Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last Sunday we left Jonah in the belly of the great fish (Jonah 1:17) in our sermon series on the book of Jonah. It was in this place of learning that God got his attention, and he was changed. Imagine what it was like for Jonah in the belly of the fish. He might have had regrets, but he couldn’t change the past. He could have thought about what a terrible thing he had done, or rather not done, and say, “Oh, if only I had done differently, and obeyed God.” There is no use praying, “Oh God, I pray that this accident might not have happened.” The accident has happened, and you were driving too fast. Furthermore, in the belly of the fish Jonah had no future. He couldn’t say, “Well, what I’d really like to do next year is…” In the belly of the sea monster, you don’t talk about that because your future is out of your hands.
Jonah couldn’t do anything about the past nor the future but while he was in there for 72 hours, he did something in the present. He composed a poem. The poem was in the form of a prayer and was taken from many portions of the book of Psalms. Praying the Psalms is a tremendous source of blessing. They can also teach us how to pray and provide us with words when we are unable to express ourselves to God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated that “The Psalter is the great school of prayer” and that “We learn from the prayer of the Psalms what we should pray.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p. 47)
This Sunday we will study the second chapter of the book of Jonah and will see how his prayer exposes what was happening in Jonah’s heart. We also we be hearing from Salem Agha who is representing “Beyond the Box,” a mission our church is now supporting. Our theme this month is “Engaging with our Missions and Missionaries”.
Yours, Rejoicing in the Lord,
Bruce Davie, Pastor/Elder
“Beyond the Box” mission goal, as summarized by Salem El Agha:
“Ahlan wa Sahlan”; if you’ve ever been to the Middle East, you have probably heard this greeting, which expresses Arab people’s distinguished spirit of hospitality. The phrase loosely translates to: “May you arrive as part of the family, and tread an easy path.” In the Middle East, entering someone’s home as a guest entails temporarily becoming part of the family upon entrance and creating an esteemed long-lasting bond with the family members.
Beyond the Box is an Evangelistic Relief Project aiming to create a similar connection between Middle Eastern families and local churches to ensure that the Church will always have a place in these homes.
Through this project, the Church in Lebanon and Syria was welcomed into the homes of people that are hard to reach, and had the precious opportunity to evangelize and disciple them. Over the last couple of years, the Church moved from being a guest in their homes to hosting them in the House of the Lord as families started attending Church and the children Bible Clubs.
So how do we do it? What is the impact? And how can you partner with us?
Looking forward to sharing more details about Beyond the Box with you on Sunday!