Posted by: pastorafrank | January 16, 2014

Satan Alive and Well Here, and Everywhere

Wouldn’t you know it!  The Old Serpent struck again before we were finished yesterday.  He doesn’t want to relinquish his stranglehold on this dark land, and he continues to do whatever it takes to extinguish the Light.  And, though this place is a half a world away from us and two thirds of the way to Down Under, the tactics here are the same as in the good old US of A.

All was going terrifically well.  This year we’d encouraged our brothers and sisters to engage speakers who could address them in their own language – no translator needed.  They obliged, and Luana and I sat through session after session listening to a tongue unintelligible to us.  Didn’t make for much of a blessing to us, except that we knew our friends were being challenged and blessed.

Meal times were a delight.  We ate delicious and spicy hot dishes of rice, chicken, sambar, buryani , idly, dal, and so forth.  Everything with a considerable bite to it.  Usually a slow afterburn.  But delicious.  And we enjoyed the fellowship over food.  Everyone did.

Even the exhausting 3-hour session with the cluster leaders (USA – district leaders) turned out well.

All was going smoothly until the last couple of hours of the last morning together.  I found Thambi, our Crusade liaison and Frank Jr. talking with one of the pastors.  That man’s face and body language broadcast that he was not pleased with something, and he was voicing his displeasure to them.

I was glad for the fact that he chose to address men who could understand him rather than Great White Tata Frank; but when I learned what his complaint was, I was saddened.

It seemed that he thought that the vice-president of the Fellowship was taking too much on himself by being the MC for each session up to that point.  He’d apparently voiced his displeasure to his fellow pastor, and his ire had produced a decided emotional response in the vice-president’s wife.  She was in tears, in fact.

Of course, given my demure and retiring personality, I was disinclined to do anything about it.  (You realize that my tongue is firmly thrust into my cheek here, don’t you?)  On the contrary, I was perturbed.  Wanted to step in.  Wanted to fix this.

I determined to address this thing, even in a round about way, when I rose to speak.  This would be only the second time I addressed the whole group.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the Devil has no new tactics.  Not for nothing did the writers of the epistles continually challenge God’s people to love and forgive each other, to get along together, to realize that it’s not all about me.

Before it was my turn to speak there had been a decision to have Communion together.  So we did.  Can you imagine – Communion with the aforementioned drama hanging in the atmosphere?  I couldn’t understand the words that introduced the bread and the cup, but it was a special time anyway.

Thambi then spoke to the men for about forty minutes while Luana and Gloria, the translator, spent time with the ladies.

When we gathered in the meeting place for the last session, I whispered to Thambi, Did you say anything about what happened between those brothers?  No, he said, I did not.  I am going to, I said.  I can do this, I continued, because I am leaving after.  We laughed together.

It was a golden opportunity to address the situation.  I began by telling the group how happy we were to be with them again, how wonderfully the Conference had been planned (a direct connection to the vice-president who’d been largely responsible for the planning), and what a wonderful thing it was to celebrate Communion with them.  Then I took the opportunity to emphasize what Communion means, how it represents our continuing relationship to Jesus and to each other, and that if we partake of the elements when we have something in our hearts against a brother or sister, we are acting as hypocrites.  I stressed how important confession is prior to partaking.

No names mentioned.  Just a good opportunity to remind us all of basic issues.  And then I proceeded to make my final remarks based on the Conference theme of Joshua 3:5, Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

God will indeed do wonders here if…if his people dwell and walk together in unity and love.  No different here than anywhere.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love each other.

The thing that motivated this unlovely action here is the same thing that motivates similar actions in our country.  It’s plain old selfishness.  And the Devil is very good at fanning that fire.  If he can’t negate church planting here by persecution from the outside, he’ll have a go at it with selfish contention from within.

I pray that neither folks in the BFC here in this land as well as the one of which I am a part in my own country will not play into the Snake’s hands.

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Responses

  1. This post reminds me, Frank, of how important it is that we be praying for you and Luana and the BFC Brothers & Sisters in this needy country.


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