Thursday, May 14, 2009

what did you do with the peace?

Two pastors from Kenya are visiting our church, and last night they spoke about their ministry. The work they are doing is inspirational—and the lengths they will go to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ is simply amazing.

They spoke about being stoned because they believed in Christ. They showed a video of 5,000 people attacking their church, injuring many. They spoke of gun shots. Wives being kicked out of their homes because they had faith in Jesus. Brothers hunting down brothers who converted to Christianity. Having no rights, no protection. They talked about persecution and suffering.

And above all – the great joy in which they served the Lord.

Toward the end of the evening, pastor Guerim read from the book of Acts.

In many ways, members of the early church were like these pastors from Africa. Persecuted. Attacked. Hunted. Here in America, they noted, we have peace. Here in America, these two pastors do not wake up and pray for protection, as they have every day for years. They are safe. A time of peace. And so he read Acts 9:31.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
When the early church enjoyed a time of peace, Guerim noted, they did not sit by idly, content to worship the Lord. They were strengthened. They were encouraged. And they used this time to do amazing things—to grow in numbers.

When the time comes and we face the Lord on judgment day, Pastor Guerim believes Americans will be asked a question unlike the questions asked of he and his African brothers.

We will be asked – what did you do with the peace?


NC Sue said...

Unfortunately, so often we sit on our laurels in times of peace. It should shake us out of our complacency if we really believe the words of Luke 12:47-49 - "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!

Kansas Bob said...

Nice thoughts Ed! A great reminder that the spiritual war that we all fight manifests itself more physically in other parts of the world. I think that it is a mistake to think that we are at peace because our battle is unlike those facing horrendous persecution overseas. This kind of thinking causes us to lapse into the spiritual stupor and not do anything. I think that we are at war and we need to be on guard watching and praying.. and acting.

Hope that didn't come across disrespectful to the Kenyan pastors.. I so appreciate folks like them who represent the kingdom so magnificently.

Ed G. said...

Thank you for your comment Sue. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked"... thanks for adding this... it reinforces how everyone needs to rise to the challenge.

Bob - you are so right (and Pastor Guerim would agree) there is so much to be done -- and I think we have freedoms in the US that present us with opportunities to be bold and courageous, but some (like me often) are often unwilling to pay the price.

NoVA Dad said...

Ed, what a great post, and I wholeheartedly agree with your thought about the parallels between these ministers and the early church. As I was reading, all I could think of were the early church leaders like Paul, Peter and Stephen (among many others) who faced persecution and imprisonment and stoning. I wonder how they would have answered the question posed at the very end, particularly since they knew no peace in their own lives (aside from the peace they derived from the one they were following).