“We’re tired of being tortured by this gospel.” These words woke me up this morning. Yesterday I traveled a few hours to the East to visit a beautiful little church nestled in a lush valley. Pastor Francis was as tall as I am, dignified and confident in his stature, humble and engaging in his demeanor. He started the church on the corner of some land he owns. Two weeks ago he found an old copy of the Discipleship Manual I wrote last year. Sunday morning he stood, paced the front and told his congregation why we (the missionaries) had come. He said, “We’ve had people in here telling us to give money and claim a miracle! We’ve had people shouting about prosperity in here! And for what? Oh no, we don’t want those miracles anymore. We’re tired of being tortured by this gospel. Today we have a new reason to celebrate, a true Gospel we can listen to!” The rest of the service was dedicated to the teaching of holiness, the rich, deep, truth of God’s saving grace. As I preached, I watched their reactions to hearing about sanctification for the first time. I watched eyes tear up at a description of a deeper maturity, a greater freedom, a holy life made possible today. And all this happened in the face of poverty. There was no gift, no mention of money or healing and no empty loud promises. We spoke only of the Gospel, as it is written in the Bible, and they cheered and waved their hands and scribbled vigorously in their notes.
God has confirmed again and again how necessary the holiness message is here. I’m so thankful to be a part of this!