Over this past weekend I was scheduled to be in Iowa, working with a church and training them in evangelism. Sadly, that training never happened. The trip was canceled due to a terrible tragedy that happened within the community. I spoke about that a little bit last week. Feel free to check out that video for those details.
But as I have continued to think about and pray about that situation, and for the community and individuals impacted by it, I am reminded that Jesus willingly suffered and died to save us from the hell that we are going TO apart from Christ, and the hell that we are going THROUGH apart from Christ.
The apostle Paul once wrote the believers in Rome:
…I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.Romans 1:16, ESV
My heart resonates with this timeless truth. I am NOT ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, not only for eternity, but for here and now, as well!
The truth of the simple Gospel message is powerful!
God created us to be with Him. Our sins separate us from God. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!
Powerful. Life-changing. Eternity-changing.
In sharp contrast to the tragic situation surrounding my canceled trip to Iowa, I had the privilege of leading worship for the past several nights at an event in Wilmot, OH called “Heaven’s Gates / Hell’s Flames”. During the event, a handful of dramas are acted out on stage, depicting real-life scenarios in which characters make choices (either for good or for evil), and ultimately end up dying and finding themselves standing at the gates of heaven, where they will either be welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus… or thrown into the fiery depths of hell. Of course, all that is required for admission into heaven is simple faith in Christ while on earth. It is an intense drama, but one that causes the audience to pause and consider their own life choices, and whether or not they have ever put their faith in Jesus as the only way to the Father.
Following the drama each night, the audience was given an opportunity to put their faith in Christ right then and there. While I am sure there were many more who put their faith in Christ, but were too timid to let us know about it, a total of 144 people proudly declared that they had either put their faith in Christ or rededicated their lives to Christ through the event!
Wow! That is awesome! Go God!
As always, it is such a privilege to be used by God to be a part of something so amazing. I find myself once again overwhelmed by thankfulness to our amazing Jeff Polen Music Ministry Partners who make it possible for us to continue to pour ourselves into the awesome work that God has called us to do.
Sometimes we plant. Sometimes we cultivate. Sometimes we reap.
Over the years we have done a lot of planting, simply pointing people to Jesus by sharing our faith with them and modeling what a transformed life looks like.
We have also spent a lot of time cultivating relationships and walking with people who may not believe in Jesus… yet. But we continue to pray for them, care for them, and share with them, because even though they don’t believe in Jesus, Jesus sure does believe in them.
And occasionally we have the privilege of being a part of the reaping. What a beautiful thing it is to see people let go of their sin and shame and embrace the loving arms of Jesus!
Wherever you find yourself today, whether planting, cultivating, or reaping, I plead with you… DO NOT be ashamed of the gospel. Do NOT lose hope. Allow the truth of the gospel to transform you and fill you with joy even today—as we prepare for the final transformation and endless joy of being welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus forever in eternity.