Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Do You Want the "Good" or The Best?

          Lilias Trotter, a missionary to Algeria in the late 1800's said this challenging yet convincing statement:  "Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once—art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the "good" hiding the "best." It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God. . . and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His glory."
           I feel that in this day in age, especially as young people, we are bombarded by the enemy with something very seducing yet very dangerous: a "good life". Why not? I mean, who does it hurt if I find some things that I really enjoy doing and I just fill my schedule with them, maybe fit in a decent job so that I can support myself in those good things? Does it hurt anybody? Actually in all reality it does. It hurts everybody. It hurts God because He designed you for the Best, and wants to give you what's Best. It hurts you because you are robbed of the reality of God's perfect will being manifested in your life and the true joy that comes from living in what's Best. It hurts the Body because they cannot share with you in the power and life of what's Best. It hurts the lost because while you are living in the realm of what is good and acceptable, you miss the Best opportunities which God ordained for you to reach them. Is it worth it? The only person it benefits is the Devil, because while you are living in what is good, he can keep you from what is Best, which is overcoming him in every step you take. Thirteen times the writer of Hebrews calls the life, ministry, and covenant of the person of Jesus Christ: "better." I'll go farther and say that it is The Best.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sicily: An Open Door


       I remember being in Turkey about three and a half years ago and hearing Pastor Matti rehearse the vision that God had given him for the Mediterranean countries while he was visiting the country of Jordan. At the time we had little to no real presence as a ministry in the Mediterranean that I know of. This past week, a team of twenty-five of us from Baltimore, Marlboro, Romania, and Hungary, went to visit the new work in Messina, Italy which is on the east coast of Sicily. When we landed we were met by Pastor Virgil and he expounded on some of the things which he saw during the past year that he has been living there. He has prayed with over two hundred people there in Messina personally over the past year and a half. This is a response that he has never seen in Europe in the last decade of his life as a pastor in Romania and Italy. Just the first night we were there we talked with a group of six young Sicilian military men for about an hour. At first they did not seem so interested but as Pastor Virgil explained unto them the seriousness and simplicity of the Gospel of Grace they seemed to open up. A hunger for God became visible to us and after an hour or so they were all praying out loud in Itailan with us to be saved. Who knows what happened that night in their hearts, only time can tell and only God really knows. All I know is that during the week with Pastor Virgil and Pastor Scibelli we were exposed to a great number of open hearts and a new field for our ministry that plants us right in the very heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Just imagine what God could do there with a team of people and a few men wholly given to God like Joshua and Caleb. WHO KNOWS?