A while back, I was in a medical lab where I came across an elderly couple with a problem. I quietly listened as they spoke Cantonese to each other about their lack of English skills. They tried to use their telephone as a translator but it wasn’t working well. I knew it would appear strange for me to jump into the mix with me speaking Chinese but, in I stepped! Well, I can simply say that I have two new friends at this point.
Sometimes things don’t go as we have planned. What we think of as a simple trip to an office can become an opportunity to build new understandings and friends. By the time we had managed this couple’s problems in that medical lab, they were asking about my church, what the meaning of “Baptist” was, and other questions related to the Christian faith. I had gone into that office with a book and a plan to read while waiting for the processing required to get my own needs met. However, God had something different in mind as I was privileged to watch His actions bring about a totally different focus for the time there. Had I held strong to my original intention for the morning, I would have missed the blessing intended for those moments with this couple.
Life is more than winning or losing in issues and debates. It is more than worrying about what is convenient for us or what may be seen as unusual/improper to others. Christ modeled a boldness, when dealing with people, that was beyond what most people would see as normal. He was open, free, honest, burdened, clear, loving, firm, and many other things as he focused His life towards the needs of people. Each day, opportunities come our way to impact others around us but how we respond is up to us.
有一次我在加拿大一医疗检验室遇到一对老年夫妇， 他们遇到了问题。 我静静地听他们用广东话说他们的英文不够用。他们试着用手机翻译， 但显然不够。 我知道我用广东话插入帮忙是很奇怪的， 但是我还是加入了！ 可以说从那时起，我交了两位新朋友。
有时，事情会出乎预期的。 一个简单的医疗室检查可以变成交新朋友及了解他们的机会。 在我们解决他们医疗检验室困难后，他们开始询问我教会，什么是浸信会及其他基督教相关问题。 我之前带着一本书进检验室，预备候医时看。 然而上帝有祂不同的想法，而我有幸看到祂在那时那地的焦点。如果我坚持那早上我的原来计划，我就会错过那对夫妇在那时的祝福。
生活不是只在各样事上的输赢。 它永远超过担心什么对我们是方便的，或什么对别人看似不平常、不适合的。 对人，基督以祂的胆识做我们的榜样，祂跨越大多数人认为是正常的。 祂开放、自由、真诚、有担负、清楚、有爱心、确实等等，祂生命的焦点在于人的需要。 每天都有各种影响我们周遭人的机会，是由我们决定我们要如何应对。
Jesus said, “It is not that which goes into the mouth that defiles a man but that which comes out of his mouth.” Then, having heard this, his disciples said to Him, “Don’t you know that the Pharisees were offended by your words for what you’ve said?” (Matt 15:10 – 12)
耶 穌 就 叫 了 眾 人 來 ， 對 他 們 說 「 你 們 要 聽 ， 也 要 明 白 。 入 口 的 不 能污 穢 人 ， 出 口 的 乃 能 污 穢 人 。」當 時 ， 門 徒 進 前 來 對 他 說 ：「 法 利 賽 人聽 見 這 話 不 服 ， 你 知 道 麼 ？」（馬太15:10-12）
For the Jews, the rules tied to dietary intake were many and to eat anything unclean was sinful and to be judged. Yet, Jesus dared to say that this emphasis on food prohibitions was not as important as what was coming out of the heart of the person. He defined the religious establishment’s laws as petty. It was not clothes, rituals, nor customs that were to be valued but the heart and words of the person.
對猶太人來說，和進食有關的規條是非常多； 吃了不潔的食物是犯罪，也要受審判。 但耶穌敢於指出這些飲食的禁忌遠遠比不上從人心裏出來的重要。祂確認那些宗教法例是瑣碎沒意義的。衣著、儀式或習慣都無須太重視，更重要的是人的心和言行。
As we reflect on ourselves and our church, by what standard do we live? Are we more preoccupied with how we appear to others or is our appearance a reflection of who Christ is in our lives? May the Father give us the “courage of Christ” to BE Christian more than just LOOK Christian in the eyes of any who might see themselves as the standard for Christian behavior. Serve Him Boldly!
樣式？深願天父賜給我們 「基督的勇氣」，做一個真正的基督徒，而不只是看起來似有標準行為的基督徒。 我們要 大膽地事奉祂！
The term “Church Growth” is interpreted by each person. One type of church growth is a description of how the facility owned by a church body increases in size. A second type of church growth would describe an increase in the number of church members that choose to affiliate with a specific church body. Yet, the third type of church growth is the one that I wish to speak about today, spiritual maturing of God’s people.
As we know, the gathering of large numbers of people is not necessarily a reflection of a healthy church body. Of course, we all desire to see the church reaching out in Christ’s name and that outreach resulting in more lost persons repenting and joining in the church’s ministries. Yet, the idea that a church may have activities or entertainment that attracts persons to come to a specific church body is no guarantee that true spiritual development in happening in the lives of the people. No true Christian would desire to simply flounder in his/her spiritual life when the alternative is to move gradually toward a mature follower of Christ…true?
Sometimes when we read the Biblical books of Hebrews, Romans, Revelation, Jeremiah, or others, we find ourselves a bit “swallowed up” in the depth of the teachings presented. What I want to say to us today is that this struggle for truth and understanding is OK! To wrestle with God’s teachings is healthy. For us to mature in our Faith, we must cherish the opportunity to study and learn God’s truth for our lives. My prayer for the people of FCBC is that we may hunger, from the core of our being, to never be satisfied with anything less that true Christian growth. Let our activities be tools for outreach but never an end in themselves. Let our friends and relatives be loved by us, as Christ loves us, and let us never be guilty of just ignoring those without Christ.
當我們讀聖經希伯來書、羅馬書、啟示錄、耶利米書及其他， 我們會發現在這些書的教導深處，我們被「吞沒」。 我今天想要說的是這種為真理及瞭解的掙扎是可以的！與上帝教導角力是健康的。為了我們的信仰能成熟，我們必須珍惜機會，研讀及學習上帝給我們的真理。我對第一華人浸信會的禱告是我們從內心真誠渴慕，永遠不滿於非真實基督徒的成長。讓我們教會的活動成為教會外展的工具，而非它的目標。像基督愛我們一樣，我們愛並關心我們的親戚、朋友。我們永遠不會因為忽視未信基督者而感到罪疚。
Jesus is the model for Christians. He walks in front of us and challenges us to follow His life. Yet, we tend to forget that even Jesus had to go to Gethsemane to pray for direction and courage. Peter was certainly surprised at his own failures and Paul ended up regularly on ships headed in directions that God altered. To follow Christ is to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s constant directional adjustments.
Leaders are people who feel the pressure to have the immediate and correct answers to many questions. If we are not careful, we allow that stress to motivate us to, at times, respond to some questions without wisdom or God’s guidance. Spiritual leadership is not the ability to know all but the sensitivity to recognize one’s own limitations, seek advice as needed, and the courage to boldly move forward in expectation that God will be there before us.
May the leadership of FCBC know the joy of dependency as we step out in faith and expectation to try new ministries, new leadership models, and new outreach in His name.
Please join us for our International Missions Conference on April 27-29 at First Chinese Baptist Church of Phoenix. Start times will be: Friday at 6:30PM, Saturday at 1:30PM, and Sunday at 9:30AM.