I have had to attend so many funerals over the years of young and older people who have died as a result of overdose, (accidentally and on purpose) through hiv AIDS, Hep C and so on. I am weary of having to comfort families who have lost their loved ones far too early. I have reached many through carrying the cross through nations, walking thousands of miles praying and preaching while also reaching out to thousands on our streets in different parts of the world. Media has played a part too, speaking on every media outlet we can to reach people.
I searched the scriptures for radical ways to outreach and the most significant one for me at that time was in Mark Chapter 2 where the 4 guys lowered their mate through a roof to meet Jesus, they couldn’t get him into the house because the doorway was so full of people.
I began to think of ways to get Jesus into peoples houses, I go door to door, (Still one of the best ways to reach folk) I do so many outreach strategies but still were not reaching enough.
I thought about the folk dying early, the heartbroken families and an idea came to me to make a large coffin, bury it and livestream from it, in this way I could bring the presence of Jesus into people’s homes.
We have to be radical to reach the people these days, BUT thoughts like, ‘folk will think your nuts to do something like this John, or ‘church will never go for this John, these thoughts flooded my mind trying to bring doubt etc but the idea would not leave me. In July 2016 a brave church called ‘New Beginnings in Halifax’ asked me to pioneer the radical outreach with their church. Man what a challenge, my friend made the coffin, 8 foot long, a meter wide and a meter high. It’s got a mattress in it, two 9 inch diameter tubes that go to the surface, it’s got electricity and broadband in it too.
I must admit I was nervous getting into the coffin, a big crowd turned up for my ‘Burial’ and I must admit that when the coffin went down on top of me I did freak a bit, I’m not claustrophobic but it is weird to be buried alive….
However, the moment I went under I pressed the live button on my ‘Live Streaming’ and camera. The team up on the surface connected me to the internet and immediately Skype calls, texts, emails and phone calls began to come in, Media came down, BBC and other major channels came, all media tuned into it and unbelievably we reached over 18,000,000 people through the outreach. Hundreds of locals tuned in on their phones and home computers, Praise God it worked, we brought Jesus through peoples roofs to reach the lost and broken in society. Many suicidal and broken people contacted us and I am blessed to tell you we were able to help them all. Many folk invited Christ into their hearts too. To God be the glory.
72 hours later I ‘Resurrected’ from the grave and to my amazement there were many people waiting for me, media too. Trish was waiting for me too, I have never been more happy to see her, thank’s to New Beginnings church and their great team.
Second burial. I was invited to a Church of Ireland called ‘Willowfield Parish Church’ in East Belfast to do a 40 day outreach with the #Gravechat coffin outreach, launching the 40 days. The plan was to be buried for 3 days and then reach folk for another 37 days. This was a brave move by them, I must admit I was a bit reticent about being buried in Protestant ‘East Belfast’. I laughed when one local said that, “there may be some from the area who think their prayers were being answered by burying a Dublin man”. (Catholic connotations etc. although I’m firmly born again) He was of course joking. This was to be evidenced by the friendliness and kindness of the local East Belfast folk, they treated me like one of their own, thank you everyone.
Reverend David Mc Clay and his team, esp John Menagh their evangelist were incredible in how they worked with me and did everything in their power to make me feel both at home and welcome.
Trish of course was by my side again, she headed up the support and technical team in the church, she stayed there for 3 days, sleeping and eating there too, only taking breaks for showers in our friends Liam and Natalie Gordon’s house down the road.
Well we went through the same routine, we suspected we may not get the same publicity as the first burial because the Northern Irish elections were on at the same time as my burial. However I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Ephesians 3v20 says, ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever Amen.’
The morning of the burial was the same morning of the elections in N Ireland, BUT we didn’t’ realise that the media are not allowed to report on the elections on the day, so they needed a story to sell papers and of course who was in town? None other but me and my coffin, well every media outlet arrived for my burial and the story proceeded to go viral all round the world, TV Radio, papers etc went nuts for the story, Live interviews with media outlets in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, China, Russia, Indonesia, All Europe, UK, Ireland and of course Northern Ireland and many many other places. At one time we had over 20 calls coming in every minute, from suicidal, broken, lost and addicted people. It was overwhelming. How many did we reach? Tens of millions, it’s hard to estimate the total number.
We didn’t’ get to preach the Gospel on every interview but when you work with the media like this one has to build relationship with them so they can trust us. When we do that they begin to ask about my encounter with God. One day BBC radio phoned for a live interview to over 15,000,000 people, (Their figure, not mine) they asked me about my encounter with God and I was able to share my complete testimony with them all. This, my friends is the way to do it. Glory to God.
This is the 4th of July, 4 months later and I am still leading folk to Christ as a result of that outreach. In fact I came home last night from a 5 day follow up in the same church and still folk are coming to me in cafes, on the streets etc and asking me for prayer and to invite Christ into their lives. It’s absolutely incredible, such a presence of God and His favour is on us presently. Thank you so much Jesus. Thank you to all the folk who helped make this happen, esp to Trish and of course Josh, our incredible technology man. We could not have done this without him.
Thank you too for all your prayers, good wishes and support in every way. God bless you all.
Posted 10:36 AM | Permalink