The New Life Community Church located in the center of Subang Industrial Park is a church full of warm people. Like its namesake, the church underscores on building a vibrant community, one that is placed on a solid foundation of Christ and the new life found through Him. The fellowship in the church is robust and down-to-earth, and you truly feel that the whole church is one big family.
Last Sunday, the church celebrated its 19th anniversary, with a focus on missions work. A missionary from Nepal shared about life in that country after the earthquake. On the 19th of September, the church will be going on a blood donation drive at Giant Subang, and on the same weekend, they will join hands with various churches in Subang to organize the BUILD 2015 conference for young adults.
Rev Ronald Ooi shared a message during the celebration about vision for mission, basing his sermon from Matthew 9:35-38.
‘Whether you’re a small church or a big church, the church of Jesus Christ is meant to be a great church,’ he opened, ‘a church that goes out and preach the Gospel – we call that the Great Commission. And then love one another – we call that the Great Commandment, to love God and one another. Finally we’re called to have the great compassion of Jesus. These are the three greats, and my dream is that the church in Malaysia will be a great church.’
Systems and structure may differ from churches to churches, from organizations to organizations, but most of all, every church and Christian must carry the spirit of Christ. That is our very gist, our very DNA that will give us the push and carry us the long distance, demonstrating the spirit of love and of generosity, he said.
‘It is the true spirit of Christ that will keep the Church of Jesus Christ alive,’ Rev Ronald shared. ‘Keep growing in simplicity, in humility. And this is what will stoke the fire of the Church, and keep it going from generation to generation.’
The Church’s Call for Missions
Christianity is more than just a plan or a programme. It is a life and a partnership with God. And in partnership with God, we must have a heart for His work. A church with a missions plan is a church with a global vision. There are 3 things we can do for God’s mission, to bring hope and salvation to the broken and the lost.
The first of these is to have a life of prayer. There may be, due to times or circumstances, that some of us may not be able to go on the missions field on our feet, but we can do so on our knees. Some people will be called to go on foot, to go to Africa perhaps, or to the Middle East, but we’re all ambassadors for Christ, and we work as a team. Wherever we are, pray for our brothers and sisters in the missions field.
‘Missions are always an act of grace,’ Rev Ronald expressed. Christ Himself was the first missionary. He came down into a humble and uncomfortable environment, to minister to the broken-hearted, to give humanity a message of reconciliation and hope with God as a Father, to give His life for us so that we may have salvation. Through His life on earth, Christ showed us the heart of a missionary. As Christians we must show the same grace to others.
Secondly, we can give. Missionaries are never beggars, Rev Ronald said. They are people who have been called as ambassadors for Christ, through their very lives, more than political or academic qualifications. They provide us an opportunity to be partners in the work of God by giving of our resources while they give their lives. It is an honour to be able to give to missions because our vision is a long and big vision, an eternal vision, a vision for the eternal souls of people and the Kingdom of God.
Thirdly, we can go. ‘”Here am I.” Don’t say “send my brother”,’ Rev Ronald communicated. All of us are witnesses for Christ, it is a calling for every Christian. “It may be Subang, it may be Klang, it may be Penang, it may be some other country somewhere, but we’re all working together as the Church of Jesus Christ in Malaysia and across the world.”
The Mission to Save Lost Humanity
Rev Ronald shared that since the time when he was at a young age, and when he was called to full service to God, the passage of Matthew 9:35-38 has been very close to him. The passage tells us that Jesus travelled from place to place, from towns to villages to synagogues, and in every place that He went, there was one common denominator; people.
Wherever there were people, Jesus was on a mission to save lost humanity, to bring hope to people. He announced His ministry at the very onset in Luke 4:18-19, to proclaim of the coming of the Lord’s favor, to set the captives and oppressed free, and so that the blind may see.
Today, on this earth, the world is full of trouble. Everywhere we read of violence and greed and corruption. Many earthly kingdoms have gone astray because they were led by imperfect men ruling imperfect kingdoms. But here is Jesus proclaiming about a different kingdom, a spiritual one. And though the kingdom is spiritual, it is also very practical in terms of tangible life.
We live in an imperfect world but Jesus has come to show us a way out and a future for everyone. The message He gives to us is that there is more than what we can find on Earth. We have a God that saves, and the deeper we grow in Christ, the more we will find our hearts eager for missions. We each only have one candle to live, Rev Ronald said. Be a candle in a world of darkness.
A Compassion for Lost Humanity
Secondly, the passage also speaks of Christ’s compassion for lost humanity. Matthew 9:36 tells us that Christ looked upon the people and His heart was filled with compassion. He saw a people who were like lost sheep without a shepherd. The analogy tells us that Christ saw them in their stark reality, a people who were vulnerable and directionless, open prey and prone to wander off, as sheep sometimes would, until they fall off a cliff or are pounced upon by a wolf.
In the original Greek Language context, the passage also tells us that Christ’s heart was filled with tenderness. It was a compassion that went deep down into His heart. It was a divine compassion, in its very nature possessing an actual depth of feeling for the group He was ministering to. Missions are about compassion. This is the same heart of compassion that Christians are called to in the missions field.
A Call for Laborers
Thirdly, the passage is also an active call for laborers in the field (Matthew 9:37-38). This verse is a graphic picture of the harvest field, and it tells us that the people were harassed and helpless. In the same Greek context as the one above, it means distressed and prostrated. Jesus saw them distressed and prostrated, and He said unto His disciples; “Call for workers to come for the harvest is great but the laborers are few.”
This was the same call that Paul had on the road to Bithynia (Acts 16). The Spirit of Jesus was watching over him and would not allow him to enter into that city. So Paul went down to Troas, and during the night, he had a vision of a Macedonian man begging him for help. After Paul had seen the vision, he made haste to leave for Macedonia in answer to the distress call.
This is the Macedonian call, Rev Ronald said, and at one point in every one of our lives, this call will come. And it is our response that will result in a difference of outcome. He shared a quotation from Evangeline Booth, the wife to the founder of the Salvation Army; “It is not how many years we live, but what we do with them. It is not what we receive it is what we give to others”.
In Numbers 27:15-17, when God instructed Moses to appoint a successor, He was not looking at outward appearances or mere skills. God was looking for a man with a shepherd’s heart, a man that will lead His people out and bring them in, so that His people would not be like sheep without a shepherd. Rev Ronald imparted that like Joshua, we need to have a shepherd’s heart.
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NOTE: All pictures of New Life Community Church kindly contributed by the church.