Monthly Archives

March 2015

Commentary: What’s the cure for ISIS? I have an idea

By | Commentary, news, urgent prayer needs | No Comments

USA (MNN) — Islamic State is taking lives in the most barbaric ways. Beheading Christians, burning people alive, selling the organs of those they capture, and selling young girls to the highest bidder. Why are they doing this? It’s not because these individuals have offended them, have attacked them, or threatened them. They’re being attacked because members of these terrorist groups want everyone in the world to bow to them and their god.

I’ve heard some pretty outlandish things. First, a U-S State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf  told one news network that the west needs to go after the root causes that leads people to join groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. She says if we could improve the governance of their countries, improve the grievance process, and provide job opportunities that would address the problem.

Following the three day White House Summit on Violent Extremism, President Barak Obama said the world needs to end the cycle of hate by expanding human rights, religious tolerance and peaceful dialogue. He also suggests that Western nations must show that they “welcome people of all faiths,” at a time when “extremists” are saying that Western nations are “hostile to Muslims.

I do believe both of these individuals have a point, but not what you think.

First, let me address Marie Hart’s comments. She’s right, we need to address the root of the problem to fix the ISIS problem. But, the root problem isn’t the lack of jobs, or poverty. If that was the case India would be the home of great bands of terrorists and the homeless in the United States would be nothing more than urban terrorist thugs. The key to getting at the root cause is seeing what is at the heart of this issue — evil hearts.

What do I mean? Man without Christ is evil. As we look at these world events, the only thing that can describe the problem is that it’s utter evil. Where does that come from? A person who is separated from Christ. Satan is the master of using evil to accomplish his purposes.

Secondly, I believe President Obama is correct also, but his assessment is a bit off. I believe we should do more than just bomb the Muslim terrorists and and leave. I think as Christians we have a responsibility to do something for these people. But the first thing we need to do is to tell them about Jesus.

When the Bible says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places,”  we now see what that’s like first hand. We’re seeing people who are blinded by the faith of ‘another gospel.’ We’re seeing people who are searching for truth, only being blinded by the lack of truth taught by a book that’s not God’s spoken Word.

So, what’s the answer? I believe the answer is to start praying for Muslims to see and understand who Jesus is. Many Muslims believe Jesus is a Holy Prophet. Because of that, Christians need to leverage that. If they believe He is holy, why don’t they know more about Him. How will they learn more about Him? By reading the Gospel. How will they read the Gospel if they don’t have access to it.

Today, Muslims can access Scripture in more ways than ever before. They can access it in text on websites in their own language (https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/). It’s also available to people who would rather listen to it (http://www.bible.is/).

What’s the bottom line? Only Christ can change the ISIS problem. Only God can limit the evil man does to each other. Only God changes hearts. Pray earnestly every day that God will do this in the hearts of Islamic State terrorists and others who don’t know they Savior.

 

The MISSION in Missionaries: An Opportunity You May Not Have Considered

By | missions, special reports | One Comment

In an effort to share more “everyday missions” stories, MNN is using social media to connect with fellow Christ-followers and hear what’s on their hearts. Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Rebecca Jefferson, our very first guest blogger.

You can connect with Rebecca and find more of her writings at https://gpluslighthouse.wordpress.com/

(Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr) cc2.0

(Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr) cc2.0

It is easy to think of missionaries and evangelists as “super Christians” who never let anything get them down. However, like any Christian, missionaries experience emotional pain, rejection, health issues, financial shortfalls, spiritual warfare, and of course, their own daily sin with which they have to battle. These life issues are exacerbated by an Enemy who would rather see individuals destroyed than saved from their sins (John 10:9-10), and who will do all in his power to stall the progression of the Gospel message, including trying to eliminate the messenger.

There is an evident need to minister to those who are giving of their time, lives, and families to preach the Gospel. Some missions organizations provide counselors and medical personnel to aid mission workers in the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of their lives while in the field. Others offer housing and pastoral care to furloughed missionaries while they take some much-needed time off for refreshment.

But what about the rest of us, the laypeople? We have the privilege as blood-bought brothers and sisters in Christ of bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). Does not the responsibility of loving and caring for each other depend on us, as the household of faith (Gal. 6:10), since we are all members of Christ’s body? If we don’t inquire about the needs, spiritual and physical, of fellow pilgrims on the narrow road who do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5), how can we help them?

Come alongside a missionary or evangelist and ask them what their needs are. Prayerfully consider supporting them with your money, your time, or both – however God leads you. If there are none in your church you are aware of, pray that God would bring across your path a missionary whom you can bless- and learn from. Oswald Chambers, a missionary himself, wrote, “When you meet a man or woman who puts Jesus Christ first, knit that one to your soul.”2

Woman praying in Cristo buen Viaje Church

Woman praying in Cristo buen Viaje Church

When asked, most missionaries will almost undoubtedly tell you their greatest need is prayer. The apostle Paul repeatedly urged those who received his letters to pray for him (Rom. 15:30-32; Eph. 6:18-20; 2 Thess. 3:1-2, etc.). Mission workers not only need prayer for provision of their physical and financial needs, but also their spiritual needs. They need our prayers, especially when they become deeply discouraged because of Satan’s onslaughts. You can encourage missionaries by asking them what prayer requests they have, and if possible, meeting with them in person for prayer and fellowship.

If you are considering becoming an evangelist (or going into any kind of ministry work), one of the best resources you can lay hold of – next to personal Bible study and prayer – is fellowship with other missionaries. Prepare for a learning curve! Preaching the Gospel and serving people in the name of Jesus is no cakewalk, and you will find it is no easier for those who fall into the category of missionaries or evangelists, as they will tell you. You will discover what a life on mission truly entails and, who knows, maybe even what God is asking of you.

Volunteering with missionaries is another great way to support them and boost their morale. God may provide you with the opportunity to intern for a missions board overseas. But even if you have never gone on an international missions trip, opportunities to share the Gospel abound here in the States. The need for domestic missions is just as urgent as the need for foreign missions, because no matter their income or cultural differences, all people everywhere are in need of the saving Gospel.

Good News Club

A Good News Club introduces children to Christ in Maryland.
(Photo courtesy of Chris Reick)

Domestic missionaries, just like their foreign counterparts, are in need of our prayer and support. One such organization is Open Air Campaigners, a street preaching group which makes it its mission to preach the Gospel in the public square, wherever people gather. Another is Child Evangelism Fellowship, which ministers to children via summer camps, neighborhood clubs, and after-school clubs. See the need in your own backyard and try volunteering for organizations like these on the home front so you can bless missionaries by helping them to reach the lost.

In our haste to get to the “mission field,” we must not bypass the clear and present opportunities God gives us to serve locally. Serving missionaries right where we are is in itself a mission field.

Every Paul needs an Onesiphorus, a Luke, an Epaphroditus. Every Moses needs an Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms (Ex. 17:8-13). Every Jeremiah needs a Baruch (Jer. 36). Why can’t you be the one to stand in the gap, right here, right now?

 

Rebecca Jefferson is a 26-year old volunteer serving the Lord with Open Air Campaigners. She has applied to become a full-time missionary-evangelist with the group, and is currently working through the process. Jefferson is also serving as a part-time administrative assistant for her church, Tree of Life Fellowship in Bowie, MD.