Every Thursday at dawn, I sit in front of my laptop and write down items of thanksgiving, as the Holy Spirit moves me. On this day of the week, I do not confess or supplicate, but pray purely in thanksgiving.
As 2017 comes to a close, it is time to celebrate Christmas, and a time full of thanksgivings. Allow me to summarize my thanksgivings from all the past Thursdays, to declare God’s work, not simply thanksgiving in private but also as public praise.
Thanks be to God, last year at the SCAC closing ceremony, the Holy Spirit moved me as the newly elected president to call upon my fellow workers in Christ and church leaders to join in the ‘Esther Fast’ from December 6-8, to pray for the upcoming 4 years of work in SCAC. 127 people responded and in one heart we did 3 days of fast and prayer, bringing forth a year of refreshing life and work.
Thanks be to God, this year during the annual conference as I called upon everyone to repeat the 3 day fast, there were 256 people across the conference that joined (one church had over a hundred participants, so they set up their own group).
Thanks be to God, the previous presidents had left a good administrative foundation, so that as the new president takes over, many faithful board leaders and workers are already in place to help the president. The president then has no worries, as they even shelter him from people who disturb the president for no good reason. General Secretary Ting, normally soft-spoken, would even scold such callers on the phone loudly. I have never heard him talk so fiercely! It was not supposed to be a moving tone of voice, and yet, I was very moved.
Thanks be to God, SCAC provides the president with a comfortable president’s house with a big backyard, fresh air, ample sunlight, adequate facilities, faithful gardener and cleaner, fast internet, reliable car etc, so that the president is emotionally relaxed and physically healthy, to live happily and serve with renewed energy.
Thanks be to God, from the beginning, all the board chairmen and members concurred that our meetings were too frequent and too long. We needed to be more effective, so everyone agreed to reduce the number and time frame of meetings. Even the annual conference was shortened by a day, and so we had a good and fast-paced annual conference. District superintendents also worked together effectively in leading brothers and sisters of the 10 districts to work in harmony.
Thanks be to God, after the new tax law was implemented, the federal government was willing to exempt church taxes. In April the state goverment approved our plan to build a 6 storey headquarters at Island Road, and even provided the 999 year land title. Furthermore, at the end of the year, SCAC also approved the plans for renovation and upgrading of Wei Kuok Hall as a concert hall and convention center.
Thanks be to God, the pastor’s school in March used a small group format with 20+ round tables. We also officially began the weekly ‘Wesleyan Fast and Pray Day’, which attracted 120 pastors and church leaders.
Thanks be to God, this year we are able to renew the process of appointments. Each church and pastor can fill out an appointment form, while the board of appointments can hold their meeting a month earlier. The process gets a little more complicated, but everyone gets the opportunity to think it through, and this also allows me to learn to serve the people.
Thanks be to God for the chance to preach both in-state and out-of-state, allowing me to write about 50 different types of speeches. I was even able to finish a Bible study booklet on Revelation that is to be used next year. This is all God’s grace, as the Holy Spirit gives me endless ideas and speeches that all seem to make sense. Glory be to God.
Thanks be to God, our 2 terrapin pets we kept for 17 years had given us thoughts for concern. One had run away, and never returned (maybe working somewhere far away?), but the other one left 3 times, and returned 3 times (like the Jews 3 times of exile and 3 times returning!). The last time she was gone for 5 months, and came back just in time to join the 3 days of Esther fast this December (while fasting and praying, we do not feed her!). At first she seemed to look at us accusingly.
Thanks be to God, SCAC encouraged and arranged for my wife and I to go to the Emmaus Walk, Intentional Disciple-Making conference, and silent retreat in Chiangmai, so that we were renewed. Improvements are God’s grace, and it is also God’s grace that both of us are able to lead Marriage Enrichment Retreat every year. This year we were also able to speak in many marriage and family seminars and camps. Above all I thank God for giving me a wonderful wife, allowing me to serve without worries.
Thank be to God, that I can continue my sports of table tennis and basketball, helping me to serve happily.
Thanks be to God, that I, who am afraid of lizards, toads, humans, ghosts, administration, dizziness, meetings, have the protection of the Almighty God. God’s strength is all the more evident through my weaknesses. Thank God for the saving power of the cross. Not only am I saved from sin and eternal death, but also I am given strength to live a life of victory.
Thanks be to God, Christmas is the day when the Lord Jesus was born for you and me. Christmas is for Good Friday and Easter, Jesus was born to suffer and die for our sins. He rose on the third day, giving us new and abundant life.
Thanks be to God for His endless blessings and indescribable gift. Hallelujah. Amen.