Air Force One landed in Saudi Arabia this morning, the birthplace and epicenter of Islam. President Obama is meeting with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss three top White House priorities:
- Building better U.S. relations with a 1.3 billion Muslims.
- Strategizing on how the Saudi-crafted “peace plan” can be presented to Israel in a way that will persuade the Netanyahu government to make painful concessions to the Palestinian leadership.
- Calming Saudis fears that the U.S. is going to allow the Iranian to build nuclear weapons by doing nothing decisive and effective to stop Tehran.
The Saudis — home of the Sunni brand of Islam — are absolutely terrified at the prospect of Iranian Shia Muslims (whom they consider heretics) going nuclear. They don’t believe the U.S. has the will to stop Tehran in time, or perhaps even the true desire. They fear the White House may have made the calculation that a nuclear Iran is inevitable (like North Korea) and maybe not so bad after all. They are not alone. Egyptian leaders and numerous Gulf state leaders feel the same way. They are nearly panic-stricken that the U.S. will cut them loose and allow a nuclear-armed Persia, their historic enemy, to dominate the epicenter. Interestingly, there is an historic and unprecedented convergence of self-interest forming between Israel, Egypt, the Saudis and the Gulf state Arabs against Iran. They want Washington on their side against the apocalyptic, genocidal death cult that is currently running Iran. But thus far, President Obama appears to be convinced that he can sit down with the Iranian leadership, have a few carmel lattes with them, and convince them to give up their atomic ambitions. That’s what worries these Arab leaders, as it should. Should be an interesting week.
That said, as the kings of this world try to find a political formula to make peace, the Prince of Peace is steadily building His kingdom on earth and drawing more Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ than at any other time in human history. More than 100,000 Muslims in Saudi Arabia alone have come to faith in Jesus Christ in recent years. More than 1 million Muslims in Iran have come to Christ, as well. There are now more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus in Pakistan. How is this happening? Why is it happening? And how can we be praying for Christ to draw even more Muslims into His kingdom?
The answers can be found in BREAKTHROUGH: THE RETURN OF HOPE TO THE MIDDLE EAST, a powerful, must-read new book by my friend, Tom Doyle. Tom has been a senior pastor of evangelical Christian congregations in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico over the past two decades. He loves Israel deeply and is a licensed tour guide there. But he believes that one of the ways to bless Israel is to lead Muslims to Christ. Thus, in the summer of 2001 — several months before 9/11 — Tom stepped down from the church he was leading in Colorado Springs and became the Middle East director for e3 Partners, a global church planting ministry. Today, he trains pastors and lay leaders throughout the Muslim world how to share their faith, how to make disciples, how to plant churches, and how to help those churches grow spiritually and numerically. Last October, Tom and his wonderful wife, JoAnn, traveled with my colleague, Jeremy Grafman, and me to Afghanistan. There we encouraged church leaders there, and prayed for the thousands of Muslims that are leaving Islam in that troubled country and are accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. We also did research together for my recent book, INSIDE THE REVOLUTION. If you found REVOLUTION helpful, then I know you’ll love BREAKTHROUGH and find it helpful in understand how powerfully God is moving in the epicenter at this moment. I certainly did.