Regeneration in Action
A couple of our church leaders take an ‘Easy-English’ Bible study group on Monday nights. This is what one of them shared after last night’s meeting (note that names have been changed):
Just thought I’d share some highlights of the Easy English Bible Study last night to give thanks and praise to God as well as to encourage you in the work that He is doing amongst the Mandarin congregation of South-West Chinese Christian Church (SWCCC).
Last night we only had two people come – Ruby and Jack, but it was an amazing night.
As you may know, Ruby and her husband committed their lives to Jesus on the weekend. This was truly an amazing thing to witness (I often forget how miraculous it is when someone becomes a Christian but that is what it is – a miracle!). To hear them pray and confess Jesus as Lord was incredible! Unfortunately Ruby’s husband was not able to join us last night, but Ruby came and we asked her to share about the journey that got her to this point.
She shared how she grew up always knowing that there was a god, that there was a creator of the universe and that Darwinism was not the answer. Then when they came to Australia, a couple from Chinese Christian Church Milsons Point (CCC) were able to befriend them and bring them to CCC and then now to SWCCC. Through this, they were able to hear and learn the things of God through preaching and personal Bible study, particularly Ruby who has been reading the Bible for herself for the past few months. Therefore when we asked her whether she wanted to become a Christian, she didn’t hesitate. She now knows that there is a God, that there is a creator of the universe and He is Jesus!
Jack also shared about the things that have been going on in his life. He shared about all sorts of things from his past that have shaped him and made him the way he is now. Plus, for those of you who know Jack, he is a very strong character and he finds it hard to get along with people that rub him up the wrong way. All of these things built up resentment, bitterness and anger over the years.
He shared how he started coming to SWCCC, a process which started at Vatican City oddly enough! He recalls being ‘moved’ mostly by the art and architecture when he was there and ever since he has been longing for that experience again. He visited a few churches around Sydney – some sort of resembled this, but most disappointed him. He then saw the signs about SWCCC and came along and the thing that grabbed his attention was the choir. As the choir sang, he had the same feeling as when he was at the Vatican, he was moved. We asked him what it was that moved him – was it the music, was it the words? ‘No,’ he said, ‘it was the people.’ He could tell that they were genuine – they meant what they were singing about.
Jack has been coming to the Easy English Bible Study since it started a couple of months ago. This raised a few questions in his mind regarding the Trinity and the concept of God dying. He planned to ask Pastor Pete about this last week but a few hours before they were due to meet to discuss, God worked through some circumstances to reveal himself strongly to Jack. It was in a moment of his bitterness and anger that God chose to flood him with His peace. Jack found as he was about to lose control again in anger, that he suddenly felt like he couldn’t. This aspect of his character seemed to be changed in an instant to the point where he can confidently state that he won’t be like that again. He has tried in the past to change in his own strength, but he knows now that God has changed him.
Reflecting on this experience this week, he said (in his own words) that he feels reborn, like a new student on his first day at a new school waiting for the teacher. When we asked him whether he considered himself a Christian now, he said ‘YES!’ – which is an awesome and an amazing turnaround from our study last week!
We then looked at the Bible – Romans 5 – and talked about God’s amazing and incredible love for us in sending us Jesus to die instead of us, while we were still his enemies, while we were still sinners. This really struck a chord with both them. Ruby reflected that there is no reason for God’s love, in other words we can’t understand it, and it is illogical to us that God should love us like He does – His love is not like our love. She likened it to a father loving his children and this really struck Jack as well.
We encouraged them both to pray aloud in the group since they now confess to be Christians. They were both a bit nervous about this because they hadn’t really done this before. After a bit of encouragement, they did and this was the highlight of the highlights last night! Jack prayed (in English!), words like ‘My God, you are my Father, thank you for contacting with me, thank you for saving me while I was still a sinner and making me reborn.’ Ruby prayed in Chinese and from what I could understand also prayed to God thanking him for his love and for Jesus and for putting people in their lives to lead them to Christ.
Please join us in praising God for His work in the lives of Jack, Ruby (and also her husband). We have been truly blessed to witness Him changing their lives and we look forward to seeing Him further shape them.
God is blessing SWCCC beyond our expectations (certainly beyond my feeble expectations anyway!) Over the past week we have seen Him bring 4 people (that we know of) into His kingdom. I hope this encourages all of us to continue to pray for SWCCC that God would continue to work powerfully in the South-West. I believe the Chinese community in particular is ripe for the harvest. Let’s continue to partner with Him to proclaim Christ to them.