Another busy and tiring weekend. And the fact that I am still car-less makes it even more tired, as we have to travel around with our bus route 11.
Friday night some of the Bible study group leaders from MBF joined a 'Sus' group for missions in China, at SMBC in Croydon. Paul Douglas from Moore was running the meeting, and we had someone from Evergreen who spent a few years working/evangelising in Taiyuen explaining to us what they are about, and some of the missions they've been involved in. We also had Keith Lai from Moore sharing his plan in proclaiming the gospel to the Chinese, from his home base in Hong Kong. I also get to meet one guy from SMBC who is thinking of becoming a missionary to China in a few years of time. Very encouraging indeed, seeing so many people interested to bring the gospel to a land with one quarter of world population.
At the same time, there's always resistance in preaching the word of God. First of all, there's communist government, which still pressures on foreign entities when they get too involved with Christianity. As a foreigner, you still cannot just do cold turkey on the street, i.e. you cannot evangelise publicly. You can, however, respond and share your brief if someone asks, but these opportunities can be rare. I believe many missionaries can be quite frustrating as they wait for the opportunities.
Another hurdle will be the materialism, which has gradually replaced communism in the cities. In China, it can be very difficult for people to survive if they can't make them competitive. Imaging how many people you need to compete against in Shanghai for the same job. The influences from the western world also divert people's attention to the things of this world. Fast cars and shiny toys - these are what the young generation chases after. All these make the gospel message difficult to deliver to the Chinese.
So all the more we need to pray for the people, the missionary, the government, the society of China.
On the other hand, it makes the ministry in MBF crucial, as we are actually training a bunch of native Chinese Christians to go back to their home country. They collect less attention from the governments, they don't need to learn the language, and they know the culture well - much more effective than sending an Anglo from Australia, especially if he/she is trained well...
Saturday was okay. The long termers of FOCUS, i.e. those who refuse to leave after graduating from the university, meet up at the Suzuki's for BBQ. Mind you that we don't call these people "elders" or "deacons" in Unichurch, as most of us are still under 30 years old (I'm getting awfully close). Spending time with the 'grown ups' is great, where you get to talk about work and latest gadgets, instead of assignments and exams when you go out with students during the busy weeks of the session. And again, BBQ is overloaded with food that we cannot finish.
Weird thing that I've observed during this long termers' social, at least in my context, is that many news seem to be released or spreaded via their personal blogs. We were joking on Victor's car that entries on our blogs are like press releases, and anything prior to a PR is just rumours. For example, we only knew Claudine's pregnancy due to her announcement on the blog. And everyone seems to know that Vivian and I were looking around for properties - only because I blogged on the subject.
On Sunday we had the Unichurch Together event, where we tried to squeeze 370+ people into Physics Theatre. In the meeting we get to have a chance looking at how other congregations at University Churches UNSW have been doing. Joshua did a talk on Revelation 19:1-10, and then all of us are having Vietnamese roll for lunch afterwards at the lawn near the old main building.
Revelation 19 is about this pure joy Christians should have on the last day, because of the judgement of the prostitute from Revelation 17-18, i.e. the Babylon and what it symbolises, as well as the marriage of the Lamb, where a big banquet will be hosted in heaven. It might be odd thinking that Christians should rejoice at the down fall of the others, i.e. the judgement of the wicked, but that's the joy when we see God's glory finally revealed and the blood of the saints finally revenged. Surely we should not seek this joy now by revenging the injustice, as it is now what the passage is talking about. Instead, we should all the more look forward to that great day, where the true justice can be done.
Another thing in the talk that strikes me is the sovereign plan of God - everything in the Bible is leading to this great wedding day, where all the glory goes to Him. That includes the creation, fall of mankind, choosing Israel as God's people in the Old Testament, rescue/rebel cycle, and then finally Jesus Christ's death and resurrection - all these things happened so that the bride, i.e. the people of God, can be pure and blameless on the wedding day, and God to be ultimately glorified.
Having a bit of rest Sunday afternoon, and then Vivian and I headed down to Sunday night unichurch. Paul Grimmond gave a talk on Exodus 32-34, where Israelites sinned against God by worshipping the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain having a meeting with God.
I think Paul's sermon has helped me to understand Hebrews 3 better - especially at the beginning on how Jesus is compared with Moses, right after Jesus was declared as the high priest, making atonement for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17). Over here, Moses is more than just a leader appointed by God to lead His people out the Egypt into the promised land of Cannan, but he is also a mediator in Exodus 32-34, apologising for the sins of the Israelites. He pleaded to God when he is angry with what the idolaters have done, so that the wrath of God will not wrap off the Israelites completely. And at the end, God did listen to Moses, and did not destroy the Israelites.
Isn't that just another shadow of the reality, where Jesus is now literally standing next to God, apologising for our wrong doings? But Jesus propitiates with his own sacrifice, where both the justice of God and the love of God meets.
Isn't that just weird that someone you have never met before confronted you that he knew you because of your blog? After the Sunday night Unichurch, I was chatting with a few guys about Bible translations. Then this guy (Mike?) came up to me asking whether I am Scott Yang. "Yes" I acknowledged, and then it appeared that he got to know me because of my blog and what I've been writing about the ministry in the Mandarin Bible Fellowship.
It is not first time happening to me - I think someone I don't know in MYC told me that he read my blog. But the feeling is just weird - hey, these people actually read my blog! Maybe I should start writing more edifying stuff...
And for the last few days, there are some heavy discussions on homosexuality. I don't really have time to write up a proper reply (too many backlog for me), but it will be a separate entry consolidating all the discussions and arguments so far.
Called up the smash repair this morning, and the estimated completion time is still uncertain. The guy said "definitely before this Friday" - what?! Near two working weeks to fix some minor rear damage? Just so much inconvenience without the wheels...