International (MNN) – The lights dim. A spotlight hits center stage. Linus drops his trusty blanket and walks into the spotlight for a quintessential moment in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — to answer the question: what is Christmas really all about? Simply, sweetly, Linus begins to recite Luke chapter two. The account of the birth of Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us.
Like the Charlie Brown Christmas special, Christmas is a time when you hear about Jesus everywhere. When you’re out shopping, there’s a Christmas song about Jesus on the radio. When you turn on the TV, there’s Linus sharing the Christmas story.
Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says Christmas is the perfect time to naturally bring up the Gospel.
(Photo courtesy of Sergé via Flickr under Creative Commons: https://goo.gl/Pz7L9u)
“Most of us don’t realize that Christmastime is harvest time…. Have you ever thought about this? The busiest time of the year — which is the Christmas season — also happens to be the very best time for you to talk to somebody you have been praying for, someone you want in heaven with you. [It’s] your very best time to talk to them about Jesus. This is a time when hearts are softer toward Jesus, more natural toward Jesus, and where the subject to bring him up is really not that difficult.”
It can be easy sometimes throughout the year to put sharing the Gospel as secondary to everything else in our day-to-day activities. But fulfilling the Great Commission isn’t just for career missionaries. Hutchcraft encourages it’s a task for every ordinary believer.
“The people who got that Great Commission first were shepherds. You can’t get any more ordinary than shepherds! They weren’t even allowed in the temple in those days. They were thought to be such undesirables but they were the first to carry the message.”
He says, “You’ve got a chance to tell your whole story and what the word ‘savior’ means to you. And literally, it means rescuer…. You can share with them how the Savior that was announced that day has become yours personally. And if you tell it as part of your personal hope story, nobody can argue with how he has changed your life.”
A high-stakes mission
As Hutchcraft points out, the stakes are high in the Great Commission. Every day, more people die without ever having a chance to hear the Gospel.
“On our website, we have an eternity counter running right now…. It is indicating how many people have gone into eternity since Thanksgiving morning. And we know this: that 150,000 of our fellow humans will go into eternity today — heaven or hell. They will be in heaven or hell before the end of today.
“By the time Christmas rolls around, it will be well over five million people who have gone into eternity. So our task as God’s people is to — in some way, with our talents, with our work, with our gifts, whatever — to somehow help put the Gospel within the reach of more people.”
That’s why, over at Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, they are all about sharing the Good News. “We are proclaiming the Gospel by radio…in Mandarin and English and Spanish and Hindi and on our way to the fifth most spoken language in the world as God provides even this Christmas season. And that’s why we’re using every online tool that we possibly can.”
Hutchcraft says they are witnessing a great harvest for the Kingdom of God! “Four out of 10 people who watch one of our Gospel videos from across the country and around the world are indicating they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ through their phone, through their computer. It’s amazing.”
In addition to radio and online evangelism, Ron Hutchcraft Ministries supports indigenous Native American outreach through On Eagles’ Wings.
This Advent season, you can donate to Ron Hutchcraft Ministries and your gift will be doubled by a matching donor. Click here to give a matched gift!
“Every single dollar that will be given to that matching gift will be used to accelerate the spread of the Gospel. It won’t be used to turn on the lights here. It will be used to get the Gospel within the reach of more people, either through radio, internet, or Native Americans reaching Native Americans as only they can. Up to an up to a total of $125,000, your gift will be matched, doubled. There’s no better time.”
A Christmas gift for Jesus
So, this Christmas as you tick off your list of gifts for family, friends, and loved ones, Hutchcraft encourages Christians to be thinking about the gift Jesus would want this Christmas.
“I can tell you, I’ve got Christmas lists from all my grandkids. If I had a Christmas list from Jesus, I know what he would say. He would say, ‘Bring somebody home to me that I died for. This is why I came.’ Let’s think about a gift to him. And the only gifts he wants are the lives he gave his life for. You know some of those [people]. If you’re ever going to share Jesus, do it this time of the year when he came and when he very well might come into the life of someone that you know and love.”
“It would be easy to be really busy and for it to be all about buying gifts and getting to the mall and running through the internet to try to find what you want to get for somebody and all about parties and church activities — and miss the best moment of the year to tell about your Jesus.
As you prepare to share and prepare to give, the best way to prepare is through prayer.
“Start praying right now that God will open doors, natural opportunities for you to bring up Jesus this Christmas season. There should be more of them than usual. Number two, pray that God will open their heart. And number three, pray that you will open your mouth and that God will give you the words and the tone and the timing and the approach to effectively share what he’s done for you and what he could do for them because of what he did on that cross.
“It’s Christmas time. It’s time to tell about Jesus.”
Check back next week as we talk with Ron Hutchcraft about how specifically to share Christ with your own family members this Christmas.