Church Under Fire

Church Under Fire

Click the link above, scroll past the first columns until you see the vid screen and choices to the right – and select “Church Under Fire.” (Sorry, couldn’t imbed the video this time.)

Here are three questions and assignments:
1. Why, in our day of “enlightened people,” do Christians still suffer persecution and martyrdom? Why is this still around?
2. Do a word search, definition of “martyr.” What does it mean? How does it relate to you and me today?
3. Who in the video do you relate to: it could be words said, facial expression seen, etc.? And where are you in this video?

The Mountain Before Me

There is a mountain before me. In the course of my hiking, I probably could have seen it — except that my eyes were on things immediate, closer, more urgent to my steps. But now… there it is. A mountain right in front of me. A visual block to my sight, and a temporal block to my plans.

Since I am traveling with others, I assume they see it in its fierce, imposing presence. They seem to stay in stride, and don’t seem to notice. Curious. So, I ask them. They pray for me for strength…provision…wisdom…to finish well.

So I am on my own, except for God, my companion in the trek, of course.

Wisdom, God? Provision? Much strength, please? God points to the map and draws five small icons, points really, on the map, and hands it back to me.

One looks like an exclamation point and is on top of the mountain. This means, I can choose to push through, stretch my endurance, and trek over the mountain. This is hardest, but might be the best passage. I will learn strength and praise in difficult times, and I will conquer the mountain.

One looks like an arrow and is to the side of the mountain. He says with this point that I can hike around the mountain and reach the other side. It means I can avoid the hardship of the first choice, but still accomplish the goal. It is longer, and there are more possible dangers and side roads in the valleys. I will learn guidance if I go around the mountain.

Another looks like a tree and is away and before the foot of the mountain. This choice says that, as I hike and approach the mountain, I can ask God for wisdom and strength and provision to prepare me for the mountain in the distance. That way, I can discover His choice. I will learn patience if I ask and wait for an answer.

A fourth point is a question mark and is directly at the foot of the mountain. This choice seems dangerous, since it places me to close to the elements that make up the mountain, the weather, the cold, the rock slides. If I stay here, I am immobilized, not knowing what to do and how to go. I might learn fear at this point, but I know I cannot stay here, and eventually turn to God for wisdom, strength, and provision. I will learn to ask for mercy and grace if I find myself here.

A fifth point is directly on the other side of the mountain, and it looks different than the others… almost like an “x.” I don’t know what this represents, or how this metaphor fits into the map, so I ask God for wisdom, clarity, and strength.

He answers: remember the destination. Maintain a pace and direction that gets you to the goal. Choose wisely and trust my hand. The easy way is not always bad. (After all, walking across a sea can sometimes be easier than sailing.) The hard way also is not always the best way. If you lose friends unnecessarily because you wanted your own way, you’ve been unwise. And if you find yourself immobilized at the foot of the mountain, trust me, speak to me, and remember that mountains looks most ominous from the bottom.

But could it be that, if next time you take your eyes off the urgent around you, and see the mountain ahead; you might ask wisdom, strength, and provision… and my answer may be to remove it!