Signs shining the message of Jesus
You may have seen them: "Jesus is Love," "Jesus is the Living Hope," "For God so Loved the World" — all signs painted in cheerful colors, some showing masterful artwork, others like my own attempting to make some sort of clarity out of blocked letters on poster board, waving cheerily on Pioneer Park's sidewalk.
This past Saturday was the first of what will be a regular display of signs shining out the message of light and life in Jesus. As our world, nation and town feel turmoil, unrest, anger, fear and many more emotions, we desire to give the people of our community flashes of hope found in the gospel as they drive through town.
The vision for this came to me early on in the year, before the coronavirus pandemic. As our church staff was preparing for a calendar planning meeting in January, I was praying over what ways God might use our church body to proclaim the good news of Jesus on a local level. I had a strong impression that we were to display the gospel with signs down the street for passersby to observe. However, I sensed that this wasn't to happen early on in the year, but that I'd know when the right time would be.
When this spring's Nepal trip was cancelled due to Covid-19, our disappointed team had a decompression meeting where we wept, prayed and expressed trust in our Maker. As we spoke we felt that God will use our whole church do something locally this year. I was reminded internally of the vision of a sign outreach, but also sensed that wasn't yet the time.
As the months and weeks went by, and conflicted, divided hearts and minds piloted their way through the pandemic, I began to sense the time was coming soon. A few weeks before Memorial Day I began to share the idea with some of the Nepal teammates and church leaders and we began to prepare for what this could look like. The Lord began to urge me that now was the time. Just a day after making the plan to shine for hope, George Floyd was killed, sparking much unrest in the nation and world including our own streets of Prineville. Our team was blown away at the timing of God's leading that the Signs of Hope and Life were to be seen in the midst of this season.
For me, Signs of Life is not a response to any particular movement or political bent. I have seen hurting people share fear, discouragement, frustration, anger, doubt and despair. These are all things that Jesus has come to save us out of. As Christians, we know that the answer is not ultimately found in a political process or party, or in the perfect president being elected, nor in revolutions of kingdoms within this world. The deep rooted sinfulness and hardness of each and every man and woman's heart against God contributes to every dark day of discouragement, destruction and death the world has ever seen. Jesus has come to deal with the problem of sin in the heart of mankind, to forgive and deliver people from their sins and replace their hearts of stone with beating, vibrant hearts of life.
As one sign stated, referencing a quote by Pastor Tim Keller, people must be told the bad news, "We are more sinful and flawed than they ever dared believe," as well as the good news, "We are more loved and accepted in Christ Jesus than we ever dared hope." We hope that such a statement will cause folks in our community to take stock of their life and sinful state, and fall at the feet of Jesus who loves them and gave His life as a ransom for their sins.
Calvary Chapel Prineville has recently started studying the Gospel of John. We are told that in Jesus was life, and the life was the light of man. That light shone in the darkness but the darkness did not comprehend it. We have the privilege of showing Jesus as Life and Light to Prineville. We pray those in dark places will see the Light, comprehend it by the work of the Holy Spirit and receive that life that He so graciously offers.
Rory Rodgers is the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Crook County. He can be reached at 541-416-9009.
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