Announcements (28 May 2017)

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May 282017
 

Praise God for the 15 Session Members who have been elected into the Session 2017 – 2020.  May the Lord enable them to serve Him faithfully.

Session Meeting (Today @1.45 pm):  All newly elected Session members, please meet in the Conference Room.

A Note of Thanks to those who served in the last Session.  May the Lord bless you as you continue to serve Him faithfully in your future ministry.

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Andy Wan on the birth of a set of twin girls.  May the Lord grant the parents grace to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord!

Kindergarten VBS (29 & 30 May; 9am-12pm): Pray that many K1 & K2 children will attend, and story tellers: Mrs. Chee & Mrs. Gan.

English, Chinese & Tamil Combined Dedication Service (4 Jun):  For newly elected Session Members.

Session Planning (30 Jun):  From 9am – 5pm.  Venue to be confirmed.

28 May 2017 – We Are Our Brother’s Keeper

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May 282017
 

We Are Our Brother’s Keeper by Elder Sivaraj Prasad

Romans 14:7 reminds us that we do not live for ourselves.

Has it ever dawned on us that we are responsible spiritually to God for other people?  For instance, if we allow any turning away from God in our private life, everyone around us suffers.  Ephesians 2:6 says, ‘And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  And 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”  If we allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with us will suffer.  We may ask whether we can do this work ourselves.  The answer is it is God alone who makes us able to do all that we do (2 Corinthians 3:5).

The phrase “my brother’s keeper” occurs in the context of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-9.  After the Lord God had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy because God had found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable, but had rejected Cain’s.  After the murder, the Lord, knowing full well what had happened, asked Cain where Abel was.  Cain’s response was “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”(Genesis 4:9).

Every man is his brother’s keeper in that we are not to commit violent acts against them or allow others to do so if we can prevent it.  This sort of “keeping” is something God rightfully demands of everyone, on the grounds of both justice and love.  But Cain’s reply indicates a total lack of any kind of feeling for another human being.  Basically, in the absence of brotherly love, and the overriding presence of selfishness, it kills affection and gives rise to hatred.

Christians are to be the keepers of other Christians in two ways.  First we are not to commit acts of violence against one another.  This includes violence of the tongue in the form of quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorderly behavior (2 Corinthians 12:20).  Second, we are to exhibit brotherly love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ with a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8).  In this way, we “keep” those for whom Christ gave His life.

God calls us to a way of life exemplified by Him and His Son, Lord Jesus, as recorded in Romans 5:7-8, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

We can come to understand and apply the kind of love and sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for all humanity. The Bible describes it as being our brother’s keeper, one who unfailingly “keeps” his brother or sister.  Such constancy is more than an immediate and unplanned sacrifice for others, commendable as that is. To be your brother’s keeper means to consider your neighbor’s needs at all times, whether he is present or not.

A brother’s keeper is one who understands godly love as expressed in Christ’s sacrifice (John 3:16-17).  That kind of love is embodied in the final words of Lord Jesus as He hung dying on the stake: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  This is what Lord Jesus asked of the Father for His murderers.

This kind of love for others is not a part-time job but a way of life.  It follows the example of the Good Samaritan at all times.  Ultimately the way of life God desires for us involves God’s calling (John 6:44), repentance from dead works and faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1-2).

So, as Christians, we are to be our brother’s keeper.  As Paul wrote in Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another”.

Announcements (21 May 2017)

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May 212017
 

The family members of Dn Ivan Lim wish to express their appreciation to the Session and all New Lifers for their comfort and condolences during their time of bereavement.

No Sunday School TODAY!

ACM / Election 2017 (TODAY @ 11.30am):  Members, please stay back for the ACM/Election after the Worship Service today. We need a quorum before the meeting can proceed.  Pray for God’s guidance that all will be done in a way honourable to the Lord.  Let all things be done decently and in order (1 Cor 14:40).

The Ultimate Quest 2017Theme: Transformation – A New Me!  Date: 27 May, Sat. Time: 9am – 5pm.  Venue:  NLBPC.  Those interested to volunteer for this event (games, food, facilitators, etc.) may sign up at the registration table or contact James Pang (9022 8956), Timothy Ho (9023 2362) or Min Wei (9144 0980).

Session Meeting (Next Sun 28/5 @1.45 pm):  All newly elected Session members, please attend.

Kindergarten VBS (29 & 30 May; 9am-12pm): Pray that many K1 & K2 children will attend, and story tellers: Mrs. Chee & Mrs. Gan

NLBPC Church Camp 2017.  Registration closes TODAY!  For those who have signed up, please make your payment immediately after the Combined Worship Service at the Counter in the Fellowship Hall.

NLBPC Members SMS Broadcast Phone ListKindly inform the Church Office if you did not receive the recent broadcast so that we can include your mobile number in the Church list.

21 May 2017 – Our Confidence in God

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May 212017
 

Our Confidence in God by Elder Sim Chee Seng

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Sam 7:3)

We put our confidence in many things.  We trust our government to rule Singapore well. We believe our police and army will keep the country safe and secure. In a multiracial society, we trust our neighbours of other races and strive to live in harmony with them. We put our money in banks, trusting that they will not default.  We take good care of our families, trusting and praying that our children will be obedient to God and be filial to us.  However, when it comes to having confidence in the Lord, how well do you fare?

The Israelites were superstitious.  The Ark of the Covenant abode in Kirjathjearim for 20 yrs (1 Sam 7:2). During this long time, the Israelites mourned because it seemed that the Lord had abandoned them.  Before the Ark was moved to Kirjathjearim, the Israelites had lost it to the Philistines (see 1 Sam 4). The battle was not going Israel’s way, so they brought the Ark to the battlefield, hoping its presence would give them victory. Instead of trusting God for help, the Israelites foolishly trusted the Ark itself. They were confusing the Ark, a sacred object that symbolized God’s presence and power, with God himself.  It was as if they thought God would have to help them because of the Ark.  They were using it like a “lucky charm” to win the battle; in that, they became superstitious in their belief.

Even Christians can become superstitious – they follow horoscopes or Zodiac signs and they seek the advice of the geomancer- what to wear, what to avoid and what to eat.  Some blindly believe in the power of holy water and prayer handkerchief. There is nothing wrong in carrying the Bible or wearing a cross to remind you that God is with you.  Remember, it is not the things that you carry or wear or do that helps you but it is the Lord Himself living in you. Let us place our confidence in God and not be superstitious.

The Philistines believed in chance.  The Philistines thought they were in luck when they captured the Ark. They put it in the temple of Dagon to display it like a war trophy amongst their many idols. God struck down the image of Dagon. God also struck the Philistines with a severe rat infestation and skin tumours. Many people died from this plaque as the Ark was moved from place to place in their territory.

Interestingly, 1 Sam 6 recorded an experiment the Philistine did to determine whether the plaque was from God or due to chance. They chose 2 milking cows, which had never been yoked, to pull a new cart carrying the Ark of God. And they removed the young calves from the mother cows. Then they set the milking cows on the road which lead to Israel territory. You see, everything possible was stacked against God in this experiment.  The natural instinct of the milking cows would have led them back to their calves. The heavy yoke on these untested cows would have distraught them and hindered their onward journey.

Guess what happened?  The cows pulled the cart with the Ark on it, without turning to the right or left, walking all the way to the territory of Israel.  God showed the Philistines that He is sovereign and in control of everything. Even though everything is stacked against God, He can direct the most unwilling beasts to do His will. The Philistines were taught the lesson that the plaque occurred by the will of God and not chance.

Our Confidence in God.  During this difficult period God appointed Samuel as the judge of Israel.  Samuel was a God fearing and wise leader.  Samuel told them that God had not abandoned Israel but that they were under judgment for their sins.  He encouraged Israel to return to the Lord by doing three things: 1. Put away idolatry; 2. Turn your heart to God and 3. Serve or obey Him only. When Israel obeyed, the Lord delivered them out of the hands of the Philistines and they had peace in the land.

In application, first we need to put away all idols – images, unholy habits, unwholesome and sinful desires and indulgences. Anything and everything we know that displeases God, we are to remove and put them away. Second, we are to turn our hearts to God. Basically, it means that God must take first place in our hearts. We must treasure Him supremely – to love Him with all our heart, all our mind and all our strength. And finally, we are to continue to show our love to Him by obeying and serving Him continuously with the help of the Holy Spirit. May God help us to be faithful and obedient to Him in full confidence.  Amen.

Announcement (14 May 2017)

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May 142017
 

The family members of Shirley and James Ng wish to express their appreciation to the Session and all NewLifers for their love and support during their time of bereavement.

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

ACM/Election 2017 NEXT SUN @11.15am: Please bring all the ACM papers and stay back for the ACM/Election – we need a quorum before the meeting can proceed.

The Ultimate Quest (27 May, Sat): It will be held in church for children aged P1-P6. Registration has started and will end TODAY. Those interested to volunteer for this event (games, food, facilitators, etc.) may sign up at the registration table or contact James Pang (9022 8956), Timothy Ho (9023 2362) or Min Wei (9144 0980).

Church Camp (14 to 17 Jun 2017): Registration closes TODAY. Please sign up.

14 May 2017 – A Tribute to Mothers

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May 142017
 

A TRIBUTE TO MOTHERS by Dn Ronnie Tan

Proverbs 31:10-29 is a passage of scripture which spells out the qualities of. She is, amongst others, virtuous (v 10); trustworthy (v 11); always seeking to do good to her husband (v 12); hardworking and diligent (v 13, 15, 19); wise (v 26); and takes care of the household very well. The Bible describes such qualities as far superior to rubies (v 10). In other words, these qualities are priceless!

There are a number of examples of godly mothers in the Bible. Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, became God’s chosen vessel through whom our Lord was born and Samson’s mother, who was told not to consume anything that came out of the vine, obeyed the Lord’s command (Judges 13:14) and God used her son to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. Hannah, kept her promise to let her son Samuel, serve the Lord, after she had pleaded with the Lord for a child while she was barren.

Godly women in history also play an important role in bringing up godly children. John Newton’s mother died of tuberculosis when he was 7 years old. While John was still young, his mother taught him to read Scripture and memorise Reformed catechism and hymns. It proved to be vital for John who later became a sailor and slave trader. Despite his sinful ways, he did eventually return to the Saviour and wrote the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace” which is a favourite of many Christians today.

Susannah Wesley spent an hour a day praying for each of her 17 children. Her godly devotion and prayers for her children resulted in two of her sons, John and Charles Wesley, growing up to become godly men themselves. John became a noted preacher while Charles wrote some of the hymns we still sing today, such as “And Can It Be”, “Blessed be the Name” and “Come Thou Almighty King”.

My mother did not become a believer till she was in her late 70s. Nonetheless, I thank God that she gave me a very good upbringing even before that. When I was young and rebellious, there were times when she reminded me how I had taken my blessings for granted. She would often remind me that whenever I come home from school, I can always expect a nice, warm Peranakan meal cooked by her loving hands, waiting for me, while some others have to fend for themselves because their mothers are either working or worse, busy gambling or playing mahjong. Even when she was in hospital recovering from surgery or in her hospital bed before her home-calling, each time I met her, the first words on her lips were not about herself or her but, “Lu sudah makan belum?” (Have you had your meal yet?)

I also thank God for the discipline and training she gave me. She did not withhold the rod of correction from me when I needed it as a young boy. She also taught me how to iron clothes, to the point where she would entrust me with the responsibility of ironing her clothes, as well as my dad’s, without fearing that I would burn a hole through them.

Mom was also the one who taught me how to do marketing. As a child, I hated it because it meant that I had to wake up early on weekends, to follow her to market. However, it was during those trips to the market that I learnt how to look for fresh food, which would later become home-cooked and tasty Peranakan dishes. That was how I became my family’s “Director of Ironing and Marketing”.

Another Christian lady whom I should mention too is the late Mdm Chan Chee Khuan, the mother of our Sis Shirley Lee. It was a blessing and a privilege to know this godly lady whom God had sent into our lives over the past few years. She embodied the meaning of Psalm 122:1, which says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Each Sunday as we travel to church together, we could see that she enjoyed going to church and was always looking forward to it. Her actions reminded me of my late father who told me, “I will continue to come to church for as long as I can” just a few months before the Lord called him home. Like a loving mother, she would often give my family ‘liang cha’ even as she brewed some for her own children. Indeed, to be treated like one of her own was an honour and privilege, something which my family and I thank God for.

Mothers’ Day may be a day we honour our mothers for their love and the sacrifices they made for the family. However, may we not just honour, love and obey them on Mother’s Day but each day they are with us, for it is God’s Command in Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1.  Amen!

Announcements (07 May 2017)

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May 072017
 

ACM/Election Papers:  Please sign for the papers at the Fellowship Hall after the Worship Service TODAY.  Do make every attempt to collect your copy (one per family) so that the Church saves on postage mailing to you.

AF & SAF Combined Meeting today in the Chapel from 12:00 – 1:15 pm: We will be having group discussions on the sermon Pastor Gan preached during Worship Service on : “Every Member A Minister.”  All are welcome to attend and fellowship, including friends and visitors as well.

Evangelistic Movie Outreach: We will be screening the movie “Miracles from Heaven” on 13 May, 2.30pm at church, followed by light refreshments. Please join us and invite your unsaved family and friends to come along for an enjoyable afternoon! We appreciate more helpers to come forward for this event and for ROF tracting.

The Ultimate Quest (27 May, Sat): It will be held in church for children aged P1-P6. Registration has started and will end on 14/5. Those interested to volunteer for this event (games, food, facilitators, etc.) may sign up at the registration table or contact James Pang (9022 8956), Timothy Ho (9023 2362) or Min Wei (9144 0980).

Church Camp (14 to 17 Jun 2017): Registration CLOSES on 14/5. Please visit church website to obtain a copy of registration form or collect a hard copy from camp registration counter at fellowship hall. Submission of completed registration with payment can be made after Worship Service at the registration counter today and 14/5.

07 May 2017 – Fourth SAF Meeting Sharing

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May 072017
 

Summary of Sharing during Fourth SAF Meeting on 2 April 2017 at NLBPC by Elder Yap

Authentic Relationships and Bonding

God’s Word tells us that we can have an authentic relationship with fellow believers when we walk in the light because God is in the light (1 John 1:6-7). Our heavenly Father also wants us to have an authentic relationship when we are renewed as after the image of God as we put off the old man.

Before we can have an authentic relationship with others, we need to have a good self-image and self-esteem. This is possible and God is mindful of our weakness [Psalms 8:4] and creates in us a new creature [2 Cor 5:17].

While no one likes a fake, too many take a simplistic view, thinking it is blurting the first thing that comes to mind. It’s not attacking, blaming or judging, and it most certainly isn’t any type of self-denigration, such as lack of confidence or self-respect. True authenticity means realizing that others are also created like us in the image of God and that we are to treat them as we like them to treat us.(Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31 aka Golden Rule).

In Christian fellowship people should experience authenticity. This is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing. It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer. An authentic relationship would be one that exhibits transparency, care and concern, commitment, and open communication. This would lead to bonding.

Conclusion

The sharing was concluded with a quote from Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She wrote “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

 

Question 1 – What is holding us back to be more authentic?

1)  The fear of being judged, criticised, rejected, condemned, hurted, embarrassed, subject of gossip, misunderstood, betrayed, appearing stupid, etc., are major factors and concerns of the discussion groups.

2)  The Church’s environment, rules and regulations; general expectation of formalities and conservativeness, and the need to exhibit proper or acceptable behaviour. The environment is not encouraging, such as receiving COLD response from church members when our behaviour does not conform to majority. Past unpleasant experience such as once bitten twice shy.

3)  The need to maintain good impeccable image and not to appear as an hypocrite. Our own insecurity causing us to clamp up and not willing to expose our weaknesses.  Such as say lack of knowledge on Bible. Dare not ask questions. Don’t want to make a fool of oneself.

4)  The perception of being safe at home (private) versus critical scrutiny in Church (public) settings, caused unwillingness to remove our “mask” thinking that others may not be ready to accept the truth. Do not want to attack or offend someone inadvertently, and may so choose to tell a white lie. Church members do not exhibit agape love and still short of graciousness in handling small things or issues. Perceived lack of empathy and forgiving spirit.

5)  Introvert by nature; demure and shy personality. There are still individuals in the church, who cannot clique or does not know each other well enough with strong mutual relationship and bonding.

Question 2 – What are the steps I can take personally to become more authentic or encourage others to be more authentic?

1)  Keep smiling and be more approachable and friendly to others. Take initiative to start a conversation & build relationship in seeking out more friends. Seek to ” build bridges & not walls”. Learn to speak up and master the art of communication. Develop boldness with a gung-ho spirit.

2)  Show sincere care and concern, exhibit transparency, and needs commitment to support and accept each other’s limitation and spiritual maturity. Just be our true self, open and truthful.  Share honestly and be approachable.  Know our own weaknesses and vulnerability, and accept criticism when others share them out to us. Be a little more thick skin and always be prepared to be put down. Do not be too sensitive. Give others the benefit of doubt. Make effort to know each other better, widen social circle, build trust and respect for others

3)  It will be great to let others know you are by nature a quiet and private person. Also communicate that you are more than willing to share when need be.

4)  Make an effort to be present and participate in church events, so that others have an opportunity to approach you and know you better. Serve and support by attendance and active engagement is the key success factor for building relationship.

5)  Be reminded to approach all things in love and be less judgemental. Even offensive criticism could still communicate positively, truthfully and even gently (e.g. food is too oily to our taste, we can still feedback that it’s a little too oily for our health). No need to tell-all to everyone for sensitive matters, and it may be wise to just to a few close friends for emotional and prayer support.

6)  Be willing to be authentic.  Be patient.  Know one will be vulnerable & may be subjected to hurt and pain, if one chose to be authentic.  Be prepared.  Pray for strength to be your real self.  Tell yourself making mistake is normal.

7)  Be prayerful and have a right relationship with God first.  Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance to lead us to the right party to minister or to be ministered.  If there is offence taken, seek reconciliation. Get third party help if necessary. Pray & commit to God. Be ready to forgive. Do not bear grudges and resentment.  Developed a forgiving and gracious spirit with the help of God.