4 Reminders About Persecution

Tom-Randall-photo-Free-Tom-Randall-FB-page.pngIt has been a crazy past two weeks for our church family here at Christ Community Chapel. One of our very own pastors, Tom Randall, is currently in jail in the Philippines under false accusations. You can click here to watch an update that our lead pastor gave a little over a week ago on this situation. He explains the situation more in depth and shares some text messages he has exchanged with Tom. You can also click here to read a blog post from our lead pastor on this situation.

As our church is walking through this and I am spending much time in prayer for Tom and the whole situation, the Lord has been reminding me a lot about what His Word says about persecution. I’ve always been aware and concerned for Christians who are being persecuted all over the world, but when it hits this close to home it’s different. As look over God’s Word here are some simple, yet powerful reminders about Christians and persecution.

1. Jesus tells us we WILL face persecution (John 15-18-20). Persecution should not come as a surprise to a Christians. In this passage, and a few others in the Gospels, Jesus clearly informs His disciples that just as He has faced persecution, they will as well. he says, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecute me, they will also persecute you.” You may not be locked up in a jail in a foreign country, but some time or another you will be persecuted for your faith.

2. When we face persecution, God will help and protect us (Psalm 27). So Christians will face persecution some time or another, but when they do they can find help and protection in their God. We don’t serve a God who allows persecution in our lives and then steps away for us to survive on our own. He loves and cares for us deeply and will be our help and protection during persecution. Read Psalm 27, written by a David when he was running for his life, and see how he calls on his God for help and protection. We can do that too when we are faced with persecution.

3. Persecution is a blessing (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff when He was doing ministry here on the earth. One of those things is that when we are persecuted for our faith, we should “rejoice and be glad.” Really? Persecution for the Christians gives us an opportunity to suffer for our Savior who suffered for us and brings us closer to Him. You will never meet a geniune Christian who has faced persecution and came out on the other side further from God then they were before the persecution. God grows our faith and love for Him when we walk through the valley.

4. We must remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted (Hebrews 13:3). You may not be facing persecution right now, but Christians are always being persecuted somewhere around the world at all times. Our responsibility is to remember them as the writer of Hebrews tells us to. “Remember” in this passage does not just mean “call to mind.” It means to “actively remember; to remember and act.” One of the ways we can do that is to be in prayer for other Christians who are being persecuted.

I’ve never prayed for a persecuted Christian like I have for Tom. This situation has reminded me of the reality of persecution and power of God to work even in the darkest situations. Would you join our church in prayer for our brother Tom?

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My Thoughts on Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow, some say the greatest college football player ever. Now in the NFL, he may not be the greatest, but is becoming a pretty good professional football player. What gets Tebow the majority of attention is not his football skills, but his outspoken faith in Jesus Christ. From the video above, that appeared on ESPN a few months ago, you can see that Tebow is very outspoken and unashamed of his faith. I commend Tebow for this. It is encouraging to see professional, and college, athletes who love Jesus and are not ashamed of it.

God has given each one of His children a platform to share the Gospel. For Tebow, God has given him the platform of football and it is only logical that Tebow would use the platform God has given Him to share Jesus. We need to remember God does not just raise men and women to serve in christian ministries or local church ministries, but he raises men and women also to serve in the “secular” world. We need faithful, outspoken Christians in the world of professional sports just as we need them in the local church. Whatever your platform is, use it to share Jesus and live for Him boldly!

One last thing. Whenever you use your platform to share Jesus and live for Him boldly, expect persecution. You can see from the video that Tebow gets plenty of verbal persecution and we will too if we live for Him boldly. Jesus said this would happen in John 15:19-21. “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me,they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”

ESPN posted a great article about Tebow that is worth reading. You can read that article here. Also, I ran across one of the best blog posts on Tebow tonight that is worth reading as well. You can read that post here.

Josh Evans, a student pastor from NC, wrote a great blog about his thoughts on Tim Tebow. I highly recommend you read this post and hear what Josh has to say. Good stuff! Click here to read that post.