Our world is increasingly dark. Through the aid of traditional news sources, online and social media, the darkness seems to be growing more dense and pervasive. The result is a climate of anger, fear, hatred, persecution, prejudice, violence, immorality and danger. There is a spirit of oppression, agitation and uncertainty. As I have pondered the global condition, I’ve wondered if it really is worse than the first century A.D. when armies were mobilizing, nations were shifting, the people were cowering, and the men who were leading bordered on the insane… yet held absolute power.
Into that first century world, good news erupted like the sun bursting through blackened, stormy clouds. The good news that there is one, true, living God who loves each and every man, woman, and child so much that He gave His own Son as the sacrifice for sin. Anyone and everyone who chooses to place faith in His Son Jesus receives forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, and eternal life! The good news for those who believe in Jesus is that God transforms each one from the inside out. He replaces war with peace, hatred with love and fear with the hope that this life is not all there is—the best is yet to come. He gives life purpose, meaning and eternal significance.
I suspect what makes today seem worse than the world of the first century is the saturation of news and opinions through the web and social media. Therefore, I believe the time has come for you and me to rise up, to offer hope. We can use the same social media and web platform to proclaim good news. The time has come to heed what God said through Isaiah the prophet: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Is. 60:1-3).
In 2016, I offered God Speaking: Are You Listening? Together over 200,000 of us listened to the reading of God’s Word from Genesis, Matthew, Acts and Revelation. It was thrilling. Many of you wrote expressing what my family and I were also thinking: “Let’s do it again!” So I asked the Lord to make me aware of when He would want to speak to us all once more, at the same time, through a Bible listening program. To my mind, He seemed to whisper that the time is now. It’s time to rise up, to rediscover the same power of God that changed everything in the first century. That power is still available—undiluted and undiminished—to change our world today. It’s the power of God’s Spirit working through ordinary men and women who proclaim the Good News.
God is speaking. Will you listen? Rise up, and proclaim Good News!