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Why I visited a mosque

I thought you follow Jesus why would you then spend your weekend in an Islamic mosque? Let me answer this.

This past Saturday, along with 15 others from my church family, I visited an Islamic mosque learning and asking about the Islamic faith. Myself and the other women all wore scarves over our heads out of respect. It would be like a muslim woman wearing a dress to worship in a Christian church. Wearing a dress does not make her a Christian. She would just be dressing for the environment out of respect so we wanted to show them the same respect. We all listened to the Imam teach us what they believe in the Islamic faith. One thing I learned is Jesus is mentioned in the Quran more times than Muhammad is among many other take aways.

Why would a group of Christ followers do this? The same reason we would learn what a Buddhist believes, a Mormon believes, or a Hindu believes. Jesus after he rose from the dead before he ascended to the Father commissioned his church to go to all peoples and make disciples. All through out the Bible you see the story of God redeeming a people through Christ alone for himself from every tribe, nation and tongue. God reveals his plan for his church to make disciples of others when he tells Abraham that he is blessed to be a blessing to all peoples in Genesis 12.

A brother in Christ that once taught at my church  taught on spiritual gifts. His teaching in summary was that God gives his body all different spiritual gifts but he has given us all the gospel and what are you doing with it? What are you doing with the gospel? Are you sharing it? Are you proclaiming it? Are you speaking it? Are you giving your life to the gospel to be made known to all peoples? Christ follower you have good news of the saving power of Jesus in you and you are his ambassador here on earth as if God were making his appeal to others through you to be reconciled to God. “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of  God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).

So back to why I visited a mosque. If I am going to be obedient in loving people well and sharing the gospel all for the glory of God I want to be educated about a persons faith so that I can understand the differences in what they believe and the gospel. The differences are everything and is the difference in eternal life in Christ and eternal death. I want to be able to speak with people not at them and be able to share the gospel.

Many in our day are scared of Muslims. They think they are all radical terrorists. A friend gave the illustration that would be like saying that all Christians are like the KKK. My muslim friends are actually some of the most friendliest, welcoming, loving people I know. These past few months muslim women who have seeked refuge in our country have immediately welcomed me into their lives with great joy.

Tolerance is the cry of our day. But God is not tolerant. This is clear in scripture. What kind of Father would send his only Son to be be tortured by man and to receive the full wrath of God for the sin man has committed against him if he is tolerant of another way to him, if there could be another way for justice for the sin man has committed against him. Jesus cried out in prayer to his Father before he went to the cross if there is another way may the cup be lifted from him yet not as I will, but as you will(Matthew 26:39). Jesus submitted to his Father being obedient to death even on a cross. Jesus says in John 14, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life no one comes to the Father except though me.” There is no other way for man to receive reconciliation to God except through faith in Christ alone. Man is saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Oh how he loves us that he would pour out his rich mercy in Christ making us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

So if I am going to love my muslim neighbor that does not mean tolerance of what they believe. It means that I am going to die to self and love them well in word and deed sharing the gospel and my very life. We can only be obedient to share because Jesus promises to be with us as we go out and make disciples and there is much joy in obedience.

There are currently 3 BILLION people that live amongst peoples where the christian population is between ZERO and two percent. Not only will people probably live and die without ever hearing the gospel they will also live and die without ever meeting a Christian. But God in his sovereignty is using tragedy for his glory. He is bringing peoples from many different people groups to a geographical region where there are many Christians. Now these people not only have an opportunity to meet a Christian but they also have a chance to now hear the gospel if a Christ follower will simply be obedient to speak and tell them loving them well.

“How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them.” Romans 10:14

Jesus gave his very life so that all who see their need for him and come to him and receive him as Lord and Savior may have reconciliation to God as it pleases the Father to adopt us into his family in Christ and give us the Kingdom. The one that comes to him believing and trusting and following him is to do the same thing giving their very lives obeying his great commission to his church.

The words of Jesus “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:17-10

 

In Christ,

Lane

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I’m going there

I’m going to go there. Honestly my own fearful flesh I battle has kept me from going here sooner with written words for the internet world to see. I think it’s a fear of being misunderstood. A fear of offending someone I love. A fear of being looked at as some kind of religious freak. A fear of my own reputation and coming across as someone yelling scripture to you. If you read further know you are choosing to read so I am ok. I will be ok if I offend you. My heart is not one of condemnation in writing but love. Jesus offended people. He did so much people put him to death.

The truth is I don’t see myself as religious in the least bit. I am a follower of Jesus and he is either just religion to you or reality. He truly can’t be both. He’s either fairytale or truth. Know if I offend you its because I love you and I hurt more than ever for Truth to be heard not someone’s idea of it. Truth is not an idea. Truth has a name. Truth is Jesus. Have you ever thought about why Jesus offended people so much? Jesus came saying he is Lord and he had all authority. Why would people kill someone if all he was saying was to love people and doing good deeds for them? Jesus can not simply be a good person to you and someone’s teaching you like. Tim Keller says it beautifully here.

“I believe you’ll see that in the end you can’t simply like anybody who makes claims like those of Jesus. Either he’s a wicked liar or a crazy person and you should have nothing to do with him or he is who he says he is and your whole life has to revolve around him and you have to throw everything at his feet and say command me.”

 Jesus taught come and die so you can live. Pick up your cross daily and follow me. We are to die to our own self righteousness and come to Jesus receiving his righteousness. This is so radical. Jesus paid a radical price when he died for our sin. Death could not hold him because no sin was in him before his Father and its when we come to Jesus we can come to the Father being adopted into the eternal family of God. Apart from the atoning blood of Jesus the wrath of God lays fully on each one of us for the sin we have committed against God who is set apart, not like us. He alone is without any need  and is all powerful, good, omnipresent, omniscient, and sovereign over all things. To call any sin, sin you have to look at who you sinned against. God reveals himself to us in his Word. We can not choose bits and pieces of what to believe and what is relevant. Truly the whole Bible is true to you or none of it is. You can not pick and choose.

If you believe the Bible is God’s Word you have to believe everything that’s in it. If you don’t believe the Bible is fully true how can you even know who God is? You see the thing about the Bible is it’s not just an ordinary book and can not be read in an ordinary way. All scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is God’s Word and if you dismiss away the Word  of the Great I am you are dismissing God himself.

The Bible is all or nothing. It is either foolish or truth revealed in written words. Jesus is all or nothing; he spits out the lukewarm.

You can not explain away scriptures that speak about homosexuality as a sin without changing God’s Word.

You can not ever ever ever say your body is your own and you have the right to kill life that God is creating in the womb without changing God’s Word.

You can not ever say that there is any other way to God through any other than Jesus without changing God’s Word.

You can not say its ok to turn your back on refugees as a follower of Jesus without changing God’s Word.

You can not put your ultimate hope in a countrys’ safety and prosperity as a follower of Jesus without changing God’s Word.

Whew….Did I miss any of the hot topics that Christians are misunderstood about and cause division? Now you know the reason for the title.

 

It was through reading my Bible alone by myself when I was 26 years old that the Lord poured out his grace upon me showing me my deep, deep sin. I saw my sin for the first time because I saw who my sin was against for the first time. Woe is me, I come undone before the Lord God Almighty. The only way to ever draw near, to know him is through coming to him under the precious blood of God himself who took on flesh because of his great love and mercy. It’s all grace so no one can boast(Ephesians 2). Oh how he loves us that we may become children of God!

And if the God who revealed himself to me in his Word has any error about himself or anything in the Bible that I can take at my own understanding and twist and he is ok with then I will say I am to be pitied above all men.

The Bible is either God’s Word to you or its another book with religious ideas. It can not be both. And if it’s God’s Word I have to say reading it might just change your life. Coming to the Bible humbly asking God to help you understand will cause you to fall on you face and rest in the blood of Jesus and not looking back.  If you need to know where to start please reach out.

So friend wherever you are reading this know I love you. I do. Forgive me for being slow to share. It was my own reputation I had to learn to be willing to die too and being ok counting the cost.

Thankful for the precious blood that saved a wretch of a sinner like me,

Lane