Dearest Church Family,
The life of Christ is bookended by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Right at the start of Jesus’ life he was met with the impossible: how on earth could a virgin give birth? And every step of Jesus’ life and ministry he met with overwhelming situations no mere human could ever handle. How could a human being feed 500 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish? Who could ever walk on water? Even to the last moments of his earthly life, Jesus had to face the ultimate impasse: how could a man rise from the dead? Yet, Jesus overcame each and every difficulty. Why? Because he was no mere human being and it was God who raised him from the dead (Acts 10:40).
If our Master had to face impossible tasks, how could we as his followers be spared? As a church this year, we had our share of difficulties. But Christmas reminds us that if God can open a virgin’s womb, he can also open doors for us and he will continue to open doors for us. So, during this Christmas time I want to take time to give thanks for opening doors for us this year:
First, I thank God for opening for us the door into the greater mysteries of His Word. Through the faithful prayers and vision of our deacons’ board, we believe that in order for ABC to impact to our community we need first to be revolutionized first by God through a deeper knowledge of His Word. In the Spring of this year, we started our first ever teaching seminar where we try to grapple with the essential questions of our Faith such as, who is God? What is salvation? Is the Bible true? Can we become a Christian without attending church? Later on, in the Fall we had our Winter Retreat where we familiarize ourselves again with the marvellous story of the Bible from creation to the New Testament. And in a groundbreaking move, we examined in detail the Second Coming of Christ. As a follow-up to introducing such essentials truths, we also began a brand new small group called “New Life in Christ” (led by Pastor John Keidann and Margaret Anderson) to keep the conversation going for those who are intrigued and would like to know about the Christian faith.
Second, I thank God for opening for us the door to reach the community. This Spring the deacons’ board made the decision that before we can reach out to our community, we need first to serve them. So, our Community Appreciation Day was a glorious day where we serve our neighbours with food, fun games, and friendly smiles. Over the summer, thanks to the help of Marilyn Kimberley & Chris Liew, we tried to befriend our community by offering free movies both in church and in Chris’ home. Most enjoyable though were the walks many of us took to distribute flyers and Daily Bread to our neighbours. Also, this year we have partnered with Scott Mission, Smaritian’s Purse Shoebox Ministry and Agincourt Community Services in helping the needy and the poor. Over the course of the year, we have also heard, participated and gave to numerous organizations that visited our church including South Asian Welcome Centre, Pregancy Care Centre, MoveIn Ministries, Yonge St. Mission, CBM, Canadian Leprosy Ministries and so forth. Further, our Vacation Bible School, youth groups, KWK, TWIG, college & careers, small groups and our Knitting Club are constantly growing and ministering to more and more people.
Third, I thank God for opening for us the door of unity within the church. One of the most powerful metaphors of the church used by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 10 is the body. A body can only function if its members work together as a team. As a team, there will be more burden sharing, transparency and accountability. When we lost our charitable status, the deacons realized that only teamwork can get us through. Thus, a finance committee was formed to look at our church’s budget and charitable status. Further, a larger and stronger Stewardship Committee will be formed next year that will continue to not only look at our budget but we will actively look for ways to increase our givings.
Fourth, I thank God in advance for future doors he will open for us next year. Next year, by God’s grace, we will be working to reach out to more college and young career people. In anticipation for this, the board of deacons has even created the position of “Deacon for Young Adults” to help spearhead this ministry. Further, we are currently also working with CBOQ on ways we can improve and heal our internal church relations so that we can be more united to serve Christ. So, my friends, please bear with us as good things are in store. I can also anticipate us formalizing a visitation and a socials committee. And we will also be partnering with other churches in our neighbourhood for evangelistic and revival activities that will cause a storm here in Agincourt.
Most importantly, pray…. We are reminded of the words of our Master who tells us that “these things can only be accomplished by fasting and prayer” (Mark 9:29). Pray and fast individually, but also join us in prayer through our small groups, Saturday prayer groups and our special prayer meetings. As God could open a virgin’s womb that first Christmas, this God has not changed; may he continue to open doors of impossibility for ABC.
Soli deo gloria,
Pastor Timothy Yap