This morning we visited Christian Challenge. Once again, I loved that the kids worshiped with us. Everyone was so helpful and kind. The kids LOVED their classes. Good stuff all around. I’d go into a big play-by-play about every blessing we found in the church this morning, but I want to get into something very important. The message.
The message this morning was very moving, disturbing and powerful. Rodney and I spent a good part of the morning talking about it and I want to share some of it with you. I won’t even attempt to re-teach what was given to us this morning, but rather to give a very brief overview and share our hearts on the subject.
This morning, we learned of persecuted Christians in the world today. Yeah, yeah, we all know there’s persecution to the body of Christ. But that was back during the Inquisition, or during the Dark Ages right? Or it’s going on in a small scale way in those backwoods, third world countries right? Ummmm, no. The following statistics shocked us into awareness.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…….
1. There are approximately 70 million Christian martyrs?
2. OVER 65% OF THESE ARE FROM THE LAST 100 YEARS?!?!?!!?
3. There are an estimated 160,000 martyrs per year?
I grew up reading about Christian martyrs. Having attended a Christian school, it was required reading. But I always saw it in the context of past events. To think of the horrific ways my fellow Christians are being tortured and killed today, even living in fear, is just heartbreaking. Burned alive in their homes with their families, killed execution style, beaten to death, hung, so much more than I can imagine.
And yet, these faithful refuse to denounce Christ. They stand firm, even when facing certain death…..even when their families’ lives are in the balance. That’s how certain they are in Christ. Though I hope to never become a martyr…oh to have faith like that!
The question was asked, “What can I do?” Well, according to the sermon, we can do four things…..
1. PRAY. Pray from the deepest parts of our hearts. Pray for them. Pray diligently and often. Just pray.
2. Give – there are certain organizations that work to spread the word about the persecuted church and help in any way they can. Try http://www.opendoorsusa.org and http://www.persecution.com . Sorry, my links are working for some reason today, so you’ll have to copy/paste to go to those sites.
3. Get involved ….did you know you can write letters directly to imprisoned Christians worldwide? Try http://www.prisoneralert.com . Also go to http://www.biblesunbound.com to help with Bible distribution for those who are desperate for the Word.
4. Remember – Think of them often. Put a sticky note up on your icebox, write it on your prayer list, talk about them as you have your morning coffee. Keep them always in your mind. Just don’t forget that they need you to remember them and pray for them. At church, we were given a few links of chains to remind us of those in chains. That’s now attatched to our key rings as a constant reminder.
Our family is praying specifically for two families that the pastor mentioned this morning. These families happen to be his friends, so it really made the message hit home hard. You see, the pastor is my friend as well. It could just as easily be ME or my family that was being persecuted or living in fear. So we are praying diligently for Thomas Rai, Babar Ditta and their families. Along with praying for these families, we are also praying for the many Christians living under persecution right now all over the world. And we know that the Lord hears our prayers.
Nathan, I’m sorry. I said I wasn’t going to re-teach your message, but I did use your notes to share. I didn’t think you’d mind. 🙂
Please, my friends, pray for those Christians who are suffering for our shared faith today. It could very easily be you and me tomorrow who needs those prayers. If we won’t pray today for them, who will pray for us when it’s our turn?