Weekly Theme – Direction of Hope Fellowship
Today’s Theme – What Can We Learn From China?
Scripture – Acts 5.40-42
Admit it, we have a comfortable way of life in Canada and that translates to the Church as well. One problem with comfort, as delightful as it is, is that we can subtly drift to a stage where we miss the mission of the Church. Today, let’s be inspired from Frances Chan’s book, Letters to the Church, as he speaks of the Church in China. Pay attention to the pillars that they live out.
As Frances spoke to the leaders of these underground churches, he was told of these five pillars. 1 – A deep church-wide commitment to prayer. 2 – Commitment to the Word of God (not the preacher presenting it, but EVERYONE READING AND LEARNING IT ON THEIR OWN). 3 – Committed to sharing the gospel. These first three pillars Frances was easily tracking with, but then he was challenged to rearrange his thinking for the next 2.
The fourth pillar was the expectation of miracles. These Chinese churches were so dedicated to prayer that they fully expected the Holy Spirit to intervene and miracles to occur in various situations from salvations, to protection and provision, to healings and the expansion of kingdom of God. The fifth pillar was that these churches embraced suffering. They were prepared to suffer for Christ, just as the early church experienced in the passage we read above.
(This paragraph added since the Russian invasion of Ukraine of Feb. 24, 2022) Our perspectives changed recently with the news coming from Europe of Russian troops overwhelming Ukraine. In the hours before the invasion, Putin and Chinese leader Xi jointly released a 5300 word manifesto that details methods of instilling their form of ‘democracy’ in this world and it has nothing to do with fair elections, human rights or individual freedoms.
What can we learn from China? Extreme commitment to pray and EXPECT miracles, to embrace the Word of God on our own, to share the gospel of Jesus and to fully expect and embrace the suffering for Christ that can come our way. In light of recent events, the church needs to pray expecting God’s power and plan to be revealed and we need to understand that we can and possibly will suffer for Christ. Let’s embrace these pillars of the Chinese Church.
Themes to pray over
- Ask God that your commitment to prayer, scripture, evangelism, expectation of miracles, and willingness to suffer for Christ be expanded in your life.
- Pray that God will reveal to our church how to best structure this ministry to encourage these practices and minutes.
A Prayer For Us All
Almighty God, I confess to you that I would love to live my life without hardship, suffering, or persecution. I know this desire is selfish and unrealistic, but I feel I should be honest with myself and with you, dear Father. Recognizing this selfishness awakens my heart to those who are my brothers and sisters in need and under persecution today. Deliver them. Open my eyes so I can help them. And, dear Father, as I support them, strengthen my faith for the times when suffering, hardship, and persecution may come my way. I want to be faithful to Jesus, no matter what happens in my life. Amen.
A Heart Question
Can your faith stand the pressure the world may send your way? How can Hope Fellowship become more like the Chinese Church?