Recently, a group of Christian leaders and I were discussing our lives outside of our official capacities. I startled some of them when I stated that most of my friends were unbelievers. “Why?” was the question asked of me. I answered that I had many reasons. One, because there is a tendency among Christians to only hang out with others who believe like them. Instead of engaging the culture around them, they isolate themselves in pockets of piety. Another reason is that it gives me an opportunity to build relationships with people and actually witness to them by my life, as I live out my beliefs. It is kind of difficult to keep either the Great Commission or the Great Commandment when you only surround yourself with fellow Pharisees. The biggest reason though is quite simple. Since I believe that there is only one way to heaven, I also believe that my unbelieving friends will not go with me there. This is the only time I have to spend with them and I want to make the most of it. Yes, I would like to see them become believers – I pray for God’s Spirit to enlighten them daily to the truth. I am cognizant that my words and actions speak volumes about God and I am conscious of redeeming the time and conversations I have with them. I love them and if this is the only time I have with them, if they never become believers and I lose my relationship with them forever – at last I will have had a good one. I will make up time missed with my brothers and sisters in Christ in the forever of heaven, but in the here and now I will continue to spend time with my unsaved friends, in whatever time God will grace me to have with them and continue to pray that they come to be forever friends before it is too late.
Highlights Around the Word – #7 China
We have been working in China since 2005. During that time we have seen villages, who never before had a witness for Christ, not only receive the message but establish churches. From out of their own peoples, they have raised up leaders, sending them to study theology in places far away and seeing them come home and raise up still more leaders. The gospel is spreading rapidly but the need is still great. Simply put, the sheer number of people in China make it a daunting task to give everyone a witness.
We have been privileged to work with some amazing national workers who are both fearless and faithful. One of our highlights has been holding ordination services for 2 church pastors who have started churches in rural villages. Another highlight was an unplanned meeting with a group of believers who were meeting together. We literally stumbled upon them and realized that the song they were singing was Amazing Grace. We joined in, surprising them as they didn’t realize we were in the building. What a joyous time we had praising God together, English and Chinese voices lifted together. Contacts were made and friendships formed.
We have done more work in China than any other country but cannot reveal where or what for their safety. Suffice it to say that we are so grateful for the awesome privilege of working with the amazing believers in this great country.
Highlights Around the World – #3 Canada
Vast stretches of farmland roll into the horizon, broken by silos and the occasional herd of mule deer. Welcome to the southern edge of Alberta and Saskatchewan. From Lethbridge to Swift Current, we have been able to meet with people starting churches in cities both large and small. As one travels along the highways, one realizes that there are many smaller towns without an evangelical witness, some without a witness at all, evangelical or otherwise. Southern Canada is far from the Bible belt and a different culture from America altogether. Although very similar in lifestyle to Montana, where we are based at, there are enough differences for one to realize very quickly that approaches to starting churches in Canada must be different than they are in the States.
The believers in Canada are doing a wonderful job – they just are small in number compared to the overall population. There are a large number of immigrants arriving annually, a great number from Asia. These immigrants are seeking a better life filled with opportunity. How wonderful it would be if mature Asian Christians were in place to meet them and introduce them not only to Canadian life, but to Jesus Christ?
Pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers to go into the fields of Western Canada and establish churches that will reach those coming to seek a new life with a new life in Christ. Pray for us, that as invitations come, we will be faithful to encourage, uplift, and resource the believers there with what they need to continue spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God.