The dramatic reduction in numbers attending Scottish Christian churches over the last 40 years is a real crisis for churches. But it’s not the worldwide picture, where ‘faith in the risen Saviour Jesus’ grows faster than at any other time in history.
For example: in China – Fenggang Yang (sociology prof’ at Purdue University & author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule) says,
“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon… It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”
It is time for committed Christians in Irvine and Scotland to ‘wake up and smell the nitroglycerine’ and to go to where people are in loving concern and caring service. In time, such humble ‘getting alongside people’ gives a positive platform to share the Good News of Jesus’, who bulldozes all barriers that separate us from God and the fulfilling eternal life God designed us for, before our selfish independence crept in.
On Good Friday Christians, from the 15 or so churches in Irvine, gathered to celebrate Christ’s victory over the grave and testify to the life-transforming risen presence of Jesus Christ. And on Sunday, perhaps well over 1,500 people gathered in Irvine churches to celebrate Easter Sunday and more rolled eggs with their children and gathered with family and friends to celebrate Easter (at Fullarton ConneXions around 220 people of all ages brought forward their coloured hearts as a sign of our love for Jesus).
Next week I’ll blog on the crash-crisis in church attendance, for now I want to simply put it out there that, however many or few people recognise it, “JESUS IS ALIVE!” This is especially Good News for those of us (with faith) who have lost / are losing loved ones to the terrible tyrant ‘death’. Over Easter weekend I’ve been sitting with a dear loved one on the threshold of death, what a comfort to know that his death (like pregnancy) will be the pain quickest forgotten, swallowed up in the New Life, Jesus won for him through his death and resurrection.
Romans 8:31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us! —is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not back-stabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”