On Saturday in Orlando, Florida, 59,000 Christians gathered in a stadium for an all-day event focused not on a band or celebrity but Jesus. They came from a diversity of age groups, denominations, ministries and ethnic groups for a spiritual impartation to share their faith with renewed compassion and boldness to a confused and broken generation.
After almost two decades of Lou Engle's "The Call" gatherings of Christians focused on prayer and fasting for a fresh move of God in our day, leaders sensed God giving a reset. Now was the time to be sent forth into the promised end-time harvest with the transformative message of the gospel. In a culture where multitudes, especially young people, are beset by hopelessness, addictions, fear and despair, only the transformative message of the gospel can truly change lives.
Most of the attendees viewed the celebration/convocation as the beginning of a new launching forth into highways and byways to reach multitudes surrounding us in need. Many are participating in a 40-day fast that begins March 1 with the appeal to God for another Jesus Movement in our day. We reflected on the words of Jesus, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest"(Luke 10:2).
5 Distinct Mission Fields
Between extended times of exuberant praise and worship followed by inspiring exhortations from leaders, participants had the opportunity to prayerfully consider making commitments to engage in one of five mission fields. Using iPhones, participants could text "School" to 97123 to serve people in their high schools; colleges and universities; friends and neighborhoods; nations of the world; and through adoption and foster care.
Throughout the day, there were multiple calls to action, not only for overseas mission work but especially those in need of a "forever home." With over 100,000 foster children in America and 8 million orphans worldwide, the need is great, but the opportunity is even greater.
"In this stadium is the solution to reach every high school, college and university campus in America!" declared one of the servant leaders. "Millions are waiting in dorms and classrooms for the message of the cross and the revolutionary change it brings to redeem individual lives."
God gave everyone a heightened awareness of our opportunity to reach the lost. We were challenged to radical obedience in loving, serving and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and calling people to genuine repentance and a fresh start in life.
From the platform, a number of zealous Christian women declared they represented a countercultural "Brave Love Women's" movement. They encouraged girls and young women to not disqualify themselves or fall back into self-absorption and mediocrity. "Break every excuse and get off the sidelines ... believe you can make a difference in reaching women in our day. Be like Mary, the mother of Jesus, who yielded totally to God and let the Holy Spirit come upon her to change the world!"
Clear the Whiteboard
A veteran leader told the throngs in attendance that God wanted to mark us for action, but we needed to cooperate by "clearing the whiteboard." He said, "Let Jesus interrupt your life! There are millions of students waiting, and God wants to place us in proximity to all of them. Let's declare war on inaction and focus on four R's!":
• Repent of any sins, passivity, fear of man and unforgiveness where we've been rejected or betrayed.
• Receive all God has for us so we are empowered by His Spirit to be courageous witnesses, no longer paralyzed by the enemy's tactics.
• Rebuke our adversary and rise up, knowing he has no authority over us unless we yield it to him.
• Replace lies with the truth and unbelief with belief in the mighty God we serve!
Embracing Purpose and Passion
One year ago at this time, the premier evangelist of our generation, Billy Graham, passed into glory. Everyone was strongly encouraged to embrace the mantle that he passed on to us, even as Elijah did with Elisha.
Billy told us, "My one purpose in life is to tell everyone I can how they can have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ." Amidst the fervency of the sacred assembly, there were no doubt tens of thousands who prayed for God to align them with the passion of Billy, who is now part of a "great cloud of witnesses" (Heb. 12:1b) cheering us on.
Many resources were available to equip those present to be competent, confident and consistent in sharing their faith. Anywhere and anytime, people can go to "Loving Lifestyle Evangelism" on YouTube for five brief, immediately accessible, free videos to help them become effective evangelizers.
As the day-long experience came to a conclusion, servant leaders who contributed their best gathered on the platform inviting everyone to remove their shoes and hold them heavenward. "Youth with a Mission" founder and elder statesman Lauren Cunningham stood humbly amidst the team of Christ's ambassadors.
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how show they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring good news of good things!'" (Rom.10:14-15).
Approximately 60,000 radical evangelizers for Jesus Christ then exploded with what might be the loudest shout ever raised in Orlando! Some wondered if people in nearby Disney World were perplexed at the sound! The experience was unforgettable as the worship band led in "I Am Not Ashamed."
The evening drew to a close with miracles, healings, prophetic words and what someone described as a "gentle breeze each time prayer was lifted for the Holy Spirit to come."
Here's the deal: Revivalist Leonard Ravenhill once said, "The opportunity of a lifetime must be taken in the lifetime of the opportunity." Tens of thousands streamed out of the stadium with renewed conviction and passion that now is the time to bring the gospel to our generation.
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