September 17, 2013 : By Drew Menard
Liberty University’s biannual Global Focus Week kicked off at Monday’s Convocation with messages from theologian and Pastor John Piper and Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedin who is imprisoned in Iran.
Piper is the founder of desiringGod.org and is the chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He also served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., for 33 years and is the author of more than 50 books. This was his first visit to Liberty.
Piper spoke on Hebrews 10-13, challenging students to embrace the opportunity to suffer for Christ and emphasizing the importance of being satisfied in Christ.
“Confidence in fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore in the presence of Jesus on the other side of this so-called dying is the root of love that is willing to lay down its life for the sake of the nations,” he said. “This confidence that you cannot die but only have increased pleasures produces martyrs who die in love, not martyrs who kill from hate.”
Piper also reminded students that loving their heavenly home is more important than loving their earthly one.
“All the students at Liberty aiming to pour their life into the city of man for her good will serve her better if they love the other city (Heaven) more. If you love the city that is to come, and the world that is to come more than this city (earth) you will serve this city better,” he said. “You will go to the hardest places and peoples on the planet in order to make plain the value of the other city and the other king.”
|Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedin who is imprisoned in Iran, speaks at Convocation (watch her message).|
Naghmeh Abedini has been traveling the U.S. and the world for over 15 months to raise awareness of her husband Pastor Saeed Abedini’s unjust imprisonment in Tehran.
Saeed Abedini was arrested in the summer of 2012 while helping build an orphanage in Iran. He was later sentenced to eight years in Evin Prison in Tehran for “endangering national security.” He has served a year of that sentence already and has been beaten and told to give up his faith in Christ.
According to his wife, Saeed Abedini has stood strong in his faith and has led over 30 people in prison to Christ.
“The kids and I desperately want him back, but we are proud that he has chosen to stand up for his faith and to proclaim the Gospel in a dark prison and bring hope to those people,” she said. “To know that so many of the Iranian people are coming to know Christ makes it worth it. I know his imprisonment is not in vain.”
In June, Naghmeh Abedini had the chance to speak to the United Nations in Geneva, sharing the Gospel with more than 196 nations. The message was broadcast to more than 50 million Iranians.
“I pray that the Lord would awaken your desire to ask for nations for your inheritance and that you would be on fire for the Living God,” she said.
Vice President for Communications Johnnie Moore said Liberty believes the Great Commission is both for people in the ministry and in the marketplace.
“Missions is at the heart of the university and always has been. We do not believe that the Great Commission is for some Christians, it is for all Christians,” he said.
Liberty’s student body collectively represents all 50 states and 95 countries. Students and alumni are constantly engaged in areas all over the world, including the school’s ongoing Restore Rwanda campaign and several short-term mission trips through the Center for Global Engagement. Global Focus Week allows students to continue pursuing these options and become more involved in missions.