Last Week in the Trenches – September 2013

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This Month’s Featured Resource

I want to say thank you so much to those of you who took me up on my offer to receive the 5-DVD-Rom “Reaching Out to Your Mormon Neighbor” set in exchange for a $20 donation. Due to the great response, I’ve decided to make a similar offer each month. This will keep me motivated to create new materials designed to equip believers to know what they believe, why they believe it and how to share it with others.

 

This month’s featured resource contains the 4 following CD-Roms. For more information on these resources, click here:

 

  1. “Desire, Motive & Power”
  2. “Passion of Jesus Christ”
  3. “Acts & Paul’s Letters”
  4. “Revelation”

 

Each of these CD-roms are available through our website for $5. I would like to send you these 4 CD-Roms for a donation of $20 or greater. To purchase, make a donation to our ministry by clicking here, then drop us a note of the discs that you are ordering by clicking here. You can also send us a check with a note to 32 N 100 W, Manti, UT 84642. Make your checks out to “Kaleo House.”

 

Praising God That …

The Oakes family got to celebrate 10 amazing years of marriage and Elijah’s 6th birthday during the last month.

 

I Got a Job!

Over the last several months I’ve been keeping you updated on our financial need. I stepped down from the position of Senior Pastor of Community Baptist Church last September. We moved to Manti, Utah on January 1st. Since then, our family has lived exclusively off of financial support from individuals and churches as I have searched unsuccessfully for a job. God has been faithful to provide for our needs, and all of our bills continue to be paid, but we have also accumulated a hefty credit card debt since moving to Utah. We don’t believe in debt because “the borrower is slave to the lender.” When we arrived in Utah, we had only student loan and car loan debt with no consumer debt. We are confident that God has called us to Utah for this season, and we are grateful for the tremendous amount of growth that He has accomplished in us and in our understanding of the Mormon culture.

 

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us. I am very happy to announce that I was offered a job today by Verisk Health in Ephraim, Utah, located just six miles away from us. I am still in conversation with South Pointe Youth young men’s home in Manti about another possible part-time job. Please pray that God will create opportunities for me to share the gospel with my co-workers and provide us as much income as possible as our goal is to pay off our credit card, car loan and student loans as soon as possible, freeing us to offer our seminars free of charge as we travel and teach wherever God leads us.

 

Preaching at New Hope

 

Pastor Buddy of New Hope Baptist Church asked me to preach for him for the Sunday and Wednesday services a few weeks ago while he and his family went on vacation. It was such a thrill to get this opportunity as its been a while since I last preached. Preaching and teaching is always a reminder of the gift that God has given me and what I have been created to do.

 

What’s in a Meaning?

 

One of the things that I try and drive home in my seminars is the problem of terminology when talking to your LDS friend. The problem is this: LDS use the same words as Christians, but they have completely different meanings. I want to share a portion of my ongoing conversation with “S,” a professor at BYU that I met a few months ago. As you read this next paragraph by S, I want you to think about how you would have responded. I have to admit that when I first read it, I didn’t know how to respond because it sounded so Christian. However, you will see how I responded and how that impression completely changed.

 

S – “We would see being born again, or being in a born-again state, as being justified in Christ. In this justified state we ourselves are not perfectly God-like, but rather are saved because of the perfection or the merits of Christ. We are alive in Christ.”

 

Me – “S, one of the most frustrating things that I have encountered in talking with LDS is the issue of vocabulary. Often times, I find we are saying the same words but meaning two completely different things when we say them. Can you please help me out by defining a few of the words you used?

 

S – “Sure”

  1.      Born again –  “… This is a change that occurs through the Spirit in which God’s power initiates a new, spiritually transformed life, and at which point the recipient is upon “saved” ground. A significant difference for LDS, is the idea that the born again state is not necessarily a permanent one, but must be daily renewed through the grace of God as we exercise faith in Christ…. In other words, we believe that we can fall from that state.”

 

  1. Justified – counted or considered by God as just or perfect because of Christ’s perfection, rather than because of our own inherent perfection

 

  1. Saved –  “When I speak of being saved I mean receiving or inheriting all that God has prepared for us and dwelling with him for all eternity…”

 

  1. Alive in Christ – “A state of justification in which we are continually innocent before him, as we accept his grace and have the cleansing power of the Spirit in our lives. Because LDS would refer more to a state of being born again, rather than a one-time event, we would see born again, alive in Christ, and justified as being almost synonymous.”

 

  1. Grace – “God’s divine assistance and help given in our lives.”

 

Quite a difference isn’t it. Even as I re-read S’s answers, I see terms that need further defining. But what was made clear is that LDS see being “born again, alive in Christ and justified” as something that can be attained or lost depending upon how well one is living up to the standards that God has set out for us, and they see grace as God’s help, not a free and unmerited gift from God. Just to be clear, in the LDS mind, “continually innocent” means perfection, the complete removal of sin from our lives.

 

I hope this will help you as you continue to talk with your LDS friends and family. If this raises any further questions, or if you have a specific question that I can potentially help with, please respond to this email or go to the contact link at www.peopleofthefreegift.com.

 

Waiting on the Holy Spirit’s Timing

 

God has shown us that what is most desperately needed in Utah are Christians who are willing to simply live their lives in Utah and become part of the community. After being here for 8 months, people are starting to get used to us and the results have been pretty amazing. Here is one example that happened recently.

 

Our neighbor “B” was walking by our house a few weeks ago. We’d never had a chance to meet B, so we introduced ourselves. As we started talking, it was almost as if the Holy Spirit was drawing her toward our house, and it wasn’t long until she asked if we were LDS and started hinting to ask if we were polygamists. She also started throwing in some references that seemed to imply she practiced witchcraft and mentioning how she knew of some that join the LDS church to avail themselves of the “power” in the priesthood. She identified herself as LDS, but also a “black sheep.” We invited B into the house to continue our conversation. She became interested in knowing why I didn’t consider LDS to be Christian and some of the differences in vocabulary between Christians and LDS. B actually agreed with a few of the things we discussed from the Bible about God and salvation, but talked about witchcraft throughout the entire conversation. The next morning she left a wood carving of the Lord’s Prayer written in Latin on our door. Please pray for us that we would be obedient to opportunities to witness as the Lord leads.

 

Serving the Community

 

It has taken a while for people to stop being suspicious of us and open up more to us living here. We are finally beginning to feel a more relaxed, warm response from the community. We are also starting to fall in love with the people in the community. We are beginning to recognize neighbors and people who work in the local businesses as we’re out in town. These people are beginning to know us by name, say hi and wave at us. We’ve been praying about community service since we moved here, but oddly felt like the Spirit was telling us to wait as it wasn’t time yet. We now see that the community really did need to be comfortable with us first. We began feeling the Spirit moving us forward to do community service this past month. We have been in contact with the city office to inquire about the needs of the community. The response of the clerk was “we don’t have any needs.” The reason why she could say this in honesty is because everything here is run through the LDS church. The LDS church is meeting the needs of individuals and the community. After explaining that I was looking for some service opportunities to build character into our boys, she then gave me two options.

 

So what was the great need of Manti, Utah you ask? … Pine cones! The clerk told me that there is always a need for pine cones to be picked up on the local cemetery grounds. So that is what our family has started doing as community service. The other thing the clerk suggested was cleaning up the remains of a local skate park as it has become run down. Our family plans to take on this project in the near future. Please pray that the community continues to open up to our presence.

 

About the Oakes Family

Jason and Amy have been married for 10 years. We have three boys named Noah, Elijah and Jude. God has gifted Jason with a passion and ability to teach complex ideas in a way that is understandable to all.  In 2012, God called Jason to step down from serving 7 years in various pastoral roles in a church in California, start a ministry called “People of the Free Gift,” and move to Manti, Utah where 99.5% of the population does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our desire is to do 4 things: Teach Seminars, Fill the Pulpit, Lead Mission Teams and Assist Church Planters/Pastors.

 

For more information about our ministry, please visit:

 

Website – www.peopleofthefreegift.com

 

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Bookstore – www.amazon.com/shops/Peopleofthefreegift

 

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