15 years ago, a little church in PJS7 was born in a house known fondly today as No. 26 – Pastor Robin and Joy’s home. Today, CERC occupies the corner lot of a row of shophouses, known as CERC Central. You can spot her red tower, black roof and window frames, and the words “CERC” wrapped around it as you drive along LDP. This church has come a long way from humble beginnings, and each year, her members are reminded of God’s grace that has brought them here today and the prayer to strive on faithfully continues to resound.
Foundation Day takes place every 4th Sunday of August, (occasionally on the 1st Sunday of September). As always, there is all-around excitement, hustling and bustling to prepare for the church’s birthday celebration. It starts online, with social media posts of throwbacks, and encouraging messages to the church (follow CERC on Instagram and Facebook to see some of these posts).
On Foundation Day itself this year, even before you stepped into the building, from outside you could see an array of red and black balloons in the foyer. As you walk through the entrance, the first display that catches your eye is a water feature – complete with miniature models of CERC buildings, ministries, and a stream that carries figurines of the past and present Church Ministry Apprentices (CMAs) to seminaries. Visitors were encouraged to pick a CMA to support financially and send to seminary so they can come back full circle to serve in the ministries here in Malaysia.
As you move on through the foyer, you would notice that each balloon has a nostalgic photo of a past event in CERC such as the early days in No. 26, the move to the shop-lots, the first Sunday School classes, and many more. Amidst the balloons, you see a tree, roots to the ground, a flourish of leaves, and pictures on the tree that include all 26 past and present CMAs on the tree, 53 past and present Growth Groups leaders, 39 Growth Groups spread out over Klang Valley, and the many ministries in CERC for all ages and all walks of life. These are the fruits that the church has borne over the years, signifying a church dedicated to the ministry of the Word. Word ministry is what keeps the church alive and healthy and growing and must therefore be nurtured and guarded at all costs.
As a lead-up to the Foundation Day sermon – Jesus, the true Son and true Man, we watched a snippet of a video on a couple of church members, Kaylee and Vanessa, chatting about what they love about CERC and how they appreciate the church for emulating the very fact that the gospel is everything (watch the full video here – “Why we’ve stayed in CERC for 15 years”). It was a reminder of our foundation and our very purpose as a church belonging to Jesus, and how we must keep going. The gathering continued with an original song written by the church’s Ministry of Sound, “The One (we were not looking for)”. It was another sober reminder to the church of who Jesus is and what He calls His people for, as opposed to the Jesus many professing Christians today fashion to their own desires.
We fall for the shadows of the real thing
cause’ we miss the glory in your suffering
The Son, Prophet, Priest, King
Oh God what have we done to Him
O Lord please grant us this one thing
Undo our lusts with the life Your Scriptures bring
Renew our sight to see
Your Son, the Christ, our glorious king!
As Pr. Robin (pictured above) began his sermon, he spoke on how it was apt that today’s sermon topic was on Jesus’s Sonship – the very reason why we too can be sons and daughters of our Father in heaven, why we have every spiritual blessing in Christ, and the reason why CERC is and can be CERC today. “On Foundation Day, it is important for us to remember that what we have is the privilege of sonship. It is joy eternal to belong to a God who doesn’t deserve such miserable sinners like us to be his people,” said Pr. Robin. In line with John 1:12-14, this call to view the sonship of God’s people the way God sees it means the church must be holy and set apart for God.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:12-14
Pr. Robin exhorted the church to strive on, to not give up, and to do better, and that the urge to live all of our lives for Jesus comes from the privilege of our sonship because of Jesus’s own Sonship which has brought us salvation and eternal adoption. “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” Pr. Robin said, quoting Luke 12:48, “Pressure comes from privilege. What are you celebrating today for Foundation Day?” As a people holy to the Lord our God, He deserves so much more than just Sunday attendance, or just us getting by life. “How are you a son or daughter of God in your church life?” was Pr. Robin’s appeal to the congregation in light of all that the Son had done for His church.
As the church celebrates 15 years, while there is much to give thanks to God for what He has done in and through CERC by the faithful teaching and preaching of His Word, there is also a sense of urgency as children of God – to stand firm and not give in to complacency, to thrive and not just survive, to love better, serve better, to raise our children in the Lord, and to be faithful stewards in all we have been given – this urgency does not become any less. May the church be strengthened to press on toward the calling He has called us to.