Sep 19 2018
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
The church is here!
In April of 2015, I sent out a GHPL titled, “The Syrians are here.” Here is an excerpt:
“The Globe and Mail reported Jan 7, 2015 that Canada will be accepting another 10,000 Syrian refugees over three years and 3000 Iraqis in 2015. I read many of the 546 comments responding to the story, almost all of which were vehemently opposed to bringing Syrian Muslims to Canada.
“Last Saturday, I met with Christians from five congregations to plan, under the auspices of Mennonite Central Committee, how to work with Islamic Family Social Services Association to welcome, acculturate and assimilate 150 Muslim Syrian refugees who have blood relatives living in Edmonton. Who’s on the right track - the Globe’s commentators or the church?”
Note the numbers. Today, a low estimate is that 2800 Syrians live in Edmonton. Christian workers among Muslims report that Syrian Muslim families from BC, Saskatchewan and the rest of Alberta are moving to Edmonton – not because of our struggling economy or our long winters – but because we have an Islamic school, at one time the largest in North America. (Edmonton is also the site of Canada’s first mosque.)
These new immigrant families have fears we can empathize with: that their children will be marginalized in Canadian society, radicalized by Islamists in their own communities or corrupted by our Western culture. Infrastructure (schools and mosques) that draws the community together provides much desired security, concentrates resources and strengthens the community.
And what about the church? Individual churches have been very active in sponsoring refugees and doing a great job settling them. Ministries are working within this population, especially providing settlement services and hospitality. The church’s response is small and scattered compared to the need and opportunity.
What is happening with new immigrants in your city? Is the local church reaching them? The city church must come together as one to meet this challenge.
Pray for the church in your city and throughout Canada as Jesus prayed, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (Jn 17:21; also see Eph 4:3-6)…
- To be one in prayer to the degree that the Holy Spirit is manifestly present and empowers the church to witness to Jesus Christ who died and rose again, an atoning sacrifice for human sin (Ac 2:1 ff NKJV)
- To be one in sharing the resources heaven has provided as common wealth to bless each other and reach the lost (Ac 2:42-47, 1 Co 12:7)
- To be one as Christ’s ekklesia* on earth (Gen 1:28, Mt 16:18-19) to bless and not to curse, to declare God’s word, and to carry out the ministry of reconciliation with God (2 Co 5:18-21)
* Ekklesia is the Greek word Jesus used intentionally in Matthew 16:18 – “I will build My ekklesia and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” – meaning an assembly of citizens for the purpose of governing.
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