“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100, ESV).
We often talk about and preach sermons about taking the gospel message to the nations. However, talking about it and encouraging others to “go” is drastically different from actually doing it.
I recall a trip I made to Indonesia, a country of roughly 237 million people, to speak to Bible college students and pastors. More than 203 million Indonesians declare Islam as their religion of choice. To say I was intimidated by seeing a mosque on practically every corner would be understatement. The people of Indonesia are friendly and beautiful, but visiting a nation where 88 percent of the population is Muslim was almost overwhelming.
On my first morning, I wakened to the sounds of Muslim prayers, chants and songs that emanated from each of the mosques throughout the city. It was impossible to ignore the “noise” and go back to sleep, and I felt outnumbered and inadequate. Could Jesus possibly move in and through these people?
On the third morning, I was again wakened by the early morning sounds of Muslim prayers, but my response was different. Rather than lying in bed with a pillow over my head in an attempt to drown out the sounds, I got up and stepped out onto the balcony.
As I stood there overlooking part of the city of Jakarta, I lifted my hands and began to raise my voice in prayer. Soon my prayers turned to praise, and then my praise turned to shouts of joy. And my shouts of joy turned into a new song of worship and thanksgiving.
That experience was a turnaround for me. I no longer felt overwhelmed and inadequate to accomplish the task of speaking into the lives of men and women called to reach a Muslim nation. I realized that, long before I went to Indonesia, God had been working in people’s hearts. I just needed to surrender to the One who calls, the One who sends, the One who equips, the One who never leaves us or forsakes us. I quit worrying about “how” to reach the nation, and began to focus on Jesus, the “Who.” He is who reaching the nation is all about!
By: Mike Larkin, president of Ignite Academy in Christiansburg, Va.