Nov 20, 2013

Jesus and the Jihadist

Yacob was nine years old when he heard that his life was meant to be fully given to God.  He was encouraged by a friend to begin to attend a local Mosque, where he learned that the only sure way to get to heaven, was to die in the Jihad.  He trained for the war between Iran and Iraq, went off to die, yet even on the battlefield he remained unharmed.

When the war ended he returned home, saddened that he did not die a martyr.  He married a young woman, and they had two children.  He settled into a job, and wondered - "Is this all there is?"

Some friends told him his Jihad could continue, if he was to wage it agains the local Christians.  And in the midst of persecuting them, he was challenged, "Why are you doing what you are doing?"  He responded to the infidel, "It is to please God and obtain eternal life."  The Christian lady he was persecuting began to explain to him the difference between a Muslim Martyr, and a Christian one: that a Muslim Martyr is usually killed whilst killing infidels, while a Christian Martyr is killed while sharing Christ, even the message that we are to "Love our Enemies".  Then she said to him, "My book tells me the only way to that is through Jesus Christ."  This impressed him, but haunted him as well.

After a bit of time, Yacob was informed by his doctor that he had a bone disease.  Walking home, he was in deep despair, and for some reason unknown to him, he remembered the words of the Christian he had been torturing.  That night, he made a daring grasp:  he prayed to be healed in Jesus name.  Instantly he felt the release, and knew in his heart he had been healed!

On his next checkup, the doctor was amazed - Yacob had been totally cured.  This convinced Yacob - Jesus must be Who He said He was, and Yacob then got down on his knees, and completely surrendered his life to Jesus.

When he told his family, they couldn't believe it - how could this jihadist have fallen so far?  His Father-in-law was incensed, and convinced Yacob's uncle to kill Yacob's wife.  Finding her murdred, Yacob fled the country, and sought asylum in a Western European nation.

His testimony is now used to bring many to Jesus, and especially those trapped in Jihad.  Jesus has given him a new wife, and a new family, and he is trying to get his children back who were left behind when he fled.  Yacob is fiercely in love with Jesus, and is willing to fully lay it all on the line for Him.

I met Yacob in Germany while we were both visiting, and our hearts were drawn to each other straightaway.  And even though we are both quite different, we were blessed at where we are alike:  both of us have suffered at the hands of father figures, both of us were violent, both of us have been saved by the Son, and both of us have been drawn in and embraced by the Father.

(The name, and some details have been slightly altered to protect Yacob - but this is a true story)

Nov 13, 2013

Run Your Kingdom Through My Heart

Michael heard these words 15 years ago at a teen mission event:   "Lord run Your Kingdom through my heart, crucify self, set me apart…"  It pierced him, and he became determined to make a difference in his German High School.  He started a small bible study amongst his fellow students, and together they began to witness to their friends.  It totally changed the focus and purpose of his life.

Michael has stayed in the school environment in order to be a witness for Christ, but now as a trained teacher.  His focus is still to bring glory to God and serve His Kingdom in all that he does, no matter the challenge or obstacle.

When he heard there was a conference for the persecuted church in Schwabish Gmund, he had to go.  But in his own words, he was in for one of the "shocks of his life" when he saw Bill Drake at the grand piano on the stage.

Michael approached me after the first session with tears in his eyes.  
"I've always wanted to meet you, Bill, and want to thank you for having such an impact on my life through your deep lyrics."  Michael's  emotion came through clearly, and God reminded me once again that He is capable of using anything given to Him for His glory, including a song called "Move Through Me" that I wrote on an old battered, backstage piano just outside a large squatter camp near Port Elizabeth, South Africa:  

Lord run Your Kingdom through my heart
Crucify self, set me apart
So that the nations hear Your truth
Send this ambassador for You
Move Through Me