Grace Springs Bible Church
 
 
 
No Stopping Points
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In my early years of ministry, I served as a mission's pastor in a large Southern California church. This was an exciting position that required traveling all over the world, doing things I loved to do. I trained Pastors, evangelized, spoke at conferences and even toured around Austria in a Christian rock band. One of the most exciting things we did was smuggle Bibles into communist countries. I felt like a spiritual James Bond as we prayed our way through customs or snuck around back alleys late at night to find a drop-off point.

 

Many of these trips were to China. We'd fly into Hong Kong, which was still a British colony. Pick up the Bibles, pack them into our suitcases and fly into Bejing in the morning. That night in Hong Kong was always tense. The fact we'd be going through Chinese customs in a few hours usually produced a seriousness felt by all. Typically, if caught, they'd confiscate the Bibles, scare you a bit and send you on your way. But you always wondered, would this time be different? Will I be the one they make an example of? You quiet those fears with faith and the importance of the task. God is able to protect me, and somebody must get Bibles to these people. This is worth it.

 

It was always risky, but on one trip the stakes would be raised. As usual, we flew to Hong Kong to meet the person supplying the Bibles we would take in. However, this time he had a special request. Not only did he want us to carry Bibles but also a Christian video. He sat us down to let us know of the increased danger that video would bring. If caught, there were two possibilities. We could be fined a massive amount of money that none of us could pay, or end up in a Chinese jail. We were instructed to think it over that night. If in the morning we had decided the danger was too great, we were told to leave the video behind.

 

I wrestled all night long. How could I take a chance like this? I have a wife and small child at home! She needs a husband. He needs a dad. Who would blame me if I refused? I finally convinced myself, I couldn't do it. I would leave the video behind, but do it in a way where I still looked brave to the others.

 

In the morning, I would leave with the rest. As the group started down the hill to the waiting van, I would excuse myself, go back into the house and drop the video on the kitchen table. The perfect crime! Nobody would know who left the video, and I would set it in a place easily found so somebody else could take it in later.

 

As the others walked to the van, I excused myself and started back to the house. Letting them know I'd only be a moment and would catch up with the group.

 

I only made it a few feet when a thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. It was that still small voice of God, and it halted me in my tracks. The question was simple, “Is this the stopping point? Is this where you stop trusting me?” My commitment had suddenly come under divine inspection. The issue being, had I drawn a line that nobody or nothing could move me past? A line where it became too costly to obey? Was this the point where I say, “I’ll do whatever you want Lord but this. This is where I choose to refuse your will.”

 

I stood alone on that hill wrestling with the Almighty. I was being confronted with a choice that would affect the rest of my life. Would God or would I be the Lord of my life? By God's grace, I was enabled to say, “Father, if I’m going to serve you, there can be no stopping points. Your will must always triumph over mine.”

 

As I turned to join the others walking to the van, a verse flashed through my mind.

 

Josh 1:9 (NIV)  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

 

I must have repeated that verse 100s of times on the plane to Beijing and as I went through customs.

 

God was with me. The mission was successful, and I had learned a valuable lesson.


The truth is, for the believer, there can be no stopping points. God’s will must be done.

 

P.S. In case you were wondering. I never did find out why taking a video in was so frowned upon by the Chinese government. 

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Mailing Address:  25422 Trabuco Rd STE 105-267, Lake Forest, CA 92630
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