Enter God’s Kingdom with Diligence and Receive a Rich Welcome
The First Pentad-Years of RCCC’s 25th Anniversary: 1984-1989
2 Peter 1:5-11; Selected Verse
Week #1 10/25–10/31
Author：Elder Joe Li
Praise God, He has truly blessed Raleigh Chinese Christian Church. As we come together to count His blessings, let us not forget Dr. and Mrs. Middleton, the missionary couple who opened their home to a Raleigh Chinese bible study group back in 1963, and Mary Herring—a sister who had a deep love for the Chinese. We should also express our appreciation to Forest Hills Baptist Church who lovingly nurtured RCCC from 1978. Last but not least, we remember the diligent service of Pastor John S. P. Tsai’s family and many brothers and sisters. If it were not for their efforts to show the love of Christ to the Chinese people, Raleigh Chinese Christian Church would not have been founded in 1984. May the Lord remember their love and their good, faithful service. When Jesus comes again, may they receive the prize together with us.
As we look back on the period from the time our church was formally named Raleigh Chinese Christian Church to the year 1989, we see that God let us experience three important events which had significant impact on church growth: drafting of the constitution, change of pastor and building a new church. At that time, if the newly arrived Pastor Peter Ning had not worked zealously for the drafting of the constitution (because he discerned the need for the Chinese believers in Raleigh to have an independent, non-denominational church), we would not have changed our name from “Raleigh Chinese Baptist Mission” to RCCC. If the brothers and sisters at that time had not given sacrificially and worked together as one, we would not have been able to move into the first church building owned by us at Wake Forest Road. The united, living testimony shown by a group of God’s people left a deep impression on the Chinese community of that day. However, the most exciting thing was not external construction. At that time, before the first worshippers entered the church, some would go to each Sunday school classroom to set up the place and pray for teachers and students by name. After most worshippers had departed, another group would voluntarily clean up the bathrooms, disposing of dirty diapers. “Everyone serves, serving everyone” was the testimony of this church family in Christ. However, it was not easy to move out of a well-organized mother church which took care of our every need and “set up house” on our own. Many miscellaneous details posed problems. Traditional concepts and personal preferences became challenges to cooperation and spreading the gospel with one mind and purpose. Acceptance, forbearance and mutual caring were lessons everyone had to learn in order for the church to grow. Under this atmosphere of corporate caring and participation, God raised up several faithful servants to serve Him in full time ministry: Rev. Ton Lee, Rev. Hsu Chung-chang and Rev. Joshua Hongi Leu. These are just some snapshots from the time when our church was first founded.
Now as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, let us build on the legacy of the past and look to the future, striving to serve our Lord even more faithfully. But how can we do that? I invite you to read carefully with me II Peter 1:5-11: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ… Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager.…and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” May these words from II Peter become reality among us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
感謝神，祂誠然眷顧了洛麗華人基督教會。當我們一同數算祂的恩典的時候，讓我們不要忘記早在1963年時，就為洛麗華人開放家庭建立查經班的Dr. & Mrs. Middleton 中國宣教士夫婦和Mary Herring這位深愛中國人的姊妹。也要感謝從1978年起，就滿有愛心地扶持育出洛麗華人基督教會的Forest Hills Baptist Church. 更要感謝未成立獨立教會之前，辛苦服事的蔡昇平牧師一家及眾弟兄姊妹。若不是他們把基督的愛顯明在我們這群中國人的身上就不會有1984年洛麗華人基督教會的成立。願神記念他們的愛心與忠心良善的事奉。當主再來的日子，願他們與我們同得奬賞。
回想從1984年正式訂名・洛麗華人基督教會・至1989年這個階段，神讓教會經歷了人們認為最會影響教會成長的三大事件：擬訂會章、牧者改換、建堂事工。當年若不是初來不久的甯威亞牧師清楚洛麗華人需要一個獨立沒有宗派的教會、大力推動擬訂會章，就不會有1984年的・洛麗華人浸信會佈道所・改名為今天教會的名字。若不是有當年弟兄姊妹犧牲的奉獻、同心建造，就不可能於1988年遷入在Wake Forest Road的第一間屬於自己的教堂。一群神的子民同心合意所活出的見證，還真轟動了當時的華人社區。然而，外面的建造還不是最令人興奮的。那時有些人會在眾人未踏入會堂之前，先去把每間主日學教室整理妥當，又為老師、學生一一提名代禱。又有些人在眾人都離去了之後，自發自動地去打掃衛生間、清理嬰兒用過的尿片。・人人服事，服事人人・是那時候這個主內大家庭的見證。但是，從 一個井井有條、事事照顧妥當的母會中搬出來自理門戶實在不易。好些事務的細微末節都成了大家的考驗。傳統的影響、個人的喜好都成了配搭事奉與同心興旺福音的挑戰。弟兄姊妹的彼此擔待、包容更成了教會成長的必修課。就是在這樣事事關己、人人參與的環境下，神興起了好幾位全時間奉獻傳道的忠心主僕。如：李噸牧師、徐忠昌牧師、呂鴻基牧師等等。這些只是教會初創時期的小小片斷。
如今我們在此慶祝教會成立25週年之時，但願我們能承先啟後，百尺竿頭更進一步。然而我們要如何做呢？請您與我再細讀彼得後書一章5至11節吧：・正因這緣故，你們要分外地殷勤；有了信心，又要加上德行；有了 德行，又要加上知識 ；有了知識，又要加上節制；有了節制，又要加上忍耐； 有了忍耐，又要加上虔敬；有了虔敬，又要加上愛弟兄的心；有了愛 弟兄的心，又要加上愛眾人的心；你們若充充足足的有這幾樣，就必使你們在認識我們的主耶穌基督上不至於閒懶不結果子了 。…所以弟兄們，應當 更加殷勤. …這樣，必叫你們豐豐富富的得以進入我們主 ― 救主耶穌基督永 遠的國。・願彼得後書這段話，藉著聖靈的能力，在我們中間成為真實。阿門。