January 4, 2023
As Damar Hamlin laid on the turf Monday Night in the Bengals stadium, his teammates gathered around and prayed for him. Facing life and death situations make us aware that our ultimate hope is God. Many of you are included in text threads asking you to pray for urgent situations. It is a great comfort to one another to pray for one another. It is a great comfort because God has chosen to act in response to the prayers of his people. But urgent matters of sickness and trauma are not the only things to pray about. In fact, when you look at the prayers in the NT, most of them are about the spread of the gospel and the growth of the gospel in the lives of God’s people.
Tonight, we are gathering for that very purpose and for Jesus-loving, gospel-loving people, this will be a major encouragement for you. Outside it is damp, dark, cloudy, and dank. (isn’t that a great word? Dank – disagreeably damp, musty, and typically cold) We’ve had some rough weather, some run-ins with the flu, some hard times and losses that weigh on us, but there is so much more going on in the plans and purposes of God than what we see with our own eyes.
Several years ago, I met a young man named Shakil Khondokar. Many of you know him and his wife Angela now. You know about his ministry in Hamtramck, in Windsor and perhaps a little bit of what he is involved with in Bangladesh. But the stories of God’s grace from these situations are frankly amazing and at times astounding and I want you to know more of them and more about them. I want you to be encouraged. I want you to be motivated to pray more and be more engaged in what God is doing. Tonight, you will get a chance to hear some of those stories and pray in response to them. There is way more going on than we can fit into one evening, but I want you to know how the Lord is using this church to help reshape ministry life in another country. The gospel is having an effect through the planting and developing of healthy churches.
The Monday Night Football game was stopped as a result of Damar’s crisis. It was right to stop what was going on in order to give due attention to something more important. I am not sure what else you had planned on doing this evening, but I want to challenge you to set it aside and gather with us for this meeting. It is right to stop ordinary stuff in order to give attention to something more important. And the spread of the gospel amongst people who have never heard is of utmost importance.
For the gospel, for the church,