Putting Feet to Our Faith (Ep. 23)

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Ed continues his conversation with Luke Cheng, FEBC’s new Director of US Chinese Ministries. Together they’ll discuss what it means to “deny yourself”. We’ll see how this was demonstrated by followers of Christ at key moments in Luke’s spiritual journey…Until All Have Heard.

 

Podcast Transcript

[Wayne]: …Last time on the podcast, we met Luke Chang who is our new director of US Chinese Ministries. We’re going to continue meeting Luke here today, but say a word about why Luke has stepped into this position.

[Ed]: Well, we’ve had the privilege of working together with Dr. Rev. James Huang for the last eight years. James has been an enormous benefit to FEBC US Chinese Ministries over these years…But James has retired and he’s transitioned the role to Luke Chang, who James found…

[Wayne]: That’s wonderful. Well, we’ll continue to meet Luke here on the program today…

[Wayne]: …Let’s continue to meet him today in part two of your conversation. Did you want to share a scripture before we turn to the interview?

[Ed]: Yes, actually, Luke talks a lot about discipleship. Many people think, “Well, FEBC is really an evangelical ministry.” We’ll hear from Luke himself on why he feels so strongly about discipleship, but I think it goes back to the great commission when Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded.” So, even by Christ own words, it’s not evangelism as much as a process of making disciples of all nations. That’s Luke’s heart. That’s what he speaks about so often. We’re going to hear a little bit more about that right now.

[Wayne]: Yes, it’s a good lead in to this conversation.

[Luke]: …I think self-deny is the starting point of actually we can come to Christ. I remember when I – before I become a believer, I mean, our will is one of the big part, right? When do you admit that you’re prideful? When do you admit that you’re willing, you need help, you need salvation? If you’ve never realized that, then you will never come to Christ for salvation. Also, along the way, when you’re growing spiritual walk with Christ, self-deny is also important too because it constantly reminds you how prideful we can be. And also, out of that, we always have the intention to live for ourselves, not before Christ. So, if you want to continue to grow more like Christ, you have to be like Christ. Be humble like Christ. So, I think that’s essential message we want to share with all the – if you look at the global mission, only those people actually who are willing to pay the price for Christ can really share the gospel. That’s my understanding of this.

[Wayne]: Now, Luke, you grew up in China as an unbeliever.

[Luke]: Yes.

[Wayne]: Can you share with us just a little bit about your background when you were a young person and how you grew up?

[Luke]: Yes. I was born and raised in a small village in China. It’s a big family. I’m the youngest one of the six siblings. My parents are very traditional Chinese. My dad was very low rank government official. My mom was a farmer. I grew up in a very poor family, but even when I was a kid, we were educating the – I think in that environment, people don’t believe in God, but I always trust that something beyond the universe is also transcending being out there, controlling people’s lives and the destinies. So, I’m – yes, that’s my background.

[Wayne]: So, that seed was planted in your mind, questioning how could this secular world just be all in, and where did creation come from, and what is the purpose of life, and all that thing. So, what was the next step in your life as you became introduced to Christ in His teaching, or God, and how have you come from that place to now where you are with this deep faith in Jesus Christ?

[Luke]: Yes. I mean, like, even in my early childhood, I also want to pursue, find out the purpose of my life, because I don’t feel like all the stuff we do, even when you study, even though in the idea about pursuing a career, actually, you’re looking for some fulfillment in your heart to prove that you’re capable, you’re important, you’re valued. I mean, that’s kind of my heart. But in this environment, people always – the whole trend is that you look for a good job, you have – find a good – form a good family, and then you’ll be happy. So, I kind of followed the trend, but I went to Canada to graduate studies. I met a group of Christians. My landlord, my first landlord was a Christian. He shared with me the gospel. I was not a believer in that time, like I’d argue with him. I was still following science, trust that science is the ultimate solution. But then, at that point, I can see that there’s something different in their life. They have this peace I never had in my heart. They have the joy even though they suffer from financial difficulties. So, I think their life attracted me, and then I started to go to Bible study groups at that point.

[Wayne]: This is a great learning for all of us. So, when you went to university in Canada, and you were studying PhD in computer engineering, is that right?

[Luke]: That time, I was still master in chemical engineering.

[Wayne]: So, you went on to further studies in Canada. Tell us how your faith journey continued.

[Luke]: …I went to a – he [his landlord] told me that. He told me that there’s a Bible study group in my campus, so I started joining. I met a lot of Christians. Similarly, they’re so loving and kind. I started hearing a lot of the Bible, about teaching the creation, sin, just gospel information. I started to think about what the information is all about. At the same time, I had some friends who had tragic lives who – I have a friend who lost her mom at that point. I compared with her response to one of the friends in the group actually who just lost her father. I can compare, I guess, a huge difference played in their faith. When people have faith, they have internal hope. They can still have peace in their hearts, but those people who lost their loved ones without the internal hope, is so desperate. Their life have – I mean, their Christian life has huge impact on my faith journey.

[Wayne]: So, I think maybe part of the next chapter in this faith journey is part of that Bible study or somewhere in your studies, you met a young lady named Joy?

[Luke]: Yes, Joy, she was a seminary student at that point. She was part of the study group. I remember one time, we chatted and then she asked me to join the church. It’s a long story I’m pretty sure. From that point, I just started to go to church, have more systematic learning of the Bible, and also with other Christians, so that’s the – a lot of steps on my faith journey.

[Wayne]: Wow. Wow.

[Luke]: One of the other person who impacted hugely on my faith journey is my professor. I mean, he was – he’s a professor in chemical engineering, but he’s a very strong believer. He brought me to his church because I had to follow him to his Bible study group. He started teaching Bible with concordance, explaining the – how we can explain Bible. At that point, I realized one thing, because sometimes, I don’t accept the Bible as authority of truth because the way I interpret the Bible is wrong. So, that blocked me from believing the Bible. At that point, even though I don’t quite accept the Bible yet, but I realized that the Bible is believable. It’s not that what I – it’s the way I interpret the Bible that actually blocked me from believing it. That’s another obstacle God moved – helped me to move away.

[Wayne]: We’re going to fast forward the story here a little bit. You met Joy, you became her husband. You became a believer. You decided to leave your work at Amazon and Microsoft and pursue your education at Dallas. Tell us a little bit about how you’ve come from Dallas Theological Seminary to serve here at the Far East Broadcasting Company.

[Luke]: Well, I was not new to FEBC because my wife, Joy, used to serve the FEBC Canada. So, at that time when we were dating, I just went to FEBC Canada to do some monitor work, so I know what they were doing, but I never imagined myself being a radio programmer because I was not confident about my speaking skills. [Laughter] When I was in DTS, because one of the church actually approached us to ask us if we want to be a pastor in their church. At that time, we wanted to pursue God’s will, so my wife and I started to pray really hard about where we’re going to serve in the future. And then, one time, we went to join a Chinese mission convention. At that, we met Pastor Huang.

[Wayne]: That’s Pastor James Huang…

[Luke]: Yes, Pastor James Huang.

[Wayne]: …who was the current director of FEBC US China Ministries?

[Luke]: Yes. So, at that point, I thought that God will lead us into the missionary field. I was chatting with different mission organizations like IMB, OMF, but we came back. We feel that God called us to be missionaries, but when we come back, we’re still not so clear. Then, Pastor Huang called us about – and asked us if we want to serve the FEBC. I was shocked at that point. It’s a big role, but then when I think more and I pray more about it and ask our friends, my mentor, and also my father-in-law who was a pastor for 17 years, I asked their opinion, they’re very…

[Wayne]: Pastor in China?

[Luke]: Yes, in China. I mean, he was in prison for his faith for 17 years. I deeply respect him.

[Wayne]: He was in prison in China for 17 years for his faith?

[Luke]: Yes.

[Wayne]: He was encouraging you to come to work for FEBC?

[Luke]: Yes, because he – in the most difficult times in China, FEBC has been with the Chinese believers, sharing the gospel and producing radio programs to equip believers in the most difficult times. He see the inference, the impact FEBC had the past – so, he encouraged me. Also, my heart actually, I have a deep passion for equipping, helping churches and believers in China. That’s also my passion too. So, as we pray really about it, and we feel like our lead is to serving FEBC. Also, because Joy has been serving FEBC for many, many years. I mean, she has a passion to help churches – do cross church ministries. That’s what FEBC – it’s very – a place for her to do so.

[Ed]: Well, Luke…I do want to share with you though that you never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bob Bowman, the founder of FEBC. Dr. Bowman had a huge heart for the ministry in China, which is where FEBC first started some 75 years ago. I’ve been in his presence when – at the end of his life, 98 years old and still praying for hours about the people in China, that they would hear the good news and come to Him…So, as we wrap us this interview today with Luke Chang, I just want to emphasize that Bob Bowman was right. We can’t find people like Luke and Joy and their dedication and passion to serve the Far East Broadcasting Company, God sends them to us.

 

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