God Loves You Tour

Dear Church Family,

I know many of you are wanting to hear about my trip and what I saw God doing. I have been hesitating because there was just so much to share. However, KELP asked me to write a blog about my experience to be posted on their website. I did and feel that blog may be the best way to share my heart and thoughts about it all with you. I have attached it below. Thank you for all your prayers. My soul is deeply satisfied.

Your Servant


God Loves You Tour

I was speaking with Pastor Eddie Lee from Harvest Christian Center several years ago, and he said something to me in passing that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “You know Randy, sometimes I have to slip out of my church office and get downtown to the streets to tell someone about Jesus.” It stuck because it very effectively revealed the difference in our calling and giftings.

Eddie Lee was at heart an evangelist in his giftings and in his passions. I am not. Eddie found his joy in bringing lost sheep into the flock. I find mine in shepherding and discipling those the Spirit has already brought in. As pastors, Eddie and I both disciple the redeemed and we both bring the gospel to the lost. But it was quite obvious where the emphasis lay in our hearts and ministries between shepherding and evangelizing.

However, when I heard Franklin Graham was going to bring the Message of Hope to the southern border, something of that spirit of evangelism that was so prevalent in Eddie Lee rose up in me as well. I felt the need, almost a call, to take a couple weeks break from pastoring to go witness what God would do as His gospel was preached along the frontier. I went through the training and registration steps required to be a counselor at the events, just in case I was needed, and then I loaded up my motorhome and headed East to Franklin’s starting point of Brownsville to see what I would see.

I arrived at the Brownsville Sport Park a few hours before the tour officially kicked off. The first thing I saw was a great answer to prayer. Jesus had told His disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers. The churches along the border had been doing that for months. The Lord of the harvest had obviously heard their prayers and answered. There were hundreds of volunteers to help with crowd control, distribution of resources and other logistical concerns. There were also hundreds of prayer team members ready to minister to those who would answer the Lord’s call to receive God’s gift of eternal life through repentance and belief in the name of Jesus.

There was a sense of joy and excitement that I have rarely witnessed among the saints of God. Everywhere I looked I saw God’s people laughing and chatting; although most of them had just met for the first time. They were all talking about what was about to happen and how long they had been preparing and waiting for this day. It was obvious that the Spirit was already there in His people in a great way and that the battle lines in the spiritual realm were already drawn. There was also a sense that the victory was already assured. We simply needed to do what He had called us to do.

I don’t think anyone was disappointed that night. The worship was tremendous. Franklin preached a clear, concise message of God’s love, the undeniable truth that all have sinned and are separated from God and that God can and will forgive those sins through the sacrifice of His son Jesus. He used the story of Blind Bartimaeus and how his time was running out as Jesus passed by as a backdrop to the gospel.

The response to the message was amazing. Nearly a thousand people stood at the invitation. The prayer team members made their way into the crowd to pray with each one and to gather their information so they could be followed up by a local church. I, with great joy, stood there on the sidelines witnessing the harvest.

The rest of the tour was much the same. The saints were ready. The field or arena was set. The worship was powerful, Franklin preached and the lost responded to God’s invitation. Sometimes I would witness from the sidelines. Sometimes I would fill in at the decision tents when there were more inquirers than the local pastors could handle. But two things stood out to me.

First, Franklin preached the same key points each night but he used a different passage of scripture and different character from the Bible for each city. Each sermon was fresh and seemed to resonate with each city as if custom made for them.

Second, was the tears. Those who stood or came forward were generally weeping. They were weeping with remorse and great need as they came forward. They were weeping with joy as they left.  I don’t think I will ever forget the looks on their faces as they received forgiveness and new life. I got to witness the new birth of hundreds during this trip.

I think now, I understand a little better why Eddie Lee was so desirous to be on the streets preaching the gospel. Although he has gone on to be with the Lord, a little of that spirit of evangelism that was so prevalent in him has now been awakened in me. However, that shepherd's heart that I have always had also was quickened and broken anew by something that happened at one of the tour events.

I was alone in one of the decision tents when Franklin dismissed the crowd and  encouraged those who needed the Living in Christ’s books or prayer to visit with a pastor in the decision tents. After chatting with several, I turned to see a young family of six quietly standing and waiting to talk with me. The parents wanted some Living in Christ’s books for their four children who had just received the Lord. Can you imagine the joy those parents were experiencing? I am a father and a grandfather. I can tell you there is no greater concern for a believer than that their children and grandchildren be in heaven with them. For these parents, that concern was alleviated for ever.

I had just finished talking and praying with them and making sure they were already involved in a local church when I turned to find another family waiting to speak with me. This family was much different. This was a family made up of a single mother and four children ranging in age from six to fifteen. They had all just accepted Christ, even the mother. None of them knew anything more about God than what they had just heard preached that night. I turned back to where the first family had been standing to see if they could follow up with them but they were already gone.

The vision of that second family standing there in the dark with the signs of recent tears still on their faces may haunt me for the rest of my life. I gathered their information to be passed on to a local pastor but I couldn’t help but wonder if that would happen. After all, the pastors had not turned out in force in that city. That is why I was working at the decision tent alone. Who would care for this family? These are brand new defenseless babes in Christ. Was the enemy about to pluck the seed of life from their lives?  Would he cause the cares of this world to rise up and choke the new life from them. Who would care for them?

Yes, the spirit of evangelism has been quickened in me by my experiences along the border. I feel much better equipped and desirous of joining my Lord in His work of seeking  and saving the lost. However, I also returned much rejuvenated in the work of shepherding those who have already come to Him and who have been placed in my care. How funny? I started the journey to see what work He would do along the border. I came home to slip back on the yoke and harness of pastoring, finding a great work having been done in me. 

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