I am writing this article while riding down the mountainside from Santa Lucia to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A group from our church is presently on a mission trip serving through the Maranatha Baptist Church of Santa Lucia.
To say life is different here than the US is an understatement. I quickly discovered that Alto on a sign means to slow down slightly then hit the accelerator while steering clear of the motorcyclist passing you in the gutter! I also peered down several manholes as we straddled the deep circular crevices at high speeds whose metal covers had been stolen. Pity the one who’s attention is diverted and loses his front tire and suspension or the careless worker who pops his head up for a quick look around! On the other hand it was nice to see a McDonalds and Denny’s in the capital city and visit the “biggest” mall in Central America of which they are furiously proud!
The main thing we have in common with the people of Honduras is a desire at a little prosperity and spiritual peace and security. The sad thing is that most people in Honduras will experience little wealth as well as finding little spiritual peace. One can become materially prosperous but that prosperity will never satisfy until he is at peace with God. However, one can have peace with God and be perfectly content and happy with little or no material prosperity.
We met many wonderful people with a deep faith in God and love for His word living in poverty. They had all found forgiveness of their sins in Jesus Christ who died on the cross to forgive their sin and restore a right relationship between them and God. They found the Saviour of grace and mercy as a welcome departure from the popular religion of works, traditions, and sacraments. That welcome gospel of the peace of Christ that was brought to them, in great part, via the many years of effort by bible believing churches bringing the good news of Jesus to the capital and the surrounding countryside.
The self sacrificing dedication of Christian missionaries deserves much appreciation yet all glory goes to God for every Honduran who believes in Jesus and finds forgiveness and realizes true peace of heart and the eternal prosperity of the soul. Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Over the years many of us have felt as if God was in the midst of doing something great and that He was going to change things in our lives and in our community in a powerful and dramatic way. Many people have had this hope for Bonner County and for our community. In fact it was this hope that I have heard many people say was the reason that they came to this beautiful and majestic landscape. In my time here as a Pastor in this community, I have found that most people long for this, but few have seen it in their lives.
We ask ourselves these kinds of questions: What is preventing God from moving in Bonner County in a powerful and long-lasting way? When will God choose to pour out His Spirit in Bonner County and the person of Jesus Christ be set on the throne here? How will God move powerfully when we see disunity, posturing and the churches of God fighting over their distinctive callings?
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions, and looking at the wrong things. I believe wholeheartedly that if we are going to see God move here in what I call “sustained revival”, we must know God’s heart for this place, this people, and be willing to be the hands and the feet of that heart. Perhaps the question is not about the Great Commission or even how we go about sharing this amazing news of freedom and life that we have in Christ. I also believe that the Bible gives us the key to seeing the world around us find out who Jesus is in His fullness and seeing the same dramatic transformation that was present in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
Jesus when questioned about the law in Matthew 22:36-40, points out that the highest priority of life for all who would be in covenant with Him was to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus reinforced this concept when talking to His disciples in John 13:34-35 at the last supper when He gave them a new commandment saying, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Today in our current climate in Bonner County, we must be reminded that the Great Commandment is the foundation for the Great Commission. If we pursue the Commission without the priority of the Commandment, we are putting ourselves on the same playing field that the enemy is on, and undoubtedly people will hear the message, but miss the heart of the King. Instead we must learn that love is the imperative and 1 Corinthians 13 should be our mantra and calling card for every sermon, every outreach, every program and every relationship. This is the foundation of a community transformed. Love never fails.
Many of us have established a habit or spiritual discipline of prayer in one form or another. These prayers may range from the desperate cries to God when our lives feel so pressured that we can’t stand to bear it anymore to the grateful and praising prayers that give God honor, praise and adoration. The psalms reveal both extremes and both are gladly welcomed to God, along with everything in between. As we see in the Bible, prayer is often a reflection and a cry concerning circumstances and situations. I have found that most people I talk to spend most of their time in prayer about these specific issues.
I would encourage us all to think about how we pray and from what perspective we cry out to God from. Most of us call unto God for needs, or for worship, but I believe that God has asked us to pray from a different perspective. As a Christian I have been given the most wonderful and powerful gift, the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit dwells within me and is a part of my every moment, leading, guiding and directing me. We must all recognize that at salvation, we all received the Spirit of Christ. When we pray, many of us pray as if Holy Spirit was not there, or if God was distant or far away from our moment of need.
We are reminded that when we pray from the place of knowing, and sensing that He is within us, we will pray very differently than when we think we are alone. Our prayers are now asking God for His perfect will to move us individually, and for Him to change us in order to meet the challenges that are in our path. His perfect love and mercy will always protect us, and we can pray according to the will of God, not just according to our needs.
God is working in our County and I believe that as we pray from a perspective of fearless power in the Holy Spirit, we will see God’s kingdom come to Earth as it is in Heaven. I am convinced that through dedicated believers praying in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will see a mighty unleashing of His goodness, love and grace! Please partner with other believers in prayer for Bonner County at www.bonnercountyprayer.com.