Dear BTJ friends,
Greetings from the Netherlands! As a church, we are entering the season of Lent, remembering the sacrifice our Saviour made for us. When He was questioned by Pilate, He said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
As I am writing this, Europe balances on the brink of war; an unnecessary war that nobody wants and yet seems unavoidable. Unavoidable, because power is so severely addictive. Even memories of imperial grandeur linger and can rekindle conflict. Putin wants to restore the sphere of influence the USSR once had. He cannot allow Ukraine to simply choose its own path.
Unchecked political power almost always spells bad news for the church. In a recent meeting with Russian church leaders, we heard how precarious their situation is. They are walking a tight rope, knowing their situation could suddenly deteriorate at any time. Because time is precious, we partner with them as they work to reach into former Soviet states. Technology developed for closed nations in East Asia is being deployed across Central Asia to help those evangelising among Muslim minorities.
While the kings of this world ready themselves for war, Jesus is building His kingdom across the world – not conquering by bloodshed but saving by self-sacrifice, not using the power of weapons, but the power of love.
But this kingdom grows amidst pain and tragedy. Let us stand in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia in this time of threat and conflict. Let us pray that nothing will separate them from the love of Christ, that they will be known as peacemakers, that in persecution they will not be abandoned, and that their testimony will be powerful, reaching those who need salvation.
United as citizens of the Kingdom of Christ,
The Netherlands office