Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Truth and Zeal

Some years ago, while on an international flight from Tel Aviv to Frankfort, I saw a man sitting across the aisle reading what I thought was a Bible. Momentarily, I engaged the man in a conversation and the subject of what he was reading came up. I asked, “Is that a Bible you are reading?” He answered, “You might say that.” Bewildered by his answer, I asked, “Are you a Christian?” He replied, “Let’s say I am a Believer.”

In short order, I found myself involved in a long exchange with a resident of Haifa, in Israel, who was an ardent devotee of the Bahai faith. Bahaism is a unifying cult, which virtually accepts all the religions of the world as equal, and awards divine status to all nine of the so-called leading prophets of the world’s major faiths. Bahaism has its own prophet, Bahaullah, who is no more divine to them than other prophets but who has brought the “latest” message from the Great Divine Source to the world.

Needless to say, I could not remain silent as my fellow passenger extolled the virtues of his religion. So having invested about a half hour of polite attention, I shared with my conversational partner the message of salvation as the Bible presents it. I must acknowledge the Bahai disciple was attentive as I talked of Jesus, not as one of the great prophets, but as the only Son of God and sole Savior for all. When I asked this transplanted European if he could accept Christ as his Savior, he courteously declined.

When our plane landed in Frankfort, I had three hours to wait before my flight connection to the States. During those three hours, I made a number of stops: the restroom, a lunch counter, browsing some duty-free shop counters. It seemed everywhere I went the Bahai disciple was following me. Needless to say, I was at first uncomfortable with his pursuit. Frankly, his confrontations became irritating, but then it struck me, though his style was overbearing and counter-productive, his zeal could not be questioned. His approach would have negated any interest in his cult, if I had any, but the memory of his commitment obviously remains with me to this day.

By no means should we take a chapter from the cultist’s book on the art of witnessing, but we would do well to demonstrate how serious we are about attempting to reach our world for Jesus Christ. The cultists cannot “out-truth” us, but let’s not let anyone “out-zeal” us! It is that very truth and zeal which has David Fuller, Mike Massey and Mark Tippett in India at this moment. So the question for us all is, “Just how far will Truth and zeal take us, with what we call the Good News?”

Charles Fuller

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Favor

The book of Psalms can be seen in many ways. Some call it poetry. This would be an educated perspective. Some would see it as a glorified hymn book. This view is perhaps from the artsy crowd. I struggle with this one because I thought that songs were supposed to rhyme, and in Hebrew I am not sure that’s possible.

For a guy like me the book of Psalms is the meditations of a warrior and God’s revelation to warriors that will follow. I am at an age where I have been “holed up” in more than a few fox holes and at those points I need to hear what God has spoken to others in foxholes.
Recently a friend sent me a list of Psalms to read. As I have been reading through them, one in particular was accentuated and stands out. If you are stuck in a foxhole, or tired and weary from battle, what is it that you need? I find it is nothing that anyone other than God can give. I am finding that at these critical points I need knowledge of God’s favor. It’s not that God's favor doesn’t exist at other times; it is to say that at these critical times there is a special knowledge of it, experiential in nature, which is required. If nothing else, I need to know I have His approval.

In Psalm 90 David asks for the same. We can even see what this favor of the Lord will look like to him. In verse 17 David says, “Let the favor of the Lord be upon us...” He then says, “…and establish thou the work of our hands.” Do you see it? He is asking for God’s favor by way of God establishing what it is He had given him to do. I can relate to favor being displayed in this way. That’s what I want. I may never have great riches but I really desire that the vision and the work He has put in front of me would be successful. It is enough. I would see this as evidence of God’s favor.

I am happy to share that the end of our summer in Central America was punctuated with a huge exclamation point. I consider it as evidence of God’s favor and I am celebrating in it. In August, for the first time, pastors and church leaders came to the training facility that we have been building. They came for equipping and for retreat. This marks the beginning of a new era of ministry. It is awesome to finally be at this point. For me it is not enough that they merely came, but to really know that God moved in their lives is what I want and speaks as evidence of His favor. I was so excited to hear their comments about what God did. They left saying the following: (translated literally)

“This is a place where I met God real.”

“This place the Holy Spirit overcame me!”

“In this place I have experienced God and He has never felt so close to me.”

“In this place I found redemption in my family relationships.”

When I think back on all the work, all the money, and all the prayer put into this project, I see that God has moved just like He said He would and precisely as we have prayed. A member of the staff who hosted these leaders, and who has a long-term perspective of all of this, said, “After 7 years of worry and work, God brought these people here and redeemed them and told them in an intimate way how much He loves them. He showed up and encouraged them. He is faithful.”

God’s love and His favor is the essence of what battle weary warriors need. It’s what they need. It’s what I need. It’s what you need. And, to experience the favor of the Lord by way of Him establishing the work He has given us to do is the ultimate. Sometimes in war I think the fog of battle makes it difficult to step back and recognize victory. Once victory is recognized I believe celebration is in order. We can fight again another day.

David