- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Tuesday, 05 February 2019 00:00
我傳福音原沒有可誇的，因為我是不得已的。若不傳福音，我便有禍了。 我若甘心做這事，就有賞賜；若不甘心，責任卻已經託付我了（林前 9:16-17）。
教會與校園事工得興旺的三個步驟是：1. 得著靈魂，2. 建立門徒，3. 裝備同工。其中最要注意的就是傳福音，好得著靈魂。若沒有人去傳福音，那裡會有人相信呢？若沒有人信主，那裡有人可以學習作主的門徒呢？若沒有人要作主的門徒，那裡有人被裝備成為同工呢？若沒有同工起來，教會與團契的事工誰去作呢？同工減少，福音朋友就減少，教會與校園事工就越來越沒有希望。要打破這惡性循環，我們必須重新建立這三步驟：快快去傳福音、加緊建立門徒、忠心的裝備同工。其中最重要的就是：快快去傳福音，好得著人的靈魂。
保羅提醒我們說：”我傳福音原沒有可誇的，因為我是不得已的。若不傳福音，我便有禍了。我若甘心做這事，就有賞賜；若不甘心，責任卻已經託付我了。（林前 9:16-17）不傳福音的審判是非常嚴重的，保羅只簡單的說：「我便有禍了。」這個禍是指什麼？不傳福音的第一個禍就是教會漸漸的衰微、看不見神的作為，看不見新的生命興起，看不見神的恩典。從舊約以色列人的歷史給我們看到: 聖殿什麼時候興旺，國家也得興旺，每一個家庭都蒙福。當聖殿衰敗時，國家就受到別國的攻擊，人民生不如死，神給祂子民的恩典，是與祂殿的興旺連在一起，因此不傳福音第二個禍就是: 我們自己的家不會蒙神的恩典。為了神家的興旺，與神的恩典常臨到我們的家，讓我們快快將祂的福音傳開，同心傳揚福音，求神讓我們多把握機會，快去傳揚祂的福音，並多帶領人歸回神的國，更求神幫助我們計劃，至少一學期能帶領一位福音朋友信主，每年能享受傳福音的喜樂，每年活在神的恩典中，使神的家得興旺，自己的家也蒙福。
還有不到三個月，學期就要結束了，暑假即將開始，不少學生與家庭都打算回國探親，其中有許多人存著一個美好的心願，就是回國傳福音! 所以考完期末考的第二天，就坐上飛機返國。但在返鄉前，為了準備考試，先是有兩、三個星期沒有好好吃飯、睡覺，上飛機時身體已疲憊不堪， 靈裡也是枯乾無力，為了應付考試，也有好幾週沒有靈修與聚會了，在這樣的情況下，回去傳福音會成功嗎？所以若是為了向家人傳福音，我們應該先來參加一週的門徒訓練，讓身體的疲勞先有所恢復，靈命再一次得著滋潤與被建立，帶著神的話語與興旺的靈去傳福音，才能被主所用，結出美好的果子。這樣我們才能過一個被主使用、又有意義的暑假。這次五月的訓練營日期是：5月19至24日，在中心舉行，講員為：許道良牧師、袁曉牧師等。
在這經濟不景氣的時代，能有一份工作就當非常感恩，能在美國中西部找到工作，更是主極大的恩典，有許多人在中西部費力的去找工作，卻找不到，最後只好搬到東西兩岸或回國。主既然給了我們這份恩典，不僅是為了我們的家，更是為了祂的家與祂的國，好叫更多人藉著我們而蒙恩，因為主盼望我們不僅在公司上班，也能在教會與工作的崗位上作個帶職事奉的人。美中教會的傳道人不僅非常缺少，大部份傳道人的流動性也是非常大，長久留在這地方的人，不是學生、不是牧師，乃是上班的弟兄姐妹，校園與教會事工的興旺，更是落在上班弟兄姊妹的肩上。帶職信徒訓練營就是為了建立美中上班的弟兄姊妹成為愛主、忠心跟從主，為主擺上的小牧人，能作其他弟兄姊姊的榜樣，牧養與餵養主的小羊。這次五月帶職信徒訓練的講員有許道良牧師(John Hsu)、袁曉(Xiao Yuan)牧師與阮雄(Jack Yuan)長老等，日期是5月24晚餐至27日中午止，地點在基督工人中心，費用為自由奉獻；為配合家庭的需要，營會備有家庭宿舍與兒童和青少年節目。
Dear Brothers and sisters in the Lord, peace be with you!
Chinese New Year is around the corner. May you and your family experience God’s grace more abundantly in the coming new year. We all expect that in the new year we will be more blessed. And this is the will of God, that His blessing can be poured upon us more abundantly. But if we really wish to experience this abundant blessing, we must be reminded of:
My Household is blessed when God’s Household is revived
“For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-17)
Evangelism is the foundation of church revival and growth. Without evangelism, not only can the church not grow, it will shrink. This most evident for congregations near colleges, because every year church members leave due to job change or graduation. If from August through January no one comes to the Lord, we must ask: will more people come to Christ through our evangelism than people leave the congregation? Certainly, the timing of a person coming to the Lord is out of our control. Still, if the whole congregation and fellowship cannot lead even one or two unbelievers to the Lord in six months, we need to evaluate ourselves: are we putting enough effort and resources into personal evangelism and caring ministry? Do we take our part in sharing the gospel? This semester will come to the end soon. Are we going to end this semester, or even this school year with empty hands? Churches risk being stagnant when we are not quick to harvest the fruits of the gospel. Campus fellowships are heading for doom in the same way. As students graduate, fewer and fewer people show up in the meetings. It starts a vicious cycle as the low attendance makes fellowships less attractive to students, young people are more easily attracted by their peers. The bigger the crowd, chances are more likely that they find their friends in the gatherings and vicariously being attracted to the fellowship. In order to maintain the numbers, not only should we lead others to Christ, but we should also sit down and do our arithmetic. We should count how many people will be leaving as the semester/year ends. Then we should pray and ask the Lord to convert and lead at least that number of new souls to us. Without prayers for the lost souls, we lack motivation to share the gospel. Without prayers, we lack expectation from the Lord to work. Without new converts, we can only hope more out-of-town brothers and sisters move into our city, either coming to work or study in order to fill up the vacant seats of our churches. For those churches who have this kind of attitude, definitely they will not be blessed by the Lord. Because they did not keep the Great Commission in their mind. They did not keep evangelism and discipleship making as their churches or fellowships’ mission. They cannot maintain the size of the church and will decline. More importantly, if we are not faithful to the Lord’s Great Commission, then we cannot expect the revival and blessings from the Lord.
There are three steps to revive the churches and campus ministries: 1. Winning souls; 2. Making disciples; 3. Equipping coworkers. The most important among these is sharing the gospel in order to win souls. How can we win souls if no one is willing to share the gospel? If none believe in the Lord, who can learn to be the Lord’s disciples? If none are the Lord’s disciples, who can be equipped to be the coworkers? If none are the coworkers, who will take up the ministries in the churches and the fellowships? When the coworkers decrease, the unbelievers decrease. Then the ministries of the churches and campus ministries will have less and less hope. We must re-establish these three-steps: quickly to share the gospel, speed up to make disciples, and faithfully equip coworkers. And the most important step is sharing the gospel and winning souls.
Apostle Paul reminded us, “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-17). The judgment for not sharing the gospel is very severe. Paul simply says, “Woe to me”. What is this “woe”? The first woe is the gradual decline of the church. We cannot see God’s work. We cannot see the revival of the new lives. And we cannot see God’s grace. As we examine Israel’s history recorded in the Old Testament, we saw that whenever the temple prospered, so as the nation and each individual family. When they temple went down, the people were attacked by enemies from other countries, and the lives of the people became horrific, worse than dead. God’s grace for His people is inseparable from the well-being of His church. For this reason, the second woe is: our families will not experience the grace of God. For the sake of the prosperity of God’s Household and let God’s grace fall onto our families, let us share His Gospel hurriedly, share His Gospel with one heart. And also pray the Lord to let us seize every opportunity to share the gospel and lead more people to His kingdom. May the Lord help each of us in committing to win at least one soul in one semester, thereby being able to experience the joy of evangelism, to live in His grace every year, to witness growth of His churches as well as the blessings He bestows on our families.
March Gospel Camp
The Gospel Camp is around the corner. For the sake of God’s Household and our own, may the Lord help us share the gospel with a joyful heart, so that the Household of God flourishes, my household is blessed, the campus ministry is built up, and we also be built up at the same time. If there are no unbelievers to believe, often not because their hearts are hardened, but because our hearts are hardened because we did not trust in the Lord to go out to share the gospel. The Gospel Camp is not only for the unbelievers, the revival and edification messages are prepared for Christians as well. It is designed for the needs of both unbelievers and Christians. If Christians do not attend the Gospel Camp, unbelievers will not come either. Unbelievers are following our footsteps to hear the gospel. If we do not come, it will influence the unbelievers did not come either. If we have the hearts to share the gospel, then we need to make a commitment and register earlier. Then we can have the chances to invite the unbelievers to attend with us. The theme of this Gospel Camp is Science, Faith, and Life. The dates are from the evening of March 15th to noon of March 18th. The speakers are Professor Leaf Huang and Elder Rupert Hsu. The short-term mission team from Chinese Church in Christ at South Valley (California) will come to help share the gospel too. It will be held at the CWC campsite. Free-will offerings will aim to cover expenses.
March East Coast Disciple and Coworker Training Camp:
May Disciple and Coworker Training Camp:
In less than three months this semester will end, and summer vacation will begin. Many students and families are planning to visit relatives and friends in their home countries. Many of these travel with the aim of sharing the gospel. Therefore, they plan to fly back the day after final exams. Unfortunately they have not eaten or slept well for two or three weeks. Thus quite exhausted physically before boarding the plane, they feel powerless and dried up in spirit. To prepare for exams, they may have skipped daily devotion or church meetings. In this kind of circumstance, will they be able to effectively share the gospel back at home? Instead, if one intends to share the gospel with family members and friends back home, that person ought to attend this week-long discipleship training first. Recover from physical fatigue. Be nourished and strengthened. Only when we share the gospel with God’s Word and power from the Holy Spirit can we be used by the Lord and bear wonderful fruits. Only in this way can we be used by the Lord and can have a meaningful summer vacation. This camp will be held at CWC campsite from May 19th to 24th. The speakers are Pastor John Hsu and Pastor Xiao Yuan, etc.
May Lay Minister Training Camp:
At this time of economic recession, we should be very grateful for having a job. It is even greater blessing to find a job in the Midwest US. Many people struggle to find jobs in the Midwest but failed, and had to move to the East or West Coast or return to their home countries. God has given us this blessing not just for our households but more so for His Household and His Kingdom so that more people will be blessed through us, for the Lord expects us not only to work in a company but also serve as a lay minister in the church and at work. There is not only a shortage of full-time ministers in the Midwest but also great turnover rate among most of them. Those who remain for a long time are neither students nor pastors but brothers and sisters who work full time here. So, the responsibility of the revival of campuses and churches often falls on the shoulders of those full time working brothers and sisters. The Lay Ministry Training Camp is designed to equip brothers and sisters who work in the Midwest to become little shepherds who love the Lord and faithfully follow and serve Him so that they will be able to be the models for other brothers and sisters and shepherd and tend the Lord’s lambs. The speakers for this camp are Pastor John Hsu, Pastor Xiao Yuan, Elder Jack Yuan, etc. It will be held at CWC campsite from the evening of May 24th to noon of 27th. It is going by free-will offerings. The camp also provides family rooms and children and youth programs to accommodate the needs of families.
August Bible Camp:
August Bible camp will study the Pauline Epistles, in which most of the teachings in the Bible regarding the churches are found. If we want to live and serve in the church according to God’s will, we must know more about these epistles. Therefore, if you desire to be a little shepherd pastoring the Lord’s sheep, please reserve time to attend the August Bible Camp and pursue in-depth knowledge on these precious Pauline Epistles the Lord entrusted to us. The camp will be held at CWC campsite from the evening of July 28th to noon of August 3rd. The speakers are Pastor Chuang-Seng Wang, Sister Grace Lee, etc. Please apply earlier and begin to prepare for the home works earlier to prepare yourselves to pursue and study the Word of God with other brothers and sisters.
Paul’s Missionary Journey Study Tour in June:
To keep pace with the progress of Bible camps of this year (the Book of Acts in January Bible Camp, Pauline Epistles in August Bible Camp), CWC will facilitate Paul’s Missionary Journey Study Tour in June. It will help us know more about Paul’s missionary journeys footprints and the establishment of the early church. So that we can experience first-hand how Paul and his coworkers shared the gospel in various environments and how the early churches were established and the lessons inside we can learn. And at the same time, we can learn the lesson how to witness for the Lord and how to serve Him. So that we can gain more spiritual insights from these biblical observations and can faithfully serve and build God’s Household by following the examples of God’s servants. The dates of the tour are from June 17th to 29th. We will visit Istanbul, Laodicea, Ephesus, Patmos, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Meteora, Athens, Corinth, Pompeii, Rome, and Vatican City.
- Please give thanks and pray for brothers and sisters who accepted the Lord in the last Winter Conference. May the Lord give local coworkers wisdom, strength, and time to follow up with them and help these new believers grow in the Lord.
- Please pray for the preparation for the March Gospel Camp. May the Lord prepare people to attend.
- Please pray that brothers and sisters have the hearts to share the gospel and invite many unbelievers to attend the Gospel Camp. Pray also that the Spirit of God will work in the hearts of the unbelievers to attend and make them ready to accept the gospel.
- Please pray for the speakers of the Gospel Camp: Professor Leaf Huang and Elder Rupert Hsu. May the Spirit of God give them wisdom to prepare the messages to manifest the power of gospel.
- Please pray for the early March East Coast Disciple Training Camp. May the Lord prepare the hearts of brothers and sisters so that they will be built up to witness for Christ on campus or in the church in this era and bring revival down from the Lord.
- Please pray for the May Disciple Training Camp. May the Lord bless CWC coworkers to prepare for this camp to equip more brothers and sisters to firmly become God’s disciples and coworkers. Also pray that they can share the gospel after returning to their home countries no matter short term in the summer or long-term staying so that they will influence others to faithfully follow the Lord.
- Please pray for Sister Cindy Chiang’s busy annual tax work so that she can get wisdom and strength from the help of God . Pray that she will be able to mail out all the offering receipts by mid-February.
- May the Lord raise up more coworkers for CWC to share the gospel on campuses and lead more young students and scholars to be God’s disciples.
- Praise the Lord! Mrs. Ko has finished all the chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. Her health is improving considerably. May the Lord continue to heal her and use her more.
- Give thanks for the expansion of the dining hall and coworker’s residence. Though these rooms have not yet been finished, the dining room has been used during the December camps. The maintenance coworker has moved into their partially finished new bedroom. Please pray the Lord to let those projects be finished smoothly.
Pastor Billy Ko