2013 Taipei Missional Community Christmas Eve Service

Dear Friends,

We just wanted to let everyone know that our 2013 Taipei Missional Community Christmas Eve Service went really well. Besides our 6 MC team members, about 15 friends from the community showed up, including several people walking in off the street. Our team prepared a delicious Christmas Eve dinner of Beijing Roast Duck, mashed potatoes, salad, shrimp sauce green peppers, fried cabbage, rolls, and fruit salad. After dinner, we spent 30 minutes singing Christmas carols in Chinese and English. Erich shared a short Christmas message in Chinese, with Kelley translating into English for our foreigner friends. This was the first time many of our friends have heard the Christmas story. After a short time of prayer, we had a candle-lighting ceremony, and sang Silent Night. Finally, we handed out gift boxes filled with Christmas cookies, and information about our Taipei Missional Community.

We received great feedback in person and on Facebook after the service. For many of our friends, this was the first Christmas service they had ever experienced. Hearts were touched, and we’d appreciate your continued prayers for our friends to integrate into our regular house church meetings.

 

Click below to read Erich’s Christmas message in English or Chinese.

[learn_more caption=”Click for English”]I’m so pleased that we can all celebrate Christmas Eve together tonight. Christmas Eve is the night before Christmas day. But what’s so special about this day? Well, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth 2000 years ago. But don’t worry – tonight it doesn’t matter if you know a lot about Jesus, or nothing at all. Because tonight I’ll be sharing about the meaning of Jesus’ birth.

Hundreds of years before he was born, Jesus’ birth was actually foretold by prophets. Let’s listen to the words of a famous prophet in the Bible, called Isaiah.

 

Isaiah 9:2-7

2 Those people lived in darkness, but they will see a great light. They lived in a place as dark as death, but a great light will shine on them.

3 God, you will make the nation grow, and you will make the people happy. They will rejoice in your presence as they do at harvest time. It will be like the joy when people take their share of things they have won in war. 4 That will happen because you will lift the heavy yoke off their shoulders and take away their heavy burden. You will take away the rod that the enemy used to punish your people.

5 Every boot that marched in battle and every uniform stained with blood will be destroyed and thrown into the fire. 6 This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” 7 His power will continue to grow, and there will be peace without end. This will establish him as the king sitting on David’s throne and ruling his kingdom. He will rule with goodness and justice forever and ever. The strong love that the Lord All-Powerful has for his people will make this happen!

Isaiah is foretelling the coming of a very special child. Did you catch what this child will be like? He will bring light and joy to people living in darkness. He will lift people’s burdens. He will bring an end to bloodshed and war. He will rule, but in a different way than the violent rule of earthly kings. His peaceful kingdom will keep expanding until it fills the whole earth. And people will call him Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

So 800 years after Isaiah’s time, the Jewish people were still expectantly waiting for this king to come and deliver them. But what were the exact circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth? Let’s hear a report from one of his disciples.

 

Luke 2:1-20

1 It was about that same time that Augustus Caesar sent out an order to all people in the countries that were under Roman rule. The order said that everyone’s name must be put on a list. 2 This was the first counting of all the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 Everyone traveled to their own hometowns to have their name put on the list. 4 So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. It was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. 5 Joseph registered with Mary because she was engaged to marry him. (She was now pregnant.) 6 While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. 7 She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full.

8 That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you—news that will make everyone happy. 11 Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”

13 Then a huge army of angels from heaven joined the first angel, and they were all praising God, saying,

14 “Praise God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please him.”

15 The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this great event the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. 17 When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. 18 Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. 20 The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them.

Did you catch it? The shepherds are watching their sheep at night-time, when suddenly the night sky is lit up with bright angels. Their message: a child has born who will bring joy and peace to all people. What do you think is the first thing that flashed through the minds of those startled Jewish shepherds? Isaiah’s deliverer is finally here!

When Jesus had grown up, he became a traveling teacher, performing many healings and miracles. His main message was: God’s rule has arrived, so repent of your selfish ways and join Jesus’ new community of love and peace.

2000 years later, he still has the same calling to each of us. Repent of the darkness inside our hearts, and join God’s community on earth.

As the Truth Community Church Network, this is what we’re about. We’re a group of Christians who seek to live in close fellowship with another as we follow Jesus together. If you want to know more about when and where we meet, just talk to any one of us.

Now I’d like to end in prayer, and hope that this prayer can help us experience the true meaning of Christmas. Let’s bow our heads and pray to close. Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to this earth to show us how to live in true fellowship with God and others. And thank you for taking our burdens away and bringing peace and joy into our hearts.

While we keep our heads bowed, I’d like to leave a short time for us all to talk to Jesus. Perhaps you’ve carried a  heavy burden for too long. Give your burden to Jesus. Perhaps you’re full of worry. Give your worries to Jesus. Perhaps you have been hurt by someone, and can’t forgive that person. Give your hurt to Jesus. He will take care of all these things, because he loves each one of us. Let’s spend a minute in quiet prayer with God before I close. [/learn_more]

 

[learn_more caption=”Click for Chinese”]感謝大家來參與我們平安夜的party,首先我先自我介紹,還有我們社區教會組員介紹

我很開心我們今天能夠一起過平安夜。平安夜就是聖誕節的前一個晚上。那麼聖誕日到底為甚麼那麼特別呢?聖誕日就是慶祝「耶穌」這個人在兩千年前的誕生。但不要擔心~若你對耶穌不熟悉沒關係。因為我今天晚上會稍微跟大家分享耶穌誕生的意義。

其實,在耶穌誕生的幾百年前,有不少先知(也就是大家比較白話的說法:預言家)關於他的來臨所說過的預言。其中我們來聽聽聖經裡有一位很有名的先知,名叫「以賽亞」,他對耶穌的談論。

 

以賽亞書9:2-7

2 行在黑暗中的人民,看見了大光;住在死蔭之地的人,有光照耀他們。

3 你使這國之民增多,又加添他們的歡樂;他們在你面前歡樂,

好像收割時的歡樂一樣;又像人在均分戰利品時的快樂一般。

4 因為他們所負的軛和肩頭上的杖,以及欺壓他們的人的棍,你都折斷了。

5 因為戰士在戰爭喧嚷中所穿的靴,和輥在血中的袍,都必燒毀,成了燒火的燃料。

6 因為有一個嬰孩為我們而生,有一個兒子賜給我們;政權必擔在他的肩頭上;

他的名必稱為“奇妙的策士、全能的 神、永恆的父、和平的君”。

7 他的政權與平安必無窮無盡地增加,他在大衛的寶座上治理他的國,

以公平和公義使國堅立穩固,從現在直到永遠。

萬軍之耶和華的熱心必成全這事。

以賽亞預言說,以後會有一個很特別的小孩出生。你聽到這個小孩的特點嗎?他會把光和喜樂帶給住在黑暗的人。他會把人的重擔拿走。他會讓所有喪亂停止。他會做王,但跟地上的霸王很大不同。他和平的國度會一直不斷擴展,直到地級。人人會稱他為「奇妙的策士」、「全能的神」、「永恆的父」、「和平的君」。

所以,以賽亞時代八百年後,猶太人民還是在等待這個國王來拯救他們。但耶穌出生的情況到底如何呢?讓我們先聽一下,耶穌其中一個門徒的記載。

 

路加福音2:1-20

那時,有諭旨從凱撒奧古士督頒發下來,叫普天下r的人登記戶口。 2 這是第一次戶口登記,是在居里紐作敘利亞總督的時候舉行的。 3 眾人各歸各城去登記戶口。 4 約瑟本是大衛家族的人,也從加利利的拿撒勒上猶太去,到了大衛的城伯利恆, 5 與所聘之妻馬利亞一同登記戶口。那時馬利亞的身孕已經重了。 6 他們在那裡的時候,馬利亞的產期到了, 7 生了頭胎兒子,用布包著,放在馬槽裡,因為客店裡沒有地方。

8 在伯利恆的郊外,有一些牧人在夜間看守羊群。 9 主的一位使者站在他們旁邊,主的榮光四面照著他們,他們就非常害怕。 10 天使說:“不要怕!看哪!我報給你們大喜的信息,是關於萬民的: 11 今天在大衛的城裡,為你們生了救主,就是主基督。 12 你們要找到一個嬰孩,包著布,臥在馬槽裡,那就是記號了。” 13 忽然有一大隊天兵,同那天使一起讚美 神說:

14 “在至高之處,榮耀歸與 神!

在地上,平安歸與他所喜悅的人!”

15 眾天使離開他們升天去了,那些牧人彼此說:“我們往伯利恆去,看看主所指示我們已經成就的事。” 16 他們急忙去了,找到馬利亞、約瑟和那臥在馬槽裡的嬰孩。 17 他們見過以後,就把天使對他們論這孩子的話傳開了。 18 聽見的人,都希奇牧人所說的事。 19 馬利亞把這一切放在心裡,反覆思想。 20 牧人因為聽見的和看見的,正像天使對他們所說的一樣,就回去了,把榮耀讚美歸與 神。

你抓到了沒?牧人在夜裡看守羊群時,忽然間整個天空亮了!有一大群天使出現,說:「今天為你們生了救主。而且這個孩子會給萬民帶來大喜樂!」你想一想,那些驚惶的猶太牧人腦袋裡應該馬上想到哪一件事呢?「以賽亞的救屬著終於來到!」

耶穌長大後成為行腳教師(也就是說他各地各國的遊走,藉著徒中來幫助和教導民眾)。他行了很多神蹟,也醫治了許多病人。他主要的訊息是:神國降臨在人間。因此人人都該悔改,並進入神同在的群體,同享神的愛和平安。

兩千年後,耶穌還是一樣呼召著我們。我們都該悔改,遠離我們心中的黑暗,並進入屬神同在的群體。

這也是我們台北真理堂社區教會的主要目標。我們是一個彼此相愛,跟隨耶穌的團契。如果你想知道我們每週的聚會地點和時間,歡迎來問我們任何組員。

我現在想要做個結束禱告,也想藉著禱告把聖誕祝福帶給各位。讓我們低頭禱告。親愛的主耶穌,謝謝你來到這個世界,是為了教導我們怎麼能夠藉著神的愛跟別人活在愛的關係。也謝謝你挪走我們生命中的重擔,將你同在的喜樂和平安來充滿我們。

當我們繼續低頭,我想讓大家有一分鐘的時間,可以試著自己跟耶穌說說話。也許你心中有些重擔,是你已經扛了很久。我鼓勵你,把這些重擔交託給耶穌。也許你今天充滿了焦慮,把你的焦慮交給耶穌。也許你被別人傷害過,到現在還不能饒恕對方。把你受的傷交給耶穌吧。他真得會處理這些事情,因為他愛我們當中的每一個人。在我結束前,讓我們有一分鐘的時間安靜為自己禱告。[/learn_more]

 

And here are some pictures from the event ~ enjoy!

2013 Missional Community Christmas Eve Service Flyer

Hi Everyone,

We wanted to share the exciting news that our Missional Community House Church is organizing a Christmas Eve service for our local neighborhood. Since many of our Taiwanese working-class friends wouldn’t feel too comfortable in a large church gathering, we’ve booked a room in a local community center just a 5-minute walk from our house. The DM for the service is below, and we’ll be sure to post pictures!

Please pray:

  • for many of our unchurched Taiwanese friends to join…
  • …for them to meet Jesus…
  • …and become His followers through our house church network

 

2013 Missional Community Christmas Eve Service DM

2013_12_24 Taipei MC Christmas Eve Service DM_English

2013_12_24 Taipei MC Christmas Eve Service DM_Chinese

2013_12_16 Schindler Update

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Greetings from Taipei! As we write this prayer update, it is 70 degrees with clear blue skies, a little contrast to the snow we keep hearing about back in the USA. It has been a full first month of being home in Taiwan. We have gotten back into a good routine and our days are filled with actively building relationships in our neighborhood, visiting women at a local shelter, 2-3 house church events every week, ongoing Chinese study, and eating lots of local foods we missed during our home assignment!

How can you being praying for us?

  • We are busy preparing for our first church service in the community on Christmas Eve. Erich will be sharing the Gospel message in Chinese, and Kelley will be translating. Please pray for good responses as we pass out flyers to friends and neighbors. Our prayer is that from this event, more people will join our house church meetings.

Let’s praise the Lord together!

  • A big praise is that we are not being charged to use the community center for our Christmas Eve service! We expected to have to pay a fee to use the space, and are praising God for His kindness to us in this way.
  • We praise the Lord for so many things in 2013 – the birth of Max, a fruitful home assignment, a new church planting venture, quality co-workers, faithful prayer warriors and supporters, and so much more!

May the joy of the Lord be yours this Christmas season, and may we experience the presence of God every day of 2014!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

For the Glory of God,
Erich and Kelley Schindler