What do you think when you hear the word, “Muslim?” Perhaps the horrific images from Paris or San Bernadino come to mind. Or the unrest in Israel. Perhaps the videos of an angry Mullah or of Isis fighters beheading Christians on a beach.
I understand. This is a year when these unsettling images have dominated the news and my own thoughts. But the word “Muslim” brings something else to mind for me, too: a friend, Atakan. Atakan is a Muslim tour guide from Turkey and over the years, he has become very dear to me and my family. Cyndi and I flew back for his wedding to lovely Paula. My daughter Rachel lived with Atakan and his family in Istanbul for a time. I regularly receive from him pictures of his beautiful daughter, Defne.
Atakan is a warm, generous, gentle man raised in a Muslim culture who despises the terror being done in the name of Allah. And most importantly, Atakan is loved by God. Jesus gave his life for Atakan and that is the most important reality that Atakan could ever understand and embrace. For 15 years, I have tried to share my love of Christ with my friend in hopes that he will see Jesus as more than a prophet; rather, as the Son of God, Savior and Lord. As HIS Savior and Lord.
But this is still almost inconceivable to Atakan. As smart as he is, as well as he knows the Bible, the concept of the Christian God and the Christian Christ are foreign to his Muslim mindset. Which is why I am looking forward to our upcoming event, Understanding Islam, next Friday and Saturday, January 15-16. Presented by our mission partner, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, this simulcast will offer a compassionate and respectful view of Islam and how we as followers of Christ can speak into the lives of the followers of Mohammad… including your Muslim friends and neighbors.
I can’t imagine an issue more worthy of serious and prayerful study than this one. I urge you to come. You can find more details and register by clicking HERE. I hope to see you there.
P.S. For all you followers of Jesus who happen also to be fans of the Seahawks… on this playoff weekend, may I remind you of two amazing opportunities? 1) DVR! or 2) Saturday Night worship at 6:30. Please join us for worship this weekend and root for the Hawks. You can do both. And by the way, it’s not too early to get the upcoming Marriage Retreat on your calendar, February 12-13. Cyndi and I look forward to being with you.