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The Power of a Simple Invitation

In the deep shadow of the Worship Center, the flicker of a single flame spreads candle to candle, row by row, until the darkness is banished and the light of Christ’s coming is revealed.

The Christmas Eve Candlelight Services are beautiful and moving, and they touch the hearts of believers and non-believers, too. Many people who have said “yes” when a member of our church family has invited them to worship with us have experienced life change. Pastor Jack Graham has always said that our greatest resource for outreach is your personal invitation. The power of a simple invitation is immeasurable.

Bill and Pam Borinstein

Bill Borinstein, a former Prestonwood minister and now the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in North Phoenix, Arizona, still remembers the first Candlelight Service he and his wife, Pam, attended.

“Our lives have never been the same,” he said at a recent First Wednesday service.

But that transformation started with a simple invitation from friends who asked the Borinsteins to come with them to a Christmas Eve service at Prestonwood.

“I can tell you, I didn’t want to come,” Bill said. “But Pam said, ‘Bill, maybe this is what we need.’”

Bill was skeptical; Pam was thrilled. And they went to the service.

Pastor Graham leads in the lighting of the candles

“Pam was just loving this, and then Pastor Jack Graham comes in and he keeps saying ‘Jesus,’ and for a Jewish boy, that really grated on me; it bothered me,” Bill said. “And at the end of the service, Pam just starts crying, and I look at her and wonder why she’s crying at church.

“I didn’t know this at the time, but the Holy Spirit was working in her.”

Two weeks later, on January 11, 1998, the Borinsteins were back in church at Prestonwood.

“Pastor Graham was just back from a trip to Israel, and I just remember that at the end of the service, he said, ‘All you have to do is open your heart and open your soul and let Jesus in.’

“And I’ll never forget looking up at the choir loft and seeing all these people worshipping God, and suddenly it hit me: They know something I don’t know,” Bill said. “And I started crying.”

The late Mike Fechner, then the Minister of Spiritual Development, saw the tears and asked Bill if he wanted to go forward.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at North Campus

“And I said, ‘What for? So people can see me crying? No,’” Bill said. “But Mike came to our home that night and he shared the Gospel with us—the fact that our sin separated us from a Holy God, a God who was rich in mercy and loved us.

“He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to live a sinless life, to die a sacrificial death on the Cross in our place and [be] raised on the third day,” Bill recalled. “And by turning from our sin and turning to Jesus Christ, you can have the hope of eternal life.

“And I remember saying that Pam is ready, but I need to read the whole Bible and do an analysis on it— basically, ‘Don’t call me, I’ll call you,’” he said.

That’s when Pam turned to Bill and asked whether he would pray for her eternal salvation if she were dying of cancer.

“I said, ‘Of course I would. I’d pray with everything I have.’

“And she said, ‘Why don’t you pray for your own salvation? You’re dying.’”

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at Plano Campus

In that moment, Bill said he felt the Spirit of God came to him, and the Borinsteins knelt and asked God to forgive their sins and save them and change their lives.

“And He did.”

Two decades later, Bill remains thankful to the couple who invited them to church.

“They didn’t know what was going on in our lives. They just asked, and our lives have been changed forever,” he said.

Far too often, Bill said, we consider asking someone to come to church with us, then think that they’d never go.

“We make that decision for them before we ever ask them to come with us,” he said.

So ask. Invite someone to one of our 11 Candlelight Services. Let them hear God’s Word and understand the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of our Lord and Savior who brought salvation to a sinful world.

There’s no better Christmas gift you could give them.

Published: Dec. 20, 2017
Author: Michael Young