Monday, March 10, 2008

Why You Can Have Confidence in the Bible

As i was reading the discussions between Dr. Harold Sala and Mark Ellis in Guidelines commentary on March 7, 2008, i can't help but share the story read by Dr. Sala from his soon-to-be-released book, Why You Can Have Confidence in the Bible. He read the story of Gaylord Kambarami, the General Secretary of the Bible Society, who tried to sell a New Testament to a man in Zimbabwei. Here's the script:

Few people ever struck a stranger deal than did Gaylord Kambarami, the General Secretary of the Bible Society, who tried to sell a New Testament to a man in Zimbabwe. As Gaylord talked with the man, he could see he was interested. The stranger, however, was not interested in the content of New Testament but was eyeing the size of the pages and the texture of the paper. It was just the right size to make cigarettes. In fact, he told Gaylord he wouldn’t buy it, but if he gave it to him, he would take it and use the pages for cigarette paper.

“I understand,” Gaylord replied. “I will make a deal with you. I will give you this book if you promise to read every page before you smoke it.” Pleased with himself that he indeed had the better end of the bargain, the man agreed to do so. Gaylord gave him the New Testament and the man walked away.

Years passed. Then one day Gaylord was attending a convention in Zimbabwe, when the speaker on the platform recognized him in the audience. Pointing to him excitedly, he said, “This man doesn’t remember me, but I remember him.” He explained, “About 15 years ago he tried to sell me a New Testament. When I refused to buy it he gave it to me, even though I told him I would use the pages to roll cigarettes.” He continued this strange testimony saying, “I smoked Matthew. I smoked Mark. Then I smoked Luke. But when I got to John 3:16, I couldn’t smoke anymore. My life was changed from that moment!”

Now the former smoker is a full-time church evangelist devoting his life to showing others the way of salvation he found in this little book which has just the right size pages to roll cigarettes. And Mark, I have eleven stories like that, rather thrilling ones, of the lives of people that have been transformed by this book.

If you want to read some excerpts from Dr. Sala's new book, go to

I asked Guidelines' permission for us to post it in our local newsletter PRISMS Online. If you want to read the newsletter, go to If you are encouraged by the articles, please let us know by signing the Guestbook and pass the link to your friends.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oftentimes, there are things we already dismiss because we take them for granted.

Yesterday afternoon, four of my officemates and I had lunch and shared about our beliefs. In that instance, I mentioned that not all who attend church are believers. What was important, more than our religion, is our personal relationship with God. I was given an example yesterday evening.

Yesterday evening, I attended the third part of an evangelism class. Here we were taught the importance of sharing the Gospel. At the end of the evening, we were given a survey sheet, and were told to go out two by two to share the gospel to at least one person. I told my partner Therese to be the one to approach a person and conduct the survey, while I’ll share the Gospel afterwards. We didn’t go far from the building when I saw a girl sitting at an empty table, obviously waiting for someone. I told Therese to approach her but she was hesitant. What if she was a member of the church also? I thought there was nothing for us to lose and we obviously have to do our task. I asked the girl if she was busy and if it was okay to interview her. She agreed. Her name is Chiqui.

Therese was right. Chiqui mentioned that she’s a “born-again” and that she has been attending CCF, the church we’re also attending, for almost a year now. I thought to myself that we just had to go on with the survey and that I wouldn’t anymore share the gospel.

The last two questions were leading questions. We would be asking her if she is sure of her salvation, and lastly if she answered no, to ask her if she wanted to be sure of her salvation. I was surprised that she answered no when asked if she was sure of her salvation. And so she also said yes when asked if she wanted to be sure of her salvation. I ended up sharing the Gospel to her after all.

Although I know that this incident was not an accident, and that I felt overjoyed to be used by God to share the gospel to Chiqui, I also felt sad to find out that even though she has been attending a Dgroup, she still wasn’t aware of the gospel and is not assured of salvation.

And so I again realized that not all who attend church are believers. And so I hope that small group leaders would always emphasize the gospel in our discussions.