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4. Approaching Footsteps

Homer Trecartin


Homer Trecartin

President of the Midle East and North Africa Union (MENA)



  • December 31, 2015
    3:00 PM
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This message was presented at the July C. twenty fifteen come from. Cold shows and in Louisville Kentucky. For other resources like this. Visit us online at W W W G Y C Web dot org. Dear Lord. I want to thank you again for your promise to pour out your Holy Spirit on each of us and I pray that on each seminar. Everybody that's going to the different seminars the speakers the. The leaders of Jew I see that have been organizing all this fantastic event. Lord give them wisdom and strength. Fill them with your spirit help. The atmosphere that surrounds this place. To change not only our lives. But the lives of the people around this city who interact with us in different ways. We pray that you'll be here with us now this afternoon in Jesus' name amen. All right come on Ian those of you that are coming. I told you that I was drawing the title and a few of the illustrations from a couple of books. I've put them up on the screen. Familiar to foreign by Sarah Lanny or you're welcome afterward to come up and look at these and many skirts mothers and Muslims. By Christine Marlowe he. This one is out of print. I think. I checked recently and maybe if in the last couple of months anyway. And I could still find some used copies on Amazon dot com So if. If you're interested go on and try. But wonderful books. On how to deal with the culture of the Middle East and North Africa especially. But really applying to many of our. Intercultural relationships. We have a gentleman here who is who is. From Ethiopia where there are a lot of Christians and a lot of Muslims and he was just mentioning to me that. The culture. Is is really that it's the culture of the area. Not the culture of Muslims specifically. The Christians and the Muslims will do many of the same things he was saying how he almost starved when he came here to America to for the same reason. He politely refused everything that was offered to him and then they didn't offer it again. So yes it's cultural whether you're Christian or Muslim. To do many of the same things. All right you can come up afterward and look at the books if you like if. If you do. If you wanted to ask your roommate. And remember we're talking about direct and indirect conversation and the purpose of words. If you want to ask your roommate. If your music bothered them. You wouldn't go to your roommate and say. Does my music bother you because they will always say no no it's fine. If you have a Middle Easterner move in next door to you. And you decide that you want to hose down your driveway. So you ask him if you could park your car there for a few minutes he's going to say yes. Even if he knows that. Just around the corner he's got a group of five cars coming to park in his driveway and he doesn't know where he's going to put them. But he can't bear to say no to you. So how do you get the truth. You know we're really interested in the truth. How do you get the truth. From a Middle Eastern friend or neighbor. How do you not be perceived as offensive. When you're talking to them and again I want to emphasize. First and foremost. Pray a lot. Every person and situation is different. We need God's guidance as we go into these situations. But back to the illustration about the post office. If you're in Turkey. And you want directions to the post office. How do you get directions if you know that even if they don't know where it is they're going to give you. Directions to some place. Well you could. You could ask a man on the sidewalk next to you to go ask that man on the corner. How to get to the post office. This man next to you. If he knows where the post office is he's going to say to you. Oh I know where it is and he'll tell you if he doesn't know he's not embarrassed because you didn't ask him where it was. You asked him to ask. That man. Where it was so he'll go ask that man where it is. And if that man knows. He'll tell him. If he doesn't know he's not embarrassed to say to his fellow countryman. I'm sorry. I don't know where it is. He's not telling you he doesn't know he's telling his fellow countryman so you could ask. A third party we have to do that a lot. Your music. Well you could ask them. What kind of music do you like to listen to. Instead of a yes or no question. Asked them what kind of music do you like to listen to or better yet ask one of your friends. To ask them if your music is bothering them. Your friend won't be embarrassed. And they won't be embarrassed to tell your friend and then your friend can come back and tell you yeah you know all. They really don't like that kind of music that you're playing. So. So that that can help. For as for parking in your neighbor's driveway. What you could do is go over knock on his door. He would of course. Invite you in for tea. And after you've talked for a little while about weather and politics and family. Then you could casually ask him what he has planned for the rest of the day. Will he be going anywhere soon. Or does he have any friends coming over. Of course by then you could have moved your car three times and washed your own driveway without having to bother him at all. But then think of the wonderful interaction you would have missed. OK. So we need to be careful about direct question. In dealing many times. It's. It might seem strange to us. But it's their way of trying not to offend somebody. They don't want to hurt a neighbor or friend. You know in most of our Western societies we've been taught from babyhood to be individuals. We think for ourselves. But your new neighbor. Will probably be from a group culture. I may not take time to go through this illustration but let me just say that that if we have a group of people. And we this but this is a real problem a G.C. session time. It can be a problem in any big gatherings if we have a group of people from many different cultures. And we ask everybody to vote individually what they think they're not used to thinking that way they're used to thinking as a group. If you go to a family. And you say. Well let's see what do you think what do you think what do you think what do you think they're very uncomfortable with that. They just kind of listen and talk and watch each other and once they kind of know how the whole family feels. Then they're OK to have the oldest one or the father. Somebody. Make a statement for the whole family. That's why we often see. Whole families. Come into the church at once. No one of them. Will make a decision. Until the whole group. Is ready to make the decision. We see how you know. Just seeing what I can skip on through here a little bit. The. Let's assume that in your office. A new immigrant from Syria. Maybe they're highly educated many of the Syrians were high are highly educated and then they're coming in they're doing dishwashing jobs and other things. But let's assume that one of them comes into your office and they're working in the same lab that you're working in or. Or whatever it happens to be. And your team. Has been together for several years so you all know what each other likes to eat you know what you like to listen to for music. And maybe as a group you have gotten comfortable with having music playing while you're working. If you ask your new Syrian. Co-worker. Do you like our music. The coworker is not going to be comfortable answering that. He's going to look around and see you well OK You all seem to like it so yes I like the music whether he does or not doesn't matter. He's more interested in what the whole group wants. Than what he is an individual wants. They're willing to sacrifice their own feelings and desires to make sure that the group. Is happy. That's not a bad trait. But as with any human trait. Satan comes in and we can have problems with any of the. Cultures or characteristics. General Conference session how many of you were there. OK. Quite a lot of you. And General Conference. It was very very interesting time a very blessid time in many ways. I spent most of my time out in the nominating committee room. And then would rush in the platform and then rush back out again. But you know standing there on the platform waiting for them to finish. A particular discussion. Les Pollard and I often got to see some very interesting dynamics that nobody out in the audience would have noticed. Then they were one of the ones that we noticed several times as we came out. Were discussions on. On whether or not to use secret ballots to remember that. It was interesting from our perspective. Because it was almost totally divided. Based on what. Culture. People came from. If if you were from an individualistic culture. The people were standing up at the microphone and saying and you heard them saying this. They were saying. The only way to have a fair and accurate. Decision is to have a secret ballot so nobody is influenced by what anybody else is voting. What they were afraid of what many of us would be afraid of is they didn't want somebody sitting and looking down the row. To see what the president was going to vote. Because they didn't want the president. Influencing what everybody else was voting. You know I had. Moyse. Welcome. I had people say that they were afraid that that even they had in Southern Africa or in South America and some of the other places that. If anybody could look to see what the president was doing then everybody else would vote the same way. OK so in an individualistic culture. They were worried about that they said no no if it's going to be fair. We have to have a secret ballot. But those from the group cultures. Were saying wait a minute. We've seen secret ballots. Secret ballots are used by dictators when they want to pervert. Justice. Secret ballots are used to hide the truth. And they have everybody vote secretly and then they rig the vote. And so they get what they want. No no no they said we want to see what everybody vote. And then hold them accountable for it. We want to know how everybody feels and so. How do you run a world church. Neither way is wrong. Right it works perfectly fine. It well maybe not perfectly fine where humans and there's lots of sin. Entering into all of our discussions and decisions. But. But those cultures are not wrong in themselves. It's when we mix them. How do we mix. And thankfully it's the large church and he helped us through that whole situation. And there were. I believe the Lord was leading in many ways. But that group. Versus individualistic culture can cause some problems. Time is another interesting issue when you're dealing with cross cultural. Relationships. I want to read to you just a short illustration. From this book here. Foreign to familiar. Sarah says. Let's. There's a wedding. To be at two o'clock. So at one forty five. I took this off my balcony in Lebanon the neighbor's daughter was getting married and. And everybody was just watching off our balconies and. As she was coming but. OK so the weddings to be at two o'clock at one forty five. For Norwegians and two Canadians make it to their seats before the wedding starts. We can all kind of identify with that. They find that the church is locked up. And nobody is around except for some children playing out back. Oh excuse me kids. Is this the place the wedding is taking place. Oh yeah. Yeah there's a wedding today. Well that worried the guests. Because it was one forty five in the wedding was supposed to start it too and nobody was there yet. At one fifty five. A group of women arrives with flowers. They unlock the church and start decorating acquire master comes in a few minutes later and starts getting out the choir robes. By two thirty. Remember the wedding was scheduled to start to by two thirty a few people arrive hanging around and talking outside. The cold climate guests have found seats by now. And they. Sitting there looking at their watches and becoming more and more frustrated that the wedding is getting started late and no one seems to care what they don't know. Probably it's good they didn't. What they don't know is that around two o'clock the bride started getting ready. The preacher started a meal with the groom's parents. And a young man started his five kilometer walk to the church. Along the way he was stopped by an old man and the young man took all the time that the old man needed to talk. Because it would be dishonoring for him to leave the old man and telling me had to hurry to the church. Gradually the crowd arrives the choir begins practicing and those who are choir members join in one by one as they arrive. Soon the choir begins to sing in the festivities start to come to life. Around three forty five. The bride and groom finally arrive in the ceremony begins by six o'clock the wedding is in full swing. This hot climate. Wedding was an event. And the event. Begin. At two o'clock. That was when people stopped what they were doing. And begin wedding preparations. They started to get the church decorated in. Entering the groom entertaining the groom's family and washing the children to get them dressed up for the occasion the event had begun to the hot climate people the wedding did begin. At two o'clock. The event began with all the fun and activity that surrounded it. The ceremony. Was only a small part of it is some of you can identify with that. Some of you say will. But think about that when you're thinking of your Muslim neighbor who's moved in next door to you or your coworker. And you say. Oh why don't we get together for a ballgame at two o'clock. That may mean something different to him than it does to you and you might be frustrated or he might be embarrassed. You know in some of our countries. If I show and this is really hard for me. I've got to tell. My daughter says dad. All my life I grew up seeing the red faced elder. I said What do you mean. She said Well. We were always the first ones to any church where you were speaking. And the elder would come a few minutes later and he would be embarrassed and red faced because the preacher made it before he did. Well I am one that likes to be early it's hard for me otherwise. But I know that if I'm invited to somebody's house and I show up ten minutes early. I'm embarrassing them. I'm honoring them. If I wait and come a few minutes late. To make sure that they've had time to prepare. And it's. It's hard to know sometimes how to relate to your Muslim neighbor who's moved in next door. Archer Stelly. Some of you know as the vice president of the General Conference. Years ago when he was young he was. He was born and raised in this Becca Stan Kazakhstan. He is German ancestry but he grew up in Muslim countries. Years ago. He worked for a while as a pharmacist before he became a pastor. One day an old lady came into his pharmacy. He was brand new in this particular culture and community that he was working in. He didn't tell me where it was an old lady came in she I this young guy carefully and. Asked him finally to prepare her. Her prescription. He got it ready and gave it to her. And then she said young man. Did you prepare this properly. Oh yes ma'am. Older stele a doctor Stelly back then it was Arthur said Oh yes ma'am. She walked a few steps. Turned around and said. Are you sure you prepared this correctly. Oh yes grandma. Yes Grandma I said. She walked a few more steps and turned around and said. Young man. Are you really sure that you fix this prescription right. And he says. Why yes grandma or. I did it. Did it. Carefully correctly perfectly. Well she said then why are you smiling. In her culture. If you were talking about something serious. If you didn't smile. In his culture. You smiled. You were happy you were pleasant. But to her it meant that she that he was probably playing a trick on her. That he was maybe sending her home with a laxative when she wanted something else you know and then he would laugh to his friends about it so she thought. Because he was smiling that he was playing a trick. There are there are two million or so Syrian refugees in Lebanon. You know the world talks about all the refugees going to Europe and. What is it ten thousand that might come to the United States but there's been two million for four years in Lebanon. Lebanon has a population of four million people. So you add two million refugees to it. And there's not much room for anybody there. We don't have a cohesive. I don't want to. I don't want to talk bad about our government we have a good government in Lebanon but it's a little bit going through some problems and. They can't collectively get together and decide on where to have refugee camps. So there are no refugee camps everybody just goes into different houses and puts three or four families in one apartment. And. And I've noticed there. There are several of them. Between where our where Barbour and I were living and. My our office I would walk up. Past where Brian and Lori lived in and down in a couple of store rooms really there were some. Some Muslim families that live down there. They. They were wonderful families. But I noticed that they the ladies. Never looked at me. Never smiled at me. And I realized why and I didn't make eye contact with them if I would walk by I would just walk by without looking at them they might be sitting right there but I didn't look. At them not because I wanted to be disrespectful. But because I wanted to respect them and honor them. And in their culture. If you make eye contact you're sending the wrong kind of message to make eye contact with a woman that you're not married with her not trying to have a relationship with. And so for them. It was liberating. That I would walk by without looking at them when Barbara and I would walk by together. They would smile and wave and grin at her. But. But not at me I would look away while they were looking at her. We might think that's disrespectful. They thought felt like it was respectful. You know. I am. Let me read you one more here from Christine Louis. In Amman Jordan she said an American man decided he would honor his wife's friend. By not answering the door when she came to visit. Then he would slip into the other room so that the lady and his wife could visit alone. One day the lady said to his wife. Your husband is such an honorable man. He's not like Can she name some of the other American families that were in the area. Their husbands always invite me in show me to the living room talk to me bring me food when I come to visit their wives. Your husband is honorable. Because he slips away into another room and lets us visit quietly. It's cultural. How are we going to know. With our Muslim neighbors. It isn't always true. But it is in many of them. Making eye contact often sends a signal that you're seeking a relationship. So min. If and. If a Muslim family moves into your neighborhood next door to you. And the man sees you making eye contact with his wife. What's he going to think you are thinking that. But he's going to think that you are not the kind of people that he wants his family to associate with. And then what sort of chance do we have. Witness to them. We aren't doing anything wrong or immoral We didn't mean to send that message. But we didn't know. It may not always be that way it depends on a lot of factors a couple of other quick things. Showing the bottom of your foot in our countries is one of the worst insults that you can give in many places. Dr Edmund Dodd is from Jordan. Years ago he went to Loma Linda to study when he was young. He's an Adventist he's a Christian he knew about Western culture. But when he arrived at Loma Linda University. And he went in to see is advisor. And is the advisor sat with his feet on the desk facing this young Edmund Dodd. He said it was all I could do. To sit there and not get up and go home to Jordan. It was so offensive. To have him putting his feet. In my face. The bottom of the foot is you just don't lift it up you don't crush your legs so that your foot is facing. Somebody else it can be very offensive to them. You don't mean that at all. In that context. Foot washing. In a Middle Eastern culture can be a very humiliating experience. To touch and see. The bottom of somebodies foot. It was humiliating to the disciples wasn't. This is still a Middle Eastern culture but it becomes very meaningful to them when they give their hearts to Jesus. Some of you heard of Dr good. Dr Godfrey list of all. One time when he was in a very remote island. Not remote island but a remote village. He had been there studying the anthropology in the culture for quite a while he had some very good friends the chief was his friend. He went home to Holland on. On a trip. And when he came back he brought some beautiful cookies and offered them to the chief's wife. And the chief's wife refused. I mean these were friends of his he spent a lot of time in. There home. He explained to her that these were special he bought them specially for them and brought them from Holland and she refused three or four times. She refused to take the cookies. And finally with a little grin. The husband the chief. Took the cookies. Gave them to the wife. And then she took them. Well he's thinking OK something's going on here but I don't know just what it is and he learned later that in that culture when you give sweets to a woman it means you're asking for sex. So her husband the chief could give them to her and that was fine but not for him to give them to or. It may not be quite that way with your Muslim neighbor but we need to be careful about what gifts we give. Than what what we do. I won't take time. For this next one. Head coverings are a big issue in some places. You know. In Israel. You need to head covering if you're going to pray. And in some of our countries you need to head covering if you're going to prey on. Another thing that you might not know and it's different from country to country barber and I were in Morocco. We were riding in a taxi we had the same taxi driver. Several days in a row. And so. One morning as we got in the taxi with him. I just said like. I mean I was trying to be friendly I said so. Did you have a good night. You had a good night. So how is your family How's your wife and kids doing he had told us about them. And he almost stopped driving. He turned around and he said to me. I know you're a foreigner and you don't mean to offend me. But he said in our culture. You'd never ask a man how is wife is doing. OK. I was glad he was teaching me. I was embarrassed that I had made a mistake but it was an honest mistake and he didn't hold it against me no I wasn't trying to be offensive. But we have to be a little bit careful about some of those things. Reverence. Is a big issue. Muslims will see us. Treat our Bibles. Kind of casually. And they wonder what in the world are they doing. That's their holy book and they treat it that way. You know if. If we said. A bible on the floor. They're just horrified they think that that. You must not really love God if you're going to treat your holy book that way. Even to set it on a chair. There was a pastor giving. Who who came to a Bible study. And in the Bible study. He sat and crossed his legs and said his Bible on his lap. And nobody in the Bible study heard a thing of what went on during that Bible study they were just all talking afterwards about how disrespectful he was. We don't realize it. To him to us that may just be being casual. There's a lot of issues there with respect. Shame and honor. Did you know that when you buy a new piece of furniture and put it in your in your living room. There's an honorable place for it. And a dishonorable place for it. OK you probably don't come from a shaman honor culture if you were from a shaman honor culture you would know that some parts of the room and it's different from country to country but some parts of the room are honorable and other parts are not honorable. If you if you place a Bible on a coffee table. In the wrong part of the room. And your Muslim neighbor comes in he's going to look at it and think they're disrespecting that book. It's because they don't love God. They're not they're not faithful to God I don't really want to have anything to do with them. In some cultures. Something close to the door. Is dishonorable. And farther into the room is honorable. Even when they're ceding people. There are certain places that they will seat them. And you may have a room full of guests that they in their house that they have. Waited. And if a more honorable guess comes they will move the order around to make sure that that honorable guest sits in the honorable place. But we don't know that so we bring them into our room and we sit them in all kinds of places and don't realize that we're dishonoring the ones we should be honoring and again we've got to ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit to guide us. But even worse. Would be to say look this is too complicated. I'm not going to try. I don't. I I'm sure I'll make a mistake so I'm not even going to say anything to them. Remember. They'll forgive a lot. If they can tell that. That you love them. OK one more that I want to share and then we'll quit and go to the other seminar. If in many of our cultures. If I break a plate. And you come and ask me what happened. I would not say. I'm sorry I broke your plate. I would say. The plate fell and broke. OK now if my grandkids tell me that. I think they're just trying to cover up something right all the plate fell and broke grandpa. But in many of our cultures. If I said. If I if I broke your plate and you asked me if I said I broke your plate. What I'm really saying is I don't like you. I broke your old plate. I threw it down. What are you going to do about it anyway. So no you don't say. I broke your plate you don't say. I forgot to do that would mean you intentionally tried to forget and not do what they asked you to do you say oh that just slipped out of my mind or. Oh. That plate. It fell. It just fell and broke you don't say I broke it because that would be saying that you did it on purpose. OK lots of things but again the main thing is remember be praying a lot. Asking God to guide you and love them. Asked them. Tell them. I don't know your culture I don't want to embarrass your guests. I don't want to embarrass your. Your relatives. What should how should I dress what should I do. Ask a friend. To ask them. That's much less embarrassing for them. All right. We've got a few minutes let me switch gears here. And I think we can cover most of this next one. Well let's see. Because this is one that I get asked a lot. And I may just have to summarize this some. But many people come to me and say Look. Why should we been a send missionaries. To that part of the world. What difference does it make. Why can't some other Christians lead them to Jesus. Why do we have to go. Why do we have to take the risk and spend money. I. I'm going to have to skip a few things here. But I was. I was in a parking lot of a store. And a lady came up to me. It was a B.J. as I was changing my battery out in the parking lot a hate working on cars but. I had to do it I was poor and. I was changing my battery and a lady came up and said. Sir. Would you just watch me for a few minutes. And I'm thinking what in the world you know going to be Jay's parking lot. Lady coming in asking me to watch her for a few minutes. But she said I called my husband. And he's worried I've been caught in a hoax. Down there is my car. And there's four men who told me I had a problem and they would fix it. And I looked and sure enough. The hood was up the doors were open and four men were running around her car. And she said My husband is afraid I've been caught in a hoax I need to go tell them to stop. Would you just watch and make sure I don't get dragged off or something. Well a few minutes later she would talk to them from a distance and they had slammed the doors and left and she came back by and. She said thank you so much for for helping to make sure I was OK. We don't like hoaxes. We don't like this. And all around us for a long time. We laugh it silly once. We see these once in a while and. And we think it's funny we know people can do all kinds of things with a camera on a computer. But we we know that there are a lot of deceptions going on you might remember. A little video on You Tube a few years. To go where popcorn was popping when people put their cell phones around it for a little while we were all afraid to use our cell phones. But then we discovered that it was not true. Popcorn doesn't pop Now there may be problems with using cell phones. I hope not because we're using them a lot although texting maybe is better. But. But what we learned was that it was the headset company that had made that little video. They had a reason for wanting people. Not to put their cell phone up to their head. Maybe you've gotten e-mails from somebody promising you that. If you would just help them. They had hidden away some money in Africa during the war and if you would just help them transfer it. You know give them your bank account information and they would transfer you half of the money. There are all kinds of deceptions not long ago. There was one that said if you would put Iranian in every room of your house. It would absorb the bird flu virus the H one N one virus. And protect your family well that was probably good for the onion business. But it was not true. It doesn't absorb them. Deceptions have been around for as long as people have been around. We remember the first deception in the Garden of Eden when Satan used a snake to trick Eve. Or when the Gibeonites use some old moldy bread and worn out shoes. To trick to try to trick Joshua. But the greatest of all the Sept. Is the one in Matthew twenty four verses twenty three and twenty four. Then if anyone says to you Look here's the Christ or there. Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets. Will rise and show great signs and wonders. To deceive if possible. Even the elect. Now. Satan this had thousands of years to practice his deception has any. He's getting ready for the most powerful deceptions. This world is ever known. Jesus says the final hoax. Will be so overwhelming that we should. Even go out to see it. Or we will be deceived. I want to read you a quote from Mrs White. Review in Herald November twelve thousand nine hundred fourteen. The great controversy is nearing its end. Every report. Of calamity by sea or by land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not be. With quickened action. As the intice a pates the great events opening before us. The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God. Do we hear those footsteps. Certainly we do. We hear it in the news all the time all we have to is turn on our television. We hear the footsteps of approaching. Of an approaching God. But the five hundred million people that live around me in the Middle East. Most of them. Don't know what's about to happen. They believe Jesus is in heaven they believe he's a prophet they believe he's coming again. But they don't know what that means they know they'll be a Judgment Day and they're terrified of it. But they don't know what's about to happen they don't know there's a savior there's a lot of things that they don't know. They don't know who's footsteps. Are approaching. You know in Matthew twenty four. Jesus says in this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world to a whit as a witness to all nations. Or multitude. And then the end will come. We believe that we say we believe that. But. The challenge is so immense that some people begin to wonder how could Jesus possibly come soon. I sed I've told you I believe it's time for Jesus to come but I also told you that we have a bucket of beans over there that are at our booth a huge bucket of beans. And you'll have a hard time finding the one white bean to represent the admin assistant. In the Middle East and North Africa. We have. So few admin a sour Will we ever finish the work. But other people try to get more philosophical. I have many people come up to me and say OK. Is it true that there will be people in heaven who don't who have never kept the Sabbath before maybe didn't even know the name of Jesus. And of course the answer is yes. There will be people in heaven. Who never kept the Sabbath before and maybe had never heard the name of Jesus God will judge them based on how they lived up to what knowledge they had. So then these philosophical people will look at me and smile and say. If people are judged based on. On what they know. Then why should we tell them any more. Why do we bother to share anything with them. Why should we spend time and money and take risks. If it really isn't necessary for their salvation. And those are good questions and I could spend a whole lot of time talking about. Many reasons why. Why we should share. You know we we're. Are blessed when we share we can't help it. If we have good news that helps other people grow it helps us grow God's character has been maligned. But the one I want to focus on for just a few minutes here. One of the main reasons that I think God has raised up the Seventh Day Adventist Church. And given us and then time remnant message to share with the world. Is that it prepares people. For Satan's final deception. It helps to protect them from his final deception. This message. This message is a special message designed for the last days of verse history. I need to share one illustration with you and Barbara would rather I just skipped it I'm sure. But I was I was at camp meeting in one thousand nine hundred seventy four. Up in Maine northern New England. And. And it was a wonderful camp meeting. I was. I love camp meeting all the time I love going to the meetings but I was also interested in Barbara and we were going to. Several of the meetings together and so that made it a special camp meeting. But one day I had to work during the day that year I couldn't get off and so one. I left the early morning meeting. And was going to work. And my mom was coming rushing across the campus toward me. And I could tell by the look in her eyes and by the way she was rushing. That there was something wrong. My mom. Rushed up to me all out of breath and she said Homer. I know you've got to hurry and get to work but I just had to tell you I think you sat with the wrong one this morning. I said. What she said I think you sat with the wrong one you see Barbara's an identical twin. And that morning as they came into the meeting she and her sister were sitting side by side with empty seats on each side of them. And I had Guess which one was Barbara. And sat by her and thought it was OK but my mom says not I think you sat by the wrong one and I said. Well what makes you think that mom. And she said Well I've been watching pretty closely. And last night you sat by one with brown shoes in this morning by one with blue shoes. And I said oh boy this doesn't sound good but I didn't have time to go check so I went to work you know what I was thinking about all day long brown shoes and blue shoes. I came back to the meeting that night. And. And I stood off to the side and watched until I was pretty sure which one was Barbara and which one was her sister Beverly. And I went and started making small talk with the one I thought was Barbara. And sure enough I noticed. She one of them had blue shoes and one of the med brown shoes and. And I finally told or got up my courage and I said. Well my mom was worried that I sat with the wrong one of you this morning. One of you had brown shoes and one blue shoes. And she said. I'm so sorry. We traded shoes this morning. Well they did look a lot alike. Was really hard to tell them apart. When they were little. It's fun. Going to a family gathering and have them looking at pictures and they can't always tell which one is which. You know that's me with the blue barrettes No I was wearing your blue barrettes that day it's. You know they all want to be both want to be the one smiling neither one wants to be the other one and. And it. It's pretty hard to tell them apart in those pictures. They still look quite a bit alike. Although. Parts of the world we live in. Lifestyles and things have made some difference. But when they were little it was almost impossible to tell them apart. In the final deception. It's going to be worse than that. It's going to be almost impossible to tell the difference between Jesus and Satan. I say almost. Our message is specially designed. Point by point. To protect people from Satan's final deceptions. You know. It's not that we're better than anybody else. God gave us this message. People can be saved without hearing our message let me put it that way. People can be saved in the Middle East by only having heard of Jesus from a Methodist or a Baptist or somebody else. But their chance of getting deceived by Satan's final deceptions is far greater. If they haven't heard our message. Than if they have heard it. You know that that quote that I read to you. Goes on to say we are to prepare the way for him. By acting our part in getting a people ready for that great day. And if you read a few paragraphs before that. It says we have no time to lose. The powers of darkness are working with intense energy. And with stealthy tread. Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep. As a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now which we may give a work now which we may do but soon it will be more difficult than we had imagine. You know there are two sets of footsteps coming toward. Everybody in the world today. One loves them. And one is trying to deceive them. For many it's almost impossible to tell the difference. But God has given us a special message. You know our world. Is ripe for deception. In every culture. In every country of the world they've been filling their minds. With the supernatural. With things that float and morph and change and change for a minute wools and back again and museums that can be charmed the life or curses that can be given are people passing through walls. The world is ripe for a supernatural being to come. Begin to say nice things and work miracles. And claim to be Jesus. And most of the world. Hindu Buddhist Muslim Christian. Will Fall of his feet. Thinking they're worshipping. Jesus. When they're really worshipping the arch. Demon. You know I was. I was preparing. This isn't mean. But I was wearing an outfit like that from Kurdistan. At I think was an A.S.I. convention a few years ago I can't remember for sure where it was. But. But I was working at the booth and telling some stories to the kids and. And one of our friends who had just retired. Walked by with his little granddaughter. And suddenly is little granddaughter stopped. She didn't know me at all never seen me before she stopped and looked up at me. Tugged at my sleeve and she said Mr. Are you a wizard. Well he was embarrassed. He turned to me and he said. Whispered. Her parents aren't adventurous. But I can tell you there are a lot of little administering around that have seen so much of that kind of thing that they would have asked the same question. I don't wear this often telling stories to kids anymore because I realize I'm not wanting to give the impression that I'm a wizard. That's a traditional courage Kurgan's dress it has nothing to do with being a wizard but. If a glorious being appears and suddenly starts. Speaking beautiful soothing words about how people can rise above their cares and. Distractions of the world and. Promises health and financial success. Hindus and Buddhists. Will be glad to follow that being. If dead ancestors start claiming that this magnificent being out in the desert is really Jesus. And that only by following him. Will we ever have real peace and security. Millions of Christians would be ready to follow him. They have no problem with the idea that a dead ancestor could come back and talk to them. They would be bowing down to that old serpent the devil thinking there worshipping God. If this being comes and claims to be the long promised Messiah. And says to the Jews I forgive you for not follow him for not recognizing me the first time. And then he quotes from the Koran in the Bible and. And he begins to talk about how we need peace with everybody and. And he tells them that. You know those old laws they were good for back then but they're not necessary anymore and that he's changed the day of worship from Friday and from Saturday to Sunday. Millions and millions of Muslims and Christians would be ready to follow it. Unless they've heard our message. You know we preach our message not because people have to have it. To be saved. But because their chance of being saved is far more likely. If they've heard our message. Than if they haven't. The God I am so thankful that God has given the Seventh Day Adventists. A special message and raised us up for this special time. We know that people sleep in the grave when they die. We know that the Sabbath is going to be the final great. Test in the controversy. That. How that whether or not we keep the Sabbath is going to show which side we are on. We have many things the sanctuary the. Many things in our message. Each one. Specifically designed to protect people from Satan's final overwhelming deception. I want to share with you a story that sort of illustrates this. Not totally but. But partially illustrates it. This is not a picture of Waleed and Walid is not is the name. Some of you know who I'm talking about been in our area much. But. A few years ago. Lead was a young teenager living in a in a Muslim village in one of the North African countries. And he was quite curious. As a group of Christian young people came into his village. He wondered why would Christian young people come to a Muslim village they weren't had been a spurt they were a Christian group. He knew nothing about the different Christian groups at that point in his life. But as they came in he noticed that some of the guys were starting to play football soccer we call it here. And he loved football so he joined in playing with them and he became pretty close over the next few days with three of the guys. One of them especially. Was asking him deep searching questions about Islam. And Waleed went back to his room that night and he thought. If I could just convince that young man to become a Muslim I would assure myself a place in paradise. You know Muslim. Believes that they have to balance the scales. They have to do enough. Good deeds to offset their bad deeds and then maybe there's a hope of salvation. They believe that one thing that can assure them a place in heaven. Paradise is if they bring someone to become a Muslim. So while lead went back in for the next three days he worked hard on that young Christian man. And by the end of the third day. The young man said the Shahadah and became a Muslim. Walid went back to his room thinking. I should be so excited I have now assured myself a place and. Paradise. But he couldn't sleep that night. He was not excited he kept tossing and turning in bed. And finally a thought came into his mind well leave you've been criticizing the Bible a lot. But you've never read a word of it. He thought. Wow. That's right so the next day he went to the three young men and he said would you write some passages from the Bible on a piece of paper that I could read. Well he didn't know what a difficult assignment he was giving them. They were members of G Y C. They weren't even Adventists they hadn't memorized. Anything in the Scripture they had probably never read the Bible. They only knew their catechism a little bit. They had an awful time coming up with anything but you know Muslims memorize huge passages of the Qur'an. Many Muslims can recites the entire Qur'an from memory. So he was surprised that the difficulty they had but finally they wrote a few things down and Walid went back to his room that night. And he pulled the first one out of his pocket. And he read about Mary being the Mother of God. And in disgust he tore up the paper and threw it across the room he said what a perverted book those Christians have. Everybody knows that Mary. That God didn't have a mother. No he didn't know that it was from their catechism it wasn't from the Bible. They didn't know it was not from the Bible. He pulled out the next one and it was also from there catechism. But at least it quoted from the Bible at the top it said the Our Father. And it had the Lord's Prayer Our Father which art in heaven. As well lead read that that night. A powerful sensation washed over him. He said. All his life he had longed for a father his father died when he was five years old all his life he had long for a father and. Hadn't had one. He knew the ninety nine names of God that Muslims use but he had never heard God referred to as a father. And so that night for the first time in his life he said is regular. Slim prayers. And then in his heart he looked up at the sky and talked to God like he might have talked to his father if he was still alive. He said it was powerful. So he did it all five times the next day. He would say is regular Muslim prayers. And then in his heart. Talk to God like a father. He did it even in the mosque on Fridays he did it for a year and a half. And then one day. Another voice spoke to him. We know who it was he didn't. The voice said Well I mean. If you keep doing that. If you keep talking to God like a father you're going to become a Christian. Well. Walid did not want to be a Christian. Christians were heathens Christians drink alcohol and ate pork and prayed to saints and bow down to statues. He did not want to be a heathen Christian. So he was now having a wrestling is mine. He. He thought he should quit. Praying to God like a father because he had heard that from Christians. But he. He couldn't. Every time he would try to stop it felt like he was empty so he would again cry out to God as a father and God would would comfort is heart. In the middle of that wrestling. He had a dream. That night in his dream. He saw that he was dead. His body was laid on the ground in the traditional way. The family had gathered around it in the traditional way they dug the grave. One poll came up and picked up his head. Another Opal came picked up his feet. And they begin carrying his body toward the grave. Everything was normal just the way he would have expected it to happen in real life. Nothing was fearful to him he was just watching this in his dream. But suddenly as they got close to the grave he noticed flames leaping out of the grave. And yet his uncles didn't see it. And they were ready to drop his body into that burning grave and you know how to dream you want to scream and you can't and and. But suddenly a voice called out Stop. And everybody turned to look and there was Jesus standing at the end of the grave. And Jesus. Said. Don't put him in there. This one belongs to me. And then Walid woke up sweating profusely and thinking. What did the prophet mean. I belong to him. Remember he only believe Jesus was a prophet. What did the prophet isa mean. I belong to him for several days he could hardly eat or sleep he just was thinking all the time. What does it mean. I belong to Jesus to Isa. He called him. And then one day was standing in a bookstore and I love the Bookstores in the Middle East and we have some regular bookstores like what you're used to here. But we also have some that. You go into a room. A building like this with lots of little cubicles and in the back of each cubicle is an old man looking over his glasses and. And books and magazines stacked from floor to ceiling and. You can just. It's just fun to be there. If you find something you want you have to pull it out carefully and hope the whole stack doesn't collapse. Well Walid was in a bookstore. He was just staring. Absent mindedly at the stack of books in front of him. Not seeing anything there he's thinking. What did the prophet. Mean I belong to him. And suddenly his eyes focused and he saw two bibles in the stack in front of him. He grabbed them rushed up to the counter and wanted to pay but the man grabbed the Bibles. Put them under the desk and said absolutely not. Do you know what would happen to me. If I sold a Bible to a Muslim. He said. The man in the in the bookstore was a Muslim too he said these are for foreigners. I can't sell them to you. Well Walid kept begging you came back over and over again begging and. Finally one day there was no one else around in the man looked nervously back and forth and said OK I'll sell you the little one. And he put it in a trash bag. Walid stuck it inside his coat and went back to his room and lay on his bed that night and read the Gospel of Luke. That's what that little one was over and over and over. Over again. And it transformed his life. He gave his heart to Jesus that night. He found some other Christians and was finally baptized into their church but what he was studying. Didn't match. What he was reading in the Bible. He was worried about the judgment he was worried about the Sabbath there were a number of things and then one day. A lady came into a shop she came in a number of times and began to make friends with him. She was not been a slave he from western Africa. Banker who had moved to his country where there was a bank and she was working in that bank. And she was just doing business but she noticed something different about Walid. She thought he was a Muslim. But one day he was having a problem and she said. Just blurted out. Without thinking and then caught herself and was afraid she said. I'll be praying for you Waleed. Well that kind of broke down the ice and he whispered. I'm so. They begin to talk more she invited him to a Bible study group Walid. Was baptized as an admin assistant few years later. While lead today is a pastor in that country. And is leading other Muslims like himself. To Jesus. Walid is so thankful for the Admin this message. Not that he couldn't have been saved without it. But he said that. What he is learning now makes sense. He understands what's happening in the world. He knows about the judgment he knows about the Sabbath he knows about Satan's deception. He didn't know any of that before. He would have been ready to be deceived. Before he heard the admin a smidge we definitely hear the footsteps coming. To sets. You and I can tell the difference. But many of the people around us can't. Don't let anybody tell you that our message is not important. The Seventh Day Adventists message has been given for a special per. Are pissed at the last days of verse history. We need to share it with. Everybody. Not because they have to have it to be saved. But because their chance of being saved is far greater their chance of avoiding the deception. Of Satan. Is far greater. If they hear our message than if they don't. I think we have about five minutes. I rushed through the last half of one and a whole nother one. Sorry about that will take a little more time tomorrow but are there any questions. Yes. Yes. You know. A lot of the cultural lines. Again first of all I want to remind us that it's different from place to place and that it's not just Muslim. It's all of the Arab Middle Eastern culture has similarities but. But a lot of Western things have influenced much of the world. I don't see a big difference in cell phone use in fact they probably have better cell phone systems in most of those countries than we do here. And they use them. All the time. And I see ladies in full veils with just the slit. Gloves on their hands. Thumbing away on their cell phones. I you know I don't think that that's a big issue but again you watch Grey asked see do they feel like that's something that's offending them. Yes We we have in manna some of our own training Brian has been very involved in a lot of that training. The General Conference has a training for ones that they send out. Ike is that enough. Probably not we probably never have enough training. But it's. But it's a significant training and. And I can say again. All we learn the more we learn the better off we are. But don't wait. To reach out to the people around you until you know everything you think you need to know. You'll never do it. Let God guide you make mistakes learn from them. And they will. They will make mistakes and learn from them as well. And the others see another hand yes. OK. How how how should we use the Bible. Not using it in a casual way that would offend them. Again that it might not be universal throughout our area that they would feel the same but many of them. If we hold it in one hand been the cover back. You know how we sometimes will fold it back and hold both covers. With it open. Anything that looks like we're being casual. With it to them. It's in the their holy books. Are extremely holy. They're told in the Qur'an that the Bible is a holy book they know they should be reading it. But they don't. They've also been told that it's perverted. But. They the Qur'an itself tells them to read the Bible. They. What I'm more concerned about. Is that they see us as spiritual people. And if they see if they know we're Christians. But if they see a street in our holy book in a casual secular way. Putting it on the table with other books on top of it. Setting it on the floor on the chair where everybody sits. They want to. They want to see that the Bible is special to us that we love it. That we prize the Bible and you know what. If we if some of us had died for owning a Bible. If we were having to hide pages of it. In our clothes. If we were so. If we had a difficult time having Bibles we would prize it. Much more. We get kind of casual We have so many of them. They they are offended many of them not all but many of them are offended if they see us underlining or writing in our Bible. They think that's the holy book we shouldn't add anything to it. That there are curses. Of God that go along with adding anything to His Holy Word and they see us writing in it. And they think we're adding to the Word of God. We're not. We see it as special. But when I'm working with them. I don't use an underlined Bible. I don't write notes in my Bible when I'm what I'm talking with Muslim friends. Yes. Yes yes they do you know. The Qur'an is available in many many formats. And of course. They don't believe that any of the translations are the real Qur'an the real Qur'an has to be in Arabic. The others are just. Man's translations. It's a little different from the way we look at it. Yes I saw another hand. OK. Yes there was a mother. Yeah. There. OK that's the question we probably get asked the most. And. The question in case some of you didn't hear it was how do you deal with Jesus being the Son of God How do you deal with the Trinity when they believe they were Ship One God and that we worship three gods. By the way they believe most of them that the Trinity means. A father God A mother god and a baby God. That's what they think the Trinity means. But I guess. My burden. Is that we don't start into things that we're going to argue about. Let's start with being friends. If they want to talk about it let's let's say you know what. Maybe we can talk about that some other time. If we can get them reading the Bible. If we can get them reading the Gospels. Those arguments usually don't even come up. The. I have. If I go visit a mosque. One of the things that will almost always happen is they'll want to argue about. One God versus the Trinity about who Jesus was. I don't want to get into those arguments. I want to just be their friend. We may not even start a spiritual discussion for the first number of times we meet together. We may just have a birthday party we may just share and talk. Some day. They may be going on a trip and I may just say I'll be praying for you or I may be going on a trip and I may say to them would you pray for me and they'll say. You mean. I can pray for you and I say yeah sure. You pray to the creator God of the universe to pray for me. When we get back they want to know how did your trip go I was praying for you. Well. Those are things that gradually they begin to trust us. And one the trust comes in when they start reading the Bible. Those issues about who Jesus was don't. Aren't aren't as big an issue as they used to be. There are some arguments there are some things that we can share but there you. Usually ineffective. When they're when they're something that we're trying to share in an argument. It would take too long. And I'm not sure that that I have all the answers anyway. Just pray. If it comes up. Try to change the topic and say you know you believe in creation I believe in creation maybe we could read the account of creation together or. Or maybe I could read to you a little bit about the Jenna. The story in Matthew or Luke or. Or one of those others. If they get to trust us. And they start reading the Bible. It will transform their lives. The two things we need. Are admin a sleeping in every community. And getting to trust us. And then reading God's word. And with your neighbors. Just be their friend. Just love them. Let it come naturally. With all the Syrian and I know we're right. Just past four but I'm going to stop here but with all. With all the Syrian refugees crowding into Europe. There was a group of Christians in Europe that were wanting to go to the border. And hand out pork products to the Syrian refugees coming across and saying. If they get hungry enough they'll eat them. And not admin this. But some Christians. A group of our Advena said they wanted to go and pass out literature at the border. And we said to them you know what. It's not literature that they need. They need a blanket. They need a coat. They need some dry clothes. They need somebody to show them where the bus stop is they need somebody to give the money for a bus fare to the city where they can go to the U.N. office. If you want to give them something. Give them a little bag and whisper to them. We understand your dietary needs. We are the same. We don't eat pork. We don't drink alcohol. There's nothing of pork or alcohol in this food you can eat it and be safe and put in there a little card that says we are your friends the admin us. If you need. Help contact us and here's the number. They're not ready now to read a chapter from desire of ages and they're not ready to read the great controversy. They need some help. And a friend. And when they can trust you. Then there will be opportunity to share with them. Mrs White says. Kreiss. Method. Alone. Will bring true success. He didn't jump. To sharing the gospel first. He first meaning golden met their needs and won their confidence. And then invited them to follow him. That will be a possibility. As you make their friends. Let's pray. Father gone. We are so thankful that we know you is father. We are so thankful for this. Add Venice message that you've given us. It's not just another message among many. It's not. It's not that it takes the place of Jesus Jesus needs to be the center of all that we teach and do. But Lord this message is designed to help protect people from Satan who wants to impersonate you and deceive everyone into following him instead of you. Help us to become friends with our neighbors. Of any religion or race or culture. Help us to have the wisdom to know how to touch their lives and love them. And then. If there's an interest. May we know how to reach out and share an answer their questions. May we have the wisdom and ability to lead them to Jesus and to studying your word. And please. Our longing is for you to come soon. Jesus' name we pray. This message was recorded at the Jew I see twenty fifteen conference. Cold. Chosen in Louisville Kentucky. Do I see a supporting Ministry of a Seventh Day Adventist Church. Seeks to inspire young people to be Bible based. Christ centered. And so when Christians. To download or purchase other resources like this. Visit us online. At W W W G Y C web. Our G.


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