My good friend, Dr. Lon Allison is the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. We also teach together in the graduate school program in evangelism. Besides this Lon is the director for the Institute for Strategic Evangelism at Wheaton College and the co-publisher of Lausanne World Pulse, a helpful on-line publication. In the most recent issue of World Pulse Lon reflects on what God is doing in the world today. His comments are worth your consideration.
1. Through Alpha leaders Lon says that he had learned of a Chinese woman (PhD student) studying in the U.S. who agreed to attend an Alpha course even though she was an atheist. The student called her mother in China, after the first class, and told her what she had learned about Christianity. Five weeks later she called her mother again to discover that her mom had since become a Christian. The simple reporting of what she had learned about Christianity was passed along by a phone call to China and her mother had come to saving faith. The daughter was eventually converted too and now both mother and daughter are one in Christ.
2. In meetings with young scholars from Tanzania and Rwanda Lon reports that he heard evidence of God's movements through-out sub-Sahara Africa. I met with one of these very same students in December and heard the same reports myself. I was invited to come to Africa by my student (a professor in a leading seminary himself) but given my health struggles I may never be able to go. I so wish this was not true.
3. A colleague just returning from India gave Lon firsthand reports of "people group" movements toward Christ. The under-caste (over 500 million in India) are seeing some among their caste leaders find Christ and who then travel the nation to preach the gospel to fellow under-caste leaders. The result is a wave of conversions. While we watch China with great interest do not forget India, which will someday be more populous than China and maybe even more responsive to the gospel in the next forty years or so.
4. And, Lon adds, he had heard on December 12th, the day he wrote these accounts, of three Christian football players on the Oklahoma and Florida teams who had just spent an evening seeking to lead high school athletes to faith in Christ. Many of us know about Tim Tebow of Florida but others are also involved in such witnessing. For those who think this is not so important I could tell you about the Cambridge Seven, bright athletes from England, who traveled the world sharing their faith nearly a hundred years ago. The impact of their ministry extends down to the present day in ways that I can't take time to explain in this blog.
Lon writes, "It is a breathtaking time to simply listen and watch God's movements, much less participate in them. Has there ever been a better time to serve Jesus Christ? I think not."
I totally agree with my friend Lon. From where I live and see the world Christ is working powerfully and multitudes are clearly being brought into the kingdom every single day. I am interested in encouraging all such movements to Christ. I am particularly invested in renewing the faith and hope of American Christians who want to be a part of this great harvest. This is why I am much less interested in the polemics of so much of what passes for Christianity in the narrow confines of America. Vital Christianity is absent in so many American circles and arguing about words and wrangling over this and that does little to build the kingdom of Christ. Thank you Brother Lon for reminding me by your simple comments about one exciting day in your life at the Billy Graham Center. I needed this simple testimony as a powerful reminder. I get too focused on my little (academic and philosophical) world too easily. God's world is very big and Jesus loves the world, all of it. "Red and yellow, black and white, they are (all) precious in his sight . . . . Jesus loves the little children of the world." The more I love this world the more I am in line with his will for me. Today I asked him to make my life line up with his love for the world and then Lon's comments helped me find the answer.