ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
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.
We welcome Thomas Cannon, the husband of Ethel, into our community. Thomas was for several years on staff with YWAM Perth and had a missionary stint in China too. Then he came to Singapore and completed his theological degree in TCA. There he met Ethel our youth worker. While studying in TCA he also interned at Bethel AG and gained valuable ministry experience in our local context.
In October 2015, Ps Kenny, Ps Thomas, Karen Tan and Joshua Chee interviewed him as a candidate to join our pastoral staff. The committee recommended, and the Board of Elders approved his joining the staff upon his graduation and completing his internship in Bethel.
The main reason we want him is the obvious need for new and young blood to join the current team who are in their mid 50s and 60s. The young people, who form 50% of the English service, will find it easier to relate to Thomas and Ethel, who will be inspiring models for them.
We plan to expose Thomas to a host of different pastoral tasks as well as deploy his rich ministry experience in youth, missions and community work. Thomas has a long term visitor pass and we are processing his employment. We hope to have him begin work in September, after returning from an August wedding celebration in England. Pray for God’s favour on his application to work in Singapore.
What are some factors we look at to clarify God’s purpose for your season in life? Here are some:
– Your passion – what makes you enthusiastic
– Your strengths – abilities, gifts, training, education
– Your timeline – past experiences, milestones in life
– Your temperament – your disposition or make-up, and its preferences, weaknesses and strengths
– Your upbringing – what you were exposed to at home
– Hearing God – what God says in the Bible and to you
– Affirmations – what people around you affirm you for
– Needs around you in church, marketplace or world
– Station/stage of life – in National service, schooling, or married with young children, retiree
– God’s work in and through your life in past year.
These factors need to be talked about with a spiritual friend or a cell group. God’s purpose will take shape with time, revisions and as you learn more. Having a record in a smartphone helps because you can record sudden inspirations and perspectives any time of the day. Ask, seek, knock.
In the first half of the year there had been a deliberate emphasis on the reflective life, particularly on the use of the prayer tool of examen or review of the day. It helps us discern God’s action and voice in our daily life. This tool can be used to reflect on months or even years. You could look at God’s action and voice in “our story” and at our role or assignment in God’s plan or “God’s story”
While still nurturing the practice of the examen, in the second half of the year, we want to develop the second trait, which is the ability to speak the truth in love. This includes being able to share your deeper thoughts and feelings, and to deal with expectations and to handle conflicts in a healthy way. Please support and pray along with us as we continue on this journey of discipleship the rest, of the year.
I heard that two of the GNK children who joined us for singing and praise could not stop singing the phrase, God is on the move, God is on the move.
God’s move is His motion, activity, action in and around us and in the world. The problem is that often in our hurry we do not notice it. If we pause, we will notice that God is in our everyday life acting on our behalf and inviting us to join Him to be “on the move” with Him.
For example, a friend comes to you and shares a personal problem. You know that there is more below the surface. God is moving in her life to lead her closer to salvation, or to experience a deepening in her life, if she is already a Christian. God is also inviting you to join Him in what He wants to do. So you give time, listening ears, pray, do something practical to help. God is on the move. You notice it. You sense you are to join Him. You move with Him. Like Jesus you do only what you see the Father doing.
The examen prayer helps you to see God on the move.
Jesus commanded us to take the good news to all the world. This includes the work world. And Jesus does not mean that we merely open our mouth and invite people to church and events but also that we let our lives shine for Him like lights in a darkened world. We work in the light of a Christian set of values and worldview.
Of course we cannot do it alone. We need to find other Christians with whom we could meet periodically for discussion, sharing life, and prayer for the organization, its members and initiatives to apply kingdom truth in the marketplace.
The church in Singapore is slowly awakening to its task of equipping God’s people to be effective in the marketplace. This will take time and sustained education and efforts.
One thing we can do now is for every member to take time to review the day and reflect on how God was present and active in our workday. When we do this regularly we will become more aware of how we can partner with the Lord in being light and salt in the workplace or school.