Over the last week, you've probably seen news stories about events in our part of the world. On Saturday, the front page of all of the daily newspapers here had large pictures and headlines about these events. In our city, however, life has pretty much continued as normal for us. We have moved about our city, had meetings, and had opportunities to talk with a variety of folks. Last night I went to the small grocery store in our neighborhood, which is owned by two brothers. We stop by this store almost daily. In fact, one of the brothers gave a present for a birthday. As we began to talk, the conversation immediately turned to world events. The two brothers were very passionate in expressing their outrage at the violence and were insistent that this is not the true way of their religion. They were so passionate that really, all I could do was listen and offer a few comments.
Let's use these world events as an opportunity to intercede for the millions of lost m*sl'ms and to not be overcome or driven by fear. "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
Maybe as you gather today in your weekly small group and fellowship, you can remember these pr requests that are specific to our context and to the people whom we live among and serve:
* Lift up the two brothers who own the grocery store in our neighborhood. They are quite religious, and one has gone on the Pilgrimage several times. I have been able to share a couple of stories and verses with the other but have not detected any interest on his part. Ask the Father to reveal Himself to them, awakening within them a thirst to know the Truth. Ask that I will share in boldness, guided by the Spirit.
* Lift up a recently married couple who are followers of the Way. They have a real desire to serve and expand the Kingdom by teaching what they have learned to others who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim 2:2). They have been working with another family and the Father has laid on their heart an additional family to begin visiting. Ask the Father to strengthen their marriage as they grow together in love and service. Ask the Father to guide us and we shepherd and counsel them.
* Lift up our family as we continue to live and work here. Ask the Father to guide us to persons of peace; ask for boldness and we share Good News and pray for those around us; ask that our family will be strengthened in Him.
* Lift up our sports work -- this past week, the Father has opened doors for meetings with sports federation and club officials. Tomorrow I have another important meeting with an official in the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Ask for the Father's guidance as we seek to serve these federations and prepare projects that will help them meet their needs. Ask for wisdom as we seek to discern which doors the Father is opening in sport.
Thanks for your continued partnership with us. Don't hesitate to write if you have questions or just want to say Hi.