Newsletter December, 2001

ORLANDO CHINESE CHURCH MONTHLY NEWSLETTER 
DECEMBER, 2001


What A Savior

Holding the infant born just over a month ago in the manger, Mary and Joseph came to the Holy Temple from Bethlehem to offer their first born to the Lord. As they climbed up the steps of the temple, the glorious building and the fiery fire from the altar appeared before their eyes. Little would they know that the baby in Mary's arms was to be greater than the temple, and the child would one day become a sacrifice on the Cross as the Lamb of God, as God promised in ages past!

As they entered the temple, a holy elderly gentleman approached them. Simeon was considered by all in Jerusalem as a righteous and holy man filled with the Holy Spirit. On that day, the Holy Spirit indeed miraculously gathered those four people together. Led by the Spirit to come to the temple that morning, Simeon took the baby in his arms and praised God, "Lord,…..for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32)

Yes, the Lord Jesus is the Salvation of God, for He is the Savior sent by the Father (Mt. 1:21), not only for the Israelites but a preparation for all the people (2 Peter 3:9). He came to bring light to those sitting in the shadow of death (Mt. 4:16), and to give them the forgiveness of sin and power of new life, till one day to lead them unto glory (Heb. 2:10). Oh what a salvation, and what a Savior indeed!

Do It Now

It was a heart-wrenching day, to both the U.S. and to the world. The tragedy of 9/11 represented a day of great sorrow and anger, but also a time of reflection. On one single day, nearly six thousand lives vanished in a flash. In just a twinkling moment so many families were robbed of their peace. The sudden event brought home to us the frailty of life---a concept foreign to us who have grown accustomed to the comfort and security of our daily lives. Perhaps we live a good life and are looking forward to a better future, or perhaps life is not so good and we worry about the unknown. But regardless of how we live, rich or poor, young or old, we all face an uncertain tomorrow.

On that morning, could those who entered the World Trade Center have known that shortly they would lose their lives? Could their families have known that their loved ones would be gone forever? Life is cruel. Our circumstances may change drastically leaving us with lasting regret and sorrow. Often we leave many things undone, words unspoken, and feelings unexpressed, and suddenly our loved one is not with us anymore. It is a helpless feeling, and we are left only with the pain and regrets. The opportunities to do what we ought to do are forever gone.

There is a story about a teacher who asked each of her students to express his or her love before the week was over to someone, whom the student had never so attempted. It was a difficult assignment for one of the students. He had not seen his father for five years, and he did not feel like saying "I love you" to his father, or anyone else for that matter. But the pressure of the school assignment caused him to finally call his father. On his way to see his father he prayed that he could get over this quickly with no waiting. Luckily, his father came to the door and he grasped the opportunity and said: "Dad, I come only to say I love you." The father's face suddenly lightened up and his expression turned gentle. He hugged the son tightly and replied: "Son, I love you, too!" Two days later, his father had a stroke and passed away. The student later told his class not to put off anything one should do. "If I had hesitated and waited, I would have forever lost the opportunity to say to my father that I loved him. Seize the moment and do now what you need to do."

I was glad that the son did what needed to be done before it was too late. Before 9/11, I did not pay much attention to those words "do now what you need to do." On the surface, we are very much alive and it seems like there is always time to do what need to be done. We therefore put things off without even thinking about it. But tomorrow may not come. 9/11 tells us that life is short, like dust carried around by the wind. The Bible says: "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." Since we do not know tomorrow, we must cherish the present and the life God has blessed us with to do what we ought to do, even now.

The tragedy of 9/11 was unprecedented and the emotional pain beyond estimation. Nonetheless, as the nation mourns, an incredible power of support for the nation and people was evident. The Spirit of God gives us strength by binding us together. The President used Psalm 23 to encourage and comfort a sorrowful nation. All the Christians prayed and God's love flowed with comfort. God is with us and in the midst of us. If a similar tragedy were to occur in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, how would people there face such a shock? I dare not imagine: Millions in China do not know Christ. It is a great field in need of the seed of the Gospel. This summer I visited China and attended one Sunday service at an old church. The building had no A/C, nor sound system, and the lighting was bad. Packed with people on that hot and humid day, I could hardly breathe in there. My mind traveled back to Orlando. How blessed we are in the U.S. with a great environment, lots of spiritual books, and the freedom of faith. But we tend to take things for granted. Seated in a nice cool building Sunday after Sunday listening to sermons, is that all about being a Christian? No! A Christian must have a mission. Jesus teaches us: "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age." (Mat 28:19,20)

As a Christian each one of us has the responsibility to help our kinsman who does not yet know the Lord Jesus. So many of them are eagerly waiting in desolation to receive the comfort of our Lord. So many are struggling in confusion and turmoil, in need of the love of our God. So many of the lost souls in sin need the Word of God to water their thirsty hearts. A true story came from China in recent days. An elderly man used all his life-savings to support a number of poor young men, so they could finish their college education and find a descent employment. In his final days, the old man was ill and no one was there to care for him. He did not even have any money left for hospitalization. His friends could not help but revealing his situation to news reporters. A reporter followed up with one of the young men who received the support from the old man earlier. The response from the young man was simply, "I do not feel that I have any obligation to help him."

When I heard of this response, my heart was bleeding, because it came out of a young man with sophisticated education background. But clearly he had no feeling in his conscience, even the least of common ethics. How sad and tragic for this generation of China. The story was told to me by a friend through a long distance phone call. He said, "It looks like that only the Jesus Christ whom you believe can save this dying society." My friend is not a believer. When he was still here in the States, I did share the gospel with him. He refused at that time, because he did not feel any need in his life of the salvation of God. However, the cold and cruel reality of the lustful society made him realize that Jesus Christ is the only hope for this corruptive world.

Material abundance may satisfy our physical needs, but will not fill the void in our hearts. The evil in the heart, the decadence of morals, and the degeneration of souls are the reality of this age. In a fallen world where people become increasingly cold and self-centered, can we just sit idly? It has been five years since the day I walked into this church. During this time I have been changed from one who only believed in oneself to a genuine Christian. For nearly five years I listened to others when they preached or shared or testified, but I never felt that I should be doing something myself. Time and again I was moved but lacking the strength to go forward. Today, I am standing here to share with you how I was deeply troubled by the recent events. I was reminded of these words: "Whatever you need to do, do it now!" Let us encourage one another with these words, and begin today to serve the Lord and His people.

Dear brothers and sisters, whoever you are you can contribute a little part for the Lord. The key is whether you are willing. Today I would like to present these words to you: "Do It Now". It may be a very tiny effort for the Lord, but please do not wait but do it now. I would also like to present these same words to every gospel friend. If you are still trying to understand the infinite power of God with your limited knowledge, resulting in your hesitation and doubt, please wait no more but receive Him now. Tomorrow may be too late and you would not have another chance. This is not meant to scare any one, but the Bible says, "No one knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them."(Ecc. 9:12). Future is hard to tell, but we know that today is real and we have this day. Dear friends, let us encourage each other with these words, "Do It Now!"