Saturday, December 10, 2011

Testimony: "Share It for God’s Glory" (1/4)

By Lihua

There have been other brothers and sisters asking me to write down my experience since outdoor worship began in April. I wanted to write, but I was afraid that I would do it to show off. So I stopped after I prayed. A while ago, I was touched by a sentence from ZM’s e-mail, “I share it to witness for God;” yes, I should not share my testimony to show off, but to witness my Lord, the true and living God. Therefore, I have to speak out what I have seen and what I have experienced.

Part I. God brought me to Shouwang Church

Pastor Xiaobai would always say: “It is amazing that you and several other believers from “Three-Self” churches are so quick in joining us in this outdoor worship.” Yes, we are. It is because that God has already prepared us before we came to Shouwang Church. I had been attending Gangwashi Church for five and half years till June 2010. I got baptized there in December 2004, and then started to serve young professionals there; God shaped me and modeled me there. In June 2010, I suddenly realized that my spiritual life came to a point where I could not grow anymore; every time when I sat down after serving as an attendant, I would not be touched by the worship, nor fed by sermons (I already started to find biblical resources from somewhere else to feed myself). One day, I asked the Lord: “if you permit, please allow me to leave this serving position!” (I was thinking about attending another service of the same church, but God’s thought is higher than mine). I usually do self-reflection to see whether it is my own sin before I make decisions. So I asked God to enlighten me and to open my eyes, and God enabled me to face the problems of my church. One time when I got out from the bathroom after Sunday service, I saw people rushing to the bathroom with no order, and then rushing to the other side of the street without obeying rules (every time after the service, people rarely walk the sideway, and usually cause traffic problems). The scene I saw made me wonder, “What is the difference between the church and the world? Is church just a place for gathering? Is there any problem in the church?” I was reading Emergence of Liberty at that time, and happened to read the blog of Wangyi, the translator of this book. From his blog, I read about Chinese Church history after 1949. And God helped me to understand the problem of Gangwashi Church through a verse, “Christ is the head of the church”(Ephesians 5:23). Once the church walks away from the head of life—Jesus Christ, it will become a rigid institution, and members of it will not be connected to each other, and ultimately become water with no fountain, and tree with no root—“Those who make them (idols) are like them; so are all who trust in them.”(Psalms 115:8) If the church replaces its head, Jesus Christ, with the government, it is not surprising that it becomes more like a department of the government, which only focuses on the form.

As I realized this problem, I would not be able to step out to attend the Sunday service on the following three Sundays; it felt like that a couple would not be able to sleep on the same bed any more when they had problems. So I asked for three months off from my church for adjustment; I wanted to ask for God’s guidance and wanted to give some time for my co-workers to process my leaving during this period of time. I was rather isolated from house churches in the past few years, and when I asked the Lord to “lead me to a church belongs to him, where I can connect with other members in life,” I could only think about Pastor Songjun—I heard the gospel for the first time on a Christmas party held by his group in 2000. So I searched online and found that he served at Shouwang Church, and was studying in a seminary in Hong Kong at that time. “He is not in Beijing, and I am afraid to go to Shouwang Church with no one introduces me to,” I thought to myself. Later I met a sister in a seminar, and she told me that she attended Shouwang Church—God gave me another road sign pointing to Shouwang. She told me that pastor Song might come back in December, and I said, “I might go to Shouwang when he comes back.” However, when I handed over my work in church on July 8, I needed to make a decision on which church I would attend next Sunday. I had no choice but checked Shouwang’s website, and found that pastor Song would preach on July 11th, “is he on summer vocation?” So I went to the Old Story restaurant on that Sunday, and attended Shouwang’s Sunday service for the first time. I still remembered the first sentence pastor Song said when he went up to the podium, “from today, I am back to Shouwang,” which confirmed God’s guidance for me to bring me to Shouwang Church.

When I stood up as a new friend being welcomed, I said: “today I come to Shouwang, I think I am back home.” On that day I also got a copy of Shouwang’s magazine (I wanted to have one when I saw it in a friend’s place), and later I got to know that this magazine is a quarterly magazine which is issued once every three months! It is hard to describe my feelings on that day: grateful, excited, and surprised…