More Joy In Heaven
Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went he healed people of every sort of illness. And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. “The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples. “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.” Matt 9:35-38.
When was the last time you saw God move?
Isn’t it amazing when you experience it?
In big ways or small ways I always stand in astonishment. Not because I am shocked, but I stand in a place of gratitude and thanksgiving that He is still willing to work in us a new creation no matter of age... kids, youth, women and men, young and seasoned.
I want to share with you where I saw God move.
I saw Chris Hurt in our workroom and he was asking about our Revelation study and I said something about equipping our ladies for Jesus' return. Chris quickly responded with Jesus don't come back till this weekend is over please. I laughed and said Amen!
What was Chris talking about?
A big event called Pack The Gym. It was done so kids could invite friends who may not know Jesus. It was a challenge to the students to invite a friend or two or three. It also was a big production, with lights, smoke, a stage, great worship and a guest speaker, Chris Lovell. It was awesome. The energy was amazing.
Brittany, Chris and Sean had all the adult volunteers ready for any of the kids to make a decision at the end of the program. They had their 40 packets ready along with the 50 commitment forms and pens for the student to fill out.
The speaker wraps up his 30 minutes passionate speech about his testimony of coming to Jesus later in life. I don’t think one kid looked at their phone the whole time. It was unbelievable. He then asks the crowd to respond. He calls the sheep who do not have a shepherd to make a decision by using a shot clock metaphor. He told the kids he was going to give them 30 seconds. Clock started, he started counting down. I thought yes there's an urgency to making a decision for the Lord. As he is counting down hands go up. They are saying, "yes I want to be a part of God’s family, yes, I want to make a decision for Christ, Yes I want to stand up for Jesus."
As this clock was happening in the back of the gym, upstairs some ladies were watching, listening and praying for the students to respond to God moving in their lives. It was powerful and palpable.
As each one of the hands went up each one of the ladies started crying. It was an unashamedly cry. It was a tender, sweet, excited cry. It was a “Yes child! Best decision of your life, cry.”
They were tears of joy.
As these kids then made their way to the front of the stage, Chris the speaker leans down to each one of them and says he is proud of them, he is excited for them and he loves them. (I am not crying, you're crying now.)
Just pause, could you have done that. Could you in front of your peers acknowledge your need for a savior at 12, 13, 14 ,15, 16, 17 years old? The Holy Spirit was moving in that gym and those kids acted and responded. Hallelujah!
Not sure how to respond, some clap and some cheer, some are shocked. Guess what we can all be cheering and clapping just like the angels in heaven do when one repents of his sins and turns to God. Luke 15 tells what they do,
“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” And again in verse 10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
If it is a big deal in heaven, we should make it a big deal on earth.
Yes, let’s celebrate, let’s rejoice because Jesus sent His Son to die for all of us not just certain ones. We are celebrating because the one girl has been asking a lot of questions in small group was asking for a reason, or the quiet one who never talks has been listening, or the super -too-cool-for-school athlete who shows up for the first time and had a divine appointment that was not on his calendar and what about the three girls who walked back after their decisions was met by their Sunday school teacher from Kinder to 5th grade, lastly the boy who decided he wanted to recommit his life to Jesus and make him His king. There are So. Many. Cool. Stories. All the Glory goes to God.
As Chris Hurt, our youth pastor is counting the heads and realizing he has more kids than volunteers workers to help in the back, he asks the volunteer workers to double up. Which is great, kids don’t want to talk to an adult one-on-one anyway right. So kids are like whew.
The "crying tears of joy" ladies upstairs who are watching pick up their bags and say, “Let's go, they need us!”
So they go! They respond.
They grab their bags, water bottles, kleenexes and head down the stairs to the room. They join in the fun with the other volunteers.
Everyone now has a sweet kid who looks a little lost, like what's next. They get their information in order to follow up. They also pray with them, talk with them, celebrate with them and ultimately welcome them to the Family.
As the youth group was planning for this event, God had bigger plans that anyone could have seen.
Here is the detail that makes me smile at God. Remember back at the beginning when I mentioned the packets and commitment cards they got ready. Well they put together 40 or so of them together. You can’t plan when the Holy Spirit decides to nudge people. You can’t plan when God is going to move but we have to be ready and willing. When the speaker leaned down to encourage those brave souls who made the decision at that moment, he was speaking to 57 kids at that moment. 57 junior and high school kids who held up their hand for Jesus, who looked up and walked down the aisle. 23 of them made a decision for Christ, 26 rededicated their life and 3 decided to pursue ministry.
When it was all over the harvest workers stood and looked at each other, like wow that was a great moment to witness.
Our youth group wants our students to pack the gym for Jesus every Sunday and Wednesday nights just like the angels want to jump for joy at every sinner who repents.
Let’s be like the kids, let’s invite more to church. The harvest is plenty. Let’s be workers who share how Jesus has changed our lives. Let’s keep those angels singing with Joy ladies.
P.S. For the ones doing the math, yes 17 kids did not get a packet but guess what, they were mailed out to them the following week.