A friend wrote us of his recent mission trip, here is one of his observations. “Unlike any trip I have ever been on, I felt as if I was coming home FROM reality, not coming home TO it. Being there, everything felt back to normal. It was great.”
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus often talked of “the kingdom of heaven” in present tense, He said, “the kingdom of heaven is upon you”, right now. At the end of 1 Timothy it says, “so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” It seems that we (and some of the local community) have recently seen some of “the kingdom life” – “life that is truly life.” The way it really is, or at least the way it could be, should be. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
God is continuing to connect us with many new people and He is moving among them, it’s quite humbling and amazing. God is also connecting us with a good number of other missionaries and ministries. The man who is working with Gary (former muslim – praise God!), is confessing Jesus; as Lord and savior of the world, as his own savior and that “the word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us.” He has committed his life to Christ and is experiencing great joy and freedom. We are currently studying the gospel of John, God is blowing his mind and renewing his spirit, his hope and experience of life…”born again”. It’s sacred and beautiful to hear him praising Jesus and singing worship to Him while he works. We traveled to his home in another area and met his mom and siblings after going to church and having a great time of worship and fellowship. He says that he wants to be a “true follower and servant of Christ, living the lifestyle not just talking about Jesus.” Please pray for his protection and for “good soil” as he is beginning to reach out and love others, “in His name”.
Gary has also talked with a local Emam (Muslim cleric), and we believe that God is moving in his heart. He has been watching us doing volunteer jobs for neighbors and in the community. He is shocked, bewildered and curious, as he has not seen Jesus’ radical love and actions before. He has begun to come around often and watch and smile and nod in approval. He initially recoiled and left quickly when Gary responded to his questions/comments about Jesus. Lately he bows in respect as Gary does for him. “Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.” Jesus said, “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Please pray with us, that the Emam and his followers would not “refuse to come to Him to have life”, but that they will come – and LIVE! In this verse we see that Jesus does not say come and have life, but that we must come “TO” have life. We must come “To” Jesus in order “To” have life… No Jesus – No life, Know Jesus – Know life!
We have been studying and reflecting on John 15 a lot these days. Jesus talking about the vine, branches, pruning and fruit. He prunes us so we will bear fruit, prunes us some more so we will bear more fruit, then prunes more so we will bear fruit that will last. Pruning involves cutting and waiting, and pulling and waiting, and tie-ing and waiting…and then – there it is…”Fruit”, then “Much Fruit”, then “Lasting Fruit”. We often do not know exactly what God is doing, or why, or how long it will last, but we continue to trust His hand more than before. How about you? Any unfruitful branches been chopped off lately? Any branches being pruned; cut and pulled back, to bear fruit or more fruit? It hurts, but it is so worth it. Our Father the vinedresser and gardener knows what He is doing. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”
“You did not choose me, I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.”
No doubt we are already a little fruity, or maybe “plenty” fruity,,, don’t think that was what He meant.-ha-ha-ha…
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.”
Please pray with us for “fruit that will last.”
Gary & Siham