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All things Are Rubbish, Compared to Gaining Christ

One of the last days I spent with Hajj Ali in 2010 at a monastery that overlooks Beirut, in nLebannon
One of the last days I spent with Hajj Ali in 2010 at a monastery that overlooks Beirut, in Lebanon


Hajj Ali celebrating my 50th birthday in 2010
Hajj Ali celebrating my 50th birthday in 2010

More than a year passed since the death of my beloved father Hajj Ali, in Beirut, Lebanon. I could not go then to the funeral, and could not mourn his death properly. Six months after that, my step-mother passed away. That sealed a long period of time (44 years) I lived in Lebanon.
As I ponder on my loss, and the world I lost because of following Jesus Christ, I find in the words of St. Paul in Philippians 3: 8, the only true expression of how I feel:
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” New American Standard Version
Below is the letter of condolences, sent by Pastor Bernie Lutz. I publish this as a tribute to my late father who supported me in my calling to follow Christ and serve Him:
Greetings in Jesus!

Ali Chihab lived a long life. A feisty, hard working, honest man with a generous heart. His grilled chicken, almonds and hosptiality were appreciated and we often enjoyed his well known “ful”. God, the mighty and merciful God, created and sustained Ali, and blessed him with a long, productive life. Out side of you, he was my best friend in Hamra and I will always remember his support for you and the new change in your life that took place under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

When we left Beirut or when we arrived, Ali was there to welcome us with open arms and a kiss. This meant so much to us. You can be very proud of your father in so many ways. As to the judgment of his soul, only God has this answer, for He alone sees knowingly into our hearts and lives, He knows what we are thinking and what we really believe.

As you mourn the death of Ali Chehab may the powerful hand of God fall upon you with new love and hope. You made a decision to do what you are doing, your father gave his hand and heart in support of the task you chose, and now Roberta and I ask God to give you a peaceful heart, a heart that rests in the death, resurrection and work of Jesus, God’s only Son. Peace be with you.

As we ponder this news we will probably send you a memorial gift in memory of your father and our dear friend. You are like a true son and we love you very much. Please keep in touch.

Allah Mahabah (Arabic for “God is Love”)

Pastor Bernie, Roberta
January 29, 2012

Hesham Shehab

Hicham [pronounced HESHAAM] grew up in a world of bitter animosity between Muslims and Christians, which he experienced personally in a physical attack when only about 7. By age 13 he was recruited by an extremist Muslim group and later fought against Christians in the 1975 war in Lebanon. He was preparing to become a Muslim Preacher (Imam) when a car accident laid him up for a year. In 1980, in his first semester in college, his brother was killed by Christian militia. Hicham's response was to study by day, and by night take out his revenge in attacks on Christians. However, hearing the Sermon on the Mount, in a course of cultural studies (in college), brought him to faith. Later, Hicham earned an M.A. in the history of the Arabs and did Ph.D studies in the history of Islam. Hicham finished his pastoral education at Concordia, Fort Wayne, IN, and is currently in the Ph. D program there. Presently, Hicham, and ordained LCMS minister, pastors Salam Christian Fellowship and works as a missionary to the Muslims with the Lutheran Church in Illinois.

Comments (3)

  1. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “Any man would be forsworn to gain a kingdom.”

  2. Thanks…the last week of his life, a missionary friend n was praying with him in Arabic. When she was done. Hajj Ali responded: Yes Jesus is the Messiah!!

  3. Praise the Lord! It is a blessing that your father supported your faith in Jesus. And we praise the Lord that He draws you to Himself and calls you to an important work here. God bless, you and your family.

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