I think all of us agree that we’re seeing a moral collapse around us, not just of our nation, but all around the world.
Recently, however, along the shores of Lake Michigan and later in the shadows of the great Rocky Mountains, I watched as tens of thousands of young people gathered on two weekends for a purpose—to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in music, in testimony, and in the preaching of God’s Word.
I had an opportunity to preach and extend the invitation multiple times. Each time, we saw hundreds repenting of their sins, confessing Christ as their Savior, and wanting to follow Him as their Lord. They “were redeemed from [their] empty way of life” (1 Peter 1:18, NIV) as they gave their hearts and lives to Jesus.
This happened only because of Holy Spirit power working through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who shed His blood on the cross for our sins, died, was buried, and was then resurrected to life. I can’t explain it—I only know that when God’s Gospel is preached, “it will not return … empty, but will accomplish what [God desires] and achieve the purpose for which [He] sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
As I write this letter, my son Will is in the U.K. preparing to preach just outside London. I have been asked to come in 2013 to hold a major evangelistic event in London. The churches are wanting us to come and help.
If you watched the news recently, you saw youth mobs—teens and young adults who clearly don’t know right from wrong—rampage through the streets of London, burning cars, looting shops, and terrorizing neighborhoods.
The unruly, violent street riots clearly exposed the corrupt moral and spiritual state of young people in England today. Prime Minister David Cameron called the four days of savagery “a slow-motion moral collapse.” One secular British journalist identified the unrest as a spiritual problem that requires a biblical answer. She is absolutely right.
In a column for the Daily Mail, England’s second-largest newspaper, she wrote: “Repairing this terrible damage also means, dare I say it, a return to the energetic transmission of Biblical morality. When church leaders stop prattling like soft-headed social workers and start preaching once again the moral concepts that underlie our civilization, then—and only then—will we start to get to grips with this terrible problem.”
The problem is hardly limited to England. Recently in Philadelphia and several other U.S. cities, young people have used social media to form flash mobs that descended upon businesses and citizens with gang-like thuggery. And across America we see many other alarming evidences of the increasing ungodliness of our culture.
I am not surprised by any of this—but neither am I despairing. I believe with all my heart that “the gospel … is the power of God that brings salvation” (Romans 1:16). I believe in the transforming power of that Gospel that turns us from our wicked ways and makes us new creatures in Christ. I believe in the power of prevailing prayer, that God listens and responds to the pleas of His people as they repent of their sins and put their trust in Him (see 2 Chronicles 7:14).
What we saw in Milwaukee and Denver gives hope. Many people whose lives have been caught up in our nation’s moral decay, dragged down by the hurt and hopelessness of sin, were set free through Jesus Christ who came to earth “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
A young single mother, who was hooked on heroin and had contemplated suicide, was under house arrest in Milwaukee for stealing things to sell for her drug habit. A Christian friend helped arrange a day pass that allowed her to bring her two young children to KidzFest, the Saturday morning children’s evangelistic event we held in each city.
As she listened with her children to the simple message of the Gospel, she became anxious and wanted to leave. The friend who had invited her persuaded her to stay a little longer for the kids’ sake. When the invitation was given, both her little boy and her little girl wanted to respond, and their mother finally agreed to walk with them to the counseling area.
The counselor who greeted the three of them noticed the mother begin to cry, and quietly pulled in two other counselors to help. Before the morning ended, the troubled mother called on the Lord for forgiveness of her sins and asked Him to change her life. Each of the three individually prayed to receive Christ.
A man named Doug had been addicted to methamphetamine. He lost everything he owned as well as his job, but was finally clean of drug use. His mother brought him to Rock the Range to enjoy the music, and during the afternoon as the bands played, two different people shared with him about the power of the Gospel to change a life. He said he wasn’t ready. One of them urged him to listen closely to the message when it was time for me to speak. He did, and the Holy Spirit opened his heart to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for these and many others who heard the truth and responded.
Please also pray for those God drew to Himself across the Prairies of Canada at a Rock the River evangelistic event in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In late October I am leading an evangelistic Festival in the Baltic nation of Lithuania, and another a few weeks later in Hyderabad, India. Soon after that we will take the My Hope evangelistic project across the African nation of Zambia and, for the first time ever, to two nations in Europe—Spain and Portugal.
We need your prayers. God is at work. Your gift this month can be a catalyst for reaching hearts and transforming lives, bringing results that will last forever.
May God bless you,
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