Injustice is heartbreaking . . .

This morning’s AP news carried a story about 6 young people, males and females aged between 16 to 22 years, who each received 100 lashes for having talked with each other on the city streets in Timbuktu, Mali (an African Muslim country). They were convicted of what is called “comingling” which means “mixing.”

It is so easy to take freedom for granted. Not even thinking that the simplicity of being free to talk to another person in public is a free act that is prohibited to millions of people. Unconsciously we live out our free lives in a free country. We talk to whomever we please. We walk the streets hand in hand. We communicate without being monitored.  God only knows how many free acts each of us enjoy every day of our lives in America.

I paused to pray for these  6 youth. I put the country of Mali on my prayer list. I wished there was something more that I could do. I have faith that God sees the injustice in this world and will balance the books in His time. In the mean time I will do what I can.

1. When I hear about injustice I will pray for God’s mercy to intervene.
2. When I see injustice I will speak up.
3. When  I can I will do something to help the ones treated unjustly.
4. I will always keep a thankful attitude for freedom.

My heart goes out to these 6 young people today who are only a tiny fraction of millions caught in such injustice.

Larry Neville

is the senior leader of Praise Chapel International, Church Planting and Mission Fellowship of Churches. He is the author of, “The Globality Revolution” available on Amazon.com.

Israel, the Church and the USA . . .

Rockets are hitting Israel again. Soldiers and war equipment  lined up at the boarders of Israel. Nations are taking sides and news reporters are swaying public opinion about Israel.

I walked the streets of Jerusalem for a week in August. I felt that I just wanted to be there to feel the pulse of the City.  I sat in the sidewalk restaurants, visited the markets, and walked the streets of the Old City.  I  spent  many  hours in the Garden Tomb of Jesus Christ praying and thinking about Jerusalem, Israel and the times we are living in.

Now, with the battle raging once again over the land of Israel, I believe it is important for all Christ followers to make clear our allegiance and support for God’s chosen people.  Pastor Jack Hayford stated recently in MINISTRIES TODAY MAG.com   that Christ’s body in American needs a “reawakening” of the church’s responsibility to the “ministry of prayer and intercession for leaders, peoples and nations.”  He challenged the church “to take a stand with Israel as the Sovereign God’s chosen people.”

With Israel in the heat of battle now let’s all join together to pray for Israel and declare our support by,

1. Publicly speaking in our churches that we support Israel.

2. Calling for prayer for Israel through our Christian media and social networks.

3. Actually pray for Israel personally and in our public gatherings.

At this critical time I want the world to know that, I SUPPORT ISRAEL

 

Larry Neville is a pastor, author and international conference speaker. He leads Praise Chapel International, a church multiplication movement.

larryneville.org

praisechapel.com

 

Reflecting on the Death of two Friends

While I was traveling in the Middle East recently, two personal friends back home died. I was blessed that I arrived back in time to participate in both memorial services for, Howard Pennington and Joey Chavez.

Both men were ministers associated with Praise Chapel Fellowship. Joey was saved in prison, then was a resident of Jacob’s Ladder, a Praise Chapel Men’s recovery home. Later Joey became a resident leader of the home, a member in the church, serving as an usher, he became a Bible study leader and a pioneer pastor.

Joey was a servant. If there was an evangelistic event he was there, loaded with supplies to reach out to the community. During holidays, he made sure that 1000’s families had a holiday meal, giving away bags of food at a number of churches.

During a mission trip to the Philippines, Joey got a virus infection through a flesh wound. by the time he flew from Asia to the US he was in serious condition. This wound never totally healed land along with hepatitis C, high blood pressure and sugar debits, Joey was losing his health for a number of years. He couldn’t work. Became financially desperate and overly medicated. All of this never changed Joey’s desire to serve.

I was concerned what his memorial service would be like. He had both believing and non believing family. The past year or so had been really rough for Joey. But, the service we was well attended and very uplifting. There most amazing part was the testimonies from folks Joey touched in a positive way. A step son who said, “Joey was a true dad to me…” another man said, “Joey witnessed to me, helped me get into a recovery program, then performed the marriage for my wife and I.”

There was no mention of the fact that Joey died with no resources. He was not very successful as a pastor (by the numbers of members or size of church concept.), but he touched many people and had a positive effect upon their lives. That was the message.

Howard Pennington was my others friend who died.

I had the opportunity to participate in his memorial service the next day. Howard’s story is much different than Joey’s. By every standard Howard was successful. He left a large church with beautiful facilities. Financially Howard was successful, a beautiful home, a family and lots of close friends.

What amazed me at Howard’s memorial service was that it was not much different than Joey’s. There was no  mention about the size of his church, the home he lived in or the car he drove. Each speaker gave a personal testimony of how Howard touch them and helped them at a critical time in their lives. His giving, friendship and trust.

I came away from these to memorial services with the sense that what truly matters in life is what we do for others.  No one really cares about how much a person has or does not have. It doesn’t matter if a person in a success by the world’s standards. What matters is, “Who did I reach out to and help in some way during their time of need.”

Jesus summed it up when he was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew22:37-39).

I believe both of these men fulfilled these two commandments.

Since their memorial services, I  have thought of how often I have missed an opportunity to reach out and help someone. I intend to be more purposeful, not in succeeding, but in touching and helping. Perhaps that is why Jesus follows up his answer to the question about the greatest commandment with the story of the “Good Samaritan.”  (Luke 10:30-37)

In the end, life is a Samaritan’s journey.

Larry Neville