It’s hard to give a defense for the faith that is within you if you can’t give up the things of the world in order to follow Christ. We show the world how we love Jesus a lot more by how we act and prioritize our life than what we say to them in words. If we do not value the things of God then as the example of the Northern Kingdom shows us the Lord will take them away from us, and then where will we be? Our idols can never give what we lose in not having the fulness of Christ in our being and in our soul.
Jet lag is a thing, but I seem to be handling it well and without much trouble. I was a little bit on the struggle bus yesterday for morning and evening worship along with Sabbath School. However, the Spirit was faithful to give me strength and lead me through it all. It helped that we had a luncheon that fueled me with all the great food I may have missed while in Namibia. Bethany folks can cook like no one’s business and the fact that I was honored to receive so many cards and well-wishes for pastor’s appreciation it made it easy to serve. I am truly a blessed man.
Of the many lessons I learned while at the International Conference of Reformed Churches is that the world is at the same time a lot smaller than I once thought and also a lot bigger at the same time. What I mean by that is when I had the opportunity to speak to folks in the local churches in Windhoek they spoke of similar issues (materialism, globalism, busyness, etc…) that our church back in Clover deals with. There truly is nothing new under the sun. Yet, on the other hand the stories I heard from brothers in India, Indonesia, and Northern Ireland reminded me that while we have issues in the United States they pale in comparison to what our brothers and sisters face in Europe, Africa, and Asia. We are truly privileged to experience what little persecution we undergo in North America. That is not to downplay the real troubles we have on the horizon, but we are not quite in the same ballpark as some of our other brothers. In our prayer and worship help today I want to talk a little bit about what we can learn from how they are handling these troubles for when the piper comes calling on our shores.
As I sat and conversated with brothers from South Sudan as an example a thing that one of the men chuckled in jest as he said it was that they have no chaff in their churches. What he meant by that was that in a cultural situation where being named a follower of Christ has fatal consequences in some cases no one is going to pretend to be a believer. He wasn’t communicating that his local congregation was made up of only the elect, but that serious believers made up the totality of the membership.