Happy Memorial Day! I want to thank those that have served in our country’s military, and the families of those that have given their lives to defend our freedoms. May we always appreciate the sacrifice that they’ve made and may we always remember that freedom isn’t free!
And as Christians, just as Americans, somebody had to pay the price for our freedom. Jesus Christ died on the cross 2,000 years ago to make us free from the bondage that is sin. I love what John 8:32 & 38 say,
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free... If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Please enjoy this video that was put together a couple of years ago for my church, Lighthouse Baptist Church in Dawsonville, GA to remember those that have laid down their lives, and to celebrate the freedom we have because of their sacrifice.
If you can’t see the embedded video, please click here)
Monday morning I was greeted by the news. Every radio station I tuned in to, every news report I read, every person I spoke to seemed to be bursting at the seams with the news that Osama Bin-Ladin had been found and had been killed.
“USA!! USA!! USA!! USA!! USA!!” … The chants seemed to echo in every corner of the country. The enemy has been destroyed. After 10 years of playing hide-and-seek, justice has been served. The world celebrates.
But, how should Christians react to this news? Honestly, there’s a conflict in my mind as to how I should respond. On one hand, it is wonderful that this man has been stopped, and that no more innocent lives will be taken by his hand. But, I find it hard to celebrate. It hurts to know that another soul has dropped into hell, eternally separated from God.
I mean, does he deserve hell? Yes, of course!! But guess what…so do we!
What does the Bible say? Honestly you can find scripture for both sides of the matter.
“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ezekiel 18:23
“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:” Proverbs 24:17
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” Matthew 5:43-46
“When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.” Proverbs 11:10
“The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” Psalm 58:10
“And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king’s house.” 2 Kings 11:20 (after an enemy of Israel was brought to justice)
“Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deuteronomy 32:43
As God’s people, we are to realize several major things:
1. We all deserve God’s wrath and judgement. You’re a sinner just as much as Mr. Bin-Ladin was. You deserve hell. So do I. Even if we only offend in one point of the law, we are guilty of it all.
2. Justice will always be carried out. Whether here or in eternity, each sin must be accounted for before a perfect and Holy God. We know that God is good and will always do right.
3. Christ is our only hope. He paid the price for our sins. We were reconciled freely back to God through the righteousness of Christ himself. The only way I escape the judgement of God is because it was already poured out on Jesus on my behalf!
4. God is not willing that any should perish. Though each human must one day be judged, God’s desire is that they be reconciled, forgiven, justified and pardoned.
So, in all the celebration, we can rest assured that justice has been carried out. This justice is good and was deserved. But let us also mourn that another creature of God has perished. My hope is that Osama Bin-Ladin accepted Christ in his last moments of life, but we will never know that until we reach eternity. Enemies of God will be judged. But God desires for those same enemies to become his children by accepting the pardon of Christ. Will you pray with me that more enemies of the cross be reconciled by the cross?
“And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Before coming to Colombia, a mentor and pastor friend of mine recommended that I get together with Freddy Nieto while in Bogotá. He’s the pastor of Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Suba (Suba Biblical Baptist Church) and is doing an incredible work. We met up with him and his wife this morning and spent several hours learning about the way that God is working in Bogotá and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go to any of their church services, but we were able to tour the church’s beautiful facility and spend several hours with this precious pastor and his wife. Their church runs about 500 and they see people saved every week. There are many studying in their Bible Institute getting ready to go out into the rest of the country to reach the lost. Amen!
Be praying with me if you will, as Brother Freddy asked me to consider coming back in January to preach their annual youth camp. It would be an awesome opportunity but we’ll have to see if finances and time permit and ultimately if God opens the doors for this.
Later this afternoon we met up with a new missionary family, Daniel and Jennifer Mee along with their beautiful little baby girl Eliana (definitely made me miss my daughter Amira). They work with ABWE and just arrived here in the country about a month ago. They gave us some great advice about deputation, moving to Colombia and general tidbits of info they wished they’d have known before moving here. God is really working in their hearts and they are excited to be part of a movement of church planting and evangelism here in Bogotá and around Colombia.
After a delicious dinner with the Mee family we went to the Bogotá Baptist Seminary that is sponsored by ABWE and enjoyed their evening chapel service. There are quite a few young people studying in the Seminary to become pastors and missionaries and even to be laymen in the churches. There were maybe 40 in the room, then another 90 or so studying online through correspondence courses. Praise God for what he is doing in this ministry! The Lord has already used them to start dozens of churches around Bogotá and there are plans for even more churches down the road as God permits.
What we are finding is that God is definitely working here. It is incredible! People are finding hope. Souls are being eternally saved. Lives are being changed. Families are being restored. Revival is being experienced. It is great!
However, even with the wonderful news about what God is doing in this place, we must be honest with ourselves.
Let me throw some stats at you… I live in the US state of Georgia. According to the 2010 US Census, there are 9,687,653 people in Georgia. That’s just a little bigger than the city of Bogotá–smaller, if you include Bogotá’s larger metro area. In 2005 there were an estimated 8,190 Baptist churches. That’s one church for every 1,183 people. Do we need more churches there? Of course!
Yet… in this city of over 8,500,000 people (11,000,000 according to some statistics) there are maybe 25 or 30 churches, total. Only 25 or 30. That’s all. To me, at first, honestly it seemed like a lot. It seemed that this city, at least, was being reached. But that’s only one church for every 440,000 people. Wow.
God is working here.
But the need is still great.
What are we doing to reach this city?
What are we doing to reach the world?
What will you do?
We’re leaving tomorrow. I am thankful that we’ve been able to spend this time here. God has worked in my heart and I am more excited than ever about coming to this beautiful country and to these beautiful people to tell them about my beautiful Savior. He loves them and gave his life for them. The least we can do is deliver the message!
Incredible. This is definitely worth 3 minutes of your time!
Check out this video and let it break your heart…
Colombia’s Population is estimated to be 44,000,000 people…
44,000,000 moms, dads, sons, daughters, friends, uncles, cousins that each have a name…
44,000,000 people that have jobs, lives, houses, families, religion…
44,000,000 individuals that will someday die…
44,000,000 people that will one day stand before an Almighty God…
44,000,000 people that need Jesus Christ.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
He’s not willing that they should perish. Are we?