Graceland 2018-04-15

“But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of … is a land of the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it… (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

Download Full Version in PDF

Words from the Editor:

Dear brothers and sisters:

Jesus commanded the disciples before he ascended to heaven, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Being Christians, how can we respond to Jesus’ command? Hopefully, the testimonies from our brothers and sisters motivates us to witness more in our community!

 

Christian Witness

in Our Community

 

An Interview with a Missionary

By Lilly Liou and Vivian Chiu

 

It was indeed a very wonderful opportunity to meet with a missionary from Middle East (since 1992 AD) and conduct the following interview.

 

1: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRISTIAN AND ISLAMIC RELIGIONS?

 

Basically, Islam is a Christian cult. They believe in one god, Abraham, the Bible, and even Jesus. Just like the other cults, such as Jehovah Witness, they believe in Jesus. However, they take out the most important thing – they believe Jesus is only a prophet, Jesus never died on the cross. And they also believe in salvation by works – to go to heaven, you have to do this, this and this.

 

  1. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MUSLIM, PEOPLE SAID IT’S EASIER FOR CHINESE OR ASIANS TO REACH OUT. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS?

 

That is very true. Actually, the Muslims have what I call favorable outlook or perspective toward the East Asians, like Chinese, Korean or Japanese. The reason why is that since the beginning of Islam, about 1,400 years ago, when Mohammad formed Islam, the Muslims have been at war with the Christian European. The fiercest of this history was the Crusades for 200 years (1099-1299 AD). That battlefield is today’s Palestine and Israel. Muslims are still hostile to most Europeans today.

 

However, East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) are not considered Christian countries. They tend to see us as Buddhists. Because of that, when East Asian people come and share gospel with the Muslims, they don’t expect the Chinese people to talk about Jesus.

 

  1. WHAT ARE THE DOS & DON’TS IN APPROACHING THEM? LIKE AT SCHOOL? AT WORK?

 

The foremost I believe is what I call “showing love.” Because the Muslims treat Christian as enemy. When you look at that you need to remove this barrier between Muslims and us. To do that, you show that we, Christians, are not their enemies. To demonstrate you do not hate them and you love them.

 

Second, do not engage in a theological debate. You have to remember. For us to become a Christian, we have to change our belief. For Muslims, theology is not what defines them to be a Muslim – it’s because their parents and grandparents are Muslim. Due to this historical link, they become Muslim. Try to demonstrate Christianity not from theology but from your life. Such as: I love you because I love Jesus and I pray to Jesus. Use personal stories and testimony to share with them how Jesus influence your life. That is more powerful than theology.

 

Third, be careful the words you use. For example, Jesus is the Son of God. For Muslim, the phrase Son of God means God slept with Mary then Mary became pregnant. You should avoid these words. It offends to them. It offends us too. I use Jesus is Son of the cross.

 

  1. THEN, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH THEM, TO PEAK THEIR INTEREST?

 

My suggestion is to invite their Muslim friends to come to church or birthday party and to be a friend to them. The Muslims tend to keep themselves separated in society. For example, Muslim parents would not allow their kids to be involved in Christian activities. As a result, Muslim kids tend to be isolated and separated. Muslim women concerned about their kids’ education, cooking and supporting the family. Usually they don’t work. Fathers aren’t as concerned about the family. We need to build up the relationship they can trust.

 

I found out that sharing the gospel with the Muslims is easier than with people in the US where there is freedom. The reason is because Islam controls all aspects of their life. There is no salvation. Quran tells you what to eat and what to do. It’s all governed by Islamic theology and teaching. When you engage with the Muslims, you talk about religion. For them, talking about religion is like talking about the weather and sports in the US because all your life is governed by Islam. For example, when they ask what I do on Sunday. I go to church on Sunday. When we talk about prayer, I can show how Christians pray. They are interested in religion, but not in liberty. To Muslim, being liberal is related to drinking alcohol.

 

  1. WITH THE INCREASING NUMBERS OF TERRORIST ATTACK BY ISIS, IS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO APPROACH MUSLIMS?

 

Terrorism is a very small minority in Muslim. Most people are against what they do. The majority even think they are not Islam. Terrorist has the same root with Muslim. The theological base on Islamic teaching. Islamic fundamentalists do bad things but they cannot find justification in the Quran. Although the majority of Muslims are against the fundamentalists, they cannot condemn the fundamentalists as working against Quran’s teaching. The majority of Muslims are normal people just like us. They want to love each other. When you share gospel with them, they are easy to approach. They understand Christianity is good.

 

In Islamic teaching, they must establish pure Muslim community and be governed by Islam. This is one of the principal beliefs of all Muslim and what gives fundamentalists the basis to massacre others. In Muslim community if a Muslim become a Christian, he will be killed by family and community. This reality is across from Indonesia all the way to Morocco. In order to preserve Muslim community, when a Muslim become a Christian or someone else he would be treated as someone who has betrayed the whole community. ◆

*************************************************************

 

Support Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

 

Jessie Wu, Main Campus

 

In summer 2011, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which currently has no medical cure. It results in the deterioration of the nerve system and decreasing mobility.

 

During the past seven years, my health, my emotion and my soul were ups and downs like a roller coaster. I truly experienced the meaning of “I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds tomorrow.”

 

Muscle stiffness is a common symptom of Parkinson’s Disease. Routine exercise is considered effective to slow down the degeneration process. Continuous long-term exercise is especially hard for Parkinson’s patients. The muscle stiffness prevents patients from accomplishing the rehabilitation needs. It requires a large amount of will power and constant encouragement. In general, one patient’s failure rate is much bigger than the patient with support group.

 

More than three years ago, I started a support group with few other patients using the exercise program designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients. We routinely gather together at someone’s house. We exercise, encourage each other, enjoy meal together and share with each other about the experience on the diseases. This difficult task of exercise becomes a bearable event, and we are even looking forward to each gathering.

 

The patients come from different background, races and timeline of the illness. Besides getting benefits from doing exercise, we have become good friends. We face the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease together, understand each other’s situation, and we share the medical information, the stumbling block, the new development and breakthrough of the disease. During the time, we laughed together, we cried together for the loss of our friend. We struggled with the exercise, but we experienced the joy of finishing the task. We treasured our time together, learned how to face difficulty with a positive attitude, and accepted this challenging stage of our life.

 

Through this service, my wife and I have learned how to serve the other patients with love. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) Praise the Lord! Because of this difficult time from Parkinson’s disease, I become a blessing to others as well as myself. ◆

 

Sorrento Valley Career Fellowship Testimony — Bring Kingdom of Heaven to Workplace

MingXi Fan, Central Campus

As Christians working in businesses, in a given week, we spend more than 40% of our time at work and less than 7% of our time at church and small group. In other words, our potential impact on others is far greater in the workplace than in church or small group. This is why career ministry is critical and why we are thankful to be a part of the Plan of God on this service.

The Sorrento Valley Career Fellowship officially started in 2012, after Pastor Donald Liu’s (from our CBC Central Campus) conversation with CBC Senior Pastor, Albert Lam, who had a similar response in prayer, called brother Liang Zhang and I to investigate its feasibility.  Very soon we learned while there had been several attempts in previous years, the main challenge was to secure a stable meeting place as well as have a sustainable team of leadership who could speak in helpful and meaningful ways so that people would take time from their busy schedules to attend. Through the sustained prayers and guidance of our pastors, both obstacles were overcome. First, our Lord brought Hallelujah Bookstore and Grace Chinese School to Sorrento Valley area, and Pastor Grace who ministered the facility back then generously provided a meeting place for us once a week at noon time. God had even more abundant provisions in store. We are so thankful that we were introduced to two very key senior leaders, brother George Chu who had the extensive career leadership and to brother John Wang who had extensive spiritual journey walking with the Lord in career ministry. Brother George also brought in brother Franky Lee who is an elder from Harvest Evangelical Chinese Church with strong spiritual maturity and extensive career leadership experience.  Upon the calling of our Lord, we were able to get together a core team with God-gifted and complementary experiences and strengths from many different churches in San Diego who happen to work in this area, as well as finding a place to meet within two weeks and immediately commenced the fellowship all because of His grace.

From early 2012 to today, our career fellowship is heading into the seventh year, meeting one hour every week, except holidays.  Through the process, we discover the power of our Lord is always leading us through growth and associated struggles in different stages. A challenge we had to overcome each year, or rather, each quarter, was the choice of topics for fellowship discussion.  Because our fellowship meets for only one hour every week, with wise guidance from brother George, we agreed that the fellowship should not be another extended Bible study with worship. Instead, the topic must offer immediate practical usefulness to Chinese professionals while also leading people closer to Christ, believer or not.  In addition, the weekly gathering must offer a balance of expert lecture and group participation, to provide a sense of ownership in addition to useful topics. Through many different experiments, we are thankful that a general arrangement of topic planning seemed to work well. At the beginning of the year we would have new year resolution sharing, and throughout the year we would also develop career skill practices including presentations. One to two times a year a large-scale workshop or career event would be held as out reaching event to help more professional colleagues to know about the fellowship and to participate.

Over the years, our fellowship has experienced ups and downs. Many, including key discussion leaders, have left due to job or family related reasons. But we are also excited to have new members join our community and step up to contribute and share experiences. The one thing that has been consistent is the Lord’s presence as we have witnessed changes in our lives. We are extremely thankful for His amazing grace to have such passionate and experienced leader as brothers George and Franky to be advising our group through all these years, from whom many of our members learned highly valuable practices and insights.  We are also very thankful for Lord to bring brother John Wang as an amazing and loving spiritual mentor at the start of our fellowship, and then we were sad to see him go to be with the Lord two years ago. Amazingly, after that, our Lord brought another spiritual mentor, brother Vincent Shen from Harvest Evangelical Church, which has been a great comfort for many. We are also grateful that over the years, now we have a diverse group of brothers and sisters serving as the core group of the fellowship, from big corporations to startups and from high-tech to practical businesses.  The core group worked together in the body of Christ to coordinate and organize discussion topics with guidance from our elder brothers George, Frank and Vincent. Through the fellowship, we are thankful to see the Lord changing the professional and personal lives of many:  building positive relationships with manager/directors, discovering a unique career path, seeing a fundamental change family, work, and service dynamics, and also lives coming to Christ with the fellowship as a step stone to church attendance. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness, as this is all His Work, and we are grateful to be a part of it.

Last but not the least, the best witness to the impact of fellowship is through the testimony of our brothers and sisters in the fellowship.  Here are a few selected ones:

Yan He

Praise God for bringing brother George Chu and Mingxi, allowing us to start the Sorrento Valley Career Fellowship six years ago. In these past years, many qualified people have shared their precious career experience with us, not only helping the next generation grow but also showing us how God leads and blesses them. Through our discussions, we’ve learned how to expand our horizon to see the bigger picture and to use a win-win mindset to respond to issues in work and life. We’ve also learned that though they are very successful, they maintain a certain level of vulnerability; because of their faith in God, they are able to foster their strengths, work with weaknesses, and develop trust with others. These have been very influential to younger members of the group. Not only did I learn all this but I will put it into practice throughout life. I’m so thankful for this career fellowship, it has helped me to become light and salt in the workplace.

*                      *                      *

Enqiang Sun

The Sorrento Valley Career Fellowship is like an oasis in the middle of a desert, giving me a place of rest and peace amidst exhaustion, struggles, spiritual dryness, and fear. Through our leaders, I’ve come to realize the spiritual warfare that exists behind worldly conflicts. In light of this, I know that Jesus on the cross is the only rock that I can establish myself upon. Through mutual encouragement, comfort, and prayer, we renew our strength. Just as Deuteronomy 11:10-12a says “The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for.” May God help me to bear my yoke!

*                      *                      *

Jason Sun

The Sorrento Valley Career Fellowship has always been open to brothers, sisters, and friends – especially new comers. Our fellowship is biblically centered and focused on putting knowledge to practice. We encourage and equip those in workplaces to learn from each other, develop workplace integrity, and seek excellence – so that we may be light and salt. In the past few years, many brothers and sisters have been edified and seen improvements at work. Others have become small group leaders and attract other young people to come and serve.

Of course, the fellowship is not just for career training. We have discussions and seek to live out the love of Christ. The fellowship seeks to help those who need it – some who have just begun working and others who are job hunting – many of them have experienced the love of Christ. With sincerity and passion, we welcome each person. Christ says that whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. ◆