Worldwide in 2012 there were more than 14 million new diagnosis of cancer with over 8.2 million cancer related deaths. It is estimated that in 2015 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 589,430. That makes cancer the second largest killer of Americans (behind Heart Disease). While these numbers are staggering, they often just seem like numbers, until cancer comes knocking at the door of a friend, loved one, or you. (* – statistics from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/statistics)
While witnessing to people to share the Gospel some people will object to the notion that “Jesus is the only way.” In the process of sharing the gospel in these types of situations we have often used an analogy to cancer. I realize what I am about write and what you are reading may be difficult. It may touch close to home. It may even be a what you have personally heard. I have not been diagnosed with cancer. I have not heard these words from a doctor. I mean no disrespect in this highly sensitive matter. Please bear with me as it is important to sharing the Gospel.
Imagine, if you will, as a patient if you are sitting in the doctors office. He examines you. And then speaks to you about your illness. He gives you the devistating news. You have cancer. Fear, panic, anger are probably just a few of the emotions that immediately rush to your mind. As you calm down, just a little, the doctor explains the treatment plan. He indicates that surgery can be performed to remove the tumor. Chemotherapy can be adminstered and radiation can be administered to kill the cancer cells and rid them from your body.
Would you object to the treatment – even if as the doctor explained – it is the only way?
Of course not. It would be ridiculous to state, “I don’t like surgery?” or “I object to needles” or “I don’t believer in radiation treatment.”
God has given us the Ten Commandments to show us ten clear signs of the symptoms of sin. The commandments can be used to diagnose a persons sin condition. God also gave Jesus as the one and only way to be saved. Unlike treatments for cancer, Jesus is 100% faithful to save those who will repent and believe the Gospel!
While this is a sensitive subject, due to the increasing number of diagnosis of cancer and the impact on not just those diagnosed and their family and friends we believe it is important to share the Gospel in spite of the diagnosis. Since beginning Bezeugen Ministries in 2007 and the tract club the following year we have had a number of tract club members diagnosed with cancer. I have been amazed to personally witness these people use their situation to share the Gospel.
I can vividly remember the phone calls, emails and letters of people in the tract club with messages like “Carl, I need more bookmarks…. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer and am handing them out to everyone involved in my treatment.” Some (like Jim Alther, Pastor Larry Brakenhoff, Cecil Williams and Ellen Cole) have already gone to be with the Lord. Some like Jeff Gibbs (Leukemia) have been healed and are now cancer free. Others (like Randy Edmonds and Lora Lee Mcmillin) are in the midst of the battle. Each of these despite their diagnosis kept sharing the Gospel. Jim and Jeff called/emailed me to get more tracts to hand out at the hospital. Larry continued serving as a pastor until a recurrence of the cancer called him home.
Before Jim went to be with the Lord he had the opportunity to share his testimony which he said I could share with others. You may listen to it online.
When I spoke to Randy a few days after his diagnosis with brain cancer I told him that I had been planning to cal him to see if he wanted to go share the Gospel at the Dallas Mavericks game the next week. His response was “I’m not going to let brain cancer stop me from sharing the Gospel.” A week later, I picked him up at his house after work and he and I went to Dallas and handed out 100’s of Gospel tracts to people going to the basketball game.
Life is short. Eternity is long. People are dying and going to Hell. Whether you have cancer or not, we all have a “cancer” called sin. So let’s warn people to repent and believe the Gospel while there is still time. This tract is intended to honor those in the Bezeugen Tract Club who have battled cancer. I am sure the names listed in this article are not even inclusive of those associated with the ministry impacted by cancer. Not names were intentionally left out. This tract is to honor each and every one. It is intended to share the Gospel. And most of all it is intended to glorify God. We hope and pray it will accomplish all these things.
We hope and pray that this background will assist you as you share the Gospel using the Cancer Awareness tract.