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Take the Initiative in Evangelism

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Harrell Cushing, a fellow pastor, who is the chairman of the Foreign Mission Board of the SBC. He told us what God is doing in China. He has firsthand information as a result of his position in our convention. Thirty years ago, our missionaries were driven out of China. That had long been one of our great mission fields. We had gone first to China to preach, and to evangelize, and to establish a great work. When the Communists took over at the end of World War II, our missionaries were driven out and for 30 years the doors to China had been closed. But now with a new regime they are beginning to open up again to new missionary efforts. Not missionary efforts as we have always understood them and interpreted them, but new opportunities to the Gospel.

He said, “A couple of years ago, the Communist government wrote to our State Department and said, ‘Would you send us 300 teachers to teach in the schools of China?’ So we sent those teachers, and they wrote back this year and renewed that request saying, ‘We want 300 more teachers, but this time send us Christian teachers.’”

The reason is they have learned that the Christian teachers are the best teachers. He said there is a strong possibility that in the near future China will open up its oilfields and its production to American industry and as many as 10,000 American oilmen will flood into that country. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were Christian men who were not there to drink their liquor, to chase their women, and to denigrate their culture, but they went there in the name and in the spirit of Jesus Christ to preach, teach, and win those people to Jesus Christ?

Harrell said, “In one of their official documents that came to our Foreign Mission Board, the Communist leaders said, ‘All of our efforts to stamp out religion in China have failed.’ And in the past 30 years of persecution, Christians have more than doubled in China. There are still 2,000 churches. They estimate that as many as 50 million Christians are in China, and 25,000 to 50,000 house churches. New churches are being started at a rate of one per day. They don’t have complete religious freedom in China yet, but I want you to know that God is still at work. God is opening doors, and if we are faithful to carry the Gospel, God will be faithful to see that people are won to faith and trust in him.”

Some years ago, the man who told me this story said he was a student at the seminary. And Dr. Glass, who taught at the seminary, had been one of our missionaries in China. After they had finished a missions class in which they talked about China, at its closing Harrell happened to meet Dr. Glass out on the campus and he said to him, “It must be so hard on you to see all of the work that you have done for Christ in China destroyed.” And Harrell said, “I shall never forget how Dr. Glass pulled himself up to his full six-foot-four inches and looked me squarely in the eye and said, ‘Young man, I will have you to understand that when Christ went to China he went to stay. And Christ has been there all the years when it was closed to us.’”

Let me tell you, somebody had to take the Gospel to China the first time. And the reason for our being here as a church is to carry the Gospel in this community, up and down the streets, among minority groups, the poor and the needy as well as the rich and the affluent. We are to carry it to anybody and to everybody. And we are not only to carry it here in this community, but to the uttermost parts of the earth. That is our responsibility and our mission.

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

Major on the Basics

Knute Rockne was one of the greatest football coaches ever. In his 13 years at Notre Dame, his teams won 105 games, lost 12, and tied 5. He never had a secret practice. In fact, he sometimes put up a sign for visitors that said, “Secret practice. Come and bring your notebooks.”

On one occasion when an Army scout missed a train connection and didn’t get to the Notre Dame game he was to cover, Rockne obligingly sent him the plays he planned to use against the West Point men. He explained his actions by saying, “It isn’t the play that wins; it’s the execution.”

All great coaches agree: champions are made by majoring on the fundamentals – blocking and tackling. They execute well. Teams seldom win by trick plays or gimmicks.  

The same is true of life. Tricks and gimmicks will seldom get you to the top in any endeavor and can never keep you there. Major on the basics in all of life – work hard, honor God, be honest, kind and helpful to others, and go to church regularly.

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