“And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.’” Colossians 4:17
I first encountered this rather obscure verse in 1970, the year I was ordained to the ministry of “prayer and the Word” of God (Acts 6:4). It has come to my mind often over the years, as I have sought to know and follow God’s leading for me.
For the past several years, I have sensed that God wants me to focus on three things: Prayer, publications, and personal relationships with a few people.
PRAYER is Primary
I won’t repeat what I’ve said before about the primacy and potency of prayer. By God’s grace, I try to take time regularly to intercede for the two dozen people who serve with China Institute and Global China Center; for another two dozen or so whom I serve; and for those who contribute to our ministry.
About once a month, I write a theme-based letter like this one, asking you to pray for God to work in and through us to bring his grace and truth to Chinese around the world.
Every Monday, I also send out an email prayer update. This usually features a quotation from a Chinese person or someone who serves the Chinese.
Almost always, I note how God has answered prayer during the previous week, and mention current prayer requests. I am no longer amazed, but always grateful for the ways God honors his people’s intercessions.
If you want to receive these, write to my assistant Helen: email@example.com.
You may remember that I am writing a doctrinal and ethical commentary on the Bible. I plan to continue working on this long-range project as part of my daily quiet time. It takes four or five days to cover one chapter of the Scriptures.
In 2019, I also hope to contribute at least fifteen articles to our three websites:
5 stories for the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity
5 reviews of books or parts of books about Christianity in China, especially the relationships between Confucianism and Christianity, for the Global China Center site
5 shorter pieces exploring practical implications of the material treated in the other articles for the China Institute site.
Along with Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin, I am co-editor of the Wipf & Stock series, Studies in Chinese Christianity. Thirteen volumes have appeared so far, and three more are in preparation. We receive requests from new authors every few months, as this series has become a sought-after outlet for serious but readable books about God’s great work among the Chinese.
Currently, I am doing the final editing of a book on the Chinese Union Version of the Bible by Dr. Cui’an Peng, one of our GCC colleagues. For one hundred years since its publication in 1919, the CUV has been the pre-eminent Bible used by Chinese Christians. This volume will be the definitive study of the translation of the CUV and the reasons for its lasting success.
As English editor of the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, I solicit new stories and edit those that come to me.
You may remember that since the launch of the previous version of this website, the Chinese and English pages together have received more than one million unique visits from readers all over the world.
I am also continuing to correct the second edition of the Greek-Chinese Lexicon of the New Testament. At three pages a day, I hope to finish by the end of 2021. I find this work very edifying since it is all Scripture.
Even though we live in a small town in rural Texas, I am able to communicate with people by email, Skype, FaceTime, and phone calls.
Using these media, I try to keep up with our colleagues, prayer partners, and Chinese in the West and in Asia. These conversations provide “fuel” for prayer, too.
Your Part in God’s Plan
As my sabbatical leave comes to an end, I hope to resume work gradually, and at a slower pace than before. I treasure your prayers!
Please ask God to:
Give me grace to “pray at all times in the Spirit for all the saints.”
Supply wisdom, discipline, and strength for writing, editing, and communication with individuals.
Enable our writers and editors to fulfill the ministries that they have received from God.
Raise up new writers and editors.
Use our websites, books, and other forms of communication to build God’s church among the Chinese.