Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Time Keeps on Ticking Away

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
—Psalm 90:12

Let's say that your phone rings right after reading this article and it’s the manager from your bank. He greets you then proceeds to tell you he had received a phone call today and some anonymous, wealthy donor wants to deposit 86,400 cents into your account every single day for the rest of your life.

Perplexed, you say, “What? I don’t understand. Explain that to me again.” The banker explains, "Every single day, this person will deposit 86,400 cents into your account.” Is that much money? You wonder at first, and then you get out your calculator and figure out that it amounts to $864 every day. That is pretty good money for nothing you think. Then the banker explains there is a catch to this small fortune.

The banker says, "But there is one condition. You have to spend it every single day. You can't save it up. You can't add it to the next day's balance. Every day, you must spend that money. What is not spent will be taken away. This person will do this each and every day, but the condition is that you must spend the money."

So you go back to your calculator and figure out that $864 times 7 equals $6,048 per week. Come to find out, multiplied by 52, that comes to $314,496 per year. That is a pretty good deal. Only one problem – it’s only a fantasy.

So let's deal with reality. Someone who loves you very much deposits into your bank of time 86,400 seconds every single day. That someone is God. And the condition is that you must spend it. You can't save up time today and apply it toward tomorrow—there is no such thing as a 27-hour day. Each and every day, you have the opportunity to invest your precious commodity of time. What will you do with it? Everyone spends their time on what they see as valuable. Tragically though, most people waste it on selfish ambitions and fruitless deeds.

I’ve seen some people live an amazing life in a short amount of time and others live an ordinary life and in a long period of time. Quantity means nothing without quality.

The Bible says in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Simply put, a wise person sees their time on this earth as a valuable commodity to be invested into the lives of others and God’s will.

What will you do with your fortune? Will you give it away or hoard it? Will you invest it into the lives of others or selfishly watch it waste away? Will you make it count or just simply watch it count down?

Tick, tock.

What a week

The Passion Play is over - nearly 5,000 people heard the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We had many decision for Christ and are following up on them.

One family who was in the play this year told me their first time to come to our church was when they drove by last year and saw us building the tomb for the play. They stopped and asked what we were doing and someone walked them through it all - they took the time to minister to that family. Now, this family has been part of our church since that day and was even involved in the play this year - even their two kids.

Several people in our church used the passion play as a tool to reach their families and friends for Christ. They brought them to experience God's amazing love.

Another family said they had driven by every day to work in Little Rock. they saw the activity each day and finally came on the last night - and the husband gave his life to Christ. They were in church this weekend as well!

Testimony after testimony keeps coming in on changed lives. Just think if we hadn't done this event and just "hoped" lives would be changed. What if we just thought "someone else will do it". What if we said, "these decisions won't stick". How naive. God wants to use each Christian to reach people for Christ. Bring back the heart of evangelism. Salvation began with what Christ did on the cross. It is presented to people to make a choice. After the choice comes following Christ and discipleship. Bring back the biblical command of making disciples.

I talked to another guy who hadn't been in church in several months who recommitted his life to Christ. Another lady came almost every night - just because she wanted to experience what Jesus had done again and again.

I saw tears and looks of amazement at what Christ had done. I saw people investigate their lives and come face to face with a living God. Thank you God for desiring to use us. What a humbling experience.

Passion Plays, drama in general, and other outreach events are just tools to communicate God's love to the world. they are not an end in themselves, but a means to reach people for Christ and help them discover God's plan for their lives.

God, help us to communicate you wherever we go in whatever means necessary to reach a world in need of a Savior.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

1,100 + at the Passion Experience

1,100+ tonight at the Passion Experience! We have never had that many people at one time at a production! We've had 3,500 before at Holyween, but never that many sitting down for a production. Where will we put them tomorrow! It was standing room only and we got 100 more chairs from inside. we'll put them wherever we can tomorrow night. I hear the median or the shoulder is a good seat! just kidding, although we had several cars that stopped on the side of the road tonight. Lots of decisions for Christ. I pray those people get plugged into our church or another church to get discipled and grow in Christ.

The Passion Experience

Day 4 of the Passion Experience will begin in a couple of hours. Monday night, we had about 750 people attend with several decision for Christ. Tuesday, it rained and with the high winds and lightening (we had 3 people on a lift 30 ft high, 3 people on crosses 15-25 foot high, 350 people sitting on metal bleachers, and about to send one guy up for the Ascension scene 40+ feet) we had to cancel the passion play with about 15 minutes to go. Wednesday night we had about 800+ people attend. Tonight and Friday should be our biggest nights. We put out 125 extra chairs tonight and are expecting 900-1000 the next two nights. Its been fun!

We've had radio spots, television interviews, newspaper articles written, hundreds of pictures taken, and hours of video footage from every angle possible. We have had great opportunities to lift up the name of Christ this week. I pray the next two nights bring in many salvations and people into God's church.

I'm putting together a DVD for cast/crew only and will have pictures and clips on the website soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In the Crowd

I remember a scene in "We Were Soldiers" starring Mel Gibson of a journalist who was dropped into combat in Vietnam. His job was to take pictures, but he soon found himself involved in the battle. I'm sure he had no idea of what he was getting into nor did he think he would be part of the battle. He eventually put down his camera and picked up a gun.
Later, other journalists arrived after the battle and started taking pictures. He had experienced the battle and they had not. They could only imagine what happened and get second hand conversation about the events. He lived it.

Last night, I began to video the drama practice for our outdoor Passion Play. It wasn't long before I started to think, "What if I had been there". I thought about the first hand experiences of Peter, Mary, the Roman soldier, the thieves, the disciples, and the crowd. What if I had been "in the crowd". What if I had been part of the story.

Most people think they are apart from the story. "It happened so long ago. It isn't relevant to me". Now, you don't want to miss our outdoor passion play March 17-21 at 8PM each night, but you don't need a play once a year to experience Jesus' sacrifice.

The bible says "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever." You can experience his passion for you today.

Put yourself in the story. Get in the crowd. Come face to face with Jesus as He died for you. Don't be just be a spectator like the journalist. Become a participator and experience the Passion of the Christ. Start by doing what Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Monday, March 10, 2008

God's Word for Kids

I believe that the power of the word of God will work for kids as well as adults. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 that what Timothy had learned from the Word was from what he learned as a child. Here is what those verses say:

And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We as adults need to encourage children to trust in God's word. While the word is for teaching, corection, etc. it doesn't get done on its own. To work on kids, it has to be taught to them. We adults must build faith in our kids. We should tell them about a God who will come through for them and encourage them to trust him because he is faithful.

We need to tell what's important about the scriptures. Its good that a kids knows David had 5 stones and a sling shot and that Jonah was in a whale 3 days and nights, but the point of those stories is victory over giants in life and trusting and obeying God. They should have learned to walk in the power of God’s covenant and to believe God is in covenant with them just like He is with adults.

The lion's are not what are important in the story of David. Its the point that Daniel stood up for what he believed in - God - and wouldn't trust in anything else no matter what happened to him. He recieved supernatural protections from the Lord and learned to trust in Him. The story could have been about rattlesnakes or even bears.

Children need to know about the principles of God's word so they can put them into practice. If all they know about the word is "cute bible stories" then all they will have is that. If they know how to use God's word and the principles for living behind those cute stories then they will be victorious in their lives at a young age.

If all we ask kids to do is "sit down and be quiet" at church, then that's what they will grow up and do. We already have enough adults just sitting around and doing nothing in church. We need kids who are on fire for the Lord and know His word and that it applies to them.

Please don't forget that "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). You must teach them the Word. If not, then they can't have faith without knowing what the Word says. Don't just teach Bible stories: teach principles for living.

Whatever your role is: working in kids ministry, parents, grandparents, etc., please remember to teach the Word and how kids can apply it to their lives. Make sure the kids you have contact with are prepared for victorious living through God's Word.