To think rightly about what we deserve, we must start with God. Our flesh wants to make everything about us, as if the world revolves around humans, but creation tells a different tale: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). If we pause to consider the grandeur of a starry sky, the delicate beauty of a sunrise, or the diversity of plant and animal life, we must confess that our lives are but a tiny blip in the radar.
Every day, 1 in 9 Christians in the world faces high levels of religious persecution for following Jesus—that’s more than 245 million believers. And today, more than any time in modern history, Christian persecution is intensifying, with little sign of relief. In more than 60 countries, Christians risk isolation, ridicule, and imprisonment, loss of their homes, torture, rape, and even death for their faith in Jesus.
Why is racism still an issue?
This past autumn, my family and I have been reading aloud Adventures in Darkness by Tom Sullivan, a book I worked on many years ago when I was at Thomas Nelson. My wife and I did not have children then, but I always thought the book was perfect to read to a child as it detailed the summer adventures of the author Tommy, an eleven-year-old blind child. It is full of daring adventures of Tommy and his blind friends escaping from the Perkins School for the Blind, boating down the Charles River in Boston, and jumping off cliffs to test his courage. Tommy also shares stories of adversity in how he dealt with bullies. Lastly, courage from a boy in his neighborhood led him to understand true friendship. The book was meant to be read aloud. Perhaps Tom Sullivan being blind has helped him discover his greater gift, which is storytelling. Our girls have loved Adventures in Darkness, and the book has come alive to me again by reading it out loud and seeing the immediate reactions from my daughters.
It is impossible to consider the modern history or contemporary state of Christianity without accounting for the sudden rise, the explosive spread, and the worldwide impact of Pentecostalism. To that end, I’ve been reading several books on the subject, focused especially on the Azusa Street Revival, which most historians consider the setting in which Pentecostalism began. Here are a few key points I’ve learned about the Azusa Street Revival and the Azusa Street Mission that housed it.