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Devo2017-09-28T11:20:03+08:00

New Spaces

We recently completed a fresh look at the New Testament letters to the Christians in Thessalonica. During this time, I was reminded of how Paul, Timothy and Silas, read and studied their Bibles, (For them this was the Old Testament), which reached a crescendo in Jesus and the gospel, then leaned into and listened to the Holy Spirit for how to apply it to their lives. The cool thing here of course is that we can do the same!

Lately, I have been applying what I have been reading, hearing and experiencing in Christ to the search for the new SCF meeting place. In the last nine months there have been a lot of changes, especially as people assess their relationship with China. I regularly hear about people leaving; I see changes and then there are the changes I think I see

But there is also a hope; even an excitement about the IMMEDIATE future. It’s the kind of hope we can have when in Christ we start letting go of old ways and doing new things in new ways.

Hengshan Church has been our home for 24 years and it has been a great blessing to us. Our new meeting place can also be special because it is God who makes it that way. We will take our “DNA” and go to a new place and there we will see how God will shape us; the same SCF but in a new space to be shaped by Him. Imagine it, Jesus, the leader of our church doing new things in new ways!

By |September 16th, 2020|Pastor|

16 September 2020 -Luke 17:20-21(NIV)

Scripture

20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Reflection

Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come. This was a logical question to ask, for He had been preaching for quite some time that the kingdom was at hand. Jesus responded to the question in two ways. First, He said that the Pharisees would not be able to tell of the coming of the kingdom through their observations. Second, he told them that the kingdom was in their midst. The term ‘within you’ as some translations render the Greek phrase is often misunderstood. The Pharisees were rejecting Him as the Messiah and were not believers. (They were distinct from the disciples Jesus was about to address at the beginning of verse 22.) Thus, it would not make sense for Jesus to have told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God was within them as if it were some sort of spiritual kingdom. It is better to translate the phrase ‘within you’ as ‘in your midst’ as seen in the ESV, NIV and AMP translations. Some scholars believe that the force of the expression is “within your possession or within your reach.” Jesus’ point was that He was standing right in their (the Pharisees) midst. All they needed to do was acknowledge that He is indeed the Messiah who could bring in the kingdom—and then the kingdom would come.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for specific people you know; neighbours, friends or those you see when you walk. Or, pray for opportunities to get to know your neighbours better

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By |September 16th, 2020|Week 3|

15 September 2020 -John 18:36 (NIV)

Scripture

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Reflection

In the preceding verses, Pilate began his private conversation by asking Jesus if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus asked Pilate if he had that idea on his own or if others (Jews) talked to him. The reason why Pilate asked Jesus this question was to know if he was concerned that Jesus was some political threat to Rome. Jesus replied that Rome need not fear a political insurrection. He was not a zealot or a revolutionary guerrilla leader. His kingdom is not like that. It is not of this world; it is from another place, that is, heaven. Therefore, it comes not by rebellion but by submission to God. Its source was not from men’s acts of violence but from a new birth from heaven which transferred a person out of Satan’s kingdom into God’s kingdom.

As children of God, we too belong to the same kingdom Jesus refers to in this verse, and like Jesus, may we too continue to have a kingdom-minded perspective and not to be polluted by this word’s standards and principles.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Invite God to be present in the different areas of work that your local leaders are serving in; this could be a city hall, local council building or leader’s office.

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By |September 15th, 2020|Week 3|

14 September 2020 -Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Scripture

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Reflection

This verse forms part of the pericope entitled in Matthew as ‘Do not worry’ or ‘Do not be anxious’ as seen in Luke 12:22-34. Both authors have one goal in mind namely ‘first seek the kingdom and God’s righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well’. The concept associated with the phrase ‘these things’ refers to food, clothes and shelter. The Pharisees during Jesus’ time were more concerned about materialism than their faith. But here Jesus is saying, do not worry about any of these things, for it shows a lack of faith on the part of the individual. The remedy to not being worried or anxious is to first seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Make God your priority, and the rest will be given to you as well.

This message is not only applicable for the audience of both Matthew and Luke but also us today amidst the current COVID pandemic. Our world has been turned upside down. Things we placed our hope, stability and foundation on collapsed, whether it is the stock market, the school you chose, lack of property leases, job security, relational issues etc. They are all secondary to what is primary – God’s kingdom and His righteousness. May we be pleasantly surprised by God’s faithfulness in His promise to take care of us when we truly put His kingdom and righteousness first.

Thoughts for the day

  • What is the one thing in your life you need to put God first?
  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Think of anyone you know who is an essential worker and spend time praying for their specific needs. You could even message them and ask if they would like prayer for anything in particular. Pray for energy and perseverance for essential workers as they continue to serve in their contexts.

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By |September 14th, 2020|Week 3|

11 September 2020 -2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

Scripture

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

Reflection

You might have heard this phrase before: ‘Be careful what you pray for; you just might get it!’ Does that mean we shouldn’t pray for patience, or increased faith, or the “peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7)? Of course not.

2020 has become a year that will not be forgotten. Some of us might feel like the worse has passed; for others everything around is still very uncertain. Today’s verse is a beautiful blessing and empowering reminder that our God is the Lord of peace Himself, able to give us peace at all times (ALL TIMES!) and in every way.

How do we know we are living with the Lord’s peace in our hearts, at all times and in every way if not put to test?!

Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties. – C.S. Lewis

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray this prayer throughout the day, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

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By |September 11th, 2020|Week 2|

A New Location and a New Season

To say that our perspective has changed over the last 8 months would be a very large understatement. One-way perspective has changed at SCF has to do with the loss of the use of Hengshan Church. We look forward to coming together for worship as the “scattered now gathered” community of faith; not defined by the last season but by the next season. When we meet again it will be in a new place and it will be a very new season for Shanghai Community Fellowship

When we do start meeting again we will be asked to follow several guidelines and protocols. These are the kind of things that many of us in Shanghai (and other parts of the world) are familiar with. We will need to wear a mask on Sundays, practice social distancing, have our temperature checked before entering, and make a reservation to attend Sunday service, just to name a few.

In order to prepare for the day of meeting on Sundays, we are releasing a survey to collect information from our community that will help us make crucial decisions as we search for the right meeting location and plan the service that will comply with current health regulations. We encourage everyone to complete the survey and get others to do the same so that we can better serve our congregation.

The thought of being together again in worship as one community ignites our hope. It’s like coming together as a family, the family of God.

Pastor Dale

By |September 10th, 2020|Pastor|