Saturday, August 15, 2015

Qur'an, Questions, and Kabobs

I am sitting here in Abidjan after a 10 hour flight from Dubai. Yesterday was a  most amazing day. I woke up and took myself for a swim in the Persian Gulf. Then I took a taxi to the Al Manar Islamic Studies Center for Friday prayers.  It might frustrate some Christian Brothers & Sisters to hear me say that it was one of the most challenging experiences I've had in a long time.  I sat on the floor in the back of the room and watched 160 men get on their knees, faces to the floor, and prayed to the God of Abraham.  The young man giving the message challenged us to be better husbands, father's, business men, and servants of God. He challenged the men to search their hearts for any sins committed since last Friday. They then needed to repent, and walk the right road.
 After prayers Hamed, the resident theologian, spent an hour answering my questions.  Hunger sent us next door to an Afghanistan restaurant where we ate lamb kabob, pita bread, and rice with our fingers. We spoke and ate for two hours. It was delightful conversation between two men committed to their faith.  We talked about the Qur'an, shariah law, veiled faces, democratic government in a Muslim world, and those committing crimes against humanity in the name of Allah. Our conversation was deep and wide.  It evolved as we spoke and took on an evangelistic tone.  Hamed was showing me the need to recognize Jesus as a prophet, and give up my polytheism.  He challenged me to worship only the one true God.  As our conversation headed to a zenith I shared with Hamed that I agreed with almost everything his young preacher had said.  I could kneel beside him, face to the ground, and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  But my problem was the blood.  Lambs blood on the doorpost facilitated the exodus.  God gave Abraham a ram to save his son.  There was blood in the tabernacle, and blood in the temple.  Finally, there was blood shed on a cross.  In fact, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  As Hamed firmly testified that there is no God but Allah I was reminded of 1 John 5:11-12 which I memorized in 1977.  For this is the record, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son.  He who has the son has life and he who has not the son has not eternal life. I concluded by sharing with Hamed that for me to declare Jesus as less than I believe Him to be is as difficult as for Hamed to declare Jesus more than he believes him to be.  I left a Christian, and Hamed remained a Muslim. But I made a new friend, ate a great meal, and respected that Hameds seven year old son sat with us and listened attentively to an hour of prayer, and three hours of adult theology.  I now have a friend who can give informed answers about Islam to my far ranging questions.

I will ccontinue to be challenged by the preachers Friday charge that we live for God as if we are in the midst of an emergency, never to be mired in passive complacency.

Keep prayng that I get everything God has for me in this coming week of prayer, evangelism, deliverance, and instruction.

I love you.

Pastor Paul

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul, this is from Aunt Pat. What a remarkable experience you are having. You prepared ahead of time for this very experience. Oh, I wish I could have sat in at that three-hour theology conversation - - however, a woman would not have been welcomed. The Lord is teaching you so that you will share your experiences with others. We are all praying you through all this!!! LOVE, Pat