Thursday, July 02, 2009

Embracing the Family of God

Last night I met with a house church in Yorba Linda that I never knew existed before. They welcomed me as a brother in Christ and together we listened as Mok, a pastor of a house church in Hong Kong, shared a message of encouragement through Henry, an interpreter.

I was there as the guest of one of our newest house church brothers, Scott Sutherland. He graciously invited me to dinner last night to meet with Mok and his assistant Matt. The food was amazing and the fellowship was sweet. Afterwards I was invited to join them as Mok spoke to this house church fellowship.

What blessed me the most was hearing Mok's heart for the Western Church and for sending missionaries to preach the Gospel in England, Germany and the US. "The Gospel came to China through missionaries in the West," Mok said. "I feel we owe a debt of gratitude."

What's so amazing about all of this is that Mok's church is roughly one hundred people meeting secretly as an illegal house church in Hong Kong. They are very poor, and yet they have a vision and a dream of sending or supporting missionaries to the West.

Mok shared a story about how he recently visited a Reformed Evangelical church in London and brought a financial gift to that Body. "They were very surprised to receive this gift," Mok shared. "Do Chinese Christians really love us? Do they really think of us?" and Mok corrected their pastor saying, "No. Not 'Chinese Christians', just 'Christians'. We are your brothers and sisters in Christ."

That really blessed me. To see that the walls between nations, and language, and politics are really nothing compared to our new identity as members of the family of God is awesome.

It was also quite humbling to see how much these brothers from China valued the Gospel and how much they prayed for us here in the West. "We always remember you in our prayers," Mok said to us at one point, and I knew from the tears in his eyes and the tone of his voice that his church actually did pray for us constantly. Could I say the same?

Afterwards, I was blessed to meet and share with several in this house church, and to embrace more of my brothers and sisters in Christ. These are people who love and serve Him above all else, regardless of race, or language, or culture. This church was small but there were people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures in attendance. It was refreshing to be reminded that, in Christ, we are all one Body.

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
- Galatians 3:26-29



Anthony said...

wouldn't it be something if it took a bunch of chinese missionaries to straighten us all out --

That was touching - thank you for sharing.

Keith Giles said...

My friend Scott Sutherland, who brought me to this house church meeting and introduced me to Mok just emailed me and updated some of my misconceptions.

"What's so amazing about all of this is that Mok's church is roughly one hundred people meeting secretly as an illegal house church in Hong Kong."

- Actually, in Hong Kong, they are allowed to meet as a recognized church and totally above ground, and thus not illegally, but when they go into China, they meet with brothers and sisters in small house churches, but some have buildings they meet at too. ALso, in Hong Kong, they started small, but they also have a large 6-story building where they meet for meetings, etc. Meetings in mainland China, if not registered with the government, are technically illegal. But, because of the British occupation of Hong Kong for 100 years, Hong Kong people were given the right to believe and practice in freedom. After the return of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, the Chinese government has been slowly implementing various changes to eventually limit those freedoms and gain more control. Many believers in Hong Kong are thus more motivated to utilize their present freedoms before they are taken away. Having said this, it still is amazing to me too that their church has a burden and kind of plan to send for workers to England. Wow! What an example to us.

"They are very poor, and yet they have a vision and a dream of sending or supporting missionaries to the West."

- Most of the believers in mainland China are indeed poor, but those in Hong Kong enjoy equivalent salaries to those in the West. I could explain more about the difference between Hong Kong and China at another time if you want. Having said this, it is still amazing that many in the house churches in China have a vision to bring the gospel west through Muslim territory to eventually land in Jerusalem. This is called the Back to Jerusalem movement in which the Chinese Church hopes to mobilize 100,000 missionaries who will carry the Word all the way, full circle, back to Jerusalem. Their thinking is that the Western people have too many significant barriers in reaching Muslims, but they as Chinese, are acceptable and not judged as "The Great Satan" etc. Interesting, huh?