Los Angeles, California
| Is Your Salt Still Good? Was It Ever Good? Are You Riding Behind Religion or Walking by Faith?|
I was going to add this article to the WARNING -WILL YOU HAVE BLOODY HANDS!!! thread because I think they go together or that this relates some of what I was trying to relate with that warning. I decided to post it as a new thread, but if you remember the BLOODY HANDS thread think about that as you read this article.
Riding Behind Religion or Walking by Faith?
By Tom White
On one of my trips to Pakistan, I was privileged to sit on the floor with about 30 Pakistani pastors and lay evangelists. I brought encouragement from American Christians and from Christians in hostile nations who walk the same path as theirs. Outside, after the meeting, an elderly gentleman approached me and offered his hand. The yard was dusty. It was hot. I remember the dust and flies on his dark blue jacket. As we talked, he would take a handkerchief and wipe the sweat off his forehead. Quietly, almost apologetically, he shared: Every morning I get on a bus in our city. As the bus begins to move, I walk down the aisle and hand out gospel tracts. These have the simple message of Jesus our Savior, who He is, why He came. People sitting on the bus have nothing to do. Many read them. Sometimes the Muslim men beat me. Usually by then I have finished my outreach, and I am near the back door. They do me the great favor of throwing me out the door. I might bleed, but I have a handkerchief. So I find another bus and begin again.
I prayed with him and was encouraged that he didnt want a silent ride through life.
Here at home I can easily sit on my couch and design reasons why this man might be evangelizing the wrong way at the wrong time. My intellectual ride might help to relieve me of my responsibility to pray for, support, and walk with Pakistani Christians and others who are persecuted. But, the fact is, this gospel tract will probably be the only message of Jesus these curious Pakistanis will ever have in their lifetime. The persecuted church lives in countries that have a tiny percentage of Christians and have a government or society that opposes evangelization. These courageous ones who risk their faith do not have to evangelize. They choose to witness.
I recently attended our international staff conference for the Far East Region where our workers across the area shared how they have chosen to witness. Our Malaysian contact sitting beside me took the microphone: In Malaysia, Christian denominations will not give you a license to preach if you intend to reach out to Muslims. I was rejected by my own church board when I told them of my intention. They told me: This will cause problems for us. You can work with the Chinese or with the Tamils, but not with the ethnic Malaysians. They are Muslims. How can I ignore 60 percent of my people simply because there is a risk? Many Christians in my country want a crown but not a cross.
We approved funding for this brother to print Christian materials and continue to work with the underground converts there. (Some official churches around the world may privately find ways to evangelize.)
Across the table our sister from China stood up. She works with the Hmong, a tribe of 13 million in China and Southeast Asia. The Hmong people, like the Jews, have suffered centuries of oppression, death, running from country to country. This sister understands oppression. She had to flee with her baby across a river as the communists were killing the Hmong, hunting them like rabbits. Now she goes back to establish contacts and spread the gospel. Her people are one of the most persecuted yet fastest growing Christian groups in Asia. We approved the printing of many thousands of Hmong Bibles and childrens picture Bibles and approved funds for Hmong evangelists.
Our Indonesian contact sitting to my left took the microphone. He represented the fourth most populous nation in the world, a Muslim nation of over 13,000 islands: In Poso, 19 of 21 churches have been destroyed. The only two left are next to military bases. The government promised to protect Christians, but they are withdrawing troops. Ten thousand (mostly Christians) have been killed the last three years in Poso and the Malukus. We discussed our current Life Pack inventory. Our warehouse on one of the islands prepares Life Packs (survival kits, tools, cooking pots and literature).
Our contact from Bangladesh joyfully reported: Five hundred and eight baptisms of Muslim converts in the first five months of 2002, in spite of the rape of six mothers and 21 daughters for converting to Christ. The Muslims dismantle the new Christians houses, stealing their tin roofs. We discussed the purchase of tin roofs and were joyful to learn that our contacts have become the largest distributors of Bibles in Bangladesh.
A friend once said to me, If we Christians do not go out into the darkness, into the hostile
, then we are doomed to feed upon each other, attack each other, or simply become so agreeable to all religions that we are worthless and thrown out as salt without savor.
This friend did not ride behind religion. He openly walked out his faith. I was standing 10 feet from this evangelist when Chinese police surrounded him and walked him away. Wherever he is, his salt is still good, and he is walking by faith.
Is your salt still good? Was it ever good?
This man is probably bloody, (from the beatings and torture he received) but in the eyes of God will his hands be bloody? How about your hands??????????
| 2005/9/21 23:58||Profile|
| Re: Is Your Salt Still Good? Was It Ever Good? Are You Riding Behind Religion or Walk|
We may not be in the Asian theatre of sharing our faith.
Give it time, we will have our opportunity if the Lord tarries, right here in North America.
| 2005/9/22 20:34||Profile|
North West England
I heard a while ago that salt is one of the most stable compounds, it is salt no matter what you mix it with, so how can it lose it's saltiness? the main way is to water it down, the more water you add the less you can taste the salt. The church is so dilute at the moment it's no wonder they think effective evangilism is to invite someone over for a free coffee. Like our dear brothers and sisters in these poorer countries, we need to start taking up our crosses and accepting a beating (verbally or phisically) for the message we have and should be giving to those around us lost in their sin.
There is so much blood on our hands, we have the Gospel of Christ but are too compalcent to share it even to our work mates and families. We need to wake up and trim our lamps before the Bridegroom comes and locks us out of the kingdom forever.
Jam 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.
In fact the whole chapter is apt.
| 2005/9/22 20:57||Profile|
Although I feel the JOY of the Lord, I'm not trying to be "funny" here ... but Ste's post made me think, (as one who 'cooks'), that if, what you are cooking, turns out too salty, just add a potato.
Then I thought of Ste's word, "complacent", and thought, yes, "Couch potatoes".
Lord, I pray we make YOU the CENTER of all we hope for and think of and move for.
"The night cometh when no man can work", so I think The Lord is trying to get our attention to pick up the zeal and speed of action here of late.
Thank you Patrick, Hans and Ste
| 2005/9/22 21:20|