Blog

Share Your Story: Josh Chan
Jun 07, 2018

Josh Chan was looking for a community in Hong Kong after he decided to stay. He found Island ECC and eventually its Ark Ministry, which got him plugged in. As he matured through the Ark ministry, he realised how much God loves him. He dedicates his life to God in a special baptism ceremony.

Blog

Share Your Story: Felix Ng and Lawrence Chang
Jun 07, 2018

Felix and Lawrence got to know each other through middle school. Lawrence was going thorugh a very difficult time because of a skin affliction that was becoming worse. Felix saw how Lawrence continued to remain positive through those times, which had an impact on him. Finding Island Youth and walking with other Christian youth have helped them see how Christ is their personal saviour.

Blog

Who You Say I Am
Jun 06, 2018

I am on a road trip in New England, USA with a few Men’s Ministry brothers for the Warrior Men’s Conference. There are over 1,200 men attending, representing 32 churches across Northeastern America (and Hong Kong!). We arrived at the Men’s Conference and were the only Chinese there representing Hong Kong, all four of us have customised t-shirts with our names on the back (mine read “IECC DANIEL”) we were proud to be a team of 4!    

There were a couple of songs that we sang over the weekend that encapsulated the theme of freedom and God’s love for us: “Reckless Love” and “Who You Say I am”. With over 1,200 men singing under a metal roof of an ice-skating arena, the roof was literally shaking with the voices of the warriors singing inside the house – every men sang their hearts out for Christ; the worship experience gave a me a glimpse of how the angels might have sang in Heaven when one soul is saved in the name of Jesus. “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 ESV)  This was one of the most powerful worship times I ever experienced in my Christian life. 

The lyrics of “Who you say I am” goes like this:
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

This Chorus reminds me of this special privilege to be God’s child! I am chosen, I have been chosen to be His child, and that I am not who I say I am but who God says I am! My identity is set in Christ, not in who people say I am; I do not need men’s approval and I am never alone! Carry this thought with you today and reflect on it, if the Lord of the universe is for me, who can be against me? In Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) it says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” I am highly encouraged just trusting in that promise, I will walk by faith in His words and I am so glad that I have a brother in Jesus, a Father in Heaven and the Holy Spirit to walk with me… daily! By the end of the three days, I didn’t feel I was only a team of 4 brothers representing Island ECC from Hong Kong anymore, I felt that I was a part of one team of 1,200 men praising, praying, repenting, and glorifying God under one Name: Jesus Christ! Amen?

Blog

One Day at a Time
Jun 01, 2018

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27

Growing up, I was someone who always liked to plan things. I’d plan my work or study schedule for the rest of my week, the trips I’d be going on the rest of the year and then tried to plan where my life was heading. To a great extent, planning has been a good thing and has allowed me to be efficient with my time. It seems like everyone in Hong Kong is also a planner. When meeting up with friends, we set dates weeks in advance and everyone seems to have packed schedules. And we live in a busy, bustling city, don’t we? 

And where there is planning, you’ll often also find worry tagging along like the irritating and lingering cough that comes with the flu. Scenarios of “what ifs” run through your head, worst-case scenarios cloud your mind and a nagging unsettled feeling hovers over your heart. I find that worry creeps in more easily when we’re stepping out in faith to do something that is outside our comfort zones. Within a comfort zone, things are predictable so there isn’t much need to worry. But when stepping “out of the boat”, there are so many things we can worry about. 

Having taken a step of faith outside my comfort zone in recent years, God has been teaching me to rely on Him, to trust in Him and not to worry. If God has given the vision, He will also give the provision, whether in the form of time, relationships, resources or energy. He’s constantly been reminding me that where He leads, He will guide and provide.

The section ends in verse 34 with, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” So let’s take each day as it comes, leaning on His daily grace and casting our cares to Him because He is a good, good Father who provides. 

Let us practice one day at a time by:

  • Praising God for giving value to our lives daily; 
  • Asking God to teach us how to surrender and trust Him.

Blog

Devotion in Action
May 28, 2018

Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. Psalm 86:11 (ESV)

Recently, the word devotion has caught my attention while I was doing some research for our upcoming Care Group study on the topic of relationships. In many readings and sermons online, it is mentioned as a key element for us as Christians to develop the right attitude to love God, and to love a guy or girl in a dating relationship. Plus, I believe this word relates with the phrase devotional (or quiet time, a period that we spend with God through reading the Bible and prayer).

The Oxford Dictionary definition of “devotion” means love, loyalty, or enthusiasm or activity. As I looked deeper into its meaning, this word in Biblical Greek connects the word “good” or “well” with the phrase “to be close beside” (according from the book Single, Dating, Engaged, Married – Navigating life and love in the modern age by Ben Stuart – P.36). The book further exemplified its meaning with an image of a person sitting and listening to someone attentively (passively); while also tending to his or her desires (actively). 

What does the Bible say on how to build this type of devotion to God? Psalm 86:11, written by King David, fully captures what it looks like for a person that has a devoted heart to God. I have split the verse into 4 sections that helped me to reflect with my current devotional life:

  1. Teach me your way, O Lord: David first addresses our attitude in spending time with God. As we read and listen to the Bible; do we ask God to teach us directly as we begin to meet Him? Sometimes I tend to feel like devotional time is more like finding answers on Wikipedia, rather than meeting with God. Let us be reminded that our Father is a loving Heavenly Father and not Wikipedia, and He loves us and wants the best for us!  Instead of treating our time with God as one to download knowledge, let us be like little children coming to their father saying, “I want to spend quality time and learn something new from you today!” (Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:7-11)
  2. Walk in your truth: After hearing God’s words, sometimes the teachings get stuck in our head but don’t go deep into our heart. How should we make His word become alive and active? David asks us to walk into God’s truth, to make an effort to apply His truth into our life. Another Bible verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”  (ESV). Many times, we fail to walk into His truth because we prefer our ways and preferences (or we are simply too lazy); we are simply not open to God’s leading because we want to be in control (or we want to stay in our comfort zone). Let us learn to trust God with His truth – that it is loving and does not fail – and He will guide us through all the ups and downs in life with His truth. 
  3. Unite my heart: David seems to know the biggest challenge to letting God’s truth sink in and be applied in our spiritual life is the resistance from our own hearts and desires. We are easily tempted with goals that we want to achieve in this world and distracted by worries that come along with them. In my devotional time with God, I can see my heart wandering to social media and work emails; I allow distractions to come in rather than listening to God. That’s why David asks us to pray for our hearts to be “united” (or an “undivided heart” in NKJV); to fully focus on loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strengths (Luke 10:27) and approach our devotional and prayer time without distraction.  
  4. Fear Your name: Many people find the word fear confusing. Why do we need to fear God if He is a loving Father that wants the best for us and accepts us as we are? The word fear seems to be the same as from Proverbs 1:7 written by Solomon: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, fools despise wisdom and instruction.” In their wisdom, King David and Solomon remind us that we are His creation and servants, we are not in control. We are to humble ourselves as we pray and seek His presence daily. We are to respect God fully in life and worship Him alone. Let us not only give thanks for the blessings that He gives us daily, but also treasure our time with God and show respect for His sovereignty in our lives. 

As I am being refreshed by this word “devotion”, pray that it will also help our church seek Him first and have a deeper relationship with Him. May it be a new season where we come to God as the ultimate source of life (John 4:23) and be a source of life for others in our relationships with others. 

Let us practice devotion in action by:

  • Praising God for His faithfulness in loving us as His child;
  • Asking God to help us to have deeper devotion and desire to connect with Him daily.

 

 

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