Hello and welcome to this message from Calvary Albuquerque. We are excited to hear from our special guest speaker, Tom Doyle. Tom is the author of Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It's Not Safe to Believe, a timely book that pulls back the curtains on the headlines from the Middle East. If this message impacts you, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give. A new Jesus revolution is erupting out of the Middle East, and persecuted believers are fearlessly leading the way. In the message, Standing in the Fire, Tom teaches that these believers face the growing threat of Islamic terrorism. Now, please turn in your Bible to first Thessalonians, chapter 1 as he begins.
Good morning, Calvary. It's great to be with you. I am from Albuquerque, I came to Jesus in Albuquerque, I proposed to my wife in Albuquerque-- she said yes, you'll get to meet her soon-- and God called us to work in the Middle East. After pastorate for 20 years, God called us to work in the Middle East and to be missionaries. I mean, it's pretty bizarre when you think about it, so I was a senior pastor for years. And, I mean, nobody would have said, oh, they're going to go, and they're going to be missionaries sharing the gospel. I'm not even sure we were getting it right in our house, and I'll tell you why.
We lived in El Paso, Texas at one time. It was my first church pastoring, and it was a Good Friday service. And so it was Good Friday. We have six children-- three boys, three girls. We went to the Good Friday service. Well, we had this dog, his name was Coco, and Coco kept getting out, terrorizing the neighborhood, doing all the things we shouldn't. And we didn't know it, but in the middle of the Good Friday service-- it's a very somber service, of course-- Coco got out from under our gate and we got back home, and when we did, the neighbors called. And they said, we have really bad news-- Coco got in our backyard, and he fell in the swimming pool and he drowned.
I know, it was really bad, and then we had to tell the six kids. And they were-- oh, it was terrible. They were throwing themselves on the front lawn and, you know, Coco's gone and all of that. Well, Lindsey was four, and this started a spiritual conversation. She started asking, are dogs going to heaven or what about that? And so I said, well, Lindsay, let's talk about what it means to go to heaven and ended up this great gospel conversation. And at the end of it, Lindsay trusted Jesus as Savior, OK? So it ended up being a really good thing.
So this is Good Friday. She knows, thoroughly, Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday, but also, Coco drowned in the swimming pool on Friday. OK, so we're excited for the weekend, and we go Sunday morning to Easter service. And I'm walking in the door, and for those of you that are parents, have you ever noticed that if you put your children on the spot that this is the perfect opportunity for them to burn you badly? Have you ever noticed that? They just-- it's their time to get even, you know.
And so we're walking into the service and chairman of deacons is there, and his name is Don. And I said, Lindsay-- she's got a big bow in her hair, bigger than her head, you know. And we're walking in, and I said, Lindsey, tell Don what happened this weekend about salvation. She said, yes, I asked Coco to be my Savior, and I just-- Lindsay, what are you saying? But she went on, yes, Coco died for my sins on the cross. Like, Lindsay, this is-- no, honey, no. Honey, it was Jesus. I know Coco-- this way we call Jesus, Good Friday-- but Jesus died on the cross, not Coco, and she goes, you know, I always get those two mixed up for some reason.
So, I mean, the chairman of deacons probably thought, what an idiot. This guy's our pastor? Boy, he can't even share the gospel, so who would have thought we'd go to the mission field, right? But after 20 years, God called us, and we were amazed after 9/11 going into ministry in Gaza, and Syria, and Iran, and places like that that never before like today, Muslims are open to the gospel. It is unbelievable what's happening, so are you tired of the bad news on TV? Do you a little tired of that? All the political and hatred and there's nothing in the middle now. It's left, right, everybody hates each other.
Here's some good news, more Muslims have come to faith in Jesus in the last 10 years than in the last 1,400 years. That's a good thing, and ultimately, that makes the world a safer place, right? And I don't think the UN could pull that off. Right It's only Jesus that is doing this. So hey, take your bibles, first Thessalonians 1, and people that come to faith in Christ in the Middle East, like, out of a Muslim background, man, they are taking their life into their hands. Like we say in the title, they are standing in the fire like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and if Jesus wasn't there with them, they probably would be dead.
And so it reminds me of a church in the first century, the Thessalonians, and you know the story, Act 17. Paul goes in there, three sabbaths, three shabbats, he's in the synagogue, he's preaching, people are getting interested, people are getting saved, Jews are coming of faith in Christ sets the city on its ear, there's a riot, things are happening, but the church hung in there, and they stayed tough. And listen to this in verses 4 and 5, "For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, and with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. And you know how we lived among you for your name's sake."
So the gospel bursts on the scene today. It doesn't come in quietly. Whether it's with an individual, or a village, or a city, or a country, God does something powerfully. In 1979, in the nation of Iran, it went from an Islamic republic to-- from not a dictatorship but a monarchy to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Ayatollah came in, which means tool of God. Ayatollah means that in Farsi, and he said this, we will squash the church. We're going to get rid of it because we're the Islamic Republic of Iran. Everybody will be Muslim now-- no Christians.
We don't know how many Christians were there at that time, maybe 5 to 50,000, but he said we're going to squash it. We're going to crush it. But what did Jesus say, do you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 16? Upon this rock, what? I will build my church. Do you think he's nervous about the Ayatollah? I don't think so, and actually, today, the fastest growing church in the world is in the nation of Iran-- fastest growing. We work with them. We've been privileged to bring bibles into them, and they are growing maybe 2 to 4 million believers in the nation of Iran. When the gospel comes in, it's going to change your life. It's going to just burst through.
It's going to radically change everything, but aren't all Muslims terrorists? I mean, I watch the news, and that's all I ever see. And of course, if you see that on the news, that trail of blood always does seem to go back to the religion of Islam. Aren't they all terrorists? Well, that's what I thought in the 1990s. I'd gone to Israel four or five times. I didn't really know any Muslims. We were living in Colorado Springs, and I was getting my car worked on up in Denver. And so my wife, JoAnn, dropped me off to get the car.
The mechanic said, Mr. Doyle, I'm sorry, we found another thing to do. It's going to be like an hour, so we're sorry you came all the way up here, and you have to just waste this time. Why don't you go across the street, there's a Mediterranean restaurant. Just get something to eat, it's on us, OK? All right, that's good. I've been to Isreal, I like falafels, and so I'm sitting over there-- Diet Pepsi. Very small cafe, little table here, and all of a sudden, two guys walk in-- black leather jackets, closely-cropped beards, Arabic, and they're sitting right here. And they're whispering in Arabic. They're whispering like this.
Hey, I should tell you, my dad was an FBI. I was born in Chicago. He fought organized crime, the mafia, and so I grew up in Chicago, Las Vegas. I went to a Catholic school. It was all mob kids. I was the only kid in third grade that didn't have an Italian last name-- Genovese, Sesarino, Parisi, Costello, Romeo, Tigana, I mean, all of them. They were the Italians. They called me the fed kid, and so I was used to being around that. Hey, I'm an FBI son-- we know these things.
These guys are sitting here. They're whispering Arabic. State capital up the block-- they're probably plotting. They're going to do something. They're going to take someone hostage, so I am listening in doing my civic duty. And these guys are whispering, and all of a sudden, one of them says in English to the other guy loudly, boy, the Lord is amazing, isn't he? And I thought, do they say that in Islam? I mean, I know they said that.
So back to Arabic whispering and then a few minutes later, I was shocked eating my falafel, and the other man said to his buddy, Jesus is Lord over Syria, isn't he, Mahmood? You're kidding me. I just looked over, I'm sorry, guys, I couldn't help but hear what you were saying there, and are you guys believers? And they said, yes, are you? And I said, I think so, you know, I used to be before I came in this place. What an error that was. These guys are terrorists. No, they're actually brothers in Christ, Tom, made a little mistake.
Man, was Jesus all over there life. They worked in Syria. God was using them. The gospel radically changes people, and we've been privileged to go in for years now and take the gospel off the beaten path in Muslim villages. We get to do, with e3 Partners, medical clinics, so if you ever want to go and work with Muslims, go with us. We can do a medical clinic. So we'll find a village, 100% Muslim, talk with the mom a couple of months ahead of time, and say we're bringing a free medical team-- couple of doctors, couple of nurses, and the rest of us, we work with them.
You can see 400, 500 Muslims in just a few days-- it's amazing. And so we took this team from Fort Worth, Texas, and we're in this village in the Middle East, can't say the country. And we're there, and the first day, we're telling everybody, now be careful because if you lead with the gospel, they may go tell the imam, he'll say you're proselytizing, shut down the medical clinic. So don't push but as it comes up in conversation-- if they ask if you're Muslim, no, I follow Jesus, and go there. God will give you wisdom, but just don't push, push, OK? OK, we got it.
So it's the very first patient coming in-- there's like 100 waiting when we got there-- and it's this woman. She's dressed in a black hijab completely. She got a bad shoulder, and she goes to Dr. Jeff. And Dr. Jeff has just heard, OK, be careful, be wise. And this woman comes in and says, can you help my shoulder? It's really bad. I fell and hurt it. OK, they go behind the curtain, she's with her husband. OK, so the very first thing out of her mouth, first patient, she said, Dr. Jeff, are you a Christian?
So here she is, black hijab, everything, just her face-- are you a Christian? He said, well, yes. And she said, you are, wow. She pulls up her black sleeve, pulls up the second black sleeve, she has a tattoo of a cross on her arm, and she says, I love Jesus. You're kidding, this is patient one. She's in a hijab, how can that be? What about her husband? He looks over at him and he goes, me too.
We found out, here they were with 12 other couples, underground, meeting in the middle of the night-- they loved Jesus. You could see it all over their face, the fruit of the Spirit came out all over them, but they live in the Middle East-- it's challenging. Look at verse 6, whether it's the Thessalonian believers or believers in the Middle East today, persecution is just around the corner. "You became imitators of us and of the Lord, and you welcome the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." Did you see that? Severe suffering with joy. I wouldn't put those two together, how does that happen? Only by the Holy Spirit can young believers survive persecution. We do not survive persecution, we thrive in it.
We come closer together, we get bolder, our roots go deeper, the more you give up for Jesus, the stronger your connection is to him. It's not the American thing, the more you get from Jesus-- no, the more you give up for Jesus, the stronger your connection is. So here I am, after 20 years, god calls us to be missionaries. A couple of months after 9/11, we're going into the Gaza Strip. I was reading on the airplane on the way over-- it's my first mission trip. We're working with e3 Partners, and it said in Voice of the Martyrs magazine, the Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world for Christians right now.
I'm reading it on the airplane. I thought, dang it, should have got this a week ago. It's too late now, we already made the plan. So we got there and we got into the strip, and there we are in Gaza City. And immediately, a woman comes up to me, completely covered, just her face showing, and she grabbed my arm, Gaza resident, spoke in English perfectly, and said, you're from America, aren't you? And I said, yeah, and she said, I just want you to know that you probably saw on September 11th when the buildings come came down, the people in Gaza cheering and celebrating. Do any of you remember that? And she said, did you see that? And I said, yeah, I mean, I did see it, and she said, well, I wasn't celebrating-- I was crying for those people because they didn't deserve to die. And that was so wrong, and I'm sorry for what America went through.
And she tapped her heart, and she turned away and walked away. And I thought, there's human beings in the Gaza Strip. I wasn't expecting it. They have to be all cold-blooded killers. They've got to be related to Hamas, right? So my new buddy, Hussein-- it's my first day there in Gaza, and he says, Tom, it's awesome, it's Friday. Let's go down to Yasser Arafat's mosque in Gaza City. They'll be coming out after prayer. Let's go share the gospel with Muslims. I said, OK, yeah, so we go and as soon as we get there, it was not what I expected. And there's people coming up, and they want to visit, and they're taking pictures. They're asking questions about America.
We're starting to share about Jesus, and as we're doing it, Hussein pulls my ear back and says, oh, you know what? I forgot to tell you, Tom, we could get arrested for this. It's illegal but, you know, really, everybody should get arrested at least once for sharing their faith, don't you think? It's good for you. Yeah, OK, yeah. So it goes on-- good conversations, but then all of a sudden, man, it really changed. And the long beards, skullcaps, white dishdashas. They had qur'ans, and a group got around us. Someone had tipped them off. They're the Muslim imams, and they are angry, and they're shouting, and they're pointing fingers, and it's getting closer and closer, and Hussein pulls me back and says, you know, this is not going real good, Tom.
I said, yeah, I picked that up, and he said, these guys could try to hurt us. I mean, they are so angry. We're going to not need to stay here real long, and they're going to try to hurt us. I mean, they could even try to kill us. Seriously, they could-- they're so angry. These guys are bad. I know who they are, they're connected to Hamas. And he said, they could try to kill us, but I'm ready to die for Jesus. And, you know, you're a missionary-- you're ready to die for Jesus, right? Yeah, yes, yes, and I said, do you mean, like, right now, this second?
And so, really, I guess you could say that was my first day on the job, and a thought went through my head, what a short career. Just one day and he never came back, but we did get out of that-- God delivered. Hussein stayed there going into the camps, working with refugees, bringing Jesus, passionate about the gospel, not only surviving persecution, thriving in the midst of it, and you know what? That's what we're seeing with our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East and North Korea. They are shining for Jesus. They're not backing down. They are taking the gospel to the ends of the earth no matter how dangerous it is.
Look at verse 7. "And so you became," Paul says, "a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-- your faith in God has become known everywhere." I believe today, folks, that persecuted believers have become the new face of genuine Christianity. They are willing to suffer, they are willing to die, Jesus is using their lives, and they're an example for us just like those believers from Thessalonica were.
Think about that when you first came to your faith. Immediately-- and mine was March 23rd, 1974 on Charlotte Court between Wyoming and Pennsylvania and Osuna and Montgomery. That's where I met Jesus in the middle of the night, would I have been ready to suffer for him right out in the start? I don't think so, but they were. And the believers are today. I'm going to bring my wife, JoAnn, up here just to share about some of the new believers we're meeting and getting a chance to work with in the Middle East, so this is my wife. I proposed to her 38 years ago. This is JoAnn.
Oh, nice, full church this morning. It is so great to be with you. Well, I would like for you to travel with me on a short little trip to Jordan, so pack your bag. And here we are trekking across to the Middle East, and picture yourself in a little town outside of Amman in a poor, poor village where all of the Syrian refugees are flooding to. And most of these refugees are walking with just the clothes on their back, and they've lost everything. Their homes have been destroyed, they've lost loved ones, and life is hard. And actually, it's interesting, in Jordan, most of the Syrian refugees are women. The men have either been taken into the army by force or they've died, so we have a lot of women there.
I was with a team of women, and we went into this one home, if you want to call it that-- it was just a hovel, had kind of a dirt floor kind of a place, no furniture, they have little kind of cushions that you sit on, and that also becomes their bed at night. Well, we walked in, and we met Shareen. And this first picture of Shareen, you can see the agony on her face. She came to Jordan with one daughter-in-law, but she left five other children in Aleppo. And if you've seen the pictures of Aleppo, you've seen how horrible it is-- utterly destroyed, and she is so concerned for those five grown children of hers and all of her grandchildren that are trapped in this horrible civil war that's tearing apart their country.
And so you can see the burden that she's carrying, and I began telling her very simply about how much Jesus loves her, and how he died for her, and how, through Jesus, she can find hope. Well, she listened, we told her stories from scripture, she asked questions, and then at the end, she said, yes, I would love to meet this Jesus. So through the translator, we shared the gospel with Shareen, and this next picture was taken moments after she prayed. Isn't that beautiful? Isn't that precious? Look at the joy on her face. Have her circumstances changed in the last 10 minutes? Not at all but the God of all hope has entered her heart and her life, and she will never be the same. She has been transformed.
Yes, I had to kiss her because she was so darn cute. And you know the neat thing, y'all, is you won't probably get to meet her this side of heaven, but you're going to spend eternity with her. And you can ask her all about her life and what God did with those five children and all of her grandchildren still in Aleppo because she is confident that they too will come to Christ. Well, you may be thinking, I will never have a chance maybe to go to Jordan or anywhere in the Middle East, so what does this have to do with me? Well, you know what it has to do with you is God has called every single one of us to be a part of the great commission, hasn't he? And we don't have to go across the ocean to meet Muslims, they are in our backyard, and they are not going away. And it's our job as brothers and sisters in Christ to share the truth of Jesus with them because if we're not going to do it, who will?
So I've got an assignment for you, and what this assignment is-- it's easy, it won't add to your task list. You can do it as you go about your daily life, and that is, the next time you're out and about and you see a veiled woman-- gentlemen, you can do this too. Remember, they're are in our country, the rules are a little different here. So if you see a veiled woman, show her that you see her. Look her in the eye, smile, say hello, ask her, what country are you from? Engage her in conversation. If she's in your neighborhood, bring over a plate of cookies or something. Invite them into your home.
Develop a friendship because you may be the one that has the amazing privilege of bringing a Muslim to faith in Christ, and you know, they are hungry. And remember this too, Muslims are not the problem-- Islam is the problem. Muslims are trapped, and they need the truth. We're the only ones that have it so it's our job. And I do think we're going to be held accountable if we don't fulfill what God has called us to do-- is to reach those around us, whether they're Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists, or just don't know Jesus, it's our call. It's our job. So again, when you see them, show them that you see them.
And I'll close with this last thing, if we pretend we don't see them, which is what we typically do because we don't understand, or we're afraid, or we think they want to be left alone, but when we ignore them, we are actually partnering with Satan because he wants them to feel forgotten. He wants us to leave them alone. He doesn't want them to know the truth, so we're actually partnering with him. Remember, like us, they are created in the image of God, and they are going to spend eternity somewhere like all of us will. The question is, where are they going to spend eternity, with Jesus and Heaven or separated because no one shared the good news with them? So that's our job. We can do it-- it's easy, and you'll get hooked. You do it once or twice, you'll see how easy it is and how fun it is and how open they are to friendship, and you'll be forever changed. Thank you.
So we have some friends that got excited about reaching out to Muslims. They never thought about it before. In fact, they had some that lived on their block, and they'd never introduced themselves to them. And so Jay and Marsha took a chance. They called this family and said, we're your neighbors, we're gone a lot, but we would love to just have you come over. And this family was from Kuwait-- Muslims, husband, wife, two children. They invited them over, and they said, yes, we would love to come over.
And they came and they were doing dinner, and they had hummus and they had baba ganoush and all the Middle East stuff. You gotta do the diet right, you don't serve ham sandwiches, right? That doesn't go over, and so they're doing-- they make sure all that's ready, they bring the kids over, and Jay said it was crazy because that night, their kids were so wound up. They were grade school-age, and they were just like, wow, something is going on here. They must have drink Red Bull on the way over or something. They're just wired up and knocking things over, and finally, the mom said, Jay and Marsha, I'm so sorry that this is happening. And our kids are just excited, but, you know, we've lived in America almost eight years now. And you're the first ones that have ever invited us into their home, and I think about that as believers.
And I would have been there 20 years ago too. See, Satan's got a great gig going. He's not stupid. He knows more Muslims come into faith in Christ in the last 10 years than what, 1,400 years? God's doing something, right? They're coming to faith. It's like God's running a special on Muslims. They're coming to faith faster than any group on the planet, but let's get Christians to be afraid of them. Let's get them to be angry at them, and unfortunately, folks who watch the news, the trail of blood almost always goes back to the religion of Islam. Hey, it's true, those things are happening. Let's get Christians to hate Muslims, and if we do, they're going to be separated. And then the news doesn't get to them.
I think that's one of the reasons so many of them are having dreams and visions. These are shake-up, high definition dreams where they're realizing that Jesus loves them, and they find a Bible, they get on an internet, they find a believer, and ask questions. But Satan is going to try to keep you away in fear. You know what we got to stop doing? We have to stop taking our worldview from the news. We're supposed to get it from the Bible.
Jesus said He was going to build his church. It's going to happen. It's only a question of if we're involved in it or not. Now I want you to know, it is extremely dangerous for those that come to faith in Christ, and we're going to take you into Syria right now with a video. So I just want to say, buckle your seat belt, it's a little bit rough. You know that believers are getting crucified on crosses in Syria? Our national leader that we write about in killing Christians and our new book, Standing in the Fire, his name is Fareed, and this is a video of Fareed.
English is his third language, he doesn't get it always right, so when he says God willing, he means God's will. But he tells a story of what it's like to live in Syria, and at one point, he challenged his 10 leaders to decide if they were going to stay in Syria or go because if they stayed, one of these days, the borders would be closed. And if they stayed, because they're sharing the gospel wherever they go, they know that they're going to die for Jesus, so he gave them a week to pray and fast and decide if you're supposed to stay or not.
And so a week later, Fareed came to that underground basement in Damascus to see if anybody was going to come. He remembered pulling the door knob open and he thought, is anyone going to be here? I mean, they have wives and young children, how can you stay in Damascus? One day, 92 bombs were dropped, and you're raising a family there, how can that be? And he opened the door, and there weren't five leaders there, there weren't 10, there was actually 25 leaders.
The 10 had gone out and recruited 15 more leaders, and they decided, we're going to stay here. We're going to serve Jesus here. He's the answer to Syria. It's not going to be the UN or a peace treaty, this is a religious war. The physical war on the ground is merely a reflection of the spiritual war in the heavenlies, and Jesus is the answer and we're staying. And those 25 went out and pitched their money together and bought a graveyard, so they can bury each other when they die for Jesus, if you can imagine that.
So we get communications from them in Syria. They gotta be kind of cryptic, and things will be said like, he is moving. Well, we can figure that out, or we have many new friends. That means Muslims are coming to faith in Christ, and then he also will say, and here's some more good news, the graveyard is still empty. So let's go to Syria, and let's watch this right now.
When the wars start, many problems happened, and it's so difficult to continue the ministry. And we know, some day, the problems come inside our homes, not just in our city or in our area. At that time, I speak to the leaders and we met together and I said, "As in Acts book the believers when they have the persecuted most of them they go out of Jerusalem. If you want now to go out of your area or out of Syria to save your families this is good if God gave you this to do. But we must know maybe one day the problems come to our families and to our life and maybe we will lose our life one day."
You know, when I left the room and after time I returned back to see the decision of the leaders. I found 25 people. They stand there and they said, "We will not leave. We will continue to serve God here in this area and we will continue to ministry. If we are killed, we will go to Jesus and if we leave here we will be with Jesus. And you know but they ask me something to do. They said, "If one of our team members die, you know we are of non-Christian background and no one will take care about our bodies if we are killed or if something happens to us. What we can do if this happens?" For that, we buy this land and we built a graveyard. This yard for if anyone is killed from our team, we can put him there. This is the first building for our ministry.
I think it first happened in Raqqa City in Syria. They give the chance for the Christian. They said to him, "If you leave your Christianity now, you can hold your life or if not we will kill you." This decision is you know it's much to take directly. And most of the Christians said, "No, we are ready to die for Jesus." and for that you can see many pictures about Christians, they put them on the cross. And when they put them, many times they put in the public area all that people can see them to learn the people, if you will be Christians is what will happen to you. And most of the people, I thank God for these heroes in the faith, they died for Jesus and they put them on the cross.
You remember when I told you about story about the man who with his son, and they bring them and they asked them to leave them faith in Jesus Christ. But the Father said "No" and the son said "No". And they asked the father, "If you don't come to Islam now, we will kill your son in front of your eyes." and after that, they cut the head of the son and they start to play football with his head, in front of his father's eyes. This is something incredible. You cannot understand what's happened, but through all these bad news you can see the Hope is growing between this difficult situation and bad people.
You know sometimes many people ask me why you continue in the ministry in Syria, especially during this time in the war. The important things for our life is to be in God's will. This is our call from God, to do the ministry in Syria. When we are inside God's will, that means we are in the safe place. But if we are to go out of God's will and go out of Syria that means we are in the dangerous place.
Maybe I can go like to Lebanon, to Jordan, to US, to anywhere and continue my life there but that means that I go out of God's will. That means that I am in dangerous place. The important things in our life, not to be alive, but to be with Jesus willing. But if I am inside that dangerous but in God's will that means I am in the safe place. This is my belief and I trust in Jesus. He will keep my life and when He wants me to go to Him, I am ready to do this.
So what do we do with all that, this morning? I think, number one, we're calling on you to change your worldview. Let's stop taking the news as gospel. That's an alternative story. I'm not saying those things aren't happening, but that gets our focus off. It has a very paralytic effect on all of us if we overdose. I was talking to Fareed in Syria, and I said, you know, I never see you guys watch the news. He said, well, we keep up with things, we do. And I said, but you don't watch the news on television, and he said, no, there's a reason for that. And I said, why is that? And he said, it makes us go crazy. I thought, you know what? That's true, it does that-- change your worldview.
Jesus is moving in the Muslim world, now faster than ever. So two, pray. It's time to pray, and we've got a great vehicle for you to do that. We have a Facebook page where you can pray for believers in the Middle East and around the world that are in prison, persecution, and danger. We do that every night at 8:38 PM, and so on our phone or our watch, an alarm goes off. And at 8:38 PM, we pray for those that are in prison, persecution, and danger. Our Facebook page is the number eight, then 30 spelled out, then the number eight-- eight, spelled out, and eight. And that's for Romans 8:38 and 39, for I'm convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
We want our brothers and sisters to know that we love them, we stand with them. Listen, we may not be called to persecution living here in America, although, I think it's coming, but Paul said, if one of us suffers, we all suffer. Those are our brothers and sisters in Christ, let's reach out and pray for them. If you go on that Facebook page-- how many of you have Facebook? Raise your hands. You're in church, you can't lie. Raise your hand. OK, a few more. OK, like that page and you'll get real-time updates throughout the day. The other day in Egypt when they killed the believers in the bus, we were doing updates. Some of our friends that we know were killed. One family lost 10 men and boys-- they just went in and killed the husbands and the little boys, and so we're praying for them. We'll stay connected. OK, you can be updated every day, and you can come together around the globe and pray for them.
We have, I think, 24,000 that are on Facebook 8:38. Let's have Calvary Albuquerque put us over 25,000. That would be awesome. OK, three, ask yourself the two questions, am I willing to suffer for Jesus? Am I willing to die for Jesus? Seriously, those are diagnostic questions that believers in harm's way are asking. Not, am I willing to be inconvenienced for Jesus, am I willing to suffer for Jesus? Am I willing to die for him?
And then the last one, recognize the times. We're living in strategic times. More people are coming to faith in Christ than ever before, but whenever there is a harvest in the body of Christ, there's persecution. Those two things happen simultaneously. They're really like identical twins that grow at the same time. The fastest-growing church region in the world is in the Middle East right now. How can that be? They're killing them. When there's harvest, there's persecution.
Satan always does that. Don't be afraid of that. Don't watch the news and-- oh, my gosh. Listen, Jesus predicted this. This is no shock, should not surprise us, dislodge us from our faith. Things are not falling apart, they're falling into place. That's exactly what he said would happen. They're not falling apart, they're falling into place, so that's what's happening there. What's happening here is Muslims are coming, Muslims are coming, Muslims are here, and they're not leaving, so what are we going to do? Marginalize them, show them we don't care, don't look at them, try to stay away from them, or are we going to bring to them the love of Christ?
I close with this story-- we lived in Colorado Springs area for 20 years. It's nice in the summer-- you wear shorts, sometimes a sweatshirt at night. God called us to move back to Dallas, Texas, has anybody been there in July? Don't go there, it's awful. That's why they're coming here. You see the license plates, right? And so it was just middle of July, long day, I'm at the mission office, and I just-- wow, I didn't feel like I got anything done that day. The humidity was zapping me. I just had an IV of iced tea going in to keep me up to sea level. And I left the office, and it's really hot, get my car, it feels like about 180 out there.
And get up on the freeway and I start realizing, oh, gosh, I got to pick up JoAnn. She's like way across the city, and then we're going to this dinner and it's the other way. And we're going to be so late. I should have left earlier. And I get up on the freeway, and on the dashboard, it says, six miles till empty. I just went, oh, man, are you kidding me? So I pull off the freeway, got to get gas, and there's three stations. I'll take Fina. OK, here's the pump. I stick in the card and it says, must see cashier. Card doesn't work. So can I just confess that I was not exactly in the spirit at that point? And I said, come on, Lord, can I get a break? You know, I'm doing your work and all that stuff.
And so I walk in and I throw my card down, and a Muslim woman walks up. And we start talking and I said, wow, I go to the Middle East all the time, we practically lived there. And I just love your people, and we serve them. We work with refugees and people in Egypt and all over, and where are you from? And she said, you go to the Middle East all the time? I said, yeah, and goes, well, then you have to guess. Oh, OK, I said, Egypt. Nope, Saudi Arabia. Seriously, you're from Saudi Arabia. I've always wanted to go there and we get in this conversation, and then all of a sudden, I thought, woah, I have books in the car, Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? I've got to give her one.
And so I said, hey, love your people and I don't know if you know this, but Jesus is honoring Muslims. She goes, Jesus is honoring Muslims? What does that mean? Jesus is coming to them in dreams, and I wrote a book about your people, Muslims, having dreams about Jesus. She said, you wrote a book about that? I said, yeah, and she goes, wow, because I've been having dreams about Jesus. OK, so I said, excuse me, forgive me God. I know why I'm here, I got it. You got through to me, and I ran out, gave her a book, and I'm signing the thing, she started to read. And we go to the dinner, we made it on time, and two days later-- by the way, we worry about a lot of things that never happen, have you ever noticed that?
And so come two days later, I'm driving around and by the gas station. Oh, I need to get gas. I'll go to that one, so I drive up. I'm going to go to that same pump, stuck the card in, works perfectly. See, I don't think it was a card malfunction, I think it was an order from God. It didn't say, please see cashier, it said, must see cashier. Well, OK, so I go in and there she is, she's standing there reading Dreams and Visions, and I said, Rowea, do you like the book? Because she's halfway through, and she goes, this book is like my life.
I said, your life? Did you just start having dreams about Jesus? And she said, no, I've been having Jesus dreams for over 40 years now. I said, for 40 years, Jesus has come to you in dreams? And she said, yes, he tells me he loves me. Many times in these dreams, he has his arm around me and tells me that he died for me, and he wants me to be his daughter and he loves me so much. And I said, Rowea, did you ever talk to a Christian or like show up at a church and ask questions? And she said, yeah plenty of times, but nobody could ever answer my questions. I think they were maybe afraid of me because I'm Muslim or something. I don't know but Jesus just was so tender and loving to me, and I just knew this, that if he loved me that much, one of these days, he was coming for me-- he was going to come.
And I said, Rowea, I think today is that day, and I shared just the basics of the gospel. And she was ready and we held hands, and she prayed and received Jesus in the Fina gas station-- the Jesus she'd been looking for over 40 years. And you know, one of the reasons I tell that story is because I was actually being a complete idiot that day-- I'm too busy. Here we are, we work for a mission group, there's a Muslim woman within a mile of the office that has been seeking Jesus for over four decades, how wrong is that?
She loves Jesus today, God's working in her life, and I want to say to you today, you live in Albuquerque, there are Muslims around, how many Roweas are walking the streets? How many would love to meet a Christian, would love to hear about the love of Jesus? That's not in their religious system and they are waiting and they are hoping, and you know what? They are watching you when you come out of church on Sunday morning. There are Muslims that tell us they drive by churches because they see the joy in people's faces when they come out and they wonder what it means, and you can meet them, and you can become their friend, and you can have the privilege of leading them to faith in Christ.
The Muslims are coming, the Muslims are coming, the Muslims are here. We have the gospel, we have the light, the truth, let's go get them. Let's pray, Father, thank you for what you're doing in our lives, and we pray for our brothers and sisters in harm's way-- protect them, keep them bold. We thank you for their great example. Use us for your glory, Lord. You said every tribe, tongue, people, group will be around the throne. Muslims are not excluded from that. Help us not to live in fear. Help us to look forward in faith. Use us for your glory and may we have the privilege of leading someone from the Islamic faith to faith in Jesus, and we pray this in your name, Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Albuquerque featuring our guest speaker, Tom Doyle. How did this message impact you? We'd love to know. Email us at email@example.com, and just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.