There was a time when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was, if not always, followed and widely affirmed in this country. There was a general respect for the Word of God, and prayer at public events was commonplace. A copy of the Bible was a centerpiece of every courtroom and government assembly room in this nation. Youth sporting programs like Little League did not dare to hold practices, much less schedule a game on Wednesday nights as that was universally recognized as a church night for many. And never did you hear of a game on a Sunday.
Billy Graham commanded prime time network television coverage and drew incredible audiences across America. The strength of the church intimidated those who sought to sow profanity into the airwaves, promote perversion and spread destructive behaviors among the youth of our nation. Ministers were highly respected and a life devoted to the Church was honored. Sincere evangelistic endeavors resulted in true conversions and the Body of Christ was strengthened in numbers.
Yet we squandered the favor of the population and further divided amongst ourselves, arguing over points that most often did not truly matter, chasing distractions more than souls. We poured obscene amounts of money into grand edifices even though there was no evidence that these pursuits yielded a decent return on the investment. All the while, the world developed a staggering array of entertainment options, gaining the hearts and minds of our neighbors, and the land beneath us secularized while we cloistered in our religious clubhouses. During the Sexual Revolution of the 60’s and early 70’s, the Enemy cornered the church, which responded by becoming anti-almost anything. Christianity became labeled as stodgy, old fashioned, and out of touch. Hugh Hefner gained more disciples than the American church and what was once a revered and respected institution lost the favor that it never knew it had.
Today, Christianity and those who truly follow Christ are openly mocked, while their message and ranks are diluted by those blinded by a counterfeit pop Christianity that promises emotional highs without any demand for sacrifice.
Whole churches are dedicated to making Jesus palatable to those who would never follow Him if they truly had to take up their cross. All of the low hanging fruit is gone. What was once relatively simple has become enormously difficult. True conversions, with the accompanying Fruit of the Spirit and a life sacrificed for the Gospel are very rare.
Now comes the hard work. No longer will we regularly see crowds rushing for the altar. No longer will we throw out a simple message and be astounded by the response.
Today, to see a true conversion will take the mirrored efforts of the New Testament, where apostles entered hostile territories and emerged with only a few real converts. The days of souls saved the easy way are gone forever. We once held a place of honor, where our message was consumed and considered, but now we will have to relearn what it is to make disciples. We will have to regain lost trust and accountability. Without the trust of the populace, and without the respect once accorded the church, we will now have to get dirty, walk among the morally decrepit, and seek out the lost with dogged determination and unwavering sacrifice….maybe to gain only one.
My remaining allotted heartbeats I intend to exhaust in this effort. Without the once-held favor, we will now enter the enemy’s strongholds….the embittered hearts of the entitled lost kid, intent on seeking that next soul open to the astounding love of Jesus. We cannot do this without a faithful team praying for us. We cannot do this without a family of faith supporting this work. Thank you for praying for us, and for your support and trust. We are a grateful people.