Tunisia, Egpt, Yemen, Libya, Syria. The amazing, dramatic recent events in these nations have entered the daily thoughts and prayers of many Christians, myself included. Thanks to cable news, YouTube and mobile phones, social media and email, these stories of protest … of the hope for freedom … of bloodshed and violence—are front and center on own TVs, computer screens, or mobile phones.
Sometimes it’s thrilling to follow. We can also end up with an intense mixture of fear and faith.
Like when I got this email from a friend in Beirut the other day (please excuse the bad grammar).
May 8, 2011
Dear our friends :
Thank you so much for your love.
Yes today we called our parents in Homs and Damascus...the situation
is very bad, lot of people die every day without any guilt, only
that they went to work to move, brother of my friend died this
morning, his name is [name withheld] he was going to buy the needs of his
shop from Homs, somebody of them on his motorcycle, approached his car
after he stopped him and shot him from his pistol at his head
and died complacency
I called my family in Homs, and they were very scared ....they told me
about that, I was sad, because He has four children and they still
need him but ?
what's going on in my country suddenly became my country without law
and without security... just now law of the jungle, fear and bullets
and missiles... but we are confident that God is with us because we
are his children. HE will not leave us Puzzled or despair of His
mercy, he said in 2Cor4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not
distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2Cor4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
2Cor4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2Cor4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus'
sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal
2Cor4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.....
Please pray with us for peace and security in Syria, we will fast
every day until next Friday.
Our Lord bless you.
How should we identify with their fear and their faith? How can we not pray for the people there?
Sure, the USA has had some positive news in the last couple weeks. The ten-year hunt for one notorious terrorist has ended, and Americans are breathing a sigh of relief. But most experts say there is no end in sight to the increased volatility in the Middle East.
Seems we live in a time of less stability and magnified volatility. Add to that the crippling debt and economic uncertainty which the USA is facing. For many, it all spells gloom and doom.
Indeed, if you listen exclusively to secular news reports, the big picture is foreboding. Many people, including Christians, have greater anxiety about the future.
Oh, how we need a bigger picture. We need perspective—biblical perspective, historical perspective, worldview perspective.
Operation WorldView can help give that perspective, that bigger picture. Here’s how:
The Biblical component of Operation WorldView teaches that there is a Story above all stories—“The Story of His Glory.” This overview of Scripture, based on the article by Steve Hawthorne, shows that the Bible is God’s Story.
The storyline or plot is essentially God’s mission to reveal his glory to all nations in order to receive glory from all those nations. God is intent on blessing all the peoples of the earth. He has promised that his ancient purpose to bless all the peoples of the earth will come to fulfillment!
What’s the benefit for your average believer or church-goer? Simply, that we can rest in the fact that God is sovereignly, beautifully working all things among all peoples and nations—together for His glory! “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).
God is drawing all peoples to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. In the process, evil is conquered, God’s kingdom of grace and truth prevails, and the peoples are transformed. They are made righteous and honored in his sight! Yes, God is moving on the earth for the sake of His name and reputation. At the same time, believers have a glorious role to play in this Story above all stories.
God’s explicit promise to bless all peoples starts with Abraham in Genesis 12. But here is the thrilling thing, just as God used Abraham to extend the blessing, so also, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are literally in that Story and can participate in full measure to help bring Christ’s blessing to the nations.
We are not left to make sense of it all on our own. We do not have to create our own meaning. No! The glory of God and the meaning of life has been revealed in Holy Scripture, and we are privileged to participate in that glorious global love story.
The Historical component of Operation WorldView explores how God uses four missionary mechanisms to bring his global purpose to fulfillment.
Based on Dr. Ralph Winter’s article, “The Kingdom Strikes Back,” this teaching is a broad overview of biblical history and Western history. Dr. Winter’s conclusions are full of weighty significance for believers today. Using examples from Scripture and history, Operation WorldView presents the four mission mechanisms for extending God’s blessing:
1) voluntary going, 2) voluntary coming, 3) involuntary going, 4) involuntary coming
What’s the benefit for your average believer or church-goer? A greater knowledge of God’s passion to bless all nations, as well as a fuller understanding the believer’s global responsibility. Believers get a higher view of God so that they see Him above history, sovereign over the affairs of nations, over wars, over politics, over current events, over global trends and international conflicts. God is passionately committed to gathering worshipers from every people, and thus extending His blessing to all the families of the earth.
This teaching magnifies the wondrous sovereignty of God as well as the magnificent responsibility of God’s people to cooperate with God—in extending the blessing of Christ to all the peoples of the earth.
So give your fellow-believers and friends a bigger perspective. Help them makes sense of major trends and historic current events. Explore these big-picture truths in an interactive setting. Get Operation WorldView—eight 1-hour missions education sessions for small groups—inspired by Perspectives.