The Creative Advantage :: By Ryan Vanderstelt

Things I find to be true:

1.Time is short. It is fairly obvious to those who are watching that we are in the generation that will see Christ’s return. Even though we do not hold to an exact date, we are, as followers of Christ to expect His imminent return.

2.Prophecy seems to be unfolding daily, whether we are looking at extreme weather, escalation of war rhetoric (around the world generally, but in the Middle East, and concerning Israel/Jerusalem specifically), a European coalition, the world financial markets as solid as a soap bubble or any of the myriad of other “plain as day” signs.

3.The signs of point number 2 are not only unfolding rapidly but with increasing rapidity. Even now, one can barely get through a week without some major event triggering.

4.Given the points in numbers 1, 2 and 3, I believe, we as followers of Christ need to stop and take some time to seriously examine what our role is going to be from right now until the time we hear “COME UP HERE!” Are we in extraordinary times? Yes. Will we be face-to-face with Jesus our King VERY soon? Yes. Should we not, then, be making EVERY effort to be about our King’s business, that He may find us doing His work as He commanded when He arrives?

So what then?

Now is not the time to be lax concerning our work for the Kingdom. “Maybe later,” “next week,” “this weekend,” or “soon.” Any of these other put-off qualifiers should NOT be anywhere near our description of what we need to be doing right now. Our intents and actions should be spoken of in terms of the here and now – that is the only time frame we have, our next breath, heartbeat or second of life is in no way guaranteed.

So what then am I suggesting here? I will get to that, but first let me state what I am NOT saying:

I live in the same world as you do. I work, have bills to pay, have groceries to buy, have constraints on my time, just like you. I am NOT saying you should quit your job and start spending your days, downtown admonishing passers-by. I am NOT saying you should put aside the quality time you spend with your spouse, your children or your parents and devote every last waking second to shouting to pedestrians to start heeding the warnings of Revelation.

I am saying this though: we need to be thinking “outside the box” right now. We should be looking for all the ways we can get our message out. With that being said, let me list a few more things I find to be true.

More things I find to be true:

5.Those who call themselves “atheists” (and some of the “agnostic” crowd) are all working out of the same tired worn-out playbook. How many times have you been confronted with “If God created the universe, then who created God?” or “I prefer to believe in proven science rather than religion.” Or the classic, “There have ALWAYS been natural disasters and you Christians have been saying Jesus is coming back for how long now? I haven’t seen Him show up yet, have you?”

Atheists (and I use the term loosely for reasons I won’t go into here – I don’t believe there is any such thing as a real “atheist”, but rather a whole slew of agnostics with thinly-veiled hatred for their Creator, but I digress…) have been spewing the same old garbage so long, even I have heard them all enough to be able to put their book into print for them: The Top 25 Things to Say to Christians When They Talk about Jesus –Third Edition with Updated Terms and Phrases..

6.Given the point in number 5 and our familiarity with the “opposition’s” floppy modus operandi, we need to start doing an end-run around them and start flooding the message into our localities in ways they do not expect. Brand new, unheard of or inescapable means of getting our message out. We already know which way they are going to run, after all.

7.The society we are trying to reach has a very short attention span, especially for those of us herein America.

8.All the “normal” entrances to the faith: (invitations to church, Way of the Master debates, debates in general, etc.) are all very well guarded by our enemy. Not to say these are not useful – but rather that they are b> expected – by society and our enemy. Society has a preformed and hardened callous toward these things, and the enemy uses this familiarity to provoke a, “Here we go again” mentality in the average, Joe unbeliever. Thus, again, refer to point number 6.

9.Each and every one of us has the opportunity to affect someone’s life.

10.There are many varied-talented people reading this. I know this as fact – I have spoken to many of them in just the last six months!

So what’s the point?

My point is simply this: Those of us in God’s family who are watching for the return of our Lord Jesus are at a i>distinct advantage──right now─so let’s take advantage of that advantage in grabbing up souls for the Kingdom─now! We have foreknowledge of a, (literally) earth-shaking event just around the corner. This foreknowledge comes from your God directly, from a narrative that has been correct 100% of the time through the ages! This, if nothing else, should be a HUGE motivator for you. The Creator of the universe has let you in on a big secret of His, and His perfect track record should calm any fears you have of being “wrong.”

And be as creative as you can. Grab some of your other Christian friends and make it a project. I want to be able to open a varied selection of independent online news sites in the near future and see a headline like “Evangelizing Billboards Now in 36 States and Climbing!” or “Creative Gospel Videos Continue to Go Viral” or even “’Where Are They All Coming From?” or “Ask Residents about Novel Christian Message Distribution.” You get the point?

There is absolutely no reason this cannot happen. Take some initiative while we still have the time. Consider some possible starting points:

Think about whom you come in contact with on a regular basis. What have they been saying about what has been catching their eye lately?

Next time you drive to get your groceries, take a very deliberate look at your surroundings. Is there something there – some sort of object, place of interest, custom that would make a great springboard for the message of Christ’s redemption plan – something that you may have overlooked every time you’ve driven past it?

Do you have some particular talent or skill you could turn to this use? God gifted you with something, so would this not be the best time to put that to use for His Kingdom?

Do you see someone else that is doing something that is making an impact for their message (i.e. an effective business strategy) that you could, let’s say “borrow,” some ideas from?

· Perhaps you may want to use to your advantage of sure (end-time) prophecy to your advantage (i.e. perhaps you could point out the image of events coming like birth pangs). Have a side-by-side comparison of a woman’s medical labor-contraction readout, and a timeline of the major weather events in the last 25-50 years to show the relevance (with Scripture to go with (i.e. Romans 8:22, Matthew 24:7b-8, Luke 21:11, 25-26). Would this grab some attention on a nearby highway billboard?

Consider my ten points above. Know that you know that you KNOW and take that assurance and get the gospel, the Good News, out there! And do it in such a novel way that these “atheists” and agnostics will be flipping frantically through their crumbling, dog-eared playbook for some way to stop this message that is loudly and powerfully piercing their very conscience! C’mon – I want to see some “atheists” just foaming at the mouth out of sheer frustration because YOUR idea is spreading the news of Jesus like an Australian wildfire. Don’t you?

One last thing to mull over: Consider Esther’s choice (chapter 4) to speak or be silent at a critical time for the lives of her people. This is what she was told by Mordecai:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, emphasis added, ESV)

With time as short as it is, do you truly think “relief and deliverance” should be left to “someone else” to present to those on a fast track to hell? You may already know the Lord as your Savior and not be the least bit worried that “your…house will perish” but what about your neighbor and that guy that jogs past your place every morning? Or, how about that woman with the young children, comparing prices in the cereal aisle? What about them? Is their house about to perish?

Who knows whether or not you have come to your neighborhood…your town…your city…your state─for such a time as this?

Let’s get to it.

Ryan Vanderstelt