I love this story, and the book, wow. A must read (after you read Sent of course). I got to sit under Nik’s teaching several years ago and I have never thought of international church planting or persecution the same way since.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book…
“I knew that God had never promised to reward obedient sacrifice with measureable success. At the same time, I wondered why our sacrifices had yielded so little. Maybe, I wondered, there were results that we could not see.”
“This was not the kind of inspirational testimony that we love to celebrate; this was raw, biblical faith.”
“Jesus is worth it. He is worth my life, my wife’s life, and He is worth the lives of my children! I have got to get them involved in what God is doing with me!”
“The greatest enemy of our faith today is not communism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, or even Islam. Our greatest enemy is lostness. Lostness is the terrible enemy that Jesus commissioned His followers to vanquish with the battle strategy that He spelled out to them in Matthew 28:18-20 (“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”) He was addressing this same enemy when He plainly clarified His purpose in coming: “I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.”
“Those believers have also taught me a whole new perspective on persecution. For decades now, many concerned western believers have sought to rescue their spiritual brothers and sisters around the world who suffer because they choose to follow Jesus. Yet our pilgrimage among house churches in persecution convinced us that God may actually want to use them to save us from the often debilitating, and sometimes spiritually-fatal, effects of our watered down, powerless western faith.”
“After almost 20 years of walking through this world of persecution and talking to hundreds of believers who suffer for their faith, we can say without a shadow of a doubt that the primary cause of “religious persecution” in the world today is people surrendering their hearts and lives to Jesus. For decades the western church has been taught to pray and work for an end to the persecution of fellow believers around the world. We enlist our congregations, our denominations, and even our government to speak out and pressure oppressive regimes in hostile nations to end discrimination. Sometimes we even demand that persecutors be punished.”
“We seem to forget that Jesus himself promised that the world would reject and mistreat His faithful followers just as it rejected Him. Could it be that the only way that Almighty God could actually answer prayers asking Him to end the persecution of believers … would be to stop people from accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior? If people stopped accepting Christ as Lord and Savior … persecution would end immediately. That would be the only way to end persecution.”
“We have seldom encountered a mature believer living in persecution who asked us to pray that their persecution would cease. We have never heard that request. Rather, believers in persecution ask us to pray that “they would be faithful and obedient through their persecution and suffering.”
That is a radically different prayer.”
Yes it is..