2019 二月禱告信 | February Prayer Letter

主內弟兄姊妹平安:

農曆新年快到了!願神的恩典在未來的一年,更豐富的臨到您和您一家。我們都期望今年比去年更蒙恩,這也是神的心意,讓祂的福分更豐富的臨到我們。但真要得著神豐富的恩典,就必須常常想到:

 

主內弟兄姊妹平安:

農曆新年快到了!願神的恩典在未來的一年,更豐富的臨到您和您一家。我們都期望今年比去年更蒙恩,這也是神的心意,讓祂的福分更豐富的臨到我們。但真要得著神豐富的恩典,就必須常常想到:

 

神家得興旺、我家也蒙恩

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)。

傳福音是教會得興旺與增長的基礎,沒有傳福音,教會不僅不能增長,而且常常成為負成長,不進則退,因為每年都有人因為畢業與換工作而離開。從八月初開學到現在,已有半年了,有些校園從八月開學到現在,都沒有帶領一個人信主;所以我們要思想: 在過去一年信主的人數比較多,還是離開的人數比較多呢?雖然每一個人信主的時間不是我們所能決定的,但若全教會或團契過去半年都沒有辦法帶領一、兩位信主,我們必須要反省一下,到底我們有沒有盡我們的力量作個人邀請與關懷工作?有沒有作我們該作的傳福音本份?這個學期很快就會結束了,難道我們要空手結束這個學期或學年嗎?教會收福音的果子不夠快,教會就會老化,校園團契收福音的果子不夠快,團契就是往著死亡走去。隨著學生畢業,聚會人數越來越少,聚會就越來越難吸引學生來參加,因為年青人都很受群體的影響,群體越大,更有機會發現他們的朋友就在其中,他們就不知不覺被吸引去參加。要維持團契或教會的人數,我們不僅要帶領人信主,我們更要每年或每學期都要計算一下,我們這學期或這年大概會有多少人離開,這人數就是我們該禱告的得救人數,求主將這些得救的人數賜給我們。我們若不為這些得救的靈魂禱告,我們就沒有動力去向人傳福音,我們不禱告,也就不能期待神工作。得不到新信主的靈魂,我們只有期待已信主的弟兄姊妹快快搬來這城,或來讀書、或來工作,只期待能補上被空置的座位。存著這種心態的教會,都不會是蒙神賜福的教會,因為他們並不是以大使命為念的教會,因為沒有以傳福音和使人成為主的門徒,作為教會或團契的使命。他們的人數也不會維持,只會減少,因為新來弟兄姊姊的人數,往往只會比搬出去的人還少,更重要的是,我們若不忠於主所給的大使命,就不要期待主的興旺與主的福分來臨!

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。

 

三月福音營:

福音營即將來臨,為了神的家與我們的家,求主幫助我們能帶著喜樂的心,快快的去傳主的福音,好叫神家得興旺,我家也蒙恩,校園事工被建立,我們也一同被建立。沒有福音朋友信主,常常不是因為他們的心剛硬,乃是我們的心剛硬,沒有倚靠主出去傳主的福音。福音營不是只為福音朋友預備,營會中也有培靈與造就信息給弟兄姊妹,福音營是同時為福音朋友與信徒的需要而預備的,因為基督徒不參加福音營,福音朋友也不會來,福音朋友是隨著我們的腳步去聽福音,我們不來參加,就影響了他們不來參加。我們若有傳福音的心志,就當早早決定與報名參加,才能邀請到福音朋友來參加。這次的福音營主題是:科學、信仰與人生。日期是:三月15晚至18日中午,講員是:黃力夫教授與許學舜長老,並有南谷基督徒會堂短宣隊來幫忙傳福音。地點在基督工人中心,費用為自由奉獻。

三月東岸門徒與同工訓練營:

為了裝備更多東岸的弟兄姊妹作主門徒,在那裏的教會與校園作同工、讓更多校園年青的生命被建立起來,成為忠心跟從和事奉主的人、讓教會從漸漸老化轉變成年青化、更讓神國的大能,被活潑的彰顯出來,所以有東岸的門徒與同工訓練。今年為配合校園的春假時間,這次營會將從3月6 - 11日分三梯次舉行,每梯次為三天三晚,(必須全時間參加其中之一梯次)。這次營會地點是在Raleigh, NC附近的基督僕人更新中心,講員有:陳義懋教授、高榮德牧師及其他牧者。費用為自由奉獻。聯絡:焦成林師母(919-699-4431),Sarah Chen -803-317-9396,電郵:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

五月門徒與同工訓練營:

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。

五月帶職信徒訓練營:

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。 

八月讀經營:

八月讀經營將研讀保羅書信,大部份聖經對教會真理的教導,都寫在保羅書信裡,要按神的旨意在教會裡生活與事奉,必須要多多認識保羅書信,成為一個小牧人,牧養主的小羊與建立神的家,請安排時間參加八月的讀經營,一同更深的學習主所賜給我們寶貴的保羅書信。這次保羅書信讀經營日期是從7月28日晚至8月3日中午在中心舉行,講員是汪川生牧師、李玉惠姊妹等。請早報名,好早點開始準備功課,預備自己來一同追求與學習主的話。

六月保羅行程進修團: 

為配合今年讀經營進度(一月的使徒行傳、八月保羅書信),中心將在今年六月舉辦保羅行程進修團,讓大家更了解保羅傳福音的腳蹤與初期教會的建立,讓我們身歷其境,了解當日保羅與他的同工在各地傳福音的情境、初期教會被建立與其中的功課,使我們從中更了解見證主、事奉主的功課,以至我們在聖經的知識上更能體會其中之道,也能更多按主眾多僕人的榜樣,忠心事奉與建立主的家。這次進修團的日期是:6月17至29日,將會經過:伊斯坦堡,老底嘉、以弗所、拔摩島、特羅亞、腓立比、帖撒羅尼迦、庇哩亞、邁泰奧拉、雅典、哥林多、龐貝、羅馬與梵蒂崗等。

代禱:

  1. 為冬令會信主的弟兄姊妹感恩與禱告,求主幫助各地同工有智慧、能力、時間作跟進的工作,繼續幫助初信的弟兄姊妹追求主與成長!
  2. 為三月福音營的準備工作禱告,求主預備人心參加。
  3. 為弟兄姊妹有傳福音的心志,並廣去邀請福音朋友參加福音營禱告,也求主的靈感動福音朋友參加,並預備他們的心。。
  4. 為福音營講員黃力夫教授及許學舜長老禱告,求主的靈加添他們智慧去準備信息,讓福音的大能得以彰顯。
  5. 為三月初的東岸門徒訓練營禱告,求主預備弟兄姊妹的心來參加,好建立更多弟兄姊妹在校園與教會中成為時代的見證人,興旺主的工作。
  6. 為五月訓練營禱告,求主賜福中心同工去籌備,好裝備更多弟兄姊妹堅定的作主門徒與同工,在暑期或長期回到自己的國家,能將福音傳開,為主作見證,也影響別人堅定的跟從主。
  7. 為江姊妹忙碌的年度稅務工作禱告,在神的扶助下,得著智慧與力量,在二月中前寄出所有奉獻的收據。
  8. 求主為中心興起更多同工,一同在校園傳福音,帶領更多年青學生與學者作主門從。
  9. 感謝主!高師母完成所有的化療與放療過程,身體有很大的進步,求進繼續醫治她的身體,並更多使用她。
  10. 為餐廳與同工宿舍的擴建工程感恩,雖然尚未完成,但十二月訓練營時,已開始使用,維修同工也搬進新睡房,求主讓工程順利。

敬祝以馬內利

高榮德敬上

 

 


 

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:

The East Coast Camp serves multiple purposes. It equips brothers and sisters in the East Coast to be disciples and become coworkers in their churches and campuses. The lives of the young people on campuses can be built up, so they can follow the Lord and serve the Lord faithfully. The camp can bring more youthfulness and vigor to the aging church congregations; and manifest the power of God’s Kingdom more vibrantly. To keep pace with the dates of the school’s spring break, this camp will be held at three different dates. Each camp lasts for three days and three nights. Attendees are requested to attend one of the camps full time. The location is at Christian Leadership Renewal Center at Raleigh, NC. The speakers are Professor Yi Mao Chen, Pastor Billy Ko, and other pastors. It is supported by free-will offerings. Please contact: Mrs. Chen Lin Jiao (919-699-4431), Sister Sarah Chen (803-317-9396), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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. 

Prayer Request:

  1. 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.
  2. Please pray for the preparation for the March Gospel Camp. May the Lord prepare people to attend. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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. 

Emmanuel,

Pastor Billy Ko