Mike Paget and Erica Hamence explore what it means to be "poor in spirit" and how the empty-handed find fullness in the kingdom of God.
Persecution defined Jesus life. So what can we expect as his followers, and what can do learn from our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world today?
In this video teaching, Mike Gore – CEO of Open Doors Australia and New Zealand – shares stories from the persecuted church around the world and warns us of the dangers of drifting too far from Jesus' own example.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Mike Gore has spent the last few years travelling across the world visiting Christians who are persecuted for their faith. From the Syrian border in Lebanon, to the Chinese underground church, to Christians in Iraq, Mike has met with people who have lose everything for their faith, yet still find hope and joy in God. In fact, when he asks what he can be praying for, these churches do not ask for the persecution to stop, but that they would have courage and that they have strength to see it through.
This is a profound challenge to us in Australia, where the threat to our faith is not so much our persecution, but the security of our materialism and abundance. As Mike puts it, "I've seen many Christians survive persecution but I've seen very few survive prosperity."
We can often conform Jesus to our lifestyle, not the Jesus from the Bible. But what what we learn from the witness of the persecuted church, and when we read the gospels with fresh eyes, is that persecution defined Christ's life. Jesus came to teach the world to love, not fear. And it's is a message and practise we are called to continue.
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Daily Readings: Mar 28 - Apr 02
During Holy Week, and our final week of this series, we're reflecting on what Jesus says about being "persecuted" through the following passages:
|Wed, Mar 28||Matthew 5:10-12 (our final beatitude)|
|Maundy Thursday||Isaiah 53:1-9 (what might Jesus be echoing?)|
|Good Friday||Matthew 26 (how did Jesus walk this beatitude?)|
|Holy Saturday||Matthew 27 (how did Jesus walk this beatitude?)|
|Easter Sunday||Matthew 28:1-10 (what might we learn about the Kingdom of heaven?)|
|Easter Monday||Matthew 28:11-20 (how are we invited to participate?)|
Spiritual Practise: Hospitality
Around this time of Easter, many people are in need of a meal. Why don’t you buy someone a meal, or invite people over for food who you would normally not engage with?
With Your Church: One with Them
For the last three years, Open Doors have seen Christians targeted at Easter. Persecution increases in both its probability and severity during this time, so Open Doors are inviting Churches to stand in solidarity with the persecuted church and pledge a day's wage to support their work. Find out how you and your church can stand One With Them.
Mike Gore is the CEO of Open Doors Australia and New Zealand, a ministry that's been serving the persecuted church for more than 60 years. You can support the persecuted church by partnering with Open Doors in their One With Them campaign.