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Higher Ground


From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Raphael Chow

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

When Christians pray to God, we sometimes ask according to our own desires. Perhaps we have been a Christian for a long time, but there are times when we ask for our own longings, which may not necessarily be God’s will. Often, God does not grant us what we ask for, but prepares something far better for us. As it is written in the Scriptures: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9) And as Paul said: “However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’— the things God has prepared for those who love him—” (1 Corinthians 2:9; see also Isaiah 64:4)

To God I ask for strength to achieve success, He gives me weakness to trust in Him no less.
To God I pray for health to accomplish grandeurs, He gives me frailty to attain goodness.
To God I seek for wealth to bring me happiness, He gives me poverty to grant me wisdom’s finesse.
To God I plead for all to enjoy life’s pleasures, He gives me life itself to savor every treasure.
To God I crave for power to receive people’s praise, He gives me humbleness to be showered in His grace.
To God I desire smooth paths to reach my goals, He gives me hardships to mold my character’s roles. [1]
To God I wish for fame to attract many a face, He gives me obscurity to glorify Him in my space.
To God I implore for talents to expand His Kingdom, He gives me obstacles to follow Him with wisdom.
To God I pray for wisdom to solve life’s trials, He gives me insight to obey Him in all my styles.
To God I seek for eloquence to sway the crowd, He gives me pain to show compassion and love aloud.
To God I ask for judgment to point out mistakes, He gives me introspection to know my own breaks.
To God I beg to remove challenges for happiness, He gives me a heavier cross to taste joy’s fullness.

Although believers may pray for temporary blessings in this world, the Lord often gives eternal blessings to those who belong to Him. Eternal blessings may not bring physical comfort, and sometimes even lead believers into difficulty and challenges. However, if believers can persevere by the grace of the Lord, what they ultimately receive will be priceless, eternal blessings. May you be filled with abundant blessings.

[1] Gordon Lee, Open Mine Eyes

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Raphael Chow




 當信徒向神禱告,不時會按著自己的本情及喜悅而祈求。也許我們信主年日不短,但總有些時候也是因應自己的渴想而求告,而不一定是神的心意。很多時候,神不按我們所求的應允我們,卻為我們預備了更好的。如經上所記:「8耶和華說、我的意念、非同你們的意念、我的道路、非同你們的道路。9天怎樣高過地,照樣,我的道路高過你們的道路;我的意念高過你們的意念。」(賽55:8-9) ,又如保羅所說的:「神為愛他的人所預備的,是眼睛未曾看見,耳朵未曾聽見,人心也未曾想到的。”」(林前2:9; 參賽64:4)。有信徒如此分享:



[1]摘自 李順長,打開心靈的視窗




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






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。



The Funeral (by Michel Quist)

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Raphael Chow

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

People were following:

The family-some crying, Some pretending to cry;

Friends-some grieving, Some bored or chatting.

Leaving the cemetery, some of the family were sobbing: “All is finished.”

Others were sniffling: “Come, come, my dear, courage, it’s finished!”

Some friends murmured: “Poor man, that’s how we’ll all finish.”

And others sighed in relief: “Well, it’s over.”

And I was thinking that everything was just beginning.

Yes, he had finished the last rehearsal, but the eternal show was

just beginning.

The years of training were over, but the eternal work was about

to commence.

He had just been born to life,

The real life,

Life that’s going to last,

Life eternal.

As if there were dead people!

There are no dead people, Lord.

There are only the living, on earth and beyond.

Death is real, Lord,

But it’s nothing but a moment,

A second, a step,

The step from provisional to permanent,

From temporal to eternal.

So in the death of the child the adolescent is born,

from the caterpillar emerges the butterfly,

from the grain the full-blown ear.

Death, grotesque character, bogey-man of little children, nonexistent


I don’t take you seriously,

But I am disgusted with you.

You terrify the world,

You frighten and deceive men,

And yet your only reason for existing is life, and you are not

able to take from us those that we love.

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him… 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4.13-17)

Dear Lord, I want to love you more.

Your servant in Christ,
PastorRaphael Chow

葬禮(摘自Michel Quist 所著的Funeral)




























“13弟兄們,論到睡了的人,我們不願意你們不知道,免得你們憂傷,像那些沒有盼望的人一樣。14我們若信耶穌死了,又復活了,照樣,也應該相信那些靠著耶穌已經睡了的人,神必定把他們和耶穌一同帶來… 17然後,我們還活著存留的人,必和他們一同被提到雲裡,在空中與主相會。這樣,我們就要和主常常同在。18所以,你們應該用這些話彼此勸慰。”(帖前4:13-18)




July 16/17, 2022
From the Pastor’s Desk Rev. Raphael Chow

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Qiao Ji (Swallow), a Chinese Yuan Dynasty playwright & poet, once wrote:

“Springtime Warblers and Swallows,
Beautiful Blossoms and Willows,
Bountiful and Charming Dispositions.”

The emerging swallow unfolds the message of Spring with its spirited ambience.

With its radiant black feather and beaming white plume, the petite swallow looks like wearing a tuxedo.  People adore this birdie enviously for its gorgeous wings and forked tail, with its brilliant eyes and tiny creamy beak! Hovering around, it soars into the blue or dashes down the terrain every now and then; it may also dart through the landscape or burst into the realm at times! No matter how it takes wing, rushing a 180° sharp turn or gliding still in the air, it is graceful always.

The swallow seems never tired, always on the flight! One major reason for this is its frail feet, making it incapable of prolonged standing. Without a hard beak or claw for rummaging at a tree gap or a ground breach, the swallow has to catch and feed on insects like mosquitoes and flies in the air.  It is also believed that having a daily diet of 5,000 insects for a fowl and its young fledgling, it has to work hard for a living without much time to rest!  And when temperature drops and insects are sparse, the swallow has to migrate south for food to survive. That’s why this bird is called the aviary nomad.


The swallow comes and goes with the seasons.  Though the bird is a propitious icon welcomed by everyone, it faces lots of challenges.  In each return, the swallow looks for its old nest, which might be unsuccessful in this rapid changing world (a few turns every year, not every 10 years now!).

“Year after Years, like the Swallow,
Wandered among High-seas and Wilderness,
Stopping over under the House Eaves!”
Zhou Bangyan, a Chinese bureaucrat and poet of the Northern Song DynastyLike the swallow that comes and goes, travelling far land and sea, nesting under foreign house eaves, this poet led an unsettling life.

It is also true for this unpredictable world. The COVID rages, the Russo-Ukrainian War bursts out, the Sri Lanka riot breaks out, augmented with global warming causing abnormal weather, marine pollution… We just attest there is no paradise on earth! We can only work hard unceasingly for basic essentials.  We emigrate, maybe back and forth, for a living or for our families. We develop an unsteady sense, like a boat without an anchor, afloat in rough waves, drifting in the water, unsettled!

However, this is not the scene for the children of God. The psalmist wrote:

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.  (Psalm 84:3-4, NIV)

Let’s take root in the faithfulness and mercy of God, and anchor in His promise.  May you experience God’s almighty richly, enjoy His grace fully, and be His glory in this world!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Raphael Chow









上帝的兒女卻不必如此。像詩人所記:“3萬軍之耶和華,我的王我的神啊!在你的祭壇那裡,麻雀找到了住處,燕子也為自己找到了安置幼雛的巢。4住在你殿中的,都是有福的,他們還要不斷讚美你。”(詩 84:3-4) 讓我們扎根在天父的信實及慈愛裡,拋錨在祂的應許之中。願你豐豐富富地經歷天父大能,飽飽享受祂的慈愛,在世界面前成為祂的榮耀。


Plum Blossom

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Raphael Chow

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Before the tree is in proximity and the flowers is seen comes a gust of delicate fragrance, it must be the plum blossoms!

Tiny flowers growing on strong thin stems, each plum flower usually has five petals in double layer. White centre with pastel peripheries, complemented with creamy stamens, what a rich display!  This floret is also plentiful in hue: red as the sunset, white as the skift, green as the jade!  The plum tree can grow to 10 metres, with curved trunk and swirling branches.  When it flourishes, it bears a resemblance to the twinkling and gleaming stars.  You will sure be dazzled with such a picturesque scene!

Plum tree neither soars as the pine and the cypress, nor exhibits gracefulness of the willow.  She lacks the elegance of the lily or the stunning beauty of the rose!  She never joins up the floral spring contest, or shows off its splendour. No one notices her silhouette in the flourishing spring.  Yet when all florets wither in the ice and snow, she turns up to be so energetic and vibrant with its enchanting bloom!

She is not lonely without butterflies flying around, and is not gloomy without honey bees trailing after.  Plum blossom is not fearful and never lose heart towards the snow fall. The more severe is the cold, the more bullying from the snow storm, she blooms with even more delicacy.  She stands in the blizzard with pride, yet not arrogant.  Going together with her is not the temperate spring breezes, but the freezing frost bites. Moisturizing her is not the warm rivulet, but chilling iciness all over the place.  Lightening her up is not the brilliant sun, but the winter afterglow.  Nevertheless, being endorsed by the harsh winter snow, she brings about the intoxicating fragrance of the plum blossoms.

“With deep ice at the cliff, stands the smart blossoming branches”

Though the plum blossom is pretty, it is not long-lasting.  It blooms at the beginning of the freezing winter, and it withers when spring creeps in.  The lifespan of the plum blossom might be brief, its fragrance is long-lasting!  If you visit the plum blossoms, its fragrance will adhere to your clothing and stay with you for a few days!

For ages, plum blossom denotes dignity and resilience, aristocracy and fine-looking, refined and unique.  Likewise, it also symbolizes the Christian life: instead of going with the flow of and imitating the world, we follow God’s will and be transformed by the renewing of our mind, understand and practice a God-pleasing life in all aspects (Romans 12;1-12).  However, life will be full of challenges as we go against the world, just like the experience of Paul:

23 … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

Going though these difficulties, Paul overcomes these challenges without failing or tumbling.  Christians are able to overcome the world. (1 John 4:4, 5:4) Let’s follow the example of Paul, as Paul followed the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Hope to see traits of the plum blossom in your life, glorifying our Heavenly Father in the same way!

Your servant in Christ
Rev. Raphael Chow


作者: 周力行牧師



梅花小小,長在細而勁的枝上,一般花瓣五片,上下二層,外粉內白,花蕊淡黃,甚為繽紛。梅花顏色甚多,有紅得像晚霞的,有白得像瑞雪的,有綠得像碧玉的。樹可高達十米,樹身彎曲,繁枝末節盤旋而上,開花之時 宛如繁星點點,如詩如畫,令人目眩。


沒有彩蝶圍飛不落寞,沒有蜜蜂追隨不悵惘。梅花不懼風雪,從不低頭,越寒冷,越風欺雪壓,花開越盛越秀氣。她獨有一身傲骨,挻立於風雪;卻沒有一點傲氣,驕橫自大。陪伴她的不是和煦春風而是凜冽刺透骨的寒風,滋潤她的不是和暖的溪流而是漫天蓋地的冰雪,照耀她的不是明媚的陽光而是寒冬的殘輝。卻是經過了嚴冬風雪的洗禮,才綻開滿有醉人芬芳的梅花。正是 “已是懸崖百丈冰,獨有花枝俏”。梅花雖美,卻並不長久:梅開恰寒冬,梅謝正春來。梅花生命雖短,其香氣卻是持久,賞梅而去,梅香在襟䄂中,繞身數日不絕。

長久以來,梅花寓意傲骨嶙峋,清高俊朗,脫俗而別具一幟。這也正好象徵信徒的生命:不隨波逐流,模仿這世界,反倒按神的旨意讓心意更新改變,在生命的各層面明白又活出神悅納的生活 (羅12:1-2)。但這生命必定有挑戰,因為與世界為敵,就如保羅的經歷一樣:“23我受更多的勞苦,更多的坐監,受了過量的鞭打,常常有生命的危險。24我被猶太人打過五次,每次四十下減去一下,25被棍打過三次,被石頭打過一次,三次遇著船壞,在深海裡飄了一晝一夜;26多次行遠路,遇著江河的危險、強盜的危險、同族的危險、外族的危險、城中的危險、曠野的危險、海上的危險、假弟兄的危險;27勞碌辛苦,多次不得睡覺,又飢又渴,多次缺糧,赤身挨冷。28除了這些外面的事,還有為各教會掛心的事,天天壓在我的身上。”(林後11:23-28) 。經過如此艱難,保羅卻沒有失敗跌倒,反而是勝過了這一切挑戰。信徒是可以勝過世界的(約壹 4:4; 5:4)。讓我們效法保羅,因他是效法基督的。(林前11:1)