I posted a few items today about the growth of the church in China. I find it fascinating in light of this bit of Scripture:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14
It appears that centuries of missionary work in China have begun to pay off. The Holy Spirit is doing amazing things in a place which can be one of the most unwelcome places in the world for Christianity.
He’s also doing huge things in the Middle East. War, famine and persecution have caused large movements of people from Islamic (satanic) hell-holes to Western (Christian) areas like Europe and the United States. Perhaps if we cannot go into these awful places, God will bring them to us. Can an immigrant from Syria come to Minnesota or Michigan and live in our neighborhoods and not be influenced by Christianity? I believe they still can. Will these folks set up little cultural enclaves similar to their homeland, as in Dearborn for instance? Perhaps, but they’re no longer in the Middle East, and for now anyway, they will still remain a minority.
I certainly do not want to sit in judgment of the Holy Spirit’s work in the United States, but I think it’s clear that Christianity in the USA has fallen on some hard times. God is still saving a people here and will continue to do so, but it ain’t what it used to be – either spiritually or culturally. Detroit is still better than Damascus and Toledo is still better than Baghdad. <grin>
I find it encouraging to step back and look at the big picture every now and then. We get so caught up in our little world that we miss what’s going on all around us. The Holy Spirit is not like Congress – He moves unimpeded and He gets stuff done! It’s amazing to watch.
Below is a beautiful segment of a prayer, where Jesus prays for all believers. We must wait patiently, but Jesus here betrays a certain anxiousness to wrap things up and accomplish His mission, which shall not fail. Short-term: ugly. Long-term: beautiful.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:24-26 NIV