To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved Ephesians 1:6
Suk* sat quietly in the front of the small church with just a worn carpet separating her from the dirt floor. The volunteer dental hygienist was explaining by use of a giant set of dentures how to brush her teeth. All the children laughed as he passed over the funny teeth with the large toothbrush. As he finished speaking their pastor helped to hand out a toothbrush and two pencils to each of the children. She tightly held her new prize possession for a moment then hid it beneath a corner of the rug to be sure no one would snatch it away as the program continued with a song that required her to clap her hands together.
To us it was just a one dollar toothbrush, but to Suk the toothbrush meant that she was important. No westerner had ever come to her village. In fact almost no one from the outside world showed up for any reason except to carry away the bags and bags of tea leaves. The smallest of gifts meant to her that someone remembered, someone accepted and someone cared about her.
We have received a far more valuable and eternal gift in the love and forgiveness to be found in Jesus Christ. He came to our village from heaven and gave not just a toothbrush, but His own life for us. He knows all that we need and more importantly He has come so that no matter the value the outside world places on our life, we are loved remembered and accepted in the beloved – Jesus Christ.
In the gospel of Luke we find a story about 10 lepers who came to Jesus for help. They are a lot like people in our neighbors today. They knew that Jesus cared about their needs and has the ability to help. These 10 men also were ready to immediately do anything that Jesus asked.
Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God
Jesus had made an impression on people because they knew that He was willing to touch lepers and that He had the power to help them Because of how Jesus ministered He was continually surrounded by people longing to get close. Some wanted to touch Jesus, others hoped just to see Him and still others sat quietly listening to what He had to say. It must have looked a little bit like a hospital emergency room. People were lined up waiting to be seen. Others brought their loved ones and family to Jesus. He was constantly presented with opportunities to demonstrate the love of God.
Sadly our local church today bears a distant resemblance to the ministry of Jesus. Too often we seem to function more like an understaffed medical clinic. Sick people still show up regularly but they find few people around to help. Our nurses are out on strike for a better benefits package and our doctors are having coffee together reviewing their retirement program. When folks press their nose against the glass and look inside the office they hear the sounds of a business meeting called into session to discuss how to reduce the number of sick people allowed in! If any hospital functioned like our churches they would quickly find themselves in court. The front page of the paper would be filled with angry headlines. The 6 o’clock news would begin with a lead story demanding immediate change to how that medical facility functioned.
So as we approach this Thanksgiving let’s consider what we can each do differently. The world has as much need as it ever did. Do our altars act more like walls to keep folks off the podium rather than a meeting place for prayer? God is still willing to cleanse. Jesus is still ready to heal. He still welcomes the sick, the blind and the sinner. They are outside looking in our windows. What will they see this Thanksgiving?
Jacob’s final message deals with persecution, forgiveness and outreach in the face of impending war in Syria.
Reaching Muslim Women
Jacob shares two of the greatest burdens of his heart for Turkey. First he calls for the need for reaching Muslim women for Christ. Second Jacob talks about the issue of dealing with the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century. Both of these issues call for reconciliation and restoration beginning with the church. It is well worth listening to the encouraging message he shares!
I was privileged to know Jacob and his family for a little while when they lived here in our city. I remember the very beginning of Jacob’s call and the beginning of the ministry to which the Lord called him. It is amazing to me to see what God has done. What God has done in Jacob’s life comes as a great challenge to my heart and I pray a blessing to the followers of my blog.
This is the first of several messages shared by Jacob Pursely. His call is to Turkey however the message he shares about reaching Muslim people with the love of Christ is immensely needed here in the West.
I was so excited to see the recent coverage of the ministry of Dr. Edmeia Williams in CBN news. I first met Sister Edmeia when she came to our church to share about her ministry in Rio called The House of Martha and Mary. Her ministry began after the death of her husband when she vowed to devote the remainder of her days to God’s work . She has been working now over twenty years in one of the many favelas in Rio de Janeiro. If you have the opportunity to travel to Rio and God puts it on your heart to visit the ministry it will touch your heart and encourage you to do great things for God. Most of the coverage in the past of this great work has been in Portuguese so I am so privileged to share this report with my followers today. Be blessed – be challenged and get to know something of the real Brazil that stays behind once the Olympic games have ended. You can follow the link below to the CBN report or go yourself to CBN news world coverage to see the video.
CBN Report on House of Martha and Maria