Pastor’s Corner | God’s Name in Vain?

We live in a society where God’s name is constantly coming up in conversation and being used!  To reference God, without a proper and respectful attitude, is truly to use His name in vain (Ex.20:7)!  Yes, even Christians may loosely drop God’s name into their phrases such as, “Oh My ____,” “____ damn,” “God knows…,” etc.  (I feel very uncomfortable even writing or thinking of this but it is something we need to consider and change for ourselves.)

In Mark 9: 38-41, two of Jesus’ chosen disciples (James & John) sought to be protectors of orthodoxy as they stopped a person from casting out demons in Jesus’ name.  They knew themselves to be pure followers of Jesus (his chosen disciples) but didn’t think the “uninitiated of their circle” should be allowed to represent Christ’s service.  Did religious pride enter their hearts as well?  John sought to keep things “pure,” by his standards, but Jesus didn’t share the same concern for religiosity.  Two thousand years later, the church still has well-meaning disciples who are displeased when things are done in Jesus’ name but not “approved for action!”  Yet, the words directed to John are ones we would do well to consider, “no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me (v.39).  Apparently, Jesus knew that the one who cast out demons in His name was, at the very least, giving authority & credit to the right source!  May we all focus our efforts to use God’s name expectantly and respectfully as we use our lives for His purposes.

 

 


妄称神的名?

我们生活在一个经常提及上帝名字的社会里。「不可妄称耶和华你神的名,因为妄称耶和华名的,耶和华必不以他为无罪。」(出埃及记20:7),我们看到即使是基督徒也会随便引用( “Oh My_G-O-D ”,”____ damn,” )我的天,(God Knows。。。)天晓得,等等。 (在这里写下这些我都觉得不舒服,但是我们还是需要为我们自己思考这个问题并改变。)

在马可福音9章38-41节里,耶稣的两位门徒(雅各和约翰)为了要守住正统,阻止他人用耶稣的名赶鬼。他们知道自己是耶稣拣选的纯正的门徒,那些不属于“圈内的”外行人不应该代表基督行事。宗教的骄傲是否存在于他们的心里? 约翰自己定义的纯洁和宗教标准,耶稣并不担心这些。两千年后,教会仍然有处于好意的门徒,会因为有些没得到他们认可,却奉主之名行的事而感到不高兴。主对约翰说的话让我们反思,“不要禁止他,因为没有人奉我名行异能,反倒轻易毁谤我。”(马可福音9:39)耶稣知道那用祂名赶鬼的人,至少知道把权柄荣耀归给正确的源头!在我们活出 祂的生命时,愿我们带着盼望和尊重,使用上帝的名。

 

Pastor’s Corner | “Family pressures”

I have always enjoyed the term that we use in Chinese “Sam Si” (Heart Matter).  When a person becomes a Christian and is seeking to be baptized, churches often have an interview with the new believer by asking him/her some “Sam Si” questions. The replies to the questions reveal the understanding of this person’s new found faith.

Recently, I have had some “Sam Si” challenges that have come from my extended family.  The weight of these issues are not within my direct control and remain heavy as I feel somewhat useless to impact things while, at the same time, I must continue to function in my daily work and daily responsibilities.  Is this not something that you too can relate to when you feel stretched in different directions that hold different needs and opportunities?  How do you feel when you can see a problem/issue yet know that you cannot complete the task required to make things better?  We all, at times, are pushed to continue moving forward with certain responsibilities while family matters or situations involving friends make us not feel we can continue on.  We would really rather retreat to a place of rest and find a place where no stress or pressure would be coming in our direction.  Yet, such a retreat to calmness seems beyond our grasp.

Brothers & Sisters, this is where our Scripture has value to us all.   Matt.11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”  Physical struggles are obviously real for us but the emotional and spiritual stress points of life’s daily grind can overwhelm our desire to keep pushing forward.  There may even be a desire to totally surrender our focus and efforts when we concentrate on our difficulties.  When our family is involved, there are times when the situation takes us beyond the wisdom of our faith and into dark places.  May God grant us the wisdom, spiritual hunger, and commitment to remember that God and his ways are matters of family in the same way that our blood relatives relate to us.  My current “Sam Si” is heavy for me to carry alone and sometimes makes it hard to remain focused on church related activities that almost seem irrelevant in comparison to daily things.  Thanks are to God that I know that I am never facing problems of any type alone.

 

 

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牧師的家庭压力

我一直觉得中文「心事」一词很有意思。当一个人在受浸成为基督徒之前,教会会与新信徒「问心事」。从这些「心事」的答案,可以看出当事人对他新寻到的信仰的了解。

最近,我的亲人中有一些「心事」的挑战。有些事情虽然不在我的控制范围之内,却是让我有负担,但又无能为力。而此同时,我还必须继续每天的工作和责任。你是否有时也有同感?你被各种不同的需要及事故牵扯着,你看到问题的存在,但是卻无法做什么让事情好转;你怎么想呢?我们被责任推动继续前进,但家庭事务或朋友使我们无力继续。我们真希望可以退到一个僻静处安息,没有任何压力逼迫,但是这种安息是可望不可及的。

弟兄姐妹,这是圣经经句的价值,马太11:28 :「凡劳苦担重担的人,可以到我这里来,我就使你们得安息。」肉体的挣扎是明显真实的,但每日生活的情绪及属灵压力会拖垮我们继续向前的能力。当我们把注意力只集中在困难上,我们甚至想要完全放弃努力。有时发生在我们亲人身上的事情会超过我们信仰上的智慧,使我们进入黑暗。愿上帝给我们智慧,属灵的渴慕和委身的能力,记得上帝和祂的道路比我们的亲友重要。我目前的「心事」,我一人担负是沉重的,有时会让我难以专注于教会相关活动。但感谢上帝,因我知道,我从不是独自面对任何困难的。

Pastor’s Corner | Be Discerning…

Last week, I listened to a sermon from a very well-known minister in Houston, Texas. I have, over the years, listened to his sermons a few times but can’t say that they particularly “ring my bell” for he appears more as a Motivational Speaker than a Pastor.  Personally, I appreciate stories that assist us to apply Biblical truth but not as the primary content of what is referred to as a “sermon.”  On the day in question, I listened and discovered, within a 25 minute session on television, there were only two Scriptures referenced and virtually no attempt to allow those words to guide the content of his personal direction for his sharing.  My only point is to say that you and I must always be vigilant and discerning of who it is that we allow to bring truth into our hearts and minds.  Not all ministers or messages are created equal and, while in our search for personal spiritual growth/depth, let us seek God’s best teachings for us.  Not all sermons are funny, enjoyable, entertaining, or even well presented by a pastor but God’s Word has life and is eternally valuable to us.  As with eating certain foods, not all vegetables taste good to us but some may be very helpful in developing our growth and maturity.   May we all be patience learners who hunger after the righteousness of God.

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懂得辨别。。。

上周,我听了一位在德州休斯顿很有名气的传道人的一篇讲道。过去这些年,我听过为数不多的几篇他的讲道,但是他的信息与其说是牧师讲道,不如说是更偏向于励志演讲。对我个人而言,我感激如何把圣经真理运用在生活中的信息,“讲道”不应该是只有励志的内容。那天,听完之后我发现在电视播放的这25分钟时间里,只有2节经文被引用,而且他并没有试图用圣经经文来引导信息内容,或他之后分享的人生哲学。我在此想分享的重点是,你和我都必须在选择谁将真理放在我们的心中这件事上,常常保持警醒和有辨别能力。不是所有的传道人或者信息都是一样的,在我们寻求个人灵命增长的同时,让我们找到上帝最好的教导。不是每篇讲道都是幽默的、悦耳的、有娱乐性的或者被牧师完美展示的;上帝的话语是有生命的,并且是对我们有永远的价值的。就如同饮食一样,不是所有蔬菜都好吃,但是有些是对我们的身体很有帮助的。愿我们都饥渴于上帝的公义,成为谦虚的学习者。

Pastor’s Corner | Relationships: What a pain!

As we all know, working with numbers, with computers, with machines, with cars, with food, with construction, with almost anything is easier than working with people! People are exasperating! They are often undependable, self-centered, prideful, unfair, uncaring, insensitive, hateful, unloving, judgmental, prejudiced, deceptive, etc………

So, why are we even bothering to look at relationships today? Why did Jesus care about humans anyway? I sincerely can’t say that I fully understand the answer to that question but it is something that we must recognize as a fact…..He Cared! We know that God created the world and humankind. We know that God had his only begotten son, Jesus, sent to this world as a sacrifice for the sins of all. We know that Jesus suffered greatly for our good while we also know that most of mankind is virtually unappreciative of God’s efforts on our behalf.

FCBC is so much more than our building, our programs, our activities, our music, our worship, etc. FCBC is here to follow the modeling of Christ in identifying our existence and in reaching out in the name of Jesus. If our individual faith is only an academic understanding, our church should close its’ doors. If all we are is structure and policies, we should close our doors. If we are truly disciples, our goal is to spend less time worrying about our comforts and safety as we seek to be with lost people and reach out in the name of Jesus. This means we must learn to “welcome the pain” of working with relationships and that means loving the unlovely and caring about those who know not Jesus. May we find joy in our discomforts, inconveniences, and the criticisms received from others as we seek to show a love beyond understanding. (James Ch. 3)

 

 

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人际关系:真不容易!

我们都知道,比起和数字、电脑、机械、车子、食物、建筑或任何其他的东西打交道,都比和人共事来得容易。人是会被激怒的!他们常常是不可依赖、以自我为中心、骄傲、不公正、不关心、不为他人着想、可憎的、缺少爱心、喜欢批评、带有偏见和欺骗等等。。。

那为什么今天我们还要谈人和人之间的关系呢?耶稣为什么关心人呢?推心置腹地说,我没有一个完美的答案,但我们必须了解背后的事实- 祂就是在乎人!我们知道上帝创造这个世界和人类。我们知道上帝差祂的独生子来到这世界为我们的罪牺牲祂的生命。我们知道祂为我们受极大的苦,同时我们也知道绝大多数人并不知道感激上帝为我们做的一切。

第一华人浸信会不只是一栋建筑物,或众多事工:各种活动、音乐、崇拜等。第一华人浸信会在此是跟随基督的榜样来表明我们的存在及以向外宣扬耶稣的名。如果我们每个人的信仰只是知识上的了解,我们教会就该关闭;如果我们只是框架及政策,我们也该关闭;如果我们是真的门徒,当我们寻找并以上帝之名带回灵命失丧的人时,我们的目的是抛开对舒适和安全的担忧。这也就是说在人际关系上,我们必须学习“欢迎苦难”。即是爱不可爱的人和关心还未认识耶稣的人。在我们寻求智慧处理这不容易明白的爱的时候,愿我们在其他人给我们的不适、不易或批评中得到喜乐。
(雅各书 第三章)