Completing another Master’s Degree recently, our son Robert began his new full-time ministry at 1st Chinese Baptist Church in Seattle. While together recently, he shared of the difference between the position of a pastor(title) versus being a pastor(experience). It was a joy to hear of his spiritual growth as he revealed his understanding of such a simple but important difference in thinking. He showed that he was a developing practitioner and not limited to positional thinking for serving the Lord. Indeed, it is not our position that God cares about but our hearts of service as we make ourselves available to Him. The “cap” that Robert now wears says that he is a pastor, by position, but he is only now learning that the “cap” is not as important as being, by function/heart, a pastor toward others.
Missiologists and national coworkers have struggled in China for years over the importance of Pastoral Ordination (position). Seeing overseas models, the Chinese Church is tempted to take the stance that Ordination is valuable to their church’s ministry. Yet, with the growth of Chinese churches being so rapid, many understand Ordination as a hindrance to that movement of church growth as it results in many well-meaning churches slowing their outreach for fear of not having someone to “wear the hat of their Ordained Pastor” when they have new churches started! Ordination does not make a pastor. This discussion continues on even as the lost of China need to be reached with the Gospel.
Whether it be doctoral degrees, masters degrees, Ordination or Licensing, or other positions created by man, may we all remember that God wants us all to wear the “cap” that says, “I am a Jesus follower, how may I help you?”
The term that I have often used to describe FCBC is that we are “one church with two congregations.” While it is true that our church body represents multiple cultural backgrounds from different countries and language groups, we still have the responsibility & joy of presenting a positive Christian witness with our unity of service to the Father. This requires a great deal from us as we learn to both communicate well with church leadership and seek to be a ministering body of humble servants with one heart. If we allow Satan to ever divide us with uncomplimentary words toward each other or with conflicting purposes as a whole church, FCBC will not be what the Lord desires from us. We must all remember that we are Satan’s primary target as the harming of our daily testimony is his goal. When Christians are united in love, care, and purpose, we represent not what Satan desires but what the Father hungers to see in us….a loving family!
I cannot speak to your personal Christian battles but I can recognize my own. When Paul mentions pride, selfishness, self-centered thinking, lack of concern for others, greed, envy, and other similar sins, I am forced to admit that I am as guilty as others with these matters. I need to daily thank my Heavenly Father for continuing to allow me to be called His servant in spite of my weaknesses and poor behavior. Our God is truly gracious and forgiving!
Today, I ask that we all pray a bit extra as we ask the Father to help us repent of our daily selfish attitudes. Ask the Lord to both remind you, and me, of specific sins that we need to have forgiven. After recognizing our sins, let us humbly pray for His forgiveness so that we may be a stronger and more impactful church that serves Phoenix and the world!
我常说我们第一华人浸信会是「两个会众，却是一个教会」。我们教会会友虽然来自多个国家及语言群体，有多样文化。 我们仍然有责任及喜乐彰显同心事奉我们天父的基督徒正面见证。在我们学习与教会领袖沟通时，积极寻求成为一群在心里愿意谦卑事奉的仆人，这是非常重要的。如果我们允许撒旦分歧我们，因为我们彼此没说恭维的话，或教会里有冲突，这样的教会不会是 上帝想要的。我们要记得，我们是撒旦的首要目标，伤害我们每天的见证是他的目的；当基督徒一起在 主内同心相爱、关顾，并有目的地结合在一起，我们代表的不是撒旦的盼望，而是 天父渴望见到的…一个有爱的大家庭！
今天我要求我们大家一起多一些祷告，祈求天父帮助我们悔改我们的自私态度。 要求 主提醒你和我，我们需要悔改饶恕的特别的罪。 认知我们的罪后，让我们谦卑得祈求 祂的宽恕，所以我们能够在大凤凰城和世界里做一个更坚强，更有影响的教会！
62 years ago, a dream started the First Chinese Baptist Church of Phoenix. Just as those people had a dream for ministry and outreach, 2020 is OUR TIME to Re-Boot our church’s Dream For Ministry and Outreach. Excuses and Distractions from any of us are but a reflection of our lack of Christian purpose and focus. The spiritually lost people around us must be our motivation for living.
In the movie “Avatar,” there was a Tree of Souls that was cut down by those who sought to destroy and control the world of Pandora. While the Na’vi people were initially emotionally destroyed by the loss of the tree, they eventually learned that they were still alive and could rebuild their futures. FCBC, when looking at 2020, has this same opportunity if we will trust more in God’s Call on our lives and depend less on what we can see and control. Nothing Satan throws at us can eternally harm us if Jesus is Lord of our lives. Let us only fear when we aren’t satisfied to be bold followers of Jesus and keeping His church healthy.
电影「阿凡达」内，有一棵「灵魂树」被一些寻找毁灭及控制 潘朵拉 世界的人砍掉。 纳美人的情绪先是为失去的树而被摧毁，但最终他们知道他们还活着，并且可以重新建立他们的未来。在2020年，如果我们多相信上帝对我们生命的呼召，而少依靠我们可以看到和控制的事情，凤凰城第一华人浸信会会有相同的机会。如果耶稣是我们生命的主，我们不怕任何事或魔鬼的挑战可以伤害我们。让我们只怕我们不是大胆的耶稣追随者，我们要继续确保祂的教会健康。
With Jesus as our model, how do we pray? On a personal level, Matthew 26 shows us the spiritual depth of Jesus as he pulls away and quietly focuses on the task at hand. In Gethsemane, He wasn’t trying to impress others with his many words, lengthy public prayer, or extensive vocabulary. Whether others knew of his prayers also had no impact on both His need to pray and His desire to pray. Indeed, Jesus never modeled self-praise, self-promotion, or an interest in presenting himself as a “famous preacher/teacher.” Jesus modeled something we must learn…. how to be in fellowship with God while not seeking the adoration of men. In our daily lives, including our prayer times, we need to slow down and ONLY seek God for our direction and purpose.
In my prayers, am I hypocritical and judgmental of others when I should be focusing on God alone? Do I ever find myself “waxing eloquent” when I should have simplified my prayer and simply given praise to the Father for His daily grace and care? Matthew 6 models prayer as a communication of appreciation, obedience, and hunger for the Will of God. At the same time, it is a warning that the omniscient creator of the universe doesn’t require an impressive demonstration from us but only wants to see us reveal our hearts in hunger for His guidance.
Matthew 6: 5-7 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues (churches) and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” ***May we do more with God’s Word by allowing it to both teach and change our behavior!
有耶稣作榜样，我们应该怎么祷告呢？马太福音26章说出耶稣灵命深度：祂离开群众，静静地专注於手中工作。在客西马尼园，祂不用繁复词彙、冗长公开的祷告 或富丽的词藻来喧哗取众。不论他人是否知道祂的祷告，都不影响祂祷告的需要及期望。事实上，耶稣从来不自我赞美，自我宣传，或有意显示祂是一个「出名的讲道家或老师」。我们必须学习耶稣的模范 …如何与神团契相交，而不求人的颂扬。在我们日常生活中，包括我们的祷告时间，我们需要慢下来，只求上帝的方向和目的。
当我祷告只应专注於上帝时，我是否假冒为善，或论断他人？ 当我应简短祷告，只是赞美天父祂每日的恩典及照顾时，我是否自觉「油滑高雅」？ 马太福音6章示范祷告：传达感恩、顺从、饥渴上帝的旨意。 同时，它警告我们无所不知的宇宙创造主不需要我们有感人的表演，只希望看到我们的心迫切祈求祂的指引。
马太福音 6: 5-7「你们祷告的时候，不可像那假冒为善的人，爱站在会堂里和十字路口上祷告，故意叫人看见。我实在告诉你们，他们已经得了他们的赏赐。 你祷告的时候，要进你的内屋，关上门，祷告你在暗中的父；你父在暗中察看，必然报答你。 你们祷告，不可像外邦人，用许多重复话，他们以为话多了必蒙垂听。」***愿我们多行 神的话，让它教导并改变我们的行为.
Just like my 3 sons, most southern Chinese love to come home to a meal that includes steamed rice. However, last night I arrived home to find 3 “Bao Dz” (Buns) as my options on our table. One had 1 red dot, one had 2 red dots, and one had no dots. For me, once a little hot sauce could be found, this meal looked as though it would be both quick and scrumptious! Yet, while this system of dots is clear and useful under most circumstances, everything changes when your wife isn’t home and you don’t have a legend to determine which of the buns is a vegetable bun, a meat bun, or a sweet bun. My preference was a vegetable bun but there were no guarantees for me making that choice! From what I saw on the outside, the buns all looked similar and of equal value. I had no way to determine their contents aside from breaking one open and viewing what was on the inside.
Truly, what is found on the inside of a person’s heart is so much more important than what images we present to the world. We may be beautiful and deceive others even as we wear our various “dots” and appear all alike but we never deceive God for what is within us and motivates our daily lives. God sees through our deceptions, our prejudices, our lack of faith, our sins, our limitations, our pride, and our tears while, at the same time, he seeks to give us rest, direction, and comfort in becoming His family. It would be His desire that none of us would attempt to hide our true self from Him or ourselves. As with the buns, He knows that outside appearances don’t always reveal what is on the inside….but He wants to help us find our way to make right decisions in life.
是的，一个人的内心比给人看到的外表更加重要。我们可能外表很美，像似穿有各种「点」的外衣，可以欺骗他人；但是我们每日生命的内在和动机永远不能欺瞒上帝。上帝可以看透我们的虚伪、偏见、信心缺乏、我们的罪及限制、我们的骄傲和眼泪；在同时，祂要我们成为祂家庭一份子可以有安歇、方向及安慰。祂的愿望是没有任何一人会企图从 祂或我们自己隐藏真的自我。如这些包子，祂知道外在表现永远不可能表明内在…..但是 祂希望帮助我们找到方法，在生命上做正确的决定。