Category Archives: Worship

Rayliu1

Pastor Ray’s blog Raykliu is continued in Rayliu1.

Please go to http://rayliu1.wordpress.com/ for future posts.Pastor Ray’s blog

Removing Idols II

Our second idol removal service was with a poor single mom, a Grace Meal recipient. Initially she was thankful for the free meals provided by the church program, but did not really know God. Then her grown daughter left her to live with a ne’er-do-well man. She didn’t know what to do, and cried loudly into the early hours of the morning. The disturbed neighbors called the police, who in turn called the pastor since she attends his church. He consoled her by directing her attention to God, as people ultimately are not reliable. Even her daughter, the person closest to her on earth, would abandon her to follow a worthless rogue.

Although difficult, she gradually learned to trust God and was baptized this past Easter. Usually our missionary friends would drive her and other Grace Meal recipients to church and treat them to dinner before taking them home, but recently she showed her appreciation by buying dinner for everyone instead.

What is the best way to reach people for Christ? By action and word. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you cared. Find a need and fill it. 1 Co 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

Shrine of our sister's deceased landlord

Shrine of our sister’s deceased landlord

Praising God and praying for cleansing

Praising God and praying for cleansing

Removing pagan door guardian gods

Removing pagan door guardian gods

Removing Idols I

Idolatry is a serious obstacle to faith in Christ in Taiwan. Sometimes pressure from family and neighbors are so great that even after a person confesses Christ as Savior, he/she does not feel free to stop participating in idol/ancestor worship, let alone go to church. So when families remove idols and ancestor altars from their homes, it showed their faith is genuine and is a big thing that doesn’t happen often enough. We were privileged to assist in two idol removal ceremonies during our short stay, the fruit of our hosts’ hard work in leading the families to faith in Christ. Here is the order of service and some photos:

* Call to worship
* Hymn e.g. This is My Father’s World
* Prayer
* Scripture Reading e.g. Ex 20:3-6, Ps 115:1-18 etc.
* Message
* Hymn e.g. Jesus Loves Me
* Cleansing Prayer
* Dismantle idols
* Testimony
* Prayer for the family
* Announcements
* Hymn of Blessing
* Prayer of Blessing

Our sister in Christ used to be a devout Buddhist-Taoist, spending thousands of dollars on I Ching (易經) literature which she studied laboriously. She would kowtow 70 times each day, chanting, praying and burning incense. For all her devotion to false gods, what she got was constant complaints from neighbors who sued her for disturbing the peace and polluting the environment. So when our hosts shared with her the gospel, she gladly accepted because her dedication to idols brought her nothing but trouble. She and her children were baptized this Easter, gloriously delivered from the bondage of idolatry. Not all troubles are bad. Some may be allowed by God to bring people to Him. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Large idol shrine to be removed

Large idol shrine to be removed

Cleansing Prayer

Cleansing Prayer

Praying for the family

Praying for the family

Removing idols and paraphernalia, including books and incantations

Removing idols and paraphernalia, including books and incantations

Idols replaced by the Cross

Idols replaced by the Cross

Family rejoicing after the idols were removed

Family rejoicing after the idols were removed

Icons were smashed at the city dump

Icons were smashed at the city dump

The Christmas Scale

I am the only one in my family who does not know how to play the piano. But I know one chord, and it contains the most important message in the world.
Lk 2:10-11 I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!

Fellow Soldiers

This morning we worshipped at a church pastored by our friends. We got to know them well after we visited them 12 years ago in Colon, Panama, where they spent four years building up a congregation from only a few families into a vibrant church of over 80, winning many young people to the Lord.

Their current church is located in a mall, with a sanctuary, fellowship hall and offices, plus a third unit which is rented out to another church. The sanctuary has 22 rows of pews divided into 3 banks, with an estimated seating capacity of about 130 people. The congregation stays for lunch every Sunday in the fellowship hall, which also doubles as a recreation room for ping-pong on Saturdays as an outreach to the community. The atmosphere is warm and our friends are people persons gifted in evangelism, so we expect them to grow this church over time as well. Blessed are God’s faithful servants.

Church is located on the third floor of mall.

Church is located on the third floor of mall.

Entrance to fellowship hall

Entrance to fellowship hall

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Fellowship Hall

Fellowship Hall

Senior Pastor's Office

Senior Pastor’s Office

Good Concert

Last evening we attended a concert by an Irish husband-wife team, composer/pianist Keith and singer Kristyn Getty, at Harvest Bible Chapel in Oakville. They write contemporary hymns, their most well-known piece probably “In Christ Alone“, but also sing traditional ones. The style is Irish (similar to Blue Grass), sometimes with quick tempo accompanied by step dancing like in “River Dance“. They were backed by a 9-person band, playing a variety of musical instruments including the bodhran (drum), fiddle, flute, harp and uilleann pipes (bagpipes).

In Christ Alone:

What Grace is Mine (Londonderry Air):

Often contemporary worship and praise songs are criticized as repeating a few lines over and over again without much depth. I’m glad to know that this couple’s music have rich theological content and are drawing young and old back to God and the church. Listen to it. May be you’ll like it and point people to Christ too.

Glory to You; Alleluia

(Continued from yesterday)

These songs by Tanya Bondar sing of God is worthy of our praise, and then give praise to God.

Often we focus too much on ourselves – how we feel, what others are doing to us. This is misguided. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. Learn that and we will resolve many of our problems.

O Christ; Set me Free

We met a very talented singer, Tanya Bondar, who recorded two praise CDs. She has a gentle spirit and a very nice voice, but is not known in the West. She wrote some of the songs herself, with the tune and the lyrics coming together after hours of prayer and fasting. With her permission I’m posting 4 of her songs here, 2 today and 2 tomorrow.

The songs exalt Christ and tell of Him setting people free. What great themes!

Orthodox Church

We visited an Eastern Orthodox church, the majority religion in that area. One very noticeable characteristics as you walk in is the presence of many icons – flat pictures of Jesus, Mary, or a saint used as an aid to devotion. Some would consider this idolatrous. At the front center of the sanctuary is the altar, but it is behind closed doors which only the priest is allowed to enter. This is strange considering when Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, as by His death our Lord provided free access to God.

Another practice very different from evangelical churches is that there are no sermons expounding the word of God, only short homilies. Some might like that! For that matter, there are no pews in the churches. Believers would go to church to meditate in front of icons, to burn a candle, or to receive communion. There are no seats to sit down and listen to sermons, only a few short benches along the wall for the aged to rest if they are tired.

The cross is also different from the West. The top piece is the notice “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” fastened to the cross. The long middle piece is the horizontal crossbar. The bottom is the footrest.

A functioning Orthodox church for the village.

A functioning Orthodox church for the village.

Note the icons and receptacles for burning candles.

Note the icons and receptacles for burning candles.

Sanctuary. Notice the altar at the center behind closed doors which only the priest is allowed to enter.

Sanctuary. Notice the altar at the center behind closed doors which only the priest is allowed to enter.

There are no seats for the congregation to sit down to listen to sermons.

There are no seats for the congregation to sit down to listen to sermons.

Orthodox cross with three cross pieces.

Orthodox cross with three cross pieces.

Excellent Choir

We visited another evangelical church, which has a choir. This video does not do justice to the singing which was fantastic. The praise was voice-driven, not orchestra or band-driven. There was only one piano accompaniment. My pocket camera simply could not record the depth of the voices.

And for a lighter side, here is E. sharing with a youth group in their native language, with an interpreter standing by!