China, Part Five

china-1Matthew 9:37-38,  … The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

John 4:35, Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

It has been said that 95 percent of the full-time Christian workers are serving 5 percent of the world’s population and 5 percent of the full-time Christian workers are trying to reach 95 percent of the world’s population. And may I say this, unfortunately, they are failing drastically!

God knows we need some young men and women with the pioneer spirit of the Apostle Paul. Where are the Hudson Taylor’s, William Carey’s, Adoniram Judson’s, David Livingstone’s,   Amy Carmichael’s, and Glady’s Alward’s of our day? Men and women who are willing to GO where others refuse to GO and DO what others refuse to DO!

Romans 15:20-21, Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:21 But as it is written,To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

2 Corinthians 10:16, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.

As I have often said, when it comes to reaching the world, especially the Unreached and Unengaged of our world for Christ, the Great Commission has become the Great Omission. Again, where are those who are willing to leave their comfort zone to make a difference where few others, and in some cases, no others, are willing to make a difference?

Where are those who are willing to go to the dark places? Where are those who are willing to go to the desperate places? Where are those who are willing to go to the difficult places. And yes, where are those who are willing to go to the dangerous places?

“If ten men are carrying a log – nine of them on the little end and one at the heavy end – and you want to help, which end will you lift on?” – William Borden

log

I like what Taube and Tolson write in their book On the Edge:

How could God tell us to “go ye into all the world” when He knew that there would be nations like China that would do everything in their power to keep Christianity outside of their borders? Is there an exception to God’s plan? What does He honestly expect the church to accomplish when China is doing the very best they can to keep the Gospel from entering their land. From persecuting believers to monitoring internet activity, they are fighting against the church in their quest to fulfill the Great Commission. The Bible tells us that our God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance.” This is so important for us to grasp! No matter how many laws China passes, no matter how many missionaries they throw out of the country, no matter how many pastors and Christians are thrown into prison and persecuted, no matter how many walls they build, God still has a plan to get the Gospel to the people of China! 

Where in our generation does that burning desire of the heart exist? Who among us longs to see God work in extraordinary ways? Who among us has a passion to see God glorified behind the closed doors of this world? Until we have young men and young women of God who are willing to do anything necessary to see God’s name glorified, there will be no city-taking. Until there is a generation willing to suffer, willing to bleed, and willing to die for the glory of God, there will be no conquering of the land God has promised us. We may watch walls fall and doors open, but it is our hearts that determine whether or not the cities of this world will be taken. … Is that desire found in your heart? I pray that it is. Windows of opportunity are every bit as inaccessible as closed doors if your heart is not seeking an entrance.

When it comes to serving in dark,  desperate, desperate, and even dangerous places, I like what one female missionary serving in a Middle eastern country (99 percent Muslim) said, “God calls us to dangerous places because He loves people who live in dangerous places.”

The 10/40 Window may at times seem to be closed to the Gospel, but with God there are no closed windows. My personal opinion is that it’s not as much a problem of a CLOSED WINDOW as it is CALLOUSED HEARTS!

china-2Just as there is a great physical wall that surrounds much of China, there is also a great spiritual wall that surrounds the country, that in many ways is keeping the Good News of Jesus from entering!

It doesn’t matter how high of a spiritual wall they build, with God’s help and our willingness, there will always be a way to scale the wall!

Pray for China and the rest of the 10/40 Window!!!

“The command has been to ‘go,’ but we have stayed — in body, gifts, prayer, and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth … but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland.”— Robert Savage

 

China, Part Four

china-1Matthew 9:36-38,  But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

John 4:34-35,  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

In the first of this series of posts on China, I wrote the following words:

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how astonished many–including long-time pastors–are when I begin to share some of the “numbers” and the great need in the 10/40 Window in general, and in China more specifically! Then again, I really shouldn’t be amazed at all. Because just a few years ago I was in the same boat. I just didn’t know. At least, I didn’t know like maybe I should have known or I didn’t know enough to stir a God-given, holy-passion in my heart to do something about the great need in the 10/40 Window!

On almost a weekly basis I have folks ask me about the 10/40 Window in general and China more specifically. After I share a few numbers with them the countenance on their face almost always changes. The need is great that’s for sure!

While China is not the neediest, nor most difficult area in the world, it is surely one of the neediest, and one of the most difficult parts of the world for cross-cultural missionaries to get in and effectively serve the people and spread the Gospel.

In my second post in this series, I noted:

people-2China is a country of 1.4 billion people. That is almost five times the size of the United States of America. The “unreached” population of the country of China is just under 186 million people. Depending on who’s statistics you believe, somewhere between 3-5 percent of the population professes to be “Christian.” Just to put that in proper perspective, 77.5 percent of Americans profess to be “Christian.”

There are 150 cities in China with over one million people. In America that number is nine! While no one knows for sure, it is believed that there are somewhere between 50-100 full-time independent Baptist workers in China.

Folks, we have nearly fifty full-time workers at my home and sending church!

That comes up to one ft worker for either every 14 million people or 28 million people depending on whether it’s 100 or 50 ft Christian workers in the country! At best (1 worker for 14 million people), that would be like one full-time IB worker to reach the entire country of Cambodia where my wife and I served for nearly two years!

A few more thought-provoking numbers worth pondering:

people81 percent of the 542 different people groups in China are considered Unreached People Groups, and many of them are Unengaged People Groups, which simply means no one is looking for them.

The five largest of these Unreached People Groups in China are as follows:

(1) Han Chinese Xiang, 38 million people, 2.0 percent professing Christian;

(2) Han Chinese Hakka,  35 million people, 2.0 percent professing Christian;

(3) Uyghur, 23 million people, 0.01 percent professing Christian;

(4) Tujia, 9 million people, 1.0 percent professing Christian;  

(5) Mongol, 7. 4 million people, 0.4 percent professing Christian! 

Take a moment to go over that list just one more time. Look carefully at the number of people that comprise the people group and what percentage of them are “professing” Christians. Also, be sure to take notice where the decimal point is located. And, keep in mind, the United States is 77 percent “professing” Christian!

So what are your thoughts? Yeah, me too!

“To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.” – William Carey

china-2

Just as there is a great physical wall that surrounds much of China, there is also a great spiritual wall that surrounds the country that in many ways is keeping the Good News of Jesus from entering!

Pray for China!!!

 

candle“I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light.” – John Keith Falconer

 

Where is the Spirit of Necessity?

must“And He (Jesus) MUST needs go through Samaria” ( John 4:4).

In John 4, and the story of Jesus entering Samaria and His conversation with the Samaritan woman, we find Jesus GOING where others refused to GO; LOVING one who others refused to LOVE; and DOING what others refused to DO!

Why?

Jesus took these risks, or chances, if you will, because He understood the NECESSITY of doing so, and He lived, loved, and served in a constant spirit of NECESSITY.

So should we!

Because we don’t have this spirit of necessity, because we don’t see the necessity of fulfilling the Great Commission, especially when it comes to bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged People groups of the world (in spite of the fact that we know about the need), the task isn’t even close to being accomplished. Concerning this spirit of necessity, or the lack of it, I like what Jake Taube and Mark Tolson wrote in their book On the Edge A Strategy for China in this Generation:

So, as the barrier is obviously not one of authority, funds, or manpower, what is the insurmountable obstacle that lies in the path of the Great Commission’s fulfillment? It is simply a lack of necessity!  The reason we do not find the authority to storm the 10/40 window or to penetrate the Bamboo Curtain, the reason we do not see the massive financial figures needed to impact the world, the reason we do not have armies of young people training to go to the mission field is the fact that we feel no necessity to make it happen!

It is simply a lack of necessity!  The reason we do not find the authority to storm the 10/40 window or to penetrate the Bamboo Curtain, the reason we do not see the massive financial figures needed to impact the world, the reason we do not have armies of young people training to go to the mission field is the fact that we feel no necessity to make it happen!

Far too often, we are not willing to take CHANCES or RISKS in our Christian life because we are too COMFORTABLE and simply do not see the NECESSITY of doing so!

MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, IT ISN’T A MATTER OF IGNORANCE THAT KEEPS US FROM DOING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, BUT RATHER A MATTER OF INDIFFERENCE!

China? Part Three

china-1Matthew 9:35-38, And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Romans 15:20,  Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.

When you follow the life and ministry of Christ and the ministry of the Apostle Paul in the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, you’ll find that both Jesus and Paul had a burning passion to reach the multitudes of unreached and often unloved peoples of their world. While we understand that not all will “GO” to the uttermost parts of the world, all who claim the name of Christ and have experienced the wonderful grace of God in their lives, must be a part of this great undertaking of which we call missions.

harvest-fieldsOur Lord commanded His disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest specifically to send more laborers into the harvest fields that were plenteous then and are even more so today. The problem has never been with the harvest field, it has always been the lack of laborers and our unwillingness to send them or to GO ourselves!

God knows the need is greater than it has ever been, and there seem to be fewer and fewer willing to go to the places that are most difficult and most dangerous. There aren’t lines of people waiting to GO to China, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East, or North Africa. Yet, the fact remains, the harvest fields are more plenteous than ever and someone needs to GO. As I wrote in my book Peeking Through the 1040 Window: Why it Matters to God and Why it Should Matter to Us

  • There are over seven billion people alive in the world today, and almost two-thirds of them live in the 10/40 Window.
  • There are hundreds of millions of people in our world who will live their entire lives having never met a Christian, never hearing the Gospel, and never hearing the name of Jesus even once prior to their death and nearly all of these live in the 10/40 Window.
  • Eighty-six percent of the Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus in the world will live their entire lives and die without ever meeting a Christian, and almost every one of these lives in the 10/40 Window.
  • Forty-three percent of the world’s people groups are considered unreached and the majority of these are found in the 10/40 Window.
  • Over 75,000 people die every day without ever having heard the name of Jesus even once, and the vast majority of these are found in this region.
  • Of the top fifty countries on the list of most persecution of Christians, forty-five of them are also found in this region.
  • For every one hundred dollars raised in Western churches, ninety-nine are spent on Christians; only one dollar is spent on evangelizing non-Christians, and of that one dollar, less than ten cents is spent to reach the almost 2.5 billion unreached people in our world in the 10/40 Window.
  • 95% of full-time Christian servants are serving 5% of the world’s population.
  • Only one in a thousand evangelical Christians ever go into cross-cultural ministry.
  • Of those who do go, more than 90 percent of them go into lands and to people who have already been evangelized, and less than 5 percent of them go to the 10/40 Window where two-thirds of the world is located!
  • There are 1,900 languages in the world (some 180 million people) that have NO Scripture in their own language, and most of these are found there also.

Can we see the need? Do we hear the cries? Do we have God’s heart concerning this matter?

As one missionary and author noted in his book, The Missionary Call:

One-third of the planet’s population, over two billion people, has never heard the gospel. And of that number, over 50,000 die daily, separated from God forever. As has been said, one definition of a missionary is someone who never gets used to the sound of pagan footsteps on their way to a Christless eternity. The sounds of those footsteps echo in their minds and haunt their waking dreams. One should not go driven by the need alone, but God often uses the need as a starting place to awaken us to His call.

China and it’s 1.4 billion people, along with places like the Middle East, Southeast Asia, an other places in the 10/40 Window are beckoning for us to come and help them. Like the Marines, God is looking for a few good men and a few good women who are willing to GO to China and other places in the 10/40 Window. What are we waiting for? What is holding us back?

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” – Bob Pierce

china-2Just as there is a great physical wall that surrounds much of China, there is also a great spiritual wall that surrounds the country that in many ways is keeping the Good News of Jesus from entering!

Pray for China!!!

China? Part Two

china-1Matthew 9:36-38, 36  But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37  Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

John 4:34-35, 34  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

As I mentioned in my last post, it never ceases to amaze me how little we know about the the great harvest fields of the 10/40 Window in general, and the country of China more specifically. And, as I mentioned in another post, while there is definitely a need for the Gospel everywhere, the need in the 10/40 Window is so great that there is absolutely no comparison to anywhere else in the world, ESPECIALLY AMERICA!

China is a country of 1.4 billion people. That is almost five times the size of the United States of America. The “unreached” population of the country of China is just under 186 million people. Depending on who’s statistics you believe, somewhere between 3-5 percent of the population professes to be “Christian.”

Just to put that in proper perspective, 77.5 percent of Americans profess to be “Christian.” 

There are 150 cities in China with over one million people. In America that number is nine! While no one knows for sure, it is believed that there are somewhere between 50-100 full-time independent Baptist workers in China.

Folks, we have nearly fifty full-time workers at my home church!

That comes up to one ft worker for either every 14 million people or 28 million people depending on whether it’s 100 or 50 ft Christian workers in the country! At best (1 worker for 14 million people),  that would be like one full-time IB worker to reach the entire country of Cambodia where my wife and I served for nearly two years!

Like Laos, where I served for 17 months, China is a “Restricted Access Nation” or “Creative Access Nation.” In other words, NO MISSIONARIES ALLOWED! If we are going to enter these countries, we have to find a creative way to do so. In other words, not like it’s always been done in the past.

In recent days, the new president of China has been tightening the screws on Christianity in general and Christianity led by foreigners in particular. Some wonder and others ask, “Shouldn’t this cause us to reconsider sending folks to China?”

As Jake Taube and Mark Tolson noted in their book Edge: A Strategy for China in this Generation:

How could God tell us to “go ye into all the world” when He knew that there would be nations like China that would do everything in their power to keep Christianity outside of their borders? Is there an exception to God’s plan? What does He honestly expect the church to accomplish when China is doing the very best they can to keep the Gospel from entering their land. From persecuting believers to monitoring internet activity, they are fighting against the church in their quest to fulfill the Great Commission. The Bible tells us that our God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance.” This is so important for us to grasp! No matter how many laws China passes, no matter how many missionaries they throw out of the country, no matter how many pastors and Christians are thrown into prison and persecuted, no matter how many walls they build, God still has a plan to get the Gospel to the people of China!

china-2Someone has to be willing to GO to these difficult and sometimes dangerous countries!!!

Just as there is a great physical wall that surrounds much of China, there is also a great spiritual wall that surrounds the country that in many ways is keeping the Good News of Jesus from entering!

Pray for China!

China? Part One

china-1My wife and I have been in the States now for just over three months. We are in 3-to-4 churches nearly every week. I have the opportunity and privilege to preach and teach in almost everyone of these churches. I have had the privilege to preach in Bible college, high school, and grade school chapel services. I have had the opportunity to sit down with young and old alike, who are “wrestling with God” concerning this matter of missions. It is a blessing to be a help when meeting with folks like this.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how astonished many–including long-time pastors–are when I begin to share some of the “numbers” and the great need in the 10/40 Window in general, and in China more specifically!

Then again, I really shouldn’t be amazed at all. Because just a few years ago I was in the same boat. I just didn’t know. At least, I didn’t know like maybe I should have known or I didn’t know enough to stir a God-given, holy-passion in my heart to do something about the great need in the 10/40 Window!

Over the past three months, I have handed out many copies of my books Peeking through the 10/40 Window and Keep the Dream Alive. On occasion, I will receive a text or an email from someone that God has used the books to stir their heart about the great need around the world, especially in the 10/40 Window in general and China specifically. Just two days ago (on New Year’s Day), I received an email from a pastor that was a super blessing.

“Dear Brother Johnny & Denise,

We met each other in November at #### Baptist Church with Pastor #####. My name is Pastor ###### from ###### Baptist Church of ####### First I want to thank you for seeking me out and extending the hand of fellowship, but also following the Lord’s leadership and writing the book and giving me a copy. The book has bounced around in my book bag for a month and tonight because of some unique circumstances I had a chance (I would have read earlier if I knew it was a must read for me) to read it. The place I am at right now is a place of uncertainty of how the Lord would have me to respond but I know there’s something and I know 1st it is a matter of prayer.

Please pray for my church and myself that I follow through on the way the information pricked my heart. I am excited and ashamed at the same time. The excitement comes at the prospect the Lord working on hearts and ashamed that my world has excluded something so obvious a blind man could see it.  This you can be assured of that we will pray for you and the calling you have and the effort to bring others up to speed on the need. The second thing we will pursue with much spiritual vigor as possible the responsibility and privilege to do know the mind of God in this area of missions.

Sincerely Pastor ###

Receiving an email such as this was a great way to start a New Year that’s for sure. Thankful for a man, a pastor, who is allowing God to do a “work” in his heart.  A man who has a soft and sensitive heart to the Spirit’s speaking.

Knowing that there are many more men and women like this man out there, I thought I would take the opportunity, Lord willing, as I travel to Missouri and Texas over the next couple of weeks, to write a few articles on China and the 10/40 Window.  And possibly, God will use these feeble words of mine to do a work in your heart and mine. You just never know what God will do!

china-2Just as there is a great physical wall that surrounds much of China, there is also a great spiritual wall that surrounds the country that in many ways is keeping the Good News of Jesus from entering!

Pray for China!!!