Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cross-Walking - Definition

Introduction

Cross-walking, or holding a cross in public, is a rising trend in evangelical circles. This brief article will explain what it is and what it hopes to accomplish.

What It Is

Cross-walking is holding a cross so that the general public is able to see it. Some crosses are plain with no message written on them, others have brief messages written on them. Locations for cross-walking include, but are not limited to, roadway intersections, festivals, public parks, college campuses, etc.

Standard cross messages point to the reality of a coming judgment or to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The most common message is, "ARE YOU READY", others include "REPENT & BELIEVE", "It is Finished", "JUDGE & SAVIOR", and "HE IS RISEN", etc.

Cross-walking is a public ministry meant to lead to the proclamation of the gospel and cause many to consider their standing with God and their eternal destiny.

Except in a few cases, where the gospel is written on the cross, cross-walking is NOT evangelism; it is meant to lead to evangelism. Evangelism is the explicit effort of telling someone that there is forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Examples of gospel presentations written on the cross are, "It is Finished" (Hebrews 10:14), "Peace by the Blood" (Colossians 1:19-20), and "Here Grace & Justice Kissed" (Psalm 85:10), etc.

Cross-walking is NOT a means of grace or a sacrament; when Jesus said, "Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:38).", he did not mean to lift a miniature cross in order to earn Heaven. His call was to turn (repent) from living in this world, and figuratively (using the language of the cross-execution technique) to die to the world by placing full faith in him and him alone.

Goals of Cross-Walking

The primary goal of cross-walking is to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Cross-walking is far from the only way to do this, but it is a valid and useful tool for the church to engage many with the message of Christianity. These goals include starting conversations, reaching large numbers of people in a short time, confronting people in their sin, encouraging Christians, and killing pride in the cross-walker.

Conversation Starter

Cross-walking draws all sorts of individuals to ask questions, some ask "What does it mean?" others ask, "Why are you doing this?" Concerning the "ARE YOU READY" cross, the question is generally, "Ready for what?" Many other questions are asked regarding doomsday prophecies, particular sins, or certain denominations. Still others are people who are seeking direction and purpose in their lives, or asking for prayer. Some are hostile to the message of Christianity and want to debate certain points.

Cross-walking cannot be expected to start only one certain kind of conversation, but it does start conversations, and the cross-walker should always be prepared to proclaim the gospel of forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said, "I endeavored to know nothing among you except for Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2)." The cross-walker should be prepared to share the gospel, all other doctrines and objections should be relegated to not being anxious as to what you will say. A great preacher once said, "The gospel is a proclamation, not an argument."

When used at intersections, the cross often causes drivers to park their cars to come speak to the cross-walker. Other times, when used locally, the cross-walker will be asked questions later, such as at work, or the grocery store, by people who recognized him.

Other times at intersections, the cross-walker may never know a conversation was started; sometimes conversations begin between passengers in cars that have seen the cross. Some of the best conversations are seen between children and their parents when the child asks about the cross he sees being held on the side of the road. This leads parents to hopefully work out their own salvation first, and then provide a teaching point for their child. Other times conversations may be started later, as someone seeks out a Christian or pastor to ask about the cross-walker, and why he would be holding a cross.

Cross-walking also starts conversations in public places, such as bar districts and parks. The most common question here is, "Why are you doing this?" The answer is, "I'm hoping it will start conversations." To which the questioner asks, "Has it started any?" At this point the cross-walker has broken the ice to have a conversation to share Jesus Christ.

To Reach the Unreachable

Cross-walking has a distinct advantage over many other methods of ministry, in that the demographic of people is as diverse as a location allows. Festivals, sporting events, and parks tend to attract a certain type of people, malls draw a predictable crowd, churches are filled with an unsurprising populace, but road-ways are filled with every age, ethnicity, religion, and personality.

Certain people will never set foot in a church, nor will ever frequent a place where they may be given a gospel tract or spoken to, but they do drive. Even locked in the privacy and exclusion of their vehicle, they may be confronted on their hell-bound journey just by seeing a cross on the side of the road.

During peak rush-hours, cross-walking also has the opportunity to impart the message of God's justice and mercy into more lives than practically any other ministry option. Television and radio ministries, as well as billboard messages, reach more, but cross-walking provides a personal touch and at practically no cost.

To Confront People in their Sin

The message of the cross, the message of an execution method, points first and foremost to the fact that something is not right in the universe. That men can die, and that they may be put to death by other men, should cause us all to stop and think about the state of the universe, and then about the state of our souls. The message of the cross is that things are desperately broken, but that they are fixable, but only fixable through the work of the Son of God willingly taking on death for his saints so that he would defeat it three days later.

Cross-walking confronts people with this message, that there is salvation available, but that they are helpless to save themselves. "ARE YOU READY" on a cross instinctively causes people to consider their eternity. Some will harden their hearts, while others may genuinely consider the question. It is vital to trust in the Holy Spirit that he is doing precisely the work the Father has called him to do, knowing that "The message of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18)."

The cross-walker ought to be in constant prayer that the Holy Spirit is convicting onlookers of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).

To Encourage Christians

One of the reasons it is so important to realize that cross-walking is not just evangelism, even when an evangelistic message is present, is because it accomplishes many purposes. One of the purposes of cross-walking is to encourage believers who see the cross-walker, openly proclaiming Christ, to be bold in their own opportunities. Every believer should not be expected to cross-walk, but every believer is expect to be salt and light in their world.

The cross-walker hopes to encourage his brothers and sisters in boldness, intentional proclamation, and trust in their Saviour. The cross-walker himself is often encouraged through approving waves and friendly horn-honks.

To Decimate the Pride of the Cross-Walker

Cross-walking is seen by the world, and much of the church, as foolish. It ought to be, it the least likely way to convince someone of the truth of your position. But God has chosen the foolish things in the world to shame the wise, he did so first by giving eternal life through the death of his Son, he continues to do so by using broken and sinful men to propagate the message of his righteousness and love demonstrated on a cross.

To stand with a cross sets a person apart as a Christian, and not just a Christian, but a Christian who trusts in the sovereignty of God and the power of his Word to save souls. A cross-walker feels self-conscious, awkward, and like he is doing nothing to advance the kingdom of Heaven. These feelings do amazing work in the cross-walker, driving him to humility, causing him to exult in his Lord and Saviour, and to recognize that he may plant or water the seed of faith, but unless God causes that seed to grow, nothing will be accomplished.

Conclusion

In doing so, the cross-walker takes up, not just a miniature cross, but the cross Jesus was speaking of when saying, "take up your cross and follow me," and dies to the world, setting his affections on Heaven, carrying the message of eternal life to a lost and dying world, proclaiming the excellencies of him who bled and died but lived again, the only hope of sinners, the way, the truth, and the life.

In the Lord, the Christian's labor is never in vain, therefore consider taking a cross out with you to a public place. Watch God do work through it, both in those who see you, in those you speak to, in those you encourage, and in you as he lifts you up in your humility.

Further Resources

Tony Miano's Explanation of Cross-Walking
Tony Miano's Blog of Cross-Encounters
Order A Cross

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Face Time

Early on Sunday Morning two millennia ago, the most terrifying sound the world will ever hear reverberated in the silence of a dark and sealed tomb. In the pierced pericardium of the Lord of Glory, just a whisper of truth, yet completely distinct, was the faint sound of a heartbeat. Undeniably this bruised, pierced, and suffering servant had defeated death; just as he said, he has risen (Matthew 28:6, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He was dead, but now he lives.


In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of holiness declared Jesus Christ to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4). This proved that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by him (John 11:25, 14:6). The hymn declares, "Shout it out, Jesus is alive, he's alive! O happy day!"


But beloved, the first thing we need to see is that for many, this is not a happy day, in the vindication of Jesus Christ in his resurrection (1 Timothy 3:16), he proved, just as Noah proved that the ark was a promise of impending doom (Hebrews 11:6), that God has far purer eyes than to look on sin (Habakkuk 1:13) and has provided just one way of salvation (Acts 4:12). The Holy Spirit came to convict people of sin because they do not believe on Jesus Christ (John 16:9) and to show them judgment because Satan was dealt a death-blow at the cross (John 16:11, cf John 12:31, Genesis 3:15, Romans 16:20). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a very bad day for most of the world, who have sought to dethrone him since the beginning, and seek to do so even today, but in his resurrection he has become King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16), and he is set to tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (Revelation 19:15).


Many will end up cowering, hiding, fleeing from the Eternal King, desperate not to see his face (Revelation 6:15-17). Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and he will destroy it from the surface of the earth (Amos 9:8).


And we may say, "Right! That is what unbelievers should be doing, fleeing from God for their sin!" And I say Amen, and Amen! But beloved, let me show you some believers who reacted similarly; without grace and mercy we would all flee from the face of God!


Look at Judges 13, I'd wouldn't be exaggerating to say this is one of my favorite passages of scripture. "A man of God came to me (Manoah's Wife), and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome." The messenger of God brought very good news, news of a coming, yet temporary and deficient, messiah (Samson) to judge Israel and redeem them from the grip of the Philistines. A brief conversation ensues in which the messenger calls for a burnt offering to be sacrificed. When the sacrifice is made, the messenger makes it clear to them that he is Christ. 'They fell on their faces to the ground...Manoah knew that the speaker was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God (Judges 13:20,21-22)!'"


Compare a moment when Isaiah sees God in a vision, "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 6:5)!"


And let's transfer to the New Testament, "Now as he (Saul, later the Apostle Paul) went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground... (Acts 9:3-4, cf Acts 22:6-7, 26:13-14)" Paul, zealous for his understanding of God, was put on his face, and not just him, but his companions who traveled with him.


The glory of Christ is powerful, on the night he was betrayed, a band of soldiers sought him, when he declared himself to be the I AM, "they drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:6)."


Balaam responded similarly (Numbers 22:31), as did the Magi (Matthew 2:11), demon possessed men (Mark 3:11), and a healed woman (Mark 5:33); simply seeing God has this distinct effect on people; he is of far purer eyes than to look on sin; in his endless burnings, who can stand (Isaiah 33:14)? Who can endure the heat of his anger (Nahum 1:6)?


Others fall farther and harder, Uzzah, perceiving his defiled hands as cleaner than the earth, touched the holy ark of God and fell dead (2 Samuel 6:6-7), as did Ananias and Sapphirah (Acts 5:5,10). God is holy and puts people on the ground willingly if possible, forcefully if necessary (Acts 5:11).


Apostles are not immune, Simon Peter saw the full glory of Jesus Christ and fell down at his knees, begging, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8)!"


This is not limited to earth; in Heaven the appointed authorities will bow willingly before the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:8).


Jesus Christ is the Light of the World (John 8:12), he has messengers whom he has declared to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), and when his glory shines through them, many fall down in their sinfulness (cf Revelation 19:10, 22:8, Acts 10:25, 16:29, 14:11-15). It is vitally important that we point them to the Righteous One who became sin for us, who bore our sins in his body, who fell down himself.


The night Jesus was crucified, under the weight of the condemnation that he was about to endure at the hands of his Father, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and "going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will' (Mark 14:35-36)." The second time he prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42)." He prayed a third time (Matthew 26:44), knowing that to stand in the sight of God bearing the sin of the world would require an infinite payment, for each sin is costly, and unless the cup of the wine of the wrath of God were drained, the saints of God would be without hope. We cannot underestimate, nor even overestimate, the price which Jesus Christ paid for our souls.


Every fear which the previous mentioned prostrates had was well founded, God is of far purer eyes than that he can look on sin. Isaiah cried out in anguish, "Woe is me!" Manoah declared his sure ruin. Peter begged Christ to depart from his sinfulness. Ezekiel, a faithful prophet of God, though far from sinless, fell to the ground and wondered, "Ah, Lord God! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel (Ezekiel 11:13)?!" These fears were realized on the cross.


Jesus Christ was put to death as the wages of sin were paid out (Romans 6:23). He became a curse for us, as it is written "cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree (Galatians 3:13)." The sins of those who reproached God fell on Jesus Christ (Psalm 69:9), and the Father turned his back on the Son, causing him to pray the most heart-rending prayer in history, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani (Mark 15:34)?" And the only righteous man to ever live in all of history was put to a full end, it pleased is Father to crush him (Isaiah 53:10), he drained the well mixed cup of God's foaming wrath all the way down to the dregs (Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17).


Manoah's wife prophesied oh so sweetly (which is why this is my favorite verse), "If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burn offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these (Judges 13:23)."


Jesus prayed, showing us the fulfillment, "This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs (Psalm 69:31)." Peter exposited, "Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-this Jesus, delivered up according to the definitive plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men (Acts 2:22-23)."


Look at how this plays out in the Apostle John's life:


"I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet...I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw...one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength (Revelation 1:10,12-16)."


John did what I would do, what you would do, what everyone will do, "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead." But beloved, look at what happens next, "But he laid his right hand on me." He said, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:17-18)."


Beloved, if your view of Jesus does not put you on your face, does not cause you to weep for your ruin, for your sin against heaven, does not cause you to dive for cover in the deepest darkest hole you can find, then your jesus is probably made up, and idols cannot save you. But the Living Christ, who laid his hand on John, bore the scars of crucifixion (John 20:25,27-28), and is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 63:1), able to save to the uttermost all those who draw near to him in faith, he always lives to make intercession for his saints (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus Christ was dead, crucified for lawless men, giving himself for his saints (Galatians 2:20), but he has been raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).


Therefore, beloved, this Easter, make sure your view of Jesus Christ terrifies you; he sees to the very center of your being and all of your thoughts, words, and deeds are laid bare (Hebrews 4:13, Ecclesiastes 12:24). Recognize that without his willful atonement, you would be without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12), that your soul would be the cost, that Hell would gape wide to catch your fall; fall prostrate on your face in humility, confessing your sins against Heaven (2 Corinthians 7:10), and then look to the cross where the Lord of Glory died and where justice and love kissed; it is empty. Look to the tomb where hope was buried; it is empty. Christ is risen, he has condemned every false way: he is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by him.


On the final day, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). Some will do so willingly, but many will do so out of abject terror and/or violence done to them by ministering angels. Beloved, bow willingly, in sorrow for your sin against Heaven, and God promises that he will lift up the humble (Psalm 147:6), but dear reader, if you wait, if you bow out of compulsion, know that God promises that he will cast the wicked to the ground (Psalm 147:6).


I promise that every face will touch the ground in the presence of Jesus Christ, he puts people on the ground. God has accepted the sacrifice of his beloved Son, he delivered him up by lawless men, he has delivered this message to you. He has no delight in the death of the wicked, so turn from sin and turn to the Resurrection and the Life, and live; may he lay his hand on your shoulder before Judgment Day and declare to you with all authority, "Fear Not."


In conclusion, there are two responses on Judgment Day, those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who will step forward willingly and in anticipation to meet Christ (1 John 2:28), and those who will flee in terror (Revelation 6:15-17); there is no middle option. May your sins have been to a cross two-thousand years ago, may you trust in Jesus Christ, and may the fact that his pierced heart is beating today prove to be your comfort and not your condemnation.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Don’t Believe in Coincidences – An Easter Story

Tonight ended a long debacle I had with the stereo in my car. Let me make a long story less long so you’ll have the context, I’m including part numbers in hopes that this pops up on a Google search and gives people the gospel who were not looking for the gospel. Back around October I ended up with a Saturn SC-1 through some cool circumstances, I love this little car for what it is, but because it’s old and has a lot of miles on it, the stereo was worn out; I use the stereo frequently to listen to sermons and James White and Al Mohler podcasts. One of the first things I did was pick up a Dual XR4115 aftermarket stereo for it, this is a bottom end stereo that does not even have a CD-player it’s so inexpensive. I installed it and was instantly disappointed, but it did play music through the auxiliary cable (it will not play the iPod (iPad mini) through the USB), so I decided I’d live with it. At a month it died, the screen went out, making it effectively worthless. I took it back to the store I bought it at to find out it had a one month warranty and I had missed it by just a few days. I was about to leave and go purchase a better unit somewhere else, when the store manager arrived, called the employee a bad name, and gave me a brand new XR4115 in replacement.

This unit has lasted for approximately the last three months. During this time it has started having issues, it won’t play the right front speaker from the iPod, but will from the radio, it stopped charging the iPod, and the screen has started to flash. I was expecting to be outside of the country for at least two years, and planned to sell the car shortly, but now I am staying and so am keeping the car for as long as it will run. Since I’m keeping it, I decided to put a better stereo in it. I have a Pioneer DEH-50UB in the truck, and it is the greatest stereo I’ve ever used, but they no longer make it. Its successor is the Pioneer DEH-64BT, so I decided to pick one up. I intended today to go visit a friend around noon and then stop at the store and get this unit afterwards. My visit lasted much longer, and I ended up at Walmart just after 7pm. I decided to go through the auto-department since I was only picking up one thing and then leaving. I pulled up to the back side of Walmart only to find that that door was locked for the night.

At this point I noticed four people sitting around a picnic table about a hundred feet away, I assumed they were Walmart employees on a break. I grabbed four $1Million bills from Living Waters and said a short prayer, and headed for the table. It became quickly apparent that the four weren’t employees, but teenagers, hanging out, listening to music, and smoking. I’d estimate them to be sixteen or seventeen, two boys and two girls. They were ecstatic about the bills, and thanked me for them, and one boy turned off the music as if knowing I was about to ask a question.

I asked if I could ask them the million dollar question, they agreed. I asked, “If you died tonight, would you go to Heaven?” Two said they hoped so and two wouldn’t answer. I told them that according to the Bible, good people go to Heaven (Psalm 24:3-5, Matthew 5:8, Matthew 5:20), and asked them if they considered themselves to be good people. They all said that they did (Proverbs 20:6). I told them I was going to give them the good person test.

I asked them if they had ever told a lie. They all said they had. I asked what that made them. One boy said, “Well, not a liar, because it’s not like I lie all the time.” I asked him if you had to murder all the time to be a murderer? He gasped/laughed and said, “Wow, I guess I’m a liar.”

I asked if they had ever stolen anything, they all said they had. I asked what that made them, they said a thief. I was surprised because usually I hear “stealer”. This one hit them pretty hard, I rarely see contrition at this point in the good person test, but these teens were already showing it.

I asked if they had ever taken God’s name in vain. They asked how they would do that? I said by saying things like Oh My God or Jesus Christ without reverence, they all said they had. I said that it was serious, because God will not hold them guiltless who takes his name in vain (Exodus 20:7).

Then I said, “Here’s the one that got me, I mentioned murder earlier, have you ever murdered anyone?” They all laughed uncomfortably knowing that based on how the test was going that something big was coming, “Here’s why it got me, Jesus said if we hate someone or call them an idiot or a curse word, we’re in danger of being judged as murderers (Matthew 5:21-22).” One student said, “Dang, I’ve murdered a lot of people.” I responded, "me too." We had about three seconds of silence while this sunk in.

I told them, “Based on your admission, you’re just like me, not good people, but liars, thieves, blasphemers, and murderers at heart. If that’s the way God judges us on Judgment Day, do you think you’d be innocent or guilty?” One girl quickly said guilty, but a boy jumped in and said, “But I think God knows my heart, and he’ll know that I tried my best.”

I said, “That’s actually not a good thing for us, God does know our heart, the Bible says that our heart is desperately wicked and deceitful beyond all things, who can know it? Only God can search the depths of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9-10). The Bible says that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8), but our heart is sick and not pure (Ezekiel 16:30, etc). For example, don’t answer this, but our heart is where our actions start (Mark 7:21), like adultery, Jesus said it starts in our hearts and looking with lust makes us adulterers at heart (Matthew 5:27-28).”

These kids were already convicted, and that crushed the two boys. I continued that because our hearts aren’t pure, we are in trouble, all liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8), no thief, no blasphemer, no murderer, and no adulterer has any inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). That’s the bad news.”

“But there is good news,” I continued, realizing it’s the day Jesus was crucified on, “God doesn’t want you to go to Hell (Ezekiel 18:32), so much so he did the most loving thing in history two-thousand years ago. Do you know what he did?” A girl said, “He gave his Son! Wait, that was exactly two-thousand years ago?” I said not exactly two thousand years, but close, and this weekend is Easter.

I got to the best part, that Jesus Christ, God the Son, God in the flesh (John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16), came into this world to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He lived a perfect sinless life, tempted in every way we’ve been tempted yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15), and that he willingly went to a cross to pay for our sins. Now we can go to Heaven when we die, not because we’re good people, but because we have a very good God who paid our fine on a cross, who three days later defeated death, and will give us his goodness, his righteousness, if we repent of our sins and put our trust in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“It is possible for us to lay our lives down for each other, for example, I could lay my life down for you, but I’m not taking it back up again, I don’t have that power. But Jesus said, ‘No one takes my life from me, I lay it down, for my sheep (John 10:11), that I may take it back up again (John 10:17).’ Jesus proved to be Lord and Saviour by dying on a cross and resurrecting from the dead three days later.”

“The way this all works out is if we’re all standing in Heaven someday, and I desperately hope to see you all in Heaven someday, and someone, maybe an angel, asks, ‘How did you guys get in here?’ We’re not going to be able to say, ‘because I was so good, or great, or awesome’, we’ll say gladly, ‘because Jesus Christ is my God and Saviour, and he sought me and bought me and to him belongs all the power, honor, and glory, forever and ever’ and everyone there will say, ‘amen.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9, Revelation 5:12-13)”

“Does this make sense?”

A young man answered, “This makes a lot of sense.” He looked at a girl and said, “This is the way God speaks to us, by sending a messenger.” (I don’t know the context behind this statement, but I have a feeling the Holy Spirit was doing something to prepare them for this conversation (John 16:8-11))

I don’t believe in coincidences,” I said, “you have no idea how many crazy things happened to put me here at this exact time, and for the door there to be locked, at the very least I meant to be here three hours ago. So this Easter, really think about these things, repent towards God and put your faith in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone (Acts 20:21). The Bible says that if we are in Christ we are new creations, the old has passed, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).”

“Do you guys have Bibles at home?” I asked in order to provide some follow-up, they all said they had Bibles, “Open up those Bibles, never trust a man over the Word of God. I recommend you start in the book of John,” one girl mouthed John to herself to help remember, “it was written by one of Jesus’ closest friends, it will tell you who he is, why he came, and why it’s important to you. Since it’s Easter, I recommend you start in chapter 17, that’s where the crucifixion starts (John 17:1), but you can start at chapter 1 too.”

They thanked me and told me that I had given them a lot to think about. It was a blessing to be in exactly the right place at the right time to share in the blessing of preaching the excellencies of him who bled and died and lived again.

This Easter, tell someone about the hope that lives within you, Christ in you, the hope of glory.