Friday, 10 August 2018 09:52

“ You don’t always get what you want in life!”

Written by  Rev. Shu-Ling Lee
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Shu Ling Lee

I’ve used this line quite often with my 4-year old son, Matty, especially when he’s complaining or acts entitled. It’s been one of the key lessons I’ve learned in my life up to this point and it’s been a blessing in disguise.

My name is Shu-Ling Lee and I’m one of the English Congregation Pastors at Richmond Hill Christian Community Church. I want to share a bit about where I come from, how I came to faith in Jesus Christ and how I felt the call to God’s ministry.

I was born and raised in Toronto and have lived in the city of Markham for most of my life. My parents brought me and my brother to Toronto Chinese Baptist Church, where I’m indebted to numerous friends, “uncles and aunties”, Sunday school teachers, and fellowship counsellors who have helped shape my faith in the early years.

Fast forward to the Billy Graham Crusade in 1995. I remember being invited to a preceding event called “Go M.A.D. (Make A Difference)” which became the place where I first responded to the gospel message of forgiveness and restoration in my life. It was there I decided to dedicate my life to Jesus as Lord and Saviour and my life’s mission to help direct others to Him.

During my years in high school, I deeply wrestled with academics and almost gave up getting into university. I definitely did not “get what I wanted” and I actually got rejected to every university program I applied to! I considered going straight to bible college for full-time ministry as I thought about my future. Thankfully, my pastor at TCBC, Rev. Nolan Lee, counseled and encouraged me to put more effort in my academics and continue to apply to a university so I could learn how to engage people “in the real world”. More specifically, he wanted me to learn how different people in society actually engage and think about faith and life. After improving my school marks over that summer, I ended up getting accepted to York University. I graduated 4 years later, also serving in York CCF (Chinese Christian Fellowship) as Chairperson during my time there.

After university, I prayed and asked God if it was still His direction for me to pursue seminary and perhaps become a pastor. During this time, my friend and mentor, Rev. Ken Foo (Mississauga Chinese Baptist Church), shared with me his call to ministry and I remember God similarly tugging at my heart after hearing his story. After various signs and affirmations from my church and fellowship community, I ended up applying to Tyndale Seminary and have since graduated (2010) with an M.Div. in Worship & Liturgy. I believe that as part of His sovereign plan, God also provided a part-time job as the Celebration (Worship) co-ordinator of the RHCCC’s English Congregation which eventually evolved into the Celebration Pastor position. In 2015-16, I have also been asked to take up pastoral leadership of our Cultivation (Small Groups) Ministry.

In June of 2013, I began my doctoral studies (D.Min) in Missional Leadership at Northern Seminary in Chicago, IL. Who would’ve ever thought a person who didn’t even have the grades to get into any university program would end up doing his doctoral studies over a decade later? God works in mysterious ways! Over the years, I have felt God developing a passion in me to connect Sunday Worship with missional living for His church for the rest of the 6 days of the week. As much as I loved leading worship and mentoring new worship leaders and worship bands, I realized that building a worshipful community also required building a discipling community that desires to make disciple-makers for Jesus! In my ministry in particular, I noticed that 2nd Generation Chinese-Canadians may have understood and accepted the gospel message of salvation of sins, but basically not grasped the wider implications of the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM that Jesus proclaimed so often in the gospel writings. The Kingship of Jesus is both important eternally and presently! I personally believe that there has to be a movement of cross-cultural discipleship within the Chinese church that can help disciple 2nd generation Christians to become disciple-makers themselves! Some of these core issues will be addressed in my upcoming doctoral thesis and I hope it can benefit the local Chinese churches somehow.

Lastly, I truly thankful for God’s amazing grace in my life. In school, in relationships with family and friends, in my ministry, God has shown His fingerprints all over my life. I have not always got what I wanted, but I’ve realized that God has given me much more than I could have ever imagined. He’s given me a greater purpose in life and I see Him as Jehovah Jireh, “the Lord is my provider”. I’m learning to live against my natural, entitled and consumeristic mindset and I am trying to show people the “kingdom way” of selflessness, generosity and love. I am grateful for RHCCC and all those who have walked with me through the mountains and valleys of life together. I want to thank the leaders of ACEM and RHCCC for affirming my call to ministry and I am happy to share that I will be ordained as a Reverend on Nov 19 at RHCCC. As a leader in God’s church, I pray I can continue to stay humble, be gracious and continue to invite others into the Kingdom of our Saviour King, Jesus Christ.

I am married to my patient and loving wife, Monica, and we have two little gifts from God: Matthias  and Aaliyah. I want to end off my article with these words: “You don’t always get what you want in life… but I thank God that Jesus and His Kingdom is more than enough.

(Rev. S. L. Lee is an English pastor of RHCCC)

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