God is at work in surprising places. Consider three: Las Vegas, Iraq and Waco.
In Las Vegas, long known as "Sin City," an unusual ministry called "Hookers For Jesus" is serving "those who have been negatively affected by sex trafficking and the adult entertainment industry." They provide health and wellness programs, skills assessment, retraining, career development assistance, criminal justice support, juvenile offender mentorship, and community awareness seminars and workshops. Their founder, Annie Lobert, survived a decade of sex trafficking and prostitution. Now her story of reclamation and redemption is being multiplied across the city and beyond.
Iraq is much in the news today after the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State. According to Michael Morell, who served twice as acting director of the CIA, ISIS poses a growing threat not just in Iraq but in America as well. Morell warns that the group threatens to destabilize the entire Middle East, with significant economic and political consequences for the U.S. It is attracting foreigners to its cause, many from America. It is building a following among other extremist groups. And it is radicalizing young people who can be inspired to attack their fellow Americans.
Yet God is hard at work in Iraq. He is using Samaritan's Purse to provide clean water and sanitation to refugees from ISIS. A group of monks recently saved a historic Christian library from ISIS militants. And a true spiritual awakening is continuing in Iraq and across the Muslim world. I learned last week that as many as 350 million Muslims are now "secret" Christians—they have made Christ their Lord, but have not yet risked their lives by making their faith public. They join the multitudes who are professing Christ and forming churches around the Muslim world.
God is at work in Waco, Texas as well. Emily Mills is the founder of Jesus Said Love, a ministry to women in the commercial sex industry. Founded in Waco, they now operate in several other Texas cities as well. She responded to the recent biker gang shooting by reminding us of some ways God is at work in her city.
Word Music was birthed there, as well as Louie Giglio's Choice Ministries and the Passion Movement. David Crowder's ministry was based there as well. Baylor University teaches and inspires multiplied thousands of world-changing Christians. Mission Waco operates 34 different programs for underprivileged people in the community. The Gathering, held on Palm Sunday evening in Baylor's new football stadium, drew thousands for worship, prayer and commitment. God is on the move in Waco, and the enemy is fighting back.
Jesus unmasked the devil's strategy succinctly: Satan "comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). Whenever you see theft, murder and destruction, you can know that Satan is at work. He is on the offensive wherever God's Spirit is moving—in places like Las Vegas, Iraq and Waco.
The prophet Nahum was buried outside Mosul, Iraq. He assured us: "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness" (Nahum 1:7-8).
God is still on his throne. Here's the question: is he on yours?
Publication date: May 20, 2015
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