2016 is upon us. It is exciting to begin a New Year and we are thankful that the Lord has given the English Congregation a blessed opening. This year is the first time that we had a winter camp/retreat. We had a blessed time at the Horseshoe Valley Resort where we enjoyed skiing, games, cooking, and sharing. A total of 22 people attended the event. We are also thankful for the support of the parents and drivers, especially that of Mabel, John, Milton, Roymond, and Pastor Connie’s family. We praise God for such an exciting way to start the New Year.
We are also thankful that the Lord has also worked in our youth in bringing new friends to our fellowship. Please keep our youth in your prayers, that they would be bold in sharing the gospel with friends at their schools. This is not always an easy task and we pray that we will have the wisdom to equip them. As PGC continues to grow, we are praying that the Lord God would bring to our midst a young women who can provide guidance and support to many of the girls in our congregation. May His will be done.
Furthermore, we are thankful that the Lord has been working in the hearts of the youths in serving Him. Many of them have chosen to serve God through the leading of musical worship on Sunday. As I reflect upon this, I am reminded of what Matthew records in his gospel book in 9:37 – 38 about God’s harvest: “Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” As a church that is driven by Evangelism, I am inspired to continue to encourage our young people to be laborers for the Lord. I pray that they will come to know Jesus Christ better so that they may model after Him. I pray that as they become more mature in their faith, they will begin to grow confident to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It is hard to believe that Christmas is upon us once again. This is also the season of advent where many churches are observing a time of expectant waiting and preparation to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As Christians, we know the significance of the birth of Jesus. It is in Jesus that we receive the forgiveness of sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is in Jesus that we have eternal life (John 3:16). It is in Jesus that God completes His plan of Salvation (1 Peter 1:10 -12). For we know that it salvation is the gift of God and we are thankful to be loved by Him. In celebration of this, many churches will take this time of the year to proclaim the Good News with a display of the Nativity scene, banners and posters.
However, not everyone cares for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. As society becomes increasingly secular, non-believers are using this time of the year to combat the message of Christmas. In the United States of America, a group called American Atheists are known for having billboards in prominent places such as the Times Square in New York City to publically denounce the existence of God. This year, they have created a billboard which encourages people to “skip church” on Christmas with a photograph of Santa Claus as approval. Here in Canada, a group called Centre for Inquiry Canada also have also in the past created ads and banners challenging the Christian faith. In the business or public places, there is a movement to disassociate Christmas from the birth of Jesus Christ altogether.
It is more important than ever for us as believers to be prepared to share the gospel message and to do so with confidence. It is also to this end that I am working with the members of our English congregation to know God personally and be equipped to answer tough questions about our faith. I pray that this Christmas, as we gather with families and friends, God may work in the hearts and minds of those around us so we may have opportunity to share the gospel. May God be exalted!
I grew up in the 90's and wrestling was one of my favorite shows on television. In the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment), there was a character named Chris Jericho and he had a finishing move called the Walls of Jericho. At the time, I did not know the meaning of this move as I was not a reader of the Bible. Now, I realized that this was related to the City of Jericho and how it had impenetrable walls. This is a reminder how the Bible can be referenced even in popular culture.
As I read through the Book of Joshua and the conquests of Jericho, I find the account to be very interesting. In Joshua chapter 6, he and his people were commanded to walk around the walls once for six days and then on the seventh day, for seven times. In doing so, the wall of the city would fall flat and it would be delivered to them (Joshua 6:1 - 5). I have always wondered in my mind, why did they have to through this ritual in order to bring down the walls? After all, couldn't God simply have delivered the city without such a procedure? Then I recalled the passage found in Jeremiah 18:7-8: " The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it."
It is no doubt that Jericho was a city that sinned against God and deserved judgment. However, I wonder if the reason that God had commanded the people of Israel to perform such a task in order to call Jericho into submission to God. Could it have been that this was God's final warning against the people of Jericho to repent before they faced utter destruction? Did not Rahab the harlot who lived a life of sin and committed lies to save the spies received deliverance along with the rest of her family after submitting to God? Perhaps instead of destruction, Jericho would have been spared had the city surrendered in submission. Sadly, this did not happen and the result was devastating.
As I reflect upon this conquest, I am reminded of a time in my own life where I build walls to keep God and His people out. I was content in my own ways and I did not want to have anything to do with Him. Thankfully, God did not give up on me and sent people to continue to speak and pray for me. As a result, my own Wall of Jericho had crumbled and His gospel entered my heart and my mind. Therefore, I am challenged to encourage us as a church to continue to pray and speak the gospel to those around us who have build up their own walls. I also pray that God would break down the walls in our community so that PGC may continue to share the gospel of His love and mercy. May we have the faith of Joshua to trust God and His deliverance.