Over the last week and a half, it was great to get away for a break. As many of you know, one of the things we love to do as a family is to go camping. We find a place that is quiet, we pitch our tents, set up our gear and then stay there for as long as we can. It gives us time to relax, cook over an open fire, go bush walking and generally sit around reading books. Danielle and I spent most of our honeymoon camping and over the last 20 years it has been a regular feature of our family holiday times.
This last break I got to read a few books that have been on my “to read” list for a while. One of the books I read was on the plight of the Christian church in Muslim countries and in particular the plight that converts from Islam to Christianity often face. The book is written in a way to give anonymity to the real people but there are certainly real events that are spoken about. As I read I was struck by a number of things but let me share just a few of them with you.
First of all, it is exciting to see God working in the lives of people who have been brought up Muslim but who have since become followers of Jesus Christ. To turn to follow Jesus in many countries is a VERY big step. It almost always will result in being shunned by your family. It often results in being beaten by family and it even results in being killed by your family. It impacts their ability to marry, it impacts their ability to get a job, it impacts their ability to pursue a career, it impacts their education prospects, it impacts their ability to even live near family or to live in one spot for a long time.
In fact there was no area of their lives that was not impacted by the decision to follow Jesus and yet this is exactly how it should be for us as well. Sure, there might be different ways we are impacted but our desire to follow Jesus should impact every area of our lives. It is a good thing for us to seriously reflect on – how seriously do we take our relationship with God? Do we allow it to impact every area of our lives?
Another thing that struck me from reading this book is how a right perspective of the eternity ahead that Christ has won for us should make us more committed to sharing the gospel with others. Are we seeking opportunities to talk to people about Jesus, are we praying for opportunities? As a pastor, I often feel that too little of my time is spent seeking out people to speak to them about Jesus. What about you? How might we change this? Please come and speak to me about your thoughts.
I wonder if my fear of rejection is what leads me to have these wrong priorities? What hinders you in sharing the gospel? How can you be better encouraged or equipped to do this in the future? One way I want to encourage you to speak to people about Jesus is to ask people if they would like to read the Bible with you on a weekly basis. Read a chapter at a time and then spend some time talking about it – if you want know more about this, speak to me.
In Australia, there is an ever increasing number of people who do not follow Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and yet they follow other religions or describe themselves as non religious. Are we praying about and planning how we might share the love of Jesus with them so we might be able to speak to them about the gospel?
By the way, the book I read is called “Secret Believers” by Brother Andrew and I would recommend you buy a copy and read it.