It is always a rich privilege to step outside one’s context and world. This trip was no exception. The following are a few additional learnings I noted on the way home yesterday: 1. God is moving all over the world. God reminded me of this text often during this trip – “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you” (Colossians 1:6). 2. The impact of China. With 1.3 billion people and a church about 100 million strong, the economic, spiritual, cultural, and political influence of China is staggering. Few of us in the USA or the West, I think, appreciate this reality. 3. South Africa. One church we visited had about 400 white South Africans. Perth, Australia has over 100,000 more. Why? Violence and racial tensions. Having spent a most of my adult life wrestling with racial tensions here in the USA,. Read more.
As with our time with Willow Creek New Zealand, we experienced a very full 7 days in Singapore, teaching 3 different seminars to over 500 pastors/leaders, and speaking to 1600 people at a large plenary session. We had the privilege to interact and learn from leaders from China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myunnmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei. How did God come to me/us? The groundswell of the life of God in Asia is quite distinct from our 35 years of leadership in the United States. There is an aliveness, a power, a passion, a creativity, and a movement of the Holy Spirit that is impossible to miss. The sheer number of Christians in China (estimates put it at 100 million) dwarfs North America. The center of Christianity truly has moved away from North America and Europe to Asia (along with Latin America and Africa). Emotionally Healthy Spirituality meets a profound felt need of. Read more.
China is on the move! I saw this clearly while in Southeast Asia this summer and recently read When China Rules the World: the Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World, by Martin Jacques. In 10 years China will have 1.4 billion people, or 21% of the world’s population. Their economy, unlike ours, is booming. By 2027, experts say China will overtake the USA as the largest economy in the world and that, in 50 years, Beijing will be the world’s capital, not NYC. The drivenness , speed, and intensity to be bigger, larger, richer, and upwardly mobile in China is staggering. This contrasted sharply with two novels by Wendell Berry, that I read this summer — Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow. His themes include limits, the finite, the local and the small. These limits enable us, he writes, to grow in humility. And that this is the great. Read more.
Geri and I have just begun our yearly, summer “sabbatical” rest (our old term was “vacation”). We are in Thailand, beginning to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Yet we wanted to take a few moments and share with you several highlights from our time in Singapore at the Eagles Leadership Conference where we spent the last 6 days. 1375 delegates (pastors and leaders) from 19 countries attended this very well-run, powerful conference. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were the top four countries represented. Geri and I did a plenary session around our story and the main insights of EHS. This was followed by a full day workshop for around 200 leaders, and then 2 shorter workshops around “The Leader’s Spouse (by Geri) and Insights of Monasticism for the 21st Century (me) on the final day. We were very well-received and felt greatly honored. We also learned quite a bit. The following are a few. Read more.