it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Tag: evangelism

Heart Day and When the Youth Pray

Heart Day (2/14/15)

Bethany always does something special on Valentine’s Day, especially for the kids. It started this morning with heart shaped Swedish pancakes (above) and this afternoon it was heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (below). It was really fun and the kids are always so excited to have different shaped food. Beyond the food, we didn’t do much else today for V-day other than rest. The kids are still getting over being sick so their noses are running and they’ve got lingering coughs. I had fun playing with them in their Thomas the train tent thingy and we all snuck in some early afternoon naps which was nice.

Heart Day (2/14/15)

After lunch I spent some time reading my Bible and studying a little bit of Czech. I’m really not trying to allow any day to go by where I don’t spend a least a few minutes working on Czech, even if it’s just reviewing or going over my vocabulary flash cards. I WILL learn this language!

Study Hard (2/14/15)

Speaking of language, I had the opportunity to join our church’s youth at their English Camp meeting this afternoon before youth group tonight. They are gearing up for the summer ministry and camp is a big event for them. The entire meeting was done in the Czech language, but one of the young people (his name is Daniel) was kind enough to translate for me. This year’s theme is “You Are Here” and follows the life of Paul in the book of Acts. Basically, the idea is that you might be at one place in your life, but you shouldn’t stay there. God is calling you to “move” from the place you are to where He wants. My team at Josiah Venture helped create this year’s theme and my church had a poster we did out on the table during the meeting (below).

Youth (2/14/15)

The one thing that struck me today during the meeting was that these young people love to pray. You would think a big camp meeting would be a bunch of planning, but it was actually minimal today. Mostly, they wanted to meet and pray AND plan to pray more. Not only did we spend an extended time asking the Lord to bring many unbelievers to camp, but later they setup a time that on Wednesdays at 9:30pm they would all seek to pray either together or alone for the camp…every single week until the summer. Ondra, the leader of the youth ministry, gave them a charge to continue to pray and stay in the Word of God as they prepare for the summer ministry. I was encouraged and challenged. Here’s a photo I got as they all prayed in their native tongue.

Youth (2/14/15)

At youth group tonight (after the camp meeting), we spent more time in prayer. I was able to sit with the two young men, Ondra and Marian (who lead the music), and listening to them share their hearts was just incredible. Marian shared that his vision is to see another 35-70 young people join the youth ministry through evangelistic efforts. He said he wants to go out in to the community with the other youth from the church, play music, share the gospel, and invite young people to church. I’ve been doing youth ministry for a while now and I don’t remember an 18-19 year old with that kind of vision. Not only that, he setup a time next week to do just that and has sent out invitations on Facebook, inviting lots of unbelievers. We prayed they would come next week. Lord, make it so.

Youth (2/14/15)

I had a great time building relationships with the youth at our church and I left so encouraged. Their heart to see their community reached with the gospel is inspiring. Their passion to see Christ exalted is exhilarating. And their desire to pray and bring it all to the Lord is humbling. Do I pray like that? I couldn’t help but think, “What happens when the youth pray like this?” What happens when the young people take the gospel to their unreached friends with fervor and compassion? I have no doubt it’s like a fire that can’t be stopped. Oh sure, Satan with do whatever he can to stop it, but we serve the King! The war has been won by the Savior and we can all go out boldly. When young people pray like this, asking for God’s help and His grace, I know God will give it in abundance.

Pray with us for these youth. I was so encouraged by them tonight and we want them to see their vision realized. In the end, it means more souls in the Kingdom of God and all glory to the King of Kings.

Trees and Testimonies

More Than Trees (1/20/15)

You do some crazy things when you’re up early because of jet lag. For us, that meant pushing our dead and dry Christmas tree out the window of our apartment at around 6am this morning. We had already eaten breakfast at that point, and we were ready for some excitement, I guess? And I went with my gut which was thinking that if we left it by the trash cans that the trash truck would take it away and I’m happy to report that my gut was right! Later today the trash truck came and hauled it away which was kind of a load of my mind.

More Than Trees (1/20/15)

Later today I was a part of a meeting which could lead to some incredible fruit for the Kingdom if it plays out. Basically, Josiah Venture was meeting with an organization that helps do Internet evangelism. They are committed to the Gospel and the local church and I believe the Lord is blessing their efforts. Even hearing from one of their leaders today I was just impressed with his heart for the lost and his passion for this generation. These aren’t just smart guys with computers, but genuine evangelists that know we have been given an incredible tool in the Internet to get the gospel to the lost of the entire world.

In fact, one of the big parts of this online site is a place for people to share their testimonies once they have put their trust in Christ. As we looked at the different pages of lots of people I was reminded just how important it is to hear testimonies of the work of Christ in the lives of people. And it’s those stories that this organization is leveraging in order for more people to hear the Gospel. It’s really incredible just how God is using this unique ministry and I’m looking forward to being part of how Josiah Venture can be involved in using their technology to reach young people in Central and Eastern Europe.

Lastly, back at home, we’ve made a tiny bit of progress with jet lag. The kids slept until a little after 1am which is better than the previous two nights. We’re still really off and we even enjoyed breakfast burritos today at 5:00am. It makes me laugh as I think about it, but then again I’m really tired so just about anything right now could probably make me get the tired giggles.

EXIT Tour

UPDATE: Kevin Dickson, the EXIT Tour director in Czech, wrote a comment saying, “48 bibles were given out last night with over 40 people saying that they want to know more about Jesus.” Those are incredible numbers and we praise the Lord for his work in the lives of young people over here!

It’s late so I’m going to keep it short tonight. I had the privilege of being part of a ministry event tonight that is put on by the local churches called “EXIT Tour.” The Josiah Venture team helps put the event on and it’s an evangelistic outreach event that happens all week in public high schools and culminates on Friday or Saturday night. Throughout the week the EXIT team takes over schools doing music, teaching, ethics training, and just spends time with students. There are after school activities where they continue to build relationships with the students and the churches are involved. At the concerts at the end of the week the students hear the gospel, many of them for the very first time.

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

That’s exactly what happened tonight and I was there capturing photos and video alongside my teammate Daniel. We’re hoping to tell some of the story of what God has been doing at these events where over 60,000 young people have been able to hear the gospel since the tour began a few years ago. It’s amazing how music is such a universal language that can bring many people together.

Here’s a few photos from tonight, most of them of the band and the concert. A lot of great conversations happen after the concert, including passing out Bibles. If you think of it, please pray for this team and the churches here who will welcome many young people to church this Sunday.

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Bethany and I both enjoy reading. I recently started J.I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God and I can not recommend it enough.

The first chapter alone is worth the book, but as I continue to read I’m finding that each chapter brings old truth to a new light for me. Often as Christians we struggle to find a balance between God’s sovereign work and our human responsibility, especially as it relates to evangelism. I believe J.I. Packer has provided us a great resource in understanding these often difficult truths. Though I feel I’m well taught in church on the sovereignty of God, I’m blown away at Packer’s simplicity and ease of writing on the subject as it pertains to the work of evangelism. This is a great resource. Go get yourself a copy–you will be encouraged.

A few quotes that have stood out to me already:

You have never for one moment supposed that the decisive contribution to your salvation was yours and not God’s. You have never told God that, while you are grateful for the means and opportunities of grace that he gave you, you realize that you have to thank, not him, but yourself for the fact that you responded to his call.

For where we are not consciously relying on God, there we shall inevitably be found relying on ourselves.

The truth about salvation has been made known to us, not for us simply to preserve (though we must certainly do that), but also, and primarily, for us to spread. The light is not meant to be hidden under the bushel. It is meant to shine; and it is our business to see that it shines. “You are the light of the world,” says our Lord (Mt 5:14-16). He who does not devote himself to evangelism in every way that he can is not, therefore, playing the part of a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

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