Even though it is not an official holiday in China, Christmas has become extremely popular as a commercial/consumer event. Stores put up trees and clerks don Santa hats. However, most people in China do not know the real story behind Christmas -- the story of Jesus. The popularity of Christmas presents Christians with a unique opportunity to share the gospel. This article, from the Christian Times, is about a pastor in Beijing encouraging his congregation to tell their friends and family about Jesus this Christmas season.
December is the month of Christmas and the Christmas atmosphere is becoming more and more festive. Many people are looking forward to Christmas gifts, carnivals, and feasts without having anything to do with Jesus Christ. Pastor Pei, an important Beijing mission leader encouraged the congregation Sunday, December 2nd to view Christmas as a good time to share the gospel and to tell more people about the relationship between Christmas and Jesus Christ.
Pastor Pei referred to Acts 1:6-8: when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Everybody has things they are most concerned about. From this dialogue between Jesus and his disciples we can see that the disciples were primarily concerned with the restoration of Israel. But Jesus didn't directly answer their question about that; he instead drew their attention to the Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted his disciples to focus on receiving power from the Holy Spirit and spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth and thus building up God's kingdom. As the Spirit was about to come and God's kingdom was near, Jesus steered his disciples away from being concerned about temporal things the restoring of the kingdom of Israel -- to spiritual things the coming of Gods kingdom.
Then Pastor Pei talked about the meaning of Christmas. In Christmas, God reveals his love for us by sending his only Son Jesus. To celebrate Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ; and that he came to this world for every one of us.
So instead of focusing on gifts, carnivals and feasts, we should tell our friends who dont know about Jesus the relationship between Christmas and Jesus. Pastor Pei encouraged everyone to care more about the souls who have not yet heard about Jesus and use Christmas as an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.
When talking about sharing the Gospel, Pastor Pei related the story of the famous British missionary Samuel Pollard. He devoted all his life to the Miao people in Yunnan and even died among them. Before his death, he was stricken with the flu. However, he wouldn't use the medicine. Instead, he saved the medicine for the Miao people who were also sick and said "If I die, there will not be a Christian missing in heaven; but if they die, there will be Miao people missing in heaven." From this we can see Pollard's deep love for the Miao People.
Pastor Pei became very emotional when he spoke on this topic and all sorts of feelings welled up in his heart. He called on the congregation to share the gospel and get on fire for missions and to spread the gospel to the rural areas.
Afterwards, Pastor Pei brought everybody back to the present and said, "Christmas is a great chance for sharing the gospel. We should shift our eyes from the present and material things to spiritual things. A man with faith is a man who knows how to grasp opportunities and tell people that Jesus is the best Christmas present.
Original article: 北京重要宣教领袖：圣诞节最好礼物——给人耶稣基督
Image source: Nativity, Jeff Weese, via Flickr
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