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The More Important Question: Who Follows Us? or Who Do We Follow?

Oct 23-24, 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason Cheung

To have a following is a weighty thing!

People gravitate to people.  Charisma and character attract attention.  Numerical follows on social media platforms can be a nice hobby, or a full-time, monetized income generator.  But numbers carry a weight that can become a burden.

As Christians, careful discernment is needed to understand which of these two questions is foremost in our minds and hearts.

Who follows us?


Who do we follow?

One of the traps of pastoral ministry, I’ve been warned, is the track to become “a better leader.”  The goals are admirable, and local churches can become well-tuned and efficient.  I have nothing against organizing well, as administration is indeed a gift of the Spirit.  (Right now, if you look at my desk, it needs some work-of-the-Spirit organizing!)  But, administration – like all spiritual gifts – are mere tools for the building up of God’s church, for the glory of Christ.  Leadership, however, in the church today has become such a principal focus that our call to follow Jesus has been blurred.

John Goldingay, an Old Testament professor, made this comment about this kind of obsession with leadership:

When my students are reading the part of the Old Testament that includes Nehemiah, they often want to write papers on leadership.  Come to think of it, whatever parts of the Old Testament they are studying, they want to write papers on leadership.  My heart sinks when they ask if they can do so, though I don’t ever expect them to understand why it does.  Our culture is deeply preoccupied with leadership, and so people assume that the Bible must be preoccupied with leadership, because we expect the Bible to focus on the questions that concern us.  Part of the reason the Bible itself is not very interested in the question is that it is more interested in what God has done to put the world right.  If you like, it is interested in God’s leadership not ours. 

Picture Christ’s church as counter-cultural families in which hierarchical structures are not what we’re known for, but rather sacrificial love (John 15:13).  Imagine a kingdom-minded church where mutual dependence and sharing is the norm and not the exception (Acts 2:42-47).   Envision a church where its mission is not first concerned of its own well-being, but that of the neighbour (Luke 10:25-37).

The way for our church to become like this is to determine which of these questions is top-of-mind, and at the centre of our heart:

 Who follows us? 


Who do we follow?

Jesus has inaugurated an upside-down kingdom where the poor will become rich, and the weak will become strong.  And in his church, any leader of any kind must be the servant of all (Mark 9:35).  So, strange as it may sound, if you want to be a leader in Christ’s church, stoop and serve.

And if this is too difficult to imagine, pause — and look very closely at Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man.

He dined with sinners and outcasts.

He washed the filthy feet of his disciples, his followers.

He carried the cross and bore the punishment for the sin of all.

Why do we even care how many people follow us

Our lives belong to Jesus, and our basic call is to faithfully live and speak and love in such ways that usher people toward Jesus.  Not to gain a following.  But to guide others to become followers of Jesus. 

And so, let us deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). 

Our own importance is replaced with the glory of Christ.

Our way now is the sacrificial way of the cross.

Our only leader is none other than the Lord Jesus himself, our Good Shepherd.

Let’s faithfully follow him.





Oct 23-24, 2021





我被提醒在牧養事工其中一個陷阱,是走上作 「更好的領導者」的途徑。作領導的目標本身是令人敬佩的,使地方教會可以變得協調和高效率。我不反對要有好的組織,因為行政管理確實是屬靈的恩賜。(此刻,你看看我的辦公桌,它需要一些管理屬靈恩賜去執拾!)但是,行政管理 - 就像所有屬靈恩賜一樣 - 是為建立上帝的教會、榮耀基督的工具。然而,領導-已成為今天教會一個主要的焦點,以至我們對跟隨耶穌的呼召變得模糊不清。

舊約聖經教授約翰戈爾丁蓋 (John Goldingay) 對迷戀這種領導的學生有以下的評論:


把基督的教會想像成抗文化的家庭,其中的等級架構不是我們所熟識的,它是犧牲的愛(約翰福音 15:13)。想像一個有神國度的教會,在那裡互相扶持和分享是常態而不是例外(使徒行傳 2:42-47)。試思想一個教會,它的使命首先不是關心自己的福祉,而是關心鄰舍的福祉(路加福音 10:25-37)。



耶穌開創了一個顛覆的國度,讓窮人變富,弱者變強。在祂的教會裡,任何類型的領袖都必須是所有人的僕人(馬可福音 9:35)。所以,雖然聽起來很奇怪,但如果你想成為基督教會的領袖,就屈身服侍吧。

如果這太難以想像,停一停  ‒ 仔細看看耶穌,神的兒子,也是人子。






就當捨己,天天背起他的十字架來跟從我(路加福音 9:23)。











I Lack Nothing

Jul 31 – Aug 01, 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason Cheung

“Did you pack your lunch?”
“Your hat?”
“Where are your sunglasses?!”

Before stepping outside this summer, these are the questions we always ask our three children. In other words:

Be prepared.
Protect yourself.
Make sure you’re not in a position where you lack.

Much of my life has been a long preparation to not lack. My education, instilled well into me, was the ticket up the ladder of security. Work hard so you may have everything you need. Do well in school, so you’ll have no deficiencies. Even in relationships: be a good friend, so you don’t become lonely.

I eventually noticed that even good things were not good in themselves, but merely means so I lack nothing.

So, this was my way of life:

Get a good job. I lack nothing.
Save, plan and invest well. I lack nothing.
Be kind and loving, so others will be the same to you. I lack nothing.

To be sure, a vocation that makes a good living is good. Being financially wise and a steward is very good. And of course, in all our relationships, acting in kindness and love, is truly the way of Christ. But, notice how all these good things can be turned, ever so slightly, for the ultimate benefit of ourselves.

David wrote the beloved Psalm 23 out of a view of life that was far from perfect, yet he dwelled in goodness. There were dark valleys to walk through, evil to contend with and enemies near. Yet, David writes from an assured place with the Lord, his Shepherd. He begins with calm and confidence: The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.

In my life, I have rushed many things, anxious to not be left behind, eager to be ahead of the pack. I have made plans. Prepared for worst-case scenarios. Controlled the schedule of my life as much as I could. And yet, my plans fail. So, these words pull me deeper: The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.

The great challenge is to recognize every way we have filled our lack with self-sufficiency. And instead, to look to the Lord, as David did, seeing him as he is: our good and loving Shepherd. In Him, we lack nothing.


Jul 31 – Aug 01, 2021







大衛所寫的詩篇 23 篇,他知道自己的人生並非盡善盡美,但他卻是住在一切美善之中。雖然走過死蔭的山谷,要面對邪惡的計謀,甚至敵人蠢蠢欲動。然而,大衛從他的牧者耶和華那裡找到安穩而寫出這一首詩篇。他以平靜和信心來宣認:耶和華是我的牧者,我必不致缺乏。



“To Be A Window, Through Thy Grace”

Mar 20-21, 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason Cheung

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?

    He is a brittle crazy glass;

Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford

    This glorious and transcendent place,

            To be a window, through thy grace.   

                        – George Herbert, The Windows (first verse)

“To Be A Window, Through Thy Grace”

Why would God in his infinite wisdom shine his grace to broken sinners?

It has been a little over twenty years since God’s grace gripped my heart, stirred my imagination to his salvation, and changed the course of my life.  And yet, I still am awestruck by this consideration: God loves sinners.

When old church buildings were constructed, window manufacturing techniques were elementary.  So old stained windows in churches could either be weak and brittle, or thick and “crazy” (or, wavy).  Normally they chose thick/”crazy” for more durable windows. Though Herbert, the poet, says the preacher is both “a brittle and crazy glass.”  In other words, preachers are weak and strong.  How is this so?

Well, I can attest the sense of weakness for every preaching moment.  I am called to preach, to this I hold dear as a privilege but also a wonder.  Why would God choose and use me?  This is how I often feel weak, even inadequate.  But I can also attest moments in preaching when I know it is undoubtedly not me from which power speaks.  It is always the power of God, not because of me, but through me.

In a way, we are all windows even though we are not all called to preach.  Every Christian called to follow Jesus is given light to shine forth.  It’s just that we all must learn that the light we shine – is not ourselves, but Christ.  He makes us – his church, his body – as windows through which his grace pervades.

How is God’s grace seen in our lives?

Stained glass is made not by applying paint on the surface of the glass.  Annealing is the process by which glass is heated, melted to such a point that paint can be poured in.  When cooled again, the window is infused with color, and thus the artist creates.  Herbert suggests God does the same with us, as windows, annealing within us his story:

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,

    Making thy life to shine within

The holy preachers, then the light and glory

    More reverend grows, and more doth win;

The immensely humbling thing about this idea is we are but brittle and crazy glass.  Not so strong, and not so beautiful – and yet, when Christ’s life anneals within our own, his light and glory grows and is seen.

Malcolm Guite comments that the word ‘stained’ almost always refers to something negative.  But the one and only context in which the word is used redemptively is when referring to stained glass.  Guite comments on Herbert’s poem:

And what I see Herbert saying…is that we take our passions, and sometimes our faults and our brokenness and our stains, and we let God anneal his story. So there’s some point in which we become a window of grace, not, Herbert says, by being some pure, clear, beautiful thing …but by this annealing process where our colors and the colors of Christ’s passion run together in the glass.[1]

Why would God in his infinite wisdom shine his grace to broken sinners?  I can’t fully fathom why.

But he does it.

And my heart is delighted “to be a window, through thy grace.”



Mar 20-21, 2021


– 喬治·赫伯特(George Herbert)《The Windows》(第一節)








馬爾科姆·奎特(Malcolm Guite)這樣評論:「染色」(stained) 一詞幾乎總是指負面的東西。但是,在這裡唯一且唯一的上下文提到彩繪玻璃時是指救贖。所以,奎特對赫伯特的詩有以下的說法:






Nov 21-22, 2020



可悲的現實是 – 就現況的發展 – 我們可能會一直錯過這一切,直到…無可預料。










我被第三句吸引 – 淪落異邦,寂寞傷心。如果我們還沒有明白這一點,那麼我們現在就認真地要去思想:在COVID期間,孤獨使我們的憂傷更加複雜。錯過一些節日和重要的日子實際上是失去與家人朋友一起慶祝和記念快樂的時刻。因此,不僅是在禮儀上,乃是在關係的損失。不過我們還是有指望的:此一節最後的一句不其然地將我們的眼目轉向神子的降臨。


  • 我們不知道這次「流亡」會持續到幾時,
  • 雖然我們還活存在,我們肯定還在受苦,並且
  • 我們正在等待,無論需要多長時間,真正有效實在的幫助。











如果您感到沮喪,我邀請您站起來在教會高歌 – 當然,現在只能是虛擬。把自己放在教會的歌聲裡 – 然後細聽。如果您不能唱,不要擔心,只要聽聽完全明白您的聖靈,在天父的安慰下憩息,並且記住耶穌基督一定會來到你身邊。




Advent in the Time of COVID: A Yearning for Rescue

Nov 21-22, 2020
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Jason CheungDear Brothers and Sisters in RCAC,

We missed Easter.  We missed graduations.  We missed weddings.  We missed funerals.

We missed birthdays and births.

And the sad reality is – with the way things are – we’ll likely keep missing these things until…something.

One thing I’ve learned is that no one is unaffected.  Every person is in some way, somehow upended in relationships, in school/work, in dreams, in families.  Our big plans have more or less come to a halt.  And in its place – Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and early drafts of Plan E to Z.

While many have adapted, most people, I sense, are extremely tired, fatigued mentally, and emotionally on the edge of flat-lining.  The pre-COVID challenge used to be that we all juggled too many responsibilities at once.   Right now, it feels like we’re still juggling but with two sledgehammers thrown in, all the while learning to ride a unicycle…in the middle of an earth-sized tornado.

I find myself tired from just the work of trying to make sense of all this.

Which is why, even though we’ve all re-jigged, re-shuffled and re-everything our lives to keep one another safe, we sigh still, deflated, at the prospect of missing or altering yet another event we have always enjoyed: Advent.  Advent is about to begin.  And one danger is we might minimize its importance just to protect ourselves from missing it more.  Let’s not do this.  Let’s step into Advent, rather, full-hearted with a renewed expectation for the Messiah’s arrival and return.

Advent in this time of COVID can be immensely meaningful.  Consider the first stanza of the hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

The third line leaps out – we are mourning in lonely exile here.  If we’ve not realized it yet, we do well to acknowledge it now: In COVID our grief is compounded by loneliness.  The loss of events and milestones is actually the loss of being together to celebrate and remember these moments with others.  So the loss is relational, not merely a ritual.  But there is hope: the last line of this stanza, gently lifts the downcast heart upward.

In fact, the experience of the Babylonian exile for Israel, resonates with our experience today in interesting ways:

  • We do not know how long this exile will last,
  • Though we are surviving we are surely suffering, and
  • We are waiting, however long it takes, for real and effective help.

And there is one other similarity.  The virus has bound us all – province-wide and world-wide – with one main problem.  And this isn’t just a common fact, it’s an opportunity to consider.

If Advent stirs the languishing heart toward hopeful lament, then, as the people of God, we must recognize the unique song we have to sing in and through this pandemic.  If Advent is about learning to wait eagerly, to anticipate patiently and so to love purposefully – then we have ahead of us a time to sow our cries and sufferings into a resounding, hope-filled refrain:

Rejoice!  Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you,

O Israel.

Nine months of waiting for a vaccine has cultivated a common yearning for a singular rescue plan.  It should not be lost on us, as God’s sent church, that this Advent season is a full-term opportunity to declare aloud our deep longing, our restless waiting in the dark, and our hopeful cry for rescue.

Imagine our world that God so loves, hearing afresh the song of a people whose hope is for a vaccine, sure, but also for something much, much more.   Our ultimate hope is Jesus.

Hear me out!  This isn’t encouragement simply to belt your favourite Christmas hymns louder (though you can surely do this!).  This is rather a call to all the faithful saints to look upward again to the sure hope of Christ and to live sideways in sacrificial service to our neighbours.  Sing!  Of course!  But let your song resonate in every way outward.

This is my prayer for you, for our church.

I can’t shake this: I am sad still.  I will miss the festive fellowship, the joyful sound of our congregation singing.  I will miss seeing and hearing children play in the aisles of our sanctuary.   I will miss being together with you.

But this is also true, and to which I hold fast to:  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

 If you are downcast, I invite you to stand amidst the singing of the church – only virtually now, of course.  Come, place yourself within the song of the church – and just listen.  If you cannot sing, do not worry.  Simply listen to the Spirit who knows you fully.  Seek and rest in the comfort of the Heavenly Father.  And remember Jesus Christ shall surely come to you.

He will surely come.

Your Servant in Christ

Rev. Jason Cheung

Rejoicing Within Our Pandemic

Aug 08-09, 2020
Rev. Jason Cheung

“…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that…”
Romans 5:2b-3a

After our Sunday worship services on Zoom, some brothers and sisters stay behind to catch up with one another. Over these past four months, an unexpected joy filled my heart when I noticed crawling babies develop the ability to stand! And then, to walk! One week, they could not stand on their own; the next week – they’re on their own two feet…ready to conquer the world.

Part of me realizes this is normal. But given how much our life together has been disconnected – this simple joy has become a surprising source for rejoicing. It’s like spotting the first sign of a tomato on the vine. Like taking in the glorious view after a grinding hike to the summit.

Still, for me, finding reasons to rejoice during this pandemic has been a real struggle. I feel pulled within this paradox: as the pandemic continues, how can I truly find joy? As every aspect of our life has changed, what reason do I have to rejoice?

Paul speaks of two reasons for rejoicing in Romans 5:1-5, and the distinction of these reasons help us today.

The first reason for rejoicing, Paul says, is that because of faith “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). This is wonderful! Sinners justified by faith, now have peace with God. This is all grace, Paul says, and a grace in which we stand (a wonderful image). And the response to such peace with God, and standing in this grace, is a rejoicing “in the hope of the glory of God.”

This hope, assured in Christ, gives bright hope for tomorrow, hope for life eternal. This hope is unshakable; it will forever be ours. And so, of course we will rejoice in this!

But Paul continues at verse 3, and tells of the second reason for rejoicing: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings…

Why is the first reason for rejoicing not enough? By itself–being reassured of having peace with God, sounds quite good already! So why does Paul press further? Why does he say, “Not only that…”?

It is precisely because Paul understands that this future, eternal hope is not only
a joy to wait for, but a joy to see and experience now and today. And Paul knows what now and today looks like; it includes suffering.

A great deal of burden I feel these days is hearing of the suffering people are enduring amidst this pandemic, sometimes even caused by this pandemic. Times are heavy for families fighting illness or cancer together with their loved ones. New pressures are magnified in this time, stressing lives to the brink: job uncertainty, health concerns, the question: Will things ever be the same again? Some even feel guilty for their suffering – particularly in our times – thinking, I don’t have it worse than others, so why should I feel so bad? And so suffering continues silently.

It is remarkable how Paul reframes suffering with this sublime vision of hope. He startles us with this phrase, “…we rejoice in our sufferings,” but he immediately explains what he means. And Paul does this as though he is constructing a picture frame with four sides.

Side One: Suffering produces endurance. There is purpose to suffering, and within this new vision, we are called to endure whatever comes our way. As yet, in this first ‘side’ there is little solace here; only a hint of purpose, and an acknowledgement that suffering can produce in us perseverance.

Side Two: Endurance produces character. As suffering is endured for any amount of time it can harden you, or strengthen you. The word “character” here is proved through trials, a strengthening. Tutorials, webinars, workshops cannot produce character; only endurance through trials. This is a slow forging of strength through fire.

Side Three: Character produces hope. How does this happen? Perhaps reflecting upon all that has been endured–the trial, the suffering–and yet, still having the strength to stand…this can stir up hope within us. But make no mistake, this hope is the same hope Paul spoke of earlier: this is the hope of the glory of God.

Side Four: God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Paul’s paradigm of hope here and now, is understood through the tracing of God’s love, given by the Spirit, along every side of the frame. God, in his love, is there with us in suffering, in our endurance, and in the forging of character. This is no solitary journey. Even the producing of hope is a gracious, loving gift of God and his very presence with us.

There are two reasons to rejoice, but in the end, both land us firmly on the hope of God. And these two reasons do not oppose one another; they are of the same vision. While the first reason is cause for immediate rejoicing for the sheer gift that is the grace and peace of God, and while the second reason grows in us a maturity through the hard experiences of life, both are gifts of grace, both are good, both help us see, wait, experience and yearn for the glory of God.

Can we rejoice within this pandemic?
Can you rejoice, despite the trials you are facing, the uncertainty we are all up against?

We certainly can. By God’s good grace, we all can.


Aug 08-09, 2020

「… 並且以盼望得享神的榮耀為榮。不但這樣…」羅馬書5:2b-3a

每次用Zoom舉行主日崇拜後,一些弟兄姊妹會留步,在線上彼此相交。在過去的四個月裡,每個星期在鏡頭前看見有嬰孩的成長,由爬行 – 站立 – 到昂首踏步,我欣喜莫名!







為什麼第一個喜樂的原因 – 確信與神和好,已經相當不錯了!保羅還進一步敦促說:「不但這樣…」?






第三面:毅力(老練)生盼望。這是甚麼一回事?也許反思所經歷的一切 – 試煉、苦難,仍然站立得穩… 這樣就可以激發我們內心的盼望。這盼望與保羅先前所說的盼望是一樣的:得享神的榮耀為榮。