Jesus Shining To Asia’s Races
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- In Star Project, we encourage American Christians to reach out to Asians in their community through activities such as those mentioned in the “Activities” section, and working with the Christians of that language group.
Most large cities have a Chinese New Year Parade. Our “Fu” tract, also known as “Chinese Blessing” tract, successfully appeals to both Chinese and general Americans at these events. We know of no other such tract, and encourage you to use it, with or without a Multilanguage Jesus DVD (see Resources for tract) and other materials.
Other Asian groups frequently have parades and festivals, which are opportunities for large scale outreach. One good general tract for such occasions it the American Tract Society’s World Religions (www.atstracts.org), which contrasts Eastern Religions of works with the grace of Christianity.
The challenge in addressing the religions of East Asia starts with identifying God. Saying “God loves you” has an entirely different meaning depending on who you think God is. In Western culture we take for granted that God is personal, not simply a detached power source. Asian concepts of God vary in both directions from this, with some seeing him as impersonal, and some as human-like, for example Shiva’s incarnation.
Hindus have up to 300 million gods. They may readily agree that Jesus is “the son of god” – but seeing him as “the only Son of God” is difficult for them. Some Hindu priests claim there is only one god (the Brahma or highest god), which confuses Americans. What they mean is since all things are unified, all the gods are part of one god.
Since Buddhism grew out of Hinduism, it shares many concepts. One thing that may surprise Christians is that in Buddhism, you can be either an Atheist or believe that there is a god, albeit impersonal. The currently very popular Tibetan Buddhism of the Dalai Lama emphasizes there is no absolute evil or good; just actions that bring results because of power and balance in the universe. This pseudo-science fits well with the New Age philosophy, which also currently prevalent.
Sikhism is not well known in America, but is the fifth most popular religion in the world. It is also the newest, arising a few hundred years ago as a hybrid of Islam and Hinduism. Sikhs believe in one supreme God who resembles, but is less personal than the Christian God. They do not claim to be the only way to God, and consider many religions as valid paths. Sikhs will agree that Christians are on the right path to God, but resist and often be offended if we say it is the only path to God.
Daoism is a polytheist religion which arose in China, emphasizing spirits in the natural world around us, such as water, rocks, and trees. Daoism and spirit worship are mixed with Buddhism in many areas, for example Taiwan. Worship practices look like idolatry, superstition and demonism to Christians.
- In addressing all these faiths, we emphasize that God is both everywhere AND personal, because he is INSIDE and OUTSIDE of creation. Paul’s sermon in Athens is a very good example for us:
Acts 17:24-31 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring!
' Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (NIV)
Favorite verses for Eastern Religions
• Colossians 1:17 – “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
• Romans 11:36 - “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
• Ephesians 4:6, 10 - “One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all... He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.
• Hebrews 2:10 – “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
Most Christians are unaware that idolatry is openly practiced in major cities throughout America. Praise God they have freedom of religion to do this here, but we also have freedom to share with them the true and living God. May God open our hearts to bear them love and light.
These photographs are of actual idols and worship ceremonies in America. They include: Shiva, the Hindu God of fertility and destruction who stands visible in an area with high teenage pregnancy and natural disasters.
Buddha is commonly seen in America now, and not only in Chinese restaurants, but public places such as this hotel garden.
- The colorful doll-like statues are Hindu deities. Notice the elephant god has a Jesus DVD and Bible in the gift we gave to the priest, which he immediately offered to the god.
- A pig is being brought as an offering to Daoist deities, whom you can see in the back of a smoky temple in another shot.
Ceremonial photos here show people selecting lucky tickets based on a number from their incense sticks. They take these tickets to the fortune-teller who in this photograph is advising a man on his work.
- The outdoor barbeque- like oven is where burnt offerings are given to Asian gods.