Announcements (26 Jun 2016)

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Jun 262016
 

A Warm Welcome to our visitors. Please join us for fellowship tea after the service.

Adults Sunday School: 11.30am Chapel. Session 6: Finding that God is More Than Enough by Dr. Jim Berg

Session Meeting (TODAY 26/6 @1.45 pm): All Session members, please attend.

Combined BP Youth Conference 2016 (2/7) @ Life BP Church Sp: Rev. Jack Sin. Calling all youths (Sec 1 upwards to 20 years old), please register at our church web site.

Missions Conference (29 – 31/7): Kindly register online for the Conference early.

Israel Trip (19 – 30/11): vacancies open. If you are interested, please see Sis. Julia Ong.

26 Jun 2016 – Nehemiah and Ezra: God’s work of restoration and Grace

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Jun 262016
 

By Eld. Yap Chee Kian

I read a story of a young 3-year boy who asked his mother whether she knew that the blood of a gold fish is black. He had found that out after his gold fish died. When I was young, I also wondered how a radio worked. In those days, radios had vacuum tubes inside which lighted up when they were switched on. I was curious and decided to see how it worked by taking it apart and putting it back together again.  Well, they said “curiosity killed the cat”.

We may find out how something works by taking it apart and putting it back. But how do you know how God works in our lives? Ezra and Nehemiah were two faithful patriarchs during the time of Israel’s captivity. They were both used by God in very different ways to restore the temple and the city walls. God still work to restore us and rebuilding our lives.

Background

The prophet Jeremiah had warned the nation of Judah of 70 years of exile for their departure from God’s Word. Daniel’s ministry was coming to an end when the  two men stepped into history – Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra was a priest and scribe and a descendent of Hilkiah, the priest who discovered the Torah during the reign of King Josiah. He lived under King Cyrus whom God used to restore the temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the Persian king, King Artaxerxes (Neh 2:1). Although he was living in comfort in the palace, he longed to restore the walls of Jerusalem. They were in very different circumstances, and both testified of the good hand of God upon them in their work (Neh 2:18; Ezra 7:9).

Their Calling

In Ezra 1, we were told that God stirred the spirit of Cyrus to proclaim that the Jews could go back to restore the temple in Jerusalem. Truly, the heart of the king is in the hand of God (Prov 21:1). Ezra returned with Zerubbabel who rebuilt the temple while Ezra worked on the spiritual condition of the people. Nehemiah, the king’s cupbearer had heard from his brethren of the dilapidated state of the walls of Jerusalem. Although he was moved to respond, he prayed and fasted to confirm God’s will, at the same preparing for the task ahead. When the King gave him permission to go, he knew this was the answer to his prayers. Both men responded differently but God was in control all the time.

Their Work

There was opposition from outside and inside. This is our common experience when we seek the Lord. The rebuilding of the physical temple was carried out by Zerubbabel. But the work stopped due to false accusations and opposition from the governors of the land. The people prayed and God intervened to cause king Darius to command the governor to assist in the work and even provided the resources to do so (Ezra 6:8,13). Nehemiah also faced opposition – his opponents tried subtle persuasion, discouragement and even threatened physical harm. He rallied the people to trust in God and prepared them to confront the opposition. (Neh 4)

They used what God (the King) provided them – the king (note the lower-case). When Zerubbabel returned to rebuild the temple, King Cyrus returned all the vessels of the house of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered from the temple. But when Ezra went to Jerusalem, he felt ashamed to ask for protection because he trusted in the good hand of God (Ezra 8:22). Nehemiah, on the other hand, boldly asked the king for provisions (Neh 2:7-8). He not only asked for safe conduct but timber for building materials. Again, he knew God was with him “according to the good hand of my God upon me”.

Lastly, they each had their own temperaments. The people celebrated with the Passover after the temple was rebuilt. But God was not interested in the physical temple. When Ezra went to Jerusalem fifty years later, to teach the people the Torah, the people had returned to their old ways and there was a problem of inter-marriage with the Gentiles. Ezra was exceedingly grieved and he responded by tearing his old hair and garments (Ezra 9:3-5). You need to read these passages to fully understand the depth of emotions of this godly man. Nehemiah however, had a different reaction when the people sinned. He had returned to the king after the walls were built and he came to Jerusalem for the final reforms when he heard that the leaders had colluded with the former enemies and the people had inter-married. Unlike Ezra, Nehemiah responded by pulling out the hair of the men!

Conclusion

Ezra and Nehemiah offer us the hope of restoration and the grace of God. We need to come humbly in repentance of our sins before God can restore us. Restoration is not only outward (city walls – physical, emotional, mental) but more importantly inward (the temple – spiritual). Commitment must follow confession. We face problems and temptations and sometimes we succeed and other times, we fail. But God is faithful because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning.

Note:

In May 2015, Session embarked on a Bible Study Session to consider how to encourage the Church to study the Word of God. The Book of Nehemiah was used for the Bible Study. This article was a reflection after the study which the Session had after the Prayer Meetings in August and September. Session was blessed by the Study of God’s word. May each member commit to do a personal or group Bible study.

Announcements (19 Jun 2016)

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Jun 192016
 

Blessed Father’s Day: The Session wish all fathers a blessed Father’s Day!

Session and Staff Retreat (23 – 25/6): Please keep the session and staff in prayer as they meet to deliberate on matters of the church.

Session Meeting (NEXT SUN 26/6 @1.45 pm): All Session members, please attend.

Gospel Sunday 26/6 – NEXT SUNDAY: Sp: Rev. Gabriel Gan Please prayerfully invite family and friends. You may pick up the invitation flyers at the foyer outside the Sanctuary.

Combined BP Youth Conference 2016 (2/7) @ Life BP Church Sp: Rev. Jack Sin. Calling all youths (Sec 1 upwards to 20 years old), please register at our church web site.

Missions Conference (19 – 31/7): Kindly register online for the Conference early.

Israel Trip (19 – 30/11): vacancies open. If you are interested, please see Sis. Julia Ong.

19 Jun 2016 – Comfort and Peace over the Death of a Loved One

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Jun 192016
 

By Eld. Prasad

This year we have had quite a number of deaths involving family members and loved ones.  We often shy away from death and would not want to talk about it. But death is inevitable and there is no escape from it. Death is no respecter of persons, be it babies, children, youths, young adults or old adults. Death is a painful intruder and comes unannounced, anytime and anywhere. Death should be important to all of us because death is the gateway to heaven and hell.

Losing a loved one to death is a painful experience inflicting us with a grieving, shattering heart. Lord Jesus understood the pain of losing someone close to His heart. In John 11:1-44, we learn that Lord Jesus lost a loved one named Lazarus. Lord Jesus was deeply moved and wept at the loss of His friend. This story, however, doesn’t end in tears. Lord Jesus knew He possessed the power needed to raise Lazarus from the dead. Lord Jesus said in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”.

Lord Jesus conquered death through His resurrection. It is comforting to know that death is not the end for those of us who believe. Those who accept Lord Jesus as their Saviour will have eternal life (John 10:28). God has prepared a new home for us in heaven, where there will be no more tears, sickness, death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:1-4).  John 11:26 ends with a question from Lord Jesus: “Believest thou this?” An answer from Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Every grieving heart has a living hope and reason to rejoice because our Lord Jesus is no longer entombed but He lives. There is comfort in knowing that if our loved one was a believer then they are not dead but only asleep, awaiting the trumpet and shout of the archangel to awake with us and live and reign with our King, Lord and Master.

To lose someone who was not a believer is the saddest and hardest thing to come to terms with. Therefore we should be determined to be a better example and witness to those around us, the unsaved. To love and encourage them to receive the Saviour while they are alive and not wait till it is just too late.

While we are hurting from the loss of a loved one, God will comfort us, 2 Corinthians 7:6, “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down.” The Bible tells us that God is the father of mercies and that He will comfort us in all our tribulations, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Blessed be God, even, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort: Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Be assured that God loves us and that He understands how much we are hurting. God promises us in Isaiah 43:3 that when we go through deep waters and great trouble, He will be with us. When we go through rivers of difficulty, we will not drown. When we walk through the fire of oppression we will not be burned up; the flames will not consume us.

As brothers and sisters in Christ we are bound by His sacrifice to share one another’s burdens, pain and joy. Mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep! We are not alone, though not members of the bereaving family, but children of one body and one God.

Let us make the best of the days we have left in this world through loving and lifting one another up continually to become Christ-like.

Let us run to the shelter of the Most High where we will find sweet rest for we are told in Psalm 91:1-2:   “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

May we experience the peace of God, which surpasses anything we can understand, will guard our hearts and minds as we live in our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7).

             And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Announcements (12 Jun 2016)

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Jun 122016
 

Word of thanks from the family of Mr. & Mrs Simon and Margaret Ko: “Margaret and I would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the pastors, session members and New Lifers for the condolences, support and presence during the wake of Margaret’s late father William Ang.”

Gospel Sunday 26/6: Sp: Rev. Gabriel Gan Please prayerfully invite family and friends. You may pick out the invitation flyers at the foyer outside the Sanctuary.

Combined BP Youth Conference 2016 (2/7) @ Life BP Church Sp: Rev. Jack Sin. Calling all youths (Sec 1 upwards to 20 years old), please register at our church web site.

Missions Conference (19 – 31/7): Kindly register online for the Conference early.

Israel Trip (19 – 30/11): vacancies open. If you are interested, please see Sis. Julia Ong.

12 Jun 2016 – Growing Spiritually as a Church

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Jun 122016
 

By Elder Sim Chee Seng

The book of Acts tells us about the beginning of the Church under the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit. The early Church grew exponentially when Christians devoted themselves to certain practices or activities which enabled them to grow in their relationship with the Lord. This can be seen most clearly in Acts 2:42-47.  These early Christians devoted themselves to the following activities (some would called “spiritual disciplines”): the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, prayer, worship and service (benevolence).

  1. God’s Word. Jesus said “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4) Again, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim 3:16-17). All godly Christians in the past have been people of the Bible, literally Bible soaked – reading, meditating, teaching, preaching and sharing His word. (1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 2:15; Josh 1:8, Ps 1:1-2, Ps 119:11). Spiritual growth comes from knowing and obeying God’s word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps 119:105)  Have you been reading and obeying His word?
  1. Fellowship: The early Church regularly spent time together. Close fellowship and sharing of common bond in the Lord, is the means God uses to bring us closer to each other.  “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Rom 12:10 and “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Heb. 10:24-25. A single lighted coal quickly becomes extinguished when it is separated from all the coals in a burning furnace. Likewise, it is easy to drift away from Him if we get drawn away by the busyness of life and neglect the meeting together of believers as exhorted by His word to us above.  Why not join a fellowship group today?
  1. Prayer (Fasting): Prayer is essential for a healthy relationship with the Lord as breathing is to our body. It is through prayer that we commune with Him either privately or corporately. Prayer is the expression of trust, confession, thanksgiving, praise, adoration and worship. It can include fasting in which we give up something eg. food, in order to draw closer to the Lord. As an aside, instead of food-fast why not include a techno-fast which is to abstain from using your cell phone, TV, radio, etc. See Col 4:2. It is said that “more prayers are offered by soldiers in trenches than worshippers in the Church.”  Unless we realize that we are in spiritual warfare with Satan, we will never pay heed to prayers. How often do you pray? Why not attend prayer meeting on Wednesday or Sunday?
  1. Worship: We are exhorted to worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth.” (Jn 4:23-24). Many sermons have been preached on the topic of true worship. It is more than singing a few songs or praising the Lord. Paul defines it for us in Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” True worship is God centred and only reserved for Him alone. It not focused on man or entertainment driven.  True worship involves the giving of our whole being, our attitude and motives to God for His glory and honour. Have you worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth”?
  1. Service: Ministering to the needs of others in Church is never easy, that is why we are told to “let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb. 10:24). Each of us needs to exercise our gift(s) for the edification of the body of Christ. Paul’s instruction to Titus is timely “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” (Titus 3:8) And “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” (Titus 3: 14) We need Christians to devote themselves to do what is good and profitable in the Lord. Are you serving the Lord in this Church? Why not?

Summary  A preacher once said “Many people are entering into the Kingdom of God but not all are living for the Kingdom of God.” We are grateful for the gift of salvation but how easy we drift from the path of discipleship through neglect and indulgences in the world. When we follow the examples of the early Church we will grow spiritually.

The aim of “spiritual disciplines” is not for self glory but to grow in godliness and be Christ-like. Paul told Timothy “… exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim 4:7b-8)  We strive to foster and to deepen our relationship with the Lord in accordance to His word. We reject those worldly teachings or philosophies eg. New Age movement, transcendental meditation, eastern mysticism, which are focused on self and not on the truth of God.

Let us not remain as spiritual infants but let us grow in spiritual maturity with the help of His word and the Holy Spirit. Let us follow the examples of the early Church by practicing these “spiritual disciplines.” May God help us to grow more and more to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Announcements (05 Jun 2016)

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Jun 052016
 

Condolence to the family of Bro. Simon Ko – his father-in-law went home to the Lord. Also to the family of Bro. Maridas (Tamil Cong) – his wife was taken by the Lord.

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

Cambodia Mission: The Missions Committee is ready to meet members after Sunday School @12.30 in the Chapel if you have any questions about the Cambodia Mission.

Infant Baptism NEXT Sun 12/6 during the worship service for Bennett, son of Mr. & Mrs Neoh Kheng Tian – let us come and rejoice with them.

Missions Conference (19 – 31/7): Kindly register online for the Conference early.

Combined BP Youth Conference 2016 (2/7) @ Life BP Church Sp: Rev Jack Sin. Calling all youths (Sec 1 upwards to 20 years old), please register at our church web site.

Israel Trip (19 – 30/11): vacancies open. If you are interested, please see Sis. Julia Ong.

06 Jun 2016 – Amazing Grace

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Jun 052016
 

By Sis. Lilian Lee

It was heartening to hear Aunty Jini testified of the Lord’s goodness in her life at a previous prayer meeting. She celebrated her 70th birthday recently and she expressed gratitude to the Lord and I am sure she expects many more good years to serve the Lord! Like Aunty Jini, I also marvel that the Lord in His vineyard will still use us in our silver years. For the past many years, a small group of ladies have been meeting every fourth Sunday for Bible study and prayers. Each meeting brings great excitement because the topics for our studies are very interesting like the Book of Revelation, the Tabernacle, and we even took a biblical tour into Israel last year. This year, we are looking at some of our favourite hymns and the hymn writers, with the aim of re-discovering the precious biblical truths in each testimony and in their hymns. I will write in Newsline what these hymns taught us.

Almost everyone’s favourite hymn is “Amazing Grace” – which, if you google, you can watch on you-tube many US. Presidents singing this hymn with their people. It is very moving to see these heads of state who are probably the most powerful men in the world sing this old hymn.

The hymn was written by John Newton (1725 – 1807) who was born in London of a father who was a commander of a merchant ship. His mother was a God-fearing Anglican and had intended her son to become a clergyman and one could imagine the prayers she would have said for her beloved boy. However she died when John was 6 years old. The father remarried and the boy grew up in the care of an emotionally distant stepmother while the father was often out at sea. He was then sent to a boarding school where he was mistreated badly. At 11 years old, the small boy joined his father as a ship apprentice. His short and unhappy childhood perhaps accounts for his headstrong disobedience. In those days, it was not unusual for such rough characters to be pressed (ie. forced to join the army or navy) into the Royal Navy. It was not surprising that John deserted; and after enduring the humiliation for deserting, he managed to get himself traded to a slave ship and this was where he began his career in slave trading!

Sailors are wont to be vulgar in speech and rough in conduct, and Newton himself having renounced his faith early in life, shocked the other sailors because his profanity and debauchery was so extreme. He was quarrelsome and he fought with everyone and his influence was strong and always negative. Yet God is good – as with many of us, He appoints circumstances to cause us to pause and consider our need for a Being much greater than ourselves – who is so pure and kind! This He did with Newton who, when the ship he was on nearly shipwrecked because of a violent storm, cried out to the Lord for His mercy. Another time was when he suffered a severe illness. Both occasions saw the Lord’s deliverance of Newton.

The Lord was good also as He led Newton to marry the love of his life in 1750. Mary “Polly” Catlett was the daughter of a family friend; John Newton and Polly were childhood sweethearts. This sweetness in marriage did not change Newton in any way except that he stopped swearing. He remained a slave trader even though he repented of his sins! It is possible, dear Christian reader, for Christians to not notice the spots and pimples in our faces – sometimes we are even unaware that these are problems or even abominations to the Almighty! Even as God is patient with us, we must be patient with one another.

In 1764, when he was 39 years old, John Newton began a second career which spanned 43 years of preaching the Gospel. Finally his mother’s prayers were being answered! He served as a pastor in a small town, Onley, and together with William Cowper, he wrote a collection of Onley hymns.

In 1787, Newton wrote a tract supporting the campaign to abolish slave trading. “Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade” was very influential as it graphically described the horrors of slave trading and the part he played! He had discouraged his friend William Wilberforce from leaving politics to join him in the ministry and years later, Wilberforce campaigned successfully and in Feb 1807 – months before Newton’s death – the law of abolition of the Slave Trade was passed!

Truly we can all relate with this hymn – for we are all wretched sinners saved by the amazing grace of One who never gave up on us. The life of John Newton demonstrates for us what is taught in the recent TULIP classes. We are a people Totally Depraved and yet the Lord showed us His Unconditional Love. It is His Limited Atonement and His Irresistible Grace that drew us to Himself – no matter what we do, those who are the Elect cannot fight Him off. Once save, forever save: He ensures the Preservation of the Saints.