Thanks so much for your prayers. Yesterday was another amazing day as I (Luke) met with church leaders in Bangwe (a nearby township). It was an awesome time of fellowship with the believers there worshipping He who is worthy of all praise. The church service went from 9:30am to 1:30pm. But....i'm starting to adjust to the length of the Sunday morning services and actually enjoy it. Incredible times in prayer and God's Word!
Yesterday, the sermon was from Gen. 39 and Psalm 73. The title was, "God always blesses His people when they obey.....right?" Then the preacher went on to read the story of Joseph and how he was thrown in prison for obeying God by fleeing Potiphar's scandalous wife. Next, we read Psalm 73 and how the psalmist is asking God why the wicked prosper and increase in wealth while the righteous are poor, despised and oppressed. It was powerful and God's Spirit was at work in the room as the preacher went on to share multiple examples from the Word (Daniel, David, Jesus, Stephen, Paul, and many others) how the Bible suggests just the opposite. Instead, it seems to suggest that obedience to God leads to suffering (Matt. 5:3-12). So....the question we need to ask ourselves is, "Why in the world would i want to be a Christian if it just means hardship and suffering?" Well...the story does not end with Joseph in prison...his suffering was only for a time. The main point of the sermon was that our idea of "blessing" is often much smaller that what God has in store. But...for many of us, we might not experience that blessing in this lifetime. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and then we can see things much clearer and not focus on what we call “blessing” because often God wants something much bigger and better for us that will draw us and others closer to Him and, it more often than not, comes through our suffering. That’s just how the Gospel works. Good stuff.
After the service I sat down with the church leaders to discuss the possibility of starting a sports outreach with their church. They were all really excited and the ball is rolling at the Bangwe Africa Evangelical Church. Praise the Lord! I posted a video on Facebook of the children’s choir from this church. Check it out.
From the meeting, I hopped in the back of a old pickup truck and got a ride into town to meet some friends to watch the Malawian football (soccer) team play a big match. It was an eventful time at the game with 80,000 screaming fans and 20,000 more trying to get in the stadium but police deterring them with teargas. Crazy. Definitely a cultural experience. The day ended with me walking 5 miles home because all the roads were blocked with ecstatic football fans.
Please continue to pray for us this week as we have meetings every day with local church leaders to discuss sports ministry. This is so exciting watching God move!