Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Prayer Request 10/5 - 10/11

Young Chinese people grow up with the image of beautiful women with Western features so it is little wonder that the young women flock to cosmetic salons to get double eye lids, a nasal bridge, and breast augmentation in the hope of improving their job and marriage prospects. There are many young female believers in the churches in China. It is good that we pray for their spiritual growth, their concern about finding a Christian mate, and the pressure they get from their parents to marry quickly before they get "too old".
The largest Barbie store in the world opened in Shanghai to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the popular doll. They say, "We don't offer a lot of Asian Barbies since they never sell well because customers like to buy the authentic Barbie which they think is beautiful and she is known to have blond hair and blue eyes."  It is very unfortunate that many children in Chinese Christian families grow up without any role models. Either their parents do not know any or else they do not want them to "suffer" for Jesus. We pray that young Chinese believers will aspire to do great things for God.
The latest fad for pet owners in China is to dye their dogs to look like other animals, such as pandas, tigers, or even turtles or fish. There are more and more people in China who own pets. They are wealthy and willing to spend big money on their furry pets. We see people everywhere who have more and more disposable income and are willing to spend it. We pray that all believers will see how much God has blessed them and then be willing to give back to God accordingly, not only financially but also of their time.
According to a sample study done by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, about 1.8% of the population (about 23.05 million people) is Protestant in belief. Females constitute a greater proportion of these believers than males do. More than half of them have an education below the primary school level and 68.8% give the reason for their belief in God as coming from having had a personal illness or a sick family member. We know one thing for sure and that is that God has a great deal more work for the church in China to do in evangelism and raising up strong belivers who are not merely "mild drinkers". For this we pray and commit to pray even more.
The current theological training provided in China or seminary training outside of China is both considered "foreign" in the indigenous Chinese churches and their own traditions. To the majority of pastors in China, all their training needs to be acculturated to fit the unique need of their churches. It is true indeed that many well-intentioned people have tried to teach churches in China how to do ministry. It is our prayer that these churches will be grounded solidly on God's word and not necessarily on any certain denomination or tradition. Lord, the churches in China belong to You!
While many churches in China are trying to draft their own bylaws and statements of faith, they run into some common problems which lead to long debates. One of these is the issue of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Another such problem is that of divorce and re-marriage. We are thankful that the churches are trying to get their beliefs in writing but we pray they will know not just the truth of God but also His grace in their lives. We pray that churches will not suffer division as they work through writing down their beliefs.
Many churches who want to formulate their procedures for church administration run into a real theological debate which involves whether there should be ordination of elders or deacons. Another divisive issue is that of whether the marriage covenant can ever be broken. Many churches consider themselves as Reformed but with a Chinese distinctive. We know we are all the body of Christ and one in Him. May the Lord give us wisdom, discernment, and above all humility not to consider ourselves better than others.

社科院抽樣調查顯示:中國現有基督教新教徒佔全國人口總數的千分之十八,估計為 2305萬人,女性明顯多於男性,半數以上的新教徒學歷在小學水平以下,信教主要原因為自己或家人生病佔68.8%。中國教會有許多未完成的使命,我們為教會願意傳福音、幫助信徒禱告,不要停留在「吃奶」階段,更能長大「吃乾糧」。我們要為此更加恆切不斷地為中國教會向主祈求。

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