Yes, Lord, Yes

post date: September 16, 2008

Last night I began and ended my sermon with the challenge to pray, “Lord, do things I’m not used to.” When the pastor gave the invitation, the front of the church was filled with people—30-40, maybe more—kneeling and praying. The pastor challenged the congregation to say, “Yes, Lord, yes,” to whatever the Lord asked them to do. He repeated it several times and then asked us to say it with him. As the invitation time came to an end, he asked Benny Mathews to lead us in a final prayer. Benny (who had been kneeling at the steps leading to the platform) was so overcome with emotion that he stood there for a moment, unable to speak. When he finally spoke, it was in a whisper, his words bathed in tears.

During every service of the conference, we have been watching videos of the persecution of Christians in the Orissa region of India. There militant Hindus have attacked Christians, beaten them publicly, had them arrested for praying, and some Christians have been killed. He showed picture after picture of pastors he knows who have been savagely beaten for their Christian faith. We saw a picture of a young Christian girl who has been raped. Tonight he showed Christians being paraded through a town, surrounded by a screaming mob. Time and again the Christians were beaten openly and the police did nothing to stop it. This morning when Benny called his son in India, his son reported more beatings in a large city. We saw pictures of Christians meeting in the ruins of a church that the militants had destroyed. Here are two articles about this:

Anti-Christian Violence in Orissa Threatens to Spread  
India: Violence Spreads to Five More States  

It is sobering to think that we live in relative peace and comfort in the US while our brothers and sisters around the world suffer for their faith. We shop at Target, watch Monday Night Football, eat at Chili’s, play Nintendo Wii, add new apps to our iPhone, and test out our new GPS system. It would be easy to make people feel guilty about enjoying life while others suffer. I think if our brothers and sisters could speak to us, they would say, “We are glad you have a peaceful life, but please do not forget us. Pray for us." 

That’s why Benny was weeping last night.

Tonight a woman thanked me for the challenge of praying, “Lord, do things I’m not used to.” “I’m scared of what might happen,” she said. I told her to tell God she was afraid and then to pray it anyway. In a world where our Christian brothers and sisters are paying a high price for their faith, we probably need to be pulled out of our comfort zones and put in a place where we say “Yes, Lord, yes” to whatever he says, wherever he leads, whatever it takes. 


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