Roland Allen. Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s Or Ours. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989.罗兰·艾伦 (Roland Allen) 于 1895 年至 1903 年间担任英国圣公会在中国的宣教士。此后几年，他负责英国教区。在接下来的 40 年里，他一直致力于宣教原则的写作。罗兰·艾伦凭借自己作为宣教士的丰富经验，于1912年写下了《宣教方法：圣保罗或我们的宣教方法》一书。该书在20世纪60年代被重新发现。艾伦根据《新约》以及威廉·拉姆齐教授和阿道夫·冯·哈纳克教授的著作进行历史重建，以保罗的宣教策略为例，对当时英国圣公会宣教策略中存在的问题提出了一些反思。他提出的所有问题对于反思今天的宣教工作、教会植堂、教会建立，以及如何传福音等都很有价值。 本书的主要论点是倡导宣教工作和植堂界的本土策略（即根据福音传扬的当地文化，因地制宜；在不改变福音本质的前提下，注重按着当地的文化习俗将福音表达出来）。艾伦挑战说我们应该像保罗那样相信圣灵。 保罗对圣灵有着深刻的信仰和信任，圣灵住在他的归信者和教会中。我们的问题是“我们更容易相信圣灵在我们身上并通过我们所做的工作，比我们相信圣灵在我们的归信者身上和通过我们的归信者所做的工作更容易：我们不能将我们的归信者信托于圣灵”（vii）。换句话说，我们并没有像保罗在提摩太后书2:2 所说的那样，把福音更好地传递下去，做有效的门徒培训。因此，宣教士必须学会如何从工作中退休。有几个优点体现在他的书中。
2/25/24 Pastor’ s Word
Digest on Roland Allen’s BookRoland Allen was an Anglican missionary in China from 1895 to 1903. For a few years afterward he was in charge of English parish. For the next 40 years he was writing on missionary principles. With his own rich experience as a missionary, Roland Allen wrote his book Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s Or Ours in 1912. It was rediscovered in the 1960s. By historical reconstruction based on the New Testament and the works of Professor William M. Ramsay and Professor Adolf von Harnack, Allen takes Paul’s missionary strategy as an example, and put forward some reflections on the problems existing in the Anglican missionary strategy at that time. All the questions he raises are valuable for reflection on today’s mission work, church planting, building up church, and how to share the gospel. The main thesis of the book is to advocate the self-indigenous strategy in missional work and church planting circles. Allen challenges that we should trust the Holy Spirit in the way Paul trusted. Paul had a profound belief and trusted in the Holy Spirit, indwelling his converts and the churches. Our problem is that “We can more easily believe in His work in us and through us, than we can believe in His work in and through our converts: we cannot trust our converts to Him” (vii). In another word, we do not do a great job of passing on the gospel, doing an effective discipleship training like Paul did in 2 Timothy 2: 2. Therefore, missionary must learn how to retire from his work. Several strong points are illustrated in his books.
- Paul depended on the Holy Spirit completely
- Paul preached the pure gospel along with teaching ethical responsibilities
- Finance Independence
- The Signs of a Mature Church
- The Unity of the Church
“You Do Your Part; and I Will Do Mine”
准备讲章是牧师侍奉中最重要的一部分。上帝不仅呼召牧师去传讲信息，更呼召他去准备信息。牧师回应上帝的呼召不仅是站在讲台上宣讲上帝话语的那个时刻，也包括他整个准备信息的过程。我之前讲道不太写讲章，只是准备一份简单的大纲。在读西南浸会神学院（Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary）的博士班课程时，教授特别强调每个讲道人都应该准备详细的讲章，传道人不能照本宣科，但一定要把讲章写出来。按着教授的教导，我开始学习写讲章。起初写一页，然后是两页，后来就越写越多。有时要写4-5页。在准备诗篇68篇时，由于经文比较长，所以写了8页。在那天晚上睡觉时，我心里隐约有些不安，感觉准备的内容太多会不会给翻译的同工造成太大的压力。在2月2日清晨，主在我心里感动一句话： “你作你的部分，我会作我的部分” (You Do Your Part; and I Will Do Mine) 。主的意思是说，你尽上力量作你的部分，主会负责作主的部分。所以，不要担心，我们只要尽上本分作好我们能作的部分，将其它的部分交给主就好了。主应许我们说，主必作成他自己的工。
“由水变酒”是耶稣所行的头一件神迹（约2: 1-11）。神迹原文是神奇的标记或记号（miraculous sign），它标志着神的作为。既说是神迹就是因为只有神能行，人不能行也不能复制。神迹是为了证明主和他永恒的目标。由水变酒的神迹中有一个重要的步骤，就是要“把缸倒满水”。当婚宴上出现问题——酒用尽了时，耶稣的母亲马利亚将问题带到耶稣面前，告诉耶稣说：“他们没有酒了”。耶稣似乎并没有马上回应马利亚的诉求，而只是告诉她说：“我的时候还没有到”。接着，马利亚吩咐宴席上的服侍人员说：“他告诉你们作什么，你们就作什么。”主没有吩咐他们作他们不能作的事情，主只是吩咐他们说：“把缸倒满水”。按着犹太人洁净的礼仪，他们有六口石缸，每口可盛两三桶水。圣经中“六”是指人的数字。“两三桶水”大概是75-115升(公斤)。据此，六口石缸可以盛460-690升（公斤）水。听起来这个数量还是蛮大的。“倒满水”说明在作预备的工作时不能偷工减料，不能一瓶不响、半瓶晃荡，而是要踏踏实实地将自己能作的部分作到位。这些服侍人员非常顺服，他们没有任何质疑或抱怨。主怎么说他们就怎么作，他们原原本本地照着耶稣的话去作。“他们就倒满了，直到缸口”。
注意， “由水变酒”这个神迹中，耶稣没有大声喧哗，没有作什么重要的仪式，而是润物细无声地做成了上帝的工作。当六口石缸注满水之后，耶稣云淡风轻地又说： “现在可以舀出来，送给管宴席的。他们就送去了”（2: 8）。我们不知道水具体是在什么时候变成酒的，也许是缸倒满之后、也许是仆人正在往出舀时。这并不重要。重要的是，我们知道水的确变成了酒。我们知道这是主作成的事，而不是人作成的事。有时，我们作主的工作不需要大声喧哗，不需要太多人为的手段，而需要圣灵的工作。当人过分用自己的小聪明去计划或谋算时，往往会弄巧成拙、适得其反。很多时候，当人谦卑顺服，愿意遵行主的旨意，尽上人所能尽的本分时，圣灵便会悄无声息地作着变化的工作。
讲章犹如人生。有个神学生问一位老牧师： “要花多长时间写一篇讲章”？老牧师的回答是： “用一生写一篇讲章”。从某种意义上讲，我们每个人不同的服侍都是在写讲章。我们负责写、负责服侍，主负责变化、负责使用我们的服侍去改变和祝福更多人的生命。就像由水变酒的神迹一样，愿主赐福我们每个人的人生能从无味变得有滋有味，从软弱疲乏变得被圣灵充满，从干枯无力到大有能力。以基督之名祝福，阿门！
“You Do Your Part; and I Will Do Mine”
Preparing sermons is one of the most important parts in a pastor’s ministry. God not only calls pastors to deliver messages but also to prepare them. A pastor’s response to God’s call encompasses not only the moment of standing at the pulpit to proclaim God’s word but also the entire process of preparing the message. Previously, I did not focus much on sermon preparation; I only prepared a simple outline. While taking courses in the doctoral program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the professors emphasized the importance of preparing detailed sermons. Preachers cannot rely solely on extemporaneous speaking; they must write out their sermons. Following their guidance, I began to learn how to write sermons. Initially, it was just one page, then two, and eventually, more pages. Sometimes, I had to write 4-5 pages. When preparing Psalm 68, because the passage was long, I ended up writing 8 pages. That night, I felt a bit uneasy, wondering if the amount of preparation would put too much pressure on the translator who would help to translate the message into English for our English speakers during our worship. On the morning of February 2nd, the Lord impressed upon my heart a sentence: “You do your part, and I will do mine.” The Lord meant to say, do your best, and He will take care of the rest. So, let’s not worry; as long as we do our part to the best of our ability, we can leave the rest to the Lord. He promises that He will accomplish His own work.
“The Changing of Water into Wine” is the first miracle performed by Jesus (John 2:1-11). The term “miracle” in the original text refers to a miraculous sign or symbol, indicating the action of God. It signifies something extraordinary that only God can accomplish, beyond human capability or replication. Miracles serve to demonstrate the Lord and His eternal purposes. In the miracle of changing water into wine, an important step is to “fill the jars with water.” When a problem arises at the wedding feast—running out of wine—Jesus’ mother, Mary, brings the issue to Jesus, informing Him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus doesn’t immediately respond to Mary’s plea but simply tells her, “My hour has not yet come.” Then, Mary instructs the servants at the feast, saying, “Do whatever he tells you.” The Lord doesn’t command them to do something beyond their capacity; He instructs them to “fill the jars with water.” According to Jewish purification customs, there were six stone jars, each capable of holding two to three measures of water. In biblical terms, “six” symbolizes man who is imperfect and weak. Two to three measures of water” is roughly 75-115 liters. Therefore, the six stone jars could contain 460-690 liters of water. This quantity seems quite substantial. The command to “fill the jars with water” indicates that in preparing, one should not cut corners or do things halfway. Rather, it requires earnest effort to fulfill one’s part. These servants show remarkable obedience; they don’t question or complain. They simply do as the Lord instructs, filling the jars to the brim.
“You do your part, and I will do mine.” The Lord’s meaning is clear: you are responsible for filling the jars with water, and I am responsible for the transformation. The task of changing water into wine is something we cannot accomplish; it must be done by the Lord. During the process of pouring water into the jars, we must not lose heart. The Lord uses this process to build and refine our spiritual character, including qualities like patience and faith. If we haven’t seen the transformation yet, it means we haven’t poured enough water. When we fill the jars to the brim, God’s timing arrives. At that moment, we will surely witness the work of God. We will see “the eyes of the blind being opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will flow in the desert” (Isaiah 35:5-6), for God will display His power through all these things.
Please note that in the miracle of “Turning Water into Wine,” Jesus did not make a loud noise or perform any significant ceremony; instead, He quietly accomplished God’s work. After the six stone jars were filled with water, Jesus calmly said, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast” (John 2:8). We do not know exactly when the water turned into wine, perhaps it was after the jars were filled, or maybe while the servants were scooping it out. This is not important. What matters is that we know the water did indeed turn into wine. We know this was the work of the Lord, not of man. Sometimes, the work of the Lord does not require loud noise or elaborate means, but rather the work of the Holy Spirit. When people excessively rely on their own cleverness to plan or scheme, they often end up complicating matters or achieving the opposite of what they intended. Many times, when people humbly obey and are willing to do God’s will to the best of their abilities, the Holy Spirit quietly works to bring about change.
“You do your part and I will do mine.” Since our Chinese church started the morning prayer meeting at 5am this year of January 2, we are experiencing more of the miracle of God changing water into wine. At the morning prayer meeting, several brothers and sisters who had never shared before began to share the Lord’s word. A brother testified that when we prayed for the daughter of a friend in China, the friend’s family really felt the power of prayer. A sister shared that she was once weak and had low self-esteem, and her relationship with her father was not that good. She felt that his father was partial to his younger brother. However, when she was thinking about this matter, the Lord moved her father’s heart and took the initiative to contact her and apologize to her. She was very thankful for God’s healing and peace. Another sister shared how the Lord helped her to forgive from the depths of her heart for the years of resentment and bitterness she had felt toward her father. Prayer is bringing more blessings to the church, causing church co-workers to serve the Lord more passionately and unitedly, causing many old members to turn their hearts back to the church, making seekers trust in Jesus, and making more people respond to the pulpit every time of worship and accept Jesus Christ as Savior. As we perform our duty in prayer, the Lord will continue to perform miracles of changing water into wine. We give all glory to the Lord!
A sermon is like life itself. A seminary student once asked a senior pastor, “How long does it take to write a sermon?” The pastor’s answer was, “It takes a lifetime to write a sermon.” In a sense, each of us is writing a sermon through our different forms of service. We are responsible for the writing, for the serving, while the Lord is responsible for the transformation, for using our service to change and bless the lives of others. Just like the miracle of changing water into wine, may the Lord bless each of our lives, transforming them from bland to flavorful, from weakness to strength filled with the Holy Spirit, from dryness and powerlessness to great strength. In the name of Christ, Amen!”
1951年美国神学家莱因霍尔德·尼布尔 (Reinhold Niebuhur) 在《基督与文化》（Christ and Culture）一书中提到两者之间的五种类型。第一，基督反对文化(Christ Against Culture): 文化受了罪的玷污，基督徒应该避免、拒绝、并排斥文化。第二，基督属于文化(Christ of Culture): 文化是好的，与基督徒信仰没有任何冲突。第三，基督高过文化(Christ above Culture)：文化是好的，但要基督信仰对其做出最美的诠释。第四，基督与文化之间的张力 (Christ and Culture in Paradox): 基督徒与所处文化之间的互动始终存在一种紧张关系。第五，基督更新文化(Christ the Transformer of Culture): 基督徒努力寻求将文化的价值观和目的转化为服侍和荣耀上帝。由于篇幅所限，以上几点我不详细展开。多数福音派的基督徒赞同第五点，即根据耶稣的教导我们是 “世上的光，世上的盐” （太5: 13-16），我们在世界但不属世界（约17: 15-17），我们要以出世的心过入世的生活，不效法这个世界，只要新意更新而变化（罗12: 1-2）。
- 敬拜独一真神Worship the Only One True God
当尊上帝为大，绝不可祭拜偶像。《圣经》十条诫命（出20: 1-5; 申5:7-9）中的第一条和第二条明确规定，基督徒要敬拜独一真神，拜偶像是得罪神的。过年要杜绝各种形式接神，摆贡，贴财神画、门神画，或在微信里迎财神、抽签算卦等。我们不要提说或宣扬别神的名号（诗16：4），更不要转发和传播。我们不要称呼人是“大神”，也不要称呼某明星是“男神”“或“女神“。在中文表达中，基督徒称呼我们的神时不说神是“万能的”（universal power），而说神是“全能的”(almighty)。在和合本圣经翻译中，每逢提到神是都是说他是全能者、而不是万能者。基督徒可以张贴”福“字和有福音话语的对联，以及代表中国传统文化色彩的服饰。
- 敬祖但不祭祖Honor but not Worship Ancestors
基督徒可以敬祖但不祭祖(We honor but not worship ancestors)。我们对祖先应予以“尊敬和记念”，却不应该“敬拜或祭祀”。基督徒可以在传统节日时扫墓，藉此缅怀长辈留下的美好榜样，感激他们在世时所有的付出和辛劳。我们不磕头、不烧纸、不摆供品，但可以谦恭地扫墓，献鲜花，唱赞美诗。扫墓时，我们不为也不向死人祷告。我们是向上帝祷告，为活人求喜乐平安。这既荣耀主名，又向世人作见证。基督徒孝顺父母的重点不应放在丧礼的仪式上，而应放在长辈活着时多与他们分享福音、多体贴照顾、多分担家务，多以实际行动表达感恩之情。
- “从前属动物、如今属基督了” “I once belonged to animal, but now I belong to Christ”
从谈论属相可以开启传福音的对话。有时中国人讨论年龄时会问你是属什么的？从前我们会回答说：“我属羊、我属马、我属蛇”，等等。今天你就可以说：“从前我属羊/属马/或其它属相，如今我属基督了”。正如保罗所说：“只是我先前以为与我有益的，我现在因基督都当做有损的。 不但如此，我也将万事当做有损的，因我以认识我主基督耶稣为至宝” （腓3：7-8）。
- 吃喝要有节制Eat and Drink in Moderation
- 抓住机会传福音Seize Every Opportunity to Share the Gospel
“Honoring God and Benefiting Others:”
How does a Chinese Christian celebrate the Spring Festival?
In 1951, American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr mentioned five types of relationships between Christ and culture in his book Christ and Culture. Firstly, “Christ Against Culture”: Culture is tainted by sin, and Christians should avoid, reject, and resist culture. Secondly, “Christ of Culture”: Culture is good, and there is no conflict with Christian faith. Thirdly, “Christ above Culture”: Culture is good, but Christian faith should offer the most beautiful interpretation for culture. Fourthly, “Christ and Culture in Paradox”: There is always a tense between Christ and the culture they inhabit. Lastly, “Christ the Transformer of Culture”: Christians strive to transform the values and purposes of culture into service and glorification of God. Due to limited writing space, I will not elaborate on the above points. Most evangelical Christians agree with the fifth point, as according to Jesus’ teaching, we are “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-16). We are in the world but not of the world (John 17:15-17), and we should live in the world with a spiritual mindset, not conforming to the world, but being transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2).
The Spring Festival is the most significant festival for Chinese people and an essential part of Chinese culture. Chinese Christians in the United States face three cultures: Chinese culture, Western culture, and Christian culture. Balancing the relationships between these three cultures is crucial for honoring God and benefiting others. Referring to the fifth model proposed by Niebuhr, “Christ the Transformer of Culture,” and following Paul’s principle in 1 Corinthians 10:31, which states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” I would like to share the following points for Chinese Christians celebrating the Spring Festival.
1. Worship the Only One True God
It is important to honor God above all and refrain from idol worship. The first and second commandments in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 5:7-9) clearly state that Christians should worship the one true God, and idol worship is an offense to God. During the New Year celebrations, we should avoid all forms of idol worship, such as offering sacrifices, displaying images of wealth gods or door gods, or participating in fortune-telling or divination on WeChat. We should not mention or promote the names of other gods (Psalm 16:4), nor should we forward or spread such content. We should not refer to people as “gods” or label certain celebrities as “goddesses” or “gods.” In Chinese expression, when Christians refer to our God, we do not say “万能的” (universal power) but say “全能的” (almighty). In the Chinese translation of the Bible, whenever God is mentioned, it is said that He is almighty, not just universal. Christians can display “Blessing” “福” characters and couplets with gospel messages, as well as wear clothing representing traditional Chinese cultural colors.
2. Honor but not Worship Ancestors
Christian can honor their ancestors but refrain from worshiping them. We should show “respect and remembrance” to our ancestors, but we should not “worship or offer sacrifices” to them. Christians may visit graves during traditional festivals to remember the good examples left by their ancestors and appreciate all the sacrifices and hard work they made during their lifetime. We do not bow, burn paper offerings, or present sacrificial offerings, but we can respectfully visit graves, lay flowers, and sing hymns of praise. During these visits, we do not pray to or for the dead. Instead, we pray to God for joy, peace, and blessings for the living. This not only glorifies the Lord’s name but also serves as a testimony to others. The emphasis for Christian filial piety should not be on funeral rituals but on sharing the gospel with elders while they are alive, showing care and concern, sharing household chores, and expressing gratitude through practical actions.
3. “Formerly I Belonged to Animal, Now I Belong to Christ”
The so-called Chinese zodiac, or “Twelve Zodiac Signs,” includes the following animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each animal corresponds to a year or one of the twelve time periods in a day. For Christians, the zodiac is merely a symbol and holds no real significance.
This year is the Year of the Dragon. Christians have different views on the symbolism of the dragon. Some interpret it based on Revelation 12:9, which describes the dragon as “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan.” Others believe that the dragon described in the Book of Revelation and the dragon in Chinese culture are two different things, with the dragon symbolizing good luck and prosperity. We do not need to engage in arguments over these two viewpoints. During the Year of the Dragon, if Christians feel inspired to energetically spread the gospel and bear witness to the Lord, I believe God will also be pleased. Sister Anita gave a wonderful testimony on the Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration of the Little Rock Chinese Association, saying, “This year is the Year of the Dragon, but we declare that this year will be the Year of Christ. May all Chinese people receive the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ!”
4. Eat and Drink in Moderation
During the New Year, Chinese people prepare many dishes and enjoy the day of reunion with family. It’s best for Christians to avoid smoking as it is harmful to health. Our body is temple of the Holy Spirit, and we should not harm others’ bodies or our own (including our health). If there is a habit of smoking, we need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome addiction and bear witness to the Lord’s victory. For example, both my grandmother and my American mom have witnessed quitting smoking. They smoked for decades but were able to quit smoking through the power of the Lord. At the same time, Christians should “not get drunk” (Ephesians 5:18). Those who indulge in excessive drinking are likely to lose control. We should strive to live a sanctified life, avoiding anything that may cause others to stumble. Living a sanctified life is not just about avoiding sin; it is about pursuing the highest goal that pleases God.
5. Seize Every Opportunity to Share the Gospel
Sharing the Gospel is the mission of Christians. Whether it’s in season and out of season; we should always preach the gospel (2 Timothy 4:2). When calling family members or relatives to wish them a happy holiday, we can share the gospel with them. When attending celebratory events, we can share the gospel with them and invite them to church activities. If someone opposes, we should not force it, but strive to maintain good relationships with them.
May the Lord bless us in the new year, adding strength upon strength, grace upon grace, honor upon honor, and joy upon joy! May His grace overflow, and the cup of blessings be full. May peace roll on like a river, and blessings surge like
诗篇 71:17-18, 耶利米书 6:16, 21:8; 以弗所书 5:15-17
魏牧师和我最近想起耶利米书中的这些经文。大约两年前，我开始感到困扰，一直在为成长中的孙子们祈祷。我们不会再像他们年轻时那样有时间和他们在一起了。他们成长得很快，有些人正在上大学。我们的世界和文化非常令人不安。祖父母必须有意识地与孙辈保持亲密关系！毕竟，我们年轻时在台湾担任传教士，远离他们很长时间。因此，两年前，当我祈祷并阅读圣经，试图确定如何帮助他们以及如何与他们保持联系时，我首先读到诗篇 71:17 -18 “神啊，自我年幼时你就教训我，直到如今我传扬你奇妙的作为。 神啊，我到年老发白的时候，求你不要离弃我，等我将你的能力指示下代，将你的大能指示后世的人。”
我读了这些话，我想……这就是我们，主啊，我们已经老了，头发花白了！我们觉得这是对我们子孙的召唤。我们开始每周为每个儿子和家庭禁食祈祷一天！我们已经通过短信向他们发送圣经经文并进行一些分享！当我们和他们在一起的时候，我们总是能找到谈论属灵生命的方式！然而，我们不知道他们上大学时是否有灵修，所以我想确定他们看神的话语。最近这些天，我觉得这是神对你和你们这一代人的呼召，尽管你们还没有老去、白发苍苍！你也想忠心地向下一代宣扬神的良善和他的大能！我们都有尚未相信耶稣的家人，我们希望他们跟随耶稣的道路。我们也有需要耶稣的同事和朋友。我们非常愛他们！当我读到耶利米书第六章中的这些经文时，我想到了我们认识的叛逆的青少年和年轻人以及迷失的人。他们中的许多人仍然像这里所讲的以色列人那样对安息的应许说“不”。许多人都在抗拒和拒绝。我们必须带着祈祷和愛心向上帝祈求如何影响我们所愛的人。 耶利米书 21:8 谈到了当我们受到诱惑而偏离正路时，我们必须做出的两种方式、两种选择。这是一个十字路口！生命之道与毁灭之道，我们称这两条路为世界之路和上帝之路，我的方式还是上帝的方式！
神过去所启示的仍然是真实的。他没有改变。古老的道路承载着属灵真理和永恒的生命。 这是让我们的灵魂得到安息的道路！对于先知耶利米时代的犹太人来说，古老的道路指的是上帝通过摩西启示的道路。他祝福那些走这条路的人。我们知道我们不再受到律法的约束，但如果我们想讨上帝喜悦，我们仍然需要走古老的道路。我们不能像加拉太人那样为福音添加内容。保罗警告要回归纯正的福音，并警告要提防律法主义，并行善才能蒙神悦纳！我们需要求神给我们古路、正路，仔细看神的话。我们必须以神的话语为指导，而不是情感或欲望。我们想要灵魂的安息，也就是救赎与平安，我们需要聆听神的警告，跟随他的道路，就像魏牧师在晨祷中分享约翰福音14:6时提到的那样，他是道路、他是真理，他是生命。我们必须坚定地忠于我们的主！ 我们只能通过祈祷和神的话语以及基督里的兄弟姐妹的鼓励来做到这一点，因为我们互相监督负责。
Declared Thy Strength Unto The Next Generation:
Early Prayer Sharing on Jan 26, 2024
Psalm 71: 17-18, Jeremiah 6: 16, 21:8; Ephesians 5: 15-17
Rev. Ron and I have been reminded recently of these verses in Jeremiah. About 2 years ago I became troubled and have been praying for the growing grandchildren. We would not have the time with them anymore as when they were young. They are growing up quickly and some are going off to college. Our world and the culture are very troubling. Grandparents have to be intentional about staying close to the grandchildren! After all we spent a lot of time in their younger years far away from them while we served in Taiwan as missionaries. So, two years ago when I was praying and reading the scripture to try and determine how to help them and how to stay connected to them, I first read Psalm 71:17-18 “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth; and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Yea, even when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have declared thy strength unto the next generation, thy might to every one that is to come”(ERV).
I read those words and I thought …that’s us Lord, we are old and gray! We felt it was a call to us for our children and grandchildren. We started a day of fasting and prayer one day each week for each son and family! We were already sending bible verses to them by text with a little sharing! When we were together with them, we always found a way to talk about spiritual life! However, we didn’t know if they were having devotions when they went to college, so I wanted to be sure they were seeing God’s Word. During these recent days I feel it is God’s call to YOU and your generation also, even though you are not old and gray yet! You also want to be faithful to declare God’s goodness and His power to the next generation! We all have family members and who have not yet believed in Jesus, and we want them to follow the path of Jesus. We also have colleagues and friends who need Jesus. We love them all so much! When I came upon these verses in Jeremiah 6, I thought about the rebellious teenagers and young people and the lost people we know. Many of them are still saying “No,” like the Israelites said. Many are rebelling and rejecting. We must, with prayer and with love ask God for ways to influence these that we love. Jeremiah 21:8 talks about the two ways, the two choices we all have to make when we are tempted to get off the good path. It’s a crossroad! The way of LIFE and the way of destruction. We call these two ways: The world’s path, and God’s path; My way or God’s Way!
What God revealed in the past remains true. He does not change. The ancient path holds spiritual truth and everlasting life. It is the path that leads to rest for our soul! For the Jews in the OT days of Jeremiah the prophet, the ancient paths referred to God’s way He revealed through Moses. He blesses those who follow this path. We know we no longer are bound to the law but there are still ancient paths we are to walk if we want to please God. We cannot add to the gospel like the Galatians were doing. Paul warned about returning to the pure gospel and warned against legalism and doing good works to be acceptable to God! We need to ask God for the ancient path, the right path, looking closely to God’s word. We must be directed by God’s word not emotions or desires. We want rest for our soul which is salvation and peace, and we need to listen to God’s warning, follow His path like Rev. Ron referred to in Early Morning prayer as he shared John 14:6. HE is the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE. We must stay strongly committed to faithfulness to our Lord! We can only do that through prayer and God’s Word and encouragement from brothers and sisters in Christ as we hold each other accountable.
Let’s look quickly at Ephesians 5: 15-17! We’ve talked with our grandchildren and our sons about these words in scripture. “Be careful how you act, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil! Do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s Will is. “We all know it is most difficult when sharing with family members because they know us and can see all our weakness and faults, so we have to depend on the Holy Spirit to lead us to the best opportunity and the time and then with great LOVE and boldness we remind them and we share the truth which is God’s Word. Don’t be afraid to do that because we MUST. Always pray much and be prepared so we will be ready at all times and God will help THEM to be ready too. You already know all these things I am talking about. In these 4 weeks of Early Morning Prayer, we have been praying for all the children and family members, all our church family members and we are praying for closer deeper relationship with our Lord, so Rev. Ron and I just want to encourage you to be strong as you walk this ancient path. Persevere in faith and the Lord will help us. We are so encouraged with this Early Morning prayer time. It has been filled with God’s strength and peace for our days. It has brought us closer together as a church family. We hope others will join soon. It is a sacrifice, but it is worth it. Let us all be found faithful to do all we can until we go to heaven! Remember as a missionary brother reminded me “…Time is short, the work is great, the responsibility is serious, and eternity is near!”
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