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What does it mean to crown Him with many crowns? (2): Worship Him

2020.01.23/24
From the Pastor’s Desk : Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Our theme this year, based on the hymn by the same name, is “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” There are totally12 verses, first 6 by Matthew Bridges (1851) and 6 additional verses by Godfrey Thring. Let us reflect om the rich theology of this hymn based on the Holy Scriptures and discover what it means by looking at 10 of the 12 verses, one at a time, beginning with verse 1.

Crown him with many crowns

Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless king
Through all eternity.

Crown Him with Many Crowns. We have already noted that the title comes from Revelation 19:12,
11 Then I saw heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called “Faithful” and “True,” and with justice he judges and goes to war. 12 His eyes are like a fiery flame and there are many diadem crowns on his head. He has a name written that no one knows except himself.

Revelation 19:11-16 is about the return of Christ to Earth, the first of seven things John saw the Son of God goes to war against Satan. When the heaven opened, the Son of God returns riding on a white horse which symbolizes victory over one’s enemies. He is described as “Faithful” (trustworthy) and “True”(righteous, the real Messiah). This contrasts with the Antichrist who was unfaithful and untrue. Jesus Christ Has come to judge the beast and make war with him.

Jesus Christ’s eyes are like a fiery flame (with piercing judgment) and there are many diadem crowns on his head. “Diadem crowns” were a type of crown that symbolizes the highest ruling authority of a king. Jesus refused the diadem when Satan offered it to Him during His temptation (Mt. 4:9) and now He is the King of Kings, not of an earthy kingdom, but a heavenly one. He is also given a name that is above every name (Phi. 2:9). But here, at His return, He has “a name written that no one knows except himself.” Christ comes with power and authority to rule.

The Lamb upon His (the) throne:

The above imagery of Christ the King who has returned to rule and judge is the culmination of a series of revelations that begins in Chapter 4 of Revelation. The imagery of the Lamb is drawn from Revelation 5, especially Rev. 5: 6 -14. The Lamb that was slain was standing in the middle of the throne, and He alone was worthy to open the seven seals of the scroll in the right hand of God the Father. When the Lamb took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders prostrated before Him and worshipped him singing:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals
because you were killed,
and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God
persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.

10 You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will            reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10)
“Myriads and myriads” (ten thousand times ten thousand) angels joined in the chorus:
“Worthy is the lamb who was killed
to receive power and wealth
     and wisdom and might
     and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev. 5:12)

This was followed by every creature singing:
“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13)

Finally, “the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped.” (Rev. 5:14) This is the resounding sound of praise and worship captured in verse 1 of our hymn.

To crown Him is to worship Him: To “Crown Him with Many Crowns” who will come again to be rule and judge in the end times is therefore above all to truly praise and worship Christ the King, the Lamb upon the throne. Christ is the Coming King, as is emphasized in the fourth element of the Four-fold Gospel of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Our ultimate hope is that when Christ returns, He will bring divine judgement to the earth. This is why we celebrate this truth by worshipping Him as the King of Kings now and forever.

The world we see is filled with pain and suffering, evil and injustice, much of which we cannot escape from, exasperated by the unfortunate devastation of the pandemic on the one hand, and on the other, the corruption from the misuse of power. But may be find peace, hope and joy in Christ and sing,
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless king
Through all eternity.

Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Simon Lee

擁戴我主為王”是甚麼意思?(2): 尊崇敬拜祂

2020.01.23/24
作者: 李耀全牧師

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

本年度教會的主題是按照同名的詩歌定為“擁戴我主為王”。詩歌總共有12節,前6節由Matthew Bridges於1851年所寫,另外的6節則由Godfrey Thring附加撰寫。讓我們從十二節詩詞中的十節,按照聖經的基礎,對這首詩歌在神學上的含義進行反思,我們會從第一節的詩詞開始,每次查看一節,逐節去瞭解其中的豐富屬靈含義。

擁戴我主為王,聖羔在寶座上,
請聽天上歌聲悠揚,樂聲壓倒群響,
我靈速醒同唱,頌主為我受傷,
歡呼祂為至大君王,千秋萬歲無疆。

1.“擁戴基督為王”

我們已意識到詩歌標題出自啟示錄19:12:

我觀看,見天開了。有一匹白馬,那騎馬的稱為“忠信”和“真實”;祂按著公義審判和作戰。祂的眼睛好像火燄,頭上戴著許多皇冠,祂身上寫著一個名字,這名字除了祂自己沒有人認識。

啟19: 11-16是描述有關基督再來的七件事中的一件事,神的兒子與撒但作戰的情景。約翰看到天開了,神的兒子騎著白馬,象徵著戰勝了敵人凱旋而歸。祂被形容為“忠信”(全然可信賴)和“真實”(公義,真正的彌賽亞)。這與那不可信、不真實的敵基督形成對比。耶穌基督要來審判這獸,並在地上與牠作戰。

耶穌基督的眼目好像烈燄(表示祂有看透一切的審判能力),頭上戴著許多皇冠。戴著許多皇冠,象徵祂是至高無上的權威與統治權柄。耶穌於面對試探時拒絕了撒但提供給祂的冠冕(太4:9),在此,祂是萬王之王,祂身上寫著一個名字,是超乎萬名之上的名(腓 2:9),這名字除了祂自己沒有人認識。基督以絕對的統治權威和能力來臨。

2. 坐在寶座上的羔羊:

以上有關基督再臨作王統治和審判的圖像,是啟示錄第4章開始的一系列啟示的高潮。羔羊的形象出自啟示錄第5章,特別是啟5:6 -14。被殺的羔羊站在寶座中間,唯獨祂才配在父神的右手中打開捲軸的七個印。當羔羊拿起書卷時,4活物和24位長老到在祂面前俯伏敬拜祂,高唱著:

“你配取書卷,
配拆開封印,
因為你曾被殺,
曾用你的血,
從各支派、各方言、各民族、各邦國,把人買了來歸給神
使他們成為我們神的國度和祭司,他們要在地上執掌王權。” (啟 5:9-10)

在寶座前,千千萬萬的天使與活物和長老齊聲歌頌::
曾被殺的羔羊是配得的,
配得權能、豐富、
智慧、能力、尊貴、
榮耀、頌讚的!”(啟5:12)

在天上、地上、地底下和海裡的一切被造之物,以及天地間的萬有,都同聲唱頌:
“願頌讚、尊貴、榮耀、能力,都歸給坐在寶座上的那一位和羊羔,
直到永永遠遠!” (啟5:13)

其後,四活物也同聲和應頌唱:
“阿們!”眾長老也俯伏敬拜。(啟 5:14)

這就是在我們的詩歌第1節中所記載的景象,天上歌頌讚美大合唱的迴響。

3. 擁戴我主為王:

“以許多冠冕給那要在末時再臨並帶來審判的至高無上、當受全然崇敬與讚美的基督君王、坐在寶座上的羔羊加冕”。基督是再來之王,就是我們宣道會信仰四重福音其中第四方面的要素(重點)。我們終極的盼望就是基督要再臨帶來地上神聖的審判,這就是我們為甚麼要慶賀祂為萬王之王直到永永遠遠的原因!

我們眼見所身處的世界充斥著苦難與災害、邪惡和不公義,我們一方面無法擺脫這些苦困,在另一方面也因疫情大流行引致毀滅性的不幸,更因著權力的濫用所造成的腐敗而感到憤怒。但是我們可以在基督裡找到平安、希望和喜樂並且能夠高唱:

我靈速醒同唱,
頌主為我受傷,
歡呼祂為至大君王,
千秋萬歲無疆。

主僕,
李耀全牧師

All is grace!

January 16/17, 2021

From the Pasto’s Desk – Pastor Francis Chan

Does it ever occur to you that you don’t deserve anything you happen to own? And that you don’t actually own anything that you deem to be yours?

I have taken road tests for driving license in Hong Kong and in Vancouver. On the day I took my road test in Hong Kong, my driving instructor gave me a final rehearsal. I saw a car flashing distress lights stopped in front of me. After a minute or so, I turned on my right signal and I passed that car. When the rehearsal was over, my instructor told me that I had failed because I had failed to ask for his instructions before I drove pass that distressed car. In less than an hour, I took and passed my road test. The distressed car was simply not there when I was on that road the second time. The distressed car could have appeared in my rehearsal, and it could have appeared in my road text. Everything is providential. All is grace!

On November 17 last year, I took my road test in Vancouver. It was my third attempt in 6 months. Everything went smoothly and about 30 minutes later, the examiner asked me to return to the test centre. When I tried to park my car at the test centre, I discovered that there was only very limited space to maneuver because there was a big garbage box to the left of my intended parking spot and there was a car parked to its right. Anyhow, I tried my best and parked my car. When I turned off the engine, I was eagerly expecting good news from the examiner. To my surprise, he said I had failed because one wheel was on the line of the parking spot, and he also said that I had failed to shoulder check when I drove into the test centre. I was disheartened and I could almost cry. Feeling desperate, I asked the examiner if he could pass me, nevertheless. In response, he asked me why he should do so. I told him that it was already my third attempt. After a short silence, he said, “OK, I’ll pass you, but you must remember to do shoulder checks!” That day, the examiner had mercy on me; more accurately, God had mercy on me. I got the message loud and clear: it was God’s grace that I got my license, just like my first time in Hong Kong.

Driving is both a pleasure and a necessity to me. The driving license that I own now, which allows me to drive, has been graciously given to me by God. If the Lord pleases that I should live a long and healthy life, I would probably be driving until my last moment on earth. Still, my license and my driving will come to an end eventually.

Apart from our salvation in Christ, we don’t actually own anything. Everything that we have ever owned and everything that we have ever cherished doing will cease to exist one day. They were first given to us by the grace of God but still, they will not survive into eternity. God doesn’t owe us anything. He did not have to create us; He did not have to sustain us; He did not have to save us when we sinned and were doomed; and indeed, He did not have to give us any goodies of life at all. Yet because of his profound love for us, he has chosen to save us, even at a price that costed him dearly and hurt him deeply. His only begotten Son Jesus Christ came to our world – the Word became flesh – to experience the life of a mortal, to experience the pain and sufferings of our body and soul, and eventually, to be hung on a cursed cross, in order to pay the price of sin in our place and stead. The voluntary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ satisfied God’s justice and fulfilled God’s mercy. Just as the Scripture says: He loves me and gives himself up for me!

I’d therefore ask you to pray with me, that by God’s grace, we will walk with Him every day with contentment, joy, and a thanksgiving heart, because all is grace!

一切都是恩典!一切都是恩賜!

2020.01.16/17
作者: 陳榮基傳道

你可有想過,你現在擁有的一切都不是你應得的?而你也不是真的擁有你以為已經擁有的一切?

我分別在香港、溫哥華考過兩個駕駛執照。在香港考路試的那天,師傅跟我作最後模擬路試。他一言不發,坐在我的左邊。我看見前方有一輛 “死車”,停在單程路上。等了一分鐘,它仍然停在那裡。35歲充滿自信的我打燈,然後超越,滿心歡喜地完成了模擬路試。車停下來,師傅就對我說:“你肥左啦!(“不合格” 英文是 FAIL。在香港,不合格通常會說 “肥”了。) 因為你無問過我 (即模擬路試的考官),就擅自越線超車。”不到一個小時之後,我完成了真正的路試。這次我合格了,因為那輛“死車”已經不見蹤影。“死車”可以出現在模擬路試,也可以出現在正式路試。這是神的心意,神的恩典。

得到一位姊妹幫助,在網上得到一個快期,2020年11月17日,我在溫哥華考路試。這己經是我在半年內第三次考路試。路試期間一切順利,不見考官手部有任何動作,只是安然坐在我的右邊。大約半小時後,他叫我駛回試塲。試塲車位的空間非常狹窄,因為在我要泊的車位左前方放了一個大垃圾箱,而車位的右邊亦停了一輛車。我小心翼翼地把車泊好,關掉引擎,就満心歡喜,期待好消息。考官打開車門,看見車輪停在泊車線上,就說我不合格,要重考,他還說我駛進試塲時,沒有SHOULDER CHECK。我當時的心情非常沮喪,差點就哭了。我請求考官網開一面,給我合格。他就問我他為何要這樣做。58歲一臉委屈的我就對他說:“因為這已經是我第三次考路試了!”他定睛在我面上,然後說:“好吧,不過你以後要記住做 SHOULDER CHECK!”他動了慈心,憐憫了我。真相就是神動了慈心,憐憫了我。神也讓我深深感受到自己的不足,自己的不配。這是恩典,再清楚不過的恩典。

駕駛對我來說是一種享受,也是一種需要。我現在擁有的駕駛執照讓我可以駕駛,這是神的恩賜。如果神讓我活到80歲,健康亦可以的話,也許我可以繼續擁有我的駕駛執照,一直駕駛到我要離開的一刻。就算如此,地上擁有的一切,享受的一切,都是要過去的。

因為除了相信耶穌基督而得到的救恩之外,我們沒有真的擁有什麼。這世界和世界上的一切都要過去。我們在世上暫時享用的一切,並不是我們應得的,都是神的恩賜。神沒有欠我們什麼。祂不一定要創造我們;祂不一定要繼續讓我們存活;我們犯罪沉淪,祂更加不一定要拯救我們。但由於祂對我們的愛,祂選擇了拯救我們,並且為此付上不能再高的代價。祂的獨生愛子耶穌基督降世為人,道成肉身,經歷人世間的憂患,身心靈的傷痛,最後被掛在木頭上,代替我們承擔犯罪的惡果,獻上自己的生命。主耶穌的犧牲,滿足了神的公義,成就了神的慈愛。就正如經上所說:他是愛我,為我捨己!

救主憐憫,讓我們為著我們真正擁有的救恩,每天帶著知足、喜樂、感恩的心,與我們的神同行!

Crown Him with Many Crowns

January 9/10, 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

We said good-bye to 2020 and welcome 2021. May this year be filled with life, health, and joy because of the promises that Christ the King brings to all of us. This year our theme for the whole Church is from the hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns”.

The hymn

What does it mean to “Crown Him with Many Crowns?” The lyrics written by Matthew Bridges in 1851 as found in the Hymn of Life, with four selected stanzas are as follows:

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

Crown him the Lord of love!
Behold his hands and side,–
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright!

Crown him the Lord of peace!
Whose power a scepter sways,
From pole to pole,–that wars may cease,
Absorbed in prayer and praise:
his reign shall know no end,
And round his pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown him the Lord of years!
The Potentate of time,–
Creator of the rolling spheres,
Ineffably sublime!
Glassed in a sea of light,
Where everlasting waves
Reflect his throne,–the Infinite!
Who lives,–and loves–and saves.

The background

Matthew Bridges, who wrote the original six stanzas of the hymn, “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” was born in Maldon, Essex, in 1800. Although he was raised in the Anglican church, he was converted to Catholicism in 1848 in connection with the Oxford Movement led by John Henry Newman. The Oxford Movement was an effort by Anglican clergymen of Oxford University between 1833 and 1845 to renew the Church of England by a revival of Catholic doctrine and practice. The hymn was written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges after the time of the Oxford Movement in England. Afterwards, Godfrey Thring, an Anglican priest wrote six additional stanzas to underscore Protestant theology distinct from Catholic theology, as the original hymn was popular among Anglicans. Today, the four stanzas (1, 4, 5 and 6) retained by our protestant hymnals are devoid of the Catholic theological distinctives (in stanzas 2 and 3). For us at RCAC, this history reminds us to hold to our own Alliance distinctives of the fourfold gospel of Christ as the Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and the Coming King.

Dr. Hawn, professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology, said this: “If there was ever a hymn that suited Christ the King Sunday (last Sunday before Advent begins a new Christian Year), it is this hymn.” We note that the original six stanzas mention six crowns: “Crown him . . . the Lamb upon the throne” (stanza one); [omitting Stanza two and three as in the Hymn of Life]; “Crown him the Lord of Love” (original stanza four); “Crown him the Lord of Peace” (original stanza five); and “Crown him the Lord of Years” (original stanza six). As we enter into 2021, let us remember that Christ the Lamb upon the throne is the Lord of Love, peace and Years.

Also, according to Dr. Hawn, DIADEMATA (meaning “crowns”) is the tune that was written by Sir George Job Elvey (1816-1893) for this hymn when it was published in the Appendix of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1868.” Watson had observed that the tune “makes a magnificent setting for the text, march-like and joyful without ever becoming mechanical or strident.” When we sing this hymn throughout 2021, let us be always reminded of the majesty of Christ the King.

The message

One of the imageries of the theme comes from the first stanza which is based on Revelation 22:1:

1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Isn’t this exactly what we need in 2021: the river of the water of life from the throne of God and the Lamb, flowing into our cities bringing fruits and healing for the nations!

Another imagery of the hymn comes also from Revelations, Revelation 19:12, ESV: “His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems (crowns), and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.”

Over the Advent season (Christmas) we had already seen how Jesus’ first coming to earth was humble (Luke 2:7). We also know from our study of Philippians the Jesus came to sacrifice Himself in death on the cross (Philippians 2:8).

His second coming, however, sees Jesus arrives as the King of kings and Lord of lords, with piercing eyes. He sees all and will come to bring judgment. The diadems (crowns) on Jesus’ head show that He is the absolute ruler of the universe. Among the many names He can claim, Jesus has a name only He knows, which means symbolically that the Son of God on His return, will come with a name unknowable to any other person, representing a personality and deeds that is beyond our comprehension (Rev. 19:11-21).

Indeed, against the chaos due to the pandemic and other factors that we have seen in 2020, let us learn in 2021 from the failures of human kings, look to Christ the messiah, the King, and await the return of Christ the Coming King, with hope and joy in our hearts.

Crown Him with Many Crowns! Yes, Crown Him with Many Crowns!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Simon Lee

“擁戴基督為王”

2020.01.09/10
作者: 李耀全牧師

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

我們告別了2020年,迎來了2021年。因著君王基督所賜予的應許,盼望我們今年能充滿活力,健康和喜樂。本年度,我們將採用生命聖詩中的“擁戴我主為王”詩歌作為教會整年的主題。

本詩歌詞
“擁戴我主為王”是什麼意思?本詩由Matthew Bridges於1851年所寫。在生命聖詩中的四節歌詞如下:

擁戴我主為王,聖羔在寶座上,
請聽天上歌聲悠揚,樂聲壓倒群響,
我靈速醒同唱,頌主為我受傷,
歡呼祂為至大君王,千秋萬歲無疆。

擁戴我主為王,祂是仁愛之王
祂手祂足肋旁受傷,今仍顯明天上,
何等奇妙奧祕,發出榮美光芒,
天使驚奇不敢仰視,一同俯首頌揚。

擁戴我主為王, 祂是和平之王,
普天之下戰爭停息,和平統治四方,
遍地禱頌聲揚,國權萬世永長,
美花環繞曾受傷足,朵朵歷久芬芳。

擁戴我主為王,祂是萬世之王,
宇宙天體乃主創造,榮美無可比量,
齊來頌讚救主!你曾為我受死,
讚美之聲永不止息,永遠感恩不已。

本詩背景
“擁戴我主為王” 詩歌由Matthew Bridges所寫,起先原有六節。他於1800年在英國埃塞克斯郡的馬爾登出生。儘管他在英國聖公會中成長,但他於1848年,因著參與由約翰·亨利·紐曼領導的牛津運動而歸依天主教。牛津運動是牛津大學的英國聖公會神職人員在1833年至1845年之間,致力於透過復興天主教教義與實踐來更新英格蘭教會所達成。Matthew Bridges在1851年於英國牛津運動時期後撰寫這詩歌。其後,因著原先的詩歌已在聖公會中甚為流行,聖公會牧師Godfrey Thring再多加了六節歌詞,以強調有別於天主教神學的改革宗神學觀念。今天,我們的基督教詩集保留了四節的詩詞(1、4、5和6節),省略了原先天主教神學特色的第2和3節。對於我們在列宣家的肢體而言,這段歷史提醒了我們要珍惜宣道會信仰的特色,即基督的四重福音:基督是救主、使人成聖的主、醫治的主、和再來之王。
珀金斯神學院的聖樂教授Hawn博士說:“如果要選取一首適合基督君王主日的詩歌(基督將臨期前的最後一個主日,即開始教會年曆的新年度),這首聖詩實在是最合適不過了。我們注意到原先的六節中提到了六個冠冕:“擁戴祂為王 (君王加冕)…“聖羔羊在寶座上”(第1節);(生命聖詩省略了其中的第2和3節); “擁戴仁愛之主為王”(第4節);“擁戴和平之主為王”(第5節);和“擁戴萬世之主為王”(第6節)。在邁進2021年時,讓我們謹記,坐在寶座上的羔羊基督是– 愛、和平與歲月的主宰。
此外,據Hawn博士所言,喬治·喬布·埃爾維爵士(Sir George Job Elvey,1816-1893)於1868年為這首詩歌創作曲譜時,他是按照“DIADEMATA”(即:“皇冠”之意),在“古今讚美詩集”的附錄中出版。聖詩學者Watson 觀察到,這首詩歌的曲調,為歌詞營造了冠冕堂皇的宏偉氣派,既具備愉快的進行曲式,又絲毫沒有呆板或尖銳刺耳的感覺。在2021年裡,當我們唱頌這首詩歌時,總能帶動我們聯繫到基督君王的威嚴雄偉。

本詩信息
本主題的圖像之一出自於啟示錄22章的第1節:
“天使又指示我一道明亮如水晶的生命水的河流,從神和羊羔的寶座那裡流出來,經過城裡的街道。河的兩邊有生命樹,結十二次果子,每月都結果子;樹葉可以醫治列國。”
生命之水從神和羔羊的寶座中流出,流入我們的城市,為各國帶來成果和康復!這豈不是在2021年中我們所需要的嗎?
詩歌中的另一幅圖像也出自啟示錄19:12,“祂的眼睛好像火燄,頭上戴著許多皇冠,祂身上寫著一個名字,這名字除了他自己沒有人認識。”(新譯本)
在聖誕節將臨期之中,我們已看到主耶穌第一次來到世上是多麼的降卑(路2:7)。並且藉著對腓立比書的研究,我們更明白耶穌來世是為著受死,在十字架上犧牲自己(腓2:8)。
然而,主耶穌的第二次降臨將會是萬王之王和萬主之主,祂要帶著如烈焰的目光來臨。祂看透一切,並將帶來審判。耶穌頭上的王冠表明祂是宇宙毋容置疑的絕對統治者。在祂眾多的名稱中,耶穌具有一個只有祂自己才知道的名字,這象徵著神的兒子在再來時將會帶著任何人都不知道的名字再臨,代表著我們所無法理解的位格與作為(啟19:11-21)。
確實地,在我們面對2020年所見的疫情大流行和其他因素所造成的混亂中,讓我們今年從世上君王的失敗中汲取教訓,仰望彌賽亞基督、君王,在充滿喜樂和盼望中等待再來之君,基督的再臨。
以許多冠冕給祂加冕,擁戴我主為王!
是的,讓我們同來擁戴基督為主為王!

主僕,
李耀全牧師

From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Karen Quan (Jan. 2-3, 2021)

(Eph. 3:17-19) NIV “….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, BEING ROOTED AND ESTABLISHED in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and how high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Since Sept. 2020, all the children from Nursery – Gr. 6 have been focusing weekly on this one phrase “Being Rooted and Established”. While we are apart physically, our desire was to grow in maturity in this theme together as a ministry. Reminding and pointing one another to Christ’s love. Here are some thoughts related to this growing theme.

“BEING” – We are human beings and not human doings. Prior to COVID, we’ve all been guilty of trying to fit in too much activity. The focus on doing or achieving often leads us to believe that we only have value when we produce. This current time of being apart focuses us on doing less outside our homes but are we aware of our sense of being or the state of our souls? Taking time to be still in God’s presence and revel in His being allows all people, younger and older, to wonder at His magnificence.

“Rooted” – What are we rooted in? Do we have deepening roots in God’s word or prayer? Prior to COVID, our excuse was that we do not have time. But now that we do have it, how do we spend it? What are we consumed with? Even the babies as young as 18 months are responding in the Zoom Nursery by hand motions of reaching deep into the pretend soil. We’ve been encouraging the older kids that as they spend time memorizing for Awana, they are actually rooting themselves in scripture. And as they are reciting to their parents at home, we pray that it is rooting the whole family in truth. Maybe this is the time to read the bible on a regular basis? Perhaps consider committing to a Bible Reading Plan or even another translation of the bible over 2021?

“Established” – As the roots dig deep and stabilize a tree, so is our hope as believers to mature & flourish. From upside down hands to outward stretching motions, we’ve been encouraging the kids to live out the love of Christ that has been so generously given to us. Stemming from the deep love that Christ gives, acts of love can overflow from us into the world. Some of the ways that this has been expressed by kids has been drawing pictures, sending messages, calling those who are isolated, expressing love to grandparents from a distance…. What about ourselves? Have we been still enough to hear God through scripture? And being transformed by His word, do we move to live it out? Are we obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to respond in order to experience true transformation?

I’m struck by the little word “AND” in this phrase. We’re called to a combination of grounding ourselves in scripture and expressing His love for all to see. The hidden work of the roots underground works in partnership with the growth that is above ground for all to experience. They work hand in hand. God is using this time in our kids in many ways and there’s still more to come. As 2021 begins, we will focus on vs. 18 (Jan-March) and vs. 19 (April-June). I look forward to what the Lord will show us as a community and how it will allow us to grow deeper in God’s love.

Pastor Karen Quan

牧者心聲 – 作者: 關潔玲傳道

2021.01.02/03

「使基督藉著你們的信,住在你們心裡,使你們既然在愛中扎根建基,就能和眾聖徒一同領悟基督的愛是多麼的長闊高深,並且知道他的愛是超過人所能理解的,使你們被充滿,得著神的一切豐盛。」(以弗所書3:17-19)《新譯本》

從2020年9月開始,兒童事工部由幼兒班至六年班的小朋友每週重點研讀都放在「扎根和建基」這短句上。雖然我們是被分隔,不能實體聚會,我們盼望整體的事工都在這個主題上一起學習,一起成長。再次喚醒大家指向基督的愛。以下是在這個主題上一些思想:

存活」(BEING) – 我們是人,不是為工作而存活的人。在新冠疫症之前,我們都錯誤地將許多的活動放在我們的時間表裡面。我們將焦點放在工作或成就,引領我們相信,只有當我們有生產能力,我們才有價值。目前的限聚令促使我們減少外出活動,但是我們會否檢視自己存活的意義或屬靈的狀況?讓我們把時間留給神,享受與神同在的憩息,察驗祂的偉大全能。

扎根」(ROOTED) – 我們扎根於什麼?我們是否扎根在神的話語或禱告裡?在新冠疫症之前,我們常常用沒有時間為藉口,但現在我們有的是時間,我們如何渡過?我們如何運用我們的時間?甚至只有18個月大的嬰兒,都會在網上幼兒班在螢幕前作出回應用手模擬深入泥土。我們一直鼓勵基督少年軍(Awana)的學員背誦聖經,實際上是要叫他們扎根於聖經。當他們在家裡與父母背誦時,盼望神讓整個家庭也同時扎根於聖經的真理當中。也許是時候我們要習慣定期閱讀聖經了?可以考慮在2021年參加《聖經閱讀計劃》,甚至閱讀不同譯本的聖經?

建基」(建造)(ESTABLISHED) – 當樹的根部深入泥土可以穩固一棵樹,同樣作為信徒的我們盼望屬靈生命成長和發旺。我們從不同的方法和方向,一直鼓勵孩子們要活出基督的愛,這份愛如此慷慨的送給我們,我們要用行動去回應,把基督這份深厚的愛傾流到世界。孩子們會用各樣方式來表達這份愛,包括繪畫、發送短訊,打電話問候那些被分隔的家人朋友,向遠方的祖父母表達愛意…。那我們呢?我們是否有閱讀聖經聆聽上帝的話語?有否被祂的話語陶造,被祂感動並且活出基督的愛?我們有否順從聖靈的指引作出回應以致經歷真正的改變?

這短句中的「」(AND) 激發我的思想。神呼召我們扎根於聖經,向所有人彰顯祂的愛。正如一棵樹,根部隱藏在地下,與地面上的樹幹合伙工作,它們手牽手合作,一同經歷成長。上帝在這段時間及未來的日子,以各式各樣的方法使用我們的孩子,傳揚祂的大愛。2021年即將到臨,我們將聚焦研讀18節(1至3月)及19節(4至6月)。期待主向我們展示,以致我們作為主內一個群體,能夠在主的愛裡更加彼此相愛。

關潔玲傳道

From 2020 “Launch out into the Deep” to 2021“Crown Him with Many Crowns”

2020.12.26/27

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Farewell to 2020

2020 is a year to which we are all happy to say good-bye.  Need I recount the pain and suffering from the pandemic. The lockdown has affected everyone in the Province since the middle of March. With the number of confirmed cases of positive test of COVID-19 infections at the end of the year still in the hundreds and the death toll is mounting every day, we are all filled with anxiety and for many, despair.

As a Church we have suspended all our worships and other activities held within our Church building and have move all of them online. Our Return-to-Church (RTC) guidelines has followed very closely the orders of our provincial Public Health doctors. After nearly a year of lockdown, we all long for the day when we can all return to worship and fellowship within our Church

When we began the year of 2020, we wanted to use the theme of “Launch out into the Deep” to encourage RCAC to leave our comfort zone and reach out into the community to share the gospel. Little did we know that we will be caught in the sea of Coronavirus So we quickly switched into the theme of “Jesus calms the storms of our lives” to seek to weather the storm. We then learned to “lament” using the “Lamentations of Jeremiah,” and were comforted with the teaching of God’s faithfulness amidst calamities and devastations. Then we went back to the original plan of studying the history of the early Kings of Israel. In the fall we wrapped up the year with the positive messages of Paul to the Philippians and learned to rejoice amid tension and adversities. We sincerely hope that we have been able to find this joy of living in Christ and serving Him. Christmas this year has come and gone before we even notice it, because it will be remembered as a Christmas like no other. But it is my hope and prayer that it has been a most special Christmas where Christ was not crowded out by any man-made trappings, that we finally see Christ clearly as the One born to be our Saviour and Lord.

Welcome 2021

I have never felt so filled with anticipation and hope for the dawn of a new year than this year. Needless to say, we all without exception hope that the new year will bring new life, new joy and new hope. First and foremost, we are all waiting to be vaccinated so we can build immunity against the Coronavirus that has brought so much destruction and devastation to so many people around the world. We hope this will turn things around so that the economy and the livelihood of people around the world can return to some form of “normalcy” with a new vibrancy that will reenergize our communities in enabling us to live with renewed joy and hope for a better future.  Even though it will take months before everyone who wants to be vaccinated will get his or her shot, perhaps way into the summer or even the fall. nevertheless, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the long tunnel.

As a church we look forward to returning to our church building to resume regular worships and other activities within the community, including fellowship gatherings, Sunday school and children ministries. Will that begin in the summer or the fall? We do not know. We need to wait patiently and return cautiously so that we can ensure that we are all safe. May we learn to wait before the Lord with anticipation and with patience at the same time.

In the first quarter of 2021, as scheduled in 2020, we will resume in our examination of the history of Israel and Judah in the book of the Kings. As I prepared the upcoming series, I was struck by the fact that the chosen people of God were constantly in a vicious cycle of enjoying the blessings of God but started to do evil in the sight of the Lord, and sometimes after being warned and judged by the Lord, would return to the Lord and do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. The fact of the matter is their relationship with God was heavily dependent on whether they had a good king or a bad king. After the kingdom was divided into Judah in the south and Israel in the north, there were all bad kings in Israel, and only a handful of good kings in Judah. We shall see highlights of this messy history and trace it all the way to the end of Israel as the result of the Assyrian captivity, and eventually to the end of Israel with the Babylonian captivity. We are going to study in more details the lives of Hezekiah and Josiah (as examples of good kings). I have entitled this series as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” and we hope that we can learn from both the success and failure of these kings.

However, in 2021, we hope to stay positive. Having looked at all these mostly bad kings of Israel and Judah, for the rest of the year we are going to turn our eyes to Jesus the Messianic King (in two separate quarters, Spring and Fall), and also the Royal Psalms in the summer. The idea and purpose is summarised in the theme of the year which is “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”

The reason for this theme should be obvious. Amidst all the calamities and desperations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic which has exacerbated the ecological-socio-economico-political crises that we are experiencing, I sincerely hope to remind all of us that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, Lord and King. Herein lies our ultimate hope. So, let’s us worship Him and proclaim His majesty to all the earth.

Indeed, we have just celebrated the birth of Christ the King, but His kingdom is not of this earth, it is heavenly and spiritual. Just as we have learned in Philippians, Jesus came to take on the form of a man, a servant, and was obedient to God the Father to the point of death, even the death on the cross. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phi. 2:8-11)

Have a blessed new year!

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Simon Lee

從2020年”開到水深之處”到2021年”擁戴基督為王”

2020.12.26/27
作者:李耀全牧師

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:
告別2020年
2020年不堪回首,是我們所有人都希望告別的一年。我毋須再敘述有關病毒大流行所帶來的痛苦與折磨,因自3月中旬以來,封鎖限令已影響及本省所有的人。直至年底,確診的感染病毒呈陽性的數百病例仍在激增,死亡人數每天也在增加,我們都充滿了焦慮,甚至許多人已感到絕望。
作為教會,我們暫停了在教堂建築物內舉行的所有敬拜活動和聚會,並將所有這些活動移師至網上舉行。我們按照的本省公共衛生醫官的命令,非常嚴格地遵循“重返教會指南”(RTC)。在封鎖了將近一年之後,我們極渴望可以回到教堂內進行崇拜和團契的一天。
自2020年開始時,我們盼望以“開到水深之處”為主題,以鼓勵列宣肢體離開我們的安舒區,並伸展至向社區分享福音。可是我們無法預料會被冠狀病毒浪潮所困,所以我們迅速轉至:“耶穌平靜我們生命中的風浪” 的主題,以度過難關。其後,我們學習從“耶利米哀歌”的“哀嘆”中,對神在災難和毀滅當中的信實教導得著安慰。然後我們回到原來的計劃去研讀以色列早期王國的歷史。在秋季,我們以保羅向腓立比人傳達的積極信息去總結這一年的學習系列,並在緊張和逆境中學到喜樂。我們誠摯地盼望所有人也能在基督裡找到生活和事奉的喜樂。今年的聖誕節來了,卻又在我們甚至未加注意中瞬息即逝,因為這是一個最特別的聖誕節。我盼望並禱告,基督沒有被任何人為的陷阱所摒棄,讓我們終能於清楚地看到基督是為我們而降生的救主和生命之主。
迎向2021年
送舊迎新,我對未來一年新的曙光從未感到如此充满期待和希望。毋庸置疑,我們所有人也同樣希望新的一年會帶來新的生活,新的喜悅和新的祈盼。首先最重要的是,我們都在等待著接種疫苗,這樣我們就可以增强針對冠狀病毒的免疫力,這種冠狀病毒已經給世界上許多人帶來了巨大的破壞和損害。我們希望可以扭轉這局面,以能讓全世界的經濟和生計可重新注入活力並能回到某種形式的“常態”,以致能令我們的社區充滿活力,使我們能夠重拾快樂的生活,以迎接更好的未來希望。即使需要幾個月的時間才能使每個想要接種疫苗的人都可以接種疫苗,也許須延至夏季甚至秋季。儘管如此,我們終於在時間的長廊盡頭看到了曙光。
作為教會,我們期待著返回教堂,繼續進行實體敬拜生活以及參與其他的群體活動,包括團契聚會,主日學和兒童事工等。那將會是在夏季還是秋季開始恢復進行?我們實在不曉得。我們需要耐心等待並謹慎地進行重返教會,以確保所有人都安全。願我們能學到,在存著充滿期待的心在主前等候的同時能,存著忍耐。
正如2020年的計劃一樣,在2021年度的第一季,我們將會恢復從列王記中對以色列和猶大歷史的研讀。當我準備未來的研讀系列時,令我震驚的是,神的選民竟然一直處於享受神的祝福並同時落在行神眼中看為惡事之惡性循環之中,但在受到神的警告和審判之後,他們回轉歸主,行主眼中看為善的事。事實上,他們與神的關係,在很大程度上是取決於他們是否有好的君王還是壞的君王。在王國分裂為南部的猶大和北部以色列之後,以色列的君主全都是壞王,而在猶大方面則偶有好王。我們於可看到這混亂歷史的亮光,這可一直追溯至以色列被亞述人俘虜並猶大終被巴比倫俘虜的窮途末路。我們將更深入地地研讀希西家和約西亞的生平(作為好王的例子)。我把這個系列的標題定為“從君王的好歹和醜惡中學習”,我們希望可以從這些國王的成功和失敗中汲取教訓。
無論如何,我們希望在2021年中保持樂觀。在讀完了所有這些以色列和猶大最壞的君王之後,本年度接下來的是分別於春季和秋季,將我們的目光轉向彌賽亞君王耶穌,夏季則研讀君王詩篇(彌賽亞君王詩篇)。本年的主題是:“擁戴基督為王”。
擬定這主題的原因應該很明顯可見。由於冠狀病毒大流行帶來的所有災難和絕望,加劇了我們正在所經歷的生態、社會、經濟、政治危機。我誠懇地提醒各位:耶穌基督是我們的救主,我們的主和君王, 祂是我們終極的盼望。因此,讓我們敬拜祂,並向全地宣揚祂的威榮。
確實,我們剛慶祝君王基督的降生,但祂的國度不屬於這世上,而是屬天和屬靈的。就像我們在腓立比書中所學到的一樣,耶穌成了血肉之軀,取了一個奴僕的形象,並且順服父神至死,而且死十字架上。 “因此,神把祂升為至高,並賜給他超過萬名之上的名,使天上、地上,和地底下的一切,因著耶穌的, 都要屈膝,並且口裡承認耶穌基督為主,使榮耀歸給父神。” (腓2:8-11)
願您新年蒙福!
主僕,
李耀全牧師