A missing person epidemic

by Daniel Ausbun, First Baptist Church of Moreland

It’s the middle of the night.

You’re sound asleep. It happens. Your cell phone goes off, and it’s not a call or text. It’s an AMBER alert. America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year old girl who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.

Every hour in the United States, adults and children are reported missing. A total of 900,000 people are reported missing every year — one out of 350 people per year. This is why the AMBER alert system was established.

Three out of four people in the United States are missing. They’re missing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Isaiah 9:2 describes our country, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light dawned on those living in the land of darkness.”

This “great light” was the birth of Jesus. God has an AMBER alert system for every person on this planet. The angel told Joseph, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Christmas is about God saving people.

If people need to be saved, this implies they’re lost. Jesus was a carpenter, but in Luke 5:4 He told professional fishermen where to catch more fish. How does Christ know where to catch more fish? Because He made the lake. There’s a difference between fishing and catching fish. The real fisherman knows where to find fish.

The best gift and the ultimate act of love you can show this Christmas is sharing Christ.

How many people are you walking by and not even seeing? This past week, I had a telemarketer continue calling the church — to the point of annoyance. I finally asked the man with a sense of irritation to remove me from his call list. After hanging up the phone, I immediately realized I had lost my witness.

He was calling a church, and the man who answered was unkind. We must see people as lost. After you begin seeing people as lost, you must engage them, and then connect them to Jesus and other believers. If we’re not careful, especially during Christmas, we get tied up doing religious stuff and miss what we’re supposed to be doing in the first place.

Christmas is about God sending His Son to save sinners.

The task before us now is too big — and far too important — for us not to go “all in” to complete it. The reality of billions around the world headed for a Christ-less eternity requires that we do whatever it takes to reach the nations. If you want to participate in reducing the spiritual missing person epidemic, here are two steps you can take this Christmas.

First, you can give your words. God has chosen to use people like you and me to share the Gospel with a Christ-less culture. We have no idea why He chose to use sinful people to share peace on earth with other sinners. Encourage family to read their Bible, encourage them to attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service, encourage them to get back in the habit of attending church in 2014 and most importantly, encourage them to trust Christ as their Savior.

Second, you can give your money. If Christ is Lord of your life, He’s Lord over your finances. Sherri and I have decided the most expensive Christmas gift we give will be to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

Who are we fooling when we proclaim being Great Commission Christians, while giving $20 to reaching the world for Christ? If I’m giving more to Chick-fil-A than Lottie Moon, something’s wrong.

Don’t lose focus of Christmas. Wednesday isn’t about whether people say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” It’s about a Savior who died in place of your sin.

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