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.