Announcements (28 Jun 15)

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Jun 282015
 

Session Meeting TODAY. All Session members, please attend.

Adults SS Class at Chapel, 11.30 am. New Series on “Purity” by Dr. Jim Berg; Session #1: Biblical Morality (Part 1). All are welcome! 

Children Ministry Training (4 and 25/7 – 2pm – 5.30pm) @ Chapel – beginning THIS SAT. If you have signed up for the training, please come.

Staff Retreat & Planning (29-30 June) in JB: Pray for a safe & fruitful trip.

Gospel Meetings: Please invite your loved ones and friends!

  • Gospel Evening on 25 July. Sp: Ps Gabriel Gan
  • Gospel Sunday on 26 July. Sp: Rev. Charles Seet.

28 Jun 15 – Faith that Overcomes Obstacles

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Jun 282015
 

Faith that Overcomes Obstacles Matthew 15:21-28

By  Rev. S. V. Nathan

Introduction:

‘In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.  Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. Life is full of hurdles, obstacles and barriers, but with faith in God and determination, we can overcome and make the stumbling block a stepping stone.’

In Matthew 15:21-28, we can see a Canaanite woman who had many obstacles in her life but her firm and courageous faith in Christ gave her success and deliverance to her daughter. Let us see them below.

1. The Obstacles from within : (vs 21-22a)

From this passage we are told that the woman was a Canaanite which meant she was a Gentile.  This Canaanite woman was vulnerable because of her nationality, since Canaanites were considered to be enemies of the Jews. It was highly unlikely for almost any Jew to follow the Lord into Gentile territory, because Jews avoided Gentiles. The Jews considered the Gentiles to be unclean on the basis of their pagan practices in their culture.  She came from a race that was cursed by God and her daughter was vexed by the devil. Thus, socially, she was a woman, theologically outside of God’s household and physiologically she was depressed and distressed by her twelve year old daughter’s condition. Even so, we see that the personal obstacles within her did not deter her from her Saviour.

2. The Obstacles from without (vs 23-26):

We need to note the immediate response to her prayer. Firstly Jesus never replied her immediately; he was silent in his response to her prayer (vs 23a). Secondly, the disciples saw this woman as a nuisance, and they wanted to be rid of her (vs 23b). Theirs was a very cold response to her need. Thirdly, on the surface, Jesus seemed to be insulting her when He referred to this woman as a dog (vs 26). To call someone a dog was/is an insult.   Hence, the circumstantial obstacles from outside – though thoroughly negative -did not deter her from her mission.

3.  The Steps to overcome the obstacles:

Jesus Christ commended her faith as a great faith (vs 28). Though she had many obstacles and barriers in her way to Jesus, her great faith made her daughter whole.

a. Great Faith is Placed in Jesus:

The woman learned helplessness because she didn’t have power over the demon who possessed her daughter and there was no one in this world who could heal her. The demon was killing her poor daughter and she needed a Saviour at that moment (vs 22a). She also knew and had great faith in Jesus, which made her to rush to Jesus for help.

b. Great Faith demonstrated Persistence:

When she realised her helplessness, she did not hesitate to rush to the Saviour of the world and sincerely prays to the Lord Jesus (vs 22b). Though she was distracted by the response, she persisted in worshipping Him and seeking His help for her daughter. (vs 26).

c. Great Faith is Characterized by worship:

When she was refused, she worshipped.  Anyone can offer thanksgiving, but worship can only come from people of faith.

d. Great Faith is HUMBLE:

When Jesus called her a dog, she was neither discouraged nor did she doubt His power. Rather humbly, she submitted herself to Christ’s sovereign will as a dog, begging her master for the crumbs And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (vs 27).

e. Great Faith is revealed by our attitude in our prayer:

Even our persistence and our worship do not earn God’s favour. They are simply a product of the faith that is at work in us. But right attitude and upright heart receives the blessings and healing. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Mat 15:28

Conclusion:

Finally, the beauty of this story is that the woman never doubted or gave up on God. Thus she overcame her obstacles by her great faith; she turned stumbling blocks to stepping stones in order to receive deliverance for her daughter.

The secret of God’s blessings is to lie low at the feet of Jesus from whom all blessings flow. When we come to the Lord’s Supper, we come to his table not just to feed on “crumbs” but to partake in his body and blood. We should then come in an attitude of worship, humility; and expectation; we should come asking for mercy – tell him your needs and receive in faith every blessing of heaven not just for yourself but for your children and your children’s children. Let me encourage everyone of you to follow this woman of great faith in your life; you can also overcome your obstacles with your firm faith in Him. May God bless you abundantly. Amen.

Announcements (21 Jun 15)

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Jun 212015
 

Session Meeting will be held on 28/6. All Session members, please attend.

Personal Data Protection: Consent Form for Members and Regular Worshippers Please if you have not done so, complete the form and drop it at the office. More forms are at the foyer at the entrance to the Sanctuary.

Children Ministry Training (4 and 25/7 – 2pm – 5.30pm) @ Chapel Please register with Sis Tan Li Ping Fee: $5. Topics include:

  • Your Call as a Teacher
  •  Teaching Life Changing Bible Lesson
  • The Wonder of Worship
  •  Teaching with Music

Sharing on the work in Siem Reap TODAY at Chapel, 11.30am. Pr. Tann Heng will share with us God’s work in Cambodia. Let us come prepared to be challenged to serve the Lord in the mission field. All are Welcome!

21 Jun 15 – Blessed is everyone that feareth the LORD

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Jun 212015
 

From PSALM 128:1-6 By  Rev. Lim Chee Boon

Psalm 128 is part of a group of psalms known as the “Songs of Ascents.”  It starts with Psalm 120 and ends with Psalm 134.  They formed a hymnbook used by the Jewish pilgrims going up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacle.  The thrust of these psalms is hope in the Lord.  Regardless of the trials and difficult days, the Jews were always looking forward to the annual pilgrimage.   Worship in Jerusalem brings comfort and hope.   This is also the anticipation of the Jews today.  The Temple Institute in Jerusalem prepares for the building of the third temple when the Messiah comes (they are not waiting for His return because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah).  The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the second by the Romans in 70 AD.  In the Old Testament, worship in the temple was the integral part of the Israelites’ lives.  The fifteen psalms of Ascents are therefore psalms of worship.

The theme of the 128th psalm is “The person who fears the Lord is blessed.”  The word “blessed” is alternately translated as “happy” in other places (Psa. 1:1; 2:12; 32:1-2).  The implication is that a blessed man is a happy man.  Fear has different connotations.  In this psalm, fear has a positive nuance as it means reverence and honour.  In perspective, the psalmist explicated that a man who honours God is a blessed man.  There are two things that characterize a man who fears God.  One, he worships God with eager expectation and two, he walks in the ways of the Lord.  The later statement implies that the person conducts his life according to the instruction of God’s Word.  The Bible has many references to prove that regular worship and consistent Christian walk bring God’s blessings on the believers.  Conversely, neglect of worship and ungodly conduct result in the forfeiture of God’s blessing.

What are the blessings of a man who fears God?  The blessings of a godly man have a ripple effect.  He is blessed and the people near him are blessed too.  First, the man himself is blessed.  He will prosper in all his labour (verse 2).  Psalm 1 depicts him to “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruits in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psa. 1:3).  Second, the man’s wife and children are blessed (v. 3).  This is ripple effect.   There are a couple of interpretations on verse 3.  The key idea is the wife and children of a God-fearing man will find joy and gladness in the home.  The fruit of the vine in the Bible is associated with joy and gladness (Jud. 9:13; Psa. 104:15).  Third, the man’s descendent shall also experience God’s blessing (v. 6).  In God’s covenant there is promise of blessing to those who keep the covenant and their children (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-16).  Fourth, the nation where he lives shall also be blessed (vv. 5b, 6b).  A godly family is a blessing to the nation.  The cohesion of a society is established through the unity of the families.  The church family is strong when Christian families are closely knitted.

The godly man in Psalm 128 is the head of the family.  His attitude towards God and His word is of paramount importance.  Whether he reverence God or he does not will create a ripple effect.  The following story illustrates this truth explicitly.  A dad and his son were climbing a mountain and came to a difficult part. The dad stopped to consider the best route up. Behind him, his son called out, “Choose the best path, Dad!  I’m coming right behind you!”  Husbands and fathers, “Choose the best path.”

Announcement (14 Jun 15)

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Jun 142015
 

Deepest Condolence to the family of Bro. Gilbert Foo whose father, Alan Foo Pak Lin went home to the Lord last week. Cremation at Mandai Crematorium TODAY at 3pm. May the Lord comfort the bereaved family.

Father’s Day: Today we celebrate Father’s Day – a week ahead. Session wish all fathers a Blessed Father’s Day.

Session Meeting will be held on 28/6. All Session members, please attend.

Adults SS Class at Chapel, 11.30am. All are Welcome!

Wed Prayer Meeting: There is none this week because of the church camp.

Church Camp (17 – 20/6): All campers, please attend the camp briefing immediately after worship service TODAY in the sanctuaryThose taking bus to camp site, please report at 8:00am sharp on 17/6(Wed) in church, and remember to bring your passport. Please visit http://nlbpc.org/web/camp2015 for more info & resources.

Sunbeam Voices need helpers! If you can play a musical instrument, appreciate music or love children, please join us in this wonderful ministry! You are welcome to observe us in action every Sunday 11-11.30am! Interested helpers, please get in touch with Mei Hwa or Mrs Sharon Yaw.

Children Ministry Training (4 and 25/7 – 2pm – 5.30pm) @ Chapel Please register with Sis Tan Li Ping Fee:   $5 Topics include: Your call as a teacher; Teaching Life Changing Bible Lesson; The Wonder of Worship; Teaching with Music

Personal Data Protection: Consent Form for Members and Regular Worshippers Please if you have not done so, complete the form and return it to the office.

14 Jun 15 – God is always in control

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Jun 142015
 

Our journey through The Ultimate Quest 2015: God is always in control

By  Bro. Daniel Wong on behalf of the YAF – TUQ team

The Ultimate Quest (TUQ) has been a highlight of our church for many years and is an outreach event targeted at primary school children. It is a one-day event where children are invited to participate in a ‘quest’ or a mini ‘amazing race’. Through this event, we hoped to be able to spread the Word and share the Gospel with the participants.

This year’s theme was on the Noah’s Ark, and we wanted to let the 80 over registered children experience Noah’s journey and how he walked with God; from receiving instructions on building the ark, to gathering the animals and escaping the flood. In short, the games and activities were centred on how obedience brings blessings.

The YAF was privileged to organise the event this year and we have really been blessed to see how God has been using our gifts and talents to serve Him in our own special ways. At the same time, it was an opportunity for us to fellowship with one another more closely through our service, and it has definitely resulted in deeper friendships being formed.

Similar to the children, we also experienced a faith journey in our own special way; from being tasked to plan and run the event, to gathering the participants and doing just as God commanded us. There were many uncertainties along the way, but God always shows us that He is always in control. Each time we faced an obstacle, the Lord would provide in ways that were beyond our imagination. While we have been blessed to have the chance to organise this event, we also wanted to share the following pointers that we have learnt from this event:

  • The Importance of Service As a Church

Just as Noah was tasked to build an ark, God also has important jobs for each and every one of us and no matter how big or small our contribution may be, they all play a part in the extension of the Lord’s kingdom (1 Peter 4:10-11). We are indeed thankful how there was so much inter-congregational and intergenerational help during this year’s TUQ, and this has surely created special relationships between the young and old.

When we serve as a church, we are able to encourage, support each other, and appreciate each person in our church community. We learn to value the gifts that our Lord has given to us, and it combines our spiritual strength in service. Also, it provides another means of fellowship with one another through ways such as sharing, teaching and praying.

We were very encouraged to see how the members did not just give of their time, but they gave with a willing heart. I hope that for those of us who were experiencing this unity in service, this would be another milestone in our labour of love for the Lord.

  • The Lord’s Provision

Whenever the Lord calls us to do His work, He would never fail to provide. An event that would usually take 6 months to plan was this year accomplished in 6 weeks and I cannot deny I was not feeling the pressure of the tight timeline. However, the Lord placed eligible young people in our team who helped to oversee the various areas of the event, without which the event would not have been possible. We are also thankful for the various fellowship groups, youths, ROF, uncles and aunties who selflessly sacrificed their time and sleep for TUQ, and our appreciation for them goes beyond these mere few words.

  • The Lord’s Presence

Lastly, I would just like to share that the greatest blessing God can give you in service or anything is His continued presence. When I look back at this event, my heart is filled with thankfulness at how God has always been marvellous to us. The variables like the weather on TUQ day didn’t look promising at all, but yet the Lord controlled everything in His perfect timing. The participants were also brought to church and home safely, and the whole event flowed wonderfully, this despite there being delays throughout the day.

I started off the event with a prayer that those who had come to participate and serve could say that they had been blessed to be a part of this event; after 6 weeks, I can say with conviction that our marvellous Lord has answered this prayer.

Announcements (07 Jun 15)

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Jun 072015
 

J.O.Y. Sunday: All youths Sec 1 upwards are welcome to this youth programme @ the Chapel 11.30am. There is a DVD programme – Topic: Musical Chairs by Dr. Andy Stanley

Adults SS Class at Fellowship Hall, 11.30am. All are Welcome.

Personal Data Protection: Consent Form for Members and Regular Worshippers: If you have not done so, please complete the form and return to the office.

Church Camp (17 to 20 June 2015) Bus list available in the fellowship hall TODAY; if you had indicated need for bus transport at registration, please verify that your name is in the list. Campers, please take note of these important date & time:

  • 14 June (Sun): Pre-camp briefing immediately after Sunday service.
  • 17 June (Wed): Those taking bus to camp site, please report at 8:00 am in church, and remember to bring your passport.

Campers should visit http://nlbpc.org/web/camp2015 for more information & resources.

07 Jun 15 – Biblical Fear

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Jun 072015
 

By Eld. Yap Chee Kian

Someone once said to me that the Christian faith is based on fear: if the Christian does something wrong, God will make sure that he goes to hell! That prompts me to do as study. In the King James Bible there are 153 references to fear AND Lord, 101 references for fear AND God and 30 references for Fear of the Lord. So what exactly does it mean by fear of the Lord. Interestingly, when a person professes to be a Christian, you would say he is a God-fearing person and, it is virtue that a Christian is glad to have.

My encounter with fear

When I was young, my mother would bring us for Chinese New Year visits. Once we visited her good friend who was from a wealthy family. They lived in a very big house with servants and they had several big dogs. I believed they were German Shepherds. I felt a deep sense of foreboding as we entered the front gate and I watched apprehensively at the dogs’ threatening demeanor. I held my mother’s hand tightly as she told me to walk slowly and not to pay attention to the dogs. I was so afraid that I turned around and ran straight to the gate. I sensed one of the dogs chasing me as my little feet carried me as fast as they could. Yet I felt as if they were made of lead. I must have screamed as I felt the menacing teeth snapping at me.  Then I felt a sharp pain at my back as its teeth found its target. I don’t remember much what happened after that except that I was sent to a doctor who gave me a jab and bandaged me up. This was one time I really know what fear is. But the fear of God is not like this.

Should Christians fear God?

The Bible says God delights in those who fear Him and holds out to them the promise of blessing. Strange as it may seem, there is joy in fearing God. John Murray, a Scottish theologian, offers a reason: “The fear of God is the soul of godliness.” It is the principle for a godly life and is the wellspring of godly desires and aspirations. Do you desire to be a godly person? Then you must grow in the fear of the Lord.

The fear of danger or evil as described by my early personal experience is not associated with God. Psalm 136 begins by telling us God is good – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever”. We need not fear when we approach Him. We are in no danger when we are with God. In fact, we are never safer than when we are with God. Psalm 23:4 describes this perfectly – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Our sense of sin may cause us to fear that God will not accept us. This can be a barrier and Satan will often tell us that we deserves God’s wrath. Our first parents were afraid and hid from God when they realized that they had sinned. God’s word gives us the good news. Romans 5: 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Two types of fear – servile or filial

Our fear to God can be of two types – one of slavish, servile fear or another type, a filial fear. The first type is described to us in Matthew 25: 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

This is the type of fear which someone had described at the beginning of this article. If we are living in a performance relationship with God, then He can seem to be a hard taskmaster who we can never please. John Bunyan, in his treatise on the fear of God ascribes this to the devil who is the author of this servile fear. God’s word tells us to resist him – James 5: 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

True Godly fear is better described as filial fear, which is the loving fear of a child towards his father. Sinclair Ferguson, another Scottish theologian describes it as “that indefinable mixture of reverence, fear, pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what He has done for us.” This reverential awe which we experience is consistent with the assurance of the love of our Heavenly Father have for his children, resulting in our desire to please Him because of our love for Him.

What does a Godly fear achieve in a Christian?

The more than 150 references to fearing the Lord found in the Bible should give us reason to cultivate this attitude of the heart in our lives. One of the best reasons is given to us in 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” I find these words especially meaningful. John Murray commented that “the highest reaches of sanctification are realized only in the fear of God.”

Do you desire to be a godly person? 1 Peter 1: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (The Greek word for conversation simply means behavior or how we live.)

Would you want your friends to know you as a God fearing Christian? Begin with the fear of the Lord.