Runners. Messengers. Heroes.

After hearing the message of Jesus Christ, many pray to confess Him as Lord

Acts 11:19–24
19 Those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, Cypriot and Cyrenian men, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Hellenists, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 Then the report about them was heard by the church that was at Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord.

I love the guys in this story. This nameless group of people fleeing Jerusalem after the death of Stephen because of persecution, they are my Bible heroes. I don’t know their names, their backgrounds or their futures. All I know is that they heard the Gospel message about Jesus Christ, believed it, were changed by it and then when they faced persecution because of it, they ran WITH it not FROM it. They did not hide the message. They spoke this message of Jesus Christ fearlessly to the people they met as they ran to new cities and areas trying to find peace from the persecution in Jerusalem because of this very message. And many in this crowd of nameless messengers spoke this message of life in Jesus Christ to people without regard to their nationality or religion. They crossed barriers others were afraid to cross.

Unlike Paul (then Saul), these people did not need a special vision of the risen Lord Jesus to believe in Him and give their lives to Him. Unlike Peter, they did not a special vision from the Lord of unclean animals in bedsheets coming down from heaven to carry the message of Jesus across racial, religious, social and national barriers to the Gentiles. They just did it! They shared the message with everyone. They did not seek permission or authority from anyone or any particular group to do this. They didn’t wait on resources. They went with nothing in their pockets. They went without jobs. They went without being trained or skilled to do the work. BUT…they went with the two most important things: The message of Jesus Christ and the Hand of the Lord. The message of Jesus Christ had changed their lives. Jesus Christ was their Lord. He was their Savior. He lived in their lives, and even though they had and were suffering because of their faith in Him, they could not keep quiet about Him. They shared His message! And what happened? God blessed their works. His Hand was with them. Many people came to faith in Jesus Christ through the message they shared. Through their work, the Lord raised up a church in the city of Antioch that would later send out Paul and Barnabas to carry the message of Jesus Christ to the entire Gentile world, and ultimately, this would include me! I just love these guys. They are my heroes. I owe them much.

The story of these nameless messengers in this short passage in Acts 11 is the inspiration behind the vision of IMFC to raise up a crowd of people just like them to carry the message of Jesus Christ to Eastern and Central Africa, and maybe beyond. Can it happen? Yes. It already is! Here is a brief sample of the emails and Facebook messages I have been receiving over the past few weeks form our key leaders in Uganda and Kenya.

From Tororo, Eastern Uganda: 62 people giving their lives to Jesus here in Tororo. I am so happy. I watched these guys do it. It was great moments for me. 24 new appointments ready for house churches to start. 17 house churches already going on here. Pray that this work will rapidly spread across borders. – Justus

From Gulu, Northern Ugandan: In northern Uganda, Acholi land was very happy to receive the message about the story of Nicodemus and Jesus from the book of John 3:1–21. We have 15 home churches and more than 200 disciples ready carry on the message to the neighboring districts of Kitigum , Pader, Omoro, Nwoya, Lamwo, and Amuru respectively . We have managed to distribute and collect more than 150 Who Is Jesus booklets. The questionnaires are ready to be sent for marking. Now our request is for you to send for us 4 more boxes of books for this district and some Luo Bibles . We thank Micheal for standing with us and for your continued prayers for the Northern Uganda team. – Wande

From Nebbi, Western Uganda: Today I traveled to Nebbi which is 76 kms from Arua town to check and train leaders over there. Orombi is working with 3 guys there and the 4th one is working in Paida. These are very serious people who have passion for the Gospel. 36 people have accepted to receive Jesus Christ since Orombi went there to share. They are working every day. The 50 Who Is Jesus books that Orombi went with are finished. 32 have been completed and returned. 2 people have accepted Baptism, which we should have done today but time could not allow. One of the ladies they met is from Soroti District. She has been practicing prostitution but now she is saved and ready for baptism. We had Bible Study with them using SOT. When I was training them in the field, it was interesting to see her participating seriously. We are very grateful to see that ministry expanding to the whole of Nebbi. – Eric

From Kangemi Slum, Nairobi, Kenya: The following people that I have attached to this email are among the house churches in my slum area of Kangemi and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Among them is a widow with four children living a hardship life. She is affected with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Some of them are waiting for baptism and they are continuing to know more about God’s word through SOT. Let me assure you of my prayers in Jesus Christ. I keep my faith in him as He guides us to reach the word to those who do not go to church. – Peter

From Kibera Slum, Nairobi, Kenya: God is moving in Kibera and like you told me, I hardly get time to rest now with calls coming from all the corners of Kibera slum just to hear the good message of John 3:1–21 and SOT. God is raising passionate men ready to run with the word even in the most risky areas of Kibera, this can only be God himself working and I can see everything just as you said it would be. – Xavier

I am humbled every time I read one of these stories. I know many of the people in these stories. I know how they live. I know what they have, or better, I know what they do not have. I know the passion they have to serve the Lord and I pray for them. I pray that the Lord supplies their needs daily. I pray that their passion to serve the Lord and share the message continues. I pray that they train up many more people, just like themselves, who will passionately carry the message of Jesus Christ to other places and other people.

It has started. The Acts 11:19, IMFC vision is living and moving forward. They are doing it. Oh, Lord Jesus, keep this vision and message moving from person across Eastern and Central Africa, and, Lord, start something like this here in my own country, here in the USA. We desperately need it.

Have a great day and thanks for your partnership and prayers. God has greatly used you and answered many of your prayers. Keep praying and thanks.

Jimmy

Speak Your Mind

*