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Pastoral Letter 31st January 2021

31/1/2021
by
Pastor Steaven Cheung

Change can be risky. In the past 12-18 months, churches all across the world have had to deal with a changing ministry landscape, alongside our circumstances changing significantly. I think for some of us, a new year, with potential new changes can seem daunting. For yourself, perhaps there is change coming ahead, either in work, friendships or health. Within these changes, I’m sure there are challenges and stresses within your view.

Within CPC, our Next-Gen ministries are in a season of change, as we will endeavour build a discipleship infrastructure and culture that works to bless the next generation of the Church and build up the leaders and individuals to be powerful voices within society for Christ. To do that will require yet again, more change. There may be challenges and bumps, but our compass is set and we will have to stay the course.

It is perhaps with this big season of change in mind that I often think of a piece of advice given to me by an Elder in my pervious church regarding change. It’s that within the Chinese phrase of ‘risk’ (危機), there is always the word of ‘opportunity’ (機). It’s a little cheesy. But the past year has brought his idea to my mind frequently.

Within Scripture, we find that God works often within moments of great risk. In Genesis, He brings order from great chaos. In Exodus, He creates a holy nation from a risk filled escape from Egypt. In the Book of Nehemiah, Jerusalem is rebuild in a time of great tension. In the New Testament, Salvation is brought forth by Christ’s sacrifice. In the book of Acts, seasons of persecution brought growth and innovation to the early Church. We find that God’s work is often most miraculous, in the circumstances which present more risk than not. In fact those seasons need to be taken advantaged of by those that are faithful to Him.

So if there is any encouragement for you this morning, let me point you to John16:33 where Jesus tells His disciples, ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”. Within every season of change and risk, there is opportunity and growth in God.

改變是存着風險的。在過去的十二至十八個月裏,世界各地的教會都不得不面對事工景況的變化,同時我們的環境也正顯著地改變。我想對於我們某些人來説,新的一年,潛在的新變化可以使人生畏。或許你在工作、友誼或健康方面也會面臨改變。在這些變化中,我相信這對你個人同樣意味著着挑戰和壓力。

在華人長老會,我們「下一代」的事工正處於一個變化的季節;我們將努力建立門徒訓練的基礎架構和文化,以祝福教會的下一代,並建立領袖和個人,成為基督羣體中有力的聲音。要做到這一點,同樣是需要更多的改變。我們可能會遇到挑戰和障礙,然而既然方向已確定,我們必須要堅持到底。

也許正因著「這是變化之大季節」的這個想法,我經常想起我先前教會的一位長老,給我一個與改變有關的看法,就是中文「危機」一詞表達的「危險」的同時也伴隨著「機會」。這聽起來有點俗氣,但在過去一年他所說的經常浮現在我的腦海中。

在聖經中,我們發現上帝常常在有危機的時刻中工作。在創世記,祂從大混亂中帶來秩序。在出埃及記,祂從充滿危機的埃及逃亡中創立了一羣聖潔的國民。在尼希米記裏,耶路撒冷是在極度緊張的過程中重建的。在新約中,救贖是由基督的犧牲而帶來的。在使徒行傳,遭受迫害的季節為早期的教會帶來了成長和革新。我們發現,在危機越大的情況下,上帝的工作往往就顯得最奇妙。實際上,那些忠於上帝的人,更需要好好把握這些的季節。

若說今天早上有什麼可以鼓勵你的話,讓我給你指向約翰福音16章33節,那裏耶穌告訴祂的門徒説:「在世上,你們有苦難;但你們可以放心,我已經勝了世界。」在每一個變化與風險的季節當中,在上帝裏面卻充滿著機會和成長的空間。

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