Thursday, August 28, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
No care but all prayer. No anxiety but much joyful communion with God. Carry your desires to the Lord of your life, the guardian of your soul. Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise. Do not pray doubtfully but thankfully. Consider that you have your petitions, and therefore thank God for His grace. He is giving you grace; give Him thanks, Hide nothing. Allow no want to lie rankling in your bosom; "make known your requests." Run not to man. Go only to your God, the Father of Jesus, who loves you in Him.
This shall bring you God's own peace. You shall not be able to understand the peace which you shall enjoy. It will enfold you in its infinite embrace. Heart and mind through Christ Jesus shall be steeped in a sea of rest. Come life or death, poverty, pain, slander, you shall dwell in Jesus above every rolling wind or darkening cloud. Will you not obey this dear command?
Yes, Lord, I do believe thee; but, I beseech thee, help mine unbelief.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I received the following report from Voice of the Martyrs this morning:
Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan, known for traveling across China on a bicycle to evangelize, was arrested by Chinese police just two days before the Olympics began. Pastor Bike was the inspiration for the recent partnership between The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association to create the Olympic Prayer Band.
Pastor Asks for Prayer Band
Earlier this year, Pastor Bike pleaded with VOM staff to ask Christians to pray for persecuted Christians in China during the Olympics. The pastor voluntarily preaches the gospel openly in China despite being persecuted. He has asked for his identity to be revealed to bring continued attention to the persecution of Christians in Communist China.
Thanks to Pastor Bike’s inspiration and the commitment of concerned Christians across the United States, more than 800,000 prayer bands have been circulated. On Aug. 6, Pastor Bike was arrested while trying to deliver medicine to his ailing wife. His wife and another pastor were also arrested. We have also learned this week that Chinese officials are opening a full investigation of the Olympic Prayer Bands that were distributed to house church members within China. Despite this increased pressure from Chinese authorities, Chinese Christians continue to ask for prayer and to make their plight known.
Order your Prayer Bands today!
As the Olympics goes on, the harassment of Chinese evangelists continues to increase. Please help remind others to pray for persecuted Christians like Pastor Bike by ordering your prayer bands today!
More about Pastor Bike
Pastor Bike, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, rode his bike more than 10,000 miles, visiting 24 Chinese provinces to introduce nonbelievers to Jesus Christ. Armed with a Bible and his business card, which declared “Believe in Jesus, Earn Eternal Life,” Pastor Bike brought the gospel to thousands of people. He and other Chinese evangelists have been repeatedly harassed by Chinese officials during this Olympic year. Please pray for the release of Pastor Bike and his wife.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
The following is an edited transcription of the audio (you can find it here).
Is it true that Christianity is unique in the fact that it is a singing and rejoicing faith?
Absolutely. I don't think there are any other religions that sing like Christians sing. Christians really make music over their faith.
Even the sheer radio reality of Christian contemporary music is an interesting phenomenon. It has many pitfalls because of, perhaps, the way that theology is dumbed down in it or the way it is infected with an entertainment mindset; but the sheer existence of Christians who are always looking for ways to make melody about their faith--finding inspiring tunes growing out of their convictions about God and Christ and forgiveness and eternal life--I think that is an amazing and unique thing. I don't think there are any other faiths in the world that come close.
In fact some faiths, like Islam, don't even believe in singing. But what kind of faith could say that the human heart, with its readiness to make melody over almost everything it enjoys, should not do that over the most important reality in the universe? That's a really strange religion, I think.
The fact that Christianity is a singing religion bears witness, not only to the way we're wired as human beings, but to the kind of God we have: namely, a God who is one day, according to Zephaniah 3:17, going to sing over us. He is going to lead a choir and celebrate the fact that we are his. And we're going to join in singing that he is ours, because God is so valuable and so beautiful and so multi-faceted in his perfections that to leave out the emotional component--and not let it spill over in poetry and song--would be to leave out a key element in worship.
I really don't have a lot of patience, frankly, even with Christians who want to put a lid on music and singing, or put it back five centuries, or limit it to one kind of instrument, or take away all instrumental music and just let it be voice. I think that all of that is hopelessly defeatist, because we humans have explosive souls; and the reason we do is because God is explosively beautiful and great and glorious. He is going to call out from us song and music of every kind, and we might as well just let it out and try and bring it into its deep, powerful significance with truth.
That's the crucial thing: govern our music-making with true biblical doctrine.