On Easter Sunday, my wife Debra and I were privileged to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at an all-day church retreat in a beautiful camp setting in northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. Our dear friends Dr. Brent and Jasmine Fulton were there as well, and we thoroughly enjoyed worshipping, fellowshipping, eating, laughing, and playing together with the Home of Christ Church in Newark (HOC6), California. The HOC6 congregation is led by Minister Jeremy Liou and is part of a network of HOC churches reaching and serving the Chinese diaspora in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese throughout the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area.
The church community is warm and welcoming, and blessed with an incredible group of young people who love Jesus and each other. They clearly are thankful for their family and church heritage and take seriously Christ’s call to be passionately invested in the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
The theme of the retreat was “Outreach,” and I was asked to speak a couple of times centering on when Christ called the first disciples in Mark 1.
As we moved through the day it was encouraging to see how much this church family loved each other, and it made me think of our Lord’s new mandate in the upper room: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this will all know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV). There was kindness and caring, as steps were taken to make sure everyone was included. There was a spirit of worship, ease, and peace as we searched the Scriptures together and considered Christ’s direction and example in kingdom outreach. The atmosphere was both electric and winsome.
As we discussed the importance of each person and the church having a strategic kingdom plan for going and making disciples of all nations, beginning in our own backyard, I was impressed that subsequent conversations and discussions considered real life implications and responsibility for having our own skin in the game. One person observed how important it would be for us to “patch up our relationships” going forward. Others expressed in various ways how they wanted their story in Christ to have a meaningful influence on others who are searching.
So often it is easy to feel that our lives are lived somewhere in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. More, that we’re living in the waiting, unknown, and often deep sorrow of Saturday, the now and not yet of our kingdom lives. But our Heavenly Father has always intended more for us even when facing the heaviest of days.
On Easter Sunday we were privileged to see and experience yet one more expression of the powerful fulfillment of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1, “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:18-20 ESV).
The Lord is moving through his people at HOC6 by the same resurrection power that Paul prayed for the Ephesians, and I can’t wait to see what he and they will do next!
Ways to Pray
- Praise the Lord with us for how he redemptively accomplishes his plan for the ages even when violence and death appear to win the day. For an amazing example of this truth, please see the April 8 ChinaSource Blog entry entitled “Book Review: Children of the Massacre: The Extra-ordinary Story of the Stewart Family in Hong Kong and West China.”
- Join us as we pray for the Western church to rediscover her calling to the great commission, at a time when the calling to missions seems too dangerous and risky, or irrelevant for so many. Find guidance in how to pray and generate movement in this direction in “Recovering Missions for Our Churches”, the April 4 ChinaSource Blog post.
- On May 3-6 the ChinaSource staff will meet in Los Angeles for their first in-person meetings in about a year. Please pray for the team as we meet to pray, plan, share, and encourage one another. The ChinaSource team is involved in a number of new faith ventures. Please pray for unity and wisdom as we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance going forward.
- Continue to hold the people of Hong Kong and China in prayer as they cope with the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions.
News and Notes
- Kerry Schottelkorb preached on April 17 at the Home of Christ 6, English congregation, for the Easter retreat.
- On April 6, under a content-sharing agreement, Christianity Today featured Dr. Kevin Xiyi Yao’s article, “A Century Later, the Chinese Union Version Still Dominant,” which was originally published in the autumn 2018 issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly.
- Brent Fulton’s ChinaSource Blog post, “Serving China’s Missionary Church” was featured in the March 23 issue of Mission Hits, the fortnightly compilation of world Christianity and mission news published by From Every Nation.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- Ministering to Drug Addicts in Myanmar, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 19.
- A Strong Foundation: Pentecostal Revival in Yunnan Province, ChinaSource Blog, April 18.
- Memories of Celebrating Easter, ChinaSource Blog, April 15.
- Book Review: Children of the Massacre, ChinaSource Blog, April 13.
- Churches Seeking to Stay Online, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 12.
- The Two Eids and Other Hui Celebrations, ChinaSource Blog, April 11.
- Towards Authentic Contextualization, ChinaSource Blog, April 08.
- Found: A Film Review, ChinaSource Blog, April 06.
- The Testimony of a Seeker, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 05.
- Recovering Missions for Our Churches, ChinaSource Blog, April 04.
- The Princess Bride and Ramadan, ChinaSource Blog, April 01.
- A Positive Legacy in China, ChinaSource Blog, March 30.
- Chinese Christians Pray following the China Eastern Airlines Crash, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), March 29.
- Hui Food, Clothes, and Greetings, ChinaSource Blog, March 28.
- Chinese Christianity in the Modern Era: A Webinar, ChinaSource Blog, March 25.
- Praying through the Quarterly, ChinaSource Blog, March 23.
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