Recently I came across a movie covering an event that I apparently missed in my history classes. The flick came out in 2012 and recounts a decisive battle that took place on September 11th of 1683. Like the infamous Sept. 11th, 2001 that so many of us remember, this battle was also begun by Muslims in the name of Allah. The Day of the Siege is the name of this historical drama that remembers the Muslim army of over 300,000 soldiers from the Ottoman Empire with the intent to conquer Vienna and ultimately Rome thereby turning the Vatican into a mosque. The main character in the piece was a humble Catholic Monk named Marco d’Aviano who lived from 1631 to 1699. It was Marco who encouraged and united the western forces which ultimately led to the defeat of the Ottoman army. (more…)
I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine from Iran. However, because of potential persecution, I can’t give you his name or location. We’ll just call him, Steve’s friend. I have not actually met my friend in person yet but we have been in correspondence through email, mail, and a few phone calls for about 12 years now. My first contact with him came with an international Christian correspondence course called International Bible School. The program works by placing ads in international papers offering free online courses. My friend and I worked through all the lessons and have maintained a growing relationship. The exciting part is that my friend began to follow Christ and we were able to get him connected with an underground church movement in the area. Today, I am posting a few questions that I recently asked him along with his answers. Many of us in the West have misunderstandings about people who live in parts of the world like Iran. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I just assumed that my friend spoke Arabic. While he does; his native language is not Arabic, but Farsi. I would have known that if I had done some more homework. That is just one illustration of the many things we in the West don’t know about those wonderful people living in the Middle East. We see the headline news stories and hear about the persecution against Christ followers in those countries and many of these stories are true. But there are also a huge number of folks who are open to the love of Jesus and the kingdom of God. So take some time to read through the answers from “Steve’s friend” and feel free to leave any other comments you might have or questions also. Yes, I’m thankful for my friend from Iran and pray for him often. I hope you will as well. (more…)
Recently I spent some time with Malcolm X. Well, not really because he’s dead. But I did watch a movie about him which I found very interesting. In fact, I believe there are some pointers that Christ followers can learn from his life experience. Malcolm Little was an African American man who came to Islam while in prison from 1946 to 1952. Once leaving prison, Malcolm eventually rose to become a national speaker for the Nation of Islam. He eventually left that group in 1964 shortly before he was assassinated.
Now don’t get me wrong. Obviously I’m not supporting the Nation of Islam. I am in no way agreeing with Islam in general. Islam is a false religion and Mohamed was a false prophet. That statement does not mean that I hate Muslims, but is rather an assessment of the facts. I am not endorsing the methodology Malcolm advocated through most of his public life. But I am suggesting that we can learn a thing or two from the way the Nation of Islam influenced his life, and see an illustrative picture of how the true nature of the Kingdom of Heaven should be lived out today. These are principles which many Christians in the West desperately need to eternalize today. So I’ve listed five quick observations below to begin with. Anything you would add? (more…)