This weekend is BAC’s Missions conference.  Today’s sermon in all three worship services is on missions.  Last Sunday, Pastor Alice reminded us why we need missions.  As shared in her message, it is God’s plan to save all nations, therefore mission work is needed.  The kingdom of God rules all nations, and God receives glory when all nations worship Him.  In short, the end goal of missions is that all nations worship and glorify Him.  If it were not for missions, people of all nations may not have the opportunity to hear the gospel, and they would not know to worship the only true God in the world.  Therefore, the responsibilities of going on missions, and supporting missions falls on you and me.  To undertake this task, the C&MA has placed missions as a main focus in their ministries.  In the past, most of our brothers and sisters have been dedicated in  supporting missions financially, but today I want to encourage everyone to actually participate in a missions trip. 

      The special feature of our Missions week conference is to introduce everyone to different ways one can participate in missions:  far or near, same culture or cross culture, same language or different languages, etc.  There is something that every Christian can participate in and experience.  What experience can mission trips give Christians?  First of all, as mentioned above, the purpose of missions is to let the whole world know the true God, and learn to worship and glorify Him.  This is not for our own benefit.  Therefore, Christians should keep in mind the concern of saving all nations of God, and that we all do our best to share the gospel and participate in the work of missions.  This is the most important reason why Christians participate in missions.  When we are willing to obey and participate, we also find that God will strengthen us, equip us, and enable us to be used by Him to bring the gospel afar. 

      In the past, I have been to Central and South America for short-term missions many times, participating in mission work of same culture and cross culture.  The most profound impression for me was working alongside brothers and sisters of the local church to visit non-believing Chinese, and listen to their sad and bitter stories.  As we shared the gospel with them,   though there were some hard-hearts, there were also many who immediately put down their work to talk with us and come to believe in the Lord. 

      I remember once in Panama, a short-term mission team led nearly forty people to Christ.  Everyone from the STM team experienced the mighty salvation of the Holy Spirit and boldly shared the gospel.  Although the trip was only about ten days, we had established a wonderful relationship with local brothers and sisters there, and the new believers.  We felt sad when leaving.  In BAC’s most recent cross cultural mission trip to Abancay, in an environment with different cultures and languages, I experienced the challenge of evangelizing some mountain people who live simple and primitive lives.  At that time, we all depended on local interpreters as we shared the gospel message with them. We learned a lot from their simple lifestyle, and their pure hearts.  Short-term missions can indeed broaden our horizons and increase our respect and appreciation for different cultures.  The most important thing is to experience the joy of working with the Holy Spirit.  Let us all take a step forward and experience missions in person. 

      這個週末是本宣家的宣教週,今天三語的崇拜訊息都是與宣教有關。正如上星期賀梁佩珠同工主日的訊息,提醒我們為何要宣教。原來宣教是因為神的心意是拯救萬民,神的國度是統管萬國,與及神的榮耀是萬民敬拜。總括來說,宣教是因為要萬國萬民都能夠榮耀敬拜神的緣故。若不是宣教,萬國萬民未必有機會聽聞福音,以致不懂得敬拜世上唯一的真神。所以,宣教與及支持宣教是你與我的責任。宣道會為著承擔這個宣教使命,將宣教放於福音事工的一個重焦點。過去大部份的弟兄姊妹都是在奉獻上支持宣教的工作,但今天我卻要鼓勵大家實際參予宣教。 

      今次的宣教週特別的地方,是要介紹給大家知道,宣教是可以有不同的類型的參予:遠或近,同文化或跨文化,共同語言或不同語言等等。這都是每一個基督徒都可以參予及經歷的。究竟宣教能給予基督徒甚麼經歷呢﹖首先,正如上文所提到的,宣教的目的,不是在乎我們本身的益處,而是在乎讓世界各地可以有更多人能夠認識真神,而懂得榮耀及敬拜祂。因此,基督徒應當體貼神要拯救萬民的心意,而能夠盡力參予傳道及宣教的使命。這是基督徒參予宣教最重要的原因。而當我們願意順服及參予的時候,神就要加添力量給我們, 裝備我們,使我們能夠被神使用,將福音帶到遠方去。過去曾經多次去到中南美洲作短期宣教,參予同文化與及跨文化的短宣。當中印象最深刻的,就是與當地教會的弟兄姊妹一同合作,探訪當地未信主的華僑,聆聽他們過去辛酸的經歷,與他們分享福音。當中雖然有硬心的,但亦有不少立時放下工作與我們交談而信主的。記得一次在巴拿馬,短宣隊帶領了近四十人信主,大家都經歷到聖靈大能的拯救,放膽將福音傳開。雖然短短十多天的行程,卻已與當地的弟兄姊妹及初信者建立了微妙的關係。當我們離開時大家都依依不捨。而最近一次在亞賓凱(Abancay)的跨文化短宣,在文化與語言都不同的環境下,更經歷到向一些過著簡樸和較原始生活的山區民族傳福音的挑戰。當時我們都要依靠著翻譯的弟兄姊妹,將福音的訊息傳給他們。當地居民的簡單生活和對神單純的的心,給予我們很多的學習。短宣的確能廣闊我們的視野,學習尊重與及欣賞不同的文化。而最重要的,就是經歷與聖靈同工的喜樂。讓我們都願意踏出一步,親身去經歷宣教。