Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Relentless Shepherd (October 2014 Newsletter)

“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” –Luke 15:4

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?” -Luke 15:8

“Go and make disciples . . .” -Mathew 28:19

Much of my job involves pursuing people, searching for persons of peace, and seeking those who are lost, broken, desperate, and ready to receive the Lord and Savior. Jesus did not tell the lost to come to us, but He commanded us to go to the lost with the Good News of the Kingdom. We have been sent to seek what Jesus seeks, to pursue what Jesus pursues: a lost and dying world which He purchased with His blood.
The world often rejects the message, turns their back on the savior, and denies Jesus’ Lordship over their lives. They are rebellious and disobedient. They do not wish to have a king to rule over them (Luke 19:14). Jesus warned His disciples that they would be rejected, encouraging them, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Luke 10:16). We are all tempted to give up on people, especially those who reject us again and again, but Jesus reminds us that they are rejecting Him. And though we may grow tired, He never does. Though we may have to move on, God is still working.

I remember being lost and running from God as a freshman in college. God’s pursued me relentlessly. I rejected Him again and again, but the Good Shepherd never stopped searching for the lost sheep. He went after the lost one, until He found me. I think about how overwhelming it can be to try to follow up on all the conversations I’ve had with people about Jesus, but then I think about how God valued and treasured me so much that he swept through the world until he found me. Like the woman who lost her coin He sought me diligently until He found me ready to receive His Lordship and His love.

The Father had a specific purpose in sending Jesus into the world: to seek and to save that which was lost. All of humanity was lost in sin and rejected Him over and over, but He pursued us as sons and daughters. Jesus commissioned us saying, “As the Father sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21). God calls us to persevere in the pursuit of the lost. Love is patient. Paul lists “patient” as the first thing love is. In another translation it states, “Love suffers long” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Paul ends his list with “Love never fails.”

As I pursue people of peace, I am reminded that love is patient with people, willing to be rejected again, willing to share one more time, willing to wait and willing to listen. I am reminded that love is guaranteed success. Paul exhorts the Galatians “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal 6:9). We will succeed if we don’t give up. He also writes, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, he will also reap” (Gal 6:7). We must not allow the enemy to discourage us or deceive us into thinking we will fail. We have to reap what we sow. If we faithfully sow the gospel, we have to reap a harvest. I am in a season of great encouragement as I see believers from a Muslim background sharing their faith and growing in Christ, and watching disciples beginning to multiply, but I know that today is still the day to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. Greater work is ahead, and the best is yet to come. “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” 2 Chronicles 15:7.

This month I was meeting with a Muslim family to teach English using stories that show God’s plan of redemption from Creation to Christ. I was nearly asked to leave because Genesis says that God made man to be similar to himself (in His own image). Because I was asked not to teach from the Bible anymore, the next day I planned to give a full Creation to Christ overview culminating with a command to make Jesus Lord. If I was going to be kicked out of their house, I wanted it to be for the full gospel presentation, which I had presented once before when I met them and told them my testimony.

I was praying the night before that God would give the head of the household a dream. When I came over I asked him if he had a dream the previous night. He said that he had. I asked him what happened in the dream, but he either couldn't tell me because of limited English or was unwilling. I still don't know what he dreamed, but I trust it was the Lord working to connect with the Gospel.

In spite of asking to not hear another story from the Bible, we went over the story of Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden. I had him read it in his language. We talked about it. He liked the story, and in spite of believing that God making people to be similar to Himself was blasphemous, he has always been interested in the stories. I showed him a gospel video about Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin in his language.
He wants to hear more stories. I was not kicked out of their house, and we've dealt with most of the major objections. We serve a prayer answering God!

Read the rest of the October 2014 Newsletter

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