This past weekend I was privileged to hear and be in the presence of Peter Xu, founder of one of the largest Chinese house church movements. His life and story sounds and feels like it could be fit right in the middle of the book of Acts. Imprisoned 5 times, tortured on many occasions, and sentenced to death – all the while maintaining the joy of the Lord.
We typically have 3 morning services on a Sunday. This past weekend we essentially had 1 service that lasted 5 and half hours. We started at 8:45 and ended at 2:30 – with a couple 5 minute intermissions to allow people to come in, get their kids, leave and comeback. It was unplanned, and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. In all I got to spend 10 or more hours with or around Pastor Peter Xu. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some reflections of that time. Here is the first:
1) I must re-calibrate once again what suffering is. It is easy for me to call some of my difficulties and disappointments ‘suffering’. It is hard to call them suffering after you listen to Peter Xu describe being hung from his contorted arms for being a Christian who refused to recant his faith. His words cut me deep – “Don’t run from difficulty and suffering – it is the way of the cross.” This is what it is to know Christ – the power of His resurrection AND the fellowship of his sufferings. (Philippians 3:10)
What if we were to embrace with joy the opportunity to suffer on behalf of Christ? How might it change us?