Thursday, October 18, 2007
Drinking freshly squeezed juice is fashionable. In Wuhan, a reporter found that canned juices are sold as fresh and fresh juices are diluted with concentrate. Such practices occur even in high-end establishments. Cheating on labor or materials is considered normal or even expected. It is very difficult as Chinese believers struggle with Biblical ethics and profit-making daily. Let us pray for the courage of not compromising and honoring God in everything we do.
“Pay back the debt on the New Year” is a story in Mao’s memoir. Chairman Mao paid back a debt of 20,000 silver dollars he borrowed in 1920 for the revolution nearly 50 years later (in 10 yearly installments on every Chinese New Year.) Many Chinese believers speak of “Paying back the debt of Gospel” to Western missionaries. Let us pray for true fervor and missionary efforts among Chinese churches. We too remember all those who are serving abroad and are supported by churches in China.
37 million Chinese will travel and spend more abroad this year. China will become the fourth largest source of outbound tourists in the world by the mid-2010s according to the United Nation. Many Chinese church leaders and pastors have visited churches abroad. We pray that what they have visited and learn will give them new vision and direction for their churches and ministries.
A bright spot in ministry work in China is on college campus. There are many student fellowships, large and small, and new students are always attending. Many students accept Jesus, but then graduate without real discipleship and follow-up. The universal problem is a lack of mature leadership. Let us pray for equipping and training leaders who are willing to help train new believers.
Traffic congestion in Beijing is expected to get worse before the Olympics, with 90% of roads operating at full capacity and little room for expansion. There are now 3 million automobiles in the capital. Traffic delay and congestion play a role in discouraging many believers attending weekday services and meetings. Weekday meeting attendances are down among urban churches. Let us pray as churches make adjustments and seek ways to care and strengthen their sheep.
More than 10 million Chinese are regular users of drinking water machines or bottled water. Yet, more than half of the bottled water in Beijing is “counterfeit.” Such practice is said to be widespread because the authentic bottled water costs twice as much. Cults and Mormonism presenting themselves as Christian are making significant advance in China recently, even drawing away unsuspecting believers. Let us pray for this alarming trend and for believers’ discernment.
It has been a boom year in the Chinese stock and real estate market. It seems that everyone believes that the government will not pop the present bubble of euphoria before the 2008 Olympic Games. Churches in China have endured persecution and survived attacks by occult forces but they are doing poorly combating the present torrent of materialism. May the Lord's mercy protect all of us against materialism and the Chinese churches from becoming merely lukewarm groups of people.
As in the days of Noah...