|Can you sense the growing tension in our world? Conflict and hostility are everywhere. Just scroll through your Facebook feed…it seems everybody is mad at everyone for something. In our polarized culture, nation and world is there a pathway to peace? And if so, what is it and what is the Christian’s role in seeing it realized?
The simple and yet profound answer to both of those questions is love.
Dionne Warwick had it right, but then again love wasn’t her idea…it was God’s.
Too many times I know I respond the wrong way… either by withdrawing from the conversation or worse yet, lashing out with the same emotional intensity as those I disagree with. There is a better way demonstrated to us by Jesus.
“While we were were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.” – Romans 5:10
Jesus’ sacrificial selfless love is the pathway to peace with God and our fellow man and as His followers we exist to glorify God as we mirror this love to the world around us.
I know no better model for this than my dear friend and brother Geoffrey Balatero. I am humbled and convicted by Geoffrey’s surrendered life and I am blessed and honored to count him among the leadership team of our ministry. Geoffrey is a bi-vocational Pastor working to support his own ministry. In addition, he is leading a Church unifying ministry in his home town, runs a technical/vocational school for underprivileged youth, and manages our station the Edge Sibugay in the Muslim concentrated province of Zamboanga.
Of all the things I admire about Pastor Geoffrey, it is his heart and boldness for sharing Jesus with Muslim Filipinos that inspires me most. Kim and I had the privilege of meeting with him in Manila a few weeks ago where he shared this story with us. As a school administrator he was invited to teach a computer course to Muslim youth in a nearby Islamic community. As a known Christian pastor in the area, all eyes were on Geoffrey as the scrutiny and skepticism were immediate. This eventually led to the inevitable and critical exchange between Geoffrey and one of the Islamic leaders:
Muslim: As a Christian, why do you come here to teach Muslim youth computers?
Geoffrey: As a Christian, the Bible teaches us how great God’s love for us is. In return, we love God because He loves us. The Bible also says that one of the ways we love God well is by loving others well. I want to love God well and I want to love you well.
No other questions were ever asked of Pastor Geoffrey, God’s Love Messenger.
After our brief lunch visit (all of our visits with Geoffrey are far too brief), Kim and I experienced the greatest pleasure of our missionary journey thus far…delivering to Geoffrey the transmitter for the Edge Sibugay provided through your gifts. Now God’s Love Message will be broadcast to a quarter million Filipinos in Zamboanga everyday! Oh, and this week each time you find yourself humming Dionne Warwick, remember to pray for Pastor Geoffrey. 🙂