LOS ANGELES- The CCCOWE executive director designate urge all Chinese churches to reflect themselves deeply, to look forward to the Lord’s harvest field and to return to basics of the Gospel, as concluding an unprecedented Mission and Prayer Retreat.
On Saturday evening, Rev. Morley Lee spoke at the end of the Mission and Prayer Retreat organized by the USA Care Ministries International (CMI) and other nine leading mission organizations in Southern California. Under the leadership of Lee, it was the very first time that the retreat was held in such a scale.
Lee has kept emphasizing the importance of prayer in parallel to missions. Once again, he reminded the congregation of the 12 Chinese characters that summarize the core belief of the Retreat: "Do missions without forgetting prayers; Praying without forgetting missions."
"If we do missions without praying, it’s arrogance; if we pray without doing God’s work, it’s laziness," explained Lee. He further challenged mission leaders to devote in prayers by quoting Acts 6, in which apostles affirmed that they must "give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
"Do not forget prayer goes before preaching. We ask God to help us, in our lives, not only we preach, but we also pray," Lee said.
Sharing his reflection for the Retreat, Lee described it as a time to "reflect on ourselves" and "look inward." While both foreign guest speakers- Rev. Allan Swanson and Rev. Sohrab Ramtin- have showed high expectation on Chinese Christians in terms of their increasingly influential roles in the 21st century’s world missions, Lee lamented that Chinese churches have not lived up to the hope so far.
"We see the conditions of churches today, we cannot deceive ourselves, or we deceive others," said Lee, referring to the statistics from Chinese Christian Internet Mission (CCIM) showing only 10 percent of all North American Chinese churches are fully mission-engaged.
Besides looking inward, Lee said that God has allowed them to look outward through the Retreat. "We can see the needs of Southeast Asia, to hear the call from Central Asia, and South and Central Americas and the challenges from Mainland China, and the need of Europe, so we need to look forward to the harvest," he explained.
Even though the current image of Chinese churches is still very insufficient, they need to learn a very important lesson- to "look upward" and to remember that "God sees us as precious."
"… the most important thing is not how others look at me, or how I look at myself, but how God looks at you. When I heard about God’s servant, I don’t only think about being a servant, but I also think about I am God’s servant," Lee exhorted the Chinese churches.
Last but not the least, Lee urged Chinese churches to "go back to the basics" and to "go back to the Bible" as saying, "… there are many conferences and gatherings, we learn a lot about how to revive the church, how to grow the church. These are important, we need more practice, we need to learn from other’s experiences. But more important [thing] is not about how to do, but [to know] that the true foundation is Jesus Christ."
Lee concluded his speech with the Bible verses from Ezekiel 36: 36, "Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it."
Lee challenged churches and individuals to pray that God will rebuild and replant the destroyed parts in their communities or their lives.
A very touching scene at the very end of the Retreat was observed when the CCCOWE executive director designate Rev. Morley Lee and his wife received blessings from some leading U.S. evangelical leaders, pastors and elders with the prayer led by Rev. Allen Swanson.
"Lord the highest, we lay our hands on these brothers and sisters right now, that you will pour your abundant grace upon them, as they take up the responsibility and joy of being the new leaders of the CCCOWE center in Hong Kong. Father thank you for the gift of leadership that you have given to them, we prayed for them that when Rev. Lee takes up the leadership, the battle is not only his but it will be yours," prayed Swanson.
"And the victory will be yours father, the wisdom will come from you, the strength will come from you, the power will come from you. By your Holy Spirit, you will lift up this brother, and you will strengthen his wife, and you will make them a new team of power and witness the Gospel of Jesus to the Chinese churches around the world."