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Taking Risks to Advance the Gospel

by Bob Russell

Bob Russell1Gleaned from www.bobrussell.org on October 5, 2014

Paul knew that danger awaited him in Jerusalem. At Miletus he said good-bye to the Ephesian elders and told them that they probably wouldn’t see him again. At Caesarea, the prophet Agabus tied his own hands and feet with Paul’s belt and predicted, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”

The people pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. But he asked, “’Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s will be done’” (Acts 21:13-14).

The most courageous missionary I know is an African who reminds me of the Apostle Paul. This ambassador for Christ (who will remain unnamed for security reasons) serves in an overwhelmingly Islamic culture. He feels called of God to pursue one-on-one discussions with Muslim clerics and attempt to lead them to Christ. He believes if he can influence the clerics they will in turn lead thousands to salvation. Needless to say, his life is in danger. He has been physically beaten, his house burned, and his family threatened.

In a recent email he requested special prayer because of a highly dangerous opportunity. An official was asking to meet with Christians for training. He wrote, “This is miraculous good news! Praise The Lord! However it is also very, very dangerous, because (the official) is under 24 hour surveillance.”

“I believe God is able to protect, but it will be a miracle if I am able to go and come out with him. It would be a disservice to him and to the Kingdom to not go, and it would be unfair for me to send someone else because the risk is extremely high, so I am going in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOR!”

The missionary was planning several attempts to make this happen and here is how his email continued: “…if we are unsuccessful (with attempt #1) and are still alive we shall attempt the second time… Please pray as the Lord leads you and, if it is possible, I would be glad if you would fast for a day as well. Pray for safety in danger, strength in fear and worry, calmness regardless of the consequences. Pray that I will love Christ above family concerns! Pray that my actions will inspire (my) team to emulate daily dedication of trust and commitment to the generations that the Lord is raising as an army to go into the Muslim world with boldness in obedience and holy calling! …do I sound scared? Yes, you know I am not that brave! It is just mere faith, availability, and obedience!”

The following week we received the good news, “We are safe and sound. the first attempt was very successful!!! Thanks for praying and fasting!”

It’s difficult for those of us who have lived all our lives in a land of religious freedom to imagine what it’s like to live under heavy persecution. But let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in lands that are hostile to the gospel that they, like the Apostle Paul, will be faithful in adversity and that the Lord’s will be done.” Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”


Bob Russell is retired minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.


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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4