The Apostle Paul never felt a twinge of insecurity about the Gospel. He said,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that
brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
For Paul, nobody was off limits to the Gospel. In the midst of fierce and life-threatening persecution and opposition, he preached, prayed for people, and planted churches. Paul was persuasive as a brilliant, young, energetic and anointed Jewish leader from the Roman world. He was convincing to many.
We now find ourselves at a juncture when all eyes are on one of the darkest places on the planet, where Satan appears to be winning — Northern Iraq where ISIS has gained control. They behead Christians, set up rape camps where women and young girls are sold and enslaved. Last week’s NY Times story about their theology of rape prompted outrage among many Christian leaders, yet a feeling of helplessness.
Paul would have none of this. He knew there was power in the Gospel and wasn’t timid or ashamed in the face of unspeakable torture, resistance, beatings, and seemingly small steps forward on a huge mission. He was convinced that in power and confidence, if the Gospel went out, change would occur.
This reality has held true for 2,000 years…
In the 1800’s a Scottish Presbyterian minister named John Geddie sailed more than 20,000 miles to some pacific islands where he set up base to preach to a barbarous, canibalistic, and murderous people. Many attempts were made to kill him but they could not. Stones, clubs and spears were often hurled at him, and although he was injured, he kept on sharing of the love and power of Jesus. Over time, hundreds then thousands turned to Christ, the Bible was translated, schools were started and the island was completely changed by the power of the Gospel.
In memory of John Geddie, the Missionary sent from Nova Scotia to Aneiteum for twenty-four years, it was said of him…. “When he landed in 1848, there were no Christians…, and when he left in 1872 there were no heathen.” (The Lutheran Witness, Vol. 34, p. 267)
The libraries of the world cannot contain the stories of the countless individual stories of those of us who have turned from darkness to the light.
So what would Paul do today? I think we know. But here’s what most don’t know… there are many “Pauls” in Northern Iraq right now, boldly preaching the Gospel, giving up their lives for whatever victory takes. As Muslims who were willing to die for a lie, they’re now even more eager to die for the Truth found in Jesus.
These fearless leaders are watching first-hand the Gospel that breaks chains; the Gospel that sets captives free; the Gospel that makes demons tremble; the Gospel that has teeth!
One of my great life privileges has been training many underground Christian leaders in very dark nations over the last 20 years. In the last 18 months I’ve teamed up with others on the ground in the Middle East, working against tremendous odds with astounding results.
If you want to know more and be inspired by their strategy advancing the Gospel, please join us at a private meeting, this week in Raleigh-Durham (RDU). This is invitation-only, so it’s not a meeting that’s advertised, marketed, or branded. No well-known musicians, preachers or artists will be there. This is all about resourcing those who, like Paul, must be equipped further to get the job done in a very dark and demonic region.