On June 9, the global church celebrated the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and all other followers of Jesus. His presence changed everything, as subsequent generations of Christ followers have been renewed and, by his grace, found faithful in him.
I have been reflecting this month on the generational faithfulness of God, manifested through the lives of his people, by the power and presence of his Holy Spirit:
- My mother Lois, who went home to Jesus March 15, and my father Monty were first generation Christ followers, who led their family to Jesus, giving birth to a whole new generation of God’s people. Over the last seventy years our family generations have branched out and Christ’s Spirit is fulfilling the promise of God:
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalm 103:17-18
- During a recent trip to Hong Kong, it was my great joy to have a reunion dinner and share a life update with about twenty close friends. Most of those friends have been dear to our family for twenty to thirty years. We served the Lord and raised our families together. Their friendship, prayers, and support have meant everything to our family.
I also thanked them for their sustaining and healing prayers through the years, which were a large part of the reason my mother lived for 89 years while fighting complications caused by Lupus throughout her adult life. The generational faithfulness through the Holy Spirit, of these friends, along with so many others who were unable to attend that night, but are in our hearts just the same, has been both powerful and precious!
- During that same trip, I met with a dear pastor/mentor/friend in Hong Kong whose faithfulness to Jesus and his church and dependence on his Holy Spirit, has helped facilitate the planting and multiplied growth of several churches in the city, as well as a network of churches and mentoring pastors in nineteen other countries.
My friend simply emphasizes the profound simplicity of life in Christ and growing, nurturing friendships within families and churches. He told me that the highest compliment anyone could pay him recently came from his adult daughter who said, “My father, more than anyone else I know, genuinely lives out the words he preaches and teaches.” Generational faithfulness!
- Thirty years ago this month, my wife Debra and our two children were serving in a church in Hong Kong when the events of Tiananmen Square took place. I will never forget how our corporate church gathering that week became a time of lament, worship, and prayer. Our church family fell to our knees and cried out to God.
As Dr. Brent Fulton recently wrote:
Little did we know at the time that God would use the tragedy of Tiananmen to spark the greatest movement to Christ among intellectuals in China’s history, laying the foundation for the emergence of a new kind of church in China’s cities.
Even as China’s church is facing another season of pain and pressure, we can trust together in the generational faithfulness of Immanuel through his Holy Spirit to multiply, renew and sustain his people.
Ways to Pray
- Quoting again from Brent: “Pray that our brothers and sisters in China would remain united despite efforts to sow division among them.”
- “Pray that Christian leaders would have wisdom to know how to respond to the new pressure they are facing. Lift up those from other countries who are currently serving in China, that they would understand the times and know how best to encourage the church.”
- Brent and Jasmine Fulton are well into the last three months of their sabbatical season. Please lift them up as they seek to discern and follow the Lord’s calling and direction going forward.
- There are many ministry doors opening to us. Pray for wisdom to follow the Lord’s leading through the doors he has for us.
- The ChinaSource staff meets in Los Angeles June 19-20. Pray for God’s direction and blessing on the team.
- On Thursday, June 20, our next ChinaSource Connect event will take place in LA at the First Chinese Baptist Church in Walnut (FCBC). Pray for the Lord’s favor on the gathering that night.
- Pray for the ChinaSource Board meeting on June 24, that the board will hear and follow the voice and call of the Good Shepherd.
News and Notes
ChinaSource Quarterly, 2019 Summer Issue
Leadership Ethics, guest edited by Mary Li Ma and LI Jin
Kerry Schottelkorb, president of ChinaSource, wrote:
We are delighted to once again have mainland scholars Mary Li Ma and LI Jin guest editing the summer issue of ChinaSource Quarterly on leadership ethics. This is their fifth issue of CSQ!
A foundational scripture passage for this issue comes from the apostle John:
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:7-10 NIV
In a timely and relevant way, our editors and writers have chosen to bring the subject of leadership ethics within the church in China into the light. This is a sensitive topic. In the majority of cases we are thankful for spiritual leaders—for pastors and shepherds who have sacrificially invested in our well-being and the nurture of our souls. Also, we know the Holy Spirit has facilitated the rapid growth of the church in China through the lives of countless faithful leaders.
However, as we will read, if we romanticize our leaders, we will miss the opportunity for godly redemption, healing, growth, and kingdom fruit that remains.
So, I hope you will wait with our Lord as you take in the following:
- “Witnessing Christ through Ethical Leadership” Mary Li Ma and LI Jin
- “The Church’s Greatest Crisis Comes from Inside” Mary Li Ma
- “Beyond Courageous Leadership and Servant Leadership: What Does Leadership Failure in the West Teach the Chinese Church?” Jerry An
- “Not Ruling Over, but Feeding the Sheep: Thoughts on the Boundaries of Authority and Power in the Chinese Church” LI Jin
- “Being on Guard against ‘Spiritualized Political Correctness’ in the Church” Sam Ren
- “When a Celebrity Pastor Falls, Will There Be Apostates?” Jeshurun Lin (Book review)
- “Online Videos on the Church and Misuse of Authority” (Resource Corner)
Other News from ChinaSource
- In May, Joann Pittman’s article “The New Normal for Christianity in China: Adapting to a Tighter Political Environment,” appeared in Lausanne Global Analysis · May 2019 · Volume 8 / Issue 3
- Jackson Wu’s blog, “7 Reasons Why Sinicization Is Not Rhetoric This Time,” was translated into Dutch and reposted by Reformatorisch Dagblad as “China onderwerpt christenen systematisch aan verchinezing” on May 27.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- A Church in Guiying, ChinaSource Blog, June 19.
- 5 with Hearts to Serve, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), June 18.
- The 3D Gospel Is Now in Mandarin, ChinaSource Blog, June 17.
- Listen to the Chinese Bible, ChinaSource Blog, June 14.
- Anshun City Protestant Church, ChinaSource Blog, June 12.
- Ordinary People Demonstrating Jesus’ Love, ChinaSourceBlog (CCV), June 11.
- Still Tomorrow: A Film Review, ChinaSource Blog, June 10.
- 5 Podcasts for Your Summer Listening, ChinaSource Blog, June 7.
- A Tour of Three-Self Churches, ChinaSource Blog, June 5.
- A Story of Two Drug Addicts, Part 2, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), June 4.
- The Challenge of Ethical Leadership in the Church, ChinaSource Blog, June 3.
- A Summer Reading List from Our Contributors, ChinaSource Blog, May 31.
- 7 Reasons I Liked “China: A History” (and 1 Warning), ChinaSource Blog, May 29.
- A Story of Two Drug Addicts, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), May 28.
- Cross-Cultural Education in China—and in Chinese Families, ChinaSource Blog, May 27.
- Chinese Worship Music, ChinaSource Blog, May 24.
- A Faith without Borders, ChinaSource Blog, May 22.
- Cult Activity in China Impacts Churches, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), May 21.
- The Impact of School Culture, ChinaSource Blog, May 20.
- A Village with My Name: A Book Review, ChinaSource Blog, May 17.
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