7/12/2020 Understanding the Times (了解時代)
Updated: Jul 11, 2020
by Port Wilburn, Director of Missions (威爾本牧師, 三藩市半島浸聯會宣教主任)
While we have all just completed one of the most challenging 100 days in recent memory, I believe it would be fair to say that the next 100 may be even more difficult than the previous. I think that it goes without saying that the issues we have been encountering for the past 100 days will be the same ones we must face in the next 100, and most likely, well beyond. Whether we want to or not, whether it is fair or not, we must all deal with the consequences of what is occurring on our watch. Not only are we facing spikes in Corona virus cases and more aggressive health order mandates, but we must also deal with the civil unrest that is the byproduct of hate, racism, and oppression. If that were not enough to deal with, we must also attempt to navigate through all the subjects that are dividing and polarizing relationships, people, families, friends, churches, communities, nations, and humanity itself.
The Corona virus, shelter in place, face masks, conspiracy theories, hate, racism, oppression, riots, looting, peace, justice, police brutality, government over-reach, politicizing of issues, agenda hijacking, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the media’s sensationalizing of everything that is going on, seems to be at the forefront of just about everyone’s minds and everyone’s conversations these days. In light of these things, our guidance as pastors and leaders is essential. It is for a time such as this, that we have been called to ministry but even more importantly, this is a time when we must really devote ourselves to discerning the voice of our Lord and Master. Let us conduct ourselves in a way that demonstrates leadership and integrity, so that we can advance the mission of Jesus Christ in our relationships, homes, churches, and communities.
Let us prove ourselves faithful to the Lord, even though we do not have all or even any of the answers, yet. Let us not ignorantly return to the time of Judges where there was no king, and where everyone simply did what was right in their own eyes. The time of the Judges was a time of apathy and apostasy. That was a time that occurred so long ago and yet it does not seem so different than today, even though the King of Kings has already been made manifest. Perhaps this is why many of us are feeling frustrated, discouraged, angry, or overwhelmed by these times. But no matter how we may feel, please don’t ever forget that you are a follower before you are ever a leader. It is your main responsibility as a follower of Jesus Christ to cling desperately to our Heavenly Father’s hand, so we can walk side by side with Him, as He leads us to not only survive this tumultuous time but to even thrive in spite of it!
No matter what tomorrow brings, there are certain facts that remain true. (1) The Lord of Lords is still on the throne and He remains sovereign. (2) The Good News of Jesus Christ is still the greatest and the most necessary message for all of humanity. (3) Prayer can change people and circumstances. (4) God has called you for such a time as this. (5) The unity of the Church is still to be its greatest testimony. (6) The only permanent answer, cure, and hope for all that plagues humanity is the Lord. (7) There is no greater time to witness to our neighbors about the life, hope, redemption, and freedom that only Jesus Christ offers.
Stay strong in the Lord my brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord willing, all of these things will work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.
儘管我們剛剛完成了最近記憶中最具挑戰性的100 天，但我相信可以公平地說，下一個100 天可能比前一個更加困難。 過去100 天我們一直遇到的問題將與我們在接下來的100 天中面對的問題相同，而且很可能遠遠超過。 無論我們是否想要，無論是否公平，我們都必須處理注視正在發生的後果。 我們不僅面臨著冠狀病毒確診激增和更具強而有力的衛生命令，而且還必須應對仇恨，種族主義和壓迫產生的內亂。 如果那還不夠，我們還必須嘗試應對所有的關係，人種，家庭，朋友，教會，社區，國家和人類本身之間建立和分化的主題。
冠狀病毒，居家隔離，口罩，陰謀論，仇恨，種族主義，壓迫，暴動，搶劫，和平，正義，警察暴行，政府過度干預，問題政治化，議程劫持，“黑人生命寶貴”運動，以及 媒體對所有正在發生的事情的轟動似乎都擺在每個人的思想和對話的最前線。 有鑑於此，我們作為牧師和領袖的指導至關重要。 正是在這樣的時候，我們才被要求執行基督的使命，但更重要的是；在這個時候，我們必須真正致力於辨別我們的主和主人的聲音。讓我們的領導能力和處事方式，能夠在我們的人際關係，家庭，教會和社區中彰顯出耶穌基督的使命。
讓我們證明自己對上帝的忠心，即使我們還沒有全部或甚至沒有答案。讓我們不要無知地回到士師當政沒有王的時代，每個人只是簡單地做自己認為正確的事情。士師的時代是模稜兩可和放棄上帝的時期。 那是一個很久以前發生的時代，但即使今天已經顯示了萬王之王，也似乎與今天沒有太大不同。 也許這就是為什麼我們很多人在這些時候感到沮喪，灰心，生氣或不知所措。 但是，無論我們感覺如何，在成為領導者之前，請永遠不要忘記自己也是跟隨者。 作為耶穌基督的跟隨者，您的主要責任是拼命地緊握我們天父的手，這樣我們才能與祂並肩同行，因為祂不僅會帶領我們渡過這個動蕩的時期，而且也能有豐盛的發展！
無論明天會怎樣，都有某些事情仍然是對的。 （1）萬主之主仍在居首位，掌王權。 （2）耶穌基督的好消息仍然是全人類最大，最需要的信息。 （3）禱告可以改變人和環境。 （4）上帝的呼召是為了現今的情況。 （5）教會的團結仍是最大的見證。 （6）對所有困擾的人唯一永久性的解決，治療和希望就是主耶穌基督。 （7）沒有比現在更好的時間向我們的鄰居作見證，只有耶穌基督才能提供生活，希望，救贖和自由。
我的主內弟兄姊妹們在基督裡要剛強。 願主保守，萬事都互相效力、叫愛 神的人得益處、就是按祂旨意被召的人。(羅馬書 8:28)