- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Thursday, 24 January 2019 00:00
「天上屬靈氣的惡魔」我們難以應付，因為常是在我們意想不到的時候，將我們吞掉，常用迷人的潮流將我們沖去，我們的衣服常過短、褲子與襪子不分、過低，頭髮太長或太短，都是因為跟上今年的潮流（Fashion），信徒隨世人一樣，不斷的換手機、換車子，換名片、換太太（離婚），追最新的影片與歌曲，都是因為追風的心態在作怪。我們離開聖徒的體統與法則，是因為我們常以追上潮流為榮。「潮流 － Fashion」就是天上屬靈氣的惡魔所最喜愛用的手段，當我們正在潮水沉浮中享受，就被這潮流沖到不見影縱了。要作時代的中流砥柱，就必須能在每天的生活中，能靠主抵住時代的潮流，不隨波逐流，作主的見證人。
冬令會 - 冬令會在主的恩典與同在中順利完成，弟兄姊妹深被神的話語所抓住、願意為主站立，在末世黑暗的時代，為主作中流砥柱，不跟隨世界的潮流，要追隨我們得勝元首者的腳縱。要主辦將近二千人的營會殊不容易，神讓我們經歷祂是我們的力量，是我們隨時的幫助。這些弟兄姊妹都是主從美中、與美國各地，用愛呼召他們來追求與受裝備的，主也打發他們回去，作主的見證，求主藉他們彰顯祂得勝的榮耀。感謝主！也帶領近四十位福音朋友歸主，請為他們在主裡的成長、及各地的跟進工作禱告。
門徒與同工訓練營 – 冬令會剛結束，弟兄姊姊帶著興奮的心，如同精兵一樣，二、三十人快速的作清理的工作，收拾餐廳與廚房的餐具、廚具與食物；二、三十人收拾聚會的場地，拆卸聚會場地所有的佈置，將聚會設備打包與裝箱，最後大家同心合意，盡全力將所有的東西，從旅館的各房間，搬到中心的校車巴士（已清出椅子可以當貨車使用）、一輛卡車、兩輛大拖車上，所有車輛都裝得滿滿的，到晚上八時才離開旅館。當晚在中心就準時開始有第一堂的聚會，聚會後弟兄姊妹們一同幫忙卸貨，將東西放回原位，到深夜一時才完成。雖然工作很重，但是大家都非常喜樂的同心完成，實在是一隊美好的基督工兵團。
讀經營 – 訓練營結束，第二天讀經營就開始了，約一百多位弟兄姊妹參加，其中有六十多位弟兄姊妹是參加完訓練營後，繼續留下來參加讀經營，其中有近五十位是連繼參加三個營會，他們自稱為「鐵人三項」。參加完三個營會約近三個星期。讀經營的目標不只是教導神的話，讓弟兄姊妹在神的話語上扎根，也是為裝備弟兄姊妹成為能「分享神話語的人」，所以來之前就要作功課，寫報告，在營會中有專題分享的機會。這次營會不僅讓弟兄姊妹認識初期教會如何傳福音，更挑起弟兄姊妹傳福音的熱情，有約七位弟兄姊妹願意立志作傳道人，感謝主的作為。
福音營 – 聚會將於三月十五至十八日在中心舉行，講員為黃力夫教授與許學舜長老。這次福音營的主題是： 「科學、信仰與人生」。黃力夫教授獲密西根州立大學博士學位，曾在田納西大學任教15年，匹茲堡大學任教14年，現為北卡大學藥學院分子藥劑系主任，及Eshelman講座教授，專攻非病毒性的基因治療及藥物輸送。週末時黃教授常在各教會及營會中分享主的話語，主藉著他常帶領學生信主。讓我們把握機會得著人的靈魂，好叫我們這學期得著新的弟兄姊妹，在這學期建立更多新同工。福音營不是只為福音朋友預備的，因為弟兄姊妹若不先報名參加，福音朋友就沒有意願來參加，福音營也有對基督徒的培靈信息與造就專題，弟兄姊妹要先決定來參加福音營，才能鼓勵與帶動福音朋友來參加，讓我們自己早早報名，多為福音營禱告，靠信心與愛心早早作邀請的工作。
保羅行蹤進修團 – 日期是今年的六月十七至二十九日。本次聖地進修團是中心每六年舉辦一次的「保羅宣教行程」進修團， 行程包括土耳其、希臘、義大利與梵蒂崗。藉著此實地的進修，讓聖經所記載的事蹟 (使徒行傳、保羅書信與啟示錄) 深刻地印在我們的心中，更讓我們體驗聖經的真實、幫助我們一生更認真地研讀主的話語、愛主、事主更深，並立志一生為主作美好的見證。所以此次我們所造訪之處，這將會是您人生中最值得回憶的旅程，請勿錯過。我們將參訪伊斯坦堡、啟示錄中的幾間教會與拔摩海島，特羅亞、腓立比、帖撒羅尼迦、雅典、哥林多、和羅馬等地，費用預估包括來回機票、旅館、參觀門票、膳食等約為$4,500 (一月底將公佈準確金額)。我們會在二月將資訊張貼上網，請早早預留時間並參加。
Dear brothers and sisters,
Rejoice in the year of 2019! May the Lord shower on you and your family heavenly peace and joy this new year! May you experience ever more the sweetness and power of His Word, bringing more and more people to receive His grace!
Pillars of Rock in the Currents of Time
“For our struggle (literally: “wrestling”) is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13).
This was the theme of our Winter Conference in 2018. I praised and gave thanks to the Lord when speaker Pastor Hsu handed this theme to me. This was exactly the theme we were hoping for. The time such as ours needs this kind of theme. Churches today emphasize numbering people: headcount becomes a benchmark for the effectiveness of a pastor’s ministry. Campus fellowships are zealous in sharing the gospel as they realize the continuing turnover as students graduate. The theme this year reminded us that headcount is not the utmost priority. The most important mission for the churches and fellowships is to establish the pillars of our Rock in the churning currents of time. As we live in these end times, wrestling with flesh and blood is already not easy. Even more daunting is that we are wrestling with rulers and authorities of the dark world. How much more despair will arise as we find ourselves also wrestling not just with troublesome people, but with spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms!
Spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms are real foes. They swallow us when we do not expect. They sweep us away with glamor and worldly trends: clothing becomes less discreet and more distracting, even hairstyles “too long” or “too short”. Believers follow the pagan culture and pursue incessantly newer models of smart phones, cars, jobs, spouses (through divorce), movies, and entertainment generally. To sum, believers conform to patterns of this world. We depart from Christians’ traditions and discretion as we pride ourselves in being trendy. Fashion is one of the tricks that spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms most often employ. If we are enjoying this floating in the tide of fashion, we will be swept away by this tide soon. If we want to be the pillars of our Rock in the currents of time, we ought to strongly resist the ebb and flow of fashion, not drift along with everyone else. Then we can witness for the Lord.
“Authorities” also challenge us often. Authorities are not limited to presidents and CEOs; they can be our supervisors or bosses. We respectfully obey their orders. We skip church work to accommodate overtime work. Our daily devotions slide because of the heavy work load. Even school administration will warn not to invite students to the churches, and so some back down and dare not introduce churches and Jesus to the students. Does the school organize graduation ceremonies at the Sunday Service time? We think it is OK to skip the Sunday worship to attend. To be a pillar of our Rock in the current of time, we ought to witness for the Lord boldly at our work and at our school. As a believer, we should let Christ be the Head at our work and school, and firmly hold this position.
Attacks from “Rulers” upon believers are more than a test of fire. Christians are asked to obey government rather than Christ, to love their tribe rather than Christ. Can we stand firm amidst such persecution? When we lead young people on campuses to Christ, are we also leading them to be faithful disciples of Christ? Can they become Pillars of Rock when they are studying in the U.S.? Are they transformed and no longer conformed to this world? Are they influential among their peers, such that they can lead people to churches and to Christ? If we can not be Pillars of Rocks in the States, can we be the Pillars of Rocks when we return to our home countries? Let us not look down on youths and assume we should place no expectation on them. If they are not Pillars of Rock while they are studying in the States, can they stand firmly when they face the pressures from the governments when they leave us after graduation?
As we aim at building up our students to become Pillars of Rock, we should evaluate whether our campus ministries method provide practical help and training to let the students face this ever-challenging society. In order to build up students to follow the Lord firmly, the CWC has never been swayed to so-called “new era” campus ministry style. We refused to attract students through fun activities and gimmicks. We insist rather on discipleship training: faithfully teaching brothers and sisters to seriously study God’s Word, faithfully follow the Lord, and making other people disciples. Thanks to be God: when we firmly use the Discipleship Training method taught and demonstrated by Jesus and Apostle Paul, we firmly build up students to become Pillars of Rocks, and faithfully witnesses for the Lord.
Winter Conference: The Winter Conference was successfully completed in the grace and presence of the Lord. Brothers and sisters were deeply seized by the Word of God, willing to stand for the Lord and to be the Pillars of Rock, and not to drift with the tide of the world but rather to tread the footprints of our victorious Commander. It is not easy to host a conference for nearly 2,000 people. But God let us experience that He is our strength and help in the time of need. These brothers and sisters were called by the Lord with love from the Midwest and from other areas of the United States, to be equipped and then be sent back as witnesses of the Lord, through whom the glory of His victory may be revealed. Thank the Lord for bringing 40 unbelievers to believe in Him. Please pray for their growth in the Lord and for the follow-up ministry in local churches.
Coworker and Discipleship Training Camp: As soon as the Winter Conference was over, brothers and sisters with excited hearts and strong bodies were like elite skilled soldiers. Twenty to thirty of them worked quickly to clean up the dining hall and pack tableware, kitchen utensils, and food. Another twenty to thirty people cleaned meeting rooms and then disassembled, packed, and boxed all the equipment. At last with one heart we moved everything from the hotel to the CWC school bus (all seats have been removed in advance), a truck, and two big trailers. All the vehicles were fully packed and finally left the hotel at around 8:00 p.m. The first meeting of the Discipleship Training began on time that evening at the CWC. After the meeting, brothers and sisters helped unload all the stuff and put it in place. They did not finish until 1:00 a.m. Although the workload was heavy, everyone joyfully finished the task with one heart. What a wonderful team of Christian workers!
Thank God! About two hundred brothers and sisters attended the training camp. More than 250 people, including children, speakers, and CWC coworkers, ate together. Thank God! As part of the newly completed dining hall began to be used, the space was no longer crowded, and the sound of joyful diners filled the room. During the camp everybody fervently studied the Word of God. With a rekindled spirit, they were willing to be the Lord’s disciples and faithfully serve the Lord after they return to their home and work. After the camp, our American coworker took about 40 brothers and sisters and their luggage back to Kansas City airport by the school bus—now with seats! Thank God! These people paid expensive holiday flight tickets to attend the discipleship training camp. Thank the Lord for their dedication to pursue Him! May the Lord remember and bless them!
Bible Camp: On the day after the Discipleship Training Camp, more than 100 brothers and sisters attended the Bible Camp. More than 60 of these had stayed behind after the discipleship training camp. Around 50 had attended all three camps—the "triathlon" as they called it—and stayed for almost three weeks. The purpose of the Bible camp is not only to teach brothers and sisters to take root in God’s Word but also to equip them to effectively share God’s Word. Therefore, participants are required to complete homework and to write a report so that they might be given an opportunity to share their reports in the camp. This Bible camp not only helped brothers and sisters know how the early church shared the gospel, it also inspired seven brothers and sisters to serve the Lord as ministers in the future. Praise God for His work!
Gospel Camp: The Gospel Camp will take place from March 15th to 18th at CWC. The speakers are professor Leaf Huang and Elder Rupert Hsu. The topic this year is Science, Faith, and Life. Professor Leaf Huang received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and has taught for 15 years in the University of Tennessee and 14 years in the University of Pittsburg. He is currently head of Molecular Medicine Department and Professor of Eshelman in the School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, specializing in non-viral gene therapy and drug delivery. At the weekends Professor Huang usually shares the Word of God in various churches and camps. Through him the Lord often leads students to believe. Let us grab this opportunity to win souls so that we can have new brothers and sisters and equip more new coworkers in this semester. The Gospel Camp is not just for unbelievers. If brothers and sisters do not sign up first, unbelievers do not have the will to attend. Therefore, the Gospel Camp also provides revival and edification messages for Christians. Brothers and sisters should decide to attend the Gospel Camp first before they are able to invite unbelievers to attend. Let’s register early, pray for the camp often, and with faith and love invite people as early as possible.
Paul’s Missionary Journey Study Tour: This June 17th to 29th the Holy Land Study Tour follows Paul’s Missionary journeys, as it does every six years. The itinerary includes Turkey, Greece, Italy, and the Vatican City. Through this field study, we hope that the events recorded in the Bible (the Book of Acts, the Pauline Epistles, and the Book of Revelation) will be deeply imprinted in our hearts, so that we will be able to experience the truthfulness of the Bible and read the Word of the Lord more seriously throughout our lives. It will also help us love the Lord more, serve the Lord more faithfully, and be determined to bear wonderful witnesses for the Lord all our lives. Where we will travel could be the most memorable trip in your life. Please do not miss this opportunity! We will visit Istanbul, the churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Rome, etc. The estimated cost is $4,500, including round trip flight tickets, hotel, tour sites admission tickets, meals, etc. (The exact cost will be announced at the end of January). We will post information online in February. Please reserve your time early!
- Please give thanks for the success of the three winter camps. The Lord is our vision, strength, and help.
- Please pray for those who accepted Christ in the Winter Conference. May the Lord give coworkers strength and wisdom to follow up and care for the new believers.
- Please pray that brothers and sisters who were equipped in the December Discipleship Training Camp and January Bible Camp will continue to humbly study the Word of God and faithfully serve Him after returning to their home and work.
- Please pray for the March Gospel Camp and the invitation beforehand. May the Lord move and prepare people to join. Please also pray for the speakers.
- Please pray for the March East Coast Discipleship Training Camp in North Carolina. May the Lord prepare people to attend.
- Please pray for the expansion of the CWC dining hall and the American coworker’s bedroom. May the Lord bring the project to a smooth completion and provide necessary funds.
- May the Lord raise up more campus ministers to build up disciples on various campuses.
- Please pray for Mrs. Ko’s health. May the Lord heal and support her.
- Please pray that every campus fellowship will grow towards the direction of discipleship training. May the Lord equip coworkers to make disciples on local campuses.
May God bless you and your whole family!