260 Devotional: September 23, Hebrews 6


Hebrews Chapter 6      (ESV)

 

The Certainty of God's Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

 

Reflection

  1. God took an elaborate way to reassure Abraham of His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to him (v13, ref Gen. 22:15-18). He is doing so to us as well. God, who doesn’t lie, has not only promised to bless us. God sealed His promise with an oath, which is executed in the blood of His one and only Son. God wouldn’t lie in the first place. But God would never ever consider violating an oath that He made at such unimaginable cost.
  2. Why did God take such pains to confirm His promise? Because He knew how vulnerable we are to fear and doubt. He knew how weak our faith becomes at times. And so, not because He needed to, but as an anchor for the hope we have in Christ, God promised, and He swore His oath – to reassure us.
  3. What a gracious God we have. And how little cause we have to doubt Him. In Jesus we have “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul”.
  4. How does Jesus fulfill your deepest aspirations and help you to go on to maturity in your faith journey?

 

 

Prayer & Journaling:

Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the “Spiritual Journal” book.

誠聘主任牧師 Senior Pastor Search

萬民福音堂現於Bur Oak Secondary School, 933 Bur Oak Avenue, Markham, Ontario, Canada 聚會。我們是一個成長中的小組教會,由四堂會衆組成,包括粤語,國語,英語及兒童。會衆人數大約三百人。我們現正聘請一位主任牧師來帶領教會。

 

資歷(以重要性排列)

  1. 能建立及啟導教牧同工
  2. 着重隊工:尊重及賦權予團隊同工
  3. 認同小組教會異象
  4. 能領導福音事工並協調有關全教會的事工
  5. 最少二十年事奉經驗,其中最少十年北美事奉經驗
  6. 北美認可神學院道學碩士畢業
  7. 能操流利英語及粤語,能講國語更佳

 

有意者請將履歷電郵至senior_pastor_search@pgcmail.org

 

Peoples Gospel Church (PGC), meeting at Bur Oak Secondary School, 933 Bur Oak Avenue, Markham, Ontario, Canada, is a growing cell-based church with four congregations: Cantonese, Mandarin, English and Children. The size of our congregation is about 300. We are presently seeking a full-time senior pastor to lead the church.

 

Qualifications (in sequence of priority)

 

  1. Able to develop and mentor the pastoral staff.
  2. Emphasis on team work: team members are valued and empowered;
  3. Agree with the church vision in continuing cell ministry;
  4. Strong leadership in evangelism and ability to coordinate church-wide ministries;
  5. Minimum 20 years of ministry experience with a minimum of 10 years in North America;
  6. Minimally, a Master of Divinity degree from an accredited seminary in North America;
  7. Fluent in and able to communicate in English and Cantonese, Mandarin is an asset.

 

Email application to Chair of Senior Pastor Search Committee at senior_pastor_search@pgcmail.org

《預苦期》(3月5日至4月17日)

「預苦期」(Lent)是指復活節前的四十日,所以此節期又稱為「四旬期」,即 40 日的意思。至於四十日的典故是取自耶穌於曠野四十日,受魔鬼的試探,沒有吃喝,之後才開始傳道的事工。在西方的教會傳統上,守齋、禁食是屬於一種靈性上的操練,目的是反省、律己,以跟隨上主的教導;因此,預苦期亦可以稱為「大齋期」。不過,一般來說,由於「主日」是慶賀耶穌基督復活的日子,基本上是不會守齋的,所以預苦期這四十日並不包括內中的六個主日。

每年的預苦期均開始於星期三的「聖灰日」(Ash Wednesday),信徒會於當天額上塗灰,作為懺悔罪行的象徵。這做法其實是源自舊約時代猶太人的信仰習俗,就是當在憂傷、懺悔的時候就會塗抹灰塵,以表示自己的卑微和無助,痛悔自己干犯了上帝而遭遇慘況。「聖灰日」的節期顏色為紫色,表徵信徒為罪憂傷,以求主赦免。

至於預苦期的第一個主日(即聖灰日之後的主日)雖然並沒有特定的稱謂,但是通常都會以耶穌於曠野四十日受魔鬼的試探作為崇拜的主題,所以坊間會簡稱這日為「耶穌受試探日」。整個預苦期有五個主日,同樣以紫色為節期的主要顏色,以記念救主耶穌基督為世人的罪而踏上苦路。

預苦期的第六個主日是「棕枝主日」(Palm Sunday),即是預苦期的最後一個主日,也是復活節前的一個主日。換言之,「棕枝主日」替「聖週」揭開了序幕,為要記念耶穌基督騎驢駒,以和平君王的身份,榮耀地進入聖城耶路撒冷。棕枝主日的顏色:如果是以慶賀耶穌基督就是上帝所應許那位彌賽亞的君王為主題的崇拜,就會採用紅色為主;如果議定為沉思以迎接受難的基督,則仍然會採用紫色。節日的特別用語為「和散那」(Hosanna)。節日的實物象徵為棕樹枝,代表著勝利和凱旋的記號。

在聖週的週四傍晚有「立聖餐日」(Maundy Thursday),耶穌設立聖餐,為要施恩予信徒,讓世世代代的信徒都可以領受祂的餅和杯,所以為表慶祝,這節日會使用紅色為主。「受難日」(Good Friday)是記念救主耶穌基督為世人的罪,被釘死於十字架上。因此,顏色以黑色為主,十字架會用黑布遮蓋,或掛上荊棘的冠冕。

在預苦期裡,就讓我們藉著靈修、默想…等屬靈操練,記念耶穌基督為著我們每一個罪人的緣故,昂然進入受難之中,以致於死,且死在十字架上,思想祂十字架上的大恩大愛。

(www.ttmsspc.hk/120226sharing.pdf)

 

注:為配合預苦期,萬民堂將於3月31日(星期一)至四月21日(星期一)編寫三週預苦期260靈修材料,由Derek Lee弟兄負責,另邀約五位弟兄姐妹參與編寫。請留意並多加使用。

Countdown devotion #1: December 25 Christmas Day! “A new hope”

Verses: Luke 2:6-21

 

While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.

That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. 10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. 11 Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”

13 Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:

14 “Give glory to God in heaven,
and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.”[a]

15 When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a feeding trough. 17 When they had seen him, they told what the angels had said about this child.18 Everyone was amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured these things and continued to think about them. 20 Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It had been just as the angel had told them.

21 When the baby was eight days old, he was circumcised and was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before the baby began to grow inside Mary.

 

  • Priase the Lord our God!!! Because of Jesus’s birth 2,013 year ago, our world is never the same again! Can you feel the joy and the excitement in your heart, because of what this gift means to each and every one of us? All because of this little baby, the world has hope! All the poverty, hunger, injustice, sins … will be wiped away and we can live in harmony with God and all His creations again – eternally!!
  • The angels told the good news to the shepherds in the field, and when they saw the baby they were ‘amazed’. They were filled with joy and thanked God, and their lives were never the same again. Today we are still called to pass on the good news of Christ! Do you have any special person on your mind when you read this? Is this who God wants you to spread the good news to, so that their lives can be different? Take a minute to pray for that special someone, and follow up with a message or a phone call!
  • Jesus’ birth rocked this world, yet He came so quietly to this world that he created. Similarly, Jesus coming to our life should change our lives, even though the way we get to know him and accept him may not be dramatic or eventful. On this day – Christmas day, spend a few minutes to reflect on your spiritual life as a Christian. Christian means “little Christ” or “followers of Christ”. How are we doing as “little Christ”? Do others see Christ in us through our daily lives? Are we changing lives with our lives? In what ways can we be more like Jesus? Reflect on theses and say a prayer to Jesus!

 

And that concludes the PGC Advent devotions of 2013!  I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the journey over the past 12 devotions as much as I did as I was preparing it. Reading through God’s fingerprints from the Old Testament to the New Testament, it makes me understand more than ever what’s so great about Christmas – it’s not the gifts, it’s not the shopping, it’s not even the family gatherings – all those are great, but they’re nothing compared to the greatest gift from God – a new hope, a new beginning – where we’ll no longer be hungry, no longer have injustice, no longer be sick, no longer die - to know everything in this world will past and in the end we will be re-united with our loving Father, this time eternally! All because of Jesus coming among us. Thank you Jesus, and Merry Christmas to you all!!!

260 Devotional, Nov 12, James 2

Before you begin today's reading and reflection, take a few minutes to create or find a "sacred space". If you're in your room, make yourself a small space with as few distractions as possible. Put aside any books, music, magazines; turn off your phone; get away from your email/facebook; turn off your music; etc.

Now, pull out your Bible, and as you take some deep breaths, pray this short prayer: "Lord, help me be still and listen to your voice now and throughout this day and the next. Amen."

(You can choose to read the whole chapter, or just the passage that is shown)

 

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says,“ Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

 

Reflection

  1. Chapter at a Glance: Biblical faith is alive and active. Favoritism does not fit with love of neighbors. By its very nature faith must express itself in works, a faith without works is dead and useless.
  2. Faith is something that we cannot see but faith is made real and visible in our works and actions. James tells us that faith and works go hand-in-hand; our faith in the person and gospel of Jesus Christ changes the way that we see the world, ourselves, and God’s work. As we grow in our relationship with Christ, our changed perspective and value system will cause us to behave closer to God’s way.  Thus, our actions reveal our faith in God.
  3. In what ways can you bring your actions more in line with your beliefs? What has God been asking you to do that you have been ignoring?
  4. Talk to him about it. Ask God to help you follow through with the works that will reveal your true faith.

Prayer & Journaling:

If you have a prayer journal, as you listen to God, write down a few thoughts, questions, words, names, drawings, or anything that has come to your mind during this time.

 

Proverbs for Today 27:13-16

13 Take a man's garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
    and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for an adulteress.
14 Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,
    rising early in the morning,
    will be counted as cursing.
15 A continual dripping on a rainy day
    and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind
    or to grasp oil in one's right hand.

東非饑荒: 關懷我的小弟兄

幾十年來最嚴重的旱災正威脅著東非超過 一千萬人的生命 — 尤其是青少年兒童。長期稀少的雨量已令到整個非洲之角陷入極度的旱災 —農作物受到破壞、牲畜也陸續死亡。許多當地災民長途跋涉為求生存﹐亦令到營養不良和疾病的數字上升。糧食價格上昇、 戰亂和國家的不穩定進一步加劇旱災的情況。

眾多基督教機構正在積極回應災情,目前分別在索馬里、肯尼亞、埃塞俄比亞等受災地區發送糧食,並加緊進行救援計劃。募捐款項,除了回應這場危機,並將幫助提供食物、 清潔食水、 農業的支援、 衛生保健和其它重要的支援項目,救助有需要的兒童和家庭。

糧荒情況嚴峻,請立即伸出援手!

東非饑荒代禱事項:

  • 求神保守東非情況,不要讓饑荒的地區再度增加。
  • 求神記念在糧荒中飽受飢餓煎熬的兒童及家庭,讓他們盡快得到飽足、安慰和盼望。求主保守當地的小孩子,讓他們能強健起來,充滿智慧;神的恩典彰顯在他們身上。
  • 求神憐憫受東非大旱影響的人民,並賜下恩雨,使旱情得以舒緩。
  • 在糧食嚴重短缺的情況下,求主保守救援工作人員的安全。
  • 求神感動弟兄姊妹的心,以關愛的心回應災民迫切的需要。
東非賑災捐獻:最新消息﹕加拿大政府將作出對等捐款﹐有效期至916日止

加拿大政府宣布,CIDA將會以一比一的方式,在七月六日至九月十六日期間,按照國民個人的捐款數額,作一對一的對等捐款(Matching Fund)。
因此,鼓勵弟兄姐妹,效法基督的愛,伸手援助身陷苦難中的“最小兄弟”身上。各位可自行上網查看捐獻,例如:國際事工差會SIM世界宣明會WORLD VISION世界救援社WORLD RELIEF 這三個信用可靠的基督教救援機構之網上捐獻。