Thursday, October 22, 2009

Persecution: Not Just "Over There"

We who read Christian-oriented news find that there is a lot of persecution in this world, especially in some Muslim-dominated countries.

But it is not just "over there." The western hemisphere suffers from this kind of persecution, as well. Just last week a Colombian pastor was killed, brutally murdered for preaching the gospel. The terrorist group, which some would try to call a legitimate voice in Colombia, feared the freedom that the gospel brings. It's not surprising. The gospel is liberating. It frees men from the tyranny of godless rulers, especially because Christ's kingdom is not of this world.

We should not be surprised when we read of such things. Paul told Timothy that those who choose to live godly in Christ Jesus would suffer persecution. You can have a form of godliness, you see; Muslims do, as do Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, and a long list of others. They will even tolerate you if you are a nominal, compromising Christian. But you will not be tolerated if you live godly in Christ Jesus, for it is He that makes the difference. Dare I say it? Jesus is the X-factor. Add him to the equation and it upsets the balance of things in the minds of those who follow the prince of this world.

The day is now upon us in the west when we will pay a price for our commitment to Jesus Christ. It will seldom be televised or reported. After all, we're just Christians; we are dispensable in the world's eyes. But it will be recorded and noted by the Lord. And those who suffer for Christ's sake should rejoice (see the Sermon on the Mount, as well as Acts 5). They have been given a special honor when it happens for Christ. Rejoice and pray. And remember: they persecute us because they hate Jesus.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The weekend was everything we had hoped for, and then some. While the world continued to debate all those issues that seem important to it, more than 45 of us gathered together in a small retreat center, where we concentrated on the true things that matter: things like lostness, salvation, ways to get the message out. Those things occupied our minds.

Now that is not unusual. In our line of work, it is our passion. We think on these things almost daily. What made it unusual were the 45 who sat there. They ranged from age 18 to 70. These were women and men from different parts of the country. Almost all were poor; they barely had enough to pay the small registration fee for this retreat. Yet, each one sat there trying to figure out exactly how to get from here in South America to the farthermost parts of the world.

Yes, these very poor men and women are men and women who feel a strong need to be involved in foreign missions. Some feel the call to go, others just feel the need to be mobilizers. All agreed, however, that now is the time that South Americans rise up and take the baton that we are passing on to them, and heading out with the greatest message ever told to any man.

The significance of the weekend is seen in the approximately 25 who surrendered to go, no matter what. They are ready and willing. Now, if we can only find ways to send them....

It was truly, wonderfully indescribable. It was a God thing. It is a new day for this fledgling evangelical work in Peru.