Skip to main content

Where does my joy come from?

2020.09.26/27

From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Francis Chan

I still remember the summer in my first grade. In order to reward me for successfully admitting to an English elementary school in Hong Kong, my mother gave me a “Green Hornet Car” from the TV series “Green Hornet”. It was only the size of my palm. Yet it could shoot missiles made of orange plastic from the front of the car, and a detector from the trunk, also made of orange plastic. My heart was full of joy because I got a gift that I really wanted! In June 1994, I married Winnie, the love of my life. My heart was full of joy because God has blessed me with a wonderful wife that I do not deserve! In November 1997, my elder son Justin was born. When I looked at the big eyes on his cute little face, my heart was full of joy because God has blessed me with a beautiful son! In September 2018, after many twists and turns, I was finally hired by my home church as a pastor for Cantonese youth, marriage and family ministry. My heart was full of joy because God has opened a position for me to serve him! In the past year or so, I have seen the encouraging development of our Cantonese youth worship AYAYA, the birth of a new Cantonese young couples fellowship (Song of Songs Fellowship), and how I have been able to work harmoniously with my senior pastor and colleagues, and how helpful, encouraging, understanding, and accommodating they have been to me. My heart is full of joy because God has guided and blessed me in my ministry!

Looking back, I felt joyful because in God’s grace, I received his gifts, his favors, his guidance, and his blessings. In other words, I am joyful because God has made my life smooth and has blessed me in my family, my work, and my ministry.

In recent months, I have experienced things that really irritated me and even made me angry. On the one hand, it is because of the horrible collapse on the fronts of liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Hong Kong. I will not elaborate here. On the other, it is my failure to get a driving license after 2 attempts. I have been unable to drive for more than three months now, and the next road test is scheduled for March next year. Due to the epidemic, this is already the fastest date. This is grueling, to say the least. To start with, I really love driving, and I feel bad when I have to ask my sons to drive me around. As we are now in the fall and winter is coming, we will certainly have more rain and snow, which will make commuting by public transport less desirable. In fact, my family life and ministry life have been adversely affected to a great extent, as my wife does not drive and I was the only driver available when we went out, whether to serve or to run errands.

This grueling situation just triggered my reflection. Do I feel joyful only when things go well, and my heart is grateful for the goodies given to me by God? Poor me! I will end my sharing with my prayer to God, “Lord, please have mercy on me and forgive my superficiality, and my lack of faith. I pray that You will teach me to be thankful and joyful not only in “good” times but also in “bad” times. Thank you, Lord!”

我的喜樂從何而來?

2020.09.26/27
作者:陳榮基傳道

我還記得小學一年級的暑假,我母親為了獎勵我考進一間英文小學,送了一部電視片集 “青蜂俠” 裏面的 “青蜂車” 給我。那當然是一部玩具車,只有一隻手掌那麼大,卻可以從車頭射出用橙色塑膠造的飛彈,又可以從車尾箱放出同樣用橙色塑膠造的偵測器。我的心充滿喜樂,因為我得到一份自己喜歡的禮物!1994年6月,我和穎儀結婚。可以同心上人共諧連理,我的心充滿喜樂,因為上帝眷顧了我!1997年11月,大仔信謙出世。我看着他小小的面龐上一雙大大的眼睛,我的心充滿喜樂,因為上帝賜給我產業!2018 年9月,經過重重波折,最後得到母會聘任作青年及婚姻家庭事工的傳道人,我的心充滿喜樂,因為上帝賜給我一個侍奉崗位!在過去一年多,看見青年崇拜AYAYA令人鼓舞的發展,又成立了一個全新的青年夫婦團契 (雅歌團),與主任牧師和其他同工相處融洽,時常得到他們的提醒、幫助、體諒和接納,我的心充滿喜樂,因為上帝親自帶領並祝福了我的侍奉!

回想我的一生,喜樂都是因為在上帝的恩典中,我得到祂的禮物,眷顧,帶領和祝福。換句話說,我感恩,我喜樂,是因為上帝使我的人生順利,在家庭,工作,侍奉各方面都賜福給我。

最近幾個月,我卻經歷到一些令我心煩氣躁,甚至憤怒埋怨的事情。一方面是因為香港的自由,民主,人權,法治,都每況愈下。在這裏我不想多說。另一方面,是因為我要考取本地駕駛執照,但最近一次路試還是不成功。我已經有超過三個月不能駕駛,而下一次路試卻定於明年3月。因為疫情影響,這已經是目前最快的日子。對我來說,這是非常磨人的。這是因為我非常喜歡駕駛,而且我不想次次外出都有求於兩個兒子。進入秋冬季節, 落雨落雪的日子多了,用公共交通工具往來當然不是最理想的選擇。事實上,我的家庭生活,侍奉生活也大受影響。因為我和太太出街,出外侍奉,都是我駕駛的 (她沒有駕駛執照)。

這磨人的境況,正好引發我的反思。我的喜樂,就只有當我事事順利,心被恩感之時才會產生的嗎?求主憐憫,寛恕我的浮淺,我的小信。求主叫我不要只在順境中喜樂,更要學會在逆境中,靠著主仍然喜樂。願意在禱告中互相記念,因為我仍然在掙扎當中!

童心的深思

2020.09.19/20
作者: 關潔玲傳道

大流行給我們的生活帶來了混亂。所有的計劃都被顛倒了,即是簡單的工作現在也要大費周章,並且人際關係也受到了很大的影響。我們厭倦收看收聽新聞,所報導的都是壞消息。然而,這大流行還帶來更多?

我很感恩在這樣的混亂當中,我們作為教會有機會支持需要返回辦公室工作的家庭。自2009年起我們每年舉辦兒童日營事工,不過今年是有史以來最獨特的經歷。多謝陸昕霖(Kelly)及杜讚笙(Janzen)(從前兒童日營的孩子),在沒有義工的支援下,完成了四星期6-11個孩童的日營。但是,由於孩子們都被困在家裡有好幾個月,要學習新的安全規則(口罩/身體距離)以及如何發揮團隊功能而不再是單獨行事,在小組互動方面確實存在許多挑戰。

儘管這些現實的難題,上帝也帶給我們許多預料不到的東西。我們的孩子雖然小小年紀,他們發問的問題的深奧使我感到驚訝。他們會問有關神/世界的一些難以解答和深奧的問題,因此我們每日的聖經靈修時段要加長時間。亦因為他們整天發問許多的問題,我們決定製作了一個「問題收集箱」。這樣,他們可以隨時提交問題,而我們可以有一些時間準備和研究去回答他們的問題。

他們提出的一些問題:
1)聖經中有恐龍嗎?
2)上帝怎麼能三位一體?耶穌怎麼能成為上帝的兒子和上帝呢?
3)聖經是否反對離婚?
4)聖經反對同性戀嗎?但是上帝不是愛每一個人嗎?
5)我們死後會發生什麼?我們得到另一個身體嗎?我們的「靈」是什麼?
6)上帝會否為死於COVID的許多人感到難過?祂是有大能力的,難道祂不可以制止它嗎?

日營的其中一大特色是時間並且相當豐富。有好幾天我們每天在一起9-10個小時。Kelly 和Janzen有許多活動項目計劃,我們還需要找機會安靜下來去解答這些問題。我體會到不僅是成人能發問深奧的問題,如關乎優先次序或關係上的問題,小孩子也會發問一些複雜性的問題和尋求真理。有時,我們給他們的回答是「我不知道,但我願意去尋找」或「這是個奧秘,求上帝繼續向你啟示。」。我非常感恩,我們能夠分別與年齡相約的孩子一起討論有關神學知識及在聖經中找到這些真理的地方。我們能夠將他們指向上帝的話語,而不是聆聽我們的說話。

縱然這大流行給日常生活帶來許多艱難的調整,但同時也提供了一個機會給我們,也許在COVID之前不會做的方式去思考和尋求上帝。願我們作為上帝的子民能更進深瞭解上帝的話語,尋求祂的真道。

Deep thoughts from young hearts….

2020.09.19/20

From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Karen Quan

The pandemic has brought chaos into our lives. Schedules have turned upside down, simple tasks now take much more time and relationships have been deeply affected. We are tired of hearing of watching the news, only to hear nothing but bad news. But is there more that this pandemic brings?

I’m thankful that in the midst of such chaos, we as a church had the opportunity to support families who could no longer work from home. Day Camps is a ministry that we have been hosting since 2009 but this year proved to be the most unique experience ever. Thanks to Kelly Luk & Janzen To (a former Day Camp kid) and without any volunteers, we managed to host 4 weeks of 6-11 kids. But it certainly had its challenges in terms of group life as kids had been stuck at home for months, learn new safety protocols (masks/physical distancing) and how to function as a family not just an individual.

Yet despite these real obstacles, God brought more than we could have ever expected. Though tender in age, the deep questions that arose from this bunch surprised even me. Our Daily Bible Time extended overtime as they would ask difficult and deep questions about God/the world. Their questions became so many over the course of the day that we decided to create a “Question Box.” This way, they could submit their questions all day long and we could have some time to prepare and research before we answered them.

Some of the questions they asked:
1) Were there dinosaurs in the bible?
2) How can God be 3 in 1? How can Jesus be God’s son and God too?
3) Is the Bible against Divorce?
4) Is the Bible against being gay? But doesn’t God love everyone?
5) What happens after we die? Do we get another body? What is our spirit?
6) Isn’t God sad by the many the people dying of COVID? He’s so powerful, can’t he just make it stop?

One of the great features in Day Camp is time and lots of it. Some days we spent 9-10 hours together. And while Kelly/Janzen had lots of program plans, these took a back seat to the opportunity to address such questions. I realized that it’s not only the adults who are asking deeper questions of themselves in terms of priorities and relationships. Kids are also asking tough questions and seeking truth. Sometimes, our answer to them was “I don’t know, but I’m willing to go and find out” or “It’s a mystery, ask God to continue to show you.” I’m so grateful that we were able to discuss in age appropriate groups with these kids about theology and where to find these truths in scripture. That we were able to point them to God’s words rather than just listen to our words.

So while this pandemic has brought hard adjustments to daily living, it’s also brought an opportunity to wonder, to think and search for God in ways that perhaps we wouldn’t have done before COVID. May we as God’s people also dive deeper into God’s word to seek His truth for ourselves.

Church without walls 2: Members as “ambassadors for Christ” (2)

2020.09.12/13

From the Pastor’s Desk : Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Transform and equip members to be “ambassadors for Christ,” how?

Last time I shared with you all the what’s and why’s of being “ambassadors for Christ.” Indeed, Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, was an “ambassador for Christ” par excellence. He refers to himself as “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle (the sent one), set apart for the gospel of God.” (Rm 1:1) I am so glad that we in the Christian and Missionary Alliance have got it right – the two foci that bind us together are: the deeper life and global mission. We are to grow deeper in Christ so as to be His ambassadors (missionaries), both near (our Jerusalem – Richmond) and far (the ends of the earth – Global Advance.)

The pandemic and the new normal have made me realize our mission can no longer be measured by the work of a handful of “trained” pastors and international workers, nor by the proximity or distance of our “mission field.” I remember the words of Moravian missionary Count Zinzendorf who declared (in early 18th century): “Missions, after all, is simply this: Every heart with Christ is a missionary, every heart without Christ is a mission field.” At a time like ours, we need every Christian to be an “ambassador” (missionary) and every contact we have (both physically and via the internet) as our “mission field!” Indeed we are all missionaries and the mission fields are at our finger tips. This is exactly what “priesthood of all believers” mean!

We need to have a paradigm shift in our “church and mission” strategies and we cannot be contended with reforms here and there, now and then. Our renewed call to “transformation” (Romans 12:1,2) is forced upon us as we are challenged by the prolonged pandemic, when we cannot returned to our old normal and cannot do business as usual. We need to rethink and reimagine what it means to be a member of RCAC!

But how? Let’s start with training

Well, I am sure there are 101 ways to respond to this question, and each of us has some ideas that will help in this process! What remains is actually to coordinate our efforts with one accord, which is the very spirit of the Great Commission. We have always believed in this as it is nothing new. We only need to do it more diligently and intentionally.

But whatever strategies we use, we need to start with training. This is because the challenge we face is great, and in the pandemic, we face new situations that require using wisely all the training and skills we have and adapt them to the ever changing challenges. We can think of training in four main areas: training in the Word, in godliness, in building up the Church and in spiritual battle.

1. Training in the Word:
First and foremost we need to know the Word of God even more deeply than before. Paul instructs his spiritual son Timothy saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) The Scripture is of paramount importance first of all because it is God-breathed, inspired by God Himself, and is practical and useful in our learning, discipline, reformation and a sanctified life. The emphasis here is the building up of the character of the soldier of Christ, “the ambassadors for Christ.” It is so encouraging to see so many of our people take advantage of the online courses and seminars during this pandemic. There are also many opportunities in our Church, e.g. Ten Steps Bible Studies Method (in Chinese). In October I am also going to start a “Diving Deeper” Zoom time in Cantonese every Sunday at 2 p.m. for sharing with members.

2. Training in godliness:
Apart from training in the Word, Paul urges Timothy to be trained in godliness – “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”(I Timothy 4:8) Paul elaborates this in his letter to Titus, for it is the grace of God that has come to bring us salvation and then “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” (Titus 2:12) Let no one be just filled with head knowledge, and is unable to live out the Word of God. An ambassador for Christ must be a person of strong moral character against the corruptions of this world. So we are glad to see that during the pandemic, there are more people attending all our prayer meetings, as it is an exercise in godliness.

3. Training for building up the Church:
Paul reminds us that the equipping of the saints (sanctified people of God) is first of all, for the building up of the Church. He says, God has gifted different people “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12) Christians are to build up one another by caring genuinely for each other, and bringing the Church to maturity. There are presently certain groups in our Church taking special training in caring ministries. In October, I will have a special series on mental health in Cantonese which will include areas like depression, anxiety, broken heart syndrome and PTSD.

4. Training in spiritual battle:
To the Christians in Ephesus, Paul concludes his teaching with this word: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Eph. 6:13) As said often, we are equipped to serve. Let us take every piece of the armor of God and be prepared for battle. We are actually in a spiritual battle in the Coronavirus pandemic, and we can win with God’s help, and be able to stand firm against the onslaught of the devil. So the ambassador for Christ becomes the soldier for Christ, following Christ our commander. Even though we have to postpone our entire major evangelism program (Alpha Course) and short-term missions, we are still carrying on training in Evangelism Explosion and Kairos (mission). We are glad that we can go ahead with our baptism during Thanksgiving this year, and we are glad that there are many candidates, including many from the Putonghua congregations. Praise the Lord!

We can of course do more. Each congregation can also think of creative ways to represent Christ to those whom we are in contact. We should not wait for people to come to us; rather we should reach out physically or virtually. Christ was the Word that became flesh, that dwelled (tabernacle) among us, in order to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Christ said as the Father had sent Him, so He has sent us into the world, and to be His witnesses. We are sent to the world but we are not of the world. Our ministry therefore should be incarnational. Let us in RCAC be the salt and light to the world, as we all fulfill our call to be “ambassador for Christ.”

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Simon Lee

無牆壁阻隔教會之二:肢體成為「基督的大使」(2)

2020.09.12/13
作者: 李耀全牧師

列宣家親愛的弟兄姊妹:

如何轉化並裝備肢體成為「基督的大使」?

我在上文與您分享了有關「身為基督的大使」的意義和原因。保羅實在是外邦人的使徒,是一位優秀過人的「基督的大使」。他自稱為「基督耶穌的僕人保羅,蒙召作使徒,奉派傳神的福音。」(羅1:1)我很慶幸宣道總會一貫的宗旨也朝向這兩個正確的焦點–生命的進深和環球宣教使命。我們需要在基督裡更加進深,更要無論是在我們身處的耶路撒冷(附近–列治文)還是去到遠方(直到地極–普世差傅),也要成為基督的大使。

疫情大流行和新常態讓我意識到,我們的使命不可以再限於藉著少數「曾受訓練的」牧者和宣教同工來達成,也不能以我們的「宣教工場」距離的遠近來衡量。猶記得莫拉維宣教士親岑多夫伯爵(Zinzendorf Count)在18世紀初宣布的話:「福音使命的意義簡單來說就是:每一個心中有基督的人都是宣教士,所有心中沒有基督的只是一個宣教的場地。」處身在好像我們這樣的時代,我們每個基督徒都需要成為「大使」(宣教士),我們所接觸到的每個人(無論是實體方面或是通過互聯網)都是我們的「宣教工場」。的確,我們都是宣教士,我們的指尖所能觸及的領域就是我們的宣教場地。這正是「信徒皆祭司」的意思!

我們需要在「教會與宣教使命」策略中進行典範轉移,而且與時並進地不斷更新改革。當我們面對遼遼無期疫情大流行的挑戰時,我們再度呼籲整體需要作出「轉化」(羅12:1-2),這就是當我們無法回到過去的正常狀態,也無法照常營業時,我們需要重新思考和重新思想作為列宣家一份子的意義!

可是應當怎樣實行?讓我們先從操練作開始

是的,我敢肯定,起碼有101種方法可以回應這問題,而且我們每個人也可以提供一些對此進程有幫助的想法!實際上我們只須彼此同心一致,齊心協力,這是基督大使命的精髓;這也是我們一直所確信的,並非新意,我們只需要更加努力和著意地去達成。
但是,由於我們面臨的挑戰如比巨大,無論我們使用什麼策略,也需要從培訓開始。在疫情大流行中,我們面對新的情況,實須明智地充份利用我們所擁有的訓練和技能,以應對不斷變化的挑戰。我們可以在後列的四個主要方面作操練:在聖言上,在敬虔操練上,在建立教會方面和在屬靈爭戰方面的操練。
1. 聖言的操練:
首先,我們需要比以前更深入地瞭解神的道。保羅指導他屬靈的兒子提摩太說:「全部聖經都是神所默示的,在教訓、責備、矯正和公義的訓練各方面,都是有益的。」(提後3:16新譯本)。聖經是至為重要的,因為是神的靈所默示的,是神親自的啟示,並且對我們的學習、自律、生命的轉化和成聖的生活都是很實用和有助益的。我在此所強調的是建立基督的精兵,「基督大使」的屬靈品格。當我們看到如此多的肢體在這疫情大流行期間利用在線課程和參加研討學習班,實在是令人鼓舞。我們教會也提供很多學習的機會,例如「十步釋經法研習班」等。我還將在10月開始每個星期日下午2時,以粵語在線進行「與牧者進深共話」時間。與肢體們互相分享。

2. 敬虔的操練:
保羅除了鼓勵提摩太要在神的話語上操練自己外,還敦促他在敬虔上操練自己:「因為操練身體,益處還少;唯獨操練敬虔,凡事有益,享有今生和來世的應許。」(提前4:8)保羅在寫給提多的書信中更詳細說明了此點,因為正是神的恩典帶給我們救贖,然後「這恩典訓練我們除去不敬虔的心,和屬世的私慾,在今生過著自律、公正、敬虔的生活。」(多2:12)。無論任何人也不可因著知識充斥頭腦,而無法實踐神的道。基督的大使必須是一個堅守屬靈道德品格的人,藉以抗衡世上的腐敗。因此,我們很高興看到在疫情大流行期間,有更多的肢體參加教會的祈禱聚會,因為這就是操練敬虔的一方面。

3. 建立教會的操練:
保羅提醒我們,裝備聖徒(屬神的聖潔子民)以建立教會,是首要的。他說,神賜予人不同的恩賜 「為的是要裝備聖徒,去承擔聖工,建立基督的身體。」(弗4:12)基督徒要藉著彼此的真誠關懷,使教會成長並互相得以建立。目前,我們教會中的一些小組已接受了關懷事工的特別培訓。我將於十月份舉辦一個系列的粵語心理健康特別講座,內容包括抑鬱症、焦慮症、心靈創傷症候群和創傷後壓力症候群(PTSD)等。

4. 屬靈爭戰的操練:
保羅對以弗所的信徒說:「所以要穿起神所賜的全副軍裝,使你們在這邪惡的時代裡可以抵擋得住,並且在作完了一切之後,還能站立得穩。」(弗6:13新譯本)。正如我們多次所提及的,我們要在作好裝備後去事奉。讓我們穿戴神的全副盔甲,為爭戰作好準備。實際上,我們正處於冠狀病毒大流行的屬靈爭戰之中,我們可以靠著神的幫助去站穩及得勝,能夠堅決抵禦魔鬼的攻擊。因此,我們要跟隨我們的統領基督,作基督的大使、成為基督的精兵。儘管我們必須延遲推行教會的主要傳福音計劃,如啟發課程和短期宣教行程,但我們仍在進行「三元福音倍進」和把握時機(Kairos)課程等的培訓。我們很高興今年感恩節能夠繼續舉行洗禮,我們為著在粵語及普通話的多位準備受浸肢體而高興感恩。讚美主!
我們當然可以做到更勝一籌。我們每人也可藉著更具創意的方式以代表基督與人接觸。我們不應該等待別人來到我們的跟前。相反,我們應該在實體上或透過網絡與人接觸。基督道成肉身來到世上,居住在我們中間(會幕的含義),以宣揚神國的福音。祂說,正如天父差遣祂一樣,祂也照樣差遣我們到世上活出祂的見證。我們被差遣到世上,但我們卻不屬於這世界。因此,我們的事奉應該是像基督般進入世界的。讓我們列宣家成為世上的鹽和光,以實踐作為為「基督大使」的召命。

主僕,
李耀全牧師

Church without walls 2: Members as “ambassadors of Christ” (1)

2020.09.05/06
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Transform and equip members to be “ambassadors for Christ”

The summer is over and many kids and young people are going back to School, at least those who have to or have chosen to return in person. This September’s return will be like no other, where most are not so excited about the prospects of “Back to School.” Many are filled with anxiety and apprehension because of the pandemic. Since March of this year, many students have not been able to return to their classrooms, and many parents have worked from their homes. But even as there are new outbreaks of the Coronavirus throughout the Province, we are trying to reopen for business, work and school, and there is no assurance that people can be safe. Now that we need to go back, the fear is greater than before since we cannot retreat to the safety of our homes like before.

This is the same for our Church. In anticipation of returning, we have put together a “Back to Church” (RTC) guideline which has effective since August 1, 2020. We have moved very cautiously and have worked with our guidelines and the guidelines of the Province. So we had weddings, staff meetings and summer children’s programs, all carried out carefully with the wearing of masks, physical distancing and sanitizations. However we as a Church, for the safety of the people that come to our facilities, is very much guarded with closed boundary. It is therefore all the more important that in this new normal, when we cannot gather and people cannot come to us, that we remember that the Church is you and I, as we are “ambassadors for Christ” to our community. This is in line with our second of our three new (renewed) strategies: Transform and equip members to be “ambassadors for Christ” (「基督使者」:轉化信徒人人皆兵).

What does it mean to be “Ambassadors for Christ”?

First of all, apart from our earthly citizenship, we Christians all have double citizenship, as Paul tells us, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). As a member of Chinese Alliance Church in Richmond, BC, Canada, we have a more important identity as a citizen in heaven that transcends those areas. This citizenship is effective from the time we become a believer and enter the Kingdom of God and is baptised into the body of Christ, and become a member of a local Church.

But we are more than “citizens” of the heavenly Kingdom, we are “ambassadors.” Paul extends this analogy of citizenship to the fact that we are even “ambassadors for Christ.” “Now then,” he says, “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:20). Here the Greek word translated “ambassador” is presbueo, which means “to act as a representative.” Being chosen as “ambassador” is a great honor. We are representing Christ the King on earth now that He is ascended into heaven and seated on the right hand of God.

We know that an ambassador of any government is the highest-ranking representative of his/her country abroad and his/her primary responsibility is to represent and advocate for his/her home country’s interest. This is a huge responsibility. Likewise, an ambassador for Christ represents Christ in the mission of the Kingdom of God, and in the ministry of reconciliation. We see this clearly in the Great Commission that Christ gave to all His disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28: 18-20) In short, all disciples of Christ have been commissioned with the authority of the Father through Christ to go to all nations to “make disciples,” in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are representing Christ to welcome “new citizens” to the heavenly kingdom!

Character of an Ambassador

An ambassador is a diplomat and should conduct himself/herself wisely. Paul tells us we must “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil…do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15). As to the character of an “ambassador for Christ”, Paul reminds us “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29) We’re told our speech should be “with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). Timothy is instructed by Paul with these words: “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (II Tim. 2:24).

Wisdom is therefore the foremost character of an ambassador. Ambassadors need the wisdom of Solomon. King Solomon prayed to God for discernment, saying, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (I Kings 3:9). Centuries later, Paul wrote to Timothy that he must “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Indeed wisdom and discernment are qualities essential to being an “ambassadors for Christ.”

Last but not least, holiness and moral integrity also are important character of an “ambassador of Christ.” Peter wrote: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” (I Pet. 2:9-11) To a world that is walking in darkness can we bring light? As “ambassadors for Christ,” can we bring peace? As “sojourners and pilgrims” in a foreign land, can we be honourable witnesses to all who are looking for a better home. In the pandemic, can we bring hope, and how? (To be continued)

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Simon Lee

無牆壁阻隔教會之二:肢體成為“基督的大使”(1)

2020.09.05/06
作者: 李耀全牧師

親愛列宣的弟兄姊妹:

轉化並裝備肢體成為“基督的大使”
夏季已盡,不少兒童和年輕人,起碼是那些規定回校或自行選擇返校的莘莘學子,也要重返校園。今年9月的返校將與前不同,大多數人對“重返校園”的前景並不那麼興奮。由於疫情大流行,許多人充滿了焦慮和擔憂。自本年三月以來,許多學生無法回校上課,許多父母也在家中辦工。但是,即使在本省範圍內爆發了新的疫情,我們仍在為著重新營業,工作和上學而努力,可是卻不能確保所有人的安全。現在我們需要重返,卻因為無法像以往一般地躲藏在家居的安全,固此我們的恐懼感比較以前更大。

我們的教會也是如此。為著期盼重返,我們制定了“重返教會指南”(RTC),該指南自2020年8月1日起生效。教會的指引措施,按照著本省的指導方針,非常謹慎地逐漸進行。就此,我們舉行了婚禮、教牧職員會議和暑期兒童活動,所有活動都需要戴上口罩,保持身體距離和加以消毒。但是,為了保持教會設施安全使用,我們要確保所有人都遵守指南才能進入使用,而受到高度保護。因此,在這新常態下,當我們無法聚集及無法隨意進出時,更重要的是,我們要緊記,教會就是你和我,因為我們都是社區的“基督的大使”。這與我們的三個新策略(更新)中的第二策略互相一致:

「基督大使」:轉化信徒人人皆兵
成為“基督的大使(使者)”有什麼意義?
首先,除了我們屬世的公民身份,所有的基督徒都具有雙重公民身份,正如保羅告訴我們的那樣:“但我們是天上的公民,切望救主,就是主耶穌基督,從天上降臨”(腓3:20新譯本)。作為加拿大卑斯省列治文市華人宣道會的成員,我們擁有更超越地區性的重要的身份,就是作為的天國的公民。這公民身份從我們成為信徒加入神的國度並受洗成為基督的身體,成為當地教會的一員開始,即已生效。
但是,我們不僅是天國的“公民”,我們還是“大使”。保羅將這種公民身份比喻為我們甚至是“基督的大使”的事實。他說:“因此,我們就是基督的使者,神藉著我們勸告世人。我們代替基督請求你們:跟神和好吧!”(林後5:20)。希臘語中的“大使”一詞是presbueo,意思是“代表”。被選為“大使”是一項巨大的榮譽。因著基督已升到天上並坐在神的右邊,現在,我們在地上代表君王基督。
我們知道,任何政府的大使都是國家在外國的最高代表,他/她的主要任務是代表和倡導自己國家的利益。這是一個重大的責任。同樣,作為基督的大使是代表神的國度,擔負使人與神和好的使命。我們在所基督賜給門徒的大使命中清楚地看到了此點:“天上地上一切權柄都賜給我了。所以,你們要去使萬民作我的門徒,奉父子聖靈的名,給他們施洗,我吩咐你們的一切,都要教導他們遵守。這樣,我就常常與你們同在,直到這世代的終結。”(太28:18-20新譯本)。簡而言之,所有基督的門徒也著藉基督接受父神的委託,靠著聖靈的能力直到地極“使人成為主的門徒”,代表基督歡迎“新公民”加入神的國度!
作為大使的品格
大使是外交官,理應明智地行事。保羅告訴我們,我們必須 “行事為人要謹慎,不要像愚昧人,卻要像聰明人。”(弗5:15新譯本)。關於“基督的使者”的品格,保羅提醒我們:“一句壞話也不可出口,卻要適當地說造就人的好話,使聽見的人得益處。”(弗4:29新譯本)“你們的話要常常溫和,好像是用鹽調和的,使你們知道應當怎樣回答各人。”(西4:6新譯本)。保羅亦指示提摩太:“但主的僕人卻不可爭論,總要待人溫和,善於教導,存心忍耐,”(提後2:24新譯本)。
因此,智慧是大使的先決素質。作為大使需要具備所羅門的智慧。所羅門王祈求神賜予的辨識能力,並說:“所以,求你賜給僕人一顆明辨的心,可以判斷你的子民,能辨別是非,因為誰能判斷你這眾多的子民呢?”(王上3:9新譯本)。幾個世紀後,保羅寫信給提摩太,提醒他必須 “竭力在神面前作一個蒙稱許、無愧的工人,正確地講解真理的道。”(提後2:15新譯本)。確實的,智慧和洞察力是作為“基督大使”不可或缺的素質。
最後但並非不重要的就是,聖潔和純全道德品格也是“基督大使”的重要質素。彼得寫道:“然而你們是蒙揀選的族類,是君尊的祭司,是聖潔的國民,是屬神的子民,為要叫你們宣揚那召你們出黑暗入奇妙光明者的美德。你們從前不是子民,現在卻是神的子民;從前未蒙憐恤,現在卻蒙了憐恤。”親愛的,我勸你們作客旅和寄居的人,要禁戒肉體的私慾,這私慾是與靈魂爭戰的。” (彼前2:9-11新譯本)我們可以在黑暗中存活的世界帶來光明嗎?作為“基督的大使”,我們可以帶來和平嗎?作為處身外地的“客旅和寄居者”,我們能成為所有尋求更美居所者的榮美見證人。在疫情大流行中,我們能否帶來希望?並如何帶來希望?(未完待續)

主僕,
李耀全牧師

God’s Traffic Light

2020.08.29/30

From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Jeanie Auyeung

There are several hard to forget moments in my life, which I call them the “traffic lights” given to me by God.

When I was in Saskatchewan in 1988, on a midsummer night, the temperature in Saskatchewan that year was 40 degrees! I was sleeping in a very hot room, even the electric fan was blowing “hot air”, and I really felt that I could hardly bear the heat.

When I couldn’t sleep, a question suddenly appeared in my heart: When you just set foot in Canada a few months ago, you followed your classmates to a church in Calgary to attend worship and adult Sunday school classes, the pastor of that church invited me to serve there after graduating seminary, but after prayers, God showed me a red light instead of a green light, so I declined their invitation. Now, you also declined the invitation of the Saskatoon Church because it was not God’s leading. I asked myself: “Why did you close the door when the road is opened? How do you go ahead?” Suddenly, my heart sank! God’s comfort came immediately: Peter sank because of the strong wind and waves. The Lord said: “Don’t worry, it’s me, I am here!” Why lack of faith? I immediately opened the Bible to read. Yes, the Lord will go with me all the way, He will lead me!

During the two years of serving as a pastor on a voluntary basis at the Saskatoon Church, God provided everything needed, and I lacked nothing. God has proven to me He is faithful. God also used a hymn: “God, you are in control” to speak to me: “God you are in charge, in time and space, and everything is in your hand!” I continued in singing and submitted myself to God: “God, my life is in your hand, God, I know You will prepare for me, no matter gain or loss, I just want you to guide me!”

Two years later, just as I was about to leave Saskatoon Church and return to Prairie Bible Seminary to continue studies, several churches sent me invitations. I prayed but God’s leading for all the invitations were red lights instead of green. Not long after I returned to my study, I received a phone call from RCAC inviting me to serve at their church, but I turned it down at first, because God gave me the green light to continue my study. There is no shadow of changing in Him. Later, the church called me again, saying that I would not come to serve until I graduated, so I prayed seriously for this. Finally, after much prayer, I saw the green light that God would allow me, and so I accepted the invitation then. Times flies, it has been so many years since I am learning to serve God in this church!

To recall the Bible verse of God’s calling in my life: “I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision.” God’s calling is still clear in my heart. God did not give me the blueprint for my whole life, but He always leads me step by step. As the hymn says:
“Then trust in God through all thy days;
Fear not, for He doth hold thy hand;
Though dark thy way, still sing and praise,
Sometime, sometime, we’ll understand”

This is what I have learned from my walk with God these past years: just rely on the Lord the rest of my life, the Lord is always faithful. Although there are many things that are still unclear, I can be at ease. Even if I cannot understand everything in this life, I will wait until the day l stand in front of God’s throne, then all things will be clear.

神的紅綠燈

2020.08.29/30
作者: 歐陽鑽玲傳道

在我的人生中有幾個深刻的情景,我稱之為神給我指示的「紅綠燈」。

88年我在沙省的日子,一個仲夏之夜,那年沙省的氣溫是零上四十度。我處身於酷熱的室溫中,電風扇吹送過來的是陣陣的“熱風”,真是感到“熱力是沒法躲”。

在不能成眠之際,心中忽然湧現出一個問號:當你在數月前剛剛踏足加國時,跟著同學去卡加里一間教會參加崇拜及成人主日學班後,那間教會的牧師邀請我,將來在神學院畢業後到他們教會事奉,但經禱告後,神給我亮起的是紅燈而不是綠燈,我便推辭了他們的邀請。其後,因著禱告清楚得知不是神的帶領,我也推辭了沙城教會的邀請。在想起此事時,心中自問:「有門有路開啟了,為何推掉?前路怎樣走?」頓覺內心立時往下沉!此時,神的安慰馬上來了:彼得因看見風浪甚大,沉了下去。主說:「放心是我,我在這裡!」為什麼小信?我馬上翻開聖經去看。是的,前路有主同往,主必帶領!

在沙城教會當義務傳道兩年的日子,神供應一切所需,我一無所缺。神也藉著一首詩歌:“神你在掌管”向我說話:「神你在掌管,時間萬有空間,在你的手裡一切定有時!」我接著歌詞唱下去,向神立志:「神!我的一生,神!你定有預備,莫計得失只想你來導引!」

兩年的日子過去,正當我準備離開沙城教會回到草原神學院繼續上課時,好幾間教會向我發出邀請。我經禱告,神的指示通通也是紅燈而不是綠燈。回到神學院不久,接到列治文華人宣道會來電邀請我到來事奉,我起初推卻,因神給我回校繼續上課的是綠燈,神不會是而又非的。其後教會再來電,說要等我畢業後才過來事奉,於是我認真為此事禱告。至終,經過多翻禱告,清楚看到神給我亮起綠燈時,我答應到來。在本會學習事奉至今,一晃不覺就是那麼多年了!

回想在蒙神呼召之初時那節金句:「我沒有違背那從天上來的異象。」仍然清晰在心中。神沒有將整生的藍圖給我,但祂總是每步帶領。正如詩歌所言:「一生一世只管靠主,不用懼怕,主無錯誤。雖有多事還不甚明,可以安心,後必知清。我們一生是在主手中,只要跟隨主的帶領,必不會錯,凡事有祂的美意在其中。許多事情,即使今生不明白,將來在主寶座前,一切必知清!