January 1, 2021
Dear TCCBC church family,
Greetings in the Lord to you and your family! By the time you receive this letter, we will have entered the door of the year 2021. This is the year of the ox. On this first day of the New Year, blessings to you on behalf of Tri-City Chinese Baptist Church. As the days of our lives are added, so much more abound are God’s blessings. While circumstances around us are difficult, the Lord has the ability to pivot heaven and earth.
Reflecting on this past year, having safely arrived at its end had not been easy. But having God with us, we have all experienced God’s faithfulness and provision. Deep inside, we are filled with peace and joy by our Lord Jesus’s redemption. The unity in spirit reality is from serving together with the same heart, and having experienced the Holy Spirit working among us individually. Remembering the church theme this past year of “Fervent in Spirit, Serving the Lord”, it is hard to imagine how soon we can truly live out being together and fervently serving the Lord due to the pandemic impact. However, God brought us this shelter-at-home environment, and allowed us to experience in practice what it meant to be fervently serving from the heart, not constrained by the limitations around us, but continue serving our God earnestly. A number of brothers and sisters have mentioned to me that the observed unity through calling of Pastor Michael Kwong, electing church trustee, and reconciling the fiscal year budget was seldom seen in the church the past few years. Our hearts should be filled with gratefulness because of this. For we know that none of these could have taken place without God’s power to shelter and lead us. To our heavenly Father be all the glory!
The church theme for 2021 is “Revealing the Mystery of the Body of Christ”. We will discover through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians the mystery of the ages from God’s own revelations. While the letter contains only six short chapters, the hidden spiritual mysteries are far beyond what we can imagine. All three pastors will use a deliberate pace to expound on the text according to the flow of the Scripture. The same monthly passages will be used across all three congregations. Because each pastor will have his own spiritual insights and corresponding burden from God to preach His truth, the sermon title and content for each congregation will have some variations. Each individual pastor may divide the monthly passage into two to three messages, and include additional Bible verses and topics to supplement the congregation’s spiritual needs. We hope to accomplish a number of primary goals through this arrangement. First, it helps the church to establish a consensus and have a common direction and goal by sharing from the same Bible passages. Second, it helps individuals to share the same topics and exhortations at home regardless of which congregation they belong or the language that they use. Pray for our pastors, enable us to receive insights from God, and have sufficient spiritual might to fulfill the “Ministry of God’s Word” entrusted to us. When brothers and sisters receive God’s Word, their minds are transformed by this pure spiritual milk, and our words and deeds are worthy of His grace and calling.
This coming week will be a critical moment for the United States. The US Congress will confirm the 46th president and vice president on January 6. Because of the many ongoing legal proceedings since the start of election, as a regular citizen and voter, I must admit that this year’s election was too weird and too unusual. While I also agree that no election will be “pure and perfect”, there have not been so as many election fraud disputes as this time. For me, who has lived in the US for 30 years, this is certainly unprecedented. Over these disputes, there were individuals from several states willing to come forward and testify on the fraud that they had witnessed. In addition, the voting machines have also been reported to have been manipulated, with complaints and legal proceedings involving foreign countries using technology to interfere with the US election. But what raises my curiosity is the many judges have ruled inadmissibility, dismissal, or cited other reasons against going to trial. It is hard to believe that such situations can happen in a law and order country like the US, but they are happening right before our eyes. I also have doubts in my heart. Even when differences and disputes among people happen, the courts must hear their cases when they go to court. Regardless of the outcome of the judgment, the result must come from following the proper legal procedures. Unfortunately, we have only seen the many rejections and refusals to the many petitions and complaints this time, with no reasonable explanation given on those rulings.
It was reported that there will be a protest in Washington D.C. on January 6 with over a million participants from different states to express their protest against the unfairness of this election. It is difficult to predict what will happen on this day. I would like to invite everyone to pray especially for our country this weekend. I am sure you all understand from the recent communication letters, that we are to follow the teaching from the Bible, and follow those who have authority over us. But I must also say this today, the Bible also teaches us, particularly those who are in authority, must use the authority given them by the country (more accurately stated, the position granted them by God) to fulfill the responsibility of rewarding good and punishing evil according to the laws, and to help the weak and the poor. But if those who are in power are corrupt, doing things in the dark against principles and against humanity, they should be held responsible for their ignorance and incompetence. I am afraid that they will not escape the judgment from God in the future. This is exactly what we have seen repeatedly from the books of the prophets. God often sent prophets to the kings of Israel and convict them for not doing what is right in God’s eyes, resulting in their country filled with lies, fraud, oppression, mistreating the poor and descending into chaos of injustice. Even those teachers who should preach the truth tend to follow their direction, coveting wealth, despising the truth, failing to guide the people to repent and return to God in accordance with God’s truth, leading to national and social corruption, moral degeneration, and finally on a path to destroy the country. The church should obey those in authority under normal circumstances. But this does not mean that God’s people know nothing about right from wrong, and feel nothing about truths and righteousness. At the moment, the United States is facing a tremendous and severe trial, which requires us to urgently intercede before God, so that we and our next generation can live and work in peace and prosperity in this land that God has given us. Let us pray for God’s mercy!
I believe you have all received the voting ballot in the mail. Please indicate your vote on calling Pastor Stephen Choy to be the English Pastor, approve the revised church budget, and the confirmation of service of Pastor Lee. Please mail your completed ballot to arrive at the church by the indicated date. I trust that God will also move in our hearts, enabling us to prayerfully confirm the work that God has given us.
On behalf of our church, I would also take this opportunity to welcome Pastor Michael Kwong and Mrs. Linda Kwong to serve God together with us in Tri-City Chinese Baptist Church. I trust that God will bless the church and brothers and sisters here through the ministries of Pastor Michael.
Welcoming the New Year with you together,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team