Chapter 5: 57 Cents and the Faithfulness of God (P. 64-78)

Exhausted, poor and lonely, Jiang nearly hits bottom. However, through much prayer, God does the miraculous, allowing Jiang’s wife to obtain a visa to America.

Applications:

Whether it’s for spiritual discernment, financial relief, healing, or intercessory healing of loved ones, more than likely we have petitioned God hundreds, perhaps, thousands of times.

Perhaps asking God for a miracle isn’t the proper approach. Rather than asking God to perform a miracle, we should be preparing to receive a miracle.

Prepare for a miracle? It could be reasoned that asking God for a miracle indicates a lack of faith. Our faith should not have to survive on a regular diet of miracles. If we truly have faith in God, the miracle will come according to His will. We must place our trust in God, not for what we are asking, but what we are expecting. So it is imperative that we prepare for a miracle so we don’t miss it.

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Chapter 4: A New Song

Newly married, Kevin struggles to find his place as a young pastor and English teacher to international students. Kevin’s faith is challenged and deepened, and both positions ultimately point toward discipling the nations.

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Chapter 3: Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth. (P. 33-45) Jiang’s first church service in America leaves him speechless, but the church’s ornate style only intensifies his homesickness. He remembers his years in Daya Bay, China, where he first encountered Christ through English Bible studies.

Key Scriptures: John 4:10
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Key Questions:
 What is the gift of God?
 How is the ‘Living Water’ different from the regular, daily, drinking water?

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Chapter 2: Red Wine and Beet Root Juice (pp. 15-32)

Key Scriptures:

  • Philippians 3:4b-8 If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
  • Hebrews 12:1b-2a. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing        our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

From the book:

  • What was it that caused Kevin to reject communion? Should he have participated?
  • Why is the world so hungry to learn English?
  • What had been Kevin’s “romanticized” expectation of serving as a missionary in Poland, and what was his reality?
  • Why had the Polish Baptists gotten frustrated with the Americans? Do you think the frustrations were valid?
  • How did God use Poland to change Kevin?

For your life:

  • What is necessary for you to know Jesus? [Link to salvation site]
  • Have you or someone you’ve known ever reduced Christianity to a list of rules?
  • Issues such as alcohol can divide Christians, but Jesus stresses unity among believers. How can you discern when to voice disagreement and when to remain quiet?
  • Prior to going to Poland, Kevin had never recognized that his faith was a mixture of culture and Christianity. He tried to separate them but was only partially successful. Do you think it is possible to remove your cultural background from your understanding of the Bible? If so, how? If not, how should you respond to this realization?
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Chapter 1: Journey to the West

Journey to the West. (pp.5-14) Jiang Long finds himself alone in the Tulsa International Airport, 8,000 miles away from home. His new faith in God is strengthened by the help of a friendly tennis coach. God truly provides.

Key Scriptures: 1 Peter 1:17 “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.”

Key Questions:

  • How do we know there is a God?
  • Who is the True God?
  • Do I (or does God) control my destiny?
  • What does it mean for a Christian to live a life of holiness as a stranger on earth?

Exploring Further:

As an American citizen having been born in China, I will forever be different from the cultural norm. But I don’t want that difference to simply come from a different physical appearance or accent. I want my main difference to be my belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. As a “stranger,” I believe I have been sent to this land with a special calling from God – to help bring this American culture back to a whole new focus on holiness relating to God’s “strangers in the world.”

As God’s chosen people, we are to live like “strangers” in this world! What separates us from the world is Christ in us. This mystery of God is what completely changes our perspectives on thought (set your hearts and minds on things above) and attitude towards living on earth. The world looks at our outside, but God look at our inside. We have a whole new perspective on life in that though we live in this world, like everybody else, we’re IN this world, but we are not OF this world. We are citizens of heaven, traveling through this earth as “strangers.”

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