This is a question I’ve asked myself for years and I imagine one that plagues the minds of many. In the past I would have answered it with something like “to help people” or “to tell people about Jesus” or perhaps a more vague “to serve God”. Those are great aims in life, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think they’re quite there. As a church worker, I’ve tried to do those things. I’ve worked very hard at helping people. I’ve told lots of people about Jesus. I’ve tried to serve God through giving talks, writing studies, organising events, hosting parties, driving people round, baking cakes, brewing tea, mopping floors and being a shoulder to cry on. But somewhere in the midst of all that, I forgot that my primary purpose in life is to glorify God, and that starts with simply knowing Him (John 17:3).Read more
This past weekend I just happened to watch two movies which were about the Pacific conflicts in the second world war. Both movies brought out the point that there was extensive difference between the Japanese and the British/American culture. For example, the Japanese thought their opponents were cowards because they surrendered rather than fighting to the death. The Allies thought the Japanese were fanatics because they preferred death to surrender. These assumptions coloured their treatment of each other on the battlefield and in the POW camp. But this misunderstanding arose due to a lack of appreciation of culture. The Allies weren’t cowards, but they valued life and preferred to live to fight another day. The Japanese on the other hand, valued honour, and would prefer to die honourably in battle than live with defeat.Read more
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” John 15:18
Recently, I’ve been contemplating John 15 and allowing myself to think long and hard about what ‘being hated for following Jesus’ might look like for me. I may not face the daily persecution that other believers around the world face. But would I be willing to lose a close friendship or a relationship with a family member? And under what circumstances might this even happen?Read more
Over the last few years, I’ve written a good deal about mission agencies, you can find the majority of those posts here. I plan to write a few posts which suggest possible ways forward for agencies in a changing world, but before I get to the future, I’d like to lay a foundation by considering what it is that mission agencies actually do. Then I’ll consider some of the issues which are driving the need for change.Read more
If Christians talk about international students at all, they usually talk about them in one of two ways: as a necessity for sustaining our UK universities or as a transient presence in our church communities which doesn’t really contribute anything lasting to the church. The first is true, so we are told by those who know about university finances and judging by how much international students are paying for their courses it is easy to believe. The second is not true and it is sad that this perspective means that some churches do not see the great and lasting benefit of investing in the lives of international students; a benefit to the local church but even more significantly, to the worldwide church.Read more
“Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice before everyone has
heard it once?”—Oswald J. Smith.
“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
The Punjab is the province known as the breadbasket of Pakistan. The word itself comes from two words, punj, meaning five and ab, meaning water or river. Therefore, we are talking about the land of the five rivers. Chiniot is on the eastern bank of the middle river, the Chenab.
This town was famous for its fish. Pakistani families by the carload would often come to Chiniot for the most delicious fish kabobs in the Punjab.
Going on an overseas mission trip can often be a transforming and life changing experience; offering an opportunity to serve in a very different culture and environment, challenging our worldview and our perceptions of our role in the world. Taking people on a short-term mission trip experience can equip them and inspire them for a lifetime of service, or at the very least cause them to think critically about the consumerist ‘it’s all about me’ culture that we live in.Read more
May God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine on us. So that Your way may be known on the earth, your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for you will judge the peoples with uprightness, and guide the nations on the earth. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us, so that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.Psalm 67
Church outside of China
Finally, how can the global church outside of China be part of this ISM vision in China? First and foremost, brothers and sisters could commit to praying for this.
Experienced ISM workers could be sent to China to support international churches or to come alongside local Chinese fellowships and campus ministries. Networking could be established between healthy national ISMs, pioneering ISMs outside of China, international churches within China, global sending organizations, and the nascent Chinese ISM movement.Read more
It should come as no surprise, but perhaps for many of us, it is. Certainly our behaviour suggests so. Consider the extraordinary events of Acts 8-11.
The Samaritans find faith in Jesus (resulting in an apostolic visit); then an Ethiopian finds faith (as a result of a Spirit-inspired diaconal encounter with Philip); then Cornelius, a roman solider, finds faith along with his household (during a Spirit-inspired apostolic visit); then the Greeks start to find faith in Antioch as the new diaspora of persecuted followers of The Way tell the story of Jesus.Read more