While our prayer focus for today will be on Brunei, it's important to see through the British Indian Ocean Territory (Diego Garcia) and the British Virgin Islands the significant impact that a larger nation's decisions can have on smaller locales, whether for military reasons or simply tourism. The answer isn't isolation -- from the earliest days of humanity the movement of peoples has resulted in important exchanges that can benefit all. Isolated people groups ultimately either engage or disappear. However, we do need to be aware of the global impact of our decisions and seek wise policies that truly demonstrate loving our neighbor in a global sense. And from a kingdom perspective, we can be aware that the movement of peoples yields very important missional opportunities. These have been divided in four broad categories:
- Voluntary Going: Think of Paul & Barnabas being sent out in Acts 13, or any of the thousands of missionaries since. Other examples include Christians who go to another land as students or businesspeople with a kingdom mindset.
- Voluntary Coming: Think of the mass of peoples who went to Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles -- and found themselves present at the first Pentecost Sunday. Other examples of voluntary coming include immigrants all over the world - some of whom hear the Gospel for the first time and end up being voluntary go-ers back to their own country.
- Involuntary Going: This includes believers fleeing war or persecution, such as the believers in Acts 8 who didn't want to leave Jerusalem and yet carried the message of Jesus with them when they were forced to do so. Daniel and his friends involuntarily went to Babylon, and yet had a profound impact there. Naaman's slave girl was another involuntary go-er who chose to maintain a witness to her God in a foreign land. Other involuntary goers include refugees who often are exceptionally open to the Gospel.
- Involuntary Coming: One of the best examples of involuntary coming resulting in kingdom impact is the story of the Vikings. No one invited them to invade - and yet they were so amazed with the ethics of Christianity that they ultimately followed Christ.
What's the bottom line lesson for us as believers? Whatever situation we are in voluntarily or involuntarily, we carry with us the treasure of the Gospel in these earthen vessels that are our bodies. We are always a witness to who Jesus is and what He has done. And as we interact with others who are moving for one reason or another - literally around the world or figuratively through transitions in life - look for God-given creative opportunities to meet needs and show His love. He'll open doors to tell of His greatness anytime our desire is to "know Him and make Him known."
Now, to Brunei.
Brunei is not poor materially, but there is much spiritual need. It's what is often called a "creative access" country because missionaries are not openly allowed and even getting materials into the country for more than personal use is forbidden. Believers there could be gripped with fear because they are often infiltrated by the government for monitoring - and yet they are not. They have come together in unity and birthed a holy determination. We might say that they have chosen to make the most of the "involuntary coming" of the government agents, and increased their witness for Christ. Praise God with me for their example, and let's pray today for this country.
My prayer for today: Lord, Thank You the believers in Brunei are not hiding but instead are standing strong with a unity and determination that can only come from You. We pray, Lord, that You will raise up leaders for the churches in Brunei. Raise up pastors and Bible study leaders and evangelists and missionaries and all those who are needed to guide the church toward significant active engagement in this land. We ask You, Lord, to give creative ideas to those trying to get in to assist the church and we pray for true partnerships between the mission agencies and the churches. We pray for those government agents hanging out in the churches to fall under conviction and submit to the truth of Jesus. We pray this will happen so much that the government will realize the futility of monitoring the churches. We pray for the King of Brunei to see the loving, selfless acts of Christians and be intrigued to the point of hearing the Gospel for himself, and believing in You. We pray for the impact Brunei will have on the kingdom of God. In Jesus' Name, amen.