the worlds foremost expert in shallow diving.
Watch as Professor Splash dives from 35 ft. high into a 12 inch kiddie pool:
in Nor Cal with my parents, we had an interesting knock
on the door one morning.
No one besides me was downstairs, so I naturally
went and opened the door.
There before me, stood 2 sweet old ladies.
They greeted me warmly and told me
they were "Christians concerned with the environment."
I smiled at them and by simply glancing down at their "bibles"
discerned that they were Jehovah Witnesses.
JW's are not Christians.
They are a cult of Christianity, taking on some of the forms of Christianity
but not accepting what makes a person a Christian, JESUS.
They began to ask me about my concern about the environment
and immediately thrust a Watch Tower magazine in my hand.
I attempted to politely stop them halfway through their presentation
and told them I knew that they were Jehovah Witnesses.
They told me they were and I freely admitted that I was a
Pastor at an Evangelical church in Orange County.
I than asked them a pointed question.
"Were they familiar with the translation of the Bible they were using?"
JW's use a bible translation called the New World Translation (NWT).
This is a translation of the Bible that is a laughing stock among scholars.
The English translations of the original languages of Hebrew and Greek
are so brutal in this version, you almost have to laugh.
Yet it is not a funny matter when so many people are deceived.
I detail the rest of the conversation with the ladies below in the next post
but for those who would like to get some tips on talking to
JW's at your door and do not have time or patience to read the rest
of my ramblings, here are some bullet points:
#1 - Establish Common Ground with JW's
JW's are extremely serious about their beliefs.
I respect them for their devotion (even when what they are devoted to is false).
Tell the people at your door, you respect them for doing something
so socially difficult, knocking on strangers doors.
Ask them if they would like some water or sunscreen or a chair while you chat.
#2 -Ask them to share their story of how they became a JW
It will help you realize where they are coming from
and make them a real person, not just an argument to be won
#3 - Ask them if you can share with them your story of following Jesus
Your personal story of redemption will be used by the Holy Spirit to
convict, call and soften the JW's heart.
#4 - Ask them to explain the Bible they use
The New World Translation has been absolutely hammered by academia.
In love and grace ask them to defend the translation.
#5 - Ask them who they believe Jesus is.
All conversations, all tangents must ultimately be brought back to Jesus.
Ask them to share their thoughts on Jesus.
#6 - Ask them if you can show them John 8:58-59.
Ask them why they believe the Jewish leaders would want to kill Jesus
for what he says in John 8:58?
Take a moment to explain to them that when Jesus says, "I Am"
he is referring to himself with the name God gives Moses when
Moses asks what he should tell people God's name is.
Humbly explain to them that the original Greek word for "I Am"
"eimi" is found in the present tense and therefore could never mean
what the NWT translation says Jesus says in John 8:58, "I have been."
The religious leaders listening to Jesus, would not have tried to kill him for
saying, "I have been."
#7 - Ask the JW how they can be sure they are going to heaven...
They will not have assurance of salvation.
#8 - Share with them your assurance of salvation based on Jesus' work on the cross and your personal belief and acceptance of Jesus.
#9 - Avoid arguing or trying to "win" or humiliate the people at your door.
Simply be gracious, listen, point them back to Jesus and ultimately tell them you are available to talk if they have additional questions in the future.
#10 - After the leave...pray! pray! pray!
Pray that God will use your words and the power of the Holy Spirit to draw them towards true salvation found in Jesus Christ.
JW's say that Proverbs 8 talks about Jesus being created by God, therefore proving that Jesus cannot be God. A simple reading of the entire chapter of Proverbs 8 will show that the chapter has nothing to do with Jesus and is simply talking about Wisdom (which is one of the key themes of the book of Proverbs).
Sensing we weren't getting anywhere with Proverbs 8, I asked them to turn to John 8:58.
This is a famous passage where Jesus responds to the Pharisees question of who He is by saying, "I Am." This is an obvious reference to Jesus claiming to be God based on the Old Testament description of God as "I Am."
In the NWT, John 8:58 is brutually changed.
It states Jesus saying to the Pharisees,"I have been" instead of every other Greek to English translation which records, "I Am."
The greek word for I Am is "eimi"
This word can mean "I have been" but only if the word "eimi" is changed to its past tense form. In all of the oldest recorded manuscripts the world has of John 8:58, the Greek word found here is "eimi" in the present tense.
It is never found in the past tense in any reliable manuscript.
The JW's play a tricky translation game herein order to have the passage say what they want it to say.
But here is where I made a mistake in my conversation with the ladies.
I began to argue about translations.This didn't seem to lead anywhere with them.
They dug their heels in.
We moved onto other passages and continued debating accurate translations.
Here is where I wish I would have gone with the discussion instead.
To John 8:59.
In John 8:59, we see the Pharisees response to Jesus' words of 8:58.
Their response is to try to stone Jesus with rocks.
To kill him for blasphemy.
Now the Jewish religious leaders followed the law, so how could they justifymurdering Jesus?Only under one condition here...They would only have been justified in killing Jesus only if he had just blasphemed God by claiming to be God himself.
I wish I would have talked to the sweet old ladies about this point.
They believe Jesus was a good person.
They don't believe Jesus ever claimed to be God.
Yet in John 8:59, we see the Jewish leaders ready to kill him for clearlymaking this claim.
If Jesus claimed to be God and wasn't, he is far from being a good person,he is a liar.
The only way Jesus can be justified as good is if he claimed to be God and this claim was actually true.
I wish I could have had the presence of mind to walk thru this argument with the ladies.
But instead I got stuck on arguing translations with them.
Than something surprising happened.
I looked at them in a brief pause in the conversationand I began to cry.
In an instant my heart broke for these two old ladies as I realized that if they didn't believe in Jesus they were destined for Hell because their sins had not been forgiven.
They looked at me kind of funny as I cried and I explained to them through my tears that my heart was broken for them.
I knew we didn't believe the same thingand it was tearing me up.
They smiled awkwardly and the conversation ended quickly thereafter.
I closed the door, sat down on the floor and just sobbed.
Lord, I prayed, Please speak to these ladies.
They are so deceived.May they see you for who you really are Jesus.
The Messiah, our Savior, God.
It was such an emotional experience.
I pray that God will reveal himself to these two followers of the Watchtower and they will see the Amazing Grace of Jesus.
What a story that would make!!
Please Lord, bring these two ladies and draw them to where they can find true living water...
In Jesus Christ.
about 4 miles from my parents house
here in Santa Cruz, California, where Marie, the kids and I
are staying this week.
The view of the fire from my parents house
A family friend of ours called us about 2pm today
to ask us to pray as the fire spread to their property.
My dad and I hoped in the car and drove out
to the fire to try to help our friend.
We got about half-a-mile from the flames before the police
line would not allow us to cross.
It is so crazy to even be that close to a huge forest fire.
We could here propane tanks exploding throughout the valley
as the fire swept through
Our friends as of tonight do not know if their house is standing or not.
Several other family friends have homes in danger in this
1,000 acre blaze,
so please pray for the Watsonville area as you read this!
Saturday Update: The family friends I mentioned above discovered this morning that one of the barns on their property and the house of one of the daughters is gone. Please pray for the Cecy family as they mourn the things they have lost in the fire.
on my years of youth ministry,
I want to take this post and thank those
who God has entrusted to be in authority
over me (My bosses)...
I am so thankful for the following guys impact in my life as a Youth Pastor:
1) Bob Johnson - Bob was the executive pastor of Calvary during my years in youth ministy.
Bob loves God. Bob loves Calvary Church. These two loves gave him such passion to lead our church staff. I am thankful for Bob. Through him, God showed me what it means to be a leader who truly cares for those who have been entrusted to him. I want to care for people like Bob does.
2) David Mitchell - Dave is the Senior Pastor at Calvary Church and has been my boss for the last 10 years. Dave has taught me some key things. He has taught me how to be humble in ministry. He has taught me the value of remembering people's names and their stories. I am very thankful for Dave. One time he wrote me a note in youth ministry I will never forget. He wrote, "Matt, I pray that you will have have a thick skin and a soft heart."
Those words became my prayer through the next several months of some very tough confrontations with students and parents.
I am so grateful for Pastor Dave's decision to allow this 24 year old, single, no seminary training, no outside ministry experience guy named Matt Doan to be part of his team and to have the confidence to allow this rookie to become the high school pastor in 2o01.
3) Eric Wakeling - I love Eric. I truly love this guy. He is authentic. He is relational. He is a great leader. For 7 years, Eric was my boss in Student Ministries. God used Eric in 2 huge ways in my life. One, Eric loosened me up. He allowed me to have fun in ministry, to laugh at myself and at life. Eric's laugh is one of the best things I have ever heard.
God also used Eric to wake me up.
I was in the bad habit early on in ministry of being late to everything.
I mean everything.
And you know what? It didn't really bother me.
I figured, I am busy, people and things can wait.
Eric in a compassionate, but honest way called me out on this.
It was one of the most painful, but best things that has ever happened to me.
I am so grateful for Eric for this.
Thank you Eric for leading me well,
I love you buddy!
4) Jeff Biddle - Jeff was the Student Ministries Pastor and High School Pastor when I started as a high school intern in 1999. Jeff taught me so much about ministry. He taught me how important it was to have personal holiness and integrity. He taught me about offering God the "firstfruits" of my day and my work day. He taught me how to show grace to students, how to be patience with them, how to speak to them, as a group and as individuals. I am forever changed by Jeff's impact in my life. I thank God for him.
5) Jim Wallace, John Norton, Rick Bergstrom
These 3 guys were the elders over student ministries during my time as the High School Pastor.
Jim taught me about consistency and the importance of parent involvement. John taught me about leadership, planning and healthy church discipline. Rick taught me how to serve, how to humbly give yourself away. I love these 3 men and I am proud to call them my friends.
6) Josh Simpson - Josh was the Student Ministries Pastor and my boss for the last year of my time as the High School Pastor. Josh taught me a valuable lesson this year. He taught me how to love and be concerned with the fringe and missing kids in our high school group. Josh is an incredible example of this. I respect him so much for his love for students. Thank you for your encouragement and leadership Josh!
youth ministry, I have many people to thank.
Today, I want to focus on my fellow co-workers over the years
who partnered with me in high school ministry over the last decade.
I often have felt so inadequate and untalented in my role
as a Youth Pastor.
God in his grace continued to bring person after person to Calvary
who passionately followed Jesus, loved students
and filled in the gaps where I was weak.
I thank God for:
Tim Nellis, High School Associate (2000-2003) --Now Pastor at Rancho Bernardo Baptist Church in Rancho Bernardo, Ca
Shane DiLisi, High School Intern & Associate (2001-2005) --Now Youth Pastor at Rancho Baptist Church in Temecula, Ca
Ryan Shook, High School Intern (2001-2003) --Now a Firefighter in Los Angeles, Ca
Kate Yates, High School Intern and High School Associate (1998-2000; 2005-2007)...Now works for Open Doors International Ministry
Victor Estrada, High School Worship Intern & Pastor (2000-2005) - Now is our Worship Pastor at Calvary
Jen Zeulner, High School Intern (2002) - Now works for Project Hangout Ministry
Ryan Zeulner, High School Intern (2002-2003) - Now is the Director of Project Hangout Ministry and the Youth Pastor at Terra Nova Church in Aliso Viejo, Ca
Melissa Brosch, High School Intern (2003-2004), High School Associate (2007-2008) - Now is the High School Director at Calvary
Melissa Huyett, High School Worship Intern (1999-2000) - Now is a teacher in Wisconsin
Dan Sykora, High School Intern (1999-2000) - I don't know where Dan is...Dan is you read this, contact me!
Ryan Slack, High School Intern (2000) - Now works for a web-marketing company in Newport Beach, Ca
Tony Osegueda, High School Intern (2000) - Now is retired, living in Arizona
Natalie Condron, High School Intern (2005) - Now is a chaplain with Olive Crest Foster Care Ministry
Cindy Stuck, High School Intern (2005) - Now is a music teacher in the Orange School District
Matt Gargula, High School Worship Intern (2006-Present) - Continues to do an amazing job as the high school worship leader
Brent Dedmon, High School Associate (2005-2006) - Now is the College Pastor at Calvary and one of the teaching pastors of the church
Peter Pizzuto, High School Associate (2006-2008) - Now is the High School Pastor at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Ca
Blake Boyd, High School Intern (2007-Present) - Blake is currently the year-round intern within the High School Group
Katy Lang, High School Intern (2008-Present) - I loved working with Katy in our short time together!
I hope I listed everyone...I am sure I messed up on some dates,
but the point is:
I love the people listed above.
They are like family to me and Marie.
Today my friends serve at 6 different churches,
in 2 non-profit ministries and 2 schools.
Thank you Tim, Shane, Ryan S., Victor, Jen, Ryan Z., Melissa B, Melissa H., Dan, Ryan, Tony, Natalie, Cindy, Matt G, Brent, Peter, Blake, and Katy.
Each of you has made me a better person, a better follower of Jesus,
a better Pastor.
I praise God for you.
"Thank you Lord for raising up such incredible men and woman
to fill in the gaps where I have been weak.
Thank you for such wonderful friends,
such gifted co-labours in the Gospel,
You are so faithful Lord!"
I want to start with Melissa Brosch (picture from this morning's high school gathering)
Melissa, you have been such a joy to work with,
It has been an honor to co-labour in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you.
I respect you and believe you are a great leader.
Thank you for sending me off with such encouragement and care.
From Thursday's night's student ministries staff dinner
at Bucca Di Beppo's to this morning, I so appreciate all the hard work
you poured into making me feel appreciated.
I am your biggest fan as you and Ryan transition into
leading our High School Group!
Anderson, South Carolina
has recently become one of my favorite blogging pastors:
Check out this recent post from Perry:
"I had some “what if” thoughts the other day that I wanted to share…
WHAT IF the church really believed that Jesus was as powerful as Scripture says that He is?
WHAT IF we were not afraid to BEG GOD for ridiculous things, knowing that He is able?
WHAT IF we REALLY believed that Acts 2:41-47 was actually the starting point of all that God wants to do through the church and NOT the watermark?
WHAT IF we really believed that a life dedicated to Christ means that we are completely His…not just on Sunday?
WHAT IF every church became a cheerleader of other churches and not critics?
WHAT IF we really believed the church existed to CHANGE the world and not just to “meet my needs!”
WHAT IF we really believe that teenagers and children are worth the investment and poured resources into them instead of making them sell doughnuts in front of department stores?
WHAT IF we really believed God’s Kingdom should grow through the church instead of being stagnant?
WHAT IF we were willing to lay aside our personal preferences for the sake of reaching those who are far from God?
WHAT IF we refused to participate in slandering and tearing down another person?
WHAT IF we sought to embrace God’s plan for our lives (and churches) instead of trying to get Him to bless ours?
Those are just some of the things I’ve been wondering… "
GREAT THOUGHTS PERRY!
to shepherd/lead other Christians as
other Christians and telling Non-Christians about Jesus.
at Calvary Church for the last 468 Wednesday's.
Last night was my last one.
It was a pretty emotional night for me.
The point that hit me the hardest was when I ended
my message, closed my Bible and walked off the stage
as the worship team came up...
I had to go to the back of the room for a minute
and just reflect for a moment...
I have loved being the high school pastor.
It will be strange to begin a new season without
being a part of Wednesday night high school gatherings.
I think the thing I enjoyed most about last night
was that ministry was still to be done.
Afterwards I counseled a student who is dealing with
an abusive Dad, another student who is falling into
partying, another who was questioning the theology of Rob Bell.
Completely different issues to deal with but so fulfuilling
to be part of students lives as they process through issues.
Now I transition to having Wednesday nights be
I pray that I will take ministry to my own family
just as seriously and intentionally as I have with
May God be glorified.
I played more softball and basketball over the weekend
An aspect of the retreat that was really cool
But for most people, feelings and decisions made at camp
I have taken high school students to camp for 9 summers.