2018 八月禱告信 | August Prayer Letter

親愛的弟兄姊妹主內平安!

八月到了!新學期到了!新同學也馬上就要來了!您與您的教會是否也預備好迎接新同學的工作?校園事工會帶給教會活力,建立教會的將來,使教會不致老化,目前的光景能被挑旺,將來也得蒙福。每個教會都要關懷學生事工,參與迎新事工。這一期讓我藉著耶穌醫治癱子的神蹟,來思想如何做好迎新事工? 好叫今年的迎新事工更有果效!


 

 

親愛的弟兄姊妹主內平安!

八月到了!新學期到了!新同學也馬上就要來了!您與您的教會是否也預備好迎接新同學的工作?校園事工會帶給教會活力,建立教會的將來,使教會不致老化,目前的光景能被挑旺,將來也得蒙福。每個教會都要關懷學生事工,參與迎新事工。這一期讓我藉著耶穌醫治癱子的神蹟,來思想如何做好迎新事工? 好叫今年的迎新事工更有果效!

從耶穌醫治癱子看迎新事工
(馬可福音 2:1-12)

有四個人把一個癱子帶到耶穌那裡,尋求耶穌的醫治。癱子就是那些不能動,不能照顧自己,需要別人幫助的人。很多新同學來到,卻發現自己好像癱子一樣:有耳,卻聽不懂別人說什麼;有眼,看不懂書上寫什麼;有腿,卻走不出去買菜;有手,卻炒不出菜來吃;真需要人幫助!誰能幫助他們呢?如何幫助他們呢?從耶穌醫治癱子的事上,我們可以學到一些迎新的功課。

1. 迎新需要一個同心的團隊:

癱子是由四位朋友抬到耶穌面前,他們是一個美好的團隊,他們一同看見癱子的需要,他們一同相信耶穌「能」、也「願意」醫治那癱子,他們需要有一致的方向、一致的步伐、一同的努力才能把這癱子帶到耶穌的面前。

面對成千上百的新同學,迎新的團隊是必需的,好把基督的愛與恩帶給這麼多的人。每年的迎新事工最大的困難,就是缺乏同心的團隊,一同關懷新同學的需要,但迎新團隊在那裡?暑假學生大部分都回國、回家探親,大家都等到放假最後一天才回來,結果是新同學歡迎舊同學;大多數學生的眼睛只看到自己與自己的家人,卻看不到新同學的需要。上班的弟兄姊妹,覺得自己要上班,迎新不是上班族的事情,是學生的事情。學生們覺得上班族只會指點別人去作,自己只上班卻不參與關懷新同學。學生會覺得,教會的帶領人漠不關心迎新事工,自己為什麼要作這麼多?

為了要建立一個同心有力的迎新團隊,我們要在每年新學期開始時,就鼓勵學生暑假要提早回來,一同携手作迎新工作。上班的弟兄姊妹可以請一兩天假,協助學生們一同作迎新事工,教會有同工與年長弟兄姊妹的積極參與,必定會提升學生們迎新的心志,大家都有這樣的心,迎新的團隊就可以建立起來。

2. 迎新需要開放家庭的人:

癱子能得醫治,因為有人肯開放自己的家給耶穌使用,凡願意進來聽耶穌講道的人,都可以自由進來。這個房子的主人,真的將房子的主權交給耶穌,雖然有人拆他房頂,他一點也沒有責罵人,他只看耶穌的反應,耶穌不說話,房主也不說話,耶穌沒有生氣,主人也不生氣,主權交在主的手中,主與別人都可以自由而用。

迎新時就需要有人願意將自己的房子獻給主,為主使用。讓新來的同學,能在自己的家中感到溫暖。不僅讓他們能感受到教會弟兄姊妹的愛,也能體會到主耶穌的愛,讓他們也渴慕成為神的兒女。

3. 迎新需要以滿足人靈命的需要為前題:

耶穌見到癱子的時候,並沒有馬上醫治他的病,卻先照顧他靈裡的需要,就對他說:「小子,你的罪赦了。」耶穌清楚表明,滿足人靈命的需要是祂福音工作的主題,醫病、趕鬼、使人得飽足是附帶的。耶穌就沒有以附帶的工作作為祂工作的前題,祂也沒有以附帶的工作來吸引人到祂面前,好聽祂講道,耶穌不論到那裡,都表明祂是為人靈魂的需要而來的,傳福音是祂首要的任務。

但今天許多的迎新工作,常常只標榜愛心關懷為前提,只作愛心的關懷,卻不願意分享神的福音,只有向人顯明我們的愛心,卻不敢說出神愛人的恩典。因為我們擔心一講福音,人就跑走了,下次就不會再來。其實在迎新會,不論我們有沒有分享福音,超過百分之八十的新同學從此不會再來的,很多人一生只有這一次到教會,我們若不向他們傳福音,我們就有禍了。我們不敢向人傳福音,常常因為我們太注重建立我們與新同學的關係,卻沒有幫助人建立與神的關係,結果他們就不再來;不是我們能吸引人到教會,只有耶穌才能吸引人到教會。

耶穌知道癱子與他的四個朋友會到祂的面前,因為他們已經對耶穌有一些的認識,就對癱子說:「小子,你的罪赦了。」(可 2:5),新同學願意接受教會的幫助,也願意來參加教會的聚會,其實他們都知道教會就是傳耶穌的地方,他們的心已經準備好,來到教會就會聽到耶穌的事;可是我們只介紹校園生治、美國生活,就是沒有好好的介紹耶穌,他們就會覺得奇怪,教會或基督徒團契為什麼不講耶穌的事呢?教會不講福音,新同學就會覺得教會與中國同學會沒有什麼兩樣,既然沒有什麼分別,去中國同學會就夠了。所以教會必須傳揚耶穌,藉耶穌吸引人來聚會。

4. 迎新要同時滿足同學「身體」與「靈魂」的需要:

耶穌對旁邊的人說:「或對癱子說『你的罪赦了』,或說『起來!拿你的褥子行走』,那一樣容易呢?」,耶穌這樣說,一方面是為了讓人知道祂有赦罪的權柄,另一方面也讓我們看到,耶穌傳福音時,「愛心關懷」與「傳福音」是並行的,使癱子起來,是要解決他身體與生活的問題,赦罪是解決靈魂的問題;叫癱子起來,就是要證明耶穌有赦罪的權柄,關懷事工是用來證明耶穌與我們所傳的道; 因此關懷事工必須要與傳福音並行,好叫關懷事工更有效的去證明福音的大能。耶穌從未有過第一次到一個城市只作關懷的工作,第二次才到這城市作傳福音的工作,祂總是一邊醫治、滿足人的需要,一邊馬上就傳天國的福音;我們也不需要說: 第一個學期作愛心關懷,第二個學期才傳福音。開學第一個月,就是愛心關懷的日子,也是傳福音的日子。迎新必須「愛心關懷」與「傳福音」並行。

5. 迎新要以彰顯神的榮耀為目標:

當人看見癱子起來行走,就知道神把赦罪的權柄給了耶穌(太 9:8),他們對耶穌與神就有了新的認識,他們就大大的將榮耀歸給神。迎新若能使人對耶穌有新的認識,他們就能了解神的愛,明白神的榮耀與大能,他們才會被吸引,常來聚會,更多認識神。

我們要學習耶穌,教會是基督在當地的代表,我們所作的,要勇於表明是為了福音的緣故。福音是神的大能,迎新時傳福音,總能帶領一些同學信主,我們再繼續栽培他們成為主的門徒,好好建立他們屬靈的根基,期待他們明年就能成為校園事工的好同工,也求主藉著他們能帶領其他同學到主的面前; 所以積極的傳福音,快快地建立門徒與同工,是校園事工得興旺的秘訣。

 

八月讀經營:

當您們收到此信時,正有近一百位弟兄姐妹們在讀經營研讀基督生平。參加者都需要在數月前就要報名,用心的去讀經與準備功課,並殷勤地去寫研讀報告,他們讀經的熱心也影響他們的教會與團契。感謝主!藉著讀經營能帶動美中弟兄姊妹讀經的心志,除了學生外,也栽培不少教授、上班族、工程師、傳道人、家庭主婦等,成為神話語的好管家,他們不僅能讀懂神的話,也能分享神的話,在查經小組、主日學,甚至主日崇拜,作個按時分糧的人。請為講員蘇桂村牧師與師母、中心同工等、及整個聚會禱告。

八月門徒與同工訓練營 (8月5日至11日):

八月訓練營是一次相當重要的營會,對校園未來一年的事工,有相當大的影響力,不僅僅是為了建立下學期的學生同工,更為了未來一年的校園事工,有一個復興的開始。每年夏天,一大部份的學生,都回國兩三個月。回國後常不能正常的去教會,又沒有弟兄姊妹在旁邊鼓勵,教會生活與靈修生活都停頓了,靈命也跌到最低谷。從國內回來美國,學校馬上就開學了,而新同學們卻早在兩週前已經來了,這些學生同工回來,非但無法參與迎新,回來還要作靈命療傷,實在非常影響一年的校園事工。八月的門徒訓練營,就是為了鼓勵學生早點回來,在靈性上建立自己,得著靈命的復興,帶著異象和能力,成為新學期的生力軍,好好的作迎新工作,使興旺臨到校園新一年的事工,求主讓更多的弟兄姊妹認識這個重要性,為了主、為了自己、為了校園的事工,要多多的接受裝備。請為訓練的講員:莊大能牧師、李玉惠姊妹、中心同工、兒童班老師、及所有參加者禱告,願主得榮耀。

迎新與短宣:

今年中國學生略為減少了,不少人歸究於特朗普總統的移民政策等原因;但在我心中的感覺是:過去多年北美校園事工,普遍來說是失敗的,學生大量增加,各地校園團契的數字,卻沒有怎樣的增加,很多校園都不敢向學生傳福音,深恐福音會嚇阻福音朋友來聚會,很多學生團契與事工,也缺乏對學生的門徒訓練與栽培,恐怕對學生有什麼要求,就會影響校園同工與學生的關係;學生團契的顧問或帶領同工,常常對聖經的根基很不扎實,不能用神的話語帶領學生。校園事工作不好,神就自然少帶領人來讀書,因為神的心意就是要得著學生,成為日後教會的器皿,得著日後祂國度的精兵。盼望神更多使用今年的短宣,為神多得靈魂,顯明神福音的大能,好叫各地團契與教會,因看見神的大能,就放膽傳揚主的福音,使校園事工能得著更大的興旺。感謝主!八、九月共有九隊短宣隊來美中校園傳福音。在迎新期間,很多弟兄姊妹都忙著以愛心作關懷事工,短宣隊員則可以向新同學傳福音,校園同工若能與短宣隊配搭,就必使校園事工得著興旺。請為八月中(8月17-26日) 與九月初(9月7-16日)兩梯次的美中短宣隊禱告,求主使用。

代禱事項:

  1. 為八月讀經營禱告,求主挑旺弟兄姊妹研讀主話的心志,為主建立日後分享神話語的人。
  2. 為八月門徒與同工訓練營禱告,求主藉此聚會,不僅建立初信弟兄姊妹靈命的根基,更能裝備成熟的信徒與同工,成為能帶領別人的人。
  3. 為讀經營與訓練營的講員禱告,求聖靈加添智慧與能力,使更多人得建立與裝備。
  4. 為中心同工靠主得智慧與能力,完成本月兩週的營會,與兩梯次每梯次十天的校園短宣禱告。
  5. 為高師母這幾個月的化療禱告,求主使她身體得醫治、心靈得平安、靈裡得興旺。
  6. 為八月17-26日的美中校園短宣隊禱告,八月共有五隊,求主差派他們出去,靠著神的靈,把人帶進主的國度,使各校園福音事工得著大的興旺。
  7. 為校園迎新事工禱告,求主使各地同工得著聖靈的力量,彰顯基督的愛,勇於傳福音,與短宣隊有美好的配搭,多得神國的果子。
  8. 為建築同工Pastor Shull 與維修同工Scott 禱告,求主賜福他們手所作的工,使中心得建立,彰顯主榮耀的大能。
  9. 為Scott 一家八口在中心的生活禱告,也為他們家房子的擴建禱告(多加一睡房),求主賜福工程順利,也賜下所需經費禱告(約二萬元)。
  10. 為新同工禱告,求主帶領更多同工,一同在美中各校園牧養主的教會,建立更多門徒與同工,興旺各地校園。

 

求主讓我們在新的學期,看到福音的大能!並賜福我們同心合意的事奉!

主內
高榮德敬上

 

 


 

Peace in the Lord!

August is around the corner! The new semester is almost here! The new students are coming soon! Are you and your church ready to welcome them? Campus ministry energizes a church and brings in new blood so that the church does not age. It also changes the status quo of a church for the better and blesses her future. Every church has to value campus ministry and take part in new student welcoming ministry. This issue of newsletter allows me to ponder how to carry out and make more effective new student welcoming ministry this year by considering the miracle of Jesus’ healing the paralytic man.

Seeing New Student Welcoming Ministry from the Perspective of Jesus Healing the Paralytic
(Mark 2:1-12)

Four men carried a paralytic to Jesus and sought His healing. Paralytics are those who cannot move by themselves, cannot take care of themselves. They need help from others. Upon arrival, many international students when they first arrive find themselves like paralytics: having ears, but not fully understanding what others say; having eyes, but not at first understanding their stack of books; having legs, but cannot go buy food; having hands, but do not know how to cook food. They really need help! But who can help them and how to help them? We can learn some new lessons from the story of Jesus healing the paralytic man. 

1. Welcoming new students requires unified team efforts.

The paralytic was brought to Jesus by four friends, who made up a wonderful team. Together they saw the needs of the paralytic. Together they believed in Jesus’s power and willingness to heal the paralytic. To bring the paralytic to Jesus they walked in the same direction at the same pace, and generally coordinated their efforts. 

Facing hundreds and thousands of new students, a welcome team is necessary to bring the love and grace of Christ to so many people. The biggest difficulty with welcoming new students every year is that last year’s old students and others have scattered to the winds pursuing summer vacation or their own chores. During the summer most students returned to their home countries to visit their relatives and friends. Many wait until the last minute to come back to school. Since the new students tend to be cautious in coming to this new setting and have orientations to attend, often it is the new students who welcome the old students! Most current students only have themselves and their families in mind and could not see the needs of the new students. Brothers and sisters who are working full time may think that welcoming new students is not their business. They must work. They think that the old students will take care of the newcomers. Therefore the old students conclude that the church leaders are indifferent to the new student welcoming ministry. 

To build up a strong and unified student welcoming team, before the beginning of the new semester we should encourage the old students to return to school in time to join the welcoming ministry, many days before that might otherwise arrive. Brothers and sisters who work can take a day or two off to help them. The active participation of coworkers and mature brothers and sisters in the church will certainly enhance students’ willingness to welcome new students. If everyone has such a heart, a team will be built up. 

2. Welcoming new students requires people to open their homes.

The paralytic could be healed because someone literally opened his house to Jesus and anyone who wanted to come in and listen to Jesus’ teaching. The owner of the house truly handed over the ownership of the house to Jesus. Although his roof was torn down, he apparently did not scold anyone. He looked upon Jesus’ reaction. Since Jesus did not speak, he did not speak either. Since Jesus was not angry, he was not angry either. The ownership of the house was in the hand of the Lord. The Lord and others could use it at will. 

Welcoming new students requires someone’s willingness to dedicate homes and possessions to the Lord and be used by Him, letting the new students feel the warmth of a home. They will not only experience the love of the brothers and sisters from the church, but also the love of the Lord Jesus, so that they will also desire to become children of God. 

3. The premise of welcoming new students is meeting people’s spiritual needs.

When Jesus saw the paralytic, He did not immediately heal his disease, but first took care of his spiritual needs. He said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus made it clear that satisfying people’s spiritual needs was the priority of his gospel ministry. Healing sickness, casting out demons, and feeding people were secondary. Consider also that Jesus never used such secondary work as a prelude or advertising for His ministry, nor did He draw people to listen to Him with such work. Wherever Jesus went, He first showed that He came for the needs of the human soul. Evangelism was His first priority. 

However, today many of those welcoming new students prioritize food and fun to sharing the gospel of God. Too often we are eager to show our compassion to others but dare not to tell them the grace of God’s love, because we worry that bringing up the gospel will turn people away forever. In fact, whether we share the gospel or not, more than 80% new students will not come back after that first encounter. Indeed, many of them visit church or a Bible study just once in their lifetime. If we do not share the gospel with them, woe to us! We do not dare to preach the gospel, often because we pay too much attention to establishing our relationship with new students but do not help them establish a relationship with God. As a result they will stop coming. Keep in mind that our abilities and resources are not drawing people. Only Jesus can draw people to himself and to his church. 

Jesus knew that the paralytic and his four friends would come to Him because they had some knowledge of Him. Therefore, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5). New students are willing to accept the help of the church and come to the church gatherings because they all know that the church is the place to hear about Jesus. They are ready to hear about Jesus when they come to the church. They will be surprised if we only introduce student life on campus and in the United States but do not introduce Jesus properly. Why do churches or Christian fellowships not talk about Jesus? If the church does not preach the gospel, new students will think that the church is no different from Chinese Student Association. Since there is no difference, it is enough just to attend the Chinese Student Association. Therefore, our churches have to preach the gospel and draw people to our gatherings by proclaiming Jesus. 

4. Welcoming new students should meet the needs of body and soul at the same time

Jesus said to those next to Him, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘rise, take up your bed and walk’? Jesus said this, on one hand, to let people know that He has authority to forgive sins, and on the other hand, to show us that “caring with love” should go hand in hand with “preaching the gospel”. Making the paralytic walk was to solve problems of his body and daily life. Forgiving his sins was to solve the problem of his soul and destiny. To raise the paralytic was to prove that Jesus had authority to forgive sins. Therefore, caring ministry is used to prove Jesus and the gospel that we proclaim. Caring ministry must go hand in hand with evangelism so that caring may prove the power of the gospel more effectively. Jesus never came to a city for the first time only to care and for a return visit to share the gospel. He always preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven as He healed and satisfied the physical needs of men. We shall not say that we will care for new students in the first semester and then share the gospel with them in the second semester. The first month of school is the time to care and also to share the gospel. Welcoming new student ministry includes both caring and evangelism. 

5. The aim of welcoming new student ministry is to show the glory of God

When people saw the paralytic get up and walk, they knew that God has given Jesus authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:8). They had a new understanding of Jesus and God, and greatly glorified God. If our welcoming new student ministry can bring people to new understanding of Jesus, they will be able to know God’s love, glory, and power. Then they will be drawn to the church gatherings and learn more about God. 

We need to learn from Jesus. The church is Christ’s representative on earth. We have to be bold to make known that what we do is for the sake of the gospel. The gospel is the power of God. When we share the gospel with new students, we will always be able to lead some to Christ. Then we continue to equip them as disciples of the Lord and build their spiritual foundations, with the hope that they will become capable coworkers on campus next year and lead other students to the Lord in the future. Therefore, active evangelism and quick building up of disciples and coworkers are the secret to the revival of campus ministry. 

 

August Bible Camp

When you received this letter, nearly a hundred brothers and sisters will be studying the Life of Christ for or in the Bible Camp. Participants signed up for this camp a few months ago. They studied the Bible and prepared their homework. They assiduously wrote a research report. Their enthusiasm for studying the Bible affects their churches and fellowships. Thank God for using the Bible Camp to motivate brothers and sisters in the Midwest to study the Bible! In addition to students, faculty members, office employees, engineers, ministers, housewives, and many others have become good stewards of the Word of God. They not only can understand God’s Word but also can teach God’s Word, giving spiritual food to others at the proper time in Bible study groups, Sunday School classes, and even Sunday worship services. Please pray for the speakers, Rev and Mrs. David Su, CWC coworkers, and the entire meeting. 

August Disciple and Coworker Training (August 5th to 11th)

The August training is a very important camp, and has considerable influence on campus ministry of the coming year, not only for the purpose of building up student workers, but also for the flourishing of the campus ministry. Every summer, a large number of students go back to their home countries for two or three months. They cannot regularly go to church in their home countries and have no brothers and sisters around to encourage them. As a result their fellowship with other Christians within a church and personal devotional time come to a stall and their spiritual life fall to its lowest point. When they come back to the States, the school is about to start. The new students already arrived two weeks ago. Instead of being able to participate in welcoming new students, these student coworkers need spiritual nourishment and healing themselves. This problem could indeed affect campus ministry for a whole year. The August Discipleship Training Camp is designed to encourage students to come back to the States earlier, build themselves up, and be revived spiritually, becoming a fresh force with vision and power in the new semester and serve effectively to welcome new students. In this way the campus ministry will prosper in the future. May more brothers and sisters understand the importance of spiritual preparation and receive more training for the Lord, or themselves, and for the campus ministry. Please pray for the speakers, Pastor Taneng Chuang, Sister Grace Lee, CWC coworkers, children teachers, and all the participants. May the Lord be glorified!

Welcoming New Students and Short-Term Mission Teams:

There has been a slight decline in Chinese students population this year. Some have blamed President Trump’s immigration policy. But as far as I feel in my heart, generally speaking, in the past few years campus ministry in the North America failed. Though the number of students increased substantially, the attendance at local campus fellowships remained almost the same. Many campus coworkers do not dare to preach the gospel to students, fearing that the gospel will deter unbelievers to their meetings. Many student fellowships and ministries do not provide disciple and coworker training, dreading that any requirements on students will affect the relationship between campus coworkers and students. Moreover, the campus fellowship counselors and leaders often lack a solid foundation in the Bible and cannot lead the students with the Word of God. If the campus ministry does not do well, why should God bring people here? God desires to win over students to become the vessels of the church and Christian soldiers for His Kingdom. May the Lord make more use of the short-term mission teams this year to win more souls and manifest the power of the gospel. After witnessing God’s power, local fellowships and churches will boldly proclaim the gospel and revive the campus ministries. Thank God! In August and September a total of nine short-term mission teams will come to share the gospel in the Midwest campuses. During welcoming new students, many brothers and sisters will be busy caring for the new students with love while the short-term mission teams can focus on sharing the gospel. The collaboration between campus coworkers and short-term mission teams will surely make campus ministry flourish. Please pray for two short-term mission trips in mid-August (August 17th to 26th) and early September (September 7th to 16th) and may the Lord use them!

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray for the August Bible Camp. May the Lord kindle the thirsts in brothers and sisters to study His Word and become those who can share His Word in the future. 
  2. Please pray for August Disciple and Coworker Training. May the Lord use this meeting to build new believers’ spiritual foundation and equip mature believers and coworkers to be able to lead others. 
  3. Please pray for speakers of the Bible Camp and Disciple Training Camp. May the Holy Spirit give wisdom and power so that more people will be equipped and built up. 
  4. Please pray for CWC coworkers to complete two-week camps this month and ten days of two short-term mission trips, with God’s wisdom and power. 
  5. Please pray for Mrs. Ko’s chemotherapeutic treatment for the next few months. May her body be healed, her heart have peace, and her spirit be revived. 
  6. Please pray for the short-term mission teams. Five teams will arrive in August. May the Lord send them out to bring people into His Kingdom with the Spirit of God and bring great revival to local campus gospel ministry. 
  7. Please pray for the welcoming new student ministry. May the Lord give the power of Spirit to local coworkers so that they will show the love of Christ and boldly preach the gospel. May they serve alongside with the short-term mission teams and receive an abundant harvest. 
  8. Please pray for construction coworker Pastor Shull and maintenance coworker Brother Scott. May the Lord bless the work of their hands and reveal His glory through their services. 
  9. Please pray for brother Scott’s family which is living on CWC camp ground. Please also pray for the expansion of their house (adding a bedroom). May the Lord bless this project and provide the necessary funds (about $20,000). 
  10. Please pray for new CWC coworkers. May the Lord lead more coworkers to serve the Lord’s churches in the Midwest and build up more disciples and coworkers to revive local campuses. 

 

May the Lord let us witness the power of the gospel in this new semester and bless us to serve Him with one mind!

In the Lord,
Pastor William Ko