GOD’S GRACE CAN REACH ANY HEART

This story from Voice of the Martyrs is just one of many demonstrating the truth of these words.

It is the story of Sergei Bessarab who was shot to death in a small city called Isfara, where he had planted a church.

Sergei Bessarab became a Christian in prison as a result of another man also named Sergei who had prayed for Bessarab’s salvation. The two men had met in prison while Bessarab was serving time for his criminal activities.

In prison, Sergei prayed every day that Bessarab would come to Christ. But Bessarab was less than grateful for his friend’s concern. “Don’t waste time praying for me,” Bessarab told him.

Sergei remained steadfast in prayer, however, and Bessarab did eventually bend his knee to Christ. This should be a lesson for all of us. Keep praying, particularly for family members and loved ones. The former criminal became a bold witness for his Saviour both inside the prison walls and, after his release, as a pastor on the outside. In addition, he made frequent return visits to the prison to share the gospel with inmates.

Soon after, Bessarab and his wife Tamara moved to Isfara and planted a church, which began to grow as Muslims turned to Christ, a headline in the local paper asked the pointed question, “What’s Going to Be Done About Sergei Bessarab?”

Picture of a man playing the guitar
Sergei Bessasab strumming his gutar in worship

On Jan. 20, 2004, the son of a local mosque leader answered the question, shooting and killing Bessarab as he strummed his guitar during his nightly time of worship, Scripture reading, and prayer.

When the young man who killed Bessarab was convicted and sent to prison, Christians were waiting there to meet him. In God’s amazing providence, the killer was eventually assigned to a cell with a Christian prisoner who had been led to Christ and discipled by Bessarab!

And over time, the mosque leader’s son became Bessarab’s spiritual grandson, placing his trust in Christ.

Think about it, Bessarab was once a convicted criminal. Many would have written him off spiritually. His killer, a Muslim was also far from God, and some may have written him off as well. But God’s grace can reach any heart.

Picture the final chapter of this story: Pastor Sergei Bessarab stands worshiping before God’s throne with the man who ended his life on earth and perhaps the two may be working together on this earth again during Jesus’ soon coming Millennial Kingdom.

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.Revelation 20:6

WHAT GOD IS DOING IN THE USA

God is at work using individuals who are humble and committed to doing His work, His way. In the world’s eyes they are usually “nobodies” but in His eyes they are “somebodies”.

Take a look at this video and be inspired to step out as God intends for you to complete His mission where He has placed you.

noplaceleft.net is a movement of movements aimed at getting to no place left where Christ is not made known in our generation. Check them out for materials you can use for discipling people for Christ in your area of influence.

TODD WHITE REPENTS

Thank God that Todd White’s faith has changed radically in just a matter of months. He is now preaching a gospel of repentance.

Todd White - Lifestyle Christianity/YouTube screenshot

“When you come into the Gospel because you came in for a better life,” Todd explained, “you’ve come in for the wrong Gospel. When you come to Jesus because He’s gonna give you this and He’s gonna give you that, you really didn’t surrender. See, what you’re saying is, ‘I’ve come to get this.’ What you’ve done is a taste test to see if it’s true. It’s the same thing as getting a buzz: ‘Well, I’ll try this Jesus thing. Maybe there’s a buzz in it.’ That’s not Jesus.”

He went on to preach, “Your goal as a Christian is to be conformed to His image, is to be transformed into His image, into His likeness, and to actually walk like Christ walked. Jesus didn’t despise sinners, but He hated sin and He addressed it all the time.”

White told the congregation he has been spending time recently poring over the words of New Zealand-born minister Ray Comfort and 19th century theologian Charles Spurgeon.

Sixteen years after coming to Jesus, the Lifestyle Christianity pastor — a former drug addict and atheist — said he is just coming to realize the importance of preaching the law of God, because doing so reveals our need for a savior in Jesus.

“Here’s the deal,” he told the audience. “One day, you and I are going to all face the Lord. It’s the truth! Are you guys with me? Is this too much? I’ve been going through it, buddy. I’ve been in a new place to bring the reality of the law into a witness, to show a person their need for grace. How can you want to be found if you don’t know you’re lost? How can you want to see if you don’t know you’re blind? How can you want to live if you don’t know that your dead?”

It’s necessary to preach not just a “God has a wonderful plan for your life” message, but one that is more holistic, one that reveals our sinfulness and God’s holiness.

White said he has felt like he hasn’t been preaching “the whole Gospel. “I repent,” he said emphatically.

The turn around is amazing as in May of this year, Todd spoke out against a documentary series that condemned the prosperity Gospel and his preaching of it. At the time, he rebuked the show, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” as “demonically inspired.” And he was quick to reject the suggestion he was “a heretic.”

On Facebook, the creators of the series said they “are obviously very encouraged” by White’s “change of direction in this area, and pray that this is sincere and not just a response to pressure.”

They have also invited White to sit down for an interview for the third installment of the “American Gospel” documentary series, set to release next year.