IS THIS YOU?

is this youWould you look into the mirror for a moment? May I please ask you a simple question? IS THIS YOU?

EARS are open to the cries for help from a lost and dying world.

EYES are ever searching for a receptive heart in which to plant the Word.

LIPS are always ready to proclaim the glory of God.

HANDS are turning the pages of God’s Word, seeking to learn His will.

FEET are on the move to carry the gospel to every creature.

HEART is breaking because some will never hear the gospel.

HEAD bows in prayer for wisdom and for workers in the harvest.

FACE glows with the hope that is within.

LIFE is like a light set upon a hill that cannot be hid.

THIS IS A SOULWINNER… but more importantly, IS THIS YOU?

MY SOURCE: Bulletin of the Stuttgart (AR) Church of Christ, Joe Spangler, Editor.

Check this article regarding “Adversity Evangelism.” For a poetic look at Scripture see: Self-Condemned.

Book of John–A Study Guide

Book of John Study Guide

The New Testament Book of John is such an important and helpful book for our understanding of Jesus Christ. We are so thankful to have it in our Bibles. It is different from the other three accounts of the life of Christ (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Those three Bible books are referred to by the scholars as “synoptic,” which means SEEING TOGETHER. It seems that Matthew was writing primarily with a Jewish audience in mind; Mark wrote to those of a Roman heritage; Luke to people with a Gentile background. We have created a 155-page study guide to aid in the study of this great book. You can reach it by clicking here: 4300sg.Combo

The Book of John seems fitting to all people. In the 1999 Annual Denton Lectures, Darrell Conley very capably summarizes the Book of John by describing briefly the nine miracles John records…

It is possible to outline and summarize the Book of John by his record of Jesus’ miracles. He does not record nearly all of the miracles that Christ did, and not as many as did Matthew, Mark, or Luke. But those that he does record are diverse and are sufficient for their purpose — to instill in us faith that Jesus is the Son of God and that so believing we might be saved eternally (John 20:30-31).

First Miracle

He writes of nine miracles Christ did as proof that He was Lord and God. The first miracle was that in Cana of Galilee — turning the water into wine (John 2:1-11). By this miracle Christ proved that He had authority over nature. And why should He not? He created all.

Second Miracle

His second miracle was the healing of the son of the nobleman or king’s officer (John 4:46-54). Even though the nobleman begged Him to come with him to Capernaum and heal his son, He would not go, but healed him at such a distance that it took the nobleman more than a day to reach home. He found his son recovered. Christ showed by this miracle that His power and authority extend everywhere.

Third miracle

The third miracle that the Book of John records is the healing of the infirm man (John 5:2-9). Even though it was the Sabbath day, and He was criticized for it, (John 5:16-18) he healed this man. He accomplished two things by this: He showed that He had authority over the Sabbath. “For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath” (Matt. 12:8). He showed that He was equal with God: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:17-18).

Fourth Miracle

John next tells about the miraculous feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-14). Multitudes had followed Jesus to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, and they had nowhere to buy food. Jesus, showing his feeling for their human needs, had them sit on the grass and, taking five loaves and two fishes, He fed 5,000 men. Afterward they gathered up of the leftover pieces twelve baskets. By this miracle Jesus shows His sympathy for the human condition and needs of mankind.

Fifth Miracle

In the next miracle in John (John 6:16-21), when the evening comes, Jesus walked on the sea in the midst of a storm to the place where the disciples were in a boat. By this miracle Jesus shows His authority and control over nature and the elements of this world.

Sixth Miracle

The whole of John 9 is taken up with the sixth miracle of Jesus, chosen by the Holy Spirit to be included in John’s account. By the public healing of this man born blind, who was known to all, he showed that He, as Lord of Heaven and earth, had authority and power over all sickness and affliction. What a contrast between this genuine miracle of Christ and fraudulent “miracles” of modern so-called healers, who “heal” things that no one can see, in their own places, and usually people that no one knows or hears from again, from places that are far away!

Seventh Miracle

The seventh miracle recorded in the Book of John is the most dramatic to this point: the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:39-44), which should not surprise us. He who gave us life to begin with, Who came to this world in order that we might have eternal life, should certainly be able to raise one from the dead. Although Lazarus had to face death again, one day the righteous shall arise from the dead to eternal life. “Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). By this miracle He showed that He had authority over life and death.

Eighth Miracle

Surely the climactic miracle of all in the Book of John is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the eighth miracle discussed by John (John 20:1-9). By this miracle Jesus proves to all unprejudiced, open-minded people, for all time, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Ninth Miracle

The ninth miracle John records is the great catch of fish upon the command of Jesus (John 21:1-12). Although this may seem like an anti-climax considering the other miracles that John has written in his book, this miracle accomplishes a very important purpose — it identifies the risen Jesus with the One that had been with the apostles the previous three and one-half years. John recognized Him after the miracle. “That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord” (John 21:7). He is the same always: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).

Most Pleasing Potentiality

pleasing God
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Pleasing God is a most pleasing potentiality! It is definitely possible! In searching with my daily companion, Logos Bible software, I have found eight Bible texts which present what surely I would label as “A Most Pleasing Potentiality.” What is that? I refer to that most pleasant “state of being” when THE LORD delights in me! How do we attain it? How is it described? Just HOW can I go about pleasing God?

First, let’s consider two of the descriptive passages: Numbers 14:8 and Deuteronomy 10:15. What is it like when God delights in you? Joshua and Caleb inform us in the Numbers passage that He provides a rich reward to those in whom He delights. It will be a land flowing with milk and honey, to describe this state in a Hebrew figure. Those are the very words of Joshua and Caleb as they sought to still the people. That which would DELIGHT His people was the reward which God would provide to those in whom He delighted. This ought to be a point for you and me to ponder as we contemplate the heavenly home we are promised. A second simple, but awe-inspiring result of God’s delight in man, is that He will love them (Deuteronomy 10:15).

Now let’s consider the HOW TO. Truly, one of the most interesting and inspiring passages I came across in this search is this one—But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 9:24). Perhaps this verse is telling us that the Lord delights in His own lovingkindness, judgment, and right-eousness, but that is not what it seems to me He is saying. Rather, I think God delights in the PERSON who understands and knows that God has those qualities. I want to be among that number and I hope that you do as well.

In my interpretation of Jeremiah 9.24, I am saying that THESE THINGS, in which God delights, refers back to the understanding and knowing and glorying of the person who does know Him accurately. This causes me to want to study more carefully what God has revealed to me about Himself in the written word. God has revealed Himself to us because He actually delights in us KNOWING who He is!!! This passage reveals to us a way to accomplish pleasing God.

Next, consider this text–The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight (Proverbs 15:8 KJV). Is it really true that Almighty God delights when He hears upright folks pray to Him? That is exactly what this text is telling us. Do you want to make God smile, do you want to bring delight to the God of Heaven? Just go to your prayer closet and that splendid task you are accomplishing. Does that not cause you to want to spend more time in prayer? Yes, if I have the right relationship with God and I spend time praying to Him, I am pleasing God!

Proverbs 11:1 reads: “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” I remember a time when we shopped for groceries and one small item had been hidden from our view and the view of the cashier by the five-gallon water jug we had just refilled. When we got the cart to the car, Diane noticed it and went back into the store to pay for it. Guess what. God delighted in that small transaction!

We can make a choice between being an abomination to the Lord or to be His delight (Proverbs 11:20). Having lying lips versus dealing truly provide the very same alternative (Proverbs 12:22). How wonderful it is to choose the right way and bring about this most pleasing potentiality.

For the last passage, we must enter the United Kingdom Period of Bible History. The first king of the United Kingdom was Saul. 1 Samuel 15 is likely one of the most familiar chapters of the entire book to most of us. Here we have the great judge and prophet Samuel heavily into discipline mode with Israel’s first king. If anyone ever needed that discipline, it was Saul!

Samuel received the most clear-cut and unambiguous instructions regarding the actions God demanded His people to take toward the Amalekites. Also, God told Saul the reason for the actions He demanded. Yet, Saul comes up short of following the commands of God, though he did indeed claim to have performed the commandment (v. 13). Further, when Samuel questions the claim Saul makes about his obedience, Saul tries to use the “End Justifies the Means” approach (v. 15). In addition, he shifted the blame to the people (vv. 15, 21).

Then the prophet thunders out the verdict of God Almighty: And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

King Saul teaches us a valuable lesson about pleasing God. Do you wish to bring delight to the Creator? There is nothing complex about it— SIMPLY OBEY HIS VOICE! Let us be challenged by the beautiful response of the Apostle Peter and say to the Lord, regarding whatever command might be given: AT THY WORD.

Prayers Hindered

prayers As Christians we sometimes become discouraged and do not have the kind of appreciation and expectancy that ought to characterize the prayers we pray.  Surely we recognize such a state as this to be a problem.  Recognizing a problem is one of the first steps toward solving a problem.  For the faithful Christian, the source for answers to our problems is God’s word, the Bible.

Satan is very aware of the power of prayer. There is nothing that he fears more than a Christian who finds much time for prayer.  He will lay before us many roadblocks to hinder our approach to God in prayer.  Satan does have  his devices. He will use them to create doubt in our hearts regarding the power of prayer.  We must be like Paul and be aware of Satan’s devices (2 Cor 2:11).

Consider the roadblock of PRIDE.  Pride manifests in self-trusting; self-sufficiency; self-glorying; self-service; self-will; and self-righteousness.  One of the best examples of this hindrance in action is the Pharisee of Luke 18:9-14.  He spent his entire prayer talking about how good he was. He spoke of how much better he was than anyone else.  These kinds of attitudes and these kinds of prayers are not received well by our Lord.  Jesus noted the contrast between the Pharisee and the publican and gave commendation to the publican, who recognized himself to be a sinner (Lk 18:14).

We need to spend a little time looking into the history of God’s dealing with His people in the Old Testament.  Here we will find that there were times when the people became lifted up with pride. They thought they could do it all on their own. Those were the times when the judgment of God came upon them.  They had the same need as we have today and that is to see that our sufficiency is OF GOD (2 Cor 3:5).  Pride will keep us trying to solve our problems on our own. Pride will hinder us from turning to God in prayer.

Another huge roadblock in the way of having our prayers answered is simple DISOBEDIENCE.  What was it Solomon wrote in Proverbs 28:9?  “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”  If we are not obedient to our God how can we expect Him to hear our prayers?  Without obedience there can be no communion with God.  Sins of disobedience place distance between us and our God (Isa 59:1-2).  It will be necessary to do those things which are pleasing in His sight (1 Jn 3:22) to be blessed with the privilege of praying to our God in heaven.  Seriously, can we think of any activity that is considered such a great privilege and pleasure here that we deem it worthy to deprive ourselves of this privilege of prayer to God?

In addition, the Bible teaches us that our prayers are hindered by IDOLATRY.  In Ezekiel 14:1-11, there is a fine discussion of the folly and fruitlessness of having idols in the heart and seeking to petition God.  The fact is that our God is a JEALOUS God (Ex 20:5). He demands our complete loyalty (Mt 6:24).  We are to keep ourselves from idols (1 Jn 5:21).  When we allow our loyalty to become divided and we begin to love the world or the things it contains we are loving things that are not of God (1 Jn 2:15-17).  When we love things that are not of God, most likely we won’t even try to communicate with Him. Even if we do, He won’t be listening.

Please consider the hindrance which Satan loves to create and has such success with: DOUBT.  If we study the first chapter of 1 Samuel we will see that God answered the prayers of Hannah.  She prayed for a son and was granted a son.  God will answer our prayers as well.  But how does God answer prayer?  Generally speaking, the Scriptures show us that God answers prayer in five ways…

  1. YES (James 5:17).
  2. NO (Mt 26:39; Heb 5:7).
  3. WAIT A WHILE (Jer 42:4, 7).
  4. SOMETHING DIFFERENT (2 Cor 12:7-9).
  5. BY GIVING MORE (1 Kgs 3:11, 13; Eph 3:20).

To create doubt regarding the power of prayer is one of Satan’s most effective tools to weaken us.  We must know better and then elevate our practice to our knowledge.

We find a seldom considered hindrance to prayer in 1 Peter 3:7.  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  It is important to the Lord how we treat our companions in marriage.  Is it the case that my prayer life seems to be suffering? Perhaps I need to look into how I am treating my  wife/husband.  If we do not consider the will of the Lord in our homes, our homes are not going to be the kinds of places we will want them to be.

In addition, the Lord warns us that a spirit of UNFORGIVENESS will hurt our efforts in prayer.  If we pray to God for forgiveness and we have demonstrated an unforgiving spirit, we will have no forgiveness (Mt 6:12-14).

Other matters such as not hearing the cries of the poor (Prov 21:13) and not being persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1-8) also hinder our prayers.  These are obstacles over which we can soar, if we have the will so to do!

Consider Wade Webster’s powerful lesson regarding POWERLESS PRAYERS.

Backpacks Loaded: School Starts Soon

backpacks for Marshall CountyThese backpacks are loaded up and ready to help some young person get a good start at school in Marshall County, Kentucky. The folks at Maple Hill Church of Christ are generous. It is our desire to make an impact for good in our community. How thankful we are to Beth Baker for her organization of this effort. Certainly we all are praying for the young people in Marshall County to put forth great effort to learn much in the coming school year. Thankfully, Marshall County has loving, kind, and good teachers in our school system. We know that the young students will use the backpacks well and we thank the Lord that we could help. Above all, our continual prayers will rise to the Father that He will protect them and give them great success. We send these backpacks out with love from Maple Hill.

Singing is God’s Choice for Worship

Singing and a SloshingBucket

Singing in worship is a topic that needs honest discussion and careful study. God intended singing to be an important part of our worship. I think it was at a Preachers’ Meeting in Greenfield, TN that I heard Lee Davis use the expression something like: “There’s not enough water in that argument to slosh in a bucket.” I believe that was the first time I had heard this expression. Lee indicated at the time that it was not original with him. Of course the idea of the statement is that the argument was WEAK. Lee was saying that a conclusion had been drawn without adequate support from the evidence presented.

There is certainly a danger in “jumping to conclusions” in any area of life. Many things have been said, no doubt, between husbands and wives and in all other relationships which fall in this category. Such is especially dangerous and foolish when it involves spiritual matters, (i.e., teaching from God’s word). I subscribe to the fact that every Bible expositor needs to follow the “Law of Rationality.” I can recall hearing Roy C. Deaver cite and define this law numerous times. The “Law of Rationality” goes something like this: We must never assign to any proposition or claim any more weight than is absolutely demanded from the evidence presented.

As we teach, all of us ought to strive with the greatest of diligence to avoid transgressing “The Law of Rationality.” The reason being that we are urged to use such care and caution in dealing with Scripture in numerous places in God’s word (Acts 17.11; Ephesians 5.6-10; 1 Thessalonians 5.21; 2 Timothy 2.15; 1 John 4.1). It really does our cause no benefit to draw conclusions which do not have the support of Bible evidence. Additionally, we need to realize that there are millions of examples of argumentation which doesn’t contain enough water to slosh in a bucket.

Let us never be swayed into action by anything but TRUTH, which can stand on its own without the props of extended hyperbole and “needs-based” arguments. Our Bibles are quite sufficient to guide us as we properly weigh and try arguments that are set before us.

I would like to challenge you to read and study about the kind of music that is authorized for worship in the New Testament. May I suggest a good article? Please check what Allen Webster wrote in HTH, Volume 18 #5. Also, please take the time to read and study these ten articles about singing by clicking here: ChristianWorker1107

Singing–Great Congregational Singing!

SearchTVmusicThe TV program: In Search of the Lord’s Way, has updated their website. A part of that update includes a page of mp3 recordings of congregational singing. You can go to their site and listen to the music streaming, or you can download the mp3 files by RIGHT-Clicking. The singing is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! What a blessing! When I counted the songs available (29 July 2018), there were 212 songs. WOW! Great congregational singing is now available to the world from this great site. Take a listen… Click H-E-R-E.

Meet Temptation with Christ

baguette bakery blur bread
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In Luke 4.1-13 we have the record of Jesus being tempted of Satan. Though He was tempted, He never yielded to temptation (Hebrews 4.15). What a marvelous example we have to follow: our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2.21)! We ought often to thank God for this blessing.

We will not fare as well as did our Lord in meeting temptation (Romans 3.23). However, we do have the ability to resist temptation and we CAN be successful in our battle with Satan and S-I-N! Three points should make this clear to us. Please study the references attached to these points…

  1. We have a HEAVENLY EXAMPLE (Luke 4.1-13).
  2. We have a HEAVENLY ASSURANCE (1 Corinthians 10.13).
  3. We have a HEAVENLY PRESCRIPTION–Revelation 3.10. The saints at Philadelphia were commended by the Lord. They had kept His word of PATIENCE. That word means: “to continue to bear up despite difficulty and suffering … to put up with…” [Louw-Nida]. God’s Word is that which makes it possible to resist temptation (Psalm 119.11).

An “entire alphabet of help” (26 total) from Scripture to resist temptation…

In order to meet temptation with Christ, we must. . .

  • A.  “Keep the word of Christ’s patience” (Rev 3:10).
  • B.  Know the Bible (Psalms 119:11).
  • C.  Be godly (2 Peter 2:9).
  • D.  Look for the way to escape temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • E.  Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32).
  • F.  Use the “Spiritual EPA” (Philippians 4:8).
  • G.  Follow the Example of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • H.  Pray (Matthew 26:41).
  • I.   KNOW that we are ABLE to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • J.  Don’t allow temptations to discourage and then destroy (1 Peter 5:6-7).
  • K.  Refuse to allow Satan to create doubt in your mind about what God has said or what He really means (Genesis 3:4-5).
  • L.   Refuse to believe Satan’s lie that something good will come from doing something evil (Genesis 3:4-5).
  • M. Do not allow Satan to use your God-given ability to envision, visualize, and fantasize to create a picture of the pleasure of sin–these pleasures are ONLY for a season (Genesis 3:4-5; Hebrews 11:25).
  • N.   Remember that when God says NO to something it is NOT to diminish your pleasure, but to ENHANCE it (John 10:10).
  • O.  Remember this world is not your home (1 Peter 1:17).
  • P.   Think about the NEW ways God can use you as you choose not to yield to temptation (Hebrews 11).
  • Q.  THINK about how much might be riding on the decision you are about to make (Matthew 16:26).
  • R.   Realize that it is OK to be angry about SIN (John 2:13; Mark 3:5)–Personalize the enemy:  SATAN.
  • S.  Beware of your STRENGTHS (1 Corinthians 10:12).
  • T.  Shift your energy from preoccupation with life’s inconveniences and your own pain to GOING TO WORK FOR THE LORD–Put on the Lord Jesus (Romans 13:14).
  • U.   Know that the way out of temptation is THROUGH it–Patiently endure it and do so with JOY (James 1:2).
  • V.  Understand that the Bible speaks of SINS OF IMAGINING (e.g., Matthew 5:27-28).
  • W. Do not waste time devising evil plans or making provision for the flesh, BUT rather put on the Lord Jesus (Romans 13:14).
  • X.  Do not forget about the OMNISCIENCE OF GOD–Some day all that you thought was secret and hidden will be made manifest and made known (Luke 8:17).
  • Y.  Appreciate and use the DISCERNING POWER OF GOD’S WORD (Hebrews 4:12).
  • Z.   Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Life on this earth is filled with trials, temptations, and disappointments. In order to live the best way it is possible to live here, we must be determined to:  MEET TEMPTATION WITH CHRIST.

Properly Observing

pexels-photo-208315
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What an important chapter Mark 15 is! We need often to read it and the parallels. We need often to go to the cross. It will help us to be better people. Below we are placing an outline of the chapter which also gives the parallels from the other three accounts of the life of Christ (taken from NKJV headings)…

  1. Pilate Tries Jesus (Mark 15.1-14; Matthew 27.1-2; Matthew 27.11-23; Luke 23.1-5; Luke 23.13-23; John 18.28—19.15).
  2. Jesus is Beaten (Mark 15.15-23; Matthew 27.26-34; Luke 23.24-32; John 19.16-22).
  3. Jesus is Crucified (Mark 15.24-41; Matthew 27. 35-56; Luke 23.33-39; John 19.18; John 19.23-30).
  4. Jesus is Buried (Mark 15.42-47; Matthew 27.57-61; Luke 23.50-55; John 19.38-42).

I have pasted in my Bible a clipping from some bulletin somewhere. I have seen it many places over the years. I do not know who originated it. I first remember seeing it back in the early 1980s. It is designed as a HELP IN PROPERLY OBSERVING THE LORD’s SUPPER. It focuses on numbers related to the cross, thus it is related to the material recorded in Mark 15 and the parallel renderings listed above. I hope it may be of help in some way to focusing the mind in the proper direction to observe properly the simple memorial Jesus has included in the worship of the church.

THE LORD’S SUPPER…

  1. There is ONE Lord (John 14.6). Who is the Lord of YOUR life?
  2. There were TWO thieves (Luke 23.39-43). Which might you have been?
  3. There were THREE crosses. One thief a REBELLER (Luke 23.39). One thief a REPENTER (Luke 23.40). And there was Christ, the REDEEMER (1 Peter 1.18-19).
  4. There were FOUR parts of Jesus’ garment, and a prophecy  (John 19.23-24).
  5. There were FIVE wounds (John 19.34). Remember the pain.
  6. There were SIX hours (our time) of crucifixion (Mark 15.25-37). Remember the suffering.
  7. There were SEVEN sayings on the cross
    1. Luke 23.34… Forgiveness
    2. Luke 23.43… Salvation
    3. John 19.26-27… Compassion
    4. John 19.28… Suffering
    5. Matthew 27.46… Loneliness
    6. John 19.30… Victory
    7. Luke 23.46… Tremendous Trust

e-Tract Rack Plus

TFTWappA little over five years ago I downloaded a new APP for my iPod—it is now on my iPhone. The source is Truth for the World. You can easily download it for yourself by clicking HERE. My iPhone is now officially, an e-Tract Rack PLUS!!! It could be a personal worker’s great friend. It has many ways to be helpful to someone who would like to teach the LOST God’s truth. Would you like to have an enormous tract rack in your pocket or purse? If so, I think I have found something to bless your life!

From this APP it is possible to stream audio or video from the TFTW site. The audio and video is streamed, but there are parts of the APP that are available for use offline. The APP is divided into six parts: (1) Listen; (2) Watch; (3) Read; (4) Courses; (5) Study; and (6) About Us. If I have it counted correctly, there are these wonderfully helpful resources…

  • 73 Tracts
  • 95 other articles
  • A 12-lesson Study Guide for Teaching the Lost from John Grubb
  • A 1-Lesson BCC about Salvation.
  • Link to Online BCCs
  • Link to the TFTW podcast

I recommend this beautiful APP. If you will simply read the things available to read on it YOURSELF, you will be so much more prepared to be helpful to the 7 billion people on planet earth, the bulk of whom are lost and headed to torment.