ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
It was C.S. Lewis who mentioned that like dancing, worship works best when you do not have to think about it. “As long as you notice and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing, but only learning to dance.”(C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm)
Thus the more familiar you are with a song of praise or worship the more likely you will be able to focus on God’s presence, instead of trying to follow the tune and find the words. Thus familiarity enhances the experience.
Does it mean that we do not learn new songs? New songs are important as they express our adoration and need in ways that the children of each generation can relate and identify as their voice. The best way then is for us to introduce new songs, but sing it over and over till familiarity breeds worship, not contempt. It becomes “like dancing”.
The Leaders’ Planning Retreat 2016 sought a fuller expression of total dependency on God. We wanted to plan with Jesus. There were more times of waiting on God, and there were morning chapels, to allow the Spirit to influence and shape our thinking and feeling. It required patient waiting and listening, as we learned to trust God with all our heart.
Besides sharing and planning, we also spent more time bonding across people-groups (ZXFET, DFF, GNK, English Adult) and ministries. Ice-breakers, inter-ministry meals, sharing of life and prayer for one another’s ministries and people-groups helped to deepen trust, strengthen hope, and enrich love.
We are learning that it takes longer to plan with Jesus, than to plan without Jesus. To allow Christ the Head of the Church to lead the Body, we need to discern His orders to us. This takes time.
In August, we introduced Community Temperature Reading (CTR) and Clarifying Expectations (both dealing with sharing our lives more deeply and speaking the truth in love). This went together with pulpit teaching from Philemon – an epistle that demonstrates Paul’s honest speaking and clarification of expectations with Philemon. We did Philemon to show the biblical basis for some of the skills that we are asking you to incorporate in your life.
In October we had originally planned to have three new sessions of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Skills 2.0. We gathered feedback from the congregation and cell leaders and decided that we will NOT do those new sessions. We confirmed that people need more time to assimilate earlier skills before we introduce new ones. So we will postpone two sessions to 2017, and continue with the guest speaker, John Chong Ser Choon, speaking on “The Spiritual Discipline of Silence” on Sunday 2nd of October. The EHS Skills 2.0 cell based session on “Incarnational Listening” will be done on that Sunday afternoon (YAY Cells), and on Friday 7th October (English Adult Cells).
In the meanwhile, in the cell groups, we will practice the skills we learned from CTR. Please give your cell leaders your fullest support and co-operation. We ask the Lord to help our congregation practice speaking the truth in love.
SARAH PHUA JOINS CHURCH STAFF
This is good news to the ears. Sarah Phua joined the church staff a few months ago as an intern. She worked with the staff helping them to do different tasks and projects. She did very well. The Lord has also moved her heart to take a further step of faith to serve part-time with the church staff. We informed the Board of Elders(BOE), and they asked that due diligence be done.
Pastor Thomas and Pastor Kenny and Abe Sim interviewed her and unreservedly recommended to the BOE that we give her a contract of two years as a part time paid staff. The BOE approved.
We see the Lord using her skills to fill a gap in strategic planning and policy development, something we needed in the the current pastoral team gift mix. She will work two days a week and will be paid accordingly. She started work on 1st of September. The Lord has done a wondrous work before our eyes bringing in new and young blood. Praise the Lord.
– Ps Kenny Chee
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15.7)
How do we please the Master who laid down his life to save us and give us eternal life? How can we bring joy, indeed, “more joy” to God who is in heaven? We do that when the church as a community works together to serve Christ outside the church walls and lead lost people back to our Saviour and the Father’s love.
There are many ways we bring joy to the Lord. It is time for us to re-order our priorities to give attention to pleasing the Lord in this way too. Let us encourage one another to serve Christ in the marketplace, in the community and in the mission field. Let us depend totally on His Spirit’s energy and guidance.
Christ has done so much for us that we feel a compelling desire that springs out of gratitude to serve Christ.
The problem is we often face challenges that keep us from serving. Some of these forces can be external or internal. The Spirit wants to help us overcome these forces so that we can serve with joy and pleasure.
Serving Christ is one of the major contributor to the growth of a Christian and a community. It brings great joy, affirmation, edification and practical help to others, and we increase in our knowledge and trust in God. We were not created to receive and not give. We are meant to be the Galilee lake and not a Dead Sea.
In this series of sermons we look again at the book of Judges and learn about serving by grace.
Since the Lord sovereignly began this church in a revival in 1972, we have never failed to see His great grace and faithfulness. We have not deserved His blessings – they were poured out on us despite our failures and shortcomings. We have seen His faithfulness in times of despair, desperate need, and danger.
How do we respond to such great love? First, let us offer Him our heartfelt praise and thanksgiving for His goodness. Second, let us offer ourselves as living sacrifices afresh, so that His name may go viral. Last, let us pray, “Lord without You we can do nothing” and live out this prayer out day by day.
To the WRPF extended family, worshipping with us or settled elsewhere, thank you for all your works of faith, labour of love, and fellowship of hope. God bless you.
Silence and solitude stills the stormy selves and positions us to listen to God. That was what I experienced during my five days of silent retreat in Cheung Chau Island, Hong Kong. Besides the physical and soul rest, my spirit was able to feast on the word of God and I must say unlike other retreats this was one of my most joyous and reassuring one.
Why Cheung Chau? Well my pastor friend had gone there several times and encouraged me to try since the airfare was about the same as flying to Chiangmai. I was ready to have a change in setting and to try a different spiritual director. They assigned me a Singaporean: Paul Goh. The time and effort it took to get there was longer but the retreat house is perched on the slope of the island and had a fantastic sea view and breeze. The whole retreat area was about a football field but spread over the slopes. There were many niches for seating and private meditation and a beautiful chapel that had a full glass panel facing the sea. The room was typically small like all living spaces in Hong Kong.
The retreat director was disciplined and asked for four one hour and fifteen minutes sessions of prayer and meditation per day. He gave four Bible passages and two optional ones each time I met him at 7.45pm. I was blessed and quickened by the meditations and God spoke to me through the passages. We began on Tuesday night and ended on Saturday evening with a thank you dinner. I left that place refreshed and recharged. My faith has been quickened.
Thank you for praying for me and for your support of the retreat ministry.
PASTOR KENNY CHEE
I was reflecting on the real hero of the Samson story. We know for sure who were not the heroes. The hero is not the pretty one in Timnah, nor the Gaza prostitute, nor the mercenary Delilah. For sure the heroes were not the Philistines, or the Israelites.
Samson’s parents had a sincere faith and followed whatever the angel instructed them to do. When Samson was attracted by a Philistine woman they advised him not to marry her. They were good upright parents but their son was a failed project. Were they the heroes of the story?
Despite his many faults and short comings and trespasses Samson did fulfill God’s purpose to begin the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines oppression. The Philistines feared his many this one man army who like Rambo, decimated the Philistine forces and put the fear in them. Best of all he willingly sacrificed himself to get revenge against the Philistine ruling and wealthy class. Was he the hero of the story?
The answer is none of the above. God is the real hero of the story. He planned and initiated the deliverance in His time and way. He raised Samson and used him despite his weaknesses. Only a skilled workman can produce results with a flawed tool. His grace, His intervention, His giving of the Spirit, His patience in dealing with Samson’s heart, His making good of what was made messy by flawed Samson – all these showed that God is the real hero. It shows how great and gracious our God is!
Authentic faith has to issue forth in works of love. Faith has to be expressed in acts of love. However this expression is often hindered by our past upbringing, present social conditioning and our future goals. Our habits of self-centred living, our patterns of reactions from years of defensive behaviour militate against our loving others well. We need to unlearn the past behavioural habits, and learn new patterns of communication, expectations and reactions. This is what EHS Skills 2.0 will help us to do. It helps us shed the old clothes and put on the new clothes of Christ’s love. It gives you practical handles you can use to express love.
The elements in this program are: the Sunday sermons in August and October; the cell meetings where prayerful reflections, video snippets, sharing and practices for this program will be used. The cell leaders have been briefed and the program will begin soon. We pray it will be a way of life that never ceases. May we incorporate these new patterns of living through an authentic faith that works through love.
More will be presented next Sunday about this program.