“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”” Mt. 4:17………

A group of young people was milling around a New York City street corner one day all dressed in matching bright colored pretty t-shirts when I noticed one of them giving out something free. What can I say? I couldn’t resist. It’s not uncommon in New York City for food companies to market their products by handing out samples on the streets. Soon enough I was reaching out for the granola bar and little postcard that went with it, I said thank you, and off I walked.

The next morning, I looked at the postcard. I didn’t read it all. Just got the gist of it. The young people had been part of a church marketing their church as they handed out invitations to a free showing of a movie apparently about God. I didn’t see the word Jesus on the card, though it might have been there. Honestly, I was too upset to read it all. I ended up later in tears thinking about it.

Of all the people on the street corner advertising the church, nobody talked to me about Jesus. Nobody told me how to get to heaven. Nobody told me to turn from my sins and believe in Jesus as Lord. Nobody told me He died to pay my sin penalty and was raised from the dead. Nobody offered to pray for me. Nobody did anything more than give me a little granola bar that I’ll probably pass on to a homeless person hungry for a snack.

Why the tears? My heart breaks for a nation, and world, in which so many churches are more interested in using modern day methodologies and marketing to fill up their pews than they are telling people how to have a forever relationship with the Lord instead of heading off to hell and the lake of fire forever apart from God. And than loving and encouraging people in learning to deny oneself daily, to take up one’s cross, and to follow Jesus day by day through this life and forever (Luke 9:23).

I was told by someone that particular group of people was trying to show people the love of Jesus. Something tells me Jesus if He had been standing on that street corner would have been preaching repentance and teaching people about God’s ways instead of handing out granola bars to invite people to the movies.

Friend, I love each and every person who stood on that corner. I am in no place to judge anyone else. I am the worst of all sinners in my opinion more in need of God’s love, grace, and mercy than anyone. But I can’t help but share the truth. We who believe in Jesus as Lord need to be bold, courageous, and share the Gospel and help people to forever follow the Lord. Nothing wrong with sharing God’s provision granola bars included, and well we should as He so leads us. But let’s make our priority in loving others Christ and everlasting life, not a yummy granola bar that will be quickly gobbled up and forever forgotten.

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