Submitted by Pastor Jordan Braunberger who recently returned from his mission trip to Spain.
When I was in college, I got a ticket for parking in a “no park zone for snow removal.” I was not happy I got this ticket and decided to go to the courthouse to dispute it. I thought I was justified in that there were no obvious signs around to indicate no parking during snow removal. However, the judge didn’t agree; that negligence is not an excuse to break the law.
This reminds me of our lives. When we die, we will be judged for the laws we broke. We will try to justify ourselves before the judge (God) saying there were no blatant signs around to indicate that little white lies or being jealous of what others had were truly bad. But he will say negligence is no excuse for breaking the law, and we will have to pay the penalty.
That penalty is eternal separation and never-ending suffering. But what if someone came in and said that they, although innocent, would take your place for your guilt and pay the penalty for you? Isn’t that amazing?
That person is Jesus Christ. He was bruised for our inequities, crushed for our sins; the punishment that brings us peace was upon him. Call upon him tonight! Ask him to take away your sins and receive his forgiveness! Choose for yourself to repent of sin, and Jesus will take away the guilt and make you innocent! Do not wait!
I shared this message in front of total strangers in a town square in Madrid, Spain. My name is Jordan Braunberger, youth pastor at New Hope Fellowship, and I recently took a mission trip to Madrid to tell others about Jesus. I went with a group from the Assemblies of God called North Dakota Student Ministries, and the group consisted of seven other youth pastors from across the state.
There are few things as challenging and strengthening to one’s faith as a mission trip, especially one that takes you out of your comfort zone. When the option to go on this trip came up, I decided to do it because of the boost of faith it would provide in my personal relationship with Jesus as well as the ministry I’ve been called to here in Langdon. My wife, Emily, also immensely encouraged me to take the trip.
This trip took me out of my comfort zone, not only with the various things we did and experienced but also the teachings we received. Our time was spent ministering to people in Puerta Del Sol, the “Time Square of Spain,” which sees thousands of people pass through daily. Our typical schedule started with team meetings and devotions, followed by a two-hour lunch, workshops and ministry training, prayer time, and three hours of street evangelism and ministry.
In regard to how teaching and training took me out of my comfort zone, I realized that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did about what it meant for Jesus to die for my sins. Not only that but I’m not as good as I thought I was.
What I mean is that here in America, we are pretty comfortable with our lifestyles—with our level of sin that we incur on daily basis, justifying it as “not that bad,” or “at least it’s not as bad as…”. I learned that we take the comfort of viewing our sin and wrongdoing and justifying it as so, instead of seeing our sin as God sees it—which is utterly sinful.
In God’s eyes, the little white lie is as bad as killing someone. Our training taught us that people don’t realize what they’re doing is wrong; they don’t realize sin is utterly sinful. They see it in their own view and not God’s, so they begin to justify their sin.
In what we did and experienced, I was taken out of my comfort zone by trying to strike up conversations out of nowhere with people as they passed by, passing out Gospel literature with people whose language I didn’t speak. In our three-hour ministry time, we did multiple rounds of evangelism. These rounds consisted of someone standing on a red box and singing to grab the attention of those walking by, then someone getting up to share about the difference Jesus made in their life followed by another person standing up to give a five-minute message relating an everyday object to what Jesus did and ending with one-on-one evangelism. In the week we were there, we passed out over 1,500 copies of Gospel literature.
One of the things that I brought back is a new understanding of sowing seeds and harvesting in regard to reaching people for Jesus. In the church, a lot of focus is put on the harvest—when people decide to put their faith in Jesus. On this trip, we scattered a lot of “Gospel seeds.”
A few times our team was able to help someone put their faith in Jesus. What stood out to me is that, as followers of Jesus, our responsibility isn’t in the harvest—we don’t get people to put their faith in Jesus. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Our responsibility is to be faithful, scatter the “Gospel seeds,” and trust the results to God.
This has changed how I view our Wednesday night youth services at Ignite Youth Church of which I’m youth pastor. Every Wednesday, it’s an opportunity to be faithful to scatter more “Gospel seeds.”
If you are interested in hearing further details about my trip, you can go to www.youtube.com and search “Langdon New Hope Fellowship 11-25-18” as I was able to share with my church last Sunday about my trip.