A couple of years back, I attended a meeting of ministers & co-workers in Houston, Texas. Having been active within that circle previously, it was enjoyable to see old friends as we made new ones. With only a minor role in the proceedings of the meetings, I still found myself headed to the platform on one of the evenings that a well-known pastor was to speak. As we approached the stage, I was most uncomfortable with the atmosphere of things only to find us forced through a line of about 10 young people giving “high fives” and pushing up the emotions of the moment. With having heard the very humble and spiritual message of Reverend Peter Chung (鍾世豪牧师) earlier that day, I fear that I gave little encouragement to these young people’s efforts as I really had no need to feel like a football star. Indeed, it was all I could do to continue walking towards the platform and not reject the whole atmosphere by leaving the service.
Brothers and Sisters, what motivates your life and decisions? All discomforts and struggles are not unhealthy but may be a message from the Father. Our walk, our service, our behavior, our decisions are all about the church. Feeling that we “won” or “lost”, in a church issue, need never be our priority. Colossians 1:18 reminds us that Christ is the head of his body, the church. We must not get confused nor do that which is detrimental to His name. We serve as a family and a united body as we seek to grasp the full concept of what it is to be His Servants. My prayer is that we never see the church services or ministries of FCBC become a “show.”
兩年前我參加了在德州休斯頓舉行的美加華人浸聯會會議 。 因為先前熟識那圈子，所以非常高興能跟很多老朋友敍舊，並認識一些新朋友。 我在會議中負責的事情不多，但有一個晚上當陳牧師 分享時，我還是被邀請坐到講台上。 當我們走向講台時，大約有十多名青年人排在我們面前熱烈地跟我們舉手擊掌(high fives) ； 那時大家情緒都很高昂，但我卻覺得很不自然。 因為當天較早時，聽過鍾世豪牧师一篇謙卑和屬靈深度的訊息； 我很怕鼓勵這些年青人的熱情，因為我不應該像足球明星一樣被接待。 当时我真想逃離現場，但事實上卻被迫继续向講台走。
弟兄姐妹，是甚麼推動了你的生命和你所有的決定呢？ 一切的不舒服和掙扎並非都是不健康的，可能這是天父要給你一個訊息。 我們的言行、事奉、舉止、和我們的決定都是為榮耀基督。 教會有關的事情，感覺「贏」或「輸」都不是我們的優先考慮。 歌羅西書1:18提醒我們， 基督是衪的身體 – 教會的頭！ 我們千萬不要混淆，也不要做令祂名受虧損的事。 我們是一個家庭、一個合一
的身體， 一同事奉， 一齊持守實踐成為祂真正的僕人。 我祈求我們永遠不會看到鳳城第一華人浸信会的服事成為「表演」.
Our Easter Weekend at FCBC has come and gone and it was a JOY to see God’s family gather together in serving and celebration! In unified purpose and participation did our joint family worship in prayers, singing, testimonies, and praise of the sacrifice that Christ offered on our behalves. From the Deacons and Choir that brought us guidance in the Good Friday service via music and the Lord’s Supper to the early morning Sunrise Service where we worshiped in the fresh air and listened to testimonies and words of encouragement, we found focus. We are not a perfect church without issues or struggles but to observe the hungry desire of our brothers and sisters to know Christ, and present His name to the lost, is most encouraging! Let us all pray that the Lord will motivate us to recognize we are “called of God to serve Him” even as we recognize our own limitations. The church is not now, nor has it ever been, a body that focuses on our own feelings and but is a body of Christians who pray and are concerned about the spiritual welfare of those around us. Bless you all!
我們在鳳城第一華人浸信會的復活節崇拜來了又去了。非常喜樂看到上帝的家庭合聚一起伺奉及慶祝！ 我們的聯合崇拜在合一的目標及參與中，大家一齊禱告、唱詩、見證及讚美基督為我們的犧牲奉獻。從執事到詩班帶領在禮拜五受難節崇拜的詩班獻詩及聖餐分享；禮拜天的晨曦，我們在戶外清新的空氣下聆聽見證及分享，聚焦於敬拜上帝。 我們不是一個完美無缺，沒有爭扎的教會，但是觀察我們弟兄姐妹對基督的饑渴追求和向未信者傳揚祂的名是最令人鼓舞的！ 讓我們全體一齊祈求上帝會推動我們，即使我們明知我們有限制，我們是「被上帝呼召，伺奉祂的」。 教會現在不是，過去也不曾，只是著重我們自己感覺，而是為我們周遭人的靈命益處禱告、祈求的基督徒群體。
We all know that the church is the living, breathing, embodiment of Christ. Christ is to be our Head….when we allow Him to be. Yet, in today’s society, the church is also seen as a “grouping of people.” We are not to allow confusion for the church being seen as a mere building but our “grouping” is a legitimate manifestation of who we are.
So, what is the difference between us an any other group that meets regularly? There are Garden Clubs, Home Village Clubs, Hiking Clubs, Cycling Clubs, Environmental Organizations, Neighbourhood Associations, Health Organizations, etc. To the untrained eye, the church is easily misunderstood as “just another alternative” for meeting one’s own private spiritual needs.
FCBC is currently one church among many. We provide our services and activities for our people but we must ask ourselves if this is enough to have the Father look at us and say, “well done my faithful servants.” Maybe we need to move beyond discussions on “relevant ministries” to the point of serving and acting in a relevant way? Dream about something that you love to do and let us see if that can become an area of outreach ministry for our church! Get a group of friends together and then push out to the lost who might enjoy this as well. Look up different organizations and see what we can start as a new ministry of FCBC! People come to know Christ through relationships of caring. We must choose how we will use our time…on ourselves only or in reaching others. Luke 5:32: “I came not to call the righteous but the lost…” We choose our service!
我們都知道，教會是有基督存在、有祂生命氣息的實體。 基督是我們的頭…要是我們真的讓祂有這主權的話。 然而，在今天的社會中，教會也被視為一個「群體」。 我們不應讓教會被混淆地視為只是一座建築物，其實我們是一個能彰顯我們實際是誰的「群體」。
那麼，我們和那些定期聚會的群體有什麼區別呢？ 這裏有園藝會、鄉村俱樂部，爬山會、單車會、環保組織、社區協會、醫療機構等。 對那些沒有深入認識的人，教會很容易被誤解「只是另一種選擇」， 用以滿足私人靈性需求 的組織。
目前，第一华人浸信会只是眾多教會中的其中之一。 我們為自己的弟兄姐妹提供服事和活動，但我們必須問自己，這是否能讓天父看著我們說：「良善的僕人，做得好。」？ 或許我們需要不只是討論「合宜事工」的有關服事及相關的辦法？ 夢想一下你最愛做的事情，看看是否可以成為我們教會外展的新事工！ 先找一群相同意念的朋友在一起，然後推展到其他有同樣愛好的未信朋友。 查查不同的機構組織，看看我們可以在第一华人浸信会開始些什麼新的事工！ 人都是透過關懷關係來認識基督。 我們必須選擇如何運用我們的時間….只是用在自己身上還是與别人相交？ 路加福音5:32「 我來本不是召義人， 乃是召罪(失喪的)人…..」。 我們要選擇我們的服事！
All are welcome to join us for Good Friday & Easter services.
簡牧师的话: “Wineskins” ＂皮袋＂
There is a story about a young girl that wanted to learn how to make Banana Bread at home. When asking her mom about why she always cut off the end of the bread before she placed it in the oven, her mom simply replied that she prepared it that way because her mother had done it that way. The mother then encouraged the daughter tocall her grandmother and ask why she did this. Receiving the phone call, the grandmother laughed and said, “I cut off the end before placing it in the oven because I had a small oven and a cooking pan that was short!
The obvious point is that we don’t always choose the best and most efficient approaches. We don’t even understand why we do many things or reevaluate what is true or useful. We function out of habit, custom, convenience, and other reasons. Yet, “cooking the banana bread” in the way it was cooked 40 years ago simply because that was their situational need should remind us that we do need to understand the needs of FCBC today and not be “outdated” in our ministries and outreach.
We need “new wine in new wineskins”…..for the sake of the lost (Lk 5:36-39). May our customs and traditions never restrain our hunger to be relevant and a learning congregation.