Lunar New Year Celebration
February 14, 2010
Praise the Lord for our Chinese Lunar New Year’s Sunday Service.
It fell exactly on the 1st day of the Year of the Tiger and also happened to be Valentine’s Day.Appropriately, majority of brothers and sisters wore red dresses,and the smile in everyone’s face was really joy abundance.
Sister Rosa and her team, dressed in matching red welcomed the congregation and led a powerful praise and worship.The energetic songs and dances gave warmth to the congregation amidst the cold weather.
Sister Gemma, leader of the Filipino congregation, testified how God had always been faithful in time of needs, for her and for her family back in the Philippines. Gemma recalled 2009 as being a tough year as Filipino leaders went through tense relationship and prolonged physical illness. Sunday service attendance also dropped and she suffered lost sleep as her family back home was affected by severe flood. Despite all these trials, Gemma and the other leaders persevered and drew strength from the scripture, in particularly Jeremiah 29:11-13 “”For I know the plan I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”” They fast and prayed and cultivated habits of praying together, often at 4 in the morning. As a result, since November 2009 God’s blessing kept coming: Relationship became positive; sickness was healed; attendance rose with new converts every week; her mother in the Philippines enjoyed good health and started serving regularly in ministry. Gemma declared that she could focus to serve God and let Him take care of everything.
Following the testimony, children from Sunday school sang a song and danced with joy. Mixing gospel hymns with traditional Chinese New Year greeting songs, the colorful dressed children highlighted their number by showing funny hand-written “Fai Chun” wishes such as “growing taller than daddy” and “”permanent teeth come out early””. Afterwards the children also went downstage and handed out heart-shaped hand-written “”blessing”” to the congregation, while the ushering team also distributed the red packets to brothers and sisters.
The preaching of Brother Allen was taken from John 10:7-10 and entitled “”Discover the Abundant Life””. The verses described Jesus as the gate (the one way to salvation) and the sole passage to the sheep pen (eternal life), whereupon the thieves (material things of this world) would poise to steal away our life of abundance. The preaching drew instances of “”gates”” from the Old Testament – the door of Noah’s ark (inside is safe, outside is dangerous) or the sheep gate built by Eliashib the high priest during Nehemiah’s time (Neh 3:1) – and asked the question: “Are we really in the gate or outside the gate?”, since a step of difference would mean crossing over from death to life. We were reminded through Matthew 6:25 that nothing else is more important than life, and that if we want to have an abundant life we have to adjust our priority, to live our life through Jesus, and to not let our busy schedule steals our time to receive God’s revelation.
The preaching ended with a definition of abundant life: “Life of abundance is when we look back with forgiveness, look forward with hope, look down with mercy, and look up with grateful heart”.
Praise the Lord for this blessed day that started our Lunar New Year. With God’s reassurance through His words, we will surely see a life of abundance under the continual covering of our Church.