16 February 2010

Excited Yet?

I've heard it's a great conference. This is my first year attending and I have several friends going, so I am looking forward to it!

This ball is going to awesome. If you aren't going, you are really going to miss out. As part of the ball planning committee, I can guarantee that you will have a delightful time if you come. ;-) Personally, I'm preparing to spend the evening dancing as a guy...the guy/girl ratio right now is 1 to 3. The poor guys won't be able to sit out a dance! (Not that they'd want to... ;-)

The Red Hills Historical Ball is coming up. It will be here before you know it! If you are going to be near Rock Hill, SC on May 1st, go ahead and make plans to join us. It's going to be fun!

06 February 2010

Bearers of the Light

As I mentioned in an earlier post, what I have been reading of late has included a biography of Hudson and Maria Taylor. The format is one I've found unique, with quote from primary source documents interspered throughout the telling of their story. One of the quotes from Hudson Taylor struck a particular chord with me. Hudson Taylor had recently returned from spending some time in China and was seeking to recruit others to go as missionaries amoung the Chinese, particularly those inland who untouched and unreached up to that time in history.

Wider reaction to an unconnected nobody aged twenty-nine was what might have been expected, 'The Church is asleep; and armchairs and sofas and English comforts possess more attractions than perishing souls; besides which [the Chinese] are "half savages"'.

Sounds familiar, no? We are much more interested in serving Yahweh while living the American dream. Certainly nothing is new under the sun. It is easy to get caught up with our things and in the journey to accumulate more and more, but it is also a temptation to view other cultures as less-than superior than ours. We are Americans, our nation is the wealthiest in the world. Yes, we have much that is good in our culture and we may have more progress is certain areas, but to reach out to other ethnic groups and cultures we have to be willing to put away our western pride and be willing to embrace their culture. Hudson Taylor did this by adopting the dress of the Chinese, all the way down to pigtail and slippers. Suddenly, he was able to move more freely and share more openly. No longer was a crowd gathered around him simply to gawk at his clothing. This dress allowed him to places where before he couldn't when dressed as a foreigner. Practically all of his fellow missionaries, instead of rejoicing at his sucess, mocked him instead for giving up his western superiority. Let us not think that in their place we would do differently. It is only by Yahweh's grace that we are able to accomplish what we accomplish. By Yahweh's Grace Hudson Taylor was able to accomplish what he accomplished.

Hudson carried a very heavy burden for the fate of the Chinese. Millions were dying without hearing of Christ. He describes one of his encounters with a new Christian convert as follows:

Taylor passed to the story of an ex-Buddhist merchant, an educated man, who had been baptised after attending the little church in Ningpo. 'He asked me soon afterwards, "How long have you know this Good News in your own country?"
'"Hundreds of years."
'" Hundreds of years! And yet never came to tell us! My father sought the truth, sought it long, and died without finding it. Oh, why did you not come sooner?'"

Even in this day and age, there remain people groups of which this could be said. [As a side note, the Joshua Project is a very good way to be able to pray for these unreached people groups. Click the box on the sidebar to get more information about signing up for their daily emails which enable you to daily pray for specific unreached people groups]. Hudson Taylor could not forget those Chinese who lived in the unreached areas of China. To evangelise millions of people by himself was impossible, and he was at a loss as to how he would be able to find the help that he needed.

One experiment described in this divine text-book he determined to carry out at once. 'Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into the harvest.' Taylor decided that the divine method of raising missionaries did not lie in 'elaborate' appeals for help, but, first, earnest prayer to God to thrust forth labourers, and, second, the deepening of the spiritual Life of the Church, so that men should be unable to stay at home'.

What did he do? He sought wisdom from God's word and acted upon it. Not everyone is called to be a missionary, but we all need to pray for harvesters to be raised up. Some of us will be senders, but we should all have a burder to pray for unreached people.

There is a balance, though, that has to be struck. We can not be so missions-minded that we fail to disciple those at home, nor can we be so focused on ourselves as to not be willing to go out and reach the lost. I have seen the pendulum swing both ways. We must strive to make certain that those who are called to serve God in their home country are not failed to be discipled and matured in the faith. Neither should we overlook those in other countries who are perishing for want of the light of the gospel. We are called to serve Yahweh where he has placed us - serving Him in another land does not make us holier or more worthy than others. We just need to be willing and open to serving Him wherever we have been place, whether it's in the suburbs of Charlotte or the muddy roads of Nigeria.

If nothing else, hopefully my scattered musings will encourage you to read more of the life and works of Hudson and Maria Taylor. I have enjoyed writing some of my thoughts on what I have read, may they have been as enjoyable to read. Will I be writing more on the subject once I have finished the book? We shall see...