Summer Travels and Reflections
by Pastor Dennis Brown
I say again and again that I always feel like I have two families--one here and the other in the States. Very shortly, I will begin year ten at Friendship. It was only supposed to be three. But it has now stretched into ten because as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “We were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become dear to us.”
But I had a lot of catching up to do with family, friends, and high school classmates in Pennsylvania, Montana, and Texas. During that time, we celebrated Ben’s high school graduation (you can see him in the picture for the celebration of Kay’s birthday), my Mom’s 90th birthday, a class reunion that was truly redemptive, and visits with family and grandchildren (now nine of them). My itinerary took me to Philadelphia, Montana, Texas and back to Taipei.
One precious memory was my little grandson Jax. He loves to play baseball, but also is learning to love the Bible. We would play outside and then he would say, “Grandpa, let’s take a break and read the Bible.” So we would read “The Jesus Story Bible” until he said he wanted to read my Bible. I ended up giving him my Bible and tears literally came to his eyes.
Ben has been the apple of my eye after coming into our home eighteen years ago following a difficult teenage season with my oldest daughter. She is married now to a wonderful man, and Ben has been like a son as much as or more than a grandson. He’s now a tall, strapping boy with a great ethic, drives heavy machinery, repairs vehicles, and ran his own landscaping business. Pray for him and all young men and women who are seeking to live their faith in this world.
A Summer in the Psalms and “the Doctor”
by Pastor Dennis Brown
You heard good preaching this summer from Dr. Vern Poythress, Ken McAlpin, Dr. Paul Kang, Peter Brown, and Peter Kim. I’m continuing on the series, A Summer in the Psalms. One of the greatest preachers in the history of the church who has impacted my life in countless ways is “the Doctor.” I’m referring to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was the preacher for many years at Westminster Chapel in London. He was called “the Doctor” because he was a notable surgeon in London before being called to the ministry in a fishing village in Wales, and before assuming the prestigious pulpit in London. They said it was as though he always envisioned “the patient” in front of him (individuals as well as the world), and would apply the scripture in a searching and convicting manner.
He was considered to be perhaps the greatest preacher of the twentieth century. And hundreds of his sermons have been transcribed into books and can be listened to at the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust (https://www.mljtrust.org). Every day this summer I began the morning with my coffee, my Bible, and a sermon of MLJ’s. It was glorious. I particularly enjoyed his series on Psalm 73 where the sermons were published under the title “Faith on Trial.” I recommend it to you. If you don’t have access, you can listen to some of the sermons at the link above. I was so encouraged by them that I will be drawing heavily on them for a couple of messages that I will be giving on the same passage as we continue in this series.
59 One Anothers
By Peter Brown
There are 59 “one another” statements in the New Testament. 59 Biblical exhortations to actually “do” something towards a fellow believer. Encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13). Instruct one another (Romans 15:14). Offer hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9). And, of course, love one another (John 13:34; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9...). And there is no easier place to engage in these “one anothers” than in a small group. What’s more, our mantra at FPC is that whether you’re with us for three months or three years, we encourage everyone to “worship, connect, and serve”--and small groups are the essential place to connect beyond casual conversation over coffee in the fellowship hall. Here is the list of small groups for the fall. Peter Brown is the organizer and is happy to visit with you to give you direction (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Join the Movement: Prayer Walk in San Chong September 9
Every church needs to be part of something bigger than itself. In short, it needs to be part of a church-planting movement that seeks to impact and change cities. Why church planting? Because it has been proven to be the single best approach to evangelism. We also need tons of new churches to meet the different, changing demographics of a city.
For several years we have participated in Redeemer City to City and their church-planting movement. In May, I went to Reformation 500 in Hong Kong, where over 3500 people gathered (mostly from China) to celebrate the 500th year of the Reformation. An article that I wrote on this event was cited by The Gospel Coalition (www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/reformation-500-for-the-chinese-church).
Now we have two of our own men who are planting churches in needy neighborhoods and we are seeking to find ways of connecting you with them. As a starter, we would ask you to join us on Saturday, September 9th, in Sanchong where we will join Kalan and Kayt Spencer for a prayer walk.
Here are the details: “Saturday, September 9th. Join us in prayer for Taiwan, as many Taiwanese celebrate ‘Ghost Month,’ a spiritually dark time for many people in the country. We will meet at Sanchong Elementary MRT at 10:00am. We will provide a prayer guide and map of the area, then walk through and pray at various locations in the city. You can walk at your own pace, but we will join together for lunch and worship after the walk is over. To sign up for this event, please email Kalan Spencer at email@example.com.”
Also, Alan Fiol is working with Toon Yeo in the Banqiao church plant to offer a Christmas musical outreach. It will utilize families and children from the church and community. So again, have you joined the movement? Are you using your ordinary occupation to be a good witness for the Lord, so that together we can exist “for the glory of God and the good of Taipei?”
Moreover, there are opportunities to participate with Tim Yates and Reformed Theological Seminary; and Michelle Ko, who will be commissioned in November as she prepares to return to Africa with Sudan Interior Mission (SIM); and Peter Kim, who is expanding his college ministry to different campuses. Please note that Michelle just returned to us from Europe last week.
Bowling and the Bible: College Student Fellowship
by Peter Kim
As spring came to a close and summer began, our group saw many students leave, either to visit home or because they had completed their degree. As a result, we wondered whether or not we should continue meeting throughout the summer. When June rolled around, we had a gathering at my home and found a number of new students that had just arrived in Taiwan. Some were planning on studying for at least a year, but some were there only for the summer. We had to continue our ministry!
During the summer months, we really grew close to each other as we grew in the knowledge of the Word and as we expanded our Christian worldview. We spent a few weeks sharing testimonies, which really helped us to understand one another more as we heard how God worked in each of our lives. We also spent a few weeks on how to answer some commonly asked questions about the faith, such as "How do we understand evolution as Christians?"; "What about homosexuality?"; and "How do we understand the justice of God in the Old Testament?" Many students expressed how blessed they were through both the testimonies and the question-and-answer seminars.
What was perhaps the most blessed session, in my opinion, was the Sunday when we held a session on understanding the importance of getting involved in God's kingdom work. I challenged the students to consider their lives and how they were living. Were they keeping in mind what God was doing around them? Would they be willing to join the work of spreading the gospel as students?
As we wrestled through many questions this summer and as we heard how God has worked in our lives, we were reminded over and over that God's grace is sufficient for us. It is only by His grace that we are able to understand, or say, or do anything. Of course, we also had fun bowling and visiting a famous waterfall in Shifen. As the new school year begins, we hope to continue to expand our ministry to reach students on campuses around us. We hope to encourage our students to be mindful of how they can be a light in their classrooms and dorm rooms.
We want to continue to teach our students about the gospel so that when the gospel becomes a reality in their own lives, they will be able to go and share it with others. Please pray that God would continue to use our ministry not only to edify our students, but also to spread the gospel through us.
Thy Kingdom Come…
By Peter Brown
The (relatively) new Friendship Prayer Group has continued its monthly prayer meetings over the summer, offering praise to God, and intercessory prayer for our church, our city, our country, and our world. It goes without saying that prayer is an essential, joyful part of the Christian life (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). The focus of the prayer group, however, is on kingdom-centered prayer in particular. That is, prayer that God’s “kingdom” may “come” (Matthew 6:10). This allows us to save prayer for personal needs and the needs of each other for our weekly small groups, where we know each other better. All are welcome to attend. For details, contact Peter Brown, Director of Community Life (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Covenant and Commitment: Membership Class, Sept. 24th, 25th
by Pastor Dennis Brown
Here is my favorite quote on membership, which everyone has heard if they have been here for any length of time: “Where does it teach us in the Bible that we need to become members? Answer--on every page of the Bible.” So says Tim Keller as he reflects on the fact that all the Bible is about covenant, or commitment, both concepts that have fallen on hard times. If you want to grow in Christ, find a good evangelical church, commit to it, and become a member. Become a regular worshipper. Connect in a small group. And join the movement by serving in the church, your workplace, and your community. In short, live your life “for the glory of God and the good of Taipei.”
So if you aren’t a member or haven’t been baptized join us on Saturday, September 23rd from 9:30am to 12:00pm in room 601, and Sunday, September 24th from 1:15pm to 3:00pm in room 402. Please bring your lunch for the Sunday after church event! We will share with you our vision, beliefs, ministries, and what it means to become a member.