While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. – Acts 17:16-17
I remember the first time I clearly realized that the face of America was truly changing. I was returning to the States for a meeting and a short leave. The plane was making its descent to the airport. I saw 3 red brick churches with white steeples just outside the airport grounds. It was a bit of a shock after Europe where the Protestant church is so small. While having something to eat in the airport, I watched the people passing by. I saw several Oriental families, which was not surprising. I had become accustomed to seeing families from the East in the states. But then I saw families in full Muslim dress. “Oh my,” I thought, “do the churches just outside know what is here on the inside? And if they do, are they able and prepared to deal with it?”
Then later my brother-in-law from a small East Texas town asked me, “Do you have a particular way that you share with Muslims?” He told me that he had several colleagues at work that follow Islam. They talked to him about their faith. He needed to know how to share his with them. Butch and I took an afternoon for some shopping. We stopped at a small coffeehouse and a man from Iran served us. He came to live in America after 10 years in Brussels where we were currently serving. I began to remark the number of people in Muslim dress in the malls.
The phrase “a world without borders” is so true and applicable today. Are our churches prepared? While I truly appreciate the affirmation we receive for our work amongst immigrants, the reality is that missionaries are no longer the ones best poised to reach out to the entire world. You are! The church.
Immigration is not a new thing. And when we look at the communication technology and the transportation system that exist today, massive changes in the face of the world is not surprising. But don’t you wonder why now?
God is working out his plan. It is his desire that the church reach out to the people surrounding them. You don’t have to leave Jerusalem to touch a Samaritan anymore. But you do have to walk outside of the church building.
Question: Who has God placed in your “world” from the uttermost parts of the earth?