10 January, 2014

We Take Our Freedom of Worship For Granted

I received a message from Pakistan today that just ripped my heart out. There was a group there that met in a home very week and listened to my sermons which I podcast each week. I had heard from them occasionally as they sent me little notes of encouragement and thanked me for my sermons. Then all of a sudden, I heard nothing from them for about 3 months. I had mentioned to a few people that I was quite concerned for them, and honestly, I feared the worst. Today I received a brief message telling me that my fears were well founded. It seems the home where they gathered to worship and listen to the sermons had been raided during a worship service and they were all arrested and the house was burned to the ground. The lady who contacted me said she was the only one who has been released thus far, after more than 3 months in prison. She said that they were all beaten severely before and during their prison stays. Even worse, she said that she fears that the couple that owned the home and who had led her to Christ may have been executed. Apparently no one has seen or heard from either of them since the night of the arrest.

Then she said something that just blew me away. She said that she was going to be starting a worship service in her home next week and asked me to be in prayer for them. I'm still sitting here thinking about it, and I have to say that the faith and determination of these people puts most of us to absolute shame in America. Here, where we are free to worship as we please, we look for excuses not to go to church. So many never go, or go once every few months and they act as if they've done God and the church a favor by gracing the church house with their presence; while in Pakistan, they are beaten, imprisoned and even killed for worshiping Christ, yet nothing will stop them. Amazing.
We need a real spiritual awakening in America. I just hope it does not come at the hands of persecution such as these precious people are facing.I'm afraid many would just give up their faith rather than endure what these folks are facing.

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