Wednesday, 18 July 2012 [Chennai, India] — The ministry here continues to progress smoothly. Outside the occasional electrical disruption, which renders our sound equipment useless, we have not encountered any physical problems. The rains that seem to come each night have always ended by the time for us to do ministry in the schools. God is always so gracious in allowing the Gospel to be shared with those who are ready to hear. Thus far we have seen over 6,500 individuals indicate their decision to receive Jesus Christ into their lives.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, we had the opportunity yesterday to visit one of the largest Hindu temples in the state of Tamil Nadu. As we walked around and noticed the impressive structure, we could not help but think of the spiritual darkness associated with the place. Hundreds upon hundreds of people were attempting to find a god in the midst of this depressing imagery and idol-filled vain temple. Venders were selling flowers, incense, and fruit to the pilgrims who were, in turn, offering these gifts to idols inside the temple. We watched as people removed their shoes, washed themselves, and stood in lines awaiting their chance at looking upon the idols inside. Each person left the structure empty and alone still hoping (maybe next time) to find a god.
Across from the temple was a large dirty pool of water where people would dip themselves hoping to make themselves clean before this god. I could not help but think of Paul’s impression of the people of Athens, recorded in Acts 17:16
“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was
greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.”
I felt this same distress and was nearly overwhelmed with the spiritual blindness of this city. I knew, at that very moment, that God had brought us to that place at that time for that very reason.
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’29“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.
He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
I know that people in all places are in need of Jesus Christ. While America is as spiritually desperate as any place on earth, my eyes have been opened again to the hopelessness of a world without Christ. The great need of humanity is the Gospel. I trust you will continue to pray for our last day of ministry in the schools (Thursday) and ask God to continue to do a supernatural work. Additionally, I hope you will ask God to give you a heart for the lost of this world. Please share with those around you the wonderful life-changing message of Christ. He is our only hope. Pray for the Lord of the harvest to work around you today. People need Jesus!