Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this beautiful snowy day, it seems like the landscape is made new, through a blanket of fluffy snow. In the coming days, the year will be made new, and covered with a coat of fluffy fur! Tomorrow is Chinese New Year’s Eve! Sunday we will say, Happy New Year! 2023 will be the year of the rabbit.
One of the traditions of Chinese New Year is handing out or receiving Hong Bao (Red Envelopes). When I first came to the church, I was told that these envelopes were given to those who were unmarried. So, I received one or two as a Seminarian. It was a pleasant surprise for me to find that they had money in them.
According to chinesenewyear.net/red-pockets/, red pockets or envelopes started to be given during the Han dynasty. They were given with collectible coins, for the purpose of warding off evil spirits. Other traditions related to these red envelopes are full of symbolism and meaning and involve seeking good fortune for the coming year.
The practice of giving a red envelope points to the greatest gift of all, God himself. God gave himself to his creation, in his presence in the Garden. After sin entered the world through the disobedience of our first parents, God provided them with a new covering, not to ward off evil spirits, but to ward off shame. God continued to give himself to his people – calling Abram out of Ur, to give him promises. He created a nation that was called to be a blessing. But that didn’t go well either, due to sin.
So God dealt with sin, by sending Jesus for us. Jesus came and died in our place. He shed his blood, since it is impossible for the blood of goats and bulls to take away sins. He gave his life for us and rose again from the dead. He gives us the greatest gift – namely himself, in the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. God continues to bless us through his care and provision, so that we may be a blessing to others. But the greatest blessing of all is for men and women and children to know, love, and live for our great God, who gives us Himself. As he covers us with his righteousness, he covers over our shame, and exalts us to be part of his family, extending his honor to us.
May the giving and receiving of Hong Bao this Chinese New Year remind you of the giving of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, not only that we may receive blessings, but so that we may be a blessing and God may be glorified, who alone is worthy of honor, who has removed our shame through Christ.
Also, please continue to pray for the nation of Ukraine. Here is a suggested list of prayers if you are at a loss for words in how to pray: https://send.org/story/hh_pray_for_ukraine. Thank you for kneeling on behalf of the people of Ukraine and Russia, and taking a stand (or a knee in prayer) against the forces of darkness in this present age.
This Week (Jan. 20 – Jan. 26, 2023):
1. Tonight, Jan. 20, 2022, the Living Stones Friday Night Bible Study is meeting from 7:30-9:30 to study about Love in the Place of Fear. You can read Romans 1 John 3:13-18; 4:14-18 in preparation for this time of fellowship and study. Join in person in Room A-216 (though be careful about hazardous roads due to the drop in temperature tonight) or online via the following link:
Meeting ID: 685 376 249
Join by phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
2. The Living Stones Sunday School, Grace Ambassadors, and Empower Sunday School classes are meeting on Jan. 22.
a. The Grace Ambassadors (Young Adults) will be meeting at 9:45 am (in-person in Room A-202)! We will be taking time to discuss the next chapter in Keller’s book “Prayer.” More info is found on the YAs Messenger Chat. For further info, contact Liu Jiang.
b. “Understanding the Old Testament” Sunday School is this Sunday at 9:45 in-person (Room A-216) and online via the following link:
Meeting ID: 491 248 585
Join by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
3. This Sunday, Jan. 22, 2022, at 11:25 am, Minister Jeremy MacDonald will be preaching. Pray for him! Join us for worship at CBCGL! You can also watch the live stream if you wish.
a. Text: John 13:33-35
b. Title: Embodying the Kingdom of God
c. Live stream via Youtube: https://www.cbcgl.org/live-stream/
4. Each Wednesday, such as this week (Jan. 25th) at 7:45 pm, you are invited, encouraged, and requested to join our weekly prayer meeting. We’ll spend time praying for our missionaries as well as praying for CrossPoint Community. The link is found below in the section on prayer.
Administration / Events
1. On January 29th, CBCGL will celebrate its 34th Anniversary (which is Jan. 21). We will have cake cutting & a prayer on Sunday, January 29th at 12:45PM in the main cafeteria. So come and enjoy some delicious cake to celebrate our church’s anniversary!
2. CBCGL’s COVID-19 guidance has been updated. We still are following CDC guidance for travel and participation in activities following travel or exposure to a positive case. We are also tracking community spread. If we are in a high risk of community spread, we recommend mask wearing to church activities.
a. Please note, you are recommended, but not required to wear facemasks to church.
3. Sunday Lunch Service began again at CBCGL on Jan. 8th with $5 lunchboxes! To place an order, please use the following link: https://tinyurl.com/252v4yvf Orders need to be placed by Friday at 11 pm so that the kitchen can prepare the correct amount of food. Note: The selection which states “Number of Meals” refers to the cooked food/lunch box/Chinese food option.
4. We have a missions update! This week, we have an update from J and J who are serving in Southeast Asia. They are working on discipleship training and establishing groups of individuals who can lead discipleship trainings across different countries. They also have praises! Please check the missions tab in our bulletin to read through these reports and learn how you can support our missionaries.
5. All other announcements can be found here (in our CrossPoint Community bulletin).
1. If we ever become done with prayer, we will find ourselves fit for heaven or for hell. Truly, our time in prayer shows what we think about God! Do you see your need of Him? Or are you trying to live this life without / apart from Him? Please join our Wednesday night prayer meeting (7:45 – 9:15 pm) even if you can’t participate the whole time.
Meeting ID: 758 587 937
Join by phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
2. Here is our list of prayer and service requests. The service request tab is for brothers and sisters to ask for assistance or announce any give-away items. It is an attempt from CPC to reach out and take care of those in need among us. You may also enter yours via the provided link:
You can also do so via the following link: https://www.cbcgl.org/pray/
In Christ, your servant, SDG,
Rev. Dr. Nathan Willems
Associate Pastor of CrossPoint Community – A Ministry of CBCGL