TO THE GLOBAL CHURCH ON GOOD FRIDAY . . . . FROM THE U.S. WE ARE WITH YOU AND YOU ARE WITH US
Ephesians teaches us that there are 3 dimensions of church – sadly people take one of these three and make it the whole church – but it takes all three to be the church. First, is the cell, the house, the basic church made up of a community of Jesus followers where you operate as the body of Christ in a small group of 3 two 15. Second, the congregation or the city church, where those cells gather to worship and mobilize the body to engage the city and the world. Third, the global, universal or “catholic” (which is more than the Roman Catholic church – it means universal church). Most people today argue over which form is best the cell or congregation and never even think of the global. Today – we think of you and you matter to us. Many of you cannot worship freely or openly but Christ lives within you – you are his temple – the temple has been rebuilt – and it is within you as Jesus said.
We are grateful for your courage – you challenge us not be shy about our faith, you often pay with your blood, we only pay at most with inconvenience or someone making making fun of us.
We are grateful for your movement – please help us. You are growing and exploding like no other time in the history of Christianity. You have covered the face of the earth and your churches multiply like crazy. Come to us, help us, teach us, “evangelize” us – we need it. Don’t come for your own tribe that has moved here, come for the Anglo, the African American, and the Latino – we need your help.
We are grateful for your character, humility, and integrity. You have not succumbed – most of you – to Christian superstardom – please don’t. We have set up idols within our own faith of money, success, and strategy,
We are grateful for your fresh insights to Scripture, theology, and what a truly global faith looks like. You must forgive us, though we travel, we rarely see the world, we see our tribe and our work – and that’s about it. Because of your global context, fresh eyes on the Scriptures, and passionate commitment to the Gospel, you see things we never have.
So, to the Messianic Church of Israel – I know it is difficult for you to acknowledge Yeshua as the Messiah and even harder as God incarnate – you have paid a price – and we are with you. We are grateful to you.
To the Palestinian evangelical church – and all Palestinian Christians – the first Christians – we know that today, though you have lived for centuries in the birthplace of Jesus – you will not be allowed to visit the Holy Sites. You haven’t been allowed to for years. You have many struggles where you are – yet you remain faithful and refuse to give up. Forgive us in the West when we allow speculative theology to isolate us from one another when we’ve been commanded by Jesus to love one another and this is how people will know we are his.
To Arab Jesus followers – some of you are in lands where you are not permitted to worship. You worship with your family, in your homes, and other places. We love you deeply and we are so grateful for how God is moving among you and how you see Jesus in ways we have not. Some of you face jail, beheading, torture, exile, poverty . . . . for one reason – you love Jesus, and you stay where you are, because you love your people. . . . we are with you. Forgive us when we confuse western culture and western forms of practicing following Jesus and impose those on you and make your burden heavier.
To Jesus followers in communist nations – you have paid a dear and bloody price to follow Jesus. Your faithfulness has brought about more openness in these countries – you are the ones who have taught us the meaning of “house” church. I have seen your faces, shared your pain. I’m sorry for the way the Western Church has mixed global political views with the Gospel and made it very difficult for you. We often see things more through American eyes than we do Kingdom of God eyes.
To the persecuted church – be it from another religion or government or people group – we love you. I pray for you often. When I stand and speak at my church or anywhere else – I don’t forget you. I picture your situation and circumstance in jail or facing execution and I pray for you. I pray against mob rule. I pray against “Pilates” – men that know what they should do, but love power more. Forgive us for trivializing the Gospel to a spectator religion based upon consumerism, comfort, and man centeredness.
I pray for those of you – over the face of the earth today, that have left your countries to go to another country or place to serve (there are more of you outside the US that do this than inside the US now) in the name of Jesus. Be wise, be strategic, be loving, be servants, be honest, be obedient – you are not the first to do this, you will not be the last – it is not up to you, it is up to God – you are merely a light thrower.
Jack, Kim, Eddie, Dion, Hua, Jossy, Robert, Quan, Paul, Victor, Hussan, Samsueng, Lin, Joseph . . . . I love you all and I am with you as you are with me.
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.