.....sad stories :(
One manipulative gimmick I really hated was the one where the flaming Evangelist gives a progressive altar call to get everybody who knows they have any sort of relationship to God to stand up at the end of the meeting... lots of silly twists to this.... but the object is to have the only ones left seated those few people who have been dragged to the meetings by family or friends in order to get them saved! You could be the only one left seated when the last appeal goes out for those who would like to make their peace with God tonight!
Then....of course..... we also already know that the only way to get people to know God is to drag them off to a meeting... so let's get busy out there in the highways and byways and invite people to church..... what's wrong with "over to dinner" or some other social thing where we can be who we are and live a normal life before folks.....God forbid you go to a ballgame or a golf course or some sinful movie!.........we have fallen so far short of what Jesus intended. It just so happens that Jesus met with the publicans and sinners on their turf....not in the Synagogue.
Jesus didn't have one religious bone in His body. The religious people hated Him! The religious people finally put Him to death. He didn't bring people to religious meetings to get them to know the Father. He said back then that He was the way to get to know the Father. Today He is still the only way to get to know the Father and most times until people touch Jesus living in us in some way, they probably aren't going to be terribly interested in meeting the Father anyway!
But this much I know..... Father loves us so much He sent His son to die just so we can get to know Him. Once you meet Him, everything changes. Not in some meeting....or silly, manipulative altar call or agreement with a set of doctrines or joining some particular church.....we find Him as we seek Him.....as we knock....as we ask..... just tell Him you want to know Him.... you'll be amazed by the things that happen as He continues to draw you to Himself. He wants us, even when we don't want Him. Ask me how I know that!