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To an Unknown God, Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)
Written by John Tsang   
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 07:24

In Acts 17, Paul arrived in Athens, the city associated with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  Athens was the center and pinnacle of Greek philosophical thought.  It was there that Paul saw idols and shrines everywhere and his heart became heavy with concerned (17:16).  Paul even saw an altar dedicated ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” (17:23).  Then, using quotes and ideas from the philosophers of his day (17:28), Paul began to tell them how their heart’s longing for something more, something larger, a coherent meaning of life, and a relationship with the divine, can all be met through Jesus Christ.   Some laughed but some believed and became believers (17:32-34).  Here, we see the Gospel crossing yet another boundary, this time it entered into the realm of the intellectuals.   It is both encouraging and inspiring to know that today, some of the finest thinkers in the area of philosophy, cosmology, ethics, and science are committed Christians and that our faith can indeed stand up to the rigors of difficult intellectual questions.


The second major theme we see here in Acts 17 is the notion of idols fashioned by human hands from gold, silver, or stone.  Today, idols are just as prevalent as in the days of Paul.  Although we might not worship statues, we still give our devotion to idols of wealth, power, sex, celebrities, beauty, technology, work, and countless others.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 17:22
Leaving a Pleasant Aftertaste
Written by Conrade Yap   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:00

It’s often not what we say that matters, but how we say it. Not long after the Church in Acts started to grow, internal squabbles and controversies took center-stage. Acts 15 recorded the first major controversy over circumcision according to the law of Moses vs the gospel by grace. The Jerusalem council met and concluded that such a move was not only legalistic but hindered others from turning to God (Acts 15:19). The apostles and elders thought it was important enough for them to come together to meet. By exhibiting a willingness to deal with the controversy early and fairly, they set a precedent for future councils that were to come.

How they did it was edifying. They gave both sides a fair hearing. They showed the community how they considered the various opinions. They demonstrated that the law must not dominate and blur out the bigger picture: Jesus Christ and the gospel of grace. They led in showing that the gospel is a priority and the Church “should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Such an approach leaves behind a pleasant aftertaste. Here are the key points. Consider it together. Offer a constructive path forward. Demonstrate to one another the spirit of grace. As a Church, we can all learn from them how to handle contentious issues. For whenever there are internal struggles, the world outside looks on, waiting to be amused by any mudslinging or verbal fireworks within the Church. Christians must not provide such “entertainment” that makes it more difficult for others to believe in Jesus. In our interactions, we can leave behind an alluring aroma of Christ’s love.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:15
Praise the Father, Praise the Son, Praise the Spirit - Three in One
Written by John Tsang   
Saturday, 18 October 2014 08:47

This past Thanksgiving weekend gave us an opportunity to count our blessings and as a response, to worship, praise, and give thanks to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We worship a God who gave us life, chose us before creation to be the Church, and adopted us as sons and daughters (Eph 1:3-6a). We praise Jesus Christ who redeemed us, died on the cross for us, and offered forgiveness of our sins (Eph 1:6b-12). We give thanks to the Holy Spirit for sustaining us, for being our teacher, and for being our Paraclete – counselor and comforter (Eph 1:13-14).


In our special Thanksgiving Sunday Service, we heard Kevin share about the opportunity that God provided for him to do further professional training in Rochester which resulted in a rekindling of his passion for his calling and work. We also heard Ssonia’s reflection on how the two years away provided a spacious slowness of life that gave her a deep sense of accomplishment with her family. As well, the family’s opportunity to share with the vulnerable ones in Rochester brought a deep sense of joy to Joshua, Talya, and Levi. George reflected on how the Holy Spirit sustained him during his most difficult time of Sarah’s passing away. Sarah’s courage to the end gave George confidence in the goodness of God even in the midst of suffering. As you hear stories of people’s journey with God, what are you thankful for over this past year? How has God shaped and formed you?


Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 07:50
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