Singing the same songs, hearing the same prayers, the same message, the same Bible verses - I embraced it all with enthusiasm, a prayer of thankfulness and absolute joy.
It may seem like a small "happening" to be writing about, but today, after finishing the book - THE INSANITY OF GOD - by Nik Ripken - I felt the conviction to put this "happening" on up on pillar, honor the day with excitement and be thankful for the freedoms we have in being able to worship together. Then I looked at how we take for granted these freedoms that we have. Just the opportunity to worship, much less to openly baptize, share our faith and give Bibles away are just some of the experiences that many cannot now, nor ever will be able to openly participate in.
At the end of his book, Nik, told a story, a story that brought tears to my eyes. Tears of shame really, the shame that comes from realizing being so blessed can actually weaken your ability to fully share your faith with others...the story, in part, describes Nik's discussion with several Chinese believers. :The Chinese have "house churches" - they have few Bibles and at times tear pages from the Bibles to share so they can memorize the page and then come together to share it. They don't have hymnals, they learn the songs and at time only mouth the words together with no sound so as not to be heard by officials. The rural house church movement was so sheltered and so isolated that some of their leaders asked Nik whether or not word of Jesus had gotten beyond China yet??????"
After reading that I was astounded, I just sat and cried as Nik then described "how the Chinese believers reacted to when they learned there were hundreds of millions of fellow believers around the world, Nik told them that there were believers in almost every country on earth. When the Chinese heard this news, they broke into applause and they shouted in praise." Nik went on to explain "how many congregations were in America, again the house church leaders actually cheered and wept with joy in celebration of the grace that God had bestowed on their American brothers and sisters." Then the leaders started asking questions...like "Did we have Bibles in America?" "Where did the pastors get their training?" after attempting to describe for them the practice of Christianity in the culture of America they marveled for awhile at the answers then...and then...the mood slowly started to shift...Nik noticed that they began to cry, but they were not tears of joy...then came this question from one of the leaders..."We are just wondering: why is it that God loves you believers in America so much that He blesses you more than He does us? Why would God do so many amazing things for you?"
What a stab in the heart....What have we done to deserve the many, many blessings we have because we live here in America. Of course we don't deserve any of it. But we have a God who loves us, A God who expects obedience, A God who expects prayer, A God who expects us to care for the poor and A God who expects us to share Him with others. We are all called to witness, but in different ways. Your participation in missions may be to pray, it may be to write, it may be to sponsor and it may be to GO.
However God decides to use you, allow Him to use you and your children! Teach them from a young age what it is to witness, what it is to share the love of Christ with others in how they carry themselves, what it is to have a missionary family that you pray for on a regular basis. Introduce your children to a special missionary family or person that you post a picture of and write letters to and follow so their prayers are real for them.
Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation."