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Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.

September 28, 2006

This morning I received an email from a guy with whom I went to seminary and did campus ministry in 1991.  Here’s what he wrote: 

Angry thugs provide opportunity for us to increase reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12)

Last week our street witnessing team decided to do some open-air preaching using a sketchboard in one of the busy harbor areas of Istanbul (something we’ve done several times before around Istanbul and also in the capital city, Ankara). After I had finished preaching about the greatest love story of all—God’s love for us through the Messiah—an angry bearded man began arguing with me, claiming the real Messiah was not Jesus, but King David (something I’d never heard before, even from Muslims!). Then another man came up and started speaking very angrily with me, and suddenly hit me on the chin as hard as he could.

This set in motion a chain of events that left most of our team (4 foreigners from 3 different sending agencies, 1 Turkish believer, and 1 Turkish seeker) with bruises (one brother got a slight cut on his leg). Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, but we did report the incident to the police, who had our wounds checked at a nearby hospital.

We can gladly report that all of us involved are rejoicing, and planning to continue our outreach activities.  We believe there were some in the crowd who—unlike the thugs—were genuinely interested in what we were saying, and that some of this “seed” we sowed fell on “good ground” (Luke 8:4-16).

<end quote>

Now, how does that make you feel?  Do you feel more intimidated to preach the gospel?  I betcha don’t.  I’ll bet you feel more inspired to risk some discomfort for the sake of the gospel.  It’s a glorious paradox, but that’s the way it works.  Paul wrote in Philippians 1:14,

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

The principle is this: Hearing reports of others joyful and confident suffering for Christ emboldens our witness.  This is one more reason to keep news of the persecuted church before us. 

So we probably won’t do any open-air preaching, but how could we be a little bolder?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Egana permalink
    September 28, 2006 12:41 pm

    I can certainly be bolder in my encouragement of others… not letting oportunities for doing good slip through my too-busy fingers.

    Something you said at the Leaders Meeting has really stuck with me: am I too busy with my life and my “ministries” to serve my neighbors in the name of Jesus.

    so I have been trying to be more diligent to get my work done in an organized, timely fashion, to give me more time to take advantage of ideas and opportunities for blessing others in the name of Jesus.

    Another thing I can do is offer to pray for my unbelieving friends when they share their struggles. I normally do this for my brothers and sister in Christ, but I rarely offer for my unbelieving friends and neighbors. What blessings might God have in store for them through my prayers?

    I share “the gospel;” all the time with my 3 little disciples. David currently thinks God takes his sin away when he asks Him to forgive him. But then, he also thinks that God took his (David’s) good choices away and gave them to Jesus, who then took them to McDonalds. lots of opportunity for the gospel truth here, folks! *grin*

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