Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blessings that come to Muslims who turn to Jesus

In 2007, a group of senior Christian outreach staff were gathered for a strategy meeting in a mountainous retreat, when a call came from the field with a remarkable story. Several Muslim leaders had surrounded the leaders of one of our key ministry partners while they were having midday prayers. That team had been seeing breathtaking breakthroughs among highly resistant Muslim peoples, so they had anticipated that something like this might happen. The team was justifiably fearful, but they kept praying. Surprisingly, the Muslims just stood around them observing the proceedings and making no signs of hostile intentions.

When the Christian leaders finished praying, the group surrounding them approached, They turned out to be a delegation of Muslim civic leaders from a distant region, and they had come with their imam and with a request. “Please,” they said, “we have not come to harm you. But we have a request: please send us the storytellers!

The Muslim leaders from this community had observed other communities in their area that had become Christian, and they had noticed a dramatic change in people’s lives—broken families now in unity, a sense of love and compassion among the people, and a breaking of old hostilities and vendettas—and they wanted the same thing in their community.

Events like these would be repeated again and again, or that we would see entire mosques come to faith in Christ! Muslims are jealous to have the gospel because their neighbors had been blessed by it, yet that, in a nutshell, is just what continues to happen. Indeed, Paul wrote, “to provoke them [Israel]  to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:11).

The powerful testimony of transformation so resonates with the discouragement and disillusionment inside Islam that it is the single most significant reason for rapid multiplication of churches among Muslims today. When transformation happens, there is always evidence. These are some of the most common changes seen among Muslim individuals and communities who accept Christ:

  • Healed Families. Wife beating becomes no longer acceptable. Children are given permission to attend schools. Polygamy is no longer the choice of Christian men, and prostitution dies out.
  • A Spirit of Freedom. People find release from fatalism.
  • A Spirit of Love. Many Muslim people report that God puts new compassion in their hearts for fellow Muslims who are still in the mosque.
  • Diminished Violence. Former Muslims refuse to participate in ongoing ethnic warfare.
  • Less Addiction. The levels of addiction to alcohol, and khat are greatly diminished.
  • Redemption and Hope. Lost people have new energy and initiative, and become more productive people.
  • Evidences of Divine Favor. Many new Christians share with joy how, after they became followers of Jesus, and during a time of prolonged drought, the Lord caused it to rain on their farms or on the pasture where their livestock was, but not on their neighbors’ land. Farmers have begun praying over their fields and have ceased using Muslim or spiritist blessings on their land.
  • Grace in Persecution. Many new Christians in Muslim areas face harsh persecution. Forgiveness in the face of persecution can be the way that God gets into a persecutor’s heart to transform it as well.
  • Freedom from Demonic Oppression. When Muslims repent of sins and receive Jesus as Lord, demonic powers are successfully cast out.
  • The Power of Individual Prayer. Common people discover that they can pray and God moves. Even the Muslims see this and thank God for the changes in the communities, as many who used to disturb them are now peaceful Christians.

  • (excerpted from Jerry Trousdale, Simple Churches: Dramatic Transformations, Rapid Replication, Mission Frontiers, Sep/Oct 2012, and Chapter 7 of the book Miraculous Movements by Jerry Trousdale, 2012, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee)

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