EMAIL TO JAY CLARK
Thank you all for your prayers ! thanks for the great encouragemnt in JC!
here is the latest updates and some thoughts when i prayed for this event,
Keep on praying for us, and that is so important for me and our church right now.Thanks!
AN UPDATE FROM PETER
It was like a farce. Even though I was deeply involved in it, I still found it hard to believe all these things!
Last Tuesday (Sept. 7), a police officer from Security Bureau and 5 other policemen from the police station came to our church, cross-examining me until midnight. Then on Friday (Sept. 10), almost 20 officers from Religious Council, subdistrict office and policestation came to close our church, saying this church was illegal. The next day, which was Saturday (Sept. 12), those officers came again and drove all the bros and sis who came to church to pray (only 8,9 in all). Then came Sunday morning (Sept 12), we started our service with nervous and unsettled hearts. Not surprisingly, those officers of Religious Council, together with some policemen came to break up our meeting. But we stood on our ground, not giving in to their threats. As a result, I was taken to the police station to be interrogated. And, with no one preaching, the meeting turned into a prayer meeting.
After prayer and negotiation, we found their purpose was very simple, that is, we change our meeting place. Their reasons are simple too, upper level leadership want to close the so called illegal church meeting, but those enforcers know it is mission impossible. They can only close down church building, but cannot stop church meeting. So they made a compromise–we change to another place to meet. The root reason is in China, house churches are be legalized.
So, it seems our story has come to an end, but I believe it’s not. When you continue to pray for us, I want to ask you to pray for all the Chinese churches to gain their legal position someday. Not only that, I also want you to pray that in the midst of those wave-after-wave God permitted persecutions and trials, every pastor, co-worker and believer may be refined, and all the secularization and materialization may be moved away.
Specific prayer requests:
1. Pray for us that we may find a suitable place. We do not need a comfortable and fancy church play, we only ask it to be near the flock we are taking care of (students of Dalian University of Technology and Liaoning Normal University).
2. Pray that God will use this trial to blow away weeds and let wheat stay. Pray that we can reorganize our co-workers’ team, that all the co-workers may have greater faith and better testimony, that all of us will be willing to submit to authorities, to suffer and sacrifice.
3. Pray that God will use these changes to make known to us even more clearly His vision for our church, i.e. to evangelize in colleges and universities, and train faithful disciples of the Lord. So, new building, new meeting, and renewed vision.
4. Pray that through the shake of this trial, our faith will become even stronger. And we will no longer limit our faith to headknowledge only, but will live it out, and kneel down our knees to pray.
5. Pray that through this shake, we will become even more fervent in sharing Gospel and intercession, that we will pray and intercede for all people, for kings and all those in authority EVERYDAY.
PETER’S NEWSLETTER TO HIS CONGREGATION
Dear bros and sis,
I really have to humble myself before you all. Today, in such danger and trial, you showed a great command of your behavior while I gave vent to my anger. As a young pastor, I know clearly that I’m leading and pastoring a great church, its being great is not a matter of MY experience and capability, but of YOU, you are such a group of christians having Christ’s humility and gentleness. Hallelujah!
Today, when I say those officers ruthlessly and unreasonably disturbing our regular service, forcing me to stop preaching, I remembered how they had threatened and pressured me, my anger suddenly got out of control. I shouted at them, smacked the table at them while I was with them downstairs. It seemed at that moment, they realized the fact that christians are also human, also got guts.
Even though many people say that I did right in being angry and shouting at them, not giving in to them, I know that as a servant of God, Christ’s gentleness and humility is more important. So I appreciate more of your gentleness and submissiveness. You just sat there quietly, no one left the church, all praying for the church and your pastor. This was so important, I believe that was the source of my power in overcoming the evil with good.
Romans 12:19-21 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Many brothers and sisters asked my why, why the government wanted to ban our church. Honestly, I don’t know. But there are several things that I’m sure, and believe.
First, God is in control.
Matthew 10: 28-31 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Second, God has a purpose.
1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Third, God wants us to imitate Christ’s obedience.
Hebrew 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Fourth, God wants to refine our faith. Many times we want to use God, but real faith is to be a witness for God and used by Him.
2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Fifth, God wants us to experience for real that He is Emmanuel and that His grace is enough for us.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
2 Tim. Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
I have still much to say, but I want you to think about the five points and pray. This afternoon, when I came out of the police station and saw my dear co-works standing in front of the gate and waiting for me, I was filled with unspeakable gratitude. How much they love God and their pastor, they are such a group of dear co-workers. But on the lunch table, I was still admonishing them to cleanse themselves before God, to pray more, preach more and serve new believers more. Why?
Because our church has come to a crucial point. You will agree of course, “yes, because the government wants to ban us.” But that’s not the point. Actually, this persecution was good indeed, we might also say it was God’s intervention to save our church. Are you surprised? How could that be?
Let me ask you, since 2009, how many students in Dalian University of Technology came to Christ? Only 4. The fellowship in Liaoning Normal University have been evangelizing for half a year, how many came to Christ? None. The adult team, how many came to Christ last year? None.
Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
In our church, however, we are not seeing God’s power, what we see is weakness, powerlessness, faithlessness and joylessness.
I believe this persecution was from God, it was a start for new spiritual revival, because this persecution will take our faith from our head to our heart, from our lips to our knees. I believe from this time on, more and more brothers and sisters will change from empty talking of faith to bending our knees to pray. This is what pleases God and this is what we need!
I love you, and I will be with you in experiencing this spiritual revival and growth. No matter how hard that would be, let us not lose heart, but be straightened instead. Please continue to pray for me and the decision we are about to make.