Daily Devotional for Saturday January 17, 2015
Taking Christ to the People
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I teach a class of children each week at church. My kids are second graders to 5th graders. They have asked me a couple of questions . And I'm not sure as how to answer them so they can understand what I'm saying . They two questions are does God die and was God born?
ANSWER: Great questions and here are the answers. God always was, God is, and God will always be. That means God has always been, is now, and always will be. He is from everlasting to everlasting!
I have been told by people in the ministry that I am not very smart, and they may be right. When I spent my first 3 years of ministry in the early 90s on the road, preaching in over 500 churches of all denominations, all over the country, I never sold books or tapes, and often got so caught up in ministering to the people that I forgot to take the offering. Professionals have asked why I don't do what everyone else in the Internet world does and have special sections on the website people have to pay for, sell advertising, sell products, and rent out the names of those who subscribe to the Daily Devotional.
Theses professionals ESTIMATE Liveprayer could generate well over $15 million a year rather than struggle each month to meet our budget, trusting God to lay it on people's hearts to give to support what we do. They can't understand why I do a TV program that prays for people on secular television stations to an audience that is over 60% non-Christian, and on top of that, never sell anything or use the program as little more than an infomercial to raise money!
You see, God called me to the ministry to build the Kingdom of God, NOT my own kingdom. All I do is geared towards sharing the hope and love of Jesus Christ with people, NOT how to use Christ to turn a profit. My goal is to build people NOT buildings. I come each day to be a servant not to be served!
Several years ago, prior to our outreach in Ybor City (the famous club district of Tampa), I had many people ask why I don't call on local churches to bring busloads of people to the event. I am very aware that most evangelistic events are planned months, even years, in advance. The formula is simple. Get a venue, contact all the local churches, and fill the venue up with people from those churches. Maybe I am missing something here, but what is the real purpose if all you are going to do is preach to the people in the church? Trust me, I am not naive. I understand that when you do it that way, everyone knows what you are talking about, they all say "amen," you can sell products, AND, you can take an offering!!!
Again, I can't speak for what God has called others to do, but He has called me to share the hope and love of Christ with this lost and dying world, and to do that, I must take CHRIST TO THE PEOPLE. I do that each day here on the Internet, I do that 5 nights a week on the "live" television program airing around the nation and online, and that is what we did at our outreach years ago in Ybor City.
That was an amazing night. We had a vacant lot right on the main street in the heart of the nightclub district. The lot was about 30 feet wide by 100 yards deep and could hold about 200 people, but thousands more could see what was going on from the street. We put up a stage, lighting grid, and brought in a monster sound system. Starting at 11 p.m. my dear friend, Ron Rosson, an extremely anointed Minister of Music, provided over 2 hours of great Gospel music. The music was incredible and many stopped on the street, many came inside to experience the power of God moving thru the music. It was a great contrast to the worldly music blasting from the clubs up and down the streets of Ybor.
At around 1:30 a.m. I came up on the stage. As I looked at the approximately 100 people inside the lot, and the thousands walking up and down the streets outside, I quickly realized, THOSE were the people I came to Ybor to minister to. I left the stage and set up OUTSIDE the lot right on the street. Those inside the lot moved outside, and for the next 30 minutes, I shared a message on "searching" using the story of the Prodigal Son.
Thousands of people up and down the streets of Ybor that night, could not help but to hear the fact that Jesus Christ loves them, He died for their sins, and that HE is what they were searching for. At the end of the message, I gave an invitation to know Christ and to be born again. With the monster sound system booming so that people for blocks and blocks could hear, I led people in prayer to ask Christ into their lives. Afterwards, I was honored to spend a good hour right there on the streets of Ybor, praying for people who wanted special prayer. It was a very special night and I was honored to be part of it.
In meeting with my staff, they had over a dozen people who filled out forms saying they committed their lives to Christ. As the Gospel was blaring throughout the streets of Ybor that night, only God knows the real number of hearts and lives that were changed. It is like what I do here on the Internet each day, and on the TV program each night. I share the truth of God's Word, give an invitation to know Christ as your Savior, I challenge the people to surrender their lives to the Lord, and really only God knows the actual number of people that come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Never forget, all God asks us to do is to be faithful. He uses our faithfulness to change lives we will never see or know about.
The challenge for you today is this. There is a world outside the four walls of the church that is hurting and lost. They are looking for answers. They will not come to your church, they will not watch Christian television, they will not hear the message of Christ unless YOU BRING IT TO THEM. You work with these people, you go to school with them, you recreate with them, you shop with them. You don't need a microphone to share Christ, you simply need to live a Godly life each day, and when the opportunities arise, tell people what Jesus Christ has done in your life.
I love you and care about you so much. God has commanded, not suggested, that we share the Gospel with this lost world that we live in. IT IS NOT AN OPTION. We are in the last days and there is one last great harvest to come in before Christ returns. The time is short and we must get serious about the job God has given us to do, working while it is still light. Again, this is a call God has given to ALL of His children.
I pray today that you will respond and do your part in helping to bring Christ to those who are lost and without hope. As that great song says, penned by the recently departed Gospel music great Andre Crouch, JESUS IS THE ANSWER, FOR THIS WORLD TODAY, ABOVE HIM THERE'S NO OTHER, JESUS IS THE WAY. Let us take Jesus Christ TO THE PEOPLE!!!
Everyone in Florida is getting ready for th upcoming hurricane in a few months. It always has the potential of generating a terrible disaster. Thanks to modern science and mass communication, people can be prepared in advance of such a terrible event and escape. Wouldn't it be unforgivable is someone knew about such a pending disaster and didn't tell anyone? How could you possess such knowledge and let people die, simply because they didn't know?
Every day, those who know Christ as Savior and have the assurance of everlasting life, come across people in their daily life who are lost and facing eternal death. Our faith teaches us that those who die without Christ are lost forever. We know that, yet we fail to even mention that there is a way to escape. God will not hold you responsible for the free-will actions of someone else, but He does hold you responsible for at least sharing the Gospel and giving those without Jesus the opportunity to make that decision.
You don't have to be a hellfire and brimstone preacher, just in normal conversation, let those in your life who need Christ know that there is a choice we all must make. Share how Christ has changed you. Let them know that this is a free gift from God available to all regardless of their past. God has only asked you to be a witness to others how He has changed your life.
There are so many needs. So many problems. Each day we get tens of thousands of prayer requests from all over the world. As great as the needs may be, the greatest need any of us have is to know Christ as Savior. Pray today for 3 people in your life that may not know Jesus. Make it a priority to talk to those 3 people in the next 7 days. Not preach to them, not condemn them, just share what Christ has done for you and that He wants to do it for them as well. God's Holy Spirit can do the rest of the work.
I pray that you have a great day today! There is no problem that you are facing that God doesn't know about and can't overcome. Trust Him today. He told us to be about His business, and He would be about our business. Translation: bless others, and God will be blessing you!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,