- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Friday, 05 June 2020 00:00
最近高牧師飯量開始減少，體重也降低，所以六月二日早上高牧師去了醫院作胃鏡與腸鏡的檢查，醫生在胃及附近發現了腫瘤，雖然目前還不能完全確定，需要作進一步的檢查，但初步診斷胃部確有腫瘤，看來很快就要去作治療，等過幾天照了CT， MRI ，再決定治療的方法，請為此禱告，願主的美意彰顯，求神按祂美好的旨意成全，我們就一同帶著信心仰望主，請多多為高牧師禱告！
- 不要定睛在這千變萬化的繁華世界裡 – 疫情前美國的經濟是空前繁榮，失業率創最低記錄，經濟節節上升，餐館旅遊業也是一片大好，但疫情一來，全球都成為一場「空」，工廠、辦公室、餐館、飛機都變空了，經濟大蕭條迅速臨到，為了保命，人人都躲在家中，真讓人看見，眼睛所看到的繁榮，隨時都會轉眼成空。唯有將財寶積存在天上的人，他們所得的，主會為他們持守（詩16篇）。
- 要追求內心的平安 – 為了躲避病毒，大家都躲在家裡。在房子的四牆中間，肉體的生命被保住了，但心靈的生命卻不一定能被保住。在居家隔離的日子中，許多人陷入抑鬱和焦慮中，自殺的人數好像與因受病毒侵襲而死的人數差不多，這也是一些州想早些開放的原因。所以人不僅需要身體上的平安，也需要心靈的平安，而心靈的平安卻是建造在屬靈的平安之上。人能將一切的憂慮交托給主，與主有正常的交通，才能有靈裡的平安，在居家的日子中才能在平安與喜樂中渡過，更多經歷主的同在，就能得到心靈的平安。
B.教堂視野的重整 – 過去很多人以為: 所謂「教會」，就是掛著十字架的房子，敬拜也只能在這掛有十字架的房子裡。當全球大疫情來時，我們都只能待在家裡，頓時家就變成敬拜的地方，是與神相會的地方，也讓人稍能體會一些中國家庭教會的景況。我們在這地方敬拜，也每天住在這地方，就提醒我們：家就是神的家，我們每天在神的家生活，每天就要好好的活在神的家，在神的聖所，我們就得每天過分別為聖的生活。疫情提醒我們: 基督徒的信仰不是只限於有形的教堂，我的信仰與敬拜、都要天天流露在我們的生活範圍中，疫情把教會搬到我家，要我們的信仰與生活得以成為一體。
C.敬拜心態的重整 – 疫情中大家敬拜生活都有極大的改變，經過兩、三個月的網上聚會，大家越來越習慣這種敬拜模式，不用舟車勞頓，可以輕鬆在家中，甚至健康的人還躺在床上敬拜，也沒有好好唱詩，「敬拜」就有如看一個電視節目，真誠敬拜的心慢慢消失，要重新轉回教會裡聚會也覺得困難。還有些人不上自己教會的網站聚會，卻轉到遠處的「名傳道人的教會」，甚至有人每週換一個教會，幾個月下來，就在「眾教會」中迷失了，失去了屬靈的家，教會重開後，也不知該去哪裡聚會！在敬拜上我們需要重整，若仍要在網上聚會，每週聚會前還是要衣冠整齊，恭敬的坐下來敬拜神，帶著兒女，一同坐下來敬拜，也要回到自己的教會網站敬拜神。教會開放時，我們要儘早回到教會敬拜，千萬不要外面的社會生活已經恢復，但我們卻不敢回到教會去敬拜。
D.奉獻心態的重整 – 在疫情間，很多弟兄姊妹沒有莊重的敬拜神，自然也就沒有盡自己奉獻的本份，特別那些經常在各教會間游走的弟兄姊妹，就沒有將當獻的十分之一與當納的供物獻給神，這是我們對神的虧欠，雖然神保守我們不受病毒感染，還有工作，但我們卻沒有盡我們的本分對神感恩與奉獻。求主幫助我們趕快補回我們的虧欠。
E.禱告的進深 – 疫情開始時，很多弟兄姊妹都非常樂意參加禱告會，大家同心合意禱告。隨著疫情漸漸趨緩，大家的心情也漸漸放鬆，禱告的迫切感也開始鬆懈，願意懇切禱告的人也漸漸減少。很多人的心態是: 有嚴重的事情發生時，才來找神，沒有「需要」時，就把神放在一旁，這是非常虧欠神的。第二波疫情，第三波的疫情，隨時都有可能再爆發，我們若在禱告上放鬆，神的手若隨著我們放鬆的心態而收起，我們就有危險了。求主幫助我們繼續在疫情上，作個儆醒的禱告守望者。不僅為生病的人禱告，也為眾人的靈魂禱告，求主使人的身體與靈魂一同得著醫治，使人心歸向神，神的國度得興旺。也求神開廣我們禱告的角度，不僅為自己的家，自己的教會禱告，也為全世界神的國度禱告。當我們看到疫情從中國傳到世界各地，又在各國之間彼此感染，最後又傳回中國；這使我們看到這世界是彼此連結在一起，一個國家受苦，也會影響其他國家。這就使我們的視野必須加深，不能只單顧自己的事，也要顧念眾人的事，眾國的事，更重要的是看重神國度的事；不要只為「我的教會」禱告，也要為各地方的教會禱告，更要為各地宣教的事工禱告。在後疫情期間，我們求主不僅讓更更多人可以參加禱告會，也使我們的禱告更有深度（使自己得建立），也更有闊度，讓神的國更展開，使更多人蒙恩。
F.傳福音的忠誠 – 疫情當中各教會的福音工作都受到極大的影響，完全沒有機會邀請人來教會，也不能去探訪福音朋友，電話與網路能作的也有限。當疫情慢慢恢復，人心需要更長的時間來恢復，特別華人的需要，更需比較長的時間去恢復。未來一段的日子，邀請弟兄姊妹來教會已屬不易，要邀請福音朋友來聚會更難，因為很多人會說：「人多的地方不要去」。在這光景裡，讓我們想到，大使命是要我們「去」，使萬民作主的門徒，以後傳福音不能僅靠邀請人「來」教會，要將更多的力量放在「去」，要去到福音朋友的地方，關懷福音朋友。疫情後更要注重個人福音工作，也必須鼓勵更多弟兄姊妹看見這使命，一同去關懷福音朋友，讓他們能回轉到主前。個人工作不能只放在牧者或教會同工的肩頭上，也不能總是靠遠距離的Zoom佈道會，必須教會全體總動員去作傳福音的工作。
Memorial 週末的訓練營也非常蒙主的恩典，約有210位帶職的弟兄姊妹來參加，東、西兩岸來參加的人滿多的，也有一些從中國來參加。大家都放下工作的重擔來參加，也請人照管自己的小孩，自己專心的學習，實在令人感動。在這兩個聚會中，有十多位從中國遠距離來參加，他們也是每堂課都準時參加，為此他們必須日夜顛倒一週，實在不容易，為他們饑渴慕義的心感謝主！五月十七日門徒訓練開始的那天主日早上，Zoom 的網路全球大停頓，很多弟兄姐妹都非常擔心那麼多弟兄姊妹參加我們Zoom的營會，上課時大家都要求將鏡頭打開，擔心流量太大會有問題。感謝主！靠著祂的大能，一切都順利完成，沒有發生問題，實在是主奇妙的恩典。三位講員的信息，都讓弟兄姊妹滿得屬靈的供應，大家深深的感謝主，在這嚴重的疫情中，還可以有這樣得造就的機會。
八月、九月份美中短宣 ( 8月21-30日， 9月11-20日)
每主日黃昏高牧師會與弟兄姊妹一起讀經與禱告，我們會從聖經的人物學習「主工人的品性」，也會有禱告的時間。讓神的話建立我們，好使我們被主塑造成為祂所合用的器皿，在這後疫情時代，作主美好的工人。我們在網上讀經禱告時間是每主日6：30pm (美國中部時間），我們會使用 Zoom， 帳號是： 8110999917，若需要密碼，請發短信給我，573-999-6235， 請大家一同參加。
- 為五月的兩個訓練營感恩，雖然這次是我們新的嘗試，但主恩是非常豐富，弟兄姊妹深受造就，求主幫助這 300位來參加的人，都成為這疫情中主的見證人。
- 為八月門徒與同工訓練營講員： 葉裕波牧師、林承恩牧師等禱告，求主藉著這次營會，建立下學期新的同工。
- 為同工梁慶龍的服事禱告，求主使用他在哥城與各地的事奉都能結出美好的果子。也求主祝福他一家，也為他申請R-1 工作簽証能順利禱告，求主帶領與開路。
Dear Brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord!
Most updated news:
Recently Pastor Ko found out he lost appetite and his weight had dropped. On June 2, he went to the hospital to check his stomach and colon. The doctors found a tumor at his stomach and surrounding area. Even now the result has not been confirmed and needs further checking. But the preliminary diagnosis is there is a tumor at his stomach. After the CT scan and MRI check, the doctors will decide the healing method. Please pray for this. May God’s will be done and His perfect will be shown. Let us look up the Lord with faith. Please pray for Pastor Ko.
Thank you for your love and care. Pastor Ko’s health situation will be updated on the CWC website as it becomes known. Thank you for your prayer and care. Current plans are that Pastor Ko will go through treatment at University Hospital at Columbia, MO. Pray the Lord to give doctors wisdom for diagnosis and treatment. Please also pray for Mrs. Ko’s thyroid healing and the recovery from her blood cell counts. May the Lord show His mighty healing power.
Other news as below:
Thanks to be the Lord! With the prayers of all saints and wise practices, the rates of coronavirus losses have diminished. We are truly grateful for the Lord that so far we haven’t heard any CWC brothers or sisters in the Midwest infected. It is indeed a great mercy from the Lord to us Chinese. There remains much to do to control this pandemic. Many states have started to reopen gradually. Churches are gradually opening too. There are many changes in society and churches during the pandemic and eventually as it wanes. We should prepare ourselves to be better witnesses for the Lord now and in the post-pandemic era.
Reformation after the pandemic
By God’s mercy, this pandemic is diminishing. New infection and death counts generally decrease each week. Some states have already begun phases of reopening. Covid-19 has brought significant loss throughout the world. No country can avoid it. Not long after SARS—also a corona virus—ran its course in 2003, people went back quickly to their old world, old life. No changes for relationships between countries were seen. But we all can see from just three months that Covid-19 will have a lasting influence on the world. In order to reopen, many things must be rearranged. Governments not only give people new guidelines for everyday living, but also adjust aspects of the economy, industry, business, education, military, and international relationships to adapt to the change of the new era and new needs. The pandemic of course presents new challenges to churches and believers. As a result, we need to make wise adjustments in many ways in order to stand firm ourselves and also lead others to the Lord in this post-pandemic era.
Paul remind us,” I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2) By God’s mercy on us, we have survived. Most Christians I know still have their jobs, receiving salaries as before. Not all are so blessed. What amazing grace the Lord has bestowed on us! Knowing that the Lord saved us from the pestilence, we should once again offer ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice to live for the Lord and used by Him. We also need to renew ourselves, readjust ourselves, so that we can become usable and pleasing vessels to the Lord. And also make us the good soldiers in this post-pandemic era. The following points can reform us:
A.Reforming our spiritual eyesight
- Do not fix eyes on the constantly changing and bustling world. The US economy was unprecedented prosperous before Covid-19 with historically low unemployed rates, prospering economy, flourishing of restaurants and tourism. But when the pandemic hit, the whole world became empty. Factories, offices, restaurants, and airports all became empty. Economic recession came. In order to preserve their own lives and others lives, everyone stayed home. The prosperity that our eyes saw suddenly vanished. God will preserve the gains from those who laid up treasures in heaven (Psalm 16).
- Seek after inner peace. In order to avoid the virus, everyone hides in their home. In the midst of the four walls, our bodies are saved. But spiritual life may not be saved. During the days of home quarantine, many people were trapped in depression and anxiety. The number of suicide cases apparently was about the same as the death number from Covid-19. That was one of the reasons some states wanted to open up sooner. People need not only peace for their physical bodies, but also peace in their minds and hearts. The peace in the heart is based on spiritual peace. If people are willing to cast all their worries to the Lord, have normal relationship with the Lord, they will have peace in their spirit and live peacefully and joyfully in quarantine. Only in experiencing the presence of the Lord that we can have peace in our hearts.
B.Reform the church’s eyesight. In the past many people held the concept that church was a cross-hanging building and worship could only be held in this building with the cross. When the pandemic came, we had to stay home. At once home became the place of worship and the place we met with God. This helped us experience the condition of the house churches in China. We worship daily in our house or apartment. It reminds us: home is God’s house. We live in God’s house daily. Day by day we live at God’s house, and day by day we need to live well in God’s home. In God’s sanctuary, we should live godly lives each day. The pandemic reminds us: Christian faith is not limited to the church building. Our faith and worship is present in our daily lives. Covid-19 makes us to move churches to our homes, allowing us to unify our faith and life.
C.Reform our attitude of worship. During the pandemic, our worship lives have had significant changes. After two to three months of online worship, people are accustomed to this format of fellowship. There’s been no need to travel or dress up. Even healthy people can lie on their beds to worship. We hit “mute” and can sing loudly. For some, worship has become even more passive, more like watching TV. The heart for sincere worship has slowly vanished. Returning to worship in a church building thus may feel burdensome. People may not stay with their home churches for online worship. Instead they turn to online worship from renowned preachers far away, perhaps a new one every week. After a few months, will they lose their spiritual homes? After church reopens, they will not know where to go? We need adjustment on worship. If still incorporate online worship with a sizable gathering, we should not slack respect for the Lord and one another. Dress modestly, respectfully sit upright to worship God, bring your children and worship together, and focus on your local church. When churches open up, we should go back to church worship sooner not later. Presuming society safely returns to restaurants, theaters, and sporting events, don’t be afraid to go back to church to worship.
D.Reforming our offering. During the pandemic many brothers and sisters not only failed to worship God solemnly, they slacked also in offerings, even if their incomes were unchanged. Especially if they were virtually church-hopping, they did not give appropriate portions to God. This is what we owe God. God has protected us from the virus and preserved our job, but we do not perform our duty to give God out of gratitude. May the Lord help us quickly repay what we owe God.
E.Deepen prayers. At the beginning of the pandemic, many brothers and sisters were eager to attend prayer meeting. We prayed with one accord. As the pandemic slowly seems to have diminished, so did that sense of urgency before God. The need to pray decreased. Those willing to pray earnestly diminished. Many people’s attitude is this: when there is serious disaster, then we begin to seek God. But when there is no need to bother God, we put God aside. We let God down. A second and third wave of sickness and death could rise anytime as happened in 1918 and with other pandemics. May the Lord help us continue to stay awake as watchmen, to pray over the pandemic. Not only ought we pray for the sick, but also pray for people’s souls, asking God to heal both the body and soul together that people will turn to God and God’s kingdom will revive. We also pray that God will widen the scope of prayer, not just for our own families, our own churches, but also for the whole world God’s kingdom. Covid-19 may have spread from China to the world then returned to China. Let us see that the world’s people are connected together. One country’s suffering will affect other countries. It will cause our scope to be widen. We cannot only care for our own matters, but care for the multitude and the nations. Most importantly we need to care more about God’s kingdom. Don’t just for our church, but also pray for local churches and the missions everywhere. During post-pandemic era, we ask God not only allows more people to come to prayer meeting, but also deepens our prayers to edify ourselves and widen our prayer to let God’s kingdom expand. More people will be blessed.
F.Be faithful in evangelism. Evangelism has been greatly affected during the pandemic. On one hand there is no opportunity to invite others to church or visit non-believers. The effectiveness of phone calls and online visits is limited. On the other hand, people generally have more time and interest to hear our encouragement. When the pandemic slowly wanes, people’s hearts will take time to recover. I think Chinese and students will need even longer, given a sense of making up for lost time in business and study. In the near future, inviting believers to church will not be easy, and inviting non-believers will be even harder because people will say, “do not go to the crowded places.” During this time, let us be reminded by the Great Commission to GO, make disciples of all nations. Evangelism is no longer inviting people to COME to church. We need to spend more effort to GO to places where non-believers are and to care for them. We should put more emphasis on personal evangelism after the pandemic and encourage more brothers and sisters to see this mission to care for non-believers, to bring them to turn to the Lord. It is not the job for just the pastor or the church coworkers or long-distance Zoom evangelism meetings. It needs the whole churches be mobilized in all ways to do the evangelism.
May the Lord use the pandemic not just to keep us and heal us, but also to let His Spirit enlighten us, to renew our minds, and to transform us to become a person after God’s own heart. Let God’s will fulfill on earth through us. Bless our whole family. God’s church will thrive. Attract more people to come to the Lord.
May Disciple and Coworker Training Camp
Due to the pandemic, May disciple training camp was held virtually. This is a new venture. With many technical difficulties, our coworkers were all learning and trying. By the grace of God, it went well. Even though it is a virtual camp, we still followed our disciple training camp requirements. Discipleship Training is a practice of the commitment to Christ. Virtual camp required commitment to Christ too. Full-time attendance, video on, no multitasking or sleeping, concentration on each class, morning and night prayer meetings were required to participate. They were trained to pray aloud, to memorize scriptures, and to turn in homework. Praise the Lord! Even with the strict requirements, we had record-setting attendance of 170 participants. The Lord used Rev. Morley Lee, Rev. Tsu-Kung Chuang, Elder Eric Wu’s messages to shake brothers and sisters’ hearts. They all studied attentively and learned a lot. Praise the Lord!
Lay-Minister Disciple Training Camp
God blessed us greatly in the Memorial Day weekend training camp. About 210 brothers and sisters who are full time working people attended. Many were from East and West Coasts and a few were even from mainland China. Everyone put down their work responsibilities to attend, asking others to watch their children, so they could focus on the training camp. We were touched. There were more than ten brothers and sisters from Mainland China attending both camps. They had to sleep during the day and stay up at night for over a week to attend the trainings and be on time. It was indeed not easy. We praise God for them who are thirsty and hunger for the truth. There was a worldwide Zoom disruption on Sunday morning of May 17. That troubled some churches, and the Disciple Training started that evening. Many brothers and sisters were concerned that we had so many people joining our Zoom camp and people were requested to turn on video. The internet connection might overload. Praise the Lord! With God’s mighty power, it went smoothly without any problem. God’s grace is indeed amazing. All three speakers’ messages satisfied brothers and sisters’ spiritual need. We were all very grateful to the Lord that we had this chance to build up ourselves during this severe pestilence.
August Bible Camp (July 26-August 1)
As soon as the May training camps ended, we began full strength preparing for the August Bible Camp and the August Discipleship Training. Besides continuing to invite others to attend, we need to send out assigned topics to the brothers and sisters and then guide them to write the topic reports. These tasks required a lot of time and energy from our coworkers. Please remember us in your prayers. This time we will study the books of Wisdom. Our speakers are Rev. Chih-Hao Shen and Mrs. Juanna Wu, among others. The strict due date is June 15. Please don’t miss out. Under the shadow of pandemic, studying these five books of Wisdom will allow us to receive provision from the Father and fill our hearts with peace and joy. We can then share this joy and peace from God with others. Participants of Bible Camp not only have been through disciple training, but also need to attend at least once of our disciple training camps within two years. We are praying that the pandemic will quiet down in July and August so we can hold the camp in person. Please pray earnestly.
August Disciple and Coworker Training Camp (August 2-8)
The second evening after the Bible Camp will be Disciple and Coworker Training Camp in CWC. One of our speakers is Rev. James Ip, the vice chair president of Christian Witness Theological seminary in California. The other speaker is Rev. Andrew Lin who has served many years in the West Coast, and also in edifying ministry overseas. This is a great opportunity to equip brothers and sisters and student coworkers to undertake the more challenging campus ministry in the new semester. We have not decided whether to hold it in person or virtually yet. Depending on the progression of pandemic we will decide by the end of June. Please visit our CWC website for updating.
July East Coast Disciple and Coworker Training Camp (July 1-4)
August and September Midwest Short-term Mission (August 21-30, September 11-20)
Our prayer is that the Lord will allow churches to resume physical meetings in August and schools to resume physical classes. Our plans will consider whether there are such commitments to physical meetings. It is not easy to coordinate two short-term mission teams in August and September. We are still in the planning phase. We believe that people realize their need for the gospel even more at this time. Please pray for new semester campus ministry and short-term mission teams.
Prayers and Study during the Pandemic
Every Sunday evening Pastor Ko will lead the Bible study and prayers with the brothers and sisters. We are studying the Bible characters to learn “the characteristics of God’s servants”. We will also spend time praying to allow God’s Words to establish us that we can be molded as the useful vessels for the Lord. And we can be good servants for our Lord in this post-pandemic era, please join our online prayer and Bible study time (Sundays 6:30pm central time, Zoom ID:8110999917). If you need the password, please text me at 573-999-6235.
- We thank God for the two training camps in May. Even though it is a new venture for us, God’s grace is sufficient. Brothers and sisters were greatly edified. May God help these 300 plus people to become witnesses for the Lord during this pestilence.
- Pray for those who have registered for August Bible Camp that the Lord will help them to finish reading the books of Wisdom twice within two months and complete the assignment and topical study. May God give the heart of wisdom to let the participants experience the sweetness of reading God’s Words.
- Pray that God will make the pandemic permanently quiet down in August that people can resume normal schools and worship by the end of August, and so brothers and sisters can come to CWC Camp in person for August Bible Camp and August Disciple Training Camp.
- Pray for speakers of August Bible Camp, Rev. Chih-Hao Shen and Mrs. Juanna Wu. May God use them to establish our hearts to love God’s Words.
- Pray for speakers for August Disciple Training Camp: Rev. James Ip and Rev. Andrew Lam. May God use this camp to equip new coworkers for the fall semester.
- Pray for August and September short-term mission teams. May God open the way for them in this challenging days that they will be prepared and will be greatly used by God at the gospel field in the Midwest.
- Pray for Cindy Chiang’s ministry. May God give her strength during weekdays to prepare for all the camps and administration and be the output of God’s Word on weekends that she will be a blessing to others.
- Pray for Qing-Long Liang to bear good fruit as he serves in Columbia and other churches. May God bless his whole family. Also pray for his R-1 job visa application. May God guide and lead the way.
- May the Lord help Pastor Ko during the pandemic that he can trust in the Lord and experience God’s grace and might while serving, so he will gain more souls and coworkers for the Lord. Pray for Mrs. Ko’s thyroid surgery. May God keep her and heal her.
- Pray for the maintenance and building American coworkers. God still use them during the pandemic to make our CWC camp more complete. May God bless their families.
- Pray for the post-pandemic student ministry, that not only can we gain new students but also build up student coworkers despite possible decreasing new student numbers.
- Pray for the operation fund for the CWC. May God touch more brothers and sisters to support our ministry by prayers and offerings.
May the Lord help us to hide in Him day by day in the midst of the pandemic to experience more of His love. May God teach us, edify us, so that we can be more like Christ to glorify Him!
Pastor Billy Ko