THE PASTOR’s PEN January 06, 2019
Dear Church Family and Friends,
Welcome to 2019! Someone said when we were on the eve of 2019 that God is giving to us a black book of 365 pages. Each day we write our story on a page. Well, you have written 5 days of your story this year so far. How are you doing?
Whether or not you were born and raised in Hong Kong or are just a visitor, there are times we all feel like we’re somewhere we don’t really belong. As the song says, “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through.” Our lives here are certainly important, but they pale in comparison to our ultimate, amazing, fantastic home above.
Because of this fact, I have a prayer for myself and you. Father God, I admit the politics and ways of this world often frustrate me. Some days it seems we’re at a standstill; others that we’re going headlong in the wrong direction. Help me to be patient with the ‘here and now’ while I look forward to the day when I reach ‘home’ with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I want to challenge us to be Saints of God in 2019. What is a saint? Some may think of saints only as those who have been declared to be saints by the Roman Catholic Church for some outstanding accomplishment or virtuous lifestyle. They have been deceased for centuries and are recognized on church calendars. Others may think of saints as pious but not very nice people. Still others use the word saint as a loose term of respect applied to a particularly good person. When you read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, you know that Paul had still another meaning. Saint is the translation of a word that means “holy,” to be separated from sin and set apart to God. So saints are not people who are dead so much as they are people who are different. The first-century Christians were different because they were committed to Christ. The Philippian letter was written to people Paul called saints. They were the Christians in the church.
As saints, Christians are called to be something. There is a distinction between being and doing. Many of us are very willing to be doing— doing good deeds, doing programs and activities, doing ministry. But we are soon made aware that before we can do for Christ, we must be. To Nicodemus, the Jewish ruler who visited Jesus at night, the Savior said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3: 7). Christianity is more than an ethic to follow, a philosophy by which to live, or a theology to believe. It is a person to follow. We are to follow Jesus Christ and give our lives to him in faith. By following Jesus, we can understand what kind of person we ought to be. He is always our guide and example. Great Christians have always taken Jesus as a pattern. The selfless Francis of Assisi prayed that he might be as selfless as Christ; Brother Lawrence, performing the lowliest tasks in the monastery kitchen, prayed that he might be as humble as Christ; David Livingstone, in the perils of darkest Africa, prayed that he might be as adventurous as Christ.
As saints, Christians are called to be something different. Many differences exist between Christians and non-Christians. One obvious distinction is the commitment of their lives. Christians have made a commitment in faith to Jesus Christ. Their lives are centered in him. Therefore, they have a distinctive lifestyle. In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, he proclaimed to his followers, those who were people of the kingdom, what kind of character they should have if they followed him. The lives of saints are marked by grace, peace, strength of character and purpose, and love. Remember, the word saint comes from the root for “holy,” which means separate. Christians are to be distinct from the world.
As saints, Christians are called to be something different for a purpose. Saints of God are not different just for the sake of being different. Different does not have to mean odd. Christians are to exemplify the life of Christ and thus point others to him. William Barclay told of a little girl who went with her mother to church one day. She asked her mother about the figures in the stained-glass windows. Her mother replied that they were saints. Then later in the week she visited an older woman with her mother. As they left the house, the mother said, “You have seen a saint today.” Trying to put the two together, she finally said, “Oh, I know what a saint is. A saint is someone who lets the light shine through.”
You, too, can be a saint by following Christ in this new year of 2019.
Well, It has been requested, almost demanded, that we do Bible Quest again in 2019. I hope more of you will participate this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer. So, lets get started!
Fill In The Blank:
1. In the beginning _______ created the heaven and the earth.
2. The Lord said to Zechariah about the partially rebuilt temple. “Who has despised the day of _______ things?”
3. About whom did Jesus say, “You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God?” a. Peter; b. Judas; c. John the Baptist. .
4. Who did Jesus say would sit on His right and left hands in His kingdom? (a) James and John; (b) His mother and brothers; or (c) those for whom the Father prepares those places.
Until next week, Love and prayers,
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Church Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.