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Love God, Love One Another

March 11/12, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev.Jason Cheung

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

There are two kinds of people you meet in life: those who love you, and those who use you.

Even parents can use their children. Unfulfilled dreams of our past can be burdened onto our children.  Inordinate pressure to be successful in certain vocations, for certain incomes, for certain lifestyles, for certain prestige.

Our supervisors at work may also, at the bottomline of things, be drawing the most productivity out of us.  Nothing wrong with this; efficiency and wise management can be a virtue of stewardship.  But, where is the line between good business and being a good human?

Using people to benefit you, ultimately, is image marring.  The Scriptures attest to God’s design and plan, that each person is created in his image (Genesis 1:27), and if the basic ethic woven in humans is love, then any type of using another is not only unloving, but also harmful.

The vision of the kingdom of God, that Jesus speaks of – and lived out – is essentially a reverberation of the core design of humans: to love God and to love one another.  Love.

Stamped deeper within than our DNA is a desire to be known, and to know the other.  Andy Crouch, in his book, The Life We’re Looking For, begins “Recognition is the first human quest.”  From every infant’s first breath they are searching for a face, to see and be seen.  Crouch writes, “They are looking for a face, and when they find one–especially a face that gazes back at them–they fix their eyes on it, having found what they were most urgently looking for.”

This ‘looking for a face,’ stays with us our entire lives, I believe, because it is part of our ‘image-of-God’ bearing nature.

This is a cornerstone reason why Christians gather together.

Some regard small groups or fellowships or bible studies as one of either social gatherings or for Chrisitian discipleship (or education).  This is true.  But, seeing only these categories assumes the Christian life is fragmented into the social or educational realms.  (We have these same categories for our children)

But, if we rigidly apply this same fragmented framework to discipleship we miss out, and miss out big.  Instead, we are made to face God and face one another – face to face.

At the heart of our faith is a relationship with the Holy, Almighty God – Yahweh, who reveals himself as the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  And as we learn more of who he is, and how he loves us, and how he created us – “made in his image” – we learn more of who we really are.

So, for those who argue, “I only need God, I don’t need the church (or to fellowship with others)” – not only is this view  theologically shallow, it will lead to a wafer-thin Christian life.

For those who say, “I only need people (brothers and sisters in Christ), and I don’t need to worship God” – the danger here is of idolizing human relationships (or at least, whatever benefits I gain from others).

These views are deficient because, first, both are bent to use the other (God and people) for their own purpose, and second, both neglect Jesus’ command that both loving God and loving others are the most important commandments in the kingdom of God.   Matthew 22:36-40 –

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Sisters and brothers, our church is not merely to be a place for gathering socially.  Neither is it a place only for transcendent worship, reaching into the mystery through Scripture and song.  Our church is for both – gazing into the face of our Lord Jesus, resplendent in glory and grace, and seeing one another, face-to-face, bearers of the image of God, basking in the love of God together.

May the Spirit grow this fruit in us, the fruit of love.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jason Cheung









深究我們人類的基因是渴望被認識並認識對方。安迪·克勞奇 (Andy Crouch) 在他的書《我們正在尋找的生活》(The Life We’re Looking For) 開始說:“認可是人類的首要探索” 從每個嬰兒的第一口呼吸開始,他們就在尋找一張臉孔,想要看到和被看到。克勞奇寫道,“他們正在尋找一張臉孔,當他們找到一張臉孔時-尤其是一張回望著他們的臉孔-他們會盯著他看,因為他們已經找到了他們最迫切想要尋找的東西。”




所以,對於那些爭辯 「我只需要上帝,我不需要教會(或與別人有團契生活)」的人來說-這種觀點不僅在神學上留於表面,而且會導致基督徒的生活變得淺薄。


這兩個觀點都有不完善的地方。首先,兩者都傾向於利用對方(上帝和人)來達到自己的目的,其次,兩者都忽視了耶穌的吩咐,即愛上帝和愛別人是上帝國度中最重要的誡命,馬太福音 22:36-40已經說明了。



Listening to Preaching


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.

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




「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。







Kneeling《跪等》R.S. Thomas


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:



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)。





The Trappings of Leadership and the Welcome of our Lord

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev.Jason Cheung

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

46  Jesus’ disciples were arguing about which one of them was the greatest. 47 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he had a child stand there beside him. 48  Then he said to his disciples, “When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me. Whichever one of you is the most humble is the greatest.”

  • Luke 9:46-48

Celebrity pastors are the tip of the iceberg that is the church today.  You may have heard of the falls of pastors like Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll, Carl Lentz, Bruxy Cavey.  Overreach of power, sexual promiscuity and marital unfaithfulness, and abuse.  And cover ups.  This isn’t the world of politics, this is the church of Jesus Christ.

Yet, we all must see the glaring warning signs, even if – especially if – we are not pastors.  Without doubt, pastors called to gospel ministry are held to a high standard.  There is great consequence given the responsibility.  But celebrities are celebrities because people follow them.  And the church today – no matter the country, denomination, size or make up – every church is susceptible to the worship of pastors.

A friend remarked to me, walking out of a session at a Christian conference (for leaders no less), that the stirring message we just heard drew us to know more about the speaker (and his marriage and his kids), than Jesus.

That observation stuck with me.

There is a reason for this phenomenon.  When preachers tell stories about themselves more than about Jesus, this interests people, it resonates relevancy, and communicates to the masses that the person on stage “is just like me.”  But the pulpit was never meant to be a platform for the preacher.  It is rather, a resounding beacon of the Gospel of Jesus.  For sure, in the art of sermon delivery, personal experience and stories certainly help communicate the gospel; but these stories should never supplant the story of the “old-rugged cross.”  If in my preaching you know more about me, than about the beauty and majesty of God, then I have failed.

Pastors who constantly refer to themselves need friends, not a congregation to love them.

Leading well is crucial.  But leading God’s people is not exercising greater faith than all those I am leading.  I hope this is a relief to you who lead bible studies, lead a Sparks or T&T group, lead a community or fellowship group, or just lead your family.  The heavy burden of expectation that you must have greater faith in order to lead, is a myth and a lie.  (Listen carefully, as those in positions of leadership often tell this lie).  The measure of “greater” is a concept of the world, creating a man-made hierarchy that hinders the flourishing of the priesthood of all believers.  The gospel doesn’t nurture greater Christians and lesser Christians, just faithful Christians.

You only need the faith of a child.  Jesus taught this very thing to his grumbling, power-grabbing disciples.  Just faith.  Simple, child-like faith.  Not greater education.  Not greater experiences.  Not greater ability.  Not greater credentials.  Just faith.

Perhaps we have made too much of leaders among us, and not enough of our Lord.

Notice how Jesus turns the disciples’ attention away from themselves, and onto how to commune deeper with him and the Father.  Jesus masterfully disciples us, like this:  “You want to be great?  Then, humble yourself and open your arms to welcome the least of all.  This is how you are to be great in my kingdom.  Humility.

Pastors (who are people) will almost always disappoint us in some way.  Give them grace, for they are not perfect.  But also etch this clear in your mind: faithful pastors point you to Jesus  and not to themselves.   There is no place in God’s church for celebrity pastors.  Let’s not elevate these brothers and sisters to an expectation that will ultimately crush them.  Rather, thank God, for faithful leaders who point us with quiet assuredness to the glory and goodness of Jesus, our Lord and our Redeemer

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jason Cheung




有名氣的牧師可能是當今教會的冰山一角。你可能聽過Bill Hybels、Mark Driscoll、Carl Lentz、Bruxy Cavey 等牧師,這些有名氣的牧師都因著戀棧權力或者是在婚姻上不忠而讓他們的事奉蒙上陰影。是的,這些問題不只是在政治上,也會在屬於耶穌基督的教會中發生。












Art and Faith: Receiving, Giving, Creating for the Glory of God


From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason Cheung

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Growing up I don’t remember saying much at all at the dinner table.  One night, soon after the end of my first year of university, my father showed his curiosity about my meanderings.  “What’s your plan?  What are you going to study?”

I knew this question was coming, and I had prepared for some time to give an answer.  It felt right, because I grew to love the direction no matter how unpredictable the future would be. “I want to study film.  I want to be a film director.”

The movie theatre was where I grew up, most impacted.  I recall fondly the double-bills of Hong Kong films in Chinatown – I learned to read English through subtitles (and also Cantonese slang).  It was the only regular time our whole family went out, and we did so to receive art.

As a 19 year old I had grown drawn to stories through film that expressed things my heart could not articulate or understand.  And I loved the medium of sight and sound, angles and music, script and acting – and the beautiful medley of it all.  Love and laughter, sin and suffering, truths and the human struggle to grapple truth, carefully crafted on screen for me to receive and consider.

My dad responded (I recall this vividly):  “It’s going to be hard to find a job.”

His response was no surprise to me, but my dream deflated at that very moment.

God is good and his plans are greater than mine.  My love for film has not diminished (though the number of hours I spend watching has plummeted!).  As a pastor, like a filmmaker, I get to tell a story – but in a different way.  My imagination is grounded in the revelation of God, in the Word, and my vocation is to ignite the vision of Jesus to people.  A painter or a poet does the same, generally, cultivating an imagination prompted to stir wonder on truth, goodness and beauty within the beholder.

A question I have grappled with in recent years:  Is art helpful to faith?  Might it even be essential?

We often, I think, unhelpfully divide people into one of two camps:  those who are “artsy” and those who are not.  But here’s what I’ve learned.  As we are created in the image of God, and as God himself is a designer and all-world Creator, we share a little of this with Him, in this call to create.  Just as we are made to love and be loved (like our loving God), so we are also made to create (like our creator God).

To be clear, we’re not all called to be artists (vocationally).  But I do think art in our world exists more than just as a hobby.  Art can point us–whether we make it or receive it– to the Great Designer and Maker of this world.

I enjoy films.  I also love exploring new music, even while I have my playlists of old favourites.  Within the last two years, in this pandemic, I have discovered the silent strength of poetry for my soul.

You may have unique interests: short or long fiction, graphic design or architecture, landscaping or the complex design of cities. Or paintings.

Whatever art you enjoy, or however you engage with it, your faith can be strengthened with art.  What I have found helpful is to listen to artists and the reasons they do what they do.   I also read and learn how others view and experience art – their reflections and critiques, but mostly to see what they see.  Art helps me understand points of view I would not be able to consider by myself.

The Purpose of Art?

When I was 19, my dad had a specific concern for me: How would I earn a living?  He determined a vocation in the arts would not be promising.  Though I disagreed, I am grateful for his guidance.

I do think, still, one of the reasons we engage so little with art is because it seems impractical.  This begs the question: If the net result of engaging with art is mostly an interior benefit, is that enough?  I emphatically say, yes!  As followers of Jesus, we serve a Lord who rescues us and transforms us spiritually; we are a people being changed from the inside-out.  Put another way: Can the Spirit use art to help us see, know and respond to the Triune God?  Absolutely.

One of the ways the Spirit has helped me through art is to learn to grieve.  When my grandfather died when I was young, I knew nothing about death.  For years, I was a mess inside and I didn’t even know it.   Eventually, as I took in movies and read stories that touched the topic of grief – I found myself unusually moved.  Why was I weeping in the theatre?  These stories told with care helped me see a person struggling with loss.  That was my experience too.  And I learned art can serve us well by providing emotional grips to journey through the inevitable valleys of life.  When I observe a face, a tone, a lyric or a rhyme – I sense the Spirit moving me to see what he sees.

Heaven and Earth:  “A Hidden Life” Screenshot

Those hands, with the heavens as backdrop, belong to a wife and husband.  The husband is Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer who would not fight with the Nazis during WWII.  This is a true story: he was beheaded for his “conscientious objection.”

This film by Terence Malick is more a meditation on Jägerstätter’s struggle – including a difficult emotional struggle with his wife.  She loves him dearly, supports him even in his objection, but the cost is clear before them.  Their dilemma: Fight in a cause their faith does not align with, or risk losing their way of life, their family, one another?

Malick is an atypical director, choosing long shots with few words and selective music.  And this scene, with husband and wife lying free in the alps in embrace and belonging, also reflects the aching strain of Jägerstätter’s decision.  Lives together, embracing both beauty and brokenness, grasping for heaven to be on earth.

Art and Your Faith?

How many of you are artists?  I want to know who you are, and encourage you.  Too long, I believe, artists among us are used more than celebrated.  Artists need to be encouraged, even nurtured.  There is so much that artists in our community can add to our spiritual life together.  ReflectionChallenge.  Questions.  And, similar to preachers, pointing to Christ all in all.

Who wants to explore how art helps us to be more human, and one with God?

I have rummaged through these questions for some time, and I’m curious if any of you have as well.  Let me know.

For now, I encourage you to be curious, pause and to take note of how art – any art – might be leading you to hear the Spirit’s voice, reverberating Scripture and highlighting Christ.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jason Cheung





電影院是我成長的地方。我很喜歡到唐人街看香港電影,透過字幕我學會了閱讀英語以及廣東話俚語。舉家出外看電影是我們唯一的家庭活動,也因此讓我接觸了藝術。我19 歲的時候,我開始被電影中的故事所吸引,我會去思考。這些故事表達了我內心無法表達或理解的事物。我喜歡那些視聽效果和演員精湛的演繹。愛與笑、罪惡與苦難、真理和為真理掙扎求全,都一一呈現在屏幕前。






當我19 歲的時候,父親尤其關心我將來如何謀生?他認定藝術職業不會有前途。我雖不認同,但我很感謝他的指導。




The Surprise of the Spirit: Curated Content or Awakened Curiosity?

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason Cheung

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – whatever social media we use, the media also chooses for us.  Algorithms fueled by our history present a future to us that is so much better than “our now.”  Whatever I like or whatever I dwell on, whatever quote I retweet, or photo I share, I’m not just expressing my preferences, but creating a forever-profile for corporations to target me with restaurant deals, goods and services.  And yet – knowing this – I still do what I do, and go ahead and like that Gif of a dog surprised by itself while walking by a mirror for the first time.  (I don’t regret this, of course)

Yes, we can carefully choose our content, but we’re also programmatically fed content.  And this is a very real possibility: We encounter only the things an algorithm has determined we will like and enjoy.  But what if there is so much more than what other people/computers say?

Now picture this:  A toddler having just learned to walk a few months ago, steps for the first time into a large uncut grassy field, brimming with dandelions and grasshoppers and baby butterflies.  And she is running, laughing, seeing fluttering canvases of colour through the gentle glare of the morning sun.  The child is elated, giggling and chasing every fresh beauty that meets her senses.  Her curiosity is awakened.  Her heart is erupting in joy, and she cannot yet even spell “joy.”

What can we learn from such a child, who seems a natural in the kingdom of heaven?

I do wonder, sometimes, how our senses to the Spirit have grown dull as it has?  Is it because we are unfamiliar with his prompts?  Unaware of his presence?  Perhaps we have curated our own expectations for God to meet us exactly when and where we want him to meet us.

But, what if God meets us whenever he chooses, and however he chooses?

Scripture is full of stories where God meets people unexpectedly.  Paul on his way to Damascus, knocked down by the light from heaven – the LORD met him.  The Samaritan woman at the well – Jesus met her.  Jonah while running away from LORD.  Job met by God through his sufferings.  Adam and Eve try to hide from God, and yet God searches and finds them.

God is always after us, always speaking, always revealing, always awakening our fickle hearts to his glory and his salvation.  But are we attentive?

One of the things I have missed most – because of COVID – is travelling to new places.  Exploring.  Discovering.  Meeting a place and people I have never met before.  I recall walks through the streets of New York, hikes atop mountains in Switzerland, and that hidden trail between houses to a quiet beach in Oahu.  The thrill is what lies around the next corner, past those trees, over that hill, through that corridor.  The morning commute to work, or other daily rhythms have their place.  But also, new and unfamiliar roads that beckon us to see what’s next, what is ahead, and most importantly – where God is leading.

In what surprising way is the Spirit reaching you?
What of God’s wisdom and will, do you sense as his call to you?
What beauty in this world makes your child-like heart arise in joy?
Go and see what’s around the corner.

Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Jason Cheung


作者: 張志成牧師