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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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The Court

Most of my weekends as a teen were spent in a gym somewhere in the southeast half the year. Back then, half my age ago, I would have told you it was a good weekend based off if we won and how many three pointers I scored in a game. Looking back there are so many things I would want to tell 16 year old Lane about not being focused on self and to  pass the ball a little more. But one thing I had instilled in me at 16 that I’m forever grateful for today is the gift of the differences I shared on the court with my teammates were only a beautiful thing. Growing up in the suburbs of Birmingham most people looked like me but on the court we had all shades of color…including the season I went orange from too much tanning. I had girls on my team from all over Birmingham…Pleasant Grove, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Pinson, Vincent, Leeds, Vestavia, Alabaster. We all came together for the love of the game and each brought something a little different to the court. Natasha brought a quiet leadership. Martha brought a laughter to all. Tina made sure we all looked good on the court with makeup before the game and always kept me laughing. Ebonie and Laura Leigh brought a work ethic and love for the game that was contagious to us all. Jana just always showed up always ready to play leading us all to give it all on the court. Lindsay and Ashley encouraged us all with the way they loved us. Megan and Mindy brought a humility to us all by their example. I could go on and on here.

We each were different but we all came together for love of the game and it was actually our differences that made us one of the better teams in the Southeast. Color of skin was one difference that we shared on this team but I can tell you this difference in color was only a sweet joy. We learned from each other on those long weekends away. Parents from   the suburbs and city fried chicken together in hotel rooms on overnight weekend trips staying up in conversation. Ebonie if you read this I can still hear your mama yelling “Make your free throws baby.” Conley and Megan I can still taste those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that you brought to every tournament.

This might be a long stretch but I think I got a little taste of eternity on the AAU basketball court….being in unity with people not like me from all different parts but we all came together for one love. Our differences only made us exalt the love we shared more. Can you see the picture here? Each of us unique in our differences(Im not just talking about skin color but all the differences we all had) but we were the same. Jesus has purchased a people from every nation, tribe and tongue with his blood and for all eternity we will be worshipping God and have a part in the eternal Kingdom of God. We are all the same in Christ(Galations 3:28).

So why does global missions matter? There are about 3 BILLION PEOPLE that have yet to hear the the gospel in the world. That’s Billion with a B and people with a P. Not a statistic. Not just a number but a person created by Almighty God. There are over a thousand people groups that have yet to have any scripture translated into their native tongue. There are people from persecuted nations being scattered all over who have yet to hear the good news of the one they were created to worship some of whom are seeking refuge in our country. Approximately 70,000 people die daily without hearing the saving name of Jesus. “But how 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? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” Romans 10:14-15.  Global missions matters because God is worthy of worship from a people from every tribe, nation and tongue that have been purchased by the precious Blood of the Lamb and Jesus has commanded the church to go and tell all peoples.

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate.” —John Piper

I have had the privilege of worshipping with believers on the other side of the world and though we come from totally different places and look different on the outside there was an instant unity in Christ. There was an instant sweetness in worship with them as we worshiped our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We knew we were immediate family.  Just to think those in Christ will be with thousands upon thousands of people groups all the same in Christ for all eternity worshipping God. The Christ follower has so much to look forward too as we will worship our eternal God who is worthy of all praise with a people from every, tribe, nation and tongue. What a beautiful picture and so much to look forward too!