Tag Archives: China

1988 Winter Olympics – Calgary

In 1988, I was a young newly-married husband of a beautiful bride – living in tiny 700+ square foot apartment in Duncanville, TX. The apartment was not the best … ohh, it was nice enough. But the little moon roof leaked in the rain. Snow could be seen coming through moon roof as well during the cold winter months. Even back then, the electric bill was over $200.

We had little to fill the apartment – but we had love. Okay, before this gets too sappy, let me get to the point I want to make.

In February of 1988, the Winter Olympics took place. That was when the winter and summer Olympics took place in the same year. It took place in Calgary. I wanted to watch it pretty bad – but we had no television. So Lisa and I went down the street to the local pizza joint with a large-screen TV. Almost every night, we went there … ordered pizza … and watched the athletes do there best.

There were some big stories – Eddie the Eagle for one. I wished I had paid more attention to him. The Jamaican bobsled – yes, Cool Running fame. Two movies from that year. I remember the triple gold speed skater, and our own Bonnie Blair. But we really didn’t too much that year.

But some great stories and decent pizza.

2022 – China. Oh how the olympics have changed. The thrilling sport of curling is now official. (They had it at the original 1924 winter olympics, but it wasn’t official until 2006.) So, curling and the X-Game events keep people attention.

China had some good stories too – the Russian drug scandal, the covid quarantines, the first USA woman speed-skating gold, an American turned Chinese medals, the Jamaicans returned to bobsledding, jumpers disqualified over baggy pants, Shaun White’s last Olympics, and more.

But the culture, the atmosphere, the camaraderie between athletes, exploring an international city and  other detriments made this Olympics sad. Chinese representatives forcibly removing a broadcaster while not he air, keeping athletes isolated, rigorous covid testing, no sigh-seeing, and the dark clouds of a country that is allegedly committing genocide and definitely committing religious persecution.

Yes the China Olympics 2022 is over and has its own stories – some good, plenty bad.

But what do we take from this for our daily life? I mean I realize few readers have Olympic connections. What can I use in my life. 

  • Whatever endeavor I am in – I should strive to be my best. Maybe not Olympic level but I can do MY best (so can you!)
  • Whatever endeavor I am in, the environment is important too. The experience of ambiance, the culture of welcome and building relationships. So at church, you may have the best preaching, but if its only a preaching experience – then just bring in a video. You need the full experience of worship. Singing lifts our hearts, relationships are built, and fellowship is foundational. Covid quarantine taught us we need inter-personal connection.
  • Stories matter. We need to share our stories.

Maybe Paris 20024 will be better. Until then, we learn, we grow, and we celebrate the athletes of 2022.

A 5-Year Plan to Sinify the Church

It’s real. It’s going on. And the government may be winning some battles. But know this, they will lose the war.

I’m not talking my home country … though America should take notice. I’m referring to China’s Communist Party’s plan to rid their country of any non-Chinese, non-Communist ideology. And I would probably guess they have a long-term plan to do the same globally.

In China, all religions are the target of a ‘sinification’ campaign. It began in 2015, but its history goes back much further. The word sinify goes back to Latin and means to make Sino or Chinese, but the word seems way too ominous to pass by and not see the connection to sin. Bottom line, this is the wordage used by an article an April 3rd article in The Economist.

In summary, this story goes back to the 1860s when James Hudson Taylor, an English missionary, defended and encouraged missionaries to dress and have hair styles of the indigenous culture. The justified reasoning was so not make it appear that to be converted to Christianity would be to become westernized and lose their Chinese heritage.

When Mao took authority, he used brutality to ban and crush all religious activities. Upon his death, restrictions loosened, but not much. Today, there are about 11mill Muslims and almost 80mill Christians.

On 2019, China published its 5-year plan to sinify the officially recognized religions (Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Catholicism and Protestantism.) Much of the dictates are for the worshippers just keeping the culture non-western … making sure architecture and decor are Chinese. And while that seems harmless, it also goes deeper into pre-approved messages, governmental decor right alongside religious decor (such as a picture of Mao next to the cross,) no training from “external forces” (aka, the west). It condemns house churches. It also emphasizes preachers to promote “core socialist values”.

Brainwashing camps, hefty fines, seizing and destroying property-churches-homes, and extended prison sentences are used to enforce the sinification program.

The inhumanity within the process, the hatred to all things foreign, and the outright disregard for human rights is a blatant war of freedom of religion and a blaring example of Spiritual warfare many are facing outright all around the world. We get all worked up about voting laws, and yes we should notice what our legislators are always doing, but we pay very little heed to the dangerous actions by those in China and other places.

But lest you think this is a problem just ‘over there’ – regardless of where over there might be – it is a problem right here too. Anti-Christian culture is trying to enforce its ideology within the fellowship of believers in our great Republic as well. Just look at the extant the new Equality Act will go to enforce compliance if the bill is enacted. And way too often, the church has surrendered and welcomed in the ways of the world.

The warnings from Jesus to his disciples 2000 years ago are true to his disciples today … watch and pray lest you fall.

Are you watching … staying alert, remaining vigilant?

Are you praying … staying close to the source of your strength, provision, protection?

Stand firm and don’t give the devil a foothold. And if it comes to it, we may even have to pay the price for standing strong on the standards of God’s Word.

And it’s starts with you today … watch and pray. Stay alert and stay connected.

And remember, God wins the war.

Enemies at the Gate

The neighborhood was rough and crime in the area was real. So the church took safety precautions. During services, the doors would be shut and locked preventing any kind of entry. An usher would remain on the outside to observe and stand watch. But what happened next was not what you expect.

Read the article about it here

They came in police cars. They came armed. Uniformed and plain clothes service men pulled up to the church during the service and demanded entry. They banged on the door with the intent to shut them down.

The service was ending anyway so the pastor said the benediction and the worshippers exited the building. A car with dark tinted windows has a strange man within that took photographs of every worshipper as they left.

This wasn’t the first time the local government had shown antagonism and used their power in an attempt to shut this church down.

The shocking reality though is where this took place. This didn’t take place in China where the communist party is taking great strides to stop the growth of the church from imprisonments of leaders to blowing up churches. Nor did it take place in a Muslim controlled nation.

See article about China here

This police action took place in the heart of Chicago, just a mile away from historic Jackson Park. The mayor decided to shut the church down in an overreach of power during this time of coronavirus containment. I could understand if there was rebellion, rioting, threats, malfeasance, or harmful intent from Cornerstone. But they just wanted to worship. They took safety precautions, practiced social distancing, took temperatures of worshippers to allow entry, and more.

This took place in America. And I will warn you, it will happens more and more as time goes on. This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional issue. This is not a personal preference issue.

This is a spiritual warfare issue. And followers of Christ need to know we are in the middle of a battle that has gone on against God and his people since man has been around.

The Ascent Psalms are a worshippers guide to preparing hearts for worship. They are an insight to man’s conditions and God’s promises. The 129th Psalm Is the worshipper looking around and remembering this. People had come against Israel from the very beginning, yet she stood. Enemies, from the Hittites to Hitler have tried to eliminate them, yet she stood.

The church too has been the target of many, yet she stands. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her. And in the end, she will be standing.

So when I worship, even if I have to do it in secret, under threat of arrest, fearful for my life … I remember this … God wins. And that is a reason to celebrate.

So pray for the church, at home and abroad. Pray for leaders in America that will defends our right to worship (but don’t be shocked when that right might be taken away). Pray for courage of church leaders who have to plan and lead under persecution. And pray for safety of worshippers. May we never take worship for granted.

And remember this repeated statement about God’s people from Psalm 129 … Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.

God wins the war … and for that, I praise Him through my worship.

“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
let Israel now say—
“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back;
they made long their furrows.”
The Lord is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward!
Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
which withers before it grows up,
with which the reaper does not fill his hand
nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
nor do those who pass by say,
“The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 129)

The Bible … China is the #1 Publisher

Gutenberg Press

A ‘Bible Tax’ has been avoided. The Scripture is no longer on the list of items to be impacted by the upcoming 10% tariffs being imposed on items coming out of China.

As international trade relations between a China and the U.S. begin to sink even further into a muddy mire of muck, the Bible was one of two items removed from the list. The other is children’s books. These two items are not completely in the clear, just delayed until December. Other items will be hit by the tariffs on September 1st.

LifeWay, the home to Baptist’s printing and curricula, reports that the world’s largest Bible printing company is in China. And furthermore, 75% of all Bibles are printed in China. Wow. 75%!

From a nation that is showing more and more hostility to Christianity and the church’s impact in our world, it is amazing that China even allows such printing. In a nation that is changing great works of literature by removing “God”, “Bible”, and “Christ” from books like Robinson Crusoe, it is remarkable they still print the Bible at all.

LifeWay is investigating alternative publishing houses. But the enigma is real. What if publishing is prohibited? What if China does what it can to extort or make cost untenable? Could they figuratively hold US publishers economically hostage for Bible products?

A few thoughts as I ponder this …

  • God’s Word will never be removed from the world … it will remain.
  • But, it may become more difficult to obtain, illegal to own, and an object that will bring persecution to its possessors. Already lawsuits are in America to make the Bible illegal to own – I don’t expect the lawsuit to go anywhere, but the battle is real. (Think of the movie The Book of Eli).
  • This is not about money, or economics, or politics. It is a spiritual warfare … and it will get worse before it gets better. Our enemy is not China or Washington DC or any one person or group … it is beyond that.
  • So, we need to be putting the Word in our hearts. Memorize, apply, and pass it on from generation to generation. I know Lisa is better at this than me … but I need to improve.
  • What about it you? Don’t be held captive … hide it in your heart. Start small. Maybe a verse today could be a great place to begin. Join me?
  • Be blessed.

    Article about editing works of literature

    Article about trade war and the Bible