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James was his middle name, and he was a young Irish missionary committed to following the call of the Lord wherever it took him.

His fervor led him to Europe and then to Asia where, at 29 years of age, he contracted malaria and died on August 19, 1910. I visited his grave recently in an open cemetery that is filled disproportionately with military personnel who died in multiple wars and conflicts.

On his marble tombstone is a simple quote: “He led me to Christ.” Aimee Semple McPherson stated those words. She had come to the Lord through the ministry of Robert James Semple, who would later become her husband and then ask her to follow him to Hong Kong.

Not long after arriving in Asia, he died, and just a little over a month later, Aimee would give birth to their daughter, Roberta. Now as a single mother, her journey would eventually lead her back to the United States, where she would found Angelus Temple and The Foursquare Church.

In our 21st-century view of the church, it’s easy to forget about the extreme sacrifices that so many people have made and are making around the world for the sake of the gospel. I’m awed by the tenacity of so many who lead in the face of adversity and not only have persevered, but also have witnessed an explosion of God’s favor and grace in the midst of trial and tribulation.

This morning, I sit only a short train ride away from China and realize that every day believers are making choices about their freedom or their faith. Sometimes I wonder if we in the West have gone a little soft in our faith. I find myself complaining about trivial things, and from time to time the Holy Spirit confronts me concerning my attitude.

Paul and Barnabas faced conspiracy, abuse and stoning, as recorded in Acts 14. They considered it a worthy price to pay for taking the gospel to the Gentiles. Rather than disciple others on how to avoid it, they taught them that they should expect it.

The clarity of their message in Acts 14:22 declares, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (NIV). I wonder what grace and favor we may be missing when we devote so much time avoiding confrontation and adversity to make life more comfortable. My prayer is changing from “keep me safe” to “make me strong.”

The billions of people who have yet to respond to the gospel need a church that is less concerned with comfort and more willing to confront injustice and sin. I have a renewed commitment to fill my life not with random activity, but with a clear purpose. This commitment includes a determined will to make a difference with my family, with my neighbors, with kingdom partnerships and with a world desperate to connect with the truth that will set them free.

By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church

Share your journey through Acts » Comment below to share what God is showing you personally as the Foursquare family reads through Acts together this year! You can also subscribe to the weekly Foursquare Leader Prayer e-mail to receive insights on Acts from Foursquare leaders around the world.

is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Orlando, Fla.