January 29, 2021
Dear TCCBC church family,
Greetings in the Lord to you and your family! We will soon be exiting the month of January and into the Chinese New Year. Let me start by reporting that all the 2020 contribution statements are ready. Many of you have already received over email the electronic statement for your tax return. If you have not received yours or you have discovered any inconsistencies, please contact Grace Kwan (925-367-6840) for your statement or resolve any contribution record errors.
Let me remind everyone that this weekend (1/30) at nine o’clock Saturday morning we will all come together for a Concert of Prayer. This joint prayer meeting will be chaired by Deacon Wayne Wong. We will be meeting over YouTube. Please use the following link to go online and pray together: https://youtu.be/YDLnQch9-oU
The present US political environment and pandemic development could be causing some of you to feel a bit depressed. There may even be difficult or perplexing questions regarding our faith. Regardless of whether you have a religion or not, related questions inevitably come up in our social conversations among people in this country. Within Bible Studies and online small group gatherings, these similar topics have also come up often among brothers and sisters in our church. I received an email from Brother Huang Guo-Wei from the Mandarin congregation recently, conveying the same discussions from those in his small group. He wished that I could express my perspective on these topics and help brothers and sisters to have better understanding on them. Based on this request, let me respond in parts, as appropriate, over the upcoming communication letters.
It has been over a week since the inauguration of the new President of the United States, Mr. Biden. But the reactions and responses from various areas have been far from satisfactory! On the day when President Biden took office, he signed 17 executive orders in one go, breaking the record of past presidents. Ordinarily, they should have been embraced by the people, with praises for his “breakthroughs”. Instead, we have not heard people feeling exuberant over them, let alone showing their pride and joy. About six of the 17 executive orders had to do with scrapping the previous executive orders from President Trump. A few others were urgent policy changes from the Biden administration, but not necessarily what people wanted. For example, he signed an order for boys to use lady’s public bathrooms if they think they are girls. Eight-year-old boys can decide to have gender change surgery on their own. These measures have caused worries and fears to many parents wondering how they could reasonably protect and raise their own children. President Biden is considering halting the construction and operation of the inter-national Keystone pipeline project with Canada by President Trump. This executive order could threaten 14,000 jobs in the US. According to reports, the Canadian government is considering litigation and recovery against the United States for this order. Even more concerning is since President Biden had promised that if he was elected, he would suspend the construction of the border wall. He wants to “welcome” those who pursue the American dream to the United States, even illegal immigrants. As a result, even before Biden was formally sworn in, there were groups from Honduras and other South America countries, with some reports indicating there were special vehicles to pick up these people or carry their luggage, that may reach the US border in a matter of days. Moreover, an executive order signed by President Biden was to lift the previous president’s order, to change or repeal of the ban on the deportation of illegal immigrants. As a result, 83% of the deportation proceedings originally in progress will be halted. This kind of practice can’t help but remind the American people of the nightmarish scenario from a few years ago – illegal immigrants flooding into various states, causing operational and financial problems to local governments.
Brother Huang Guo-Wei mentioned in his message, “Is it God’s will that Biden is in power?” “When the flood is upon the earth, God still reigns.” “Was God in control over the election?”
I believe this was not just a question from Brother Huang. Instead, he was expressing what was weighing on brothers’ and sisters’ minds for them. And this state of mind may be a direct, natural feeling and reaction to what we felt was a very clear path, has now become somewhat of an unclear and chaotic situation. What makes it even more difficult for most Americans to accept is the debate in Congress to impeach President Trump again. Many people are questioning the reason behind engaging President Trump in such a political battle after he left office, when his leadership and achievements in the past four years are obvious to all. Moreover, some legal experts also indicated that such impeachment is basically unconstitutional, because the U.S. Congress cannot impeach ordinary civilians. For a former president no longer in office, his status is the same as that of civilians. Such impeachment is unprecedented and meaningless. However, the current ruling party insists on going its own way, causing many people to feel indignant for the former president. According to a recent poll, President Biden’s public opinion has dropped to 20%. For a president who claims to have been elected with a record-breaking 80 million votes, has been in office for less than a week, and has the public opinion having fallen so sharply, it certainly is an unprecedented spectacle. The above are all the news we have heard or seen from the newspapers, network news, and the media. But how can we make the correct discernment from them? Honestly, it is not easy. The main reason is that there are too many factors in the political circle, and it is not possible for us to make an accurate assessment from our limited scope of understanding. We may rarely hear the perspectives from people who hold different views from ours. As for “Is it God’s will that Biden is in power now?”, it is not something we can lightly pass our judgment on. But according to the current US Constitution and the entire legal system, he took office in the end under the oath and supervision from the Chief Justice according to the provision of the United States Constitution. At least until his election can be invalidated through legal means, he is in fact the current president.
What I am more concerned about is whether a new breakthrough can come from the leadership of President Biden. Can the United States continue to be a model of freedom and democracy for all countries in the world, and can it bring welfare and benefits to the American people? Frankly speaking, since he has been in office only about ten days ago, it would be premature to cast any evaluation. But there is a Chinese saying: “Is it a donkey? Is it a horse? We’ll know once we take it out and see.” We should be able to see more clearly after some time has passed.
The key to answering “Is it God’s will that Biden is in power?” is knowing what the will of the God that we know. From the Bible, God’s will is not about any kings and kingdoms of this world, but is about God’s eternal kingdom, and Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God on the throne. The changes in the kingdoms of this world and the reign of kings are all a part of the human history. No matter how the world changes, it will eventually move toward God’s eternal plan, and the final reign still belongs to the God that we believe in, the Lord of the heaven and earth! The important point is how people can learn through the lessons from history that they are weak, corrupt, and completely depraved, and that none of their deeds can accomplish the kingdom of God. Until people are willing to repent from their sins and return to the only true God can they find true peace and enter into God’s kingdom! In the history of the Israelites, in both the Southern or Northern kingdoms, there are many so-called good kings or wicked kings. Some of them are righteous in the eyes of God, and some are wicked in the eyes of God. But all of them were present in this God’s chosen race and nation of Israel. But such an imperfect national history eventually leads to God’s plan for the Messiah. Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, God’s promised descendant of David, came into the world and established the kingdom of God’s Messiah.
The world today will also be the same. There will still be events in the world of “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:7) continue to play out on the stage of history. Lawlessness will only increase, not decrease (Matthew 24:11-12), many people will even become discouraged and be indifferent. But such things will not hinder or change the Lord’s kingdom plan. Our Lord Jesus personally told us, “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) On that day, people “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30) “The one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) At that time, God’s elected people from all over the world will all gather together (Matthew 24:31) Here is my thought – this is God’s plan, this is God’s will!
This turns out to be a longer letter I’ve written. But I hope that this has been a helpful faith lesson for everyone. We understand so little on the mysterious wonders of God’s will. Let us pray that God will grant us humble hearts, letting the Holy Spirit guide us and reveal to us. Regardless of changes to kings and kingdoms of this world, we still continue to walk the righteous path of God until the day we reach our heavenly home. Amen!
Waiting humbly with you for the coming of our Lord,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team