How Another Doctor Challenged My Faith

surgeon hospital pay

“Hey, so I understand you go to church and all that stuff…”

“Do you really believe that there is a God who created the universe?”

“How do you reconcile all your years of studying science and medicine with your faith?”

These were the blunt question, and sometimes these are the conversations in the operating room (when the situation permits).

My colleague is a bright physician of Jewish descend who sometimes attends synagogue for social reasons because deep down he does not believe in God. So we proceeded to discuss creationism vs. evolution.  I went to the heart of the matter showing him problems in the theory of evolution, particularly relating to speciation. We discussed the Big Bang, and I pointed out problems there including the concept of the expanding and contracting universe necessary for the Big Bang theory; also how the issue of time complicated the matter. After all, the Big Bang does not explain how the universe came to be, it merely places the problem into a different context.

As a naturalist, his only comeback was that science has not yet figured it out.

After a while the Holy Spirit made me realize that this is not the way to handle an apology for the Christian faith.

Next I went to the real heart of the matter.


Because in that name there is power.

As a Jewish man, he was well acquainted with the Davidic kingdom. It was a perfect opportunity to ask him how would he explain the Messianic prophecy of Psalm 22 coming true in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Here we have David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writing one of the most specific prophecies about Christ which came true 1000 years later when Christ was crucified.

“He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” (Ps 22:8)

Evangelists Matthew accounts this exact accusation at the cross by the priests and scribes:

“He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him” (Matt 27:43)

Again in Psalm 22:

“All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” (Ps 22:17-18)

Apostle John accounts this exact detail at the cross:

“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” (John 19:23-24)

I presented this prophecy to my friend including the historical account of its fulfillment.  There was no concept of crucifixion at the time of David, no concept of casting lots of for the victims clothing by the ones crucifying the victim. I asked him, how do you explain such accurate description of the passion of Jesus Christ  as the Messiah written by David 1000 years before it happened?

He was at least somewhat impressed by this outrageous information. He promised to go home and read the Scripture I quoted.

May the Holy Spirit continue his work here.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit Is a Commandment


The Baptism with the Holy Spirit as a separate event from conversion is a commandment in the book of Acts.

Which makes it anything but an optional thing.

Jesus commanded a number of things to His followers among which are the baptism in water, communion with bread and fruit of the vine in His remembrance, and baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Here is the command given to His disciples before His ascension:

“4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

These verses contain an emphatic statement: “he ordered them.” When the Creator of the universe gives an order there is no room for debate. The same order applies to Christians today, in addition to the other commandments that Jesus gave His disciples.

The reason for this commandment is obvious throughout the book of Acts as the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work is critical for effective evangelism, power over demonic forces, and sanctification of the believer.

One cannot be an effective witness for God without the filling with the Holy Spirit:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The born again believer must pursue the filling with the Holy Spirit, must earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit, and must effectively use this empowerment for spreading the Gospel.

How to Evangelize When Challenged by Unbelievers

In my post yesterday (here) I advocated an approach to evangelism which tackles the sinfulness of man head-on, and challenges the unbeliever to see and explain his depravity, and therefore see his need for a Savior.

A more systematic way of applying this concept was developed by the Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron team from The Way of the Master.  It is a brilliant way to target the sinner’s depravity and get him to admit it.

Ray Comfort developed an acronym based on four questions WDJD (described here)

Would you consider yourself a good person?

Do you think you have kept the Ten Commandments?

Judgment by the Ten Commandments: If you were judged based on those 10 commandments, would you be guilty or innocent?

Destiny: do you think you will go to heaven or hell?

A typical conversation starts with the presentation of a “little” sin like lying or cursing using God’s name.

Have you ever lied?  Have you ever taken God’s name in vain?  Have you ever lusted in your heart, or have you ever committed adultery in your heart?

The sinner will say yes. The admission of guilt is the first step in Redemption, and this is one of the strengths of Comfort’s system.

The system concentrates on the unbeliever’s sin and his admission that an action like lying is wrong.  Once the sinner admits he has lied, he is presented with the concept of a holy and just God who cannot accept anyone who is sinful.

An admission of guilt leads to the next question: do you think you can enter heaven after you have committed these sins?

At this point many unbelievers will try to justify their sin by saying they are a good person and they have done many good things in their life, ie. an attempt to gain universal salvation by works.  Like in a “Karma” system.

The unbeliever now is cornered into basically saying: “I am a liar, all liars go to hell, but… I think I go to heaven because I have done many more good things.”  This is a logical absurdity.

At this point the Gospel makes a grand entrance.

The substitutionary sacrifice of God Himself, Jesus Christ makes it possible for liars to go to Heaven if they believe and obey Him. 

The strength of WDJD is that it confronts sin as an introduction to presenting the Gospel.  This is in stark contrast to the Gospel of Love presented in many circles today… God is love, God accepts you as you are…

WDJD way of evangelizing is effective if the unbeliever accepts the Gospel after he is presented with his sinfulness.  It is logical and recommended especially in those situations where unbelievers may have a Judeo-Christian background, but they have ignored its teachings.

An evangelist must understand that exposing sin is extremely important in presenting the need for Jesus, and that is why I think WDJD is useful when you are challenged by unbelievers.

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A Blood Washed Iraq: Update From Narcis

Narcis and his family have moved to a very hostile environment to extend the Kingdom of God in that place.  Keeping specific names of cities censored for their safety, here is an update from them:

Temperature Rising

As we move into the Spring the weather steadily increases in Iraq.  We’ve already hit quite a few 90+ degree days this month and it will only increase from here on in.  The temperature is also rising in a couple of other ways.

There have been widespread protests in Iraq over the last 4 months or so between differing sects and political parties.  This has unfortunately caused violence in the forms of shootings, roadside and suicide bombings.  At least hundreds have been killed!  This tension has recently taken a turn for the worse when …, a city just an hour south of us became one of the focal points of the uprising.  Prompted by certain acts of violence, government officials fired on protesters a couple of days ago, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

What seemed to be happening only in the distant southern part of Iraq now seems to be getting closer to the north.  This is raising fears in many, that with similar sectarian uprisings in Syria and previously other places, these events might invite radical parties to join and devolve into a revolution.  However, as these temperatures rise, one thing is certain.  Our God is an All Consuming Fire and Jesus the Life Giving Spirit still holds the office of Baptizer in the Holy Ghost and Fire!

We believe this region is in the cross-hairs of God’s end-time purposes of filling all things with His Son, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

What’s Been Happening 

F… and I just arrived back home a few days ago from a trip to Baghdad.  It was wonderful being with brother A W, he and his church are a real source of divine life, presence and relief to Baghdad and Iraq.  We were also able to minister in one of the local churches and meet with several of the Pastors from Baghdad to discuss what we might do together towards building the Church and advancing the Kingdom there.  After hearing about the planned House of Prayer and Mesopotamian School of Ministry, they asked us if we would be willing to do something similar with them in Baghdad.

We are praying about how we can partner with them in facilitating a network of prayer for Revival along with training that we can do via modular courses and in various other ways.  On the home-front, we are still working to get registered in the North and finding a location that would suit our needs.  At this point we still need a financial push to be able to do so.  Please let us know, if you or someone you know would be potentially interested in sponsoring this project for Jesus’ Glory!

Getting Involved

One of the things we feel in our spirits as a team, is that God is going to draw more and more attention to the Middle East in these coming days and years.  The same principalities that opposed Daniel in this region are still around, working their best to deceive the nations and sweep literally millions into a Christ-less eternity.  One of the ways we would love your involvement is in the place of prayer.  We host different “prayer sets” for the region and would more than welcome anyone (preferably a few at a time), that would want to stream in with us and join in agreement for God’s manifest Glory in Iraq and beyond.

If you think of us, please pray for God’s tangible abiding presence, grace, wisdom and favor, signs and wonders, and souls souls! If you are interested in learning more about that please email me back and we can contact you back and see how we can connect.  Thank you all precious saints of God for loving Jesus and doing His will.  We are so grateful for all of your friendships, prayers and support and pray that God would deeply mark you all with His precious Life, Death, Burial and Resurrection Glory!

Time for Revival in the Catholic Church

Christianity is undergoing transformation these days, especially the Catholic Church which will soon have a new Pontiff. I would like to propose that we may see a spiritual revival in the Catholic Church with possibly a new guard coming in, as Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down.

The current Pope was the main doctrinarian and theologian of the Catholic Church, and I am inclined to say he was part of an old guard accepting liberal doctrines such as the denying of the physical resurrection, and salvation via the beatitudes. He was elderly to begin with when he was elected, so he was bound to be a transitional figure.

As we are living in the last days, could we be seeing perhaps the last opportunity for a leader in the Catholic Church through whom God will bring in a long overdue revival?

Everyone is talking about revival in the Evangelical Church, but what about revival in the fertile ground of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide today? Image a spiritual revival in this block of people, and imagine the impact a new leader may have toward this purpose.

Imagine a pontiff who may be bold enough to embrace the Charismatic and Pentecostal type movements going on among Catholics in South America, or one willing to move toward reformed positions… a pontiff who is willing to chastise the liberal wings of catholic priests who deny Jesus as the only way to eternal life.

Even here in the US, I have seen sporadic evidence that Catholicism is changing.  I was playing a worship song in the operating room not too long ago, a song known in our Evangelical churches, and to my surprise one of my nurses who is Catholic recognized the song and the band, and said “we sing this song all the time at mass.”

After my initial shock I got more information, and it turns out that for some time now their church is holding evangelical style services, with worship songs that typically have a Reformed or Pentecostal message… followed by sermons!  She even said “we love to sing music from our evangelical brethren!” Amazing!

Imagine the Catholic Church moving away from empty rituals and toward a real salvation relationship with Jesus.

We must think in these positive revival terms because the opposite is an apocalyptic scenario. At the opposite end of the spectrum we could be seeing a new pope who will usher in the era of the AntiChrist. And let me tell you, the lukewarm (or dead) post-modern Evangelical Church is not ready for such turn of events.

However, the real Body of Christ will be ready for whatever will happen. A revival will be welcomed as the kingdom of God will be extended throughout the earth even more. But also the opposite will be welcomed, the ushering in of the AntiChristic era which will mean that our time is at hand and Jesus is about to return.

Right now though, the world needs revival, and I am hoping for the salvation of many souls.

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Evangelism at the End of Life

What are the odds that someone who has rejected Christ their entire life will be quickened by the Holy Spirit to accept Him in the last few weeks or days of their life when the finality of death becomes evident?

The honest answer is I do not know, but I do know that God works in mysterious ways for the conversion of the sinner.  Here is an example from my own experience.

During my Critical Care clerkship in med school I had the opportunity to observe an extremely puzzling sight.  In an ICU full of critically ill, sedated, intubated, ventilated, continuous-dialysis patients, I came across a patient in his 60’s who was fully awake and coherent.  He was sitting up with an oxygen mask on his face, a stark contrast when compared to the other patients.

Great was my shock when I heard the team talking about placing this man on comfort care to ease his respiratory difficulties stemming from his weak heart.

It turns out he was suffering from end-stage heart failure and was a “frequent-flier” in that particular ICU. He was not a heart transplant candidate, so his life was spent in the hospital with frequent decompensations and ICU admissions.  His heart failure was so severe that getting out of bed and walking was out of the question.

That day, after a conference with him, we agreed to place him in a comfort care suite aimed at relieving his “air-hunger” and allowing the disease to take its course.

My immediate concern was whether this man came to know Christ or not.  I knew that in a matter of days or sooner he will die.

I found the opportunity to speak to him privately that day.

“What do you think will happen to you when you get comfortable and pass away?” I asked.

“I don’t know” he said.

When I pressed him on the concept of life after death he labored to say that he believes he will go to heaven because he was a “good person” and because he was born Catholic. It became clear that he was not a born-again Christian.

I now was faced with a critical decision.

Should I evangelize him in this coherent but vulnerable emotional and physical state?  Should I tell him about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus?

I probably could have gotten in trouble if caught “taking advantage” of a dying man and sharing my faith, but I decided to give him a synopsis of the Gospel.  I did not know too much theology back then… but I presented the depravity of man as best I could, and told him how Jesus was the only solution as a substitutionary atonement for his sins.

He confessed he believed in Jesus.

Unaware of the problems of “decision theology” back then, I did what I saw Greg Laurie do at the Harvest Crusades when I used to attend as a kid.  I had him recite the sinner’s prayer after me and told him to thank God for saving him.

I had to cut our meeting short because my pager which had been silent the whole day rang three times in three minutes.  I told him to pray to God and thank him for Jesus, and I will visit him in the upcoming days to talk to him.

The next time I went to see him, he had passed away.

Was my approach the correct one?  Did I take advantage of a vulnerable person to get a “decision” out of him?

I think ultimately we are responsible to spread the good news no matter what the circumstance.  However, we are not responsible to worry about the work of conversion of the Holy Spirit.  God can and will save souls if He so desires, even at the end of life after a lifetime of sin and depravity.  Our duty is to preach the message of salvation because it is “the Son of Man [who] came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10