Tag Archives: Evangelism

Rocky’s Ramblings Christian Discipleship Course

GREETINGS! Welcome to my ministry website, where I hope your desire is to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. Whether you are a new Christian, have been a Christian for some time, or someone thinking about God’s invitation to accept Jesus Christ, the daily lessons of this course will give you a firm understanding of Christianity.


YOU ARE WELCOME TO DOWNLOAD AND STUDY THE COURSE FREE OF CHARGE or use it to teach your own discipleship class (more on that below). My most recent update was to add an appendix of all of the Bible references complete with the passages from NASB, and I fixed a few hyperlink errors. So, if you’ve been here before, and it has been a while since you downloaded a copy, you may want to download a new copy.

Let’s get started! Choose one of the following large green buttons to download a copy of the course and save it where you can access it daily.

The first is labeled INTERNET PDF. It is formatted to run on a smartphone, tablet or computer, and will allow you to click on links that will take you directly to Bible passages, articles, and such.

The second is labeled PRINTABLE COPY. If you do not have a smartphone or tablet that you can access daily, the printable copy has been formatted to print on standard letter-size paper (8.5″ x 11″). Let me warn you ahead of time that if you print the whole course all at once, it will print out on 203 pages, so printing double-sided will save you a lot of paper. If you don’t need the written Bible references, you can avoid printing Appendix B by printing only pages 1-147, saving a substantial amount of paper. This copy does have all of the hyperlinks, which of course will do you no good once you print it on paper. So, you will need to have a Bible at your side.

OUR PRIMARY TEXT: You will see in the introduction to the course that it is based on The Christian Life New Testament with Master Outlines & Study Notes (ISBN 9780840721785) available from a number of retail outlets. Use the button above to find one for yourself. NOTE that having a copy of this New Testament with the outlines is not absolutely necessary; the course is written to teach the specific topics without having to rely on the outline. But, I encourage you to get a copy for yourself and use it as a guide to launch beyond what you can learn in the daily lessons of this course.

LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR: I have written this in English. But, through the wonders of the internet, you can put it through this translator to translate it into your language. Just download whichever copy fits your needs and then come back to this translator:

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TEACHING YOUR OWN SESSION:

I have a discussion guide for you should you desire to use this course to teach your own discipleship class – which I highly recommend as part of our Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

Let me suggest that you keep it simple. Direct your group to this website so that they can download the course. Then, encourage them to go through the lessons, one each day, and get the group together once a week to discuss the 7 lessons of the previous week (perhaps over coffee and dessert). As your students get through the first two sections of the course, start encouraging them to get out and share what they are learning through their own personal evangelism. That’s the key that unlocks the door to the multiplication that Jesus taught His disciples! If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to discuss moving forward, please contact me at RockysRamblings@gmail.com. I would also love to hear your success stories and the creative ways that you are using this course.

The Power Greater than the Storm

I returned home on Easter Sunday from ministering to victims of the tornado that hit Newnan, Georgia on Thursday, March 25, 2021. I have to begin by saying that as a Rapid Response Chaplain with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, I have seen much devastation and human response to that devastation. But, I have also seen God working within the midst of the storm and aftermath in ways that cause me to shout with praise and worship to our God, learning that there are reasons why He allows us to go through storms.

In spite of the devastation of property in and around Newnan, Georgia, not one life was lost. There was one man, stressed over the storm just 2 days before the marriage of his daughter, who died of a heart attack. Without taking anything from the significance of his death and the grief of his family – especially given the timing – he was not killed by the storm. Why am I making this point? Because no thinking observer could possibly believe that such a storm could hit with the force that this one did without the loss of life…that is, without divine intervention.

As we went about our work, we saw house after house after house that were saved from the falling trees and flying debris. Trees that could have – some of which should have – fallen on houses, fell harmlessly around the houses. Houses that were destroyed by the storm did so in such a way that people inside were saved. One house in particular was flattened except for an upstairs bathroom, where the owner – an overseer of a number of local churches – had jumped into the bathtub at the last possible second before the tornado hit. The storm took the house down, but dropped the bathtub under the bathroom ceiling and wall which formed a perfect A-frame to protect him. When we talked with him, he could not tell us why he ran upstairs against all instructions on how to protect yourself from a tornado. But, that was the only piece of the house left intact. There were far more stories just as miraculous.

We also saw far more local volunteers turning out with our Samaritan’s Purse camp than we normally see. Local residents who were not impacted by the storm turning out in droves to help those who were. People were celebrating the complete protection of every person in the community and celebrating the huge turn-out – spontaneous praise and worship happening everywhere.

One volunteer came up to me while we were visiting a home that his team was working on to offer 200 Easter baskets that his church north of town had put together for the children impacted by the storm. He asked me to be on the look out for who and how they could turn them over to for dissemination. We stopped by a church just 2 blocks from this house for lunch being offered for storm victims and workers. I approached a woman who seemed to be an organizer, and made the offer on behalf of this volunteer and his church. She immediately praised God and said that she was organizing 3-4 sites that would love to coordinate disseminating them. She took me into the church and showed me – not only Easter baskets that had been brought in for the same thing – but also massive amounts of supplies. She explained that she wasn’t even from this church, but was just following God’s prodding to get out and find a way to coordinate supplies – supplies that she didn’t even have! Just as she arrived at the church, a man driving a large truck approached her and asked if she would like to take his truck-full of supplies – water, food, paper products, etc. When she praised God and accepted the payment, he said, “We have 2 more trucks full.” God had anointed this young woman to do a job without even telling her where the supplies would come from!

Utility workers, law enforcement officers, first responders, and Christian organizations came from miles around, ready to do whatever they could to help get this community back on its feet. What better way to spend the Holy Week approaching Easter than by helping resurrect a community from a storm. The atmosphere was filled with more hopefulness than in any storm aftermath I’ve ever worked. I could not help but praise God for what I saw happening amidst the devastation and ruin – neighbors reaching out to neighbors, helping and forming bonds in ways that you don’t see when everything is calm and everyone is relaxing in their lounge chairs sipping lemonade.

So, what happened the night this horrible tornado hit Newnan? God is what happened! God showed Himself in the protection of a community that has been praying for a revival for four years. We were seeing God’s answer to this prayer come in the form of a tornado! Christians saw Him at work. People from the surrounding area saw Him at work. Even non-believers could not deny that there was a power greater than the storm at work that night!

There is only one power greater than any storm you may be going through in your life. Turn to Him and He promises to stick closer than a brother, to go with you through the storm – whatever that storm is. Don’t put it off; He IS the power greater than the storm!

https://stepstopeace.org/

Only God Can Remove Your Sin

I’m going to take a break from reviewing Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos to give you what I believe is a real-world application of apologetics – a real-world situation that has hit a little close to home with more than one person near and dear to me.

Up until the end of the 1930’s, alcoholism was considered to be a hopeless condition. The medical community realized that once the evils of alcohol had gripped a person to the point of compulsion, there was no hope. Such a person was doomed to be destroyed by alcohol with no chance of being healed. In 1939 a group calling itself Alcoholics Anonymous came out with a plan by which alcoholism could be removed from a person – a 12 step program for alcoholics to process and find their victory over this evil spirit of alcoholism. Allow me to group and abbreviate the 12 steps for the purposes of this posting.  

Step 1 is to come to the realization that you are powerless over alcohol, if left to your own resources.
Step 2 is to realize that turning to God, as you understand him, is the ONLY hope of healing from this disease.
Step 3, then, is to make the conscious decision to turn your life over to God and ask Him to take control of your will and your lives.
Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 are to take moral inventory, admitting and turning over your wrongs to God and ask that these wrongs be removed from you.
Steps 8-12 are to ask God to help you make amends for harms done, and to continue this process on a daily basis.

That sounds a lot like the problem we all have with sin in our lives. We were all born with a sin nature that separates us from God, and no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, we cannot cross the chasm between us and God of our own resources. Our condition is hopeless without turning to God, the only One who can remove our sin nature. The steps to this victory over death are the same basic steps as those of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program.

Steps to Peace with God

  1. To realize that the chasm between us and God cannot be bridged of our own power.  
    • Romans 3:23 – ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
    • Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
  2. To come to the realization that the only way out of death, our wages of sin, is to turn to Jesus Christ, who has paid the price of death for us.
    • 1 Timothy 2:5 – “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”
    • 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
  3. To make a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to turn our lives over to Him in order to cross the chasm between us and God.
    • John 1:12 – “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
    • Romans 10:9 – “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  4. To pray the Sinner’s Prayer through which we recognize our own sinful nature, repent of that sinful nature, and then to ask God to forgive us of our sins, come into our hearts and take control of our lives.
  5. From that point on, we are admonished to allow the Holy Spirit to continue bringing our sins to our conscious minds, that we can repent of them, seek forgiveness, and ask God to help us make restitution for them. And we are further admonished to pick up our cross daily.

In the very real-world situation of alcoholism, we can see that this process works to give people victory over something that left them hopeless without turning to God. In just as real a situation, and far more consequential on an eternal scale, God has given us that same opportunity for victory over our sins, and eternal life over death.

The Toughest Questions Christians Face

I want to move into reviewing a new video series, also part of the One Minute Apologist series by Bobby Conway. This series of seventeen video shorts (each from 1 to 3 minutes in length) deals with the toughest questions that we face in defending our faith. I don’t know how long it will take; I’ll just have to dig in and see how much it makes sense to cover in each. Remember that these are from the One Minute Apologist, not a resource to give you exhaustive (and exhausting) information with which to bury someone who dares question our faith. Rather, it is to give us quick ways to respond to such questions in ways that allow the person question our faith to see that there is viable evidence of the truths contained in the Bible, and upon which our Christian faith is built.

Let’s begin by looking a quote by Voltaire, which says: In beginning God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since. The point of that is to scoff at the very idea that God should be just as we think He should be, or as we would like Him to be. But it begs the larger question of whether God is merely some invention of the human mind, as atheists might think.

This is the question that Bobby Conway asks Sean McDowell, professor, speaker, author, apologist, in the first video in this series on the Toughest Questions Christians Face. The problem with believing that God is a human construct of any sort is the amount of compelling evidence that He is real. Everything from the creation to the incredible amount of information contained in a single cell. Add the fact that the laws of physics have to be incredibly fine-tuned to sustain life, and the historical evidence of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the most historically documented life in world history.

The second video examines a question that I have dealt with in other posting: whether or not the Bible is Historically Reliable. For this video, Bobby Conway returns to an interview with Frank Turek. Frank begins answering this question by listing six lines of testimony that begin with the letter ‘E’.

  1. Early Testimony – scriptures of the Holy Bible are ancient documents, with the New Testament being a testimony of the life of Jesus and the beginnings of the New Testament Church that was available as early as 70 AD.
  2. Eye-Witness Testimony – there are some 140 details between the Book of Acts and the Gospel of John that have been verified by eye-witness accounts, or could only have been known by an eye-witness.
  3. Embarrassing Testimony – which are details that the authors of the books contained in the Holy Bible would not have shared unless they were verifiably true.
  4. Excruciating Testimony – which are details that led to the brutal death of the people teaching them. Who would do that unless these details were true and more important than their own lives. They could have saved themselves by simply denying things like the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  5. Expected Testimony – Biblical prophecy from which we have expected testimony of the fulfillment of the prophecies. We see this all through the Bible, especially the New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy surrounding the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  6. Extra-Biblical Testimony – there are 10 ancient, non-Christian sources from the time of Jesus Christ that reference Jesus Christ. When you put the testimonies of these sources together, you get a storyline that is congruent with the life of Jesus Christ.

So, through the first two videos of this series, we now have a defense for people who question whether God is real or a construct of the human mind, and for the historical accuracy of the Bible.