23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” – Acts 19:23-27
The Book of Acts is filled with stories of men and women who counted their lives as nothing and counted the cost of following Jesus as far greater. The book of Acts is filled with stories of missionary and church planter, Paul of Tarsas. Once a Jew, a Pharisee, a legalist – now a devout Christian, devoted to preaching the Gospel to the unreached all around the world. Paul would plant churches in various cities and raise up leaders in the city to continue leading his church plants. This progression has continued throughout all of history. Men have found that the Gospel is truly wonderful and they must share it with others. Men have sacrificed their jobs, pay, benefits, status, reputation and even their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
It was never my dream to stay in Las Cruces, even though there is nothing particularly wrong with it. I have lived here the majority of my life. I wanted new experiences. Roughly a year and a half ago, I decided that God was calling me to die to my desires of moving away and consider planting a church in my home town. This city desperately needs more Gospel-witnesses in it’s midst. This town needs more faithful churches proclaiming the glory of God and the Good News of Jesus. Therefore, I die to my desires of leaving and stay for the sake of Christ.
The city of Ephesus is an incredible story of the Gospel breaking forth in a city. We get to Acts 19 where a group of idol-makers are frustrated at Paul and the disciples for converting so many to Christianity. They convert so many in fact, that the idol-makers are starting to significantly loose business. I have always enjoyed this story for the simple fact that the Gospel can change a city. Imagine if Las Cruces had to shut down bars, clubs and places of idol worship simply because the Gospel was being spread like wild-fire.
My dream and vision for Las Cruces is that one day, God will awaken the thousands of hearts who lie in sin and will see the glorious light of Jesus. My prayer is that God would continue to use Desert Rivers as a light-post for this dark valley of Dona Ana County. My prayer is that we would simply hold up the simple Gospel – that Jesus came to save sinners. Would you join me in praying for this? Pray for God to sweep through our city, our restaurants, our university, our neighborhoods, our workplaces – for the sake of the glory of His Name. May we live as a missional people, seeking to serve others, extending the Gospel and giving glory and honor to God for what He’s doing. Let’s start a riot amidst Las Cruces.