Sunday, March 29, 2015

Romans 16: The Goal Of The Gospel

Romans 16:
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21 Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.
Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings. [24] [e]
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from[f] faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Earlier this month, the local social media was abuzz with news that Putrajaya has purchased a new private jet for our Prime Minister’s use. It costs tax payers RM 109 million. Many people wonder if the money could be put to better use at a time when people are tightening their belt with rising costs of living. But even Putrajaya was outdone by a pastor who caused an even bigger uproar by asking 200,000 supporters to donate $300 each to his ministry. You may ask why would a mega church pastor need to raise 60 million dollars? (> two times more expensive) Is it for a noble cause like providing education and medicine to poor children? Or feed starving people around the world? Well, sadly no.

All that money will go to buy Pastor Dollar a brand new luxury private jet so he could "continue reaching a lost and dying world for the Lord Jesus Christ." A few people dug deep into their wallets to send him the cash. The rest of us started feeling sick in our stomachs at so many levels. Why can’t he just fly commercial planes? Which Jesus is he preaching anyway? The real Son of God arrived on the back of a humble donkey. He didn’t require a first class, luxury chariot. A prosperity preacher who gets rich off the offerings of poor people is not only exploiting/oppressing the church, he is denying everything that the gospel stands for. There is a word for it: He is fleecing the sheep for his own selfish profit.

That’s why the apostle Paul warns us to watch out for false teachers in the passage we read just now. He says: Be alert of what they are up to. Be on the lookout for their scams. He tells us to keep away from them. There is no getting close to them with a holy kiss. Instead, turn away. Separate yourself from their lifestyles and teachings. Because if we remain silent and pretend that everything is hunky dory, we are in effect giving them legitimacy and opportunity to cause further damage and harm. At the very least, we are showing consent by our silence and close association with them.

Look at verse 17-19: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” 

There is a sharp transition from greetings to warnings here.

Why? Because unity of the church (expressed by the holy kiss) has its foundation on Christ. We share the same faith in the gospel of His kingdom. That is the basis for our fellowship and partnership. In Christ, we transcend all cultural, social, ethnic barriers.

That is the reason Paul now warns them to be on guard against false teachers who threaten to divide their community. His anger was aroused by their attempts to cause disunity in the church by contradicting apostolic teachings. Contrary to the claims of books like Da Vinci Code that everything is up for grabs until the church tradition defines what orthodoxy is hundreds of years later, Paul is referring to an already established body of apostolic tradition that is normative and binding even at this very early stage of the Christian faith. Truth unites God’s people. Heresy separates and divides us.   

Now look at verse 19: *Everyone has heard about your obedience*, Paul says, *so I am full of joy over you*. But there are two kinds of obedience – blind obedience or discerning, eyes-wide-open obedience. Yes, I’m happy to hear of your obedience *but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil*. To be wise and discerning is to recognize what is good, to love it and follow it. But when it comes to evil, be innocent like a child.

Now, how do we discern truth from error? Paul gives us three litmus tests that we could apply in the form of questions to any kind of teaching we come across.

Does it agree with Scripture? (The biblical test – is it contrary to the apostles’ teaching?)
Does it glorify our Lord Jesus? (The Christological test – does it serve Jesus or someone else?)
Does it promote goodness? (The moral test – be experts in good, and not even beginners in evil)

Recently, I had the chance to speak to some of our guests here and find a recurring theme: one family drove here from quite a distance because they are looking for a church that teaches the Bible consistently and faithfully. They said it’s hard to find one. One sister was greatly helped by solid Bible teachings she found online that made her to question and seek for a similar church. Yet another family shared with me that they were frustrated when teachers do not faithfully interpret what Scripture says, but go off tangent on their own favorite topics that had no connection whatsoever with the text.

Although I don’t know if they will eventually find CDPC Puchong a suitable home church or not, I want to commend them for their commitment to take the trouble to discern the truth from error. I want to encourage you to continue your hunger for faithful preaching of God’s word. Because for some people, it is simply not a priority…

Once I heard a guest preacher from the UK came to a local church and he taught from the pulpit: “There are many ways of salvation apart from Jesus. As long as they are sincere, it doesn’t matter what they believe”. Only a few people picked it up (maybe about ten), and we had a conversation with him after the service. What surprised me was that most people didn’t even realize that what the preacher taught was far from biblical. They just continued with their normal Sunday activities without a hint. Either they didn’t understand his British accent or it simply didn’t matter to them.

But it does matter. It matters whether we are divided by error. It matters for the glory of Christ. It matters for the well being and unity of God’s people.

That is why as part of our Church membership requirement we go through a few sessions on our Basic Beliefs on: What is the gospel? What are some of our core values we hold in unity? Because if we are divided, fragmented and we do not even agree on core doctrines like who Jesus is and what the gospel means, then it would be an obstacle for the church to grow and serve together. In the essentials, let there be unity. On the non-essentials, let there be diversity. We can agree to disagree on lots of other things (which are important to us, and we may have strong views about speaking in tongues or end time scenarios) because the unity we share in Christ and in the gospel transcends all these differences.
In all things, let there be charity, gentleness and respect.

That’s also why I need you to help our team of preachers who serve you by teaching God’s word. Pray for us. Discern with us. Check out our pulpit calendar and study the Scripture text in advance. Help each other to grow in discernment. I always welcome your feedback to help me to be more faithful to the text and more effective in teaching it. If I ever teach things that seem contrary to what the Bible says, you’d do me a great favor by gently pointing it out and correcting me from the authority of Scripture. Maybe that would help me improve. Maybe that would give me a chance to clarify. Whatever it is, our teachings matter so that we give Christ the glory He deserves and to maintain unity in His body.

Behind these false teachers and divisions and factions, Paul sees the work of Satan, the enemy. So look at the promise in verse 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. God’s peace is not compromise with evil. It is not through appeasing Satan but the defeat of evil that true peace is attained. For that, we need the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With these warnings, Paul continued with a shorter list of names and greetings. Here we go again in verse 21-23 other fellow workers and friends of Paul who were with him in Corinth show up to send their greetings to the church in Rome. Timothy is his famous son, protégé in the Lord. Do you notice something interesting here verse 22? “I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.” The ideas and words in this letter were all from Paul but he was technically not the person who wrote it down. He collaborates with a scribe named Tertius. And if I could meet him personally, I want to thank Tertius for writing one of the most influential and important letters ever written. It was a momentous task, a difficult mission to keep up with Paul’s complex thoughts especially when he gets excited, but he has done a wonderful job so we can read it today.  

With that we come to the appropriate conclusion, the grand finale of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Here he breaks forth into praise: “To the only wise God be glory forever“! There is a reason for this and it’s simply this: Theology is for doxology. After reflecting and explaining who God is and what Christ has done to effect our salvation at such length and depth, it is time to bow down and worship Him for all that He is, for all that he has done. Because the goal of all Bible studies, of all Christian education, of all Sunday school catechism, of all youth group Systematic theology, of all Alpha course, of all doctrinal reflection is ultimately for the glory and love of God. They are like fuel that feeds the fire of our worship. That’s why in our worship songs we put a high premium on solid, truthful and biblical lyrics and express that in song, with emotion.

Because the purpose of studying about God is not to just stop at satisfying our curiosity or some sort of intellectual exercise. God is not to be merely analyzed and discussed, He is to be adored, marveled at, obeyed, exulted in, to be reveled in and magnified for all that He is. If theology stops short of worship/doxology, it is stunted and incomplete. Do you see and do you love it? You were made for this. Something deep in your soul is saying to you: I was made for this—to behold the glory of God and to reflect that glory. 
What does Paul praise God for? Interestingly, God is glorified for 3 things… Three major themes in the entire letter of Romans captured in a nutshell. These are the same themes found at the very beginning of this letter’s introduction (Romans 1).

1) Earlier, he speaks of the power of God to save sinners. Now, he speaks of God’s power to establish saints. He not only brings us to faith, He also strengthens and nurtures us to grow in faith. When we see that spiritual progress is getting hard and seems hopeless, that’s not a reason to give up… All the more you should press on because God is able to establish us against errors, He is able to make us stand firm against temptation. He is able to grant us courage against dangers.

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till he returns or calls me home
Here is the power of God I stand.

2) Paul speaks of the gospel of Christ as something promised and revealed progressively “through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God” (verse 26). It is a mystery that beyond the powers of the human mind to discover on its own, a secret that is hidden for long ages past in symbols, hints and clues in the Old Testament. But now it is revealed fully in the person of Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection as recorded in the NT.  

Spurgeon has this to say about how we read all of Scripture, especially the OT: “Don’t you know, young man, that from every town and every village and every hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London? So from every text of Scripture there is a road to Christ. And my dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, now, what is the road to Christ? I have never found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if ever I do find one, I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.”

Christ is in the OT concealed, and in the NT revealed.

3) Thirdly, God is praised for *the evangelization of the nations*. Not only is the gospel revealed, it must also be made known *all nations might believe and obey him* (verse 26). Again, this is a major theme at the beginning of Romans 1:5 – Paul received his calling as an apostle to *bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of Christ’s name among all nations*.

And this is not a divine suggestion. This universal, all inclusive commission to bring the gospel to all nations is by *by the command of the eternal God* to unite Jews and Gentiles, bumiputra and non bumiputra as one people in Christ. And the only proper response to the gospel is faith alone, but it is not just merely lip service (I believe, and then live just like everybody else). That faith is itself an act of obedience to what God has revealed and demanded… and that genuine faith will result in a life of obeying Christ as Lord and King.  
So, God is praised and worshiped for His wisdom and power in making known the gospel through Scripture, by God’s command, so that all nations may believe and obey.

Let us worship him for his power and wisdom displayed in the gospel.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Marks Of Healthy Ministry Team

Romans 16:1-16

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae (SEHN-kree-ay ). I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus (a-pen-nee-tus), who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia (dzhou-nih-uhs), my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
Greet Ampliatus (am-plee-AY-tuhs), my dear friend in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys (STAY-kihs).
10 Greet Apelles (uh - P el - les), whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.
Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.
11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew.
Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.
Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.
14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them.
15 Greet Philologus (phil O' log us), Julia, Nereus (NEE-roos) and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ send greetings.
This is one of the most difficult Bible passages that I’ve ever had to read. There are just so many unfamiliar names that I had to spend an hour just trying to Google for the right pronunciations. And it makes you wonder (doesn’t it?): What is a list of names and greetings like this doing in the Holy Scriptures? And how in the world are we gonna do a sermon, much less a Church Anniversary sermon based on this text?

Truth be told, many of us reading this would be tempted to just skip all that and focus on something more interesting, isn’t it?

Unless of course, you are going to have a baby and would like to choose a biblical name for him or her… if that’s you, today’s passage is very relevant. It’s a treasure chest full of very original and exotic names you can choose from! Tryphosa Tan? Philologus a/l Victor? Sosipater bin Indra? How about that for a name?  

But I guess this is not the main reason why this passage is included in the Bible. Nor is its purpose in the canon just to fill up space. If other name lists in the Bible such as the genealogies of Jesus contain important precious nuggets of truth, I think this list of greetings at the end of Romans deserves our careful attention too.

But how are we going to do this?

Firstly we need to realize that when the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write this portion of Scripture, He inspired Paul to write an epistle. By the way, an epistle is not the wife of an apostle. An epistle is basically a letter. It is not just a private letter, so it is not as if we are not intruding into somebody else’ private email.

It is an open letter to be read out in public (perhaps in a congregation as people gather to worship like what we do this morning).

And it is usually at the end of his letters that Paul does something special, something very unique that he doesn’t usually do elsewhere and it’s simply this: Paul talks about himself.
He gets into some personal details.

Of course, he did mention about himself elsewhere but it is usually at the end of his letters that Paul takes time to really ponder and reflect openly about the relationships that matter to him, about his own personal feelings, his friendships, his aspirations and plans for ministry… of what God can do and might do through him… It’s usually here that we get an insider’s look (almost from the back door) into what drives Paul or makes him tick… What frames and shapes his ministry?

Here at the end of Romans, we have a personal insight into the relationships that mean a great deal in his life and ministry.

That’s what we desperately need to hear here at CDPC Puchong on our 5th anniversary.

And there’s a reason for this: All of us gathered here as God’s people this morning are gifted to serve and minister in some capacity as Christ calls us to. It’s hard to get rid of the old idea that pastors/elders are the ones actively doing ministry and the members are the ones receiving the ministry. But that’s not the model that the Bible expresses. The biblical model is for leaders to equip all of God’s people for the works of ministry. The various gifts and abilities Christ has blessed us with are not without purpose: they are meant for something, to make disciples and grow the Body of Christ.

If all of us are doing ministry, then do you know what we need? We need someone like Paul to sit down with us and help shape our ministry and grow our spiritual friendships.

So we are invited this morning to catch a glimpse of Paul’s life, relationships and ministry aspirations and see what we can learn for our own lives, to apply to our own relationships as a church and our ministry aspirations. We are invited this morning to hear him saying to us: “Follow me as I follow Christ”.

That means we need to read Romans not only for its theology. We need to read it for the autobiography as well. We have already read it for the profound truths of the gospel.  Now we need to read it for the life examples, for the personal stories, for the meaningful friendships that grow out of the gospel.

So, what are the relationships that mark and shape a fruitful and healthy ministry team? What kind of friendships grow on fields nourished by the gospel of grace?

In chapter 15, we know that Paul has big plans to preach the gospel in places where Christ is not named. He has a macro-strategy to launch out from Rome and plant churches in cities where no one has gone before. He is like a general who can’t sit still, always restless with the world map laid out before him. He has a huge vision of gospel ministry. Next stop: Spain.  

But here in Chapter 16, we see Paul sending warm greetings to his dear friends in the Lord. He affectionately calls them his fellow workers in Christ. They are his family - notice how he calls these people: sister, brother, household, kinsmen, fellow prisoners, beloved, mother to me. And this is even more remarkable considering the fact that Paul has never been to Rome. Somebody else planted this church. But from these greetings, we get an insider’s look that actually he knew quite a lot of people here. And he knew them personally by name.

There’s a paradox here: Paul is not just a big picture kind of guy, he’s also a “people person” kind of guy. He has a global vision for mission yet he knows that you need to get involved in the personal lives of people in order for ministry to really work. He thinks global, but he acts local. He can see the forest and the trees at the same time.

And that is so rare but that is the mark of a healthy ministry. You need to commit yourself, invest time and energy in people. You dive into the messy details of each other’s lives. Gospel ministry is always enacted in the personal stories of people.  

It is not like signing up for a pyramid scheme. It is not about just downloading accurate information from a podcast. Gospel ministry is profoundly relational. Although it can be very inconvenient, our Lord Jesus did make a personal appearance and dwelt among us. He didn’t just Skype us from heaven.  

So relationships are not just the tools, not just the platform by which you get the real work of ministry done. Spiritual friendships are at the very heart of what ministry is all about.

You think fondly of your “dear friend in the Lord” (verse 7). You write long letters (or emails) to them when you are apart. You miss them. You remember what they have done for you. Look at verse 4: “Priscilla and Aquila: They risked their necks for me.”

And you show your affection to them. In those days and even today in the Middle East, you do that with a kiss (look at verse 16). In our Malaysian context, you might do that with a holy handshake. Never underestimate the significance of greeting each other with a smile and handshake.

Think for a moment  about the relationships you have formed in this church. For some of us, we are just getting to know people. Maybe for the first time, in fact... For others, we have probably known each other for many years. Maybe we have been coming to the same place for worship every Sunday for the past 5 years or perhaps even longer if you came from CDPC Subang. Maybe some of us have known each other for 10 years +.

Whether it is one month or one year or five years or more, when you look back on all the relationships you have built in and through this church, what do you find? What is significant? What is memorable? What is precious and meaningful?

I hope that when I look back, I don’t recall nothing but the quality of donuts, nasi lemak and coffee we shared (though that’s important). I hope it’s not the case that I don’t even know the names of my brothers and sisters whom I have met week in week out for 10 years. And it can easily happen if we don’t think about these things. I certainly hope that our relationships go deeper than “Hi and bye!”

Looking back on these years, I can be grateful for when Grace was hospitalized for high blood pressure, members of the church came and prayed for her. I hope I can recall having meaningful conversations and prayers over meals at each others’ homes. I can think back and remember all the ups and downs we share (especially the ministry leaders) as we stand shoulder to shoulder in laboring for God and His people. Yes, I wanna look back and remember the delicious food that many have prepared for Kopitiam too… but I see beyond the great food to the meticulous love that it represents.

Who can say what will happen to CDPC Puchong in another 5 years or 10 years?

But what I do hope is when we do look back at our relationships, we can say this together:

We are fellow workers in the gospel. We are not just friends, but friends in Christ.
You have been a sister to me. You are an elder brother to me. A mother to me.

That’s the first thing we see: Ministry is relational because God is interested in people.

He is working through his word and by his spirit to adopt sons and daughters into His family.

2) The second thing we need to realize from Paul’s greetings is this: Ministry is about doing things as a community, as a team.

If you remember, Paul is a trained and certified scholar from the Ivy League of his day. He studied law and theology from the best teachers. He can go toe to toe with the best philosophers out there. On top of that, he is authorized as an apostle of Christ. He heals the sick, casts out demons, performs signs and wonders in the name of Jesus. If anyone can pull off ministry all by himself, it’s got to be Paul.

But you can see here that Paul is not a one-man show. He’s not a lone ranger. He serves alongside a great company of friends and “fellow workers” in the Lord.

Who are these people? We begin with a sister Phoebe who was a deaconess of the church. Paul commended her to the church in Rome, asking them to receive her “in the Lord” in a way worthy of His people. Why? For she has been a benefactor, a patron to many people including Paul himself. She may have been a wealthy lady who supported the ministry.  

Then we find a husband and wife teaching team in Priscilla and Aquila. They worked as tent makers and servants of the gospel together with Paul in Ephesus. They even instructed Apollos a well known teacher in the early church (Acts 18).

There is possibility of another man and woman team in Andronicus and Junia, who had suffered alongside Paul in prison. We can’t be 100% sure whether the name Junia was male or female though. And the text could either be understood as “they were esteemed outstanding by the apostles” or “they were outstanding amongst the apostles”. In any case, if the second meaning is correct, that probably means that they were outstanding frontier missionaries or church planters in the early church.

We also see a number of women that Paul singled out for praise. He thinks highly of these hard workers in service of the Lord: Mary (v6), Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis (in verse 12). Far from being a male chauvinist, Paul’s ministry team is actually very gender inclusive. That’s quite counter cultural in a male-dominated society.

Apart from gender, we can see that the Roman church is also racially inclusive. Paul mentioned some of the names as fellow Jewish Christians (see verse 7 and 11). And many others on his list were Gentile Christians. That’s why the church in Rome had to deal with the issue of eating ‘halal’ food, observing festivals and things like that.

Last but not least, you notice in verse 5, 14 and 15 that there are groups of people that meet in different homes. Greet so-and-so and the saints who were with them. Greet so and so and the church that meets at their house. So the church in Rome was really several churches that meet in various homes. See verse 23: Paul himself was enjoying the hospitality of Gaius who opened up his home not only for him, but the whole church.

Do you see a beautiful picture of saints working in networks, in partnerships, in collaboration? This list of seemingly mundane greetings actually give us a clue into what makes Paul’s ministry tick: He works in diverse, inclusive teams. He journeys with the fellowship of the King.   

What can we learn from that?

From Day 1 (March 21, 2010), CDPC Puchong is a collaboration of males and females of different ethnicities centered on Christ.

Like the Roman church, we can be thankful for all the women here who work very hard in the Lord – you know who you are, behind the scenes, teaching the children, decorating the church premises, running the library, English program or cleaning up after kopitiam. I can easily identify a dozen ladies who invested the lion’s share of creativity, energy, time and passion in these areas. But I’ve also learnt the ladies here prefer to remain low key: in fact I’d get scolded if I single them out for praise. Because they would say: Why didn’t you also mention so-and-so? If you mention me, you should mention everybody-lar. Anyway, ladies… we know who you are and thank you for your labor of love.  

Like the Roman church, CDPC Puchong has a great opportunity to be welcoming so that Malaysians of all ethnic groups can worship and work together with brothers and sisters from Egypt, Korea, Indonesia, the United States and beyond. We work at being racially inclusive and gender inclusive because of the gospel. There are practical reasons for that but fundamentally, the reason is theological.

In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentiles. In Christ, there is neither bumiputra or non-bumiputra. By our love, by serving and suffering together, we show what it means to be the only community in the world in which Christ has broken down all dividing walls.

We can also be thankful for risk-taking patrons, benefactors and partners who contributed generously to the founding of this church and the children’s library.

Let’s consider how doing ministry as a community looks like. Our priorities in CDPC are: Reach out, making disciples, growing leaders who in turn make disciples. I was like Frodo: I know I must be on this mission, to go to Mordor, but I don’t know the way. And this husband and wife team was among the first to say to me: We will help you! We believe in this vision.

They have been such an encouragement to many young disciples, reaching out to students. We would put a high level idea on the board, and every one just jumps on it, adds to it or subtracts from it. And the final result ends up so beautiful that none of us working alone would have done it.

Sure, we don’t always see eye to eye on all issues but we share a common vision to see gospel growth in people. We have come to trust in their wisdom, commitment and love for the church. So we are free to speak openly and frankly to sharpen each other or give push backs or fine tune our decisions.  It’s so beautiful. If you are available, come and sit in and observe one of these meetings. I often leave afterwards feeling so energized and hopeful because we reflect and act in community.

So a special thank you, Tom and Janet. You are our very own version of “Priscilla and Aquila”.

On behalf of all the ministry leaders, I want to say to this: We can’t do this alone. We need help to build this community. We need you in the game. Come talk to me. Talk to any of the leaders – “David, I may not be the best player, but I want to be in the game. Where can I plug in?”

If you think greetings and name lists at the end of Paul’s letters are boring, think twice. They actually reveal lots about what matters most in his ministry, about the character of the church that speaks powerfully to our own ministry, and the ethos of our church today. We need to follow him as he follows Christ as we celebrate the 5th anniversary of CDPC Puchong.

Let us pray.