Author Archives: Mark

September 2020 Prayer Letter

Stories of God at Work | “Soul Saving Business”

Even amid a pandemic and persecution, God is still in the soul-saving business! Two of the pastors in China have reported four souls saved this past month! In one Chinese city, there were three saved: a young lady who is a university teacher, the husband of a lady who comes to the church, and a father. In another Chinese city, there was a lady in her fifties saved! Pray for these two pastors as they disciple these new believers and pray for the new believers as they are baptized, discipled, and growing in Christ.

Visa Furlough Ending | Visas Approved, Returning to the Field

Praise the Lord—our missionary visas were quickly approved, and we have them in hand! The day we received our visas in the mail, we also purchased tickets to return to the field. Lord willing, we will be boarding a plane to return to Taiwan on September 22nd. Praise the Lord for answering our prayers for a smooth, efficient, quick, and successful process. Please be in prayer over the following as we go forward:

  • Pray for our final weeks in the States to be productive—there is much to do as we prepare to return and say our goodbyes to family, friends, and supporters once again.
  • Pray for our health and safety—according to current regulations, we have to test negative for COVID-19 within three business days of our flight to be able to board the plane.
  • Pray for our reentry—according to current regulations, once we land in Taiwan, we will be required to do a mandatory 14-day quarantine in our house. After that time period is up and we don’t have any symptoms of the coronavirus, we will be able to return to life and ministry as normal.

Church Plant Update | The Church Plant Is Six Months Old

In our absence, the Lord is continuing to bless Victory Baptist Church in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. Attendance has held steady, and there have been many new visitors over the past month. Over the past six months, the church has had about 105 visitors. Please continue praying for the salvation of the lost and the discipleship of the saved! Also, we are praying for God to give us a band of young men to train for ministry to take the gospel to the world!

Moreover, in our absence, we are thankful for the Taiwanese believers who have stepped up and taken responsibilities to lead their church. We are also incredibly grateful for the missionary family who graciously lead the church over the past month. For this month, they turned over their responsibilities to our teammates, who were able to get out of quarantine after arriving in Taiwan. We are also thankful for the many preachers (missionaries and nationals) who have gone and preached at the church on Sunday mornings.

We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in Him, and to make Him known!

In His Joyful Service,



August 2020 Prayer Letter

Stories of God at Work | Victory Summer Camp

Several months ago, another missionary in Taiwan gave us the idea of running a summer day camp. We learned from how they did things and then made our plans. We started promoting the camp and getting some interest. By the time camp was ready, 20 kids had signed up (almost all from the new location)! Over the next five days, from 9-3, we hosted those kids at the church and taught them the truths of God’s Word! Of course, they made some crafts, learned some English, and played outside, but the essential time throughout each day was communicating God’s Word to them, some whom I imagine had never heard before. The following Sunday, we had “Camp Sunday,” and there was 49 in attendance with 24 of those being first-time visitors. Thus, not only did the campers have an opportunity to hear the gospel, many of their parents were able to hear it as well!

Visa Furlough | In The USA, Waiting For Visas

Praise the Lord—we were able to turn in everything needed, thus far, for our visa applications, and our entire family has safely returned to the USA. They told us the application process takes 6-8 weeks. Once our visas are approved, Lord willing, we will return to the field as soon as possible. Please pray for a smooth, efficient, quick, and successful process. Also, thank you to everyone who has made our unexpected return to the States much more comfortable with taking/picking us up from the airport, providing a place for us to stay, loaning us a vehicle to use, and so much more. May the Lord bless you greatly for serving His servant.

Church Plant Update | Our Church Plant Is Five Months Old

Last month, we successfully moved Victory Baptist Church to Luzhu District in Taoyuan City. The Lord blessed as we took this step of faith, and our average attendance was higher in our new location than any of the previous months—averaging around 22 on Sunday mornings (including our family) in July. Also, over the past five months, we have had a total of 79 visitors. Pray for the salvation of the lost!

After having such a great month of growth and ministry, we were saddened to have to leave because of our current visa situation and the COVID-19 restrictions. Another missionary family has graciously agreed to lead the church in our absence, and many preachers are lined up to go and challenge this young church plant. We are also excited about those attending, taking on more responsibilities. Please keep praying for continued growth and edification—all for the glory of God!

Prayer Requests & Praises | New Church Plant, Vision For China

  • Please continue to pray for the churches in mainland China. One of the Chinese pastors is looking to start a new church plant, Joy Baptist Church. Pray for wisdom as he goes forward with the church plant amid COVID-19 restrictions and the ongoing persecution.
  • Pray for our Vision For China team. Over the last year, we have lost some missionary families (for various reasons) but also have recently gained a new family—praise the Lord! The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. With COVID-19 and the current political turmoil with China, it seems the door is slammed shut for a season—but at the same time, it could open at any moment. We need to be ready with laborers ready to go when the opportunity to “go in” is available again. At the same time, there is a great need and open door in Taiwan—an island of 23 million souls filled with idol worship—they need to be told the knowledge of the true God! Who will go? Will you? Pray about it.

We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in Him, and to make Him known!

In His Joyful Service,



July 2020 Prayer Letter

Stories of God at Work | More Persecution

This past month I was contacted by one of our pastors in China about being contacted by the police again. He told me he had to go in and would contact me when he got out. We waited the whole day for any news, but finally that night he contacted me. He recounted the story of going in and behind handcuffed in front of his son and wife, led away to a holding cell, being roughed up, physically abused, threatened, interrogated, and then finally released. Why? Because of the same problems over the past year and a half—his relationship to missionaries and him being a pastor. They haven’t closed this case and are still seeking to persecute those involved as they desire to obtain more information on anyone involved with the church or missionaries. But praise the Lord he came out with a good spirit and a renewed passion to keep serving the Lord!

Important Announcement | Returning To The USA, Applying For Visas

We have purchased plane tickets to return to the States on July 28th. Our whole family must return to formally apply for our missionary visas so that we can return to Taiwan and have a semi-permanent residence here. If everything goes smoothly, we should only be in the States for 2-3 months. (We originally planned to do this overseas, but COVID-19 changed our plans and our current “visa-free” entry is about to reach its max limit for our stay in the country.)

Church Plant Update | Our Church Plant Is Four Months Old

“Adjust, adjust, adjust” is one principle I was taught as a teen by my youth pastor. And it seems to be the theme for our lives over the past year. This has also been true for the church plant. After praying and talking it over with those faithfully attending, we have decided to move the location of the church plant. It will be about an 8-mile move (driving) which is far in city terms and will be in a new district and city. The Lord has already provided a new location for us to meet in. The church will now be located in Luzhu District in Taoyuan City. This location will be much more convenient for almost everyone who is attending faithfully and will be close enough for those taking part in our small groups in that area to also start attending on Sundays. We are very excited about this move and the potential to reach more people as this new area is much more densely populated.

Over the past four months, we have had a total of 52 visitors. Also, in June we had a “Friend Day” and averaged around 19 on Sunday mornings including our family. Please pray for the church plant as there will be another missionary family taking it over while we are in the States applying for our visas.

Prayer Requests & Praises | Mainland China, Praise For Healing

  • Pray for the churches in mainland China: (1) to restart having in-person services and people won’t be afraid to do so in a safe manner; (2) to endure the continuing persecution with boldness; (3) to be blessed and encouraged by our once a month online service.
  • Praise the Lord, Pastor Austin Gardner was released from the hospital around June 19th. Please continue to pray for his full recovery as he does therapy to increase his strength and stamina.

We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in Him, and to make Him known!

In His Joyful Service,



Returning To The USA, Applying For Visas

Quick Announcement

Our whole family must return to the USA to apply for missionary visas so that we can return to Taiwan and have a semi-permanent residence here. We are flying back, Lord willing, on July 28th. If everything goes smoothly, we should only be in the States for 2-3 months. (We originally planned to do this overseas, but COVID-19 changed our plans.)

Detailed Announcement

Many of you have been praying for our visa situation here in Taiwan. To recap, as we reported in an earlier prayer letter:

“Our current concern is that Taiwan has barred entry of “foreign nationals” to keep combating the virus from coming into the island. This includes American citizens. We currently are allowed to stay until mid June before we need to make another visa run. But with the current regulations in place, and if they don’t change by then, we will not be allowed to re-enter and we won’t have a choice but to return to the USA until the ban is lifted. Obviously this in not what we are wanting or hoping for, but we know all is in the Lord’s hands. Please pray for this ban to be lifted or for a way to process our visas.”

April 2020 Prayer Letter

Since then, Taiwan has continued to give extensions but they max out at 180 days. That would mean that we would be forced to leave by August 13 at the latest. But just a few days ago Taiwan announced an update to this policy and that they will begin allowing foreign nationals to apply to enter the country again for certain reasons. One of the valid reasons for travel under the new policy includes “missionary activities”. We have also confirmed this with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago.

Therefore, we have already purchased tickets to return to the States for July 28th. Our purpose in returning is (1) we can’t stay on our current visa-free option past August 13 and currently not allowed to reenter the country on that option; (2) apply for a missionary visa that will allow us to return to Taiwan and also get residency, which would allow us the freedom to come and go from Taiwan and be semi-permanent here.


Can’t you apply for this visa in Taiwan? No. We actually have prepared our paperwork ahead of time, but there is a regulation that prevents us from applying from within the country. We have to turn our paperwork into an approved office outside of Taiwan.

Can you apply in another country that is closer? This was our original plan, but once COVID-19 happened, most countries are closed to foreigners traveling there on tourist visas or their requirements for quarantine are not suitable for our family.

Why didn’t you apply for this earlier? We were in the process of applying for the missionary visa, but then COVID-19 happened and the ban they put into place meant that we couldn’t apply for any visas, which is why we didn’t return earlier or go to another country and apply for this. Everything was put on hold. It is just within the past few days that we have been given permission to even apply again.

How long do you plan to be back? Lord willing, just 2-3 months. Everything is in the Lord’s hands, but we have been told that the processing time is 6-8 weeks for the visas we are applying for.

What about the new church plant? This was a hard decisions for us, but it is one that is currently out of our control. We are talking with other missionaries to help others find another preacher who can take over the work until we return.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that our paperwork arrives in a safe and timely manner. (We have already started the process and sent to the USA the paperwork that we could.)
  • Pray that our visa process can start as soon as the paperwork is received (next week).
  • Pray that the processing time will be shorter, not longer than expected.
  • Pray for safe traveling for our family of seven.
  • Pray for the new church plant while we are away.
  • Pray for God to provide a man and/or family that will be lead in our absence.

June 2020 Prayer Letter

Stories of God at Work | First Time To Church, Ever!

It was Sunday morning and because my wife was sick, we were doing the Sunday School and Adult Bible Study together. I was just expecting a small crowd that morning. In the midst of the lesson, an older couple walked into the church. They had a church flyer in their hand. Not much longer after that, a young family with two teens walked into the church. I also noticed they had a church flyer. As they found their seat, I asked them if they were Christians. The husband responded, “No. Actually this our first time ever visiting a church.” After we finished the Bible study, we had our morning worship service. I quickly changed my message to a gospel presentation. They didn’t receive Christ that day, but praise the Lord the seed was planted. It was a much-needed encouragement to me that day.

Friday Night Outreach | Victory English

Currently, on Friday nights we have two outreaches. My wife is teaching a Kid’s English Club and at the same time, I am teaching an Adult English Corner, which some of the parents who attend. We have a good response to these events and between them we consistently have 20-30 people come every week. Pray as we continue to build relationships and trust with our community. Some have already come and visited the church from it but not all. Also, we will be hosting “Victory Summer Camp” in July, similar to a Vacation Bible School, that several of these children have already signed up for. 

Church Plant Update | Our Church Plant Is Three Months Old

We have now completed the third month of our church plant. We had around 17 first time visitors in the month of May. We had a high day on Mother’s day of 30 people in attendance with 12 first time visitors. We have also been trying to figure out the best times for our services, as we desire to give everyone around 3 hours of “meeting” time each week. After changing the times a few times, we finally have a schedule that seems to be working. Currently, we meet one hour on Sunday morning for Sunday School and Adult Bible Study, plus an hour for our Sunday Morning Worship Service, and then one hour for small groups during the week. Over the past three months, we have had a total of 40 visitors, which is about an average of 13 a month. Also, we are averaging around 15 on Sunday mornings including our family. We praise the Lord for this continual growth! We ask that you keep bringing the following two requests before the Lord on our behalf: (1) the salvation and discipleship of those coming; (2) young men to reach and train for ministry.

Prayer Requests & Praises | China Opening, Car Accident, Pastor Gardner

  • Pray for the churches in mainland China. As the country continues to open back up after COVID-19 lockdowns, may have the churches there still can’t meet in person. Also, I have changed my online service with the churches to once a month.
  • Praise the Lord I wasn’t injured when I was getting out of the van to move some cones to park it on the side of the road, I heard a scream and saw a motorbike coming directly at me. The handlebars hit the rear brake light and then turned over into the rode and slid down it. The driver was taken to the hospital. Pray for a quick recovery of her leg which was severely damaged.
  • Pray for my pastor, Austin Gardner. On Wednesday, May 20th, he was taken to the hospital by ambulance because he had very low oxygen levels. He was admitted into the ICU and is being treated for double pneumonia and COVID-19. On Thursday, May 21st, Pastor Austin Gardner was intubated. He was asleep for the next 21 days. On Thursday, June 11th, PRAISE THE LORD, he was finally taken off off the ventilator and is now continuing to recover in the hospital!

We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in Him, and to make Him known!

In His Joyful Service,



Update #7: Pastor Austin Gardner (Praise God!)

The latest updates (newest to oldest) from pastor’s children:

Friday Update (Final Update):

What an amazing God we serve!
We are so thankful to have him back and for being the godly man he is. One of the first things he did was get us all together and prayed to thank God for all He has done and for allowing him to be used again. Please continue to pray for his recovery!!

June 19th, 2020

Thursday Update:

We got to see him again today! He is doing well. Still confused and all but they say that can take many weeks to get over. He is getting stronger and able to walk more and more steps with a walker and can easily transfer himself from the bed to the chair. They think it will be very soon that he will be able to go home. The only thing holding them back is his white blood count has gone up and they don’t understand why. He has no fever and looks great so they have run any and every test they can think of today to try to find what is going on. We should have results tomorrow. Please pray that his white blood count can come down and that they can treat whatever is causing it. We are so happy and thankful to get to see him and to be able to see how God is taking care of him.

June 18th, 2020

Wednesday Update:

One of his ICU Doctors arranged for him to be rolled outside in a chair so he could see his wife, kids, and grandkids. It was a huge blessing for us all to get to see him, hug him, and talk to him for a bit. He is still confused and wants to go home but it cooperating and doing his best to get strong so that can happen soon. He walked about 30 steps today during his physical therapy. He was not able to sleep yesterday during the day nor last night and barely any today so hopefully, he will be able to sleep tonight. We are so very thankful for Faith Insisiengmay as she has been a HUGE blessing by going by and checking on him and taking him a milkshake and encouraging him to build up his strength. He really enjoys seeing a familiar face! He really doesn’t like hospital food and isn’t wanting to eat. Please pray that he will start eating something at least and that he can get a full night’s sleep tonight.

June 17th, 2020

Sunday-Monday Update:

The weekend was a little hard on him with all the drugs and stuff in his system still, making him not be his nice self and just very confused. But today was a great day. Mom and Joy were able to go see him today and spend a little over an hour each with him. He is doing so much better, he is still a little confused and disoriented but is understanding so much more and grasping it all little by little. He was joking and picking on us and happy to see the whole family over FaceTime. He is getting stronger and stronger. He took about 8 steps today and is able to get up and out of bed on his own and move to the chair. Thank you so very much for all your prayers and support towards our family during this time. We praise the Lord for all of His goodness towards us.

June 15th, 2020

Saturday Update:

Since he is no longer in ICU we are not sure we will have daily updates. If we get them they will be here though. My sister Joy is the one that sends us the updates as a family and then I send them out to the world. Thanks so much for thinking of and praying for my dad. I just talked to the nurse. He is weak. The occupational therapist went in to try to work with him but he seemed too weak so they stopped and the physical therapist because of that also said let’s give him today to rest and tomorrow they will start up again. Speach therapist went in and he was doing well coughing and swallowing so they have upgraded his diet to a soft diet now instead of just liquid. They did give him some oxygen this morning but is doing well even without it.

June 13th, 2020

Friday Update: What a day!

Mom and Joy got to go to the ICU and see him. We were shocked when we walked in the door and saw him sitting in a chair and with NO oxygen at all. He is doing it all on his own! Praise the Lord! He is still very tired and things were a little foggy. He FaceTimed with the rest of the family and told everyone he loved them. His voice is weak and he only whispers right now. He is doing well coughing. He ate some pudding, drank some Diet Mountain Dew (which he said it didn’t taste good), and chewed on ice. Ice was the most successful thing. His kidney is working well and the MRSA is being treated. He is being moved out of the ICU and going to a regular room today GOD IS GOOD! All of this within 24 hours of being off the ventilator. Our God is powerful and merciful. He has answered our prayers !!! He will be going through intensive physical therapy.

June 12th, 220

Thursday Update:

Hallelujah! Our God is Awesome and powerful! He is off the ventilator and awake. He whispered back to us that he loves us all. He is on a high amount of oxygen but that is normal to start off. PLEASE continue to pray, the next 48 hours are crucial to see if he can keep it up on his own or if they will have to reinsert the tube. So for the next 48 hours pray hard!

June 11th, 2020

Wednesday Update Number 2:

Doctor just called, he did the bronchoscopy and there was not much secretion, thank the Lord. His airway is a little swollen, which is to be expected. He had thought about taking the tube out now but since it is late afternoon he prefers trying it in the morning instead of him maybe having problems or complications during the night. He says he will be there tomorrow morning very early and will start the process of taking it out. Dad is doing a fair amount of breathing on his own now, instead of the machine, which is good. When doing the bronchoscopy, sedation was lowered and he was awake and following commands.

June 10th, 2020

Wednesday Update:

Just FaceTimed. Oxygen is at 35%! Peep is 8! The kidney is working well still at 1.3. No fever! The MRSA is in his lungs but is being treated with antibiotics and his white blood count is at 9.2 (yesterday it was at 14.2) which is great. He is also on antifungal medication. They again turned off the sedation to see his reaction this morning and he followed commands but then got agitated so they turned the sedation back on but lower than normal and he is doing good with it low. The camping med they are giving him through the feeding tube is working well and keeping him calm. The bronchoscopy is scheduled for 2:00 pm today and depending on how it looks they will try to pull the tube out this evening or tomorrow morning. Let’s pray the bronchoscopy goes well and there isn’t much secretion so they can take the tube out. Also, let’s pray he is able to breathe on his own and respond well.

June 10th, 2020

Previous Blog Updates:

Update #6: Pastor Austin Gardner (Keep Praying)


The latest updates (newest to oldest) from pastor’s sons:

Tuesday Update #2:

Doctor himself called this afternoon and said when they lowered the sedation this morning he tried to pull the tube out. The MRSA is only in his nose right now so they aren’t starting him on an antibiotic yet. They also said that they would start a tracheotomy even with MRSA if they feel the need to do so.

June 9th, 2020

Tuesday Update:

Just FaceTimed. They took him off of the sedation this morning to see if they could take the tube out. At first, he was responding well and even followed commands from the nurse but then he started getting agitated so they had to give him the sedation again. Peep is at 8! Oxygen is at 35%! The kidney is still good at 1.3. White cell count is at 14.2 today but with the new medication, it should be going down. COVID test came back NEGATIVE! The results came back on the bacteria and it is MRSA so they are having to change up the antibiotics. The plastic surgeon is being contacted to come to see the wound on his face from all the tubes. Bronchoscopy is already scheduled to be done in the morning. They are giving him medicine through his feeding tube to help him respond better tomorrow when they lower the sedation. The plan is that with this medication and after the bronchoscopy tomorrow they are going to take the tube out and hope and see if he responds well. Please pray that he can breathe on his own and doesn’t get agitated and upset so the tube can stay out. If he can’t handle it they will have to reinsert the tube.

June 9th, 2020

Monday Update:

Hallelujah our God is a good God !!!! Prayers are being answered !!! They have taken him off of the sedation and he was responding better today. He heard our voice and opened his eyes a little. Peep is at 9! Oxygen is at 40%! The kidney is working well at 1.1! The only set back right now is he does have bacterial pneumonia and fungus growing but he is on an antibiotic and anti-fungal medication. The antibiotic is working because his white blood count was at 17 and is now at 13 (11.4 is about normal). He does not have a fever. There is no indication of any infection to the brain. Just that any infection we have just makes our brain foggy. The new team of doctors, nurses, and infectious disease doctors are hoping and planning on taking the tube out within the next 24 hours AMEN !!!!! Today they are planning on doing a bronchoscopy to help clean him out because he has a lot of secretion. We are so thankful and give God all the honor and glory for His goodness. Let’s pray they will be able to take the tube out and he will be able to breathe and respond well on his own when they do it.

June 8th, 2020

Sunday Update:

The doctor just called. Some good news and not so good news. His kidney is still working well and is at 1.2. Peep is down to 9! Oxygen is at 40%! They lowered the sedation today to the lowest amount but he is still very sleepy and not responding like he did the others times they lowered it. Doctor thinks it could be because the culture results showed there is a bacterial infection and it may be affecting his brain and that is why he didn’t respond like the other days. So they started him on an antibiotic and an anti-fungal medication. We asked if it is normal that it would affect the brain he said any infection can affect the brain but it is normally temporary until the antibiotic has time to work.

June 7th, 2020

Saturday Update:

The doctor just called, they did a chest X-ray and it looked like his right lung had collapsed so he did a bronchoscopy to check if it really had and thank the Lord it hadn’t but he did find there was a lot of mucus. He cleaned it out and took a biopsy, he believes he has a yeast infection inside the lungs. So he is starting him on a yeast infection med. He hopes that after cleaning the mucus out and giving him the med it will help overall. The wound on his face seems to be better, a plastic surgeon will be coming to check it out on Monday. Peep is at 12 and oxygen is at 50%. We will talk next week about the tracheotomy.

June 6th, 2020

Previous Blog Updates:

What About When Life Is Unfair?

“But that’s not fair!” is the phrase that is declared by people all around the world who feel that have not been treated with equality and justice. Everyone wants to be treated with the same standards, but the truth is that life is unfair. Every person will experience unfairness in their life, but as believers we can learn how to handle this unfairness in life through the example of Jesus—who chose to do right no matter the cost!

God Is Always Fair—He Is Our Standard

  • For us to measure if something is fair or not, we have to have something to measure it by. There has to be a standard that says something is fair or unfair. Ultimately, that standard is God Himself. The Bible says that God is the Rock—representing strength, stability and permanence. We can trust God to be fair and unchanging. He makes the perfect standard from which everything else is judged because His work is perfect and all His ways are justice (judgment, fair). You don’t have to worry about God telling you something wrong because He is a God of truth and faithfulness without any sin (iniquity, evil). God is just and right—by all standards He is righteous and good—He is the standard.
    Deuteronomy 32:4
  • When Jehoshaphat put judges over God’s people in the Old Testament He told the judges to “let the fear of the Lord be upon you”—meaning that they were to have a holy respect for God who was to be their standard of fairness as they did their job of judging the land. Their judgments were to reflect God’s character of justice and impartiality—for there is no iniquity (unrighteousness) with God, nor respect of persons (partiality), nor taking of gifts (accepting bribes to not judge fairly). God is fair.
    2 Chronicles 19:7

Jesus Endured Unfairness—He is Our Example

  • Jesus was sent into the world by God. He was sent to be a light in the world—to show mankind the truth so that they could be saved through faith in Him. Jesus was equal with God but took upon Him the form of a servant. During His time on earth Jesus obeyed all that God told Him to do and say. He obeyed His heavenly Father—who is always fair!
    Philippians 2:6–7; John 12:44–50
  • Jesus experienced many of the same things that we experience. He experienced being tired, being hungry, and being thirsty. He experienced different emotions, such as: He marveled, He wept, and His soul was troubled. All of this points to Him being fully human.
    Matthew 4:2; 8:10; 26:38; John 11:35; 12:27; 19:28; Hebrews 5:7
  • Even though Jesus was fully human, He was different from us in that He was sinless. Jesus never committed a sin. His virgin birth made it possible for Him to be born without sin. He lived in the same corrupted world that we do and had many of the same temptations, but He never sinned.
    John 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15
  • Life wasn’t always fair to Jesus. Many didn’t respect Jesus or listen to the message that He had for them. Some people lied about Jesus and mistreated Him. But Jesus did nothing wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. He was the example of perfection. Being such, He responded to the unfairness by humbling Himself and becoming obedient unto death—even the death of the cross. Jesus responded by submitting to God’s will.
    Philippians 2:7–8; Luke 22:42
  • God knew the world was an unfair place—it became that way after the first man sinned against God—but He chose to send Jesus into the world anyway. Why would God do this? Because of something wonderful called grace—the free and unmerited favor of God that makes a way for our sins to be forgiven. God knew that it was only fair that all unfairness and sin had to be adequately punished but He loved us and wanted to rescue us from this punishment—therefore, He made Jesus to be sin for us (who knew no sin) so that in Jesus we might be made the righteousness of God. God loved you so much that He allowed Jesus to suffer “unfair treatment” or “treatment that should have been yours” so that He could offer you salvation through grace by faith.
    2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:10; 23; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Peter 2:24–25

Believers Endure Unfairness—For The Glory Of God

  • As believers, we are called to honour the authority that is above us with respect. Servants are to submit to their masters. Children are to submit to their parents. Citizens are to submit to their government. We are to submit to them when they are good, gentle and fair to us but also when they are bad, intolerant and unfair to us. We are to endure unfair treatment from those who have authority over us because this honors God. Sometimes we will do wrong and we will deserve the treatment that we get, other times we will have done nothing wrong, but we are still to endure the grief while suffering unjustly—this is acceptable with God. We submit to authority to honor God.
    1 Peter 2:18–20; Titus 3:1-7
  • As believers, we are called to follow in Jesus’ steps—meaning because Jesus suffered for us without sin, we are to also suffer without sinning. Jesus suffered but He didn’t sin in response. He didn’t respond with deception or verbal abuse. The danger in retaliating to unfair treatment is that we could respond with the same unfair treatment or sin. Instead of responding with sin, Jesus continued committing Himself to God—who judges right. Jesus endured unfairness to honor God who knew that He would make all things right one day. Therefore, we should also endure unfairness to honor God.
    1 Peter 2:21-23
  • As believers, we are to submit to our authorities, good or bad, but we also have the right to not obey them when they are asking us to do something illegal (fraud, physical or sexually abuse, etc.) or to do something that is contrary to what God has commanded (forbid to teach in Jesus name, they want you to lie, etc.).
    Acts 4:19-20; 5:29
  • As believers, we are to be minsters of grace in this world. The authorities over us are sinners and will always be sinners until they die. We have an amazing opportunity to minister grace to them—the same grace that God showed to us. When you are mistreated by those who have authority above you and they don’t deserve your respect this is the perfect time to show grace—respond by giving them unearned respect and kindness because you are choosing to honor God!

Review Questions

  • Who or what is the standard of “fairness”?
  • What kind of unfairness did Jesus endure?
  • Why was Jesus willing to endure this unfairness?
  • As believers, what are we called to do?
  • As believers, why are we called to do that?

A New Appreciation, Not An Apology (Even For Whiteness)

As a believer, I am blessed, accepted, and loved by God. And through the Scriptures, I have learned to recognize this new acceptance and live out who I am as well as appreciate the differences of my brothers and sisters in Christ…who are also blessed, accepted, and loved by God. God made us wonderfully different, many different shades and sizes, but we all become part of the body of Christ through the blood of Christ.

Privilege Is Not The Problem

In modern society, the world is trying to deceive people through false teachings. The constant barrage of cultural attacks leads to confusion and ultimately acceptance of the idea. As believers, we have to always come back to the Bible. We can’t lose focus, because once you lose a grasp on the truth, you lose the power to truly make a difference, you become ineffective.

Terms like “social justice”, “systemic racism”, “intersectionality” and “white privilege” are being pushed by the world system, and their understanding and definitions of these ideas are toxic. The focus on all four of these ideas are disparities regarding many different factors (wealth, employment, education, opportunities, privileges, etc.) and then wanting to distribute those to somehow gain “justice”. How are these disparities defined? By comparing groups (ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, etc.). Thus, your membership in a “group” becomes the primary factor of your human traits and capacities. This might be an oversimplification, but it is the basic concept.

(Side Note: Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t saying that racism doesn’t exist or that it doesn’t exist in many different forms. Racism absolutely exists and it is absolutely wrong, evil, and sinful. And, yes, it and any cultural dynamics that cause it needs to be addressed.)

It would take too long to go into each of these ideas and hash them out fully, and there are those who do it much better than I ever can, but let’s take the idea of “white privilege”. The basic idea is that a person born with “white skin” is somehow inherently superior and has more societal privileges than those who are not born with white skin, thus this “injustice” needs to be fixed. (Belief that skin color is the primary determinant…this is racism.) Also, a person who has “white privilege” is racist/biased simply because they are white and even if they don’t know it, they simply, “don’t know what they don’t know,” and their hearts are so wicked that they can’t know, so they must be taught how bad they are by a person of color.

This is being pushed by the world and it is very toxic for our culture and for believers to buy into. This is an affront to sound Biblical teaching!

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Colossians 2:8

Does privilege exist? Yes. Are there privileges in societies and cultures because of one’s skin color? Sometimes. Do these privileges only exist for white people? No, it happens to all skin colors. Does that make it acceptable? No.

This type of thinking causes a negative attitude that goes as far as calling for white people to apologize for their whiteness. Or because you are “white” and not a “person of color” this is somehow wrong and you will get treated less as some kind of retribution…so “justice” can be served.

As a Christian I should be asking some questions: Should a person apologize for the way God made them? Should a person apologize for their blessings instead of being thankful for them? Absolutely not.

The world might tell me that I am a mistake, I should hate myself for the color of my skin, or I need to apologize for it…but on the contrary, in Christ, I found a new appreciation for it! And you can too! Whatever shade of color your skin is!

We need to remember, especially as believers, any antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular ethnic group is wrong. That’s racism.

Besides the obvious, I think this type of thinking is dangerous: (1) a person doesn’t choose his skin color; (2) privilege is incalculable and it is not consistent across the board for whatever group you want to single out; (3) there is always someone less privileged than you, but no one wants to focus on that, just those with more; (4) privileges come in so many forms and at so many different times throughout a person’s life, and it is not just privilege from skin color; (5) this type of thinking leads to more division; (6) having varying amounts of privilege is not sinful.

Perspective Is Helpful In Our Miscommunication

Perspective is needed. “Group A” doesn’t fully understand “Group B” because of their differences in perspective. For example, those with wealth might not understand the hardships of those without it. Or with our current situation in the USA, a white man might not fully understand what it is like living in America as a black man. So what should be done? Communication. Listening. Understanding. Loving. As believers, we can listen to one another without devaluing the way that God made us, trying to see the same thing but from a new or different perspective, which gives more information and then choosing to be ministers of grace in this world.

Perspective isn’t always flawless. Sometimes it is ruined by conditioning from culture, meaning that our society has conditioned us to see things as black and white, when in reality we don’t have any idea. A friend told me a story recently, he accidentally cut someone off driving. The guy he cut off was a white guy in a big pickup truck and that guy stopped and had a few choice words for my friend driving. One’s culture could easily condition us to see this man yelling at my friend from a certain perspective: if my friend was black, the guy is a racist; but if my friend was white, he is just a jerk. It makes you think, doesn’t it? What if my friend was black, so we say the guy is racist. But then if I give you more information and say the white man yelling at my black friend also has a black man and an asian man in the truck with him. Then our perspective changes again. This is one reason that perspective must be balanced with facts and truth. Just because we perceive something, doesn’t mean that we are right. Nevertheless, seeing things from someones else viewpoint helps us in understanding them and informs us on how to have compassion and empathy…because you can see what they see.

Most importantly we need to have a Biblical perspective about what the Bible says who we are in Christ. We need to see what God sees.

The Biblical Perspective Is Paramount

We are God’s creation! (Psalm 139:13-18; Romans 8:28-29)

There are certain aspects about ourselves that are predetermined before we are born and that we cannot change, such as, gender, the time period we are born into, our body structure, our skin color, our nationality at birth, certain abilities or talents, parents or relatives, and birth order. The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a good God, so we should see these things as the will of God, accepting how God made us, and, in Christ, He is working them together for good.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I cannot change certain aspects of my life. I accept them as the will of God. God created us all different and allowed us to be born into many different situations and with varying levels of “privilege”. But whatever your situation is, if you are a believer who loves God, then He is working it together for good and His glory.

You are also God’s creation. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, whatever shade of skin you have. Our differences are to be accepted and appreciated, not ignored, or looked down upon.

We are God’s workmanship! (Romans 8:29–32; Ephesians 2:10)

Even though I accept the unchangeable aspects of my life as the will of God, I also must recognize that I was born sinful and needed to be saved by God.

Before time, God ordained a plan that would redeem us from our sin and create us new in Christ Jesus unto good works. Knowing we are His workmanship allows us to walk in the good works that He has prepared for us to do.

You can also be God’s workmanship and be redeemed from sin. He can create you new in Christ Jesus unto good works. No matter your situation, God wants to have a relationship with you and use your life!

We are recipients of God’s amazing grace! (1 Corinthians 1:3–8; 15:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Ephesians 1:15-16)

All of the goodness in us is because God’s grace is with us. We are who we are by the grace of God. The evidence of God’s grace in our lives and the lives of others should cause us to give thanks to God.

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and I repented of my sins and believed in Jesus. If you are reading this, you also have an opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ too.

Application (1 Peter 4:9–10; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Ephesians 2:9)

As believers, knowing that God recognizes our full worth in Christ, this should cause us:

  • to know that we aren’t neglected but accepted
  • to turn our bitterness into thankfulness
  • to accept our deficiencies
  • to stop grumbling and start being grateful and appreciative.
  • to be humble, not boasting in ourselves, but boast in our great God
  • to be empowered to overcome our insecurities
  • to encourage and serve others with the grace we have been given
  • to accept and appreciate those predetermined aspects of others


Followers of God Not Allies To The Unrighteous (Even During Grief)

Speaking Up: Complete Affirmation

Because black lives matter too! I am in complete agreement with this statement. I love black people and I believe black lives matter. One can not claim that all lives matter equally and unjustly treat a certain group of people based on their skin color. Thus, to truly affirm that all lives matter, you must affirm that black lives matter too.

(Side Note: I think that adding “too” to the end of the hashtag/saying clarifies the true meaning of what many well-intended people mean when they share it and makes it much less incendiary. It indicates “both/and” instead of the possibly “either/or”. I think clarity of speech and meaning for the believer is much more important than simply participating in something that is trending but unclear or divisive. But this isn’t the main point of this article. Nor is saying it without “too” wrong.)

Although misunderstood, because of the way the hashtag/saying is often presented (causing many people internally to ask, “Hey, doesn’t everyone matter?”), the positive use of the hashtag/saying is to affirm to the black community exactly what it says, “Your life matters!” And even if we are not black, we mourn with you, we value you, we hear you and we see you—and we are trying to honestly say, “You matter to us!”

Every follower of Jesus should affirm that black lives matter too. Jesus came to save the black man too. He died on the cross for every shade of skin tone that exists within the single human race. We are to communicate the love of God to a lost and dying world and this absolutely includes black lives. (Following Jesus and racism/hatred are incompatible; 1 John 2:9)

I empathize with you. I want to have compassion. I do care and I am trying to love. I stand against unjustified police brutality, murder, racism, hatred, and apathy.

Vigilance: We Aren’t Allies With The World

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Colossians 2:8

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3

As the above is true, the following is also true. At the same time, we must be vigilant, because we know that Satan doesn’t let a crisis go to waste. “Black Lives Matter” is more than a hashtag or support for black lives, but it is a network and an organization. They have a website and they have a “what we believe” page. A quick read through it shows that there are many positions that a Bible-believing Christian can not affirm. (Not to mention their calls for the murder of innocent cops.) This organization (BLM) is incompatible with Biblical Christianity. Believers and local churches don’t need to lock arms together with such an organization to affirm that black lives matter too.

This isn’t a political stance but it is a Biblical stance. Politics, the mainstream media, and a barrage of social media postings are confusing believers and they are not sure which way to go. We don’t know where we fit in. But as believers, we are in the world but not of the world… we shouldn’t fit in neatly into any worldly groups (see below: John 17:14–17). We are called out from worldly ideologies and world-views (Black Lives Matter, Marxism, Postmodernism, Deconstructionism, Feminism, Black Liberation Theology, etc). To take it even farther, even though we vote within a majority two-party system, we shouldn’t feel “comfortable” in the republican or democratic party. We are part of something different, something greater, something better…this world is not my home. If we are Bible believers then we will be at odds from the world simply by believing what it says. We affirm that racism, homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism are all sins against a Holy God. We also affirm biblical marriage between one biological man and one biological woman, sex only within that marriage relationship, and pro-life from the womb to the tomb as right and true.

It is all in the name…the marketing of this organization makes this balance hard and causes confusion. Many if not all believers want to affirm that “black lives matter” but also not be mistaken for support for “black lives matter (the organization)”. As you can see, because of the name of the organization, to be against the organization also sounds like you are against black people. But this is furthest from the truth. Things are often labeled this way on purpose and for this purpose. But because the world uses a “good phrase” to also mean bad things, does that mean we should avoid it as Christians? I don’t think so. I think we redeem it. It is similar to the rainbow which has a certain meaning for the homosexual community, but it also has a meaning for the Christian community. Because some use it to teach anti-biblical things, should we ignore its Biblical meaning? Of course not. We redeem it and use it for good. This might take adding context and thus extra work, but if that is what it takes to not be misunderstood and to shine light into the darkness, then we should be willing to do the extra work. (Or do avoid confusion, you can say the same thing, but chose different words or hashtags).

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
John 17:14–17

Applications: Loyalty, Humility, Engagement

As believers, we do desire to be followers of God and not allies with the unrighteous. Here is how I think we can apply this:

In Psalm 139 David reminds us of two important things that I think are helpful:

  1. We can’t be loyal to God and at the same time be allies with His enemies. We have to firmly stand with God and not with those who speak against Him with malicious intent, take His name in vain, and actively oppose Him. We don’t want to be identified with them or be mistakenly grouped together as their ally. Your testimony is on display. Application for this article: Show your support and love to the black community out of loyalty to God and don’t become allies with those who oppose Him.

    “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, And thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
    Psalm 139:19–22
  1. We constantly and humbly come before God to unroot any unrighteousness in us. As we firmly stand in our loyalty to God we are inviting Him to search and know our hearts and thoughts to see if there is any sin or unrighteousness within us. We want to expose anything within our character that would be grievous to our righteous Father and be led in the way that God loves. Application for this article: Ask God to search and know your heart and thoughts to see if there be any wicked way of racism in you and if so, repent.

    “Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
    Psalm 139:23-24

Finally, our next step takes us back to John 17:

  1. We are to engage the world as Jesus did. We are on a mission like Jesus was. What did Jesus preach? Repentance and belief in Him for everlasting life! Application for this article: Engage the black community around you as Jesus would do; be the salt and light you have been commanded to be.

    “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
    John 17:18

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
    John 6:29

    “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    John 6:40

    “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
    Matthew 4:17