Sunday in Italy

Sunday is the first day of the week, the new day, the day of resurrection. For this reason Sundays are full of promise and hope. And this Sunday was especially so as our team ministered the gospel here in the Italian city of Bologna.

If I were to put my finger on a personal highlight, it would be preaching the morning sermon at Nova Vita Church. Of all the joys associated with preaching—unction of the Holy Spirit, illumination, insight—today’s experience was especially memorable because of a certain guest in the congregation. Without disclosing too much personal information, our team has developed a nice friendship with a manager of the residence where we are staying. Julie is a no-nonsense Italian lady. She is quick witted and tough as nails. But after having some candid discussions about life and faith, it didn’t take long for me to recognize that much of this persona emerges from a long history of disappointment and pain. I gave Julie a copy of my book and suggested she read the chapter titled “Grace over Guilt.”

This morning Julie was scheduled to be interviewed by a news reporter about the hostel, but unfortunately, he never arrived. Having awoken early for the occasion, Julie was obviously disappointed. It was then that we invited her to join us at church, and to our delight she agreed.

As I looked out upon the congregation this morning, preaching cross of Jesus, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through Julie’s mind. And many from our team felt the same way. My passage this morning (from Isaiah) concerned the question of where we find hope when we encounter disappointment, a text that I chose several weeks ago. After it was all done, Julie expressed that she has serious question about which she would like to talk.

Please join our team in praying for Julie and others precious people like her whom we’ve met, asking the Father to extend his redemptive love in such a way that will transform hearts and lives.

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