My Heart Is Jumping

My Heart Is Jumping

In this blog post by Mike Barko, he recounts an incredible week of gospel sharing across various outreach locations and with the support of multiple ministries and fellow workers. The post celebrates 108 professions of faith in Jesus Christ resulting from these efforts. One particularly touching story from a car show involves Holly, who had initially accepted the Lord as a teenager but had drifted away due to a negative church experience. Mike highlights the common misconception that those who come back to Christ must "do something" to earn their salvation, akin to the prodigal son's mistaken business plan. Mike emphasizes that salvation, both initially and upon return, is achieved through faith alone in Christ's work rather than personal actions. He beautifully illustrates how the Father immediately accepted the prodigal son upon his return, emphasizing the importance of faith over works. Holly's journey mirrors this understanding as she rediscovers her faith, culminating in a heartfelt prayer of faith. The post showcases the transformative power of faith and acceptance in Christ and promises more inspiring stories to come.

Mike Barko

6/6/20195 min read



What an amazing week sharing the gospel. Three participating ministries, four different outreach locations, and five ministry workers yielding 108 professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

Many thanks to the Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association for allowing us to set up our booth at their 7th annual Memorial Day Community Celebration at the Rockingham Co. Fairgrounds. Thanks also to the Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene for hosting their annual spring car show on the church grounds. Finally, thank you to Faith Point Outreach Church in Waynesboro for blessing us with the space to share the gospel with those in attendance at their neighborhood outreach.

If your church has a special upcoming outreach event, and you would like for us to set up our small tent and share the gospel with people, please let us know. We would love to share at your event.

Thanks to Rob Gilmer, Karen Brooks, Johan Weiss, and Gig Foster for coming together to help us reach all of these souls for Christ. Favorite pictures and stories follow. Enjoy.

My favorite story from the car show concerned Holly. She immediately told me that she had received the Lord many years ago as a teenager, but had subsequently fallen away because of a very bad church experience.

How does someone first come to Christ? By faith alone. How does someone come back to Christ? By faith alone. The same hurdle (works) that trips up the former also trips up the latter. Unfortunately, it trips up the latter even worse.

Over the years, I have shared with many who tell me they fell away or they backslid. Invariably. they all tell me the same thing: in order to come back, they have to 'do something'.

Did you know that the prodigal son struggled with this same thing? Listen to what he said, after he came to his senses in the pigpen...

"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." (Luke 15:18,19) (emp mine)

Eric Vess, Director of International Communications with Advancing Native Missions, spoke on this parable a few years ago during their weekly bible study meeting. He said something that I had never heard anyone else say, which completely reinforced what I have experienced from people who fall away and try to work their way back.

In reference to the above statement from the prodigal, Eric commented...

"That is a business plan, not true repentance."

In other words, the prodigal wanted to work his way back into the Father's favor, by 'being made as one of the hired servants'. Do you know what Holly told me she needed to do 'to come back to the Lord'?

'I need to follow Him. I need to start reading my bible again, praying, and going to church.'

In other words, "if I start doing these things again, then I can be saved."

This is the same thing that I hear over and over from people who have 'fallen away'. They are trying to come back to Christ by their works.

Were you and I saved by 'following Him, reading our bibles, praying, and going to church'?

No we were saved by faith in Christ alone. Then, as a result, yes indeed, we did 'follow Him, read our bibles, pray, and go to church.'

We don't come back to Him by doing these things. We come back to Him by simple faith in Christ alone.

Back to the prodigal...

"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet." (Luke 15:20-22)

Interestingly, after repeating what he had said earlier, 'I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.'...

He never got to repeat his 'business plan' of...

"make me as one of thy hired servants."

Immediately, the Father interjected...

"Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:"

The Father was not interested in 'his business plan' of working his way back. The Father accepted him immediately.

Now, the son had a choice.

Eric furthered commented, paraphrased by me...

"Because of our inherent pride, it would have been a lot easier for the prodigal in that moment to push away his Father's embrace and say something like, 'You know, I would feel much better about all of this if I could stay here a little while and work my way back into your favor.'

The son had a choice. Push away his father's embrace and try to work his way back, or accept the Father's love and complete acceptance of him in that moment.

Holly, like the prodigal, had a desire to come back. Both were wrongly thinking they had to work their way back.

I shared the gospel with Holly, the same way I share it with anyone else. She knew she was a sinner (liar, thief, adulterer, murderer, blasphemer). She knew that the just penalty for her sin was hell.

Did this concern her? A resounding yes!

I then explained to her through the 'speeding ticket illustration' and 'great depression illustration' that nothing she could do would justify her in God's courtroom.

Holly understood that she could do nothing to work her way back. She even commented a few times as I shared with her...

"I am getting it...yes, I am getting is making sense now."

The Spirit of God takes the truth that we share and it just fits into the person's heart. When the person is ready, the truth just 'fits right in.'

I then preached the finished work of the cross to Holly.

At the end, before I even gave her the choice of transferring her trust from herself, and trusting Christ alone, Holly was already there.

Holly had accepted the robe of righteousness, the ring on her finger, and the shoes on her feet. She had humbled herself, and trusted in the Father's love and acceptance alone.

To make it official, we prayed the prayer of faith, transferring her trust to Christ alone.


Holly's response was one for the books...

"He saved me. I feel happy and relieved. My heart is jumping and I'm excited...just very, very happy."

Luke Weaver, partner with Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association, commented to our team at the end of the day...

"A lady left your tent today and was going around telling everyone she just got saved. She was a close relative of one of our partnering ministries."

Here is a 45 second video of Holly after trusting Christ: