Jan 27, 2013

Through Thick and Thin: The Asian Elephant on the Match

 
Sammy speaking at a Church Service in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia January 27th 2013
Yes, we hear a lot about the Asian century in terms of economics.  The high rise cities of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, India, and myriad others in China and Thailand.  What we don't hear enough about is the spiritual match clearly evident in many of these places.  My time here in Kuala Lumpur visiting with the city's largest and most influential churches and Christian ministries has convinced me that God is doing something unique that is set to benefit the global church.

This conviction is not guided by the sizes of the ministries I visited as much as they are significant.  Rather, it is guided by the quality of the leaders of these ministries and the values upon which they place premium in their service to God and fellow believers. 

Without exception while not mentioning names due to the sensitive environment within which a number of them serve, they are all men and women of prayer intent on raising up praying churches.  This they recount, with great humility, as their number one strategy and resource in growing the Kingdom of God in Asia.  Not only do they excercise regular private prayer and fasting, their churches are build on the foundations of regular corporate fasting and prayer. 
Believers worship at Kuala Lumpur Baptist Church, Malaysia
Secondly they are men and women of great endurance and patience.  The Asian context is generally a difficult context to minister in because of political, cultural, and religious sensitivities.  Commitment to Christ comes with great sacrifices and persecution.  Many have been through tremendous duress in their service to Christ.  Yet they have selflessly persisted in their commitment to Christ.  They have stood up to oppressive systems and defied religious police in their proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Church as the Hope of the World.

Rev. Daniel Ho Pastor of Dream Center Church (DUMC)
is a hihgly influential figure in Malaysia and the world.
A true prince of the Church. 
Thirdly they are men and women deeply reliant on the Holy Spirit.  Without exception and regardless of the denominational label on their church/ministry doors, they are all men and women operating in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.  They are deeply aware of His pre-eminence in the advancement of the Gospel of the Kingdom, seeking His indwelling personally and corporately.  The experiences of the four Gospels and of Acts of the Apostles are not some strange archaic tales.  They reflect the reality of their experience and provide a blue print for their present ministry.  As one leader put it, his church is a Definitely Unussual Medhodist Church!

Falam speaking believers worship at one of
the services that I ministered in at KLBC
Fourthly they hold and speak of each others' ministries with great respect and affinity.  There is a pervasive sense of unity in diversity both within the individual congregations all of which hold multiple services in multiple languages as well as between the various ministries and pastors that see each other as playing on the same team.  Yes, they are all so diverse in worship styles, leadership styles, personalities, ministry emphasis, etc.  But that said, they are all so united in purpose, mission, and the end goal.

The Dream Center, Kuala Lumpur.  I am blessed by the size
of vision that many of the leaders have for the church
Fifthly, they are all leaders with great vision.  I must admit I was totally floored by the sizes of their vision for the church in Malaysia and beyond.  Again without exception these men and women dream big for Jesus and for His Kingdom.  None of them is out to build a personal empire but they are intimately aware that Jesus is out to establish a global enterprise and they are kin to project this grant vision in their undertakings.  Looking at the sizes of their ministries juxtaposed to their personal integrity and humility one quickly notices that they are servants and not little kings.  That is a huge blessing to observe.

All the churches visited here have multiple services in multiple
languages to cater for the divisity of the congregations
Finally and having already alluded to this, the church here is heavily reflective of the diversity of the Kingdom of God.  Believers coming from all walks of life, speaking different languages within the same congregation, espouse such united love and affection for Christ and for each other.  For once I felt like I had revisited my age of innocence before the corrupting theological education that promotes seperatist church planting strategies which, looked at through the Holy Spirit's enabling presence in the Church, are carnal and dare I say devilish. 

Isn't it plain from Pentecost in Acts 2 that the Church was meant to be one and without regard or prejudice to race, tribe, class, or rank?  Isn't it obvious that whenever the Holy Spirit has been allowed free reign in the Church, from Pentecost to Asuza street, He always facilitates the planting of congregations that are not homogenous but rather heterogenous and diverse?  Isn't it also true today that wherever the church is growing it is not so much because of its' homogeneity but rather because of its' open-door policy to the person of the Holy Spirit? 

Inside the Kuala Lumpur Tower, 1000 feet above
ground.  Behind me are the Twin Towers.
Thank you Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ for all you are doing in Malaysia and all throughout South East Asia.  I bow my knee in gratitude and thanksgiving for the privilege and opportunity you have given me this week to minister to your church here but also to learn and to celebrate the manifest outworking of your power amidst your people.  Now dear Lord as I head back to the United States and go forth to the world help me to be deeply focused on you.  Fill me afresh with the power of your Holy Spirit.  Help me speak eloquently and testify boldly to your amazing works throughout the whole world. 

May you also sustain your church, the Hope of South East Asia and of the world.  Guard and protect it from the aggresor and embolden it with your love and truth.  Fill your servants with anointing and power.  Let the Church rise and flourish as the Light of Malaysia and beyond.  That all may hear and know that Jesus Christ is Lord!                

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