Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Prayer Request 10/17 - 10/23

Tuesday
​In China, President Xi tells the ninety million plus members of the Communist Party, "Don't call me President. Don't call me Party Secretary, just call me Comrade.​ However, the term comrade has taken on a different (homosexuall) connotation in modern China. In the past, there were few pastors with titles in China, ​and ​everyone ​was addressed as pastor. But, this is changing as many flash their title of “reverend”. It is Biblical to aspire to be a spiritual leader (1 Timothy 3: 1), but we pray our spiritual character will mature as we serve, rather than seek only titles.
Wednesday
Under Mao Zedong and even well into the 1980's tongzhi or comrade was the nearly universal form or address within the Communist Party.​ As China has become more modern and Mao suits have given way to Western-style suits and ties, the term comrade has become outdated. We praise God for various titles of pastors such as preachers, elders, deacons, doctors, presidents, prophets, and even the the wife of the pastor. May the Lord guard our hearts and thoughts not to envy titles but be like the Apostle Paul and "take pride in my ministry" (Romans 11:13).
Thursday
Among gay men in China, “tongzhi” is most often used as a term of affection and solidarity and a catchall label for sexual minorities. Churches in Taiwan are deeply involved in the political process to oppose the​ government’s same-sex marriage proposal. We pray for Chinese churches everywhere, ​that they ​will do more in teaching young believers why churches must remain Biblically​-oriented​ and have a good testimony at the same time.
Friday
Nowadays​ in China, people typically refer to one another as “Mister,” “Miss” or “Madam.” Strangers often address one another as “young miss,” “beautiful woman,” “handsome man” or “master.” Should Christians value titles just like the business world​ does​? We pray for all who serve in church​es​ throughout China that they will be faithful, model their​ lives​ after the Great Shepherd, feeding and even giving their lives for His sheep.​
Saturday
Within the Communist Party of China, only top-level leaders are typically referred to as “comrade.” Commonly, at the lower levels, the term “comrade” has been replaced by a grab bag of titles like “deputy secretary,” “boss,” “C.E.O.,” “grandfather” and “brother.” ​Newer pastors in China all want to be ordained and having a seminary degree, the higher the degree and the more degrees one has, the more honor, trust, and respect he gets. We pray the Lord will remind each of us that spirituality is not found in advanced degrees nor in the pursuit of affirmation but rather in seeking praises only from God above.​
Sunday
In China, a recent directive was announced to impose discipline and purge cliques within the Communist Party. The same announcement also suggested that “to uphold the democratic and equal relations among comrades within the party, and all party members must call each other ‘comrades.’ ” Young pastors in China are attracted to big name Chinese pastors and televangelists, whom they considered as having a big ministry and financially successful. We pray for churches and pastors alike, not chasing to chase after what the world deems successful, famous and "​cool​"​.
Monday
These days many join the Communist Party in China as a path to power and wealth and being worthy of being called a comrade."O​ne can call every member of the Party a comrade, but there is always someone who has more power and importance than you do!" We pray that pastors in China will not fall into the trap of overemphasizing titles and salutations. We pray for believers who will truly respect and value their shepherd, ​ as well as​ honor God’s worker and servant among them.


星期二
中國共產黨習主席對約九千萬的共產黨員發出一個信息:「不要叫我主席,不要叫我總書記,叫我『同志』。」他原意是敦促黨員避免提及職位和尊稱,可惜這個詞在今天社會裡的含義已經大有變化。過去,中國教會對牧者一概以傳道人稱呼,但近來卻非常講究擁有按立牧師的頭銜。信徒都當羨慕聖工(提前3:1),求主幫助我們跟隨主的人,學效主的榜樣及透過服事使屬靈品格更趨完全,而不僅是愛慕地位與頭銜。
星期三
自毛主席領導下的中國開始直至80年代,「同志」一詞對共產黨員而言都是個通用稱謂。不過,隨著中國現代化,中山裝讓位於西服領帶,「同志」這個名詞不僅已經過時,而且變成另一種全新的意思。現今中國教會内已出現有不少頭銜:牧師、傳道、長老、執事、博士、院長、先知、師母。求主保守我們的心懷意念,忠心服事主而不要追求名銜,如同保羅所堅持的「敬重我的職分」(羅 11:13)。
星期四
在中國的男同性戀群體中,「同志」最常被用來表達團結友愛,是對性少數群體的統稱。台灣也幾乎通過同性婚姻合法化。教會是台灣反同志婚姻運動中的主力。我們為各地華人教會禱告,求主使用祂的兒女能像明光照耀,顯在這彎曲悖謬的世代裡,幫助年輕信徒知道聖經對同性戀不失準則的教導,也能在社會中有美好的見證和對所持立場的合適表達。
星期五
現今中國人通常彼此稱呼「先生」、「女士」或「夫人」。陌生人則用「小姐」、「美女」、「帥哥」或「師傅」來稱對方。在商業社會中,講究身份尊貴與頭銜,在教會裡教牧同工是否也追逐這些屬世的「成功象徵」?我們為中國的牧者禱告,求主加能賜力,叫他們能忠心事奉,效法大牧者的榜樣,只討父神的喜悦,專注於餵養神所託付的羊群,甚至擺上性命。
星期六
在黨內,通常只有高層領導被稱為「同志」。在基層當中,「同志」則由各種職位替代。另外,還有各種稱呼,比如「老闆」、「老總」、「老爺子」和「老大」。某些中國傳道人比從前更注重學位與頭銜,認為學位越多、越高,便會越被人信賴和仰慕。求主光照我們,提醒我們:屬靈深度不是來自高學歷,而走十字架的路也不要希祈別人的肯定,而是單單存著討主喜悅的心。
星期日
習主席建議「堅持黨內民主平等的同志關係,黨內一律稱同志」。這一項新的指令,目的是加強紀律,清除黨內派系。有些中國的年輕牧師,非常崇拜海外某些著名的華人教會領袖或電視傳道人,因為他們的事工大,名利雙收。求主保守眾教會尤其是傳道人,不追求世人所看重的東西,或人們眼中的「酷」,而是存著一份「讓我愛而不受感戴,讓我事而不受賞賜」的單純的心志,為得神為我們在天上所存留的榮耀冠冕。
星期一
如今有很多人加入共產黨是為了做官發財, 很難說他們是真正的同志。「權力就是權力,你可以稱所有黨員都是同志;但是在同志當中,某一小撮人還是核心。」在教會裡不該把頭銜看得那麼重。我們為弟兄姊妹能真心愛護神的僕人禱告,又為神的工人不追逐頭銜、名譽,及會友多少來禱告。

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Prayer Request 10/10 - 10/16

Tuesday
Although Western China has seen a lot of development in recent years, college students still choose to remain in the big cities in the East after graduation. This is a major reason why churches in Western China find it difficult to establish a stable group of younger believers and a team of coworkers. It is natural to seek a job in good places. We pray for raising up of church workers who will follow His calling and be willing to stay in places not necessarily the most developed and may the Lord richly bless their dedication and their families!
Wednesday
In recent years, Beijing has sponsored the ambitious economic program to "Develop Western China". At the same time, we hope that churches will see the great potential for them in the West of China as well as the great spiritual need of the region. We pray that churches in Eastern China will see the West as a great field ready for harvest and be willing to support their less fortunate counterparts there with short term mission teams and financial assistance.
Thursday
Ningxia, a province in north-central China has nearly 3,000 mosques, but only a handful of Christian churches. In the capital Yinchuan, there is only one Bible study fellowship among all the colleges there. There is definitely a great need for the gospel there. We pray that churches in China will not only see the spiritual need of Han Chinese in western China, but also the seemingly more difficult task of sharing the Gospel with the Hui people there.
Friday
China’s leader called for all Communist Party members to fight the infiltration of foreign influence through religious means. This is obviously in reference to Muslims in Xinjiang but also includes all Christian churches, especially the unregistered house churches. May the Lord have mercy on His churches and give both mainland overseas church workers wisdom to cope with any ever-tightening rules and continue the good work. We pray for churches that are debating whether to register with the government or remain "illegal".
Saturday
China's leaders have called for its members not to be involved in religion. Members of the Communist Party must be truly Marxist and atheists. This worries many because they think it is a sign that the government will further tighten its grip on religious activities. We pray for people who are members of the Party but are afraid to profess their faith in Jesus for fear of being disciplined or losing their benefits or retirement allowance. May the Lord strengthen their faith and increase their love for Him.
Sunday
In China, authorities have tightened regulations in several provinces concerning the safety of children left behind while their parents go to work in the cities. Tens of thousands of children are left in rural villages and are abandoned, abused, or uncared for by their guardians. May the Lord protect and grant safety to the millions of "left-behind" children, move the local churches to look after their spiritual needs, and help them experience the warmth of Christian love offered by the church people.
Monday
In China, many children of believers attend Sunday School when they are small, but drop out after a few years. This is why teachers of Children's Sunday school have an important role and task in exposing and guiding the children to learn the Biblical truth. May the Lord raise up more dedicated teachers, provide them with solid training so they can have a deeper understanding of Christian educational concepts, and be able to make good use of the teaching materials in grooming future leaders.


星期二
近年中國西部地區雖然也發展了許多,但很多教會裡的大學生在畢業後仍然選擇去沿海一線城市,這是造成西部的教會成員不穩定,同工團隊亦較難建立最主要的原因。一般人期望在條件較好的地區工作是人之常情,我們求主興起合祂心意的工人,帶著異象在條件較差的地區服事,讓神使用。願神加倍祝福他們的服事,也祝福他們的家人。
星期三
近年政府推動經濟「西部大開發」的同時,中國教會也當看到未來西部教會發展所帶來的巨大潛力和能力,眾信徒也需要投入一場屬靈方面的「西部大開發」。我們為東部的教會能看見西部正待收割的禾場的巨大需要禱告,求主感動教會關心西部困難的教會,在短宣和經濟上實際地支援幫助他們。
星期四
寧夏共有三千間清真寺,但基督教會卻屈指可數,很多乾渴的靈魂沒有途徑聽到福音。大學裡的基督徒團契更是稀有,根本不足以牧養和滿足當地數萬名大學生的屬靈需要。求主讓弟兄姊妹不僅看到西部漢人教會的需要,更留心如何有智慧地把握機會向當地回民傳福音,也為這群未得之民的靈魂得救,多多擺上禱告。
星期五
國家呼籲黨員要抵抗海外勢力透過宗教方法滲透到中國。當然,政府擔心的是在新疆的回教徒,不過同時也涵蓋所有的教會。在宗教法頒布之後,中國的非官方教會將受到更多的壓力。願神憐憫祂的教會,給予弟兄姊妹有智慧,應付未來的變化,繼續忠心服事。我們也為那些正在討論是否要向政府登記的教會祈求智慧。
星期六
對於部分中共黨員私下信教的問題,習主席指出,黨員必須嚴守馬克思主義,也必須是堅定的無神論者。許多人擔心政府的宗教政策越變嚴厲。我們為有心相信主耶穌的黨員禱告,他們擔心失去黨員身份,包括福利和退休金等好處。求主加添他們信心,又親自用祢的愛來吸引他們,讓他們在主裡得到真平安與喜樂。
星期日
中國當局加緊了留守兒童的安全規範。在幾個省份裡有上萬名留守兒童在農村沒有監護人,遭受家庭暴力,甚至被遺棄。 願神保護這些留守兒童們的安全,並感動當地的教會能有效介入,關心他們屬靈的需要,幫助他們在基督裡能體驗主的愛與溫暖。
星期一
許多信徒的孩子在小時候還上教會,長大一些就停止了。所以,兒童主日學教師在指導孩子學習基督真理方面,發揮著關鍵性的作用。願上帝興起更多愛主的工人,為主日學老師提供有系統和綜合的訓練,使他們在信仰有紮實的根基之餘,並能更多了解基督教的教育概念,善用教材來教導兒童,為將來新一代的教會領袖奠定穩固根基。

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Prayer Request 10/3 - 10/9

Tuesday
When people in China think of the arrival of Christianity, what comes to their minds is the Opium War, killing of missionaries, various unequal treaties, and invasions of China by Western powers. As the government fans the nationalistic passion in China, people begin to resist all things foreign. The rise of nationalism is a double-edged sword for believers in China and affects the missionary efforts of churches there. May the Lord give us humility and help us not to consider that Chinese are somehow superior or brag about that China will be a nation with the greatest number of Christians.
Wednesday
Historically, Christianity and missionaries were intricately associated with foreign aggression in China in the 19th century. The Communist Party continues to remind and reinforce young people of this chapter of modern Chinese history. We pray for young believers that they can appreciate the contribution and sacrifices of early missionaries in China. We also pray that God will give them the burden to share the gospel in foreign lands and call some of them to be cross-cultural missionaries.
Thursday
After Christianity arrived in China, believers were forbidden to worship their​ ancestors and​ told they​ could not worship other deities. This was in opposition to the traditional Chinese practices and customs, and inevitably created great tension and even clashes. Some Christians are short on patience, even being extreme in putting down Chinese folk religions, denouncing them as of the devil. We pray for wisdom for believers, not to engage quickly in vigorous debate with unbelievers, but rather pray for the Holy Spirit to soften hardened hearts.
Friday
In Confucius' hometown of Qufu, there are people who oppose the construction of a Christian church because they insist on defending Confucianism rather than upholding religious freedom. Obviously there is a conflict of Chinese and Western civilization already happening in China. ​Many intellectuals in China harbor resentment and even hostility toward Christianity. We pray specifically that Christian intellectuals will live a good life, have a good testimony, and be able to attract others to come to know Jesus Christ.
Saturday
The revival of Sinology has a strong nationalistic undertone and is actually aimed at stemming the invasion of Western culture. Since Christianity and Western culture are so closely linked, it has naturally​ become a target for those who support the so-called "New Confucianism". ​​We pray that believers in China​ ​will be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope they have and especially how they personally overcame the idea that "Christianity is a foreign religion".
Sunday
There are extremists who hate Christianity as a "foreign religion" and want to expel it from China. Based on the growing enthusiasm for nationalism, it is likely that interest in Sinology will also continue to grow. W​e praise God for the efforts and sacrifices made by all of the foreign missionaries to China during the past two centuries. We pray that churches in China will learn the meaning of "to give is better than to receive" and the Lord will help Christians there to overcome the stereotype that Christianity is a foreign religion.​
Monday
Churches in China need to counter the impression that Christianity is an alien religion and look for ways to contextualize​ it within the Chinese culture. This issue has actually been around for several hundred year but it is up to us and future generations to find the ultimate solution. We​ pray that churches in China will maintain a good reputation, believers there will be able to live out God's love and be bright lights in a society that worships money and is corrupt.


星期二
許多中國人把基督教與鴉片、帝國主義三者聯想在一起。提到基督教就想到鴉片戰爭、不平等條約及帝國主義的侵略,以致對西方產生極度反感。民族主義的復興,自然點燃排外的情緒。民族主義的抬頭,對中國的基督徒而言,是個兩刃的劍,也影響中國教會宣教的意識。求主教導當代中國基督徒怎樣才能像當年的基督徒那樣,成為神國的祝福。又賜教會有謙卑,不是自認為華人比其他民族優秀,或以中國是基督徒的大國來自傲。
星期三
基督教和宣教士在19世紀是外強侵略中國慘痛歷史的一部分。官方不斷向年輕人提醒和強化這段近代史。「鴉片戰爭」這段歷史背後的宣教士是一群雲彩般的神的見證人,肉身雖然死了,仍然用信心不斷對我們說話。我們為這一代的年輕信徒禱告,求主讓他們看到早期西國傳教士在中國社會、人心各個層面的貢獻和擺上。求主也將傳福音的負擔賜給他們,能回應成為跨文化宣教士的呼召。
星期四
基督教進入中國後,要求信徒不能拜祭祖宗,不能膜拜神靈,與中國文化傳統的習俗背道而馳,觸動了中國人內心裡最不可觸碰的部分,很自然的就遭到激烈的反對和抵制。一些基督徒缺乏忍耐,又或太激進,指責別的宗教都是邪神魔鬼。求主賜弟兄姊妹有智慧,不要與未信的人作無謂的激辯,而是先祈求聖靈動工,軟化人心。
星期五
在孔子的家鄉曲阜,堅持儒家文化的人反對在市內興建一所教堂。他們認為捍衛孔子,優先於宗教信仰自由。所謂的「東西方文明的衝突」在中國已經浮出水面。不少中國的知識份子對基督教仍然有強烈的反感和敵視。我們要特別為知識份子的肢體禱告,求主幫助他們有與新生命相稱的生活,在社會中站起來,為主作美好的見證,引人來到主前。
星期六
很多國學的推動帶有強烈的民族主義,不少人復興國學的目的在於抵制「西方文化的侵略」。以西方文化背景進入中國的基督信仰,成了國粹派(新儒家)的攻擊目標。我們弟兄姊妹禱告,求神讓他們裝備好自己,隨時隨地可以向人分享自己擁有永生盼望的緣由,也能解釋為什麼他們選擇相信主耶穌,這位超越歷史、文化、種族隔閡的救主。
星期日
有些中國人痛恨外來「洋教」,甚至要將基督教從中國趕出。近年來民族主義的抬頭,令國學復興更加興旺,也加深排斥基督教的意識。求神興起更多中國的年輕信徒,預備自己為神使用,讓基督信仰擺脱刻板的「洋教」印象,使中國成為能「施」而不是單單「受」的教會,將福音傳給境內或其他國家的未得之民。
星期一
對教會來說,若想消除「洋教」形象,可能要在不違反信仰的前提下與傳統文化相結合。這個幾百年來沒有得到解決的問題,需要我們這代以及後代繼續摸索下去。求主賜智慧和分辨力給牧者,知道如何牧養弟兄姊妹,既能符合中國傳統文化要求,又不會在聖經原則上妥協。我們又為教會在中國裡有好形象禱告,求主幫助信徒能活出神的愛,成為明燈指引現今崇拜金錢與權位,喪失道德、公義底限的社會。