六月 30, 2020 by Pastor Frank

感謝主,我們的牧者分享已經來到創世記第30章了! 希望大家能在過去的29章 當中有所得著。今天我們要繼續從雅各的故事當中來領受上帝而來的提醒。 第三十章記載了許多人心的籌劃。我們看到雅各的兩個太太,原本是姐妹,卻為了 爭寵,各自用盡計謀,籌算。在30章的後半段,又看到拉班設計想要剝削雅各。我們也 看到雅各如何用聰明智慧反設計他的舅舅。當我看完整章之後,我就想,怎麼這麼多的詭 計,這麼多的人的作為。難道上帝允許這些事情發生,告訴我們人需要為自己籌算這麼多 才能得著想要的好處嗎?當我反覆的思索,反覆的查看的時候,我看到了這一節經文:

『22上帝顧念拉結,應允她,使她能生育。』

這節經文乍看之下沒有什麼,但是當我們仔細去查考原文的意思的時候,就發現一 個很重要的事情。『使她能生育』,在原文的含義裡,是很直接的說,『打開她的子宮 』。也就是說,之前不能生育,是因為上帝沒有允許。而當上帝應允的時候,原本閉鎖的 子宮就被打開了!當我明白這個道理的時候,我再回去看今天這一章節,頓時明白了許多 。今天從表面上看來是許多人的籌算,計謀,爭寵。而許多人也因此得著想要得著的。但 是最終我們要明白一件事,那就是若上帝不許可,一件也不會成就。

這個道理從其中一個故事情節就可以很清楚看到。第14節記載,當時呂便,或是 有些版本翻譯為流便,在田中找到曼陀羅草,或是有些舊的翻譯是風茄。這曼陀羅草有催 情,幫助生育的用處的。當時呂便找到就拿給他的母親利亞,被拉結看到了。當時拉結就 求利亞給她一些,好讓她也能夠懷孕。當然利亞藉機就跟拉結交換了與雅各一夜的同房。 要知道雅各是寵愛拉結的。很諷刺的是,拿到曼陀羅草的拉結,最後沒有因此而懷孕。反 而是交換出助孕用的曼陀羅草的利亞卻因著這一夜的同房而懷孕了!這說明什麼?人再如 何的籌算,若上帝不許可,一件也不會落空的!而拉結,用了曼陀羅草卻沒法生育,卻反 而是後來再22節上帝才開了她的子宮,讓她也能懷孕。

在這一章當中我們就很清楚的看到,所以的兩個太太之間的籌算,最終就是要成就 上帝的計畫,就是成就起初上帝應許亞伯拉罕的,要使他的後裔眾多。經過這一番的爭鬥 ,以色列從一個支脈,一下最後變成12個支脈!這不就是成就起初神的應許嗎?不只如 此,拉班與雅各之間的爭鬥,最後也成就了上帝要祝福亞伯拉罕的後裔的應許,不是嗎? 最終上帝使雅各得著許多牲畜,得著豐盛的祝福!

所以弟兄姐妹們,讓我們常常感恩我們手中所擁有的。我們以為是我們勞力所換取 的。從某一個方面,是的,是我們做工的得工價。但是我們要更清楚一點,就是若上帝不 許可,我們什麼也都不會有!而正因為我們擁有的,我們就應當常常感恩上帝所預備給我 們的,是超過我們所求所想的。因此,我們要記得時刻數算神的恩典,才更能夠合宜的面 對生活中的所有事情!讓我們獻上感恩!

六月 26, 2020 by Pastor Frank

我們有沒有曾經因為過度信任人而失望,甚至被背叛,受傷?今天我們從雅各身上看到一個有關人的事實,哪就是沒有一個人是絕對可以信任的。雅各曾經欺騙過他的父親,他的父親也從來沒有想過他最親愛的太太利百加跟他的小兒子雅各會聯合起來欺騙他。今天,雅各也被他所信任的舅舅欺騙。我們來看他的舅舅是如何的對待他的姪子。

13拉班聽見外甥雅各的消息,就跑去迎接他,抱着他,親他,帶他到自己的家。雅各把這一切的事告訴拉班。14拉班對他說:「你實在是我的骨肉。」雅各就和他同住了一個月。

雅各的舅舅拉班知道他的姪子來的時候,他很高興,也馬上跑去找雅各。這裡所描述的所有反應,感受,我想我們不需要懷疑。他的舅舅是真的很開心雅各來到。畢竟這是他所愛的妹妹的孩子。我們不知道拉班與利百加有多久沒見面。很有可能自從利百加離開出嫁之後就沒有見過面了。如今許久沒有消息的妹妹,終於她的孩子來了,我想這是很值得開心的事。但是所有真實的感受,真實的感情,最終還是敵不過自己的自私。當拉班發現雅各愛他的女兒拉結愛到願意為她工作七年,他找到機會來利用他曾說過是『自己的骨肉』的雅各。而雅各,萬萬沒有想到這個口口聲聲說是他的親人的舅舅,那個主動提出說要給他工價的舅舅,居然用這個機會來利用他。

到底為什麼拉班要騙雅各?因為他的大女兒利亞沒有人要娶。拉班趁機把利亞偷偷嫁給雅各,知道雅各愛拉結夠深,願意吃虧。但是我們要著重的是,再真實的感情,再信任的人,也會有欺騙與讓人失望的時候。這也提醒我們,不要太過高估人性。人是有罪性的。任何人都有可能失敗,都有可能走錯,都有可能跌倒,包括我們自己。這也提醒我們,我們不要過度的信任人。面對生命的難處,挑戰,失敗,困惑,我們可以找人幫助,但我們會發現,人無法解決所有的事。當我們過度依賴人的時候,我們就很容易失望。

我認識不少人因著教會的人的作為,包括牧者,而對教會失望,對上帝失望。我想問題就是出在,他們高估了人。沒有一個人是絕對無罪的。若我們過度信任人,絕對會失望,甚是覺得被欺騙。這包括了過度信任自己。人絕對無法勝天。因為人有人的軟弱與失敗。那誰能夠真正的倚靠?只有創造人的上帝。只有那永遠不變,過去,現在,將來永遠一樣的上帝才值得我們倚靠與信任。我想這也是雅各慢慢在學習的功課,也是你我需要不斷認清與學習的真理。

讓我們單單倚靠神。讓我們因信靠上帝,才能對人有對的期待。

六月 25, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey
Church Family and Friends ,
主內的家人和朋友,

After much prayerful discussion, the Reopening Task Force has made the decision to postpone our reopening date once again. We will not meet on campus on Wednesday July 1 for prayer meetings as planned. It is disappointing, since my earnest hope has been to begin meeting again face-to-face (physically, not virtually).
經過很多的禱告和討論, 教會重開工作小組決定延後重開的日子. 七月一日的禱告會不會在教會進行. 真的是十分失望因為我很希望能與你們面對面重聚(不只是在線上見到你).

The decision was made because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The average number of daily new cases in California has more than tripled in just the past few weeks. Ten days ago, on June 15, there were 2,108 new cases in the state. Since then, the trend line has sharply increased to 7,149 new cases yesterday. Instead of flattening, the curve is actually bending higher.
做出這個決定是因為最近新冠肺炎患病及留院人數在上升.  加州平均每天新症比過去增加了三倍. 十日前, 在六月十五日, 加州新症是2,108宗. 但現時至昨天已增加至7,149宗. 不但沒有受到控制而是指數在上升.

Dr. Joseph Chan noted in our meeting that there are more people than ever in the COVID ICU at his hospital. The surge in patients that was feared a few months ago now seems to have arrived in California. Likely the protests over the past month have contributed to the rise, but also there are more crowds in public and many people are not wearing masks.
陳國儀醫生在我們的會議中指出他的醫院在加護病房接受新冠肺炎治療的人數極增. 以前擔心病人的人數會很多, 而今真的出現在加州. 可能因上個月的抗議遊行使病患加增, 也可能公眾地方的人群及很多人沒有戴口罩引起.

So, after much discussion and prayer, we decided to postpone our reopening indefinitely. It is true that most of the state of California is officially in Stage 3 as of last Friday, and that churches are eligible to begin "in-person services." It does feel strange to remain closed while so many businesses have reopened and the freeways are jammed again with traffic. Yet we also acknowledge that the nature of church gatherings is inherently more risky because of the dense quarters and personal interactions. So, we cannot blindly follow the lead of the business community that is dependent upon opening to survive. 
經過禱告及商議後, 我們決定無限期延後重開. 雖然上週五加州已進入第三期的開放, 教會可以有實體聚會. 其他生意已重開, 高速公路已回復塞車, 而我們仍要關閉的確感覺不自在. 可是, 我們得承認在教會集體聚會是具危險性的因有人際的互動. 所以我們不能盲從生意行業所為, 因他們需謀生.  

We ask for your understanding and patience as we continue to seek wisdom throughout this pandemic. We are not waiting for the caseload to drop to zero or for no risk at all...that may never happen. We are waiting for the curve to begin a sustained decline before we consider reopening the campus. In the meantime, the Reopening Task Force continues to meet regularly and make plans for reopening when it is safer and wise to do so.  May God have mercy, and may His abiding presence and peace sustain you and your family in these uncertain times. 
懇請你們了解及忍耐, 我們會繼續在此疫情中求智慧. 我們不會等到完全沒有人患此症或是完全再沒有危險性, 這是不可能的. 我們等疫情受控制後再考慮重開. 在此期間, 重開工作小組仍繼續開會, 計劃在安全可行情況下重開教會. 求神憐憫, 願祂的同在和平安在此不明朗的日子保守你們和你一家.

In the mighty name of Jesus,
Pastor Godfrey
以耶穌大能的名字
譚旭光牧師
六月 23, 2020 by Pastor Frank

不知道大家是如何信主的?有沒有什麼特殊的日期,或是某種記號,讓我們常常能 夠記得被上帝的愛觸摸?今天我們要來看雅各生命的其中一個轉折點。為了這個轉折,他 築壇獻祭,好叫他能永遠記得上帝的作為。我們來看到創世記28章16~19節:

16雅各睡醒了,說:「耶和華真的在這裏,我竟不知道!」17他就懼怕,說:「 這地方何等可畏!這不是別的,是上帝的殿,是天的門。」18雅各清早起來,拿 起枕在頭下的石頭,立作柱子,澆油在上面。19他給那地方起名叫伯特利 ([28.19]「伯特利」意思是「上帝的殿」。);那地方原先名叫路斯。

從過去幾次的分享當中,我們看到雅各如何渴望上帝的祝福。他用盡各樣方式,用 騙的,用計謀,先是得著長子的名份,後得著長子的祝福。當然方法不對,他也因此而付 上代價。當他逃離哥哥的怒氣要往他舅舅家的路上,上帝與他親自相遇。從今天的經文我 們看到,雅各在一個地方休息,當天夜裡上帝讓他看見一個異象,就是有天梯,而天梯的 最終點就是上帝的同在。當下雅各害怕,因為過去他風聞有的神,那個他用盡辦法想要得 著祝福的上帝,如今真真實實的顯明在他夢中。不只如此,上帝還親自祝福他,如同上帝 如何祝福他的父親,他父親的父親一樣。借用約伯的話,過去風聞有神,如今親眼見神。 為了這樣的神聖的奇遇,雅各醒來後就築壇,獻祭,將那地方改名叫伯特利,就是上帝的 殿,紀念他第一次真實的神相遇的時刻。

我們是否也有類似的經歷。過去可能聽過很多關於基督信仰的事,也聽了不少道。 但你還記得是什麼樣的契機,讓你真實與上帝相遇?是什麼樣的故事,讓你願意放下過去 的堅持,如今願意倚靠上帝的應許?你還記得那個記號,那個時間嗎?讓我們再次回到當 時的景況,再一次的確認我們的信仰。

又或許,在網路上的你,聽過很多關於上帝,關於耶穌。又很可能,你與我一樣是 在教會長大的,但基督的信仰還停留在這是我爸媽的信仰,這是牧師講的信仰。你還在摸 索,到底我所聽到這麼多有關上帝的事情,是否是真的?你渴望上帝親自向你顯現如同雅 各的經歷一般。好不好我們也向神禱告祈求,上帝你是否如同經上所記載?若是,求你真 實在我們生命中顯現,好讓我們過去風聞有你,如今親眼見你!

弟兄姐妹們,讓我們好好珍惜上帝初次觸摸到我們的那個時刻,那個感動,好讓我 們永遠記得上帝的真實,讓我們信仰永遠有回頭的契機。

六月 19, 2020 by Pastor Frank

雅各應該算是聖經當中爭議性相當大的一個人物了。創世記27章當中,我們看到 他如何靠著媽媽的出謀劃策,從爸爸那裡騙得長子的祝福。或許有人會懷疑,上帝為何要 祝福一個這樣糟糕的人。我在第26章的時候,也簡單的解釋過,雅各從他的各樣的行為 上看到了不可取之處,但是上帝之所以選擇他,是因為他的心態。他珍惜上帝的福份,他 看上帝的祝福為至寶。相對於他的哥哥,以掃,我們不難理解為何上帝要選擇雅各。 但是,今天從創世記27章,我們要看到,即便上帝理解雅各對祝福的態度,但上 帝還是要雅各為自己所行的不合神心意的抉擇付上代價。從另一個角度來說,雅各用盡方 法,算盡機關,最終上帝讓他為自己的行為得到很大的教訓。我們來看雅各得著什麼樣的 教訓:

『43現在,我兒,你要聽從我的話:起來,逃往哈蘭,我哥哥拉班那裡去,44同 他住些日子,直等到你哥哥氣消了。』

我們從這章的經文看到,雅各因著施計謀騙得了長子的祝福,他的哥哥以掃就大發 怒,揚言要殺了他的弟弟雅各。這時候,他們的母親利百加就對雅各說,要他先避風頭。 當時的確是對雅各來說最好的決定。他們的籌算也是合理的。沒想到,就因為這樣,雅各 遭遇了人生最大的兩的失敗。第一,後來我們知道,雅各被他的舅舅算計,害他做了14 年的苦工。第二,就是當初原本想說可以等哥哥氣消了就回來,確遲遲等不到。最終,他 再也沒有見到最愛他的母親了!

我想從雅各身上分享兩個領受。第一,雅各的確騙過了以撒,但自始至終,他都沒 有騙過上帝。如果我們還記得,當時利百加在懷孕的時候,上帝就曾預言過,她肚子裡的 兩個孩子,將來大的必要服事小的。所以雖然看來是雅各騙過了父親,但最終也只是應驗 了上帝的預言。第二,雅各為了他用人的方法所謀取的祝福,即便是好的重要的東西,也 因此而經歷的不必要的苦難。他被舅舅騙,是他自找的。他再也看不到母親,也是因為他 用了錯誤的方法。從結果論來說,雅各是蒙福的。但從過程中來看,他付上了極大的代價 。因此我要提醒我們每一個人,千萬不要從結果來看自己是否蒙福。我們更要常常去檢視 這過程。我們是否因著倚靠自己的方式去得著一個或許是從神而來的祝福,而在過程中失 去了什麼。上帝沒有阻止雅各去得著他想得著的。但也在過程中,讓他學習到很重要的功 課,就是都當要倚靠神。

弟兄姐妹們,讓我們學習不只要渴望上帝的事,更也要渴望在上帝的時間與上帝的 方法中得著上帝所應許的。如果我們只靠自己的方式,縱然得著了,確也受到許多不必要 的挫折與失敗。雅各就是最好的例子。讓我們學會求神的的心意,用上帝的方法,等候上 帝的時間。

六月 16, 2020 by Pastor Frank

我們從小就聽到一句俗語,吃虧就是佔便宜。但是這句話在日常生活中似乎沒什麼 好處。甚至,我們往往不願意吃虧。有些人會開玩笑,我什麼都吃,我不挑食,但我只有 兩個東西不吃,就是不吃虧,跟不吃醋。今天我們也看到了一個吃虧的例子,主角是以撒 。但是,我們卻真實地發現,當他願意吃虧的時候,卻因此領受上帝的祝福。到底他吃了 什麼虧,又為什麼吃虧。從當中,我們才能明白為何上帝要祝福他。

『22以撒離開那裡,又挖了一口井,他們不為這井爭競了,他就給那井起名叫利 河伯。他說,「耶和華現在給我們寬闊之地,我們必在這地昌盛。」』 從創世記26章當中我們看到,當時以撒住在基拉耳。要知道在遊牧民族時代,井 很重要。因為有井,才有水,有水,才有祝福。因為水能給牲畜喝,也能種植農作物。我 們就看到,當時有一口井因為年日久矣,已經沒有用了。但是以撒確能夠重新挖出來。我 們要注意到,以撒是寄居在這個地的。也就是說當時的人住了那麼久,都無法挖出這口井 。以撒確蒙福,得著這口井。這時候基拉耳人反過來說,這是我們的地,這口井是我們的 !以撒怎麼辦?他選擇退讓,他找別的地方挖。結果,又挖出一口當地人從沒找到的井! 基拉耳人又來,又跟他爭搶。以撒一樣的,吃了虧,退讓,又繼續挖井。第三次,又給他 挖出來了!這時基拉耳人才停止跟他搶奪。我們看的兩次以撒都選擇退讓,選擇吃虧。但 是一次又一次,上帝讓他蒙福。我想從這裡看到兩個重點。

第一,從22節最後以撒所說的,我們看到自始至終,以撒都相信上帝會祝福他。 他說,耶和華給我們寬闊之地。從他能更挖出別人挖不出來的井,他就深信上帝給他與他 父親的應許。因此他願意吃虧,是知道他的神既然給他挖井的祝福,不然不會虧待他。所 以他兩次的退讓,都是因為他願意等候上帝的祝福。

第二,我們也看到,因著他的退讓,是上帝的祝福也能夠祝福其他人。上帝給以撒 恩典,讓他能夠挖出井來,不只祝福了他,更祝福了基拉耳人。不只一次,還是兩次。如 果我們看到經文的最後,基拉耳人最終因著看到上帝如何透過以撒祝福他們,也看到以撒 的退讓,而開始對上帝真神產生敬畏。他們來找以撒立約,因為他們知道以撒的神是賜福 的神。

弟兄姐妹們,我們相信上帝必使我們蒙福嗎?你相信在上帝當中,必然富足嗎?若 是相信,或許我們也會因此而更願意犧牲自己一點點,不是因為吃虧,而是因為信靠。另 外,上帝使我們蒙福,不是單單要我們自己享受,更是要使外邦人也能得著。因此我們要 常常數算神的恩典,也常常分享上帝的恩典。盼望我們都能夠成為神恩典的器皿與祝福的 出口!

六月 15, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

It is a painful time for our nation, and like you, I have been troubled. The news of the deaths of George Floyd, Officers David Dorn and David Patrick Underwood and others over the past few weeks, along with nationwide riots, looting and anarchy, have weighed heavily on my heart and mind. And now, as I prepared to publish this blog, news comes out of Atlanta of another officer-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks, and more community anger and destruction. Part of the anguish I feel is helplessness, because these events are so far beyond my control. Sometimes I do not even know how to feel, and other times I feel ashamed for being desensitized or angry. Death and destruction at the hands of man ought to provoke raw emotions.

I hurt for the family of George Floyd, who died unjustly and inhumanely under the knee of a police officer while handcuffed. I hurt for the many in the black communities grieving and angered by violence they have suffered. I hurt for the family of 77-year old retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn, also an African-American, who was murdered while protecting his community during the rioting. I hurt for the many hundreds of peace officers who have been injured and some who have been murdered, just in the past few weeks. I sorrow over the damage and destruction of life, property and businesses. And I lament the hostile and angry rhetoric that fuels the heat while suppressing the light.

Habakkuk 1:2–3(CSB)2 How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save? 3 Why do you force me to look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates.

We cry out for justice for Floyd’s family. We call out for justice for Dorn’s family. We seek justice for all who have been victims of injustice. And we realize that in our own hands, we cannot make right all of the wrongs. We can only pray that the justice system will do its work, and that those who do wrong will be held accountable. But even when justice is served, and the guilty parties rightly punished, we acknowledge that there is still pain. The hurt never fully goes away. The anger only subsides somewhat. So, like the prophet Habakkuk, we cast our eyes to heaven and cry out to God—not only for His justice, but for His peace to bring an end to the violence and His power to forgive those who have trespassed against the innocent.

Amidst the ugliness, I find glimmers of hope and good news for which I am thankful. I am thankful for the peaceful expressions of hope for change in public gatherings, prayer vigils and memorial services. I am thankful for churches and Christians who have brought the hope of the Gospel into the heat of the fire. I am thankful for the dedicated service of men and women in uniform and in the hospitals to protect and save lives.

I am thankful for young people like Antonio Gwynn, Jr., an 18-year old African-American teen who took it upon himself to clean up the streets of his hometown Buffalo overnight after it was trashed. (And, I am also thankful he was generously rewarded with a Ford Mustang and a college scholarship after the news media reported on his actions!). I am thankful for the U.S. Constitution and especially the First Amendment that guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, the press and the rights to petition and assemble. How cherished are these rights in such a time as this.

Is there hope?
Looking ahead, I wonder about the future of America: can we expect and hope for lasting peace? Will there be permanent changes that lead to greater goodness and love? Will the relationship between the black community and police change for the better? Will we be a more just and fair society? Can we still affirm the “U” in USA?

When I cast my eyes to heaven, I am hopeful. I have hope because of the Cross. I see in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice at Calvary all the sin, anger and cries for justice concentrated like a laser onto one person at one point in time at one point in space. Our Infinite God brought forgiveness and reconciliation into our finite world. Hope came, and I have this hope today because of the work that is being done in His name and in the spirit of the Gospel. I have hope because the Church is being the salt and light in our communities. May God be praised!

The Futility of the Politics of Power
On the other hand, I am not hopeful because of what is done in the spirit of radical and secular humanism. Human beings have always been on a perpetual quest for more—more power, more wealth and more control. But God’s Word tells us that these humanistic, Godless endeavors only lead to more misery and misfortune. Everything done “under the sun” is futile. Whatever is wrong with society will repeat itself. “Whatever has been done will be done again.” Hear what the Teacher wrote in the Bible thousands of years ago: Ecclesiastes 5:8(CSB)8 If you see oppression of the poor and perversion of justice and righteousness in the province, don’t be astonished at the situation…

The Teacher is certainly not saying that we must accept injustice. Rather, he is expressing the reality of the human experience apart from God. Human beings have always experienced oppression and injustice under those with power…it was as true in his day as it is in our day. They are symptoms of a sin-sickened human race that is beholden to the quest for control and power. Those who are oppressed today often become the oppressors of tomorrow.

The Hope of the Gospel
On the contrary, when we begin with a biblical foundation—that every person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)—then real transformation and hope for change can begin. Can you imagine a world in which everyone sees each other through the Heavenly Father’s eyes—not according to the color of their skin or their socioeconomic status—but as sons and daughters of the living God? We can only imagine…

But snapping back to reality: we live in a world where sin has corrupted, and everything has been corrupted by sin. People only accept Genesis 1:27 in theory. In practice, we all secretly hate and are hated (Romans 1:28-32; Titus 3:3). And so we cry out in despair as we see daily acts of injustice and violence: who can save us? What hope is there that all people can live in peace? Thanks be to God…through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 7:24-25). In Christ, sin is forgiven, hearts are cleansed and minds are renewed. When we repent of our own sin and are reconciled with God through His Son, we begin to understand Genesis 1:27—that every person is created in the image of God.

We begin to understand that there is now no longer any distinction between Jew or Gentile, slave or free, or male or female; that we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). The Gospel of Jesus Christ was, is and will always be the most important and lasting agent of social transformation and unity. Every non-discrimination declaration we read today (e.g. race, creed, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, physical ability, marital status) owes its origins to the New Testament.

The “Gospel” according to BLM

But this Gospel message is not what we see and hear in the news media. Rather, the agent of hope and change according to the media’s narrative is the movement known as Black Lives Matter (BLM). It has literally gained celebrity status—with famous actors and athletes aligning themselves with BLM and confessing their sins of racism and “white privilege.”

While I reflexively agree with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” and can accept it at face value, I wonder: what exactly is the BLM movement? What is driving this train and where is it going? Can we put our hope in BLM for peace, hope and love? Does it have Christian foundations? As a follower of Jesus Christ and a student of the Bible, should I support it? To find the answers, I went straight to the source: BLM’s own statement of beliefs on their website.

When I compare God’s Word with BLM’s own statement of beliefs (https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/), I find a major disconnect. This is not to say that BLM people are bad people, or that the goal of equality and justice for blacks is wrong. However, much of BLM’s beliefs are not rooted in Scripture, and, I will argue below, even contrary to God’s Word. As such, I cannot support BLM.

Rather than finding spiritual kinship with the biblical preaching of Martin Luther King, Jr., the BLM movement appears to build its philosophical foundations on secular ideas of equality, liberation and power politics. While it is certainly better to not quote Scripture at all than to quote it incorrectly, the absence of the Bible in a document that is supposedly about rights, equality and justice is quite telling. After all, our modern principles of human rights are derived from the Bible. Without God, men are mere biological creatures with no inherent rights worth defending.

BLM is not solely about empowering and seeking justice for black people. It is also explicit in its affirmation of the LGBTQ movement (in the context of the black community):

“We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression…We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking…”

Affirming gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and queers is nothing remarkable in society today. And, according to BLM, blacks who identify as LGBTQ suffer double injustices and harm, so to explicitly include members of this community is just a natural extension of BLM’s fight for rights. Yet, God’s Word has never changed regarding His holy will for sexuality and gender. To promote an LGBTQ agenda is to deny God’s Word on the matter.

More than affirming what is unbiblical, BLM makes clear that its goal is to remove and tear down all traditional (i.e. biblical) teachings and understandings of sexuality, gender and the family. In other words, it is not just about advocating for groups that are considered to have been oppressed, but also “dismantling” the ancient structures and beliefs that are seen as oppressive.

“We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege.”

This means if you are a boy and identify as a boy, you must be stripped of your privileges for identifying as such. Same with you girls who identify as girls. Gender and sexuality are not objective realities; they are individually defined and subjective. Therefore, any system that favors traditional ideas of sexuality and gender must be overthrown.

“We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’ so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.”

It is unclear what this statement means, but the implication is that patriarchy (male headship), or at least the expression of patriarchy in the work accomplished in each household, is bad for mothers.

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

Again, the statement is unclear to me and what is meant by “disrupting” the “requirement,” but the implication is that the nuclear family structure—a father and mother nurturing and taking responsibility for their offspring—is inadequate if not downright wrong. It is such a radical idea that I have only heard about this in one other place: Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, in which he advocated for the “abolition” of the traditional family structure as part of a communist utopia.

According to God’s Word, however, the nuclear family is at the center of God’s design for society (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). To want to “disrupt” this feature of civilization is not only dangerous to me, but an affront to biblical teaching. Certainly, every family needs and desires support from the whole “village” (neighborhood, church, school, soccer team, etc.), but these are secondary structures to the nuclear family.

What is also notable in the statement about family is the absence of “father.” Patriarchy is explicitly denounced, and fatherhood is never mentioned (while “mothers” are mentioned often). This is counter to God’s Word, which affirms and commands the great responsibilities of being a father.

In summary, I cannot support the BLM movement. Instead of advocating for a return to the principles in the timeless Word of God, BLM is advocating for the dismantling of social structures according to the current wisdom of man. Instead of achieving peace and mutual respect with others through the Gospel, BLM seeks its attainment through politics and human activism. Instead of finding that reconciliation with God through the cross will lead to reconciliation with others, BLM sees salvation only in fighting for political power and recognition. In the words of Ecclesiastes, this is “futility” and will only lead to more antagonism and oppression. “What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

So, what can we do?

What can we as Bible-believing, Gospel-proclaiming Christians do to bridge the divide, bring healing and foster reconciliation? How can we encourage positive reforms? Obviously, there are no easy, quick fix solutions. But this I know: if the problems in our society are not just unique to America but are endemic to all mankind throughout its history, then the only solution is God. God and man must be reconciled, sin must be atoned for, and reconciliation effected through Jesus Christ and His Church.

Let us first pray. Without prayer, we too would only strive according to our flesh. Pray in the power and love of Jesus’ name. Pray with, for and alongside our black brethren, many of whom are hurting more than we can ever understand. Pray that the centuries of prejudice and injustice suffered by our fellow human beings—simply for having black skin—to be overcome by the power of the Gospel. Pray for our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ to influence their communities with the Gospel and continue the spiritual revivals that are already taking place.

Pray for an end to bitterness, that those who have been painfully affected by violence and abuse in their communities would be able to forgive because of Jesus. Pray for moms and dads to seek the Lord as they rear their children together…that each nuclear family would be the starting point of a good society. Pray that every person might know that they matter and are loved, not because they are black, but because they are wonderfully made by God in His image. Pray for an end to the cycle of violence that is tearing apart and taking the lives of so many in black communities. In just the past week, dozens of African-Americans have been murdered in Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore and New York. I grieve for their families who must bury their loved ones. May God have mercy and be just.

Let us serve. Let us get involved by crossing racial boundaries and get involved in Gospel work together. There is great value and blessing in joining together with people of all colors who love God and want to make Jesus known. I pledge as your pastor to continue to seek opportunities for us as a church to bring Gospel blessings to people of diverse backgrounds through partnership with churches and ministries that help to bridge communities of different colors.

Let us love. As God gives us opportunities, let us love and be loved by our black neighbors, coworkers and classmates. Let us reach out in friendship and demonstrate that color is no barrier to those who know Christ as Lord. I honestly believe when people can embrace, pray together and share a meal in Christian friendship (after COVID-19, of course), the walls of suspicion, prejudice and demonization will begin to fall. That is what Jesus did (e.g. John 4) and that is what we ought to do as well.

The Hope for Righteous Law Enforcement

There is a huge chorus calling for reforms and even defunding police departments. Let me first address the call to defund police. Frankly, it is short-sighted and foolish. Moreover, it is clear from Scripture that God has ordained government authority to “bear the sword” and “punish wrongdoing” (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-14). And this was written by apostles of Jesus who were not living under Christian-friendly authorities. The existing Roman and Jewish leaders were often anti-Christian. Yet, the apostles exhorted believers to submit to all authorities, not just for their own sake but for the sake of Christ.

On this side of heaven, someone must have the authority to enforce laws. In some parts of the world, where the police are corrupt or inept, powerful gangs have arisen to take the role of law enforcement. Clearly, no one is advocating for gangs to become the new police force, but the point remains: someonemust enforce laws. Defunding the police force will only result in re-funding another kind of force. “And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 2:19).

As for police reforms, my prayer is that every department will examine and build its policies and procedures on a Gospel-foundation of compassion and justice. Not that police officers are necessarily evangelists for Jesus, but that police work must be informed by the vision of a biblically just and compassionate society. At its foundation, policing must begin with the biblical worldview of every person’s value (again, Genesis 1:27) and based on the ideal “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I wholeheartedly agree that officers who knowingly and blatantly violate the image of God in others must be removed and even prosecuted according to the law. The reputation of law enforcement is constantly at stake, and there should be no tolerance for those who do injustice when they have sworn to uphold justice. Of course, we also understand that no officer is perfect no matter how well-trained, so consequences should be commensurate with the nature of their violations. Nevertheless, the stakes are too high to tolerate serious misconduct by those who literally have the power of life and death in their hands.

Again, what can we do?

Let us pray. Pray that our police officers and policies would be guided by the biblical vision of justice, compassion and our common creation in the image of God. Pray for meaningful reform for those departments that need reforming, especially in black communities. Pray that God would guard the heart of every officer from cynicism and anger as they deal with lawbreakers and prejudice. Pray that they can handle the stress of the job with grace and strength that comes through Christ. Pray that they might “bless and not curse” those who are hostile (Romans 12:14), turning potentially violent encounters into opportunities for compassion and trust building. And, pray for their protection, as they face dangers daily from those who intend to do them harm. In just the past week, several officers have already lost their lives to anti-police assassins. I grieve for their families. May God have mercy and be just.

Get involved in local citizen and neighborhood committees that work with the police. Attend city council meetings and speak up about police matters. Write a note of thanks or make suggestions to police commanders. I personally have communicated with our local police department in Fountain Valley to give feedback and found it was appreciated. Honor them and speak well of them as ones who have been ordained by God to promote justice and peace. To those of you wearing the uniform and badge, may God enable you to be a model of the biblical vision of a just and compassionate officer of the law. And to you who are considering a career in law enforcement, may God guide you and keep these things in heart as you prepare for it.

A Final Word of Hope

While I am still troubled and the daily news reports continue to evoke more pain and anger, I do have hope for change; I do have hope for America. I have hope because in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all things are possible. Reconciliation between the black community and the police. Honor and respect for people of all colors and for the men and women who are sworn to keep the peace. Justice for those who have been victimized. Healing for those who have been hurt. Forgiveness for those who have been wronged. More laws, more anger and more politics cannot do it; only the God of the Gospel of Jesus can give hope for lasting change, one heart and one mind at a time.

In his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed these words of hope to a nation torn apart and grieving the numerous dead in a war that sometimes pitted brother against brother: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”

六月 12, 2020 by Pastor Frank

感謝主,我們再次在空中相會!今天的牧者分享,要從創世記25章以掃賣長子名 份的這個故事來分享。其實這個故事有兩個角度,一個是以掃賣長子名份,但另一個角度 是雅各施計騙長子的名份。但無論哪一個角度,這個故事的記載要提醒我們一件事,哪就 是我們對於上帝的福份到底有多看重。而雅各之所以成為上帝所揀選的那一個兒子,就是 因為他看重上帝的福份,即便有時候用的手段是不正當的。讓我們一起來看經文的描述。

『34於是雅各將餅和紅豆湯給了以掃,以掃吃了喝了,便起來走了。這就是以掃 輕看他長子的名份。』

從故事當中我們看到,當天是以掃辛苦了一天,在外打獵。而雅各知道哥哥的習慣 ,也很聰明的故意在哥哥打獵回來的門口,或許甚至算準的風向,在那裏煮紅湯。聖經這 裡記載的是紅湯,後來又說是紅豆湯。當然這個紅豆湯不是我們華人所習慣的哪一種,而 是一種用豆子跟肉煮出來的湯。所以味道很香。而以掃打獵了一整天,想當然的肚子絕對 很餓。因此他從遠處回來,就聞到這個熟悉的很香的味道,更是讓他受不了。他向雅各要 東西吃,要湯喝,雅各就預謀性的提出一個條件來,就是長子的名份。對以掃來說,這個 時候,長子名份又算什麼?他想不出長子的名份有什麼意義。也不能吃,也不能喝,更不 能賺錢。老實說,雅各就所得著了長子的名份,他也不能做什麼。當然,這是在人的眼光 裡面的。所以以掃輕易的就賣給雅各了!

我想這裡有一個很大的對比,那就是雅各與以掃對於長子名份的態度的對比。我們 有沒有想過,長子的名份到底有什麼意義?我們想像中國歷代皇帝,為什麼會有宮廷內鬥 ,就是各個皇子想辦法拿到太子的位份,因為這代表著將來做皇帝的第一順位。而聖經當 中,長子將承受上帝給那個族的福份。簡單來說,長子有Rights可以得著上帝給族的所有 應許。所以,得著長子名份的,所在乎的是上帝的賜福與應許。當我們看到以掃,為了眼 前能夠馬上飽足的小小一碗紅湯的祝福,而賣掉了永恆上帝的應許,難怪上帝會說,以掃 是輕看了上帝。而相反的,雅各為了永恆的福份,無所不用其極的安排,計畫,煮湯,算 風向,看出他對上帝的福是何等的渴望。

我們有沒有想過這個故事對我們的提醒是什麼?我們是否也常常跟以掃一樣,用短 暫的利益換取長遠的祝福?做生意的,我們會不會因為利益,而選擇做了一些不合神心意 的決定?做父母的,面對教導孩子的時候,我們會不會因為短暫的休息,選擇用電視,網 路,電動,代替我們陪伴他們的時間?我們每一個人,是否會因為想多睡一點,而犧牲掉 與上帝靈修的時刻?讓我們好好到神面前來尋求,禱告,或許我們會發現我們在許多時候 在不經意當中,用了一碗紅湯換走上帝原本要給我們的祝福。讓我們透過這樣的反思,尋 改變我們的習慣,讓我們更多在乎上帝的祝福,為此付上代價!

六月 9, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!歡迎再次來收看牧者分享。今天我們要從創世記24章,亞伯拉罕如何吩咐他的僕人為以撒找妻子的對話來學習我們如何為自己的事禱告。我特別要從第8節來分享,因為這也是當初我在尋求是否要跟師母交往的時候,在禱告中上帝給我的經文。讓我們一起來讀,

『8倘若女子不肯跟你來,我使你起的誓就與你無干了,只是不可帶我兒子回那裡去。』

亞伯拉罕吩咐老僕人的這段對話很精彩。從當中我們可以學習到很多有關如何為自己的事情禱告的原則。我們禱告的時候,一定會為自己所關心的事情禱告。可是怎樣的為自己禱告是合神心意的?這裡的禱告,是亞伯拉罕要為他的兒子找妻子。首先他多次提醒僕人,所有的祈求,都需要是按著耶和華神起誓的。意思是什麼?意思是無論做什麼決定,或是最後結果如何,都需要是以神為中心的。這也是為什麼亞伯拉罕堅持不讓以撒自己去找,而是讓老僕人去。因為,以撒是承受上帝產業的,就是迦南地。他不應當離開迦南地。亞伯拉罕知道,若以撒出去了,就很可能被外地的人,尤其是女子,吸引,然後就離開應許之地。這是完全違背上帝的心意的。為以撒找妻子很重要。讓以撒自己去找或許更容易一點。但是,卻可能會帶來誘惑,導致離開神。我們又看到,亞伯拉罕提醒老僕人,這個女子,若是上帝所預備的,必須要願意離開她的家,來到迦南地。這是對上帝的信靠,相信上帝早有預備,也是透過順服神的指示來信靠祂。所以,在為自己禱告的第一件學習,就是以主為中心。無論結果如何,無論怎樣的禱告,都不可以離開神的指示,也 不可違背上帝的心意。我還記得有一次在教會為某一個生病的弟兄禱告。結束之後有一個會友就跑來跟我說,傳道,我很感動你今天的代求。因為你禱告的時候,是以上帝為中心的。你說,主求你,若你願意,醫治這過弟兄的疾病。但無論如何,都求你安慰,施恩。這個會友說,大部分他所聽到的,都好像人可以扭動上帝的手行醫治。但是,往往我們卻忘記,主權在神手中。

今天的經文也提醒我們第二件事。在禱告自己的事情時,當影響到另一個人的自由意志時,我們要特別小心。曾經聽過一個笑話,有弟兄跑去找一個姐妹,說他禱告,上帝要他們在一起。這個姐妹就回說,可是上帝要我不跟你在一起啊!弟兄姐妹們,合神心意的禱告,絕對不可以影響另一個人的自由意志。亞伯拉罕提醒,當我們仰望上帝,當我們按主的吩咐禱告,若這個禱告牽涉到另一個人,例如在亞伯拉罕的情況下是另一個女子,哪就要等候。因為若出於神的,彼此都會有上帝的感動。當初我在禱告是否要與師母交往,上帝就提醒我這個原則。是的,我有感動。但是,我也要學會等候與尊重對方的禱告。所以當我們禱告婚姻,禱告工作,禱告任何一個我們想要的但需要另一方的同意的時候,我們要學會等候與接納另一方也有選擇的權利。我們必須相信,出於神的,一定會彼此有感動。若是任何一方不願意,就必須相信上帝有更好的安排。過去這幾年的搬家,找房子的經歷,讓我深刻體會到這樣的功課。但最終,我也更信靠上帝,因為他所給我們的,是最好的,即使過程中有很多因我們想要卻拿不到的房子感到失落。

為自己禱告是很不容易學習的功課,盼望今天的分享,能幫助大家一點點。願神祝福!

六月 5, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

我們原訂計畫要在六月10日的週三早上與晚上的禱告會,並六月12日週五晚上的團契小組時間重新開放教會聚會。

但如今因過去這一週南加州各地有實施宵禁,我們教會重啟團隊前兩天開會討論後決議將重啟的日子延後到七月一日的週三禱告會。而因這週剛好是國定假日長週末,所以你的團契小組不見得會有週五聚會,你可能需要跟你的組長確認週五是否有聚會。

至於大家最關心也最期盼參加的主日崇拜聚會,我們計畫先在七月份透過較小的聚會人數操練新的聚會模式,是遵行社會安全距離並其他一切的政府的規定。因此當我們再次回到教會聚會的時候,請期待聚會人數會相對的少,並且我們會採用『預約』的方式來控制與會人數。

至於週日的主日學以及兒童事工,因為這樣的聚會需要考慮的因素較多且更難符合現有的規定,所以請敬請期待並請大家耐心等候。

謝謝大家問卷調查的回應,我們都有仔細閱讀過你們所留下來的建議與反饋,且當我們決定要延後時,這些成為我們決議中很重要的考量。我們也知道,雖然加州已經進入重啟的第三階段(包括教會可以開放),但仍然有許多人因為新冠肺炎的確診數字持續增加而對教會是否實體聚會感到不安。

對因著今天的報告而感到失望的弟兄姐妹,我有與你們相同的感受。我非常期盼能趕快與你們再次聚會,即便是從較小的群體開始。願神在等待的時刻賜給我們耐心與盼望。

六月 5, 2020 by Pastor Frank

幾個月前在新冠病毒才剛開始嚴重的時候,我去了Trader Joe’s 買東西,在結帳的 時候看到有噴手液,我就拿了一罐想說試試看。後來到了車上,師母問說這一罐多少錢, 因為網路上很多人在討論。我就拿出帳單來想看到底多少錢,結果發現沒有價錢。當下第 一時間我想這是不是贈品,畢竟是在結帳櫃檯拿的。但是師母提醒我,或許是櫃檯的沒有 刷到。我就下車,回到櫃台,請他們再結一次,的確這一小罐不到2元美金。我不知道有 多少人會花這樣的時間的力氣去要求再結一次帳。或許有些人就會因此想,反正那是櫃檯 不小心的,也許真的是贈品,然後就開車走了,當作是免費的。但是這真的是聖經的教教 導嗎?今天我們要從創世記23章,亞伯拉罕為他的妻子撒拉買墳地的過程,來探到這樣 的事情。

創世記23章記載當時亞伯拉罕寄居在希伯崙,當地的地主是赫人,是迦南地的其 中一族,不是以色列族之一的。亞伯拉罕去找赫人要買一塊地來安葬撒拉。赫人因著亞伯 拉罕的名聲,提出願意將這塊田地,包括田間的洞,都送給亞伯拉罕。如果是你,你會不 會接受?免費的喔!但是我們看亞伯拉罕怎麼說:

『你若應允,請聽我的話。我要把田價給你,求你收下,我就在那裡埋葬我的死人 。』

亞伯拉罕不願意免費拿這塊地,他定意要按照價錢把這塊地買下來。簡單來說,他 不願意欠赫人人情,也不願意貪小便宜。這跟我們華人的文化與習慣似乎不太一樣。我們 的父母輩,特別是在台灣,總會去菜市場買菜的時候多要一點蔥,多要一點蒜。去吃喜酒 ,菜都還沒上完,就拿出自備的塑膠袋打包。更別說如果有人多找了一些錢,或是少結了 某一個帳,我們或許都會覺得今天好幸運,賺到了。可是這不是聖經的教導。亞伯拉罕為 什麼要堅持付錢?原因很簡單,就是他不願意落人口實,尤其是外邦人。他很清楚知道, 他不應當免費佔便宜,即便是他人自動的願意給。今天拿了免費的,日後是不是當他們有 求於他時,他也不好拒絕?尤其這是外邦人的地,更不應當在外邦人中做不好的見證,讓 別人認為他的神沒有能力,還需要信別的神的人免費給地。

從這個角度來說,也進一步的解釋亞伯拉罕為何必須付錢。他要讓赫人知道,我是 富足的。我的神是富足的。我不需要去貪這一點點的錢。我的神給我的絕對夠用。弟兄姐 妹們,我們在這個世上,是不是也會碰到這樣的誘惑?或許你會說,這沒有什麼。多拿一 點又沒怎樣,攤販也不在乎。可是你會不會因此而失去做見證的機會?當大部分的人都貪 小便宜,而你卻誠實的面對,會不會因此而有機會做見證?我好幾次都因著櫃檯少找了錢 ,或是算錯,主動回去修正,結果讓櫃檯或是店家覺得很稀奇,也很感恩。或許在這樣的 對話當中,就是我們表明基督門徒的身份,以及我們作為主門徒的不一樣。更在過程當中 ,不落人口實,被世界所利用。

弟兄姐妹們,我們的神給我們的是足夠的。我們不需要貪這樣的便宜。如果我們需 要要一點這樣的便宜才能夠得到我們想要的,或許這不是我們需要的。亞伯拉罕因為相信 上帝的供應是足夠的,因此他不願意接受世界的好處。你我呢?我們是否有這樣的信心, 是否有這樣的信靠呢?

六月 2, 2020 by Pastor Frank

我曾經分享過,信心的建立是經過時間的,不是一朝一夕就可以得著的。今天我要 從創世記22章亞伯拉罕獻以撒的故事分享另一個關於信心的角度與提醒。

在這一章當中,我們先是看到上帝為要試驗亞伯拉罕,所以要求他獻他好不容易得 來的孩子,以撒。我們需要先明白這個決定的背景,也就是上帝要試驗亞伯拉罕什麼。我 們知道以撒是亞伯拉罕100歲才得著的孩子。也知道這個孩子是上帝不斷的應許的。也就 是說,上帝事實上是在試驗亞伯拉罕是否對上帝的應許有信心。上帝說祂必要賜福給亞伯 拉罕使他的後裔如同海邊的沙天上的星星一樣的多。現在好不容易這個應許已經實現了, 上帝又要他把他拿回去。我們要想像一下亞伯拉罕的心情。他是帶著怎樣的態度與心情去 面對獻以撒的事?特別注意到第10節:

『亞伯拉罕就伸手拿刀,要殺他的兒子。』

這句話寫的很簡單,親描淡寫的記述了這個過程。但是我們可以想像亞伯拉罕的心 情是多麽的複雜。這是好不容易得著的孩子。但是上帝又要我信靠祂,要我交託出去!上 帝應許我的後裔會很多,會不會我聽錯了?上帝是在跟我開玩笑吧?面對這麼不合理的要 求,加上要亞伯拉罕『親手』拿刀殺他自己的兒子,這真的是很掙扎的。弟兄姐妹們,我 想要分享關於信心的角度,就是信心的建立是透過不斷的掙扎而被建立的。亞伯拉罕掙扎 ,你我面對很多上帝要我們交託的事情也是很掙扎。但只有在這些掙扎的過程當中,我們 才慢慢學會信靠與相信。

當了父親之後,我更能深刻體會亞伯拉罕的難處。我有時候會想,如果哪一天上帝 把我的孩子拿走,我會怎樣。我肯定會向上帝拼命的!但是我又曾禱告上帝我的一切都是 屬於你的,可是孩子我就是放不下!或許面對的不是生死問題,而是當我們的孩子不是按 照我們想像的成長,或是按照我們的想像去做選擇,我們是否願意『親手』真的將他們交 給神來帶領?事實上,放下,是最難的功課。

面對生命當中還有什麼是我們放不下的?有哪些是如果上帝要你我『親手』拿刀殺 了,就是親手交出來,我們會很掙扎,我們會百般的不願意?讓我們學習不斷的在掙扎中 信靠上帝。即使一次失敗,下次再來。這就是信心增長的功課。

最後,我還是要鼓勵大家,上帝都知道我們的掙扎,他也都曉得我們的難處。但是 他等我們願意。我們不知道亞伯拉罕花了多久時間才順服並做出行動來。但上帝等待他的 決定。一樣的,我們的神也用說不出來的嘆息為我們禱告,好讓我們願意甘心樂意的順服 。就讓我們接受掙扎,經歷掙扎,最後能做討神喜悅的抉擇。

五月 30, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

Hello! As we prepare to reopen our church campus, we need your input. Please answer the questions in this survey by June 3. Thank you.

https://us19.list-manage.com/survey?u=baa3b569e65bd2404b1d5cd8c&id=b5059eb7b5

五月 29, 2020 by Pastor Frank

我們在困難中,或是在生氣的時候,通常怎樣能讓我們恢復愉悅喜樂的心情?有些 人可能是看電視,或是吃東西,也有些人會打電動,或找人說話。但是碰到極為困難的事 情的時候,面對無法解決的情緒,有什麼能真的帶給我們喜樂呢?

今天我們要從撒拉身上看到她如何得著喜樂,而且這個喜樂是有影響力的。我們必 須先再次了解撒拉無法喜樂的困難。我們知道她到了將近90歲都還沒有生育。之前我也 解釋過,在聖經中上帝的祝福往往是與地與後裔有關係。所以,一個女人若無法生育,會 讓人認為這個女人不蒙上帝的祝褔。撒拉因著這個緣故心裡總是有所疙瘩。再加上,她自 作主張的讓她的使女與亞伯拉罕同房,結果就懷孕了還生了一個兒子。這個使女因此母以 子貴,開始說一些酸言酸語,讓撒拉更不是滋味,心裡更是不好受。再者,當上帝的使者 來到她家,跟亞伯拉罕預言必有一個孩子要從她而出,而她看看自己的景況,肚子都沒有 動靜,甚至連到了月經都停了,還是沒消沒息,她更是絕望。面對這樣的無解的難處,我 們可以想像她是多麽的鬱悶。但是,今天在創世記21章我們看到撒拉笑了。為什麼?是 什麼讓她得著歡笑?

6撒拉說:「上帝使我歡笑,凡聽見的人必與我一同歡笑」,7又說:「誰能預先 對亞伯拉罕說,撒拉要乳養孩子呢?因為在他年老的時候,我為他生了一個兒子 。」

經文紀錄了撒拉在90歲,亞伯拉罕100歲的時候,真的按著上帝的預言生了一個兒 子。在不可能的情況下,撒拉居然生了一個兒子。我們可想而知撒拉的喜悅。她的羞愧, 她的鬱悶,她被她的使女的欺負,以及長期被人的指指點點,終於得著了解脫!難怪她會 說,是上帝使我歡笑!

從這段記載當中,我想跟大家來分享兩點。第一,真正的喜樂是從上帝而來的。俗 語說,解鈴人還需繫鈴人。很多時候我們的苦難,我們失去笑容,是因為我們對情況的無 解與不滿足。我們想要掌控,卻發現控制不了。因著這樣的景況,又加上人的言語與想法 ,使我們更是難受。我要鼓勵大家,上帝是我們的造物主。唯有祂知道我們生命中發現的 一切事情與原因。祂是一切事情的繫鈴人,因此也只有祂能夠解鈴。當我們從祂那裡得著 答案,我們自然就會再次擁有笑容。第二,這樣的喜樂是可以傳染給人的。因著我們得著 那人得不著的喜樂,因著我們的笑容,我們周遭的人是可以被感染的。我認識一個姐妹, 在癌症末期的時候因著倚靠上帝得著平安與喜樂,以致當她在安寧病房的時候,因著喜樂 的歌唱與分享,讓其他病房的人也被感染到,甚至因此帶領一個曾經的基督徒回到上帝的 愛中。

或許你現在正在困苦中,不知道從哪裡得著真正的快樂。你試著用各樣的方式想要 麻醉自己,或是逃避,但還是不快樂。好不好我們到上帝面前來,將我們一切的苦悶交託 ,向我們的主來訴說。我保證,上帝會用人意想不到的方式,使你得著喜樂。因為祂是一 切喜樂的源頭!

五月 26, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

Brothers & Sisters,

The end is near! The end of the shutdown of churches meeting on campus is getting closer. The 11+ weeks of only meeting online might finally end in the near future.

We've heard recently from both the President ("churches are essential") and the Governor on guidelines for the phased reopening of churches. For this we are thankful. 

We have no exact timeline or formal statement yet about reopening our church, as the leadership continues to monitor the news and government statements. A Reopening Task Force has already met a few times and will meet again this Wednesday night after prayer meeting.

However, for your consideration, here is some general preliminary information we've already discussed and is consistent with state and county guidelines:

  1. We will reopen in phases, beginning with small, limited gatherings (e.g. prayer meetings).
  2. Safety measures will remain in place, at least in the beginning: social distancing, wearing masks, temperature screenings, sanitation and disinfection, etc.
  3. The elderly, immuno-compromised or those with symptoms of any kind of infections (i.e. coughs, colds and flu) will be asked to stay home.
  4. When worship services resume, the seating capacity will be restricted and a system will be in place to limit worshipers on campus.
  5. Online options (e.g. live-streaming of worship services, online offerings) will continue, and some may become permanent.

In order to begin planning for reopening, we need your help. A survey will be emailed to you soon, and we ask you to complete it. The data we receive will help us determine if, when and how to restart the various ministries on campus. 

Most importantly, we ask that you pray: for our leadership, the Reopening Task Force and for everyone, including yourselves. We understand that while there is a lot of excitement about reopening the campus, there is also a wide variety of strong and differing opinions. Some believe we need to be very careful and err on the side of caution, while others believe we need to reopen now and err on the side of faith that the Lord will protect.

All sides have valid arguments, so let us not look down on others who do not share our opinions. Instead, let us pray, discuss and even debate with grace and listening ears. May the Lord unite us in spirit and mind, as we together seek the best for our church and glorify God.

I think of Paul's words to the Philippian church (below). We have all contended for the Gospel, so let us remain united as we move forward in faith, hope and love. And let us rejoice always... let us say it again: REJOICE! 

Together for the Gospel,
Pastor Godfrey 

五月 26, 2020 by Pastor Frank

如果我們在不知情的情況下犯了罪,我們會因此而承受上帝的審判嗎?今天我們要 從創世記20章當中,上帝與亞比米勒的對話裡探討這個答案。還記得之前亞伯拉罕下到 埃及,騙了法老王說他的妻子撒拉是他的妹妹,害得法老王全家受懲罰,最後把亞伯拉罕 趕走。今天在第20章我們又看到了亞伯拉罕做了同樣的事情,而這次的苦主是亞比米勒 。再一次,亞伯拉罕謊稱他的妻子是他的妹妹,而亞比米勒不信有他,照樣想把撒拉取去 。同樣的,在夢中上帝把實情告訴了亞比米勒。今天我們不再探討為什麼亞伯拉罕沒有吸 取前一次的教訓。但是我們要來回答這個問題,就是亞比米勒是在不知情的情況下差點犯 了姦淫罪,上帝會以此審判他嗎?讓我們來看上帝在夢中對亞比米勒的回應:

6『我知道你做這事是心中正直;我也攔阻了你,免得你得罪我,所以我不容你沾 著她。7現在你把這人的妻子歸還他;因他是先知,他要為你禱告,使你存活。你 若不歸還他,你當知道,你和你所有的人都必要死。』

從上帝對亞比米勒的回應當中,我們可以看到兩個提醒。第一,上帝不會因人的無 心之過或是無知而歸他為有罪。上帝告訴亞比米勒說,我知道你做這事是心中正直。意思 是,上帝知道亞比米勒並不是刻意或是故意的犯罪。他並不知道撒拉是有夫之婦。當亞比 米勒取了撒拉,他心中是正直的,動機是合宜的。上帝也不因此而歸他有罪。不只如此, 上帝更主動的提醒他,攔阻了他,免得他做了不可挽回的行為。但是第二,上帝仍然會歸 他有罪如果他不因此而停止。起初的行為是在不知道情況下造成的,上帝可以免責。但是 若被提醒後,被攔阻後,還一意孤行,那就是明知故犯,刻意侵犯上帝的主權了。上帝說 ,我要因此而懲罰,且亞比米勒與他的所有人都會因此而被罰。

在這裡,我想與弟兄姐妹一起來反思。很多時候我們或許無意間行了上帝眼中看為 錯的事。尤其我們有許多人信主的時日不長,或是這幾年才開始更進一步的認識上帝的心 意。當我們更多認識上帝之後,知道上帝的心意,才明白過去我們可能做了不討神喜悅的 事情,或是我們現在正在做的事是上帝不喜悅的。我要告訴你,過去因為你不知道,上帝 不會因此而歸你的罪。但是,若你不願意就此打住,停止這樣的行為,上帝必定會因此而 審判你我。以前我們不知道如何對孩子說話,只用過去父母親對待我們的方式對待。如今 我們知道這些方法不討神喜悅,甚至造成孩子心靈上的傷害,我們就要學會悔改,改變。 過去我們做生意的方式或許法律上是合法的,但是是在神國國度裡不合神心意,我們就不 能因為習慣的手法而不改變。

這也同時提醒我們,我們現在按著我們所被提醒,所領受的,竭力去行,上帝必然 會接納,神也會接納我們的正直。若神不喜悅,祂必然會提醒,會攔阻。所以我們不要輕 看自己現在的生命,不要輕易被魔鬼撒但控告。

讓我們學習注視上帝的眼光,渴望上帝的評價。重要的是,讓我們常常與主建立關 係,因為唯有如此,我們才能明白上帝如何看待我們,也更能聽到上帝的提醒與攔阻。

五月 22, 2020 by Pastor Steven

Dear FCBC Family,

It has been twelve weeks since we last gathered together as the church due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. I thank God for technology and how we have been able to continue to worship together through livestream and have prayer meeting, fellowship, and Sunday School on Zoom video calls. As each week passes, we miss our time together all the more. We long to meet, sing, pray, fellowship, and just be together. At the same time, as each week passes, we see the growing effects of the pandemic on the world around us. We see the number of people infected, the lives lost, as well as the damage done to the economy, with businesses closing and unemployment rates reaching record highs.

In the recent weeks, there has been increased talk throughout our country on reopening the economy and resuming our lives. We hear updates from Governor Newsom and President Trump, along with many other political and medical officials, as well as countless other opinions for and against what they say. Some people think it is too soon to go back, as the number of infections continue to rise and there is still no vaccine or cure. Others think we should have been able to resume life a long time ago, as long as people are careful and exercise safety precautions. Some are unsure what to believe, as they hear various theories about what is going on, while still others question the statements and motives of politicians in the midst of the upcoming election. Some people dismiss those who want to continue to stay at home as being ruled by fear, while other people accuse those who want to go back as being selfish, reckless, or elevating their freedoms above all else. There are so many differing views and opinions on this topic right now, possibly even within your own household.

For this reason, I especially ask you to pray for our church leadership in this time, as we discuss the details of our church reopening. We recognize there are some who are very eager to come back and worship and fellowship together, while others are hesitant and willing to continue to meet online for the time being. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for our church leadership as we plan for the eventual reopening, while also carefully considering the various risks and concerns. Just as importantly, please pray for humility, patience, love, understanding, and unity, as we recognize the differing views and timelines even among ourselves and seek to work together for the glory of God. I look forward to the day that we can all worship and meet together again.

May God be Glorified in Our Lives,

Steven Lee

五月 22, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹,平安!感謝主,我們能再次用這樣的方式一起來思想上帝的話語。今天 我們要來看創世記19章,紀錄所多瑪蛾摩拉的毀滅,特別要注意到羅得的太太。在24-26 節這樣的記載:

『24 當時,耶和華將硫磺與火從天上耶和華那裡降與所多瑪和蛾摩拉, 25 把那 些城和全平原,並城裡所有的居民,連地上生長的,都毀滅了。 26 羅得的妻子在 後邊回頭一看,就變成了一根鹽柱。』 我們不難發現一個很奇妙的對比。前一個記載是上帝毀滅這裡一切的,包含居民, 地上生長的。而下一個景象我們看到羅得的妻子轉頭看。她要看什麼?她為什麼要看?事 實證明,無論她想看什麼,都已經不見了。更何況,看了,反而讓自己成為鹽柱。從這段 的記載,我想分享幾點。

第一,羅得的太太之所以轉頭看,是因為她不願聽上帝的警告。因為在17節,天 使已經吩咐羅得一家,趕快跑,不可回頭免得被剿滅。看來羅得的太太不太相信天使的話 。她或許不覺得看一眼會怎樣。也許覺得上帝不會這麼慘忍。那是她對上帝太多的不認識 。事實證明,上帝是信實的,上帝怎麼說,就會怎麼的發生。弟兄姐妹們,我們要對上帝 的話認真,因為上帝是信實的。聖經所記載上帝的話語,包含上帝所說一切的懲罰都會發 生的。我們千萬不要輕視或是忽略,也不要錯誤的以為上帝不會施行公義。我們當要小心 !不然我們會因著我們的小信或是不信而遭遇如同羅得太太的遭遇,到時就已經後悔莫及 了!

第二,羅得的太太之所以轉頭看,一方面是她不相信上帝的警告,另一方面也看到 她如何在乎那些她必須捨棄的東西。她回頭看因為她放不下。這章記載在逃亡的過程中, 羅得一直都不願意離開,若不是天使強迫,強拉,他還是不願意走。這也證明了羅得一家 對所多瑪蛾摩拉的生活有許多的留戀。可是很震撼的是,那些他們所留戀的,卻是留不下 來的東西。經文記載所有的一切都被毀滅。羅得的太太為了那些被毀滅的轉頭,失去性命 ,真的是划不來啊!這也提醒我們,當我們決定跟隨耶穌的時候,我們就當捨棄過去的一 切。無論是物質上的,生活上的,任何不討神喜悅的或是會影響我們與神的關係。我們有 沒有什麼是我們還不願意,還時不時轉頭回去看的?千萬不要讓這些留不住的東西拉扯我 們,讓我們失去上帝的救恩與保護。

弟兄姐妹們,讓我們定睛仰望在唯一的主,那暨慈愛又公義的主。千萬不要小看上 帝的話語。也讓我們學會放下那些不重要,影響我們與神關係,那些當滅的事物。願上帝 祝福大家!

五月 19, 2020 by Pastor Frank

歡迎再次收看五月19日的牧者分享。今天我們繼續從創世記18章來分享。今天我 主要要從13~14節來與大家分享我的領受。

13 耶和華對亞伯拉罕說:「撒拉為甚麼暗笑,說:『我既已年老,果真能生養嗎 ?』 14 耶和華豈有難成的事嗎?到了日期,明年這時候,我必回到你這裡,撒拉必生一 個兒子。」

在經文中我們看到上帝差派三個神人來再次宣告亞伯拉罕將要有一個兒子,而且這 次給了確切的時間,就是在明年這個時候,且是從撒拉而出。我們也看到亞伯拉罕與撒拉 的反應。他們當然是不相信。因為第11節已經提到,撒拉已經斷了經。從人的角度來說 ,從醫學的角度來說,要撒拉生孩子那是不可能的事情。但是神人知道這兩夫妻的想法, 他就直接點明的說,在耶和華豈有難成的事?這句話很常被拿來用。在教會裡我們也常常 聽到這句話。『在上帝豈有難成的事。』但是我們知道這句話對我們信徒來說有什麼實際 上的影響?

第一,這裡說到在神裡面沒有什麼是難成的事。神是超越一切,高過一切的神。在 人看為不能的,在醫學上看為不可能的,神都能。為什麼?這是一個創造者與被造者的不 同。我們是被造的。所有一切有的知識,認知,想法,科技,醫學,都屬於被造。上帝造 人,並在人心裡頭腦裡放下一切的知識與科學。所有的知識,科學,醫學,都應當幫助我 們更多了解上帝的創造。因此,科學不斷進步,醫學不斷改變,越來越發達。從這個角度 來講,當下的科技或是醫學所認為不可能的,實際上不見得,只是還沒發展到可以的地步 。而上帝是創造者。他當然能夠成就一切,因為一切都是他所造的,他有全能。事實也證 明上帝能夠。因為在隔年,按照神人所預言的,亞伯拉罕與撒拉真的生了一個兒子名叫以 撒。

第二,在上帝豈沒有難成的事,這句話也提醒我們,既然上帝都能,但現實中上帝 並沒有成就某些事,不是因為上帝不能,而是上帝不要,或是暫時不要。面對現在的新冠 病毒,上帝能不能夠使疫情馬上停止?當然可以!在上帝豈有難成的事!但是上帝為什麼 沒有停止?或許我們更要想上帝為什麼還不停止。上帝要我們學習什麼功課?是否我們還 有沒有認罪的,無論是自己,還是團體?我們需要問的是,上帝我還要學什麼?

最後,在上帝豈沒有難成的事,也提醒我們上帝都知道。正如上帝知道撒拉心裡的 不信,亞伯拉罕心裡的懷疑,他也知道你我真實的信心。我們無須躲藏,只要單單真實。 當我們理解這句話的時候,我們是帶著一個被造者的真實來面對那創造者的全能。正因為 上帝都能,所以我們不害怕我們的不能與限制。

弟兄姐妹們,讓我們學會倚靠那凡事都能的上帝。真實在神寶座前。並學習一點一 滴的倚靠他,經歷他,好讓我們也能真實的宣告,在上帝豈有難成的事!

五月 15, 2020 by Pastor Frank

我們有沒有想過,上帝為何要差祂的獨生愛子來到世上為你我而死,好使我們能罪 得赦免?今天我們要從創世記17章當中更深了解上帝為什麼要這樣做。

創世記17章一開始就記載了上帝為亞伯蘭改名為亞伯拉罕,也為撒萊改名為撒拉 ,就是多國之父與多國之母的意思。之後,就再次與他立約,並再次宣告必有後裔從亞伯 拉罕而出,而且是從撒拉而生的。這個約的內容是因亞伯拉罕在上帝眼中看為義,就是他 願意無論如何信靠上帝,因此上帝必使他與他的後裔在上帝所賜的地土上長久,也必使他 的後裔極其繁多,國度從他而立,君王從他而出。作爲立約的另一方,亞伯拉罕與他的後 裔並家中所有的男子都要行割禮,作為立約的記號。接著,在第19節,上帝就如此的宣 告:

『不然,你的妻子撒拉要給你生一個兒子,你要給他起名叫以撒。我要與他堅定所 立的約,作他後裔永遠的約。』

在這裡,我們就看到了上帝為何要差他的愛子來為我們捨命。原因只有一個,那就 是我們的神,是一個守約施慈愛的神。從以撒身上我們可以從幾的重點看到上帝是如何的 守約施慈愛。首先,以撒這個兒子,是上帝與亞伯拉罕立約並上帝守約的憑證。這裡說到 ,我要與他堅定所立的約。上帝要與以撒堅定所立的約,是因為上帝起初與亞伯拉罕的約 。你們知道嗎,所有的列祖當中,亞伯拉罕,以撒,雅各,只有以撒在迦南地出生,就是 上帝立約所賜的地,並一生沒有離開過迦南地。亞伯拉罕是從外地回到迦南地。雅各中間 因為與哥哥搶了長子名份而逃離開迦南地,且最終死在埃及。只有以撒,一個立約之子, 一生在上帝的應許中不曾離開。這成就了上帝起初說的,要在上帝所賜的地土上長久。因 著亞伯拉罕在上帝面前的義,因著他選擇無論如何最終都信靠上帝,上帝看他為義,因此 以撒得以享受約的福份,長久住在應許地上,享受流奶與蜜的好處。

第二,以撒也是蒙恩的象徵。以撒什麼都沒做,聖經對他的記載相對的少,不是他 爸爸幫他找妻子,就是他後來處理兩個兒子的事,當然還有其中與亞比米勒王的過節。但 他一生都是領受上帝的恩典。他的蒙恩,是因為上帝施恩。他什麼都沒做,但也沒有太多 違背上帝的旨意。

從以撒的身上,我們可以明白耶穌的十字架。上帝之所以要差祂的愛子為我們死, 是因為祂的守約。上帝渴望祂的子民一生在祂的應許之地上享受。先是伊甸園,後是迦南 地,當然在現今與將來是那以臨未臨的永恆國度。耶穌為我們死,好讓我們能夠成就約的 條件,就是割禮,就是潔淨。當我們潔淨了,就能夠在上帝所賜的地土上國度裡長久。

耶穌的死,十字架的彰顯,更是上帝施慈愛的確據。我們蒙恩不是因為我們做什麼 。我們蒙恩只是因為上帝愛我們,正如上帝愛以撒一樣。耶穌甘心為我們死,是因為上帝 的慈愛。而我們,只要學以撒一樣,單單享受上帝的愛,上帝的信實,一生遵守神的道, 不要離開祂的國度,遵守他國度的所有律例典章,我們就能永遠在神國度裡蒙福。

弟兄姐妹們,約的一方是上帝的守約施慈愛。但在約的另一方,是我們要願意行割 禮,得潔淨,信靠耶和華,並紀念十字架的慈愛。讓我們好好遵守神的道,到老不偏離, 好讓我們能長久在神的地土上,並使我們的後裔也能有機會存留在神的國度裡。

五月 12, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!歡迎再次收看今天的牧者分享時間。我們有沒有過埋怨上帝的經驗 ?我們能夠挑戰上帝嗎?怎樣的埋怨,或是挑戰,是上帝能夠接受的。而當我們錯誤的埋 怨的時候,又會怎樣呢?我想今天用撒萊的例子來分享。 創世記16章記載亞伯蘭的妻子撒萊沒有生育。當時的反應是什麼?

2 撒萊對亞伯蘭說:「耶和華使我不能生育。求你和我的使女同房,或者我可以因 她得孩子(得孩子:原文是被建立)」。

我們看到了撒萊的反應。她認為她之所以不能生育,是因為上帝的關係。是上帝故 意讓她不生育的。在當時的社會,能不能生育很重要。因為生育攸關一個人的榮譽。聖經 中上帝的賜福是在於地土與後裔。因此沒有生育,那是看來表明一個人不蒙福。這也難怪 撒萊反應那麼的大。這也是為什麼她會對亞伯蘭說,你與我的使女同房,生孩子,我就能 因為是我的家裡的使女而得著建立,洗刷羞恥。所以,撒萊的指控是有理的嗎?也不盡然 。原因有幾個。

第一,撒萊對上帝的指控是出於自己的想法。不要忘記上帝在前一章才應許了亞伯 蘭他的後裔要如同天上的星星一樣多。而且上帝還說這後裔必然是從亞伯蘭而出。所以, 撒萊說上帝故意不讓她生育,那是她自己的錯誤想法。如果上帝不要她生育,為何要應許 後裔必從亞伯蘭而出?上帝並不是要咒詛撒萊,只是上帝的時間未到。因此撒萊的指控是 有問題。那是她自己對上帝的認識不夠,信心不夠。相對於亞伯蘭,他不明白的時候他就 問。撒萊卻沒有,直接自己下定論,一定是上帝不愛我。

第二,撒萊不只誤解上帝,更私自用自己的方式達到她自己的目的。其實她很聰明 。她當然知道上帝有應許亞伯蘭,後裔必是從他而出。但是撒萊就想,只說是從亞伯蘭而 出,沒說一定從我而出啊!所以她自作主張的讓亞伯蘭與她的使女同房。這是撒萊的小聰 明,也是她的詭計。這是一石二鳥的作法。一方面她的名可以洗刷羞恥,另一方面也不違 背上帝的應許。但是結果呢?卻是自討苦吃。因為後來,她的使女夏甲反過來騎在他主母 的頭上,母以子為貴。問題出在哪裡?問題出在撒萊走在上帝前面。

她沒有詢問上帝,是不是可以這樣做。也沒有求告上帝,所謂的子嗣一定必須是從 她而出嗎。她只是埋怨,只是懷疑。對比後來的哈拿,一樣不懷孕,但哈拿到神面前。哈 拿也是埋怨,但她將她的苦情求告上帝。

我們能不能向上帝埋怨?可以,但重點是向上帝訴苦。我們可以不解,可以不明白 ,但我們當要學會求問上帝。因為當我們沒有求問的時候,那是對上帝的不公平。我們並 沒有讓上帝有機會顯明祂的計畫與心意。我們更走在上帝面前,結果卻是不堪設想。以實 瑪利,這個用自己方式生出來的孩子,他的後裔成為以色列人往後最大的敵人之一。從此 以撒的後裔與以實瑪利的後裔爭鬧不斷。

弟兄姐妹們,好不好讓我們學會用對的方式來求問上帝。我們學會用對的方式來埋 怨神,給上帝機會顯明祂的心意,絕對不要走在上帝前面,用自己的方式。

五月 8, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!想問大家,信心是怎麼來的?是與生俱來的嗎?是像魔術一樣的說 有就有嗎?我想從今天亞伯蘭在創世記15章與上帝的對話中,一起來思想關於『信心』 的領受。我們對亞伯蘭的認知,是他被稱為信心之父。但是他之所以是信心之父,並不是 一開始就是,也不是都有信心。他也有懷疑,也有不信,或是不確信的時刻。但這些過程 中他最終都選擇相信上帝,所以才會被稱為信心之父。讓我們來看今天的記載。

1這事以後,耶和華在異象中有話對亞伯蘭說:「亞伯蘭,你不要懼怕!我是你的 盾牌,必大大地賞賜你。」

一個信心之父,聽到上帝這樣的應許,應該就馬上相信了吧!其實不然!因為我們馬上看 到亞伯拉罕開始跟上帝對話。他說,你看我,現在無子無孫,難道是以利以謝嗎?原來在 當時的觀念,如果沒有子嗣的話,就由家裡最資深的僕人接管產業,而以利以謝就是那個 人。亞伯蘭只看到他的現況,就想或許是指以利以謝吧。但是耶和華更直接說,不,只有 從你而生的才是所應許的那個。這時,上帝就將他領到外面,讓他看著天上的星星,告訴 他他的後裔會與這些星星一樣的多。第六節,『亞伯蘭信耶和華,耶和華就以此為他的義 。』亞伯蘭真的信了嗎?是,也不是。因為我們後來會看到,下一章亞伯蘭就用自己的方 式,為自己生了一個孩子。但是我想從這章來對信心做一個總結。

首先,亞伯蘭之所以會有後面的信心,是因為他真實。他對上帝的應許不是毫無疑 問的。他真實面對上帝,把他心中的疑問說出來。從某個程度來說,這也是信心的一部分 ,是願意表現自身的軟弱,自己的真實面,那是對上帝的信靠才能願意展示的。我們能夠 得著信心,首先需要學會真實面對自己,不要假裝。

第二,信心是經過時間積累的。亞伯蘭對於上帝的應許的理解是漸進的。他承認他 不懂。他就問。問了,他似懂非懂,所以他繼續問。他的信心不是膚淺的,而是有確認過 的。我在服事的過程中,認識很多弟兄姐妹對信仰打破沙鍋問到底。老實說會很煩,但也 很尊重。因為那是信仰的過程。你知道什麼樣的人信仰相對的堅固嗎?就是那些在過程中 問很多問題的,當他信的時候也會很堅固的信。

第三,上帝知道我們的心,所以這裡說耶和華就以他為義。這意思是,在當下的景 況,亞伯蘭是信的。上帝看他當下的信心是好的。這不表示他之後不會有懷疑或是掙扎。 但是當下的信心,是真實的。在那時的理解,接受當下的認知,上帝看他為義。弟兄姐妹 們,這對你我是何等大的安慰!上帝知道我們的心。他接受我們在各時候的景況。我們只 要確認一件事,就是今天我比昨天有信心,就好了!畢竟,信心是漸進的。上帝接受我們 在各樣時刻的信心!

讓我們一起學習信靠的功課,也彼此鼓勵。這個功課無止境,盼望我們越加操練, 越加增長!願上帝祝褔你們!

五月 5, 2020 by Pastor Frank

很高興再次在空中用神的話語來與你們分享。今天我們要來看到創世記14章,當 時亞伯蘭的姪子羅得因著四王與五王的戰爭,因著所住的地方所多瑪屬於五王聯盟,結果 打敗了,被四王聯盟擄掠走了。後來亞伯蘭聽說他的姪子被抓了,就連同三個族的人,一 共318人,在夜間打敗四王聯盟,將羅得,並起初五王聯盟被奪去的财物一同搶回來,連 所有人都搶回來了。當他們回來的時候,這裡記載所多瑪王以及撒冷王麥基洗德都來迎接 他。這個撒冷王是誰?他不是五王聯盟之一,但聖經記載他是上帝的祭司。我們就看到, 麥基洗德按著祭司的身份為亞伯蘭祝福。

『19「願天地的主、至高的 神賜福與亞伯蘭! 20 至高的 神把敵人交在你手裡,是應 當稱頌的!」亞伯蘭就把所得的拿出十分之一來,給麥基洗德。』

我想從這個祝福與亞伯蘭的回應當中,來思想神今天給我的提醒。首先,我們注意 到麥基洗德的祝福。他說,願天地的主,至高的神賜福亞伯蘭。亞伯蘭帶著318的人去攻 打四王聯盟。要知道這四王聯盟有多少人?這是一個連五王都打不過的對手。聖經沒有記 載他們有多少人,但絕對是亞伯蘭帶去的人數的許多倍。更何況,亞伯蘭帶去的只是三個 族的族人,不見得是有經驗的軍隊。所以這是一個以小博大,甚至可能是以卵擊石的對戰 。但是我們看到亞伯蘭大獲全勝,還把當初被奪去的加倍奪回。麥基洗德,一個代表上帝 的聲音,祝福亞伯蘭,並提醒了他。亞伯蘭之所以可以得勝,是因為上帝天地的主,至高 的神賜福與他。若不是萬軍之耶和華的保護,他們斷不能得勝。第20節更直接說,是至 高神把敵人交在他的手中的!

接著我們就看到亞伯蘭的回應。這裡亞伯蘭將所得的十分之一給了麥基洗德。這是 聖經很清楚的記載那十一奉獻的例子。亞伯蘭之所以奉獻,是因為他明白接受麥基洗德的 祝福。他知道是上帝帶領。他甘心樂意的獻上十分之一。因為他知道,若不是上帝將敵人 交在他手中,他一分也得不到,更別說是十分之十。他之所以能奉獻,是因為上帝的祝福 。這裡的『拿出』,在語氣上是主動,不是被動的。意思是,亞伯蘭是主動的,願意的, 沒有被逼。他是甘心樂意的

從這裡,我想要提醒我們。我們是否明白,看見,正如麥基洗德所祝福的,我們今 天所擁有的,是至高的上帝將這些交在我們手中?我們是否願意看我們所有的而心存感恩 ?

我不曉得大家在奉獻的事上是如何到看待。但我還是要再次從亞伯蘭身上提醒,奉 獻是出於感恩的獻上。奉獻更是甘心樂意的獻上。讓我們一起藉著奉獻來再次被提醒我們 所有的,包括我們能夠得勝,都是上帝的帶領。願我們將一切榮耀與感謝獻給那至高的神 。因著如此,我們願意甘心樂意的獻上十分之一,甚至更多!

五月 1, 2020 by Pastor Frank

歡迎再次收看今天5月1日的牧者分享。沒想到五月這麼快就來到,我們居家防疫 也一個多月了,盼望大家都平安,有喜樂。也盼望這些日子的牧者分享能幫助大家更多專 注在上帝的心意,以及我們能夠怎樣更認識神,更討神喜悅。

我們今天來看到創世記第13章。上次我們提到亞伯蘭被埃及法老趕離開,然後它 就開始上到南地去。我們這裡再次注意到,上次我們說他遠離上帝是漸漸的。從應許地, 往南地,然後往埃及,是一個向下的方向。這裡相對應的,他在埃及被上帝教訓過後,它 就開始漸漸的回到上帝的應許。上到南地,又漸漸往伯特利去,回到起先築壇的地方。這 是一個往上的方向,也說明他的屬靈生命的恢復。而今天我要著重在第8 節:

『亞伯蘭就對羅得說:「你我不可相爭,你的牧人和我的牧人也不可相爭,因為我 們是骨肉(兄弟)。」』

我們怎麼知道亞伯蘭的屬靈生命是往上的?從今天的經文我們就看到他怎麼處理紛 爭。面對家產的增多,土地的有限,亞伯蘭與他的姪子羅得開始有了衝突。要知道,遊牧 民族很需要水源。有水就表示有草,有草才可以養殖牲畜。可是人越多,牲畜越多,水就 不夠大家使用了。這些紛爭就難免會產生。這時候,亞伯蘭如何處理就需要很大的智慧。 我們看到亞伯蘭的處理態度。第一,他主動找羅得來解決。他沒有逃避問題,反而是直接 面對問題。第二,他可以用他族長的角度來處理,但他沒有。他在乎和睦。和睦是最重要 的。第三,他願意這樣做是因為他看羅得為他的自己人,不是敵人。最後,他選擇退讓, 讓羅得先選。

我分享這些除了從當中看到一些解決衝突的原則,但更多我看到是一個人因著與神 恢復關係後,才有得著這樣的智慧。箴言說,『敬畏耶和華是智慧的開端。』亞伯蘭遠離 神,就做了不好的抉擇。但上帝有恩典,亞伯蘭也因此從中得著教訓,反而因此更警醒, 更渴望上帝的應許,而因著敬畏上帝做對的有智慧的抉擇。我想要鼓勵大家,你與上帝的 關係現在如何?是向下的,還是向上的?或許你才剛經歷了一些難處,是不是上帝在告訴 你些什麼?我們可以失敗,可以做錯。但更重要的是,我們有沒有從錯誤中明白上帝的心 意,而回轉歸向神?我們所面對的問題,挑戰還是在,與其用自己的方式處理,好不好我 們先學會敬畏上帝,讓上帝成為我們智慧的開端。相信我,靠上帝,比靠自己還來得好!

亞伯蘭因倚靠上帝,學會了用和睦的方式,用愛的態度,用大智慧來處理。雖然看 來他是退一步,卻因此得著上帝的更大的祝福。讓我們渴望上帝的祝福,而不是自己眼前 的小祝福,小利益。願上帝祝福大家!

四月 29, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

Brothers & Sisters,
I pray that this communication finds you well and safe in the Lord.

It appears that, for the first time, we might…MIGHT…have a little more clarity about if/when the church doors will reopen. Governor Newsom spoke yesterday and discussed four stages, of which everyone is now in the 1st stage (“stay at home”). Stage 2 involves re-opening lower risk facilities—which includes schools, childcare facilities, warehouses and offices.

Stage 3 is the stage we as a church are most interested in, as the governor specified that this stage includes “in-person religious services.” It will be at least several “months” away—whereas schools (in Stage 2) might reopen by summer. So, let the speculation begin: will churches reopen by September? I would hope a lot sooner, but that is my interpretation of the governor’s pronouncement. Of course, it all depends on how the “curve” goes—rising, flattening or (hopefully) falling. There are a few good signs these days—thank God.

Of course, reopening a church is not necessarily all-or-nothing—it will happen in phases. Again, we are still speculating, and as we follow the lead of our federal, state and local leaders, we will begin planning for re-entry as a church and how it will look to each of you. We will keep praying for wisdom from the Lord.

Stay tuned for further updates.

I’ve been reflecting lately about hands. Yes, literal hands—those things we shake with, wave with, cook with and basically do everything with. The Apostle Paul used the hand as part of the overall analogy of the Church as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:14-15, 21)…that the hand is no more or less important in the human body than the foot or the eye or some other less presentable part. The hand is also a literal picture of fellowship (Galatians 2:9)—that the grasping of hands and the use of hands to touch and show affection for others is an essential part of the human experience.

Today, for the first time in my life—I view my hand as a dangerous and even life-threatening part of me! I see the posters all the time, reminding me to (1) wash or sanitize my hands often, (2) avoid touching my face with my hands, (3) avoid shaking hands with others. Sometimes when I meet a neighbor in person, my first inclination is to go forward and extend my hand to shake the other as a gesture of friendship and warm greetings. But, I need to fight against that and remind myself, “Don’t do it; I might accidentally kill him (or vice versa)!”

I suppose this too is biblical…at least in a metaphorical sense. The Psalmist writes: Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully (24:3-4). The picture is of an evil man who has the stain of sin and guilt (blood?) on his hands. That man should not think that he can ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place.

It is a good lesson to remember that as our hands can be infected with bacteria and viruses (and the experts say there is no doubt they are), our hands are also symbolically unclean before the Lord. Which one of us can say that our spiritual hands are unsoiled and pure before God, so that He would want to shake and hold our hands?! None of us! Just as we would look at a dirty man’s hands and avoid him like the plague, so also does God look upon our “unclean hands.”

Is there any soap or sanitizer strong enough to wash away the stain of sin? “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Thank you, Jesus, that because of your precious flow my hands are washed clean—my garments made whiter than snow. Thank you, Father, that because of Jesus’ blood, You want to grasp my hands and lead me in the way everlasting!  

I long for the day when our literal hands will no longer be viewed as something inherently or potentially dangerous…yes, still bacteria-laden and still in need of frequent washing and sanitizing, but not SARS-COV-2 dangerous. I long for the day when I’ll be able to shake hands with someone and not worry, “Did we just doom each other to the coronavirus disease?” I long for the day when the warm touch of a hand will be received as friendship rather than fear of infection. Oh, what a day that will be! When that day comes, and the church doors re-open, I will still stand there and warmly offer to shake your hand, but I will not be offended if you decline or if you immediately sanitize right afterwards! I will be doing the same. 

Extending virtual hands of love,
Pastor Godfrey

 

四月 28, 2020 by Pastor Frank

歡迎再次來收看今天4月28日的牧者分享。今天我們要看到創世記12章,記載亞伯 蘭如何回應上帝的乎召,在還不知道要去哪裡的時候,離開他的本地本族本家,去上帝要 他去的地方。當然,我們後來知道上帝所要呼召他去的地方是迦南地。我們也看到亞伯蘭 的確到了上帝要帶領他去的地方,並且居住在哪裡。也就是說,雖然亞伯蘭原先不知道, 只是憑著信心跟,但最後經歷到上帝的帶領。但是我要讓大家一起來注意進到迦南地之後 的事。就是在第9~10節的記載:

9 後來亞伯蘭又漸漸遷往南地去。 10 那地遭遇饑荒。因饑荒甚大,亞伯蘭就下埃及去, 要在那裡暫居。

當時亞伯蘭因著環境的困難,因著有饑荒,就離開迦南地,上帝所應許的地方,去 到埃及。在這裡我想跟大家分享一個細節。我們有沒有發現,亞伯蘭是從迦南地慢慢的往 南移動?我們不知道什麼原因他要遷移到南地去。南地,實際上是迦南地的最南邊。而埃 及,就是從南地再往南經過一大片的沙漠後就到了埃及。也就是說,我們在這裡看到一個 往下的方向。當我們看聖經的時候,我們需要注意到如果有一個方向性的,無論是往上或 是往下,代表著不但是實際上地理的方向,更是表現一個人的屬靈狀態。這裡我們看到, 亞伯蘭的屬靈狀態是往下的。從迦南地,上帝顯現說我要將這地賜給你的後裔,這是一個 應許,結果亞伯蘭是越搬越下去,越搬越遠離上帝的應許。直到他完全離開的上帝的應許 地,去到外邦。從經文上我們後來看到,去到埃及也不是一凡風順。他必須要說謊,免得 他的太太被法老搶去。但結果還是被搶了,還害得埃及法老王與全家遭災,最後還被法老 趕離開。原因只有一個,就是他當時只看環境的困難,看到饑荒,卻往了上帝的應許。

我想對比一開始他對上帝的信心,在還不知道要去哪裡,在上帝什麼都還沒有成就 以前,他就願意信靠而跟隨,最後真的經歷到應許。可是後來呢?經歷到上帝又怎樣?還 是選擇看自己,看環境,而忘記上帝的應許。所以我要在這裡提醒我們所有的基督徒。不 要以為我們已經信主了,我們曾經經歷過上帝的恩典,我們也決定跟隨他,然後就有所鬆 懈。在不知不覺下,我們可能就會漸漸地忘記上帝起初的恩典與帶領。我們也許就會像亞 伯蘭一樣,漸漸遠離上帝的應許。不是信主就此一凡風順。不是信主就會天色常藍。反而 是我們要更加小心,注意,免得我們不經意的就遠離神。而當饑荒來的時候,當困難來的 時候,就是上帝在試驗我們是否還對他有信心。

亞伯蘭選擇用自己的方式來面對困難,忘記了上帝。而你我呢?我們有沒有忘記我 們的神?那個曾經帶領我們經歷一切的高山低谷的上帝。在面對眼前的困難時,我們是否 願意信靠他,而不是像亞伯蘭那樣的往下走,離上帝越遠,最後若不是上帝的救贖他早就

死在埃及法老的刀下了。讓我們不要遠離神,反而更要倚靠他,看上帝如何在困難中成就 ,因他曾經帶領過,他也必在這時帶領我們。

四月 24, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!感謝主讓我們能夠一起來聽祂的話,學習祂的教導,並且一同遵

行祂的話語。今天我們要繼續創世記第11章的分享。這章主要記載了巴別塔的故事。當時的人忘記了上帝曾經的救贖與教導,開始自以為是的想要建造一座塔,好讓他們能『跟上帝一樣』,塔頂通天。面對這樣的事情,上帝怎麼做呢?上帝就下來,變亂他們的口音,好讓他們不能成就他們想要做的事。或許有些人就會質疑上帝為什麼要這樣做。難道上帝嫉妒人跟他一樣嗎?難道上帝不要人同心合意的完成一件事情嗎?我們來看到第6節,耶和華這樣解釋:

6『看哪!他們成為一樣的人民,都是一樣的語言,如今既然做起這事來,以後他們所要做的事就沒有不成就的了。』

從這段經文當中我想要來分享幾點。首先,上帝並沒有質疑人的能力。這些人有他的專業,也很有能力。上帝知道他們能夠做什麼,畢竟我們之前也說過,人是按照上帝的形象所造的。人有恩賜,人有才能,這些都是神所賜的。

第二,問題出在人並沒有了解或是體會到,人之所以可以有這些才能,都是上帝所賜的。但是人以為是自己可以,自己很厲害,以為自己就能夠上達天上,與神一樣,甚至超越神。請問,如果上帝沒有阻止,他們能做到嗎?從第6節我們清楚看到,可以的!他們沒有什麼是不能成就的。但是,上帝卻必須要阻止。

這是因為第三,人雖有能力,但卻不見得是好的。甚至,這句話的意思是,如果人能夠成就這麼多事,難道人不能夠成就不好的事嗎?任何好的,壞的,人都能夠,而且還是用上帝所賜予的能力去成就。所以上帝必須阻止,特別是在這樣的情況下。

我們有很多的能力,也很多的成就。但是如果我們不能夠明白我們所擁有的一切都是神所賜的,且因此而歸榮耀給祂,這些成就就會成為毀滅他人的工具。一個成功的政治家,若不好好使用上帝所賜的能力,就可能會做一些危害社會的抉擇。一個牧者,執事,同工,若不好好使用上帝所給予的恩賜,就可能帶領羊群進入錯誤,遠離神。一個敬拜同工,若不好好使用上帝所給予的唱歌的恩賜,就會帶領人進入敬拜自己的錯誤裡。結果會是如何?上帝必然會制止,必然會中止,免得落入更大的失敗裡。

讓我們為我們所有的獻上感恩,禱告,千萬不要等到上帝把我們自以為的成就與恩賜才能拿走後,或是讓我們因著自大而造成的悲劇,我們才學會這樣的功課。也千萬不要僥倖,因為神必管教祂所愛的人。

今天分享就到這裡,我們下週空中再見!

四月 21, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!這週天氣要開始變熱,盼望大家能小心變化,做好預備喔!

我們要繼續透過創世記來思想上帝的教導。今天我們來到創世記10章。這章主要記載著挪亞的後代的家譜。老實說,以前看到家譜就直接跳過。但是慢慢的,當我對聖經更多熟悉後,開始能從家譜看到一些提醒。今天我就要來用這些的家譜與大家分享一些我看到的的提醒。

創世記10:1
『挪亞的兒子閃、含、雅弗的後代記在下面。洪水以後,他們都生了兒子。』

從這段經文當中第一個領受是看到上帝的保守與恩典。這裡看到,洪水以後,他們都生了兒子。這是一個新的開始,過去的腐敗都已經受到懲罰,而新的一代,新的生命在這裡開始。懲罰會過去,而過後都是新的。Life Goes On! 而上帝因著他與人的立約,也會使生命延續下去。

但是,同樣看到的第二點是,雖然都經歷了上帝的懲罰,救贖,與重新的生命,但結局卻是不同。挪亞的三個兒子,閃,含,雅弗,都經歷過造方舟,大洪水,然後也看到上帝如何拯救他們得以重生。可是,當我們看到家譜的時候,卻發現他們的後代不同。特別我看到含的後裔。仔細看他的後裔,有巴別,就是我們在下一次要談到的,那些想要超越神的人。含的後裔也還有尼尼微,是先知約拿被吩咐要去傳悔改信息的罪惡城市。我又看到了迦南,特別是迦南的後裔,是上帝後來吩咐以色列人進迦南地後必須滅淨的族裔因為他們信別的神。同樣的經歷上帝的救恩,卻沒有都繼續信靠上帝,為什麼?

這也是我想要來分享的第三點,哪就是從這個家譜當中看到信仰傳承的問題。為什麼含的後代沒有持續敬畏神?因為含自己本身就沒有做好信仰的榜樣。創世記第九章的結尾記載,當時挪亞喝醉的酒,發酒瘋,全身赤裸。含是第一個發現的,經文記載他不僅沒有先幫父親遮蓋,還跑去告訴其他兄弟父親的醜陋。而閃跟雅弗呢?他們聽到後,倒退著進房,然後馬上幫父親蓋上衣服。這代表著什麼?含面對羞愧的事,不僅不在意,還到處宣傳。他的父親喝醉,赤裸,他不僅沒有先想幫他穿衣服,還到處說父親的醜陋。就好像他在路上看到一個女生不知道什麼原因,裙子破個洞,他不只沒有想辦法先蓋住,反而大肆宣揚,大家來看!這表現出他對罪,對醜陋的輕視。也因為如此,他的·後代也才會如此的對罪開放。弟兄姐妹們,當我們對罪隨意的時候,我們的後代也容易對罪隨意。不是絕對,因為或許我們的後代會回轉。也不是我們敬畏了,後代就一定會敬畏,畢竟他有他的選擇。但當我們敬畏時,活出榜樣時,我們更有可能將信仰傳承。無論如何,我們必須知道,我們的榜樣會帶出什麼樣的後果。

從今天的家譜中我們看到,同樣都是經歷救恩的,同樣都看到上帝對罪的態度,我們的抉擇如何?我們是否因此而更警慎,敬畏神?還是我們繼續的一意孤行?盼望我們都能開始對罪敏感,嚴肅,並小心,因為當我們如此的時候,我們後代更走可能走在上帝的心意中。

願上帝賜福每一個敬畏他的人!

四月 17, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!願神賜福你們一切所需的,好讓你我能夠天天經歷上帝的供應與恩典。更重要的是,我們渴望每天領受從神而來的話語與提醒。今天我們要繼續看創世記第九章。當然這章節最經典最熟悉的,就是上帝用彩虹為記號,與挪亞與人立約。但我今天要從另一個經節來與大家分享。從今天的經文,我被提醒,我們是否有苦待其他人,特別是我們周遭的人。我們要用什麼樣的態度什麼樣的眼光對待其他人。

創世記9:6

『凡流人血的,他的血也必被人所流,因為上帝造人是照自己的形象造的。』

這段經文是上帝吩咐挪亞與他的兒子關於上帝會如何保守他們,但也同時提醒他們關於上帝期待人如何對待彼此。這裡說道,不可流人的血,因為上帝是按自己的形象造人的。人有上帝的形象。若我們流他人的血,就是流神的血,是侵犯上帝的形象了!從這裡,我被提醒我們為何要善待他人。

第一,因為他也是按著神的形象所造的。我們有沒有想過,我們每一個人都有上帝的形象?哥林多的教會問題很多,做了很多不討神喜悅的事情。可是保羅寫信給哥林多教會,一開頭就說,這信是給哥林多教會的『眾聖徒』。如果你在那個時候看到這封信,你可能會覺得,保羅是不是搞錯對象了?就好像保羅寫信給重刑犯說,我親愛的眾聖徒一樣。可是保羅為什麼這麼說?因為他知道上帝如何看待人。有哪一個人沒有罪?有哪一個人是完美的?但上帝仍然愛人,因為每一個人都是按著上帝形象所造的。每一個人都看為聖的。當然,更重要的是,上帝為了每一個人,賜下他的愛子耶穌來到世上,為每一個人上十字架。所以每一個人都可以稱為聖。所以,我們千萬不可苦待他人,因為當我們這樣做的時候,就是苦待上帝了,並侵犯上帝的神聖了!上帝說,凡流人血的,我,上帝,必討他的罪。

第二,因為討罪的的權柄是上帝,所以我們沒有人有權利去苦待他人,即便他是十惡不赦。我知道這一點很不容易做。我們很容易就因著對方的惡行而產生恨。但今天上帝提醒我們,要小心。討罪的權柄是在神,神自己會處理。中文說,不是不報,只是時候未到。又或許,其實上帝已經在討罪的,只是不是用我們想要的方式來處理,或是我們不知道。『伸冤在主』這是我們的唯一確信。因此,當我們因為他人的惡行而產生情緒時,讓我們學習『伸冤在主』的交託。千萬不可流人血。我們千萬不可嘗試去取代上帝,自己做上帝。

最後,我們的主吩咐我們要彼此相愛。他沒有說彼此相恨,而是要彼此相愛。這段時間我們會花很多時間與我們的家人相處。讓我們就好好學習彼此相愛。愛我們的家人,我們的配偶,我們的孩子。學習將我們的情緒交託給上帝,即使有時候他們真的不好愛。但永遠記得,他們有上帝的形象。讓我們學會常常在他們身上看見主的形象。

今天的分享就到這裡,讓我們好好的愛家人,愛周遭的人,愛社會上的人。讓我們藉由這個機會,更多學習愛的功課!我們下次空中見!

四月 14, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹,平安!又是新的一週,我們再次在空中相會。不知道你第一次在網路上過受難日與復活節的體會如何?我盼望,基督的十字架與空墳墓是超越一切的限制的。即便是在這樣的景況下,我們仍然可以思想基督的愛與救贖。

今天我要用創世記第八章來繼續我們的讀經分享。在這一章,我們看到挪亞的方舟經歷了150天的漂流,又經歷了40多天的等待,終於可以從方舟上下到陸地。我們看到當他一下船,第一件事情做的是什麼?是築壇獻祭。

20『挪亞為耶和華築了一座壇,拿各類潔淨的牲畜、飛鳥獻在壇上為燔祭。』

這短短的一節的記載,讓我看到幾個思想。首先,挪亞經歷了一場大災難,也在災難中得著救贖,他第一時間做的就是獻祭。獻祭,是獻上感恩。感謝上帝的拯救,上帝的憐憫,上帝的恩典。挪亞將一切的榮耀都歸給上帝。他知道他的性命是上帝存活的。他也知道若不是上帝看他為義,他的遭遇也會與其他人一樣。弟兄姐妹們,我們是否常常記得要獻祭,將一切的榮耀歸給上帝?我們是否明白,今天我還活著,今天我還有能吃能喝能享受這一切,是上帝的恩典?聖經說,凡事謝恩,我們是否願意將一切我們所擁有的都獻祭,感恩?曾經有一個牧者提醒,我們早上起來的第一件事情就是應當謝恩,因為我們還有一口氣,我們還活著。有沒有想過,我們今天還活著,這也是恩典?前幾此我提醒大家,世人都犯了罪。而罪的代價就是死。但今天上帝有所有的理由拿走我們的生命,但他還沒有,是因為他的恩典與憐憫,是上帝還存留我們的性命,我們還有未完成的使命要成就。

第二,我們看到挪亞的獻祭,是拿各類潔淨的祭物。我們常常禱告,但是否我們的禱告是潔淨的?我們所獻上的,是上帝所喜悅的馨香之祭嗎?如果我們不知道是否禱告上帝悅納,我們的主耶穌已經教導我們如何禱告了!禱告是尊主為大,是願主的旨意成全。但是我們禱告是怎樣呢?大部分是感恩,是尊榮,是求聖靈幫助我們順服,幫助我們行在上帝的旨意中,還是列清單而已,要上帝來成就我們想要成就的?

讓我們時時刻刻記得要築壇獻祭。為凡事謝恩。與其看自己所沒有的,不如更多專注在我們還擁有的,好讓你我能明白,原來上帝所給我的很多很多,超乎我們所求所想的。你,準備好要築壇獻祭了嗎?

 

四月 10, 2020 by Pastor Frank

各位弟兄姐妹,平安!今天是受難日,在這裡邀請,提醒大家,預備我們的心,今天晚上一起來參加線上的受難日禮拜直播,紀念主耶穌基督犧牲與愛。剛好今天我們要來分享的是從創世記7章裡,關於挪亞方舟的記載。因此,我想從這段經文當中來與大家討論有關『罪』與『恩典』的問題。

我們跟孩子分享挪亞方舟的故事,往往都是專注在上帝的救恩,如何帶領挪亞一家免於這世界性的毀滅。我們談論有關十字架,也是往往多強調上帝的救贖,恩典。可是,我想要從今天的記載,以及十字架的意義,來提醒大家,罪的嚴重性。為什麼會有挪亞的方舟?又為什麼有十字架的救恩?都是因為罪!人的罪極大,大到上帝必須用洪水來重置。我還記得以前參加書法比賽。我們都試著交出最好的作品。所以都要很小心的寫。有有時候不小心寫錯了,某些地方墨水不夠,就想著或許可以補強一下。可是越補越糟糕,到最後不得不要把紙撕掉重新寫一張。上帝之所以要有洪水,也是因為罪惡太大,必須重新來過。

耶穌為什麼要上十字架?我們有沒有想過,今天如果耶穌沒有上十字架,難道十字架的刑罰就不在了嗎?還在的!只是釘在上面的,不是耶穌,是你,是我!我們的罪必須承受刑罰。什麼是罪?罪就是遠離了上帝的心意!起初上帝說,不可吃分別善惡的果子,吃的日子必定死。死,就是罪的終極刑罰。弟兄姐妹們,我們要清楚的認知到我們是有罪的!我們必須為我們有罪的這件事實感到痛心,痛悔。不然,十字架與你我的重要性就沒有這麼的大了!

今天的經文告訴我們,耶和華對挪亞說,『你和你的全家都要進入方舟;因為在這世代中,我見你在我面前是義人。』上次我們說過,挪亞是義人,是因為他相對的遵守上帝的吩咐,聽上帝的旨意。但今天我更要說,他是義人,那上帝看他為義!耶穌為誰上十字架?為你我!但是因為你我都配得他為我們死嗎?當然不是!我們都是十惡不赦的罪人!我們都有罪!罪的代價就是死!我們都是該死的,該受死刑的!在上帝的國度中,任何的罪都是同等的,代價也都是一樣,就是死。但是上帝說,我讓我的兒子為你這個死刑犯上十字架,代替你的刑罰。罪必須要有個結果,那就是十字架!耶穌為你我上十字架,代替了罪的罰。我們要清楚知道,不是無罪,而是替罪!

弟兄姐妹們,因此當我們今天晚上來紀念受難日的時候,讓我們帶著感恩的心來領受。是我們把耶穌釘上十字架的!不單是法利賽人,猶太人,更是你我!是我們犯罪,一意孤行,將耶穌釘上十字架的!但他卻為你我上十字架。正如上帝看挪亞為義,我們的主也看我們為義,他願意為你我承受刑罰!我們不當更為感恩嗎?

讓我們千萬不要小看我們的罪。只有當你我更深刻體會認知我們是何等大的罪人時,基督耶穌的十字架對我們的重要性才會顯更大。

今天的分享就到這裡,願十字架與你有關,願耶穌基督犧牲的愛在你身上顯為大!我們下次,空中再相會!

四月 7, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹,平安!大家都好嗎?這幾天下雨,要記得保暖,多增加維他命C,保持健康,有機會就多動一動喔!我們今天要繼續創世記第6章的分享,記得要先讀過喔!

創世記第6章看到上帝因著地上人的罪極大,就準備用洪水來毀滅。但是祂有恩典,為人類與動物留了支脈,預備救恩,就是藉著吩咐挪亞造大船。我想要來與大家思想這裡的罪的問題。

4那時候有巨人在地上,後來也有;上帝的兒子們和人的女子們交合,生了孩子。那些人就是古代的勇士,有名的人物。

這裡對於誰是上帝的兒子和人的女兒,不同的神學家有不同的解釋。我自己的認知是,這裡談到的就是屬神的孩子,亞當的後裔,與其他的不相信上帝的後裔,就是人的兒子。簡單來說,就是屬神的孩子去與屬世界的孩子有了關係。這裡提到,這些交合出來的孩子是巨人,是古代的勇士,是有名的人。或許你會問,如果上帝不喜悅這樣的結合,那為什麼生出來的卻是這樣的勇士,名人?例如這世界上有很多有名的人,成功的人,似乎很蒙福的人,但他們卻沒有信仰。而有信仰的,雖然不見得都是窮困,但相較之下卻是相對的在物質生活上不富足。當我再看到後面上帝對挪亞的描述後,我就明白了。

8只有挪亞在耶和華眼前蒙恩。挪亞造方舟9這是挪亞的後代。挪亞是個義人,在他的世代中是個完全人。挪亞與上帝同行。

這裡看到,挪亞在耶和華眼前蒙恩。他是個義人,在他世代中是個完全人。他不是真正的完全人,畢竟他還是有罪的。但相對之家,他是完全人。而這些偉人也好,巨人也好,沒有一個從後來的大洪水存活。只有挪亞,一個尊主為大的人,上帝看為義。他的義,是上帝使他蒙恩。是他順服上帝,知道只有上帝才能施恩。也因此他得以存活。

弟兄姐妹們,世界上再有權有勢,再看為風光的,在上帝眼中都不算什麼。今天的新冠肺炎也讓我們看清楚,再有錢,也不見得能夠免除,不信你去問問英國的總理,或是加拿大總理。但我們唯一可以追求也應當有確認的,是否我們在上帝面前蒙恩。這需要我們不斷到神面前尋求的。

這週是受難週,耶穌來到世上為人上十字架,就是為了要使我們蒙恩,因信靠祂而蒙恩。我們好不好時時刻刻到十字架前,讓聖靈光照,有哪些需要與基督一同釘死的,好教我們也能夠蒙恩,稱為義人。

今天的分享就到這裡,盼望我們能夠每天經歷上帝,每天到神面前認罪悔改,每天都有平安!我們週五見!

四月 6, 2020 by Pastor Tony

Dear FCBC family,

As we prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, it is a new experience to do so in the midst of our stay at home orders. As an attempt to work with the situation at hand, we will need to do more of our celebration for these events in our own homes. We can do some thing together through the livestream, but especially for Good Friday, we are asking you to participate in leading it also in your own homes!

First, we encourage individuals and families to read through Jesus’ last week on earth during their devotions this week. If you were to pick the book of Luke as the gospel you want to read through, that would begin in Luke 19 and go through to Luke 24.

Secondly, we will have a livestreamed service this Friday night at 7:30. It will be combined for all 3 languages through our church website.

Thirdly, a few items will help in experiencing this service together. For families, I encourage parents to take the lead also in preparing a few items for the whole family to experience this together:

  1. Juice and crackers to eat and drink when we read about the Last Supper.
  2. Be ready to sit in darkness and silence as we think about the Gethsemane passage
  3. A bowl of water to wash our hands with after reading the passage with Pilate washing his hands after condemning Jesus.
  4. Ready to lead in prayer in confessing sin and thanking God for the cross after the last scene of Jesus’ death on the cross.
  5. Each person/family please have a Bible ready for meditation.

If your family is not present, and you are joining us by yourself with the livestream, then a journal might be helpful as you meditate on the scenes rather than discussing it with those in your family (who may not be Christian).

Blessings and looking forward to join you this upcoming Good Friday and Resurrection
Sunday!

 

四月 4, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

Tomorrow—the first Sunday of the month—would normally be the day in which our church commemorates the Lord’s Supper (Communion). And this first Sunday in April is especially significant because it is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week which recalls the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You may be wondering: “Are we going to have the Lord’s Supper tomorrow? If so, how are we going to do it remotely in our own homes?” There are varying answers to these questions. A number of churches and authors have recently published announcements, articles and videos about Lord’s Supper services online, and they come to opposite conclusions.
As for FCBC Fountain Valley, we will not be having an “online, live-streaming” Lord’s Supper together. And here’s why…

From the biblical text, we do not receive much instruction about the mechanics of the Lord’s Supper. Certainly, today’s Lord’s Supper ceremonies have no resemblance to the original supper on the night Jesus was betrayed—but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong in the way we partake in it. It just means that how it looks and who presides and how the elements are distributed and whether we should share in one common cup are all questions that are more or less unanswered.

But, some things are quite clear from the Scriptures:

  1. We partake as a gathered community of believers (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:20). The common picture in all the biblical passages is of the gathering of the church, whether it was the 12 disciples, or the rapidly-multiplying early church in Jerusalem, or the selfish Corinthian church. The churches always “broke bread” together.
  2. The bread and the wine (“cup”) are representative of Jesus’ body that was broken and His blood that was shed at the Cross (Matthew 26:26-28). As he distributed the bread and the cup, Jesus said: “This is my body” and “This is (the new covenant in) my blood.” Yes, some Christian traditions believe that the bread and cup are more than mere representations, but that’s a discussion for another day.
  3. His broken body and shed blood was for us (“the many”). He willingly died for us and for the forgiveness of our sins (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24). Sin has a high price, and the Father paid the price once and for all through His Son.
  4. We partake in the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:26). The emphasis throughout the biblical texts is the attitude of remembering the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. There is very little written about how we are to do a communion service, but there is a great deal written about how we are to think about a communion service, and our attitude with which we come before the elements. 

In light of these teachings from Scripture, here are my applications to an online Lord’s Supper. I believe there are some circumstances under which we can have an online Lord’s Supper, but our live-stream service is not one of them.

  1. Different kinds of “bread” and “cup” are OK. Neither Jesus nor Paul gave any priority to the kind of bread or cup we are to use during the Lord’s Supper. While there is biblical and theological symbolism in both the bread and wine/cup going back to the Pentateuch and Passover, it does not follow that we need to all be sharing from the same loaf or cup, or that we must all be partaking of the same kind of bread or juice. Therefore, I believe we can have a proper online Lord’s Supper even though everyone’s bread and juice are different.
  2. A “Zoom” gathering can still be a church. Although we are certainly missing the personal and literal touch of being together physically, we can still be a “church” even if we are only communicating face-to-face through Zoom. When we pray, worship, study Scripture, uphold, encourage and bless one another—by teleconference—we are functioning as a church (Acts 2:42). With that being the case, I believe it is possible to fulfill the understanding of a gathering and community of believers for the Lord’s Supper while Zooming. An important ingredient here is the ability to fellowship with one another in real time under the guidance of pastoral leadership.
  3. A video live-stream is not a “church gathering.” While live-streaming a worship service is certainly preferable to nothing at all, by itself it is not a gathering of the “church.” There is no mutual, interpersonal two-way fellowship. The pastor in front of the camera cannot see those on the other end of the live-stream. It is a “broad cast,” and where the seeds fall are unknown to the caster. Furthermore, none of the households logged into the broadcast can have fellowship with one another. For these reasons, I believe it is not biblically feasible to live-stream the Lord’s Supper. To rightly administer and ensure the integrity of the Lord’s Supper, I believe a pastor needs to see and be in real-time fellowship with the congregation. Also, there must be a gathered and united Christian community partaking together.
  4. We can still remember Jesus at home. At a time when we are separated from one another and unable to partake in a communion service, we can and ought to be very intentional in remembering our Lord Jesus and the significance of His death on the cross for each of us. May I suggest that you lead your family in a simple time of remembrance at mealtime. Here are some ideas:
    1. Read the relevant Scripture passages (Luke 22:14-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:20-34).
    2. Sing a hymn like “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” or “And Can It Be (Amazing Love)”
    3. Pray with thanksgiving and remember why Jesus was crucified: the forgiveness of sins--your sin and mine.
    4. Serve food to one another and wait until everyone is served before eating. Honor one another as we honor the Lord.

And so, though we may not partake in a Lord’s Supper tomorrow, may you be blessed as you regularly and faithfully remember the death of our Lord Jesus. In God’s time, we will return to the church sanctuary, renew face-to-face fellowship and share in the Lord’s Supper once again.


Together in Christ,
Pastor Godfrey

四月 1, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

On this "April Fool's Day", I wish we could say that each of these is an April Fool's joke:

  • the Governor's pronouncement today that all schools will be closed for the rest of this school year.
  • the White House's pronouncement that there could be over 200,000 deaths from COVID-19.
  • Church gatherings will continue to be closed for the month of April and potentially into summertime.

These are no jokes, and indeed are reasons for much consternation and appeals to God for His mercy and power to be manifest. Let us pray for His hand to still the pandemic storm and the fears and anxieties of our hearts. Let us look to and focus our eyes on Jesus, not on the wind and the waves of worry.

As we have transitioned to "doing church online", may I ask you: has it been a steep learning curve? There is, of course, the technical aspects to learn. As a pastor, I've learned so much about how to use various tools for online teleconferencing and video recording. But, beyond the technical, there is also the social aspect that must be learned as well. How can you maintain and deepen relationships online? How can you get closer as you practice social distancing? And then, there's the question of worship: can I really worship while watching a person on a screen who's not looking at me and doesn't even know I'm there?! 

Here are a few observations from using Zoom to teleconference and joining a live-stream worship service:

  1. "Audience of One": When we normally gather in groups, it's easy to forget that we're singing to and worshiping only One Person (well...theologically three Persons in One Godhead). Usually, we hear each other singing, and we are inspired to sing out loud also...and maybe even sing for the benefit of the person next to us! But, when we stay-at-home for worship, when our voice may be the only one in the house, the temptation is to not sing because...well, it just feels weird, right? But may I urge you: keep singing, keep lifting up your voice and your hands to the Lord...because our audience in worship singing is really just God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We don't need an audience around us when our Audience is the One True God. He sees your posture and hears your voice; He knows your heart and feels your passion for Him. So glorify your Audience of One, even if you are a Worshiper of One in your home.
  2. Family Worship: Normally, the children and youth (sometimes) are separated from the parents when we gather at church for worship. And it's appropriate and even necessary. But, when we are forced to stay home, we begin to recall Deuteronomy 6, in which the parents (and dads, in particular) in the newly formed nation of Israel were instructed to be the primary teachers and spiritual leaders of their families. Worship was not just a formal gathering at the Tabernacle, but also commanded of parents in one's household. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. So, Moms and Dads, don't be afraid or nervous to lead your family in worship--they want to learn from you, and to understand how to worship God. Parents, you've been trained for such a time as this! You got this!
  3. Sacrificial Listening: In a typical "fellowship" time on the church campus, you might have multiple conversations going on within one larger grouping around a patio table (for example). Those who are seated will be engaged in a couple of conversations, while some others standing around the periphery will be engaged in their own conversations. And, rarely will everyone be listening to one person speak--especially someone you don't know . But, in a Zoom meeting, only one person can be speaking at a time. There can be no "side conversations." And, this is a great challenge for many reasons! (1) The more people in your meeting, the more you must wait your turn to speak. (2) You may not know those who are speaking, and find it hard to care about what they're saying. (3) You don't have the advantage of seeing body language or picking up subtle verbal cues. (4) It is very tempting to just tune out and do something else. For all these reasons and more, it really is a test of patient love and sacrificial listening to continually focus on others for 20-30 minutes. It takes the concept of "active listening" to a whole new level. This is an exercise in Holy Spirit-guided listening. Please remember, you are in this Zoom meeting with others for a reason...and though you may not know the others well, be open to growing a Christian friendship even if only online. So, before you enter a Zoom meeting, pray something like this: "Lord, may your Spirit direct my ears and my heart to hear what others will say in this Zoom meeting. Help me to care and have compassion for each speaker...even those I don't know. Keep my eyes and hands focused, that I might resist the temptation to tune out and do other things online. Help me to be patient as I listen, O Lord. Bind me with others in the unity of the Spirit. In Jesus' name, amen." 

On a lighter note, many of us are looking for good qualify material online for ourselves and our children. I've received some recommendations and heard about some special deals that are going on right now:

  1. Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales) is putting his entire library of high quality material (e.g. "What's in the Bible?" series) for free access for six weeks. (enter promo code FAMILYLIFE and be sure to also enter a credit card...it didn't work until we did, even though they won't charge anything.)
  2. The new animated Pilgrim's Progress by Revelation Media is available online for free. Just need to enter your email address.
  3. Amazon Freetime 3-month Family Subscription is available for almost-free ($0.99). I can't vouch for all of the content, but it's supposed to be a very "kid-friendly" place for kids' books and videos. 
  4. VidAngel is a streaming service with both original and non-original Christian content (e.g. James Dobson's videos). It also offers filtering of Netflix and Amazon Prime videos when you link your subscriptions. All content and filtering services are free at least through April.
  5. Sports fans: NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL are all offering free subscriptions and/or content on their website. Relieve the glory moments from your favorite teams, or watch interesting documentaries (Stacey and I watched one about David Tyree and the "Helmet Catch" in Super Bowl XLII--I highly recommend it, especially because there is no editing of his Christian testimony). 
  6. I'm sure there's plenty more out there that I do not know about. Please let me know if you hear of good stuff to share with others...and I'll post more in future weeks.

So, enjoy good, quality screen time with your family, but also take time out for a walk/bike ride outside, or board games with your family. And of course, pray and read God's Word together. See you online soon!

Together with you in Jesus,
Pastor Godfrey

四月 3, 2020 by Pastor Frank

大家都好嗎?雖然每天看著新聞數據,心情越發沈重,但感謝主,我們有祂為我們 的主宰,也是我們的安慰,我們隨時的幫助,是我們的避難所,也是我們的高臺。鼓勵弟 兄姐妹可以減少專注在數據上面,更多來讀神的話語。

今天的分享是從創世記第五章來的。這整章幾乎都是家譜,但在當中我要從28~29 節來思考。做眾多的名字當中,只有兩個名字有多做註解。一個是24節,提到以諾,講 到他如何與神同行,最後上帝將他取去。另一個名字,就是挪亞。挪亞是什麼意思呢?在 希伯來文中,挪亞,他的字根是『休息』,也是『安慰』。這讓我們看到經文所說的:

29給他起名叫挪亞,說:「在耶和華所詛咒的地上,這個兒子必使我們從工作和 手中的勞苦得到安慰。」

人因著犯罪而受到咒詛。人要辛勞工作才能得吃得喝。更不要說,因著人的自我的 分別善惡,導致地的毀滅。我還記得台灣過去只要有颱風來,就會有很大的災害,甚至有 些村莊因此而被滅村,或是需要遷村。後來才發現,原來很多山林因著人的濫砍濫伐,使 得原本應當可以阻擋災害的天然樹木與地形,卻因此失去了作用。因著地受咒詛,人更加 要勞苦,才能得平安。

但是挪亞的名字是『休息』,是『安慰』。這是上帝要給人的恩典。人的勞苦是因 著罪的緣故而造成的,而挪亞一生的乎召,是要預備給人一個救恩,就是當他造了大船, 你願意順服上帝而回轉的,不看自己的,只看上帝的心意的,就能夠得著拯救,因此而從 勞苦的咒詛中得到安慰與休息。

從這次的新冠狀肺炎來想,有很多的討論到底是否是上帝的懲罰,或者是人的一意 孤行而造成的。我想從今天的經文來看,這些的疾病是因為人的犯罪,使得人與地受到咒 詛。當起初上帝說,不可吃分別善惡的果子,因爲吃的那日必定死。今天我們正在承受這 樣的結果。但是從起初挪亞的名字,到最終耶穌的十字架,都在提醒我們一件事,哪就是 上帝要帶來平安與休息,他要帶來安慰。而唯一得著這些的方法,就是回轉歸向神,認罪 ,禱告,從神得著平安與安慰。

所以,好不好讓我們也藉由這個機會,到神面前來,求聖靈的光照,好使我們能夠 認罪,悔改。我們也爲這個土地來禱告,來認罪。我們也爲美國來認罪禱告。求上帝的赦 免,上帝的拯救,上帝的安慰,以及上帝的安息。

三月 31, 2020 by Pastor Frank

弟兄姐妹平安!歡迎再次來到每週兩次的牧者分享。今天我們來到創世記第四章。一樣的,如果你還沒有讀過,請先停下來,讀完之後再繼續。

當先祖亞當夏娃犯了罪之後,就被趕出伊甸園。第四章看到,他們生了兩個兒子,一個是該隱,一個是亞伯。當時他們要獻祭給上帝,是感恩,也是贖罪。感謝上帝的恩典,並為人有罪來獻上當作代贖。接下來我們就看到聖經的記載:

5只是看不中該隱和他的供物。該隱就大大地發怒,變了臉色。

6耶和華對該隱說:「你為甚麼發怒呢?你為甚麼變了臉色呢?

7你若行得好,豈不蒙悅納?你若行得不好,罪就伏在門前。它必戀慕你,你卻要制伏它。」

 

我今天不會來談為什麼上帝不喜悅該隱的供物。但我要從該隱的反應以及上帝的回應來思想,到底我們應當如何獻祭。第一,獻祭的對象是上帝,是否蒙喜悅的標準也是神,不是我們。該隱面對他的供物不被接納,第一個反應就是,為什麼不是我?從他的反應,看到他是一個以自己為中心的獻祭。他的對象不是上帝,是自己。弟兄姐妹們,這段時間我們無法去教會聚會。每週我們都有直播的崇拜。但是,老實說,牧師我們看不到你是用什麼樣的狀態來主日。但是,上帝知道。或許這就是一個很好的機會,讓我們來看看到底我們的信仰生活,我們的主日獻祭,如果你看待主日的聚會是一個獻祭的話,我們這實質上的獻祭到底是獻給誰。應當是給上帝,是無論在教會或是在家裡,心態也好,行動也好,都應該是一樣的敬畏,一樣的恭敬,不是嗎?讓我們好好反思過去這幾週的崇拜,是否討神喜悅?也同時間去回顧,過去這幾年你我面對主日崇拜的態度,是否有需要調整。

第二,反省過後需要帶出行動來。上帝告訴該隱,你若行得好,豈不蒙悅納?我們的行為當與悔改的心相稱。該隱知道他不討神喜悅,卻一意孤行的,最終讓他的自己的罪越放越大。但是我們願不願意的正視我們的問題,並帶出改變來?前面提到那是反省。但光是反省還是不夠的。我們願意做出什麼樣的實際調整?面對這個主日,將要來到的,你我願意做出什麼樣的改變,是可以討神喜悅的?

我們教會的AV團隊很努力的,每週直播後馬上檢討,聽取意見,好叫之後的直播可以更完整。馬上做出改變來。我們在敬拜神的事情上,在獻祭的事情上,願不願意做出改變來,好叫我們越來越討神喜悅呢?前幾天主任牧師也發出關於敬拜我們應當有的預備與態度,或許這就是一個很好的起點。

讓我們不要走入該隱的後路,不要繼續的以自己為中心,而是轉向上帝,使我們的生命都是以神為中心的!

 

三月 30, 2020 by Pastor Tony

How do we view this coronavirus from a biblical-theological worldview?

In the last post, we looked at how the coronavirus, disease and death are a result of the fall. The fall isn’t limited to the evils in the world, but also include all the evils within the human heart that tries to live life apart from the living God. At the same time, God has created the earth in its original state to flourish, to be fruitful and multiply rather than to die, and is even today sustaining the earth and upholding life and flourishing. However, that is not all that God is doing, He is also doing the work of redemption.

The Redemption – God is involved in the making right all that is wrong and evil. This redemption includes the redemption of creation (Ro 8:20-21), and the reversal of the curse from Genesis 3. But He is also redeeming people. He has provided the ultimate cure for death in all of its from through the resurrection from the dead (though through common grace we can delay death and give better quality of life). But the redemption from sin includes the forgiveness of sins and the transforming of all that is wrong in the world, namely the sin that is at the root of all evil. For us personally, that would include my words, the seeking of my kingdom rather than God’s kingdom, and being aware that I live before the One in whom I ought to fear (Lk 12:4) and seek refuge like the Psalmist (Ps 91:9-10)

  • Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. (Ps 91:9-10)

But that is not all, there are new opportunities for ministry. For some it might mean that we have more time for prayer and reading our Bibles since we cannot meet with others in person for Bible study. For others it might mean doing things with our families such as leading family devotions, praying with a spouse, things that we always wanted to do but never before seemed to quite have enough time for. We may learn to value of our neighbors more, our small groups, our friends – in a way that we want to bless and encourage when we do see them online or across the street. There is always the need for the word of God to be shared in some manner – for like Paul says in 2 Timothy regarding his own quarantine – in jail rather than due to pandemic

  • Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. (2 Tim 2:8-9)

Paul proclaimed God’s word through pen and paper. How might you share the Word of God with others?

So while this theological study may not address this particular epidemic, it helps to put it into the work that God is doing. We do not know what the future has in store, though we are confident in a future glorification. However, in the meantime, we trust that God is still at work, and may even open up new opportunities for ministries of mercy and ministries of the Word. May the Lord make us childlike to God (Ps 131), and helpful to others during this time of quarantine.

Discussion thought: How might you reach out to someone else who might feel isolated or just in need of a friend during this quarantine period? How might we pray for each other or share a Scripture to encourage another person (like how Paul prayed and wrote physical letters to others)?

三月 27, 2020 by Pastor Frank

大家早!歡迎你們再次收看今天的牧者分享。我們的影片也開始會上傳在教會的臉書上面,之後等教會的中文網頁更新後,也會放在上面,所以在這裡也歡迎新收看的兄姐,無論是國語堂會,還是廣東堂會,或是英文堂試著學習聽中文的弟兄姐妹!我衷心期盼你能藉著這些分享,思想天上的事,讓我們不再琢磨在眼前無法控制的恐懼害怕,而是緊緊抓住那掌管全部的主。

今天我們要繼續從創世記的經文來分享。不知道你讀過第三章了沒有?如果沒有,邀請你先停下來,讀完之後再繼續。要記得,每一次我們會分享一章,所以請記得要收看前先讀過喔!好了!讓我們來從創世記第三章來領受。

創世記第三章記載了我們的先祖如何受撒但蛇的引誘而犯罪吃了不該吃的果子。之後在第九節到第十節我們看到當人犯罪之後會有的結果。

9耶和華上帝呼喚那人,對他說:「你在哪裏?」

10他說:「我在園中聽見你的聲音,我就害怕;因為我赤身露體,我就藏了起來。」

我們看到,當人吃了分別善惡的果子,犯了罪之後,就與神有的隔離。過去是可以赤身肉體毫無羞恥,但如今卻要躲藏,害怕神,不敢將真實的自己呈現給上帝。上帝知不知道我們是什麼樣的?當然知道!上帝會不會因為我們的不完全,我們的羞恥,而不愛我們?當然不會!但是卻是因為罪在我們當中,我們有了驕傲,自卑,自以為是,自我不成熟的分別善惡,以至於我們對上帝躲躲藏藏。

弟兄姐妹們,我們與神的關係是如何?你願不願意,敢不敢,肯不肯,將自己的真實面坦露在神面前?我跟師母在談論萬一有一天孩子長大了,要交男女朋友,我們的反應是什麼。後來我們就有一個結論,那就是我們不太在乎他們什麼時候交朋友,當然我們希望他們越成熟越好。但是我們會很在乎他們有交朋友卻不告訴我們。那表示他們對我們的不信任,我們會覺得是否我們做了什麼讓他們有畏懼,害怕,不放心分享告訴我們。

我們在天上的父也是如此。他會因為我們的躲藏而難過。他渴望我們與他分享一切,包括我們的軟弱,失敗,擔憂,恐懼,失望,憤怒,不解,我們一切的想法,包括對人甚至對神的。因為當我們真實的坦然到他面前的時候,那是對他的不信。甚至,你可以真實的對他說,上帝,我想要相信你,但我信不足!這都是我們最真實的自己。

罪使我們與神隔絕。但當耶穌死在十字架上,聖殿裡的幔子從上到下一分為二的裂開的時候,我們不再蒙著幔子可以到神面前來,藉著十字架耶穌的死與復活,使我們得以坦然無懼的赤身肉體的到他面前陳述一切我們的所有。

你願不願意,真真實實的到神面前去,不用躲藏,不用假裝,不用帶面具,開始與神建立關係?把你一切的恐懼,擔憂,無助,告訴他?當你看了太多的關於新冠狀肺炎的消息而擔憂時,好不好我們真實到上帝面前來述說。當我們開始這樣做的時候,或許就會發現,上帝早已知道,他也會用各樣人心無法想像的方式,承擔我們一切的真實。

讓我們好好把握這段時間,建立與主的關係,將一切向他述說。

三月 27, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

If you've never done--or even heard of--video conferences or live streaming before, don't worry. You will get it soon enough. However, doing church online introduces a host of other issues regarding protocol and etiquette. Here are some guidelines that we're forwarding to you from other Christian leaders.

Glossary of acronyms:

  1. SG = Small group
  2. SGL = Small group leader
  3. PPT = PowerPoint
  4. FB = Facebook

Guidelines for Church Video Conferencing and Live Streaming

A. Small Group Online Meeting Guidelines

  1. Before SG starts, please prepare in advance to minimize distraction during the meeting, for example: take care of your kids, pets, chores, silence cell phones, talk between spouse to decide how to rotate to take care of the kids if needed (rotate each week? Or rotate every 30 min? etc.)
  2. All SG members should turn on their camera so everyone can see each other – to help everyone to focus and not double-tasking.
  3. Please make prior arrangements so you can join the full length of the online gathering.
  4. Join on time, join the online group 5-10 minutes before the starting time, may start to pray for the meeting.
  5. Use phone or other communication, to make sure each SG member knows how to join the online meeting – provide the necessary help in advance.
  6. Send out the outline or material in advance, have everyone read it first. It is also more effective if we make an PPT and share screen to everyone – so everyone can see the discussion question.
  7. Your group may choose to use different way to praise and worship: Reading out loud Bible verses? Praise with prayer? Giving Thanks? Taking turns to mention something you are grateful for? Send out lyrics first, have 1 person lead it? Or share screen Youtube clip. (Note, if Youtube, it’s suggested that you ask others to mute their mic, to avoid slowing down the clip or creating echoes)
  8. During the meeting, do not just talk about the COVID-19 situation or update. We still need to have balanced study and discussion about the Bible.
  9. We do not want to suppress people’s emotion or feeling. It is ok for people to express their emotion, the others also need to learn to listen, show empathy, care & comfort appropriately. Do not cut off others when others are sharing. If certain SG member has a lot more emotional need, SG leader/core can help to show caring outside of the SG time. If needed, can suggest to seek for professional help. Most of the therapist/psychologist still provide telemedicine during the lockdown. If you need any information, please seek help from the Pastoral office.
  10. Avoid making aggressive / overly critical comments toward any specific nation, political leader, or political party. Do not share or post unchecked/unproven news or rumors during the meeting or in your SG chat group. SGL should be a good guardian managing this.
  11. Do not speak for God, for example, something like: “this is a punishment from God!” We should use empathy, positive words, to edify each other.
  12. Do not judge! We do not judge any member who stopped coming before the outbreak got serious, nor we judge anyone who stops showing up online, or anyone who switches to a different group or even a different church during this time, or anyone who will not come back after the disease pandemic is over.
  13. If there’s any need, you may ask the pastoral office to provide information on topics/speaker – to have online seminar to provide useful information for our SG members.

B. Sunday Worship Service Live Stream Viewing

  1. SGL please remind your members the coming Sunday’s church sermon online streaming link & offering methods/website. (fcbcfv.org
  2. Encourage all SG members to still dress up for the online message when it’s broadcasted on Sunday. (rather than finding time at your own convenience during the week)
  3. SG members may go on different church’s website to listen to different messages during the week. However, for unity and continuity of church’s direction & teaching, we still encourage FCBCFV attendees to save Sunday service time slots for FCBCFV’s online message streaming.
  4. We encourage the SG members may turn on 2 different devices, so they can have some bonding time with other SG members on the 2nd device while listening to the sermon with their 1st device. They can listen to the sermon “together” by interacting with each other, as long as it’s not overly distractive.
  5. After the Sunday message streaming, SG members can do a quick online prayer for each other.

C. Small Group Guidelines During the Pandemic

  1. Do not stop gathering! Change physical meeting to online meeting, frequency no less than once per month.
  2. Please do not gather physically or visit each other, all the visitations should be done through Online/Facetime.
  3. You may join multiple SGs one week, joining different SGs / from different congregations – as this is a good opportunity for bonding and church unity. However, please do not judge or gossip anything you hear in other groups if the sharing was more personal. Unless approved by the person who shared it, do not pass the what you heard to others in the church.
  4. We should actively invite newcomers, non-Christians, and those who stopped coming to joining our group. However, do not try to actively invite those are already regularly attending another church.
  5. If you need to sell/purchase essential items during this time, the seller please sell it at cost. If you do not remember the cost, then please see what the major market /website’s listing price for that item (NOT the private sites such as Ebay’s price-gouging standard)
  6. It is still prohibited to promote or advertise your own business. Do not introduce direct-sale business to anyone you met in small group or at church. If your business happens to provide an essential service or product needed by other members, we suggest you to promote on your own FB or social media, and not during the SG gathering. For price, please see guidelines in aforementioned C-6.
  7. If someone has financial need, you should avoid borrowing money to him/her. You may notify the congregation’s Pastors or Deacons of the person’s need, so the church may provide help after reviewing the situation. If you have a heart to donate to any individual in private, please prepare your heart to give unconditionally and do not expect to be paid back. Church will not provide any tax-deductible offering receipt for such donation.
  8. If people want to do group purchase, please confirm the seller and the source is legit. This should be your personal decision, releasing FCBCFV or SGL of any liability.

三月 26, 2020 by Pastor Steven

 

Hello FCBC Family,

We are nearing three weeks since we last met. For many of us, we are starting to get used to this new normal, working at home, no school for the kids, not being able to go out and see others.  At the same time this new normal is constantly changing and we're constantly adjusting, as the effects of the Coronavirus are being felt that much more, whether physically as we are tired, financially or emotionally as we worry, as we miss being with others. We face new challenges each day, as we do, a number of passages come to mind and bring me comfort. 

Psalms 46 – "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

1 Peter 5:6-7 - "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.""


As we face these new challenges, I want to take this time to ask you to pray. 

Right now, I ask that you pray specifically for our health care personnel throughout the world, as they are on the front lines, fighting this battle as they work at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, labs, and so many other places. You know, as we pray for them, they are not only throughout the world, but we have so many right here in our church. All you have to do is think about the deacons, the officers, and the people in your Sunday School classes and fellowship groups and many people will come to mind.  And right now they are working hard to help the sick, many placing themselves at risk, they’re tired, stressed, some are scared, and much more.

As we pray, we pray not only for them, but also for their families, for their husband or wife at home who may be worried, for their children who miss their mommy or daddy or for the parents of these medical personnel as they are worried for their children. We want to pray for them. 

And also as we get updates in the news, we also pray for those right now in New York where the coronavirus has hit the hardest. We pray for Peter and Suan’s son - Jonathan Fung as he is out there, and also Sai and Nancy Wong who were a part of our church and in our Parakaleo small group a number of years ago before moving back to New York.  Sai recently posted on Facebook, just the other day and he wrote “long day. I am not built for this. This is just the first day of taking Covid airway role. I have never dealt with patient death well. All I saw was ventilators, cardiac arrest, and death all around me. The worst is not being able to hug and kiss my wife and children for the next 7 days after each exposure. I am terrified. I am not built for this”, and his wife, Nancy also posts as she is at home taking care of their four children and how their children are processing and working through this as they are worried and miss their daddy. 

I really want to challenge you and encourage you to take time aside to pray for our medical personnel. I am going to pray now, join me.  

Father, we thank you that you are God, seated on your throne, sovereign of all things, even the Coronavirus. Right now, as we thank you for the many medical personnel and their desires to serve You and serve the people of this country, of this world, as they care for these people as they help and place themselves at risk, as they are tired and as they are stressed going through each day. Lord, we ask that You would be their refuge and their strength, that they would be able to run to you at all time and find comfort in you, and they will find strength in you for each day. Lord we ask for you to help them and give them rest, protection, give them a strong faith and trust in You.  We also pray for their families. Lord you will give them peace and comfort in this time and help them as they work through their different challenges and emotions as you would walk with them. That we as a church would come alongside to love and support and encourage and pray for them at this time. Lord help us we need your help. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. 

Again I encourage you as a church, as a part of church to be in prayer for the medical personnel especially those in our church and their families, take time later and pray for them, and after you pray for them, take a moment to send them a message or texts or email or you can call and just to let them know you’re praying for them. This is a great way to encourage and support them in this time. So let’s continue to pray together and look to God together in faith. 

And again, I encourage you to join us this Sunday for our live stream worship service on the English side we will go through Psalm 46, and on Wednesdays to join us for time of prayer. 


Take care and God bless. 

三月 26, 2020 by Pastor Tony

How do we view this coronavirus from a biblical-theological world view?

As we encounter what for us is a new and probably once in a lifetime experience of a worldwide epidemic, we find that people including ourselves tend to respond from pole to pole.  Some fear the absolute worst both for our country and for our loved ones. Others have no fear because we are young and healthy, or because we don’t live in ____ (NY, China, etc.) or we can mute our fears with a que sera sera kind of fatalism (unless the virus hits closer to home).  I suspect we are all somewhere along the spectrum of these feelings.

While getting a biblical theological worldview may not solve many of our issues of testing, alleviate all fears, etc, it can help us get oriented to how the Bible views such pestilence and plagues (of which there are numerous references in Scripture).  A simple way to put such disasters is through a biblical grid of God’s creation, man’s fall, God’s redemption and the future glorification. We will examine the first three theological categories which hopefully can get us oriented with our feet on solid biblical footing.

The Fall – this epidemic is a result of the fall (see The Coronavirus is a result of the Fall).  The fall of Adam and Eve into sin resulted in both a curse upon creation itself (Gen 3:17-18) but also the entrance of death and all the intermediate causes of death (Gen 3:19).  So these would include such things as pandemics and disease. But the fall is not isolated to such evils such as the coronavirus, but also the inheritance of our sin nature. This would include our responses to the virus in a godless manner (hoarding, anxiety without God, foolhardy imperviousness – without seeing our dependent creaturely status before God – see Martin Luther article p. 5-6 - https://blogs.lcms.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plague-blogLW.pdf)

The Creation – God created the earth to flourish, to be fruitful and multiply rather than for death.  He instituted government for our good in His common grace, for the welfare of each nation in the effort against the pandemic, though of course all governments are fallen and imperfect.  God has also given through common grace people who really do want to be helpful – whether Christian or non-Christian – through public health, health care workers, services of mercy throughout the world, some who work in overwhelmingly hard areas.  In the best of humanity, God created all men, believers and unbelievers in His image, to be fruitful and multiply, to seek to grow life. Finally, God in His common grace has preserved people throughout history through good and bad (as someone on FB said – “this too shall pass”) 

Now what would happen if we were to ignore either of these two large theological categories in our thinking about the coronavirus?  If we ignore the fall, then we might think that this world is all there is and we had better just make the best of it. But including the fall in our thinking we know that this is not the way it is supposed to be.  The world is not how it ought to be, death is just wrong, and living apart from any hope is God or the resurrection just leaves us all alone to fight coronavirus and the overwhelming forces of death all by ourselves. 

Discussion thought:  How does the doctrine of the fall help you to grapple with all that is wrong in our world today?  How might you thank God for His common grace found in health care workers, government aid, our families and many other good gifts in the midst of trying times?

三月 25, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

各位弟兄姊妹,

我们已进入十四日的关闭(教会及加州). “主啊, 还需多时?” 依中国, 南韩及其他地方来作指针, 应该还有一些时日. 在此时刻, 我们计划在网上举行受难节及复活节崇拜.

教会场所仍正式继续关闭, 至少到四月十二日. 重开的日期会是跟州政府和本地政府(包括学区)的指引

感谢主, 我们的会众没有患上新冠肺炎. 我们每天都为此感恩, 虽然情况可能会改变. 可是在全球情况里, 受感染及死亡人数不断在升—接近一万九千人死亡—而且数目仍在加促.

如何制止疫情, 甚至能使疫情下降? “主啊, 你知道. 让你胜过疾病和死亡的大能彰显, 主耶稣, 愿人在此危机里从惶恐中以信心来转向你.

除了挂心疾病, 也有面对失去工作, 经济困难, 破产, 甚至失去家园的害怕. “主啊, 求你洁净我们对金钱的贪爱, 求你供应我们所需—不太多也不太少.坚固我们的信心, 使我们能祷告'我们日用的饮食, 今日赐给我们'然后以信心等待明天的饮食.”

保持与我们联络, 让我们知道如何为你祷告. 如有任何好的意见, 请与我们分享! (其中一个方法是用脸书, 请看下面)

在耶稣里的爱和信心
谭旭光牧师

 

芳泉谷第一華人浸信會上線了!

臉書 ( FCBC-FV):
  1. 不是公開的,需申請加入
  2. 用此群組發放消息及更新資訊(與放在教會網頁資料一樣)
  3. 請不要登出投訴或批評,或與教會無關事宜.謝謝合作!
崇拜直播:
  1. 在主日早上, 請往教會網站(fcbcfv.org), 開啟教會的標記(請用Google Chrome上網).
  2. 你便可以與我們一同崇拜(中文在九時, 英文十時四十五分, 越語十二時半)
  3. 你會看到主日崇拜程序, 講道大綱及簡訊.
週三禱告會:
  1. 在Google網頁打上fcbcfv.org/live
  2. 早上十時是國語及英語, 晚上七時半是英語
  3. 當場可以把感恩或禱告事項用手機傳短訊至在螢幕上的電話號碼或電郵地址
  4. 代禱事項不會放在網頁, 請用電郵向Dian索取
Electronic Giving
  • 教會網頁fcbcfv.org 點擊在上方的 “Give”
  • 下載 ChurchCenter 軟體, 選 FCBC, 可設定一次性或經常奉獻.
  • 發短訊至 84321, 第一次做的時候, 需設立ChurchCenter戶口.
三月 24, 2020 by Pastor Frank

各位弟兄姐妹,大家都好嗎?週日我用創世記第一章來分享信息,我就想,接下來我們就藉著每週兩次的牧者分享延續創世記的領受。所以我期盼,鼓勵你,在聽到視頻之前,先讀過經文。每一次就是一章,我會從當次的章節裡來分享一兩節我自己的領受。再次提醒大家,我會每週二,五用視頻的方式與大家分享,所以請大家能在之前就把相對應的經文先讀過。

今天我們要來分享創世記第二章牧師在當中所領受到的感想。我想這段經文大家應該多少有所熟悉。不過當我再次讀過的時候,第二章第九節再次提醒我,我也想用這段荊節來與你們分享。

第九節說道,『耶穌華上帝使各樣的樹從地裏長出來,可以悅人眼目,其上的果子好作食物。園子裡又有生命樹和分別善惡樹。』這裡提到,園中的果子都是『悅人眼目』的。但是不是每個悅人眼目的果子都可以吃,因為當中有分別善惡樹的果子。我們常常在做決定,而往往吸引我們的抉擇,都是悅人眼目的。不是說悅人眼目的決定就是錯的,或是不應該的。畢竟上帝讓人吃的,都是美的,是好的。但不是所有『悅人眼目』的事情就是可吃的。重點不是在是否悅人眼目,而是在上帝的話語與心意。

今天我們是否對上帝的話語夠熟悉?我們是否對上帝心意夠清楚?我們是否與神的關係足夠,好使我們能知道上帝的旨意?我很喜歡用這樣的比喻。我們接到電話,是一通沒有Caller ID的電話。如果這是你的另一半打來,我想我們都會馬上的認出來。可是如果打來的人我們不熟悉,相對的我們也很難認出來他是誰。我之前在牧會的時候就有一個會友常打給我。他都不會先說他是誰,只會說,牧師啊!一開始我認不出來,講久了才想起來,喔,原來是某某某。但是第二次,第三次,只要他一開口說『牧師啊!』我就馬上認出來是誰了。

今天我們是否認得出上帝的聲音與旨意?我們是否與他的關係夠熟悉?當我們在做決定的時候,都很悅人耳目,或是有一個是比較悅人的,另一個比較不是那麼好看的或是嚮往的,我們決定的準則是什麼?是否只是在我們的眼目,還是在上帝的話語?

大家都有看到政府公告關於Safer At Home什麼能做,什麼不能做的廣告或是公告嗎?上面列了很多的什麼是可以做的東西,我們是否可以多加一項,就是好好的與上帝親近?過去我們可以有很多的藉口,上班好累,沒有時間。但如今,我們有什麼樣的藉口不讀經不禱告的?或許這也是好好檢視我們與上帝的關係。或許,這也是上帝要藉著這樣的危機,在你生命中化為轉機的時刻!

讓我們更多的倚靠神,經歷他,建立關係。不再是以『悅人耳目』作為我們的準則,而是以上帝的心意成為我們的選擇。

 

三月 20, 2020 by Pastor Frank

幾年前跟我之前服事的教會租借的白人教會邀請了非洲兒童合唱團來作音樂見證分享,我們有幸去參加他們的音樂會。跟我們一起去的人都很感動,很被他們的笑容,音樂感染。老實說,這些孩子都是從很貧窮的非洲地區來的,但是他們的表演,他們的分享,讓我們感受不到他們的現實情況。隔天早上,他們來到教會整理東西,我在停車場碰到幾個小孩,他們一看到我就用大大的笑容看著我,然後張開他們的雙手跑來跟我擁抱,霎時我就被融化了!我就在想,到底他們的喜樂是從哪裡來的?

路加福音12:22~34節耶穌告訴我們,不要憂慮。這是一句很容易講的話。不要憂慮。可是事實上,卻也是很難做到的一個鼓勵。到底耶穌是什麼意思呢?尤其是面對現在的情況,我們不免會擔憂,不知道病毒何時會結束,食物夠不夠,我們的工作被影響沒有收入生活怎麼辦,孩子在家裡我們快受不了該怎麼辦,我們會不會被感染。這些都是很實際的情況。但是耶穌卻說,不要憂慮!

我想從幾個方面來鼓勵大家與提醒大家。首先,耶穌所教導的不要憂慮,不是要我們不在乎,或是什麼都不做。沒有食物,要不要買?當然要!我們也可以用各樣方式找網網路上的外賣或是外送服務。這裡說的不要憂慮,更多是不因為在乎,或是過度的在乎,而產生憂慮,使我們睡不好,整天提心吊膽什麼都做不了。為什麼不要過度憂慮?因為你的憂慮,並無法使情況改變。我們必須明白一件事,就是人是很有限的!我們擔憂,是因為許多事情已經超出我們的掌控了!所以我們沒有安全感,我們沒有把握。但是,正是因為我們有限制,所以路加福音更進一步告訴我們,當要倚靠主!

所以,不要憂慮,也是更提醒我們要尋求主。耶穌吩咐我們不要憂慮吃甚麼,喝什麼,穿什麼,因為上帝已經知道了!他使野地的花漂亮,使空中的鳥有得吃,他豈不更看顧他所愛的孩子嗎?所以要先求祂的國,和祂的義,這一切就加添給你們了!

上帝如何加添給我們?或許,是當我們轉眼仰望上帝時,上帝就把祂預備好的出路讓我們看見。上帝早就預備好,只是我們一直專注在自己身上,自己的方法,不住的憂慮。其實,上帝早要告訴我們該怎麼做,只是我們不願意聽。當我們轉眼的時候,就看到,就聽到了。

又或許,其實我們只是自己嚇自己,心中沒有了平安。當我們轉眼倚靠主,承認自己的不足,看到自己的有限。當我們轉眼的時候,才把自己抓住的重擔放下,頓時我們輕鬆了,就不再過度憂慮了。

又或者,其實我們的擔憂是不必要的。我們擔心不夠,其實是足夠的,只是我們一直陷在·不足夠的想法裡。只有當我們從自己眼光轉移,才發現其實我們有的很夠!

有一次,我因著某些我無法掌握的事情很憂慮。整個晚上提不起勁來,也吃不好,也什麼都不想做,很是煩躁。一直找事情做試著去轉移注意力,卻還是腦中想著我無法解決的事。後來想到,不如交托吧!就開始禱告,把我真實的感受想法擔憂大聲在家裡禱告。禱告禱告後,忽然有一首歌進入我的心中,我就開始唱出來。

『我的心哪,你為何憂悶,為何在我裏面煩躁?

我的心哪,當仰望神,他用笑臉幫助我們!

他用笑臉幫助我們,他用笑臉幫助我們,他用笑臉幫助我們,

是我的力量是我的神!』

 

當我唱完之後,頓時烏雲消散大半,心裏的重擔馬上放下。上帝用很奇妙的方式解決了我的憂慮!

 

弟兄姐妹們!外在的情況可能不會馬上改變。但我們可以改變的是我們的態度以及我們的心情!讓我們藉著這個機會,更多向上帝禱告!過去我們總覺得自己能隻手遮天,可以靠自己成就很多。可是當我們被迫留在家裡,發現自己的無助,開始很是擔憂。讓我們記得到神面前來,因為他要幫助我們,他要用笑臉幫助我們!

你多久沒有來跟上帝好好說話了?你多久沒有好好的告訴他你的心情了?讓我們學習交託仰望,將我們的真實的擔心向他述說。你就會開始經歷,上帝如何用笑臉幫助我們!

三月 19, 2020 by Pastor Steven

 

Hi FCBC Family,

I hope you are doing well and staying safe in this time. I really missed seeing all of you and the time we have to come together as a church family, the time we have to talk together and hear how you are doing and what God’s teaching you, the time we have to pray together, to fellowship, to learn together at Sunday school and worship together, and even time afterwards just to eat and just to watch the kids play.

We are nearing two full weeks where we have been unable to meet together, and it looks like it will be many more before we able to come together again, but even though we can’t be together, I thank God that we have technology and just many different ways that we can keep in contact during this time that we are apart. We are in the midst of a time of great uncertainty, throughout the whole world and just for us as individuals, and it's during these times where our frailtiy, our weakness is so obvious and evident and we see how little we have control over things. At the same time, as Christians we are also reminded of how we can take comfort in knowing that God is in control and He cares for us, although we don’t understand why He's doing what He's doing all the time, we know that we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. We know God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble, but even knowing all that, it is still scary. And during these times we experience so many different emotions, anxiety and fear because there is so much unknown. There’s concern for our health and the health of our loved ones. We experienced different financial pressures, and just different frustrations and stresses of having our lives as we know it turned completely upside down. 

As you go through this, we deal with it many different ways. For some of us, we want to do something to regain some of the control that we've lost. Some of us, we make sure we have enough food and supplies, for others, we constantly wash our hands and sanitize, we distance ourselves from others, for some of us, we are constantly checking the news for the latest information. Some of us, we don’t want to control or think about any of this, we just want to escape reality. We watch movies and TVs, we go play games or go online or just dive into our hobbies.

You know all these different responses are not necessarily wrong, in fact many of these things we are doing are really good and important to do. But at the same time, as Christians, we understand that our comfort, our refuge and security is found not in what supplies we have or what we can do to slow down the spread the disease or what we know as far as the latest news or even our ability to escape reality.  Our comfort and refuge is found in knowing we know God and God is our Heavenly Father and He cares for us. He is our refuge, our strength, He demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were sinners, He sent His son to die in our place. And we can rejoice always even time like this, we know that God is near. 

He calls us to pray with thanksgiving and He hears our prayers, and He gives us peace that surpasses all comprehension, that this peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I want to take this opportunity to encourage all of us to humble ourselves before God and cast all our cares on Him, to pray to the one who is sovereign over all, our creator.  Whatever is troubling you, whatever you’re worry about, we can cast those before God.

I want to take a moment and pray.

God helps us in this time, we are weak, we are frail, we have little that we are actually really in control of. Lord, help us to go to you, our creator, our God who is in control of all things, and help us to trust in you, to look to you for help, and all these different things that we are facing, with our health, with our finances, with taking care of family, with all these different things, Lord we entrust our lives to you, and lives of our loved ones, knowing that you will take care of them. We pray for all the medical workers as they care and help the sick, especially many who are part of our church. We pray for our government, that you would give them wisdom that they will make the best decisions for the people in this time. We pray for us as a church, that we will continue to look for ways to encourage each other to love in good deeds, even though we can’t come together as a body of Christ, so Lord help us, we need your help, we thank you, and we pray in Jesus name. Amen. 

Well, I miss all of you, I look forward the next time when we are able to come together, and I really look for to that. I encourage all of you to join us this Sunday for our livestream, go check out the church website for more information. Take care. Stay safe. God blessed. Peace.

三月 18, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

各位弟兄姊妹,

我們正把事工轉以上網為主, 以下是一些概觀:
 

崇拜直播:
  1. 在主日早上, 請往教會網站(fcbcfv.org), 開啟教會的標記(請用Google Chrome上網).
  2. 你便可以與我們一同崇拜(中文在九時, 英文十時四十五分, 越語十二時半)
  3. 你會看到主日崇拜程序, 講道大綱及簡訊.
週三禱告會:
  1. 在Google網頁打上fcbcfv.org/live
  2. 早上十時是國語及英語, 晚上七時半是英語
  3. 當場可以把感恩或禱告事項用手機傳短訊至在螢幕上的電話號碼或電郵地址
  4. 代禱事項不會放在網頁, 請用電郵向Dian索取

 

奉獻
我們了解有些人會損失了薪金與生意, 因為疫症垮毀了經濟. 如果你受到影響, 請通知教會, 讓我們知道如何給予幫助. 我們一定為有需要的會員禱告, 給予實質的支持.

有人在問如何奉獻, 以下是一些途徑:

  1. 把支票直接寄到教會, 請用你的奉獻封, 因上面有你的帳號以方便財務部.
  2. 從你的銀行支票户口, 設立自動轉帳. 銀行會把支票寄到教會. 你可以設定款額及次數.
  3. 電子存款或信用卡, 我們現有以下的選擇: 請放心它們都十分安全, 而且也為其他大機構及非營利機構服務.
  • 教會網頁fcbcfv.org 點擊在上方的 “Give”
  • 下載 ChurchCenter 軟體, 選 FCBC, 可設定一次性或經常奉獻.
  • 發短訊至 84321, 第一次做的時候, 需設立ChurchCenter戶口.
 
送上對你們的愛
譚旭光牧師

三月 17, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey
主内的弟兄姊妹,

就在我们以为之前的限制已经不能再更糟糕的时候,今天从Orange County健康局,Dr. Nicole Quick所发布更为雪上加霜的定规,就是禁止所有私人或是公共的聚集,无论多少人,除非是社会必需要的人员,机构,与服务-当然教会不被视为其中(虽然我们知道,在基督里,教会是必需的)。

当然教会基本上已经暂停所有在教会场所上的任何聚会,所以这个新的指令并没有更进一步的使我们必须取消更多的聚会。但是这个指令还是造成一些影响,因为它缩限了我们能在教会场地上原本安排的计画,这包括了我们所有的牧师以及秘书Dian不再能够在教会的办公室工作。

更甚的,这个新的规定也使我们无法按照原订计画在教会场地直播周三的祷告会以及周日的主日崇拜。但无论如何,没有任何规定能停止我们在网路上一起与你们祷告!

明天的祷告会依然会采直播的方式举行,只是是从我们牧师的家中,而不是教会。再次感谢我们的技术团队使这个安排得以成就!明天的祷告会计画如下:
早上10:00,中文为主,英文翻译(抱歉没有广东话的翻译)
晚上7:30,英文
请自己选择一个时间与你的家人一同上线。正常情况下在教会的场地上,我们分别会有20-30人左右聚集在各个祷告会。但在这个很不寻常的景况下,我们盼望上帝能够带领更多人-甚至超过100人-能一起聚集在网路上寻求从神而来的平安,怜悯,与祝福!

也请大家屏息以待的等候更多的新的信息(因为每分钟都可能有所变化)。但是,无论外面怎么变化,我们在基督耶稣里的这个事实永远不变。正如希伯来书13:8所说的,『耶稣基督昨日、今日、一直到永远,是一样的。 』

在这样变化万千,不知所措的时刻,盼望当你们更深寻求主的时候,愿你们的信心更为坚固,你们的盼望更为坚定,你们与神爱加紧密,你们更深从神领受平安,神所赐的喜乐更显明在你们身上。愿我们的神保护你和你的家人,不止是从这个新冠状病毒的攻击,更是使你不因此而恐惧,担心,和忧虑。借着你们在各样的社群软体上的见证因你们在基督里所经历的这些,使众人看见祂的荣耀以及借祂所得着的盼望。

我热切想念你们,在基督里爱你们,更为你们不住的代求!

谭旭光牧师

三月 16, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

主內的弟兄姊妹,

我希望你昨天能在網上一同敬拜. 很受感動知道有些在外州, 甚至遠至東岸的老朋友也與我們一同敬拜. 歡迎你們回來! (登入教會網站要用Google Chrome來上網.)

雖然只是四天, 我們看不到你, 沒有與你一同敬拜和在主裡的團契. 我們很關心你, 為你禱告. 期待那一天, 聚會的限制被消除. 在這時間, 請好好利用在家的時間…完成一些工作, 閱讀堆積下來的書籍, 最重要的是與家人建立優質及豐富靈命的時間.

疾病控制中心最新建議所有團體超過五十人聚集的地方都要取消八個星期. 我們會討論這對我們教會將有什麼影響. 現時, 我們仍不開放教會來聚會和敬拜直至三月卅一日.

你或許會有些問題或掛心: 孩子的學業, 留在家中誰人看管; 你的工作和生意, 會不會裁員; 你的積蓄 – 過去兩週股市滑跌都使人緊張. 輪到的是健康: 如何不會感染? 如有人生病如何醫治? 最後, 還有一個大問題: Costco會再有廁紙和消毒抹紙賣嗎? 我們都會為這些事禱告. 如有代禱事項, 請通知Dian.

你們會想想如何上網來參與其他聚會(如禱告會或主日學). 以下是我們在以後至少兩個星期的措施:

 


禱告會
什麼時候: 我們會直播週三早上十時及晚上七時半的禱告會. 每次約一小時.

如何加入: 正如昨天一樣, 你們同樣可以從教會網頁fcbcfv.org的首頁進入

語言: 建議中文部弟兄姊妹(國語及粵語)參加早上的禱告會, 會設翻譯. 晚上的只有英文. 請自行選擇參加.

公開分享: 因為是直播而不是電訊會議, 我們不能彼此看到對方. 主要是我們四位牧師帶領你們禱告和感恩. 可是, 我們仍很想收到你們的消息, 我們會供給電郵和電話號碼, 使你們傳送你的感恩, 最新資料和代禱事項, 我們把消息直播出去.

禱告紙: 如需要禱告紕, 請用電郵與教會秘書Dian聯絡, 只要在電郵的題目欄上寫 “請發禱告紙”便可, 不用寫內文.
 

主日學及小組/團契聚會:
你們的老師, 組長或團長會聯絡你如何有以下的選擇來聚會:

  1. 用Hangout或 Zoom來作電訊會議
  2. 提供影頻
  3. 在戶外舉行小組





兒童主日學及崇拜:
美南浸聯會的出版社Lifeway將免費課程六個月給小學級的兒童. 你們每週五早上便可看到新的課文.

我們審查過也覺得是很好的資料, 有視頻, 筆記自行打印及給家長的教學計劃. 在電話和平板電腦也有軟件下載, 內有聖經故事和動腦筋遊戲. iOS Android 我在數年前下載軟件, 兒子Shane很喜歡它.

以下是如何登記獲取課程

  1. 到網址 digitalpass.lifeway.com , 把網址留下, 以後再重回此頁.
  2. 點擊“Redeem your digital pass”
  3. 登入, 如果是第一次, 先設立帳號
  4. 輸入履行代號VZMD4SSQ38
  5. 點擊Access(如需登入, 便再登入一次), 點擊 My Dashboard, 然後到”LifeWay Kids at Home”

在登記帳號及輸入履行代號後, 以後不再需重覆此步驟. 只要到主頁, 輸入登記時的資料便可.





AWANA

希望孩子們仍繼續做功課, 背誦金句, 贏取獎項.

孩子們預備好背金句時, 可以打電話或Facetime領袖, 向她/他們背誦, 給孩子們記分. 遲些把獎品用方法送出給他們. 當然, 領袖們也都很想與孩子們保持聯絡, 鼓勵他們, 與他們一同禱告!

 

雖然我們暫時分開, 願你們在此時刻有耶穌基督裡的安慰和平安. 也再次感謝現代科技, 願你們網上的團契和小組一樣如面對面時的真誠和鼓舞.

奉主耶穌基督的名, 祂恆常, 無所不在
譚旭光牧師

 

來10:24-25 “又要彼此相顧、激發愛心、勉勵行善。你們不可停止聚會、好像那些停止慣了的人、倒要彼此勸勉.既知道那日子臨近、就更當如此。”

讓我們信靠神, 在此困難時間仍有祂的平安.

詩56:3-4 “我懼怕的時候要倚靠你. 我倚靠神, 我要讚美祂的話; 我倚靠神, 必不懼怕. 血氣之輩能把我怎麼樣呢?”

三月 13, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

各位弟兄姊妹, 朋友,

在我送出上一封電郵後, 事情發展及改變得很快. 大學的學生在網上上學, 所有球賽也停止, 迪士尼樂園在週六也停止開放, 州政府也禁止大型集會.


據官方報導, 橙縣的確實病例不高, 可能是因為測試配套不足. 當更多人可以進行測試後, 數目會增長. 而且, 人與人之間的接觸會使病毒傳播得快.


因此, 牧師執事團作出沈重的決定, 取消所有三月份在教會的聚會,小組, 課堂, 活動, 相信這是明智之舉. 當然這不是我們意願採取的. 我們情願見到你們來, 一同敬拜和事奉, 高舉耶穌的名, 傳講福音, 享受團契交通, 彼此擁抱, 握手問安. 可惜現在情況已不允許.


所以, 從今天開始(週五), 教會內沒有聚會. 恩典年長團契, AWANA, 青少年, 大學, 粵語, 國語, 英語團契都取消.
感謝現代化科技, 我們仍可以有團契. 希伯來書10:24-25 “又要彼此相顧、激發愛心、勉勵行善。你們不可停止聚會、好像那些停止慣了的人、倒要彼此勸勉.既知道那日子臨近、就更當如此。”


我請求團契的贊助人, 組長仍繼續與團友恆常作出關顧和聯絡. 依你們的名單用電話及電郵伸出你們的愛. 一同禱告, 唱詩, 研經和感恩. 在主裡彼此鼓勵與支持. 歌羅西書3:16 “當用各樣的智慧、把基督的道理、豐豐富富的存在心裡、用詩章、頌詞、靈歌、彼此教導、互相勸戒心被恩感歌頌 神。”


以後會有電郵告知大家有什麼途徑在網上聚會. 雖然不能在教會舉行多人的集會, 你們可以考慮在公園或海灘舉行小組聚會, 仍保持 “社交距離”. 當然無論在那裡舉行面對面聚會時, 仍要小心行事.


本主日我們會依平常聚會時間現場直播崇拜. 今日或明天我們會發出指引如何用電腦來觀看崇拜.

對不起, 現時還未預備有兒童崇拜, 以後會推行在家裡舉行家庭崇拜.

  • 所有已安排在崇拜事奉的弟兄姊妹(音樂, 影音, 牧師等)將有指引送出給你們.
  • 招待: 雖然沒有人來聚會, 你們可以選擇來或不來
  • 午餐仍有, 謝謝劉徐嘉敏姊妹的預備. 如果你住近教會, 可以來取一份午餐盒.

我仍在思想這廿四小時內發生的事, 末底改的話出現在我的腦海中: “為現今的機會”. 當時的歷史背景與現時情形完全不同, 我仍在想是神在策劃一切環境(雖然祂的名字沒有出現在以斯帖記), 以致末底改和以斯帖能在他們的處境來為神成就祂偉大的工以拯救祂的子民. 我期待看神如何使用我們, 在現今的機會藉祂的教會帶出盼望, 信心和救恩.


林前13:7 “凡事包容.凡事相信.凡事盼望.凡事忍耐。” 愛是永不止息.
 
同為主的名和榮耀
譚旭光牧師

 

三月 10, 2020 by Pastor Godfrey

Brothers, sisters and friends of FCBC-FV,
We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Orange County, and responding appropriately and as necessary.

According to the OC Public Health Care Agency, there is no outbreak of COVID-19 at this time. While the situation is fluid and our response may change, here's what we advise today, per CDC recommendations.

本會十分關注新冠狀肺炎病毒在橙縣的情況, 在適當時候會作出相關的應對
暫時仍未有病情爆發危機, 但對未來發展, 我們會更進應對情況.
以下是我們跟根據CDC建議而發出的忠告:

Please stay home for at least two-weeks and contact your healthcare provider if you...

  1. Have cold or flu symptoms (fever, aches, chills, cough, weakness, shortness of breath).
  2. Have been exposed to someone with symptoms.
  3. Have traveled overseas, or been on a cruise ship.
  4. Are part of a community with a known case of COVID-19.
  5. Have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune system

如有以下情況, 請留在家中兩週並尋找醫療服務:

  1. 有感冒症狀 (發燒, 肌肉痛, 發冷, 咳嗽, 氣促)
  2. 曾接觸有病徵的人
  3. 曾往外地旅遊, 坐遊輪
  4. 在有新冠狀肺炎病毒的社區
  5. 已有健康問題, 抵抗力不足

Please do your best to prevent spreading or getting an infection:

  1. Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently
  2. Avoid handshakes and touching your face
  3. Sneeze or cough into tissue, clothing or elbow
  4. Disinfect ("Clorox wipe") frequently touched surfaces: doorknobs, handles, etc.
  5. Wear mask if recommended by healthcare professional

請盡量防止散播或受到感染:

  1. 經常洗手或用消毒液
  2. 避免握手及觸摸臉孔
  3. 打噴嚏時用紙巾, 衣服或手肘
  4. 用消毒抹紙來擦桌面, 門柄, 手柄等
  5. 如醫務人員建議戴口罩, 請依從

The church will:

  1. Continue to hold regularly scheduled meetings and services, for now
  2. Have online live streaming of our worship services for those who stay home
  3. Maintain a clean facility, and station hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes around the campus.
  4. Continue to pray, and worship Him who is sovereign over all things.

教會措施:

  1. 現時繼續舉行經常聚會及崇拜
  2. 留在家中的可以觀看崇拜直播
  3. 在不同地方放置清潔手液和消毒抹紙..以保持場地清潔.
  4. 繼續禱告和敬拜, 祂掌管一切

Let us continue to trust in God and have His peace during these troubling times.