Monday, October 19, 2009

Can a Movie Outreach Still Work?

Tried and True Method

Ever since the days of the prophecy “Big 3” men have tried to reach their cities through movie outreaches. It would be easy to look at what we’ve done here this week and say, “When’s that boy gonna get creative.” It’s such a simple thing. Find a movie you can preach on, and show it. Could anything be less complicated? In America, I could do a movie outreach in my sleep.

First of all there’s flyers. In California, no problem, a quick moment on the excellent and efficient So Cal Fellowship Graphics website. ( And flyers will be tastefully and artistically rendered with all pertinent information and delivered directly to your door. Note: No payment was made for this shameless plug, at least not YET!

Secondly, A few calls to pioneer pastors, who owe you one, and an announcement or two over the pulpit and a fully equipped ARMY, eagerly descends on your city to do battle with the principalities and powers of darkness; to snatch the souls of men from the very gates of hell. Sometimes they even pass out flyers, too.

Third, bright, shiny, newly purchased equipment is lovingly and gently set up and carefully prepared in pristine conditions for the comfort the visitors who come to your church to see the epic drama you will present.

Then finally it’s “Game Time.” Hundreds of open, hungry people show up, standing in line for hours to see the movie that holds the secret of salvation for them. They are literally making every effort to keep from throwing themselves on the altar and crying out, “What must I do to be saved,” before the movie is even over.

The words of your Altar Call drip from your lips. The response is overwhelming. The City is turned upside down. Okay maybe it’s not quite that easy.

But here, in Taiwan, it is only that simple for the men who have been here for years. I had a few struggles to overcome.

The first was flyers: Finding a printer was a little difficult. There is no phone book. You can’t just grab the yellow pages and look it up. And even if you could, I don’t read enough Chinese to recognize the Chinese word for printer. It does no good to drive around because I can’t read the signs, either. But, resourceful guy that I am, I called up Pastor Robert in Zhongli and he talked to his printer.

The second was the design: It takes special software and a special font to type in Chinese. I don’t have it. So each character has to be created by hand in a graphics program. But…you have to know the character to be able to do that; because of that a strategy was born. Aim for young people that are interested in learning English. So I made the flyers in English. Then I took a flyer that had the church name, address and phone number in Chinese and “cut and pasted” it onto my design. That way they could give it to cab driver and he could read it.

The Third was the language barrier with the printer: He had no idea what I was saying and I got about every 4th word of what he was saying. I understood marginally, he just smiled. So I had to ask Pastor Robert’s wife, Nicole, to communicate with him. Then I found out that I couldn’t design on 8 1/2 “ by 11” paper I had to use A4. A4 is a bit larger, so I had to fix it. Because of all this the flyers were received Saturday morning…the day of the event. I felt pretty stupid.

But my family and I, and a friend from the Zhongli church, Eugene, made it to the outreach. In two hours we passed out 700 flyers, and had an opportunity to witness to a number of groups of young (Middle School, High School and University) students. Three people made it to the event. We showed "Facing the Giants" and served popcorn and Coke. We got to know some people and contacts were made. One visitor, a teacher, wants to bring her entire class to see the movie. Maybe it will result in an inroad into the English School where she teaches. No one got saved at this event but we made some contacts and met a couple of people we can follow up on. Sunday morning we had two more visitors who did get saved.

Now I’ve got it figured out…Next month we are gonna TEAR IT UP!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vision Beyond the Horizon

The Vision

In light of the incredible investment that has been made to send us to this country, there is in our minds a sense that we must be fruitful, that’s the calling placed on all Christians, fruitfulness is an expectation. But I look at that calling in terms of what others have done to facilitate fruitfulness in my ministry.

We have entered into a sacred trust. While those others have never pressed an obligation on me to succeed: To reach certain numbers of people, or to bring about a financial return on investment. There is in me a desire to honor that investment, to honor the sacrifice that others have made.

I understand that none of us think that this is about nickels, numbers and noise, but about the winning of souls to the kingdom of God. It is my desire to diligently pursue my calling in God and honor the vision of Jesus Christ, which is clearly spoken to Paul.

Acts 26: 17 & 18

Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

I want to be able to give the same account for my ministry that he did in testifying to King Agrippa. “Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” I want to be able to stand before God and say the same thing. I want my vision to be His vision.

In the early days of oceanic exploration, it was believed that if a boat sailed out beyond the horizon that it would fall off of the edge of the earth. It took men with vision to pay for ships and equipment that could, in all possibility, result in a crushing financial defeat. It is difficult to imagine the trust that Ferdinand and Isabella had in Columbus. They, like Columbus, were ignited by the possibilities of Columbus’ vision. They can only be called people of vision. I’m thankful to partner with people who have that same kind of vision. I’m grateful for the investment and support of the Colton and Tucson Congregations, Pastor Strutz and Pastor Warner.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Typhoon Revival

The Rains of Revival

As Typhoon Parma was blowing up the Pacific Ocean past the Philippines with winds of 129 mph, another wind began to blow in Taoyuan: The wind of Revival. Arriving just days before the revival, Trevor Fong from Perth, Australia blew into town to preach for us. This is the first revival at the church since our arrival on the island.

Trevor comes well qualified to preach in Taiwan. He pastored the church in Zhong Li for seven years and understands the Taiwanese mindset. He spoke three powerful sermons, dealing with issues that are important to people’s lives. The first was on our response to God. In the audience were 2 university students who heard the message and responded.

The second sermon was on dealing with torment in our lives. This was powerful as a man in the church suffers with anxiety and insomnia. Last night, he told me that as a result of this ministry. He has slept 5 nights in a row without the use of sleeping medication. This is a record for him. Praise God for powerful preaching.

The third sermon dealt with reaching the lost and was an encouragement to the Nieds and to us. I believe that this revival is the beginning of breakthrough for our church.

Typhoon Parma

On my Facebook page, I gave a brief word about the typhoon. It traveled close to Taiwan but did not actually come up on the island. It veered off to the west and seems to be heading away from us now. We have received two solid days of rain but no winds. It is still close enough to turn and make landfall on the southern tip of the Island. This is the same area that was battered so badly in September.

This shows the track of the typhoon. You can see how close it came to Taiwan. Taoyuan is in the northwest corner.

Hualien Earthquake

On the day before the typhoon, a typhoon is a hurricane on the Pacific Ocean, (they’re hurricanes on the Atlantic and typhoons on the Pacific), there was an earthquake in the city of Hualien. At Hualien the earthquake was a magnitude 6.3 quake. For those of you in So Cal who have experienced many of these you can understand the size of the quake. We felt the quake in Taoyuan but it was a minor quake here.

On Facebook, I commented that Taiwan’s shaking. One of the comments that I got back was from one of my closest friends in High School. She said, “What does it take to get people over there to pray?” What indeed? Taiwan needs Jesus. As long as I’m here I’m going to be praying,