“Hey Matt, our church is having Easter Sunday Worship Services and I’d like to invite you and your roommates to come and worship with us.” That was the invitation I made to my new neighbor right after I moved into the first house I ever bought and built in the Spring of 1999. The response I received from my neighbor was, “I appreciate the invite, but I’m not much of a churchgoer or worshiper, so I probably won’t be there.” “No problem” I said, “Just let me know if you change your mind.” As a wry smile came across my lips, I turned to walk back across my front yard.
My immediate, somewhat old-fashioned thoughts were, “If you and all your friends can party all night on the weekends, you can get up and worship on Sunday morning. If you won’t come to church, I’ll just bring it to you.” And that’s what I did at 5:00am on an Easter Sunday morning that year, right outside his bedroom window. While still under the cover of early morning darkness, I cupped my hands and screamed right into his window at the top of my lungs. I shouted multiple times, “He’s Alive! Jesus is alive on an Easter Sunday morning! You better get up off your bed and celebrate the resurrection ‘cause Jesus is alive on an Easter Sunday morning!”
The next year, I included my other neighbor on the other side of my house, as well as my in-laws who were staying with us. The year after that, I purchased a megaphone, got on my bicycle, and rode down the entire street and got everyone on my street. I got a couple of guys from church to film it so we could show it in worship service that morning. And that my friends, is how The He’s Alive Tour began. Since then, over a span of 22 years, the Tour has evolved into something bigger than I ever planned or imagined. I didn’t think my name would become synonymous with those words we shout on the He’s Alive Tour each year. But it’s amazing how many people repeat those words back to me now.
From the beginning, the Tour has simply been about encouraging other believers to get excited about the resurrection of Jesus, to celebrate it well, and to tell others about it and invite the lost to experience this all-surpassing, wonderful power and grace of the resurrected Savior of the world. The resurrection should be celebrated, shouted, and proclaimed! It’s the biggest event in history! I believe it truly deserves tours, megaphones, songs, shouts, celebrations, and tons of humbled gratitude and joy.
In Matthew 10:27, Jesus said, “What I tell you in secret, shout from the rooftops for all to hear!” The megaphone and the Tour are simply metaphors for a rooftop. Not everyone will pick up a megaphone and drive around in the middle of the night, nor should they. But the hope has always been that this Tour would at least inspire people to be willing to engage people in their own environment with the good news that Jesus is Alive! It literally means everything, and it demands to be proclaimed by those who have experienced it! These were the marching orders of Jesus to His Church in Matthew 28, just before He ascended to Heaven.
At about year ten of the Tour, I added an emphasis to it. Added to “fun and crazy to inspire people to shout” would also be “story to inspire people to know that they are not alone and that God can still bring life to the dead places in this world.” Since that time, we’ve woven stories of redemption and life into the Tour. We’ve told stories about people experiencing the pain and loss of death, fighting cancer, or terminal diseases and conditions, fighting addiction, the struggles of life, and many other things. Many tears have been shed, hugs shared, and there has been plenty of laughter and joy along the way.
In the midst of it, some of the people have experienced their own resurrection and passed over into eternal life in Heaven. Some have continued their battle with the demons in their own lives. Many are still a work in progress. But in every single one of them, there is a redemptive lining that far surpasses the ability to put into words. I have driven away at 3am or 4am in the middle of the night on many times with tears in my eyes. I have marveled at how God used years and events to weave each and every story into the fabric of my life and the He’s Alive Tour. There are people that I’ve met and crossed paths with that I truly believe one of the primary reasons my life intersected with theirs was to tell their story on the He’s Alive Tour. There are many whose stories would go largely unnoticed, that God has used this Tour to get that story of redemption to encourage thousands. There was even the year I took my kids on the Tour with me, and in the middle of the night, they were praying over a church member battling terminal cancer. I wouldn’t trade that for any other moment.
And yes, of course, there have been a countless number of laughs, mishaps, craziness, and good times that have been caught on and off camera. We’ve been shot at, lost, broke down, injured, chased by dogs and animals, and hidden from the cops on more than one occasion. There was even the year I fell off a motorized scooter while riding it in a full Batman suit, busted my head wide open, and had a concussion. One trip to the ER and nine stitches later I was leading worship that morning. But in the midst of all that craziness, there is a group of people running around with megaphones shouting, “Jesus is Alive!”, who were dead in their sins, on the respirator of death and darkness, but we were brought back to life by the blood of Jesus. Some may call that madness or stupidity, but I say that if the world can use its drugs to party, the redeemed can pick up a megaphone and party. I’ll take my version any day of the week times three. Those memories and experiences are precious to me.
This Easter, celebrate the Resurrection for more than a tradition. You may not have a literal megaphone, but if you have a voice box in your throat and a little desire in your heart, you have all you need. Step across the street, step across the aisle or the restaurant booth. Send an email, make a post, or send a message. I assure you there are plenty of people with dead places out there who still need to hear that Jesus is alive and He’s still bringing life to the dead places.