Alpha - the Safe Place to Be
In preparation of my trip to Israel I had to take a number of courses. It started with history of the holocaust, history of the Jewish people, history of the Islam people, and then the history of the world as the gospel was taken out from the nation of Israel.
I found it interesting that the gospel has only ever been taken in a “west” direction, never east. The good news of Jesus – a Jewish man, was taken by other Jewish men to tell others about Jesus into western countries that had no idea of who Jesus was or why He was even important. The miracle of it is that as other countries heard about Jesus and God – they embraced it. They did not embrace the Jew’s but they embraced their God.
Upon leaving the country of Israel, the gospel went to Greece and then Italy, predominantly Rome and up into Europe. Within a couple hundred years Europe was a superpower- is this directly linked to their Christianity? You decide. They had embraced this God that was brought to them by the Jewish people. Their laws, and morals were taken from the Bible, they took a stand for God in every facet of life. As the church got larger and larger, it did what a lot of people do. It started to rely on itself and its own thinking. They started to trust in themselves and their wisdom rather than Gods.
As God was reduced, the power of the nations reduced. The gospel was then taken to North America where the colonies set up their settlements with Biblical principals and morals. God’s wisdom was in government, in education, in everything. The USA rose up to become a superpower, Canada got great in it’s own way.
Today probably not even half of North Americans believes in God and many, have never even heard of Him. We have pushed God out of our constitution, out of schools, out of the country and started relying on ourselves and our own wisdom. North America is loosing it’s power. As God is pushed out – the power retreats. History has proven this over and over again.
Where is the power today? Follow the money. It is in the far east, China would be considered today’s: Superpower.
The country with the fastest growing Christian population is Iran! Iran is a Muslim nation and there are no churches, no pastors and yet it is exploding with new Christian converts. The gospel that started in Israel and went west has almost circled the globe.
The other top 10 fastest growing Christian countries are: Nepal, China, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Mongolia, Cambodia and then the next 10 are in Africa. North America or Europe does not even make the list. (see link: https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/worlds-fastest-growing-church-women-documentary-film)
11 of the top 20 countries are Muslim dominant. People are coming in droves to escape the Islamic terrorist mentality.
I see a huge parallel in our lives and in a lot of churches in N. American with the rise and fall of the superpowers of the world. As new believers we can start strong, with such passion and ideals and then as life, stress, pain and busyness come our way, we start to rely on ourselves. We can become arrogant and try to think for ourselves, just like the North American and European nations, thinking that because we “know” God – we have the answers and so we start to answer for God instead of going to God. God takes this very seriously. He will remove His blessing off of the countries and people that remove Him.
Where can we safely go to find answers about God? To ask questions in a non-judgmental environment? To find what it is that we are missing in our lives, in our country and in our world? You cannot tell me that the world feels like a safe place lately.
In many churches across N. American and around the entire globe (100 countries and in over 100 languages) there is a group called Alpha starting. Alpha is a project of Pastor Nicky Gumbel from England who put together a course, a series of classes to explain the Who, Why, How’s of God to all people. It is a safe and welcoming place to ask all of our questions from: where are the dinosaurs? To: was Jesus a real man? There are no wrong questions in Alpha.
Alpha is probably starting in a location very near you, either in person and now with the Covid restrictions also online. Check online for Alpha and see where the nearest group is to you and consider joining in on the conversation.