Newsletter May, 2005

ORLANDO CHINESE CHURCH

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

May, 2005


The Sufficient Grace of God

It's indeed the result of God' grace that a shy and inarticulate person like me can stand before you today. Each stop we make in our lives is the result of God's guidance and blessing. When I look back, I cannot deny but to acknowledge that God is real.

First, let me share about how I came in touch with the gospel. Everyone accepts the gospel through different experiences. I was born into a simple family. Among four siblings, I was the worst at studying. My father was very strict and concerned about his reputation. When no college accepted me, my father took great pain in finding a school administered by foreign missionaries. This school had strict admission rules requiring applicants to be Christians with church recommendation. My mother was a Catholic while my father was a Buddhist. However, father found a way to get me admitted into the school. Under strict school regulations, all students must board at school, pray both in the morning and evening, and study the Bible besides normal courses of liberal arts. Never with careful meditation, I read the Bible only to pass exams. Before graduation, the principal threatened us that we would not be able to graduate unless we had been baptized. Since I thought that was truely the case, I went through baptism before graduation.

Therefore, I should thank my father for the faith I have today. Unfortunately, I failed to pass onto him the good news before he passed away. What's more, I used to be lukewarm because my faith did not have a strong foundation such that I stumbled over Christians who were not living their faith.

When I came to New York in April 1980, I was very excited to have come to the so-called heaven on earth. My husband was caught by acute appendicitis two months later. That's when I came to realize that he was very poor because he had no health insurance and couldn't afford $2,000 for the surgery. I had to pay for him with the money I brought with me. At the same time, I also came to realize that America was not really a house of gold. Hence, I decided to find a stable and safe job. Amazingly, I found it in September. I worked very hard and lived a frugal life, as it was no easy matter to find such a job.

In 1983, a pastor Zeng fervently tried to bring my husband to the Lord. Sometimes he visited our home. Other times, he invited us to study the Bible at his home and to attend his church on Sundays. However, pretty soon, we found many excuses to decline his invitations.

One night, in 1984, I dreamed of three persons in white whose faces were hidden. The one in the middle, who held a baby, put the baby down in a crib. When I woke up, I still remembered the dream very clearly. Yet I didn't dare to tell anyone in fear that people would blame me of becoming crazy for babies after three miscarriages. However, miraculously, I soon became pregnant. I kept the secret until three months before the baby was due. When my parents came from Taiwan, I told my mother about the dream for the first time. She told me that the baby was given to me by angels (She was a pious Catholic). The baby was born successfully in December 1986. Because of the help from my parents and my sister, he has grown healthily. Now he is in college.

We moved to Florida in August 1992. This was another important turning point of my life. I was not willing to come because I could not let go of the job I had worked for twelve years. It would be very hard to start all over in a new place. However, I had to follow my husband's decision. This was probably a lesson from God teaching me to be grateful. At the beginning, it was as difficult as expected. I could not find a job. At the same time, I had to buy a car and learn to drive. I accidentally mentioned that we were searching for a Chinese church at a car dealship. The owner told us about the Orlando Chinese Church. Therefore, we came to the church in September. Because of the child's schedule, we could only attend Sunday service. However, I still had no peace or joy in my life because of the heavy burden of life. I had not learned to pray since I believed. Thank the Lord that a brother mentioned the words of Jesus, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." From then on, I learned to pray. Amazingly, I found a job with benefits in April 1993. Because, he did not like to let others take care of our son, my husband spent all his time in taking care of our son. Hence, it was very hard on me to shoulder the burden of household all by myself. However, thank the Lord for supporting me and with help from my sister.

We're truly grateful to all the brothers and sisters who helped us when my husband was injured and I was in need of a job. Their support helped us through the difficult time. Each love offering covered our two weeks' living expenses. God also taught me to be obediently depending on Him. I became worried when we were running out of money and my husband was not fully recovered yet. God was truly amazing. A brother handed me an envelop with love offerings from brothers and sisters at the Hunter's Creek meeting. I said to God that I was of little faith. God knew about and supplied for our need. He also sent my sister to come to help us when my husband was injured.

During the twelve years that I've worked at the SunTrust Bank, I faced the treat of downsizing three times. I'll only share about the third time that was in January 2004. My department announced a complete move to Atlanta. The company gave us six months to look for a new job. If I could not find any, I would receive an early retirement package. Brothers and sisters prayed for me at this news. Sister Hu even introduced me to a job at her hospital. I also prayed daily. Even though I could accept the package, I truly needed to work more because my son was still in college. God truly listened to our prayers. In April, I was transferred to my current department.

Experiencing such grace from God, I began to understand the reason why God had led our lives through such a path of difficulty. First, we could not have recognized God's sufficient grace and power if we had had an easier life. Second, difficulties make us more dependent on our Lord. God has taught us to rely on Him and to let Him shoulder our difficulty so that He could hold us tightly and take care of us.

I hope to thank God for preparing such a good gathering place for us in Kissimmee. I have benefited greatly from the messages of Brother Ting who comes twice a week despite difficult weather conditions. I've also learned to pray in public. What's more, I also want to thank God

for bringing my sister to hear the gospel. She comes to live with me for a few months every year. In the past, she would only attend the Sunday services. However, she is totally changed this time. In the past, she considered it boring to hear so many messages. However, amazingly, she is willing to follow me to the gathering twice a week in Kissimmee now. This is clearly the work of God. I have been very lucky to have so many brothers and sisters who care about us and pray for us. I hope that all of us will seek after the Lord with an obedient heart and live the message we hear. We can be truly pleasing to God when people can see our good behaviors. (Jane Poch)

Experiencing the Divine Protection of God

Today I like to share with you about experiencing the divine protection of God. Psalm 91:2 says, " I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust." God is our protector, and that he wants to put His divine protection over everything in our lives! He wants to keep us safe when we are going out and coming in, when we are at home, and when we are traveling. He wants to protect our wealth, our health, our family, and our jobs. He wants to protect every aspect of our lives because He is our Heavenly Father, and like a loving father, He wants to keep His children safe and protected always.

My wife Helen and I have experienced the divine protection of God. Last October, my wife and I went to San Francisco for a friend's wedding. When we left the wedding party, it was already 11PM at night. While I was driving on the highway, I missed my exit and got lost. Can you imagine, being in a big city I had never driven in before at midnight, I was lost? Helen was next to me calm and sleeping, but I was scared. I just had to guess, so I passed by several exits, and I decided to get off at one. I passed by several streets, and decided to turn into one. I finally had to stop and park our car to figure out where we were. I looked at the map for a while, then to my amazement, I realized we were only about 2 miles from where we were staying. At that point, I just thanked God because I knew He had really protected and saved us.

Have you experienced God's divine protection? I know many of our brothers and sisters also have experienced God's protection. Last year, Brother Dai had fallen on his head while cutting a tree in our church yard. He had to be hospitalized but now he is walking around fine. God had protected his health. Our brother has traveled many times to Asia and all over America to preach the gospel. He has faced uncertain and dangerous circumstances, and in poor health at times. But God has always protected him and brought him back safely, because he is such a great servant of God.

God wants to protect us in all things but do you know what is the one thing he most wants to protect us from? He wants to protect us from sin, that desire within us to do wickedness and evil. When we sin, either steal, cheat, hate or lie, we take ourselves out of the protection, out of the protective wall, of God, so not only our bodies but our souls can be destroyed. This is a favorite tactic of Satan, which is not to attack us directly, but to tempt us to sin, so that we will get out of the protection of God. How many men and women have you heard of or have you known who have lost everything, their welth, their health, their family and friends, their jobs, everything because of their sin? Because of greed, jealousy, hatred and adultery? Sin is such a dangerous thing in our lives. But thanks to our God in his infinite grace and mercy, he has a plan to remove sin from us. That plan is his Son Jesus Christ! What God did was to put the entire sin of the world on his Son Jesus Christ and let Him die on the cross so that sin is removed. When we believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, all our sins past, present and future are removed from us. And Jesus will give us his Holy Spirit to live in us and with us, so that we may no longer live by our sinful nature.

To experience the full and divine protection of our heavenly Father, all you have to do is to believe today, that God sent his Son Jesus to die for the removal of sin. Then you can experience the true joy, peace and happiness in your life and family, that comes from the divine protection of God.

In the gospel of Luke Jesus told the story of a foolish young man who decided to rebel against his father. He asked of his father for his share of the inheritance and left home. What happened was that this son followed his sinful desire and he wondered out of the loving protection of his father. Certainly enough, in a few years the son had lost everything, his wealth and his health through wild living. Then he became a slave and realized that he made a big mistake. He would humble himself and go back to his father. When he saw his father, the son said, "I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son." Did you know what the father did? He hugged and kissed his son. He gave his son the best robe in the house and threw a big banquets for him. What the father was saying is, welcome home, you are once again under my loving protection. The father Jesus talked about in this story is his Father, our Heavenly Father, who wants us to come home again so that we can be once more under his loving protection. And all we have to do is to believe the man who told the story, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Won't you trust in Jesus today? (Sung)