Today’s Bible reading
And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. — Philemon 6
More thoughts for meditation
We are on a spiritual pilgrimage with daring Jesus-followers who were convicted to act on today’s reading.
In 2003 Back To Jerusalem: Called to Complete the Great Commission was published. Three anonymous Chinese Church leaders with Paul Hattaway revealed the ambitious Chinese and Korean missionary movement that was underway.
“Back to Jerusalem” was an idea initially conceived during the 1920s by the Jesus Family church in Shandong province. While the vision eventually lost vigor in the Jesus Family, the Northwest Spiritual Movement that split from the Jesus Family revived it. Simon Zhao became the principal leader of this movement in the 1940s. In 1946, another group in Henan province, the “Back to Jerusalem Evangelistic Band” independently developed a similar vision. However, government restrictions and persecution forced the movement to go underground for decades, and its leader Simon Zhao spent 40 years in prison.
Since 2003, the most vocal international proponent of “Back to Jerusalem” has been the exiled Chinese house church leader Liu Zhenying, also known as “Brother Yun.” Yun intends for “Back to Jerusalem” to evangelize fifty-one countries by sending a minimum of 100,000 missionaries along the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that winds from China to the Mediterranean Sea. The ongoing work of evangelism, both within China and beyond its borders, is being done anonymously by Chinese church members, who make no appeals for money or seek any publicity for themselves.
Suggestions for action
Pray: May sharing my faith become effective for revealing every good thing that is in me in honor of Jesus.
The Chinese Church has been honed by decades of persecution. Most of their existence is underground — out of site of the authorities. It is mostly a cell church movement without public meetings. Somehow this vision of having a mission back to Jerusalem, the fount of their salvation, came to believers from different segments of the church. It started a movement that keeps gaining strength. How do you think you would do if the church were persecuted in the U.S. like it has been in China?
Evangelism is strongest when it comes from the poor and oppressed, isn’t it? The poor of the Middle East in the first and second centuries, the slaves of the United States, the vast Chinese underclass. Pray for the poor and oppressed to fire up our faith! Maybe we should pray to become small and poor in our own way, as well. Perhaps the Lord will inspire and use us.