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Altar Calls

Updated: May 14

Reading Joshua 24:14-25 makes me reflect on altar calls that are made after sermons in some churches.

What was intriguing in Joshua’s final sermon was how the Israelites responded with their unwavering commitment to serving the Lord, the God of their forefathers.

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”


21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”


If Joshua was speaking in a church auditorium, I could almost imagine that every hand would be raised, and everyone would inch their way forward to jam-pack themselves in front of the pulpit, responding to the call to serve the Lord.

This was despite Joshua's unconventional approach, almost discouraging them with his words. (Joshua 24:19-20)

The aftermath of the altar call was recorded in Judges 2:7 as follows:

“The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.”


In this season of my life, I am privileged to come up close and personal with many modern-day Joshuas who have responded to the altar call to serve in cross-cultural missions, both in the field and the sending base. Due to the nature of the work, many of these Joshuas remain anonymous, under the radar, hidden, and invisible. They neither have websites nor social media accounts to feature their ministries. Yet, they and their respective households are serving the Lord quietly, faithfully, patiently, and often in challenging locations.


Reading Joshua 24 reminds me of many of them. As I recall their lives, ministries, sacrifices, passion for God, and love for the unreached, it's like an altar call for me to respond to, and I shall declare:

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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