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Plain and Simple for Jan. 9, 2014 / January 07, 2014
I had an interesting Sunday recently. It caused me to think a lot about what is important to us in America and what we allow to be important to us as Christians in America. My first lesson came in the Sunday school class that I teach. A young woman, Kelly, and her fiancé attended.

Our lesson was on Romans, but, as usual, our discussion drifted around. We began to talk about how we can keep our focus on what God wants us to do when social forces often leave us accepting the status quo even when the status quo is wrong. One lady asked Kelly how she kept her focus in Egypt where she had served as a missionary for the last year.

Kelly said that it was so dangerous to talk to Muslims about their faith in Islamic lands that each person had to be grounded in his/her own faith. Therefore, each person attached to the mission was required to pray and read the bible at least two hours a day and many of them did it at least four hours a day. We then asked her if they had any contacts with the Coptic Christians in Egypt. She replied that they did talk with them but the Copts were so persecuted that they tended to simply try to stay out of trouble and not evangelize. Still, she said that many of the Copts were now turning to evangelization in the face of persecution because they believed that nothing worse could happen to them.

I confess that this insight put many of our church problems in perspective. Perhaps instead of whining about what else the church can do for us, we should be spending more time with the Lord and asking what we can learn from him. I spent the other half of my Sunday watching people sit through agonizingly cold weather in Green Bay in order to see a football game. I love football and have spent my time in terrible weather watching a game and playing one. But where is the passion to do the same thing for God?

We can get upset when someone wishes us Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I do not begrudge you that but are you working to build up the local church?

Are you concerned about the Christians throughout the world who are being persecuted and killed for the faith? Have you lost any sleep over the poor and those who do not have enough to eat? If you think that they are none of your concern as a Christian, then I would ask you to read Matthew 25 again.

As a matter of fact, we would all do well to spend an hour or two a day with God in prayer and in his Word this year. It would give us the proper perspective on life for the year ahead.

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