In two days we are going to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our eternal salvation is dependent on the fact that Jesus died for us, bore our sin, and rose from the dead—triumphant over death, hell, and the grave. This should be a day of the greatest celebration, unspeakable joy, and an opportunity to be witnesses to the abundant life He has given us. It should be a day where only one thing is on our mind, reaching the lost at any cost. It should not be a day about easter egg hunts, bunny rabbits, and spring bonnets. Somehow the pagan holiday of worshipping a female fertility goddess has become so intertwined with the resurrection of our Lord that people have come to believe it is one and the same. Even our King James translators became confused. The word passover was exchanged for Easter. However, the purpose of this blog is not to give that entire history. You are welcome to study it out for yourself.
The harvest is great, people are hungry and are waiting for someone to reach them about the love of Jesus Christ. They just don’t know how good He is. They are tired of religion and hypocrisy. They are even tired of their own bondage and dysfunction, but have no idea how to get free. America is not the America of past generations. People had a sense of responsibility to attend church or at least find one for their children. Now, people don’t even know what church is and many have never even heard of Jesus. I hate to burst your bubble but they are not just going to wander into our church on this day or any other Sunday, out of curiosity, sense of duty, or for any other reason.
We have a job to do. It is to reap the harvest, using every tool that we have available in this hour. We will be asked to give an account of what we did with our time, resources, finances, and strength. We are told to, go into the world. “Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned,” Mark 16:16. I noticed that The Bible does not say to sit and wait for them to walk into your church. The Bible also does not say, "If they aren’t interested, at least you tried”. It says the opposite in Luke 14: 24 “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”. KJV The Message Bible says it even more plainly, “The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’” That means I may have to find a way to put some pressure on them to make sure they don’t go off the cliff. We have to find innovative ways to bring them in, not just hope they might decide to visit. Even with natural fishing, a person has to learn what kind of bait to use for different fish. Who cares what bait is used as long as it gets the job done? I’m not the first one to equate fishing with bringing people into the kingdom. Jesus used the comparison more than once. Matthew 4:20 “Jesus said to them, “‘Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.’ They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” (Message) Fish do not just jump in the boat.
My job (and yours) is to use everything and anything else that is not sin to compel them. Of course, we don’t gamble, offer alcohol or any sinful thing to attract the sinner. Once upon a time, people thought you could not use television for the Gospel because TV was a sin. Now we know that it’s only a tool that can be used for evil or good. Years ago, a man said to D. L. Moody. “I don’t like your method for winning souls” (speaking of mass crusades). Moody answered, “I’m not all that fond of it myself. I’m open to whatever you use”. The man said he didn’t have any method to offer because he was not a soul winner. Moody said that he was back to liking his own method. That says it all.
FaithLife Church NW decided to spend hundreds on printing flyers, hundreds to mail them out to every household, and thousands on gifts for a drawing. We are not offering people gifts if they come to the altar or profess Christ. We are simply offering gifts to get them in the door. Once they are in the door, it is a full, pentecostal, no holds barred, salvation message about the cross, the blood, the resurrection, repentance, and salvation. We are having beautiful songs about His blood and love. We will give an altar call and cast the Gospel net. We will offer communion but make it plain that only born again people should participate. We will pray for people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and take information to followup and make disciples. Yes, we are unashamedly throwing out bait, but when they come in, the Holy Spirit will draw them and demonstrate His power. Perhaps instead of spending this much on the lost, we should have a pagan Easter egg hunt for our own children, fill our own bellies, or spend it on ourselves. Maybe we should cut our service short to become seeker sensitive and just make sure we offend no one and get the people out early to go have dinner with their own families on “Easter.” However, we are not. A small group of people are going to be working their tail ends off for this event to simply reap a harvest. We will probably have one of the longer services in the area for we will not compromise the message, the Lord’s table, worship service, or an altar call.
Yet with all of that, you would think we are blaspheming this holy day. Someone from another church called our office, complaining that we are doing this unholy thing of spending money to bring people in the door. She even said that she was tempted to go on Facebook and as she said, “Blast us” but decided to call us instead. The person mentioned that they are talking to others and “they all feel this way about how what we are doing is terrible”. The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a wine-bibber. They didn’t like Him healing on the Sabbath, allowing His disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath and much more. I guess we are in good company. When we were doing nothing for the Lord, we never received criticism. Finally we are doing enough that the devil is scared. I refuse to take this personally. The same lady goes to a church that thinks its fine to have children’s carnivals to draw people in (and it is, of course). However, to bless people with gifts on Resurrection Day to simply draw them into God’s house to hear a Gospel message, is terribly wrong.
We have to change our thinking or we are going to lose an entire generation. Social media is not my favorite thing, but it Is a tool that we would be fools to leave only in the devil’s hands. I don’t like most movies or theaters because of the ungodly movies. However, thank God the church is getting smarter and rising up to take dominion over all these institutions and producing some wonderful movies like the recent one, “I Can Only Imagine”. Its time the church becomes the church and goes aggressively on the offense to reap the harvest. Do I think the best way is to have the power of God operating through us so powerfully that we all rush out of the church and talk to everyone we encounter about Jesus? Yes, of course, but that does not negate using everything else at our disposal too. People who criticize another’s methods are using all their energy to do so. Its time that the criticisms stop and that energy is poured into the proclaiming of the Gospel. The harvest is ripe!