During Ramadan, our team in the Middle East made time to stay up late and connect with those who identity as community via our community center. In those later night conversations, we had the privilege of being part of the process of these community members drawing near to Jesus.
One evening, I sat down with a new team member and couple of the guys who see our community center as their community. The conversation started with food and how one of the guys is an expert when it comes food. We talked about his expertise for a while, which was great for our new team member to learn about local cuisine.
It wasn’t too long before one of the young men, who has been part of our community for about two years, joined us. He has been seeking truth and reading the Scriptures, and he even attended church this past Easter at the invitation of a believer from a Muslim background (BMB). He proposed a new question to the group: “Which is most important for Christians: faith or works?” We started to discuss this question and shared what the Scriptures say—that both are important, but that faith comes first and the overflow of that is our works. I also shared that if a person becomes a follower of Jesus on his deathbed and never had the chance to do a good work before he died, he would go to heaven.
Following this came the questions about Jesus being God, and the young man quoted Scriptures that in his mind made an argument that Jesus was not God like Numbers 23:19 which says, “God is not man, that He should lie,” or the passage that says God doesn’t change (Mal. 3:6). Needless to say, this question became a lot more involved and Scriptures were shared back and forth. Eventually, another member of our community came and sat down, and we talked about Jesus and matters of faith for about thirty minutes before another student asked to change the subject since we always talk about religion. I mentioned to the young man that wanted to discuss matters of faith that we probably wouldn’t settle our differences of opinion that night, but that we were glad to be friends at this point.
Our topic changed, and the young man who started the faith questions soon left to find another person or group with whom he could talk about Jesus. Later that evening in passing, we encouraged him to keep reading the Scriptures, at which point he smiled.
Pray with us for this young man and our many other friends who see our community center as their community. Pray that the gospel seeds planted in conversations will be watered and grown and brought to harvest through the power of the Holy Spirit.