Sunday, June 17, 2012

Can't Afford to Relax

On the Friday before I preached in Cairo at Kasr el Doubara Church, we were having lunch on a restaurant/barge on the Nile in Cairo with Maggie and a long-time friend. Her friend is a committed believer within the Coptic tradition. One of her prayer-mentors was in the restaurant and she wanted us to meet this distinguished woman who has mentored other women in prayer for decades. The woman was at the restaurant with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. 
As they visited, the woman's adult daughter greeted me in flawless English. I asked about the condition of their church and how it was going. Without batting an eye, she gave me the sentence that has hung with me for the entire trip: "The church is alive today because it can't afford to relax!" She then went on to tell me that every Friday night at their church they have a prayer service with about 2,000 in attendance, mostly young people of high school and college age!
With all the issues and problems Egypt is facing, the church is vitally alive because of an internal urgency it has to be faithful...or die. The picture above was one I took after I preached and the lead pastor was leading the congregation in an extended time of singing and prayer. There was nothing boring about this worship....it was fervent and passionate because these worshipers know that they cannot afford to relax.
How relaxed is the American evangelical church? Where is our urgency? Do we have a spiritual urgency beyond meeting the budget? Do we know the real stakes of the battle or can we just wait a little longer, take our time, relax and think about it later? 
The young man who translated for me, during this time of worship and prayer...wept. He wept for his nation and he wept for the lost. 


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