A Light in the Darkness: An Update on Redeem Halloween
Since we first moved in to our house on Sleepy Hollow 6 years ago we've been dreaming up ways to showcase the Gospel in our neighborhood. One way we do this is by handing out hundreds of king-sized candy bars on Halloween.
It was no surprise to learn that our street was a popular trick-or-treating spot, given the name, lack of street lights, and eerie over-hanging trees. But we had no idea how popular.
The first year, we bought 100 bars and ran out. The second year it was 350. We ran out. The third year it was over 600. We ran out again. Eventually, we figured out that 1200 bars were usually enough.
Jimmy and I have both written about why we do this, and I hope you'll take the time to read our explanation. In short, we're hoping to brand ourselves as "the generous house" each year in hopes to point people to God's abundant generosity in giving us Jesus. With the help of our college home group, we have a welcome team down front, a candy team at the door, and a prayer team in the prayer room. It's an amazing night every year!
This year, I wanted to share some of the fruit we've seen over the years.
Since we have so many stairs to our front door, there are often people hanging out around our driveway waiting for kids to make it to the top and back. Our welcome team is tasked with greeting people, making conversation, answering the inevitable "why do you do this?" with the Gospel. Last year, Jimmy and some of our college students got into a conversation with a high school student about the Gospel. He said to them, "This is the first time I've heard this," and chose to trust Jesus and repent of his sins! The Gospel really is good news! And good news is so fun to share! We're hoping this is the first of many salvations we get to see happen in our front yard.
A GOOD REPUTATION
One hope Jimmy and I have is that our generosity on Halloween will cause our neighbors to reach out to us through out the year. And this year, that happened!
It was summertime when she came to the door. "We live just around the corner and come to your house every Halloween. Can we go to church with you?" While they haven't been able to come very often due to work schedules, we've stayed in touch with this family. We've been able to help them in a few ways too. Our church was able to locate a used fridge for them when their's broke and they were unable to afford a new one. Our college guys (some of the same ones who were present at Halloween) helped move it in.
We hope our house will be an embassy for the Kingdom of God all year round, a picture of what His grace is like and how abundant His kindness is. Halloween just happens to be the day when all of our neighbors are out and about. So for us, it's the best day of the year to be an ambassador for Christ!
We always look a little crazy in the grocery store when we buy our candy. Usually we've got 2 carts stacked full of all the oversized candy we can find. Every year we get to share the Gospel with people at the store: the cashiers, the managers, those who help us bring the candy to the car, fellow shoppers who stop and say, "I've just gotta ask, what are you doing?" It's so much fun to answer with: "We love being generous on Halloween because our God has been generous to us. He sent His beloved son, Jesus, to be the payment for our sins, offering us salvation for free! He is soooo good to us that we love to imitate His goodness to others. This is just one small way." I'm hopeful that all those Gospel seeds over the years will bear fruit one day, whether we know about it or not.
RENDER DEATH POWERLESS
"...that through death [Jesus] might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." Hebrews 2:14-15
These verses have got to be my favorite for Halloween. A reminder that Jesus took Satan's greatest weapon and used it against him! It reminds me of what we do on Halloween. On this day, when many celebrate death and wickedness, we will offer something truly worth celebrating: "the free gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
But we also know that "no one can come to Jesus unless the Father who sent him draws them." (John 6:44) So as we do each year, we will turn our guest room into a prayer room. Will you pray for us this year as well? That God would save people? That He would free people who have been subject to slavery all their lives? Pray that His Kingdom would come on October 31.
And ask yourselves, how might you reach your neighborhood and community this year on Halloween? They will be out, will you be? In the words of my husband, "One night a year in our neighborhoods the mission field actually knocks on our door." Christians, let's #redeemhalloween2017! We'll be sharing our experience on social media. Follow along and share your #redeemhalloween2017 stories too.