(April 05, 2020) Robert McQuillan shares a fond memory – and brings an Easter missions-centred challenge…
Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes’ Easter article (link below) boldly declares that the heart of every missionary’s message is – Jesus! And goes on to share aspects about that powerful name.
His title reminded me of when we travelled to South Korea back in 1994 to join some two thousand AoG delegates from around the world to celebrate the historic First World AOG Congress in Seoul, hosted by Dr Yonggi Cho, then AoG World Fellowship Chairperson. I also had the privilege of sharing Sheraton Hotel rooms with Dr Andrew Evans, then AoG Australian President.
Each day of the congress, held mainly at Yoido Full Gospel Church, saw outstanding speakers glorifying God, his Son Jesus and the all-powerful Holy Spirit. Later I’d be reporting several superlative quotes by AoG leaders, such as –
- Andrew Evans: ‘Jesus is the king of glory – everything and everyone is under his throne.’
- Thomas Trask (USA): ‘When we move under the dynamics of his Spirit and power, it is in order that Jesus is glorified.’
- Colton Wickramaratne (Sri Lanka): ‘Jesus – we need to be beautified from everything that contaminates.’
- Peter Kuzmic (Croatia): ‘The greatest power in the world – the God who can change history.’
- Errol Bhola (Guyana): ‘A big God can do things in a big way.’
- Prince Guneratnam (Malaysia): ‘We need to believe that there is the possibility of our nation – indeed the whole world – coming to know Jesus.’
- Loren Triplett (USA): ‘Jesus said we ought to pray “Your kingdom come”.’
- David Yonggi Cho: ‘The sin of greatest concern to me today is disbelief in Jesus.’
World’s largest prayer meeting!
Inspiring yes, but what happened on the Monday after Sunday’s several Holy Spirit anointed services was mind-blowing, so incredible that one would later resort to clichés like: ‘You would have had to been there to experience it for yourself!’ So many Christians from all over had gathered to pray!
Can you image over one million people gathering on the huge, runway-long Yoido Plaza to pray for the world?
The shot left is merely a partial view! It was indeed awesome!
I felt so privileged, so humbled, to be there on the platform so close to those world leaders such as mentioned above… and special guest Dr Robert Schuller who brought a warm greeting, adding a challenge to any non-Christians present as well as future video audiences: ‘Look at these people – one million strong. They have found something special and you can find it too!’
‘May the nations be healed!’
A major cry was that nations would be healed! Congress Chair Loren Triplett spoke on that well-known ‘big if‘ 2 Chronicles 7:14 repentance scripture: ‘If my people… humble themselves and pray… seek my face… I will forgive their sin and heal their land.’
‘Our prayers today will not be in vain but will move the hand of God to change nations,’ inspired Dr Cho in his concluding message. ‘Every revival began with prayer… Christians have the responsibility of praying for the world!’
And much did happen since that time as the gospel has been shared worldwide by many active Christians from all denominations (not just AoG folk) – Christianity is still regarded as the fastest growing religion!
Last year Lifeway’s Facts & Figures ( link below) stated some encouraging information, such as…
(1) Christianity was growing faster than the population with 2.5 billion Christians worldwide;
(2) Pentecostals and charismatics are growing the fastest and picking up speed;
(3) In 1900, only 5.5% of non-Christians knew a Christian. Today, that has grown to 18.3%;
(4) There are more evangelism opportunities for Christians that ever;
(5) Almost 2.2 billion people living today are still considered unevangelised.
Today, as we anticipate the coming 2020’s Easter celebration of Jesus our risen Saviour, Dr Cho’s responsibility challenge – that echoed around Yoido Plaza and the world by satellite networks to an estimated 16 million other prayer warriors – still remains active, especially in this unprecedented time of world desperation because of Covid-19 (a virus so ravaging, like that destructive locust horde of Joel 1:4 and 2:25!).
But, before continuing with that responsibility challenge of Dr Cho’s, I highlight something he told me in an interview I had requested with him…
That eighth question
Aware my time would be limited with the leader of the then world’s largest church (then 706,000 and counting), I had only eight questions. Not one was carelessly chosen, confusing or about something I should have researched/known already – I did not intend to waste his time or have him consider this editor/reporter rather blithe.
I remember well what happened – after Dr Cho had addressed delegates from 134 nations, including former USSR, at a banquet breakfast. As prearranged I sat on an end seat on the left halfway down the large auditorium where, when finished, as he headed for the exit Dr Cho would locate me and we’d go somewhere for the interview.
Personally I was thrilled that I’d be meeting Dr Cho at last! He knew me as editor of AoG’s Australian Evangel, that I had ran several of his articles from his magazine and that editor Peggy Kannaday had used some of mine. Imagine my disappointment that in greeting several other ministers he walked straight pass me, not even shaking my outstretched hand!
I just stood there perplexed… wondering what to do, having travelled so many miles overseas to particularly meet him! Suddenly Dr Cho stopped at the doors, turned back and proceeded back up through the vast exiting crowd until he found me! We had never met before but he knew me from my magazine photo. My disappointment turned to joy.
With a genuine handshake he embraced me warmly: ‘Dr Robert, my apologies. I almost forgot our appointment… come let us find a quieter spot to talk.’ We did find a spot and he graciously gave me his attention, ignoring other ministers filing out.
Perhaps one day I’ll share all my selected questions but, of interest, here was my seventh one: ‘If you had the power to change history, even recent history, by one sweeping event, what would it be?’
Immediately he responded: ‘Since I am a minister of Jesus Christ I would make all the leaders want to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour and to rule over each nation with his love and teachings.’
The greatest of all messages!
Wow! In admiration, I then asked my eighth and final question – he hesitated but for a moment then responded so enthusiastically!
This was my question: ‘If you knew, Dr Cho, that you had only one final sermon to preach, what would that message be?’ I was not to be disappointed!
With a typical Yonggi Cho smile, he very seriously declared: ‘Jesus! I would preach Jesus is Saviour!’ With even greater emphasis he repeated ‘Jesus! Jesus is Saviour!’
Now I had already heard some anointed quotations by great preachers over the congress but this really grabbed me – and I have never forgotten it!
Returning home to Australia I caught up with Andrew Evans and also asked him that ‘eighth question’ – guess what his instantaneous reply was? You got it – ‘Jesus! Jesus is Saviour!’
No, Andrew hadn’t read, hadn’t seen my notes – but no doubt, like Dr Cho, he’d remembered the ‘real’ Christmas good news of Luke 2:11GNB, ‘This very day in David’s town your Saviour was born – Christ the Lord!’
Later I would fly to other nations and have opportunity to ask that same question of various Spirit-filled Christian leaders. Everyone responded without hesitation as David Yonggi Cho had – ‘Jesus, I would preach Jesus is Saviour!’
Easter 2020 thoughts on that ‘eighth question’…
Where am I going with all this?
‘Eight’ to Christians signifies ‘resurrection, new life, new beginnings.’ Easter is the time Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection and the new life and beginning he has secured for us – God’s secret plan, as Brian Bell puts it this month (link below).
We’re all living in unprecedented days and (as are many others) I’m praying that no Christian will be fearful, scared or even disappointed that some prayers haven’t yet been answered. Rather that we all totally trust our God – no matter what goes down!
Now there’s a lot of misleading talk about end times and ‘the soon return’ of Jesus. Instead of having eyes on the now, readers/listeners are thinking about the future and end times (whenever that may be as no-one, but no-one really knows! Matthew 24:42!) instead of thinking about the now, about how we can take opportunities to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus and God’s love!
Praise God that…
- Many ministers have promptly utilised the skills of church members and staff to ensure weekly contact is maintained with other members as we’re in ‘lock-down/lock-out.’
- They’re also ensuring good encouraging Sunday (even midweek) services on air via YouTube and/or Facebook!
- No matter how long we’ll be in lock-down nationally, we can have confidence in our loving, caring heavenly Father!
- We can be positive, not negative in this troubled world!
- We serve a risen Saviour – anything is possible with our big God (That quote above)!
- We’re encouraged to pray for our own local church, extended Christian family, neighbours, nation, government, national leader, health care workers, and that this virus will be totally overcome – prayers so vital at this time.
Here’s my point of all of the above – as I acknowledge the reality of not being able to gather in large groups at this time to pray – and then recall that world’s largest prayer meeting back in South Korea and its satellite networking, I begin to dream so easily of the possibility that somehow many millions of Christians (not just one million) could somehow gather together this Easter by some kind of yet undiscovered technically creative means and pray most sincerely together at one time not only for the whole world’s current virus needs but that…
- Millions of lost souls would turn/turn back to a loving, caring God.
- They’d repent of sins and accept Jesus, God’s Son, as their Saviour.
- Yonggi Cho’s concern above would no longer be a concern to any missions-minded Christian!
- Andrew Evans’ declaration above would be a reality as repenting souls accept Christ’s authority and protection, declaring… ‘Jesus is the king of glory – everything and everyone is under his throne.’
Alternative to ‘crazy’
Oh it’s good to dream, to hope, to care for others… but maybe mine is a crazy dream, unreal!
Tell you what isn’t crazy… taking every opportunity every day wherever we are to praise God for all he’s done/doing for us. And taking every opportunity that comes our way to share the gospel, speak positively, relating our testimony! This may be via Facebook, computer emails, letters, phone calls, when saying ‘Hello’ to people passing by, not-too-close-together shopping times…
- We may not all be preachers but somehow we must all get that great truth of Jesus is Saviour out there!
- Those heart-cry quotes of leaders quoted above are as relevant today!
- Christians have the responsibility of praying for the world!
- ‘Heal’ our land (2 Chronicles 7:14 is rapha… one of our loving, caring God names is Jehovah Rapha.
- May we take on-board the challenge of Romans 10:13-15a – ‘Everyone who calls, “Help, God!” gets help. But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?’
Make the Christain Easter 2020 real for someone! We Christians are being comforted/can be comforted but… the unevangelised of the world need to know that Jesus is Saviour!
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are email@example.com and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics:various general sources). Links: George Forbes’ Jesus-the-Missionaries-Message / Brian Bell’s What-Makes-Things-Break-up / Carol Round’s Fill-up-on-Gods-Word /Maureen McQuillan’s Relax-in-Troubling-Times / Jim McClure’s Lockdown / LifeWay’s Trends-in-global-Christianity-in-2019