By Jonathan Ho
As I worked on this edition I was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell at 7pm. Not a normal time for an unexpected visitor. As I opened the door, I came across a disheveled young man who wanted to talk. He was wearing a bright yellow vest with some words on it that I couldn’t really make out. It was cold and windy and the light on the porch kept going off since it was motion-activated. Despite the cold and changing light, the young man steadfastly pitched me on joining a cause to support immigrants at the southern U.S. border. When I told him I would think about it, he told me that people often say that and then forget to do anything.
Have you ever cared about something only to forget about it? Have you ever been at a retreat or conference, excited about reaching out to your neighbor or to spend more time with God?
I remember being in junior high and high school wondering why the “high” of being on a retreat wouldn’t last. I would be “on fire” for Christ only for the flame to fade into normal habits about a week afterwards.
Jesus describes such a person when he tells the parable of the sower and the seeds (see Matthew 13:1-23). There is some seed which falls on the rocks which takes little root but springs up quickly before withering away due to hardship and persecution. Other seed may fall in the thorns where they become choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life so their fruit does not mature. Some seed is taken away before it is understood. Only the seed in the good soil bears much fruit.
As we enter into 2020, I asked writers to share about what they believe the Church needs to hear as a new year begins. Abbey, currently in high school, shares about the importance of unity and how many people leave fellowship because they are disillusioned not with God but by the community representing God. Larry writes of how our individual history only gives a partial view into a fuller gospel, and Matt writes about how we must go from trophy collecting to participating as members of the body of Christ.
In this edition, my hope is that God would move to transform our hearts to be good soil. This means that we take the time to understand, persevere through hardship and persecution, and do not use up our energies chasing the cares, riches, and pleasures of life. It also means God grows us (1 Corinthians 3:7).
Andy Crouch, former editor of Christianity Today, once described how there is a difference between necessity and sufficiency. Necessity means we have what we need to do something. Sufficiency means we succeed with what have. Necessity is having dry sticks and the right climate. Sufficiency is having what you need to make fi re and actually making fi re. Understanding, perseverance, and a pure heart are necessary to produce good fruit, but they are not in themselves sufficient. We need God’s grace and presence in our hearts for sufficiency for what he calls us to.
Please ask God to open your heart to his leading and mull over the things shared by our brothers and sister in Christ in this edition. May this new year be one full of God’s people bearing good fruit!
P.S. As always, we’d love to hear from you. Do you find the articles helpful as they are? Do you have suggestions for us in our content or approach? We’d love to hear your story as you process where God is moving and how you may join him in his work. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any stories, feedback, thoughts, and questions you might have.
On the Other Side
For those curious, here are the titles of the articles found in the Chinese side of the magazine. Please note that the Chinese and English editorial teams are different so the views represented here may or may not represent those of the English editorial team. If you have interest in learning more about any of these articles please reach out to us at email@example.com.
-The Diamond Rules of the Objective and Time Management
-Learning Entrepreneurship from the Apostle Paulʼs Mission Journey
-Coaching for Life
-Loving Muslims with Godʼs Eye
-Sharing the Gospel to Godʼs Chosen People- Reporting from 2019 Shalom New York
-The Voice that Dinned in the Rip-roaring Crowd—The effects on Canadaʼs SOGI123 Teaching Resource and What Christians Can Do
-Social Justice Column - Conclusion
Part I- A Thousand Mile Journey
Part II- Christian in Action- The Paintings of the Grandma Pearls
KRC & You Section
-Sharing Love and Blessings in Zambia
-Using the Bible as a Map - Journal of Israel Trip
-2019 Taiwan KRC Workshop Report - Converse with Happiness
-Silence, the Power to Recreate
-Journey through the Valley of Sadness
-The Problem of Poverty in Taiwanʼs Rural Villages
-The Forgotten Corner