It was with sadness today (Wednesday, Sept 5th), that I received two items of news that caused me not only to pause for prayer, but also to reflect. The first came as a complete shock. Arif Khan and his wife, missionaries to Pakistan where Arif pastored a Reformed Baptist church, were shot dead last week. The circumstances of this incident have not yet been made known (at least to me), but nevertheless, while I did not know the Khans personally, both Reformed Baptist churches I have been a part of have been active supporters of them, so I was well aware of their work. As you can well imagine, Pakistan is not exactly one of the easiest places in the world to be a missionary, let alone pastor a church (let alone a Reformed Baptist church!), and I have long admired the Khans’ dedication to the Lord and their labors for His Kingdom. It is truly a testimony to God’s grace that such a work has persisted for so long, and now we must pray that God’s grace will abound all the more to a region that so desperately needs it. I would encourage you all to keep their families and that church in your prayers. We believe that even in this tragedy, God has a purpose, and we know it is for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). May the brethren in Pakistan not lose heart, and may the Lord give them strength to continue the work so ably begun by Arif and Kathleen, as God the Holy Spirit enables them.
I heard the second piece of news at church this evening, concerning the passing of Dr. D. James Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. I doubt there are many in the church who do not know Dr. Kennedy those that do cannot deny that he truly loved the Lord and desired to see the lost brought to a saving faith in Christ. His passing brought home to me the fact that there is a generation of church leaders whose presence I have taken for granted all my life, who I have strangely assumed would always be there with words of wisdom and encouragement for God’s people, as well as strong defenses of Christian truth against its detractors. Yet, as a friend pointed out tonight, every year we grow older, so do they. And when the Lord calls them home, who is ready to fill the gap? Do we have a next generation of church leaders able to take the mantle of a D. James Kennedy, or an R.C. Sproul, or a John MacArthur? We need to pray that the Lord would continue to be merciful to us, raising up men within the church to guide His people, to tend His sheep, and watch over the flock. Pray for the current generation of teenagers, that God would captivate their hearts with a love for His Word and His Truth. Give thanks to God for the many excellent pastors and teachers He has given to His church, both the well-known, and those known only to their congregations. They are a gift of love from Him to His people. Pray for them, and treasure them! Also, pray for your own kids, and/or the kids in your church–you never know if another Kennedy, Sproul, or MacArthur is in your midst!

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