Today, our church, ORPC, turns 166! It is not that young an age, but she has been through a long bitter-sweet journey of joy and sorrow. Like a ship, she has passed through stormy seas and pounding waves, and because Lord Jesus, our Great Captain and Head of our church, has always been with her, she is still sailing today.
Amid our thanksgiving to Him for ORPC, let us recall Paul’s message to the churches in Corinth: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
When Jesus was sent into the world, He was committed to do the will of His Father. He was very clear with His mission: “… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He carried out His mission with total and unwavering obedience despite the immense sufferings that entailed. The Bible tells us: “Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8). Therefore, the apostle Paul exhorts every believer to imitate Jesus’ total and unwavering obedience, no matter what the circumstances are. Let us also continue to be steadfast in our faith, and be more active in serving God. The word “steadfast” in the Greek language means faithful. Faithfulness demands great commitment. Remember, our journey of faith is not an easy one. It entails many trials and challenges, but God promises to give us strength, as the apostle Paul says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). With His strength, we will overcome trials and challenges, but if we rely on our own strength, we will ultimately fail.
If we are beginning to waver and are becoming less active in serving God because of our trials and/or challenges, let us ask the Lord Jesus for strength and continue to remain in Him because apart from Him, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5b).
In His grace, let us resolve to stay strong and committed to Him beyond these 166 years.
Blessed birthday, ORPC! May God continue to use us as His witness to all nations.