The Power of an Invitation

Last Sunday was a special Veteran’s Day celebration at ABC.  We had a wonderful time worshipping the Lord and honoring our brave service men and women.  I hope you had the chance to drop by the “Wall of Honor” to pay tribute to our local ABC heroes.  If you didn’t, please make sure to do so this Sunday as we are leaving the wall up for one final weekend.  I especially want to thank Christina Mendoza for all her hard work in coordinating this meaningful display.  Be sure to pass on your gratitude to her as well for a job well done.

Last week, we celebrated a big night at Midweek.  Our ABC Student Ministry hosted a special evangelistic event called, “Impact.”  Our Student Minister, Nathan Wood, and his team did a fantastic job organizing an exciting new event for our students.  They offered lots of attractions including golf games outside, inflatables, 9 square, and of course, plenty of free food.  Most importantly, all student in attendance participated in a powerful worship service that evening.  In total, nine students made decisions for Jesus Christ in that service, and several are looking to be baptized in the coming weeks. See the recap video here:

I was so proud of how our students stepped up to invite their friends that night.  In fact, our volunteer team registered 30 new guests that evening, and 20 of our regular students brought at least one of their friends with them.  I loved hearing that one student even borrowed his mother’s minivan so he could fit more friends in the car!  That kind of outward focus made an eternal impact, as 8 of those 9 decisions were made by first time guests that evening.  It’s always amazing to see how one simple invitation can have the power to change someone’s life. 

This makes me think of Jesus’ famous encounter with the paralytic man in Mark chapter 2.  As you may recall, Jesus was preaching in a home, and we’re told the house was packed.  There wasn’t room for anyone else, not even at the door.  But four friends were determined to introduce their friend to Jesus that day.  In their case, they didn’t use a minivan to get him there, but instead they took him up to the roof.   They famously made an opening and lowered the man on a bed.  From there, Mark 2:5 tells us “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’.”  Jesus recognized the extraordinary faith of these friends, and He rewarded it by not only healing their friend physically, but He more importantly healed him spiritually as well.

God rewards the faithful hearts of His followers.  James tells us that “the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:15).  The prayer of a righteous person has great power.  Yes, prayers can lead to physical healing, but they can also lead to spiritual healing.  In fact, I would argue that most salvation stories began with unseen prayers from loved ones.  Whether it is parents praying for the salvation of their children, students praying for the salvation of their classmates, or adults praying for their co-workers and neighbors, prayer is always that first critical step in evangelism.  God hears those prayers, and I believe He then opens up doors for us to lead others to Him.  He prompts us through the Holy Spirit when we are to testify to the hope that is in us.  And I believe He also prompts us through the Holy Spirit to invite others to experience the life of our church.  I would contend that one of the most powerful testimonies of Jesus Christ in this world is the authentic worship of His people.  I’ve personally seen that testimony be used by God to draw people to Himself time and time again.

My question is, “who do you need to bring to the feet of Jesus?”  I encourage you to begin praying for that person by name this week.  And I encourage you to follow our students’ example and invite them to worship with you this Sunday.  You never know, one simple invitation could change the trajectory of their life.  I look forward to worshipping with you this weekend on a special Lord’s Supper Sunday.  If you happen to bring a friend, please take a moment to introduce me to them.  I’d be honored to meet them.  Have a blessed week and I’ll see you Sunday.

Last Sunday’s Sermon: Sent: a study of Jonah – “Second Chances” Jonah 3

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