ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
Peter Scazzero wrote, “People are not experiencing deep transformation in our churches. Large numbers of people live off other people’s spirituality (e.g. worship teams, sermons, Christian radio and podcasts) and do not intentionally cultivate their own personal relationship with Jesus”.
Discipleship is a slow process and it requires us to slow down and remove our modern expectations of instant results. Scazzero continues:
“The kingdom of God is a mustard seed that grows very slowly. What makes us think we can quickly grow our people for true, long-term kingdom impact? The people of Israel were freed from the slavery of Pharaoh by sheer grace. Yet their journey to actually break 400 years of generational sins that lived in their bones was a slow, difficult process that took 40 years”.
Granted we have the gospel and the Holy Spirit that the Israelites did not have. However, the evidence of Scriptures and our experience tell us discipleship is a slow process that requires us to slow down and sink our roots deep in the finished work of Christ, and spread our branches out in the many ways we relate to our God, and the fruit appear and are made available for people in need.
– Pastor Kenny Chee
The practice of prayer is a struggle for all. We try to pray with the right method and find ourselves so absorbed in doing it right, we forget the presence of the Master. We persist with a particular favoured technique and forget that the Teacher knows what is best for us in the particular season we are in. So if a technique of prayer does not impart life to you, drop it for one that does.
Proper prayer is the one that makes us keenly aware of His Presence and Person. Methods and techniques are means to an end.
We will teach you many and you should get familiarized with them so that you can use them at the proper time. The goal of using them must always be to be with God, to enjoy His company, to listen to Him and leave times of prayer with an osmosis of Jesus’ love, whether felt or unfelt.
SP Kenny Chee
Christmas is just around the corner. It is the season where most people are relaxed and in a celebrative mood. Their concept of Christmas is understandably superficial and commercial.
This Christmas Day which falls on a Sunday, we are planning an evening event (instead of the normal morning worship), called A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
This special event is meant for church members to invite pre-believing family members and guests to sing carols with us and experience why and how Christians celebrate Christmas.
It is designed to help people understand the true meaning of Christmas and to feast and get to know us over a Christmas meal. Instead of feeling threatened, we want them to feel welcomed by God’s hospitality.
-Help us invite friends and family members.
-Volunteer your talents and abilities for this event.
-Pray for God’s love and hospitality to be experienced.
-Be fully present, be fully listening, be hospitable.
It will be an exciting and meaningful Christmas Day.
In 2017 one of our main thrusts is to serve Christ beyond the church walls. This is what the Senior Pastor’s Office” (SPO) sees the Lord inviting the church to do. In April, we have invited Joseph Thean to our missions Sundays again. He will also conduct a workshop to train us on our “mission’s involvement component” of our Bangkok camp. In addition we have Stephen Goode to share from Scriptures and his ministry, what God wants His church to do about the needs of the poor and the “sinned against” today.
May I urge you to sign up for the church camp in Bangkok and join in what God wants to do in and through us in 2017. The Early Bird special ends in two weeks’ time and we also need a critical mass to reserve bulk tickets. We believe God will deposit important truths, values and experiences in us. Blessings!
Lean on Me
For I am strong
Lean on Me
And I will be your song
Lean on Me
And we can do wonders
Lean on me
And you will not wander
Lean on me
And you will hear my call
Lean on Me
And you will be walking tall
Joshua Lim was inspired to write this poem during our worship time one Sunday. We read it out during the service then. I cannot help but see that it has so much relevance to today’s sermon, as though it was written for Gideon and us.
PASTOR KENNY CHEE
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.