All have all heard the phrase “Jesus is calling,” but the question is this: Are you willing to come? Often the steps required to come to the altar can be a bit challenging, if not impossible, in your mind.
“I remember as if it were yesterday, the thumping of my heart and the lump in my throat as I rose from my seat, and made my way toward the pastor waiting at the end of what seemed like a very long aisle, says Cynthia Mercer, Carolina Conference director of prayer and women’s ministries. “Undoubtedly, those were the best steps I ever took when I made the commitment in my heart 34 years ago to follow Jesus.”
As preparations were made for the Carolina Conference prayer weekend held at the Morganton Church in western North Carolina on December 1-2, 2017, the theme “Come to the Altar” kept coming to mind, along with the question of what it really means to respond to Jesus’ powerful tug on the heart. What do people do when they have tried all other possible methods to take care of their problems and have exhausted all their resources? They come to the altar and give all burdens and cares of this world to Jesus, Who has the answer for every challenge faced.
The Morganton Pathfinders and Adventurers were in full uniform to greet the attendees on Friday evening, December 1, and Leslie Louis, Carolina Conference president, was present to give a warm welcome and encouragement to continue on as faithful prayer warriors for the Carolinas. Ron C. Smith, D.Min., Ph.D., Southern Union president, presented a soul-searching message titled, “The Challenge of Facing Yourself.”
Sabbath morning, Smith urged attendees to recognize who they are in Jesus’ eyes, and concluded with a powerful altar call to receive the majestic love of Jesus. David Long, director of Sabbath School, prayer, prison, stewardship, and personal ministries for the Southern Union, spoke Sabbath morning and afternoon, reminding attendees of the strength available through the Holy Spirit to lay their giants at the altar.
The weekend was filled with praise and renewed commitments to saturate hearts and minds with the love Jesus so freely offers. Worship leaders Chris and Antoinette Travers and Mark Patterson from the Lighthouse Fellowship Church in Huntersville, N.C., and a local pianist, Hilda Parker, lifted the attendees’ hearts with their inspiring music throughout the weekend.
The words of the weekend’s theme song, O Come to the Altar, resonate with many: ”Are you hurting and broken within? Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling .… O come to the altar, the Father’s arms are open wide.” This amazing promise offers peace, forgiveness, and restoration for all who are willing to come to the altar.
Carolina | January 2018