I’ve been helping with an on campus ministry called IMPACT on Fallbrook High School campus that is essentially a place where kids are drawn in by free pizza and a fun time with friends, and then are exposed to the gospel for about 5 minutes at the end. While the students run the games and provide the entertainment, I am the speaker.
It’s been challenging to come up with messages that communicate the truth of the gospel in different ways and from different perspectives while maintaining their attention. They need to go to class. They really only came for the pizza. They’re simply not interested. I see it as a challenge.
I like looking for illustrations that tell the story accurately, clearly, succinctly, and engagingly. It’s also been difficult in such a short message. So sometimes I like to get some help from people who can do it well. One of the best short illustrations I found online, by John Piper, went like this:
Christianity is not first and foremost a religion. It is first and foremost news. It’s news.
It’s like we’re in a war, in a concentration camp, and suddenly you’re hearing on the smuggled-in radio that the troops of deliverance have landed in helicopters five miles away. They’re conquering everything in their path and they’re just about to get to the gate and open the doors. And having lived all your life in this concentration camp, you’re now going to be set free.
That’s Christianity. It’s news that God sent rescue troops into the world, namely Jesus Christ, and that at great cost to himself he has conquered our enemy the Devil, opened the gates of the concentration camp, and welcomed us home. And then you add the beautiful image of bride and bridegroom and realize that this is not just a soldier who simply frees you go and do what want to do. He’s you’re husband, as it were, who has been separated from you for years and years, and you’re the wife who has been in the camp. And when the gates are opened there he stands on the other side, and the kinds of affections are huge.
I remember watching at the end of the Vietnam war some of those magnificent videos of men who had been away from their wives, some of them I think up to five years. I remember watching them run toward each other and seeing them sweep their wives off their feet. My heart leapt and my tears flowed when I watched that kind of reunion.
So when I think about what is missing from the average person’s picture of Christianity, I want to show them that there is such a freedom that is offered us because of what Jesus Christ did to die for our sins, and such a sweet reunion with the one for whom we were made.
It’s news. Not rules. Not religion. It’s good news. Thanks again, John.