Monday, October 18, 2010
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A close friend of ours was in China recently on family business. In the process, he had a wonderful opportunity to worship with some Chinese believers in a Sunday church service. It was a not-to-be-forgotten experience. They pointed him to something he didn't know existed in China - a Christian bookstore. It was the only one in this large city, and it's hard to find, and it's stuffed into this very small space on the fourth floor of a nondescript building - but it's a Christian bookstore in China. Our friend commented in an e-mail about the small number of Christian books that were available there in Chinese. In addition to books, they also had a small selection of Christian bookmarks and refrigerator magnets with verses or inspirational thoughts on them. There was one fridge magnet that our friend absolutely could not, and cannot, get out of his mind. Here in the midst of this great city in this great land where Christians have paid such a price to follow Jesus was a magnet that simply said, "Pray for America." The only comment our friend had was this: "How humbling." I guess.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "So Rich, So Needy."
If you're an American Christian, you probably think of China as a place we need to pray for - and it is. But in China, apparently they think they need to pray for us, and indeed they do. Their faith is passionate there; ours is often so casual so powerless. What for Chinese believers is a passion is for too many of us a profession, a bunch of religious activities or a religious business. We have so much, and yet in terms of spiritual power and passion, we seem to have so little. They have so little and yet, in many ways, they have so much. I'm glad and I'm humbled that they're praying for us.
If you're an American Christian, I hope you're praying for us, too. It's hard to read the description of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 and not see us American believers in these words: "You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm ... I am about to spit you out of My mouth. You say, 'I am rich' ... but you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." We live amid the greatest spiritual wealth in the history of the Christian church. We've got Christian everything: books, videos, conferences, seminars, websites, celebrities, buildings. And yet with the largest Christian subculture in the history of the Church, we've lost our culture for Christ. And we are the "12:48 People" who live under the judgment of our Master's words in Luke 12:48, "To whom much is given, much is required."
So, the call of 2 Chronicles 7:14, our word for today from the Word of God, must be a call to you and me. "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." The destiny of a nation depends on what God's people do. Not the politicians, not the secular humanists or the abortionists. As we go, so goes our nation. And we need to be going to our knees for ourselves, repenting of our proud self-reliance; abandoning the faith we have in programs and depending on prayer instead; seeking to know God - to touch His face - not just to know more about God; and to admit our compromises and our sin and abandon it.
From there, we have to realize the responsibility we each have as a Christian from the strongest, richest, most resourced Church in our world. For God has always judged the true righteousness of His people by their love and commitment to three groups of people: the poor, the victims, and the lost. Is that what we're about? Is that what you're about? Somewhere in China today, they're praying for us. Let's be part of the answer to their prayers!