Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article, Please comment at the end after reading this article! – Kent
Palm Sunday—Jesus rides into Jerusalem. What brought the crowd? The Passover holiday celebration was a big part of it. What brought the crowds to Jesus? John 12:17, “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts.” 18, “It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade” (The Message).
The location was Lagos, Nigeria, in West Africa. The conference was an opportunity to teach approximately 5,000 pastors. David Yonggi Cho, the pastor of the largest church in the world, (and in Christian history), in Seoul, Korea, was the announced lead speaker. However, Cho was under “house arrest” in South Korea. There had been a threat on his life and the government did not want him getting on an airplane under this threat, which could endanger all the passengers. He was stuck at home. I was asked to fill-in for Cho as a primary speaker of this conference. This is God’s version of a major, divine joke! Nevertheless, I was excited to be invited.
Uma Ukpai, known as the “Billy Graham of Africa” in those days, was the local organizer of this huge conference. Prior to the conference, he held a rally in the town square. He preached to a large crowd. My wife, Janet, and I were in the front row on the platform. After Uma gave the message, he invited people from the crowd to come up for prayer. This experience will forever be embedded in my mind like a DVD. A mother and father brought their young girl who was blind from birth. Uma called one of our team members to come forward and pray for her, as he prayed with others. Many of us were involved in praying for those who were sick, or had other needs. The girl who was blind received her sight, miraculously, by the power of God. It was fascinating to watch this young girl look at her mother’s face. She put her hand up and felt the features of her mother’s face. That was all she had ever been able to do. Now she was also looking at her mother for the very first time.
This made a great impact on the crowd. It was a significant paradigm stretch for me as well. Word began to spread throughout the city. The headlines in the Muslim-owned newspaper the next day provided an enormous boost to the crusade that occurred at the end of the week. That crusade, held at a place called The Sand Lake, was reported to have a crowd of 250,000 people. From the platform, I literally could not see the end of the crowd! I thought about the impact of the raising of Lazarus and how the story spread throughout Bethany and Jerusalem.
God’s stories do not have to be spectacular miracles. Everything God does in our lives is a God story. Everything God does in our lives is miraculous. Here’s the point: God stories draw crowds. On that first Palm Sunday, the God story of Lazarus turned it into a parade. When your Bible class or your small group shares God stories—what God has done in your life lately—it draws people like a magnet—even non-believers. When you tell your God stories, what God has done in your life, Christians are empowered. They are reminded that God is alive and well and working in our world. When they touch non-Christians, they improve receptivity on the journey to faith. God stories are a conduit for Kingdom growth.
Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment below! – Kent