Saturday, February 24, 2007

Prostitues, Beer, and Jesus

I was reminded of an article called "Seeing Jesus in Africa" from the Missionary Church Today magazine Winter 2005. It talks about a man who bought a room in a brothel located in a tavern, wins 15 prostitues to Christ, then the tavern owner. The building is now a church! My thought is ; Are we willing to engage our culture/ communities in such a way? What a difference we would make if we did that intentionally. The church is so often only inward focused. The Great Commission is not fulfilled by merely setting up shop in our communities and waiting for people to come to us. I had been thinking about this for a couple of days when I read this post at Chuck Warnock's blog. Looks like I'm not the only one dealing with this right now. What follows are some key excepts from the Africa article.

The day before, I had completed a 24–hour
non–stop drive through South Africa and
Zimbabwe to reach our destination. We had been
visiting a number of small villages during the
morning, preaching the gospel and trying to
encourage the people. I was tired and a bit
discouraged. The last congregation we had visited
had been noisy and somewhat unruly. There were
distractions and interruptions during the message,
and as I prayed for the sick there had been no
indication that any of them were being healed
or touched.
I began to question what I was doing there.
How could these people understand the gospel?
Was any real transformation taking place in their
lives? How could I meet their overwhelming
needs? They were so hopeful when they
gathered around us, expecting something good—
anything good—and all we had were words they
didn’t seem to grasp and prayers that seemed to
fall to the ground. I wondered, “Is this worth it?

I remembered the Great Commission promise
Jesus made to His apostles, “Go and make
disciples of all the nations . . . and be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
I thought of Paul declaring to the Corinthians,
some of whom questioned his apostolic
credentials and authority, that he came to them
not with “lofty words and brilliant ideas” but with
a determination to “concentrate on Jesus Christ
and His death on the cross.” He told them, “I
came to you in weakness—timid and trembling.
My message and my preaching were very plain. I
did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but
the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this
so that you might trust the power of God rather
than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:1–5, NLT).

Jesus is also with Pastor Eugene Ngendahayo
in Cyangugu, Rwanda. Pastor Eugene attended
our training in 2002 in Butare, Rwanda and
returned to Cyangugu determined to make
disciples for Jesus. His first disciple made 50
disciples in one year. Pastor Eugene rented a
room in a brothel and soon won 15 prostitutes
and the owner of the tavern where the brothel
was located to Christ. The tavern is now a church
building, the bar is the pulpit. He took his
disciples to the local government HIV/AIDS
hospital to share the love of Jesus. They cleaned
toilets, showers, beds, rooms and painted walls.
They washed the bodies of those dying of AIDS,
loving them in their suffering and pain. For two
years they did this at their own expense. The
Rwandan government was so moved by their
actions they hired them to do the job they had
been doing for free. Pastor Eugene took the
money from the hospital contract and opened a
shop to train homeless street children in
carpentry skills. They now make beautiful
furniture and are a blessing to their community.
They did all of this without any US money.
did all of it with Jesus. Only Jesus!

What are we doing with Jesus in our community??????????

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