Deacon Ralph Poyo is a lay evangelist, who’s hilarious. He has five daughters (including twins).
They are the love of his life, and God has used them to change his heart.
He had an early addiction to pornography, first exposed at age 9, full blown addiction at age 12. He quickly became a predator who wanted to use and abuse every female that came around.
He became a predator, but we were born to be protectors.
We are not doing a good job, we’re bound and broken, we desperately need Jesus Christ. Only those men who experience this conversion have any idea what he’s talking about.
We’ve been trained to “play church”, but the truth is we have no idea what to do. We are in desperate need of an intimate relationship with the living God, not when we die, but the living God who is right now.
That is the only way that we can truly become protectors, become what God made us to be.
The unspoken question: do I really have what it takes to come against the threats that are coming are way?
Or said another way, what is it that would make a first century father willing to declare that they were a follower of Jesus Christ, knowing that would mean certain and immediate death?
Certain death for him and his family? Deacon Poyo then graphically described families being fed to the lions, of the human tiki torches that Nero used to light his parties.
So with that in mind, what is it that would enable that Christian father to say yes to the heinous question? We need to find out what that was, because we need it today.
To hold on to Christ is far more important than to avoid death at a persecutors hands.
What is the mission that Christ gave us? What did he give us? What was the target?
But before we know one key principle – we cannot give what we do not have. In other words, if we don’t have the reality of Jesus Christ pulsing through our hearts, through our very beings we cannot give it away; rather, we can only teach people to “play church”.
Look at how Jesus formed the apostles. Three years of living together, working together, proclaiming and living the Gospel … this is the relational model of ministry, of apostolate. Then Jesus dies … then rises again.
What did Jesus do? He wanted to see if his apostles actually wanted to know Him, not just know about Him.
Then He leaves, and send the Holy Spirit. Now crazy things happen, profound things.
The mission that was given to Jesus Christ was also given to the Spirit, the breath of God. The Holy Spirt then gives that same mission to each who wants to receive.
Jesus passed along His mission many times, including in a particular way in the road to Emmaus. When Jesus left, those two disciples said “were not our hearts burning?” … this was the work of the Holy Spirit.
At the end of Acts 2, “they were cut to the heart and said brothers, what should we now do?”.
In other words, what do we need to do to get what you have?
The answer? Repent and be baptized.
Of course, we have generally done a bad job of catechizing repentance. It’s more than saying “I’m sorry” … it’s much, much more.
Salvation is a free gift, but discipleship costs everything.
Authentic repentance means that we quit being God, quit living by our own rules, that we live by God’s rules.
Are we prepared to do this? Are we prepared to lead our spouse and our children, through our hearts, to Christ?
It took Deacon Poyo 11 years for Christ to free him from his addiction to pornography, once he had decided to repent.
Next up: be baptized.
If we were baptized as children, is that enough?
Our baptism requires continual conversion, so in that sense our baptism is continual, because our conversion is continual.
He then used the analogy of chocolate milk (same as Paul Masek!).
What do we want … do we want our stuff, or the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the only one who can truly change us?
Make it clear: if we’re not leading our spouse and our children to Jesus Christ, we’re leading them … elsewhere, the only other possible outcome.
If we’re going to be real honest, the number 1 religion in our country is hedonism. We make decisions based upon deception, fear, and shame. Instant gratification rather than eternal happiness. Selling our birthright for trash.