Announcements (27 Sep 15)

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Sep 272015
 

A note of thanks: Rev. Daniel Khoo and family would like to thank New Lifers for the prayers, encouragement and love gifts given at their recent bereavement.

Adults SS Class at 11.30am, Chapel. Lesson 2: The Provisions for a Christ-Centred Life (by Dr. Jim Berg). All are welcome!

Children’s Sunday (11/10) 9.30am – 12.30pm Please invite children in your neighbourhood/ your relatives etc. to this evangelistic event.

Cambodia Mission Trip (24-27 Sep): Please pray for the safe return of our team.

Pastor Gan will be on leave (28 Sep – 6 Oct). Members who need pastoral care and counsel can approach Ps Lim or Ps Nathan or the Elders.

Wedding of Bro. Adrian Tung and Sis. Ng Li Jin on 10/10 11.30am. All guests are to be seated by 11.15 am.

Combined Youth Camp (17-19 Dec): All youths (ages 12-20) are strongly encouraged to attend. Registration will start in October

Holy Land Tour (Tentative dates: 18 – 30 Nov 2016) Registration will start 1/10. There will be a tour briefing on Sat. 7/11 4pm for all who are interested. Please see Sis. Julia Ong to collect a copy of the tour details.

Church Family Day Fund is now closed. The Session expressed their thanks to all contributors.

Hymnal Fund: New Lifers are encouraged to give to this fund as the church is working on replacing our church hymnals.

27 Sep 15 – In-conversation Minutes

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Sep 272015
 

Minutes of In-conversation session held at NLBPC on 15-Aug-2015

Meeting commenced at 4pm with 34 members present.

 Participants:

Henry Lim, Ruth Lim, Lilian Lee, Isaac Kua, David Lim, Joel Yap, Freddie Tan, James Goh, Pei Lin, Bee Bee, Ken Tay, Anne Poh, James Pang, Ronnie Pang, Amy Lim, Puay Loon, Ming Wei, Mrs Nathan, Mohan, Belinda Soon, Steve Tan, Lynda Kuan, Chin Hong, Beng Suat, James Ng, Aaron Tan, Carol Tan, Dn. Ronnie Tan, Dn. Ivan Lim, Dn. Wee Boon, Eld Sim, Eld Yap, Ps Lim, Ps Nathan and Ps Gan.

Apologies: Eld. Prasad, Dn. Gumapon, Dss Dorcas Chionh and Dss. Indravathy

Agenda of meeting:

  • Address the proposal of reinstating Christmas Eve Service
  • Discuss the follow up action plans from the last in-conversation on 11-Apr-2015 about:
    1. How to build inter-personal relationships/skills
    2. How to fulfill the Great Commission as a church
    3. How to encourage members to join small groups or start new ones
  • Discuss Changes for 2016

Pastor opened the meeting with prayer. He then read from Romans 14:1-10 and gave a short exhortation.

Reinstating Christmas Eve Service discussion:

Pastor reminded the participants that having a service on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day is not a doctrinal issue but a non-essential and emotional one. Colossians 2 warns us that if our focus is not on Christ, we’ll spend too much time arguing over non-essential things. We must learn to manage our disagreement with self-control and love.

The floor was opened for members to voice their views. Below are some of the opinions:

  • Unsaved friends and families are keen to attend Christmas Eve service. If we remove this, it’ll be a lost opportunity for outreach
  • Caroling on Christmas Eve is a tradition and many people miss this
  • Does not matter which service because people will respond to which ever day the service is held based on the person who invite.
  • It will be ideal to have both services: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but do we’ve the manpower and resources to maximize outreach opportunity?
  • There should not be a “trade off,” that is, because we have to do a service on Christmas Day, then we cannot do a service on Christmas Eve. We should not be worried about resources but focus on the need to hold two services instead.
  • Have it on both days but with different emphasis: a gospel service on Christmas Eve for outreach and a worship service on Christmas Day
  • Yap added a word of caution that we should not be flip-flopping or changing the events as we listen to various groups with opinions on when we should observe Christmas or Easter.
  • Some have no preference but we should not waver on the decision

Pastor wrapped up this topic by stating that he would bring this feedback regarding whether to have one or both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services to the session. The mechanics or details can be worked out later. He reminded that whatever the session decides, let us be united and be committed to it. Any changes will only take effect from 2016 because the Tamil service had already booked the sanctuary for an event this coming Christmas Eve.

Follow up action plans from the last In-Conversation

1. How to build inter-personal relationship / skills

Brother Chin Hong states that leaders and members need to be equipped with communication and interpersonal relationship skills. In order to do that, he proposed:

  • Conducting mini workshops, seminars or training. The content and outline will be discussed and approved by the session before rolling it out to members. Sister Pei Lin is willing to help facilitate.
  • Please send any feedback to Brother Chin Hong or Sister Pei Lin.

2. How to fulfill the Great Commission as a church

Elder Sim covered his update in 3 areas:

  • Positive examples of outreach
  • Identified shortcomings that has remedial actions
  • Areas for further improvement

6 positive examples of outreach summarized as below:

  • Gospel nights in English, India and Chinese Congregations
  • Overseas missions to Cambodia, Philippines, India and China where we see active participation whether among the young or old New Lifers
  • Parents’ Appreciation Night for English and Chinese Congregation
  • ROF to neighboring housing blocks led by Deacon James
  • Home visits of new visitors and members in Chinese & India congregation led Deacon William and Rev Nathan respectively
  • Recent Church support at Vigil service of Pastor Gan’s eldest brother had encouraged his relatives and they have expressed an interest to come for the Chinese service

4 shortcomings that the Session has taken remedial actions:

  • To be a warmer and friendlier church, we need to have a team of greeters or befrienders (volunteers required). At the same time, a new visitor table has been setup at fellowship hall, led by Deacon Wee Boon to reach-out to new visitors
  • Seeking to help others e.g. Sis Ivy – there’s a volunteer group setup to rotate transportation duties (we need more volunteers still). Session has also agreed to reinstate her monthly financial support
  • Neglect of Ju Eng Home ministry: Situation has improved. Elder Sim commended Bro Joseph Ng’s good example for attending Ju Eng home service every Sunday without fail. More help is still required, please continue to volunteer
  • We need New Lifers to be on the lookout and reach out to those who are unsaved, to hurting brothers and sisters, to those in crisis but are keeping quiet. Or we can bring such person to the attention of the pastoral team or session

1 important area for improvement: Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade

  • Elder Sim thank those who are presently helping out in BB/GB. More New Lifers are needed to support this ministry. The BB/GB are a group of young people who are a ready source for our gospel outreach. We hope to mobilize the YFers to have combine monthly activities with BB/GB to encourage friendship and fellowship among the youths.

In closing, Elder Sim would like New Lifers to reflect on the word “Missional”. In the simplest form of definition, “Missional” refers to one who knows he or she is on a mission for God (Matt 28:18-20)  and who, like His Son Jesus Christ, seeks out every opportunity at home or in community, at work or at play, to share the Gospel and strives to live a life that glorifies God. To be missional is to know, to live as a missionary or disciple of Jesus Christ wherever you are and in whatever you do. “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16b)

3. How to encourage members to join small groups or start new ones

Pastor Gan remarked that ideally everyone is in fellowship groups or NBCs, especially for young believers. This can be encouraged during Catechism class. Pastor also hoped to see all fellowship/NBCs be more encompassing to include new members. In addition, he would like the church to pray regarding a revamp of having a mixture of members in each group rather than to group by age, this can make the church more effective and to reach out to people of different needs.

Changes for 2016

Pastor Gan gave an update on what changes we can expect from 2016:

  • The session has accepted the proposal to conduct the church camp bi-annually. This will free up time and finances for (i) the session to strategize on the leadership and direction for the church in the next 3-5 years (ii) fellowship/NBC group will now be encouraged to plan their own retreat for bonding among members.
  • On the matter that the Church Camp will be conducted bi-annually, Brother Ronnie Pang sought clarification and mentioned that some session members were unaware of this. Pastor Gan commented that the session has already approved this. There were others who also indicated that they preferred to have an annual church camp.
  • Pastor Gan explained that the priority of the church at this point is to focus on leadership and future leadership development. In order to do that, a bi-annual Church camp would free up time and resources for them to strategize for the church. He will review the bi-annual camp decision in the future once the more critical matters of the church are settled. Pastor Gan expressed his gratitude for the unity and support of the new session.
  • Elder Sim shared that he now attends session meeting with joy. He added that he was witnessing changes and transformation which are positive. He requested New Lifers to give constructive feedback to the session so that they can be a better group of Christian leaders. Elder Sim also requested for us to be patient and to trust the session, whom we have elected.
  • Pastor Gan announced that Brother Ronnie and Sister Bee Lan have expressed their intent to step down from BB/GB at the end of 2015. Pastor Gan thanked them and also the group of ladies – Sisters Katherina Leong, Julia Ong and Mavis Goh. Brother Justin has stepped up to be the new captain in 2016, and Pastor Gan requested Ronnie Pang to be Justin’s mentor and guide him along.
  • To effect changes & improvements in the church, Pastor Gan raised 2 points:
    • To setup an English Committee made up of at least 2 members from each fellowship group. Pastor appeal for volunteers to step forward to join this Change Task Force.
    • To pray for God to raise up young adults to answer the call to serve full time in all the 3 congregations

Pastor thanked all for the healthy sharing session. He asked for us to open our hearts and work with each other.

Pastor Nathan closed in prayer.

Members were dismissed at 6.15pm.

Note: Many thanks to Sis. Bee Bee for taking notes for this In-Conversation!

Announcements (20 Sep 15)

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Sep 202015
 

Deepest Condolences to the families of:

  1. Joseph Ng whose mother-in-law went home to the Lord.
  2. Daniel Khoo whose father was baptised recently before he was taken home to the Lord. Thank God for His mercies.

The families thanked NLBPC for their kind support during this time of bereavement.

Adults SS Class at 11.30am, Chapel. Lesson 1- The Portrait of a Christ-Centred Life (by Dr. Jim Berg). All are welcome!

Session Meeting will be held TODAY. All Session members, please attend.

Gospel Meeting in Chinese (This Evening): Let us pray for all invited relatives and friends to be saved.

Children’s Sunday (11/10) 9.30am – 12.30pm Please see insert for more details.

Mini-Orchestra: Pastor Gan would like to thank the four persons who expressed their willingness to serve in this ministry.  Pray for the Music Committee as they plan its formation in 2016.

Cambodia Mission Trip (24-27 Sep): Please support the team in prayer during this period. Pray for safety, divine wisdom & enablement, and a fruitful outreach.

Pastor Gan will be on leave (28 Sep – 6 Oct). Members who need pastoral care and counsel can approach Ps Lim or Ps Nathan or the Elders.

Combined Youth Camp (17-19 Dec): All youths (ages 12-20) are strongly encouraged to attend. Registration will start in October.

20 Sep 15 – Weighed in God’s Balance

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Sep 202015
 

(From Daniel 5)

Historical Context

A gap of more than 23 years separates this chapter from the events of Chapter 4. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 BC, and Babylon fell to Cyrus in 539 BC.

Liberal authors often accuse the book of historical inaccuracy when it refers to “Belshazzar the king” and making Nebuchadnezzar his “father.” But from the Babylonian cuneiform writings, we now know that Daniel 5 is accurate in describing Belshazzar as the king. According to the cuneiform texts, the Babylonian kings after Nebuchadnezzar include:

Amêl-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), Nebuchadnezzar’s son: 562–560 BC

Nergal-šar-ʾuṣur (Neriglissar), Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law: 560–556 BC

Lâbâši-Marduk (Labashi-Marduk), Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson: 3-9 months in 556 BC

Nabû-nâʾid (Nabonidus), not clearly but probably related to Nebuchadnezzar: 556–539 BC.

Bêl-šar-ʾuṣur (“Bel, protect the king”), known to us by the name of Belshazzar, was the son of Nabonidus, king of Babylon.

The evidence available from both the cuneiform records and from history supports Belshazzar as serving as regent and having the authority of a king while his father Nabonidus spent most of his reign at the Oasis of Têmâ. During this time, Nabonidus left his son to rule in his place in Babylon, ca. 553–539 BC. In short, the biblical record is accurate.

Belshazzar ordered the vessels taken by “his father [ʾab] Nebuchadnezzar” from the Israelite temple to be brought out. The word “father” (ʾab) corresponds to the similar Hebrew word, which has a wide variety of meanings. It may refer to a literal father (Gen. 2:24) or grandfather (Gen. 28:13), to ancestors (Gen. 15:15), a man in a position of authority (1 Sam. 24:11), the founder (Gen. 4:20) or protector (Ps. 68:5) of a group. From 2:23, it is clear that the Aramaic ʾab may have the sense of “ancestor.” The term here may thus refer to Nebuchadnezzar as the “father” of Belshazzar in his heritage as Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson. [1]

Chapter Outline

  1. The Sacrilegious Revelry (1-4)
  2. The Shocking Revelation (5-9)
  3. The Sound Recommendation (10-16)
  4. The Strong Rebuke (17-23)
  5. The Sacred Reading (24-28)
  6. The Sudden Ruin (29-31)

Message from God

King Belshazzar (Bel) should have learned the lessons about pride from Nebuchadnezzar (Neb). In Daniel 5 we see Bel throwing a huge party for the leaders of his kingdom. In their drunkenness and sinfulness they stoop to using the vessels from God’s temple. This action was horribly sacrilegious and of course didn’t go unnoticed by God.

In response to all this wickedness, God sent a terrifying vision to those at the feast and a cryptic message that none of Bel’s men could interpret, but the queen remembered a man named Daniel who had interpreted Neb’s dreams in the past. Once again, Daniel stood before the most powerful king in the world and told him the truth, even though the truth was not favourable.

The word “mene,” doubled in v. 25 to give emphasis, means “numbered.” God has numbered the days of the kingdom and brought it to its end. The word “tekel” means “weighed.” The OT regularly refers to God weighing a man to see if he measures up to the divine standard (e.g., 1 Sam. 2:3; Job 31:6; Ps. 62:9; Isa. 26:7). Belshazzar has been weighed in God’s balances and found lacking according to God’s standards, v. 27. The word “upharsin” includes the conjunction u, “and,” and the verb parsîn, “divide.” Taken together, the message says that Belshazzar’s kingdom has been numbered, with its days fixed. God has weighed Belshazzar in His balance and found him deficient (wanting). His kingdom, therefore, will be divided, taken away from Babylon, and given to the Medes and the Persians (v. 28).

In “that night,” during the revelry of the banquet, the Medo-Persian army takes the city. Babylon’s fall fulfills the prophecy in which Isaiah describes the Babylonians as setting their table with food, enjoying themselves at a banquet (Isa. 21:5). Jeremiah 51:39, 57 also alludes to this. The next empire represented by the chest & arms of silver enters the scene.

Application

  1. Do you know anyone who consistently indulges themselves with no thought of the reality that they belong to God? Are you ever guilty of doing this?
  2. Why should someone who belongs to Christ not live a life of self-indulgence?
  3. Belshazzar was weighed in God’s balance and found wanting. How do you fare when weighed in God’s balance (read Exodus 20; Eph. 4-6)?

How can you prepare now to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” instead of, “Depart from me, you doer of iniquity?”

[1] Peter A. Steveson, Daniel (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 2008), 85–86.

Announcements (13 Sep 15)

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Sep 132015
 

Adults SS Class at 11.30am, Chapel. Topic: What is a Healthy Church Member? All are welcome!

Musicians, please step forward! Members who can play any musical instrument other than the piano are kindly requested to see Pastor Gan and the Music Committee TODAY immediately after the Worship Service.

Session Meeting will be held NEXT Sun. All Session members, please attend.

Gospel Meeting in Chinese (20/9): Do prayerfully invite relatives and friends.

13 Sep 15 – The Mirror of God’S Word (James 1:22-25)

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Sep 132015
 

By Rev. Lim Chee Boon

The Book of James is written for Christians and it emphasizes the Christian doctrine for practice more than for belief.  As the recipients of this book are assumed to be believers, James stresses on the importance of living out the doctrines of the Christian religion.

The text in 1:22-25 illustrates the imperative of being a doer of the Word and not just hearers only. A person who is a hearer only is likened to a man who looks at himself in the mirror, walks away and forgets his outside disposition.  He fails to do what he was supposed to do.  He needs to wash his face and to comb his unkempt hair.  He needs to look clean and neat. The mirror reflects a man’s outward appearance; otherwise he could not see himself.  Here, James uses the mirror to show the work of the Word of God.  The mirror of God’s Word reveals the inner man.  The Word of God exposes the thoughts and intentions of the man’s heart (Hebrew 4:12).  It shows his ugliness, self-centred attitude and pride.  It uncovers his deception, greed and lust.

The four verses could be divided into two parts:

A Person who looks into the Word and Forgets (vv. 22-24)

Jesus also talks about the man who is a hearer and not a doer of the Word.  This man is “likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Matthew7:26). The house he builds has no foundation.  It could not stand the test of thunderstorms.  James gives two warnings to those who are hearers and not doers of the Word.

1. They deceive themselves (v. 22)

The man mentioned in the parable of Jesus did build a house.  The house had all the features of a dwelling place.  But it had no deep and foundation.  A strong wind blew it down.  The builder was self-deluded to think he could build a house on the sand.  Christians may suffer from self-delusion.  They attend church meetings regularly, give to the ministry and do some work in the church.  They perceived they are spiritually well.  But trials proved many to be weak in their spiritual foundation.   A Christian with a solid spiritual foundation is one who hears the Word and does it.  He is a wise man (Matthew 7:24).

There is a more serious self-delusion.  You come to church and think you are saved.  But in reality you are not saved and do not have the hope of eternal life.  You hear the word preached but you did not respond in faith by accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour.  Please be sincere in hearing and in believing in Christ.

2. They soon forget (vv. 23-24)

James is not describing a man with a poor memory, but rather a man with poor priorities.   He doesn’t remember what he saw in the mirror because he doesn’t regard it as very important. God, heaven, eternal life, and all of the other doctrines in the Bible are interesting and nice, but he has other endearing pursuits.  Remembering God’s Word is not his priority.  The Word of God is for him like the seed that fell on the wayside (Matthew 13:4).  Because he chose to neglect (“understandeth not”) the Word, the devil took it away from him (13:19).

The best way to prevent forgetting is do the necessary things straightaway.  When looking into the mirror, you saw the need to remove dirt in the eyes and you clean your eyes immediately.  In the same way, when the Word of God exposes our wrong attitude and behaviour, we need to take immediate steps to change.  This is the way to building a strong spiritual foundation.

A Person who looks into the Word and Remembers (v. 25)

The word “looketh” in the original language means to bend down and look carefully at something.  It was used of John and Mary stooping and looking intently into the empty tomb after the Resurrection (John 20:5, 11).  This is how Christians should study God’s Word.  It should not be a casual glance and we speed read.  The aim is to understand the Word and to apply it in our lives.  The Word is called the “perfect law of liberty” because it is the means to Christians’ spiritual maturity and it releases them from the bondage of sin and the devil’s captivity.

There are two good results:

3. He who hears and does God’s Word is blessed (v. 25c)

Psalm 1 aptly describes a blessed man.  He meditates on God’s Word day and night.  He does not allow forgetfulness to rob him of the spiritual blessing.  This man “is a like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall propser.

4. He is changed into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18)

God’s will for the Christians is to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).  The regular and consistent beholding of the Word of God transforms sinful people into a new image – the character and nature of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  Let His Word work effectively in our lives, and hence, transforming us from glory to glory.

Announcements (06 Sep 15)

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Sep 062015
 

J.O.Y. Sunday: All youths Sec 1 upwards, welcome to this youth programme @ the Chapel 11.30am. Sp: Rev. Gabriel Gan

Adults SS Class at Fellowship Hall, 11.30am @ Fellowship Hall. All are Welcome! Topic: Marks of a Healthy Church: Every Member, A Minister

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.

Music Instrumentalists, please step forward! Members who can play any musical instrument other than the piano are kindly requested to see Pastor Gan and the Music Committee next Sunday (13/9) immediately after the Worship Service.

06 Sep 15 – Testimony: God’s Presence

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Sep 062015
 

By Bro. Ernest Sim

Who would have thought a non-contact sport can blind a person? In life anything can happen but one whose hope is stayed on the Lord is blessed!

While I was playing a regular game of badminton, a shuttlecock hit my left eye and caused it to bleed and swell. I thought painkillers and antibiotics would suffice. However, the eye specialist at KTPH confirmed my worst fears that my lens was damaged and had to be operated on. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Truly, only God knows the way that we will take.

Soon I was pushed into the operating theatre to await surgery. Tentacles of fear crept in and spread over me in the cold and sterile environment. In that state of mind, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Psalms 23:4:

“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.”

These familiar verses were infused with new meaning as I clung to the Great Shepherd and Redeemer.

The eye surgeon appeared and assured me that it would be only a little painful. A long needle pierced into my left eye. Soon I felt the surgeon’s blade slicing my eyelid. I felt and saw blood oozing out as the eye pressure was very high. Under local anaesthesia, I could vaguely see the ongoing operation. To counter my fear, I concentrated on singing hymns and praises to God in my heart.

I confess that I do not have the courage to witness a live operation because of the blade and the blood. Now having experienced it first hand, I can say that it’s traumatic and scary. Brethren, it’s good to memorize scripture, hymns and Christian choruses. They provide a great amount of comfort and encouragement in times like these.

After the operation, the surgeon congratulated me on my courage. How is that so? He said earlier patients were panicky and shivering throughout the ordeal. I told him that I was singing praises in my heart to the Lord. His response: “No wonder, you have something to hold on to”. Yes, there are no atheists in the foxhole.

Where is your comfort and strength in times of need? When my children visited me in the ward, I shared the anxiety and trauma that I went through in the operating theatre. We must have Jesus in our hearts and be sure of our salvation for there is no better insurance than this.

“For as many as received him,

to them gave he power to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe on his name”

John 1:12

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;

and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him,

and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5 & 6

In conclusion, God has a plan for you and me. Let us submit to Him. Praise the Lord!

Editor’s Note: Thank God Bro. Ernest has gone through his lens replacement operation and is recovering well. The operation was another traumatic experience for which he thanked God for His Presence, Provision and Protection. All Praise and Glory to God!