I cannot remember a season in my life when evangelical Christians have seemed to be so divided on such a wide variety of issues—both essential and not so much. The season of Covid-19 has certainly intensified convictions, beliefs, and opinions on many fronts. Disagreements become quickly heated, often resulting in lost friendships, broken families, and divided communities. Obviously, much more than our response to Covid-19 is at play here. The light is getting brighter, and the dark is growing darker as we seek to follow him on micro and macro levels.
In response to the disciple’s question, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) Jesus warned about the persecution of his followers; that some would turn out to be false disciples and, “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) This is sobering because there is indeed a chill in the air, as divisions and fractured relationships abound.
Even so, much more is needed than a commentary on the loss of love in the church and the world. Far more helpful is a personal reflection on how we can keep the love fires stoked and burning in our hearts for Jesus, his people, and the world for whom he gave everything? In short, how can we keep our hearts from growing cold?
In Revelation 2:4 Jesus’ message to the church in Ephesus includes the fact that some had forsaken their first love: thus, his call to rekindle their zeal and passion for him. When our love for Christ erodes, so does our capacity for loving others in ways Paul describes in I Corinthians 13:4-6.
The spring issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly entitled “Women and the Missio Dei in China,” features articles “written by women who share a common purpose—making disciples in China.” In the process, we see the vital role women have played in China ministry. Guest editor Hope Bentley writes about the ladies who contributed to this issue, and whose hearts burn bright for our Lord:
Love for Christ and a strong call enabled the women to wade into deeper water. They do not simply do missions; it is who they are. Their missional activities are a concrete expression of something that runs deeper—their identity in Christ. Their stories tell only a part of the narrative of women serving Christ in China. But, in their writing we see something of a portrait of many other women who have lived and served in China, and whose stories are yet to be told.
In the lead article entitled “Women in Ministry in China: The Past 50 Years,” eL observes, “Women not only populate China’s church but also stand as many of its pillars,” and “The strong sisters of the twenty-first century stand on the shoulders of their mothers, aunts and ‘godmothers.'”
Immediately after Christ’s forecast about the winter season to come, he proclaims, “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:13-14)
We will do well to school ourselves in the lives of these women of the church in China, whose love for Jesus has burned white hot, whose mutual call is to make disciples, and whose generational fruit among family, friends, and even enemies, is their lasting kingdom legacy.
In this Eastertide season may you be renewed in the living hope of our resurrected Lord!
News and Notes
ChinaSource Quarterly, 2021 Spring Issue
Women and the Missio Dei in China, guest editor, Hope Bentley.
In this issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, all the articles are written by women who share a common purpose—making disciples in China. Their paths may have never personally intersected, but there is harmony in their purpose. Their collective experience represents married women, married with children, single women, Chinese and Westerners. In their writings we can see what happens when women are located in the midst of the missio dei. They show us the beauty of God’s diverse peoples who make up his church, in particular the women in the body of Christ.In their writings we can see what happens when women are located in the midst of the missio dei. They show us the beauty of God’s diverse peoples who make up his church, in particular the women in the body of Christ.
To read this compelling issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly, go to Women and the Missio Dei in China.
ChinaSource Team News
- Brent Fulton spoke at Home of Christ Church in Newark, CA on April 18.
- Joann Pittman gave a virtual lecture on the church in China to students at the Cameroon Extension Site of Bethlehem College and Seminary on April 7.
- On March 24 Brent Fulton participated in a Lausanne Network virtual discussion on ministry collaboration.
- Brent Fulton is working with the Religious Liberty Partnership on a study of how cases of violence against Christians in China are documented and shared by advocacy organizations and the media.
Ways to Pray
From the ChinaSource Team
- Praise the Lord with us that Eunice Choi is the new ChinaSource Senior Administrator. Eunice joined us on March 22, and we are thrilled to have her aboard! Pray for Eunice as she is in her first month of onboarding and there is so much to learn. Pray also that Eunice will be blessed by a warmly welcoming team. More details and an introduction are forthcoming in the May Lantern.
- We are praising the Lord as the ChinaSource team is learning to strategically plan in ways that help us discern God’s will together. Pray we will continue to hear and follow Christ’s Spirit.
- Praise the Lord with us for the way he is helping ChinaSource facilitate and join ministry partnerships, serving and learning from the Chinese church along the way.
- Continue to pray that the Chinese and global churches will increase in love and unity in Christ and in his kingdom purposes.
From the 2021 spring issue of ChinaSource Quarterly
- Pray for women in China as they serve the church and God’s people, often in challenging circumstances.
- Pray for Chinese churches to provide opportunities, encouragement, and significance for women as they minister in churches.
- Pray for single women as they face additional problems and at times, lack of respect, as they serve the church.
- Pray for women from an “outside” culture as they enter a new culture to share the gospel and must learn a new language, customs, and forms of communication.
- Pray that women in ministry will seek wisdom from God and his guidance; that they will know his presence, peace, and joy.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- As Many as the Stars, ChinaSource Blog, April 21.
- “Forced Marriage” and Spring Festival, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 20.
- The Inconvenience of Incarnational Ministry, ChinaSource Blog, April April 19.
- CMC Global 2020—On Demand, ChinaSource Blog, April 16.
- An Earlier CSQ Look at Women in China, ChinaSource Blog, April 14.
- Celebrating Easter across China, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 13.
- It’s Easter. It’s Been a Long Time. Why Am I Still Hurting? ChinaSource Blog, April 12.
- John Song: Modern Chinese Christianity and the Making of a New Man, ChinaSource Blog, April 09.
- Reflecting on Tea and Evangelism, ChinaSource Blog, April 07.
- Celebrating Palm Sunday in Gansu Province, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 06.
- Catholicism in China, ChinaSource Blog, April 05.
- Why Not Shout Together? The Joy of the Resurrection, ChinaSource Blog, April 02.
- Formed by Our Narratives, ChinaSource Blog, March 31.
- Bread of Life Bakery, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), March 30.
- Rejection or Restoration? ChinaSource Blog, March 29.
- Seeking Shalom in a Hostile Environment: Frameworks for Discussion, ChinaSource Blog, March 26.
- The Heart of a Single Servant, ChinaSource Blog, March 24.
- Chinese Young People Seek to Improve Their Futures (2), ChinaSource Blog (CCV), March 23.
- Destination Peking, ChinaSource Blog, Marci 22.
- 3 Questions: Christian Architecture in China, An Interview with Alexander Quan, ChinaSource Blog, March 19.
- WeChat and Chinese Christians: A Match Made on Earth—Used for Gospel Good, ChinaSource Blog, March 17.
Image credit: Jonathan E. Shaw via Flickr.
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