Susan Beckett | The Dwelling Place City Church
It should come as no surprise to you that we are living in a time where our basic freedoms are being challenged, and at the sometime, our basic freedoms are being affirmed. Is freedom of speech something we, as Americans, possess or something we repress? I’d venture to say at this point there is a huge chasm between those two camps!
But this is nothing new to mankind. Many of the freedoms we take for granted have been a rarity throughout history. Freedom of speech, thought, and knowledge, have been repressed throughout millennia. During the Middle Ages for example, only ordained clergy could interpret the Bible or even read the scriptures. It took a radical reformation to change that.
In those pre-Reformation days, printing the Bible was forbidden and even in England, to possess one without a license could get you killed. John Wycliffe, who translated the Bible from Latin into English, had all his writings banned. Thirty years after he died of a stroke in 1384, he was declared a heretic and his body was exhumed and burned, with the ashes being thrown into a river. Such a dangerous man!
God is on a search for people today who also get the big picture – those brave souls who are willing to lay it down for His Kingdom of truth. In Matthew 9, Jesus tells us, “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few.” That was spoken over 2,000 years ago, but it’s still true today.
We tend to think the U.S. is not a mission field – but unfortunately, we live in a post-Christian world. We have now become one of those “unreached people groups” – disillusioned youth, addicts, the homeless, LGBTQ, disenchanted seniors, and cynical, woke college students. The list goes on.
God never intended for the local church to simply be a quiet, hidden body of believers. He intended for us to be His voice in each community – touching those around us with the power and truth of Almighty God. As Christ-followers, we’re to be a brilliant beacon of light in the midst of dark and troubled communities.
Living in these unstable times, we just can’t do business as usual if we truly believe our profound message of eternity. Fortunately, God has brought people along to confront the misuse of basic freedoms.
There’s a remarkable story of a Romanian pastor, Joseph Tson, who, in 1977, 600 years after John Wycliff, was arrested by the secret police. He published a sermon calling for the pastors to refuse submission to the government’s demand for control over their churches. He was threatened with death if he didn’t rescind what he’d written. But his reply? “No!”
The official, surprised that anyone would respond so forcefully to the secret police, asked, “Aren’t you aware that I can have you killed?” “Sir,” Tson replied, “Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. My sermons are spread all over the country. When you kill me, I only sprinkle them with my blood. They will speak 10 times louder after that, because everybody will say, ‘That preacher meant it
because he sealed it with his blood.’ So go on, kill me. And when you do, I win the supreme victory.” The secret police released him, knowing his death would be far more of a problem than his sermons.
We have a sign posted at DP on a gate that everyone reads on their way out the parking lot. It simply reads: “You are now entering the mission field.” As Christ-followers, we have no option but to be involved in the affairs of this world, as Jesus has instructed us to be salt & light while fearlessly moving forward.
Max Lucado once penned these insightful words: “Fear never wrote a symphony, re-initiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to cower to their timidness did that. But fear itself? Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors.” So, please – go boldly where few men dare to go and enter your mission field.
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you may contact them at DPCitychurch.org
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