“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4, NIV)
Yesterday at LakeView I felt led by the Lord to give an invitation for people to repent and declare their faith in Jesus, to be saved. In some churches I’ve attended something like this would be handled through an “altar call.” That is, we’d have had prayer partners at the front, and we’d have invited people to step out and come forward to pray and receive Christ. In a couple of churches, they even had an actual altar, a bench at the front of the church before the stage where people could come and kneel to pray.
I didn’t give an altar call yesterday, I did the old “every head bowed, every eye closed” routine and two people raised their hands to receive Christ. PRAISE THE LORD! However, I keep wondering if I should’ve challenged the people gathered to take a more declarative step…
I’ll be transparent. My church background, with its dysfunction, has put fear of altar calls in me. There have been a few times at LakeView when I felt nudged to invite people forward for prayer for one reason or another but chickened out. The culture of our church is not an altar-call culture. What if no one comes forward? Will it seem like the service was a failure? Will people think I’m not a good pastor? Hello, pride, there you are again. I’d sure like you to be crucified in me so that Christ can live in your place!
This morning, when I read Proverbs 30:4, I felt the challenge from the Lord. (Sidenote: It’s amazing how God can give a rebuke without condemnation. He is incredible!) Why do I let fear and pride influence my actions? “Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!”
As I reflected on these words, the last line held my attention. “What is his name, and what is the name of his son?” His name is Jesus, and His son’s name is… me. I’ve been born again into His household. My confidence and sense of self-worth shouldn’t come from whether or not people respond to an invitation. Neither should I be afraid (whether afraid of failure or wounded pride) to be obedient when God stirs my heart. Our job is to obey faithfully and let God produce the fruit. If we do what He tells us to do, then we cannot fail because the definition of success is obedience, not results.
My prayer for the week is for those who accepted Christ yesterday (please join me in that), and for God to remind you who He is what His son’s or daughter’s name is, yours. Be humble, yet confident in who you are in Jesus.