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Strangers in a Foreign Land

Mike Hess (right) greets members of First Baptist Church.

SHELBYVILLE, Ill.—Years ago when he attended a youth camp, Mike Hess, GARBC national representative, remembers singing a song with the lyrics “This world is not my home. I’m just passing through. . . . And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

This song “encapsulates well what we feel as Christians,” Mike told First Baptist Church during a Sunday morning worship service. “We just don’t fit in this world.” So many things in this world make us uncomfortable and frustrated and discouraged. “We’re strangers in a foreign land.”

Feeling like exiles “is nothing new for God’s people,” Mike says. In the Bible, Abraham was an exile. So were Joseph, Moses, and Jesus Himself. Thankfully, “God, in His goodness, teaches us how to live as exiles.”

How can we live as exiles? “Grow where you are planted,” Mike says, speaking from Jeremiah 29. “No matter where God has planted you, His will is always the same: grow where you are planted.”

Circumstances will not always be ideal or easy, Mike says, “but because God is Who He is, and His promises are always certain, we can always grow where we are planted. . . . Even though this world is not our home, we can live with the confident expectation every single day—and here’s the source of our joy—that God will be faithful to His promises.” And one of God’s greatest promises is that one day He “will deliver us from this world,” Mike says.

Wherever God has planted you, Mike says, “pray for your city. Be a good testimony. In a broader sense, let’s pray for our country. Let’s pray for our leaders—and this is difficult at times—but let’s pray for them more than we complain about them, . . . because only the gospel can change their hearts and lives.”

Tim Yankee, who has served in pastoral ministry since 1987, has been pastor of First Baptist Church since 2015. Mike thanked him for his many years of ministry in Regular Baptist churches.