What would you do if all those around you were actively suppressing the gospel? What if the only thing you ever heard about the gospel was an anti-gospel designed to discourage you from ever searching to learn more? This is the case for millions of people in our city. From childhood, all they have ever heard is that Christianity is a corrupted Western religion with a corrupted book that is not worth reading. Despite all the evidence that exists for the trustworthiness of the Scriptures and the gospel, "the Bible is corrupted" and "Christianity is outdated" is the narrative in our city. Access to the truth has been swallowed up by centuries of cultural and religious barriers.
Many people in our city are enslaved to worldliness and Islam as they live in darkness with little to no access to the good news of Jesus. The city is a sprawling, global city filled with countless millions of unreached people, and it is expected to double in size in the next ten years with millions of tourists per year. Visualize an expansive view of unreached peoples as far as your eyes can see and that is the reality you will find in our city. The city is the largest city in the region and one of the largest in the Islamic world. No official churches are permitted in the city, and conversion from Islam is forbidden, with severe consequences for those who follow Christ.
However, recent changes are opening opportunities for gospel work like never before. The truly warm and historic hospitality of the local culture is being put on display by welcoming new visitors and new ideas for the first time. Though the darkness is still palpable from the moment you arrive here, the Lord has been calling his lost sheep from a city filled with wolves. The light is shining, and by God's grace, you are a part of expanding its reach. Your giving is sending the good news to those who are being kept from hearing it. There are many barriers in our city that are keeping countless millions from ever hearing the gospel, but your generosity is helping go around and through those barriers. Many individuals and families in our city actively suppress any hint of Christianity in their homes and in their conversations. But your generosity is getting the good news into the hands of those who are being kept from hearing it. People are accessing the truth online for the first time. Much like modern news spreads across our device screens today, so your cheerful giving is causing the good news to enter their news feeds for the first time.
This good news is that the one true holy God, the just, loving, and gracious Creator of the universe, has sent the way of salvation to hopelessly sinful men and women by sending his Son, God in the flesh, to deliver us from the wrath to come through His substitutionary, atoning death on the cross. He then demonstrated his power over sin and death in the resurrection from the grave. After resurrecting and appearing to hundreds of eyewitnesses, Jesus ascended to God the Father's right hand, and he will soon return to judge the living and the dead. The good news that Jesus now invites us to turn from our sin and ourselves and trust in him as our Savior, Lord, and Treasure. Those who reject God's only way of salvation in Jesus will experience the eternal, just, and righteous wrath of God for their sins. But those who repent and trust in Jesus will be saved from God's eternal wrath, have full forgiveness for their sins, and be reconciled to God to enjoy gloriously joyful presence forever.
That is good news and by God's grace, the Lord is moving through your praying, giving, and going to see that good news be heard for the first time among the people here. God's grace through your giving is leading to abundant gospel conversations and in-person discipleship through local churches. Churches are being established for the first time that shine Christ's light on those who sit in darkness. Your Christlike generosity is helping leaders understand and faithfully teach the Bible as they begin to shepherd healthy churches through difficult trials for God's glory. God is being glorified and the gates of Hell are not prevailing against Jesus' Church.
This city is filled with people hopelessly striving as slaves to sin and praying to a false god who cannot save them. But the Lord is actively using your cheerful giving and constant prayers to draw some of these people from a city of darkness to the joyful Kingdom of Light. People are calling on the name of Jesus for eternal salvation for the first time.
So, this holiday season we wanted to say how deeply grateful we are to the Father for The Church at Brook Hills. Your prayers and your giving are blessing nations and people around the world. The light is shining, Jesus is being glorified, and our hearts are filled with gratitude for God's grace in you. We love you dearly and are praying the Lord would bless and encourage your hearts this holiday season.
"To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12