Geri and I recently returned from a ten-day trip to Singapore/Malaysia, our fourth in the past five years. Habakkuk 1:5 describes the wonder of our experience there. Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. The following are a few highlights: 1. The power and the size of the move of God in Asia is difficult to describe for us who live in North America. Every time I sat through worship, whether it was with the Pentecostal Anglicans, the Pentecostal Methodists, or the Assembly of God Pentecostals, I found myself in awe of the experience. (Oh yes, most everyone seems to be into Pentecostal in that part of the world – regardless of denomination). 2. Pastors and leaders, along with the churches, face the same challenges we face in North America. We. Read more.
Jiji Harner, from the Philippines, assisted me in my “I Quit” seminar in Singapore. I thank her for gathering these insights and helpful observations through her experience as a Filipina and her diverse experiences as a professional counselor. Quit being afraid of what others think…poses a much greater challenge in Asian Culture compared to Western culture. You could see the puzzle in the faces of the participants. “If I quit being afraid of what others think – then who will I become?” The desire to please and submit to authority has been inculcated in our minds. To undo this tendency is almost impossible because it is considered disrespectful, bad and ungodly to not do what those around you expect of you. To varying degrees Asian cultures tend to be other-directed, thinking: “How will others view my actions?” Instead of self-directed: “What do I think of my action?” People in Asian cultures tend to be. Read more.
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.
“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left” Chinese proverb. Geri and I now depart with respect (for our partners The Willow Creek Association New Zealand and Australia, and Eagles Communications in Singapore, along with New Life Fellowship Church out of which EHS flows), with affection (for the many wonderful people we have met), and with gratitude (for the people who worked hard to serve EHS in this part of the world). I think we are finally getting it that EHS offers a powerful message of deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation that resonates around the world, and not simply in New York City. At the same time, a consistent thread weaved itself through this trip – our doing must flow from our being. In other words, live the message we preach, giving out of the overflow of a full cup. What does that look like when we are traveling?. 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.
Geri and I left, last night, for a one-month global partnership trip to New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. We are going both to give and to receive as we embark on a pilgrimage to be encountered by God. For most of Christian history, going on pilgrimage was understood as a spiritual discipline for devout believers. The first Christians learned about pilgrimage from the Jews who made the journey to Jerusalem each year for the three major feasts. It was only natural for the early Christians to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After the excesses and abuses connected with pilgrimage during the Reformation, Protestants dismissed the entire concept as unnecessary. This changed in the 20th century as Protestants, along with Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers, been returning to Israel in significant numbers. It is common to meet believers making pilgrimages today to Jerusalem, Rome, Ephesus in Turkey, monasteries, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. A. Read more.