The 10/40 window in Asia is beginning to open

On Saturday, I went to the screening of the new documentary 1040: Christianity in the New Asia at Newsong Church in Irvine. I highly encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to watch this film, which looks at 6 different countries/regions in Asia where God is moving: China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia. Jaeson Ma, the itinerant speaker, church planter, and musician who has been traveling back and forth between the US and Asia to reach out to churches and parachurch organizations, narrated and interviewed a number of his contacts in each of the countries, as well as US contacts who are all very aware of and excited about the movement that God is producing in Asia.

My brother and I had a good conversation on the way back home sharing our thoughts about the film. We both appreciated the perspective it gave us. It was amazing seeing people in all these different languages and countries worshipping the Lord, whether it was in secret in an underground church or at a 5 AM prayer meeting or at a huge concert/revival/crusade. The probing question we had to deal with was: “Where are we in all of this?” Both of us were reserved in our enthusiasm, not because we had critical spirits or skeptical hearts, but because we knew that we had to “descend the mountain” and enter back into our lives. What of our lives now that we’ve seen what God is doing in Asia? The calls to action were, as expected, loud, clear, and passionate. How does God want us to respond to the work He is doing there? The things we discussed merit a much more detailed post, which I may not get around to writing, so I would be glad to share in person. To sum it up, we came to peace about our common situation as PKs serving at a small church, that even though at first, we may feel “stuck,” like we’re missing out on great opportunities abroad and at other churches and ministries, there is a reason for all of it.

The thing I appreciated about the way Ma hosted the event was that he understood that the people present at the screening might not agree totally with the theology and practices of the organizations and movements he was associated with. But he emphasized, and I loved the way he said it, that as long as we believe that only Jesus is the way and call him Lord and Savior, we can shake hands as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The other awesome thing about the documentary was how it showed how God is moving in many different ways in Asia. The underground church God is moving through in China is totally different from the Christian pop stars and entertainers in Hong Kong, which is different from entrepreneurs in Singapore, which is different from Christian TV stations in Taiwan. This ties into what I wrote two paragraphs up, about our place in all of this. God is using people in every area of life for His kingdom work. For some, it may be to drop everything and devote a year or two or the rest of their lives living and doing full-time ministry work in these countries. For others, it may be to be salt and light in a secular calling, to be the nerves and neurons that allow the hands and feet of the body of Christ to do their work. This is where I believe God is calling me and my brother. It may take a while for us to get there, with years of school and gaining experience to take care of. But God will use us, just as He used the Singaporean entrepreneur who gave up the first $50,000 of the profits from her business to build 4 churches (was it 6? I forget) in India, which miraculously survived a devastating earthquake and were able to be God’s light to suffering earthquake victims.

Through my work at YKC, I know that I am not particularly gifted in the area of preaching. I can’t speak like Jaeson Ma does. And that’s okay! God needs people like him to speak powerfully and spur people to action. God also needs salesmen, painters, lawyers, cooks, paramedics, accountants, engineers, and artists to serve the body of Christ with their gifts and abilities. When a missionary prays for God to provide support, God provides the support through the businessman who donates the profits from his ventures. When we pray for healing for a member who has cancer, God provides one solution through the oncologist and surgeon. When the church needs help with its budget, God provides it through the accountant and financial planner who can contribute their knowledge to help the church be a better steward of its finances. When the church needs to defend itself against vandals and hostile visitors, God uses ex-Marines, ex-bouncers, and other strong, formidable guys to protect the pastor, protect the sheep, and protect the church building. The list goes on…you don’t have to be a missionary or full-time pastor to serve God.

I was encouraged that the call to action was not a guilt-tripping into “giving up” everything and becoming a missionary. Instead, the call is different for all of us. For some it may be to work at Morgan Stanley in Shanghai instead of New York. For some, to be a social worker in rural China. For others, to be an artist in Taiwan.

There was a sad reminder toward the end as Ma somberly reminded everyone that there is still much work to be done in Asia. There is no Japan in the film because there is no revival in Japan. There is no widespread movement of God in Japan. The same for Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Burma. There was also the grappling both I and my brother had to deal with, as we had spent some time in some of these countries this past summer (me in Korea, Andrew in Taiwan and Japan), that despite God’s working in these countries, there is still much sin we see in these cultures and societies. It cuts both ways: South Korea has had an immense revival, and the footage of Easter sunrise service in front of Seoul’s city hall was amazing, but what of the celebrity-obsession culture (and stemming from that, the suicide culture) that’s been plaguing the nation’s young people? On the other side, Andrew has seen the materialistic, hedonistic side of Taiwan, yet hearing the testimonies of Christians in media there showed us how the light is beginning to shine there. We have seen both sides and because of it we are both excited yet reserved. We just continue to pray for what God is doing in Asia and that the gospel would continue to transform and redeem lives.

10/40 Window on Wikipedia

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by suz on March 25, 2010 at 3:09 AM

    like — happy birthday, bro

  2. Posted by Billy on March 25, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Another insightful post; must pray for the lost.
    To years of blogging and renewed calling, happy birthday Sam!

  3. […] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. […]

  4. Posted by Oli on March 27, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    This is awesome! The Singaporean entrepeneur you mentioned about is Elim Chew who is doing Singapore and the church (our church specifically *grin*) proud! She’s been advocating many social causes and is now a key figure in community and business.

    I am very very encouraged by this blog entry you wrote… Everyone can identify in SOME manner. Going to show this to my cell group members. Way to go!

  5. Hey Bro,

    Awesome insights! We have felt really convicted by what God is doing around the world as well, and just started keeping track of what God is doing in our own city. Please check out our blog:



  6. God is moving in Japan! Evidence of that is the popularity of Black Gospel music and here is a link to a music video showing Black Gospel with Japanese Taiko.

    Wadaiko x Japanese Black Gospel fusion of “Ride on King Jesus” (short version)

    Live shoot from June 20, 2009 concert in Tokyo

    Featuring: Ray Sidney, Hallelujah Gospel Family & Matsuriza Taiko Troupe

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