2015 – MINISTRY IN REVIEW
Kathe and I, along with our board of directors and ministry team at Great Awakenings want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
CHRISTMAS STORY IN HUTCHINSON, KS
Our annual Christmas Story Dinner & Concert outreach took place last Thursday night in Hutchinson, Kansas. We partnered with Pastor Nick Huck and the Hutchinson Wesleyan Church to hold it at AJ’s at The Alley restaurant.
For the third event in a row the nationally known Christian band, Cloverton, performed for our Christmas concert. During each of the two shows I preach gospel and invited people to turn to Christ. There were people who God lead to turn to Him in faith and request Bibles, Bible studies and share various prayer requests.
One family ended up having all their children want to fill out response cards. A member of the waiting staff for the restaurant called on Jesus to change her life. “This is an awesome event”, wrote one couple. Another said, “Thank you for coming to our town.”
Just yesterday we mailed out all the materials for follow up to people and are looking forward to hearing more stories of God’s great work in the days to come.
HUNDREDS OF RESPONSES TO COLUMN
As we close out 2015 we are just beginning calls to Texas newspapers which will be our 10th state. At press time, God has provided 227 papers for our HOPE FOR TODAY column with a circulation of 770,248. This year one of my columns garnered more response then any piece I have written over the last nine years. It was titled “There Are No Atheists.” We had hundreds of responses from emails, comments on our blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, on our website, various other websites and a call from a Texas man.
During an email exchange with Johnathan I asked how he became an atheist. He said he had been a Christian until “ . . . one day I finally just figured out I had been talking to myself for 15 years. I looked into the basis of factual Christianity and found a glaring lack of evidence. Then I found atheists made startlingly good sense.” . . . “This is the happiest and stress free [I] have ever been.”
As I engaged with atheists like Johnathan my spiritual eyes were opened like never before. I was challenged, heartbroken and frustrated. Despite what they said I fully agree with what the Scripture says about them, “What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” (Rom. 1:19).
A woman I knew contacted me through a family member to come see her in the hospital. She was dying. On Monday, October 12th, Kathe and I walked into her room when, Terri, lying in her hospital bed, turned and said to me “I was wondering when you were going to get here.” One of the medical conditions she was battling was cirrhosis of the liver. The doctors had done all they could. She knew she was going to die soon. She began guiding us through preparing her living will, funeral arrangements and setting up hospice care. Eventually the conversation turned towards her relationship with God. She did not have one. I asked, “Do you know for certain that your sins have been forgiven?” She did not know, but wanted to. As I shared how she could know, her eyes were fixed on me with laser-like focus. God clearly had her attention as I walked through the gospel. When I asked if she wanted to call out to Jesus for salvation, her eyes swelled up with tears saying, “Yes!” As I got down on my knees next to her bed and prayed over her, she also prayed. I called out to God for the darkness to be lifted and for the devil himself to release his grip on her life. I prayed, “Oh, God save her from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet.” About that time she cried out, “I can feel it! All the way down to my feet!”
That day she left the hospital, going home to her family. Over the next several weeks we met for Bible study, prayer and she came to church when she was well enough. Her family noticed the difference Jesus made saying, “She glowed and was at peace.” The Scripture says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). When she visited a family member in jail she pointedly said, “You need to get right with God! I gave my life to Christ, but I waited too long. My life is nearly over.” And eventually it was. On Monday evening, November 30th, I saw Terri for the last time. She was unresponsive, breathing deeply. During the evening family asked if she could be baptized. She spoke of her desire to be baptized to me and her family previously, but was never strong enough for it. We circled around the bed and I baptized her with a cup of water. I firmly believed Terri knew what was happening as the mind and hearing are always the last to go. Just a few hours later, shortly after midnight, on Tuesday, December 1st, she slipped into the arms of Jesus.
As we look toward 2016 we are excited at changes we will be making in order to be more effective and fruitful in reaching more Terris and Johnathans for Christ from Kansas, across the United States and around the world. Will you join with us? Please consider a special year-end gift. Take time to pray and consider if God would have you be a part. Click on the Year-End gift button on the upper right hand corner to learn how you can donate.
President & Evangelist
We are releasing our 39th episode for the TV/Internet broadcast – The Gift of Christmas. Here is the show description . . .
There is the Christmas Tree, then there is the Grace Tree. Under it is the greatest Christmas gift ever given. This video features Clint Decker unwrapping the most-prized gift at Christmas time.