And They Must Matter to Us
[Note: We hope you can join us this Sunday, April 7, at 6:00 pm at Living Word for our Mission Café as we discuss the challenges and opportunities of the Middle East. I will be facilitating, and we will hear from two people, Jeff Phillips and Ed McManness, who know the Muslim world firsthand.]
As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41–42).
We are only told of a few times when Jesus wept. One was when he learned of his friend Lazarus’ death, another is in the Garden of Gethsemene, and the other is upon reaching the Mount of Olives and looking out over Jerusalem.
Jerusalem … that “City of Peace” that has no peace!
Jesus knew how important Jerusalem was (and is) to the Jews, and yet they missed their Messiah. It broke his heart.
The Middle East is like that – it can break your heart, and yet it is the center of the three Abrahamic Faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
I believe it is crucial that Christians engage in mission in the Middle East. We must set the tone, show what servanthood looks like, and reflect Christ to people. We must roll up our sleeves and be involved!
1. It is the heartbeat of all three Abrahamic faiths, which makes sense because Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the West Bank are where the biblical narrative unfolds over 2,000 years.
2. It is the center of the Islamic world (Mecca is in Saudi Arabia), and Islam is the only other world religion besides Christianity that is expanding.
3. There is tremendous unrest in places like Syria and Iraq, where people are literally sick and tired of a broken religious system. They are running for their lives and searching for better answers to life’s problems.
Christianity offers the one message of real, lasting hope in the Middle East. Judaism does not offer that, Islam does not offer that, violence does not offer that, politics certainly does not offer that.
Jesus Christ and the Gospel are the answer that people in the Middle East are seeking. That’s why we at Living Word are committed to mission in the 21st century in places like Jordan and Iraq and elsewhere. The 21st century is the time for the Church to once again take the lead in the Middle East.
Living Word has had, from the beginning of its missional strategy, a heart for the Muslim peoples of the world. We are now in a new season of global realities, and that means fresh thinking, dreaming, praying, and discerning of the way forward in this part of the world that God loves.
Pastor Brian Newman
Having the ability to empower and resource leaders to bear much fruit that lasts. Being a part of a team of friends and missional servants committed to changing the world.