Gatherings and Anticipation for Our Faith Life
By Rev Samuel Tam
August 6, 2023
The recent months have seen the church opening up all venues and relaunching ministries and meetings, allowing brothers and sisters more opportunities to gather together. We candidly shared and listened to one another concerning the needs for our faith life. While meeting together, brothers and sisters who attend in-person meetings would sometimes express: “The times have changed. There are now fewer who attend in-person fellowships and groups at church and it is difficult to gather people. We cannot expect much about plans to share the gospel and testify to the love of Christ!” How would you respond to such a sentiment?
I am reminded of the prophet Jeremiah. He was already set apart in his mother’s womb. The LORD’s calling already came to him when he was young. He was sent by God to proclaim to nations “to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:4-10). As a matter of fact, the current pandemic has reset the usual operation modes in many countries and societies. Although our lives have resumed normalcy, everything has changed and is never the same again. Likewise, as we relaunch our faith life after the pandemic in the hope of restoring the old face, we are bound to face some disappointments and despair.
Past gatherings in the NPAC family were certainly great. For now, even though we do not have large numbers of people, we must still look forward to our worship of and service to God! In the past, the Lord Jesus was never disconnected from the Father whatever the circumstances and they were closely connected as One. He proclaimed that He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him. The Father living in Him was always doing His work (John 14:10). He also exhorted His disciples: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…” (14:12).
As such, perhaps we can launch a sheep finding exercise in our fellowships or groups, reconnecting with our long-lost members and encouraging them to return to church meetings. Like the numerous short-term mission trips this summer, we can again take the aroma of Christ to old and new mission fields to support the work of local missionaries, and experience and testify to the presence of God. At the time of writing, I heard that a number of short-term mission teams have completed their service. Some shared, “God has blessed and kept the church in the field during the past three years. Brothers and sisters have also grown spiritually. Whether they are pursuing further studies or starting work in society, they could see God’s grace with them, helping them overcome lots of difficulties. All glory be to God indeed.”
Perhaps the faith life of old has become totally different and we may have to start afresh. But in the eyes of God, we are still honored, and God is our strength. While our lives are preserved and we look forward to faith revival, we must know that God will make us a light for the nations so that His salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:5-6). As the Lord has brought us together as one community to be His vessels, we should look forward to doing great things for Him and being partners in the work of the gospel. On the path of relaunching our faith life, may we be as the psalmist puts it: “Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path” (Psalm 44:18).