We live in the land of opportunity, but we often miss the most important ones.
Think about your daily routine. You start your day at the gym, surrounded by people. Do you put on headphones and distance yourself from everyone?
It’s time to cook dinner but your cupboards are bare. You head to the supermarket and, again, find yourself surrounded by people. Do you rush through the store, brushing past everyone to get in and out in five minutes?
When we’re out in public, we expect to see people … and we do what it takes to avoid eye contact. But avoiding eye contact is avoiding an opportunity.
We are called and mandated by God to spread the message of the gospel. And to ensure our success, he has filled us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, God doesn’t expect you to lead every person you meet through the salvation prayer and to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Rather, we each contribute an element, according to God’s direction, to bring that person to Christ. One plants the seed, another waters it and God increases it. This requires no special skill or training. God will use each of us where we are, utilizing the gifts He has already placed in us. And He will make something out of our efforts.
Now imagine the possibilities. Knowing God is in control, we can share the gospel without the fear of failure. Suddenly, we’re drawn to the same people we used to ignore because we know we have something they need. We are free to be purpose-driven and focused on our task to reach every soul in America with the gospel.
Don’t let another day of missed opportunities pass you by.
Zollie L. Smith, Jr.
What's Happening in U.S. Missions
RECORD-BREAKING CROWD CELEBRATES TEEN CHALLENGE 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Nearly 1,600 people from approximately 30 countries convened in New York City for Teen Challenge's 50th anniversary celebration. The June 25-27 event was a time to praise God for the countless miracles he's already done and the miracles yet to come.
"All of the services, from the worship time to the talks and the testimonies, just celebrated what God has done in the ministry as a whole and in individual lives," says George Thomas, Teen Challenge USA business manager.
Thomas reports that one of the most powerful moments of the celebration was seeing so many people who were significantly involved in the ministry's early years, together again in one place. Among those in attendance were Teen Challenge founder David Wilkerson, Nicky Cruz, Israel Narvaez and Sonny Arguinzoni.
"The 50th Teen Challenge celebration lived up to its slogan, 'Celebrating 50 Years of Miracles,'" says Mike Hodges, president of Teen Challenge USA. "To experience the opening rally was awesome, there will never be another time in the history of Teen Challenge when three of the first converts and David Wilkerson will share the same stage."
The celebration services were held at Times Square Church, which Wilkerson established in 1987. To accommodate a greater number of attendees, the final service was located at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Those who weren't able to come to New York could still participate in the celebration, as the services were streamed live on the Teen Challenge USA Web site.
In the months leading up to the celebration, registration quickly exceeded expectations, making it necessary to provide overflow seating. Thomas reports that prior to this event, the largest attendance at a conference hosted by Teen Challenge USA was just over 400. The celebration's large turnout is indicative of just how many lives have been powerfully transformed through the ministry.
"Every time we met together we heard testimonies of those who had been strung out on drugs, alcoholics — at the end of their rope but when they cried out to God, He heard them, delivered them and turned their lives around," said Kevin Tyler, Global Teen Challenge Eurasia Representative. "We had constant cause to rejoice! We also heard testimonies of what God is doing in 82 countries around the world and were challenged upon hearing that 46 other nations are
requesting help in establishing Teen Challenge programs."
Although Teen Challenge founder David Wilkerson was unable to speak as scheduled at Friday night's service, he delivered the message he had prepared Sunday morning at Times Square Church. Wilkerson's sermon, entitled "The High Cost of Mercy," is available at http://www.tscnyc.org/sermons.php/.
All of the celebration services were recorded and are available for sale in an eight DVD set. In addition, the 50th Anniversary coffee table book and historical DVD are also available on the Teen Challenge Web site, http://www.teenchallengeusa.com/.
-- Kara Chase