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Posted: January 10, 2013 8:55 p.m.

McCoy: How is it with your soul?

"Therefore, let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
Acts 2:36-41
(New Revised Standard)

I heard a friend once describe his part in ministry as "an assurance salesperson." I think Peter was certainly that. From the awkward fisherman who could be counted on to say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the person who denied knowing Christ, Peter grew from the first day he was called by the Lord until he blossomed completely with the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Here, he preached with power and authority, and many were added to the fellowship of believers. Three thousand people sounds like a pretty good haul for one day's catching. Now, as Jesus had foretold, Peter was catching people, not fish. From this gathering, the new church of believers sprang up and organized to become the first church devoted to the risen Lord.

Through the last nearly 2,000 years, the message hasn't changed: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit." Now, however, we count it a great Sunday in most churches if we "reel in" five or ten, or even one or two additions to the family of faith at a given service. So what may be different? Have we grown so accustomed to the message of the gospel now that we are no longer moved to the point of repentance? Are there not as many people today who haven't heard the good news as in the first century?

Through the years, the revival movement became the vehicle through which many were added to the faith. Through campmeetings and tent revivals, people who were not familiar with the Gospel of Jesus Christ heard the good news, responded in faith, and were directed into the local churches for baptism and membership. Today, with few exceptions, tent revivals have given way to revivals held occasionally in churches or even not held at all. Have we lost the fervor that filled the apostles on that first Pentecost? Are we still as concerned with the condition of others' souls - enough to ask as John Wesley was accustomed to asking, "How is it with your soul?"

Today, most people consider "spiritual life" a private matter - between a person and God, and not to be known by those around us. We live out our faith in various ways without the fanfare of announcing that we are followers of Christ. In a society where tolerance is the watchword, do we speak out with the gospel to those around who need to hear it?

How have you witnessed to the love of Christ in your heart and life today? How is it with your soul?


Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ngumc.net.

 

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