Being married to a pilot comes with a lot of perks, the most significant being the ability to get around! We try to make the most of our travel benefits, a great blessing given to airlines employees, and often find ourselves in places we are not expecting! My husband’s past time is reading travel magazines. If he reads an article and sees a picture of someplace he has not been before, he finds a way to get us there!
Last week, we found ourselves on a plane headed across the Atlantic to a beautiful city in Croatia. We had very limited time there, so we came out of the plane running. We needed a ride, so we called an Uber and headed to our hotel. As we drove toward our destination, our Uber driver told us about the architecture of the city, the old buildings and how they had been damaged by the civil war in the 1990’s. It was all very interesting and amazing to see so many places that had been damaged now standing restored.
Out of the blue, our driver started to talk about churches. He told us that there were many churches in the city we were visiting. He said, in fact, that the ratio between houses and churches was so great that almost every house could have its own church. He went on to say, ‘Yes there are many churches. They are very beautiful, but nobody goes. The churches are empty, a result of the war.’ People in the city had lost their faith during the war. A time of great darkness had turned the people away from the light. They left the church and they never went back.
My heart broke for this city. So many beautiful people, beautiful places where they used to worship were now just a part of their history. Empty. Abandoned. Gone.
The conversation came to a close as we arrived at our hotel. We jumped out, dropped our bags and made a quick turn-around. It was time to travel to our first destination.
We needed a ride so we called another Uber.
Within a few minutes another car arrived. We opened the doors, jumped in, said our hellos and off we went. Sitting in the back seat, I looked toward the front of the car to catch the view and there on the dashboard was a worn old book. On the binding of the book was a word that struck a chord in my heart. The word was Biblija.
I stared at the Bible on the dashboard in front of me. Just a few minutes prior we had heard that the church in this city was dead, that the people had lost their faith and here on the dashboard right in front of our eyes was evidence that spoke otherwise.
We started another conversation with this new Uber driver. He told us that he was from a different city in Croatia, a city that is experiencing revival. Tourism in the old city brings in good money for Uber drivers in the summer, so he packed up his car, packed up his Bible and made his way there.
Darkness had come to the city. Hard times had fallen upon them. People who used to walk in the light had fallen away, but God saw the city. He still loved these hurting, broken people. He had a plan this city could not see. Behind the scenes, God had been moving, relocating His servants to just the right place at just the right time. The Word of God was coming back to the city in a way we might not have imagined, but a way that would speak powerfully to all who got in the car.
I was overwhelmed as I took it all in. One man looked at the empty buildings in the city and decided the church was dead. Another man looked at the people in the city and saw THE CHURCH waiting to be built.
In a city where church buildings are empty, faith is dying and hope seems lost, God literally sent a man armed with His Word to shine the light. We cannot decide how God is going to move. We do not know what He is orchestrating behind the scenes, but God is building His church in the most hopeless places in the most amazing ways! God is sending people out of the buildings, one at a time to reach one at a time! Believers are taking God’s call to go and tell to amazing new levels all around the globe as we take the Word into the marketplace, onto the streets, into the cars! He is lining up circumstances and positioning people to be the church that we saw in the book of Acts, people who shared the Good News as they went to the temple, as they walked down the street, as they were imprisoned and shipwrecked, and thousands came to be saved!
God is building His church through us! It goes far beyond the physical structure. He is using a body of believers committed to worship, committed to His Word and committed to serving others, built up together to be the church!
You are living stones built into His spiritual temple. (1 Peter 2:5)
What a privilege to be the living stones that He is using to build His church! What a charge! I have never seen a more pointed example of this lived out than I saw in the car that day. The church was not the broken building on the side of the road. The church was riding down the road in an Uber. Believers from different parts of the world, unified by a love for the Father were excited to see that God is still on the move, orchestrating divine appointments, encouraging living stones along the way!
As crazy as it sounds, just a few days later, I found myself on another trip. My husband had an overnight trip to Brazil so I jumped on board the plane. We had limited time so we left our bags at the hotel when we arrived and headed toward our first destination.
We needed a ride so we called an Uber.
As we slid across the back seat, we closed the door and looked toward the front of the car to catch the view.
And there on the dashboard was…a Bible.
I kid you not.
In the same week, on another continent, in another country, in another language…on the other side of the world was evidence that the church is alive and well regardless of where we are, regardless of what we see with our eyes. From the underground church in China to mega churches scattered across the globe, to Uber drivers serving the Kingdom in their cars, God is building His Church out of men, women and children who are not ashamed to wear His Name, not ashamed to stand for His Truth, not ashamed to walk like He walked and not ashamed to carry our Bibles! Bibles on our phone are amazing, praise God for them, but there is nothing like holding the very Word of God in our hands. I never would have seen with my eyes the story of what God is doing across the globe if these drivers had their Bibles only on their phones.
This challenged me. In a country where we are blessed to have people in our buildings, what am I doing outside of the building to increase the Kingdom the other six days of the week? It is so easy to get comfortable and casual in my faith, to forget the urgency that was behind Jesus’s words to go and make disciples, but driving through two cities in one week where two different men had Bibles on their dashboards? This has fired me up to speak the Truth on a whole new level!
Do we take a bold stand for the Gospel? Are we living life as the church the way Jesus called us to live? Are we shining the light in the dark places around us?
Is there a Bible on our dashboard? Not necessarily a physical Bible, but is there evidence when folks get close to us that there is something different going on in our lives? This is not a time to look at what is empty around us. It is the time to put on our boots, pick up our Sword and share the love of Jesus with the folks God places around us, building the church He desires as we go!
The church that God is building is alive and well! God is moving across the globe, pouring out His Spirit on ALL flesh. Praise God, He is moving in ways we cannot see to bring it all to pass and He has given us a place in the process! If we keep our eyes open to the move of the Spirit, on a dashboard in an Uber, on the other side of the world, He might just give us a small glimpse of what He is doing along the way.
‘…upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.’