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The stained glass windows of CPC's auditorium.

Pastoral Letter 7th March 2021

牧聲 二零二一年三月七日
7/3/2021
by
Esther Wang

The dichotomy of direct versus indirect is evident all around us. The blessings from God can sometimes be interpreted in a similar manner. Direct blessings in the form of our work and wealth, a happy family, our academic accomplishments, a fruitful ministry can all be easily viewed as blessings from the Lord which we joyously give thanks for. Indirect blessings, however, are often hard to comprehend at the first instance. On the surface, they seem to be uneventful or downright perilous, yet God’s grace is hidden right behind those difficult moments. This includes God’s guidance in times of crisis, and His mercy in the midst of setbacks. In fact, at times, these indirect blessings bring greater blessings than direct blessings, as they urge us to seek God more fervently and to put our faith into action. Faith is not built on rosy and perfect situations. Faith is intricately related to our knowledge of God, and must be built upon the word of God and His doings.  

Due to the pandemic, the number of international students residing in Australia has dropped dramatically.  In February this year, the University of New South Wales ushered in a new term with the commencement of the Orientation week. Our campus student co-workers were faced with a dilemma: With so few international students entering the Australian border under the border restriction rules, should we still set up booths on campus to promote our Enrich Mandarin Bible Study?

Nevertheless, God revealed to us that it was our duty to run the stall, and it was His work whether there would be any new students visiting the stall. Thank God that we were able to meet new international students during the three days of Orientation Week, and we welcomed new students as they participated in the orientation activities organised for Friday. More importantly, we witnessed spiritual growth in our student co-workers. Despite different challenges, our student co-workers became all the more eager to spread the gospel on campus, knowing that we ought to rely on God for His provision. Furthermore, those students who returned to their home countries have begun settling in local churches and continuing to grow in their Christian faith, bringing comfort and encouragement to us. The kingdom of God will continue to flourish, and our ministry is but a small part of it.  

Perhaps only in the wake of challenges do we come to realise that our faith is miniscule, possibly even smaller than a mustard seed.  Yet God is merciful, and He can use the little faith we have to do mighty things.  In the process, our faith and knowledge of God will in turn be strengthened, and this is God’s blessing in a deeper realm. Are you facing any situations which sway your trust in the Lord? Bring your worries to the Lord today and see whether God has deeper blessings and newer perspectives in stored for you.

很多事物都有直接和間接之分。神的賜福,有時也可以按著直接和間接來理解。直接的賜福,包括神賞賜給我們的工作和財富,家庭的幸福,學業的成就,事工的順利等等,這樣的恩典一眼就可以看明白,我們也歡喜快樂地為此感恩。間接的賜福,一時可能不能明白,表面看起來平淡無奇甚至波折連連,但是神的恩典仍然藏在其中。這包括危難中神的保守看顧,挫折打擊中神的憐憫帶領。這些間接的賜福,有時候帶來比直接的更大的蒙恩,因為它們促使我們更加尋求、認識神,操練真實的信心。信心不是建立在一帆風順的完美境遇上,信心是對神的認識上有關,並要建立在神的話語和作為之上。

因為疫情緣故,留在澳洲的海外留學生大幅減少。今年二月,新南威爾士大學開學,並且開放迎新週。校園社團的學生同工們都很掙扎,國境都不開放,沒有什麼留學生進來,我們還要去擺攤位,宣傳我們的聖經學習社團嗎?然而神啟示我們,設攤宣傳,是我們的本份,有沒有新同學來,是神的工作。感謝神,在三天的迎新周裡,我們仍然接觸到了新的海外留學生,週五的迎新活動也有新同學參加。更重要的是,學生同工們得到成長,雖然面對挑戰和壓力,大家卻更積極盼望能在校園繼續傳福音,並且知道一切都需要仰賴神。另外,那些已經回國的學生們開始參與當地教會,在信仰上追求,給大家帶來很多的安慰和鼓勵。神的國度會繼續擴展,我們的事工不過是其中小小的一部分。

遇到挑戰以後,我們或許才發現,原來我們的信心,可能比芥菜種還小,但是神有憐憫和旨意,衪會藉著這微小的信心來做事,並且在這過程中,促使我們的信心和對神的見識成長,這才是神更深的賜福。今天,有什麼事情挑戰你的信心嗎?帶到神的面前來,看看衪是不是有更深的賜福和眼界要賜給你。

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