Archive for August 2010

Pray for China – Sichuan Province

August 31, 2010

Pray for China – Sichuan Province (“Four Streams”). Population: 88 million (Han, 95.4%). Christianity: 1.4% (Protestant – 0.6%). Other religions: Animism, Lamaistic Buddhism.

Sichuan is one of China’s most populous provinces, and because of its warm, fertile climate, is one of the country’s major agricultural “breadbaskets.”

The level of house church activity in Sichuan is described as medium.

A major earthquake occurred in Sichuan in May 2008, killing 69,000 people, injuring 374,000+, and displacing 15,ooo,ooo. The province is still recovering from that natural disaster.

“Lord of Comfort, I pray that You will work in through the lives of Sichuan believers and foreign Christian relief workers who continue to minister – in word and very practical ways – to the victims of the Sichuan earthquake. May those who have suffered loss of loved ones, displacement, and injury experience and come to know You as the God of grace, comfort, mercy, and salvation.” (II Corinthians 1:3-5 ; Romans 8:28)

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Pray for China – Gansu Province

August 27, 2010

Pray for China – Gansu Province (“Sweet Solemnity”). Population: 26 million (Han, 91.7%; Hui, 4.8%). Christianity:1.9% (Protestant – 50, est.). Islam: 6%.

Although Gansu is one of China’s poorest provinces, it is rich in minerals, metals, and medicinal herbs.

“Father, I pray that believers in Gansu, though they may be counted among the poorest people in all of China, will be reminded that they are spiritually rich in Christ, and that You will use them to share that wealth with their Islamic family members, friends, and neighbors. Amen.” (Revelation 2:9)

The “Sentness” of the Church

August 26, 2010

AND is a book about how the church should, can, and must balance its ministries of gathering the saints and scattering them into the world if it is going to be effectively used of the Lord in and for the expansion of His Kingdom on this earth.

The authors of the book, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, co-pastors of Adullam church in Denver, begin the book with a chapter entitled “The Beautifully Sent Church.” In this chapter they trace the  “Missio Dei,” the mission of God in this world, using Scripture and examples from the lives of Abraham, Isaiah, Christ Himself and the Apostle Peter.

When we hear of and speak of the “Missio Dei” today, we speak of the fact that as God sent His Son, and as the Father and the Son sent the Spirit, so the Triune God sends us, individually and corporately as the Church, into the world with the Gospel message of His love, grace, and salvation.

Halter and Smay, in their conclusion to this chapter, write that people in our churches are ” … weary of church services, sermons, in-house programs, and Bible studies that never push them out and challenge them to really be the missional people God has called them to be.” (p.48)

So, if  we wonder if there isn’t more to the Christian life and church as we know it, we must

” … settle this issue of why the church exists. God’s church is a missional church, a community that is sent and given away for God’s purposes.”

Do I Have a Call To Stay At Home?

August 21, 2010

The Great Commission is a command to obey ….

Pray for China- Shaanxi Province

August 18, 2010

Pray for China – Shaanxi Province (“West of the Mountains”). Population: 37 million (Han 99.7%). Christianity: 4.5% (Protestant – 1%-3%).

Shaanxi’s capital is Xian, the “ancient city.” Xian has served as the capital of 20 of China’s past dynasties.

The major industries in this central China province are machinery production, agriculture, and military-related industries. 40% of Shaanxi’s gross domestic product is generated by tourism.

“LORD of cities, nations, and time, I pray that believers in Shaanxi and Christian foreign tourists to this province will abundantly sow the seed of Your Gospel into the hearts and lives of the citizens of Shaanxi and that many will come to faith in Your Son so that they may dwell in Your presence in the New Jerusalem forever.” (Revelation 21-22:5)

AND Is About Balance

August 15, 2010

As noted in my August 14 post on AND – The Gathered AND Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, today I am beginning a series of posts of quotes from and comments on the book.

This first quote is from the Introduction. In it Hugh and Matt give a pretty succinct over-view of what this book on missional-incarnational ministry is all about.

“It’s time for us to stop asking the same old questions about how to do church, and instead ask what every church must be doing to honor God’s biblical mandate. We’d like ot introduce you the subtle power of the AND.

The power of the AND is seen in churches of all sizes where:

  • there is a balance between gathering a community together AND scattering them into the world
  • the right things are centralized AND the right things can be decentralized
  • resources of people and money find a blessed balance between maintenance AND mission, survival AND sending, tradition AND innovation
  • fans are turned into followers, disciples are made into apprentices, AND consumers become missionaries
  • leaders influence according to the design of God instead of the whims of people or the pride associated with production
  • old skills still matter AND new habits of mission take center stage
  • you can have huge vision for thousands of people AND live life in deep community and communal witness
  • your church learns to live a fluid organic Christianity AND has enough structure to provide for any level of growth God wants (remember, it’s God who builds a church.)
  • you’ll have to work hard, give up your life, AND have blast!”

(pp.26-27)

Pray for China – Hubei Province

August 14, 2010

Pray for China – Hubei Province (“North of the Lake”). Population: 60 million (Han – 95.7%). Christianity: 1.3 % (Protestant – 0.5%).

Major industries: automobiles, building materials, chemicals, and textiles.

Hubei is home of the Three Gorges Dam project, China’s damming of the Yangtze River for the purpose of producing electricity and controlling down river flooding. A negative result of the project has been the flooding of many cultural and archeological sites and communities; 1.3 million people have also been displaced from their homes.

House church activity in Hubei is low to medium.

“Jehovah-Jireh, I pray for the 1.3 million people who have lost homes, land, and employment due to the flooding of the Yangtze River caused by the Three Gorges dam project. I pray that believers will minister to these countrymen through acts of kindness, ministries of service, and the sharing of the Gospel of Christ and that many of the displaced will find peace and security for today, hope for tomorrow, and salvation in Jesus Christ.” (Matthew 25:31-35; Galatians 6:10; I John 3:16,17)