This past week I’ve had the opportunity to learn about ministry with people from all over the world. At my table, there were leaders from Columbia, India, Kenya, Jordan, Indonesia, Sudan, Manila and Kansas City (that was me :)).
One of our discussions was on the topic of sharing Jesus within our culture. There was one person who talked about the difficulty of building trust. Another leader shared that he oversees ministry in 24 countries and as an example, in just one of the countries twenty-four different languages are spoken. Another leader shared that it is risky to pass out any literature for fear of the secret police. Another leader is completely underground with his faith and if it was revealed that he is a Christian, his life would be in imminent danger.
Hearing stories this week was both shocking and challenging. In fact, it is tempting to think that these heroes are alone in their struggles. However, I know that even though our living conditions in America are pretty plush, we still face trials that result from our life of faith in Christ.
No matter where we live, we will face trials…so how will we respond?
In the first century, the Apostle Peter wrote to scattered Christians who were facing trials of every sort. And this Sunday we will study from 1 Peter 4:12-16 where Peter has provided us with advice on how to respond to our trials.
As I consider our present context in the middle of America, it is obvious to me that although you and I may enjoy a relatively mild life, we still struggle with trials stemming from broken relationships, regrets, and failure.
Furthermore, as Christians, we face trials of rejection and misunderstanding and as I can attest from my new friends, there are some whose lives are even at risk.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday and sharing my experiences in Manila this past week along with teaching from 1 Peter.