Apr 26 2017
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!
Open our mouths
I attended the Legacy Conference in Edmonton last weekend. I’d be surprised if one could find better teaching anywhere, by anyone more qualified to teach than the likes of Georges Houssney, Andre Houssney, Joy Loewen and Amani Mostafa. Considering what was on offer, attendance was disappointing.
Much during the conference impacted me, but a statement made during a discussion of next steps in ministry provided a severe reality check. A panelist said that we should take a step back and “teach the church to talk about God”! Later she described to me a picture of the church with its mouth stitched shut.
Later in the weekend, a Syrian Arab evangelist reminded us of the near extinction of the church in the Middle East and exhorted us that the North American church will be defeated in a decade or two if we don’t reach out to our neighbors and talk about Jesus. She described the church as apathetic and slumbering and warned, “We need to take the Gospel to the lost or we will be lost ourselves.”
When I lived in Tanzania for two years and discovered Tanzanians were generally eager to talk about God, I realized I had been trained by my Canadian culture to be silent about matters of faith. I was the person whose mouth had been stitched shut after the initial euphoria of discovering Jesus.
Since when is the church of Jesus Christ supposed to conform to culture?
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Ro 10:14-17).
Pray for yourself from Ephesians 6:19 “…that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel…that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak”.
Pray the same for your congregation and the church in Canada.
The prophet Jeremiah had judgment and catastrophe to proclaim to the Jews, but he was compelled to proclaim it. How much more should we proclaim the good news: “If I say, ‘I will not mention Him, or speak any more in His name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jer 20:9)! Ask God to turn up the heat in us so that the good news overflows in proclamation, propelled by love, which never fails!
Acts 8:26-39 records an exchange of questions between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (v 35). Because Philip opened his mouth, the nation of Ethiopia became Christian. Pray that so many of us in Canada would open our mouths and use scripture to tell Muslims the good news about Jesus that the “nation” of Islam would become Christian. Amen!
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