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Bob Reccord, Larry Lewis address national Fasting & Prayer gathering

HOUSTON (BP)–The present and former leaders of Southern Baptists’ domestic missions agency were among participants Nov. 12-14 in Fasting & Prayer ’98, a satellite-linked conference designed to bring Christians across the country together for concerted prayer and spiritual renewal.
Larry Lewis, president of the former Home Mission Board and currently national facilitator of Celebrate Jesus 2000 for Mission America, addressed the opportunities for interdenominational cooperation being made possible by that effort. Bob Record, current president of the North American Mission Board, noted encouraging signs of revival among the nation’s youth.
The conference featured more than 40 of the best-known speakers in evangelical Christianity, using a format that allowed short presentations on particular areas of concern followed by focused individual and small-group prayer. Topics included world evangelism and revival, homes, schools, government, the workplace, unity among Christians and the Ten Commandments. The event, coordinated by Campus Crusade for Christ, was broadcast live at churches, homes and other sites to an estimated 2 million participants.
The Celebrate Jesus 2000 evangelistic initiative, with a goal of praying for and sharing the gospel with every person in America by the end of the year 2000, is one of the largest joint initiatives ever among evangelical Christians, Lewis said. Sixty-five denominations, representing approximately 40 million people in 176,000 churches, have signed on to participate to date, he said. Now the challenge is to get all of those churches mobilized.
“Folks, I’m telling you the wood is in place. What we need is the fire. When the fire is falling, we’ve got more than enough troops to win this nation,” Lewis said.
Two interdenominational initiatives of Mission America planned for both 1999 and 2000 relate to Celebrate Jesus 2000, including a period of prayer and fasting during the 40 days before Easter, followed by a period of proclamation and personal witnessing during the 50 days after Easter.
Lewis also asked participants to pray that 3 million families would commit to making their homes “lighthouses of prayer” in their neighborhoods, the center of concerted evangelistic prayer efforts.
Reccord, participating in the final session of the conference focusing on the needs of the nation’s youth, told his own testimony of a difficult childhood and subsequent adoption by a Christian couple. But while his new home was a Christian home, it was a young man at school that persisted in calling him to account for the way he was living his life.
Each time, Reccord said, the boy would tell him, “Bob, God loves you. He loves you where you are, but he loves you way too much to let you stay there.” Reccord said that consistent witness resulted in his own commitment to make a difference for Christ.
Reccord also noted how throughout Scripture God called his servants by name. “God knows each person, young or old, by name,” he said. “Don’t say, ‘I’m a youth,’ Reccord said, noting God’s promises of provision in Scripture. “That’s how God works. He never sends a call saying, ‘Dear resident.'” Reccord said there is no need for young people to wait to be used by God. He cited a roll call of Christian leaders called while they were still youth, leaders who later were used by God to lead thousands to Christ. Reccord noted the popularity of the World Changers work projects among youth wanting to make a difference. “God is doing amazing things,” he said. “Young people want a hands-on difference they can make now.”
Information on how Southern Baptist churches and individuals can participate in Celebrate Jesus 2000 can be obtained from Baptist state convention evangelism offices. Additional information is available by calling 1-888-JESUS2000 or through the North American Mission Board’s Celebrate Jesus 2000 Internet site, www.celebratejesus2000.org.

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  • James Dotson