Jesus is the Lord of the dance. That means He’s the dance instructor, DJ, has the first and last dance, and the authority and power to dance whenever, wherever, however, and with whomever He wants. He picks the music, can spontaneously drop some fresh beats, release a new hit remix or bust a breath-taking move at any time. The mission field is His dance floor, and we are the dancers.
Jesus did the perfect dance we all failed to do with His sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection. He died and rose again, so that people from every tongue, tribe and nation can join the dance and one day sing His praises before His throne (Revelation 7:9-10). This dance is sovereignly choreographed by heaven’s Composer, who is God over everyone and everything. He divinely wrote everyone’s story, mapped out all of their days (Psalm 139:16), and beautifully orchestrated the only path to salvation through His one and only Son Jesus Christ for all His elect before the beginning of time. He is so high above it all, which makes the fact that we are invited to join His dance so amazing.
The dance isn’t something our Instructor wants us to keep secret to ourselves. No, Jesus wants His dance floor to be filled by people from all over the world. As I previously alluded to, His song of salvation is for all peoples. The gospel is for everyone, which is why Jesus told us to go make disciples of every nation (Matthew 28:18-20).We don’t just do it because Christ commanded us to, but also because He did everything necessary to save us. When Jesus saved us He made us into new creations and gave us a new identity as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). The Apostle Paul tells us that when Christ reconciled us to Himself He gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). The ministry of reconciliation is a message, and that message is the gospel. The gospel is only advanced by people when they obediently follow Christ’s command to go and tell.
I saw God’s redemptive plan to reconcile lost people at work in New York City when six folks from Mercy Church and myself partnered with an organization called Global Gates for one of its sifting weeks.
Some things that were abundantly clear during the course of the trip are: God is sovereign, Jesus saves, God wants and deserves all of the glory, Jesus is Lord of the dance, and God wants people to accept His invitation to join His dance. These things were manifested in the five salvation stories God in His grace and kindness let us be a part of. He did all the saving, while we acted as beggars helping other hungry and thirsty beggars find the bread of life (John 6:35) and living water (John 4:10, 13-14).
Global Gates gave us a list of addresses for homes to visit as we sifted for persons of peace. More importantly, though, we were told to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, go wherever He tells us to go and do whatever He tells us to do. Initially, our evangelistic efforts were largely met with rejection as we canvassed the designated addresses we were assigned. I believe this was God’s way of showing us that salvation is out of our control, because it belongs to the Lord and to Him alone. It forced us to lean into Him in dependence and prayer. John 15 tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing.
We then saw the power of the Holy Spirit to draw lost people to Christ in repentance and faith. It started on a sidewalk in Jamaica Queens when one of our team members approached a couple, Jerry and Marie, and their little girl, Sinara. He began by telling Jerry that his little girl was cute. That built instant rapport, and naturally led to a conversation. He told him, “We love this city, and that we are caring for the community by praying for people. We’d love to pray for you. Is there anything you need prayer for?” Jerry said yes, so we prayed for him right then and there. We then asked him if he felt near to God or far from God. Jerry said he had not been to church in a long time. We told him God still loved him, and proceeded to share the gospel with him and Marie. We told them what we just shared is the gospel, which means good news. It’s good news, because there’s bad news. We explained how sin separates us from God and condemns us to hell, how Jesus did everything necessary to save us and how God desires for us to be reconciled back to Himself. He wants to know us, be in relationship with us, and have us spend eternity with Him in heaven. We asked Jerry and Marie if they wanted that. They said yes. I was floored! So, we led them in a simple prayer as they gave their lives to Jesus.
After that it was time for dinner. We thought we were taking a respite, but the Lord of the harvest wasn’t ready for us to leave the field. We had some laboring left to do. Our team stopped by a restaurant called Mac Shack. It was evident our server, Christy, was struggling, lonely, overwhelmed by her circumstances and lost. One of the guys in our group shared the gospel with her. She prayed to receive Christ as Her Lord and Savior. When we checked on her the next day Christy said she was feeling more peace, and was thrilled when we later connected her with two women from a local church to begin her journey in getting discipled.
The message we were proclaiming was rejected the rest of the week until our final day in the city. Some of us had discussed the possibility of going to watch the New York Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays, but we realized how little sleep we would get if we made the trip from our hotel in Queens to The Bronx for the baseball and back. Also, much to our surprise greater things were at stake in Brooklyn, where God had a divine appointment scheduled for us that we didn’t know of until we encountered it. We spent the afternoon in Manhattan bored to tears at The Museum of Modern Art. I’m convinced God was pacing us before He blew us away that night.
Our team enjoyed some authentic Italian cuisine for dinner at Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn. After we finished our meal it was dark, so we figured let’s check out a nearby pier close to the water, then go back to our hotel in Queens to get some sleep before we leave early the next morning. We thought our trip was over, but God had other plans.
As we approached the pier we discovered there was a “silent-disco party” taking place, so some of our folks started doing “the floss.” For those of you who might not know what the floss is, it’s a dance. Their flossing attracted the attention of two young women named Leanna and Natalie.
After everyone finished dancing, Leanna and Natalie wanted to know who we were and what we were doing in Brooklyn. When we told them we were on a mission trip to care for the community by praying for people we immediately had their attention. We told them we’d love to pray for them, and asked them if they needed prayer for anything. They said yes, so like we did with the others we prayed with them right then and there, and after we prayed we asked them if they felt near to God or far from God. It was clear they were lost and separated from their Creator, who wanted to be their Father too, so we shared the gospel with them.
I could tell they were searching. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me a sense of urgency to go after them. I remembered one of our pastors asking our congregation, “When is the last time you begged someone to give their life to Jesus?” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
We applied this verse to a real life situation. As ambassadors for Christ, God was making His appeal to Leanna and Natalie through us, as we implored them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.
I told them God made them, wants to know them, has done everything through Jesus to save them, that He’s calling them, and I don’t know when they will ever get another opportunity like this again. So they surrendered to Christ right then and there with the silent disco in the background. We led them in a prayer as they asked Jesus to come into their lives and save them from their sins.
Leanna and Natalie came to dance, and we introduced them to the Lord of the dance. Salvation is beautiful, and it’s a miracle that should make us marvel in awe at the saving power and love of our risen Savior. Jesus is alive, and He saves. God can do anything, and use whoever and whatever He wants to accomplish His perfect sovereign plan – even a few people doing the floss. Jesus is calling, so join the dance and enter the mission field. The harvest is waiting, and the Lord is with you always, to the end of the age.
Hallelujah! All glory to God! For He alone is worthy!
– Ben, a Sifting Week Volunteer
If you’d like to be part of a Global Gates Sifting Week, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.