Dear EM family,
I pray that this email finds you well.
Like Min. Katherine, I also wish you “Shanah Tovah” or “Happy Rosh Hashanah!”
The repetitiveness of seasons and holidays always give me gratitude for God’s forgiveness and mercy. God’s steadfast love allows us to fall and stand up again.
God’s mercies never come to an end; great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Suppose you haven’t read the letter from minister Katherine. I am reposting here for your convenience:
Dear Beloved CBCGL Family,
I wish you all a Happy New Year! Now most of you may be thinking, “Happy New Year? It’s September, not January.” You would be correct if you were thinking of the New Year we celebrate from December 31 to January 1. So perhaps, I should say it like this: “Happy Rosh Hashanah!”
From sundown this Friday (9/18) to Sunday evening (9/20), we celebrate Rosh Hashanah. This is, what we Christians understand it to be, the festival of trumpets (Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1-6) and it is a part of our Christian heritage. The festivals, or holy days, that God commanded the Israelites to follow are a part of our inheritance as believers of Jesus.
So, what is Rosh Hashanah? We understand it as the Jewish “New Year.” But Rosh Hashanah, as Curt Landry puts it, “reminds us of the preparation needed to succeed in the year ahead and to transition into all God has for us. The focus on God is key, because God is at the heart of all biblically founded holidays.”1
According to the Bible, this day is a day of complete rest, commemoration—repenting and remembering, cleansing ourselves to enter into the new season in step with God—and joyful shouting, including the blasting of trumpets (shofar).2 Why trumpets and joyful shouting in particular? Because the Festival of the Trumpets is about heralding God’s presence and joy! It’s about celebrating what He has done for the past year and proclaiming His presence and joy for the new. It’s about anticipating and, perhaps even prophesying, what He will do in the new. It is remembering God’s breath and presence within us and the joy of creation.
God uses this festival to shift us into new seasons, to recalibrate us to what He is doing in these times. Unlike the secular New Year, “Rosh Hashanah is not filled with empty promises or covenants. It serves as preparation for a deeper relationship with God, as well as restoration of covenants needed to answer God’s call for our lives.”3 As such, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as “the head of the year” because the head is where our minds, eyes, ears, and mouths are located. The head is where we make decisions and where we are filled, depending on what we allow, with either good or bad things. 4 With the decisions and choices we make, the head can also direct where we go.
As such, we need to put on the yoke of Christ. In Matthew 11:25-30, Jesus says that He reveals the Father to those He desires to. He also calls us to take up His yoke and to learn from Him. Merriam-Webster has multiple definitions for a yoke, one of which defines a yoke as “a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together.”5 Commonly, a younger ox would be yoked to an older, more experienced ox in order to train the younger ox where to go and what to do. If Christ is in control of the yoke, where He turns our heads will direct where we walk, what we see and what we speak. We need to allow Jesus into our heads, and not just our hearts, so that we can only be led by Him into the places He desires. There is so much conflict and change going on all over the world. We are bombarded by information and news every second. We need to recalibrate ourselves and take up Christ’s yoke so that we can easily follow His narrow path into the new season. We need Him to help us not lose our way, or our heads, with everything that is going on.
This weekend, let us take the time for:
· Commemoration: Reflect and remember on what God has done in this past year.
o Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your heart and mind things that you need to repent of: unconfessed sins, things or people that you hold greater importance than God, unforgiveness, and bitterness.
o Ask the LORD for His comfort, healing and peace for anything you need healing from: grief, any form of loss, sickness, infirmity, offense, spiritual or emotional wounds.
· Recalibration: Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.
o These are times where it is easy to be led by whatever we are being bombarded with. Guard your time (with God and in general), guard what you read and what you allow into your life. Seek God and His wisdom as you make decisions and choices.
o Take the time to rest and recalibrate.
· Worship: Worship God for who He is. Give Him praise and thanksgiving for what He has done for you and your family this past year.
o Take the time to meditate on who God is: His character and His attributes.
o Write down the things you are thankful to God for.
o Write down prayers you have for the upcoming year.
o Write down promises and Scripture that will help you joyfully declare His presence, blessings and promises in the new season ahead.
Just as the Jewish people blow the shofar and shout onto God joyfully, take the time, dear brothers and sisters, to declare God’s blessings, His promises and His presence ahead of us, knowing that God is with us. You may be struggling with sickness, finding a job, mourning the loss of a loved one, wrestling with your faith considering what has been going on, or on the verge of making major life-changing decisions. You are not alone. God is with you and we are all with you. A new season is coming, and the LORD is doing a new thing; He is turning our mourning into dancing, our sorrow into joy, even though we may have not seen it yet with our physical eyes. It is time for us to take up the yoke of Christ and turn our heads, and our hearts, to Him. God has a plan and purpose for your life, for your family, for our church and for the communities and nations we live in. Are you ready and available for Him to use you to further His Kingdom and His purpose here on earth in this new season?
I pray in this new year, in this new season, God would fill you and your homes with His all-surpassing and all-encompassing peace, joy, health and love and His overwhelming presence and favor.
Blessings in Christ,
- Elder Jay & Simone Lam are starting the next chapter of their mission life in Toronto, Canada, on September 19 (tomorrow).
CM, EM, and MM organize a farewell drive-by caravan at 9:30 am, September 19, to say our farewell. If you are available to bid your farewell, please sign up here.
We will be forming a caravan at 23 Cameron Dr. and drive down in sequence to 88 Spindlewick Dr. and waive our goodbyes.
- You are cordially invited to attend the online ordination ceremony of Brother/Minister Guang Chen at Chinese for Christ Berkeley Church. If you have been here long enough, you may recognize him from the following photo.
After-Ceremony Zoom Chat link:
ZOOM MEETING ID: 842 1536 4615
Time: September 19, 2020 1 pm (EDT)
- Here is CBCGL English Ministry Sunday Service Reopen Survey. If you haven’t filled out the survey, please take the time to fill one out.
- Friday Night’s Bible Study will start a new book from Lifeway. You may dial in or login via your phone or personal computer:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 685 376 249
Dial-in from your phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 685 376 249
- This Sunday, Pastor Raymond Lee will be sharing God’s word with us:
- EM Sunday School
Topic: CBCGL EM Sunday Class “52 Major Stories of the Bible” (9:45 am – 11:00 am):
Join Zoom Meeting (Note the different link)
Meeting ID: 491 248 585
Dial-in from your phone: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 491 248 585
YAs Sunday School (via Microsoft Teams)
YAs Sunday School signup sheet:
- English Ministry will host Alpha Online starting on September 8 (Tuesday) from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Please invite your friends and family to experience the Alpha Online.
Signup for EM Alpha Online!
Contact: Marina Lam
Google voice phone: (201) 824-2922
- A new health waiver form has been posted online at http://bit.ly/cbcgl-covid19-waiver
You are required to fill out the latest form if you plan to participate in any activities at church.
- Deacon nomination is ongoing. Please go online to fill out any recommendation:
- All other announ