Thursday, June 5, 2008

Muhammad Ali

Actually it was Ali on one side and Muhammad on the other.

On Wednesday night before the evening service an Iraqi immigrant walked up to us, and in broken English asked if we were having a church service that night. Ali was a congenial fellow with a genuine smile, and a disarming personality. Then he handed Mike his immigrant visa, and hurried off to a soup kitchen on another block. I asked Mike why he gave us his passport. I was told that he just wanted us to be assured that he would return.

When he returned, he pulled a laminated card from his wallet. It had watermarks on both sides -- on one side was the face of Muhammad -- on the other was his own. He proceeded to tell us that even though he was still Muslim, a missionary had been helping him study Christianity, and he was giving consideration to the message of the "prophet" Jesus (did I tell you his visa was long expired).

Ali was focused and attentive as I brought the message that evening. Being in Thessaloniki, I decided to teach from 1 Thessalonians; the major theme was, Things may be going better than it appears.

Knowing that I was going to be the speaker, I was looking for the significance of this man's arrival. One thing I can say with confidence -- When an Iraqi Muslim begins searching the claims of Christ -- Things may be going better than it appears.

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