As we returned from Australia on the morning of the 4th day of Chinese New Year, I am thankful to have spent the first service of Chinese New Year with you all. Coincidentally, the monthly prayer meeting on Thursday falls on Valentine’s Day, what a sign reminding us that Jesus Christ is our most beloved.
The vision of “52 years planting Trees of Life everywhere” was given to us last year. Interestingly, this year the Holy Spirit has directed us with “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” In response to that, the church has entered into a period of rest, reducing ministry to half and the co-workers put prayer and discipleship first.
The Australian trip was to visit pastors and also carry out a field study. Arriving in Sydney, we met with Australian graduates of our bible school. Unexpectedly, the Holy Spirit had already prepared a group of brothers and sisters there with them! Hence, “Favor 611 BOL” in Sydney was set up on 10th Feb, welcoming 30 people on her first service. This is the first overseas Tree of Life born from the vision “52 years planting Trees of Life everywhere,” and is also the first branch church planted by us outside China and Taiwan. It is totally beyond our expectation. As the church is entering rest, the Holy Spirit is taking over. Evidently, God accepts us following His Plan.
The series of “The Acceptable Jacob” is growing more and more inspiring. It is the first time we have preached a series on a biblical figure. From “Jacob who has no status” by Pastor Anna, “The reckless Jacob” by Pastor Adino, “Jacob who bounced back from plight” by MG leader Jason, “Jacob who is blessed in the midst of discipline,” to “Jacob to become Israel” by Pastor HK last week; every sermon topic seemed to be tailor-made for the speaker as it was part of their lives. Indeed, this is a blessing as God accepts us.
Entering “Acceptable 2019”, the church is coming to possess land in Cheung Chau, which is a large piece of fertile ground. C-Mo then received from God that this land is “Jacob’s ladder,” and hence proposed to start the series of “The Acceptable Jacob”. MG leader Jason Tuan preached on “Jacob who bounced back from the plight” on the 26th and 27th Jan which happened to be C-Mo’s 60th birthday. God accepts C-Mo and gives her the affirmation that “The Accepted Jacob” is truly the Word from God to us.
All his life, Jacob was egocentric and walked in the flesh. And yet God chose him, accepted him and blessed him. I was of lowly upbringing and was rejected often. My own father abandoned me; the church I had planted in Vancouver forsook me. In the early days of building up the church in Hong Kong, I was criticized by various pastors. If it had not been the Grace of God’s Acceptance of my life, I would have toiled in vain.
Throughout the past 17 years of our church, God has been gracious to me, and has provided to us nearly 100 branch churches around the globe. Brothers and sisters, the vision of “52 years planting Trees of Life everywhere” has begun. Therefore, we must pray more, and stay tuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit so that God shall raise us up as Trees of Life – and in turn, we shall plant more Trees of Life ready for His use. • [2019.02.17]