On the opening night of the Oct. 26-27 Rankin Inlet Celebration of Hope with Will Graham, Christian illusionist Jim Munroe threw a teddy bear into the crowd and invited people to toss it from one to another. The bear eventually landed in the arms of a child who he invited onto the stage beside him.
That child picked a random card—a two of hearts—out of a full deck. Another child invited on stage picked a random number out of a Texas phone book. Jim asked that child to call the number. It led to a pre-recorded message, mentioning only one card in the entire deck: a 2 of hearts. Meanwhile the phone number turned out to be the exact same one Jim had previously written down to share with everyone.
The entertainer who calls his act The Maze told his stunned audience that what appeared to be a series of completely random things had somehow worked their way toward an orchestrated conclusion.
Most of us think that the various things going on in our lives—the good and the bad—are random, Jim said. “But maybe things aren’t so random. Maybe there is a purpose.”
And maybe there is someone in control of all of it, he added.
Jim recalled how, several years ago, he was dying in a Texas hospital after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. His doctors told him his only chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant, but only one in every nine million people could be a potentially viable match for his marrow.
Doctors somehow found that match—a teenage girl—and Monroe was completely cured.
“I needed a savior,” he said. “I needed someone who would substitute her bone marrow for my own.”
There is far more powerful savior available to all of us, Jim added. “He’s someone who substituted his blood for ours (on the cross). There is an answer for our sin—the perfect blood of Jesus Christ.”
Moments later, when Will Graham walked onto the stage at Rankin Inlet’s high school gym, he warned listeners against assuming their lives are simply a series of random acts, with no clear direction.
“God has a plan for you,” Will said with a warm smile. “Do you know He wants to live in your heart? He can give you purpose and meaning in your life if you come to him.”
Will told his mostly Inuit audience that earlier in the day, he’d visited Rankin Inlet’s only jail—a territorial government facility known as a “healing center” because so many of its inmates require healing from the damage done by residential schools that took First Nations children away from their parents.
Those children endured loneliness and, in many cases, various forms of abuse in the schools. When they became adults, some turned to alcohol, drugs and crime to deal with their emotional struggles, and not enough of them knew how to be protective and encouraging parents when their own kids were born.
The inmates in the healing center are paying a price for their sins, Will said, just as all of us should pay a price—the condemnation of death—for our own sins. “We’ve all broken God’s laws, but Jesus paid the price for us. He was not only willing to go to jail for us, but to die for us.”
Will invited everyone to accept this free gift of salvation. Dozens of adults and children walked to the front of the stage and joined Will in a prayer to repent of their sins and embrace Christ as their savior.
After the prayer, each person who committed or re-committed their life to Christ met briefly with a trained counselor—many of them Christian volunteers from their own community—who helped the new believers understand the importance of the commitment they’d just made.
The counselors prayed with each person who came forward, then gathered names and addresses so each could be matched with a local church to be welcomed and to continue growing in their faith.
“She didn’t know she could be forgiven,” said counselor Katherine Hill, in describing her conversation and prayer time with one new believer—a young mother. “The news made her cry and cry. I prayed with her that she would have absolute peace, with the knowledge of being completely forgiven by God.”
Please pray for this young mother and for everyone else who made commitments in Rankin Inlet to follow Christ. Pray that they will find strength and purpose and joy through their faith in Jesus.
Will Graham will share another message of hope tonight as the Rankin Inlet Celebration of Hope wraps up. Please pray that God continues to soften hearts in this small community
View photos from the Celebration:
>> Celebration of Hope comes to Nunavut
>> Will Graham arrives in Rankin Inlet
>> To the ends of the earth: Will Graham shares the Gospel in Rankin Inlet
>> Final night of Will Graham Celebration brings new beginning for Rankin Inlet
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