The Power of Biography Pt 1

Posted: November 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Recently I have had to read two missionary biographies. One of them is Chasing the Dragon the story of Jackie Pullinger and her work among the opium and heroin addicts of Hong Kong’s Walled City. It has been invigorating to see how God shapes and molds a life for him. I think one of the things that we lack in the Christian world is perspective. We view televangelists and news reports from Africa and Asia with the wrong lens. Sometimes we actually believe that God works these amazing miracles over night and on a daily basis. If it was happening on a daily basis then they wouldn’t be miracles!!! It is tempting to read the book of Acts like a diary or a day planner. We forget that it is called the book of Acts and not the book of Days and sometimes years elapse between chapters and paragraph headings. Why? Because God is in the business of making people like Christ and that takes a lifetime. This is why biography is important because we get a glimpse into the means that God uses to shape the lives of those who have gone before us in the faith (Hebrews 13:7,8)

One of the things that inspired me about Jackie Pullinger’s story is her reliance and dependence on the Holy Spirit. She was so committed to seeing God use her that she went off to Hong Kong without the support of an organization. When she was stuck in making progress she sought the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and prayed in tongues for fifteen minutes every day. That’s radical! I believe we need this kind of desperation in post Christian North America way more than we need conferences, academic degrees, or cool music (all good things but very negotiable)

Another thing that stood out is the fact that she stayed with the people for the long haul and lived among them. I have been on many short term trips and have benefited from the life transformation that comes with a well prepared short term mission trip. And while this is true I also know that real transformation cannot happen unless there are deep long term relationships. One thing that many have subscribed to is hit and run evangelism where we just give people a message from a booklet or rattle off a few Bible verses and voila! people want to follow Jesus. News flash: It doesn’t work that way in this culture. Do you honestly think that it works that way when people hear you in a language that is not their own? Even when it does seem to work careful investigation will show that either A) They had already been prepared to receive the gospel through a long term relationship or B) They were just being polite or C) They really didn’t understand what you were saying.

So all that from the life of a woman who dared to believe God could use her. That is the power of biography.

  1. “I believe we need this kind of desperation in post Christian North America way more than we need conferences, academic degrees, or cool music (all good things but very negotiable)”

    love it…i too was inspired when i read chasing the dragon…here’s to our desperate situation and reliance on the Holy Spirit…let it be O Lord

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