When I walked in Iglesia Baptista Eben Ezer in Juarez, the first thing I saw was a huge map of Juarez. Pastor Nicholas had invited me to come visit with him about strategic plan God had laid on his heart to reach the most dangerous city in the world with the gospel. Through an interpreter he shared with me about his passion to put a gospel cd in hands of every household in Juarez which was going to be a “God-sized” task for a church averaging two hundred in attendance. His ten-year goal was for his people to hand deliver 500,000 gospel cds.
As I listened to him share his passion in his heart language of Spanish I really did not need an interpreter for what I was experiencing. His passion transcended our language barrier. He was speaking the language of the Kingdom of God–a language I have grown to recognize.
In a city where people are going into hiding, Pastor Nicholas and his people are going into the streets bearing good news.
The Apostle John knew all too well the dark face of evil. He was the only disciple who stood at the foot of the cross as Jesus suffered and died right before his eyes at the hands of evil men. In his long life he knew persecution and rejection. He knew the high cost of following Jesus. It was out of this context he wrote:
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (I John 4:16b-18 NIV)
During our brief visit it was clear to me that Pastor Nicholas knew the love of God, and it was this love that was compelling him to reach out to people of Juarez. John was right “perfect love drives out fear!”
At the end of the day the courage we long for to be the light in a dark world will come out of a heart of love–a heart filled with love–a heart in love with Jesus–a heart in love with those around us.