Consumed by Circumstances or Christ?

a word from Rev Dr Christopher Chia, EP Moderator

Dear EP Churches,

 

We have ushered in 2022 and are now about to bid goodbye to another Chinese New Year.  How quickly precious time slips by, never to return.  Yet, deep within us, we might honestly wrestle with this question in quiet soliloquy: “What’s so new about another year?”  Isn’t it merely a change of numbers with no change in reality, relationships and purpose for living?

This pandemic has taken the wind from our sails.  The unending barrage of infections, hospitalisations, ICUs and deaths is taking a toil mentally, emotionally and relationally on both our youth and elderly.  It’s like rust eating away at the shine of life.  How can believers be different and not be consumed by our circumstances?  I exhort and challenge us to just one gospel pursuit – seek fresh encounters with our Risen Lord with all your heart.

1. Fresh Encounters with Jesus!

The Apostle Paul expressed the joy of our new life in these memorable words in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  We may not deny that the Christian life begins with a burst of joy but, honestly, can it continue and end with unspeakable joy of the new life we have in Christ?  Listen to Paul in his last will and testament in 2 Timothy.  He exhorts his protege Timothy not to be ashamed of him although Paul has been attacked, accused and deserted (2 Tim 3:10-15).  As he sits in prison all alone, he can still exclaim: “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim 1:12).  His joy and assurance are undiminished through his suffering and scars in ministry.  At the end of his life, Paul still believes in and longs “for the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10).  Paul is unshakeable in his faith in Jesus at the end as he was at the beginning of his life.  We must not miss the basis of this newfound identity and joy.

 

In 2 Corinthians 5:17ff, the reason for our true newness and joy is because Jesus has taken us from our proud “alienation from God” to humble “reconciliation with God”.  Jesus has taken us from our proud “alienation from God” to our humble “reconciliation with God”.  Is your life and church marked by alienation or reconciliation?

2. The Goodness of Fresh Encounters

Maybe we are missing newness because our lives are characterised more by the alienation of our old nature than the reconciliation of our new self in Christ.  We must repent, if that is the case, and seek fresh encounters with Jesus in our hearts.  If we are sick, we need a fresh encounter with Jesus’ power and tenderness. If we are proud, we need a fresh encounter with Jesus’ humility.  If we are lost, we need a fresh encounter with Jesus as Good Shepherd.  If we are lonely, we desperately need Jesus as friend.  If we have lost the plot in ministry, we humbly need Jesus as sovereign Lord to find the way.  If we are constantly accused of wrong-doing while doing right, we need Jesus as our high priestly advocate. If we are sinners, we dearly need Jesus as Saviour.

O, how we need to worship Jesus for who he is and trust him for what we truly need. We can all embark on this beautiful journey by seeking fresh encounters with our dear Lord Jesus for true newness.

3. Helping One Another with Fresh Encounters

By God’s grace, I pray to lead us in three ways in our fresh encounters with Jesus in 2022.  Firstly, is a regular “Moderator’s Word” to unite us spiritually.  It will be good to address the 7 Markers of our EP Roadmap.  This is to help our leaders to move from “fire-fighting mode” to “visionary mode” to spur our churches to grow spiritually and numerically in God’s mission.

Second, is to continue building up our EP leaders through a refreshed PED (pastors, elders and  deacons) Training. We start by helping as many of our EP leaders - be they pastors, elders or deacons - to take our personal communion with God seriously.  Only then, can our communion with one another be filled with Jesus we seek to be his humble vessels in proclaiming Christ, loving our families, maturing his church and glorifying God in our 21st century EP churches.

Our PED is scheduled for every 4th Saturday on the month. We were intending to have PED onsite on even months and via Zoom on odd months. But, in the light of the Omicron infectivity currently, we will start safely via Zoom first on February 26th.

Thirdly, with vice-Moderator Rev Lam Kuo Yung, to host a regular Senior Ministers Fellowship (SMFs) to encourage many of them in their onerous task of leading their EDCs and churches.  God blessed us with a meaningful inaugural SMF by just sharing our hearts’ joy and pain. May God bless us with authentic, loving and deep friendships with one another.  Please pray for our Exco, EP churches and myself as we seek fresh encounters with Jesus to complete his mission for God’s glory.  Amen.

Your brother & servant,

Christopher Chia

Search

Subscribe Form

Stay up to date