Friday, August 8, 2008

China is the focus now...and I believe later


Man can the Chinese throw a party! I just watched the opening ceremony for the Olympics and it's safe to say China delivered a doozy. Wow.

The climax of the ceremony is the lighting of the Olympic torch. Talk about ending in spectacular fashion! China's first Olympic superstar, 1984 gymnastics triple gold medalist Li Ning, was hoisted by wires to the top of the stadium, circled the entire circumference as though he was spacewalking, then used his torch to send a torrent of flame spiraling upward to light the Olympic flame in a huge cauldron overlooking Beijing. Are you kidding me? Double wow.

I'd like to share my most constant missionary prayer focus with you, it's China. Ever since I read a biography about Hudson Taylor I have asked God to raise up the Church in China. While I am personally very sure of my calling as a pastor to a local body of believers in America, I think the epicenter of Christianity is leaving the U.S. Asia will soon be the "center" of Christianity. China is poised to host the strongest expression of Christ's Church and I fervently hope I will be alive to see the impact such a paradigm shift in Christendom will have. I hope one or more of my sons serves as an elder in the Chinese Church some day.

I am very optimistic eschatalogically. Christ will indeed build His Church! Sure, much of the Church in America is given over to idols, but this is not so for the Church worldwide. China is a country of $1.3 billion people. Low estimates place professing believers at 200 million! That's 2/3 the population of the U.S. To profess Christ in China still costs something. When I hear the numbers of professing believers in the U.S., then read Barna's interpretation of those numbers, it's depressing. When I read of the numbers in China (even the low estimates) I get pumped. These aren't people claiming Christ to gain heatlh, wealth, or social acceptance. Quite the contrary. The Chinese Church is the kind of church God will use to advance His Kingdom in a monumental way. It reminds me of the beat down early church in Jerusalem- it eventually busted loose and turned the world upside down for Christ.
I'm telling you, keep your eye on China, God is doing something seriously spectacular there.

3 comments:

jeff said...

Speaking of God doing spectacular things in China, we were up at Word of Life in Schroon Lake, NY last week, and we met a missionary couple from China who told us that the Chinese Government is actually giving out Bibles (actually, I think just the 4 Gospels) during the Olympics just to prove that they are not as bad as everyone says they are. They're giving them to all the Olympic athletes, as well as tourists. There's also a Bible printing company that has set up a printing center in China. Here's an article about it...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article4175389.ece

Frontier Forest said...

I have been thoroughly blessed by incorporating into my daily devotionals, a powerful book from the "Voice of the Martyrs" called "Extreme Devotions". It is a book dedicated to all the saints who have willingly paid the ultimate price for their testimony for Jesus. On page after page, one can read moving testimonies from little known Chinese warriors, who have joyfully paid the ultimate price for their unbending stand for Jesus Christ.
God bring reformation and forgive our nation before it is too late! But I too believe that the Spirit of God will someday remove HIS merciful hands from America and His Spirit will move upon and bless this amazing nation.
By the way, so glad I watched the opening ceremonies, it was absolutely unbelievable! I even admitted to Cheri, “I am glad you insisted on me watching and I am also glad I shared this most magnificent event and evening with you.”

Rick Calohan said...

I watched the opening ceremonies and took notice of the Great Brittan, Ireland, Philippines, and the United States march through. I noticed how the commentators indicated how the United States, received a warm reception, in comparison to say France, but then again doesn’t everybody hate the French? After all according to The Messiah, when American’s go overseas all we can say is “merci beaucoup.”

While we know God is Sovereign, and has chosen His Elect, we must not be so naïve to think that the Olympics in themselves are going to change the repressive Government that we support directly and indirectly whenever we trade, borrow, or buy from them. This is not to say that we should ignore 1.3 million people, or that by military force we should overthrow their government.

While missionaries of the past made tremendous inroads to lay the foundation of Christianity today officially, only government sanctioned churches are in China, and those churches must bare faith and allegiance to the state.

Rather it will be in our lifetime or in our children’s lifetime; only a true Christian China by the Grace of God will overthrow the shackles placed on them by the Butchers of Tiananmen Square.

Recently Chinese police forced a Beijing-based house church leader and his ailing wife out of their home in early July. Pastor Zhang Mingxuan and his wife were kept on the run and forced out of hotels, shelters, even a relative’s home, by security personnel after Zhang met with two U.S. congressmen. One Chinese official said the brutal treatment came “Because Zhang met the Americans, and destroyed the harmony of the Beijing Olympic Games.”

Only strictly controlled churches are officially allowed in China. Rep. Chris Smith, who met with Zhang, said that the “the Olympics has triggered a massive crackdown designed to silence and put beyond reach all those whose views differ from the official ‘harmonious’ government line.”

Open Doors USA leader Carl Moeller confirmed the crackdown and said house church leaders want prayer support:

What really touches my heart when I talk to some of the pastors in Beijing, some of the underground church leaders there is that they’re responding to the pressure in faith. They’re asking Christians in America to remember them in prayer.

To help you pray, visit www.opendoorsusa.org.

http://www.opendoorsusa.org/content/view/686