Announcements (26 Jul 15)

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Jul 262015
 

Adults SS Class at Chapel, 11.30am on Purity, Session 5: The Anatomy of Lust (Part 1). All are Welcome!

Girls Brigade Week (LAST DAY TODAY): Please continue to support the GB by giving generously to them!

Catechism Class will begin on 23/8. Please register by if you are ready – forms are available in the office. Closing date: 9/8.

Pianists Needed for all Three Congregations: Musicians, do prayerfully consider and come forward.

Philippines Annual Mission Trip (30/11- 9/12): If you are interested to join the team this year, please register with Sis. Linda Lim by 31/8.

26 Jul 15 – My Reflections on Church Camp

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Jul 262015
 

My Reflections on Church Camp (17 – 20 June 2015 @ Lotus Desaru) 

By Bro. Aaron Tan

FROM SCEPTICISM TO ACTION

When I first heard that Church Camp would have an ‘End Times’ theme, I was sceptical: “Not again? This has been covered very often in sermons, seminars, bible studies etc. How would this camp be able to bring it across differently?” With this mind-set (or should I say, negativity), I struggled to think of ideas to publicise the camp in a more interesting manner. We then came up with the idea of using an imaginary news station, HAM News (HAM stands for Henry, Aaron and Meihwa, the members of the camp publicity team), and later many other creative publicity ideas sprung up! God began to dispel my scepticism bit by bit. Never underestimate His power. Church camp planning has begun!

PLANNING STEP BY STEP WITH GOD’S GUIDING HAND

Moments before this, God provided the last minute option of Lotus Desaru after a series of survey trips to Bintan and Malaysia. The committee sprang into action with the various sub committees focusing on their respective areas. With God as our leader, we marched forward towards 17 June with 1 game rehearsal, 2 banners, 3 weeks of registration, a 4-car advanced party, 5 publicity gimmicks, 6 sub-committees, and 7 committee meetings. Our target was 120 campers but God gave us 152 – a new record! Praise God!  The advanced party pushed forward the day before to get the place ready to receive the campers. We again see the hand of God when Lotus Desaru graciously offered us the Grand Ballroom, which was much more spacious and accessible than the function room previously allocated. The campers arrived on 17th morning in coaches while many others drove in. Besides Elder Sim’s flat tyre, the journey to the resort was smooth and right on time. The camp has begun!

GOOD CHRISTIAN FUN (THE ‘NEW LIFE’ WAY)

The camp committee had in mind to bond the campers through fun and games that could involve the young and old. The camp opened with an interesting programme specially arranged by Sis. Virla Brownell, our children’s speaker. We had to memorise scripture while playing children games. We saw those who could throw darts, hop in a gunny sack and play hop scotch, while others simply could not even manage a skipping rope. Nevertheless it was good fun seeing the older ones becoming ‘childlike’. On Day 2, we again brought together the young and old for competitive games which challenged our agility and wits. Though the games really sapped our energy, it provided the groups an excellent chance to interact and discover more about one another. Thanks to the creativity of the Programme Team who meticulously conceived, planned and led the games. The camp committee even had to rehearse the games and come up with a point system that is fair and equitable.

A RIGHTFUL RESPONSE TO A GOD WHO PROMOSES A BLESSED HOPE

There were a total of 5 thematic messages by Rev Gabriel Gan. As Rev Gan explained the importance of Eschatology, I vividly recall first learning of the ‘End Times’ in my Youth Fellowship days. The church used to screen videos of the Last Days. I recall one scene of people bearing the ‘mark of the beast – 666’. That drove a lot of fear in me, and watching Hollywood’s apocalyptic movies such as Armageddon and Deep Impact reinforced that vision of a dreadful world that is soon meeting its doom. I was fearful that I would live to see such a day. The messages of eschatology were conveyed in a fresh perspective which brought me a great deal of comfort and hope, especially the following practical values of knowing what the ‘END’ would be like:

  1. GOD IS IN CONTROL.

A true Christian life can only be lived with the expectation that God is in control of everything from the beginning till the end. The revelation of the time to come gives us also stability in our faith and challenges us to remain faithful to God regardless of circumstances.

  1. GOD IS GOOD.

God doesn’t allow His children to suffer loss. Though believers may suffer, it is only for a season because eternal glory awaits them at the end of their earthly sojourn. (Rom 8:18)

  1. CHRIST’S SECOND COMING ASSISTS US IN LIVING HOLY LIVES AND ESTABLISH PROPER PRIORITIES.

Believers that abide in Him will have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. (1 John 2:28)

  1. CHRIST’S SECOND COMING GIVES US HOPE IN THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The future is never bleak on God’s terms. Believers have that blessed hope towards the glorious appearing of the great God and the Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)

The End Times also reveal the attributes of God: His HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUNESS in punishing man for his wickedness, His MERCY in saving those who will repent from their sinful ways, His FAITHFULNESS in restoring that which is rightfully His before the fall of man.

I personally learnt that Eschatology has its rightful place in a believer’s life. It should not satisfy human curiosity about the future events, but rather challenge our hearts to respond with Godly Fear, Glad Submission and Jubilant Praise. I learnt to trade my fear of the Last Days for trust and confidence in the Lord.

A FITTING FINISH

Other highlights of the camp included an unplanned seafront durian feast, and the memorable Camp Night. The groups were challenged to think of creative ways to summarise what they have learnt through the messages, share their fondest memories and also include personal testimonies in their presentation for Camp Night. Contrary to our worries that the presentations might turn out to be mindless humour or overly-serious, the 5 presentations turned out to be well balanced. Even the sequence was perfect, with the Camp Night ending off with a group sharing impromptu testimonies that really touched our hearts. This was truly a testimony of God working in all our plans. We may think we have considered all aspects, but He knows better. He indeed surprises us.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Being a committee member and a camper myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the church camp. Truly our Lord has led the camp committee with His wisdom and blessed all campers with His word and an enjoyable time in camp. The camp may have ended, but our hearts should be continually challenged to live for the Lord and win others to His kingdom with more urgency. May we wake up every day with the exclamation that Christ’s coming is yet one day nearer! Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Matt 24:44

Announcements (19 Jul 15)

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Jul 192015
 

Session Meeting TODAY 1.45 pm. All Session members, please attend.

Adults SS Class at Chapel, 11.30am on Purity, Session 4: Why Sex Didn’t Satisfy Solomon (Part 2). All are Welcome!

Girls Brigade Week (till 26/7): Please continue to support the GB by giving generously to them!

Catechism Class will begin on 23/8 with the Elders’ interview of potential candidates conducted on 16/8. Please register for the class if you are ready – forms are available in the office. Closing date: 9/8.

Children Ministry Training: THIS SAT 25/7 – 2pm – 5.30pm @ Chapel.  If you have registered, please come for the final training.

Gospel Meetings: Please invite your loved ones and friends! More flyers are available at the foyer if you need them for invitations.

  • Gospel Evening on THIS SAT 25 July 7 pm. Sp: Ps Gabriel Gan
  • Gospel Sunday on THIS SUN 26 July 9.30 am. Sp: Rev. Charles Seet.

Mission Sunday is rescheduled to Sun 30 August.

Philippines Annual Mission Trip (30/11- 9/12): If you are interested to join the team this year, please register with Sis. Linda Lim by 31/8.

19 Jul 15 – Biblical Fear And Obedience

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Jul 192015
 

By  Eld. Yap Chee Kian

In one of my daily devotions some time ago, I read about a man who could not sleep because as soon as he slipped into sleep, he would have the sensation of falling out of bed or from some great height.  He feared that he would die and he imagined himself falling into a bottomless pit. Then, one evening as he was strolling through a cemetery, he saw this inscription on a tombstone: “Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms”. This is taken from Deuteronomy 33:27 and the verse says: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Indeed, the Christian need not fear and it is a comfort to believers in the Lord Jesus for Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.”

Human Fears

Fear is an emotion that protects us from threats in our environment and this “protective” fear is given by God and is a good thing. But there are three top fears that do not come from God. These are:

  • Failure – This takes the top spot and it rules our action and decisions. It governs what we do and how we do them. Some have reacted by procrastinating, or not doing anything to make things worse or better. Others with resignation reasoned, ‘I am just not good enough’ or ‘What’s the use of trying?’ But we have the victory through Christ. Ephesians 3:20 tells us “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”.
  • Rejection – This social fear is so great that it influences people to do things they never imagine they could do in their right mind. Acknowledgment or acceptance by others validates us socially within a society. It keeps us from doing things that are socially unacceptable. But sometimes it hinders us from doing what is right. The Bible tells us that our Lord suffered rejection Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men. He knows what it is like. There is now no condemnation and He is working in us to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ [Romans 8:1, 29]. What a comforting thought!
  • Death – Surprisingly, this is not man’s greatest fear. We all know that everyone will have to face it. It is just a matter of time. It has been said that our fear of death is tied to the fear of the unknown. Many don’t know what will happen to us when we leave this world. Jesus comforted His disciples in John 14:1- 4 and the assurances are as certain today as they had been then.

Our Lord Jesus has conquered all these. As Christ’s disciples, we are to replace them with Godly fear which is linked to obedience.

Biblical Fear and Obedience

Deuteronomy 6:1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

The Christian must have a reverential fear for our awesome God. It is this fear that leads us to obey Him. The link between godly, or reverential, fear and obedience is a continual theme throughout the Old Testament.  We fear the Lord by obeying Him in keeping his statutes and commandments. It is a conscious obedience to God’s commands as given in His Word.

In Psalm 36, David tells the transgression of the ungodly that has no fear of God and his wonder at God’s mercy and grace. The ungodly has no fear of Him. In contrast, Psalm 112 and Psalm 128 describe the blessedness of the man who fears God and obeys His command. Read both of these Psalms and let your heart rejoice and delight in obeying God’s word. Let them be your source of encouragement.

Finally, let us hear from the book of Ecclesiastes. Having seen the vanities of life and after all the instructions, the writer has this to say, Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments.

Keep his commandments – in simple terms, obey God. The fear of the Lord is the principle of obedience. This is so essential that Charles Haddon Spurgeon has this to say, “No man is really saved unless he is in his heart obedient to Christ”. One writer said, “Obedience is the fruit of the tree of which the fear of God is the root”. We cannot rightly obey God if we not fear Him, if we do not honor, reverence and love Him.

Announcements (13 Jul 15)

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Jul 122015
 

Congratulations to Patrick & Shermaine Tay for God’s gift of baby Clara. May He give them wisdom to bring up the child in the fear of the Lord.

Girls Brigade Week (12 -26/7) – a warm welcome to the girls who are with us this morning. Please, let us show support to the GB by giving generously to them!

SAF 5th Anniversary THIS Sat 18/7 at 4:00-6:30pm, Chapel. Speaker: Rev. Tan Eng Boo sharing on “Aging in The Lord” (Titus 2:1-5). Chairman:  Elder Sim. All fellowship group and session members are invited. Dinner is provided.

Session Meeting will be held on 19/7. All Session members, please attend.

Children Ministry Training (25/7 – 2pm – 5.30pm) @ Chapel Please register with Sis Tan Li Ping Fee:   $5. Topics include: The Wonder of Worship; Teaching with Music

Gospel Meetings: Please invite your loved ones and friends! More flyers are available at the foyer.

  • Gospel Evening on 25 July @ 7 pm. Sp: Ps Gabriel Gan
  • Gospel Sunday on 26 July @ 9.30 am. Sp: Rev. Charles Seet.

Philippines Annual Mission Trip for this year will be from 30/11- 9/12. If you are interested to join the team this year, please register with Sis. Linda Lim by 31/8.

13 Jul 15 – Agape Love

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Jul 122015
 

By  Eld. Prasad

We hear “Agape Love” being used frequently by preachers and it sounds very alien. What is “Agape Love”? The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament. How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Unlike our English word “love,” agape is not used in the Bible to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character.

Agape love is not a feeling. It is a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. We are called to agape love through Christ’s example: “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

               Agape is love which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. The apostle John affirms this in 1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God does not merely love; God is love itself. Everything God does flows from His love. Agape is the kind of love that is not of human origin.  This love found in Romans 5:10 “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.”  To die for an enemy is not what humans do.  That is a God-type of love.  Lord Jesus died for us while we were still His enemies and while we were sinners.  He loved us first and took the initiative to save us. Agape love is the kind of love that God had for us, while we were still dead in our sins. Yes, the Lord Jesus displayed this love in laying down His life voluntarily for us; the type of love that God the Father and the Lord Jesus have for One another; a love that is poured out for us just like Lord Jesus’ blood was poured out for sinners.

The object of God’s agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom God lavishes that love. God’s love was demonstrated when He sent His Son into the world, Luke 19:19, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  And to provide eternal life to those He sought and saved. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves.

If you have not repented and trusted in Christ, then you will have to pay for your own sins, and since you cannot ever pay enough, you will be separated from God for all eternity.  Why not be reconciled to God today? Confess your sins to God and repent, and then trust and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour, who loved you enough to die for you.

Like our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to love others sacrificially. The Lord Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us, as the Jews did the Samaritans. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. But this type of love does not come naturally to humans. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. If we are to love as God loves, that love, agape love, can only come from its true Source. This is the love which has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given to us when we became His children (Romans 5:5). Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey our Lord Jesus who said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34). This new commandment involves loving one another as He loved us sacrificially, even to the point of death. But, again, it is clear that only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. 1 John 3:16, “hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Because of God’s love toward us, we are now able to love one another.

We learn two important lessons out of 1 John. The first is that it is inconsistent and false to claim we “agape love” God while we are not “agape loving” other believers. We cannot love God without loving brothers and sisters who also love Him. The second is that it is inconsistent and false to claim we “agape love” God if we don’t obey Him. It is impossible to love God while ignoring what He says. The two are inextricably connected, as it is written in Galatians 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

The uniquely defining characteristic of agape love as it relates to God’s love for us is that in agape love, God looks upon no one as “unlovable.” Therefore, as we become more Christ-like, we should find that we are no longer striving to “love the unlovable,” because like Lord Jesus, we too will find the ability to love all persons.

Announcements (05 Jul 15)

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Jul 052015
 

Youth Sunday Today we celebrate Youth Sunday. May the Lord continue to watch over all our youths as they represent the future of our church! Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Ecclesiastes 12: 1

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

Adults SS Class at Fellowship Hall, 11.30am. Session #2: Biblical Morality (Part 2) at Fellowship Hall. All are Welcome!

Gospel Meetings: Please invite your loved ones and friends! Please see the insert for more info.

  • Gospel Evening on 25 July 7 pm. Sp: Ps Gabriel Gan
  • Gospel Sunday on 26 July 9.30 am. Sp: Rev. Charles Seet.

Philippines Annual Mission Trip for this year will be from 30/11- 9/12. For those who are interested to join us this year, please register with Sis. Linda Lim by 31/8.

Pastor on Leave: Pastor Gan is on leave from 4-11 July. Pray for him & his wife as he ministers to Evangel Bible Church in Sydney. Any member who requires pastoral counsel, please contact Ps. Lim or Ps. Nathan, or any of the 3 Elders.

05 Jul 15 – So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity

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Jul 052015
 

By John Piper

(John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.)

Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.

His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.

For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfilment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11) But today this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive institutionalization of sin.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

The Bible is not silent about such decisions. Alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse (Romans 1:24–27) stands the indictment of the approval and institutionalization of it. Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts (along with gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness) are sin, they “not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:29–32). For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, …  and whose glory is in their shame” (Philippians 3:18–19).

This is what the highest court in our land did today — knowing these deeds are wrong, “yet approving those who practice them.”

My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing — new for America, and new for history — is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act — just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)

What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.

My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don’t think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.

Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery: “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:27).

And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God:  fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (Colossians 3:5–6).

Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions — they are all troubled because of our sins.

The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, who “delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

And in our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation. In the days of Ezekiel, God put a mark of hope “upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done” in Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 9:4).

This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction.

 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law..” (Psalm 119:136) (NB: All verses in this article changed to KJV.)