Judgement House 2010 is over. After almost 20 hours of performances (including rehearsals), the presentation is complete. Sets will be taken down, costumes will be put away for another year, voices will begin to recover, and exhaustion will fade. For some people, however, things have not ended–they have just begun.
The following is a letter from one such person. The person who wrote this letterwas the first person to give her heart to Christ on Friday night. She came back Saturday night and handed me this letter. I have included some comments for clarity for those who haven’t been through Judgement House–they are enclosed in [brackets].
Before you read it, click on the Youtube link below. This song was being played in the “heaven” scene, and we also sang it yesterday morning in our worship service. Let the music play as you read the letter below it.
I attended Judgement House on Friday night. Words cannot describe what I felt, what it did, and especially how it blessed me. Pastor, I am going through a very difficult time in my life. Before I tell you what Judgement House did for me allow me to tell you a little bit about me. Now, I understand that everyone will go through difficult times, however I have traveled through some tough roads and this road I am on is the most difficult one. For about the last 2 weeks I have felt a pull to come back to the church. I was born, raised, and practiced another faith, however the faith that I practiced I always had certain issues with. How it was portrayed in the church I attended, certain guidelines that were to be followed, and most importantly the order in which we worshipped. Now as I said, I have been feeling a pull to come back to the church but I did not know what type of church or faith. I just knew that God was calling me to Him and I did not know where to go. Not many of my friends or family know of this calling and I am not ashamed of it, but I know that it is not to the church that I was raised in. This past weekend I went to Charlotte to be with my mother and sister. My sister invited me to her church, and it’s nice and fits her, but I know it will not fit me–besides, I live in SC and she lives in NC. However, on our way home from church, my sister stopped for gas and I saw a book, or what I thought was a book, and decided to look at it. Pastor Marcus…it was the One Year Bible (New Living Translation)! So I decided to read the date that it was that day, and before I share with you know that I have not read a Bible in years and have not attended church in quite some time–however, even then God was speaking to me, Here is what I read: October 17, 2010 JEREMIAH 30:1-31:26 starting with verse 18 (and I skipped a few because only certain verses struck a chord with me): ‘Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the Lord my God. I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity!’ Verse 21: ‘Set up road signs; put up guideposts’. And especially verse 22, which I know was God talking straight to me: ‘How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the Lord will cause something new to happen’. I then decided to read another day where the date was tragic for me, and what I read on that day really hit me. I told my sister, “Where is a book store? I need to find a book store and buy this Bible!” Ever since then I have been reading it daily and making notes, and I always find something in the reading that will touch me or make me see that God is here with me. A friend of mine who attends Riverside Baptist told me of Judgement Hosue (many times, to be exact), and I have never attended a Judgement Hosue or anything like it. Pastor Marcus, I am so proud to say that I was saved Friday night! I went in with an open mind, and I almost did not come, but I felt that pull that has been with me the last few weeks. I am so glad that I came.
Now please let me tell you what Judgement House did to me and how I became saved. I really related to Erica’s character, I went through the motions and I am a good person. However, I realized that it was not enough. I did not believe up until Friday night. When I got to the judgement scene [where an actor portrays God judging each person by whether they have received Christ’s forgiveness or not–Marcus] (which by the way it’s set up…Amazing) I really felt I was there. I really felt that it was my judgment time and I did not like the feeling that I would be going to hell. When my name was called I was listening to the man who was reading from the book it took everything I had not to shed a tear. Then I came out of that scene and went to the “hell” scene. It was so uncomfortable, and I said, “No, I will not be here”. The character [one of the demons] who laughs made me the most uncomfortable, so if that is what your congregation was going for, you achieved it with me. Luckily I got to the heaven scene next. Walking into heaven and having people say, “Hi, welcome to heaven” and one angel hugged me. This angel does not know what I am going through, but that hug and that phrase touched me. Then looking at Jesus sitting on His throne, welcoming each of His children into heaven…I felt so at peace. Jesus then came down off His throne and welcomed each person individually and hugged each one. When He got to me I felt like He gave me an extra hug and it was exactly what I needed. I felt so loved and peaceful. Then as we were exiting and I am still crying because I realized I am not alone, another angel (played by an older woman with short white hair) touched my arm and said, “Love you, darling”. This woman does not know what that did to me. To feel genuine love from a complete stranger, I cannot even describe. I know that was not part of the scene. I know that this woman meant what she did. Pastor Marcus, up to this point I was feeling alone. I had a rough night the other night and I held tightly to my Bible and said, “God, I cannot do this. I will not get through this. It is too hard and I do not have it in me. I will not make it through the night. I will just not make it into the morning. Please help me, please help”. And I really did not think I would get through the night. But I did, and just so you know, this rough night was Thursday night. The next day would be Friday, and I would attend Judgement House and become saved! When we got to the gym and sat down with you and you talked to us I felt so comfortable. Then we said the prayer [asking Christ into her life]. While I was saying it I was crying because I have said the prayer before, but it never touched me like it did last night. I have gone to tother events and they asked you to raise your hand after the prayer [raising your hand to show that you asked Christ into your life] and never did. I was like, “You’re not going to call me out and you are not going to know its me”. However last night when you asked, I knew it was time and felt it was time. Then I met the counselor and Stacy was amazing. She offered me her number and email and told me that if I ever needed her she would pray with me or for me, all I had to do was contact her. That meant the world to me because, once again, I realized I am not alone.
I know in my heart I am not alone, and was never alone. God is with me and people from this congregation who do not know me are with me. But most importantly, God is with me and always has been–I just did not know it.I am not sure if Riverside Baptist will become my church home. Please pray as I visit churches in search of my church home.
So in closing, I want to thank you, Stacy, my friend who goes there, and the congregation for having Judgement House.What I received I will never be able to say thank you for enough. I will never be able to return the blessing to you or to your congregation. October 22, 2010 will stay with me as long as I am on this earth for it was the evening that I was saved! Thank you and God bless!
P.S. I am telling everyone I know that I have been saved. I cannot stop smiling! :)”
See why I love that song? Worthy is the lamb!