By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
COVINGTON – Dozens came forward to pray at the altar during the final moments Student Night at the Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference, Jan. 28.
“Could we somehow tune our ear tonight to God wanting to do something significant in the state of Louisiana, all across this state from every border, every edge, that God would usher in an awakening, that the bells of heaven would ring because men and women and young people in this room would say yes to the call of making Jesus famous,” Ed Newton told the crowd moments earlier inside the worship center at the First Baptist Church, Covington.
Newton, pastor of Community Bible Church, San Antonio, Texas, issued a challenge for Christ-followers to help others see their need for Jesus. Citing Luke 19:1-10, he used the example of Zacchaeus sitting in a tree as an allegory of how Christians can help others come to Christ.
“God’s called us to be sycamore trees, that we would be able through the platform of our lives be that branch for that person who may feel as if they are insignificant enough that Jesus would never see them,” he said. “Could we be that step for somebody to all of a sudden look up and see Jesus?”
Newton said bringing others to salvation was Christ’s life mission and if we are to imitate Him, we must make this our focus, too.
“Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost,” he said. “When they were found, there was a tremendous celebration.”
At times, Satan tries to cast doubt, but there is no condemnation through Christ, Newton said. Instead, Jesus has called His followers to live in victory, because Satan loses in the end.
“We have an enemy that seeks to remind you of your past,” Newton said. “Your past does not define you. But your future’s been written for you. We reject labels in Jesus’ name because the blood of Jesus that’s covered you won’t allow the labels of the enemy to stick on you.”
Newton’s message resonated with students attending the event, which featured a pre-session pizza party and games at “The Rock” youth building of First Baptist, Covington.
“This is a great place to build relationships with other people, including some I met for the first time,” said Jaden Nitschke, a tenth grader from First Baptist, Covington. “It’s crazy how many people came to see this and be in this place for one reason – to celebrate God.”
Bethany Boesch, a twelth grader from Bedico Baptist Church, Ponchatoula, echoed the thought.
“I saw him the last time Ed Newton was at YEC in 2017 and he once again connected us with the Gospel message,” he said. “It’s amazing how God can use someone like him to reach many students.”