All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NIV
I don’t know if there is anything more precious for us to know than being reminded that Christ has reconciled us with the Father – that through Him, God was reconciling the world to Himself. As I read these few verses from II Corinthians 5, I am reminded that the death of Jesus at the cross, paid for my sins and His resurrection is the ultimate victory over Satan. I am also reminded that this victory is ours if we only accept it and surrender our life to our Savior. There is no greater celebration than when we know that we are set free from bondage, that we have been cleansed by the blood of the lamb, that our sins have been forgiven and that we are reconciled with God our father and creator. This celebration is only complete once we realize that not only have we been reconciled with God but that through Christ we have also been given the ministry of reconciliation. No greater mission can be given but the one to be Christ’s ambassadors, messengers of His peace, and servants of the Gospel.
The world around us lives in darkness. The people in the Middle East in particular live in wars; peace is lacking, turmoil prevails, and spiritual poverty overshadows every conflict. Most communities live in despair and many are looking for hope and seeking answers to their miseries. In the midst of that darkness the Church is called to be light to the world and Christians are called to be salt to the earth. This is our opportunity to help lead people from despair to hope in Christ alone.
Despite all that is going on in the Middle East, we have never seen the Muslim communities more receptive to the Gospel. In the midst of despair people are searching for the truth. We have a God-size opportunity to be ambassadors of His peace, reconciling the world with God though Jesus. We at Heart for Lebanon are seeing that first hand. We are humbly experiencing the amazing work of the Holy Spirit. Muslims in unprecedented numbers are accepting Christ as their personal savior. They are seeing Him in dreams and visions and are seeking explanations from our team members. It is through our relational engagement that trust is built and opportunities are granted for us to share the Truth in Christ. It takes intentional efforts and long hours of relational engagement to build this trust. But once there, amazing opportunities arise for us to openly and boldly share the Gospel with individuals and families who have never heard about Jesus.
As the result of many years invested among the local and refugee communities, we celebrate the large number of those who attend our Bible studies and participate in our discipleship programs. Together, we celebrate the fact that many are being reconciled with their creator; many are confessing Him Lord and Savior.
Our ultimate celebration is expressed in the new worship gathering evolving in Southern Lebanon. For 6 consecutive Sundays, 40-50 adults are gathering to worship our Lord together. These are Lebanese and Syrian men and women, the majority of whom come from a Muslim background, all believers in Christ as their personal savior, meeting to pray, worship, and study scripture together. This worship gathering is definitely the beginning of a new church community.
To know that we are reconciled with God through Christ is an amazing revelation. To discover the powerful results of the work of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of reconciliation is humbling. Together, we are leading people from despair to hope in Christ alone and reconciling others with God their creator and savior. Thank you for partnering with Heart for Lebanon and for celebrating with us this new worship gathering of believers in Southern Lebanon.