, “So you are a real man now, not just a gay.” Pouring down rain, she asked me to come back to discuss- shared the gospel and tract, read the Bible, discussed previous exposure to Christianity and clarification of salvation requirements and Christian living. Asked me to send her things on Facebook (ex. Scripture) and basically ended with- ‘I will hear you again on this matter.’

In general, the lay of the land is a city with:
1) An area(s) known for transgender male-to-female (“ladyboys”)- strip bars, massage parlors and old fashioned street prostitution.
2) An area known for gay bars- resembles what is common in US cities.
3) A pedestrian-only street(s) that is a mixed bag- hosts party/sex tourists from around the world.

All 3 of the above areas and everywhere in between contain ladyboys soliciting outside massage parlors. The Lord’s timing is perfect. It is rainy season. Business is down, and folks have a few moments to spare.

Prostitutes speak the language of sex, so God works from there. Some say my eyes look kind and they feel good talking to me. You and I know that is the Lord.

Sharing Christ with jeering prostitutes can seem pointless. Nonetheless, this is what we are called to do- if for no other reason than to give each human being, created in God’s image, an opportunity to repent and get through the gates. The Lord has gone so far as to resurrect men and send them back into the pit on a rescue mission. Having been warned of coming judgment, all will be without excuse.

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.'” – Jonah 3:1-2

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 3:2

Eyes welling up with tears as we shake the dust off our feet, we reflect on those who have rejected Christ, peer down at our watches wondering how much longer we have… and utter, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.”

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Back in Bangkok Sunday afternoon, the Lord led to join a medical clinic. Specified assignment was to “play with the kids”. That was part of it and was certainly a blessing, but I knew better- that the Lord was doing something else. Our assignment is always to lead people to Jesus. So we scouted the area and found that it was also a ministry for juvenile (and adult) offenders. In the common area was a 14-year old playing guitar with his friend. The third seat in the small circle was empty. I sat down. After the ‘where are you from’ small talk, we got into business. He said that when he got locked up, he asked Jesus to help him and started to believe with his head but that he had never prayed to repent and give his life to Jesus. So he did! Please pray for “G”.

After many “No” responses, the Lord rewarded with a “Yes”!

THIS IS THE WHY- why the believer in Christ remains on the earth after coming to know Jesus- to fulfill the Great Commission.

Join the fight. Pray for training wheels. It’s scary at first, but the Lord gives the passion and leads. His heart is for evangelism. Be bold. Get close to the heart of Jesus.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.‘” – Jesus (Mark 16:15)

As an old friend of mine used to say, “We serve an awesome God, brother.”
Praise the Lord!

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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.

Why Does God Allow Homosexual Temptation?

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” John 3:3

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

If you are not sure where you will go when you die, click here.

(Please Note: This video’s intended audience is those who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction. It implies that one who struggles may feel that it is a “curse” or “defect”. Intent is not to diminish accountability.)

Cambodia Ministry

Hello, friends:

Thank you for praying. Bus ride from Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh, Cambodia took well over 20 hours due to a delay and re-route, then about 15 hours to return. Time with church family was wonderful. Although I got sick, the Lord provided strength to push through. We had a blessed mission. Praise the Lord.

Highlights:

  • Pastor asked Rebekah to teach Sunday School impromptu. I prayed with her quickly, and she went in. We worked together. With the Lord, she did valiantly.
  • Both of us standing in front of the congregation, Pastor asked, ‘Do you have a plan to get married?’ and ‘Do you have an idea of a date yet?’
  • Then I shared testimony from old life to new. We sang “It Is Well”- our first duet.
  • Daniel blessed me with the opportunity to preach at his house church. I spoke about spiritual weapons, including fasting.
  • The Lord always leads to witness, which is the core of Castaway’s mission. Jesus loves all and died for all. The gospel of Jesus Christ is 100% inclusive- applies to everyone.

Short Story:
We visited the rural village where I lived before moving to Bangkok 5 months ago. Walking from house to house, we gathered kids who regularly attended class on the porch. With most grouped together sort of in a line, I chatted them up and asked one by one if any was still reading the Bible every day. From left to right- ‘Otey. Otey. Otey…’ (No, No, No…). Humble and shy, the last boy uttered- ‘Baht’ (Yes) and looked down.

This is one of the Lord’s cinematic moments. Why was it the last child in the line who said Yes when all of the others said No?

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Brothers and sisters, think of this as a case study. Imagine that you have 6 months to build relationships in a village, share the gospel and win souls for Christ. Many pray to accept Jesus. Who will actually follow?

On the surface, all of the children appear to be the same… until you hear “K”‘s story. After accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior, K immediately showed an interest in the Word. He volunteered to read the Bible and pray in class.

One day, an elderly neighbor woman told me that his parents were both dead. He and his brother lived with his grandparents. I visited them and met his brother who shared he was leaving in a matter of days to work in Korea indefinitely (whch is common… make money to send back home). K was devastated.

Which one is still reading his Bible?  The one who is broken- has suffered tremendously and experienced the Savior’s comfort.

“…my father and my mother have left me, and the Lord has taken me up.” – Psalm 27:10

We don’t always know why bad things happen, but we know that God can use them to point us to the Rescuer, who loves us so much that He gave His life for us.

Follow this child’s example. Follow Jesus.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“If a man is not born again, he will not see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 3:2

“Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Romans 10:9-10