Posts Tagged ‘Missions’

poor children

 

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’…(Matthew 25:35)

When the Nepal earthquake hit in April of 2015, it left over 9,000 dead, over 20,000 people injured and hundreds of thousands homeless, as well as displaced in this small area that sits next to China. If our gospel is not Christ centered or shown in such a way that benefits the people equally in such a way that denotes a true and genuine expression of love toward those who are hurting, then we are merely paying lip service about a God that we do not know ourselves, and we become more of a hindrance than a help. Yet that is exactly what has happened in this area not long ago when a disaster took place, which left thousands dead, and even many more with no home. When American missionaries came into Nepal as well as western China to preach Christ, but in the end left little in regards to solving the more serious issues that those who were stricken by the earthquake were experiencing. Yet worse, never actually meeting the desired need of the people, instead, only giving out bibles (no food, no warm blankets, no water – nothing but bibles).

Recently I was sitting with an individual who had been part of a humanitarian relief group for Nepal, who is now back in this part of China, as he began to explain to me his experiences (good and bad) with Christian missionaries from the U.S.. The event which challenged his perspective on American Christianity for the most part was the fact that the only image he saw, as well as the hundreds of others in this little remote village where he was stationed, had been when a large group of missionaries showed up in a large van and began to do “outreach” to the people. At first the people were thrilled that help had come, but instead of help, what came was a form too often seen these days under the guise of “mission work”, where teams would venture into a remote area and preach the gospel, but never actually meeting the physical needs of the people. The people of Nepal, as well as western China told the tale as this large group of U.S. missionaries came into the area that had been ravaged by a natural disaster, and never offering any service of help to restore what had been lost. Instead, they offered bibles. Bibles. Not clothes, or warm blankets, or food, or even bottled water – but bibles. Then, when they finished ministering to the people by handing out the word of God, they left. And with that they were gone.

I asked my friend what did the people do with all those bibles that the missionaries handed them, which were in the hundreds, if not a few thousand? His answer both shocked me, but as I pondered on it later that afternoon, it made perfectly good sense – they burned them. No, the Nepal people, nor the Chinese locals burned those bibles out of some sort of hatred for the gospel, they actually appreciated the care that these well intended (albeit misguided) young men attempted to do. Yet in the end, the people burned their bibles to keep warm during the night.

While there are certainly many good and sincere Christian organizations working in Asia who do have a heart for the people, not just in mere words, but also in demonstration, still, I’ve seen an increase of those who come to Asia with the least bit of desire to work with the people, meeting their needs where they are at, and instead, giving them religion disguised as faith. It never works. The apostle Paul stated it like this, My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. “ (1 Cor. 2.4,5)

Paul not only met the spiritual needs of the people, he met their physical needs as well. It was the same as Christ, who fed the 5,000+ who came to him hungry. How shall we then show the love of Christ if we neglect the very purpose of Christ and God’s message to man if we care not for the needs of the people? We not only reject the commandment of our Lord, we prove that our claim to Christ is nothing more than a false declaration, not merited by a genuine love for others, but a love to be seen and nothing more. If mission work, or even evangelism for that matter is not founded on the central core of the love of Christ, the message of the cross, which is salvation, followed by the demonstration of that same message, then we have failed in whatever purpose we had to begin with, and we’ve become nothing more than a cheap imitation (religious), a counterfeit.

My heart broke today inside as I listened to how the gospel which could have been used to reach untold numbers of people for Christ, become nothing more than a religious symbol of pride and nothing more. Yet as I look at the work my wife and I do here in China, the churches we establish, the lives that are being changed, the children being educated, people who need medicine paid by and from this ministry, it sets us apart from those who only see the lost as a mere symbol of prideful gain, but a people who need to not only hear that Jesus loves them, but see it in action as well. That is what separates those who preach Christ for all the wrong reasons, from those who preach Christ out of a genuine love for them. That’s the difference.

The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity but a new demonstration.  ~Leonard Ravenhill

From my desk in China,

Christopher

Email: christopher152@gmail.com

http://www.chinamissions.org

 

amusement

“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3)

I like amusement parks. Actually, I love amusement parks in general. I love the atmosphere of a place where I can let my guard down in an environment where the moment I walk into a particular park, knowing that whatever problems I might have been facing in the “real” world, is lost temporarily in a make believe world, even if for just a few short hours.

In the United States alone, there are approximately more than 400 amusement parks situated across the country. From parks in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and California (and many more in other States), amusement parks can be found in almost every part of America. Yet they are also money machines. In 2011, theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks generated a total direct economic impact of approximately $55.4 billion. Nearly 30,000 attractions (theme and amusement parks, attractions, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and resorts) produced a total nationwide economic impact of $219 billion in 2011.(source)

All in all, amusement parks are an economic cash cow. This is why Europe and even China is getting in on the amusement park ride, because they generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In 2017, China will have 20 theme parks (not including the new Disneyland in Shanghai) across the nation, all funneling hard earned money back to the Communist party. In essence, Capitalism via entertainment sells, and it sells well.

So with all of the money being made from amusement parks, and other family entertainment, is it any wonder why that now the church is getting involved in the business of thrill rides and fantasy? From the Holy Land experience in Florida, owned and operated by Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), to the latest Christian enterprise called Ark Encounters, where Ken Ham has built a life size replica of Noah’s ark at the cost of over 100 million dollars. This does not include 91 million in the first phase of work that was done several years ago, nor does it include several million in junk bonds that were sold to investors, nor does it include the millions in State revenue tax incentives the non-profit foundation (which is the same group who owns the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky) will receive from the State of Kentucky, nor does it include the estimated billion dollars in annual profits from the estimated 2.2 million visitors in the first year through ticket sales. In total, this venture, like The Holy Land experience in Florida, will generate billions from Christians looking for another attraction, another flesh fix, another amusement for their already candy flavored gospel they so like to enjoy. But what of the spiritual cost?

There is no question that could be conceived today by someone desiring to understand exactly where we as a church are heading, which would garner an answer to satisfy their curiosity other than what is going on with the Western church? Specifically, the American Christian society. Yet here we are, in the 21st century, and still the Western church is struggling once again to find its path that it has sadly departed from – the Great Commission. Startling facts though reveal something more that is trending which should make us all take account of what’s happening in the modern church; Donations to world missions are down to less than 2% in overall giving, the number of missionaries per country is equally lower today than what it was in the 1950’s, which saw one of the largest growths in missionaries being sent, and now the Southern Baptists have announced a 15% cut in foreign missionaries, as well as support beginning 2016 – 2017. This means that less than 4,000 missionaries will be supported world-wide. This means that over 300-500 missionaries will have to either return home, or find another source of financial support. This means that once again, we are seeing what happens when the church trades biblical evangelism for modernism in the form of entertainment, hence “amusement parks”. (source)

The modern church today has an identity problem, it cannot understand who it is anymore. Is it the church which preaches the cross? Or is it the relative church which relies on entertainment and modernism to relay its overall message? Is it the salt and light of the remnant church? Or has it become one which has lost its savor? Either way, what we are seeing right now in these monstrosities known as Christian “theme” parks, are in essence more about who the church is today, and less of who it use to be. The simple truth is, the church has traded substance and truth for wealth and popularity.

There is a crisis in the church today. A crisis of faith, a crisis of identity, a crisis of truth, and unless we begin to once again reject these attempts to merchandise, and ultimately betray who we are in Christ, I fear that the only thing relative for the American church will be a church not of power, or salt and light, but of weakness, lukewarm and powerless because of our gluttony over the sensuality of our world rather than the humility the cross would bring to the church. In other words, the American church has sold itself for money, fun and the desire to be entertained.

How many missionaries could have been sent worldwide from the revenue these parks will and have generated over time? How many bibles could have (but won’t) been placed across the globe, into areas where there is little bibles to show who God is? How many mouths could have been fed (but wasn’t), or backs covered (but wasn’t) all because of the church desiring yet another gluttonous meal of fleshly entertainment? There will be a lot to answer for at the judgment, and many will question why they wasted so precious time building things which in the end had no true bearing on the gospel itself, but wasted every dollar that could have been used (but wasn’t) on world evangelism. Such is the state of the American church.

From my desk in China,

Christopher

Email me at: christopher152@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

china12

Since my arrival in China nearly 2 weeks ago, God has been dealing with me to build a church in Chongqing, since there are no large, established churches in this 80 million populated City. The Lord spoke one thing to me, “Build my church and I will fill it”. So, with that and the support of my wife, we are starting a building fund to raise $50,000 to purchase a good sized building so that over 120 people can worship and fellowship in. The local churches can accommodate around 12 people, some a little more, but less than 30, they NEED a place to worship, and China’s lessening grip on churches in the larger Cities can now make this possible. So, I’m asking those who can, to prayerfully consider this and give to this work I’ve been called to do. Maybe your church would adopt these Chinese believers with a one time gift? Any amount will go directly to the building fund, then to purchase bibles. This is a first ever undertaking and one I am humbled that God would place it in my hands. Consider this for your next mission support.

You can go online (here) to make a donation, or you can send check or money order payable to the following;

China Missions

1918 E. 16th St. Muncie Indiana 47302

Your support will make it possible for us to do what has not been done before.

Christopher

Street-preachers

“If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” (Luke 9:5)

 

 

I work with sinners, all hardcore. From bikers to hustlers, God has put me into a place where I’m surrounded by darkness. Yet never once have I ever felt to preach to them in such a way that would be considered as “in your face” evangelism. Yet they know where I stand because they know I’m both an evangelist and missionary. But lately, in unique ways God brings certain ones to me and they ask me privately about my faith, “You speak in tongues?” or “What do you think about the end of the world?”, but lately some have been seeking real answers to real problems – gut wrenching real problems.

I’ve often wondered how could I make a difference in the job I do in the secular world until I move to China to be with my wife and our work God has for us, then a week ago one of the men was talking with me and began to relay family problems – and it was gut wrenching. I realized just how Satan is destroying people today and people have no where to turn. Yet as I explained to this man the only real answer – Jesus Christ, it revealed to me just how much the world has changed in just 3 decades.

I’m convinced more and more that our methods must change to reflect a more direct way to reach the world, especially in the U.S. than how we’ve done it 25 years ago. Some might take issue with what I’m about to say, and that’s fine, but I believe that due to the darkness of the hour in which we live certain methods simply cannot work today, and it’s because not only has the church changed, but so too has the world. When I see certain methods such as street preaching (which was one of my first real ministry methods when I was 18-19) times were different then, people were different then, the hostility level was not even remote as it is today.

When I see a preacher with a bull horn standing on the street corner my first reaction is, “Is that really working?” Sure, there will always be a few who will stop – listen – and ask questions, some might even reach out and allow one to pray for them, but is it a genuine form of Christian methodology that really works today? My opinion? I don’t see it. The days of Billy Sunday are over with and for good reason, people’s attitudes toward what they perceive as “organized religion” have changed, and most simply do not want to listen. Again, the motive can be right but the method outdated. Again, simply my opinion. But yet I can go into China and witness and even preach at times on the street and people will stop – listen- and seek more. Why? Because where one place the gospel is no longer tolerated, another place is opening for the gospel.

Jesus had the same issue when he went into Nazareth, they didn’t want him, he even cursed Chorazin as well as Bethsaida (Matthew 11:21-24). This why the Lord told his disciples that if a city would not receive the gospel they were to shake the very shoes from off their feet and move on to another place. There is no question that today America is turning a deaf ear to the gospel. The fact is, the nation simply does not want the genuine sincere word of the Lord, they want something other, another gospel. This is why I believe certain evangelistic methods in this nation no longer work, because people’s hearts have been hardened, and the recent statistics from both Barna as well as Pew Research prove it. The truth is, America has become saturated with Christianity to such a degree that we’ve taken having our faith around us for granted. There is a church on every street corner in America. We have Christian television, Christian radio, Christian books, Christian merchandise and still our nation is turning away from the roots of our faith in great numbers. So why do we continue to use methods which are simply not working today compared to 25-50 years ago? I believe it’s because on some level we’ve lost our desire to go further and farther with the gospel and have not changed the way we reach the world.

It’s comfortable to stay at home. It’s comfortable to drive less than 10 miles to an inner street area and witness to a few people, but are we really making an effort to reach the world? I don’t believe so. This is why world missions are facing a significant drought in global missionaries today, because the church as a whole has lost its missionary heart. The only solution is to begin pushing outward and start thinking globally. We did it 100 years ago with great success. Men such as Lester Sumrall, Hudson Taylor, Livingston, John G Lake, and Evan Roberts all paved the way for missions and saw multitudes come to Christ. So why are we not seeing the same affect today in our own backyard? The reason is simple – outdated methodology. Even Jesus told his own disciples “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Of course there will always be a need for local and regional inner city mission work, but if we are truly going to reach the world for Christ, then we must take stock of where we are at today, what is working and what has not worked and seek the direction of the Lord. Again, some will take issue with this, but I truly believe that due to the lateness of the hour and the rise of anti-christian beliefs in America, what worked then will not and is not working today, and we need to recognize it and correct it. The 10/40 window hasn’t closed, and is still very much open, but will we go through it? The world is waiting.

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

china kids

Many continue to ask how they can support and sponsor the work I and Ruth are doing within China. As of April 3rd, 2014 China Missions.org was formed. A non-profit Organization and soon to be 501c3 compliant, China Missions endeavors to do the work God has called us for, preaching the gospel throughout China, supporting the local churches with Bibles and training, and making Disciples of men. No other opportunity exists as it does right now in China with the preaching of the gospel. So how can you be apart of this work? By visiting us at our new website – www.chinamissions.org and support this work that God has called us to do.

Christopher Gregory

China3

For 1 month I will be in China, mainly the southern provinces, from Tibet to Chengdu to nearing Laos as well as Hong Kong evangelizing the Chinese with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I know God is in control and he guides my steps. I will be updating this blog (as possible) as time permits, sharing my experiences, my adventures and what God is doing among the Chinese. Please keep me in prayer and book mark this site and come to it often as I will be updating as I have access through the internet.

Christopher

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“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10

It seems that ever since the end of WW2, people have devoted their life to achieving the American dream. People work their entire lives just to say they’ve “made it”, they achieved the dream, whatever dream that is. Yet while some actually do reach that level of financial success, there are twice, to three times as many who do not attain the so called “American Dream”. If the dream was truly slanted to allow everyone the opportunity to succeed, then why do we have greater numbers of people falling below the cracks into poverty? If the American dream is truly attainable, then why only a select few realize it?

I won’t get political because I’m not politically motivated. Nor will I promote anything which is suggestive of a ideology of self achievement. I’m simply going to share why I stopped believing in the American dream and instead began to understand the message of the cross, and why that message (the cross) has given me more meaning than anything American ideology could ever bring.

For me, the American dream ended the moment I surrendered to Christ – nothing else matters. Now that will go against the grain of many American idealists and even Christians, but does Capitalism have its place in Christianity? The answer is no, it doesn’t.

Paul mentored, discipled, and wrote two letters to a young pastor named Timothy.  Here’s what Paul says to him in 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Notice that Paul never says money itself is a root of evil – rather he says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. If money were evil, we’d be in trouble.  Loving it is where the problem lies.

How can we tell if we love money?  We can begin by asking ourselves if we have a desire to be rich, to make a quick buck, or if we constantly look for things that benefit us financially. Loving money is a destructive force.  Notice the vivid language he uses – through this craving some have pierced themselves with many pangs and have wandered from the faith! What Paul emphatically warns against is that the yearning for money can – and will – lead to ruin, both financial and spiritual.

It all comes down to the heart.

But if you are rich, you must take extra precaution.  You must be careful to avoid loving money more than God.  There are certain things that rich Christians must do with their money as well.  Look at what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17-18: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.

Notice Paul says they are to do good, be generous and ready to share.  It’s OK to be rich, but how eager are you to share with those in need?

The so called “American Dream” denies this, and instead, focuses on only one thing – self. It seems as though unless a person has the car, the large home, the bank account, the flat screen tv, they can’t truly be happy. This is the world’s version of prosperity. But Christ told his disciples to pick up their cross and “follow me”. When I came to Christ, my ideas, my ambitions, my dreams, my goals all died at the cross. The striving to reach a level of financial freedom was a never ending illusion I had believed in, yet Christ ended that when he took that aspect away and instead, replaced it with a desire to fulfill God’s will for my life. That’s when I stopped believing in the American Dream and instead, began to follow Christ.

Sadly however, the world has infected the church with its message of the “dream”, and in turn, has affected the lives of many Christians. The world says, “Get an education and get a high paying job” Christ says, “Deny yourself and follow me.” If we look at the current statistics, we see that the world and its ideology, is literally taking first place among many who call themselves “Christians” and their life.

Statistics tell us that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. In the 1980s, membership in the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12% drop—some denominations reporting a 40% drop in their membership. And now, over half way through the first decade of the 21st century, we are seeing the figures drop even more!

How bad are things getting? The current number of evangelical Christian Missionary’s is now at a record 34% in DECLINE. The average budget of most major denominations for mission work is now at 3% for the year. The larger problem is the declining numbers of young people going into missionary service in favor of a career. The facts are, once young adults go into College and come out with their degrees, the weight of debt, the promise of the American dream literally outweighs and over rules the call of Christ.

Isn’t it interesting that when Christ walked the shores of Galilee and called those men who would become his trusted disciples and literally changed the world, that he told them to leave their secular jobs? The same call goes out today. Is the American dream really that more important than the gospel? Is having a home, a car, 401K plan and a paid vacation more important then the souls dying lost in Africa, Sudan, Russia or China? It appears so.

Even more disturbing are the number of churches closing their doors. Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors compared to just over 1000 new church starts! There were about 4,500 new churches started between 1990 and 2000, with a twenty year average of nearly 1000 a year.

The United States now ranks third (3rd) following China and India in the number of people who are not professing Christians; in other words, the U.S. is becoming an ever increasing “unreached people group.” Half of all churches in the US did not add any new members to their ranks in the last two years.

The call of the gospel in this nation is at a crossroads, one that must be met head on if we are to gather in the harvest in these last days. The problem is, many in the church don’t believe we are truly in the last days and what’s more shocking is the number of those who call themselves Christians that do not believe the promise of Christ return – nearly 41%. To make matters worse, nearly 64% of evangelical Christians with a College degree reject the idea of the physical return of Jesus Christ. [pew research]

1 Timothy 4:1 says, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceitful spirits, and doctrines of demons;” What we are seeing today, the declining of the Christian faith, the drop in Church attendance, the declining interest in foreign missions has all to do with the last days. The Apostle Paul gave us two distinct warnings to look for before the coming of the Lord, which I believe can be applied today; 2 Thess. 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

There is no question we are in the last days. The question is, what will we do knowing this truth? I believe, based on the word, God is going to push his remnant of servants like never before to answer the call and preach the gospel like never before – with signs and wonders following. While many will depart from the faith, God has a people who will declare the glory of God across the world to those who desire it. I encourage you to find that calling God has for you, to seek God’s will through earnest prayer and then, by faith, step out trusting God and fulfill the commission you were called to. The pleasures of this world will seem incomparable to the glory of God and his reward for our service when we stand before our Savior and realize that his will was more valuable and more important than our will.

On that day it won’t matter how successful you became in life, or how much wealth you attained or how many cars you owned or how popular or educated you were. The only thing that will matter is, were you faithful to the calling of God or not? That will be the question we all will have to answer. This is the reason why I stopped believing in the American Dream – and so should you.

2 Cor. 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

 

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com