Friday, October 17, 2008

Preaching (After the fact...)

I don't end messages this way very often, but I gave people the opportunity to receive Jesus by praying along with me and raising their hands to let me know they made a profession of faith.

I didn't plan on it, but by the time I got to the end of Romans 4, it seemed like a "duh, why wouldn't you give people the opportunity for people to profess faith in Christ?" moment.

Pastors aren't always the sharpest tools in the shed. Maybe I should speak for myself.

In reality, something in me is not a big fan of the altar call church culture. Either way, it was a cool God moment to be apart of. No doubt we- me and the other teachers in our church- need to do a better job of leading people to the cross more often.

I couldn't see for sure how many hands were raised, but I would guess over 20. It was dark and there were 700 people there, which made it hard to scan the whole crowd. I praise God for every hand raised- evidence that the Spirit of God was at work in their hearts.

The Spirit of God was thick in the worship after the message. There was a joyful surrender to the undeserved right standing that is ours in Christ.

As a preacher of God's word, I rest in this: God's truth was clearly proclaimed and God's Spirit was at work. So I say with the Reformers- Soli Deo Gloria.

3 comments:

andersh said...

Hey Mark,
I think it was great that you extended that invitation at the end. I think it challenges everyone, and not just the new believers, to ask themselves "am I really all in on this?" It always amazes me how powerful the message of the gospel is. Nice job!

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot said...

Down here in the south, we have an altar call every week. You can come down to become a new member of the church, if you want to be baptized, if you want to accept Jesus, if you just want to pray at the kneeler.

It has been a hard adjustment and when we decided to become members we skipped the altar and went straight to the welcome room.

Although, I think it is kind of cool. I mean it does take some courage to go down there. Obviously, courage we didn't yet have!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Cornerstone doesn't offer a opportunity to respond to the gospel like an altar call? If someone is new to the church and doesn't know anyone well enough to talk with them about accepting Christ, doesn't the newcomer really have to be persistent to seek out someone? The opportunity to "go forward" as they called it in my Baptist church from childhood was a huge step of faith for me to walk out of the crowd in front of my friends, sort of a baby step before baptism. An altar call doesn't have to be showy, but even having a system of having designated people standing down front after the service for the purpose of prayer and encouragement would seem like a very appropriate, healthy, and necessary part of each service.