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Sunday , June 24, 2018

Tan: Happy New Year!

A YEAR has passed... it is history time and I would like to share this story with all of you.

One Friday in August of 2005, 35 people desperately CALLED upon the Lord and they prayed these words... "Lord, if you will not cleanse us, then close us.” These were desperate words uttered from heavy hearts on the verge of just plainly giving up.

65 years ago, Southern Baptist missionaries, originally assigned to China, found their way to Davao, starting a church which would cater to the Chinese-speaking community. Believers were baptized and a church was born... the church, Davao Chinese Baptist Church. Years went by... actually, ages went by while this church suffered from severe spiritual dryness, lingering for a long while in a comatose stage... but the church did not die. It was when Rev. Morino Lim took over the church in 1995 that the church started to breathe again... but at 65 years old, one is already due for retirement. While that may be true of people, it is a different story when it comes to a church. The continuity of a local church, or its closure, all depends upon the Lord. In God's sovereign rule, He can allow a church to continue and flourish... or remove it from its candle stand and extinguish its fire in the community.

The revival that God allowed was like the resurrection of Lazarus... God must have said from the tomb of dying churches "Davao Chinese Baptist Church, come forth!"

Today, we are witnessing the work of God's grace. Hallelujah! In June of this year, the church moved into this new sanctuary but while excitement abounds regarding the new building, this excitement must not blind us from seeing God who is above all these blessings. Taking this verse to heart may serve us all well in reminding us as to the source of all that we have...

Psalm 115:1... "Not unto us, O LORD, not to us but to your name give all the glory, because of your loving kindness, because of your truth."

May we all bow down to God who had mercy upon this church. Let us not forget the painful lessons experienced along the way, lessons which will never be perfectly learned; lessons that make all of us perpetual students of grace, prayer, brokenness, freedom, powerlessness and rest. Let us all, as God’s people, continue to resist our strong legalistic tendencies and our prejudices. By God's grace, let this church be a house of prayer, welcoming and respecting anyone God sends to us. Let us stand in the gospel which we have heard, and let us stand in the freedom we have in Christ! Great is His mercy towards this church. Remember, our name is Davao Chinese Baptist Church and not Davao Chinese Only Baptist Church. As we welcome many, may we also, in grace, release others who need to obey God somewhere else. In every ‘welcome’ and ‘goodbye’, God is in charge. Today, let us celebrate quietly, simply savoring what God has done.

Up until today, God has not closed, God is still cleansing.

Thank you for reading... I write with a heart that rejoices yet is continually expectant of God’s unending mercies.


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