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Forget not all His Benefits (Psalm. 103:1)


The Beginning

Sharon BPC celebrates her 42nd Thanksgiving Anniversary this afternoon with praises and gratitude to the Lord for all His benefits towards us. After 5 years in Life BP Church and 2 years serving as a Sunday school teacher, I was moved to begin a church ministry in Toa Payoh in June 1971. During that time Toa Payoh was a new housing estate and was known as ‘Chicago of Singapore’. At the age of 24, I did my best to pastor the church in the way I had observed being done in Life BPC. The worship service was modelled after Life BPC with some changes. The difference was the exclusion of the Psalter. Sharon BPC was one of the first among the Bible-Presbyterian churches to involve church leaders to chair the Lord’s Day worship services. The tradition of the Church Anniversary service as a thanksgiving to God was also adopted from the practice of Life BPC .

In the beginning most of the worshippers were young Lifers who were eager to go with me to distribute gospel tracts in Toa Payoh. They were my supportive partners for Christ in the new outreach. My desire was to build a Christian family church. It was not my plan to draw a crowd of spectators. Many eloquent speakers can capture an audience’s attention. Many churches can draw people and hold their interest through Sunday school contests, bike races, kite flying and crowd pullers’ activities. The focus was attracting multitudes, not building a personal, intimate family church.

 

The Belonging

In the first 7 years, the Lord blessed our church in a sovereign way. Many who stayed in Toa Payoh came to join the church. They have heard of the church’s existence through their Christian friends or colleagues. Every Sunday I was excited due to their fervent response to join in the worship service and willingness to help in the Sunday school and Youth Fellowship. My concern for the growth of the church was not in terms of numbers but the willingness of the worshippers and helpers to identify with the church. I felt there must be a sense of belonging not only to the Lord but to the local church. Toa Payoh BP Church (English Service) was held in the HDB shop house which could accommodate 50 people at the most.

There are certain advantages of a small church. It offers a real sense of a family church where everyone knows each other. People in small churches also have much greater direct access to their pastor. Through the interaction of the different age groups, the enthusiasm and energy of younger believers

blended well with the wisdom and experience of senior adults. I have often kept in mind that growth in numbers is not always a sign of God’s favour and blessing. A church cannot be judged by its size, but by the heart of its members and their impact on the society.

 

The Bonding

In Sharon BPC there is an opportunity to get everyone involved in the Christian ministry. This was demonstrated at the musical “The Love Story” staged at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School last month. The musical itself was a mammoth work. The choir, the production crew, logistics team and Gospel Musical committee had spent many months getting the musical ready. And when the curtain came down on 24 August, the overwhelming feeling was: “It’s been worth everything we put into it.

Many people in the audience testified that watching the musical has been a moving and challenging experience. The narrations, music, songs and dances have spoken to people in various points of need. Participants themselves have also lived out the reality of what they presented. God answered our heartfelt prayers to have a good attendance to fill the auditorium. The support given by our fellow like-minded BP Churches was encouraging.

The musical has brought the church members closer together. Many members and friends worked on the project, mostly behind the scenes. This was clear even to our guests. A guest from a sister church mentioned, “The Musical served as a great challenge to me. I would like to express that I was deeply moved and touched by the sacrificial and dedicated work that had been put into it”. The musical proved to be a rallying point as we have intended.

Finally, we must thank God that we have staged something of such fine quality. It was indeed an outstanding musical production The Musical is not over. We are spurred on to the next level perhaps in preparation for our 45th Church Anniversary celebrations. God willing, in one and a half years’ time we may stage it at Evangel BPC in Petaling Jaya. Let us continue to uphold one another in prayer and provoke one another unto love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Let us take time to think of all the blessings we have received from God, lest we become unthankful. Now how can we best express our gratitude as we think about all that God has given to us? Shall we not give our full devotion to Him as what you have done for the 2013 Gospel Musical?

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Fulfilling your Child’s Potential


Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs. 22:6) This statement has been misunderstood and misquoted. The common interpretation of that verse goes something like this: Be sure your child is in Sunday school and church at an early age. Teach him a lot of Bible verses and hymns. Make sure he learns the Ten Commandments, a few prayers to be used at mealtimes, at bedtime, and in case of emergency. If possible, send him to a Christian school, see that he attends a Church camp during the school holidays and enforce your rules and regulations with unbending strictness.

Proverbs 22:6 begins with, “Train up a child”… It is suggested that the verse should literally be read, “Train up a child according to his way” (New American Standard Version). The Amplified Bible translates the verse “Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent), and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

 

Determine your priorities

Bringing up children is fulfilling if you can help them to fulfill their potential. If you stop to think carefully, the whole purpose of parenting and child-minding can actually be distilled into the objective of fulfilling the child’s potential. It is important to remember that we should not merely focus on helping children fulfill their academic potential. This is a problem with many Asian societies. It is important to know that a child has other non-academic qualities which are equally important in the development of Christian character.

Each child is unique – with his own talents, characteristics, traits, strengths, flaws and weaknesses. Coming from the same family, with the same set of parents, siblings can be alike in looks, temperament and behaviour. However, they can also be so different that they seem to have come from two different families. It is important for parents to take the time and make the effort to know their child’s character and ability.

 

God could have created each child to be the same as the next, but he chose not to. Parents who acknowledge and act on this fact that each child is created differently are wise. The Bible speaks often about the uniqueness and diversity of man. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7:7 that “every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that”. Romans 12:4-8 also deals with the varying gifts of people. Christ in the parable of the talents spoke about the people being dealt with “each according to his ability” (Matt. 25:15). And 1 Corinthians 12 provides a clear description of the variety of gifts of each individual.

 

To train a child is not simply providing information about God. Christian education is distinctive because it seeks to understand the child’s personality and gifts. You

nurture him by steering him toward God’s goal and plan for his life. You train not by rules, but by learning to know of your children’s abilities, characteristics, the good and the bad. Parents must assist a child’s talents, interests and the purposes for which he is suited, called or directed. Children have an intrinsic desire to know who they are, why they are doing and where they are going. For effective learning to take place, direction, purpose and goal should be clearly understood by the children.

 

Record your observations

If a child reveals his or her bents in everday life, those things are worth writing down. Keep a journal on each child. As you write, pray for wisdom. Ask God to guide your thoughts. Please remember, each child is unique. Parents should not compare and compete with their neighbour’s children.

 

God is not expecting any of your children to do like the others. He expects your children to do what He has equipped and provided. There was a man who was always complaining about his hens’ eggs. One day he took his hens over to the neighbour’s farms. There he showed his hens the big ostrich eggs and said, “I want you to see what the neighbours are doing, and I am expecting you to live up to it.” Isn’t that silly? God never expected a laying hen to lay an ostrich egg.

 

Share your findings

Children long to know themselves better. They respect your counsel, and will long remember your remarks. Be candid and honest as you help them see who they really are. Do not try to force your child to fulfill what was never fulfilled in your life. If you didn’t make into the professional football ranks, watch it, Your son may not even like the game. Wise parents will train their children according to the way God has put them together.

 

The task of training your child begins with you as a parent. If you are convinced that God wants only the very best for your children, talk to them about God’s way and plan for each one of your children. Parents can help children develop lasting values. God boldly communicates His values to us. In Jesus He comes and lives out those values, so we can see and follow Him. The Bible and the behavioural sciences agree that communicating values is more a matter of relationship than of providing information.

 

When parents build warm, loving relationships and share thoughts and feelings with their children, values are communicated, and lives are shaped. There is nothing you and I can do to “guarantee” how our children will turn out. Each human being has, and exercises the freedom of responsible choice. But when we pattern our parenting on God’s way of dealing with us we have confidence, and a promise. We can “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6). At each stage of the child’s development the parents are to dedicate, instruct, and motivate the child to do what God evidently has best equipped the child to do for Him.

 

Saved to Serve


“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: 
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

All of us have been coming to church every Lord’s Day to worship God.  Some of us have come to a personal relationship with Christ only not too long ago.  Others may have known Christ many years back.  Our congregation comprises a group of seniors, families, singles, working adults, youths and children.  A faithful few would attend the Tuesday night prayer meeting regularly.  But, have you ever pondered deeper as to the reason of your involvement or that of others in our church?  Why would you or others want to spend precious time, money and effort in the activities of the church?  Wouldn’t it give you better “returns” if your resources are channelled to other things in your life?  Why do you go to church?  Is it because there are always thoughtful and caring people whom you can make friends with in the church?  Or is it because you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon?  Or is it because of the wonderful snacks you can enjoy at Tea Fellowship after Worship Service?  Why would you want to spend your time every Sunday to come to church?
Some of you may have answered rightly that you do this simply because of the love of God for you.  I’ll say a hearty, “Amen” to that.  Yes, we worship God and serve Him out of our gratitude towards Him.  God has showered His great love upon us.  The least we can do is to give Him the glory and praise.  The life that we have is no longer our own but belongs to God.  Jesus had redeemed us by His precious blood.  Hence, we have to live our lives to please God and to glorify Him (1Cor. 10:31).
The apostle Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).  This verse is an interesting paradox.  Paul says that we are dead (crucified) but yet we live.  What does he mean?  Does He mean that we are the “living dead” or “zombies”?  Certainly not!  What Paul states here is the transformation of our nature in us.  Before we come to know Jesus Christ, our old nature reigned in us.  We are under the bondage of sin.  Whatever we wish to do, we do it in subjection to sin.  Sin is our master.  We are only free to do what sin dictates to us.  In our bondage under sin and without faith, it is impossible for us to live a life that pleases God (Heb. 11:6).
When God saves us, the Holy Spirit indwells in us.  We receive a new nature and become a new creature: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Cor. 5:17).  We are “born-again”.  With our new nature, we can do that which was impossible before – to be freed from the dominion which sin has over us.  Our old nature, which subjected us to sin, is put to death.  Death of our old nature does not mean total destruction of the old nature.  Death of the old nature does not mean that we have become perfectly holy such that we are incapable of sinning any more.  Death simply means separation.  Thus, the death of our old nature simply means that we are separated from it.  Our old nature no longer has dominion over us like before.  We are freed from our old nature and hence, we should no longer serve sin.
The apostle Paul exhorts us, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6).  In our saved state with a new nature, we are still capable of sinning.  In fact, when we sin against God now, it is not that we have no power to overcome sin.  Rather, it is a deliberate choice we made in life.  We do not have any more excuse when we sin.  So think twice before you choose to give in to temptation.  We can overcome temptation and not let temptation overpowers us because we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us.  The Holy Spirit is able to empower us to overcome temptation: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1Cor. 10:13).  Do you believe in this promise of God?  Would you prefer the easy way out of giving in to temptation and then earning the displeasure of God?  Or would you fight hard to ward off the temptation by the power of the Holy Spirit and clinging on this precious promise of God?  Which would you choose?  It will be a deliberate choice you have to make in life.  Choose wisely.
Remember, with this new nature in you, the life that you possess is no longer yours anymore, for your life has been redeemed by Christ.  Your life belongs to Christ who has loved you and gave Himself for you.  It is no longer you that live, but Christ in you.  You have to live your life reflecting the nature that Christ is in you.  That is why the apostle reminds us, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
We have to learn to live our lives to serve Christ.  Learn the ancient law of gratitude.  In this unspoken law, when a drowning person was saved by another from his death, he would be totally indebted to his benefactor.  Likewise, if we have understood that Christ has saved us and has given us eternal life, the more we ought to express our gratitude towards Him.  He is the Son of God who has given His life to save us.  His life is exchanged with us so that we may have a changed life.  If we totally comprehend that, can we live a life except that out of gratitude?  Living our lives to serve God is a logical conclusion.  As one person put it this way, “Our life is a gift from God, but the way we live our lives is our gift to God.”
But how should we live a life to serve God?  Start by having a renewed conscience towards sin.  When you are tempted, remind yourself that you are no longer of the old nature.  Do not go by your own power and strength to resist it.  Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to grant you the strength to resist that temptation.  Strive to live a life that is pleasing to God.  In all that you do the whole day, communicate with God.  Ask, “God, what would you want me to do?”  Love and serve the Lord with all your heart and soul.  When you worship God, come before God with a heart of rejoicing and thanksgiving.  When the Word of God is read and preached, received it with gladness of heart; taking it to be the Lord is speaking to you through His Word.  Offer yourself freely to serve the Lord.  When you see things needed to be done, don’t wait for invitation.  Instead, take the initiative and offer yourself to help.  I thank God for the many of you who had offered yourselves freely to serve in the Gospel Musical.  On behalf of the Church Session, I want to thank God and thank you all for serving the Lord wholeheartedly.  But remember, we can do nothing for Christ except Christ first does something in us first.  And thank God that He did! HCL.
 

Faith and Reason


“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1Pet. 3:15).

Faith and Reason – many people see these two entities as the source of the great conflict in our system of beliefs. Many times in our Christian walk, we are not sure whether we should possess faith and discard reason; or for that matter embrace reason and abandon faith. If we appeal solely to reason without faith, we would become liberal Christians, rationalizing every miracle in the Bible to natural dispositions and reducing the unexplained to purely myths produced from the imaginative minds of the disciples of Christ. On the other hand, if we appeal solely to faith without reasoning, we will easily become heretics, proclaiming and practicing the truth in an illogical manner no different from the mystical cults. How do we reconcile faith and reason in our system of beliefs?
What is reason? Reason is the intellectual faculty of our mind in drawing conclusions based on facts of the evidences. It must be noted that the power of reasoning is not something we should despise, in spite of the conflict that it may cause to our approach to faith. In fact, the power of reasoning is from God. The ability to think logically and systematically is a blessing from the Most High. Hence, we have systematic theology – a course which brings about the understanding of God in a systematic and logical manner.

 

Faith, on the other hand, is not rational thought; neither is it irrational. The Christian faith is not about taking a leap in the dark. A person, who closes his eyes and crosses a busy street proclaiming that he has faith in God to protect him, is not a man of faith – as such a belief is totally an alien to the biblical faith. The Christian faith is not a blind leap in the dark. At the same time, it is also not the belief in the absence of evidence. Rather, Christian faith is a belief which rests completely upon biblical evidence.

 

Faith must not be seen as being superior to reason. Ponder for a moment – without the faculty of reasoning, would you have been able to understand the Gospel when it was presented to you? The Lord says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). The Gospel presents us as sinners who are unable to cleanse ourselves of our sins. It is only the blood of Jesus Christ which is able to cleanse us. If we are to put our complete trust in Christ, though our sins are as scarlet, yet they shall be white as snow. Isn’t the Gospel reasonable? That is why the Bible exhorts us to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1Pet. 3:15). Because the faith that we have come to embrace is a reasonable faith!

 

But in like manner, neither can reason be made superior to faith. Without faith, how can you believe in a Saviour whom you have not experience with your senses – see, feel and touch? No matter how logical the presentation of the Gospel is, if the Holy Spirit does not work in the heart of the hearers, they will not come to the faith.

The Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is…” (Heb 11:6). On the one hand, the Gospel must be reasonable that it can be comprehended by others; on the other, without the working of faith, one will never be drawn any closer to the heaven even when he is presented with the most reasonable Gospel. Thus, faith is subject to reason; and reason to faith, such that with both working together, one can progress in his understanding of God and His will for one’s life.

 

Take the classic case of Abraham. In Genesis 22, Abraham was called to offer Isaac as a sacrifice unto God. This put Abraham in a great conflict. Why? Because prior to that, God had revealed clearly to Abraham that the covenant which God gave him would be through Isaac (Gen 17:19). Now, Abraham reasoned, if Isaac were to be sacrificed, wouldn’t that nullified God’s promise unto him? Here, Abraham had to wrestle between faith and reason – to sacrifice Isaac against God’s covenant or to spare Isaac against God’s command. How could he reconcile between two seemingly contradicting entities? If you were Abraham, what would you do? Eventually, Abraham went to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He believed God had given him a clear command. At the same time, Abraham reasoned that God would not contradict Himself. In fact, Abraham, in his finite wisdom, believed that Isaac would be killed in accordance to God’s command but God would raise Isaac up alive again in accordance to the promise of God’s covenant: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Heb. 11:17-18). Bear in mind, that before that, there was no such incident of the miracle of one being raised from the dead ever recorded in the Bible! Such was Abraham’s faith and reasoning. With perfect hindsight, we know that this was not what happened. Instead, God intervened as Abraham was about to offer Isaac and provided a ram for the sacrifice.

 

We may not be Abraham, but many times in our spiritual lives, like Abraham, there is always a constant struggle between our faith and our reason. We have to constantly seek wisdom from the Lord to guide us in our decision-making: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (Jas. 1:5). If we are certain of God’s will for our lives which is biblical, do not try to find reasons beyond the Scripture for your reluctance in walking in the will of God for you. If we are fearful, then confess our lack of faith to God, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). But if your faith is not rested upon the word of God, be reasonable as not to build up a castle on sand. Instead, acknowledge your lack of understanding and continue to search the Scripture and seek the Lord’s guidance. Blind “faith” will only lead to destruction.

 

Faith and reason are not two irreconcilable entities in our Christian faith. Instead, they are twins which are essential for us to understand God and His will for our lives. Faith and reason are not the left and the right hands – where most people are stronger in one hand than the other, and thus hardly use the weaker one. Instead, faith and reason are likened to a pair of legs; both needed equally to walk properly. Every step taken by the leg of faith is always balanced by the leg of reason. Let us learn to embrace faith and reason together as we walk with God. Let us not just hop on one leg only as we walk in the will of God. What God has given us is a reasonable faith.

 

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The Fear in Sharing Our Faith


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16).

One of the greatest responsibilities of a believer is to share his faith to those who are still outside the kingdom of God. When this topic is broached, many Christians would unanimously agree on its importance. But when this issue is pointed directly to ourselves, most of us would have mixed feelings about it. First, there is a feeling of fear because this task involves the eternal destiny of the soul of human beings. Then, there is also the feeling of incompetence because we felt that we may not be able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. And because of that, we always come up with reasons (read excuses) why we do not share our faith. Finally, all these lead to dejection – for we know that we have not fulfilled this obligation required of us. Thus, fear leads to incompetence, and incompetence leads to dejection, and with dejection, even more fear. The vicious cycle goes on …

 

Many times, this feeling of fear is a stumbling block in our path to carry out the mandate which God has entrusted to us. In order to overcome this major problem in all of us, we must get rid of the fear factor. Most of the time, our fear comes about because we are overly conscious of our own selves. We fear that WE are not able to do a good job for God in sharing our faith. We fear that WE may be embarrassing ourselves in front of others. It is high time that we get rid of WE and start letting God works out His will through us. To do that, we must note that salvation of souls is the work of the Holy Ghost. The normal means of salvation is through the outward preaching of the Gospel and the inward working of the Holy Ghost. In other words, no matter how well the Gospel is presented, if the Holy Ghost does not work in the heart of the hearers, they would not come to salvation.

 

This understanding is crucial to help us to overcome our fear. The success of sharing our faith does not solely depend on the way we present Gospel – it depends on the work of God in the hearts of the people. If we truly believe that God is the source of salvation, then we ought not to fear that we may speak the wrong things. God will guide us as to what to say, if we yield ourselves completely to Him, to be used by Him. We are just messengers of the Lord. As messengers, we carry the Gospel to those who would want to hear it. We have nothing to fear as messengers. To use an analogy, it would have been ridiculous for a postman to fear the letter he is delivering would be rejected. Such a thought would not have been acceptable. Similarly too, we are postmen (messengers) of God. And our job is to deliver the good news of the Gospel of salvation to the hearers. Because of this, we ought not be ashamed but depend on God to work out His plan of salvation. The apostle testifies, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (Rom. 1:16). Salvation rests on the power of God, and not on us. Let us not think that by the wisdom of our speech, our oratorical skill and our power of reasoning would be able to turn a soul to Christ. The apostle Paul reminded us, “4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1Cor. 2:4-5).

We ought to present the Gospel in a precise and concise manner, pointing out that we are all sinners and in need of a savior in our Lord Jesus Christ. We must address the great human need of forgiveness and love. We do not beat around the bush and camouflage our speech with human wisdom to make people feel good with our words, and neglect to sharef the unsavoury message of sin. Why would people need a Saviour if they do not know understand that they are sinners? Good news can only descend if we know that things are bad. But at the same time, we must also season our speech with grace: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6). God sends us as His messengers not to condemn the world but to preach Christ that the people may be saved. We know this saying very well, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This verse is the most well-known verse in the whole Bible. Many of you can recite this verse with ease from your memory. But do you know John 3:17? “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Yes, we preach the love of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We preach not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t this good news to the world?

 

Sharing your faith is nothing to be fearful of, especially when we have felt the wonderful love of God in our lives. If God has been so wonderful to us, then shouldn’t we be joyful to share this experience with others? But if we have never felt God’s amazing grace in our lives, then it would be hard for us to share this experience in a vacuum. For example, when asked where to find the best chicken rice stall is in town, you realized that you can share it expressively, even describing in detail how succulent the chicken is, how fragrant is the rice and even the “oomph” in the chilli sauce. But when it comes to the Gospel, you are in a loss of words. Why the contrast? Is not salvation the better of any chicken rice? Surely, you have tasted the goodness of the Lord in saving you and you would like to share this experience with others, don’t you?

 

I believe all of us are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Rather, it is our fear that cripples us as far as the sharing of our faith is concerned. Our church will be conducting the Gospel Musical “The Love Story.” Many of you have put in a lot of hard work in the practices and rehearsals. You have sacrificed your time for this evangelistic project. But if you do not go out and invite the people for this Gospel Musical, then all your efforts in practice will be wasted. Who will be coming to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ? We are not singing to ourselves. We are proclaiming the Gospel to those still outside the kingdom of God. We have to bring the people in to hear the Gospel. Do not be fearful of what people may say to you. Be courageous. Invite them. Whether they will come or not, let the Lord work in their heart. May the Lord grant us the boldness and grace to do this task. May the words of this hymn below spur you and challenge you to do your best for our Lord Jesus Christ. HCL.

 

I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus, Who died upon the cruel tree?

To think of His great sacrifice at Calv’ry! I know my Lord expects the best from me.

How many are the lost that I have lifted? How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?

I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus, When He has done so much for me?

 

Making the Mature Years Count


To bless others

With good health care services in Singapore, the city state now has the fourth-longest life expectancy in the world. This means that Singaporeans are living longer. We have about 1,000 centenarians. I hear of many saying they desire to live longer, healthier and be active as long as they can. When the time to die, they would die as fast as possible. An elderly lady once said, “All my useful days are gone. My children are all raised and they have their own homes. When they were small, I enjoyed cooking for them and mending their clothes. You see, I was needed then, but not now. Instead of being a blessing I am just a burden.” There is a tendency for senior citizens to feel that they have lost their usefulness.

King David felt the same dilemma in his old age. He prayed, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth” (Ps. 71:9). David felt that when physical strength was decreased people would do away with him because his relevance was gone. He was even afraid that God might cast him off in the time of old age. In verse 18 of this same psalm, David said, “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come”. David wanted God to leave him here on earth to demonstrate the strength of God to the new generation and the power of God to their children who were yet to be born.

 

To testify for God

Someone said, “I’m not 80, I’m 18 with 62 years experience”. No matter how old we get, we can still be young at heart – but with the benefit of a well-lived lifetime of knowledge and wisdom. For this reason older people have a tendency to live in the past and to talk about the past, and I think God planned it that way so they would testify of His greatness and power that they experienced in years gone by. This can be a tremendous blessing to the present generation.

Growing old as a Christian is not something to fear, for David said in Psalm 71:14-16, “I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I

know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only”. In verse 15, David pointed out that he did not know how many days he had left: “I know not the numbers thereof”. But David made it very clear that he was going to spend this time talking about the Lord. In verse 16, David must have been thinking about the failing health of older people when he said, “I will go in the strength of the Lord God”. Though the physical body may be weak, God provides the strength that is needed. What resources God has are available to the elderly.

 

To bear fruit

Psalm 92 compares the believer to a palm tree. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing” (vv. 12-14). In old age, the believer will bring forth fruit like the palm tree. The Christian is like the palm tree which can flourish in all circumstances. The palm tree grows even in the barren desert areas where no other plant life will grow. This is because the palm tree is not dependent on favourable circumstances for growth and fruitfulness. Authorities tell us that an old palm tree bears the sweetest fruit. It is apparent that God takes special interest in older people. In Isaiah 46:4 God says, “Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs (the time of gray hair) will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you”. Yes, God made us and He will carry us through and will deliver us. As long as God puts us here, He has some work for us to do, and He will give us the grace and strength that is needed for each day. But perhaps some shut-in friend is saying right now, “I haven’t been out of my room for years. How can I serve the Lord here?” I would remind you that the ministry of intercessory prayer is a very vital one.

 

A good conclusion

At his old age, Moody was asked to grant permission for his biography. He refused, saying, “A man’s life should never be written while he is living. What is important is how a man ends, not how he begins”. While Paul was still in the Lord’s service, he feared that he might turn out to be just wood, hay, and straw rather than gold, silver and precious stone (1 Cor. 3:12-13). What will be the Lord’s appraisal of our lives is more important than someone evaluating us.

 

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Homosexuality


It is not surprising to hear that politicians, educators, doctors, engineers and even clergies profess themselves as homosexuals. Some doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists have defended homosexuality. The movie industry has portrayed homosexuality and lesbianism in a sympathetic way. The world has come to accept homosexuality as a behavioral norm. Proponents of homosexuality assert that gay rights include freedom of speech, academic freedom and freedom of theological beliefs.

What is a homosexual?

According to Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary a “Homosexual”

  1. Shows a sexual desire for those of the same sex.
  2. Has sexual relations with individuals of the same sex.

A “homosexual” is one whose sexual inclination is toward those of the individual’s own sex rather than the opposite sex”.

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

God had created a man called Adam and a woman named Eve and brought them together as husband and wife. God’s intention from the beginning was a lifelong union between a man and his wife. It is a heterosexual monogamy. It is the union of one man and one woman. God prescribed no other kind of sexual partnership. Neither did He allow for an alternative. Therefore, homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. It is a violation of God’s revealed purpose for marriage. The Bible says “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Lev. 18:22). The sin of homosexuality called for the death penalty under the Moasic law. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:13). “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a Sodomite of the sons of Israel” (Dt. 23:17).

The Bible says in Genesis 19:24 that “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” for their practice of homosexuality. Those who condoned and tolerated the Sodomites were condemned by God. However, Kings Asa, Jehoshaphat and Josiah spoke and acted against the issue of homosexuality, They ‘did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:11, 12, 22:43, 2 Kings 22:2; 23:7). If we speak out against homosexuality, we are doing that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

Writing in Romans 1:26,27, the Apostle Paul further argues that homosexuality is depraved behaviour. “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; 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 recompense of their error which was meet”.

How does the church treat homosexuals?

Recognising the Bible as the authoritative standard for its faith and practice, the Church has historically and consistently held the view that the practice of homosexuality is clearly incompatible with the teachings of the Christian faith. The only sexual relationship sanctioned by God and given as a gift from God is between a male and a female within the bounds of a monogamous marriage. Therefore, we do not condone homosexual practices and we consider homosexual lifestyle as sinful and unacceptable. However, homosexuals should be regarded and treated no less as persons. Jesus loves all sinners but He hates sin. The Church should offer assistance to those who are beset with homosexual desire to receive the grace of God’s forgiveness and experience the power of God to change their lives. The road to complete restoration might be long and painful and is incumbent upon the Church to show love, compassion and empathy.

How does the society regard homosexual?

Though we deem homosexual lifestyle totally unacceptable on the basis of the Bible and our faith, we believe that unless there are legitimate reasons homosexuals, as individuals, should not be discriminated against in areas such as employment, health care and housing. It does not follow, however, that our society should be re-ordered or allowed to evolve to the extent that eventually homosexual practice is endorsed, permitted or encouraged as an alternative lifestyle. We will continue to support our Government in its current legislation concerning homosexuality; its policy of not permitting the registration of homosexual societies or clubs; and its policy of not allowing the promotion of homosexual lifestyle and activities. We will help the nation to preserve and promote wholesome values and lifestyles that will contribute to the well-being of our society.

 

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