Michael Najjar, Beyond Partnership
Seeing Revival Happen
I am about 3/4 of the way through a month long journey away from home, and I have been blessed by God to be in places where there is amazing revival going on.
In Nepal I met many who are being persecuted for their faith. One young man, who is a new believer and was planning (and by now already has) on being baptized, has been rejected by his family. They are preparing a funeral service for him, showing that he is now dead to his family – all communication, inheritance, etc. has been cut off to him. In spite of the persecution, the church is growing like a weed, and many are finding new life and hope in Christ. In spite of the new Nepalese constitution that says that it is a secular state, the Hindu dominated government continues to limit the rights of Christians. But that is only causing the church to grow faster.
I met a visiting Indian church leader while in Nepal. He was trying to meet with the leadership of his Christian organization, but the leader has been banned from entering India, because they know he is a Christian. He shared with me how there is such a great revival in India that it is calculated that there is one new church being planted every minute. Compare that to the hundreds of churches that are closing in the United States every week. And this is in spite of the new government which is the most hard-lined against Christians in decades. Many Indians see the love of the Christians for the outcast. In fact it is the people of the lower castes that are converting in droves. This is upsetting the country’s social balance (or rather imbalance which is in favor of the higher castes). He is starting to build an orphanage for 300 children. None of the other faiths care enough about the down trodden to do something about them. That’s why so many are coming to Jesus.
And now I am in Lebanon, a country known for sectarian upheaval and Islamic extremism. But you know what? There is amazing revival going on here that shows how sovereign and amazing our God is. The Lebanese Christian churches had been dormant, just a keeper of cultural identity for generations. Starting with the 2006 war, and now more so with the Syrian refugee crisis (which actually started in 2011. It just made it to the news in the past few months when the refugees started arriving en masse to Europe), the church has come to life. Instead of strictly looking inward, Lebanese Evangelicals are choosing to show Jesus love to their former oppressors (Syria occupied Lebanon for many years and killed many Christians).
There are over 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which has a population of 4.5 million, many of whom are refugees of Sudan and Palestine. So you can imagine that the country is a mess. But now tens and even hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi Muslims are hearing about Jesus for the first time in their lives. They are seeing Jesus’ love in action through relief aid given out by churches and Christian organizations in a way that gives them dignity. Muslim parents are begging to have their children admitted to Christian schools which are the only school or only decent school that is available to their children. The kids hear about Jesus. The parents see Jesus in action. Bible studies and churches are filling up at amazing rates. Syria is being won for Christ here in Lebanon, whereas the opportunity was not available before civil war and ISIS came upon the scene. Syria was and is completely closed to evangelism. Every Lebanese Evangelical that I have spoken with says that there is a miraculous transformation going on here.
So when you think about all the troubles in the Middle East right now, don’t just think about what the media tells you, or how it might affect you personally. Pray for the Arabic believers and churches, and praise God for how He is taking this horrible situation and using it mightily for his Kingdom.
P.S. Last night, before I sent this e-mail off, there was a suicide bombing in Beirut killing more than 40 people. I am in Tripoli, far away.