Tom: Today and next week, I have the pleasure of interviewing Mark Cahill. Mark’s ministry is evangelism. And as some of you folks know, recently I interviewed a missionary who is very blessed to take his family to minister in some countries that are very hostile to Christianity and Christians in order to share the gospel; and Mark is likewise blessed to go to the streets, the stores, schools, cities, and so forth, of this country and share the gospel…and not necessarily an environment hostile to his message, but he’s had those on occasion. And they certainly are not comparable to the joy he’s found in his calling. He’s put many of those joyful experiences in one of his books titled The Watchmen, which will be the focus of our conversation, and some of the other books are One Heartbeat Away and One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven, and they can be found at Mark Cahill Ministries as well as here at The Berean Call.
Mark, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mark: Hey, Tom, great to chat with you again, and great to be in front of The Berean Call audience. And, you know, you really don’t have to go to another country to get hostility toward the message of Jesus Christ. Just need to turn on the web and you can keep reading story after story of, you know, college campuses and persecution against people that stand for the Lord, but it just goes with the territory. And it should encourage you, me, and all your listeners to continue to be bolder and bolder as we stand for Jesus Christ in these days.
Tom: You know, but, Mark, in your introduction to your book, you start by saying, and I quote, “By the time you finish reading this book, I hope you are very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t even have a problem if you didn’t like me by the time you set this book down.” Now, that attitude of some not liking us has dogged The Berean Call for decades, particularly because of the book The Seduction of Christianity. And, Mark, as you know, we named more than a few Christian leaders, sacred cows to many, who are not being true to the Scriptures, and that, sadly, got a number of folks very angry. But what motivated you to begin your book like that? I mean, come on, you’re one of the nicest guys I know, so explain yourself.
Mark (laughing): Okay, that’s a good point. Well, one of the problems, Tom, is that – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen anybody going through cancer radiation – they’re not extremely comfortable. I’ve had a gallstone and a kidney stone before; you’re not very comfortable. I would imagine just by reading the Scriptures, reading the verses about hell, the eternal nature of it, I get a feeling the people there really aren’t comfortable. Yet when I look around the visible church of today, people are comfortable, they’re happy, they have their coffee and donuts before they do Sunday school class. I was at a restaurant the other day and he tells me the restaurant just fills up with people after Sunday church, and then I ask him, “By the way, how many people Sunday afternoon will tell you about Jesus Christ?” And I actually had the busboy tell me two people have ever shared Christ with him in this restaurant, and I was one of the two. But yet – so we’re very, very comfortable, Tom, but yet we have false teaching in the church, we have a lack of zeal in the church, we have people dying and going to hell, and Mark Cahill’s comfortable? There’s something wrong with that picture, and so we have to do something about that.
We were at an Elton John concert the other day, out witnessing, handing tracts out, and people kept telling me – many people told me that they were born again and saved. And so I would ask them, “Okay, so what inside that concert tonight is going to glorify the Lord?” And boy, did we get some responses from people! And of course, the answer is “absolutely nothing.” So you’ve got all these lost people, everybody […] these lost people at this concert, all these supposed Christians hanging out – we’re comfortable. We fit in perfectly to this society, Tom. But when I read the Book of Acts, I read the New Testament, we’re not supposed to fit in perfectly to the societies that we live in.
Tom: Yeah, well, Mark, that creates a lot of discomfort. Conviction has a way of doing that, and it’s sad; but, you know, I’m convicted just by what you said, all right? And I’m uncomfortable! But God wants us to move in His direction. If we get comfortable, we get complacent, and then what are we doing? It’s not like we’re trying to – well, I mean, I have to say this a little differently. I was about to say it’s not like we’re trying to get some brownie points here. No, we’re trying to fulfill not only the great commission – hopefully that’s where our heart ought to be, and it’s uncomfortable! We’ve got to move from where we are to where we need to be.
Mark: Yeah, exactly, and if you could talk to Dave Hunt right now, Dave Hunt wants 100 percent of the people that follow The Berean Call ministry to know the Word of God, love the Word of God, stand up against false teaching, and share their faith with lost people. But I can’t talk with Dave Hunt right now, but I actually know what he would say if he was here right now and do that, and that’s not 98 percent of the people that follow The Berean Call, or 94, 93, or two percent. That’s every one of us! And so if every one of us – it’s a team; it’s like sports. We’re on the same team together, and if part of the… It’s like military, it’s like a platoon, and if one guy is not doing his job in the platoon, people can die because of that! So what does the platoon leader do? He’s got to get everybody on the same page, everybody doing their job, and if we do that, our platoon can accomplish its mission.
So the same thing here: if we just think sports or military with The Berean Call and have the same mindset, Tom, and everybody out there – “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” So if a hundred percent of the people who follow The Berean Call also become fishers of men, hey, buddy, watch out! Watch out for the impact you’re going to make in your local church, the impact you’re going to make in your community, and the impact you’re going to make worldwide when you just follow what the Lord tells us to do.
Tom: Yeah. You mentioned The Berean Call – Mark, I’m under conviction right there, because there’s a tendency on my part, the staff – maybe even Dave, to some degree – the tendency is, “Well, you know, we’re about apologetics. We’re about trying to straighten out the church.” And, you know, Dave never lost sight of the fact that the Great Commission, evangelizing…I’m sending out a Berean Bite right now about Loving God, and that’s certainly – there’s a wide scope of what we do as a ministry, but sometimes we’re just perceived as, “Well, you’re just into apologetics. You deal with cults, you deal with aberrational Christian doctrine,” and so on and so forth. No! We need to be – The Berean Call or anybody else – the full counsel of God here, minister where we can, because, Mark, how many times have you heard people say, “Well, that’s not my calling”? I mean, really?
Mark: No, I get that all the time, and I say, “Pick up the phone! If you’d answer the phone, you’d find out it is your calling if you read the Bible and do that.”
Tom: I like that!
Mark: Yeah. First Peter 3: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” So here we run – The Berean Call – we run an apologetics ministry, okay? So that means we have to be ready to answer – help them answer the questions that people ask us. Well, let’s back up a second: why would anybody ask us a question? If we don’t engage somebody in a conversation, if we don’t initiate those conversations, if they don’t know we’re serious about Jesus Christ, why would anybody at your workplace even ask you a question about that if you hadn’t brought it up or tried to open up the door with that person and do that?
So, for instance, it was 13 years ago – I’m in Florida speaking, and I saw some people walking between cars in this parking lot, so I went over and handed them some tracts and we start talking. They were two Ukrainian teenagers, both 18; started chitchatting – well, they live in Atlanta! So I told them – I said, “Hey, I live in Atlanta, so here’s my digits. Get a hold of me sometime, we’ll go witnessing in Atlanta.” They were both Christians, going to church and pretty solid in their faith for 18. Well, I get home to Atlanta. A month later Gelmut calls me up – we start going witnessing, and we start going to different places witnessing. Well, we become friends. Well, Gelmut’s 31 now, and he called me a couple weeks ago, Tom, and said, “Hey, one of my buddy’s has gone off to college and is in total atheism.” He said, “Would you go to dinner with us and help with some of the questions?”
I said, “Sure.” So just a couple weeks ago, we went to dinner. There are about five of us there, all Ukrainians and me, and this young kid started talking, and, Tom, we went two-and-a-half hours on his questions about God and questions about the Bible. And I was responding to those questions – that’s the apologetics we learned with The Berean Call, and I was able to answer pretty much every question he asked. You get all the same questions; there’s nothing new under the sun. Then as I kept talking, Tom, find out the young man’s dad is a pastor, and you just have to know how shattered that man is that his son has gone off to college and ditched the whole faith into atheism. But as we really continued to talk, Tom, the real issue was the young man loved to sin. He mentioned some of the sins he was involved in, and he knows if he’s with Christianity, the conviction’s going to be there, and he decided to walk away from it. That was the big deal we found out, but I wouldn’t know that unless I was sitting there talking to him for two-and-a-half hours. And the people who follow The Berean Call have a lot of knowledge; it’s all in Dave’s books, it’s in the Bible, the Old and New Testament. We can answer people’s questions, but we have to get into those conversations to help these people out.
Tom: Yeah. You know, you sort of answered the question, but I’ll ask it anyway: why did you title your book The Watchmen? I mean, that’s not something usually associated with evangelism. Now, you’ve answered it in part, but still, The Watchmen…I mean, if I picked that book up just on the basis of a title, I wouldn’t be thinking about what I know that you do as your calling.
Mark: Yeah, that’s interesting you said that, because as I was making the mistake of actually reading my Bible one day – I actually read it every day. I actually read it front to back every year, which is really simple to do. You just read three and a half chapters a day, 10-15 minutes a day and you’ll read your whole Bible front to back, and as you do that, the Holy Spirit has a way just to drill you with some scriptures. And I was reading Ezekiel, and chapter…I think it’s 3, and then chapter 33 – and it talks about the watchman on the wall, and what the watchman on the wall did is he would blow the trumpet to warn people trouble was coming. So when the watchman was up there and he saw the army come to the rise on a hill, he would blow the trumpet, then it was the people’s job in the city to get ready for the battle that was about to ensue.
And so you can kind of liken it to down South where I live – a tornado siren goes off. So when the tornado siren goes off, there’s a guy in a little cubbyhole who’s looking at the weather map, and he sees the cell coming toward them, and it turns red, and he hits that button, and when that button goes off, the siren starts going. Or maybe some older people remember the sirens during World War II in London when the German bombers were coming. Well, when the siren goes off, Tom, you have a choice to make: in London, you can go outside and watch the pretty bombs come falling down – of course, you’re going to die because of that. Down south, when the siren goes off, you can go out and enjoy the windy day, or you can go under and take protection as the tornado comes through.
But I always thought about that guy in the thing, when he presses the button, Tom, he doesn’t know how people are going to react! He doesn’t know if they’re going to pay attention or take it serious – some people will think it’s not serious, like a tsunami warning or something. And then it hit me: that’s our job. Whether that atheist at lunch the other day took it serious (at dinner), took it serious, the conversation we had… He smirked at me a few times, and I said to him a couple times – said to him twice – I said, “Hold on, stop: why are you smirking at me?” I said, “I’m not smirking at you when I’m answering. I’m trying to legitimately help you out, but you’re smirking.” Because he was just mocking, and that’s part of what goes with the territory sometimes, okay? But I am so glad that I blew the trumpet and warned him trouble’s coming if he continues to reject what Jesus Christ did for him.
So again, the loving, caring thing for that guy in that office is to press the button and let people know the tornado’s coming. Same thing, Tom: if you care about your next-door neighbor, if you care about somebody, a waiter or waitress, if you care about a friend, you’re willing to pick up the trumpet and warn them trouble’s coming if they don’t repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tom: Amen. And those verses that you’re quoting, I mean, it’s serious! The scripture says, “If you don’t warn them, their blood is going to be on your head.” Now we’ve got a problem, and the problem comes to…and it’s not just because of what the Lord has blessed me and enabled me to do with Dave Hunt for, you know, for 40 years. I love this calling, but my concern is – my sadness is – where have I heard in other churches – and when I’m around the world, or wherever it might be, if I’m not preaching on that Sunday, maybe I’m visiting another church – but in the many churches that I’m aware of, Mark, where’s there ever a message about being a watchman? Because a lot of pastors say, “Hey, you know, well, that creates issues, you know, and we certainly don’t want to rock the boat here, because if there are issues, then we have church splits, then we have this…” Bad deal. Bad deal.
Mark: You know, that’s interesting you said that, because I was speaking in one of the largest churches in Florida, and I was doing a training seminar about sharing your faith, and I was telling people that witnessing was not inviting people to church; witnessing was you going out and talking with somebody about the Lord Jesus Christ. And I told a story of how I had stopped for dinner on the way over to the church, and just this crazy encounter that happened through that. Well, when I finished, I didn’t realize this, but the pastor was there – and I actually know him; I didn’t see him in the crowd – and so he came up afterwards and, you know, it was one of these, “Hey, you know, we love Mark; Mark is great…” And I knew the next word that was coming: “But…”
Tom (laughing): “But.” Right!
Mark: And he said – he said, “Now, remember, invite people to church with you on Sunday. You want to bring them here and do that….” Well, you know me by now, Tom. I’m a little bit crazy. So I got up, I walked back up on the stage, and I said, “Hey, how you doing, pastor? Good to see you.” I said, “Now, is it okay to invite lost people to church?” And the crowd said, “Sure,” and I said, “Sure it is! I don’t have a problem with that. But,” I said, “if they come to this church and they hear the gospel presented by that man right there,” I said, “that should be at least the second time they’ve heard the gospel presentation.” I said, “Where should the first time have come from?”
And it finally hit them: they said, “It should be from me.”
I said, “It should be from you! Because if you had enough guts to invite them to church, you should have enough guts to invite them to heaven to spend eternity with you and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And so sometimes we just get caught in these things: Well, that’s someone else’s job. That’s that ministry’s job. Oh, the pastor will do that, I just have to invite them. No, that’s my job, and you see that in the New Testament with Peter and Paul and all the apostles, the people that went out two by two, they were all going out there and sharing their faith and being bold for Christ, and that’s an example we can all learn from.
Tom: You know, Mark one of the things I appreciate, and you really taught me – I mean, you…I can’t remember if you taught it to Carl Kerby or Carl Kerby taught it to you… No, I think Carl Kerby got it from you, and it has to do with conversation. Now, one of the things I’m getting at here is that your book, The Watchmen, is loaded with experiences about you going about sharing the gospel and, in addition, you give some insights into the many ways you […], which are wonderful helps and encouragements to those who want to either start witnessing or expand their own sharing of the gospel. But talk about such things as conversation, how you like to get a conversation going.
Mark: Okay, so, one, I love Carl Kerby, but yeah, he stole my stuff. But I told him he can steal everything. It’s not my stuff anyways, it’s all the Lord’s [laughing]! But I always just tell people witnessing isn’t a presentation, witnessing is a conversation, that Jesus had a conversation with the woman at the well; Jesus had a conversation with the rich young ruler. And so we just go out and try to have conversations. Now, I love to hand tracts out and all that, but I’d rather have a conversation.
So last week at the Elton John concert, there was a little bit of a lull, and there was a guy standing there, and I tried to hand him a tract, and he wouldn’t take it. And he had some luggage with him, so I finally just thought, I’m gonna start trying…just said, “Hey, what are you doing here?”
He said, “Well, I actually work for building the set inside there, and I just flew into town.”
I said, “Really?” I said, “Well, tell me about Elton John: what’s he like?” Well, we just started talking and stuff, and as we continued to talk, Tom, he wanted nothing to do with Christianity at all. I said, “So what’s your big holdup that’s holding you back with that?” He said, “Hypocrites. I am sick and tired of hypocrites.”
I said, “Okay.” I said, “That’s legitimate.” I said…we were standing right by the entrance where they have all the security, you know, the metal detectors, and you can’t sneak a knife, a gun, a rocket-propelled grenade, or anything into the arena, you know? And so I said, “Let me ask you a question.”
He said, “Okay.”
I said, “If you were going through one of those security detectors and that person right there gave you a hard time—just thought you were the worst, you had stuff on you, you were going to cause…just really just ruined your day. But then you went through and you went into the Elton John concert.” I said, “Would that stop you from enjoying that concert tonight?”
He said, “No way on earth.” He said, “I’m going to enjoy that concert.”
I said, “Exactly!” I said, “Just because you think you’ve met some people that represent Jesus Christ not the way you would have it represented, why would that stop you from finding out about the God who loves you, the God who died for your sins – why would you ever let that stop you from finding out who He is?”
He looked at me, Tom – he said, “I love that answer.” And that helped with this. And I said, “Do you believe in God?”
And he said, “I most definitely do.” I was really shocked! I was expecting a different answer. But as we continued to talk, he ends up dropping this in at the end, Tom, he said, “Oh, by the way,” he said, “my mom is a very, very strong Christian – really loves God and loves the Lord.”
And so I said, “Do you think your mom believes in a myth, in a fairy tale?” Because he had mentioned that earlier, and we started talking. At the end of it, he didn’t take a tract at the beginning, but he took one of those One Second After You… booklets you guys carry at The Berean Call. He took that at the end, and then we shook hands as his Uber came up. He couldn’t go anywhere till his Uber came and got him, and then it hit me: you know, all that probably was, Tom, was an answer to his momma’s prayers for someone to witness to her son, to bring him back to where he was as a kid. So it was just a conversation standing right outside the concert arena here in Atlanta, and it was still one of the best – and I’ve been able to pray for that man since then. So just having a conversation with people, planting seeds, and watch what the Lord does.
Tom: You know, Mark, the thing that really blesses me to no end about the idea of conversation: with a conversation, number one, if you come with an “all right, here’s my game plan, here’s what I’m going to address,” you know, it’s like you’re coming with a method or methodology, and what you’re going to do is impose that on whoever you’re going to talk to. That’s not being led of the Spirit.
Tom: Now, God has given us all wisdom. I mean, if you’ve been born again yesterday, guess what? You just started on the road to wisdom! So God’s going to use you, if you’re open to that in conversation…I mean, look: how many conversations you’ve had that you absolutely directed it from word one till maybe an hour later? Doesn’t happen that way! God opens up thoughts, He gives you ideas, you respond to something that, you know, the question – just as you’ve just described, Mark. That’s why conversation – very rarely will it bring a defensive mechanism. It may start that way, but you’ve just described how that’s been loosened up, that’s not been a barrier.
Mark: Yeah, Tom, I can’t tell you how good of a point that is, Tom, because if you think about it, if you were the other person, you can tell when someone has a rote, preprogrammed way to talk to you. You get it from telemarketers all the time. You can tell when they’re reading from a script. And so don’t we think a lost person could tell the exact same thing if we have everything preplanned and do that? We don’t think about that.
I had a waiter the other night – Chris – and I asked him a question. He’s probably mid-40s, and I asked him a question – here’s a real good, easy one that all your listeners can use – I said, “Hey Chris, by the way, when you were younger as a kid, did you grow up in any religious faith or belief or traditions as a child?”
He said, “Yes, I did.”
I said, “Now that you’re older, is it more important to you or less important to you?”
He said, “Oh, less important. Much less important.”
I said, “Really?” I said, “Why is it less important?” Because usually, you know, it should become more important. We’re getting closer to dying, so it should become more important. I said, “Why is it less important?”
And he said, “Man, just some things that happened and stuff.”
And I said, “Okay. What did you grow up in as a kid?”
He said, “Well, I grew up Catholic.”
So I said, “Okay. So are you talking about some of the molestation and the pedophilia that happened at church?”
And he said, “Yes, I am.” And that’s a good thing for us to remember, Tom, because a lot of Roman Catholics are very unhappy with what’s happening in the church now, but I think they’re still going to be very open to Jesus Christ – not religion, but to Jesus Christ.
So I said, “Okay. Do you still believe in God?”
He said, “No, I don’t. Me and my wife are more agnostic.” So we kept talking about some proofs for God. As we’re chatting, Tom, the restaurant got really busy. He had a few other tables, but he would not take his eyes off me. He was chatting with me, and he was soaking up what I was saying, and I said, “I know you’re busy, because you’ve got a lot of things that are happening here.” I said, “Do you like to read?”
He said, “Oh, me and my wife love to read.” Well, before it was done, he ended up taking two of my books, One Heartbeat Away and Paradise – and people can get them right there from The Berean Call – and he took both of these. He said, “I’m really looking forward to reading these,” because I gave him some proofs for a God, and he was very excited about that. I shook his hand, I left him a really nice tip. Wonderful guy! Chris was just fascinating. But, Tom, I didn’t have a preprogrammed plan with him. I didn’t know where that was going to go, but I just went with the flow, let the Holy Spirit lead – plant truth, plant truth, plant truth, blow the trumpet, speak the truth in love. One of the greatest conversations I ever had, and it was about three weeks ago.
Tom: You know, Mark, we’ve got about a minute left, but I’m looking forward to next week, because we’re going to deal with that issue. You see, in combination with conversation, you’ve just underscored it: it’s questions! All those things point to your interest in people. It’s not a matter of imposing something on them – you want to know where their hearts are, you know, what they’re thinking or not thinking, and so on.
So again, Mark, this has been great! So I look forward to next week. We’re going to be dealing with certainly those questions and more about prayer, about giving, about critical undergirding the witness, and of course, the necessity of knowing God’s Word. So thanks, Mark, and I look forward to next week with you.
Mark: Amen. Thanks, Tom.