Christians in America are just beginning to feel a little pressure from the Anti-Christian movement in our society. But how bad is it really? We are able to Worship and Pray as we please, when we please. We build our Churches bigger and many Churches pay for Full-Time ministers to meet the needs of the Church family. So how bad is it – really? Is it physically hurting us? Is it financially hurting us? Is it emotional or mentally hurting us? If we are honest, Christians in the United States have it pretty nice. We are blessed!
There are, however, many Christians in our world that struggle and even put their life on the line in order to Worship our Lord. Recently CNN had an article on its website about the Christians in the North Eastern Province of Garissa, in Kenya, where they are told, “Worship here and you’ll die!”. This is taking place by the hands of an individual named Al-Shabaab and it seems that very little is being done about it. Hundreds have given their lives because they Worship Jesus Christ or because they pray to the one and only God of all Creation.
But what do we do? We do very little if anything. If we look closely at ourselves, we may not like what we see. We find Churches fussing over the type of music that is played, or the color of the carpet, or who is in charge. We have Denominations trying to prove that they have the best programs and best technology. We have Preachers that fuss and fight over the meaning of this passage or that passage, always trying to prove the other one wrong. While Brothers and Sisters in Christ are dying, simply because they love Jesus and are trying to follow Him.
Jesus Christ, himself was faced with the same problem that faces us today. There were Priest and Scribes, there were Scrolls and Places of Worship, but the focus was not on helping each other with their relationship with God. The focus of the “Religious Leaders” was on who was in control and who had power. Even the common followers of the Religious Leaders were more self-centered then God centered.
In Luke 4:14-30 we are told of a time when, “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. (Jesus teachings) They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”
The important thing in the story of Luke 4:14ff is not that Jesus was rejected or even threatened. The main thing that was important is that, He kept walking!
The Christians in Kenya will keep “walking”, they, like so many others will walk even if it means death. We the Christians that are overly blessed, need to focus on the real issues. We need to get off the pews and on our knees. We need to pray for God to handle people like Al-Shabaab, as He sees fit. Our time needs to be focused less on trying to out do each other – and more on supporting and encouraging each other. For remember that “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
” (2 Chronicles 7:14) And while I have many doubts in my ability to pray powerful prayers – I have no doubts in His ability to heal – not only our land but the lands of this earth!
Gene Vincent is the pastor at Beechland Baptist Church, 351 Beechland Road in Lewisburg.