Retrospect and Prospect

Jane Kuo
translated by Grace Kuo

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead" (Philippians 3: 13) is the exhortation given to us by Paul.

As we celebrate the fourth anniversary of our church, let us look back, for a moment, on the history of Taiwan Lutheran Church. My heart is filled with gratitude to God and treasure every single thing that people at church has done in the name of God. Our God is almighty and wonderful; He can create something beautiful from the void. Out of formlessness and emptiness, God created light, the heavens and the earth, the land and the sea.... Because of God's mighty power, our church was created in the Portland area, so that we can now worship the Lord together on Sundays, as well as to participate in various activities and fellowship meetings. Everyone at church can experience our spiritual growth through praising God and serving Him. In the past, we were entrusted with small matters, now God entrusts us with bigger responsibilities. In the past, we didn't know how to sing hymns, now we are members of the church choir. We were not so concerned about reading the Bible before, now we come to the Bible studies because we want to know more of the Biblical truth. We did not know each other before, now we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. We did not know how to pray before, now we preside during Sunday service and lead the worship services. Do you sense changes in your21 spiritual life? The church is producing talented people to work for God, even those with commitment to serve God as full-time workers. Through celebrations of the Mother's Day and Father's Day, parents are encouraged to lead their children to God and to pray for wisdom from the Lord for their children to be protected from evil. We have plenty of opportunities to serve God, like playing the piano, translating sermons, teaching Sunday school students, praying for other people, leading singspiration, moving chairs, putting Bibles and hymn books in the right places. We can also offer flowers such as lilies, poinsettias, and the most beautiful plants from home to decorate our church. There are also opportunities for string music, youth choir, and adult choir, as well as leading youth fellowship activities and Bible-studies. We can even make regular monetary offerings. In these four years, have we fully utilized every opportunity to serve God?

During the Oregon Synod Convention, the Bishop spoke on the living God whom we worship. Although the Christian Church went through different phases in the past two thousand years, times such as the Persecution, the Revival, the professed allegiance of the Roman Empire, the Reformation, the Repudiation and Revival, the church continues to exit. Our church also continues to grow and worship. Our pastor continues to preach God's Word, to encourage the spiritual growth of believers, to conduct the holy communion, baptism, wedding matrimony, burial ceremony, and infant dedication. Through all these, God continues to bless us. "For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks tinds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." God's promises always accompany us; how our church will be depends on how we work today. There are new comers in our church; there are many ministry challenges and service opportunities before us today. How church planning can be achieved depends on how everyone of us participates in church activities. Not only do the famous have dreams, we also have dreams. Mayall of us work together to carry out our dreams for our church. May we continue to run the race set before us!