January 22, 2022
Dear TCCBC church family, greetings!
It has been a long time since I last communicated with brothers and sisters over a Communication Letter. Seven months have passed since the church officially reopened last July. We thank God for His protection over our church. Whether it is Sunday worship, or some fellowships and small groups, we have gradually resumed their pre-pandemic gatherings. At this time, it appears that the Omicron variant of COVID is spreading globally, with a significant increase in the number of people being infected. But the good news is that even though the number of infections caused by this variant has increased a lot, most of the affected exhibit mild symptoms. The relative proportion of severely ill patients also shows signs of decreasing. Undoubtedly, there are extreme opinions and reactions among people on how to face the current pandemic situation. Even among different countries’ governments, they have significantly different approaches in the control or prevention of the pandemic. Some countries advocate the need for more vaccinations (like Israel has already carried out the fourth injection); while research reports from some countries pointed out that vaccinations are unable to prevent the vaccinated from being infected again or infecting others. On the other hand, some other countries advocate that even when only one person in the area is infected, the entire city should be locked down. People are not permitted to go out, and flights or some means of transportation are cancelled. Certain countries maintained that it is not possible for this pandemic to go away because the virus will continue to mutate. Therefore, those countries have considered accepting the coexistence with the virus, that is, treating the virus similar to a common cold. At the time of this writing, the British Prime Minister had just announced that the country will cancel the requirement of wearing masks starting on January 27, while making it optional for those who want to wear them, and to have the people resume their normal daily lives. Whether the United States or other countries will follow such an approach is currently not clear. However, when country officials and health experts who establish policies are having such divergent views and opinions, ordinary citizens will only struggle to follow.
As Christians, we can pray for these government officials, with the hope that they can humble themselves before God, depend on heavenly wisdom, and implement the best and most proper policies to help the ordinary people get out of this predicament. At this time, our church is basically staying the course with the pandemic safeguards. We encourage brothers and sisters to come back to the church to worship God together. In order to keep each other healthy, we encourage everyone to wear masks during gatherings, use hand sanitizers prepared by the church or wash their hands frequently to protect themselves and everyone. If you feel unwell or have a fever, it is also recommended that you stay home and listen to the recorded Sunday sermons on the church website. You are welcome to come back to the church for in-person worship when you no longer have symptoms.
The church had conducted two town hall meetings before the end of last year, primarily for the Bylaws Committee to explain to our members the additions and revisions to the church leadership structure and on biblical principles on marriage in the bylaws. It was intended to be a two-way communication to also receive inputs from brothers and sisters. The Church Council had reviewed and discussed the feedback from these two town hall meetings, and had decided to delay the church leadership reorganization while proceeding with the biblical marriage principle and other revisions. The church leadership organization and operation will remain the same as we have in the current bylaws. After the revisions are organized and drafted, the Bylaws Committee will distribute them for your review, and set the date to vote on approving the changes.
As we all know, the 2022 church theme is “Be Courageous to Inherit the Promised Land”. We hope that the preaching from the book of Joshua will take us in the direction where God leads, just as God instructed Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan. I believe that through the exposition from the future sermons, we will see God’s guidance for the Israelites, to face the new challenges in a land that they had never been to. This means that, although the Israelites were able to possess the Promised Land, it was a gift from God, while the Israelites must also respond to God’s leading in “faith” and “obedience.” God intended to fulfill His will and His plans for His people through the Promised Land. These plans came from God, far beyond man’s imagination and their capabilities. If man wants to accomplish it by his own strength, he will inevitably end up in failure. On the other hand, if people accept God’s promises, believe in God’s laws, depend on God’s power and help, to obtain God’s promises and fulfill God’s will and His plans, the resulting victory is the assured. As long as God’s people are willing to trust God by faith to be “strong and courageous,” not fearing difficulties, not afraid of changes, and bold in risk taking, God will lead us to a breakthrough, overcoming and conquering the enemy on the battlefield for the gospel, opening up territory for the kingdom of God, possessing the land not yet acquired, and winning the people not yet reached. There is no change that does not require courage. But this courage is not the blind courage from ordinary people, but from the power of the almighty God. Let us pray that Tri-City Chinese Baptist Church will battle for the gospel again, and have the courage and willingness to make necessary and proper changes for the expansion of the God’s kingdom and the building up of His church.
To follow God closely and to study His words diligently during the pandemic, I will be leading an online study on “The Parables of Jesus” using Google Meet on Wednesday evenings starting in March. Over Jesus’ short ministry time, every parable He used had its spiritual connotations and teachings. I am hopeful that this study series will enrich our knowledge of the Bible and cultivate our fields of spiritual understanding. Of course, what is more important is to be able to live the life that God wants us to live, to testify God’s faithfulness, greatness, and beauty. If you are interested and understand Mandarin, you are welcome to join us and learn together regardless of which worship service you normally attend. Please reply to this email, and include your phone number. You are also welcome to invite other Christians or friends who are interested in studying the Bible (seekers are also welcome) to sign up.
It will be the Lunar New Year (Year of the Tiger) in just a few more days. I pray that the Lord will give everyone a strong and courageous heart. Let us battle together for the Lord’s gospel work, so that many people may be delivered from Satan’s stronghold and could enter the Messianic kingdom prepared by God, filled with His presence forever and ever!
Facing the challenges together in the Lord,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team