Announcements (29 Mar 15)

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Mar 292015
 

Ops Clean Up (28/3): A note of thanks to all who came to help yesterday. The Lord bless the labour of your hands.

Children Easter Special event (TODAY) 9.30 to 12.30pm. Children from P1 – P6 are welcome to join this evangelistic event. Lunch is provided.

Adults SS Class resumes at 11.30am Chapel. Lesson 9: Walking in Wisdom. All are welcome!

Catechumens’ Interview with the Elders (TODAY) 11.30am Kindergarten Office. Catechumens, please attend.

Stewardship Report 2014: Fellowships, Ministry groups and Missions are to send in their reports to the church e-mail nlbpc@singnet.com.sg by TODAY.

Biblical Counseling Seminar: Equipping Lay Counsellors: (18/4 & 9/5) Time: 3.30-6.30pm @Chapel Sp: Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel Gan Fees: $50/pax  and $60/ for couples. Note: Limit to 20 participants only. Please register with Sis. Aileen Goh by 5/4.

Church Camp (17 to 20 June 2015) Venue: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, Johor Bahru. Theme: “Be Ready for Christ’s Return!” Speaker: Pastor Gabriel Gan. Registration on 19 Apr, 26 Apr & 03 May. Visit http://nlbpc.org/web/camp2015 for speaker’s foreword, camp fees, photos and more details.

Funds: Please give generously to the Camp Fund and BB Fund for 2015.

Holy Week Services:

1) Good Friday Worship Service (3/4) (English & Chinese) @ 9.30 am

(Holy Communion will be served.)

Speaker: Rev. Quek Keng Khwang (of Life BP Church)

2) Easter Easter Sunrise Worship Service (5/4) @ 7 am

Speaker: Rev. S. V. Nathan

3) Easter Baptismal Worship Service (5/4) @ 9.30 am (For English, Chinese and Tamil Congregations) Speaker: Rev. Gabriel Gan

In-Conversation (11/4, 4-6pm.) Chairperson: Ps Gan

Members are encouraged to participate in the following topics:

  1. Evaluation of Church Theme 2014
  2. Future Plans of the Church (by Ps Gan)

III. A Breakout Session into groups to discuss & present the following:

  1. Interpersonal Skills & Bonding
  2. How to encourage more members to join small groups or start new ones
  3. How we can fulfill the Great Commission as a church

IV. Q & A (if any) – kindly email your questions by NEXT SUN 5/4 6pm. This will allow time for the Session to deliberate the questions.

29 Mar 15 – Obeying the Father’s will (John 5:17-30)

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Mar 292015
 

By Eld. Sim Chee Seng

“My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (verse 17)

The Jews condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and claiming to be the Son of God (verse 18). Jesus answered them that He is at work with His Father who is still working and that God’s work is not subject to human rules and regulations. He does nothing on His own but follows the will of the Father. What the Father does, the Son will do also. The underlying motive for the Son’s obedience is the unconditional love of the Father for the Son. The delight of the Son is in His obedience to the Father’s will. The Father will show Him a greater work which is to give life and resurrection to those who will believe on Him.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (verses 24 & 25)

When the spiritually dead shall hear and believe on Him, they are promised eternal life. (verse 25) (Rom 10:17, Acts 4:12) In contrast, those who do not believe and who have done evil shall be subjected to the resurrection of damnation. (verse 30) Jesus professed “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just: because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” The Son of man has been given full authority to execute judgment by the Father. (verse 27)

As His disciples, we are invited to partner with God to “work”, to do the work of healing our world. Isaiah reminds us that we are called to help by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty and sheltering the homeless. (Isa 49:8-15) We are to be the light and salt of the earth. (Matt 5:13-16) And we are to do the greater work of leading others to salvation in the Lord. (John 14:12)(John 6:29) We can depend on the faithfulness of God to help us and if the Holy Spirit should do His work in and through us, there will be the fullness of life and the experience of resurrection.

Jesus was courageous and fearless in the face of opposition. He revealed His identity and clarified His work. His example gives us a glimpse into the mind and heart of God. For Jesus tells us that the “hour” is near when those who have done the work of God will hear His voice and be called to the resurrection of life forever. (verses 24 & 25)

What work has the Father given to you to do? Are you continuing in the work He has delegated to you? Have you obeyed Him? Are you faithfully carrying out His will for you? If you are not sure, why not prayed to Him for guidance and illumination?

When you go to work in the office, classroom, home etc….. why not choose to do the will of God!

Announcements (22 Mar 15)

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Mar 222015
 

A Very Warm and Blessed Welcome to the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades and parents and friends to New Life BP Church!

Condolence to family of Sis. Dorothy: Their third brother passed away suddenly from a heart attack. May the Lord comfort the family.

Ops Clean Up (28/3): Please make the time to come and let us clean the house of the Lord! Fellowship groups and NBCs please check the areas assigned to you or see Bro. Steve Tan.

Catechumens’ Interview with the Elders (NEXT SUN 29/3) 11.30am Kindergarten Office. Catechumens, please attend.

Stewardship Report 2014: Fellowships, Ministry groups and Missions are to send in their reports to the church e-mail nlbpc@singnet.com.sg by 29 March 2015.

Biblical Counseling Seminar: Equipping Lay Counsellors: (18/4 & 9/5) Time: 3.30-6.30 pm @ Chapel Sp: Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel Gan Fees: $50/pax  and $60/ for couples. Note: Limit to 20 participants only. Please register with Sis. Aileen Goh.

Church Camp (17 to 20 June 2015) Venue: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, Johor Bahru. Theme: “Be Ready for Christ’s Return!” Speaker: Pastor Gabriel Gan. Registration on 19 Apr, 26 Apr & 03 May. Visit http://nlbpc.org/web/camp2015 for speaker’s foreword, camp fees, photos and more details.

Funds: Please give generously to the Camp Fund and BB Fund for 2015.

Children Easter Special event (29/3) 9.30 to 12.30pm. Children from P1 – P6 are welcome to join this evangelistic event. Lunch is provided. Do extend this invitation to anyone from this age group. Please see flyer for more details.

Holy Communion will be served on Good Friday service (3/4) rather than on the Combined Baptismal Service on 5/4. Other details, please see the insert on the Holy Week Programme 2015.

22 Mar 15 – A review of William A. Smith of the Boys’ Brigade

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Mar 222015
 

A review of William A. Smith of the Boys’ Brigade (Author: F. P. Gibbon)

By Captain Ronnie Pang

Commemoration: William Alexander Smith, eldest son of Major David Smith and Harriet, was born on 27th Oct 1854 in a Pennyland House in the town of Thurso in Scotland. He was educated in the Miller Institution but without hope for great achievement except for his leadership qualities. In 1865, William Smith actually formed a company of Boys for drill and discipline. In 1869, he enrolled in a private school with the “Western Education Institution”. At that young age, he displayed enthusiasm in everything he was interested in and pursued it to fruition – a mark of PERSEVERANCE, which was characteristic of his later career. It was in 1883 that Smith founded the Boys’ Brigade in Glasgow.

Commitment: He joined the Free College Church on 12th Apr 1874 and was convicted to devoting his life to the service of his Saviour. Then on 22nd Apr 1874, he was appointed Lance-Corporal in 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteer. He rose to Corporal in 1875 and Sergeant in 1876. In 1877, he was commissioned in “L” Company. He was intent on making the unit he commanded to be the smartest and most efficient in the battalion. After taking a two years’ break, Lieutenant Smith returned to his original Company. He was a disciplinarian and a perfectionist for good drill and accompanied by smartness in uniform. His belief is that this would generate pride in an individual.

Consideration: In the early days, the Boys attended Sunday school because they were sent there by their parents. The Boys of the School above the age of twelve were taught elementary drill, physical exercises, obedience, punctuality, and cleanliness, when they joined the Brigade. Today, the Boys are taught drill, physical exercise, and games. They are very “committed” in the pursuit of their badges so much so that the Christian Education had taken a back seat. This must not be so otherwise the Boys Brigade would not need the sponsorship of a Church. The Chaplain, Rev Gabriel Gan, now brings the Word of God to the Boys at Riverside Secondary School during their weekly parades on Friday.

Conviction: William Smith then decided on the object of the Boys’ Brigade as ‘The advancement of Christ’s Kingdom among Boys, and the promotion of  habits of Reverence, Discipline, and Self-Respect, and all that tend towards a true Christian manliness” and the motto as being “Sure and Steadfast”. The object of the Boys’ Brigade remains the same except that the promotion of Obedience is now added.

Constitution: The Constitution then laid down that “All Boys between the ages of twelve and seventeen shall be eligible for membership of the Brigade, and in applying, agree to comply with the Rules of the Brigade, and expressing a desire to be true to Christ in their lives, and to help other Boys to do so. The school now provides for a teacher to be a liaison Officer in the Boys’ Brigade. He provides an important link between the School and the Brigade, and between the School and the Church. The teachers that are currently very involved in the BB Activities at Riverside Secondary School are Mr Albert Teo, Mr Jared Tan, and Mr Roger Tan, and Ms. Geraldine Chang.

Compassion: The BB Officer must be fair, friendly, and yet firm to the Boys. The firmness in which he takes a stand on an issue must be blended with fairness. He must learn to sympathize with the Boys in their predicament and to empathize in their situation. And to make himself approachable to the Boys, he must show interest in their work, their play, and their home. Justin Paolo from New Life Bible Presbyterian Church is now playing an active role in all their parades.

Contribution: Apart from his other attributes, Smith is also known to be generous. Indeed the Bible teaches us that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) and that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7). We must realize that we are serving in an organization where the funds are limited. It is expected of serving Officer to take the cue from the founder and to give wherever possible. Giving is not restricted only to material things but also of our time as well. As a sponsoring Church, New Life Bible Presbyterian Church has a duty to ensure that the financial needs in running this ministry are met.

Coordination: In the early days, camps were not under canvas. Today, however, we may organize activities for the Boys, including Bagpipes, Kayaking, Adventure Quest, Drills, etc.  These activities must be carefully planned and coordinated such that the Boys’ parents are informed well in advance so that they can also make their own plans for their children. We must remember that the parents have entrusted their children to our care and we on our part must do our best to be worthy of their trust.

Conclusion: Just as William Smith was concerned of the danger of allowing the movement to degenerate into mere instructions in drill, the BB Officer must not lose sight of the object of the Boys’ Brigade for it is precisely the object that justifies the continual existence of the Brigade. From the very beginning, they have looked upon it as God’s work and have asked for His blessing and guidance. And so we must continue to be guided by God in all that we do and be true to the object of the Boys Brigade and remain sure and steadfast.

 The following video was recorded at the recent 22 Mar Enrolment Parade of
Riverside Secondary School BB & GB, held at New Life BP Church
with our co-workers on the ground to guide the boys and girls:

Announcements (15 Mar 15)

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Mar 152015
 

Adults Sunday School @ Chapel: Lesson 8: Searching for Wisdom. All are welcome. Note: There will be no Adults SS Class next Sunday (22/3) in lieu of BB/GB Enrolment Service.

Session Meeting: Session members, please attend the meeting TODAY at 1.45 pm. in the Conference Room.

SAF 3rd 2015 Meeting on 21/3 Time: 4:00-6:30pm @Bro Ronnie Pang’s Place (34 Jalan Bumbong, S739923). Transport leaves NLPBC @3:30pm. Pot Luck dinner: Please contact Sis Lynda Kuan @ 96709007. More information, please contact Bro Ronnie Pang @ 81335574 or Bro Chin Hong @ 96348085 Sp: Rev. Bob Phee

BB/GB Enrolment Worship Service NEXT Sunday 22/3: We thank God that New Life continues in this ministry. The Session invites all to this worship service – let us warmly welcome the boys and girls as well as their parents. Please note that the front car park (including the front porch) will be used as a parade square. Motorists are advised to park their cars behind the church. The car park will be free once the parade is over at 9am.

Stewardship Report 2014: Fellowships, Ministry groups and Missions are to send in their reports to the church e-mail nlbpc@singnet.com.sg by 29 March 2015.

Biblical Counseling Seminar: Equipping Lay Counsellors: (18/4 & 9/5) Time: 3.30-6.30 pm @ Chapel Sp: Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel Gan Fees: $50/pax Note: Limit to 20 participants only. Registration opens today!

Church Camp (17 to 20 June 2015) Venue: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, Johor Bahru. Theme: “Be Ready for Christ’s Return!” Speaker: Pastor Gabriel Gan. Registration on 19 Apr, 26 Apr & 03 May. More details will be provided. Visit http://nlbpc.org/web/camp2015 for more details!

Funds: Please give generously to the Camp Fund and BB Fund for 2015.

Children Easter Special event (29/3) 9.30 to 12.30pm. Children from P1 – P6 are welcome to join this evangelistic event. Lunch is provided. Do extend this invitation to anyone from this age group. Please see Sis. Eileen Tan for details.

15 Mar 15 – What is the church supposed to be?

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Mar 152015
 

What is the church supposed to be?

By Rev. S. V. Nathan

Introduction:

“A Seminary student saw a gang of tough teens got on board and refused to pay the fare. After a few days of this, the seminarian spotted a policeman on the corner, stopped the bus, and reported them. The officer made them pay, but then he got off. When the bus rounded a corner, the gang robbed the seminarian and beat him severely. He pressed charges and the gang was rounded up. They were found guilty. But as soon as the jail sentence was given, the young Christian saw their spiritual need and felt pity for them. So he asked the judge if he could serve their sentences for them. The gang members and the judge were dumbfounded. “It’s because I forgive you,” he explained. His request was denied, but he visited the young men in jail and led several of them to faith in Christ.” (Chuck Swindoll, http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/1148/leave-your-hurts-in-the-sand/#ixzz2MeMb1nJN). Thus, this story reminds us that every Christian and church needs to understand and practise the very teaching of Christ which is love, grace, mercy and forgiveness with everyone and everywhere to win them for Christ.

The State of Church:

I am a converted Christian for the last 35 years and serving in the church for more than 20 years. Very sadly I have seen very stark contrast between biblical teachings and our actions. Many a time even the so called bible believing Christians neither bother nor serve others in the church or witness Christ outside. They are more satisfied with the ritualistic religion by coming and attending the Sunday worship service – that is what their Christianity is all about. On their part, there is mostly no action of love, grace, mercy, compassion, serving and sacrificing, Our Lord Jesus Christ broke the ritualistic religious notions and pointed us to the living relationship with God and with His people. Nevertheless it seems the very church has lost its savour and light (Mat 5:13, 14). Thus we are called to take serious note and try to do something to improve its standard and by living true to Christ’s teaching in our life at least.

The Place of Love and Forgiveness Abounds:

The Church is the body of Christ and the bride of Christ where love, care and compassion of Christ is constantly practiced, and Christians who serve Him and His people with love, mercy, grace and forgiveness to all. It is the most important teaching that we learn from Christ in the four gospels.

Church programs should not be self-centred rather they should be selfless and abounding in love. Think about what Jesus did. Who did Jesus talk to?  Who did Jesus spend time with? Who did Jesus eat meals with? Just about anyone and everyone. If people were separated from the community of faith, Jesus worked to include them. If disease kept them out, he healed them. If they were in the wrong kind of work or engaged in the wrong sort of activities, he forgave them and included them. If they help positions of power and authority, he challenged and encouraged them to expand their vision of God’s reign. People might decline to join Jesus, but he didn’t exclude people.

Did Jesus not come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10)? Do we have programs for the poor and needy and all walks of people in our church.  To be a disciple, or a follower of Jesus means that we try to live like he did: To love God and each other. And this means the church is called to be the welcoming, forgiving, including, reconciling community of God.

The Place of Unity, Peace and Harmony:

We must realise that the Church is not a court room to judge people like Pharisees. We must know that Jesus has a radical willingness to forgive. He exercised it from the beginning. To the woman caught in adultery, He said: “Has no one condemned you? . . . Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:10-11); to the paralytic: “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” – (Matthew 9:2); and in response to the soldiers who beat Him, to the Jewish leaders who handed Him up to be crucified, and to the crowds who mocked and spat on Him, He offered this prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”– (Luke 23:34).

Any man or woman desiring to be like Jesus must be a forgiving person because Jesus has a radical willingness to forgive. Forgiveness brings healing, healing will lead to reconciliation, and later unity, peace and harmony will prevail among us.  Are we ready to forgive anyone who hurt you?

Conclusion:

Let me conclude with the thought that as a disciple and faithful follower of Christ let us set an example to others by living and serving Him and His people. We cannot offer love, grace and forgiveness from a place of complete righteousness – as Jesus did. The forgiveness we can muster is that of one sinner to another. But as God’s children, we ought to be people who understand the power of true forgiveness and sacrificial love. Christ’s love and forgiveness in my life is a miracle. Ask God for the transformation of your heart to demonstrate His love and forgiveness to those who have wronged you. “I release them to you and ask that you would heal the wounds I may have received from their actions.”  As we are waiting to commemorate the suffering and teaching of Cross of Christ on Good Friday, let us be stewards of His love and forgiveness and serve as salt and light to the world. May God bless you with abundant heavenly joy and peace on this temporal journey on this earth.

Announcement (08 Mar 15)

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Mar 082015
 

Honour the Lord: Let us be punctual when we come to worship the Lord. Come and prepare our hearts – there is Corporate Prayer at 9am and Pre-worship Singing at 9.15am.

Adults Sunday School @ Chapel: Lesson 7 – Becoming like Christ. All are welcome.

Session Meeting: Session members are requested to attend the meeting NEXT SUNDAY at 1.45 pm. in the Conference Room.

NLBPC Combined Youth Programme Sat (14/3): Theme: “Renew our days as of old” – Lamentations5:21. All youths aged 13 – 25 are encouraged to register for this event. Registration closes TODAY. Please see Sis. Jamie for more information.

BB/GB Enrolment Worship Service Sun 22/3: We thank God that New Life continues in this ministry. The Session invites all to this worship service – let us warmly welcome the boys and girls as well as their parents. Please note that the front car park (including the front porch) will be used as a parade square. Motorists are advised to park their cars behind the church. The car park will be free once the parade is over at 9am.

Children Easter Special event (29/3) 9.30 to 12.30pm. Children from P1 – P6 are welcome to join this evangelistic event. Lunch is provided. Do extend this invitation to anyone from this age group. Please refer to flyer for details.

Stewardship Report 2014: Fellowships, Ministry groups and Missions are to send in their reports to the church e-mail nlbpc@singnet.com.sg by 29 March 2015.

Church Camp (17 to 20 June 2015) Venue: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, Johor Bahru. Theme: “Be Ready for Christ’s Return!” Speaker: Pastor Gabriel Gan. Registration on 19 Apr, 26 Apr & 03 May. More details will be provided.

New Life Kindergarten 2016 Pre-nursery, Nursery & K1 Class Registration for Children born in 2013, 2012 & 2011 (New Students) is open for registration from 9.3.2015 to 13.3.2015. Children of New Life B-P Church members and siblings of students presently studying in our Kindergarten will be given first priority. Registration Time: 8.30 am to 12.00 pm. More information is on the Notice Board outside the Kindergarten office.

Mrs Yap Kin Leng is undergoing chemotherapy. Please just pray for her. To avoid cross infection, the family has requested that we do not visit her.

Funds: Please give generously to the Camp Fund and BB Fund for 2015.

08 Mar 15 – Suffering and Glory 2 Tim 2: 8 – 13

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Mar 082015
 

Suffering and Glory 2 Tim 2: 8 – 13
By Eld. Yap Chee Kian

The Apostle Paul in his exhortation to his protégé, Timothy, prepares him for the suffering that he has to endure as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. He also encouraged him by his own examples and urged him to look forward to the glory that God has promised. There is a Chinese saying:

人生八苦:生,老,病,死,爱,别,离,怨;
长久求不得,放不下.

Many in the world who have not read the Bible are familiar with what the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 8:15 says: “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun”. As we reflect on this, we realize that suffering is not the problem.

What is the problem with Suffering?
Why do we need to suffer? It may perhaps be trite to cite the refrain “No pain, no gain”. We tell people this when they have to go through a lot to reach a goal. One example is losing weight. How many will bear with the discipline and spend hours in the gym to keep themselves looking good physically. Others may even try shortcuts to attain the same outcome. But the pain becomes meaningful because of the consequential health benefits.

The Bible gave us an example of Job who suffered unjustly (Job 1:8). It is a difficult lesson and one that a Christian has to learn many times in the process of sanctification. At the end of it, this is what Job has to say: “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

Paul’s exhortation to Timothy
Paul related to Timothy his own sufferings and how he had to endure it for the gospel (v10). There are those who resist the truth who will make life miserable for those who live godly lives. This is because it is a reproof to their ungodly ways. Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us, the world will hate us just as it hated him (John 15:18,19). Paul had to suffer as a criminal (evil doer) for the Gospel’s sake.

Paul had four faithful sayings – three in his letter to Timothy and one in his letter to Titus. He first used it in 1 Tim 1:5 and he repeated here in verse 11 and later in 1 Tim 4:9. It is a Greek word πιστός pistós, meaning trustworthy, trustful, true.

Verse 11 has deep meaning. It says “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him”. A commentator said, “Born of David, Christ died – his humanity, Raised from the dead – his divinity”. The parallel verse 12 further concludes that when we suffer with Christ, we will also reign with Him. Glory is the full expansion of salvation. God is faithful and He will not deny Himself. Keep your eyes on Jesus, just as He kept his eyes upon God.

Meaning of Suffering
God is using it to conform us to the image of Christ. In the process, we need to learn obedience. Even Christ had to learn obedience through His suffering. Even though He is the Son of God, He is also the son of Man (Heb 5:8). 2 Cor 4: 16 – 18 sums this up very well. The present afflictions we go through is only momentary and let us not lose heart as we are renewed day by day inwardly and it is achieving for us eternal glory. Pray that the Lord will give us the strength to remain faithful in the face of sufferings.

Footnote: Timothy remained faithful to the Lord. This is what is recorded for us in Foxes Book of Martrys:

“Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later.”

Announcements (01 Mar 15)

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Mar 012015
 

J.O.Y. Sunday: All youths Sec 1 upwards are welcome to this youth programme @ the Chapel 11.30am.

Adults Sunday School FIRST SUNDAY @Fellowship Hall: All are welcome.

NLBPC Combined Youth Programme Sat (14/3): Theme: “Renew our days as of old” – Lamentations5:21. All youths aged 13 – 25 are encouraged to register for this event. Registration closes on 8/3. Please see Sis. Jamie for more information.

BB/GB Enrolment Worship Service Sun 22/3: We thank God that New Life continues in this ministry. The Session invites all to this worship service – let us warmly welcome the boys and girls as well as their parents. Please note that the front car park (including the front porch) will be used as a parade square. Motorists are advised to park their cars behind the church. The car park will be free once the parade is over at 8.30am.

Stewardship Report 2014: Fellowships, Ministry groups and Missions are to send in their reports to the church e-mail nlbpc@singnet.com.sg by 29 March 2015.

Mrs Yap Kin Leng  has been warded in NUH. Please just pray for her – as she needs rest, the family has requested that we do not visit her.

Funds: Please give generously to the Camp Fund and BB Fund for 2015.

01 Mar 15 – Where is God now and where is God when it hurts?

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Mar 012015
 

By Eld. Prasad

The Bible teaches that God reigns over the nations from His holy throne in heaven (Ps 47:8; Isa 6:1). Even though we know that God’s presence is in some sense uniquely in heaven, the teachings of Scripture also make it clear that God is omnipresent. From the beginning of Scripture, we see the presence of God hovering over the earth, even when it was still formless and empty (Gen 1:2). God filled the world with His creation, and with His presence and glory continue to inhabit the whole earth (Num 14:21). There are many examples throughout Scripture of God’s presence moving on the earth, interacting with His creation (Gen 3:8; Exo 3:2; Deut 23:14; 1Kings 19:11-13; Luke 1:35). Hebrews 4:13 says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Jeremiah 23:24 exclaims, “‘Can any hide himself in secret that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” Ps 139 is an amazing study of God’s omnipresence.

Where is God?

If you are a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is with you, beside you, above you, and inside you. God’s presence and watchful care never leaves you. If you are not a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is right in front of you, inviting you, drawing you, and offering you the love, mercy, and grace that He longs to give you. If you are unsure of your relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, come and talk to us, the leaders, please. Perhaps a better question than “Where is God?” is “Where are you in your relationship to God?”

Where is God when it hurts?

It seems we desire to know the answer to this question most when faced with painful trials and attacks of doubt. Even the Lord Jesus, during His crucifixion, asked, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). To the onlookers of that time, as well as to those who first read the story, it seems that God did forsake the Lord Jesus, so we may be tempted to conclude that God will forsake us as well in our darkest moments. Yet, upon continued observation of the events that unfolded after the crucifixion, the truth is revealed that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death (Romans 8:35-39). After the Lord Jesus was crucified, He was glorified (1 Peter 1:21). We are assured (Romans 4:24-25) that even when we do not feel God’s presence in the midst of our pain, we can still believe His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). God sometimes permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves.

We put our trust in the fact that God does not lie, He never changes, and His Word stands true forever (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 110:4; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 7:21; 13:8; James 1:17). We do not lose heart over painful circumstances because we live by faith in every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God, not putting our hope in what is seen or perceived (1 Peter 1:25). We trust God that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs all the suffering that we will endure on this earth. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, because we know and believe that what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18;5:7). We also trust God’s Word, which says He is constantly working things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Even though we do not always see the good ends to which God is working things out, we can be assured that a time will come when we will understand and see more clearly.

Our lives are like a quilt. If you look at the back side of a quilt, all you see is a mess of knots and loose ends hanging out all over. It is very unattractive, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the work. Yet when you turn the quilt over, you see how the maker has craftily woven together each strand to form a beautiful creation, much like the life of a believer (Isaiah 64:8). We live with a limited understanding of the things of God, yet a day is coming when we will know and understand all things (Job 37:5; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Isaiah 40:28; John 3:21; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

Where is God when it hurts? The message to take with you in hard times and when it hurts is that when you cannot see His hand, trust His heart, and know for certain that He has not forsaken you. When you seem to have no strength of your own, that is when you can most fully rest in His presence and know that His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). AMEN.