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Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Tyndale prof

Month

November 2016

Representing Christ

A sermon by Dr. Daniel L. Wong
Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto
November 20, 2016

You are a representative of your company when you work for a company. When someone asks where you work and you tell them the name. They often connect their experience with the company and tell you about it.

I have been a professor at Tyndale University College & Seminary for the past 16 years. During that time we have Ontario university status (2013) and moved locations. I proudly represent our school. Invite others to come to events at our school. A number of you will attend Christmas in the Chapel on Dec. 3. I encourage others to explore studying with us. Just yesterday, we were shopping and I bumped into a pastor. I asked him about further study at Tyndale. He said he would come if he didn’t have to go through the application process. We both laughed.

As a person who comes to Martin Grove Baptist Church, you represent the church. Last week, after church I ate lunch with my former student Jae. You recall that last week that the follow through is to help another progress in their faith. During lunch we had a nice conversation. We ate at McNies, Fish and Chips, south at Burnanthorpe and Martin Grove. Based on Jae’s Scottish background we had haggis and at a snowball, a Scottish dessert. Also had their famous fish and chips too. We also got to encourage the waitress, Joey, so if you see her, say hello for us and give her a big tip!

1. Represent Christ

Here in Philippians the Apostle Paul encourages us to be excellent representatives of Jesus Christ. He says in Philippians 1:27, “Conduct yourselves in a matter worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Often the apostle Paul talks about the “walk” or “manner of life” as Ephesians and Colossians. That is more a Jewish background of walk as a way of life.

Here he connects with the Philippians and uses an image for “live as a citizen.” ‘Politeusthe’ sounds like the word “politics.” That is the literal meaning. The only other time with word is used is in Acts 23:1: “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”

Philippi was a Roman colony. It named after King Philip II or Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. It was a prosperous Roman colony. The people dressed like Romans and often spoke Latin (from NIV Application Commentary: Philippians). They knew the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. Paul point out that he was born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28) and that came with it rights.

Many of us are newer citizens of Canada. We have some from other countries and found Canada as our new home. We know the privileges of citizenship when we use our passport.
After my wife Flora and I became citizen is 2007. I was shortly called for jury duty, one of the responsibilities of citizenship. We learned about the justice system and many names were called to serve. I learned about people and citizenship that day.

As good citizens we want to represent our country well. Our neighbors to the south are often called “ugly Americans” due to their conduct abroad. We want to be known as good representatives of Jesus Christ and not “ugly Christians.”

2. Display Unity

Here the apostle Paul tells us how we are to represent Christ. We are first to stand firm
In one spirit. This is a defensive stance. Just like the Canadian football team defense digs in to not give up any yards. Lock arms. Join together. Stand firm. It doesn’t mean we all have the same opinion or we blindly follow our leaders. One person said where there are two Baptists, there are three different opinions. In Baptist polity, Christ is the head of the church, then the people, then the leaders. Of course there is an intermingling of people and leaders.

Don’t disturb the unity. That unity has been established by Christ.

We are to contend as one person for the faith of the gospel. We are to be on the offense. We are to promote the gospel. At the end of October we have Reformation Sunday where we recognized the Protestant Reformation as well as Martin Luther, who nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, the eve of All Saints’ Day. It is the 500th year in 2017. The tradition of Reformation Sunday offers an opportunity to celebrate our heritage and history, to affirm our central theological convictions and to consider God’s ongoing reformation of the church: salvation by grace through faith, centrality of the Word (both preached and visible in the Lord’s Supper), and participation of all people in worship through congregational singing and vernacular reading of scripture and preaching.

This gospel explained in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Christ died for our sins and was resurrected.

We are not frightened by the opposition. We don’t have fear for the Lord is with us. Study the “fear nots” in Scripture. One boy is a play who said, “It’s me and I’m scared.”
People disagree with our Christian viewpoints. People may make fun of us. Family members laugh.

Outcome is our salvation, their destruction.

3. Suffer for your faith

Suffering goes right along with representing Christ and trying to be a unified Christian
Body. It has been granted or appointed. 2 Timothy 3:12 Paul notes that everyone who want to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. This is opposition from the outside. North America is one of the few areas that has not gone through persecution as Christians.

Some of you are from areas where you have experienced persecution for your faith. Here is information on Myanmar.

Struggles to stand up for Christ in the workplace, your school, your neighborhood, the society. We need wisdom, courage and boldness.

 

Next Sunday is Advent when our attention turns to the incarnation and movement toward Christmas. I saw some Advent calendars in the store. Guess what was on them? Santa Claus. No Christian advent. Same chocolate treats!

The season is a great time to represent Christ. You have an event next Saturday to invite friends. What they say, let’s keep Christ in Christmas as we represent Christ individually and as a unified church.

 

Sources:

Getz, Gene A. Pressing On When You’d Rather Turn Back: Studies in Philippians. Ventura: Regal, 1983

Thielman, Frank. The NIV Application Commentary: Philippians. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

 

Spend a Good 1/2 Hour with God

This is the “homework” after my Tyndale University College & Seminary message on “God Speaking in the Spectacular & in the Silence” from 1 Kings 19:1-13 (Elijah story). The sermon audio is here https://www.tyndale.ca/podcasts/chapel/2016-11-16

Main points: 1. God speaks to us andthrough us in spectacular ways 2. God speaks to us in the silence

Main message: God powerfully speaks to us in the silence

Homework or application was to spend 1/2 hour w/ God to allow God to speak. That was due before Chapel next week by email dwong@tyndale.ca, Twitter @DanielLWong or Instagram: drdanielwong

Importance:

1. Make spending time with God a priority

2. Be in solitude

3. Pray

God invites us into His presence

Resources:

http://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.bibleengagementstudy.ca – executive summary & full report of Canadian Bible reading habits

Suggested pattern:

1. Set aside a time and find a quiet place

2. Quiet your heart before God – initial prayer and give God your concerns, commit this time to God

3. Reflect on Scripture – Ps. 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (NIV version or your choice). You can expand to the rest of Psalm 46 or a Scripture of your choice [Scripture can be read or listened to]

4. Quiet yourself to listen to what God says to you

5. Journal – record insight into Scripture, application to you

6. Pray that you apply the Scripture, pray for others, your concerns

7. Thank God for the time spent in fellowship

Let me know how it went. Look for situations in the upcoming days to challenge your application of this Scripture and this time spent with God

Send me an email at dwong@tyndale.ca

My past experience:

June 24 (Tues.), 6:02-6:35 a.m.

I followed my suggested procedure above. I only went onto the internet to copy the material to a document but did not check email and social media until after this devotional time.

My reflection on the whole of Ps. 46 is that God is my strength. I want to be sure that I do things in God’s strength and not my own. Philippians 4:13 came to mind and a filling of the Holy Spirit for empowered living.

Prayers were mainly for my family, myself and some other people and situations that came to mind.

I was thankful for health and opportunity to serve the Lord in broader contexts.

I want to be aware of situations that will test whether I will do things in God’s strength or my own.

A congregational member’s experience:

Thank you for your sermon last week, and for the assignment as well. I completed the time this morning, and it was a welcome time of quiet and focus on God and His word, especially in the midst of a busy week.

I was reminded once again that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, never changing in His steadfast love and faithfulness.

Too God be all the glory.

Another congregational member’s experience:

I am more Martha than Mary so I reflected on how hard it is for me to “be still” before God and I will work on this. I can see why Jesus had to withdraw and be in a place hard to fine.

One person’s experience is described as:

She loves to hear God’s word. It is her best friend. She also spends time praying. She feels Jesus’ presence when she prays.

Other suggestions:

One person said that they listen to Scripture. The intake of the Word comes through different avenues. Some read the Scripture out loud and in other versions.

A suggested book is Ken Shigematsu’s God in My Everything which has practical instructions on developing spiritual practices and a rule of life https://www.amazon.ca/God-My-Everything-Ancient-Rhythm/dp/0310499259/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479299420&sr=8-1&keywords=ken+shigematsu

Also Renew: A Personal Guide to a Personal Retreat by Tyndale Seminary professor David Sherbino, 2015 https://www.amazon.ca/Renew-Basic-Guide-Personal-Retreat-ebook/dp/B01DE78IRM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1479299296&sr=8-2&keywords=david+sherbino

How We Connect with Jung on Kim’s Convenience

Jung is the son on TV show Kim’s Convenience played by actor Simu Liu. At this point in the story line, his character is developing. Surprisingly enough, he has not had a direct conversation with his Appa (father).

I find that we can relate to each of the main characters on Kim’s Convenience. I’ve talked about Appa https://drdanielwong.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/why-we-identify-with-appa-in-kims-convenience/ and had a friend talk about Umma https://drdanielwong.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/how-i-relate-to-umma-in-kims-convenience/  Let’s talk about Jung.

  1. We have a strained relationship with our father

Fathers are a funny feature of families. They started things going but their role changes over the years. Most of us can relate better with our mother. Our mother is caring, nurturing and a real listener. Fathers tend to be aloof, hard working at providing but rarely home. How many of us say we have a close relationship with our father?

In Kim’s Convenience Jung is living away from his family. He says that either he got kicked out or left the family. We are waiting with bated breath to find out what went on between Appa and himself that caused this rift.

Many of us may sense that strained relationship with our fathers. I remember getting up the courage to ask my dad about my brother and myself, “Aren’t you proud of us?” To which he curtly replied, “You guys are a pack of trouble.” My heart sank. Thinking back, I’m sure he meant well but maybe our earlier antics outweighed our contribution.

Just like in Kim’s Convenience, we are hoping for reconciliation between Jung and Appa. We love these two strong Asian men. We long that we ourselves would have a better relationship with our father.

Appa has a lot of verbal barrages. His talk can get him into trouble and say brutally honest and hurtful things. Some of us can relate to those hurtful remarks said by our father or ourselves in retaliation. We contrast this with the quiet silent type on Second Jen with 1st Jen’s (not Mo’s) Cantonese Chinese father @SecondJen.

  1. We want to do what is right

Jung is a conscientious worker at the car rental. He is constantly keeping his friend Kimchee in line. Jung strives to keep a professional relationship with Shannon, his boss. She looks like she has other ideas. He even turns down going to the Raptors game with her because he thought it was inappropriate. We’ll see what develops in later episodes.

It is a bit Asian and human to do the right thing. In that we know our place and role. We aim to carry out our role well and be responsible. Of course, sometimes that may get us into trouble. It does help to live according to our conscience. Was that Jung’s upbringing and church background that engendered his perspective?

        3. We value our friends

Kimchee (played by Andrew Phuong) is Jung’s best friend. He also his co-worker and his house mate. It’s tricky to operate in so many environments with a friend. Yet, Jung does his best to stick up for Kimchee and even apologizes to restore the relationship.

Who hasn’t had ups and downs with friends? They are often life’s greatest pleasures and can be the sources of grief as well. Friendships are worth preserving and encouraging growth.

In Jung we see our common humanity. We want to do the right thing for our family and friends, but the outcomes aren’t always what we expect. Relationships require constant monitoring and mid-course correction. In Jung we see our own attempt to navigate these. We look forward to future episodes of Kim’s Convenience to see more connections with Jung.

As a side note, I got to meet Simu Liu who plays Jung at the @ReelAsian20 event where we previewed an episode.

His answers in the panel section were very articulate. He is very personable (like all of the cast members). He @SimuLiu has the most Twitter followers of the cast members and more than @KimsConvenience itself. Based on what I observed, a lot of women wanted to take a picture with him at the event😉

Enjoy the show!!!

Issues of Life and Death

Issues of Life and Death
Philippians 1:19-26
A sermon by Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong
Martin Grove Baptist Church
November 13, 2016

We have had a wonderful focus on Remembrance Day during our worship service today. Can we ever forget? Of course for many the memory is fading. We may not hear the stories directly from a spouse, parent, grandparent or another. I read where John Babcock, a Canadian veteran of WWI, lived to the age of 109. He held the honor of being the last surviving veteran of that war before passing away in 2009. Over one million Canadians served in WWII, a figure that represents over ten percent of the country’s population at the time. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, as of early 2014, 88,400 Canadian veterans of WWII were still alive, although most are over the age of 90. I spoke to my former youth pastor who officiated the funeral of both my parents. He frankly told me in the cemetery, they won’t be remembers after the grandchildren. They won’t have personal contact with the person who is deceased.

How will you be remembered? By current generation or the following generation. Now with video you can preserve many of those memories. I have my Christian testimony and calling on my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9bI_kqwGdA under Daniel L Wong. I have 371 views and 8 thumbs up, no thumbs down.

We are creating memories and a legacy every day, every moment.
That is why I want to talk to you today of “Issues of Life and Death” from Philippians 1:19-26. Here we receive the Apostle Paul’s perspective on life and death. He even reflects on his own life and death which is instructive for us.

Last Sunday I talked about “Unhindered Outreach.” How many have done your homework? You had two assignments which you can submit. The first was to reach out to someone about your faith. How did that go? Did you tell people why you go to church? Did you tell someone that you are a Christian? The other assignment was to “pick a perch.” That is a place to connect with people. I went to a local Starbucks on the way to school. It is not a busy as others. I overheard some interesting conversations. I do think I may head back to a library near our school. It is not only a place of relatively quiet study but a place where people come regularly. If you did not complete your assignment, I will give you a one week extension.

1. Make Christ your life

Paul states clearly in 1:21 – “For me, to live is Christ.” Christ is the centre of his life. In
Galatians 2:20 he further explains, it’s not me, it’s Christ living through me. Here he speaks of his life going on. V. 19 – deliverance is release from house arrest, jail.
This is his deliverance. “The complexity of the sentence is due in part to Paul’s beginning with a verbatim incorporation of a clause from Job 13:16 (‘this will turn out for my deliverance’)” [from https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/That-Christ-Be-Exalted by the way a very good free online resources for your study of Philippians]

By the Philippians’ prayer and help by the Spirit of Christ. Earlier we spoke of the “partnership in the gospel” and there is partnership in pray to accomplish God’s work. Of course the supernatural element – Spirit of Jesus Christ (used 3 times in the New Testament). Human help but moreover, divine help.
Christ exalted in his body. Christ seen in him. Not ashamed of Christ, Courage to share Christ. He also speaks of fruitful labor. For the Philippians “progress and joy in the faith.” Paull helped others to grow. This was his aim – to proclaim Christ and help other grown in Him.
How is our perspective? How do we view others sitting near us? Are they also partners in the Gospel? Can we do God’s work together? What can I do to help my brother and my sister progress in the faith – by my example, words I share, listening ear that I lend, the prayers I say for them and with them. On the other hand, do I allow them to influence my faith too? We are often too self-sufficient and not God-sufficient.
The joy too! When people joyfully serve together you hear laughter above the complaint and groans. You see smiles on faces. You hear stories about God’s work in lives and you rejoice.

2. Being with the Lord is far better

The Apostle Paul called death gain. It is his preference and his prize (Philippians 3). It is
being with the Lord. Depart means to weigh anchor or pull up the tent pegs. It is far better. Here it is not a morbid preoccupation. But is it death and life in perspective.
We look forward to being with Christ. Of course leaving behind our frail bodies. It is being with Christ (chapter 3).
It is the balance sheet – gains, loses (developed in chapter 3). What is in the black and what is in the red? Best is being with Christ. It is necessary, important, it is fruitful labor. As you came to church today, you came to worship God. Yes, that is foremost. Did you also come to be with the body of Christ gathered in the location? Jesus said that is more blessed to give than to receive. That is not just about money. It is give our attention or concern and prayers for others and receive that as well.
This is the tremendous hope we have in Christ. The resurrection. It is embedded is Psalm 23, John 14 – many dwelling places, to depart and be with the Lord which is far better.

Last night we heard the testimony of a holocaust survivor. As a Jewish man, he spoke often of miracles of preservation of himself and his family. Now 89 years of age he is thankful to tell his story. At the end he turned the tables. Now that you have heard my story, tell it to others. Let it sink into your life. Do not hate. As his inscription to me, “Daniel, always have hope.”
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have hope. We have the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. We proclaim this one who was “born a Savior.”
As your homework, help someone with their faith. They may need faith restored. They may need you to encourage the flame of faith. Pray about it. Who does God bring to your mind? Be God’s instrument of encouragement to them. You help them for their progress and joy in the faith.

@DanielLWong, Instagram: DrDanielWong

Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto  http://www.martingrovebaptistchurch.org/

Conversation Starters for Kim’s Convenience

As an educator, here are some questions to discuss Kim’s Convenience with others:

  1. Have you seen the Canadian comedy, Kim’s Convenience? Explain why you like.
  2. What is your favourite episode? Why?
  3. Which scene is the funniest?
  4. Who is your favourite character? Why?
  5. With which family relationship can you best relate?
  6. What items do you buy in a convenience store?
  7. What Korean words or phrases have you learned?
  8. Have you been more sensitive to cultural cues after watching the episodes?
  9. Who want to go for Korean BBQ?
  10. Other questions?

Unhindered Outreach

Philippians 1:12-18

A sermon by Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong at Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto, Nov. 6, 2016

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Christian Ministries,

Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto

As Christians, we know about the Great Commission. We are to go into all the whole world and preach the gospel. We are to share the good news. We are to share our Christian faith with family and friends. Does anyone feel uncomfortable doing this?

We have images of the street corner evangelist. The knock at our door. You peep out and see two people, one holding material called Watch Tower. Or you see two young men walking down the street. There have on white shirts and ties. They are from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, also called Mormon.

We say to ourselves, preaching the gospel, that is the job of the evangelist like Billy Graham, Leighton Ford and Luis Palau. It is for one who is trained to share his faith like Ravi Zacharias. We are content to just “let our light shine” without talking about it. We don’t want to offend anyone with our view of religion.

Or on the other hand, we are zealous to share our faith. We carry our Bible around, pray conspicuously before our meals in a restaurant. However, there have been questions that we could not answer about Christianity and people have gone the other way when we talk with them about our faith.

Anyone identify with the – someone else can do it or I try and don’t do so well?

I will continue the series that I started in Philippians. So this Sunday, Nov. 6 is Unhindered Outreach from Philippians 1:12-18.  Nov. 13 – Issues of Life and Death, Philippians 1:19-26.Nov. 20 – Representing Christ, Philippians 1:27-30.

  1. Circumstances facilitate gospel outreach

Sometimes we think that it’s not the right time or place to share our faith. People arenot interested. They might get offended. Oh, and they will notice that my life does reflect my profession of faith.

The Apostle Paul was in chains. He was chained to a Roman guard. We understand that he was under house arrest in Rome from the end of the book of Acts.

He says that what has happened to him has served to help rather than hinder the advance of the gospel. The word advance means to cut a path. Just like you need to cut a path through the forest to get to your destination.

Circumstances – for the apostle Paul he is under house arrest for preaching the gospel. You would think that he was not free to share his faith. Like Martha Stewart, he was not to leave the premises. He says that the whole palace guard and everyone else knew that he was in chains for Christ. That was a witness in itself that wasn’t chained.

This is the Sunday designated to Pray for the Persecuted Church. Outreach, witness, standing up for their faith.  Many international students at Tyndale.

Sometimes we complain that we are the only Christian in our workplace. What an opportunity. You are the missionary to your co-workers, your boss, from the life you live and as appropriate, with words as well. But not on company time!

I was at a restaurant last week with a friend. I was for Middle Eastern food. Our server had an accent.  Actually, I found out she was European. I asked her about why she was working at a Middle Eastern restaurant. She grew up in Israel.

We invited her to Tyndale Chapel. Actually of close potential connection with her is that we will be have a holocaust survivor speak at Tyndale next week. Maybe she can come to that or one of our Chapels. Maybe the one that I am speaking on November 16.

Pray and look for opportunities to share your faith. Of course, we need a consistent, growing faith that testifies to the life of Christ in us.

You have to get out there. Don’t restrict yourself to all Christian events.

             2.  Share your faith

Paul says that the believers saw his example and were motivated to share their faith.

That is the power of a good example. They were encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. They said, if Paul can do it, even amidst house arrest, we can do it too.

Amidst circumstances – share your faith.  Sometimes you don’t feel like it. Pray about. Be open to it. Some of us are shy. Some are outgoing. We need wisdom and sensitivity.

Handcuff story – I led a youth to Christ while he was chained to a four-drawer cabinet. Do you know how to be free in Christ? He accepted Christ there.

They also shared with good motives too. Goodwill. Love. A desire to help others, to help them find forgiveness of sins, purpose in life, hope in God.

  1. We rejoice when the gospel is spread

We know of many tele-evangelists. We are not happy with their methods. They seem to be making a bad name for Christianity. We see street evangelists, those passing out gospel pamphlets on the street.

The apostle Paul says to rejoice that the gospel is spreading. It may not be the way we would do that. He says there were some preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry. Others out of selfish ambition – maybe to make money out of it. To spite him another others

Overall Christ is preached. We don’t mean a false gospel but those even with improper motives, God can use.

Conclusion

My friends leads others to Christ through Facebook. Connect with people through social media, local McDonalds, library, activities where your children go to school. Volunteer. I say, Find Your Perch, you place where you can hang out and connect with people.

Go into all the world and preach the Gospel – to your world, to your sphere of influence.

Main idea – Share your faith where you are with pure motives

Over snack time, some of us can form a circle and talk about the challenges of reaching others.

Contact me at dwong@tyndale.ca; DrDanielWong@wordpress.com; Twitter @DanielLWong; Instagram @drdanielwong; Facebook: DanielLWong

Resources:

Nelson, Gary V. Borderland Churches: A Congregation’s Introduction to Missional Living. St.Louis: Chalice Press, 2009.

How We Relate to Ins Choi, Creator of Kim’s Convenience

1426092004912Many have seen or heard Ins Choi’s story. It parallels the story of many successful immigrants who went to the school of hard knocks before breaking through.

Many of us have aspirations to be successful – to write that best seller, to produce an award-winning blog, to have a contribution to legacy, to influence our children, to leave a legacy.

Let us look how we relate to Ins Choi.

1.  We are starving artists

Many of us have regular jobs that are not in line with our passions. If we were financially independent, we would paint, write or travel the world. To pursue our passion, we must sacrifice a lot of our “spare” time. Often family and friends don’t understand our desire to go outside the box.

Ins sacrificed much to produce his plays. He wrote betwen times of performing other plays.

2. We seek artistic expression

We have a play, poem, book bound up in us that needs expression. If I have one book I want to write, it is “Savoring Multicultural Relationships.” I believe that is needed in today’s world, how we can relate better to each other – in friendship, marriage, parenting, work, school, religious settings. Do you agree?

Ins wanted to write a play based on his experience and the experience of many immigrant families. Kim’s Convenience was the results. He also wrote and starred in his one person show, Subway Stations of the Cross.

3. We are on a journey

I shared with two people today Stephen Covey’s 8th Habit: Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs. Many are seeking clarify for career and life contribution. Too few have seen their dreams dashed by others. They have gotten discouraged on the journey.

Ins continues his journey. We are influenced by his voice. Many of us are finding ours via Kim’s Convenience.

Do you related to Ins Choi in these areas? In others?

Ins Choi will perform Subway Stations of the Cross on November 6, 8-10 p.m. at Tyndale University College, Toronto. Limited tickets currently available, $10 each. Contact jbrooks@tyndale.ca. This blog author will be there as well who is a professor at this school.

 

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