Genuine faith endures persecution

suffering_for_the_gospel_00036146I am preparing to teach my class on II Thessalonians this coming week. I love teaching this short letter because there is so much truth packed into a small amount of space. During our first lesson, we covered the overview and learned that the Apostle Paul was a master communicator. From reading and studying Acts 17, we learn that the Thessalonian church was planted in the midst of heavy persecution. The Thessalonians were very familiar with persecution. The Apostle Paul was there working as a team with Silas and Timothy. They had a plan to enter the synagogue on the Sabbath and reason with the Jews living in Thessalonica from the Scriptures. Paul took the inductive Bible study approach which involves questions and answers from the Biblical text. The team was there for 3 weeks. While studying, several of the Jews came to Christ along with some God fearing Greeks and leading women. After these people accepted Christ, the rest of the Jews who rejected Christ became jealous of Paul and the team. They stirred the people up and after forming a mob, tried to attack Paul and the team. Paul escaped to Berea and continued teaching in the synagogue in Berea. While Paul was busy planting more churches by making disciples, the new beleivers in Thessalonica continued to grow in their faith amidst persecution. The Word of the Lord went out from them to all of Asia Minor. Paul continued to communicate with the Thessalonians. II Thessalonians is the second letter that we know of that Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians. Paul had to write this letter because the attacks shifted from the outside to the inside. False teaching had crept in to the church and people’s faith was in danger. Continue reading

Interview with Naghmeh Abedini

photo_naghmehI had the honor and privilege of meeting Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the Iran born, American pastor who has been in prison in Iran for almost two years. He was captured and taken to prison because of his faith in Jesus Christ and the fact that he was sharing the hope he found in Christ with others. I had heard a little about his case from the ACLJ’s Jay Sekulow but I was not very familiar with the details. Naghmeh came to Hoffmantown church in Albuquerque, New Mexico last week to speak at our annual Missions Conference. I was blessed to hear her share her story two different times during the conference. Before the second meeting time, I spoke with her privately and asked if I could do an interview with her. She conceded and immediately after speaking, she joined me in my office and shared with me. I would like to share what I learned here with you via this article. Continue reading