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I’m not an expert on Christianity in Pakistan.  In fact, until the other day I had never considered Christianity in Pakistan.  However, the other day I received the following message:

My name is Pastor Asif Mubark . Me and my younger Brother Evangelist Kashif Mubark Runing Catch The Holy Fire Ministery here in Pakistan for 8 Years. We have 20 home churches all around Pakistan. As you know serving in A Islamic country is not easy way to go but we are very thankful to our Lord for His protection that we are still safe and serving. Please always keep us in your prayers as now a days persecution is very high in Pakistan. Last year the Muslim Mob burned down 3 Differents Christian colonies Inculding Our Christian Colony Gojra . Other 2 Christian Colonies are just on 10 miles away from my Hometown. Please pray for the persecuted church of Pakistan. May God bless you abundantly and your work! Your fellowship will be a privilage for me.
Your Brother
Evangelist Kashif Mubark

This pastor’s sincere plea for strength as he tries to share the word of the Lord in a country that discriminates Christians touched me.  Please join me in praying for not only this pastor, but all people in the world who are persecuted.   Pray for the people persecuting them as well that their hearts may be softened and the Lord’s love can be more abundantly spread throughout the world.

One time, when I was a little guy I took my little brothers and sisters with me into a forest.  After a few hours, when we tried to turn around and return home and the sun was starting to set, I realized we were lost.  I was 9, my brother was 7 and my sister was 5.  I felt afraid and didn’t know what to do.  I rounded up my brothers and sisters and prayed to Heavenly Father that we would find our way back home.  Amazingly, we were able to find our way back even though it was getting dark.

As I listened to this recent story of a girl who was lost in a swamp, I remembered the experience I had as a young child and how God answered my prayers and I’m sure those of my mother.  I thought it was amazing how the man who found this girl was led by the Lord and how he was prepared with so much faith to find her.  I believe that faith is belief in God + action and this gentleman definitely showed great faith.  Check out the story on the MSNBC website below:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/36776293#36497656

Below is a list of some of my favorite Christian songs you usually don’t hear in church (listed in no particular order).

Face to Face Kenneth Cope

Meant to Live Switchfoot

On Fire Switchfoot

Faceless Man Creed

Gravity Sean McDonald

Alive P.O.D.

Breath of Heaven Amy Grant

Flood Jars of Clay

Love Song for a Savior Jars of Clay

Breathing Lifehouse

Homeless Michael McClean

Everything Lifehouse

His Hands Kenneth Cope

Jesus Freak DC Talk

Feel free to share your songs.  Let’s see how big our list can get!

P.S. Just for fun and old times sake here’s a link to the Mormon Rap video:  http://graceforgrace.com/2008/06/21/mormon-rap/

Recently I had a very nice gentleman stop by and leave the following comment on my blog:

You are a rare person to see common ground between the LDS and non-LDS Christians. I’ve been looking for someone like you for a long time. I’d like to know more about what you believe and how our heavenly Father brought you to your current level of revelation.

This message is in response to his inquiry on knowing more about what I believe and how Heavenly Father brought me to my current level of revelation.

I have not always believed in the LDS religion.  In fact, for a time, I was very bitter towards it and filled with hate for Mormons.  I was young when my parents were divorced, but as a result I put blame on my father for splitting up our family.  My father was LDS and my mother was baptized LDS but left the LDS church and became an Evangelical Christian. 

After my parents divorced I lived with my mother and sisters.  We went to the LDS church for a few months after the divorce, but soon started attending other churches.  I started regularly attending the Baptist church and also spent some time in the Presbetyrian and Lutheran churches as well.  As a young man, I learned many great things at these churches and met some very wonderful people who helped me learn of God and Jesus Christ.  Also during this time I was taught many things about the LDS church that made me dislike the church even more.  During this time, my hate towards the LDS church was very strong and also towards my father.  I wouldn’t even go and visit him as a result.  However, after a couple years of avoiding my father, I decided it would be good to at least go and meet my new little brother who my Dad and Step-mother had just had.  I decided to go and visit my father.

I was a very young man at the time I visited my Dad and I clearly remember one of the first things I told him when I saw him was that I was not going to set foot in an LDS church.  However, I ended up seeing the love in my Dad’s heart for the Lord and the way he treated others.  I did end up going to church and witnessed the same thing and my heart was softened towards the LDS people.  It didn’t take me very long to begin to feel the Spirit of the Lord in a way that I never had at any other church.  I soon decided to read the Book of Mormon.  After reading the Book of Mormon, the following passage stood out to me in Moroni chapter 10:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

  4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
  6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
  7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.

The scripture stood out to me and I received a desire to pray to know if the things found in the Book of Mormon were true.  I remember thinking that if I were to pray and find these things out that many questions would be answered for me including: is there a God, is Jesus our Savior, will God answer prayers, is the LDS church true?

Almost instictually I dropped to my knees and offered a simple prayer asking if it was true.  As I prayed, I felt a warm feeling come over me that filled me with a love and happiness I had never before felt.  I felt a desire come into my heart to share the gospel with people who may not know of God and Jesus.  I felt born again as a new person as the hatred I had been holding onto dissolved into love and a desire to tell people of Jesus Christ and his teachings.

That was the first experience I had with God and being born again as a new creature as the scripture in 2 Corinthians 5 discusses.  Since that time I’ve had many more experiences with God answering prayers through visions, feelings form the Holy Spirit, scriptures in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and through listening to prophetic voices.

I’ve shared these experiences because I feel it is the foundation for the answer to both of the questions posed by my evangelical brother who stopped by and I will now answer his questions.

I believe in a God who loves each one of us and who is liberal in His blessings to His children all over the world.  I believe we are created in His image and have potential to become like He is.  I believe in Jesus Christ and that through Him one can be saved both physically and spiritually.  I believe that God will speak to us through many ways including scriptures like the Bible and Book of Mormon, but also other good books as well.  I believe that if we strive daily to stay close to God, he will stay close to us through His Holy Spirit, which will guide us in our daily walk through life.  I believe that when we make mistakes, through repentance made possible from the atonement of Jesus, all of us can be forgiven for any sin we commit and I know that the Lord will help us overcome any weakness we have and help it become a strength.

Since I have family who are both LDS and non-LDS Christians, I have the unique opportunity and blessing to see how God works in many ways.  I have seen that the beliefs that I stated are shared by both my LDS and non-LDS family and friends.  Throughout my life since I decided to be active in the LDS faith, I have seen many amazing miracles as I’ve served others through missionary service, church service, and in my family.   My brother-in-law and sister are missionaries for an Evangelical Church called the Puget Sound Christian Center.  They have blessed the lives of many young people in their ministry and I have seen the Lord bless their lives as a result.  They have genuine hearts and are true Christians. (you can learn more about their ministry on this website: http://ignite-plu.blogspot.com/).

In addition to this, I have been blessed as my mother, who is not an LDS Christian anymore, has shared with me some very inspirational books and messages from Christian preachers and pastors who I would normally not hear from in the LDS church.  As I listen to sermons from the late Adrian Rogers and other pastors, I have felt the same Spirit that I feel when I listen to the LDS General Authorities as they speak in General Conference and elsewhere.  I feel that the Spirit of Christ confirms truth and truth can be found anywhere that people are sharing the gospel of Jesus.

At a young age I was exposed to various Christian denomonations as I have throughout my life.  I can not say that I always have felt a bond towards their faith, especially after I joined the LDS faith.  However, as I have opened my eyes to try and see things how God sees them (a life-long pursuit in all areas!) I have been blessed to see a common ground between our faith in Jesus Christ and also the power of prayer in both of our faiths.  As my fellow Evangelical brother stated in his comments, both faiths are Christian faiths.

Maybe it is a rare thing to find common ground between LDS and non-LDS Christians, but to you LDS people who struggle to find good in Christians of other faiths, and for you Christians you find it difficult to find good in LDS I encourage both parties to let go and pray to see each other as God sees all of us.  I know that as you do you will find that you learn more about yourself, God, and others.

I received a very nice comment from the author of the blog “Evangelicals and Mormons for Jesus“.  He wished me well as I try to help others come closer to God in my writings and also defended against a negative comment that a Christian had written about me and my beliefs.

Since I’m used to defending my faith to other Christians I was taken back by his comments and also felt united with a fellow faithful follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  I decided to check out his blog and found a great “test” to see if Mormon’s, or LDS are Christians.  Below is a comparison of what Christians believe in from the Bible to be saved and also what LDS believe taken from http://evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com/.

Bible
“‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’” (Acts 16:31).
  Mormon Church
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. It is necessary to our salvation” (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997], 117).

“Salvation cometh to none . . . except it be through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Mosiah 3:12, Book of Mormon, quoted in Gospel Principles, 117).

Bible
“Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:5).
  Mormon Church
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: . . . second, Repentance (Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1:4).
Bible
“‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’” (2 Timothy 2:19).
  Mormon Church
“We must forsake our sins.” (Gospel Principles, 124).
Bible
“And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
  Mormon Church
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: . . . fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith, 1:4).
Bible
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14 KJV).
  Mormon Church
“It is the Spirit that is the most effective teacher in any given situation. . . . We should . . . carefully listen for and record the unspoken impressions given by the Holy Ghost” (Daniel K. Judd, “Nourished by the Good Word of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 94-95). “The adversary labors to dull our sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit. . . . When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds. . . . we feel strengthened, filled with peace and joy. We possess spiritual energy and enthusiasm.” (Elder Keith K. Hilbig, “Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 37- 38).
Bible
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” (1 John 4:15).
  Mormon Church
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ” (Articles of Faith, 1:1).
Bible
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).
  Mormon Church
Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ)” (Elder David B. Haight, “The Sacrament–and the Sacrifice,” Ensign, Apr. 2007, 16).
Bible
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2).
  Mormon Church
“‘The Word was made flesh’. . . . the Word is Jesus Christ” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], 10). “‘[Jesus] shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay’” (Mosiah 3:5, Book of Mormon, quoted in Gospel Principles, 63).
Bible
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).
  Mormon Church
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary . . . she being a virgin . . . who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” (Alma 7:10, Book of Mormon). “Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary” (Gospel Principles, 63).
Bible
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
  Mormon Church
“I know that he lives. . . . He is our Lord and our God” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, quoted in “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 10).
Bible
“God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25).
  Mormon Church
“The Savior atoned for our sins by suffering in Gethsemane and by giving his life on the cross. . . . We accept Christ’s atonement by placing our faith in him” (Gospel Principles, 73, 75). “He [Jesus] took our sins upon himself” (Gospel Principles, 19).

 

Clearly this fellow believer has done proper research into the LDS church and I appreciate that he used valid sources for what LDS actually believe rather than obscure quotes or other things random people may have said throughout the years that isn’t a main-stream belief of the LDS faith.  In fact, I feel he is doing more good for the church than many of us members because he is not a member and they can trust him. 

I hope that we as LDS Christians can do the same for our fellow Christians by acknowledging the common ground that we all stand on.  There are many other issues out there that we need to be united on that we can further the cause of good in the world by working together and not fighting against each other.

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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