Next year I will turn forty. Aging and all that it brings with it is a surreal experience and I find it hard to figure out how I got here. Yet I find myself thinking much more about the next ten years of life than the previous decade. I wonder what they will bring. What will change? What things will remain? What can I expect to lie on the horizon for me and my precious family? These are where my thoughts drift as I look toward the close of my thirties.
These three words. Over the last several years I have found that if you press the call to frontier missions strongly enough, they almost inevitably come up. A casual presentation of the need for pioneering missionaries will usually draw a round of gentle applause and slight nods of the head in approval. If you go a little further, however, something changes. If the call becomes more direct and invasive, it's only a matter of time..."what about America?"
“David” walked into our prayer meeting one Thursday morning completely unannounced. He came in, sat down, and listened to us sing our hearts out to Jesus in his native language. He sat in the room watching us, unfazed by our broken attempts to sing and pray in his mother tongue. Afterwards David spoke with some of our local friends and began sharing about his Muslim background and his recent crisis of faith in Allah.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Luke 10:1–2
I find that being back in America for this visit has only reminded me that I'm called to the front lines. There's a part of me that feels relaxed and relieved to be back. It's simply not hard to live here. I can feel the ease of living here and, to be honest, I somewhat miss that. There is a relief in being around the steady, simple, and innocent. I know I'm called to the front lines, but it's not easy. I don't realize how much I'm holding my ground, fighting and resisting the enemy every day until I come back to friendly allies and feel the difference.
“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ…I am destined to proclaim the message, unmindful of personal consequences to myself…Preach the gospel, die and be forgotten.” Count Zinzendorf
Israel has long been at the center of international controversy. Her very existence is troublesome to many nations. Hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians have inflamed regional and international tensions. No one has been righteous, yet both sides make divine claims, which amplifies hostility even more. As I travel and preach on the Second Coming, there is often a visible reaction to the inclusion of Israel in the storyline – and the centrality of Israel in the Father’s plans for the return of His Son. Loyalty to God’s plan and heart for Israel is not an easy thing to carry out.
At the culmination of Jesus’ high priestly prayer recorded in John 17, we hear Him expressing His deepest desire to His Father. Jesus’ prayer in this passage was unique because it expressed His knowledge about His pre-incarnate relationship and glory with His Father “before the world was.” This prayer also focused on the manifestation of the glory of the Father and the Son to the world, the glorification of those who were believers in Christ, and Jesus’ deep desire to dwell with His people forever.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
Spiritual conversation with a Muslim is a difficult challenge for the follower of Jesus. Seldom within a Western believer’s daily life are there opportunities provided to discover if the gap between what he believes and what he knows has truly been breached and fortified. Yet in speaking with even a lackadaisical Muslim concerning the truth about Jesus Christ, every brace the believer leans upon is mocked, challenged, and assaulted.