A Muslim follower of JESUS.... I know this sounds like a complete contradiction, but it's true! People from any culture can genuinely become a follower of JESUS. This is why JESUS' mandate to all of his disciples is to MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS (nations-cultures).
If it weren't possible to be a follower of JESUS in any culture, then JESUS would have specified that you can only be a disciple (follower) of JESUS by denouncing your culture...but he didn't! He was primarily concerned with the person's relationship with him. (Samaritan woman, Roman official, Syrophoenician woman, the royal official, the demoniac of Gadara).
I want you to hear the story of my friend, Faisal. Faisal's story is one of the most unique and genuine transformations I've ever witnessed.
"I was born a Muslim in central Uganda," he says. "My Dad was a Muslim religious leader taking care of two districts in the central part of the country. He was an ambassador of the Ugandan Muslim Supreme Council, a body that oversees all activities of the Muslim community in the country. He spent 35 years supporting initiatives for the spreading of Islam.
"As I was growing up, he taught me that Islam is the only true religion and that I should observe the Pillars of Islam and spend my time encouraging all my Christian friends to convert to Islam. I am very proud of my heritage and I identify myself as a Muslim.."
"When I joined one of the Cornerstone Academy schools, where I was accepted as a Muslim, I learned more about JESUS. His message transcended what I had learned, while growing up. What I began to learn created what I can call an internal struggle within me, what in the true sense of Islam I would call 'jihad'.
"During that time of feeling the internal struggle one morning at around 3 a.m., I heard a voice saying, 'Don't fear! Follow JESUS, because he is a word of truth.' I tried to check around to see who could have said that to me, but I did not find anyone. It was a strange experience. Later, I shared it with my friend.
"I tried to resist this call to JESUS, because I thought all followers of JESUS are Christian and I did not want to become a Christian. I believed JESUS to be exclusively related to Christians and therefore, as a Muslim, I have no relationship with JESUS, even though JESUS' character and personality are so attractive and relevant to mankind.
I also thought that I had to stop praying at the Mosque, join a Church or Christian gatherings and worst of all, I knew I could not tell my Dad that I had converted to Christianity. I remembered some time back, one of my elder sisters had converted to Christianity and things did not go well for her. She lost the relationship with the family and left home."
"However, during this time of being all alone, I started studying the Injil (Gospels) with a very big motive of knowing who JESUS is and how can I live my life as a follower of JESUS. I found myself loving JESUS, because of his genuine concern for the total welfare of those he encountered. It was demonstrated, not spoken and included healing, moral teachings, crossing of social barriers, comforting, calming, freeing, touching the untouchables and befriending sinners. It was a genuine unconditional love!
"A big surprise for me was to discover that according to the Gospels, JESUS was not a Christian. And JESUS never urged or required anyone else to become a Christian. To me, JESUS was greater than any religious classification. I came to the conclusion that JESUS is universal. He came for all cultures and that included my Muslim culture. After going through all of my internal struggles, I realized that following JESUS did not require me to abandon my Muslim culture. It's not a matter of religion or culture; it is about the revelation of God's truth as conveyed by JESUS' transformation of my heart.
"It's difficult to explain what happened in me. I felt a definite renewal in my heart, as if a real connection was created inside me. I felt everything was new inside of me. I had only known doing what I was taught to do, but now with JESUS I found an inner peace and freedom I had never known.
"I and a few friends have initiated small groups around different universities in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, composed of Muslim and Christian friends who sit every week to reflect on the teachings and person of JESUS. In addition to these nearly 20 universities, we meet in a weekly core group that sits every week in Kampala, Uganda.
This work is not affiliated with any religion. Our focus is on JESUS alone. JESUS came to establish the Kingdom of God, not another religion. Faisal now uses "THE WAY" JESUS Curriculum to make disciples of JESUS. For it was JESUS' mandate to "make disciples of all nations (cultures)".
Tim Timmons has now teamed up with the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Tamrat Layne, and have just completed a purely JESUS Curriculum, THE WAY. This unique JESUS curriculum is all about small group discipleship - AND IT WORKS!
CREDIT: By Tim Timmons, ASSIST News Service On September 22, 2016