This weekend, an event took place on Penn State's campus called Invasion PSU. The facebook event for Invasion read:
Invasion Fest is simple: We are a group of students that want to party hard, radically love others and show University Park that God still has a plan and purpose for everyone. Har Megiddo will be performing along with a few other local DJs in the area. The Smeal Business Building Lawn is the place to be August 30th! DON'T MISS OUT!
Afterwards, Jonathan Shuttlesworth will be sharing a message of hope and forgiveness with Penn State.
Sounds like a good time, right?
The event was presented as a good time, a party with great music and DJs and maybe even a little God or message thrown in. This is the vibe that the event presented.
The real vision of this event was essentially creating a rave or party-like atmosphere, enticing people that are normally drawn to the party scene and then presenting them with a Gospel message at the end.
For many involved it probably sounded like a great idea. Create an enticing atmosphere and then when you have all of the people BAM! Share Jesus with them. How could the people not accept Jesus after spending an hour dancing to music with some Christian songs thrown in?
BUT that's not what happened.
After a lot of thinking and praying, I decided to go to this event. And the reason I was hesitant and prayed about it was because I felt like the people organizing the event were being dishonest (creating an event meant to evangelize when they were advertising it to be almost like a party) and because the event didn't seem to be really focused on Jesus.
But I decided to go. Primarily because I just wanted to observe and also because I wanted to see how God would use the event, despite my doubts and feelings.
The event started at 7:30. And around 7:45, there were only around a hundred people on the field in front of the stage. Honestly, it felt like a joke. So much planning and promotion had gone into this event, and there was hardly anyone there.
The only people there were the volunteers and people that had heard about the event from Christian fellowships on campus. These few were dancing like you would at your cousin's wedding, just having a fun time being goofy dancing to techno.
But as the sun went down, the crowd changed drastically. The music did in fact draw them in, and the area in front of the stage became packed. People were dancing, throwing water, hoisting people into the air, trying to start a body mosh pit, yelling, you name it.
After a few minutes of this, the group that I was with decided to leave the crowd, and I was relieved. Mainly, I didn't want to get knocked over by people trying to mosh pit, but also something that had started off as being fun and innocent escalated pretty quickly.
As my group left the area, I started thinking about the people that were dancing and pretty much raving in front of the stage. These people had been drawn in by the music. Most of them were not Christians. Most of them had probably never heard the Gospel. And I had a suspicion that as soon as the music and the fun ended, they would be out, ready to go to the next party.
The group of ladies that I was with decided to get food, and we waited to go back until right before the speaker would share the "message of hope and forgiveness," which is pretty much a code phrase for sharing the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. So we walked back a few minutes before the speaker was brought on stage.
At this point, the crowd had grown a lot. People were throwing water, some were crowd surfing, some were smoking electronic cigarettes, and some were doing things that I'd rather not mention on this blog.
And then, the music stopped.
The M.C. came on stage and introduced the speaker.
And a mass exodus occurred.
All of these people that had spent their night dancing to the music were no longer interested. The music and fun stopped, so they were moving on.
I stood with the group of ladies in the back of the field and watched with utter sadness and dismay as people walked away, choosing not to hear a message that brings life.
The speaker took the stage and faithfully preached the Gospel. He shared how God had saved him and called him to share the message of Christ with others. He preached a message of hope and forgiveness, that man's sins had separated him from God, but Jesus's death and resurrection on the cross had reconciled man with God and atoned for all of mankind's sins. And because of this, mankind can receive the gift of eternal life through belief in Jesus Christ.
The speaker faithfully shared the Gospel, but as he spoke more and more people walked away until only a small group remained at the end.
The event ended very differently from what some people had hoped. A thousand people weren't saved. The event depicted what the Bible predicted:
"For many are invited but few are chosen."
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."
2 Timothy 4:3-4
Not everyone will become Christians. Not everyone will be saved. Not everyone will have eternal life.
It is a hard teaching.
Many are invited but few are chosen.
Few will ever make the choice.
Many will walk away.
Many will listen to the world.
Many will live for their own desires and passions.
And for many, having an event that seems cool will not be enough to entice them to give their lives to Jesus.
Look at Jesus' ministry.
Jesus preached to huge crowds, but most of the people he preached to didn't want what he was offering. What they wanted were the miracles and the blessings.
The people that were really impacted by Jesus were the people that had genuine relationships with him. These people were the twelve disciples, the men in his inner circle.
Even then, one of the twelve betrayed Jesus.
While I'm sure God used Invasion PSU for his purposes, I think one of the things that it really showed me is that all are truly invited, but few will choose Jesus. While it was hard to watch the events of Invasion PSU, I'm glad that I went, and I praise God for how he used the event, even if only one person was saved.
Shalom! I'm Madi, a laughter-loving, movie-going, spontaneous-dancing, follower of Christ. Join me as I seek glimpses of God's grace in the ordinary and everyday.
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She Laughs Without Fear