With over 3,000 members in his congregation, Silicon Valley River of Life Pastor Tong Liu shared an exciting message at the first River of Life East Coast Conference. He encouraged believers to take the step of faith with God’s promise to revive the church.
Pastor Liu pointed out with today’s fast-changing pace, a new website is formed every 3 seconds or a new product is created every 30 seconds on average. It is inevitable to say that the only constant in this world is change.
When facing quick-changing environment, some may feel confused because it is simply difficult to embrace or catch-up. However, Pastor Liu expressed that with every change, an opportunity is born. When believers are able to discern God’s perfect timing and move forward, experiencing breakthrough with God’s promise is not a rocket-science.
How can a believer discern the timing or turn it into an opportunity?
Pastor Liu analyzed through the below 3 main points:
Time of Harvest
First, Pastor Liu proclaimed that now is the time of harvest. This is from his first-hand experience with international ministries and church planting - “The field is ripe and it is time for harvest.”
For example, there are about 20,000 new believers converted per day in China. In Africa, God used his servant Reinhard Boonke’s ministries in miraculous way and lead millions to Christ. In one of the evangelical convention, there were 600,000 African convicted to receive Jesus.
Pastor Liu also shared his mission last year at Iran’s influential Christian broadcast. He was invited to lead one of its gospel programs and tend to the on-line questions from viewers. Questions ranged for example, from how to believe in Jesus to how to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
One of the employees of the broadcast testified to Pastor Liu that in the past 5 years, they had lead 50,000+ Iranian to Christianity. And there are about 700,000 believers tallied in Iran conservatively.
This amazed Pastor Liu and altered his assumption about Middle East’s lack of Christian influence for they heavily persecute believers of all nations.
“Though it seemed that now is the generation of darkness, all the more it is time for God’s glory to fall.” He said. In this ripe season, believers shall be ready to harvest.
“Don’t be concerned about your abilities or courage. It is not your power but by the Holy Spirit’s power. When you are willing to be a vessel, then He will use you to do His work.” He said.
Time of Revival
Currently is also the time of revival. Pastor Liu said, “Especially when you feel that everything has dried up, even so will be the time for God to pour down His rain; When you feel that the church had become barren, then expect the Holy Spirit to take over.”
He summarized his observation on church revival history: Revival never occurred at the time of plenty, God’s revival always takes place when there is shortage at the time. When God’s people begin to cry out for the Lord, then He will respond to their outcry by sending fire of revival.
Many are disheartened by this generation’s hardened heart, demoralization, church’s inability to react. One pastor likens today’s believers to fireflies, because they are not warm to the touch nor can they be used for burning. It is similar to many church condition now, believers are not hot or cold but lukewarm.
However Pastor Liu encouraged the congregation to not lose heart, “Because even in times like this, it is a timing for God to call you into prayers for this generation, for churches. You must cry out for God’s intervention, for Him to open up spiritual realm.”
He emphasized on the importance of spiritual realm. “Only when spiritual realm are opened, hearts will be converted, cities can be transformed. So let us pray for spiritual realm, for God to shower us with spiritual revival.”
Time of Breakthrough
For believers now, it is also the time of breakthrough. Pastor Liu said, “Only when there is roadblock, then we can rely on God to lead the way. When we are free to roam around, it is usually hard to rely on Him. Only then will we turn from our ways and follow God.”
The Bible says that God is the one who make a way in desert for us. Therefore, Pastor Liu hopes God will open every believers’ spiritual eyes, so all will see the road that God has prepared for each one. “God will always place His opportunity in front of us, we must pray for God to open our eyes to see them.”
Pastor Liu stated, “Breakthrough is not far from you. It is in front of you. Pray for God to open up your eyes, so you will be able to see.”
He shared a breakthrough testimony about a fellow sister that had been let go from her job and was short financially. One day she heard a radio broadcast that said, “If you had been let go from your company, you are blessed!” She was hesitant about the message and continued listening.
Then she discovered the message had not been mistaken, there was more to it: “If it weren’t so (let-go), you would never had the opportunity to explore your own business.” In result, it changed her life afterward. She did not find time to complain but to grasp the opportunity God had prepared for her.
She realized her artistic expression on crafts and it is greatly admired by her fellow church members. So she planned to open up her own shop selling hand-made arts/crafts. Where she lives backed a major street, which is a prime location for business.
Since her home was right by the pumpkin fields, she decorated her shop into a pumpkin-house, hanged pumpkin curtains and used pumpkin rugs. She used a signage that said “Pumpkin field Boutique Shop” to attract customers.
This proved to work in her favor. Many who passed by noticed that there is a cute pumpkin house right by the pumpkin fields. They were attracted to shop for a few little gifts here and there. Few years passed, she was finally able to realize her dream to be an entrepreneur.
Pastor Liu added, “God often place opportunities in front of us. So when we feel like there is no way in the front, do not complain, complaining will hinder us from seeing the road God prepared for us. Therefore, it is wise to seek God and ask for His help to open up our eyes, so we can see the opportunities ahead.”
Pastor Liu concluded that, “Even though today is a time of crisis, however it is also a time of excitement. Even in the time of change, we can expect God to work in the midst. Even in the hopelessness, it is time for the turning point. Let us expect with great enthusiasm that God’s harvest, revival and breakthrough will be received through our future endeavor.”
[Jennifer Shih translated the article.]