Tom: Thanks, Gary. This week, part 2 of my interview with Mark Cahill, and Mark’s ministry is evangelism. We mentioned last week—folks, if you missed last week’s program, I’d encourage you to go back and listen to it, and, the Lord willing, we’re going to add onto that with some really . . . just stuff I’m excited about.
Mark’s book, which we’re focusing on, is called The Watchmen, and, as we described last week, we need to be watchmen in the sense of what God has called us to do: sharing the gospel message, recognizing when evil is at the doorstep, and, sadly, not just the world, but it’s in the church as well. So, we have a responsibility before the Lord, not only to point out what’s coming, but then to reach out to those who are lost—those who not only are in the world, but the world has them overwhelmed. They have no hope. And that’s part of being a watchman. It’s not just apologetics, which is a part of it, certainly—teaching and encouraging what the Word of God says, that’s a part of it. So, that’s our heart.
Mark, I’m going to start right off with this question though: Why do you do what you do?
Mark: You know, that’s a good question, but it kind of made me think back to the title there, The Watchmen. I was just thinking as you said that, you know, we just talked last week about the guy who pressed the button to send the tornado siren off, but then when he hears later that all these people were saved because they didn’t die, or they got out of the way of the tornado, he must be pretty excited about that! You know, his job was well done, and he gets that “juice” from doing it, and it had an impact on people’s lives.
And yet, we as Christians should feel the same way about being watchmen. When we get an email from somebody—I just got an email from Sacramento two days ago from a young man I met at the car rental place about five or six years ago when I was at that place, and I witnessed to him, talked to him, sent him a few books, and he just sent me an email. He’s a truck driver now, and he’s just excited! He’s serving the Lord, he’s sharing his faith at truck stops and just being bold. He had a few questions, but that was just an encounter when I was trying to “blow the trumpet” X amount of years ago when I was out and about traveling.
And people can pick up The Watchmen at The Berean Call, but it made me think, too, as you said that, Tom, that I had a friend of mine, Pete, in Cincinnati—he loves the material, he hands out tracts all the time—a really bold man of God. But he told me that he reads The Watchmen—this year he’s reading it once a month. He’s reading the entire book twelve times this year—once a month. Because he said it’s the one book that gets him fired up to continue doing what he’s doing and stay out of his comfort zone and don’t be a wimp for Jesus Christ; be a bold man for Jesus Christ. He said that’s what kicks him over.
Well, for me, all I’ve got to do is read Mark 16: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” So, why do I do what I do? I’m just trying to obey what the Bible says. And when I’m in obedience to what the Scriptures say—man! This is a fun life! When I get out of line with what the Scriptures say, there’s always a price to be paid for that.
So, again, it’s—to me, it’s just an issue of obedience or disobedience. When people tell you, Tom, that they don’t have the “gift” of evangelism—that’s actually not a gift in the Bible; it’s an issue of obedience or disobedience. I don’t think anything can make us happier when all the followers of The Berean Call are obeying what the Scriptures tell us to do.
Tom: And, as we talked last week, when we’re in that situation . . . and that’s what I love about your book. You give us situation after situation after situation after situation. There are aspects that not only bring, for me, personal conviction, but they bring personal encouragement.
Now, Mark, I can say the same to me: “Well, Tom, why do you do what you do?” Why does Mark do what he does? Yes, there’s obedience there, but I don’t know of anything this side of heaven, this temporal side, that’s more exciting—and to know that you’re being used of the Lord. And I’m not necessarily saying, all right, in every case, we have to seal the deal by coming to Christ right at that point. No, we’re talking about . . .
Tom: No, we’re talking about seeds being planted; we’re talking about maybe seeds being watered, whatever that might be. But, Mark, is there anything better than knowing that you’re being used—related to your “calling” or not—but knowing that you’re being used of the Lord. I mean, what could be more exciting?
Mark: That’s a great point, Tom, because I wrote in one of my books that either Satan’s going to use you or God’s going to use you, but you’re going to get used. And if any of us have been used in a bad way by somebody, we know how terrible that feeling is. So wouldn’t we want God to do the using?
Mark: So think about if—every one of us—if there’s a car accident, your inclination is always, “Oh, let me pull over and help those people.”
Mark: Now, sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t pull over, but that’s your inclination. If a little kid falls down by you, you help the little kid up. So wouldn’t we want to, as we go through life, Tom, help people to make the correct decision about Jesus Christ?
I was in Books-A-Million store a couple of weeks ago, and I went over—there was a section called “Body, Mind, and Spirit.” So I said, “This has got to be a fun section.” So I walked over there, and there was this guy standing there, and he was built like a middle linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons. He had more muscles than I’ve ever seen in my life. So I walked up to him. I tapped him on the shoulder—this is a true story—I said, “Okay, you got the body thing down; how about the mind and the spirit?” And he looked at me and smiled, and he said, “That’s a good question!”
Tom: (Chuckling) That’s right!
Mark: We started talking, Tom—this guy Dewan, he was into some of the craziest spiritual stuff: chakras, numerology . . . He had gotten into levitation, where he was being lifted off the ground. He told me he had an out-of-body experience where on his left-hand side, there was an evil presence there. He could hear hissing and hissing, but not on the right side.
“Now, you see what’s interesting when you say that, Dewan?”
And he said, “What?”
I said, “You know, it says that Jesus Christ is seated at the . . . “
And he knew the answer. He said, “At the right hand of the Father.”
I said, “The right hand of the Father. And not on the left-hand side, but the right-hand side.” I said, “Dewan, do you believe in spirits?”
He said, “Yeah.”
“Do you believe in angels?”
“Do you believe in demons?” And so, he answered the question in the affirmative. And I told him, I said, “Dewan, you’re messing with demons. You are messing with the dark side. And you can rest assured, when you mess with the dark side, the dark side will mess back with you, Dewan.”
I said, “What’s your religious upbringing?” And it was Methodist—not really strong, but a little bit of Methodist—he grew up in Texas.
I said, “Well, who do you think Jesus is?” Then I asked, “Do you think He walked on planet Earth? Do you think He died on the cross? Do you think He rose from the dead?”
And that was the seed we were planting. He loves to read (he was in a bookstore). He took two of my books. He was so thankful for the conversation, Tom. He thanked me for the conversation at the end! So all I was doing was blowing the trumpet, helping Dewan who had “fallen on the ground” with false teachings, trying to help him get up and walk him closer to the cross. That was my only goal. Goal accomplished, and now I pray for Dewan and do that. So then, every one of us can do that!
Tom: Yeah, now last week I got really excited about you talking about me mentioning “conversation,” and how critical that is, and important. But the other side of that, as you just articulated, yes, there is conversation, but then there are questions.
You know, Mark, from hanging out with Dave Hunt for four decades, you know, I went through different things. There was one point at which I had all the answers and nobody had any questions! Mark, you did not want to hang out with me, okay?
Tom: I’m still repenting of that. And then it went from bad to worse, which I won’t go there. But then, the point was that rather than being in somebody’s grill, rather than forcing something, I’ve learned, by the grace of God, to ask questions. You know, a Jehovah’s Witness comes to the door—a couple of them come to the door. I just like to ask them questions: “Hey, what’s your deal?” And they pull back. But the point is, not only does conversation lead to questions, but the questions then lead to better conversation in more detail, and so on.
So the combination, as we mentioned last week, with a question, if it’s a question from the heart and a sincere wanting to know where a person’s head or mind is, just as you did with Dewan, if that’s the case, there’s not going to be anybody digging their heels in, because they know . . .
Mark: That’s exactly right. Because the other thing you do when you ask a question, Tom, is you’re actually saying, without saying it, “I care about the answer you’re about to give me.”
Mark: Now, if you’ve already put your next step in the program, you know where you’re going to go no matter what they say, well, they can sense that, okay? But a good question says, “I care about your response, and then I will respond to your response.” That’s what a good question does.
I wrote a book called Ten Questions from the King. I’m trying to remember—this may not be correct—but I think Jesus asked 135 questions in the New Testament. “Who do you say that I am?” Things like that.
Well, wait a minute! If our best role model ever, the Son of the Most High God, is asking questions, Tom and Mark and everyone at The Berean Call, we need to be asking questions and doing that.
So, I was in a restaurant, and I was sitting next to this girl, and she had some tattoos. So, typically, I just ask people, “Hey, what’s your tattoos? What do they mean?” or whatever. But she had ear buds in, so you’ve got to get the ear buds out, especially with these young people—you’ve got to get those out of their ears and stuff. So I went up to get a napkin, and I'm coming back and she had a big cross necklace. So I stood in front of her (true story!) and I just pointed at her. I stood there and just pointed at her. And her eyes got really big, and she took out one of the ear buds. I said, “You’re wearing a cross!”
She said, “Yes,” and I said, “Why do you wear that cross?”
Bingo! We were off and rolling. Within a couple minutes, she took out the other ear bud. We started talking. She had grown up in a Christian home. She was 21 or 22, and she’s—Tom, way off into this New Age stuff, okay? So as we’re talking, she told me—I said, “Do you believe in the Bible?” She said, “Well, I think it’s literal and symbolic.”
Okay, so what’s a very easy question to ask: “How do you tell which part is literal and which part is symbolic?” So we continued to talk. So then I just asked three very simple questions: “Do you believe Jesus walked on planet Earth 2,000 years ago?”
And she looked at me, Tom, and she said, “No.”
I said, “Do you believe Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago?”
And she said, “No.” So then I said, “Well, then, I already know this answer, but do you believe Jesus rose from the dead three days later, 2,000 years ago?”
She said “No.” So I got “no,” “no,” “no,” to those good questions. Then I told her about the evidence for Jesus Christ, from the eyewitness testimonies to passages in Josephus. And she was very intrigued with that. I said, “You obviously like to read.”
She said, “Oh, I’m a huge reader!” Well, that’s how she got into all this junk. She was reading the wrong things.
So, we gave her a couple books—she was very excited to get the books and read them, and then we just challenged her on truth. And then, here’s a real good question (I ask this a lot to people)—I said, “What if you’re wrong? What if you’re wrong, and Jesus is the only way to get to heaven, and you choose to reject that?”
What I’m trying to do there, Tom, is to get them to think about consequences. I did it with that atheist last week that we talked about, at the restaurant. I did it with Sky here—I want her to think about consequences, because that’s one of Satan’s tricks: “Believe in whatever you want. We all wind up in the same place. There will be no consequences to whatever you believe.” Right? That’s one of his lies. So that’s a good question to get them to think—a good direct question like that.
Tom: You know, Mark, some books that are loaded with the author’s experiences, too often they mainly focus on the author and the experience. Your book, The Watchmen, doesn’t do that. What you communicate is not only your experience but you give why you approach it in the way you did, and then, time after time, you supply supportive scriptures. I mean, that is so terrific! So, was that your intent from the beginning?
Mark: Yeah, that’s a good question, and, again, it just goes back to being Bereans—that they searched the scriptures daily to test what Paul was saying, whether he was telling them the truth or not.
And the implication there, Tom, is that we will accept the scriptures as true; we just have to get the speaker in front of us—Paul, Mark, Tom—is actually lining up with the scriptures. So, if you ever watch me speak, I’m actually really simple. I use a verse or a section of verses, like Ezekiel 33 or something like that. I expound upon the verse a little bit, and then I tell an actual witnessing story that goes with the verse.
So, Romans 15: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Don’t we want to bring people hope? Isn’t that what witnessing is? We’re bringing people hope as they’re struggling with life, and they don’t know what’s going on. They just heard the word “cancer” for the first time from one of their doctors, and now they’re beginning to wonder about that.
How about Romans 10: “How then, shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in Him, whom they have not heard? And how should they hear without a preacher?”
So, the preacher is the speaker. So you and I, Tom, the people who follow The Berean Call, we speak—what are we speaking into people’s lives of “Him whom they have not heard?” So, if they’ve gotten a false Jesus, wouldn’t that be our job to bring them a true Jesus Christ?
I was in a Barnes and Noble about two months ago, and I saw two Mormon missionaries sitting there by themselves, and so I got up and I went over and sat down next to them. Now that’s interesting, if you think about it, because a lot of times if they come to our front door, many people don’t want to answer the front door. If we see them coming up on their bicycles, we try to avoid them, right? So I went up and sat with them, and I began to talk: “Hey, how are you guys? What are your names? You on your mission trip? Yeah? Okay, how long are you into it?”
And then we just began to talk, and at the end of the conversation—we talked for like and hour—and they told me, “Hey, thanks for coming up and sitting and chatting with us.” They actually said that! They said, “You know, we get a lot of rejection.” And I already knew that, okay? And so, “We thank you for the time to do that.” They both love to read. They both took one of my books. They gave me a Book of Mormon. I took it, and the reason I took it is that means they can’t give it to somebody else, right? So I take literature from Jehovah’s Witnesses. I take literature from Mormons, because I don’t want them to give that to somebody else and do that. But during the conversation (not a presentation!) . . . during the conversation, one of the boys asked me, he said, “Do you believe that I’m in a cult?”
What a great question he asked, okay? Because even he knows that there’s a difference between the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of Mormonism. That’s what I explained to them. And I said to them, “Both of us can’t be right at this point. Your job is to do one thing. Not find something to believe in; not follow what your parents taught you or your grandparents or your Elder taught you. Your job is to do one thing. Find out what is the truth.”
And I challenge people with that all the time, Tom, in conversation. Don’t search for something to believe in. Search for the truth, because every one of us is looking for truth, not for something to believe in. When you tap an address into your Garmin to go somewhere, you don’t “hope” that Garmin gives you the right directions. It’d better give you the right directions or you’re late for your meeting, right?
So, again, we’re looking for truth, and in every other area we should look for truth spiritually as well.
Tom: Yeah, you know, Mark, there are so many simple things here. Simple, but just profound. Let me run this by you. Number one, we’ve been talking about conversation. Hey, can everybody—can anybody—is there anybody who can’t get into conversation? I mean, they have conversations all the time.
Mark: All the time.
Tom: So that’s one thing that’s very simple, very true. The second thing is, questions. Can anybody ask questions? Now, folks, I’m speaking to you out there. Mark has spoken it to me through his book and in other ways encouraged me. But, yeah, I can hold a conversation, and I can ask questions.
But now, there’s the deal: What am I drawing from? Am I drawing from my own experiences, my own ideas, the things that I think are right? Or from the Word of God? And that’s an important part of it. So . . .
Tom: And I know that’s your encouragement—that we get into the Word of God. That’s why I loved your book because after pretty much every experience that you’ve given, you give the biblical basis for what you’re talking about, which is . . .
Mark: Right. The Bible should be our wellspring, Tom, and if my nose is in that book and actually studying it, you can’t miss all the verses about sharing your faith. So that’s my wellspring. I should want to obey what it says. I read the Bible and it talks about “giving” a lot, and so I decided I needed to become a biblical giver, because the Bible said so—not because Mark said so. Mark’s pretty selfish. But the Bible said so.
So one thing I do every time I’m at a gas station, I buy someone’s gas there. And so, I pulled an even crazier . . . I only put, like, ten dollars in my tank every time, so it makes me stop at more gas stations. That might sound a little crazy, but that’s how I live.
Tom: (chuckling) Uh-huh.
Mark: So I’m at this gas station. There’s nobody there! I said, “God, I’m blessing somebody.” I stood there for ten minutes until a car pulled up. The car pulled up, I said, “Hey, are you getting gas?”
He said, “Yeah.”
I said, “My treat today.”
He said, “Why would you do that?”
I said, “Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to received. And so I love to bless people.”
He said, “You’re kidding me!”
I said, “No.” He pulled out his wallet. He had a five-dollar bill in his wallet. He said, “Sir, I’m only putting three dollars of gas in because I wanted to save two dollars for food. I only have five dollars to my name.”
And I don’t want to forget, Tom, there were times that I used to have five dollars to my name. But because of that, I said, “Well, who do you think Jesus is?”
Bingo! We began to talk. He loved to read. I gave him a couple books, and did that all because I have a giving mindset. But why do I have a giving mindset? Because the Bible said so, and because I decided to follow after that, see, my life has changed because of that.
I was in a restaurant the other day, and this waitress walked up—and she wasn’t my waitress. She said, “Can I ask you a question?”
I said, “Sure.”
She said, “Why do you do what you do?”
I’m like, “What are you talking about?”
She said, “You come in here, you give books to the staff, you bless them [financially, she meant]. Why do you do what you do?”
I said, “Well, Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than receive, and I choose to live my life that way.”
She said, “No, no, no. I want to know why do you do what you do?”
Well, she ended up (Tina) sitting down at my table, and we had about a 45-minute conversation, Tom, about life, death, giving, who’s Jesus?, and all this. But it hit me hard when I left that night—I have a reputation in that restaurant when I go there that I’m a giver, I’m a blesser, I talk to people and do that. I wouldn’t want a reputation, “Oh, here come’s the stingy guy.” “Oh here comes the guy in his suit after church on Sunday, but he’ll never talk to me about Jesus Christ.”
We all have reputations. I just want to make sure my reputation lines up with the Scriptures and I represent as an ambassador of Christ—I represent Him well as I go through this life.
Tom: You know, Mark, we’ve got about five minutes left, but I want to cover two quick points. Number one, when I first met you, and we were at this restaurant and I saw you in action—look, I can read what you write in your book, but I have personally experienced it. The reason I was in a restaurant with you is because you were one of the speakers at our conference. Then I saw you get up and minister to people—and, folks, I’ll just tell you really quickly. Mark said, “Hey, I’ve got some books back there on the table. Go on up and help yourself. There’s a box—you can put some money in it, whatever you decide, or you can afford. And if you can’t afford anything, just help yourself. And, oh, by the way, if you don’t have any money, there’s that box on the table, and there may be some money in it. Go, help yourself to it.”
I’m thinking, What? What is this? Now, my reputation—my wife refers to me as being cheap. I’ve had to come up with a new term called “frugalicious,” just to get the onus off. But Mark, honestly, if there’s one thing—or a dozen things—that you’ve really spoken to my heart about, it’s that. I don’t know how you ever . . . well, you explained how you came up with it.
But, after that, here’s the thing I want to end on. We talked about conversation. We talked about questions. We talked about God’s Word telling us to do this. Mark, how do we get boldness? How do you get boldness? You have boldness. You minister that way. How do I get it? How does anybody else get it?
Mark: Okay, let me answer that. Right before that I was at Taylor University speaking, and I started chatting with this one student, and we’re talking and we had a good chat, and then he looked at me at the end, Tom, and he said, “You know, sir, I really didn’t want to meet you.” (Well, that’s a great thing to hear, as a traveling speaker: “I really didn’t want to meet you.”)
Tom: [Laughing] I’ve had that. For different reasons.
Mark: I said, “Why didn’t you want to meet me?” He said, “Sir, I’ve read a couple of your books.”
I said, “Okaaay, why didn’t you want to meet me?”
He said, “Sir, every time I’ve met an author of a book that I liked, I’ve been extremely disappointed.” And, Tom, it hit me like a ton of bricks, man, and what he was saying was that the author of the book was different than the person that was sitting in front of him chatting. We don’t want to be two different people: One person behind the pulpit; one person who writes a book. One person at work on Friday but a different person at church on Sunday. It’s a good thing for all of us to remember is to be the same person everywhere we go.
Boldness? Very simple. Pray for it. Ephesians 6, Paul—the great apostle Paul—prays for boldness twice in Ephesians 6, that God would give him the boldness. Because I think Paul dealt with the same things that we deal with. You know, we don’t want to be mocked. We don’t want to be laughed at. We really don’t want rejection. So, “God, give me that boldness so I’ll get out of my comfort zone and do what I’m supposed to be doing.”
The other thing that gives you boldness, Tom, is when you’re obedient. And so, because I was obedient witnessing (we told those stories last week about that Elton John concert, and going out there and handing tracts out to people)—the more you’re obedient in having a conversation with the Mormons at the Barnes and Noble, or the Dewans at the Books-a-Million, the more you’re obedient, it just continues to build that excitement, that boldness, where you don’t want to stay in your shell or your comfort zone—you actually want to get out of it.
So to the people out there, just pray, “God, get me out of my comfort zone. And, God, please, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, keep me out of my comfort zone, and give me that boldness that I represent You very well in the days to come.”
Tom: You know, one of . . . my biggest stumbling block—I’m working my way through it as the Lord is helping me—is that, Mark, I love me sometimes more than I love Jesus. And if that’s the case, there goes self-consciousness and all of the above. But if I love Him, more than I love me, man, boldness will follow, hopefully. Well, I mean, it’s got to. It’s got to. Because we’re going to want to please Him in all that we do.
Tom: My guest has been Mark Cahill. Mark, I always just so enjoy not only your books but talking to you. You’re a great encourager to me, and I know to many, many others.
Hey, look, my kids—my kids love you. You know that. They’ve had correspondence with you, and so on, because they love to minister, and you’ve been a great encouragement to them. And so, Mark, thank you for being with me, for sharing what you have with our audience. And God bless you, brother.
Mark: Yeah, amen to that. And we just love to see when people are obedient to the Scriptures and people can go to The Berean Call website and there’s plenty of tracts and booklets and books they can just give away to people. Be like a farmer. Plant a bunch of seeds and watch God make it all grow.
Tom: Amen and amen!