Dear readers, The China Partnership Blog is 1 year old!
Thank you for following us and engaging with our content. We pray this blog has blessed you by broadening your understanding of God’s work among the Chinese, both in China and abroad. We encourage you to pray regularly for the Chinese church and hope our posts help you know how to pray!
In celebration of reaching our 1st anniversary, during the month of October we will be highlighting content from the past year. We start out today with a list of your most “liked” posts. We hope you enjoy revisiting our (and your) favorite articles.
Help spread the word and use the hashtag #blogiversary!
In Christ, The China Partnership
"Out of our obedience to Christ, with our hope to be loyal to the whole family of God, and firm commitment in His leadership; the pastors and elders of our church, based on our confessional faith in the Biblical truths, and our never-ending endeavor in seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have resolved to publish "The Reaffirmation of Our Stance on the House Church" and the following Ninety-Five Theses summary statements."
"Here’s the main thing I learned about welcoming an international student, with little to no understanding of Christianity, into our community group: changing our discussions to make them more accessible for Qing made them richer and more rewarding for us at the same time. Fighting the temptation to lapse into Christian jargon prompted us to confront the strangeness of the gospel, to be challenged and encouraged by it. If anything, the experience has encouraged me to consider how I can continue leading our group in a way which is always more open and intelligible to nonbelievers – not only for their benefit, but for ours too."
"Making a difference in China can be as easy as making a friend. I believe we can do this. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts and we can be his light to our Chinese neighbors. We can welcome them into our homes and walk with them in the difficulties they face adjusting to a new cultural environment. We can simply be their friends, and God will use it to bring eternal change."
"That sunny afternoon a year ago at Santa Monica Pier, I felt blessed after praying. Truly, I am not the only one on this planet that suffers pain, and I am not the only fighter for justice either. I suffered so much and felt helpless because I solely relied on myself, but I am truly so limited. I have been receiving comfort, support, and love from an invisible power since the day my friend prayed for me. I know that power is from God! Now I am ready to live another life, and I know I should depend on our heavenly Father, who created the world, hears us, and cures all. For Him, I surrendered and got baptized.”
"In this situation, we see the Chinese house church being given the privilege and joy of reenacting the early church of Acts. According to reports from those involved, one of the people taken into custody during the raid was only a seeker. He had been talking about faith with friends, and only recently attended the church. But in the Lord’s amazing sovereignty, this man has now made a profession of faith! Let us remember that persecution is never a setback for the church, for the gates of hell will not prevail. Rather it is the Lord who uses every circumstance to bring glory to his name!"
"I couldn't afford to stop my work for some wishy-washy “spiritual exploration.” In fact, I thought of myself as a noble person. In that case, did I still need to have a faith to teach me how to become a good person? I was already good. But what is the ultimate good? What is the ultimate benchmark of a successful Harvard graduate - Bill Gates, John F. Kennedy, Mark Zuckerberg, or some combination of them all? Who should I be?"
"The word 'Immanuel' is becoming more popular each day in China due the growth of Chinese Christianity. It is even becoming a standard way to end the conversation among Christians and we hope that one day 'Immanuel' instead of 'see you again' will be the most popular farewell expression among Chinese people. Now everyone in China knows the meaning of the word “Christmas,” soon we hope everyone will understand the meaning of 'Immanuel.'
'God is with us!' 'God is with us today!' 'God is with us in China!' 'God is with us in my family!' 'God is with us in my work place!' 'God is with all the time and everywhere!'"
"Furthermore, parenting does not get any better along with parents’ spiritual growth; it only depends on God’s grace. When I look back on my rebirth, I know there is no credit for my own work. The salvation is completely outside of me. The goal of Christian education is to first let our children have a new heart that has been forgiven by Christ, so that they can be the people of God. Over this, parents have no power. Therefore, it is all God’s grace, when children come to Christ and admit Christ is Lord."
"Fun as it was for my family, a little sadness nevertheless lingered in our minds knowing that these holidays were still not our own holidays. We were not religious at the time and after the initial excitement had worn off, we still missed our family and friends in China. Furthermore, we were convinced that these American holidays were no match for the festivities during Chinese New Year. But then we were reminded that in two months time, while our families and friends were celebrating the New Year in China, we would be far away from them in this foreign land."
"For over a year, my wife and I stood at one of the most significant forks in the road of our family’s life; we were trying to discern the voice of the Lord. Should we leave our home, my career of over ten years, and our family and friends in order to live and serve in China? We prayed for the Lord to shout the answer, but what came back felt more like a whisper in a noisy room. We heard most of the words, but not all, and had to discern the whole message from its parts. At times my wife and I agreed on what we heard; at times we did not. One thing we both knew, though, was that neither of us ever expected to be wrestling with a decision like this."
"The birth of Jesus doesn’t just empower the Chinese house church, it also enables the American church to step out of the shadows of the steeple. Church is not a building we attend on Sunday. It is the Bride of Christ, a vibrant community of people whose lives are centered around their resurrected King and who long for their Redeemer to make all things new. These motivate the bride to love and serve those around them, seeking to bring more people into this community of faith."
"At the same time, maintaining these kinds of identities is incredibly depleting for the missionary, who experiences a fundamental anxiety about living in two worlds with two different identities. To our sending organizations we would be known as missionaries. But, in our cross-cultural ministry contexts, we would be educators, business people, relief workers, or some other kinds of tentmaker. Our great fears are that someone in our sending world will inadvertently call us out as missionaries, or that someone in our cross-cultural ministry context will find us to be dishonest."
"But why am I angry? What’s going on here? I’ve had to sit and think about that for a while. The truth is that I’m scared. One reason I loved my Christian community in China was the ever-present encouragement to live my life intentionally. It is very, very easy to focus on evangelism when everyone else focused on it as well. It’s easy to do things that scare you when your neighbor is being bold right along with you. Accountability isn’t a bi-weekly appointment; it’s a way of life. Before China, evangelism had never been a focus, or even a hobby, of my life. It was more like something I ran away from in terror."
"Serving internationals at North Avenue has brought diversity of membership, blending of cultures, a global view of God's kingdom on earth, and many members going from our church to other countries...
As we do the work to make disciples every week, we are teaching and re-preaching the gospel message to ourselves and seeing the reality of the Holy Spirit’s power to do unexpected and wonderful things. So our faith explodes and is more experiential and dynamic as we experience the winds of the Holy Spirit being poured out through us and these people. We are all changed together! Praise the Lord!"
"We must not remain strangers in the world of the Old Testament, because as followers of Christ, the story of Israel is also our story. Though my biological ancestors may have hailed from obscure corners of the European continent, nonetheless I may truly say that 'the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm.' My Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ make the same claim. The Old Testament is our shared family heritage. It tells us where we’ve come from."
"This only makes those who are unable to go home more lonely and homesick, and there are many of them in the midst of us. They live not only in a strange city, but also in a foreign country. You may find them celebrating the New Year with friends, but nothing can replace the embrace of their parents. These next few days may be an especially vulnerable time for many of them. With the New Year falling on a Thursday, it may seem even more discouraging that many will still have to go to school or work."
"It is crucial to do a 'heart operation' if we want to learn about our hearts. Do not expect hearts to change quickly since the heart is complicatedly bound up. The surgical knife is a helpful tool - in some people’s hands it brings only some healing pain, but in other’s hands it may be lethal and bring death. One must use it with wisdom. Grace changes our heart, but the change is painful. Therefore, we need to preach the lifelong gospel of grace in order to take every thought captive and make it obey Christ, so that God’s people can be called together to worship him."
"In most American churches, small groups are one of the major ways that peer discipleship and fellowship happen. We experience Jesus revealed in each other as we know joys and sorrows, eat together, serve, laugh, and learn. We begin to truly know others, and allow ourselves to be known. For international seekers or new believers who plan to return to their home countries, being wholeheartedly welcomed into small groups can be very powerful, even if only for a short time."
"What can churches of other countries do to help China’s churches in this movement? First, we have to come to the realization that churches in China have matured to a stage where a parent-child model, indicative of the early missionary stage between foreign countries and churches in China, is no longer feasible. The current relationship needs to be a kind of companionship or partnership. In this respect, I do see huge needs in three areas. First, we need pastoral experience. Most reformed churches in China are made up of first-generation believers who are new converts. We need pastoral experience in our families, churches, and communities. Second, we need more literature, including the translations of classic reformed resources as well as teaching resources for adult Sunday school and children’s Sunday school. Third, we need help with theological education and Christian schools."
"Nineteen nations are now represented at Trinity Park Church, and we are poised to add a twentieth as we welcome a new Afghani visitor from our Good Neighbor Team with World Relief. There are five things I've learned from planting and pastoring a multicultural church and I hope to share them with you here."