"What is on the mind of Chinese people now?" you may ask. The answer is "stock speculation". When one reads the newspaper, it is almost all about stocks and the Olympics. The mentality of striking it rich by speculating seems to permeate all of China. Recently a large Christian-owned company declared bankruptcy after it lost a large amount on highly speculative ventures. Christians are not immune to greed and we pray that all believers will be reminded to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
It is said that there are two to three thousands meeting place for worship on Sunday in Beijing. Most of them are about 20-30 people in size. Only those who are “connected” or affiliated with the Three-Self are permitted to have open services. In the past year, there is a strong growth as believers are excited about the coming Olympic. Many of these churches are attended by professionals and college educated. Let us remember all the churches, open and house churches in the capital.
"To rule scientifically, democratically and lawfully" is the slogan the government has been promoting. To arrest people in the house church movement, police must now have a reasonable cause and follow rules to make an arrest legally and without illegal detaining. Recent cases of people being arrested in church meetings involve mostly those in foreigner-led meetings and that is illegal by the book. We pray for safety and good fruit for all the teachers and students in these training sessions.
“Chineseness” –having Chinese own characteristics is the hottest buzz word. The government has been promoting the idea of a "harmonious society" as the Chinese answer to Western style election-based democracy. Does this mean the Communist government will give more room and fewer restrictions on religious practice? We do not know for sure. But, we know the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and we will not stop praying for those who are in power for believers and the advancement of God's work.
The Chinese government says it aims to "rule scientifically" and the constitution allows the freedom of religion but still those in charge insist they must crack down on erroneous religious practices which they consider to be evil and backward. Unfortunately, some charismatic house churches have been included in this category by the government. Fringe Christian groups and those extremely charismatic continue to present a dilemma for churches in China. Let us pray for both a heart of unity and a discerning spirit for all the church leaders.
Gangzhou in the Jiangxi Province is situated where Fujian, Guangdong, and Hunan come together. It is the home of the Hakka people (about 8 million people or 95% of the local population). However, there are few young men in the area since most of them go to work in cities in nearby provinces.One in five of the children in Gangzhou lives with grandparents and this lack of young adults presents great difficulty for church workers there. We pray for the churches in Jiangxi, that the believers will not become discouraged and the pastors will remain faithful to their calling.
Are Chinese foods healthy because they are rich in oil, salt and sugar? From time to time, news reports complains about the health values of the varieties of dishes Chinese restaurants offer. Chinese restaurants are where Chinese gather and is a natural place for outreach. Let us pray for the spiritual health of all the believers who work in restaurant. They work long hours and often are marginalized in church.
擁有「中國特色」是當今最熱的名詞。政府推行所謂的「合諧社會」就是有中國特色的社會主義 – 有別于西方民主多黨自由選舉的寬鬆政策呢?在此氛圍下，教會是否因此就擁有更多的發展空間，少一些限制呢？「王的心，在耶和華手中」，因此我們持續為執政掌權者禱告。