By Jason Law, Christianity Malaysia
From a small group of people collecting weekly at Wisma Atria to a congregation of hundreds at Wisma TA today, God has indeed been faithful to tNCC (The New Covenant Church).
This year the church celebrated a significant milestone in its history – its 7thAnniversary. A grand dinner was held on the 7th of November 2016 at Atria Shopping Centre, where the church first began, to celebrate this momentous landmark. The theme that was taken was tNCC Per7ection Anniversary Dinner.
The 800 pax dinner was attended by friends and leaders of churches and ministries, both local and from abroad, from 10 different countries, including places like Kazakhstan, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, HK, Cambodia and Japan – a testimony of the impact and blessing that tNCC has been to the wider body of Christ.
As always the dinner began with a great time of worship, followed by various items as dinner was served. A highlight of the dinner was when the children sang the song ‘Welcome to the Family’ (a meaningful one because the church shapes its identity on the model of a family under Christ). Members of the church stood up according to the year they had joined the family, and the faithfulness of God adding to the numbers was resonating. At the same time Allen Tan speed-drew a special poster that was later signed by those present.
Pr Barnabas Mam from Cambodia shared in a testimony of how the church was a source of support in continuing the church-planting programme in his country, and a sister, Hooi Shyen, shared of how the Lord spoke to her about joining tNCC even before it was formed and a miracle healing that confirmed it. Brother Yew Chzon shared on how after 40 years of wandering and wondering he found his home in tNCC.
Various performances by talented singers sang of God’s faithfulness: Sister Evelyn Kew sang two of her own compositions as a song-testimony of God’s faithfulness, from barrenness to fruitfulness. A group of ladies did a beautiful acapella rendition of the well-known hymn “Amazing Grace.” The professional trio Jumero, comprising of members from the church did two other numbers. The Chinese church did a praise dance. All told it was an enjoyable evening of witnessing God’s grace and faithfulness and catching up with friends from all over.
Pr Peter Sze shared in a short and simple message of what tNCC’s identity is about, based on the verse from 1 Peter 2:10: Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
He expressed that tNCC grounds itself in an identity as a covenantal people, a community of grace, centered on Christ. Throughout the Bible we find God deals with people through covenants and today after the cross, our relationship with Him is through Christ in the New Covenant. While the Old Covenant was one that was based of Law (obey the Law and you’ll get blessed, disobey and you’ll get punished) the New Covenant is of Christ and it is founded on His grace. Because of Jesus, we have an assurance of God’s mercy, favour and blessing, not because of our merits but because we are in Christ.
Because Christ is Love and because He first loved us, we must love others and be marked by His grace. Pr Peter shared that churches need to be a community of grace. We don’t live our Christian lives in isolation. Because we belong to God’s family, we have a relationship with each other and we belong to one another.
Churches are not organisations and its people are not members of an institution but rather are a part of a vibrant community of grace, where we not only have experienced God’s grace upon our lives, but also show and experience grace to each other – encouraging and edifying one another practically and spiritually. A community of grace is a most powerful visible way where the world can see Christian love in action.
As a people founded in Christ, we must also be Christ-centered. ‘As a community, everything we do together and individually is centered on Jesus. Our worship songs points to Jesus, not our rights or wrongs. Our sermons, whether from the Old Testament or New Testament reveals His beauty and glory,’ Pr Peter conveyed.
As the Scriptures points out in 2 Corinthians 3:18, as ‘we behold His glory with unveiled faces, we are transformed into His image with an ever-increasing glory that comes from the Lord, who is Spirit’.
‘7 years ago, we were not a people but now we are a Christ-centered, Covenantal people in a Community of grace,’ he expressed gratefully.
While tNCC’s 7th anniversary celebration was a remembrance by a specific church of God’s faithfulness as a loving Father, it is also an encouraging reminder to the rest of us. In particular, the message shared by Pr Peter has an utmost relevance to the wider Church in the single Body of Christ. As the Body of Christ, we are a family, transcending every ethnic, national, and cultural barriers; marked by a divine covenant and identity of who we are in Christ and not by our temporal identities.