READ : 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you. (v. 4)
We were on a tour of new and renovated churches in the Province of Xiamen in South China. Late in the afternoon we arrived at the city of one of the host pastors. After a light lunch, she and the elders of the church led us up several flights of stairs to a tower that looks out over the entire city. The tower houses a bell which the pastor calls the “gospel bell.” The office of the local communist government is to the east, and to the west is the city’s Buddhist temple, well within range of the gospel bell’s call to worship.
The revitalization of the church and the construction of its new building are amazing. But even more so is the story of the pastor. Six years ago, she was a member of a very strong Buddhist family when she converted to Christianity. Three years ago, she became the pastor of the church and preached to a worshiping congregation of 10 people on the first Sunday. One year ago, a growing, revitalized congregation began a total reconstruction of its building, capped with the gospel bell pealing out the Good News of God’s grace and inviting all to worship the resurrected and living Christ.
Like a gospel bell, let my life witness to your saving grace in Jesus. Amen.