It's amazing how fast this year has flown by for me... spending the first 6 months in the States, and then this last 6 months in Hong Kong... It makes my head spin! I want to wish all of our RiverGrace friends, far and near, a Happy New Year and God's blessings wherever he has planted you.
As I was reviewing our 2016 plans in preparation for the family retreat tomorrow, January 1, I was reminded of our ministry burden / passion, which is... "... to establish an international church community that evangelizes, trains, empowers and sends people of many nations to be ambassadors for Christ." We have done that, but often with sadness and reluctance in our hearts, as dear brothers or sisters have returned to their homeland, or immigrated or been resettled in other countries. We have such ambassadors in many towns and cities in the Philippines, in at least 3 cities in Canada and another three in the U.S, in Australia, India, Caymen Islands, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, France and perhaps other places I've forgotten about.
Tomorrow we will have our RiverGrace family retreat. It will be from 10:00am till 4:00pm. In the morning Cindy will lead a time of sharing about God's goodness in 2015, as we look back at the past year. Our testimonies of God's goodness and faithfulness will help us as we look forward to what he has in store for us in 2016.
During the "looking forward" time I want to challenge you to use a Bible reading plan for the coming year. There are several plans available that you can choose from to best fit your personal schedule. We'll also talk about faith promise for 2016, a prayer challenge to pray for your unsaved friends, and also use this opportunity to review the RiverGrace plan and consider how you might best serve the Lord or set some personal goals for the year.
I also want to officially welcome Tommy Hui to RiverGrace as a voluntary pastor. Though most of you have already met him, his official start is January 1. We are grateful for God's calling on Tommy's life and his willingness to join us in this capacity. If the Lord's will and calling are confirmed this year, we are looking to Tommy to be our long-term pastor, after Cindy and I retire.
I've known Tommy since he was around 11 years old and entered United Christian College as a Form 1 (7th grade) student. I was still teaching at UCC at the time. Thought Tommy as not yet served as a pastor of a church, he has graduated from seminary, and has served his present church, Hong Kong Evangelical Yan Kei Church, in various capacities.
I also want to take this opportunity to welcome Raymond To to RiverGrace for the next 4 months. Raymond is a pastor of another church in Hong Kong, but is currently taking a mission course at our seminary, United Wesleyan Graduate Institute. The course has a requirement that he either goes on a mission trip or serves a local mission. Because of the cross-cultural nature of RiverGrace, he chose that option. Raymond will primarily attend the men's fellowship on Wednesday, as he has his own church responsibilities, but will also preach in January, and attend the Life Group and Sunday activities a few times.
This coming Sunday Cindy will lead is in a concerts of prayer. We will enjoy our simple fellowship lunch after the service, and we'll follow that with an intercessory prayer meeting at 2:45, at which Robert and Cindy will lead.
Next week the Men's and Ladies' fellowships will meet on the coming Wednesday morning as normal, at 11:00am.
In the evening we'll hold the Alpha and Life Group fellowship meeting. A special guest from Singapore will share with us that evening... Uncle Sam, from Singapore, a friend of Cindy S. God healed him of cancer and he likes to share his story with others... as well as sing. Everyone is welcome to join that evening, even if you're not a regular part of the Life group or Alpha.
Lineup for this coming Sunday, January 3
- 11:00am - Pre-Service Prayer time
- 12:00pm - Worship Service - Cindy leading a concerts of prayer
- 1:30pm - Fellowship lunch
- 2:45pm - Intercessory Prayer Meeting
Activities this coming week...
- Wednesday, December 30
11:00am - Men's and Ladies' fellowships
7:00pm Alpha / Life group
- Next Sunday, January 10 12:00pm - P. Dave
Sorry for the length of this posting, but we've got a lot going on! Again I wish each of you God's richest blessings in 2016.
Love and blessings,