Tomorrow morning I am leaving for a trip to China to check out a potential ministry partner for our missions team. We are going to a place 2 hours outside of Kunming (if anybody knows where that it) - an ancient Yi Town. As I am mentally preparing for this trip, the thing that has been running over and over in my mind is the number of people that live in China. 1.3 billion people. This is more than four times the size of the United States.
The thing that is striking me about this large number is that their history is not one of a Christian heritage, but of communism and atheism. A history devoid of God and the story of Jesus. A history of worshiping fire and other gods. A history that by design, designed by the government and Satan, is meant to keep them away from discovering THE God of the universe.
Yet out of this is growing a church. A massive amount of people are turning to Jesus. The church is growing in spite of sometimes harsh and brutal treatment of believers. A passion to know God and build his church is infecting the lives of millions of people - regardless of the cost. (In fact, the number of people accepting Christ is outpacing the number of church leaders that are developing, leaving somewhat of a leadership void.)
I am contrasting this with the state of the church in America - a country that has a rich history of Christianity. Church attendance is declining. Christianity is in decline and is tepid at best. We seem to be more concerned about being grace filled and tolerant than standing on truth and we are loosing our effectiveness to be salt and light to a nation because no one sees any difference between those who are committed to Christ and those that aren't.
Another telling thing that is playing into my thoughts: I was asked last week by some friends from Ukraine "why don't people in the American church read their Bibles and seek after God". A very telling question about how, at least a corner of the world, views our form of Christianity. I gave them this answer - we don't understand the value of having a relationship with God, we value other things more than we value God and therefore we don't pursue God. It seems to me like, as a community of believers, we have been lulled into complacency; content to dabble in religion and really denying the power of it (hummmm.... see II Timothy 3 if you want to see what this says about our culture).
Bottom line - we have a job to do. We have been charged by our Lord and Master to go and make disciples; people who are committed to obedience. Pray for revival in our nation. Pray that the church will begin to expand like the church in China is.