Why I’m Passing Out Bible Tracts This Halloween

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This Halloween, I’m doing something a little different.

Fall is already here. The leaves have already changed their colors. I’ve got pumpkins. (And I’ve already skipped a season ahead and started thinking about Christmas, but that’s something for a different day.) Whether or not I will wear a costume, is yet to be decided (something lazy and easily put together is most likely).

But when it comes to Trick-or-Treat, I’ve put together a slightly different game plan.

In addition to the typical candy that the kids beg for, I’ve decided to add Bible tracts to the evening’s treats.

If you’re thinking I’m a religious nut who’s off her rocker, you can put that idea aside.

If you’re a Christian who thinks that Halloween and the Bible don’t go together, stick with me for a minute. There are some reasons that, if you love the Gospel, you might see how I came to decide that I’m passing out Bible tracts this Halloween.

The World Is Getting Darker

I’m not talking about a solar minimum or global warming or some scientific weather phenomenon. If you watch the world news or the local news, it can seem that the world is getting darker. Maybe not from last night’s news compared to this evening’s, but major events can give you pause and wonder what kind of world this is. This decade compared to one or two decades ago – generally speaking, more darkness. More evil. School shootings, workplace shootings, the erosion of the family unit. Drug addiction has gripped the poor and the wealthy alike on a massive scale. There is still much beauty, peace, and cause for joy in the world, and the light of Christ and the truth of the Bible is still desperately needed in the world. God is love, and those of us that love the Lord and believe in Him know that his Love transcends racial division, economic lines, and all the other problems we may see on TV.

I am the Church

I’m not a religious fanatic, and I don’t attend a church. That’s right. I’m passing out Bible tracts on Halloween, but I do not attend church services or belong to a local church. But, as God’s own, as Jesus’ own, I’m bought and paid for with a price. I am His, He is mine. I am the church. I don’t need anyone’s authority to tell others about the Lord; it’s mine. The same goes for you if you love the Lord. While you might be a bold person who can start a conversation about Jesus in any time, at any place, that’s not my personality. Passing out Bible tracts on Halloween is my way of evangelizing in a way that lets people throw out the message if they want no part of it, or they can choose to read it if they want. They can read it in secret and trash it if they’re offended. The message is there for kids and adults alike.

A Bible Tract May Be Someone’s Only Chance to Hear the True Gospel

In America, feel-good religion is very common and popular. Pay the TV evangelist for a blessing, or pay your pledge to the church and God will bless you. Telling the simple truth that Jesus is the only way – and the free gift to salvation – this doesn’t get told all that often. Prosperity Christianity is becoming more common, with pastors saying what people want to hear, rather than encouraging people to get the Bible and read for themselves what God has to say. And for children in particular, public schools have shown God the door long ago, and being the gentleman that He is, He stepped aside. A Bible tract can give kids and adults the opportunity to have the gospel presented to them in an easy way when a church or a Christian friend is not a possibility.

So, this Halloween, I can’t wait to see how the kids in my neighborhood have chosen to dress up. In the costumes of Superman, princesses, monsters, ghouls, goblins, Disney characters, and all the rest, kids will get their candy, and the adults chaperoning them will find in their trick-or-treat bags a Bible tract that is kid-appropriate. It will stress that God’s gift of salvation is free, open to all, and ready for the taking. Just like the Halloween candy they’ve been collecting all night.

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Fearless

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Decisions can be laced with anxiety. Do I take that job? Do I move forward in this relationship? What should I major in? Where should I go to school? Is this the right time to move? These are all major choices in our lives that can close one door, open another, and make us wonder if we’re on the right or wrong path.

If you grew up in a church where there was a lot of talk about “God’s will for your life”, you might be totally confused about how you’re supposed to make the right decisions in these big moments. The Catholic Church refers to the process of involving God in our big decisions as discernment, and I love how this process has helped me with getting and keeping God involved with the uncertainty that is so abundant in life.

Father Mike Schmitz breaks it down to what I like to call “the four doors of discernment” that can be very helpful with the big, tough decisions. Take these questions and apply it to what you’re considering. With the choice that you’re considering, ask yourself, in this order:

  • Is it a good door?
  • Is it an open door?
  • Is it a wise door?
  • Is it a door that I want?

These points seem so obvious at first glance, but it’s tougher when you actually take the steps and do it. When you’re done, it can take a a lot of weight off your shoulders and give you confidence that you’ve made the right choice.

The first point is the easiest – is it a good door? At first glance, we can usually tell if the Bible speaks for or against something. We know if a choice is to steal, cheat, or lie. Those are never good doors. But the big choices in life often have nothing to do with that. So it’s on to the next question: is it an open door? This is where things change. If every school you’ve applied to has turned you down, then it’s a closed door. If every school has sent you an acceptance letter, those are all open doors. That’s where choices start to be made, with the next step: is it a wise door?

Knowing if a choice is a wise one, this is where things get tricky. Is there any reason why something wouldn’t be a wise choice? Would it be wiser to stay or go at this season of your life? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your own character that you have that would make this the best decision? Is this a wise choice, or are you choosing it out of a desire for a short-term fix, rather than a long-term answer? What are all the consequences of your potential decision? Anything you haven’t considered that a wiser person might be able to give you insight on? Have you sought counsel from someone who seeks to live according to God’s values, someone like a mentor, parent, or friend? These are some questions we can ask ourselves.

The last discernment question Father Mike gives us is probably the most surprising: Is this a door that I want? Our Heavenly Father is so gracious to us that He wants us to have freedom in our lives. He wants us to have life. He wants us to love and be loved. We have choices, many choices, although these choices can be overwhelming at times. We get to choose, and choose often. It is with this freedom that we are given the promise of Isaiah 41:10, that tells us “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.”

When we have considered the significant decisions in our lives, sought out wise counsel, and covered our decisions in prayer, the discernment process can help us make wise decisions. We can be confident, bold, brave, and fearless.

 

Book Review: Kingdom Single

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Depending upon the denominational circles in which she finds herself, a Christian woman might be the exception if she isn’t married by 25, making it difficult to find peers who can relate to her life as a Christian single in a world where sex before marriage and cohabitation are the norm.

There are plenty of books that tell Christian singles what not to do (don’t fornicate, wait on the Lord for a Godly spouse) and lots of books tell Christian teens how to Biblically date or court. But many of these books are geared toward the younger crowd who aren’t yet in the “career” age yet.

It was with this reality that I was really excited about Tony Evans’ new book Kingdom Single.  One of the bullet points on the back cover says that God has a mission for you to join now, as a single. You don’t have to wait until you’re married to have a rewarding life. Even if you never get married, you can still live fulfilled and satisfied as a whole person, with a happy life. This is a very different approach from any other Christian book on singleness that I’ve read, so I was really excited about it.

But it wasn’t long into Kingdom Single that the book fell flat. While it has some positive ideas, the way they’re explained falls short. One in the beginning is that you shouldn’t just wait idly in your life wondering where your mate is, but you should be busy with your mission in life. This is a powerful idea that I agree with, but the example used to illustrate it is so bizarre that it wasn’t of much help. Tony uses the Biblical example of Adam and Eve’s creation in Genesis 2. We see very clearly that God looked at Adam and said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and from that, God decided to make a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18). This is also why Eve was created – because of Adam’s lack of a suitable helper. Tony says that Adam wasn’t looking around wondering where his woman was, and that when Eve was created, she wasn’t looking for her man. And that’s correct- but Adam was only on Earth for seven days (literal or metaphorical, we could debate), and Eve was created for the sole purpose of being a helper to her husband, before sin and corruption entered the world, so she didn’t have to endure a long process of having to wonder where her husband was, if he existed, how to find him, and so on. For the single Christians wondering where their suitable partners are, this example is not the best one to look at and say that Christian singles should just be busy about their business not wondering where their suitable partners are. If anything, Genesis 2 validates a Christian single’s desire to feel loved and supported by a marriage partner. Better examples for both sexes on how to live out a calling and what to search for in a partner could be found in Proverbs 31; this passage has incredible mileage for both sexes as it gives women something to aspire to and men something to pursue. (And a Proverbs 31 woman can make some assumptions that for the virtues she’s pursuing, her man can meet her standards of Godliness as well.)

Another part of Kingdom Single that made this such a difficult book to read – and why I didn’t finish it – was the lack of practical suggestions or examples from people living today. The examples were all from the Bible, and while I appreciate Biblical examples, living examples are good too. While the premise of Kingdom Single was promising, it didn’t read as a book written for single people on how to live out their singleness in a Godly way. It just seemed to be a book on how to life a Godly life with the word “single” or “kingdom single” slapped on in various places. The content didn’t match well to what the book was supposed to be about.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Kingdom Single from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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PREPARE Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture

As Americans, it’s easy to feel free, but J. Paul Nyquist wants American Christians to be aware of changes to their religious liberty. In his new book, Prepare, he explains why American Christians need to ready themselves for changes to their way of life, and why they need to get ready for religious persecution.

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Why, you may ask, is this necessary, when American Christians are free to worship as we please, where we please, how we please? Nyquist explains that persecution is not just physical harm or death, but it comes in many other forms. With this understanding, persecution is coming for many American Christians. He urges those in America to decide how they will respond to this when it happens. He lays out some responses to persecution and explains how large cultural changes in America have happened.

Overall, Prepare is a well-written, thought-out book. For those paying attention to the issues of religious liberty in society at large, a lot of what the author is saying will make a lot of sense.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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