MBCLA End of Year Update 洛杉磯國語浸信會歲末感言

Dear Church Family,

We have entered the twilight of 2020. As we end the year with a celebration of Jesus, our Savior who sympathizes with the human experience, let us look toward the New Year with optimism and hope.

As you know, the current health condition of Los Angeles remains critical. We continue to see high numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The current peak has far exceeded the previous. As a result, our church office, which had opened for limited tasks, has returned to essential operations only. Also, our re-opening timeline has been set back, since we will not resume indoor, in-person worship service until LA County is firmly in the Red Tier. Why, then, do we have hope?

  • We hope because we can still make progress. Although external situations are out of our control, we can conduct ourselves with grace and faith in response. We can form teams, prepare ourselves, and come together as a church to be ready when we are able to worship together in-person. Language pastors have been encouraged by church members who have volunteered to help with ushering, check-in, audio, video, and other roles. If you are interested, please let them know!
  • We hope because health conditions will improve. Although cases are increasing, progress toward the general availability of a vaccine – possibly multiple vaccines – holds the promise of an additional means to suppress and combat the pandemic. Alongside the cultural acceptance of masks, the practice of personal hygiene, and restrictions on businesses and gatherings, we expect that health conditions will improve. And we pray for the frontline workers and others who will immediately benefit from the additional protection.
  • We hope because good things are ahead in 2021. Every good gift comes from the Father of Lights and we trust in His character. We look forward to recording an increasing number of elements of the worship service from the church sanctuary to provide familiarity and utilize our new equipment. In the future, we look forward to recording full services at church, and later, streaming them live as we take steps toward an in-person worship service. We expect the new building will be completed in the first quarter of the year. Our children’s ministry will be able to relocate from the basement to the new classrooms. We look forward to a deacon ordination, by which we can affirm those who have completed their training and demonstrated faithfulness. Every day is a grace of God and we have much to look forward to.
  • We hope because we see Jesus in our members. We have observed sacrificial love toward one another – calls, deliveries, prayer, and personal involvement. Your flexibility evidences a dependence on the Spirit. Your resilience reflects the call to persevere. Your giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering Offering shows a heart for God’s work around the world. And the presence of God in your lives, through relationship with Him and the development of spiritual practices, has been clear in the absence of old habits and former routines.
  • We hope because Jesus gives us hope. We do not live out our faith to its fullest extent but Jesus is there in our weakness. He reminds us that salvation is based on His work and not our works. He allows us to celebrate grace as we encounter it rather than accumulate the shame of mistakes and transgressions. We have comfort by belonging, knowing whose people we are, and trusting that the God of history is bringing about His good purposes and plan.

Would you join us in praying for this New Year?

Heavenly Father,

We are weary but you remain able. You are our refuge in times of trouble. You are our strong tower. As we end the year by celebrating Jesus, would you help us to look to Jesus for hope in the New Year? Would you help us to see, experience, and engage Your presence as we live for You?

We pray that you would bless us and keep us. Would you make Your face to shine upon us and be gracious to us? Might You lift up Your countenance on us and give us peace? We pray this in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們:

2020年已進入尾聲。屆此歲末年終時節,當我們紀念體恤我們在世為人面臨各種經歷際遇的主耶穌基督,我們的救主,讓我們一同充滿盼望地迎接新的一年的到來。

洛杉磯縣的疫情的嚴峻至今有增無減是不爭的事實。我們不斷地見證到確診,入院治療及死亡人數的屢創新高。目前的數據遠超過稍早的最高點。教會辦公室在作局部性開放之後,因此又再度回到僅僅執行必須性作業的狀態。此外教會先前所策劃的重啟時間表也受到影響,因為我們必須等到洛杉磯縣疫情從紫級進步到紅級才能開始重啟室內實體崇拜。既然如此,我們為什麼還有盼望可言?

  • 我們有盼望,因為我們仍可不斷地加強準備。雖然外在環境似乎不在我們掌控之下,我們仍然能從容不迫,滿有信心地回應。教會會眾人同此心,組織起來,一同準備,當時機成熟時,可以立即重啟教會實體崇拜。各語言組的牧師們都為多位弟兄姐妹們志願參與重啟實體敬拜時各項服事,如招待,報到,影音等所需而被激勵,滿心感謝。如果你也有參與服事的意願,請直接與你語言組的牧師聯繫。
  • 我們有盼望,因為假以時日,公共衛生情況必會好轉。雖然目前疫情仍然嚴重,然而一種,甚或多種新冠病毒疫苗的問世意味著在抗疫之路上又增添了一種抑制,或抵擋此大傳染的方式。隨著戴口罩被眾人接受為日常習慣,加上個人衛生的落實,公眾及私人聚集的限制,我們相信公共衛生情況必然會好轉。我們也特別紀念每天在第一線上努力工作的人們,祈禱他們的健康因著注射疫苗而立即獲得更多的保障。
  • 我們有盼望,因為許多美事將在2021年成就。我們知道所有恩惠都來自於眾光之父,我們相信神的屬性。首先,我們盼望利用新的影音及網路器材,在教會裏實地錄製多項崇拜環節,以增加實體崇拜的氛圍。接著,我們預計將會在教會裏錄製整個崇拜;再下一步,我們將作崇拜直播,直到我們可以重啟舉行實體崇拜的那日。教會的擴建預計將在2021年第一季正式完工。兒童事工的課室將從本堂地下室喬遷至嶄新的教育大樓內。我們也將舉行執事按立儀式。所有完成執事訓練並恆常殷勤事奉的實習執事,將被按立為正式執事。每一天都是主所賜的恩典,我們舉目望前,心裡充滿了盼望。
  • 我們有盼望,因為我們的弟兄姊妹活出耶穌的樣式。在疫情中我們目睹弟兄姊妹們藉著電話彼此問安,關顧日常所需,代禱和個人關懷所表現的捨己的愛。你們隨機應變,適時的愛心流露出依靠聖靈而活的生命。你們的順應情勢是靈裏老練的表現。你們對慕拉第聖誕獻金的慷慨奉獻,代表著你們對神普世宣教大使命的不二心意。雖然多月來,我們無法繼續一些既有的教會傳統跟崇拜常態,然而藉著眾人與神的個人關係及屬靈操練的進程,神與我們的同在都在在向我們顯明。
  • 我們有盼望,因為耶穌賜給我們盼望。因為我們的軟弱,我們無法將信心完全活現出來,但是在軟弱中,耶穌與我們同在。他提醒我們,是祂,而不是靠我們的努力,成就了救贖大工。耶穌容許我們感謝祂所賜給我們無限的恩惠,而不再紀念那因個人的過犯和罪愆所累積的羞辱。因著知道我們屬誰,是誰的子民,也因為信靠歷史的神將成就祂美好的旨意,我們因此得到安慰。

現在你願意加入我們為新來的一年同心禱告嗎?

親愛的天父,
我們雖然困頓,但在你沒有轉動的影兒。在患難中,你是我們的避難所。你是我們的高台。在年終歲末,當我們紀念耶穌時,求你帶領我們在耶穌裏看到新年的盼望。當我們為你而活的時候,求你讓我們看到,經歷到你的同在,並在靈裏常常享受你甜美的交通。

我們懇求你祝福並保守我們。求你的臉光照我們,賜恩給我們。求你向我們仰臉,賜給我們平安。我們禱告是奉耶穌基督的聖名。阿們。