Halloween is an opportunity to minister

Posted 10/27/18

Here is the scariest kind of Halloween story I like:A lady was alone at her home. She heard a scratching at the door. Then another. She walked to the door, opened it and saw a coffin standing right …

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Halloween is an opportunity to minister

Posted

Here is the scariest kind of Halloween story I like:

A lady was alone at her home. She heard a scratching at the door. Then another. She walked to the door, opened it and saw a coffin standing right in front of her! She ran back screaming toward her hallway and onward the coffin came, sliding slowly and loudly across the hardwood floor.  The panicked lady backed into her bedroom and slammed the door. She listened but there was only silence. She placed her ear on the door and strained to hear any sound that might alert her to the coffin’s presence. And then she heard the scratching again: long, deliberate scratches on the bedroom door. 

Screaming, she flew to the other side of the bedroom and locked herself into her bathroom. But it wasn’t long until the scratching manifested on that door! She looked around the bathroom wildly searching for anything – ANYTHING – with which she could ward off the coffin. Under the sink: nothing. Behind the toilet: nothing but a magazine. She ripped open her medicine cabinet as the scratching became louder and louder. The only thing she could find in the medicine cabinet was a bottle of Robitussin. She grabbed it, forced the door open, and threw the Robitussin at the coffin – and the coffin stopped.

Get it? She used the Robitussin and the coffin (the coughin’) stopped. Get it? That’s about as scary as I like it.

You see, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Yes, I know it is a fun time for the kids. And, yes, I know it all seems to be harmless fun, but I still don’t like it. All Hallows’ Eve seems to give too much glory to the devil, who by the way, is desperate for whatever glory he can get. He got thrown out of heaven because he wanted to share in God’s glory. And, to this day, he craves it constantly. 

Missionaries overseas share stories of overt and tragic demonic possession, oppression, and manipulation that wreck and destroy the lives of those families who endure it. On our New York City mission trips, we have seen obvious and flagrant attacks and assaults by those fallen angels.  The amazing stories of how Jesus breaks demonic bonds should make us shout with joy at the power of our God, not celebrate blindly the designs of the devil. If I shared with you the demonic influence and targeting I have seen myself: the temperature changes when demons manifest themselves, the vocal changes in their victims, the strength that seems to defy imagination – I am just scratching the surface with these little details – you would sleep from now on with one eye open, much less engorge yourself with the demonic in the realms of entertainment and enjoyment. Because of this, as well as other experiences and knowledge I am not sharing, I am not a huge fan of Halloween. 

The way I used to deal with Halloween was to isolate myself from it completely. We would lock the doors and turn out the lights and act like it was just another night. My wife had a frank talk with me about that strategy and challenged me to see Halloween as an opportunity to minister. She knew my background as a young unchurched man who had a love for all things demonic. And she knew in great detail about all I have shared with you above. In essence, she understood my extreme dislike of Halloween. She kept after me for years, however, to take make something positive out of this pagan holiday.

The Lord convinced me over time that she was right and we began to hand out candy from the parsonage, giving gospel tracks along with the goodies. Next, our church held a fall festival. And then we began our first Trunk or Treat. Oh my, how unprepared I was for what happened THAT Halloween night.  Hundreds and hundreds of people came out of nowhere it seemed. There were more people in our parking lot than I had ever seen in Carbon Hill before. I was totally unprepared for the sheer number of people we encountered.  As a result, we have continued this ministry and will plan it again for this year’s Halloween night.

So if you come by First Baptist Church of Carbon Hill on Halloween night you won’t see a bunch of dark homes and barricaded hearts isolated from the events outside. Instead, you will see a church on mission. We will be handing out boat loads of candy, cooking piles of free hot dogs for everybody, inviting families to our fall festival on Sunday, Nov 4, and interacting with each person who walks on the church grounds. What I was running away from has turned out to be an amazing opportunity for Gospel interaction, communication, and encouragement. 

Yes, people will show up dressed as every demon from hell. But I am determined to give God more glory that night than the devil will get. I have come to realize if I simply act like Halloween isn’t going on around me, I can’t impact anyone with the Gospel. Instead, I am called to shine the glorious light of Jesus into seemingly unending darkness. But I have read the end of the Book: Jesus wins! So I will declare it – even – especially - on Halloween! Jesus rose from grave victorious over death and hell! Take that, devil!

Scott McCullar is the pastor of FBC Carbon Hill. The church's website is www.firstbaptistcarbonhill.org. He can be reached at rscottmcc@att.net and (205)924-4145.