The Chinese word “危机” translated literally to “Crisis and opportunity”. The past year has been a crisis for all people because of Covid-19. It literally transformed how we live, go to school, conduct businesses and doing church ministry. Many are struggling to cope with these changes, in addition to our physical and emotional illness. Yet this difficult time also created opportunity for many, especially for the followers of Jesus Christ. God is using this opportunity to do a new thing in us, in the church and in the world. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43: 18-19) God has given me this verse at the beginning of the year to encourage the congregation.
Let’s pray for the following in this new year:
1) God to give us a hunger for Him: When pandemic hit, everything physical was taken away from us, including our church building which is left in emptiness. However, we still have God Himself and His word. In time like this, we pray that God can awaken our heart and mind, and eagerly seeking for His words to guide us and a heart to be close to Him. We have discovered a desire in our church to be close to Him and hunger to grow in Him in this challenging time.
2) God to give us a heart of unity: God wants us to be united in facing difficult circumstance. Our church was brought to unity like we have never experienced before. Praise God that our joint prayer meeting was attended by both English and Chinese congregations and we conducted the church town hall meeting in January which was attended by over 60 people from both the Chinese and English congregations. People start to realize the importance of a big family and the need to work together.
3) God to transform the leadership: In the pandemic, God also begin to humble the leadership of the church. Pray that the Pastors and Elders can start seeking God’s guidance and start growing in Him, so that the leadership can receive wisdom from God to minister to the church. I started a discipleship training within the Pastoral team and in the elder board, to kicked off our top-down growing vision in the new year. Praise God all the leadership support this vision and humbly accepted the training.
4) God to open door for outreaching to the needy: There are real needs out there in the community during the pandemic time. Pray for God to open opportunities for the church to be mobilized to go out and serve the needy. God had provided an opportunity for us to partner with a local food bank for the church to provide care packages and to go out to serve the underprivileged. We also partner with a few nursing homes to provide packages of head scarfs and homemade soap for the frontline workers.
“O God, we praise you and give you thank for your persistent love for each one of us, even in the pandemic time as you promised to never leave us nor forsake us. In this season of Lent, we pray that Lord you help us to reflect and repent of our sins, and give all of us a new heart in Jesus Christ. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139: 23-24) Help us to humbly bow down before you and transform us from the inside out in Christ Jesus.
May we keep our focus on Jesus Christ who is on the throne, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Thank you Lord that you are doing a new thing in us and in our church,. May we look forward to a year of recovery and renewal in the church. May the Holy Spirit fill our heart and that you will revive our church so that we may be salt and light in our community in 2021. Amen!”
Rev. Joe Tung
EFC New Life