There once was a time...

There once was a time when it was hard to imagine that anyone born in the United Sates had not heard the story of Jesus Christ. But those days are long gone. Many kids, teens and young adults have never been to church. They have never experienced "Sunday School", been a part of a youth group or small group, or attended Sunday services.

This is why inviting people is so critical. This past Easter weekend many people attended church for the very first time simply because someone invited them. And as hard as it may be to believe, they heard the story of Jesus Christ for the very first time. If you were one of those who invited someone, way to go!

Last weekend, as you can see from the banner, Atlee celebrated numerous wins. Remember, every number has a name. Every name has a story and every story matters to God! We define a win as someone who takes a next step in their spiritual journey toward God.  I want to share two wins with you from this past weekend.

First - On more than one occasion I have prayed with a young man after a service for his older brother. I have watched as the younger brother prayed with tears running down his face that his troubled older brother would just come to church and one day give his life to Christ. This Easter the older brother came to church! While we know he heard the story of Christ we don't know if he placed his faith in Christ, but believe me when I say it was a big next step. It may have actually been a first step. It's just an example of how we should never give up on someone.

Second - Today I heard of someone who invited a neighbor. The neighbor came and brought her elementary age son. While mom went to "big" church the son attended children's ministry.  Mom sat through the service and heard the story of Christ and at the end of the service she raised her hand indicating she had prayed  receiving Christ as her Savior. After the service as she went to pick up her son,  the son, who was extremely excited about what he had learned that day, exclaimed, "Mom, did you know that a man died on a cross and after being dead for three days came back to life!?"

Let me ask you - does it get any better than that?

Now let me tell you how that story came to be. This neighbor had been invited several times and each time said maybe another time. Even this time she turned the phone invitation down. But after the declined invitation, the person who was inviting prayed and said "God, I have done all I know to do. The rest is up to You." Within the hour her neighbor called back and said "okay, we will come." And now, after all that happened, she is looking forward to coming back!

Both of these stories would never have happened if someone had not been praying for them and been willing to keep making the invite!

Don't ever take for granted how a simple invitation could change the life of a person for all eternity. And don't ever give up praying for someone. You never know when God might answer that prayer!

They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard Jesus was. And wherever he went - into villages, towns or countryside - they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged Jesus to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed. Mark 6:55-56

By the way, who are you inviting this week and who you begging God to touch?

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