Friday, August 6, 2010

What should be our message....

We have heard hundreds of different sermons in our life. Some of us may have delivered hundreds of different sermons. Most of these will be delivered to small or large groups of 'Christian' people. And hence we tend to speak more about Christian life and the walk with God. Which is fine, for the most part. But as the story of Billy Graham shows, sometimes, we need to go back to the basic gospel message. The story of salvation, repentance and being born again. For often, our well thought-out and worded theological messages may not meet the need. And this was brought home to me this Friday Fellowship.

For one and a half years, we have met every Friday for a time of praise and worship. We have heard many messages on a variety of topics. We have discussed the Christian walk in great detail. As more than 95% of those who attend are Christians, it seemed that we were on the right track. However, during one of the core team meetings, as we discussed what difference there had been in our individual lives and the life of the hospital, we began to wonder if we were all on the same page spiritually. So we scheduled a retreat for the members of the Praise and Worship team. All of us were given 3 questions to answer by Truman, our Music Secretary. They were (as I can remember them) - Have you accepted Jesus as your Saviour, Are you sure you are going to heaven and Can you remember when you repented from your sins and accepted God as the Lord of your life. When we reviewed the responses, it turned out that only 4 members of our team of 25 odd people were actually assured of God's forgiveness and their salvation. This eye-opening and sobering fact made us decide to have an evangelistic meeting once a month during the Friday Fellowship.

This week was our second such meeting (I missed the first one as I was operating). After Truman led us in a meaningful time of worship, Mr. Amjad DeCruze plainly gave the gospel message. And when he gave the altar call, the whole audience came forward. There was no one in their seats except for the few of us in the team. The entire group of young people, who had probably never missed a Sunday service in their lives, gave their hearts to God. It was a poignant experience for all of us as we witnessed the movement of the Spirit. And a strong reminder that our churches are often filled with people who are yearning to hear the simple story of God's love and forgiveness just as Jesus came to share it. The story of the Cross is life-giving no matter how many times it is told. Maybe we need to hear it and tell it more often. I wonder what would happen if my home church in Vellore had an evangelistic meeting...

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