As we head to church this morning, or go on vacation, maybe frustrated that the line at starbucks is too long, or that you might run into that weird dude in the church lobby, let’s set our mind to prayer for the church across the globe.
And maybe think about our western sensibilities and what it would look like to have a kingdom strategy and commitment to Jesus. Having Jesus as our all because we have nothing else…
The government continues its partial shutdown, not making life easy for those without paychecks. Pray for them. How will we look back on this time in our political lives? What will we learn from it?
Otherwise, let’s get to some bits that are worth you time this week. Being simple, the church in Asia and an email you want in your inbox.
First up: With the quick fad of Marie Kondo and tidying up (notice how they lured you in a resolution time) it is a good time for those placing faith and hope in Jesus versus material possessions to reflect on the health of simplicity. Myles Werntz uses more words than necessary but gives a helpful essay, especially for those of us with kids!
Next, and more importantly, Open Doors released their yearly ranking of the 50 most dangerous nations for Christians and Asian countries have risen on the naughty list. Be praying for those in China and India in particular.
Finally in the worthwhile list is Matt Anderson’s new email essays. You can subscribe and receive them in your inbox a couple of times a week. I highly recommend today’s on free speech and restricting some negative speech.
Tomorrow my oldest child turns nine. Next week I turn forty-one. Clearly I have much to learn of both being a parent and being an adult. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, or sugar, whichever is your preference. Or maybe you should kill your preferences…
This week’s worthwhile is short because I found myself scheduling appointments for vehicle maintenance, replacing a windshield, and shopping at thrift stores for new soccer cleats for Junior.
All abuzz in the Twittersphere was Andrew Sullivan’s column on America’s New Religions. He takes swipes at yoga, progress, and Trump. Still, it is important to think through the ways idolatry has become religion. Even those that claim faith in Christ but means really just right-leaning politics etc. Sullivan uses more words than necessary but brings up some important points for all sides to consider. And we can all pray for a resurgence of vital Christianity in our day.
Speaking of vital Christianity, Sunday in China the government began to persecute and crack down on members of Early Rain Covenant Church, an unregulated “house church.” One of the pastors of the church encouraged members to keep meeting no matter how many staff or elders were imprisoned. Of his own situation Wang Yi said:
“Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ. When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me. Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them.
“Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.”
This morning as I read Luke 21 I was challenged by Christ’s words. After explaining coming persecution and being brought before the rulers of the day for is name’s sake he tells his followers “This will be your opportunity to bear witness” Christ through the spirit will give them the words to say and wisdom in these situations.
While Americans don’t face the same type of persecution of some around the world (violence, imprisonment, death) we do face social persecution and in these situations we find our opportunity to bear witness of Christ. When life presents us with financial problems, health issues, or even abundant success; this is our opportunity to bear witness. I am challenged by this idea because I don’t bear witness well. I have plenty of opportunity but I need to settle it in my mind to endure for Christ and bear witness of him in every situation. This is my challenge today…