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This week, we’re going to be honoring as a church family the persecuted church. We’re going to be posting throughout the week videos and links on our Facebook page that reminds you of the persecuted church. And, um, I’m going to tell you this morning, I’m going to be a hot mess. I can tell already. Um, I’ve been reading articles on what’s happening around the world all week long, and I feel like I’ve been in tears a lot of the a lot of the time. And, um. I’m trying to write a message that gets to the heart of God as we talk about this this morning. Um, and none of us ever feel like I’m doing it justice. So I have rewritten and wrote again and thought through and wrote more on on what we’re going to talk about this morning. But I just want to say this. Uh, as we dive into this text. Um, it’s it’s not until a believer in Christ begins to look at his life outside of himself that he really, truly understands the reason for which he was created. And what God has called us to in this world is to represent his kingdom. His church is the means by which his kingdom is represented as a light into darkness. And it’s not until we live outside of ourselves that we truly understand the reason for which God has created us. I heard a Ravi Zacharias once define God, and he said this, that God is the only being through which finds meaning of life within himself.
Everything else created finds the purpose of its existence outside of itself, and the church is created for that reason. The book of Hebrews, as we look into it today, just to give you a little bit of a background as a wonderful book on the sufficiency of Christ and where we belong in him, and it truly speaks to the beauty of Jesus. But as, as, as the writer of Hebrews, which is Paul, if you ever say it, someone else, you’re wrong. But it is Paul. Um, the writer of Hebrews, when he looks at at the end of this book, begins to correlate to us. Why why it’s significant to then live our lives outside of Christ. And he just makes this, this, or not outside of Christ, but in Christ, outside of ourselves. And he makes this statement in chapter 13 and verse three as it relates to the persecution that’s taking place around the world. And by the way, if you want to know why I think Paul wrote Hebrews, I could give you just a couple reasons. One, the writer who wrote Hebrews knows a lot about Jewish tradition and life and archaeology. As they’ve uncovered manuscripts. They found some some manuscripts of just Paul’s epistles. And in that section of epistles by the Apostle Paul, the book of Hebrews is in there. So there you go. That’s why Paul wrote Hebrews. Um, but the context of Hebrews chapter 13 and verse three is important for us as it relates to our self.
And I’m going to be honest with you when it when we talk about topics like this, we’re going to discuss pain and difficult things. And so when you talk about the persecuted church, I know I’m going to walk out today and I’m not going to be like, yeah, I’m excited and happy. You know, I could be excited about something God’s doing. But but but talking about persecution means we have to talk about pain. And and when you talk about, um, pain, one of the things that we hate as people is we don’t always like to enter into pain. We like to avoid. We like to pretend like it doesn’t exist. Sometimes we even create our lives around the fact that we. The purpose of life is to avoid pain. And I just want to say, if the purpose of life is to avoid pain, Jesus would be a pretty sucky savior. Then you think about what his life was. And he entered into our pain on our behalf and died on a cross for our sins. And so the point of life is not about the avoidance of pain. The reality is you will endure it. But here’s here’s the truth of the matter. When you read revelation chapter 21, it tells us when Jesus and verse four that that Jesus will take away every tear from our eye.
There will be no more suffering and no more pain. So God’s desire is to remove pain, but temporarily we experience it in this life. And so there there is a purpose for which you are created that transcends the reality of pain on this earth. And so when you live your life to avoid, just to avoid pain, you’re ignoring the fact that God has created you for a far deeper purpose than pain. Now, I’m not saying ignore pain, and I’m not saying run away from pain, but I’m saying because of Jesus, we get the opportunity to enter into pain and see a purpose in life that goes far beyond just the temporary pain of this earth. And sometimes when I go to funerals, I wish there are times I wish I could could control people’s mouths. One of the worst things I hear people say is, you know, someone dies and they’ll they’ll go up to someone and just say, you know, at least they’re in a better place, like. How does that help? You know, like, to be honest. Okay, let’s let’s live in the reality. Okay? That’s true. Okay. Let’s say they’re going on. They’re going with Jesus. Okay. But but that is a statement that just pushes aside the current pain someone’s experiencing. And just makes it inconsequential. Because you know what? There’s something better. The reality is we hurt. We lose, we hurt. And what Jesus teaches us to do in those moments is to enter into that.
And point to the glory of who he is beyond. Man, I love you. I’m sorry you’re going through this, but God has has given us the opportunity to just be with each other in this and encourage one another. And that’s what Paul is saying in Hebrews chapter 13 and verse three. He’s talking about the the persecution that people are enduring, and he’s acknowledging the fact that pain, pain is real, right? He says, remember the prisoners as though in prison with them and those who are ill treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Like there’s a responsibility in this. You’re in the body. And so Paul, Paul was just saying a few things. Or the writer of Hebrews is just he’s reminding us of a few things of, of our tendency to just want to avoid it and pretend like it’s not happening. But the reality is it does happen, and God’s got a purpose for you in it. And so he writes this. Remember the prisoners. Now, I want to contextually work through this as it relates to the Greek text. Because sometimes in our in our mind we have preconceived ideas. We come to texts like this. For instance, the word prisoner, you think of prisoner, you might relate it to your prison system today. That’s not how Rome’s prisons worked. When you were a prisoner in Rome, they would chain you to someone. Oftentimes, like the Apostle Paul was chained to Roman soldiers.
You didn’t go to prison because you did something wrong. You were in prison to await the trial, to determine what it was that you did, or if you’re guilty of doing something wrong. And then a punishment was given. And when they gave a punishment, they didn’t just send you back into the prisons. What they often did was they lashed you. They sent you to the arenas. You lost your life. The punishment tended to be immediate there on the spot once it was determined if you were guilty or innocent. And so, leading up to your trial, to determine if you were even guilty or innocent, you were placed into a prison. Or as some translations are going to say, bonds, you’re held in bondage. And the responsibility of someone who was in prison was that the people who cared about that individual would go to where they were in bondage and help meet their needs, take care of them. They took care of the prisoners, not the prison system. And the writer of Hebrews is saying to us, remember those who are in prison, listen, we need to care for them. They’re taking a stand in the Lord. It’s significant to the body of Christ and what they’re willing to do and enduring this hardship, entering into this pain. And you enter in with them. Remember those that are in bondage. Paul, when he wrote to Timothy at the end, or the book of Second Timothy at the end, he says, bring my parchments and and bring my cloak like I’m cold and I want to read something.
Take care of me. And he’s saying the same thing about those who are enduring hardship taking his stand. Remember them. This word for remember isn’t just a word for for recalling. There’s only a couple times in the in the New Testament where this word remember is used in this context, but it’s actually in the present tense. Meaning. What Paul is saying for us to do isn’t to just remember, like, you know, you remembered as a little kid the first time you had ice cream. It’s not you’re calling an event, but it’s in present tense because Paul is saying when you recollect what is taking place here, the the purpose in this in the present tense is that you would then be inclined to do something about it. And he gives the illustration at the end. Remember the prisoners. Remember those who were in bondage as though in prison with them. I mean, this is just like you were there. And those who are ill treated, since you yourselves are also in the body. I’m not telling you to remember this just so you can be like, oh, poor them. Uh, God’s calling us for us to remember this so that the body of believers sees this as a responsibility to respond. This is not about them. It’s about us. Remember. The purpose for which we are created transcends pain.
In Second Corinthians 12, Paul said it like this. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored. Every part rejoices with it. And the reality is when I take the opportunity to remember. What people face around the world. I’m reminded as an individual, my first world problems aren’t always as bad as I make them seem. And sometimes as people because we allow our pain to define who we are. Um. We become good at playing the victim card, right? Now, I’m not saying ignore your pain. What I’m reminding us is that who you are in light of who Christ is, transcends it. You aren’t the things that happen to you. They may shape you in the way that you view the world. But the significance of who you are transcends it. When you take the opportunity to honor the persecuted church. That’s what you’re saying. You’re becoming a voice to the voiceless. You reminding all of us about what’s happening out there and saying we as people live for something greater than just this pain and and we, we, we may be shaped by what happens to us, but we we are not defined by it. We we live beyond it because what God has created us for is of something far more significant than this. And when we take a moment just to look outside of our shell, sometimes we’re reminded that that some of the things that I’m going through just aren’t that bad or, or or if they are, just to see those who have endured and continue to be faithful in the Lord.
That was important for me to learn when I was a young believer. I remember when I first became a Christian, I had a lot of anger built up inside of me. And my response was as a young kid was to beat it all up. Literally. I lifted weights and I fought. That’s what that’s what I enjoyed doing. You’re going to think you’re going to top me. Okay, now I’m going to I’m going to show you that you’re not right. And then when I became a believer, I started to realize, well, you know, that’s not what the Lord calls me to, but who am I am, I am, I am, I, am I the things that. I’ve not allowed to define me because I beat them up. Is that who shapes me? You know what? I needed believers to come alongside of me and say, you know, these things happen to you. And and yeah, they’re hard. But the person that God made you to be is bigger than that. And it gave me a time to reflect on my identity as it relates to God. If first or second Corinthians chapter one is one of the things that we’re going to talk about in our connection groups this week, but Paul talks about some of the things that we endure as people within that chapter.
And he says this to us, that that as you go through those experiences in life, what what God does is you allow him to allow you to live beyond it. As you experience the the heartache of it, God uses you to encourage others through it. Do you know some of the most compassionate people in this world? Are the ones who have gone through tremendous hardship. Because they’re the ones that can enter into the pain that other people have gone through very empathetically. They know what it’s like, right? Paul is acknowledging to us that that that this, this pain is important not to ignore, that God’s got a purpose beyond that for which we can encourage other believers to and show them significance of what God has created them for in all of it. Be a reminder. Be a strength. Be an encouragement. There was a man by the name of Samuel Thomas in India who created this ministry called Hope givers. Um, he takes in orphans. He has over 6000 orphans that they support. In fact, Joseph Thomas, the minister that we support, now grew up as an orphan through that ministry. And um, Sam Thomas would say when when Christians would take trips to India to see these orphans, Americans go into that soil and they think, oh my gosh, look at the look what the kids are going through. Look, they’re so poor. And they are and compared to America.
But this is what Sam says. He says, don’t tell them that they don’t know. They don’t know any different. These kids, they’re thankful to have a place and they’re thankful to be, uh, to have a roof over their head and to have each other and to be encouraged. Here’s what you get to do. You get to come to them and tell them that that God loves them. And you are this white person they probably haven’t seen. And you get to step onto this soil and just love them where they are and show them that Jesus really cares about them. These kids don’t know any different. And maybe, maybe just for a moment, as I’ve heard him say that before, I’m thinking to myself, well, maybe. Maybe it’s not them that are the messed up ones. Maybe it’s us. Maybe. Maybe I’m so wrapped up in my world to try to avoid pain and to fulfill myself with pleasure that are defined by this world. But I’ve not allowed myself to examine enough that the joy that we really need. As in Jesus. I mean, he is the one that transcends all things. He is the reason for which we’re able to look beyond the hardship of today, because he gives us hope for tomorrow. He is reminded of a. Story. There’s a young girl named Gabby Ravi Zacharias writes about in one of his most recent books called The End of Reasoning.
And it’s, um, it’s about a young girl who lives in Minnesota, and her name is Gabby, and she has an illness or a symptom that only 100 people in the world are known to have, and it’s that they can’t feel any pain. They can’t cry and they can’t sweat. And the parents. When this young girl was born, they noticed that she began to develop and she got into a few months old and she developed her teeth, that she began to bite herself to the point she was bleeding and no response. By the time she was two, she had bitten such severe wounds with on herself that they had to remove her teeth because of fear of what she might do. Uh, at one point she she caused such damage to her eyes that they were afraid she would permanently lose them. So they they put, uh, goggles on her to protect her. And, um, she, um, she plays sports. They say relentlessly. She has no fear of anything. It’s probably probably the one you want to make the captain of any team with someone like that, that just dives in there like that. But. But the reality is that out of the 100 known people in the world that have this, uh, illness, the life expectancy, it’s 25 years old. Because they haven’t learned. Of the repercussions of pain by experience. You know, the number one prayer request of families who have children with that sickness. Is that they would feel pain.
Well says to me. The scape of pain. Isn’t the point of life. In fact, in some circumstances, pain can be used to the glory of God. I’m not wishing pain upon anybody. But I can tell you some of the greatest opportunities I’ve had to learn what love is. It’s because of heartache. And some of the reasons I hope in Jesus more is because of the pain of the experiences that people go to. My appreciation in the Lord increases greatly when I take opportunity to enter into the pain, to think that there is a reality that exists beyond just the temporal suffering of this world, and something more to live on, that it doesn’t have to define who I am. It may shape me. And it may give me more opportunity to be more empathetic towards others. But it does not define me. Entering into the life of these believers gives us the opportunity to to, to gather, point to the hope of who God is discussing and being willing in this pain because we have something that endures beyond. I would also say this. When we enter in to that world with those who suffer, as Paul says in Hebrews 13. Gives us the opportunity to exercise the gifts in which God gives you. In Matthew chapter nine, Jesus said this about the world around him and the disciples. He he said, seeing the people, this is Christ. He felt compassion for them.
Because they were distressed and dispirited, like sheep without a shepherd. And then he said to his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. I’m gonna be honest, when I was reading this verse this week and just looking at it, it cracked me up. Like I can see my family coming in the room, and I’m sitting here like this and I’m like, what are you doing? I’m like, I’m beseeching. Deeply. There’s not a person in this room that’s ever beseeched in their life. What in the world is that? This word beseech just means this. You’re asking God. In Luke chapter ten. I like how the story goes on. It says, And Jesus then sends forth his disciples. It was like this. The ones that had the heart to pray for those in need were actually the same ones that God sent to minister to those in need. And so what what the opportunity is that we see in helping others is the is the ability to just serve them as God has gifted us. The point of a gift is to give away. God gives you gifts to give away. I want to tell you, maybe you’re here this morning and you’re like, I’m not the type of person that likes to ask people for help, you know? But I just want to tell you, um, that’s why Jesus made the body of Christ.
Anytime you don’t allow someone to have the opportunity to to serve you, you’re not giving the church the opportunity to live as Jesus has called us to live. God wants us to depend on each other. Persecuted church to. God wants us to use the gifts for which he has given us to to glorify and honor him. So here’s here’s the reality. And this is why I say the kingdom of God is bigger than you. And when you get that point in your life and begin to live life outside of yourself, God wants to do something in you, through you and beyond you. And when the church starts living like that, that is the reason for which the church exists. And so I would say this, I would even go so far and maybe, maybe this is more blunt. The church does not exist for you. Church is a light to the world. Now, the truth is, as the body of Christ, we love each other and we serve one another and and we encourage each other. But it’s, it’s because in that we we in that encouraging and exhorting and being there for one another, God uses that to transform our hearts, impact our lives so that through us his glory could shine. I can tell you one of the worst conversations I have. As when people start telling some of the things this church needs. We need a lot of stuff, okay? But like.
Yeah. We painted our backdrop black, you know. And people care about stuff like that. And I don’t. I like when it comes to what God desires for us. I think when I get to heaven, he’s going to be like you. Paint it black and it’s not going to care about that. And we do it for a reason. It makes our stuff pop on the screen. All right. There’s a purpose for it. That’s why stages are painted like that. But in the course of life, it doesn’t matter. You know, maybe one day we’ll do something different. If anyone’s got suggestions, but. Um. That’s not what it’s about. This is not. This place isn’t for me. My God uses it to encourage me. Man. But it’s so far beyond me. Jesus is saying in this verse that we pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers. And I can tell you, when we’re praying this, we are praying for ourselves. God do a work in me that you could transcend beyond me. That I could take the opportunity of what you’ve done in me and encourage others. There’s a few different ways that we could approach ministry in this world. One is reactive ministry and the other is proactive ministry. Uh, reactive is this when there’s a catastrophe happening, like, like in Mexico, the hurricane that’s going to hit land or that has hit land. And whatever devastation that happens there, people go in and respond.
Now we do that as a church. So somewhat of a reactive ministry with the leper colony. And there’s people in India, 4.5 million people who suffer from leprosy. We can’t take care of 4.5 million people, but we can take care of some people. They have no ability to work because they don’t have any fingers or toes. They. So therefore they don’t know how they’re going to eat. And so we react to that. We love them and we care for them. And we talk to them about the Lord. But but it’s a reactive ministry to their need. But it’s not just reactive. Some of it’s proactive, and some of them still do have the ability to work. And they make blankets and do different things and we support them in that. But we have another area of ministry. I would say as a church family that is that is proactive. Meaning, not only are we trying to address the symptom, but we’re looking for a cure that goes beyond it. I think we’re doing that in the orphanages or the slum schools, I should say. With Joseph Thomas. As he gathers these kids off the street, he educates them and and he feeds them. And proactive ministries are highly significant to. I think they take longer to work themselves out, but they’re they’re incredibly significant. Let me let me give you just an idea as to what proactive ministries do as churches stay involved in them.
Uh, let me let me paint a picture negatively so it hits home harder. Uh, you think of of Nazi Germany. And when you consider Nazi Germany for just a moment, the immediate thought of the person that led all that was was Hitler. And he took political power. But I want to tell you that the battle for when Hitler took power and what happened in Germany was, was lost before Hitler took battle and or took power and began to rule over Germany. And this is what I mean before a something in your life becomes an action. It is first a thought. Theory. Something that begins to shape the mind before it begins to be lived out within your life, right? And so when it comes to someone like Hitler taking authority in Germany, the battle was lost in the lecture halls and the classrooms of Hitler’s mind, where he was educated long before he took power. He was the one that introduced Mussolini and Stalin to Friedrich Nietzsche. He dabbled in the occult. His mind was shaped in the course in which he would live out his life before he got into the position. You think about that right now? As societies at large, the loss of any society is not fought in the political arena, though the politics are important, and you want the right person to help navigate through cultural trends within a society and and push a country forward. But long before anyone ever steps into the political arena, the mind of that individual is shaped long before in the lecture halls and classrooms of life.
The education of a society. And you think about America for a moment, you wage war. We’re going to come up on political issues, and we’re going to be posting everywhere about president This and president that, and who am I voting for and whatever. And in a country that’s really honestly disunified. But I don’t want to be fooled into thinking that the the determining path on an American trajectory is not not picked within the political arena. I know politics are important, and yes, it does have a push in the way that a country goes. But the minds of the individuals that lead the country. Were shaped long before they got into power and positions. Now, I don’t think the answer for us when you hear things like that is to say, oh, junk and just run away. When you consider in our culture today how far removed we have taken God out of any equation as individuals in the purpose of life. I don’t think we. We tuck tail and run. I don’t think we hide. I don’t think the answer is to retreat. I think the answer rather is rather is really to invade. You know, I think about things like that. It’s in my heart and in my life that I just stop. And I thank God for educators who love the Lord and see their opportunity in school systems to use that to to influence the mind of others.
You want to have an effect, you don’t run away from it and think the world’s coming to an end. You you jump into it as light into the world, because that is the reason that God has created his church. And so when it comes to proactive ministries, this is one of the reasons I’m thankful for for Joseph Thomas and the the, the kids in the schools that he’s going to is because he is considering the next generation. He is meeting them on the streets and shaping the minds of young individuals who would get into positions to make influence in this world. And so the battlefield. It may take time to to get into position, but the battle is taking place to have influence in this life. And so your your giftedness in what God has called you to do, gets the opportunity to be exercised in places like this, to influence in the darkness, as God has called us to be his church. God didn’t create the church for you to be the stopping point. But rather is launching point. And third. Is this one of the reasons it’s it’s good for us to remember the persecuted church. So we’re encouraged by their faith. You want to think about individuals who suffer for Christ? Um. They’re not super Christians. They’re just people. The Apostle Peter. When he was following after Christ. The Bible tells us that he even denied Jesus.
But by the time you get to the book of acts, he’s rejoicing over being beat for Christ. And first Peter four he says this. But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice with exaltation. And Peters even saying, listen, when you live your life despite the hardships and you don’t deter from Jesus, you’re saying that something about the significance of Jesus. Transcending what is in this world. That seems to be the end of reality for most people. But but for us, it goes far beyond that. You know, when I read about Peter and I see the way he struggled in life and the hardships he faced, there’s a theology. It’s not a real theology, but it reminds me. I’ve heard a guy talk about it before. It’s called the hanging by a thread theology. You know, some of these believers in Christ when you when you see what they’re going through, you can’t help but consider in your mind. They must just be hanging by a thread. Uh, Paul in Second Corinthians chapter one, he said this. If we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively beyond our strength, so that we despaired even for life. Indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves. And Paul himself is, is saying, there are times in my life where I just felt like I was just hanging by a thread.
Yeah, I think a Christians in Syria right now. Iraq is the second most persecuted or third most persecuted country in the world. India’s 21. North Korea’s number one. I think it’s somewhere in the tens of thousands of North Korean Christians are in constant, not concentration camps, but labor camps. Enduring incredible hardship just hanging by a thread. It’s amazing to me sometimes just how far. God lets that thread go. So how much do you feel like you’re just dangling there? You know, one of the reasons I’m able to to understand or, and even you are able to understand what it means to hang by a thread is because you yourself have been there. And maybe you’re there right now. Just hanging. By a thread. I got to be honest, sometimes within our church and doing ministry. There are places where I feel like I’m hanging by a thread, right? I could tell you, since we have started, I know that you guys don’t always see this, but since we’ve started as a church, I have not stopped doing building projects. I’m so tired of them. Like we’re in this right now, but I’m working on the next project for us as a church family, and you go in and nothing has been easy. There’s like 17 hoops, you’ve got to jump. And then when you do that, there’s 17 more and 17 more and 17 more.
And I’m just like, oh God. But here’s what keeps you going. The God that transcends it. A purpose beyond it. Man in a beautiful, wonderful body of Christ to encourage you in it. I look at what God’s doing here in just as it relates to building projects, I don’t. I would have stopped jumping hoops a long time ago, but the thought is we keep growing as a church family and I don’t want our facility to ever be a hindrance for people to come and be a part of this body together. And it’s encouraging to see. And every time we fill another seat, I’m like, I’m going back down there, we’re going to build something. You know, this is awesome. And they tell me, no, I’m like, Oh God, so woe is me, you know? And then for a minute I stop outside of myself and I look at what other people are going through, and I’m thinking, if all I’m complaining about is a building, who cares? We’re encouraged in our lives. By the faith of others who endure. But I’m not ignorant to the fact that it’s not easy. You know what I learn in the hardships I’ve faced in life. And I’m sure you have too. Is at the time in life where we feel like we’re hanging by a thread. But the one who owns that thread. Is God. And the one who’s on the other end of that thread.
It’s got. Sometimes I get in the perception that. God doesn’t want me to go through pain, right? I think as parents, we might live our lives that way. That’s why you get the firm helicopter parent, right? Oh my gosh. They’re going to go through pain. You know it’s like, ah, you know, freak out. They’re not supposed to experience that. But the truth is. Pain. It’s been one of the greatest lessons I’ve had to the goodness of God. Because Jesus was willing to enter into my pain. And give me hope beyond my pain and be there with me through it. Learn to understand that life was created for so much more than to allow it to define me, but to live beyond it because of him, and that he cares in it. And that one day he will redeem us from it, ultimately, but through it. It reminds me that this world isn’t my home, but God is. And if he is that glorious and he is that good, what opportunity it has for me now to be a light for him in this world, to not live for myself and to just not live for pleasure, not live my life for the avoidance of pain, but to live beyond it. Not just live wondering and hoping I get my next pay raise, but to look at the things that God has given me as an opportunity to shine my light for him because he is worth it.
Let me close with these thoughts. Um. We can’t do everything. But Hebrews 13 three. Calls us to do something. Within our community. Bible says, be a witness to him in Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. Within our community. Thinking of his kingdom outside of ourselves. That would be our Jerusalem in in Judea. You know, as a church, around Christmas time, we do ministry to Colorado City, a place that is broken. And then the uttermost parts of the earth for us as a church family is India. Over 4.5 million lepers, over 300 million orphans within that country, and we have the opportunity to love them. Here’s what we encourage you to do today. If you picked up a bulletin with inside of that as a letter. The front side is on the leper colony. The back side is on the orphans in India. Joseph Thomas wrote that and he’s not. You’ll read as you read it. We kept it the way he wrote it. So English is not his first language, and sometimes he’s talking first person and sometimes he’s talking third person. And you get the joy of figuring that out as he reads it today. But I can tell you, if you read just the story about the young girl, you might find within yourself just a little bit of frustration over what happened within her life to her sister because of a lack of resources to be able to provide for her family.
And then when you examine your life, you see an opportunity very quickly to do something about it. I’m not telling you as a church family and this is something you have to do, but I’m telling you, God calls us to do something. Somewhere. To be a light for him because he calls us to do that in in Hebrews chapter 13 and verse three. Remember those who are. Prisoners. As though in prison with them. Are those who are ill treated, since you yourselves are also in the body. As a church family. Here’s one of the things we’re going to introduce to you today. By October next year, we want to do a mission trip to India. And we’ve done this twice as a church family. We’re going to go back and do ministry with Joseph Thomas. But one of the reasons we’re going to do this as a church family is because God uses that as an opportunity to further knit our hearts towards where God leads us. You can’t go somewhere and see the poverty through which people live and not be changed. You can’t go somewhere and see the darkness that exists in an area, and not let it have an effect on you. And God uses this as an opportunity to knit our hearts to him. So here’s here’s our encouragement. We’ve taken 3 or 4 people on each trip that we’ve done, but our church is bigger now, so we expect we could have more than that go on this trip.
But if you’re interested in going care, Robert’s number is in. In our bulletin, you can give her a call to be able to go to India and love and encourage these children of the streets in the leper colony, um, and to do ministry with them. So if you’re interested in that, call Cara. But here’s the bigger picture I want us to recognize as a church family. If you feel like you’re hanging by a thread today. It’s important to let the Body of Christ encourage you in that it is. And it’s also important to remind you that you aren’t defined by the things that you go through. They may shape you. But you’re defined by a God who transcends all of those things. And he cares about all that you’re going through. God also understands by the experiences of your life that those experiences give you the opportunity to empathize with other people to. So not to ignore it because it’s real, but because you have a God that transcends it. It gives you the opportunity to go and speak into the lives of others. When you represent his kingdom. It happens outside of you. This week as God leads you. My hope and prayer for us as a church family is that we lift up those in need. We especially remember the persecuted church.