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R.M.S. Titanic, a Graphic Picture of Today's Society of Man And Where It's Headed

Some facts: R.M.S. Titanic was built at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilding in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1912. She was 882 feet long and had a gross tonnage of 45,000 tons. She was owned by the White Star Line (recently purchased by J.P. Morgan). She carried only 16 lifeboats, and 4 life rafts, an insufficient number to cover 3200 passengers and crew. The passengers could chose between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class accomodations for the voyage, the difference in price being L870 for a first class ticket and as little as L2 for a third class one. The majority of passengers were third class.

The Titanic had 28 staterooms and suites for the first class passengers. The special staterooms were located amidships on B and C decks and were designed in differing ways. The first class passengers could choose between a room in these following designs: Empire, Renaissance, Georgian, Modern and Old Dutch, Regency, Queen Anne and Louis XIV, and XV. A few of the rooms even had fireplaces and burned coal in the sitting room, and had gigantic beds in the bedroom. The most expensive suites had five rooms and a private lavatory also.

One of the places people could meet on board and have dinner was the giant restaurant which was located on D deck. It measured 92 feet wide by 114 feet long. It took a maximum of 500 people sitting. The ship also has a French Restaurant, "Café Parisien" with French waiters.

The first class met at the Lounge on the Promenade deck. It's walls were very similar to the ones at the Versailles castle near Paris and were very exquisite. Situated next to this room was the Georgian reading and writing room for ladies, and next to that was the smoking room for men.

The entire crew consisted of about 860 men and women, 340 of which worked below decks in the engine department as engineers, trimmers, boilermakers, greasemen, window-washers and linen keepers. Only a few dozen were actually engaged in seamanship, and fewer still were officers. The Captain at the time of this maiden voyage was Captain E.J. Smith, whose career was long and professional before this voyage. He had sailed over 2 million miles for the White Star Line and they had complete confidence in him. This was to be his last voyage before his retirement.

Titanic's keel (number 401) was laid down on March 31, 1909 and she was launched May 31, 1911. She had nine decks including the orlop deck. Below the top most boat deck were decks A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Below G deck were the boiler rooms and holds. The hull was divided into sixteen watertight compartments by means of fifteen watertight bulkheads extending up through deck F. Heavy watertight doors provided communication between bulkheads during normal operation. These were electrically operated and also had a floatation mechanism for automatic closing. She was designed to remain afloat with any two compartments flooded, possibly three, enabling her to withstand a collision at the joint of two compartments. Her overall length was 882.5 feet, her beam was 92.5 feet from water line to boat deck. Her gross tonnage was 46,328 tons, net tonnage 24,900 tons. She was driven by a three prop design that used two outboard reciprocating engines with a low pressure turbine in the middle driving the centre prop. The reciprocating engines were of the four cylinder, triple expansion direct acting and inverted type. Each engine developed 15,000 horsepower at 75 revolutions per minute. The low pressure turbine in the middle was of the Parsons type. It developed around 16,000 horsepower at 165 rpm. It was an elegant design as the middle turbine was driven from the excess steam exhaust from the other reciprocating engines. The steam required to run all this came from 29 huge, three story high boilers.

Titanic's complement of passengers and crew was not adequately provided for in event of the worst disaster, the sinking of the ship. The British board of regulations required that any ship over 10,000 tons had to carry at least 16 lifeboats. As Titanic carried 20 lifeboats she was well within regulation. Sixteen of these were regular wooden type and four Engelehardt collapsibles, as A, B, C, and D. In fact, no liner afloat at that time carried enough lifeboats to evacuate all passengers and crew. The reason for lifeboats came from this disaster. Prior to this the general opinion was, should a ship become stricken, that lifeboats were used to ferry passengers to rescue ships waiting nearby in the already crowded North Atlantic shipping lanes. With the invention of wireless, this made this even more credible. Any large ship in trouble was expected to remain afloat for many hours or even days and help would be promptly summoned by radio. [The world today lives by this same precarious standard, as seen when a country's civil and emergency plans and stockpiles are carefully examined. Three percent of the modern western world's population produces well over 75 percent of all the food grown in the world!]

The chef aboard had made a list of things which he wanted for the maiden voyage. It included among other things: 35,000 fresh eggs, 40 tons of potatoes, 1,000 bottles of wine, and 15,000 bottles of beer. Also were 12,000 dinner plates, 40,000 towels of different sorts, 45,000 napkins, 1,000 oyster forks and 15,000 champagne glasses.

On her first day, Titanic sailed 386 miles, the second day 519 miles and on the third day over 546 miles as she picked up speed. The Captain proceeded to increase speed further on the fourth day until she was doing 22.5 knots. At that speed, by the time the lookouts saw the iceberg in the dark of night, with her rudder of insufficient size, she could not avoid a glancing blow which caused the iceberg to run along down her side, opening up horizontal gaps in her hull-plates anywhere from six inches to a foot high from at least bow to midships. Half an hour after she struck, the first call for help went out over her wireless. The Carpathia immediately answered the call and set course eastward toward Titanic. The collision had awakened many members of the crew and passengers in their quarters. The passengers were less wakened by the noise than by the water swirling about the deck at their feet. The Titanic carried lifeboats for 1200 people, but this evening only about 700 boarded the lifeboats, mostly women and children. A few men succeeded in smuggling themselves on board and a few clamoured aboard after jumping into the cold waters of the north Atlantic.

It was dawn when the Carpathia arrived, but not before 2,207 had died, mostly by freezing to death in the icy night waters of the north Atlantic. Only 712 people were rescued by the Carpathia.

[Most of the details from this account were taken from Hannah Goransson's webpage on the Titanic. Very good job Hannah.]

The R.M.S Titanic is a perfect example of today's society of man. They had the best that technology and entertainment had to offer. Exquisite living for the rich and warm shelter and good food for even the poor. Most of Titanic's passengers were poor or middle class at best, same as those in our respective western world societies. Comfort, warmth, and decent quarters on a ship headed for the cold depths of the north Atlantic. Now she resides at least three miles under the ocean. In Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation, particularly chapters 16 and 19, Jesus shows us that the end-time society of man will hit a similar iceberg called the tribulation (World War III) which will sink man's Satan influenced society under the waves into oblivion. When all prophecies are taken into account, both in the Old Testament and New, the clear indication is that maybe a 10th of the world's population will live on into the kingdom age of Jesus Christ. Nine tenths of six billion is 5.4 billion dead. Six hundred million survivors out of six billion will be all that remain of mankind! Bible believing Christians know this is going to happen, because God's Word says it will. Is there any way we can save some of those who dwell on the RMS Titanic of man's society?--Maybe reserve a few seats on lifeboats for as many as we can? Is that possible? I think it might be, depending on what a lifeboat is. I get into that in the following pages. The analogies that can be drawn between Titanic and this world's society are both frightening and accurate. God's prophecies have never failed. The people who boarded Titanic, both rich and poor, were awed by her size and technical sophistication, much in the same way mankind in our western societies are awed by the same type of things around them, helping them be the masters of their environment. I am just trying to get you to see the striking similarities between mankind in our present age and those who boarded Titanic. The attitude was one of awe toward what man had created, while letting fly the statement "That even God couldn't sink her." Are things much different today?

Pre-evangelism or evangelism--which harvesting tool is the correct one?

In John 4:35 Jesus said, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" Every farmer knows that you have to use the right harvesting tools for the type of field you're harvesting. Not every field is the same, and not every harvest is the same. In Matthew 10:7-8 Jesus said, "as you go, preach, saying 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, freely you have received, freely give." Here he was telling them to proclaim the gospel and use God's healing power to directly evangelize a certain group of people. In Matthew 9:10-13 is says, "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Jesus healed sick, halt, maimed and the lepers of society, not the well or those who thought of themselves as well. The apostles did the same and then they evangelized to these same people and those around them. What is the difference between evangelism and pre-evangelism? The fundamental difference between the two methods or approaches of bringing people to God lies more in the group of people each is aimed at. One approach is very effective when aimed at those who are on the "life rafts" of this life, those who know death and discomfort are near and constant companions, and that death is imminent if something doesn't happen to save them from their circumstances. Straight evangelism coupled with the healing power of God reaches this group of people very effectively and bears much fruit. This group has been humbled to the point where they know they need God, and basically if God doesn't help, that they're goners. The other approach is meant to be aimed at those in this world "who dwell on the R.M.S. Titanic." This world is composed of these two distinct groups. One is destitute and if their situation doesn't change for the better, they'll die. It's that simple. Their lives and existence are wretched. The other group live in today's various societies--the society of man, which Matthew 24 shows us is going to come crashing down around them and sink under the waves in a massive event called the tribulation. Modern students of history and war would call this event World War III. Those on this "R.M.S. Titanic" scoff when offered the Bread of Life through evangelism. The message that saves the other group means nothing to them. They think they're fine as they are. There are poor, middle class and rich on board, but they're all well off when compared to the other group in this world. They have a degree of comfort and wealth the others in the world don't share in--plenty of good food and warm shelter. They think they're fine just as they are, steaming into the black night toward a massive event with an iceberg. They think they don't need the Bread of Life or spiritual shelter, they have the Grand Dining Room and massive kitchens, ball-rooms for dancing, and libraries for study. They have everything by comparison to the other group. And they think that in a few days, they'll be docking in New York. Offering them Bread is silly. But convincing them of the dangers of icebergs in the north Atlantic isn't so silly and idea.

Pastor Cymbala has found that straight evangelism coupled with the healing power of God through intercessory prayer works best in the destitute areas of the inner city environment where wretched people live on "life rafts", where their way of life threatens their very existence. They know that without God, they're dead or as good as dead. "There are no atheists on a life raft" is a very true saying. But to those better off individuals who reside on the RMS Titanic of today's society they must be convinced of God's existence, and be healed of their skepticism toward His existence, and then be brought to realize the danger they're in on the coarse they're headed on. Pre-evangelism has the power to effectively reach this group and help anyone willing to listen. It proves God exists and is in ultimate control of the universe and the world we live on. It also shows through prophecy where this RMS Titanic of a society of ours is ultimately headed. Then when pre-evangelism has done all of this, if properly presented, it leaves the individual in a state of belief and faith, willing to accept the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.

To see a graphic example of straight evangelism, preaching to those on "life rafts", read the letter which follows this short article. The people described are not people living in our society as we know it. If their wretched circumstances are not improved immediately, many of them will die--but they're openly accepting Jesus Christ into their lives! Take this same message to those you work with, or those in your nice little neighborhood, or even your not so nice little neighborhood, and see what kind of reaction you get. To learn more about how those on the RMS Titanic of man's society might be effectively reached go back to the previous link on this webpage titled "What Is Pre-Evangelism?" and read it. What follows this article is a letter I received from the Campus Crusade for Christ International. It is graphic, but it gets my point across. The people who are reaching these poor starving refugees are on the front battle lines of evangelism. The interesting thing is that a healthy percentage of the world's population are in this "life raft" category. And this percentage is growing larger too, as world conditions worsen. But for most who dwell in the Titanic category, evangelism bounces off skeptical minds and deaf ears. They're too well off--too in love with what this push-button tinsel-world has to offer. A warning-witness type pre-evangelistic message is all they might hear. If we take an honest look at the situation, those on this huge RMS Titanic of our society don't know they need a saviour. For those unfortunate ones who were onboard the real Titanic their saviour would have been a seat on a lifeboat to bring them to the HMS Carpathia. Pre-evangelism offers those in our Titanic society a free seat on a lifeboat, which will then transport them to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. The interesting thing about these lifeboats is that they have the ability to transport people off the Titanic and onto the Carpathia before this Titanic society of ours ever hits the iceberg! All of society as we know it will go down into the depths of oblivion before the iceberg Jesus prophecied about in Matthew 24 and Revelation 16 and 19. It is the tool of pre-evangelism that helps focus people on the danger and the solution. But being saved by Jesus does not necessarily equate to saving your neck physically. That just hasn't been the history of Christians. The proper use of pre-evangelism is to bring a people to accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, thus bringing about the spiritual salvation of those people and their eventual receiving of actual eternal life (I Corinthians 15:49-54)--it brings people to the point of being ready to be evangelized. Many Christians think that prophecy was given to help edify the Christian, but when you look closely at the fruits of Christians spending too much time studying prophecy, those fruits are not necessarily good. No, saved born-again Christians need to be delving into the gospel of Christ, clothing themselves in it. Prophecy, if properly used, is a harvesting tool the Lord gave for Christians to use to help bring non-believers into a state of believing in God and His Word.

Both pre-evangelism and evangelism have a proper use in our efforts to bring people to Jesus Christ and salvation through him. We must learn how to use the proper harvesting tool for the type of field we're harvesting--life rafts adrift in the hostile sea or the super luxury liner RMS Titanic, steaming in the dark of night toward her doom.

To see a perfect example of how effective each harvesting tool can be, consider this. Membership in the Worldwide Church of God under Mr. Herbert Armstrong from 1934 to the late 1960's rose from a local congregation with just nineteen members to a globe-spanning denomination of 150,000 people! It remained at this size right up to the death of Mr. Armstrong. That church's harvesting tool under Mr. Armstrong was pre-evangelism--a tool the Lord had definitely used Mr. Armstrong to fashion to perfection. Then he died, and Mr. Tkach Sr. took his place. Ten short years later the church's main harvesting tool became conventional evangelism, as just described in that sermon at the beginning of this link given by Mr. Dan Rogers, head of that church's ministers. I remember reading an amazing article in the church's bimonthly newspaper during this period of time. It detailed how the congregations in our African churches were growing in number by the thousands! Everywhere else in the church, numbers of new converts to Christ remained at an all time low. But in this section of equatorial Africa thousands were being brought to Jesus Christ and baptism. But the U.S. congregations were not growing all that much. Amazing? It shouldn't be. The proper harvesting tool for the right kind of field--simple as that! Each tool successfully harvested a bumper crop. But each type of crop harvested was different. What follows on the next page is a letter sent to me by the Campus Crusade of Christ International. It describes straight evangelism in dynamic action, aimed effectively at those who genuinely dwell on life rafts. The plight of these poor people is desperate, and yet they're accepting Jesus Christ in large numbers. Some local congregations are giving directly to this organization as their means of evangelizing and bringing people to Christ, people whom they'll probably never ever meet in this life. That is admirable.

November 1998

Dear friend in Christ,

Sometimes Heaven comes down to Earth.

On this night, the encounter occurred in a place that seemed more like Hell.

What I am about to share with you is surely among the most dramatic moments in the powerful evangelistic film, "JESUS." It's a moment that can never be forgotten.

The news media didn't talk about it much. Perhaps it was too remote, or maybe it was because tragedy in Mozambique was too close to South Africa.

Mozambique was a nation in absolute chaos. Civil war had degenerated into total anarchy. Marauding soldiers and Marxist rebels were fighting each other. Even worse, they were routinely raiding villages and robbing, raping, and killing any person they encountered. And, Mozambique was gripped by a cruel famine. Millions were dead or dying.

Over 500,000 refugees had fled. Some had come to a camp just inside South Africa. When "JESUS" Film Partners Willie and Marie Erasmus arrived, the sight and sounds were overwhelming.

Shimmering waves of heat rose in the distance as the blazing African sun beat down on the Film Team truck. Gritty red dust hung in the air, the evidence of thousands of refugees on the move. Willie and Marie had heard there was little or no water for these people, that they barely staved off starvation by eating meager daily ration provided by struggling relief agencies.

As they entered the huge camp, they told me how they were overcome by the stench of human excrement. Even worse was the sea of emaciated bodies and the empty, hopeless looks in the eyes of the people. They heard tale after tale of misery, like the young mother who fled Mozambique with her children, but was eaten alive by a lion before she could make it to camp. Her two children survived, only to be confronted with this Hell on Earth--their hopes for a better life dashed.

But, there was hope. That's why Willie and Marie had come. A young missionary, working among these desperate people, had begged Willie and Marie to come and show them the "JESUS" film. At first, Willie had protested, "We haven't yet translated it into the Shangaan language these people speak." The young missionary had replied, "It's O.K., we'll interpret it while it is being shown." He had already led 30 of these refugees to Christ. In the middle of this camp they had formed a church. And, they had been trained and were ready to help counsel those he had prayed would respond to the message that night.

It seemed that Willie drove the truck through the camp forever, trying to find a suitable clearing where the Film Team could show the film. Finally, they found a place. All afternoon they worked in the searing heat to set up the portable screen and sound system.

But Marie sensed that something was very wrong. In her spirit she could feel demonic oppression building. Then the team heard witch doctors chanting and saw them throwing bones on the ground in satanic rituals. With howling and incantations, the witch doctors began calling up the "spirits of their ancestors." An eerie and foreboding pall seemed to fall over the camp. Satan wanted the showing stopped.

Willie called the team together to pray. Thirty others who had come from a nearby New Life Training Center were also enlisted. They had come to help with evangelism and follow-up, but now they were involved in full spiritual warfare.

For three hours they interceded, praying that God would bind the power of the evil one, pour out His blessings, and open the eyes of these spiritually blind people who lived in darkness and continuing misery. They joined hands and walked around in a circle, symbolically encircling the camp. They beseeched God to tear down the walls of evil that had engulfed these people, just as he destroyed the walls of Jerecho.

As darkness set in, the ragged refugees emerged from their shacks and began to stream toward the showing area. The witch doctors stopped their dancing. Over a thousand people crowded into the small dusty clearing. When it was dark enough, the film began.

With the English soundtrack playing low and with microphone in hand, the interpreter translated line by line all that was taking place on the screen. Between reel changes (there are four reels and three changes) he told them why it was important that Mary be a virgin and how only a supernatural man could be God.

Marie recounted, "During the scenes of the crucifixion in the fourth, 30-minute reel, we sensed something unusual was happening. Everyone began to cry--women, men and children. A mournful wailing gradually rose from the crowd into a relentless crescendo."

As Jesus was being pushed down the Via Dolorosa, the weeping became louder and uncontrollable. When the Roman soldiers started nailing Jesus to the cross, many of the people jumped up and ran toward the screen with their hands in the air, crying out to God.

Everywhere, people were confessing their sins. The film was forgotten. Rivers of tears poured down their dirty cheeks. Men beat their chests and cried out, "Oh God!, Oh God!" Some were on their knees, some stood with eyes closed and arms raised, others lay prostrate on the ground. The interpreter was even on his back in the dirt, praying, thanking God, crying, praising, and worshipping.

These people were in the presence of a holy God. They were overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness, and they wanted desperately to be forgiven.

Someone turned off the projector. The Film Team rushed to pray and counsel those who were seeking God. But they couldn't speak. One by one, the team members themselves fell to their knees, confessing their own sins.

"I can't explain how I felt," Willie told me. "I felt the awesome power of God. I felt His love, His compassion, His care. It was overpowering. It was a wave that welled up inside us and we couldn't contain it. We were totally, irrevocably, hopelessly in love with Jesus. And the experience just burst out of us with confession and tears, praise and worship, and a feeling of wonder."

Tears came into Willie's eyes, "I saw a nine-year-old boy crying out to God. I turned to pray for him, but I couldn't because I was crying myself. A 70-year-old man with his eyes open and his hands in the air, repeated over and over again, 'I just saw Jesus!' But we were not just seeing the portrayal of Jesus, we were feeling His presence so powerfully that we just couldn't take it in."

Marie continued, "I started to pray with one woman, but I couldn't speak. I was overcome and began confessing my own sins. The sense of God's presence, His power and holiness, was so great that no one could do anything but confess their sin. I knew I was in a holy place. These people had nothing. And God decided to give them a chance--right there in that filthy camp--to feel His presence and His love."

More than 30 minutes passed. Still the sounds of weeping and passionate prayer filled the field. Willie went to the interpreter and said, "We need to finish the film so they will know the good news of the resurrection."

All across the audience the people continued to wipe tears from their eyes. They saw the burial of Christ, and then the resurrection. The interpreter explained to the crowd, "Jesus died to make the payment for our sins. But death could not hold Him." And with that, he pointed to the screen and shouted with uncontainable joy, "And there He is! He was raised from the dead!" The crowd exploded as if a dam had burst. Everyone began cheering, dancing, hugging one another, and jumping up and down.

The Film Team never finished showing the film. An invitation was given for those who wanted to receive Christ to come to the front. The "problem" was they ALL wanted to accept Him as their Savior and Lord--all 1,000 people!

Isn't God wonderful? Who can know or understand His ways? These people had absolutely nothing. They were totally hopeless. They desperately needed to know love, to belong to someone. That night, that holy night, Heaven came down to Hell on Earth. Through prayer, God brought to their impoverished, darkened hearts His indescribable love. They had never heard of Jesus. But, that night, they experienced His touch. What a night! What a God!

No, not every showing of "JESUS" is so incredible. Many are actually somewhat routine and predictable. But many others are just as dramatic and power-filled. What is certain is that God is using this most translated film in all of history to radically, supernaturally transform the lives of millions around the world. To date, some 83 million have indicated decisions for Christ at showings of "JESUS." More than 815 Christian organizations have chosen to use the "JESUS" film as one of their primary tools of evangelism. This is why over 2,200 Film Teams are laboring in 223 nations using 472 different translations of "JESUS."

I am writing you because those very same Film Teams need support, a lot of support. They are working in some of the most difficult and remote areas you can imagine. Daily, many face the very threat of violence directed against them, Satan's onslaughts, beatings, and death. Yet, enabled by prayer and driven by their vision to see their people healed and come to know Christ, they persist.

This is why I am boldly and confidently coming to you on their behalf. For these 2,200 Film Teams to be funded for the next several months, we need to raise $2,100,000. That amount will help cover their salaries, travel expense, food, lodging, training, literature, and other follow-up materials. In one year, each team will show "JESUS" to an average of 50,000 people. In all, these 2,200 teams will show "JESUS" to tens of millions of people in the year ahead.

As the year 2000 looms imminent, as we dream of having reached every person on earth, will you take it upon yourself to help raise these funds to help complete this $2,100,000 need?

As you know, we've found that for every dollar you send, one person can receive Christ as Savior and Lord. So, would you consider a gift of $100 to help lead 100 people to Christ? Or, would you pray about a gift of $250 to help introduce 250 to Christ?

Perhaps you can only give a smaller amount. God honors each gift according to our ability….It's a big vision, isn't it? However, we have an even bigger God. The task of reaching the six billion people on Earth can seem daunting indeed. But, not if we partner together, not if we pray together, not if we give together, so that people around the world who have not once heard the name of Jesus will experience His touch.

Let me close this rather long letter by expressing to you my deepest thanks. I cannot tell you how much your partnership means to me throughout the year. You are what makes this powerful ministry of film evangelism and follow-up possible. Thank you so very much.

I believe God will bless you for what you have done and will do. I hope to hear from you soon!

Until the whole world hears,

Paul Eshleman
Director
The JESUS Film Project

More details about this supernatural encounter appear in Paul Eshleman's book, The Touch of JESUS, along with scores of other exciting stories from the mission field. To find out how you can receive your own copy, please call 1-800-432-1997, or you can reach us through the Internet at: http://www.jesusfilm.org/

If you would like to help, we've created two easy, quick ways to send your gift. You can call toll free 1-800-432-1997 and send your gift today by credit card or you can use the internet and send your gift over our encryption-protected secure server. Just go to: http://www.jesusfilm.org/easygift

Why would Jesus want the main thrust of evangelism through the proclamation of the gospel of Christ to go toward those who exist on "life rafts"--the halt, maimed, sick and destitute of this world? Jesus gave us the reason in the following parable: Matthew 22:1-10. "Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' But they paid no attention and went off--one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests." Matthew 19:30 states, "But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first."

Historically the main thrust of the Church Jesus founded on Pentecost, 31 A.D. has been straight evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 4). But as the Good farmer, Jesus wants all his fields harvested of those willing to heed the call to salvation. Some of those fields are located on the "Titanic of modern society" and some are located on the "life rafts." Each harvesting tool--pre-evangelism and evangelism--has its specific purpose in Jesus Christ's overall operational harvest plan. Let's use these tools wisely in order to achieve the greatest harvest yet, before Winter sets in (Matthew 24).

One last thought. Those of us who've been richly blessed in this world's goods need to not only support the evangelizing efforts of those bringing our poorer brothers and sisters to Christ, but we need to support these poorer churches being raised up in the third world with the substance we have been so richly blessed with. We Christians in the United States and wealthier western nations have the responsibility to support our poorer Christian brethren--without regard to denomination--in these third world countries where the harvest of souls is being so plentifully reaped. Then our joy in the wedding banquet of Jesus will be complete.

I just thought of another reason the pre-evangelism approach must also be used, as well as that of straight evangelism--the moral obligation of Christianity. RMS Titanic knew there were many icebergs out there. Radio reports were coming in all the time to that effect. We Christians have the perfect prior knowledge--prophetically speaking--of the massive collision coarse man's Titanic society is on with the prophecied "iceberg" of the tribulation. We must not fail to send out those "radio reports." God takes this obligation very seriously. Ezekiel 33:1-9 states, "The word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword against the land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to ward the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword come and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.'

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself." You might say that our moral obligation to both pre-evangelize and evangelize the known world is summed up in what God said to Ezekiel here. God's statement here can be applied either way with equal moral force.

This finishes describing the basic tools of evangelism (and pre-evangelism). Now CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST INTERNATIONAL has written another letter describing a specialized tool they've developed in the area of direct evangelism. I reproduce that letter here just in case you wish to lend support to this worthy cause of helping our youth who go off to college for the first time every fall semester.

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CAMPUS
CRUSADE
FOR
CHRIST
INTERNATIONAL

100 Sunport Lane, Orlando, Florida 32809, U.S.A. Telephone (407) 826-2000 William R. Bright, President

Dear Partner in helping reach the world for Christ,

I know we're just now coming up on the winter semester at colleges and universities around the nation, but allow me to take you back six or seven months…

Excitement for the coming summer…stress at the onset of finals…sadness at having to say goodbye to friends for the summer. Last Spring, the last few weeks of classes at universities around the nation brought a rush of emotions and activity.

Every club and organization on campus was busy making plans for the new year. Officers were elected, dates were set, and plans made to kick off this year. And the target of all the activity was the incoming freshmen class. Gay and Lesbian Pride societies sat down to discuss how to push their agenda. Perhaps something subtle--like a meeting on tolerance complete with free fast food--would be the best way to attract the freshmen. The New Age club may have voted to give out free crystals to all new incoming students. Most school administrators were determining the most effective ways to hand out safe sex packets.

There is no doubt about it. From the very first week that this year's incoming freshmen arrived on campus, they were bombarded by destructive forces--many of which had been planning all summer and longer. Fliers announcing drinking parties floated around every building. Each dorm may have announced a "condom monitor"--the student who give out free condoms on demand. Most of these young people are away from home for the first time and vulnerable because they feel alone and just want to "fit in." That party may sound extremely attractive--a way to meet people. And the condoms? The administration is just making sure everything is "safe."

The young people of our nation are under attack--an attack that will be re-energized as the winter semester opens. Yes, they are vulnerable--perhaps "easy targets" for radical organizations to prey on. But all is certainly not lost. The past several years, the Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ has been able to launch a highly effective "counterattack"--a strategy which answers these young people's burning questions and provides an alternative to the all-too-prevalent destructive lifestyle found on college campuses.

The strategy revolves around the Freshmen Survival Kits--perhaps the best way to reach young people with the news of Jesus Christ we have ever seen. The Kits include a New Testament complete with a four-point outline of the Gospel and a section on the top five questions college students would ask God, the book More than a Carpenter by Josh Mcdowell, a Christian music CD, information on Campus Crusade for Christ meetings on campus, and other relevant materials. They are usually rushed to students as early as possible in the semester--in time to reach these vulnerable young people with the Truth before other forces sway their minds and new and destructive behavior are set.

Allow me to share with you a little bit about the results we have seen from this strategy in the past year.

Linfield College, Portland: Milan entered college with absolutely no religious background. He had never read any of the Bible; he had no idea what a relationship with God was about. One day, Mark a Campus Crusade staff member, stopped by Milan's room to give him the Freshman Survival Kit and talk to him about Jesus. That very day, Milan opened his heart to Christ. On their second meeting, Milan told Mark that he had been reading the book of Matthew from the Bible he had received in the Kit. Milan is now involved in a small group Bible Study, and is already learning how to communicate his new-found faith with other students.

Converse College: A staff member happened to run into a young student who was carrying her Bible from the Freshman Survival Kit. The next day, a student leader named Daisy stopped buy her dorm room to talk. As they spoke, the young lady confessed to Daisy: "God has been getting my attention." She went on to tell Daisy that, the night before, she had read the four-point outline of the Gospel which is printed in back of the Bible from the Kits. Through those simple materials, she had already trusted Christ on her own.

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga: Greg Symour lives at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house. When he gave out the Kits to his fraternity brothers, he didn't know what to expect. But he soon found out. In the weeks after the distribution, he said that everywhere you went in the house, you could see evidence of the Kits. Pornographic magazines used to be the only things lying around. Now, everywhere you look you can see something from a Kit. A Bible lying on a coffee table, or a tape in the VCR. Sometimes Greg even comes home to hear the Christian music CD blasting throughout the house. What a difference!

These young people have been exposed to the Truth, and it is changing their lives. The Kit is a remarkable tool. It can be effective even without a staff member or Christian student present to "guide" the freshmen through it. It reaches segments of the campus community (like sororities and fraternities) that may never have been willing to attend a Bible study because it wasn't their "thing." It is a great way to get students who are already Christians involved in evangelism because the Kits are in demand and easy to use--a non-intimidating way to share the Gospel. And because of their high visibility and conversation-sparking materials, our Director of New Ministries has proclaimed that the Kits are literally THE BEST WAY to launch new ministries on more campuses--ministries which, in the years to come, will touch the lives of thousands!

As you can see from the above stories, the Kit is working. Students are drawn to the alternative it offers; something deep inside keeps telling them that the parties, mystical religions, and "safe" sex are meaningless--they need the fulfillment that only comes from Jesus Christ.

Would you be willing to help offer them that fulfillment?

Our goal is to distribute 200,000 Kits this school year--twice as many as last year. We also plan on using them to launch entirely new movements on 80 campuses this year alone! Would you consider the part you could play in making this happen? Each Kit costs just $18 for EVERYTHING--including all the materials, packaging, and transport. That means your gift of just $54 could reach three freshmen. $180 could reach ten! Your support would be especially valuable at this time as we look forward to launching those new ministries. The Freshmen Survival Kits would just be the seeds--years of discipleship and growth for thousands of students would be the fruit. And you could consider each Kit a personal gift to an incoming freshman--something to offer them hope as they feel vulnerable and alone, away from home for the first time.

Your investment will multiply itself immediately, for we know that each of those 200,000 Kits will actually reach three, four, or even five students, since the young people who get them tend to "pass them around" and expose their friends. That means that as many as ONE MILLION STUDENTS could be reached in this coming year alone!

The possibilities are enormous--the Word of God in the hands of every freshman, as invitation to examine Christian viewpoints on pressing issues, the encouragement to get involved with a Christian group on-campus--an alternative for these young people just as destructive forces seek to unravel their lives. I urge you to be a part of this efficient, exciting, and highly effective strategy in reaching young people for Christ. The winter semester is almost upon us, so I must implore you to act quickly so that printing, packaging, and distribution can be completed before other harmful forces (which were planning all summer and last semester) get a firm hold on our young people. Please use the enclosed envelope to send your gift today.

I want to let you know how much I appreciate your concern for the young people--the future leaders--of our nation. Thank you so much.

Yours for turning lost students into
Christ-centered laborers,
Steve Sellers

P.S. The Freshmen Survival Kits strategy has already had such a great impact for Christ on students around the nation. Your partnership in this strategy would take these Kits even further and put them into the hands of even more seeking students. Thank you so much!

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The address on the reply envelope for making a contribution is:
CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST INTERNATIONAL
PO BOX 628222
ORLANDO FL 32862-9841

If your church congregation is in a college town or near one, you might consider supporting this project as a church-sponsored group effort. I don't know if Campus Crusade for Christ International would put on the literature, for example: "Paid for by The First Baptist Church of --------" or not. I don't know. You'd have to ask them what their policy is. Everyone who is called to Jesus Christ through evangelism needs to be discipled. The best and most proven way to disciple someone who has favorably responded to evangelism has always been through the local congregation, and not para-church organizations. Thus there ought to be a direct link between para-church organizations and the local church congregations in these respective college communities. It would be well worth it to write Campus Crusade for Christ International and discuss this issue with them, especially if your church congregation is located in a college community.

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end shall come" (Matthew 24:14).

Now we've got a good idea of what evangelism is, where and how we get the power to evangelize, and we have looked at a few effective tools of evangelism. It's time now to zero in on the evangelizing goal Jesus gave us to accomplish, and how we may be able to achieve that goal--in spite of the doctrinally disunited condition we find the body of Christ in. You know, when I think of all the petty secondary doctrinal differences that separate the Christian fellowships and denominations which make up the body of Christ, I found myself seriously wondering how in the world Jesus would accomplish Matthew 24:14 using this same divided and disunited body of believers, called the body of Christ. We can't even agree on what Jesus meant by his statement "this gospel of the kingdom" found in Matthew 24:14! Then I saw what Campus Crusade For Christ International was doing with the JESUS Film Project. Many of us, from Worldwide and many other Christian fellowships have been under the misconception that the gospel couldn't reach into the poorer and less educated peoples, especially those who are totally illiterate and uneducated. I also remember that Mr. Armstrong used to marvel at the ability of modern radio to spread the gospel far and wide, or at least his concept of the gospel. Other Christian fellowships were sending missionaries into these poorer regions, but language was always a barrier to a better understanding of the gospel for these people they were trying to reach. In this 20th century, while our missionaries were struggling to preach the gospel effectively in areas where it was not well known, areas where 95 percent of the world's population lives, we were overlooking a unique evangelizing tool--a combination of modern technology and our ability to translate and understand every language spoken on this earth--the modern movie! Then came the "JESUS" film! It was capable of reaching people where they were at. Language was no longer a problem! And beyond that, Campus Crusade had now made the film available to over a hundred other mission organizations. This was a film that could help the entire body of Christ. It needed to be shared. Another thing that makes the JESUS Film's method of preaching "this gospel of the kingdom around the world" desirable is that it can be interdenominationaly supported and distributed without doctrinal differences getting in the way. Says respected evangelist Billy Graham, and I quote, "In Matthew 24 Jesus declared that prior to His second coming to earth the gospel of the Kingdom would be preached to the whole world. Perhaps God is using this film JESUS, as one of the means to hasten the day when "every knee shall bow" before our great King."

God gave Bill Bright the vision of producing the film on the life of Jesus. Hundreds of millions of people have viewed this film of the greatest life ever lived, in more than two hundred different languages; and it is the prayer target of Campus Crusade to show the film to five billion people in 271 languages and 1,000 dialects by A.D. 2000. What could not be accomplished through the printed word, and through distribution of the written Word, is dynamically being accomplished by the showing of the "JESUS" film in over 200 languages around the world! The previous letter about the showing of this film in southern Africa clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of this film as a means of evangelizing and preaching the gospel around the world.

Matthew 24:14 states, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come." What end is Jesus talking about? Read the next verse. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place...then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains..." (vs.15-16). So we see by Jesus' own discourse given here to the apostles, that following right after the worldwide proclamation of "this gospel of the kingdom", the tribulation, or World War III starts. This war, as prophecy shows, lasts only three and a half years, and is cut short by Jesus Christ's dramatic return to save mankind from genocide. Now the question is, as I raised before, "How in the world can a disunited Christianity get it's act together and support the proclaiming of the gospel of the kingdom around the world in a unified manner so that it can be accomplished as Jesus wants it accomplished?" No one Christian fellowship or denomination possesses the resources, financial or otherwise, to do the job alone. Neither do they possess the unity to even agree to what Jesus meant by the statement, "this gospel of the kingdom." Some think it means what he was talking about in Matthew 24. Others think he was talking about the gospel of Christ which Paul taught about in Romans (which Matthew 25 briefly describes). Some think it is a combination of Matthew 24 and 25, which is in reality a single discourse given by Jesus starting in Matthew 24:4 and ending in Matthew 26:1 (with Matthew 24:14 right in the middle). About all we Christians can agree upon is that a film which gives the exact dialogue of one of the gospel accounts of Jesus' life would be preaching the gospel which we could all agree upon as being the gospel, containing Jesus' own words as he spoke them, and the account of his life, death, burial and resurrection to immortality. Thus this "JESUS" film is interdenominational. It's preaching around the world can be commonly supported by all the various Christian fellowships and denominations which make up the body of Christ. So do we want to accomplish Matthew 24:14 as Jesus said we would? I hope that is our desire no matter what Christian fellowship we belong to. There aren't many evangelism tools we all can use in common. And we certainly don't possess the resources for any one of us to go it alone. If any one of you is interested in learning more about supporting this means of evangelizing, I strongly suggest you order a copy of the "JESUS" film for yourself. Accompanying it will be Paul Eshleman's I Just saw JESUS, a book which describes this film in action--evangelizing, spreading the gospel of the kingdom around the world. You can order online at: http://www.jesusfilm.org or order by mail at: The JESUS Film Project, P.O. Box 628222, Orlando, FL 32862-9841. (For you members of the Worldwide Church of God, you well know the central overriding goal of the Worldwide Church of God was to preach "this gospel of the kingdom" around the world. Now Mr. Billy Graham has shown us a way in which we can pitch in with the rest of the body of Christ to accomplish that very goal--in its' new covenant application! How wonderful! Maybe our collective goal as a Christian fellowship hasn't been taken away after all. Maybe it has been expanded and enhanced by all the new things the Lord has brought us into an understanding of. As we refocus our understanding of God's Word, as he has led us to be able to do, there stands the central overriding goal we had originally, bigger and better than ever before! Praise the Lord, for he is good!)

How urgently are funds needed to provide for the various translations that are needed to reach the over five billion people on this earth? I quote from pages 90-91 of I Just Saw JESUS, "We drove a few kilometers farther, and the driver stopped the car. Together we walked several yards off the road to a clearing where a chilling sight silently told its story. A pile of sun-bleached skulls lay clustered together. These men and women had not died of starvation; they had been executed for stealing food during the famine. The pyramid of skulls lay in the scorching sun, a constant warning to others.

I picked up a skull in each hand, touching the reason for JESUS. How many of these Karamajong had had the chance to hear...before it was too late for them? More than seven years have passed, but the funds we need to translate JESUS into their language still have not been provided. Until someone cares--enough to give--the few faithful missionaries in Karamoja will have to continue the struggle to feed a spiritually hungry people alone."

This massive job of fulfilling Matthew 24:14 is spanning the globe, but it is solely driven forward by contributions coming in from the various Christian fellowships and denominations that care to support this interdenominational group of believers called Campus Crusade For Christ International. Jesus gave the assignment to every Christian. In proper fashion of adding like Scripture to like Scripture, lets read it again. Matthew 24:14 is talking in context with the end times, when mankind would possess the ability to kill all life on the planet (read Matthew 24:21-22). It is not talking about this gospel of the kingdom being spread around the world in earlier times of the church era, but the times we find ourselves in right now. So what is Jesus' assignment for us? We have to take this assignment in context with the general assignment which he gave to the church to be carried out over the millennia, which is Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." And Acts 1:6-9, "So when they met together, they asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on [upon] you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' After he had said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight." Now let's read Matthew 24:14 again, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." If any one of you doubt about the times we live in as being the end times, all you need do is look around at the weapons of mass destruction we have around us. The world's finite ability to feed the ever-growing population is another problem that will find a solution in mass famines, also predicted in Matthew 24. A European super-state has also been prophesied to come on the scene at the time of the end. I won't get into that here, but if you wish to research that further, Chuck Missler's Koinonia House ministry has an interesting two cassette tape series titled IRON mixed with CLAY, The Emergent European Superstate. This can be ordered online at: http://khouse.org

The times we live in are indeed serious. It is not the time for Christians to be sleeping. Jesus warned us to be watchful, doing his work, and not carousing about. Jesus made this statement specifically for us in this day and age where we have the ability to destroy all life from off this planet: "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the earth. Be always on watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36). Many of us need to open our eyes, and start doing his work. For some of us, that means supporting other Christians and Christian groups who are on the front lines of evangelism, groups like Campus Crusade For Christ International, or any other group which is doing a similar work.

Our reward is drawing close. Let us not grow tired or weary in well-doing. Let us wake up if we have been sleeping spiritually, before it is too late, like Jesus warned in Luke 21:34-36. Jesus spoke another warning that applies to luke-warm Christians, in Matthew 7:21-22. He stated, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers!'" The ones Jesus is talking about are the ones who hear his words, but don't do them (Matthew 7:24-27). Another key area of Scripture where Jesus warned a group of Christians about luke-warmness is found in Revelation 3:14-21. The final era of the Christian church was prophesied to be a church that was spiritually drousy--lukewarm. This era would be a church era that would be physically rich in goods, their physical needs satisfied. This very Church era being talked about in Revelation 3:14-21 lives on into the great tribulation--World War III! They were probably too busy pursuing their own pleasures to be interested in pursuing the things that please God. What pleases God? Jesus said basically, "My pleasure, my joy, is to be doing the Work of God." What Work was that? We just read about it. Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:6-8--EVANGELISM!!!

The following is a message from Elvin L. Ridder, U.S. Ministries
Development Coordinator for Campus Crusade for Christ:

During this past week, my heart has been really encouraged to hear what God is doing around the world through Campus Crusade for Christ and the many other ministries that it partners with.

In one very closed country in the Mid East, over 1,000 people were baptized last year. In another very closed country, the number of believers has increased 18 times during just the past two years.

The Lord, in one village, caused the entire village to dream the same dream one night. It was a dream about a man who said he could direct them to God. Just a few weeks later, a JESUS Film team member came to show the "JESUS" Film and the face of Jesus on the film was the face they saw in the dream. The entire village came to Christ.

Our God is a God of miracles!

In Switzerland, over 10,000 people since January 1, have gotten down on their knees to pray and fast for 40 days that Switzerland may experience a new Reformation! This has all been through a grass-roots effort.

God is at Work!

Please consider becoming a part of this by joining in collective fasting and prayer November 11-13 in Houston, Texas. Just go to http://www.fastingprayer.com/ for details.

Also, Dr. Bright has written a book called "A Man Without Equal" to present who Jesus is. This is a great book and I'd encourage you to look at it. You can find it at http://www.ccci.org/man-without-equal/.

Thanks for letting me share with you.

Gratefully yours in Christ,
Elvin L. Ridder
U.S. Ministries Development Coordinator

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