Sermon in a nutshell: “God is protecting evangelists” (Acts 23:12-35)
Do you know a woman named Heather Mercer? Heather was a missionary in Afghanistan in 2001. She and another American, Dayna Curry, were working for a German-based Christian group called Shelter Now International. It was illegal at that time in Afghanistan for foreigners to share the Good News. On August 3, 2001, the Taliban arrested the two women as they preached Christianity in a private home in Kabul. Their trial began on September 1, 2001. Do you know what happened September 11, 2001? Yes! We were attacked and over 3,000 people were killed by the insane al-Qaeda terrorists while Heather had a trial in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule!
On October 6, the Taliban made an offer to release Mercer and Curry if the United States stopped its military action against Afghanistan. However, the United States government rejected that offer! Her life seemed over! How did she feel about the decision? Heather’s family and mission societies prayed for her. Then on November 15, Heather heard commotion and gunshots. The American government had not given her up. We do not abandon our citizens.
Let us think about it! If our government has the willingness and ability to save its citizens, how much more our God would save and protect God’s children in every situation? What we need to ask is not whether God is on our side but whether we are on God’s side. As long as we are faithful in doing God’s work, God will protect us. If we die, however, it means that dying is better than living for us. When we have such a conviction, we do not fear our death and instead focus on our mission. So, in 2003, Mercer returned to Iraq to serve Muslims. In 2008, she founded Global Hope—a nonprofit organization that serves in Muslim countries. She is a true missionary who does not fear death and who loves the people there!
The same thing happened to Paul in Jerusalem. There were people who made a resolution to kill Paul. However, their plot was leaked and the Roman soldiers protected Paul! Our God used not only the Jewish people but also foreigners to protect God’s servants! Paul tried to save his life not because he wanted to extend his earthly life but to have an opportunity to share the Good News with the Romans!
Do you think that Heather and Paul showed unbelievable Christian faith? Yes! However, I believe that we can also find those wonderful testimonies in our congregation! Today we have UMW members who will share their testimonies. Let us hear their stories! Paul’s story continues in Heather’s life and in many others’ lives! (UMW members will share what UMW has been doing to share God’s love in practical ways).
As God was with Paul and Heather, God has been with UMW. God is also with all of us who are doing God’s work. God does not abandon us or leave us alone like orphans when we share the love of Jesus. Let us continue our mission and ministry and experience God’s power and presence in our lives!
- What is your story about God’s power and protection?
- When do you feel that God is with you?