Over the past year I have been on a bit of a hiatus. Largely this is due to the relocating of me and my family to Georgia from North Carolina. This has caused a bit of anguish within me as it had placed the ministry on hold and consequently my writing on pause. However with this hiatus a great thing has happened. I have had a chance to reflect on the 3rd pillar of the ministry. When I started on this journey my heart’s desire was to defend the Gospel and evangelize the Gospel due to a God developed zeal for Truth. This fire still exists. But the last pillar was a bit more obscure. I believed God was giving me a desire to prepare brothers and sisters in the Faith for the end times war as we await the coming of Christ however I wasn’t really sure about the specifics concerning JeticsLeague. I just knew that we needed to do a better job in coming together as a family of believers, truly loving one another regardless of our cultural affinities. And I firmly believed it needed to happen now considering the current climate of the Church, which is a hobbling infrastructure of what it once was, before America became at enmity with God. Before the Church sidelined the importance of apologetics in evangelism and before the Church became more concerned with promoting Jesus is love apart from the whole Gospel. Something we call the a la carte Gospel.
The brutal acts of persecution that have taken place against Christians over the past year have really worked to give me a clearer picture of what is missing from American Christendom. And consequently, my own walk. I’ve noticed here in America, a place where we still have many great freedoms, that our application of scripture as it pertains to seeking those who are hurt or lost has been selective. Perhaps even biased. If you were to ask someone how they’re supporting their local community you can peg the answer before they give it. Feeding and clothing the homeless, helping at a shelter or maybe helping teens at a pregnancy care facility. What you won’t hear though, is street evangelism, protesting and evangelizing at the abortion clinic or facilitating jail ministry. If you were to ask a believer how they or their church was supporting the Gospel internationally you would get the same kind of answers. Building water wells, connecting with local churches to help share the Gospel, providing food or clothing and also adoption. And these things are all good. We should be doing them and if you’re believer that is ministering in these areas keep it up as it’s great, God honoring work. But what is uncommon to hear are initiatives centered around providing refuge to and assisting the persecuted church. Why? Because it’s hard, scary work. It’s work that by and large the American Church isn’t willing to do. In most cases we would rather leave that kind of work to the government and politics. The same government that hates the God of the Bible. We tend to take Matthew 25:31-40 and apply it loosely. For example, we skip the part about visiting those in prison and we also fail to realize Jesus is talking about the flock, not the unregenerate in those verses. Yet we will put forth great effort to feed and clothe the unregenerate. However, the unregenerate have no part in Christ. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t exhibit Christ-like behavior towards the unregenerate, but it also doesn’t mean Jesus wasn’t talking about His sheep. Verse 34 being key as the King was speaking to those on His right.
“34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
How we treat our brethren in Christ reflects how we treat Christ. To forsake the brethren is to forsake Christ. However there is a theme within American Christendom and that is to feel compassion for the lost and impoverished unregenerate more so than our own brethren who may not be impoverished but under brutal persecution. We tend to only view ourselves as Christian philanthropists when we really need to recognize we are defined as saints of God set apart for the purpose of building the kingdom of God (Ephesians 4:11-12).
“11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,”
Our primary focus as believers should be the body of Christ. It is a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a family. Our primary focus shouldn’t be to the world. Yes, we are under the Great Commission but that isn’t at the expense of taking care of our brethren from a global community perspective. Paul didn’t forsake the Church in an effort to focus on the unregenerate. There’s a key word in Ephesians 4:11 and that is shepherds. Shepherds protect their flock from themselves when wandering aimlessly but also from ravenous wolves. It is more than just coming around someone and praying for them. It is the active participation in another believer’s life for their survival spiritually and physically. Not just participation to help with life’s hard knocks but participation in helping those when even the enemies of God set out to destroy the people of God. This is the job of a shepherd. This is precisely what Christ went to the cross for. The chief Shepherd gave His life for His sheep. I firmly believe our failure as a Church to recognize the importance of family has made way to the belief we’re no more than a spin of the Salvation Army. The only difference is we at times will promote the Gospel but usually if it doesn’t come with a cost to our own lives or some other major inconvenience. Family many times means those who look like me, those who are within a certain geographical location or those whom we’re not biased against or have stereotyped negatively. Meaning many of us aren’t really willing to cross the color lines within our own cities throughout daily living but we will evangelize people groups living in foreign countries and return home to our bubbles. But that is another topic.
Sadly, just over the last couple of years we have witnessed Boko Haram kidnap almost 300 girls (mostly Christian) from a Chibok school. We’ve seen 21 Coptic christians kidnapped and beheaded and videotaped for the world to see. ISIL declared war on the Cross and executed 12 Christians, one if them being a 12 year old boy who they first tortured. The level of persecution has reached unprecedented heights. In 2015 the world saw Christian persecution hit a record high. Christians are literally being cleansed from the earth. Persecution is now at a level unknown to the world. Yes, it is worse than ever. And with our hindsight of things past, what has our response been? How has Christian ministry changed or evolved in light of what’s happening to the Church worldwide? Has it changed at all? I don’t believe so.
Persecution, unfortunately is one of those things that doesn’t trouble us to our core until it personally happens to one of us. Sure it concerns us and we may even pray over it at times but it doesn’t trouble us to action like it would as if one of our family members were the target. It seems today in the Church family is only family in the context of location and cultural affinity. Many churches in America don’t see persecution as an issue they need to be heavily involved in because it isn’t in their own backyard. But would location matter if it was your wife, husband or child that was beheaded for all of YouTube to see? Family isn’t defined by geography or by those that are like us. Jesus didn’t call us to the take the path of least resistance. He in fact warned us that we would face extreme opposition as His followers. The reality the Disciples faced should be our reality. The reality the early martyrs faced should be our reality. The reality that our modern day martyrs currently face should be our reality. The reality of the entire Christian walk has become my reality. As I seek ways with JeticsLeague to support our persecuted brothers and sisters I urge you to embrace the totality of the Christian walk and make it your reality. And ask yourself, are we Christians, or are we Christians?