Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Dale Pond and I have just completed a successful week in China where we led a conference for businessmen and women entitled, “How to have REAL Success” in a city in Southern China. This material has been developed by John Maxwell (who is a leadership expert and Christian) and is approved by the Chinese government. REAL Success is a business seminar that allows the facilitator to naturally and positively share the life-changing good news of Jesus. R.E.A.L. highlights four key elements in success: Relationships; Equipping; Attitude and Leadership.
As we taught this “business” seminar, I was amazed to see the level of interest and enthusiasm that the Chinese business people demonstrated. In America, we have so many “success seminars” that we yawn whenever we hear about another one. But this was a totally new concept for the Chinese and they lined up after each session to ask questions through our interpreter.
This is my tenth trip to China, and it is thrilling to see how God is moving here. Many of the people who attended our seminar are believers now because of our work in this particular city. There no longer seems to be INTEREST in Christian truth; I sensed for the first time that there was actual HUNGER for truth about Jesus. Every time we talked about how Jesus was the greatest leader of history, I could actually see the people smile and pay closer attention.
After the seminar, we returned to Beijing where I had the privilege of preaching at Beijing International Christian Fellowship. This is a large, thriving church for foreigners who live in Beijing – it was like heaven because believers from dozens of countries around the world made up the congregation. Each Sunday several thousand of these believers gather and joyfully lift up the name of Jesus.
It’s difficult to talk about numbers because so many Christians are still “unregistered” in China. But among the “registered” churches (meaning the government recognizes them), there are about 45 million Christians in China. A conservative estimate of “unregistered” Christians would easily be three times the number of registered Christians. So many leaders suggest that there are AT LEAST 175 Million Christians in China (population of 1.3 Billion).
That means that there are MORE Christians in China than in America! However, the Chinese Christians still believe that America is a Christian nation, but those of us who live here know otherwise.
When a person becomes a Christian in China, he or she runs the risk of losing future promotions in his or her business or organization. The Chinese Communist party consists of 75 Million people who provide governmental leadership at almost every level. The Communist Party is like the Democratic or Republican parties in America. The difference is that there is only ONE party. To be a member of the Chinese Communist Party, a person must pledge to be an atheist. Having said that, there are many Communist members who have come to faith in Christ – but their faith may prevent them from moving upward in their career track.
All I’m saying is that to become a Christian in China requires the person to count the cost and make the commitment. In America, our churches are filled with lukewarm Christians (the ultimate oxymoron) who consider their faith to be on the same level as their membership in AARP or Sam’s Club.
I predict that the time will come when there will be MORE missionaries from China coming to evangelize America than there are American missionaries sent to win the Chinese. Doesn’t our Father have a wonderful sense of humor?
comments? email me at david@mail.gabc.org

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Tonight I’ll be giving away my younger daughter, Laura Grace, in marriage as well as performing the ceremony. This makes twice for me because I had this privilege about six years ago when my older daughter, Jenni, married Jason Holman. Some dads say that it’s a bittersweet experience, but as I search my heart, there isn’t a trace of the bitter – there is only the sweet!

Laura Grace has always brought sunshine into my heart, and a smile to my face. Being the dad of such a special girl has been one of the greatest joys of my life - she has always been so much FUN! She was the one who not only memorized her lines in the children’s choir musicals, but everyone else’s as well! She makes me proud of her, not just because of what she has DONE – but because of who she IS. She is truly a gentle soul--a person who fits all the characteristics of love in 1Corinthians 13. She is patient and kind; she isn't jealous or boastful; she doesn't rejoice at wrong but rejoices at the right; she doesn't keep a record of wrongs; she always seeks to see the good in people. She has taught me a lot about life. She’s the kind of gal I would love even if God hadn’t given her to me as a daughter.

When both my girls were little I used to go into their rooms and tuck them into bed by praying for them and kissing them good night. As I finished the spoken part of the prayer, I would always add my silent prayer that God would bless their future husbands. (I was afraid if I prayed that aloud in their presence it would have made them say something like, “Ooohh Daddy, I don’t like boys!”).

So, tonight represents God’s answer to my prayer for Laura Grace, and it’s always a wonderful experience to witness a real, living answer to prayer. Laura Grace met Jim Liner when she started graduate school in the English Department at OU. Jim has since earned his Master’s degree and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is one of the smartest, kindest, most trustworthy men I’ve ever met, and I’m honored to have him as my new son-in-law. (Besides, he REALLY laughs at my attempts to tell jokes!) Some dads say that giving away their daughter in marriage feels like a violinist handing a priceless Stratavarius to a gorilla! Not for me - I'm honored and glad to give Laura Grace to Jim. I love and trust him – after all, he’s an answer to prayer!

Tonight after the wedding, Jim and Laura Grace will be dancing together at the reception. This is the message, I want to share with you, Jim. It's expressed in the lyrics of a song by Heartland:

Look at the two of you dancing that way
Lost in the moment and each other's face
So much in love, you’re alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago
I was her number one
She told me so
And she still means the world to me
Just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything
Life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way
But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it still hard to give her away
I loved her first
How could that beautiful women with you
Be the same freckle face kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time
But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But its still hard to give her away
I loved her first.
comments? email david@mail.gabc.org