Thursday, April 28, 2011

Devotional reading 280411

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. By God's grace, I recovered from jetlag sooner than before. Again, thanks for your prayer. While I was driving to office this morning, I recalled a unified theme being preached by various speakers at London conference, which is "to be real from inside out." This theme became the central message from the Holy Spirit at the conference. These speakers had submitted their sermon outlines ahead of time, and without comparing notes with one another they gave the same emphasis. Yes, in order to seize "the opportunity of this time," we need to seek the lives of obedience under the Lordship of Christ. Dr. George Murray, our last speaker of the conference said, "Great Commission begins with lordship of Christ because Jesus siad, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me...therefore go and make disciples of all nations.'" Without obedience there will be no spiritual revival. Without spiritual revival there will be no Great Commission. A lot of time, we want God to be involved in our plan for ministry and life. But He prefers us to be involved in His plan. We focus so much on what "we want" to accomplish for Christ instead of obeying to what "He wants" to accomplish through us. And the life of obedience is to be expressed in our daily living as a person, and our interaction with other beings in our daily context - to be a real and genuine follower of Christ.

Our first speaker of the conference quoted a phrase from one of another speakers who said in other occasion, "life should be our sermon, and daily living should be our pulpit." Renewal or revival, therefore, should be starting with our genuine relationship with the Triune God on a daily basis. It does not matter how much one knows about the Bible. What matters is how much one obeys the teaching of the Bible. Another speaker echoed, "many Christians ended their lives with many good wishes without being put into practice." They knew what God had intended for their lives, and wished to be involved in His glorious plan for their lives, but they ended their lives with nothing but regrets. Unfortunately, this is a life description of many Christians. We hope to summarize our lives with an inscription on our tombstone as "a good and faithful servant of God." But in reality, many of the inscription on Christian tombstone is "wished to be a good and faithful servant of God."

Have mercy on us O Lord! Help us to be obedience to your plan for our lives and finish well. Let's encourage each other to practice what we preach or know.

Love you in Christ,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mission update 260411

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thanks for your prayer support. I had a fruitful trip in London. It was the first Mission conference for Chinese churches in England and Europe. I had opportunity to meet many Chinese Christians and pastors from different countries in Europe. It was an eyes opening experience to find out how God was at work in many Chinese communities throughout Europe. Even though the Chinese churches in general did not feel like they were ready to send out missionaries, many came to pick up our magazines and enquire about our mission fields. Pray that the Lord will revive the Chinese churches in Europe for His mission.
Europe (UK included) is considered to be mission field for Chinese churches. Many churches do not have full time pastors. Among all the Chinese churches in UK, there were less than 5 full time English ministers to serve their second generations. There is indeed a big need for English youth minister in Chinese church. However, a new UK homeland security policy made it harder for religious workers or students from going into the country. They are very tight on granting work visa for religious workers and student visa for seminarians. We need to pray for spiritual revivval in many Christian nations in Europe. Pray that their leaders (including their royal family members) will take their relationship with God more seriously.
I did not sleep well last night because of jetlag. It is therefore difficult for me to focus in meditation and prayer. Pray that I will recover soon. My next trip is a short one to Portland, Oregon. Afterward, I will be leaving for three countries in East Africa in May, and Toronto, Canada as well. Appreciate your prayer for my health and travel...
In Christ,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Devotional readings 041211

Dear brothers and sisters, Good morning. I have been reading the book of Isaiah for my personal devotion while I was traveling in China. The Prophet was called to ministry during a critical time in his country. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne (Isaiah 6:1)… It was during a major transition in the political arena of his country that Isaiah saw the throne of God in his vision. God chose to call His people to serve Him while the environment was most unstable and fearful. Nobody knew what the future might hold when a king died. Was the king murdered or died of natural cause? Could the new king provide political stability for the country? Would enemies take advantage of the transition to attack our country? It was during the most unstable time of his life that Isaiah heard the calling of God, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah immediately said, “Here am I. Send me!” We are in a unstable and fearful time too. Natural disasters and political uprising in the Middle East are upsetting people all over the world. None can tell what the future may hold for us. Will the economy recover? Will the environment be contaminated by nuclear radioactivity from Japan? It is during this time of turmoil that we should focus more on the throne of God instead of on our environment. Instead of figuring out a backup plan to secure our future, it may be time to listen to what God have in mind for our world today. God for sure has a plan for this historical moment of time. He has a plan for His church and definitely a plan for His people like you and me. The question is whether His people are willing to listen to Him and answer His call. It is usually during the most difficult time in life that people will be more in tune to God. In helpless desperation people turn to God for a way out. God uses this moment to call people to repent and bring awakening to people’s souls. But whom shall God send? And who will go for God to fulfill His plan? I pray that God will raise up a new generation of Kingdom workers to meet this challenge. Indeed, a revival is going on among the college students and young professionals in China today. Many came to know the Lord, and many dedicated themselves to serve Him in whatever capacity. God is going to bless the world through them. And you can be a channel of His blessings for the world too! Listen and focus on His throne… Share in His precious love with you, Lawrence