Hymns and songs we will be singing on Sunday:
Andy Davis’ message on Sunday is “But God” based on Ephesians 2:4-6. Read and meditate on this scripture passage for Sunday as you prepare for corporate worship.
Pray for Our Leaders:
Preaching: Andy Davis
Leading in Prayer: Andy Davis and Daniel Renstrom
Leading in Praise: Daniel Renstrom and the Worship Ministry Team
Reading Scripture: Dave Cates
Testimony: Walter Lee
I grew up in a small town in Illinois whose parents were non-practicing Buddhists. I was superficially exposed to Christianity but really did not think it was something that I needed. Indeed, I believed religion to be archaic and a remnant from a time when people did not know any better. I officially called myself agnostic, but in reality I was anti-Christian. I enjoyed getting into debates with Christians to demonstrate to them how misguided their beliefs were. I considered myself a ‘good person’ since I felt I had a deep sense of what actions were “right” and “wrong”. However, at the core, I was troubled by the relativism that formed the foundation of my personal ethics. I felt a heavy burden from what I now know as my own sin.
This issue led me to seek answers by choosing philosophy as an undergraduate degree, with a concentration in ethics, while attending college in Washington DC. These philosophical studies only led to more questions rather than answers. I met Christ the summer after my freshman year in a series of events that demonstrated God’s existence and sovereignty. Briefly, I was approach by a Christian cult and was pressured to participate in a Bible study. Through reading the Bible for the first time, God not only showed me His Truth in the person of Christ Jesus, but also demonstrated to me how this group was twisting His word for their own agenda. By God’s grace, I was able to leave this misguided church with my faith intact, and help others do the same. I was able to grow in my Christian walk throughout undergraduate and medical school from solid teaching and community. This came from a Bible based church as well as Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian Medical and Dental Associations.
I met my wife Julia after moving to Cleveland for my head and neck surgery residency training and we have been married for 13 years. While there, we were blessed to be members of the Cleveland Chinese Christian Church. I was chosen to serve as an English congregation elder for three years. We moved to Durham in 2008 and became FBC members in 2009. We currently have three boys: Isaac(9), Benjamin (7), and Joel (5). I have been blessed to serve the church in several capacities that include Home Fellowship Leader, BFL teacher, and being a Deacon.
It is a humbling honor to be nominated as an elder candidate for the FBC congregation.
When I reflect on the motivating factors as to why I have agreed to be put forth to the congregation as an elder candidate, several reasons come to mind. To start, my family and I love the church body that is at FBC. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and how we strive to worship the Lord in all that we say and do. I love that we strive to take the church covenant seriously, seeking to support and encourage one another onward on this race that God has laid out for us. I believe with my entire heart that God sacrificed his son Jesus on the cross for me so that I can be forgiven, and now I am considered a child of God. It is awesome to think that he did that for each of us who believes in Christ. It is only through this common love that we have for the Lord that we have a common love among each other, regardless of whether we “know” each other or not.
Another reason is that I have a desire to see our church body grow closer to God, as well closer to each other. This can only happen when we recognize our own sin and brokenness. It is through this recognition that God’s mercy and grace can be manifested in our lives. In contrast, trying to portray having a “perfect Christian life” focuses the praise on what we can do rather than what God can do to redeem us in our brokenness. I commit to building an environment that supports being open and transparent about the struggles, trials, and temptations we all face, while all the time pointing to the redemptive work of our sovereign God.
I also have a desire to help prepare and equip our members, both adults and youth, to give a reason for the faith we have in Christ as our Lord and Savior. I have a heart to train us to be able to stand as a guiding light to Truth as it applies to the issues of the day. Furthermore, I long to see us prepared to respond to worldly consequences that may result from our stand for God’s Truth. Our response should be one in which points people to God’s mercy and grace. As a result of this, I long to have us reach the lost because of our love for God, his Holy Word, and for each other.
Ultimately, the reasons for seeking to be an elder are based on remembering how much God has blessed me with so much in my life and what infinitely more will be revealed in eternal life with Him. From this standpoint, it would be an honor to serve as elder and have the Lord work through me to serve and bless others just as others have done for me.
Finally, I know that serving as elder will mold me, challenge me, and sanctify me in ways that I cannot imagine. I also know that it will influence the spiritual growth of our family in ways that will draw us closer to the Lord. I commit that I will seek the Lord’s wisdom and strength as I serve the congregation alongside the other elders in living out God’s will for us as long as we are together at FBC.
If you would like to listen to a brief Sunday evening sermon that Walter preached at First Baptist in 2013, click this link: http://bit.ly/1gF3Ivq