Unboxing Saints | Learning Guide
October 30th, 2022
10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom
Watch last week's message here
Luke 6:20-31 (NET)
Stranded in Timbuktu, Steve Saint was looking for transport back to Bamako, the capital of Mali. No one spoke English and his broken French did not get him very far. Steve’s faith had grown thin. He lost his father when he was five-years-old and at so many points in his life wished that he could just speak with him. This was another one of those moments—not because he was stuck in a Malian town deep in the Sahara desert. He had started questioning whether his father’s death meant anything. So many people had told him there was purpose in his father’s death, and he believed it, but it felt so arbitrary and unnecessary.
He eventually found his way to the only Christian church in the city, where he was greeted by a young man named Nouh Ag Infa Yatara. There was something about this man that made him feel like they shared something.
The man led him to the outskirts of town where an American missionary lived. The missionary invited him and Nouh inside. Steve wanted to know Nouh’s story and asked the missionary to translate.
Nouh had grown up in one of the most staunchly Muslim communities in Mali, where 95% of the population follows Islam. As a young boy, Nouh was caught by a foreign missionary while stealing carrots from his garden. Instead of getting him in trouble, the man gave him cards with Bible verses on them and told him that if he learned them that he would give him an ink pen.
Nouh learned them and came to faith in Christ. As a result, he was beaten by his teacher at school, kicked out of his house, unsuccessfully poisoned by his mother, and shunned by the community. The missionaries took him in. He read a lot of their books, but his favorite one was about five missionaries who were killed by a tribe of indigenous people in Ecuador. He was encouraged by their faith and knew that even though his own family wanted to cause him harm, that he was not alone in standing for Jesus.
Steve was taken aback. And the missionary quickly figured out why. Steve told Nouh that the one of the men killed in the story he read was his father. They did share something. Nouh had borrowed the faith of Steve’s father, decades and thousands of miles removed, and received the assurance that day that the stories he read as a boy were true. And Steve found the assurance that his father’s death did mean something
Grace and peace y’all,
Tim Holland and the teaching team
Whose faith has inspired you to follow Jesus today? Take a moment to thank God for them.
All Saints Day is a time to remember Jesus followers who have inspired you to continue following Christ today.
When faith is thin, we can borrow the faith of those who’ve gone before.
How does this fit with Belong, Become, Believe?
Barely scraping by, white-knuckling it, or failing and getting back up to try again defines the heart of a saint. They are strong because they are weak. When we recognize and embrace our true selves, it is then that we become more like Christ.
Who, in your life, deserves recognition for pointing you to faith? How might you make yourself available so others can borrow your faith when theirs is thin?
We are meeting in the evening for a campfire service at the Jost Farm. See you at 6:00pm next week! Keep an eye out for more details :)
“What Is a Saint?” (Roman Catholic Perspective)
History of All Saints Day
John Stott and the Evangelical Quest for Holiness
Contact Grace Church NWA here