It is hard to believe that we are now a few months into this new year. We have a new President, Congress and a new Supreme Court Nominee. The fight to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed has been and will continue to be tough. Our allied ministry team decided that on the night of the nomination of Judge Gorsuch, we would kneel in front of the Supreme Court and pray, be the first to offer public prayer for the man who would take the place of Justice Scalia.
There was a two fold purpose in this exercise. One, that there would be a group in support of prayer and the things of God, as there were over 400 protesters with signs, screaming, and only eight of us. Two, a way for us to exercise our first amendment rights to pray in public, but also to flex the muscle of the freedom of religion that we hold so dear. Our rights must be exercised just like a muscle whilst in the gym. If you donâ€™t use it, you lose it. Â
As we made a few statements as to why we were there and I began to sing â€œThe Lordâ€™s Prayer,â€ the protesters began screaming louder trying to drown out my voice. By the grace of God, my voice grew louder somehow and as I reached the pinnacle of the song, the protesters grew almost completely quiet for but a moment. It was almost like the Lord shut the mouths of the lions as it were. I tell you that it had nothing to do with me, but God was doing something special.
After I sang, we knelt and began to pray for our nation and the Judge. It was a moment I will never forget. As I was walking through the crowd to head back to my office to grab some things, I heard people call me names and someone spat on me. I teared up as I thought of the many souls who were lost, broken, angry and hurt. Angry, that we would pray in a public place, and lost without Jesus.
I had never experienced anything like this in my life. Walking through people who were so angry, I could feel their hatred towards me. I wanted to turn and say, â€œI love you,â€ but did not in fear of their reply. The truth is that I do love them though. In that moment as the eight of us were kneeling in prayer, I began to think like Elijah in 1 Kings as he said, â€œI am the only one, and they are many.â€ It can be easy to think that we may be the only people of God left at times, but God reminds us time and time again that there are many more of His people doing good work for His glory. Â
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I have been in the country of England during the month of February singing, speaking and spending time with close family friends. God has done great things and for that I am grateful. It has been eye opening to speak to those in the UK about our differences of opinion on politics and life in general.
I was able to spend some wonderful time in Oxford with some dear ministry friends at one of the colleges at Oxford University. As is my normal tradition, I spent hours walking around the city of Oxford taking in the history and architecture. I always walk past a small hole in the road on Carfax Street which has such meaning to me.
This year, I decided to stop at a coffee shop, grab a tea and watch as people walked past this spot in the road to see if they noticed it. I spent almost an hour there and only two small groups of people stopped to even consider what this place was. I heard a man mention to his wife in wonder, â€œWhat is this hole with a cross made in the bricks?â€ I spoke up from behind them and said, â€œThis is the place where the Oxford Three were burned at the stake for their faith.â€ Â A look of horror fell upon their faces as I shared the story of Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer. Â
Latimer and Ridley were burned at the stake in October of 1555, and Cranmer in March of 1556, for not recanting their faith in Jesus. That hallowed ground, where so many thousands of people walk across daily without even knowing its history, was the very ground where the seeds of the Gospel were watered with the blood of saints. Â
We owe a great debt to those men. It was because of their sacrifice that the Gospel was spread to a new land through the Pilgrims. America began because of men and ladies who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel. May we never forget that. Â
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I am renewed in my desire to see all men saved and that the time is short. As I head back to Washington DC, I am refocused for the work that must be done and difficulty which lies ahead. I pray that you will join us in the coming days not only in prayer, but in support for the work that must be done. We are but few laborers, and the harvest is plenty. God is so good to us and I am truly humbled to play but a small part in His plan. Â
Your friend in Washington, Nathan Kistler.
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in March 2017.
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