We hope you all enjoyed the Kenya team report last week! If you would like to share the video with friends (or just enjoy that awesome music one more time), you can find it at:
Please continue to pray for all the students who gave their lives to Christ, that they may grow and flourish in their faith.
This Sunday we are rounding the bend in Acts. In Chapters 19 and 20, Paul wraps up his last major church planting effort in the city of Ephesus. Then he begins his journey toward Jerusalem, where the Lord has shown him that he will end up in prison. Next week we will focus on his prison testimonies in front of kings and rulers, and the following week, Pastor Steve will conclude our Acts study as we trace Paul's journey from Jerusalem to Rome.
Paul's first visit to Ephesus was very brief. He stopped there on his way back to Jerusalem at the end of his second missionary journey. He spoke briefly at the synagogue and then left Priscilla and Aquila to continue teaching and spreading the gospel in the area. He promised the people he would return if the Lord allowed (Acts 18:21). Now, during his third missionary journey, he spends more than two years in the powerful city.
Ephesus was considered the most important commercial trading city in all of Asia. The ruins of the city are on the west coast of modern-day Turkey and once boasted one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the grand Temple of Artemis. The temple was not only a place of worship, it was also one of the most significant economic influences in the city.
Anything that would impact the temple would impact the whole city, and after two years the spread of the gospel began to cut into the profits. A silversmith named Demetrius gathered a crowd and complained, "You see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited" (Acts 19:26-27). So many people had become Christians that no one wanted to buy idols anymore!
Can you imagine the gospel impacting our community so powerfully that the economy changed? A similar story happened in Wales in 1904-1905, known as the Welsh Revival. The rough and tumble coal miners were so transformed that all the bars shut down. They even had to retrain the mules in the mines to follow new commands - the old commands were all swear words!
East Kano, Kenya, is similarly changing because of the power of the gospel. As we heard last Sunday, even the taxi (aka moped) drivers commented that the area is changing. One man summed it up by saying, "Now we have hope."
What would it look like for our community to be transformed by the hope of the gospel? Can you imagine the change for students who struggle with loneliness and anxiety? Can you imagine the change for young families worried about raising their kids in an increasingly violent world? Can you imagine the change for senior adults who feel forgotten and alone?
We have one great hope, and His name is Jesus. May we at MLEPC embrace the single-minded focus of Paul when he declares, "My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace" (Acts 20:24). And may God bring such power to our community through the gospel that the whole area becomes transformed by hope!