The blog of Sterling Franklin (DJ Sterf), servant of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Hey, all. I would say hey, y'all, but I was born in New Jersey, so I can't be totally North Carolina in my blog.

I'm passionate about evangelism in various forms, including 'Street Evangelism,' and yet Street Evangelism is such a lost art in today's Relational Evangelism mentality.

A Few Definitions:

Street Evangelism - Going out on the streets or in random areas and just telling people about Jesus, asking them about their religious background, etc. Essentially, sharing the Gospel with people you may or may not know. This is a more confrontational style.

Relational Evangelism - Sharing the Gospel with people you know closely, packaged in a relationship. This is supposedly easy to do, but does it actually happen? It can.

Event Evangelism - Having a show or performance with a message in it or in conjunction with it. That's what I do with DDR and Pulse Outreach and such, for example.

Anyway, I love all methods of evangelism, but I see Street Evangelism as 'less trendy' nowadays, and so I wrote an article about it. Let me know your thoughts on it all.

Also please pray for the tour and that many people would come to know the Lord and that many people would be strengthened in their relationship with the Lord through the events! The picture on the left is me (with my backstage pass goofily on) and the ladies from Superchic[k]. I have pictures with Sanctus Real as well, but I really wanted pictures with Grits (I love Rap/R&B), though they left before I could get pictures with them.

So without much further ado (about nothing), here's my article from The Graduate Scrawl (Vol. 3, Issue 3: October 5, 2007)....

Why Not ‘Street?’ – A Brief Defense of Street Evangelism

This summer, I bought the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game for my PC. It was the worst game ever. As I played the game with my mouth wide open at the sheer horror of its gameplay, I moved my character around wondering how such an evil could exist on earth! Interestingly and seriously though, I found something endearing to my character – despite the fact that he could randomly throw punches or be swayed by the twanging of the guitars of rock musicians on the street, he was street evangelizing. He was boldly proclaiming Jesus on the streets, actively going and telling the world that Jesus is our only hope!

Theological issues aside, I admire that character’s gusto, and it must be obvious by now that street evangelism is near and dear to me. God used several occasions of street evangelism in my late teens to make me passionate about Scripture, general outreach, and ministry. However, over the last few years, I have seen a major trend dynamic: the glorification of Relational evangelism and the abandonment of Street evangelism.

Does God work through relationships? Of course. However, the relationships themselves are not the means by which people are spiritually regenerated. In every evangelistic setting, true inward change in others only comes when God’s beautiful plan as expressed in Scripture is proclaimed. I tend to take a Nike approach to evangelism: “Just do it.” Regardless of method, God can use the most lucid as well as the most awkward presentation of Truth to convert a soul from death. Having seen various methods work powerfully, the least common denominator is definitely Scripture.

The Word of God is absolutely amazing! Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It is what we are to proclaim. We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel, as it is “the power of Salvation to those who believe” (Romans 1:16). Thus, we need to know the Word of God thoroughly so that we will not be ashamed workmen (2 Timothy 2:15)! Scripture is quick and powerful, and it cuts us to our sinful core, and even a single drop of Scriptural exposure will work mightily (Hebrews 4:12, cf. Isaiah 55:10-11). God has truly given us a powerful way to evangelize – proclamation of His own Word!

So why has street evangelism seemingly been swept to the edges of the church sanctuary? As long as it is truly Scripturally-centered, any evangelistic method should not be ignored as a viable option of witness. One of the delights over the last few semesters for me here at Trinity has been the unofficial evangelism group (the working title is now ‘Go Fish,’ after Matthew 4:19). We meet on Fridays and/or Saturdays, pray, read some Scripture, go over some tracts, and then launch out as lights into darkness. It is always a wonderful experience, as we meet those who are spiritually needy for Jesus and tell them the good news of Salvation.

Whether we plant, water, or reap in a certain week, the results have always been encouraging. Obviously, the main goals are to present the Gospel message to a dying world and to be faithful in proclaiming Jesus as Lord. Some weeks, we see several people come to accept the Lord. Other weeks, zero. Each week, though, Scripture is proclaimed, and lives are changed, whether dramatically or bit-by-bit. Of course, follow-up and discipleship are big needs in the context of street evangelism, but seriously speaking, maybe someone you witness to may not have another tomorrow. Could it be that leaving people without the Gospel is the worst form of hatred that Christians can exhibit?

So why is there such aversion to street evangelism nowadays? Street evangelism has a very solid function in bringing the light of the Gospel to people right where they are. Street evangelism is an amazing way to share the Love of Christ. Regardless of evangelistic methodology, people need to hear about Jesus as soon as possible, and oftentimes people even in America have yet to hear the Gospel explained in full. So why not Street Evangelism? Let’s not leave behind a method of sharing God’s grace that has the capacity to bear serious fruit for the Lord’s Kingdom!

Sterling Franklin is a third year M.Div student, and is a leader in a weekly evangelism group. His name also receives more hits on Google than most TEDS faculty.

(Special thanks to Jeremy Otten and David Ro for their editing of the Graduate Scrawl)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Can I Call You a Dancing Master?

Note: Video Link at the end of the entry...

One of my major hobbies is playing Dance Dance Revolution.

Twin Galaxies had an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records last year for the highest 5-song-machine set score, done by Jason the Great (who is[/was?] an amazing ITG player especially, but also is solid at DDR). I initially had that record, but that was literally a walk-in, film, and walk-out ordeal. 15 minutes after I entered, I had the highest set score submitted to Twin Galaxies.

This time, I set out to get a really solid 3-song-machine set score, so by the grace of God, I did.

I'm Going on Tour (Again)!
I'm going on tour with Pulse Outreach this next week. My act is very eclectic -- I play DDR half the time, and I evangelize for half or slightly more of the time (it'll probably be split 5 minutes DDR/8 minutes homily or evangelistic message). If you know much about me by now, I like DDR, but I absolutely am in love with the Lord Jesus...and that's how my act is structured. Hopefully I will be a blessing to the thousands I encounter this next week all across North Dakota.

For more info on Pulse, go to

Highest Set Score?

Twin Galaxies has an interesting way to a 'World Record' -- getting the highest set score on a DDR machine. There is one entry for a 3-song machine, and another for a 5-song machine.

I always considered categorical ranks more convincing (number of singles AAAs, Nonstop course rank, Oni course rank, consistency, etc.), and DD:Recall is ok to about an 80% level of significance as to where you're ranked in certain areas. However, the whole highest set score is a toughie. Here's why:

DDR Extreme -- If you get 10 Greats on the first 10 Steps of a song, you can still get a higher score than if you get 1 Great the entire song, but on the last arrow. Arrows are weighted very unevenly on DDR Extreme. The best measure of skill is accuracy (i.e. usually, number of Perfects), though I suppose I'm underrating doing well when it really 'counts' (though I think that's the entire song, to be honest).

DDR SuperNOVA -- You get the same score for a AAA on Jam & Marmalade Beginner as you do for an AAA on Fascination Maxx Oni/Challenge. Yeah....

But regardless, I took two sets to warm up today, and Jeremy went to the arcade with me to film. Here were my sets to try to get a nice score on a set of 3 songs + Extra stages.

Set One:
(1st Stage) Sakura Heavy - 2 Greats
(2nd Stage) Max 300 Heavy - 3 Greats
(3rd Stage) Sakura Heavy - 2 Greats and 1 [Pad] Good (up arrow)
(Extra Stage) The Legend of Max Heavy - 7 Greats and 3 Misses
(OMES) Dance Dance Revolution Oni - 2 Greats

Total Set: 16 Greats, 1 Pad Good, 3 Misses -- set score was 486,8xx,xxx

Set Two:
(1st Stage) Sakura Heavy - 1 Great
(2nd Stage) Max 300 Heavy - 6 Greats (3 in the end stomps, ug!)
(3rd Stage) Sakura Heavy - AAA (0 Greats)
(Extra Stage) The Legend of Max Heavy - 9 Greats and 1 Miss
(OMES) Dance Dance Revolution Oni - 4 Greats

Total Set: 20 Greats, 1 Miss -- set score was 487,065,570.

There is a little bit of room for improvement, but these sets were encouragingly beastly. It's breakable, but it's a very hard set score to break. I could probably get this up to 488 and 489 million soon if I really went for improvement, which I just might do after the tour.

Regardless, the Lord has given me a massive amount of talent in various areas, including this one, and I'm thrilled to be able to use it and because of it, having openings to talk to thousands and millions (video hits alone are over 7 million to my knowledge, probably more, though I suppose three random people could just be trolling the same videos over and over!) about the hope we all need that comes through Jesus Christ. Some verses I try to follow here --

Colossians 3:17
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Colossians 3:23-24
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

Think of my involvement with DDR this way -- God has given me and developed wonderful legs to use, the ability to develop stamina, the patience with which to become so deadly accurate, the love for outreach that makes me enjoy arcades, the musical rhythm and mathematical skills to read the arrows incredibly well, and the time with which to become really exceptional at the game. God blesses us with talent, and woe to us if we bury it in the ground! God also sustains us and protects us through life, so all glory to the Lord and King of the universe! I love the Lord deeply, and I hope it's contagious.

So overll, I hope to live by those verses and principles, and I'll do that as long as I can use this to God's glory. I want all I am to be a blessing to the Lord and to others, and hopefully as a result of me playing this silly game, even more will come to the knowledge of Jesus personally.


So here's the video link to the second set. The Great count was slightly worse, but the set score was higher. God bless you, and I hope you enjoy the video!

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Comfort in Grief: Part I

This topic is not a result of the pad miss you see to the right on the Max 300 picture, though I would have been annoyed (though not really very grieved) had I not AAAed it a few times before! I want to talk to you about Grief.

A Key Purpose in Going through Grief...

The Lord puts us through situations that try us, stretch us, and often make us grieve quite a bit. In going through tough situations, there are two options:

(1) Run to the God who comforts us and gives us peace (as Job initially did in Job 1)
(2) Run away from God in fear, anger, or both (as Jonah did in Jonah 1 and 4)

It's more useful to run to God, though it's not our natural instinct to do so. Given a healthy approach to grieving, we can receive comfort from the Lord, and He can carry us through really hard times in life. One important dynamic to note is from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 --

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

So one KEY purpose of going through tough situations is for us to grow us so that we can comfort (and thus encourage) others in tough situations.

Comfort in Grief --> The Lord comforts us (and others) -- we comfort others with the same comfort which we have received -- others are built up in their times of grief -- others comfort others

What is Empathy?

Sympathy is feeling bad for somebody. Empathy is feeling with somebody. It's sympathy as well as showing that you care for others and understanding their pain (even more, bearing one another's burdens as in Galatians 6:2). Empathy also involves genuine interest and active listening. It's a wonderful thing, and a good counseling practice.

So I must mention: The Lord wants empathic comforters. I will cover that topic much more in Part II.

A Personal Case in Point

Oh hi. Hopefully this will be comforting to some -- I wanted to share a story of the Lord's comfort in my own life. I went through a situation that was very painful to me as of late, and it's a time in which the Lord is really carrying me through (slowly but surely).

The Lord really comforts through Scripture. Not only does Scripture change you from the inside out, but it also serves as great comfort in time of need. Here are some of the verses that have been a real comfort to me lately (ESV & KJV):

Psalm 38:21-22
21 Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 125:1-2
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 37:5-6
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 37:30-31
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

Psalm 37:3-4
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:23-24
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Psalm 37:25-26
25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.

Psalm 37:40
The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

As a human, I see the blessings and responsibilities of a wife and family in the future. As a future full-time pastor (if the Lord so tarries), I truly wonder about financial issues since a lot of churches throw a few dimes at a pastor and wish him well. The Lord will provide in the right way and at the right time, and those verses have been a comfort relating to some of those issues as of late.

One cool thing involved with this is that I prayed for help with assignments here at Trinity since I wasn't thinking straight and it was hard to focus. Grief often takes 4-6 weeks to really sort through and get over (see Kanel's A Guide to Crisis Intervention and Wright's The New Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling).

Here's what happened with my assignments that week:

Class 1 - No Reading, and no quiz!
Class 2 - The teacher told us to skim the reading instead of laboriously slaving over it, and she moved two projects and paper to a week later.
Class 3 - The teacher CANCELLED THE FINAL PROJECT. She said, "I don't know why, but I just feel that I should cancel it." Holy cow, cool? She also is giving me more time to take the last test since I'm going on tour next week.
Class 4 - The teacher has nothing due until November anyway, so that one was easy enough!
Class 5 - The teacher said that we would get 100 on the Final Exam if we took a 7-hour fast one day. I was already going to for personal reasons on the Saturday following his announcement, so I got a 100 on a Final Exam in addition to having the Lord help me through fasting and prayer.
Class 6 - The teacher moved a set of Journal assignments two weeks later, moved the study guides to next week (I already was done with those, though), CANCELLED THE MIDTERM. He's only done that once in his 30 years of teaching.

Two classes also finished this week. So that brings me down to 4 classes and a Pastoral Ministry Field Ed for the rest of the semester. That's a major relief, and at just the right time.

So for me, this has been a time of the Lord's comfort, the Lord's presence, and the Lord's amazing provision of so many things all at once that gives me time to grieve and adjust back to normal functionality. However, it would not be fair to neglect the fact that the Lord has been working out my schedule amazingly this semester.

It's exciting and amazing to see the Lord's Hand at work, and I pray that through tough times, you will run to the Lord as well and really depend on Him. He is truly the God of all comfort as well as an amazing orchestrator of so many beautiful things in their time.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who am I?

I am Sterling Franklin, servant and preacher of Jesus Christ.
I am dead serious about serving the Lord with my entire being.
I am wildly optimistic about my future as a husband, father, and pastor.
I am wildly optimistic and expectant regarding meeting my future wife!
I am a world-renowned Dance Dance Revolution player.
I am a fan of doing everything all-out.
I am authentic and very 'open-book.'
I am sincere and straightforward.
I am hilarious and love to make people laugh.
I am talented in many eclectic ways.
I am extremely loyal, trusting, and forgiving.
I am witty but very oddball and nutty.
I am blessed with an extremely good mind.
I am deeply involved in cultivating a life of holiness.
I am thrilled to enjoy life appropriately.
I am fascinated with the way God structured family and relationships.
I am a part of the body of Christ and seek to serve in a full-time pastoral context.
I am passionate about reading Scripture, as it is God's Word for everyday life.
I am passionate about counseling, as God has given me a pastor's heart for those in need.
I am passionate about evangelism, as people need to find hope in Jesus that leads to salvation!
I am a lover of God's Creation.
I am a lover of God's Wisdom.
I am a lover of God.

But most importantly in the midst of this introductory profile, I serve the great I AM.

The Lord is my motivation and my refuge.
The Lord comforts me in grief and suffering.
The Lord sustains me throughout trials.
The Lord blesses me amazingly with blessings untold.
The Lord is good in all ways.
The Lord is Who the world needs.
The Lord is Jesus, Savior of the World.
The Lord loves you.
The Lord wants a relationship with you.
The Lord wants to rescue you from eternal punishment for your sins, as He has done me.

And all you have to do is come to Him, repent of your sins, and ask Him to be your Lord, too!

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