Evangelistic Rally — Day 4
Alastair McAlees from Inverclyde Christian Initiative, opened the service and asked those gathered at the Greenock Town Hall to sing the traditional Scottish hymn, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The hymn was beautiful and so fit the moment. The Times Square Church choir followed with an exhuberant “Hosanna.”
A Times Square Church member started her testimony by honoring her parents. She came from a dysfunctional family, where her dad was an alcoholic and her mom who was suicidal. She has known God since she was six. At the age of 16, she looked at her father and told him, that she loved him for the very first time in her life. As her mother took her and her siblings away, her dad got on his knees and pleaded for them not to go. She felt compassion for him and realized he needed God too. She learned not to look at the situation but to look to God. To look to the hope that can only be found through Christ.
Another member who used to be a drug addict came to New York as a photographer at the age of 23, to seek fame and fortune and he got both very fast. He was living the dream life that he wanted. His life changed overnight when he went to a party at a loft where people were cooking up cocaine making free-base and crack. As his life plummeted, he did things that he wasn’t proud of. He was so strung out that he was seeing satanic symbols on the wall of in his living room and was hearing demonic voices.
One day, he hired a make up artist who attended Times Square Church. This person was warned by her agency not to speak about God. But when she saw him. She had to share about the hope there is in God. She invited him to church. Each time they made an appointment to meet at church, he would be a no show because he would be strung out on drugs. She didn’t give up. She kept calling him. One night when he was supposed to meet her, he was all alone and passed out till the next morning. He began counting the money that he had to see how much drugs he could buy. He thought he had lost her phone number. He looked at the wall and started to see satanic symbols and he cried out with all his heart to God, “God please tell me, you are real. I always believe you are real. If you are real right now prove it to me, show me where her phone number is.” In a quick second, he felt a peace upon him and God led him to go to a box where her phone number was. He stood there and the Holy Spirit came down on him and it was the warmest, most wonderful feeling. God told him, “Open your eyes and always believe in me.” When he opened his eyes, the room was bright with lights and it lasted for about 30 seconds.
He looked across his studio space, and saw a charity photo campaign that he did. God said to him, “I used you to execute my will on anti-racism.” He looked at the billboard and remembered he had framed pictures from the photo shoot. He wanted to grab those pictures to bring in to the room where he saw satanic symbol. He got on his feet and grab his tool chest, he fell on his knees and said, “God I am a drug addict, I can’t stop doing drugs…I need you God.” He pulled out a hammer and two nails, and the nails fell perfectly pointed to the inside of his palm. And he thought about Jesus on the cross.” The Holy Spirit came over him and said, “you don’t have to do drugs anymore.” He confronted a lot of people that he had wronged. The following Tuesday, he gave his life to Christ at Times Square Church.
Why should I turn from sin?
This message is for the church and those that don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior, based on 1 Corinthians 6. Sin is a willful decision to embrace or practice a way of living, which God says it’s wrong. Sin was infused into our race when our first parents Adam and Eve consciously decided to defy what God had spoken but instead did what they thought would bring them happiness. We begin to justify wrong and contaminate what is right. Sin is when we make our own decision to become our own God. We are living in that type of hour where evil is being called good, and good is being called evil. Pastor Carter said, “I pray in our country and in Scotland that we don’t make that tragic mistake of thinking that we can charter another course and somehow ever prosper in that course.” “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 6:23)
God has a marvelous plan for everyone. We are called to be extraordinary by the power of God. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves apron,” (Genesis 3:7). The moment you sin, the sense of well-being is lost. “He replied, I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked,” (Genesis 3:10). Sin brings shame. We become afraid of life, circumstances, and ultimately afraid of God. Sin brings sorrow, a deep feeling of unsatisfaction no matter how much we try to work. But it still will not bring fourth what God gives us. You can try anything or achieve anything, but it will still produce thorns and thistle; it will never satisfy.
As exemplified by the story of Cain and his brother Abel which is also in Genesis, sin brings envy and murder, sin brings lies and indifference and turns life into death. “How do we say that we are worshipping God, and we are children of God with the heart of and don’t care if the people around us go to hell? That’s not possible.” We can’t live and not care about the people around us who don’t know Christ. In Christ, we’re intended to be what Christ wants us to be. Everything changes when we have the love of God. The old nature is put away but God gives us a new nature.
So why should you turn from sin? Firstly, because God loves you. You have an opportunity to do what is right, and the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 we can do all things through Christ who loved us. Secondly, because this is a supernatural life. You don’t have to figure it out, you just have to believe, and it is all to the glory of God and for the souls of men.
Lastly, when you turn from sin, death is turned into life. In Christ you become the person God wants you to be. The scripture says, “Death has turned into life.” A new song comes; it’s a song of our life that comes from within. There are so many young people that need to be taken out from the dark pit. God makes all things new. The song doesn’t happen all at one time but it happens line upon line. Eventually the song is finished and it begins to be sung. “Death is swallowed up in victory. Scotland, rise to the occasion. Church of Jesus Christ, rise to the occasion. The hour is dark but Christ is still the light of the world. The power of evil still roams our streets but the power of God is greater.”
God gives a new hope and a new mind. We don’t have to prove the existence of God to anyone. David says, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This is why we should turn from sin. God has promised to give us a new life and a new song.
Pastor Carter made an altar call for those who do not know Christ and for Christians who wants to renew their commitment to Christ. As people made their way to the altar and we began to sing “Draw me close to you,” Pastor Carter said, “I know there is somebody else here in the sanctuary. This is really your moment. You are very nervous and your heart is pounding that’s because the Holy Spirit calling you. This is a defining moment of your life. You will not regret coming down here.” He said, “For those who are wavering even if it’s just one more person, we will take that time and wait for you. You are that important to God that we will wait for you.” There is no cost when coming to Christ because we are getting the treasure of heaven. We began singing an old hymn, “And Can’t Be.” As we sang, the young man walked up to the altar. He told the young man, “Young man, the Lord is going to put His hands on you. He is going to use you for His glory because He waited for you tonight. He knew something about you.” Pastor Carter then led them to prayer. God be glorified!