The past four years have been very fruitful for the School of Christ in China. In the fall of 2009 we traveled to the far northeastern edge of China and met with 120 people who were seeking the Holy Spirit. They were ministering in the spiritually dark and difficult northeast and searching for answers from God. We ministered there for four days and the Holy Spirit came in such great and awesome power. Everyone in the conference was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Many people were healed, their hope for revival renewed and restored.
This one conference opened the door to many other opportunities across China. We have spent the last four years following the Holy Spirit to different regions of the nation as he moved across the land in a great revival. Thousands of churches are being affected by the revival and tens of thousands of believers have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. There is a deep stirring in the hearts of men and women who recognize the emptiness of casual faith and cheap grace.
With this outpouring of the Holy Spirit there has come a vicious spiritual counter attack. I was invited to the Shanghai region for meetings with some of the key leaders across China late last year. They were very honest with me as I talked with them about the church, both the Chinese and American churches. They are tired of the American conferences which have no life. Tired of powerpoint sermons which present only a surface level understanding of the scripture. They are weary of America’s big names boasting of their work in China, when their is no lasting results of their preaching. They want the Word of God preached in the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They want revelation of truth that goes beyond “Jesus loves me” or “You are saved by grace”. They want life! True life from God! They want their ministers to be filled with life and be able to carry that life through out the world.
This is why they love the School of Christ. This is one of the greatest sources of life in the church today. I don’t say we have a corner on the market of spiritual power. But I do say that the School of Christ has faithfully been presented to thousands of Chinese believers and thousands of them have been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit through the teaching. They find life-God’s life flows into their lives.
Those who came to the Shanghai area meetings were not the poor and outcast. These are the middle class, financially blessed in every way and yet lacking in spiritual fulfillment and life. As the School of Christ was presented everyone was touched by the power of the teaching with its call to holiness and humility before the Lord. Some of the pastors were just playing games with God. They were pastoring because of the money, or because of spiritual pride. Few if any had any spiritual depth, preaching primarily encouraging, inspirational words which excited the flesh but left the soul unchanged. God began to break down the pride and the greed. He revealed the hearts of those who ministered just to hold a position of power. Repentance came and life flowed. Yet God was not finished.
In February we presented the second week of the School. Again the Lord met us with his presence. Lives were baptized in the Holy Spirit and many healed. One woman with extreme back pain was healed instantly when we prayed for her. She testified of the great pain that she had been in and the great relief that the Lord brought to her.
February was also the moment of attack against us. We were ministering in a local church when the religious authorities came in and stopped the meeting. They questioned many of the Chinese but let them go very quickly. They keep the leader and myself for about two hours. He would not even admit that he knew me. He said that I just came to church and asked to speak. He did not know where I lived or where I was going after the meeting.
They questioned me extensively about my visit and how I knew about the church. I had been staying in an apartment owned by one of the church members. I did not know the address, and they were sure that I was lying to them. So they repeated questioned me about my accommodations until they finally gave up. All the Chinese believers had left the building and so I walked out of the hotel where we were meeting with the five members of the religious police. As I exited the building I saw my Chinese driver, but instead of talking with him I walked in the opposite direction. I gave time for the police to leave by walking around the block and purchasing a coke at a local shop. When I arrived back at the hotel the police were gone and some of the believers were back.
We prayed for a few days, waiting on the Lord to see if it was safe to go to our next meeting. There were 150 or so scheduled to be at the next conference which was to be held in a nearby city. We prayed through to a place of peace and went and ministered for the final four days. We recognized that Satan was attacking and that we could not allow him to win this victory. The Holy Spirit was present with us in great power as we ministered those last four days. We had testimonies of healing and many who were baptized in the Holy Spirit. But we knew the battle was raging.
Although we made plans to return to Shanghai in June those plans were blocked by the Chinese authorities. The border control met me at the plane, allowing me to disembark first before any other passenger. They searched my person, my luggage, my cameras and ipad all looking for a connection with the church. Before I had left home I had removed every Chinese picture from my phone because I anticipated the battle. I forgot that I had a few pictures on my camera and they found them. They were just crowd shots of a meeting we were a part of in March. I also forgot that I had pictures and video on my ipad. The ipad was new and March was the first time that I had used it to take pictures and video. The officer attempted to find any photos or videos which would prove that I had a connection with the church. It is possible that they wanted to identify my contacts and the places that I had visited. I sat on the couch as I watched the officer open every program that he could, searching for such evidence. He even asked for help from the other officers. They were under a time constraint because they wanted to finish in time to put me on the next available flight back home. After several minutes of searching he gave up and searched the rest of my stuff. He found my Bible and gloated that they had evidence against me. They found the few shots of the crowds on my camera and asked what and where. But time was running out. They needed to get me back on the plane. So they hurriedly repacked my stuff and escorted me back through the long lines at check-in, passport control and even at the gate. They walked me to my seat and gave my passport to the flight attendant. All I could do was wait for the long flight home.
As I was waiting I pulled out my ipad to see what the officer had missed. I had been amazed that he was unable to simply find the photos, but he could not find them. I knew the Lord had hidden them from his very eyes. I opened my photos and counted 32 pictures of pastors and leaders. I had taken pictures of the large church where we met and I even had a short video detailing my trip in March. All of it was hidden from the eyes of the authorities. God is so good.
Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12,13 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” We must recognize that we are in a spiritual battle not against the Chinese authorities, even though it is an atheistic system. We are in battle against the spiritual authorities which rule over the spiritual kingdoms of that land. God’s will is that His Spirit be poured out upon the nation of China. Satan is fighting that will with great urgency, knowing his time is short and his doom certain.
The revival of the last four years is under a wicked and vicious attack. We have enjoyed a tremendous revival all the while having to move from place to place just to stay ahead of the authorities. My last visit is no different. May this serve as a call of prayer for China. A call to pray for the Lord to expand what he is doing in that land before His return. May we recognize the importance of the School of Christ for China. The School of Christ is the greatest source of spiritual life and revelation that China has.
Let us not lose this battle because of unwillingness to pray or to give. God gives to us a promise in Isaiah 59:19, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” For certain the enemy has come in like a flood. In every place the authorities follow us, harass us, attempt to stop us from doing what the Lord has called us to do. But the Spirit of the LORD has lifted a standard against the enemy! I have seen the LORD protect us time and time again. And even though I was not allowed to enter the country and my personal ministry to China is in jeopardy, the Spirit of the LORD is still working, the revival continues. Others are still able to go and it is possible that God will open the doors for me again. I urge you to pray with us and I urge you to give to the cause of Christ. Surely our time is short and the task is great but the LORD is gracious and powerful. We shall prevail over these principalities and powers. The LORD will lift up a standard against them.