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Muhammed's Prayer

Homer Trecartin


Homer Trecartin

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



  • February 17, 2018
    10:00 AM
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May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight I think that's all of our prayers and. That's what our prayer should be anyway. It was Thursday afternoon. In a difficult Middle Eastern country. Sinitta was a tent maker a nurse from India this isn't her picture and the need is not her real name but throughout today this morning in the south for noon I'll be changing names and leaving out names of countries and some cases blurring faces or using a different picture because the work is sensitive in many of the countries and places where I'll be telling stories from and we don't want to stop the work just to be able to tell a story but Sinitta was just finishing up her duties that Thursday afternoon in the hospital getting ready for a long weekend and it was going to be a wonderful long weekend she'd been planning for months for this special weekend a Friday night communion service not Friday night Communion services are special but to most of us we don't think too much about it it comes around the case and only and. But for Sinitta her pastor and one other pastor shared seven countries in the Middle East they postured the churches and groups in seven countries throughout the Middle East and her pastor had to get a visa every time that he came to visit her country and for more than a year the government had refused every application he had made for a visa. Once Anita heard that Barbara and I were going to visit her country she said Pastor Homer would would you be willing to hold a communion service and I said sure I don't often get a chance to go and travel someplace you didn't. Asked me Adrian to come here and hold a communion service so usually they're asking me to do other things I said sure I'd be happy to do that cement Sinitta began making all the arrangements it was going to be their first communion service in more than a year she made special arrangements at the hospital so that she could make sure she had that weekend free she even work some extra shifts for people now it was Thursday night and Friday night she was going to be helping with that communion service except the boss walked in to see her just before quitting time on Thursday and he said Sinitta I'm really sorry I know you were planning to be gone a long weekend this weekend but a lot of people are sick and I've got to have you work tomorrow night no Sinitta said please you know I mean I'm in charge of a program and she couldn't tell him what the program was but she said I'm in charge of a program and he said I'm sorry Sinead I know but I don't have anybody else I have to have you work well you can imagine how you would feel that Friday night she was trying to be pleasant but in her heart she was upset at the boss she was upset at the patients she was especially upset at God and any time there was a pause she would she would be crying out to God in her heart why God you know I wanted to be at the communion service that's going on right now I helped to organize it I helped to prepare everything and now here I am at the hospital wa. And just then in the middle of one of those outbursts in her heart to God they were outside outbursts nobody else heard her but in her heart she was crying out to God Just then the door flew open and an excited little voice said Sinitta. A little ten year old Muhammad rush toward her and threw his arms around her. So needed known Muhammad since he was a tiny baby I don't know the condition he had been born with I didn't ask I'm not a medical person I probably wouldn't have known even if they had told me but it it was something that that required regular and painful treatment says he would have attacks throughout his life growing up and many times Sunita had been his nurse on duty when they would the family would rush in and she would hold the little boy and be rubbing his head in his back and praying for a min or heart this is a Muslim country she couldn't pray for him out loud but in her heart she was praying for Mohamed in for his family. But I hadn't seen Muhammad for two years his family was wealthy and when he got to be eight years old they left the country and traveled the world looking for a cure or at least a less painful treatment they didn't find anything and they were back in that Friday evening he was having an attack and needed treatment immediately and as the little boy looked up patter in the through his pain filled eyes he said Oh Sinitta I am so glad you were here I was purring you would be. Up here started to run down some need is cheeks not just for the pain she saw honor in his eyes bit but tears of apology to God for her outburst she said oh God I'm sorry I know why I was here now it was to help you answer the prayer of the little Muslim boy. God does answer prayers for Muslim boys and Jewish and Hindu and Buddhist would is who don't know always who they're even praying to but something in the life of that tentmaker nurse had touched that little boy's heart so he wanted her to be on duty that day even though he hadn't seen her for two years today I want to focus the small orning the south or noon all three times I want to focus on second currently in Spy vs nineteen to twenty one we often use this passage to make various The illogical points and they're good ones but I want to look at it today from the mission standpoint God's call to mission for each one of us to get involved in the world around us that's what I see in this verse want to read it with you we're going to read it from the New Living Translation this time not the Living Bible but the New Living Translation second Corinthians five one thousand to twenty one. For God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself no longer counting people's sins against them and he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation so we are Christ embassadors God is making his appeal through us we speak for Christ when we plead come back to God for God made Christ who never sinned to be the offering for our sins so that we could be made right with God through Christ and each of our three times today and I know that many of you won't be able to be here this afternoon but if you are we're going to each time look at a different part of this verse this morning we're just going to look at verse nineteen God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself now does it say reconciling Jews to. Himself. Paul was a Jew but he doesn't say God was in Christ reconciling the Jews to himself does it say seventh the admin. We might like to think that we're the center of God June a verse but it doesn't say God was in the world God was in Christ reconciling Seventh Day Adventists to himself it doesn't even say Christians does it it says the world all of it every nation tribe language every person now you'd expect me to say that because I work for admin this mission at the General Conference so that's what I'm supposed to come and say Right I promote the mission offering global mission pioneers I recruit and send missionaries in fact tomorrow next week when Paul and Petra hour here give them a hug for us Barbara and I are they were there in the in Minot and had a part in bringing them to work in Sudan where they're working now and with the address there but God is calling each of us to different positions I've been involved in sending missionaries I believe that God wants to reconcile the entire world to himself I believe that but do you believe it or do you really believe that God wants to reconcile the entire world or are there some people groups that you think well maybe they're beyond being helped maybe God is already close probation on them i've had been a stele me that why are you bothering to go over there and work probation is close for them already well I don't know that God hasn't shown me when probation closes for any one of us or any group of people he's just said Go and reconcile the world to me you know we're praying for a mighty outpouring of the Latter Rain This is a picture of the last general conference session we say that we're a long. For Jesus to come that we want to mighty movement to finish the work but do we really know what we're asking for and when we pray that are we prepared to deal with the results of a visible answer to our prayers. What would it mean if God answered prayer let me explain by starting with some history some of you like statistics in history and I don't know I guess maybe that's not real clear up there but maybe you can see it for the first sixty years most of our members lived in the United States in North America for the first fifty sixty years of our existence but in the one nine hundred twenty's it began to change to where we had more than fifty percent of our people outside of North America. One nine hundred fifty five was the year that I was born I know some of you think that's the year after Noah came out of the Ark But but it was quite a while ago I'm reminded of that more and more I was reminded of it as we came here and I walked through the the security checkpoint at the airplane to get on the airplane and I set off the alarms because I have artificial hips now and and so I have to remember to tell them and they take me through a sideway and yeah I'm remembering that one nine hundred fifty five was a long time ago but you know that year was the first year that the Seventh Day Adventist Church ever started the year with a million members one nine hundred fifty five. Back in one nine hundred fifty five the North American division had twenty eight percent of the world membership southern Africa division was the next biggest one from South Africa they had thirteen percent and Inter-American was the third largest It had ten percent everything else was smaller. Anybody know how many. Ambers we have today. Over twenty million now over twenty million members and and today seven divisions of the world church each have more members than the entire church had when I was born we've become a worldwide movement a massive movement but before we get too excited because we're pretty good at showing figures and patting ourselves on the back are only we like to talk and we should we need to rejoice for the things that God is doing but there's another side to the picture most of those twenty million members have come from Christian backgrounds very very few have come from non-Christian backgrounds. Let's look at a few other figures if you were to take the ten forty windows some of you know what that is it's kind of an artificial box that they put around between the tenth and the fortieth latitudes and and if you take the ten forty window covers the Middle East where I was covers North Africa covers much of Asia the ten forty window has sixty six percent of the world's population now we should have sixty six percent of our members there right but we don't we have nineteen percent of our hospitals in the ten forty window sixty six percent of our members but nineteen percent of our hospitals and only fifteen percent of our churches and members are in the ten forty window. Most of the people are there but most of our work is not there there are four hundred eighty thousand villages in India that don't have a single known Christian living in them four hundred eighty thousand there are hundreds of large cities in Minot that I could show you and tell you about massive cities that don't have a single worshipping group of Adventists and many of them don't have a single ad minutes and some of them we don't know of an ad minister who has ever stepped foot in those cities in history. If the population of Mecca is one of those when I'm driving down the highway in Saudi Arabia. There's a big sign on the highway it's an interstate there's a big sign on the interstate that says Muslims this way non Muslims that way and they have a checkpoint to make sure that nobody who is not a Muslim gets to go into Mecca. How are we going to reach those cities hundreds of them if the population of the world were to line up single file if we all just made a line here single file and we started walking past the United Nations building one person per second that's fairly fast how often would we see a Seventh Day Adventists one person per second the entire population of the world walking past the United Nations we would see an ad been a steady six minutes a not very close together but but probably within shouting distance. But if we were to line up all the admin assistant need gypped and have them line up the entire population in Egypt and have them walk past the Pyramids at one person per second it would be thirty one hours between each admin's one person a second twenty four hours a day it takes thirty one hours between adman is not many Adventists in Egypt what would happen if God suddenly answered our prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a mighty movement begin to take place what would happen if millions of people from ten forty window countries and ten forty window diasporas because we have them living all around us here what would happen if they started coming into the church by the tens and hundreds and thousands and millions do we know what we're asking for. Would we be able to accept and handle a mighty influx of people. I want to illustrate it again with a church that I know quite well my son in law Jimmy is one of the pastors at the Sebring church it's about twenty minutes from the General Conference building. For many years the Sebring church was a predominantly white drive in church all the members drove in from different parts of the city Washington D.C. area almost none of the members lived in the community around the church they knew that if they were successful in reaching their community the makeup of the church would change their little club their comfort zone would not be the same anymore do we want that or do we like our little refuge that we come to and don't want it to be disturbed too much. Another words are we really wanting God to answer our prayer but about thirty years ago not these pastors but a different group of pastors working there in the Seabrook church with the elders in the members decided you know what we have a responsibility to reach out to the people of our community and we're going to do it regardless of what that does to the makeup of our church and it did make a difference today Seabrooks eight hundred members are mostly African-American Caribbean and a few South Asian. Amen except that today the demographics around the Sieber church have changed again and they're still pretty comfortable with their their culture their club that's developed through the last thirty years they kind of like the people that they meet with every Sabbath and they haven't been sure if they wanted to disrupt it but it once again they have decided they want to reach out to the people around them who are the people around them now well they're within two blocks of. The largest mosque in the eastern United States probably the largest mosque in the U.S. but I've not been able to confirm that yet it's a new one. Another block another mosque is just less than a mile from the church and hundreds of worshippers file past my son in law's house every day as they go every Friday especially but even during the week as they're going to worship they're also within a mile of the church are several huge Asian temples from a couple of different religions thousands of the adherents of those Asian temples gather for various celebrations and worship events regularly. Recently And one of the parks near near the Seabrook church I found this little temporary shrine that somebody had put out with with a little. Statue and some candles and books and various icons and things right there in the Washington D.C. area not far from Seabrook and by the way all of these pictures were taken in Washington D.C. not in some ten forty window country I didn't take them all but they were all taken there. Now the Siebert church if they're successful in reaching out to their neighbors is going to change again it won't be that comfortable little click that they've grown used to meeting in each Sabbath something will be different. What if they succeed. The music styles will change it won't be what they're used to anymore their culture will change the food tastes will change the potlucks will change if they're successful but those are little things are we ready for God to answer our prayer and suddenly have a Miraculous movement begin to take place where our conference constituencies change the executive committees have. Our conferences in our churches begin to change. The boards would be different how the money gets used would be different be atmosphere on our camp meeting at our camp meetings and on our university and school campuses would be different you know when I look at how hard we struggle with some of the little issues that we deal with and by the way I believe the issues that this last General Conference were little issues. And when I see how we struggle with those what is going to happen if God answers our prayer and suddenly we have massive numbers of people coming into the church that are totally different from our way of growing up we at least most of us grew up christian What if they come in and didn't grow up Christian how many of you have been doing general conference session. And quite a few of you lot of people were there this is the Middle East and North Africa Union section at the last general conference session we had one in the house a little rows and we couldn't fill them with delegates that was all that didn't take up much space in spite of having five hundred million people which is way bigger than the North American division we only had a row and a half and hardly any delegates. What if there was suddenly a mighty movement and millions of people from the Middle East and Asia and other places started coming into the church instead of that one and a half small rows we might need an entire section just from enough for the Middle East and North Africa if if we had an answer to our prayers we might have half or more of the delegates wanting to sit on mats on the floor instead of in chairs are we OK with that I just see some friends from Egypt back here Joy good to see you both of you. We in the near Guard have been back and forth from I don't know whether they'd call California home or Egypt home but they're in both Most of the back and forth and we appreciated Jim and Joyce a lot. Are we OK was sitting on the floor at a G.C. session maybe we would be some of us would not mind at all if they served Rice several different kinds of rice at every meal that might be OK We could probably handle that might be fun to watch them unloading truckloads of chopsticks as they're getting ready for the session meals. Would we be willing to have the meetings at the G C session conducted in Arabic or Mandarin Chinese and have us wearing the headsets and wondering what was going on as we try to listen to the various programs and activities could be some changes in those areas but those aren't the biggest changes the biggest ones are the thought patterns the the way that they have been brought up we want to be Biblical but there are different ways sometimes of interpret the various processes that we use for decision making for instance a majority vote is what we're comfortable with but much of the world doesn't THOMPSON That way they talk and discuss in the Family Leader finally stands up and makes a decision what if most of the members of the church come from a different logic pattern than what we've grown up with are we going to be able to deal with that. When I first met Pastor Vladimir he was president of the Kurdistan mission and I hardly knew where Kurdistan was when I first met him thankfully the airline knew and I had gotten there but I don't think I could have picked it out on a map now I've been there a number of times and and I think I could find it but but Kurdistan is a little country. It's one of the stands in there with Kazakhstan and then goes back to stand in Turkmenistan and Pakistan and that whole area Kurdistan at sea I thought I had Vance that there we go. Pastor Vladimir told me an experience on our first trip there from when he was pastoring in Kazakhstan now paster Vladimir speaks Russian He's got some Korean background some Russian background some cosmic background I don't know all of what mixed up together but but he does quite well in English but this story as he was sharing it with us several times he got so excited that he forgot and switched back to Russian and I don't know any Russian so as he would switch to Russian the translator would just lean over to me and start whispering to me rather than interrupt the story was telling. Pastor Vladimir was visiting a group of men in the prison who were who he had learned were keeping Sabbath some how they had come in contact with Seventh Day Adventists someplace and they were keeping Sabbath in the prison so he went and he started visiting with this small group of men Christian background men but as he looked around he saw this huge prison filled with Muslims there was even a mosque inside the prison but knowing moms ever came to visit them there and Pastor Vladimir begin thinking as we all do what can I do to help the rest of the people here so he started delivering mail for them started bringing food that was allowed from the families into the prisoners and taking messages out for them just little things but as he as he began to learn to know those prisoners he realized there was one man there who was the unofficial leader of the prison he was a huge man he was hardened by years of hard work and crime both and every. But he was afraid of him so he was the leader of the prison pastor Vladamir started to pray for that man every day he prayed for him God if something would happen if that man would have a dream that would open his heart so I could talk to him then through him I might be able to somehow reach the rest of the prisoners. Three months. Parade every day for that man to have a dream and then one day as pastor of Lattimer walked into the prison that man met him at the at the gate when they on lock to the gate and let him in that man was standing there with a different look on his face than usual and he started right in all of me and called him pastor and he said Pastor you won't believe this but I had a dream last night he said in my dim past Lattimer didn't say anything you just roll and the manse a giant my dream last night a being a man came and stood beside my bed he was dressed in white I could tell you many stories of Muslims and Indians Hindus Buddhists who had dreams of a man in white he said this man came and stood beside me is dressed in white his robes were not like our robes they they were brilliant white in fact it was so light bright that I couldn't even see a space. And as he talked to me that man said to me you need to start reading the Bible and when you do you will learn to know Jesus as your savior while some of those were not even words that he hardly knew what it meant but but as he's listening in the dream suddenly somebody in the prison started making noise and the man walk up and remember he is the angry de facto leader of the prison and so he shouts out I'm Be quiet I want to sleep and everybody got quo. I again they knew if they didn't they were in trouble and he laid back down and he tried to go to sleep and sure enough he went to sleep in the man came back and stood by his bed and said if you would read the Bible you would learn to know Jesus as your savior. He woke up and now he's standing in front of Pastor Vladimir and he says but Pastor Vladimir I don't have a Bible would it be OK with Jew I mean is it alright could I could I have a Bible would you teach me about Jesus. Pastor Lattimer said yes it was technically illegal but he got him a Bible and began to study with him and the man's life changed dramatically almost immediately he was a different man his language his habits the look on his face in fact the prisoners got to where they were no longer afraid of him he wasn't the leader of the prison anymore several weeks went by and one day one pastor Vladimir arrived at the gate this man was standing there waiting for him no pastor he said you can't come in today past Lattimer said why not well because there's problems you can't come in today or maybe I can help no no pastor he said you don't understand the men are angry at you and me yes they're angry at you because you're a Christian pastor and you've been talking with me and some of the other Muslims and they're angry pastor Pastor Lattimer says that's OK I will come and talk to them No he said No man this big burly prisoner started to cry put his hands on Pastor Vladimir shoulders and he said you've got to believe me they're angry they could do something they could even kill you we've done it before. Pastor Vladimir put his hands on the man's shoulders and he didn't quite have the feeling in his heart maybe as what he was showing on the outside but he said Brother you've got to believe mean I prayed every day for you to have a dream and God's and she won and I've been praying for the rest of those me into. God will go with me and he walked past even into the prison still when he got to the little room where they usually met it wasn't exactly the situation he had been expecting it was packed with Min this time not just a few and as he stood The end up front he had to walk down through the room and stand up front as he stood up front suddenly a man in the back jumped up and he began shouting Allahu Akbar LA Akbar LA Akbar you may have heard that on the news it's kind of a war chant almost that means great is God But they're not using it that way especially And as the man started to shout chanting Allahu Akbar the rest of the group started to chant too and then the first man begin to scream the rest of them are are still chanting a lot who Akbar dull rumble through the room but the first man in the back is screaming don't listen to him this man is a false teacher don't listen to him a lot who Akbar and men started to get up out of their chairs and start moving toward the front and pastor of Lattimer realize that something was about to happen he was praying Oh God take care of my family if something happens to me. When suddenly he noticed a movement out of the corner of his eyes and he watched as that big burly used back man stood DUIs feet and shouted like he hadn't shouted in months sit down everyone be quiet and I'll explain it to you and immediately everybody backed up and got into their seats again and sat down this was the man they were use to not the one that he had become but suddenly as face changed again the peace and the joy spread over it and that Jews back prisoner preached a powerful as ad than a sermon on Jesus in the second coming in the Sabbath in their native language. Sometimes. God has to use an unlikely person. To reconcile the world to himself sometimes he uses somebody like Saul of Tarsus to become Paul the apostle if there's a Barnabas there to help bring him or a pastor Vladimir who can help bring that person to the foot of the cross to know Jesus want to tell you another story about Pastor Vladimir it's not one that he told me someone else told me. Pastor Vladimir had been invited to come speak at a church in Tajikistan one Sabbath. And as he was preaching. He didn't notice a young Muslim man come in the back of the room and sit down fly at Lee nobody noticed him in fact in fact looking at it later the members and the young man and Pastor Vladimir all figured that angels must have been covering their eyes because nobody seemed to see him sitting there in the back of the church. He listened to the sermon got up and left and nobody saw him Pastor Vladimir preached a powerful sermon on on the prophet Abraham and the young man was puzzled by what he heard you see the young man a grown up all his life as a faithful Muslim he loved to pray to a law he loved to read the Koran he loved to go to the mosque on Friday but in his heart he had also loved Sabbath he didn't really know why the Qur'an talks about Sabbath in several places about the holiness of it and the wonderfulness of it but but the young man didn't know anybody that did anything special on Sabbath except a little group of Adventists that met in a house church near his mosque but he wasn't have anything to do with them they were foreigners everybody knew that if you were from his country you were. Oh if you are a foreigner you could be a Christian but not if you are from his country and so he didn't have anything to do with them but he still felt something special every time Sabbath came around and one Sabbath morning as he was walking past their little house church group there something grabbed him up power grabbed him and dragged him into the into the back of their church he was terrified he sat in the back shaking wondering what strange things do they do in a Christian church what am I going to hear what will they do to me what will people do to me when I come out of a Christian church. But as he listened to that message on the prophet Abraham he was puzzled he said I know Jews talk about the prophet Abraham I know that Muslims talk about the prophet Abraham I didn't know Christians did it he said I always thought that Christians were pagans they were heathens they ate pork they drank alcohol they lived like that soap operas even today as you go through the Middle East many many of the people really believe that the soap operas are an accurate depiction of life in America. I hope not I hope not well as he as he sat there in the back he decided he was coming back the next week and so he came in the next week and somebody else was speaking and they had a good sermon too and he was moved and he left and nobody saw him and a week after week he came for six months every Sabbath he came to church and listen to the message and nobody ever saw him and then one Sabbath as he walked into the church. It was almost like the angels had decided this was the date on the cover everybody's eyes because suddenly everybody saw him and they didn't know for sure what to do this was a Muslim in church with them and they try. Had to be friendly and. Glad you came and we hope you'll come back again but but inside they were shaking all over. Thankfully one of them had the courage to invite him to the Bible study group and as he began to study the Bible with them and they they didn't know that he already knew all their names he had been coming for six months to church and they hadn't seen him but as they began to study the Bible little by little he gave his heart to Jesus and he's now a Seventh Day Adventist. He was started he was working in a university where he was sharing a space with people around him there then he became a global mission pioneer and he was he was helping to plant churches but it first all of the people coming into the church were foreigners and that's OK He rejoiced I rejoice when anybody gives their heart to Jesus but he wanted to see his own people coming to Jesus and he didn't know what to do we kept praying about it and he told us with excitement recently that it's like the Holy Spirit is being poured out and many from his country are coming into the church now. In fact he said when you walk past our churches people look in the open door and they see people from my country sitting in the church and they back up and look again it's not just foreigners they come in and want to know what's going on and we have a chance to explain to them and now this former Muslim. Is an admin a spy. He faces persecution he faces arrest but he's still working to share the Good News of the loving Savior with his fellow countrymen God is reconciling the world to Himself but sometimes we aren't ready to receive the world I wonder how many people come into our midst and sit and notice that maybe being jewels are blinding us to their presence because we're not. Ready yet to receive them. Not to twenty four fourteen says and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached where in all the world for a witness to all the nations are a multitude says a better translation and then the end will come and our text this morning says for God was in Christ reconciling the world to him self no longer counting people's sins against them and he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation are we willing to have God opened our eyes to the people that are living in worshipping around us are we willing to see a mighty movement take place even if it changes the way we're used to doing things I pray that we are this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons leave the W W W audio verse or.


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