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Public Outreach Article

In light of the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection what could be more delightful than to be able to hear singing and preaching about Jesus without having to wait for Sunday? Wouldn’t it be heart-warming to have a Jesus celebration brought right to you during the week without going out of your way? There would be warm, friendly conversation as well as serious soul-searching questions and discussion. You could arrive at your destination with a fresh awareness of God’s love and forgiveness. You could ponder into the evening over the impression the cross made on you as you first caught glimpse of it being held by someone standing in broad public view. You could hum along with the Gospel hymns, and savor the sacred instrumental melodies you heard. You could linger at length over a special edition newspaper dedicated to Jesus and his interests – no sleek schemes, no phony freebies, no burdensome bulk, and best of all, no bad news.

It would be hard to conceive of someone wanting to disrupt you from knowing about this great Jesus and his love. Yet opposition seems to brew against those who tell people about Jesus and stand with him publicly. This opposition is directed against what Jesus represents: accountability and forgiveness. Man does not want to face his accountability before God. The subjects of God’s love and forgiveness are left empty without us first recognizing our accountability to him.

Stand boldly

Throughout history, those who have stood with Jesus and the Good News have faced opposition, particularly those who do so publicly. Jesus was mistreated and opposed mercilessly, not just for what he said, but for how he lived and the stand he took. He forewarned his followers to brace themselves for similar treatment, but not to be afraid. Some of Jesus’ followers were afraid to be identified openly with him, fearing they would be looked down on, or that they would suffer with him, so they remained private about their connection to him.

Perhaps there was a time in our nation [U.S.A.] when public outreach and preaching about Jesus was welcome. Before the days of mass media there were town criers, minstrels, circuit riders and revivalists. During the last generation it was a common sight to see the Salvation Army engaged in public outreach.

More than words

Standing with Jesus is more than serenading people from a street corner. Jesus’ love compels us to love as he loved, to struggle with God’s voice in our conscience, to weigh our convictions against our fears, to find the Lord’s will for our lives and to stand with him. He said he would show us the way. Part of Jesus’ way for us to stand with him might be to help at the local crisis pregnancy center, reaching out to mothers and fathers who need help loving their children. You might adopt an unwanted child, propose bills to your legislator, write newspaper articles. You might write letters to those in prison for rescuing unwanted children. You might rescue, yourself, or help in some support role. Standing with Jesus will doubtlessly take us to the defense of those who are being hurt, especially innocent children. There are others hurting, many others. It seems as though our society is plagued by hurt and heartbreak, as though we were under a curse.

Hostility against Jesus

Our nation no longer reflects the: “In God We Trust” attitudes of yesteryear. This phrase will disappear from our money soon. God has already been kicked out of public education. We are no longer: “One nation, under God.” Christmas carols mentioning Jesus and manger scenes are not welcome in our public life, nor are the Ten Commandments. Christmas vacation has become: “Winter break,” and Easter vacation has become: “Spring break.”

We no longer recognize a Creator, now that devotion to the theory of evolution is on the increase. The World Almanac states, as though it were fact: “All existence emerged from a fist-sized mass of unknown material 15 billion years ago.” There’s no room for a Creator or higher power, except for the forces of evolution. Nor do these intellectuals experience anxiety over the fact that they don’t know WHERE that fist-sized mass of material came from, nor HOW nor WHY it sprang into life, flowers, songbirds, and butterflies.

The maxim: “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights” is obsolete both in the ‘Creator’ aspect and in the ‘rights’ aspect. The state will soon be the supreme authority, posing both as “creator” and “bestower of rights,” determining WHETHER you will exist, HOW you came into existence, WHY you came into existence and HOW LONG you will remain in existence. Those who stand with Jesus will simply face opposition as they have through the centuries, especially as the world governments consolidate into one centralized global regime.

Our lives also

Our lives also have been seasoned with opposition for standing with Jesus. We have been falsely arrested, or fined, or threatened on public sidewalks, on public right-of-ways, at public fairs, public festivals, public parades. We have faced trouble before judges, prosecutors, magistrates, mayors, city councils, educators, school boards, policemen, jailers, and painfully true, from false Christians as well.

Even some of “our own” have labeled us renegades, lawless and worse, even though by love’s standards we are zealously lawful. We are shunned on one hand and betrayed on the other. Our children have been placed in jeopardy before the “thought police,” without me, the children’s father, ever being approached about the disgruntlement first. Others want my God-given authority over the children to be relinquished to the godless courts; things that equal high treason by love’s standards and biblical admonition.

This is the cross-fire of a spiritual battle.

But in all these things the Lord Jesus has strengthened us, and we expect he will continue to give us strength and guidance. You too need to be ready to face opposition as you follow Jesus and set out to share his love and Good News. Don’t be afraid, though. He will show you the way, he will give you strength, and he will fill you with his peace. Jesus is awesome! gs #

[Article from a Jesus newspaper, 2nd edition]
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