Daily Devotional for Tuesday July 11, 2006
A Week of Touching the Nation for Christ
(Matthew 14:14, 20:34; Luke 10:2)
During the first week of the Liveprayer television program being broadcast "live" for an hour to the entire nation, I kept very careful notes each day of my observations and personal thoughts that I want to share with you today. I believe this rarely seen insight into the big picture regarding the spiritual state of our nation as well as the focus on each individual soul will be beneficial to you as you serve the Lord in the ways He has called you to serve Him. The words of Jesus still echo so true today when He said, "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few."
The "harvest" our Lord referred to, of course, were the lost souls. There was a split moment right before the cameras came on last Monday night when the Holy Spirit showed me the tens of millions in this nation who were lost and without Christ in their heart. The scene was that of a vast, never ending field of corn. As far as you could see there were stalks of corn glistening in the sunlight simply waiting to be harvested. Such is our nation today. With the better percentage of two full generations who have never been to church, it is a nation of lost souls simply waiting for someone to tell them how to be saved.
We have a great paradox that exists in our nation today. In July of 2006, we have more churches, more ministries, more Christian media, more Christian publications, more Jesus than ever before in human history. Yet at the same time we have the better percentage of two full generations, with a third one on the way, that has never even gone to church. In addition, our nation is as spiritually, morally, and ethically bankrupt than ever before in our 230-year history. What could possibly explain this?
Simple. The church, Christ's bride and agent of change for this time until He returns is failing. 50 years ago, you didn't have all of the various ministries and social organizations that exist today outside of the church. These were all works of the local church. Today you have government and private organizations caring for social needs, you have para-church ministries and orgainziaotns specializing in areas like marriage, prisons, family issues, people in bondage to different addictions, prayer, and about anything else you can name. Again, in the past these were all ministries that were provided by local churches.
In addition, the church used to be about two main issues. Bringing the lost to faith in Christ and equipping the saints for service while exhorting them to living a holy life. Now the church has divided itself into hundreds of different denominations, independent churches have risen up, all becoming little fiefdoms unto themselves that are more concerned with gold than the Gospel and building buildings rather than building people of God. In today's politically correct world, talking about sin has become taboo even in the church and how a person lives is called "personal choice." It is not uncommon in most churches to go weeks, months, even a year and NEVER hear an invitation to know Jesus by faith.
Sadly, all of the various specialized ministries that have been created in the last 50 years to fill the voids in the local church have ended up failing to reach the people who need their message the most. Campmeetings, conferences, stadium events, media, publications and other resources have all ended up being geared to and marketed to those already in the church. Listen, I understand that if you are trying to sell tires, you market to people who already own cars. The problem is, even the people selling cars would rather focus their efforts on people who already own a car rather than reaching out to those who are walking.
Let me take a moment to make sure that you hear my heart. The church is still God's number one agent of change for this lost and hurting world that we live in. It is ordained by Christ with Him as the head. Over the past 82+ months, Liveprayer has been responsible for helping well over 100,000 people get into a committed relationship with local churches. It is a critical part of every Believer's journey of faith. Without the church, the conditions of this world would be so horrible it would not even be worth living. While the general statements I made are true, there are still many wonderful and God-honoring local churches that do a tremendous work for the Kingdom each day.
My wife and I personally support MANY great independant works of God that exist today and pray for EVERYONE who is out there serving the Lord in the way He has called them to serve. Many are making a HUGE impact in people's lives for Christ. We need more who are willing to serve Him in these last days. However, my love, prayers, and support of the church and those ministries serving the Lord does not preclude me from speaking out and challenging them. We can ALL do better and MUST do better if we are to make the kind of impact in our world for Christ He has raised us up in these last days to make. People are dying and going to hell every second. We live in a nation and world that for the most part lives without God, His Truth, and Jesus in their hearts. We are called to bring that Truth and hope to each person.
I feel that responsibility every morning as the Daily Devotional is sent out to over 2.2 million people all over this world. For the past 40 months, I have felt that responsibility for an hour every Monday thru Friday as I reached out via the Liveprayer television program to so many in the State of Florida and those watching on the Internet who were hurting and looking for answers in their life. Last Monday night as the cameras came on at Midnight, I felt the incredible burden of knowing there were tens of millions of people all across this great nation who were lost, living without Christ, hurting, and looking for hope in their life.
These are the people God has called me to. The lost and hurting who need His Truth in their lives and Jesus in their hearts. They don't need a watered down, politically correct, "feel good," message. They need someone to tell them the truth about their life, call sin what it is, challenge them to live according to God's Word, and encourage them to open their heart to Christ's love for them. After the first 5 nights, the burden for these lost and hurting souls is almost unbearable. I remember the passage that talked about Jesus looking out over the multitudes and the Bible saying "He had compassion on them."
What happened the 5 nights last week on a national stage was the same thing that has been happening in the Tampa market and across Florida for the past 870 programs. Those who tuned into the program heard the uncompromised Truth of God's Word on whatever the topic was that night, people who were hurting found hope, and many who were lost came to know Jesus as their Savior by faith. We were averaging apx. 1,500 emails after each program the last year when we were on in Florida. Last week, we averaged apx. 5,000 emails for prayer each night. We are also seeing around 2,000 new people each day signing up to receive the Daily Devotional,. Most important, a little over 300 people we know of came to faith in Christ during the program last week. We rejoice with the angels in Heaven for each one!
ONE YOUNG MAN ON THURSDAY'S PROGRAM WAS IN BONDAGE TO HOMOSEXUALITY. DAN CALLED TO FIND FREEDOM AND BY THE END OF THE CALL, HE FOUND THE ULTIMATE FREEDOM WHEN HE ACCEPTED JESUS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE WERE SCHEDULED TO GO TO A COMMERCIAL BREAK IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS CALL AND I MADE A DECISION AT THAT MOMENT TO SKIP THE BREAK AND FORFEIT THE $12,000 OF REVENUE IT WOULD HAVE GENERATED. NO AMOUNT OF MONEY IS WORTH A SOUL! TO HEAR HIS CALL AS IT HAPPENED, CLICK ON DAN AT: http://liveprayer.com/reasons.cfm.
My personal observations from the first 5 night's focus on the fact that I really dislike the 12 minutes of commercials we have. Even though most one-hour programs on TV have 16-19 minutes of commercials, it hurts me knowing that there are 3-4 fewer people I can talk to each night on the air. However, we really have no choice. Our TV budget for the air time and production costs is now right at $9.4 million a year, and our Internet budget has had to ramp up to just under $1 million a year to be able to handle all of the additional ministry we will be providing to new people coming to Liveprayer through the TV program.
So that money needs to come from somewhere, and since we are bringing the message of Christ to the world through the secular vehicles the world uses each day, competing on their turf for the souls of men, we need to use the same methods of generating revenues as they do--commercials. The reason other TV ministries don't do this is because a secular audience is not going to send them money when they ask, or buy their books and tapes, or come to their conferences. So rather than try and compete with the world, the simply go to the Christian stations where they can minister to people who already know the Lord and will send them money, buy their books and tapes, and will come to their conferences. Sadly, this is why they have zero motivation to even try and reach out to the people who need their message the most.
I realize that preaching the unadulterated Truth of Gods' Word is NOT a popular message. It wasn't a popular messaged when the prophets in the Old Testament preached it, it wasn't a popular message when John the Baptist preached it (it literally cost him his head), it wasn't a popular message when Christ preached it, and it hasn't been a popular message when anyone has truly preached the pure Gospel. Calling people to holy living is NOT a message most in today's world care to hear. That is why the most successful preachers you see nationally have watered down the message, made it socially acceptable, focus on the positive things and stay away from calling sin sin, or holding people accountable for their actions.
So I have no idea how long I will have this national stage from which to proclaim God's Truth and the hope of Christ to a lost and hurting nation. Much will depend on the number of viewers each night that will enable us to keep attracting commercial sponsors to pay the bills. The good thing is that I have a contract that allows me to be on the "i" Network for the next 10 years as long as I pay my bill each month. Every 4 weeks I have to raise $800,000 to cover all of our TV and Internet related costs, an amount that may seem impossible when you realize no Christian program on TV is commercially sponsored.
But we have a BIG GOD and God will move on the hearts of the sponsors we need, or He may call one group to become a title sponsor, or He may move on a few key individuals to step up and provide 4 weeks of programming without any commercials, kind of like PBS. As I sit here today, I can honestly tell you I don't know how God will do it. I do know this. My job is to be faithful. We have paid through Friday July 28th so I know we will have at least 14 more programs to bring His Truth and hope to this nation. Like Abraham, I am walking by faith, trusting God to guide me and doing my best to be faithful and obedient each step of the way.
I love you and care about you so much. As we move forward into our second week, I know that the human need out there is almost unending. People are hurting. People are looking for answers and hope in their life. Jesus is the ONLY answer and Jesus is the ONLY hope there is. I have surrendered my life, however many days I have left, to preaching the Gospel and bringing Christ to the lost and hurting. Nothing will ever keep me from doing that. As I pray for you each day, I come to you today and ask that you pray for me. Pray for the Lord to keep me strong, keep me focused, and for God to keep bringing people along side to help me.
I have been online faithfully every day since 8/31/99 bringing Christ to the lost and hurting masses worldwide here on the Internet. Since March 3, 2003, every Monday thru Friday night I have been in the TV studio for an hour broadcasting God's Truth and Christ's love to those who watched the program. During these past 82+ months, tens of millions of lives have been touched, tens of millions of prayers have been prayed and answered, and over 130,000 souls we know of have come to faith in Christ. All of that has only been possible because of YOU. It has been YOUR love, YOUR prayers, and YOUR gifts that have enabled me to be here each day and fulfill God's call on my life.
We are in the midst of the greatest opportunity yet as we have been blessed with a national stage on a major secular television network to bring God's Truth and Christ's love to this lost and hurting nation. Please be praying as God helps us to keep this hour-long "live" evangelistic meeting going in the weeks, months, and years to come should Jesus tarry. The eternal souls of men are at stake! That is what drives me each day and gives me the passion I have to serve Him. Your love and prayers mean so much to me as together we bring Christ to this nation that so desperately needs His Truth and love!