Monday, March 17, 2014

I Am Not Ashamed

I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is the power of God for
the salvation of everyone who
                  Romans 1:16 NIV 

     Last week my husband and I joined our son and his family, a pastor friend, and five college students on a journey to South Padre Island, TX, for a spring break that I will never forget. Upon arrival on the island we joined eight hundred fifteen additional college students along with a myriad of adult staff and the Tarrant County Disaster Relief feeding unit as we officially became part of the 2014 “Beach Reach” ministry.

     The Scripture for the week was Romans 1:16, and I was fascinated as I watched that verse jump off the pages of my Bible and walk the streets of an island filled with thousands of students who were there with one purpose in mind: party hard!

     “Beach Reach” students mingled among those who came to the midnight and eight a.m. pancake breakfasts; sharing the gospel when allowed but never pushing their presentation. An army of white vans, which carried the names of churches and colleges from across Texas, were used to taxi partying students from place to place—keeping students safe from potential harm as a result of their poor choices. Once on the van, the gospel message was shared with those who were willing to hear.

     The “Island Church” turned their sanctuary into a twenty-four hour prayer room with a huge screen displaying the incoming prayer requests from those engaged in sharing the gospel with van riders and beach goers. This enabled immediate prayer for every need.

     As I enjoyed the beach, while wearing my “Beach Reach” shirt, young people freely approached me with thank you for the breakfast, and thank you for the ride.

     Often my heart was heavy because of the things my eyes witnessed and my ears heard. At other times, my hope for the future was renewed as I witnessed Christian college students on their knees in prayer in hotel lobbies and on condo lawns. In their limited free time, many sat with Bible in hand, head bowed and hearts preparing for continuing service throughout the week.

     As I watched them in the evening worship service at the convention center, I understood that “they got it!” They were not ashamed of the gospel. They were bold and passionate about reaching their peers for Christ. Some dropped to their knees lifting their hands toward heaven. Others sat quietly with heads bowed. Some stood with folded hands and bowed hearts. Some jumped up and down in the midst of their excitement—faces glowing with joy.

     As the week ended, we headed home knowing that God had brought new believers into the family, and our tired bodies were invigorated by renewed spiritual strength. One hundred four students said yes to salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord because eight hundred twenty students and a myriad of support people said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”

     Join me as we go out into our world today and proclaim “I am not ashamed of the gospel?”

© Joyce Powell

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