When Jesus said to them “I Am He”, they drew back and fell to the ground. John 18:6
Our family has studied the 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus during the stay in home culture for the last 39 days. This small verse in John 18 gives us a preview of ‘every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord’ (Phil. 2:9-11). In contrast to Jesus “I Am” statements, later in Chapter 18 Peter says 3 times “I am not”. The rooster crowing would always be a reminder to Peter of his crises of denial and his desperate need for grace. Yet, in the midst of Peter’s denial, Peter teaches us that our sins do not separate us from the love of Jesus; but Jesus separates us from the love of our sin.
This Friday will be the start of Ramadan for our Muslim neighbors. Here in St. Louis we have the gift of being one of the fastest-growing foreign-born cities in America. Jesus is at work in our Multi-Culture. St Louis has 75,000 Bosnian Muslims and sharing a meal once a month with our local Bosnian neighbors is one of the losses we feel from the stay in home orders. Yet, Jesus is on mission as the Great “I AM” of every culture. He gives us the honor to be with him on His mission. In the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, it is helpful to remind ourselves how Jesus is Sovereignly revealing himself to All People. We are to encourage one another as long as it is still called ‘Today” (Heb. 3:12,13), by the Hope that the ‘Discipline of Delay’ in our waiting has a greater plan than our small agenda.
I want to highly recommend the newly released Jesus in Athens Video.
“Jesus in Athens is Moving & Convicting” John Piper
This Friday I will be meeting with Leaders from Training Leaders International that sponsored the video. We are living in the times of Diaspora or the movements of people. Jesus’ heart has clearly been to love the foreigner living in our midst (Lev. 19;33,34). Please pray for wisdom as we discuss how we can be obedient as the Church to Love the Nations within the United States.
Jesus in Athens is just one example of Encouragement and Hope. There were 1,005,504 refugees in 2015 flooding into Greece and Turkey. Every one of those 1 Million refugees had a story and a name. My wife and I watched Jesus in Athens last night on Amazon Prime just after a very encouraging Zoom call with our Burmese Church planting pastor and a Church Mission Committee. Shortly after our encouraging Zoom call last night about Discipling the Nations within the United States, the news announced a ban on all immigration into the United States. If you have access to Amazon Prime video just search Jesus in Athens for free viewing access.
Let me encourage you to visit the website: www.jesusinathens.com
As you hear the story of Jesus in Athens you will be encouraged by Jesus in Multi-culture and the courage of Pastor Panagiotis Kantartzis. Pastor Iotis planted the oldest evangelical church in Athens Greece. The Gospel Coalition article written by Pastor Iotis called Message of the Broken Windows speaks to the transformation of their city of Athens in how Jesus was at work in the crises. Pastor Iotis’s study of Jonah revealed how easy it is for we the Church to stay fast asleep stowed away in the deck below the storm. When the Greek financial crises hit Pastor Iotis called his Church to radical generosity by not looking to our own standard of living but to the needs of the refugees who had lost everything.
Your heart will be encouraged by Jesus in Athens and Pastor Iotis TGC’s article on how transformation most often occurs in the margins of our culture. Each of us will be receiving a Stimulus check in your bank account or by mail soon. What if we the Church like Jonah would throw ourselves into radical generosity by giving away ourselves and our stimulus check to the invisible people in your community through a micro-finance local Church plan?
Please pray for our All People Central District Faith & Work Zoom Cohort that will be empowering the leaders of our Multi-cultural Church planting team to create new on-ramps this summer for community outreach. If you have experience in leading business and would be interested to mentor multi-cultural leaders please email Brad Wos [email protected]