Concerns of Our Gatherings
Thank God for giving us a day of joy and wonderful testimony last Sunday at our ˇ§New Church Dedication and 11th Anniversary Thanksgiving Celebrationˇ¨! Many guests, when they heard of the miraculous works of the Lord during our church construction, and saw the deeds of love of the brothers and sisters were thankful for our sake and declared, ˇ§God is truly amongst you.ˇ¨ Praise God! What is more important than the Lord receiving glory from amongst us? What is more precious than God being with us? What is dearer than Godˇ¦s pleasure that we are recognized by others as His disciples? I hope that the brothers and sisters will continue to progress along their spiritual path, be patient in their service, accept and be sympathetic to one another in love, and become good custodians of the myriad gifts from God.
While we are delighted and thankful for this splendid and spacious assembly hall prepared for us by God, the writer wants to express certain concerns about our gatherings.
Regular service: Please arrive a little earlier, and have a moment of quiet prayer in the sanctuary to prepare yourself to meet with God. Conversing loudly in the hall is not appropriate as it may interfere with the quiet prayers of other members. Turn off your cellular phones and pagers. If there are urgent matters to discuss with other members, do so outside of the hall or after the meeting. Although the chairperson will be using the projector more often in the future, members should still bring their own Bibles for ease of reference and note-taking. Bibles should not be placed on the ground. The writer always feels uncomfortable seeing members put their Bibles on the ground, not because of conscience, but because of concern that the member may lack reverence for God and true respect for His words. (For what exists within is manifested without. The body language of a person is enough to reflect how much reverence this person has for God inside.) By the same principle, do not consume food or drink inside the sanctuary, including chewing gum or eating candy during the service. I hope that members do not consider me authoritarian. The writer only wishes that brothers and sisters will truly know God and maintain a reverential spirit in all gatherings where the Lord draws near. In seating, please begin by filling up the first rows of chairs upon entering the hall so that late-arriving members will not feel embarrassed having to come forward for a seat during the service because of insufficient back row seats. Donˇ¦t arrive late for service or leave early, but if a premature departure is absolutely necessary, take a back seat before the service begins. Sing hymns with heart-felt emotion, and use your best vocalization to praise and thank God. When others have spoken words in their prayers that echo your thoughts, you can join in with ˇ§Amenˇ¨ as an indication, adding to the significance of praying in unity. Listen attentively to the sermon with an attitude of humility and willingness to learn, in anticipation that God through His servant will speak to you. After dismissal, greet the members sitting around you and inquire as to their well-being. Be honest and sincerely in your interactions. Actively and earnestly welcome new guests and do not overlook anyone.
Breaking of bread in remembrance service: This is the service that our Lord Jesus Christ specifically instructed us to ˇ§do ˇK in remembrance of me.ˇ¨ Therefore, the purpose of this meeting is to remember who the Lord is and what the Lord does, especially the grace of salvation that He accomplished. All content in the worship and remembrance of the Lord (including prayers, sharing of hymns and Bible passages) should revolve around Christ as the focus, offering thanksgiving and praises to Him only. If you are moved to share, please prepare the hymn or passage you wish to present in advance at home, and express to the Lord the sincere gratitude and love within your heart. Be enthusiastic in sharing or prayer; donˇ¦t wait around for each other lest the Lord be ignored. Prayers should be precise and brief, so that everyone can be united in spirit and thankfulness, and others will have opportunities to show their gratitude. The breaking of bread in remembrance service is set up for those members who are certain of their grace and salvation, have repented of and turned away from sin, are baptized, and have joined the church. If you know of brothers and sisters from other churches who will be participating, please consult with our elders and pastoral staff first. The writer only wishes that everyone will be cautious with this service and maintains holiness, for whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
By: Daniel To