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pastoral voice

2023.01.28/29

Hello, brothers and sisters of RCAC. May you all have a blessed Chinese New Year. You may not celebrate the Chinese New Year.  But no matter which new year you celebrate, one thing is certain, we will send our best wishes to each other.  Behind these best wishes is the wish that this year will be better than last year.

In the past week, I thank God for allowing me to share with the Mandarin Congregation through the Gospel of John. In last week’s sermon, I talked about what a fulfilled life is through the miracle of Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand. First, this miracle is recorded in all four Gospels. Apart from the resurrection of Jesus, this miracle is the only one recorded in all four Gospels. Since each Gospel was written for a different purpose, and each Gospel writer decided to include this miracle in the respective book, there must be a significance to the miracle.

Jesus Christ broke our inherent logic through feeding the five thousand. How did the logic come about? Logic is accumulated through our life experiences. In other words, the foundation of logic has a historical background behind. And because of this, no matter who we are, we approach things according to a similar logic.

Through feeding the five thousand, Jesus wants to tell us that to follow Him, we must first let go of our inherent logic. Because He is the source of all power. There is no Jesus in worldly logic. However, as a child of God, the logic of dealing with things must first put Jesus Christ in the most important position. In the miracle of feeding the five thousand, Jesus fed the five thousand people (actually more than ten thousand people) with the five barley loaves and two fish that a child was willing to offer. Jesus can turn nothing into something, why would he rely on a child’s five barley loaves and two fish? It is logical that five barley loaves and two fish cannot feed five thousand people. But Jesus does not act with logic. Because God is above all, that is to say, logic cannot bind God’s deeds. When we face the present difficulties, we may all think logically. This is an inherent way of thinking, the apostles were like this, and so are we. However, Jesus told us that to rely on Him is to use a new perspective, a new logic, and this new logic is not taught by the world, but taught by Jesus. Everything starts with Jesus Christ.

In the new year, may we all put Jesus Christ first. May the Holy Spirit help us see that when we trust in Jesus, there is a life of fulfillment. This satisfaction is not given by the world, but by Jesus Christ. And this satisfaction can be obtained because Jesus Christ gave up everything in heaven, dwelled among us, and carried our sins.

May God bless you all. May God bless RCAC.

His servant,
Pastor Mark

教牧心聲

2023.01.28/29

弟兄姊妹大家好。新年蒙福。新年的時候,我們都會向對方送上祝福的字句,用這樣的方法來向對方給予問候並祝賀。在新年的時候,我們都會希望今年比去年好。無論如何,新的一年的來臨都會給予我們一個機會,對今年有一個盼望。而這個盼望,無論是什麼內容,大部分都是希望今年比去年好。

在剛過去的一週,感謝神的恩典,讓我能夠透過約翰福音和大家分享。在上週的講道,我透過約翰福音的五餅二魚和大家分享什麼是一個滿足的人生。首先,這一個神蹟在四本福音書都有記載。除了耶穌復活之外,就只有這個神蹟在四本福音書都有記載。由於每一本福音書寫作的目的都不一樣,而每一個福音書的作者都決定把這個神蹟放在書中的話,一定有這個神蹟的重要性。

耶穌基督透過五餅二魚來打破我們固有的邏輯。邏輯是如何來的呢?邏輯是透過我們人生的經歷累積而來的。也就是說,邏輯的根基有著一種歷史背景在背後的。也因為這樣,無論我們是誰,都會依照類似的邏輯來處理事情。

透過五餅二魚,耶穌要告訴我們,跟隨祂就必須先把固有的邏輯放下。因為祂是一切能力的源頭。人類的邏輯中沒有耶穌。但是,作為神的兒女,處理事情的邏輯就必須先把耶穌基督放在最重要的位置。在五餅二魚的神蹟中,耶穌用一個小孩子願意奉獻的五餅二魚來餵飽五千人(其實應該是超過一萬人)。耶穌可以從無變有,為什麼要靠一個小朋友的五餅二魚呢?五餅二魚不能餵飽五千人,這個是邏輯。但是耶穌不會以邏輯來行事。因為神是在萬有之上的,也就是說,邏輯不能綑綁神的作為。當我們面對目前的困難的時候,我們都可能會以邏輯來思考。這個是固有的思考模式,使徒是這樣,我們也是。但是,耶穌告訴我們,倚靠祂就是要用一個新的眼光,新的邏輯,這個新的邏輯,不是世界教導我們的,而是耶穌教導我們的。一切都是以耶穌基督為先。

在新的一年,願我們一切以耶穌基督為先。讓聖靈幫助我們看見,當我們倚靠耶穌的時候,會有一個滿足的人生。這個滿足不是世界能給予的,而是耶穌基督所給予的。而能夠獲得這個滿足,是因為耶穌基督放棄天上的一切,來到我們的中間,並頂替我們的罪而成就的。

願神祝福大家。願神祝福列宣家。

主僕,
劉展權牧師

Sheep

2023.01.21/22

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Raphael Chow

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Morning by the countryside, snowy white sheep scattered and gathered on the lavish green grassland.  On disperse, it is fascinating like speckles of white blossom in a beauty pageant; on assembly, it resembles the casually changing cloud up in the blue, or the leisurely babbling brook across.  It pacifies the turbulent soul!

As a lucky and propitious sign since good old days, sheep symbolizes peace, kindness, goodness, benevolence and uprightness!  In the book “The Rich Dew of the Spring and Autumn Classics” from the Han dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD), sheep is described as

“horns outfitted, not utilized;
brawl geared up, not employed;
the kind folks flock together!
being seized, not a sound;
being slaughtered, not a cry;
the upright folks flock together!”

The virtue of  “fond of kindness” is shown as the sheep is not using its horn to attack; while the virtue of “protecting righteousness with death” is implied as the sheep remains silent towards grasp or slain.

On the other hand, we are often dumbstruck and astounded by the sheep.  Sheep is not smart!  It seems like that sheep knows nothing other than grazing (and bearing lambs)!  What would it do when there is a creek? Knowing that it can neither leap over nor swim across, it might still dive into it! Besides, sheep always goes astray.  Lost sheep can be seen in the wilderness, near the cliffs and ridges, or even in the swamps (usually dead). People wondered, “how could they get there?” Sheep tails heedlessly!  When one sheep decides to take off, all the sheep goes after.  If the question “why do you run?” is put forward, the answer will probably be “it’s because the one ahead runs.”  If the one starting this off is asked, the answer you might get would possibly be “I don’t know!” Moreover, sheep is stubborn.  It is a dying battle to drag a sheep into the shearing shed if it rejects the plan. There is a story of a run-away sheep refusing to be shaved.  It hides in the land of tall grass for 6 years (a rare exceptional case) before being found, caught and sheared. Sheep cannot live on their own. Though most animals can live self-sufficiently, sheep is never capable of surviving without the care of a shepherd.  In close encounter with beasts, it would only end up being their meals.

There are no big differences between sheep from Asia, Europe, Africa, America or the Middle East, which all carry similar traits.  Sheep is just sheep.

Actually, sheep does not need to be smart with the care of a good shepherd, who will go in and out and find pasture for them (John 10:9).  Led by a good shepherd, sheep will not get lost as He goes before them (John 10:4); and He will go in search of the one that went astray (Matt. 18:12-13). Guided by a good shepherd, sheep will not be afraid just to follow by imitation (Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9; Heb. 6:12). With the patience of a good shepherd, sheep will also be able to turn away from its obstinacy (1 Tim. 1:16; Matt. 26:34, 75; Luke 22:32; 1 Pet. 3:14-18).  And with the protection of a good shepherd, sheep has no fear for the beasts as He is willing to lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11-14). I have to be thankful for I am the sheep of a good shepherd.

Thence, David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1)

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Raphael Chow

2023.01.21/22

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

野外的一個早上,遠處,雪白的羊在綠油油的草原上,時聚,時散。散時像朵朵白花在綠草上爭妍,引人入勝;聚時像藍天的白雲在不經意中變幻萬千,又像緩緩而流的溪水在面前閑閑的走過,把喧繁的心境頓時安靜下來。

自古以來,羊都是吉祥之象徵:代表和平、善良、美好、知仁、知義等。漢代《春秋繁露》裡認為羊“有角而不任,設備而不用,類好仁者;執之不鳴,殺之不啼,類死義者”。意思是指羊有角卻不使用,有準備卻不攻擊,正是“喜愛仁”的美德;羊被捉時不鳴叫,被宰時不啼哭,這相當於“以死護義”的美德。

但是羊也有令人啼笑皆非,哭笑不得的一面。羊並不聰明。牠們好像除了吃草(及生小羊)以外就什麼都不懂。當牠們來到小溪前面,知道自己跳不過去,又不會游泳,牠們會做什麼?還是選擇跳進去!羊總是走失。在茫茫荒野能遇見走失的羊,在懸崖峭壁前也會遇見迷失的羊,甚至在沼澤裡也可以看見失散的羊(多半是喪命的)。讓人不禁想“牠怎麼可以跑到這裡的?”。羊盲目跟從。當一隻羊決定奔跑,所有的羊都會隨着牠跑起來的。但若然問其中的一隻羊“你為什麼要跑?”回答:“因為前面的一隻在跑。”如此問下去,答案都是一樣。最後的一隻回答:“我不知道。”羊是很固執的。當一隻羊決定不剪羊毛,要把牠趕進剪羊毛的地方就好像要與牠作垂死爭戰。曾經有一隻羊就是因為決意不剪羊毛而離家出走。牠走進高高的草叢裡生活了整整6年(絕無僅有的例外)。最後才被牧人捕獲,在挾持下被剪毛。羊不能照顧自己。大部分動物可以自我生存,但羊若沒有牧人的照顧就不能存活。面對猛獸時若不能及時逃離就只能夠成為猛獸的食物。無論是亞洲的羊、歐洲的羊、非洲的羊、美洲的羊、或中東的羊沒有什麼分別,都具有同樣的特徵特性。羊就是羊。

在好牧人的照顧下,羊並不需要聰明,因為出入都得草吃(約10.9)。在好牧人的帶領下,羊不怕迷失,因為牧人走在前頭引路(約10.4),而且牧人會特意尋找失落的迷羊(太18.12-13)。在好牧人的教導下,羊不必害怕盲目跟從,因為可以放心仿效 (腓3.17; 帖前1.6; 帖後3.7, 9; 來6.12)。在好牧人的忍耐下,羊總有機會改變固執 (提前1.16; 太26.34, 75; 路22.32; 彼前3.14-18)。在好牧人的保護下,羊不必害怕猛獸,因為牧人願意為羊捨命(約10.11-14)。因為我是好牧人的羊,我必須感恩。

所以大衛寫下:“耶和華是我的牧者,我必不致缺乏。”

主僕
周力行牧師

Listening to Preaching

2023.01.14/15

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason Cheung

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

“For now we see in a mirror dimly…”
1 Corinthians 13:12

As a child, I listened as best I could to the preacher every Sunday.  The red cushioned pews of my childhood church, off Main St., was cushier than our blue ones here at RCAC.  Back then it was much easier to fall asleep.

God in his grace let the preaching words of people pierce my hard heart, over time.  I heard Him, and stepped in faith more than a few times, responding to a call to repent, to love him, to live for him, to serve him.

And yet, listening to a sermon is still difficult.

I am both a preacher, and a listener.  But my big head makes me think I am more important as a preacher.  God has shown me how foremost I am to be a listener.

The preacher is a person, and not perfect.  This is true of all of us, but when a person called, and trained, and even ordained, steps behind the pulpit, that person is still a person.  Called and made an instrument by God – yes! – but still a person like every other.  As a preacher preaches there may develop over years an ego that supersedes the task.  But (I speak as one called to preach) the moment I believe I have more to say than I have to listen, then I’ve lost my call to preach.

Most every vocation requires expertise and skill, a mastery of the task.  Coaches take charge of the team.  CEOs manage large companies.  Surgeons are captains of the operating room.  These are necessary for these roles.  Preachers, too, take years to hone the skill to preach, but preachers have a different aim.  Preachers are never meant to stand out.  The most faithful preachers are forgotten, because when the Word meets the hearer’s heart the lingering ache is for Christ.  When the preacher is remembered, he has failed.

And yet, for some reason, we’ve made pastors to be coaches of people, CEOs of churches and surgeons of souls.  That’s foolhardy because pastors are not called to be any of these.  Pastors are called to preach and get out of the way of the Spirit’s work in hearts.

Kneeling
by R.S. Thomas

Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God  
To speak; the air a staircase  
For silence; the sun’s light  
Ringing me, as though I acted  
A great rôle. And the audiences  
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.

                        Prompt me, God;

But not yet. When I speak,  
Though it be you who speak  
Through me, something is lost.  
The meaning is in the waiting.

In his poem, Kneeling, R.S. Thomas opens within the anticipation of a person in the pew, “waiting for God to speak.”  Every element described of the church is space readying for the Word.  Even the air is “a staircase for silence.”  Then the poem turns, and we learn the person in the pew is actually the pastor about to preach.  And this pastor says something profound:

When I speak,  
Though it be you who speak  
Through me, something is lost.  
The meaning is in the waiting.

These lines capture well the tension of the preacher as person and the preacher as conduit of God’s holy Word.

As a preacher, I have buckled under the pressure of conveying God’s Word to God’s people.  I have  tried various voices to “improve.”  AuthorityHumourKnowledge.  But, I used all these only to prove myself worthy.  These voices have a place, for sure, but they can also get in the way.  I was in the way.  When I stopped trying to prove, and rather trusted, paused, and waited, the Spirit worked his meaning into me.

Thomas’ poem reminds us, listeners, that the preacher is merely an interpreter, and every word that comes from his or her mouth will lose something of the divine meaning.  And that’s fine.  The temptation for listeners (as it is for preachers) is to take every word spoken as if it were God’s very Word.  But biblical authority is not transferable from Word to preacher.  The only person where this authority rests perfectly is Jesus – “the Word was God” (John 1:1).

So, listen to the Word.

By all means, listen to preachers.  But, listen with the aim of listening to God.  Discard the chaff, and be nourished by whatever truth comes through.  Be gentle and gracious to preachers who try, but communicate poorly.  Be thankful for faithful preachers who highlight the text for you, for the church, and then step aside.  Be wary of preachers who demand respect based on authority.  Be open, though, to the humblest of preachers who tremble as they step into the pulpit. Be wary of preachers eloquent in speech who gain followers to themselves.

Be open, though, to the Spirit’s voice between Sundays, in the silent and in your waiting.

Listen to the Word.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jason Cheung

聽道

2023.1.14/15

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

「我們現在是對著鏡子觀看,模糊不清…」(哥林多前書 13:12)

小時候,我每個星期天都盡我能力去聆聽牧者講道。我兒時的教堂位於 Main St. 附近,我坐在紅色墊子的長椅,比我們列宣的藍色長椅更舒適,那時候入睡要容易得多。

隨著時間漸漸過去,上帝在祂的恩典裡讓牧者的教導刺穿了我堅硬的心腸。我聽到了祂的聲音,並多次憑著信心踏出,回應上帝的呼召,要悔改、要愛祂、為祂而活、服侍祂。

然而,聆聽一篇講道仍然很困難。

我既是一位牧者,又是一位聆聽者。但我腦袋裡讓我覺得作為牧者更重要。上帝已經向我展示作為一個聆聽者是多麼重要的。

牧者是一個人,並不完美。我們所有人也是,當一個人被呼召、接受訓練、甚至被按立,但離開講台,那個人仍然是一個人。他被上帝呼召成為祂一個器皿,但仍然是一個人,與其他人沒有分別。當一個講員不停講道,經年累月後或許會展現出一種自我而失去其講道的真義。對我作為講員而言,當我察覺到我要說的比我必須要聽的更多時,我就失去了被呼召去講道的真義。

大多數職業都需要專業知識和技能,可以精準地掌握其職務。教練負責他的隊伍,大公司主席管理公司,外科醫生是手術室的隊長,這些角色都是理所當然的。講員也一樣,需要時間磨練講道技巧。但講員有不同的目標,他絕對不是為了脫穎而出。最忠心的講員常會被遺忘的,因為當道觸及聽者的心時,那揮之不去的痛楚是為了基督。當講員會被人們記住時,他就失敗了。

然而,某些原因,讓牧者成為人的教練、教會的主席和靈魂的外科醫生。這是愚蠢的,因為牧者沒有被呼召成為任何的一個。牧者被呼召去講道是要讓聖靈在人心中的工作。

Kneeling《跪等》R.S. Thomas

大有寧靜的片刻,
跪在木頭祭台前,
一座石頭教堂裡,
夏日,等候上帝
發聲;空氣是樓梯
伸向靜寂,太陽的光
將我環系,倒像是我出演了
一場大戲。而觀眾們
止息;所有那些聚攏近前的
靈魂們等候著,像我一樣,
為那信息。
給我提示,上帝,
但還不急。當我開口,
雖將是你通過我發聲,
仍已有部分被丟掉了。
意義在這等候裡。

R.S. Thomas的詩《跪等》中,開始時是指向在坐長椅上的一個人的期待,「等候上帝說話」。所有描述教堂內的每一個元素空間都是為聖言而準備。甚至空氣也是「寂靜的階梯」。然後這首詩轉向,我們了解到坐在長椅上的人實際上是即將要講道的牧者。這位牧者說了一些震撼的話:

當我開口,
雖將是你通過我發聲,
仍已有部分被丟掉了。
意義在這等候裡。

這些詩句很清楚表達作為人的講道者和作為上帝聖言的管道的講道者之間的張力。

作為一位講員,我在向上帝的子民傳達上帝的話語的壓力下屈服了。我嘗試用各種聲音來“改進”。 權威、 幽默、 知識。 但是,我用這一切只是為了證明自己的價值。 這些聲音肯定有一席之地,但它們也可能成為障礙,我就是被這障礙擋住了。當我停止嘗試去證明,反而是相信、止息、及等候時,聖靈就將祂的意思賜給我。

Thomas的詩提醒我們聆聽者,講員只不過是一個傳譯員,從他或她口中說出的每一句話都會失去一些神聖的意義,這也沒錯的。對聆聽者的誘惑(就像對講員的誘惑一樣)是把所說的每一句話都當成是上帝的話。但聖經的權威不能從道轉移到講員身上。唯一完全擁有這種權威的人只有是耶穌-「道就是神」(約翰福音 1:1)。

所以,要聽

無論如何,聆聽講員的話。但是,要帶著聆聽上帝的目的去聆聽。丟掉糠秕,被真理去滋養。講員或許溝通不流暢,我們要以溫柔和恩慈的心對待講員。我們要感謝默默耕耘、忠心服侍的講員。要提防那些基於權威追求自己名聲的講員;要小心警惕那些口若懸河,為自己贏得追隨者的講員。要包容那些謙卑、戰戰兢兢地踏上講壇講道的講員。

每一天,我們都要安靜和等候,敞開我們的心被聖靈的聲音去充滿。

主僕
張志成牧師

THE PURSUIT OF WISDOM

January 7/8, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk : Pastor Alex Poon

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

May we pursue wisdom this new year. Grow to deepen your heart and mind knowledge of Christ our Savior. This is growing Christian maturity.

 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” – Proverbs 9:8-10

This is wisdom: to love God as God. Wisdom is the way we want to live and move towards Him.

And it takes the work of pursuing learning.

The Apostle Paul writes to his disciple Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-2…

 1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Then he continues later in chapter 3 in 2 Timothy 3:14-17…

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”


Follow the train of thought: The source of strengthening is first the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Then the second source of strengthening is learning; “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”. And the source of this learning is the teaching of Scripture – which is God breathed, and good in every way. It is profitable for the equipping of every good work.

So, for us, as maturing children of God: It is good work to pursue God, to know him as Lord of all, and to continually grow in maturity in him through heart and mind. As we deepen our understanding, we deepen our experience. As he provokes our thoughts, as he tunes our attention, and refines our pondering – we will learn to commune with him deeper and deeper and be satisfied more and more.

Naturally, the question is “How do we start?”

I’m sure you already know how.

First through prayer. Prayers of dependence. And prayers which ask God to create in us a renewing mind, and heart which desires and matures.

Then, through diving in the deep strengthening teachings of Scripture. When do you read God’s Word to us? When do you dive into the depth of his love explained? What sources help illuminate your reading – so you see what you did not see at first? Who are your good teachers? And who are your conversational partners who help to strengthen and encourage your pursuit of wisdom? But the ultimate question is this: do you give priority to the Scriptures, so that you are formed and shaped in your thinking?

All of this, so we may praise our God, who came – as the embodiment of wisdom – to reveal to us the wisdom of the cross. That is, the wisdom of our suffering servant who is the righteous dying for the unrighteous, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Alex Poon

追求智慧

2023.01.07/.08

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

 願我們在新的一年追求智慧,在心靈和思想行為上對我們的救主基督有更深的認識,成為一個越來越成熟的基督徒。

箴言9:10 「敬畏耶和華是智慧的開端」。智慧就是愛主,生活和行事為人要討主喜悅,這是需要學習的功課。

使徒保羅在提摩太後書2:1-2 寫信給他的門徒提摩太…

「所以,我兒啊,你應當在基督耶穌的恩典裡剛強起來,又應當把你在許多見證人面前從我這裡聽見的,交託給那些又忠心又能夠教導別人的人。」

然後,他在3:14-17 繼續…

「你應當遵守所學和確信的;你知道是跟誰學的,並且知道自己從小就明白聖經,這聖經能夠使你有智慧,可以因信基督耶穌得著救恩。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,為要使屬神的人裝備好,可以完成各樣的善工。」

按經文教導:剛強的源頭首先是在基督耶穌裡的恩典,第二個是學習,「繼續你所學到的和堅信的」。而這樣學習的源頭是聖經的教導-聖經是神所默示的,在各方面都是好的。裝備各樣善工都是有益的。

至於我們,作為成長中神的兒女,要渴慕神,認定祂是萬有之主,並且心靈和思想行為要在祂裡面不斷地成長。隨著我們對神有更深入的認識,我們也加深對祂的經歷,祂會激發我們的思想,調整我們的專注力,煉淨我們的思考,當我們學會越深入地與祂交流,我們就越得到滿足。

好自然就會問「我們如何開始?」,我相信你已經知道怎樣做了。

首先是禱告,就是倚靠神的祈禱,祈求神更新我們的心思意念,賜我們渴慕神成長的心。然後,深入研讀聖經的教導。你什麼時候閱讀聖經?你什麼時候感受到祂的愛的長闊高深?有那些資源幫助你明白,讓你看到你最初沒有看到的東西?誰是你的好老師?誰是幫助你加強和鼓勵你追求智慧的夥伴?但最終的問題是:你有否把聖經放在首位,以致你的思想行為被祂塑造?

所有的一切,讓我們讚美我們的神,耶穌基督,智慧的化身,祂向我們展示十字架的智慧,也就是“我們受苦的僕人的智慧,就是義的代替不義的,為要領你們到神面前。(彼得前書3:18)

主僕
潘啟華傳道

Deeper Life and Broader Vision

2022.12.31/2023.01.01

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev.Collins Kung

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

RCAC is an English/Chinese/Mandarin trilingual church. We have five worship congregations yet we share the same goal – to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfill the Great Commission. We demonstrate the unity of our church through our common theme and common preaching messages.

This weekend’s worship will cross two years, from 2022 to 2023. We will also start a new theme from the New Year:  “Deeper Life, Broader Vision”. I have chosen to use two words, “deeper” and “broader”, to emphasize our need for action, and not just slogans. We uphold the traditions of the Christian Missionary Alliance.  On the one hand, we believe that believers must grow in spiritual life and  Christ followers must learn His teachings and put His teachings into practice. Jesus Christ is our role model, we deepen our spiritual life through His words and deeds. On the other hand, we need to broaden our horizons and recognize who are our neighbors, so that we can embrace the world and obey the Great Commission declared by the Lord.

From January to April 2023, we will study the Gospel of John and take the life of Jesus as examples of life deepening:

Beginning with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, He humbled Himself from the position of God to the likeness of man. John 1:18 ” No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”  Jesus Christ manifests a life centered on God. Wherever he went, he preached the gospel to the people he met and challenging their beliefs and lives.

  • He spoke to the Jewish teacher Nicodemus about the need to be born again.
  • He talked to the Samaritan woman about the living water and made her realize the Messiah in front of her eyes.
  • He fed 5,000 people with the miracle of five loaves and two fishes, exhorting people to pursue the bread of life.
  • How He treated a woman caught in adultery and declared Himself to be the Light of the world.
  • He declared Himself a good shepherd, willing to lay down His life for the sheep so that the sheep could have abundant life.
  • He raised Lazarus back to life, declared that He is the resurrection and the life, and gave hope of resurrection to the world.
  • According to the date prophesied in the Scripture, He entered Jerusalem meekly on a donkey, showing that He is the King of Israel who came in the name of the Lord.
  • He shared the Last Supper with His disciples, washed their feet, and instituted the Eucharist for the disciples to remember the new covenant with Him.
  • When the disciples were sad, He comforted them He is the way to God the Father.
  • He emphasized to his disciples that the relationship with himself should be connected like the true vine with its branches, and they should remain in the Lord.
  • Before going to the cross, He offered the High Priest’s Prayer to intercede for the disciples.
  • In the end, He fully obeyed, was delivered into the hands of the religious leaders, and died on the cross for us by laying down His life.
  • The story is not over yet…He resurrected on the third day and defeated death according to His prophecy to the disciples.
  • After His resurrection, He appeared to His disciples, strengthened Peter, and charged him to follow the Lord’s example and shepherd the flock.

Let us study the Gospel of John from a deeper life perspective, learn to imitate the life of Jesus as an example to a deeper life, and exhibit the beauty of Christ. May glory and praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ, amen!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Collins Kung

進深靈命,擴闊視野

 2022.12.31/2023.01.01

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

列宣家是一間兩文三語的華人教會,我們有五個崇拜群體,卻有著一個共同的目標,傳揚耶穌基督的福音,實踐大使命。我們透過同一的全年主題,同一的講道信息,展現教會的合一。

本週崇拜將橫跨兩個年度,由2022年過渡到2023年,從新的一年開始,我們亦開始新的全年主題,就是「進深靈命,擴闊視野」。我選擇了以兩個動詞「進深」和「擴闊」,為要強調我們需要行動,盼望我們不是停留於口號。我們秉承宣道會的傳統,一方面,我們認定信徒要在屬靈生命上長進,信徒跟隨耶穌基督,就要學習祂的教訓,並且把祂的道理落到實處。以基督為靈命進深的榜樣。我們要從祂的言行學習進深。另一方面,我們要擴闊視野,認清誰是我的鄰舍,使我們能胸懷普世,遵行主頒佈的大使命。

2023一月至四月,我們從約翰福音,學習以耶穌之生命為進深的典範:

由耶穌基督道成肉身開始,看到祂從神的位分降卑到成為人的樣式。約1:18「從來沒有人見過神,只有在父懷裡的獨生子把他彰顯出來。」認識耶穌基督是怎樣彰顯一個以神為中心的生命。祂所到之處,向所接觸的人傳講福音,挑戰他們現有的信仰及生活。

  • 祂與猶太人的拉比尼哥德慕談論重生的必要。
  • 祂與撒瑪利亞婦人談論活水,讓她認識到眼前的彌賽亞
  • 祂以五餅二魚的神蹟令5000人吃飽,勸告人要追求生命糧。
  • 祂怎樣對待一個行淫中被抓住的婦人,宣告自己就是世界的光。
  • 祂宣告自己是好牧人,願意為羊捨命,叫羊得著豐盛的生命。
  • 祂叫拉撒路復活,宣告祂就是就是復活和生命,給世人復活的盼望。
  • 祂按聖經預言的日子,騎著小驢謙謙和和地進入耶路撒冷,表明祂就是奉主名來的以色列王。
  • 祂與門徒共享最後晚餐,為他們洗腳,設立聖餐要門徒記念與祂所立的新約。
  • 門徒憂愁時,祂安慰門徒祂就是通往父神之路。
  • 祂向門徒強調與自己的關係要像真葡萄樹與枝子這樣連結,要常在主裡。
  • 在上十架前,獻上大祭司的禱告,為門徒代求。
  • 最後,祂完全順服,被交在宗教領袖手裡,為我們捨棄生命,死在十字架上。
  • 故事還未完結…按著向門徒的預告第三日復活,戰勝死亡。
  • 祂復活後向門徒顯現,堅固彼得,囑咐他效法主的榜樣,牧群羊。

讓我們一起從進深靈命的角度研讀約翰福音,學習以耶穌之生命為進深的典範,彰顯基督的榮美。願榮耀頌讚都歸與我們的主耶穌基督,阿們!

主僕
龔敏光牧師