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Updated: 48 min 5 sec ago

God Raising up North Africans | World News Briefs

  1. ALGERIA: 1,000 Muslim-Background Missionaries
  2. UK: Iranian Christian Denied Asylum Because “Christianity Isn’t a Peaceful Religion”
  3. TURKEY: Youth Declares Faith to Fiercely Resistant Family
  4. NIGERIA: Christian Clergy Caught in Wave of Kidnappings
  5. SOUTH ASIA: Monks Turn to Christ


In addition to today’s news brief stories, I’d like to share three items you may find useful for engaging conversations.

  1. Justin Long identifies five big states or provinces that 625 million call home… including more than 10% of the world’s non-Christians, and about a quarter of the world’s unevangelized population. “This makes these five provinces worthy of significant strategic focus. Change any one of these provinces, and world Christianity and world mission will be forever altered. But the cost of doing so will likely be very high.” Can you guess what places made The Big 5?
  2. Check out the informative and interactive site, How the World Votes (Al Jazeera). Pray for countries with big elections this year.
  3. Finally, take a quiz on Hinduism (Marge Network). I only got three of the seven questions right! See if you can beat me.

Happy spring!

ALGERIA: 1,000 Muslim-Background Missionaries

Algerians for Missions aims to send out 1,000 Algerian mission workers by 2025. The training center mentioned in this video opened in December 2017. See related story below about how God is using this ministry (Operation Mobilization).

Source: Operation Mobilization, March 22, 2019

“I’m so excited that God is working mightily in Algeria. You might have heard about the revival; you might have heard about people becoming Christians. …But when you are there for yourself and you see for yourself, then you begin to be reminded that God is so powerful,” Hee Tee said. In 1988, she and her husband, Youssef, OM Field Leader for Algeria, returned to his native country to pioneer church planting and discipleship ministry there.

Now, with churches filled and thousands of people coming to faith, the couple recognize a new need: believers in Algeria know about Jesus, but they don’t know about missions.

Algerians for Missions, Youssef and Hee Tee’s new ministry passion, aims to send out 1,000 Algerians for missions by 2025 within Algeria and beyond. By the end of 2018, Youssef reported that 130 Algerians had already been sent on short-term trips.

To facilitate this process, Youssef and Hee Tee advocated for, fundraised, and oversaw the building of a new missions training center: the Timothy Mission School. “That building, as far as I know, is the first in the whole Middle East and North Africa that recruits Muslim-background believers, trains them and sends them out for missions,” Youssef stated.

“Truly God has a special plan for the Algerian church, and he is putting all the puzzles together to accomplish his plan,” Hee Tee said.

» Read full story.

» Speaking of Algeria and its gifts to the church, have you seen the new movie Augustine, Son of Her Tears? It looks like a good one!

UK: Iranian Christian Denied Asylum Because “Christianity Isn’t a Peaceful Religion”

Source: Christian Headlines, March 25, 2019

According to The Washington Examiner, the UK’s Home Office, which oversees immigration and passports, rejected a man’s application for asylum, saying the applicant’s claim that Christianity is “peaceful” is “inconsistent” with the Bible.

The Home Office said in its denial letter that books of the Bible such as Leviticus, Exodus, Matthew, and Revelation are “filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death, and violence.”

“These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage, and revenge,” the letter says.

A legal expert told The Examiner that its likely that this decision is more anti-asylum than anti-Christian.

“The Home Office is notorious for coming up with any reason they can to refuse asylum and this looks like a particularly creative example, but not necessarily a systemic outbreak of anti-Christian sentiment in the department,” legal expert Conor James said.

In an opinion column for The Examiner, Becket Adams said there seems to be a “trend in the UK of government officials taking explicitly anti-Christian positions.”

» Read full story.

» In other news related to global migration, readers might be interested in the story of an eight-year-old refugee who won the New York State chess championship—and evidently many people’s hearts.

TURKEY: Youth Declares Faith to Fiercely Resistant Family

Source: SAT-7, March 21, 2019

“I grew up with a lot of religious people around me. Faith interested me, and I started researching different religions on the internet, but I had a preconception that Christianity was bad,” [explains Kaya, a young man who serves with SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry].

“My father took me for a walk one day, and he took me to a church. He just wanted to go for a walk, but I believe that God used my father without him realizing it.

“As soon as I stepped inside the church, I felt like I had entered a different world, and I was filled with peace. When I look back on it, I realize that it was the Holy Spirit. For a year, I continued to search and think about God. I was very confused, but I just prayed, ‘God guide me to the truth.’”

“On Christmas Eve, I was reading the Bible and suddenly I felt that Jesus Christ stood in front of me. I couldn’t grasp what was happening at the time.

“I immediately got down on my knees and said, ‘Jesus Christ, I believe in you.’ I was twelve years old at the time, but I knew that I had found my purpose in life.”

» Full story describes the explains the struggles and uneasy truce young Kaya and his family have experienced. These tensions are not uncommon in Turkey (or other places), so Kaya is able to relate to, encourage, and pray with listeners who contact SAT-7.

» Also from Turkey: The Turkish president says he intends to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque again.

NIGERIA: Christian Clergy Caught in Wave of Kidnappings

Source: Morning Star News, March 28, 2019

Amid a nationwide wave of kidnappings, the Rev. Emmanuel Haruna of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was kidnapped at gunpoint outside his home on church premises in Gidan Ausa, Nasarawa state.

“He was making a phone call by his house when some men shot into the air and took him away,” the Rev. Romanus Ebenwokodi, ECWA spokesman, told Morning Star News. “Please pray for his safety and release.”

Earlier on Monday (March 25) in Kaduna state, gunmen reportedly abducted the Rev. John Bako Shekwolo, priest of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Ankwa Kachia County, according to an archdiocese statement. Little else was known at this writing.

In Nasarawa state, Pastor Haruna leads an ECWA congregation in Gidan Ausa, near Lafia, the state capital. Also chaplain of the Boys Brigade, Nasarawa State Council, he was said to be searching for a better signal to make a phone call when he was kidnapped after 10pm. A statement from the Nasarawa State Council confirmed the kidnapping.

» Read full story, which details other incidents, and pray for those involved.

» See also Islamist Terror and Supernatural Deliverance in Nigeria (Gateway News). For in-depth analysis, listen to an interview with Alex Thurston, Episode 123: Boko Haram (Africa Past and Present Podcast).

SOUTH ASIA: Monks Turn to Christ

Source: Mission Network News, March 20, 2019

A [Christian] man named Elijah was leading a training event when a Buddhist monk came across the meeting. Elijah invited the Buddhist monk in, and the monk stayed for the rest of the day.

Once training for the day concluded, the monk asked Elijah if he could return the next day, but with two friends. Elijah agreed. Sure enough, the following day brought three Buddhist monks to the training.

“As they were hearing in the discipleship classes about who Jesus is, and what he does, and intimacy with Jesus, and what it means to be a Christian, then they finally explained to Elijah ‘well, somebody has to be wrong here. Either Buddha is God or Jesus is God,’” explains Tim [spokesman for a partner ministry, Global Disciples].

“They asked Elijah if he would be willing to test and to see who really was God. They would go to a forest, and they would fast and pray, and if God or Jesus could bring lunch to them, and if he could make it rain, then those three Buddhist monks agreed that they would them accept Jesus as Lord.”

The men traveled to the jungle and once there, they prayed. Tim relays that at exactly 12:30pm, there was a man hollering in the forest. The stranger stumbled into the opening where Elijah and the three monks were. The man was lost, but as they talked together, he opened his bag and shared his food with Elijah and the monks.

“God gave them their first miracle,” Tim says.

However, it still needed to rain. The catch? It was the dry season for this region. Tim says on this particular day there were no clouds in the sky. Eventually, the monks left the forest, unconvinced by the meal.

“[Elijah] wrestled with God, even so much so that his whole body was sweating, and he was wrestling, and he was wondering ‘God, do you really do things like this? Would you make it rain?’” Tim says.

Elijah finally returned home and about five o’clock that evening clouds began to form and it rained so hard that they had to cancel their evening service, and the Buddhist monks couldn’t even come to the service that evening.”

The next morning, the three Buddhist monks returned to where Elijah was leading the training, and they proclaimed Jesus Christ to be Lord. Tim says they were secretly baptized by Elijah. They even left their Buddhist priestly robes in the area of the forest where they had met with Elijah as a symbolic gesture of leaving their old lives to begin a new life in Jesus.

“Today, those three Buddhist monks are evangelizing and they’re working among drug addicts in their country.”

» Read full story.

» Also read about a series of miracles that helped launch a movement in India (YWAM Frontier Missions) and take a look at a slide show about the baptism of 520 in Chon Daen from Northern Thailand (Change the Map). Just watching this really lifted my spirit! Watch it!

COURSE: Pathways to Global Understanding

Source: Pathways to Global Understanding

Looking for a mission curriculum to use with a class or small group? Want something that covers the biblical foundations but also historic, strategic, and cultural dimensions, and includes media and case studies? Check out Pathways to Global Understanding.

This curriculum, edited by Meg Crossman, been around for quite a while and you may have seen it. Now, though, there’s a set of 12, half-hour teaching videos and leader’s guides that make it easy to run your own group. Pathways has also put together a great resource list you can use to augment the sessions. (It’s worth creating an account just for that.)

All this is free, but to get the most out of it, each participant should get a copy of the (468-page) book and read the articles on each topic.

» Learn more and register to access the videos and other materials. Get the book from YWAM Publishing for US$33.99 or a condensed version, PathLight to Global Awareness.

» Wondering how Pathways compares with the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course? I’d say it very covers similar ground but with less depth in some areas. You may find it easier to digest and implement. See also XPlore, Momentum, and Storyline.

VIDEOS: Five-pronged Strategy for Reaching the Unreached

Source: Brigada Today, February 17, 2019

Our friends at Beyond have boiled down a five-step strategy for reaching an unreached people group. They see it as prayer, prayerwalking, first contact, miracles and healing, then discipleship. They’ve created a quick intro video for each of those five prongs. See them at:

Step 1: Prayer
Step 2: Prayer Walking
Step 3: First Contact
Step 4: Miracles and Healing
Step 5: Discipleship

» Visit the video landing page, and while you’re there, check out their Nugget Trainings (to attend online) on topics like how to lead a discovery Bible study or how to become a strategic missionary.

» More videos! Missio Nexus recently put on a virtual conference featuring short presentations from a wide variety of mission leaders and subject-area specialists. The OnMission videos are still available to watch at your own pace, with transcripts, discussion questions, and other resources. Check them out not only for what you can learn but to find stories, data, and illustrations to use in helping others.

BOOK: More Disciples, A Guide to Multiplying Followers of Jesus

Source: WIGTake Resources

More Disciples: A Guide to Becoming and Multiplying Followers of Jesus, by Doug Lucas. WIGTake Resources, 2019, 248 pages.

As a follower of Jesus, what’s the one thing you can take with you from this life to the next? The answer: more disciples.

More Disciples is a practical, how-to guidebook that lays out a clear path for learning and implementing church-planting movement and disciple-making movement strategies and life principles. In particular, it describes the key concepts used in the web-based Zume Project course.

Quite a few other CPM and DMM books have been written at this point. Each has a somewhat different emphasis or audience. This one is definitely for practitioners; you will probably feel uncomfortable if your intention is just to read about making disciples and not do it! The author is passionate and practical but not dogmatic, calling instead for unity around the more timeless and universal of disciple-making principles.

Read all the other DMM books? I think you’ll want to pick this one up, too. You will find something fresh and new. But it is also thorough enough to make a good starting place if you are just getting started.

Lucas, a mission agency leader, is both well versed and well connected. The book includes a foreword by David Garrison and an introduction and epilogue from Curtis Sergeant along with endorsements from other leaders and references to other resources.

» Purchase from Amazon (or elsewhere). The Kindle edition is US$9.99 and a paperback can be yours for a few dollars more. See also the companion website, MoreDisciples.com. The creators are in the process of updating it.

BOOK: Volume Two of the China Chronicles

Source: Asia Harvest

Guizhou: The Previous Province, by Paul Hattaway. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2019. 320 pages.

Most of us have heard about the phenomenal growth of the Church in China over the last century, and we may know that this growth came in the furnace of intense persecution. But how did it all happen?

The China Chronicles series is an ambitious project to document the advance of Christianity in each province of China, decade by decade, from the time the gospel was introduced there to the present day.

Author and friend of the Chinese church Paul Hattaway has spent hundreds of hours interviewing Chinese believers so their stories can be shared and remembered.

Volume one took us to Shandong Province, home to almost 100 million people. It includes narratives about foreign missionaries (e.g., Lottie Moon) and Chinese movements (the Evangelistic Bands, the Jesus Family), as well as never-before-published testimonies from Chinese church leaders.

Volume two details ministry, challenges, and church growth in Guizhou, today home to 35 million people, including some 2.7 million who identify as Christians. Particularly helpful are the author’s explanations of the province’s minority groups, including the Miao and Nosu, and how success on some fronts helped or hindered the spread of the gospel among others. I found it both instructive and inspiring.

» Learn more or purchase from Amazon (or elsewhere). The Kindle edition is US$7.99 and you can get the paperback for US$15.

PROJECT: The Wall of Answered Prayer

Source: The Wall of Answered Prayer

Imagine a wall with a million bricks, each one representing an answered prayer, and an online database of testimonies sharing the same answered prayers with people all over the world. A group in the UK is putting this together and invite us to be part of it.

» To learn more or share your inspiring Jesus stories, visit the website or take a minute to watch this quick video about it. I’m particularly intrigued by their strategy for attaching the testimonies to the bricks. (Where else could we try that?)

» Speaking of prayer, 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World is coming up soon (May 6 to June 4). Are you ready? Some of the same people are organizing 15 days of Prayer for the Hindu World (October 20 to November 3) as well as 15 Days of Prayer for the Buddhist World (anytime!)

EVENTS: Coming up in April

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

April 1 to August 4, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online).

April 5-6, People Raising Conference (Oak Brook, IL, USA). Be equipped for raising personal support.

April 9, Nugget Training: Discovery Bible Study (online). How to help others hear from God. Provided by Beyond.

April 12-13, The Journey Deepens (Portland, OR, USA). A weekend retreat for prospective missionaries.

April 14-26, Second Language Acquisition Course (Union Mills, NC, USA). Provided by the Center for Intercultural Training.

April 15 to May 22, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition provided by Mission Training International.

April 16-17, Support Raising Bootcamp (Fayetteville, AR, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

April 18, Jesus in the Secular World #1: Understanding Global Secularization (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

April 22 to May 5, ORIENT pre-field training for global workers (Eminence, MO, USA).

April 23, Nugget Training: Here I Am… Send Me (online). 13 steps to becoming a strategic missionary. Provided by Beyond.

April 18, Jesus in the Secular World #2: Responding to Global Secularization (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

April 25-27, B4T Expo (Houston, TX, USA). Business for Transformation Exposition from OPEN USA.

April 26-28, Everywhere to Everywhere (Sioux Falls, SD, USA). Missional training and outreach event.

April 29-30, Standards Introductory Workshop (Lenexa, KS, USA). Training in the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission.

April 29 to May 2, Thrive Retreat (Elmina, Ghana). For North American women serving cross-culturally.

April 30 to May 2, International Wholistic Missions Conference (Lenexa, KS, USA). An annual event.

April 30 to June 5, Using Mobile Phones in Mission (online). Mentored course for field workers on leveraging outreach opportunities.

» View the complete calendar. Contact us to suggest additions. Want to know more about a specific event? Contact the event organizers.

CHINA: Kindergarten Children Sign Atheist Declaration

Source: God Reports, February 26, 2019

Educational authorities in the Chinese district of Lishan have initiated a push to eliminate religious belief in kindergarten, requiring students to sign a statement saying they will “advocate science, promote atheism, and oppose theism.”

The commitment also requires the pupils to pledge they will not view religious websites or engage in religious forums online, according to a report by The Colson Center.

The plan bars schools from hiring teachers that hold religious beliefs. “With regard to existing teachers, it calls for increased supervision, including ‘comprehensive inspections of teachers’ preparation for lessons in order to root out any and all religious content,’” according to the report.

[President Xi Jinping] has made the compulsory separation of children from religious life a linchpin in enforcing China’s official atheism.

» Read full story or check out what seems to be the original source (Bitter Winter) and includes more detail.

» See also China Official Says West Using Christianity to Subvert Power (Reuters, h/t Justin Long).

KENYA: Pastor of Underground Church Beaten Unconscious

Source: Morning Star News, March 11, 2019

The Somali pastor of an underground church in Kenya near the Somali border suffered a broken thigh bone and other injuries after Muslim extremists beat him with wooden clubs last Friday night [March 8], sources said.

Pastor Abdul, a 30-year-old father of three, had finished leading a prayer gathering at 9 pm on the outskirts of Garissa and was on his way back to his house when several ethnic Somali Muslims attacked, he told Morning Star News from his hospital bed, still visibly in pain.

Pastor Abdul said he did not know the assailants. As they approached him, he said, one of them told him: “We have been following your movements and your evil plans of changing Muslims to Christianity.”

Leader of an underground church of 30 former Muslims, he clandestinely met with them in smaller groups on varying days for worship, prayer, and Bible study, he said.

“My family is in great fear, and Christians have located us to another place. Our prayer, for now, is to get a safe place for my family. My life and that of my family is at stake.”

His children are eight, five and three years old.

» Read full story and pray for this man and his family.

» From another part of Africa, see Egyptian Edict Is an Encouraging Sign for Christians (Open Doors and Mission Network News).

INDIA: The Festival of Colors

Source: Beyond, March 15, 2019

We invite you to join us in praying these colorful Bible passages over the Hindu world as Holi approaches.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Father, we pray for you to prepare them and their own sin to fall on them so that they would be ready to accept the Good News. May their sins turn from scarlet to white as snow through acceptance of the Lordship of Christ Jesus.

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Acts 16:14

Lord, we ask you to open the hearts of Hindus to pay attention to the good news of the gospel when your followers speak to them. May many thousands of Hindus come to be called worshipers of the one true God.

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. Revelation 7:9

Thank you, Almighty God! Thank you for your promise that members from every Hindu believing people group would be counted among those standing before your throne at the end of days.

» See full article and read If You Can Find a Christian, another inspiring piece from Beyond about ministry in the Hindu world.

NEW ZEALAND: The Final Link in a Chain

Source: INContext Ministries, March 15, 2019

On Friday March 15, 2019, [more than] 49 people were killed and more than 20 seriously injured in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand. Christians can learn three valuable lessons from this tragedy.

For most viewers, watching the act of terror unfolding on their televisions, the perpetrator is the one carrying the weapon and the one who finally pulls the trigger. However, the one who pulls the trigger is only the final link in a long chain of negativity, suspicion, fear, and hatred. Every post on social media that polarizes people becomes another link in a deadly chain that has the potential to influence someone who is willing to pull a trigger.

We need to be constantly reminded that our words either give life or drain life. There is no neutral exchange. Our comments influence people. We should take extra care of the possible “hidden” messages we communicate in the name of Christ. Truth should never become a motive for guiding people into a place of suspicion or hatred.

» Read the rest of this opinion piece about the New Zealand massacre. Food for thought.

» Also read about the social component of terrorism and the myth of the lone wolf attacker (Deutsche Welle) and Today, We Weep with Those Who Weep (Muslim Connect). Thanks for praying for New Zealand.

CENTRAL ASIA: First Fruit in the Mountains

Source: Operation Mobilization, March 7, 2019

Eliza, one of the local believing women who moved back to the mountains, started practicing her professional trade in her new home. Then a church in the city gave her a grant to purchase more equipment and take on apprentices.

She hired two local girls, taught them her craft, and slowly started telling them about Jesus. “Sometimes they would watch movies in the national language about Jesus, and she would share her testimony. They were just really amazed that she was from their ethnic group, but she was a believer in Jesus,” Ellen recounted.

As Eliza shared, she read the Bible with the girls and showed them from the Word who Jesus is.

“Why didn’t anyone tell us this before?” one of them wondered. “We’ve grown up our whole lives and not known about Jesus.” Eliza also gave both apprentices New Testaments in the national language, and one of the girls took it home to her father, read it with him and watched a couple of the DVDs about Jesus with him, too. From their conversations, Eliza said she believed both young women decided to follow Jesus.

“They’re some of the first people we know of that have become believers in our town, that haven’t gone somewhere else, but have actually heard from a local person and have come to faith,” Ellen stressed.

“She shared so much sooner and so much deeper. She said to them: ‘God brought you because he knew you were ready to believe.’ We never saw that [openness] ourselves, but watching a local sister share the gospel, that was really exciting.”

» Read full story and another from OM about a Russian man engaging the least reached in the Caucasus. (Father, raise up more laborers like these.)

» See also: Tajik Christians Fear Talking about Their Faith (Institute for War and Peace Reporting).

Four Reasons to Engage with a Hurting World

By Shane Bennett

As I sit and write this morning, southern Colorado fog limits the view from my window to a few dozen yards. Overhead, though, military jets are buzzing around in some sort of frenetic training exercise. The intermittent sound bugs me more than it should. Maybe because I can’t see them. Maybe because I’m trying to concentrate and just when I get in a groove, they light up again.

But then it occurs to me there are people for whom that sound is much more than annoyance. The ascending and descending drone of the jets predicts death and destruction, the continued upsetting of life at fundamental levels.

Somewhere in the world an airstrike means the kids can’t go to school. There’s no way to get to work, or no place to work if you can get out. The food in the cabinet will have to last, because there is no more left to buy now.

It may mean broken, twisted, still bodies. Friends, neighbors, and children who must be left where they lie for now. And for how long? Can you even imagine the agony of that calculation? How long until it’s safe to scramble out and retrieve your dead friend? When is it okay to run down the street to see what’s become of the preschool where your wife had gone to collect the kids?

Do you ever want to just turn away from such dark thoughts? I sure do. To focus on a happy, little life right here. The lure is strong and sometimes I succumb. But if you’re reading Missions Catalyst, it probably means God has done a work in you that renders you dissatisfied with that response. This is grace and a gift of inestimable value.

If you ever find yourself needing motivation to empathize with the world’s pain, some reason to re-engage, here are four things that reminds me to keep caring, and to act.

1. The present goodness of Jesus

Somehow Jesus is in the midst of the airstrike. I don’t understand it, but I can’t shake the reality that he’s there, he knows, he cares. All my sympathy and compassion look like vapor next to the real presence of the creator of the cosmos.

Jesus holds the hand of the dying, feels her final breath on his face, and mourns her slowing, fading heartbeat.

He stands with the refugee dad, despairing as the way forward is blocked and the way back simply gone.

He cries with the girl abused by the one she trusted the most.

He stands again in the furnace with faithful followers who trust him for their very lives, some living to see the next sunrise, others waking up in glory.

He is with us in the mess, bringing the very life of God to bear on his creation. Pointing us forward in hope.

2. God’s plan to make all things new

That hope toward which we move is summed up for me in two places in Revelation: John’s vision of the crowd before the throne, made up of a “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” and Jesus’s personal pledge, “I am making everything new!”

Every springtime, every Easter, every Nowruz is practice for the ultimate renewal that awaits creation. That awaits you and me! Can you even imagine it? Is it too scary to try?

3. Our intrepid predecessors

Don Richardson recently traded earth for heaven. If anyone I personally know heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” it was him. I remember seeing a clip from his movie, Peace Child in which intrepid Don (sporting some wicked sideburns) and long-suffering Carol are being paddled up to a Sawi village. Say what you will, but that sort of gutsiness makes me want to pay attention, to engage, to—heaven forbid—not let Don down!

This is to say nothing of the biblical heroes of faith, the great missionaries of former centuries, and the Filipinos, Kenyans, Chinese, and South Asians whose noble sacrifice and early, painful transition to glory never made it to Western screens.

May we not sit down on the shoulders of such giants.

4. We were built for impact

We are not powerless. You and I were made to matter. Paul says we are God’s masterpiece, that “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” I don’t know what those “good things” are for you. I often wonder about it for me! But I don’t doubt Paul’s insight nor God’s good purposes.

It’s as normal as air to doubt this, but it’s in your DNA. It’s who we are.

Granted, it may feel like there’s nothing you can do about an airstrike in Yemen or Pakistan. And by most measures, you are right. You can’t be everywhere there’s pain. Nor could you handle it.

Heck, we couldn’t handle the unseen pain present just in our row at church on an average Sunday. Most suffering will transpire apart from our attention. But we know the one who knows it all.This great God has invited us partner with him in the reconciliation of all things.


Let’s not turn ourselves away from the world’s pain. We have good reasons to care and to take action. You can probably think of more than these four. Please share them (and these) with your friends.

And, since perhaps the best way to join in God’s redemptive work is through prayer, I’d like to invite you to jump into this year’s Seek God for the City prayer initiative, already in process. Perspectives hall-of-famer Steve Hawthorne has put together this guided prayer effort for our neighborhoods and the nations.

» Learn more and grab the app today or search “Seek God 2019” wherever you get apps.