A Story of Two Kings

Text: Luke 2:1-20

Merry Christmas! God bless you all. I’m happy to see you all here today. What better way is there to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ than to gather with his family on the Lord’s Day?

Last week in the English Service we read Luke chapter 1, and we learned about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. We were able to see three appropriate responses to the fact that Jesus Christ will be arriving soon. In addition, though, we were able to think about how we can respond appropriately and faithfully, knowing that Jesus Christ will be coming back again soon.

But now it’s Christmas! Many of you have already received presents. I believe the children received presents from the church last week. My family had a tradition that we would always open one gift on Christmas Eve.

Now it’s Christmas. In our Scripture reading today, we learn about some of the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. We will look more closely at the details of that story today, but first, I want to point out that we’re reading a story about two kings. It’s a contrast between two kings. We very briefly meet the emperor, Caesar Augustus. Then we meet a little baby, born in a manger. These are two very different stories. But as we look closer at these stories, we will learn something about ourselves, about God, and about the world God has created.

Ministry Update (23 Dec 2016)


Dear friends,

Merry Christmas! I'm nearing the end of my second week in New York, so I believe it may be time for a quick update.
  1. To date, I have preached in two English language services and I will preach Christmas Morning in a combined service. My text will be Luke 2:1-20. With each Sunday, I feel more comfortable. Please pray that I am able to protect my preparation time and use it faithfully so that I am more able to communicate the gospel clearly and effectively.
     
  2. I mentioned the combined service. If you are not aware, Brooklyn Chinese Baptist Church (BCBC) is one church with three language congregations: one in Cantonese, one in English, and one in Mandarin. On the first Sunday of each month, and on other significant holidays, the church holds a single combined service with translation.
     
  3. Ordinarily my primary responsibility at the church will be the English congregation (preaching on Sundays and overseeing the Wednesday Prayer Meeting and Friday Bible Study, and teaching our "101" class in English). Additionally, Lord willing, I will be teaching English in the BCBC Teaching Center (with Davis College), and conducting a weekly chapel at our After School Program. Please pray for diligence and faithfulness to the work. Please pray that God will help me with organization and time management.
     
  4. I feel like I’m adjusting pretty well from Lakeland, FL to Brooklyn, NY. People have been asking me what it’s like to move between two places that are so different from each other. My answer is that the differences are not really that great, it’s just that there are a lot of small differences. The winter is colder here. I’m ministering in a different cultural context than I grew up in. I have to find different stores to buy groceries and other necessities. But other than these things, life is pretty normal. My pastor and pastor’s wife have made me feel like family, and my English congregation have been very welcoming. Please pray with me that I would continue to make friends and be even better integrated into my new church family. Please pray that I would get up to speed quickly so I can focus on teaching and pastoral care. Please pray that I am able to make contact with and establish relationships with various professionals such as a personal Doctor and a CPA.
     
  5. During the week after Christmas, we are privileged to host a team of missionaries who have come to New York through our local association (MNYBA) to bring the gospel to the City during this Christmas Season. They will be helping us run “Winterfest,” a Christmas outreach to children in the neighborhood. There will be games and other festivities, and we will invite the children to come back for programs that run through the year like VBS and After School. The missionaries will also help us with an event on New Year’s Eve called “Good News in Chinatown” where we will pass out 1000 gifts around the neighborhood with a gospel tract and an invitation to the church. Please pray for the missionaries as they prepare to arrive and for the people who will receive gifts and invitations to BCBC.




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Three faithful responses to our coming King

Text: Luke 1:39-56

As of today, we have one week left until Christmas. Christmas is a season with a lot of built in anticipation. That’s entirely normal. Children anticipate gifts. People anticipate Christmas parties. A lot of people anticipate time off from work or school to spend with their families or friends over the holidays.

The city goes all out to prepare for Christmas. There’s the tree at Rockefeller Center. Restaurants and department stores put in a lot of effort to encourage people to walk through their doors this month. I read about one restaurant in Gramercy Park that spends $60,000 every year to decorate and prepare the restaurant for the season.

I think that holiday anticipation is exciting for us here at BCBC, for two reasons. First, it can help us think about and meditate on Jesus. And second, because of all the holiday excitement around us, we are able to participate in a lot of good outreach, evangelism, and ministry in our community.

Sometimes, though, the anticipation for the holidays is not always positive. Some people have to live with difficult memories of the holidays. They’ve lost a parent or friend or a child or a husband or wife. For them the holiday season brings memory of grief rather than anticipation of happiness.

Ministry Update


With great thankfulness in my heart, I have an exciting announcement to make! I have just accepted a call to serve as Interim Assistant Pastor at Brooklyn Chinese Baptist Church (BCBC) in Brooklyn, NY. I will be driving up and moving into my apartment on Thursday and Friday, December 8-9. My primary responsibility there will be to pastor the English-speaking congregation, preaching weekly and leading the other weekly services (Bible study and prayer meeting). I will also have additional teaching, outreach, and administrative responsibilities. My first sermon as Assistant Pastor will be Sunday, the 11th.

I have visited BCBC several times over the last few years, even preaching there this past April. I have a number of connections in the church and with other ministries in NYC, so this is not a blind move. Nevertheless, moving to NYC will present some unique and interesting challenges. My apartment is small, but it’s a short walk to the Church. I will be moving to New York in the middle of winter, so that represents a whole set of challenges by itself.

I am excited to begin this new work! This opportunity is an answer to prayer. I invite you to pray with me as I begin this new phase of ministry. Pray that I would be sensitive to God’s word. Please pray that I would be diligent and obedient to God’s will. Please pray that I will adjust to the new environment, and that I will be quickly integrated into my new Church. And please pray for me and for the English congregation as I preach next week.

Over the next year, I will be sending regular email updates with prayer requests and information about the ministry. If you can commit to praying for me, or if you just want to receive regular updates, please email me to let me know. You can also subscribe by clicking the link below.

Thank you for your continued prayer support. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all!




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