Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese New Year: Day 1

It is the first day of the Chinese New Year: Gong Xi Fa Cai!

We are celebrating Chinese New Year for 15 days. We went to church this morning, after which it was visiting time, an important thing to do during the New Year. For a start, we were back at SH's parents house to greet and wish them in this new year of the boar. We then went to a friend's home and also to my uncle's. It wasn’t much but we had a great time. We did not get too many hong bau today and I didn’t give out too many either. Well, there are 14 days more to do that.

Calvin has his 2 best friends staying over for the first time tonight. He is both happy and excited. I was called up to his room to straigthen things out between the three of them like five to six times. It was alright, because it was fun for SH and I too to have 2 more kids! I asked Calvin if having brothers and sisters would be a good thing. His reply? "It is and it is not."

This morning's sermon was taken from Philippians 2:5-18.

Phil 2:5-18 (ESV)
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

The preacher divided the passage into 3 interesting portions (starting from v.1):

1. v.1-4: A plea to be united
2. v.5-11: The perfect plan that is found only in Christ
3. v.12-18: The process to be more Christ-like

He gave some interesting comments on one of my favourite and much quoted verse (too much sometimes!): Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (v.12).

According to him, 3 things the verse is not:

1. It is not working in order to be saved. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8).

2. It is not a working out of an inward salvation, or in other words, to get that spark in our spiritual life.

3. It is not to work to stay saved.

He said to work out our salvation is to live out our salvation that we have in, by and through Christ. Christ will complete it and carry it to completion. There is nothing we can add on to our being saved but to submit wholly to God.

My thought is that for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling means that we are not to take salvation for granted. We cannot just have it and do nothing about it. We must and should live it out. (And I suppose we could write a whole book and more about how to live it out.)

Picture showing Calvin's hong bau for the day


  1. I like your thoughts on vs. 12 - good thinking.

    Those red envelopes look like fun!

  2. jewels, did you know that the red envelopes are called red packets or 'ang pow'! And they contain money.

  3. My Miss LIttles gave me an 'ang pow' the other day. They are learning in school about your holiday.

  4. Julia,
    They are fun -- when you are receiving it!! lol

  5. Milly,
    Cool - which class is that under?

  6. She is in first grade. Her teacher has done a lot to teach about other parts of the world and holidays. It’s a cool way to learn. Miss Littles was born under the sign of the dragon and my son was born under the sign of the rooster.