2 Timothy 4:2 (NLT)
Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favourable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
God's word has power to attract people we'd never expect!
For instance, look at what's happening in the Philippines. It takes deep commitment to share the gospel there, where God-thirsty souls are spread over 7,000 islands, where more than 9 major languages are spoken and rebels of all kinds are hostile to outsiders.
To help overcome these obstacles, the Ambassadors For Christ International team often uses films to attract people in rural areas to come together so they can hear the gospel as part of the program. In some areas, chuckles AFCI Philippines director Isaias Catorce, Communist rebels help them carry the equipment because they are looking forward to seeing the movie, too.
The team often shows the Jesus film, a visualised version of the Gospel of Luke, which has been translated into many of the Filipino languages. The people love watching and hearing the story in their own language. Sometimes the drunkards stop to watch and they begin shouting angrily when they see the nails being driven into the Lord's hands.
One week, Isaias remembers, the team had only one film when they visited a remote area so they showed the same movie for 5 consecutive evenings. The people kept coming back and by the last night they had almost memorised the dialogue. They had also heard and responded to clear presentations of the Gospel.
Human beings rarely accept truth the first time we hear it: it takes persistence and consistence to get a message across so that it changes behaviour. In the Apostle Paul's letters, there is an emphasis on the importance of sound teaching and the practical outworking of that teaching in daily life.
Because there are so many opportunities to listen to excellent teaching in churches, books, on the radio and TV and on the internet, it can be easy to get tired of it, to feel we already know what we need to know or to look for more exciting entertainment. Another danger is 'application fatigue'-hearing without putting Scripture into practise or without allowing it to change us.
Will you ask the Lord today to give you a hunger and thirst for His Word and a deep yearning to experience His presence? When you are tempted to turn away from the mental and emotional effort of hearing and applying the Word, will you ask Him to renew your passion for Him?
For the iPhone app and more from John North and Ambassadors For Christ International, click here.