A new Web site is offering a first-of-its-kind service: sending e-mails to nonbelieving friends and family who are "left behind" after you are whisked away by God in the rapture.
The site Youvebeenleftbehind.com offers users the ability to store e-mails and documents that will be sent to up to 63 e-mail addresses six days after the rapture has occurred. Users get up to 250 megabytes of storage space, 150 megabytes of it encrypted for sensitive information such as bank account numbers or eTrade passwords that can be accessed by those who remain on earth. Billed as the last chance to "snatch them from the flames," Youvebeenleftbehind.com is the month-old brainchild of Mark Heard, a 49-year-old supermarket shelf-stocker who lives in Cape Cod, Mass. "You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends For Christ," the site reads. "Imagine being in the presence of the Lord and hearing all of heaven rejoice over the salvation of your loved ones. It is our prayer that this site makes it happen." Heard says it's also a way to pass on financial information to loved ones who remain on earth before God's return. "The idea started for me in 1999 when I was… trading equities online and trying to think, 'How I can send my password to my wife if the Rapture happened at this moment?'" he said.
Jeff Vaccaro, a 34-year-old computer programmer in San Diego who runs the Web site Godsurfer.com, which allows users to post and rank Christian-based Web content, signed up for the service when he saw it covered on another news site last week. Although Vaccaro hasn't uploaded any messages just yet, he says that he plans to construct e-mails that give the non-believers in his life a nudge along with Bible passages."I like the idea behind it," said Vaccaro, "It would be one final, 'Hey guys, maybe you need to check this out further …"
My only question is this. The website says that it is run for Christians by Christians...
So... who's gonna hit send?
Last weekend when I was welcoming our guests from the stage I noticed several new faces. I especially took notice of the young couple in the front row. They were dancing wildly and pumping their fists as they looked up at the screen and tried to sing along. After leading the music for the first few songs I asked everyone to shake hands with a few people and I stepped down to meet this couple. You could smell the alcohol on their breath from about three paces.
They were TRASHED.
They said that they really enjoyed "the show" and told me that they were in church for the first time in years. I realized that they were not used to a worship service and this seemed more like a rock show to them. So they were doing what you do at rock shows. You try to sing along as loud as you can, and you grab someone and dance with them. A few people behind them were distracted but for the most part the congregation didn't seem too put off.
The couple seemed nice enough and sat through the message (with bathroom breaks about every 4-5 minutes). They even sent out an "amen" now and then.
At the end of the message when I got up to lead the closing songs they both looked at me with a smile and you could tell that they had had enough of the talking and were looking forward to "the show" again.
As I went through the first chorus of "How He Loves Us" I opened my eyes for a second and could not believe what I was seeing.
There, in the front row, only three seats away from our senior pastor, the young lady was doing a FULL ON LAP DANCE for her (obviously happy) boyfriend!
About two thirds of our congregation were obliviously worshiping, with hands raised and eyes closed, while the remaining third stood staring, mouths agape, in horror at the spectacle in the front row.
After the end of the service I got the chance to meet up with the couple again. They said, "This is a COOL ASS church!!!", and "There's a really great energy here". I thanked them for their kind words and told them that hopefully the energy they felt was the presence of Jesus. They thanked me again and got a ride home from their designated driver.
I've been thinking about that service all week long. When it comes down to it I guess I'm really glad that they felt welcomed. I'm glad that they felt at ease (a bit too much at ease, but you know what I mean). I'm glad that they felt the "good energy". I'm glad that someone from my church cared enough to reach out to this young couple and bring them to a place where they would be loved and accepted just as they were.