Warm greetings to you from Los Angeles where we have been shaking quite a lot this month. LA is located about 120 miles southwest of Ridgecrest, which is one of the towns closest to the epicenter of recent major earthquakes. On July 4 and 5, three main shocks, magnitudes 6.4, 5.4 and 7.1 occurred.
At first, we thought the 6.4 quake was the big earthquake, but the next day when the 7.1 hit, we were told the 6.4 was only a “pre-shock.” The “Ridgecrest Earthquakes” were followed by scores of more perceptible aftershocks. These quakes and aftershocks reminded every California resident that we live in earthquake country.
As I waited out the tremblers in my home, listening to the windows rattle and the closet doors shake, while feeling the rolling power of a force which lingered far too long for my money, I once again felt how small and fragile I, we are.
I know I need to prepare for the Big One but . . .
Our government leaders took this opportunity to again remind us that it is not a matter of “if” the Big One—a 7.5-8.1 earthquake—will take place, but when. We are being told that each family needs to have a plan and a reserve of at least ten days of food and water. Also, our leaders are saying we need to get to know our neighbors, because when the Big One hits, we will need each other.
A common conversation heard among “Angelinos” this month begins like this: “I know I need to prepare for the ‘Big One’ but . . .” Our capacity to procrastinate on these matters is great, but preparation is essential.
In the midst of all this, I can’t help but think of the ultimate shaking that is yet to come:
Now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:26b-29
Our world is filled with so much hurt and pain. As we hear about the challenges, persecution, and rejection that many who serve Jesus and his church in China are facing, it is encouraging to remember that we are part of a kingdom that is advancing and cannot be shaken; that we are embedded with his community of followers and walking in the fellowship of the Triune God of Grace who has promised to see us home. And, while we thankfully worship our Lord with reverence and awe, we also persevere and prepare, by his grace.
So, we are called to pray for, encourage, and stand with our brothers and sisters in the mainland and globally. Every Christ follower worldwide is being led by our Father through the “pre-shocks” leading to the final shaking and ultimately to our eternal kingdom inheritance, making it vitally important that we encourage one another along the way. We really do need each other!
On June 20 we enjoyed a dynamic gathering at our ChinaSource Connect in the Los Angeles area. It was a wonderful time of worship, prayer, fellowship, making new friends, reunions with long-time friends, updates, and sharing of ministry experiences good and hard.
We were reminded how essential it is to continually intercede in prayer for the church in China and to be of service, however God leads.
I was especially impressed that in the midst of so much challenging and hard news, the people who attended that night are full of the joy of the Lord and have a passion and zeal for Jesus, for his church in China, and for his Chinese followers across the globe.
ChinaSource Connect at First Chinese Baptist Church of Walnut, CA.
Welcome Aboard, Jon!
On July 15, we welcomed Jonathan Kuert to the ChinaSource team. Jonathan is our new Donor Relations Manager and we are very blessed to have him. In the days ahead we look forward to getting to know more about Jon, his family, their calling in Christ as well as to Chinese ministry. For now, welcome to the team, Jon!
Ways to Pray
- Praise the Lord for a great ChinaSource Connect event in Los Angeles last month! There was an amazing mix of people there; some who are very new to China and the Chinese church, along with those who have been his faithful servants for his glory in China for decades. The Lord favored us with his spirit of joy, hope, and unity and we came away very encouraged and grateful.
- Thank the Lord with us for leading Jon Kuert to ChinaSource. We are looking forward to serving together!
- We praise the Lord along with Dr. Brent and Jasmine Fulton for the following news from them: “We are grateful for the doors the Lord has opened in Myanmar and for your prayers as we respond to his leading. Meanwhile, as we near the end of our sabbatical, China continues to be front and center in our plans.”
- Dr. Brent Fulton and Kerry Schottelkorb have been meeting together to discuss Brent’s future role with ChinaSource. We look forward to sharing more details soon. For now, please keep these discussions in your prayers as we together seek the Lord for his guidance going forward.
- Continue to pray for the church in China as they navigate challenging times in an increasingly restrictive environment.
News and Notes
- On June 17 Joann Pittman spoke on "A Deeper Look at Life and Faith in China" on Faith Radio.
- Narci Herr joined the Ethne Prayer team on July 11 to share about God’s work in China. You can listen in here and learn more about the Global Prayer Digest (GPD) here. The July GPD focusing on south Asia including prayer information about China is here.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- Touring Three-Self Churches: Some Final Thoughts, ChinaSource Blog, July 17.
- A Celebrity Divorce Prompts Thoughts on Marriage, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), July 16.
- Go back to China: A Film Review, ChinaSource Blog, July 15.
- A Critique of "Leadership Ethics": Another Look at the Summer CSQ, ChinaSource Blog, July 12.
- The West Gate Church in Kaifeng, ChinaSource Blog, July 10.
- The Problem of Consumerism in the Church, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), July 9.
- Dealing with Local Officials in a Changing China, Part 3: An Update, ChinaSource Blog, July 8.
- So, How Are They Now? A Follow-up on Chinese Christians after Their Expat Colleagues Had to Leave, ChinaSource Blog, July 5.
- A Church in Nanyang, ChinaSource Blog, July 3.
- Reflections on the Righteousness of God, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), July 2.
- Dealing with Local Officials in a Changing China, Part 2, ChinaSource Blog, July 1.
- Scenario #4, ChinaSource Blog, June 28.
- The Church in Ankang, ChinaSource Blog, June 26.
- Advice for Parents on the Eve of College Entrance Exams, ChinaSource Blog, June 25.
- Dealing with Local Officials in a Changing China: An Update, ChinaSource Blog, June 24.
- Is It Time for a New Approach to Leadership? , ChinaSource Blog, June 21.
Header image credit: Tsuyuri Hara on Unsplash
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