Last weekend, I spoke at the 2012 Springfield, Illinois Bible Conference, organized by my friend Dr. Curt Daniel, pastor of Springfield’s Faith Bible Church. Dr. Daniel spoke on the identity of the Spirit, sins against the Spirit, and the filling of the Spirit. Pastor Charles Leiter, co-pastor of Lake Road Chapel, Kirksville, Missouri, spoke on conviction by the Spirit, regeneration by the Spirit, and prayer and the Spirit. I spoke on the illumination of the Spirit, the sanctification of the Spirit, and the inner witness of the Spirit. The conference was attended by 250 people from the Midwest. A good spirit was present, and book-buying was brisk.
On my flight home from the NCFIC conference, a young Chinese woman sat beside me. She was brilliant and had worked her way up the corporate ladder to the point that her company in China was sending her to its headquarters in Michigan for the very first time. Understandably, she was full of questions.
After chatting for a while, I asked her, “Are you a Christian?”
“I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that,” she said, rather shyly. “I have a friend who texts me a Christian message every day in both Chinese and English. Here, let me show you.”
I realized immediately that these messages were way over her head. “Are your parents Christians?” I asked.
“No,” she said.
“What do they believe in?” I asked, and then added, “And what do you believe in?”
“My parents and I only believe in the Communist Party,” she said. “If they treat us well, we are satisfied.”
“Look,” I said, “you must have thought many times in your life that there must be something more to life than the Communist Party in China!”
For the first time, she laughed. “You’re right there,” she said.
“Have you ever thought that ‘the something more’ might be the Christian God of the Bible?” I pressed on.
“Oh yes,” she said, “but I don’t really understand what the Christian worldview is. And how people get saved.”
“If you’re really interested, I’ll try to explain the basics of Christianity in ten minutes,” I said.
“I would love that,” she said.
I began with Genesis 1 (how we were created), then moved to Genesis 3 (how we fell). She was all ears but had a hard time taking it all in. She had never heard of Adam. I also had a hard time convincing her of the seriousness of sin. She finally seemed to grasp it when I explained that sin is essentially living selfishly rather than living for God’s glory. I explained to her why God put us here on earth—to live to His glory. That seemed to make a lot of sense to her.
After I drew a chart with God on the top, us on the bottom, and a wall of sin between which Jesus had broken open by His obedience, she began to ask a lot of questions about Jesus. “Why do we need Jesus to get to God?” “Why do we need to pray in Jesus’ name?” “What is it like to pray?” “How do you know when God answers your prayers?”
She also wondered why the Old Testament was necessary if we have the New Testament today. She wanted to know about Jesus’ mother. She wondered what the differences were between Judaism and Christianity.
I answered all her questions as simply as I could (she was challenging at times!), and then, as the plane was descending I shared with her how God had made Jesus precious to me in my own life, and that if you have Him, you really have everything. I told her too that I certain met more than 100,000 Christians in my life, but I had never met one who was sorry he or she was a Christian.
“That’s wonderful,” she said looking directly at me, and then she added emphatically, “and I can believe that.”
I offered to give her some of my books and invited her to come to a Bible class. She warmly accepted both invitations. Pray with me that she will attend.