Happy Children's Day

My Dear Children

Happy Children’s Day

Have a fun filled day with your friends and family. Put aside all worries and cares for they will take care of themselves for today.

……………………………………………………………………………………

I am writing this letter to let you know that you are precious, well loved and you are God’s gift to all of us.

We confess that many times we don’t seem to appreciate and treasure this gift that God has given us. Instead we expect more because we are discontented.

We become disappointed when you do not achieve our high expectations of you in school grades, sports or career. So much so that we say things that ought not to be said, and by so doing we hurt and humiliate you greatly.

Children, we too are learning how to be good mums and dads, and sadly many times we fail. We hope to do better in our actions and words.

Will you forgive us? Will you be patient with us as we try to be more and more like Jesus in love and patience?

My prayer for you this Children’s Day:

Our Father in heaven, we thank You for our children. Our children are our heritage from you and are gifts entrusted to us for a while. We depend on You, Lord, to help us raise them up. Help us to accept and love them as You have made them.

We want to bless and honor them.

We pray for Your blessings upon their lives. Make them strong in You and guard them from the attack of the evil one. Bless them at home, at school and at play. Bless them with health: spiritually, physically and mentally. When the stress they face from school gets tough, teach them to cope and manage the pressures that often times may come from the expectations of others.

May you know, dear children that Jesus is personally concerned with your lives and well-being. You are of great worth to Him and we desire to respond to you in this same way.

Dear Lord, we stand upon Your promises that according to Your purpose and will, You will do all that we ask of You for our dear children.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

With lots of love,

Elder Handson

A blog post or a tweet?

Discovering the art of conversation

Whenever my son-in-law asks me a question on a biblical issue, my daughter would interject with a reminder: “Dad, don’t start from Genesis and go on to Revelation, okay? Just a one-sentence answer would do.”

In other words, a tweet (a one-sentence sound-bite) and not a blog post (a wordy essay.)

The intended point of a story is easily lost in a sound-bite. The point we get from sound-bites is usually of our own making. You know that this happens all the time.

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets…” (Luke 24:27). When Jesus wanted to open blind eyes to see Himself as the risen Christ, He started at the beginning, with Moses (law). He worked His way through to the Prophets (prophecy/message/judgment) and so on down the line.

In our time, this process would require many long blog posts and many unhurried conversations - the art (and joy), I’m afraid, we have lost in our hurry-hurry world.

Consider the bible’s use of metaphors to convey meaning. For example, “the law was our guardian until Christ came” (Galatians 3:24 ESV). The word “guardian” is translated as “schoolmaster” in the KJV; “tutor” in the NASB. A clear point was intended. The “guardian” refers to a pedagogue (a “teacher”). However, Paul uses this term to express a specific Jewish concept - that of a servant, whose responsibility it was to supervise, to care for, and to safeguard the morals of underaged boys from well-to-do families. 

In this context, the pedagogue’s main duty was not instruction but supervision. 

The point of the law can now come into view. It is “to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal 3:24 KJV). According to Adam Clarke, “the law did not teach us the living, saving knowledge; but, by its rites and ceremonies, and especially by its sacrifices, it directed us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

The Apostle Paul made this abundantly clear in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” 

“Moses and all the Prophets...” were always going to reveal a person’s need for a Divine Redeemer. To get the revelation requires the fellowship and the joy of unhurried conversations.

Pastor Robert Chew

Contentment in Sexuality

I was on a bus when I saw two young secondary school boys behaving intimately with one another in the seats before me. They were necking each other, kissing and whispering into each other’s ears. While such a scene would have been considered taboo decades ago and probably raised the ire of many on the bus, today there is no such response. Instead, we would politely say that they have a different “sexual orientation”.

Yet, when we use the phrase, “sexual orientation”, we are stripping this phrase of the normative view of sexuality. Perhaps we need to put it into proper context by referring to it as sexual “misorientation” or “dis-orientation”. Just as how we refer to someone who is deaf “deaf” and the blind “blind”, we don’t call it a different “auditory or visual orientation”. So how then, do we as followers of Christ view those who have “sexual dis-orientation”?

It is important to make a distinction between homosexual attraction and homosexual relations. Homosexual attraction occurs when people feel attracted sexually to others of the same gender, without necessarily acting on those desires. Homosexual relations, on the other hand, occurs when those who are attracted to, also engage in sexual activities with others of the same gender. In truth, there are many Christians around us who have struggled in the former way, between their sexual identity and their desire to be faithful to Christ and to keep themselves sexually pure.

I am reminded of Christopher Yuen, whom I met back in 2015 through a conference. He is a reformed homosexual who, upon accepting Christ in his life, resolved to abstain from sexual relations with other men. He admitted that he still struggles daily, even hourly, with his lust and was tempted often, yet he did not give in but sought to continue living a life worthy of Christ.

 

He advocates a change in mindset for homosexuals who seek the strength to live a life of purity – Christopher said, “What God has called us to is not heterosexuality or homosexuality, but holy sexuality… God’s command to us was not ‘Be heterosexual, for I AM heterosexual’ but  “Be HOLY, for I AM HOLY”. 

Christopher has learnt to be contented in Christ alone. He still faces temptations and this lust for other men may continue to torment him for as long as he lives. He may not be cured of the attraction for persons of the same gender but he is contented apart from acting out sexually on that attraction.

Moriah, or rather, all churches need to accept people who struggle like Christopher Yuen into our platonic embrace, and as a community, journey alongside them even as they struggle to reshape their identity in Christ.

Mr. Daniel Gan

Encountering Religious Pluralism

We live in a world of competing “truths”, and any claim to know the “Truth” has become like a modern myth. As the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome,” so all religions should lead to the same reality, no? This is the main argument for religious pluralism, which asserts that all religions in this world are unique, but possible paths that lead to a common spiritual reality and shared goal.

This concept is not unique to the modern mind, since Eastern religions have always held that all religions lead to the same ultimate truth. However, given that there are so many conflicting truth claims from each religion, it is impossible for pluralism to make sense without placing one religion as more “true” than others. 

Modern pluralism faces the same problem of privileging a particular worldview above others. In an effort to remove conflicting claims and find common ground, modern pluralists often have to reduce the core claims of all religions into something that is unrecognizable by the followers themselves. For example, pluralists tend to focus on Jesus’ role as a good moral teacher, but overlook the greater claim by this same Jesus that he is the only Way to the Father. Whether knowingly or otherwise, pluralism is privileged above all other religions as the right way to understand the ultimate reality, which also means that all other religions are not quite there yet.

With this in mind, we can be assured that we are not fighting a losing battle against “tolerant” pluralists. We might think that we should not insist on certain biblical truths because it makes us look like bigots. But, truth be told, pluralist themselves are in danger of bigotry when they insist on tolerance as the only “right” approach for in doing so, they have rendered other traditional religions to be foolish or wrong. So as a church, we can be emboldened to speak firmly, and gently, about our beliefs while being assured that we are not more intolerant than the pluralists whom we are speaking to.

The challenge is then for us to understand the basic assumptions and worldviews behind our friends’ understanding of pluralism, and the reasons that led them to their conclusions. We also need to be self-aware, because we too are evaluating the truth claims of other religions through our own lens, the lens of Christianity. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, since no human being can be truly objective; the key is to be honest about our lens, and aware of their lens. It is also our obligation to present our faith as logically coherent, by ensuring that we do not divorce our beliefs from our practice. Simply knowing what we believe is insufficient; we need to live out our beliefs, so that our faith is matured and our message is consistent with what others see in us.

Mrs. Grace Gan

This above is a summary and reflection of On Encountering Religious Pluralism by Harold Netland

A Teacher’s Labour

I have been a JW teacher for many years. Every Teacher’s Day, I will receive flowers and cards. One card stood out for me as I prepare to write this article. It was from a mother of a little girl whom I taught many years ago in the children ministry. She thanked me for my labour of love and patience. What is this labour of love?

I love children but it is quite trying to control a group of children who think that everything they say is of utmost importance and warrant your sole attention. On top of this, there is the occasional rudeness, disobedience, unkind words and actions. It is tempting sometimes for my comfort and convenience to ignore these restless children and just concentrate on the “goody, goody” ones. Yet, disciplining a child with grace is as much a lesson in itself as the lesson I have prepared. Therefore, I labour in prayers and commit each child by name to God and trust Him to bring about a change of heart and behaviour in His time.

What is even more onerous is the task of explaining scriptural truths to a preschooler or primary school child. How does one explain to a child his sin and his need to be saved? Though there are resources to aid us, we have to have enough engaging activities to hold their attention and at the same time deliver God’s truth. I depend on the Holy Spirit to understand the scripture passage and the heart of God (Psalm 119:12] “....Teach me your decrees” that God will be my teacher and He will help me learn what is required of His people. I constantly pray that God gives me creativity to teach hard truths in simple terms. I like how one sister taught her class the passage on the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). She had two glasses; one filled with “dirty” water and one with clean water. She then challenged them to drink the “dirty” water (which is actually drinkable) to teach that God searches our hearts and examines our minds (Jeremiah 17:70). We give due diligence to our preparation and trust God to plant seeds of truth through His authoritative words, instead of indulging our own whims and fancies.

All labour’s not lost. I was most bemused when I asked my primary one class what they wanted to be when they grow up. I had answers like Pilot, Teacher, Scientist but one child wrote “I want to know you (God) better”.

Indeed God is not known through one lesson. Let us, as God’s workman, plod alongside every child to satisfy his spiritual hunger. Happy labouring! (Oops, it is Teachers’ Day isn’t it).

Mrs. Peng Seok Hoon

Life Together

We’ve been sharing our home with our Lively Stones home care group for the past two years. When we first started, hosting was a lot more daunting. We cooked for eight to ten people every other week, dusted down and tidied up as best we could so that our place would be comfortable. On top of that, we thought carefully about the details of the sessions too: which materials to use, what order our study would follow, how to keep the discussions going smoothly.

But over the past months, we’ve tried to remind ourselves of the central reason for why we gather. In Acts 2:46–47, we see a picture of the early church: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people.” The essence of a home care group is simply to offer a space where people can journey alongside each other in praise for all that God has done for them.

So now, each time we gather, we read a short bible verse and listen to each other’s highs and lows over the past two weeks. In so doing, we share how God’s truths play out in our lives. With every high, we see a new aspect of God’s loving provision. With every low, we learn that we’re not alone and try to remind each other of the hope and freedom we have in Jesus. 

There may not be freshly prepared food each time we meet, and we may not have the most spacious nor cleanest home, but what we have is more than enough for His purposes. In the same way, in our sharing, we may not have the right answers, nor always be witnesses to life-changing breakthroughs or heart-rending tragedies. But just being there to help each other connect the day-to-day grind to the larger purposes of God is sufficient. We’ve found that when we’re less focused on presenting our “best selves”, we’re freed to focus more on others, joining our lives together in worship of Him. What we need is simply the desire to gather, read His word and share our lives as authentically as we can. 

Jamie and Gina Lin

Church History: The Age of Universal Christianity (70-312) Part 1

After the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem, the church laid plans for the long term. This process shaped its character for many generations and was a result of a spiritual vision of all Christians being in one body. The spread of Christianity during this time was helped by a field that was prepared for harvesting. This field was the God-fearers, Gentiles who were interested spectators of the Jewish religion. They were equipped with the understanding of the Old Testament and in faith were able to embrace Christianity.  

Christianity spread north, then west. It was predominantly the religion of the poor. The exception to this was the churches in North Africa who spoke Latin and tended to be of the upper class. Even though the church started with the support of the poor and despised, by the end of the second century many of the keenest mind were becoming Christians. They in turn became the defenders of the faith against rumors and false accusations. The church continued to grow on the unshakable assurance of salvation, meeting the needs of the people at that time and expressing love to one another. The church is truly one body when it is driven by the gospel to bring all men to faith in Jesus Christ. 

The persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire was not uniformly applied throughout this time. The main reason for persecution was due to the Christian’s life ethic of holiness. This caused them to stand out in their pagan society due to the way they lived. The people became suspicious of them because of their lack of conformity. The desire not to compromise their faith led them to become enemies of the Roman Empire. 

The onset of heresy drove the church to shape good theology. The first century Christians formulated their beliefs against the errors they encountered. Some of the first heresies were directed at the nature of who Jesus was. There were heresies that denied His divine nature and some denied His human nature. But the main heresy to emerge was called Gnosticism. It believed in the dualism of spiritual versus material, where the former was seen as good and the latter as evil. This resulted in the rejection of Jesus’ humanity by Gnosticism. The Apostle’s Creed was a result of the clarification of orthodox convictions in order to cast out the gnostic heresy. The church today is indebted to the doctrinal struggles of the past, as it stands on the shoulders of those who had wrestled with these issues and remained faithful to Scripture.

Dn. Mervin Lin

“Blessed are the merciful…” - Matthew 5:7

This story may bring warmth to your hearts. (It could also bring tears.)

On July 3 Ip Lee Lee and Daniel Hoo from our Grey Matters ministry visited two Christian ladies Adalena and Pei Yann who run Antioch Toa Payoh Outreach. Their ministry is as simple as it is profound: they started by knocking on doors of one-room flats in Toa Payoh to give cooked food to the poor residents.

Adalena was moved to these acts of mercy after God saved her from the clutches of death.  She offered herself as a vessel to be used by God to minister to the old, the sick, the desolate, and the aged folk in Toa Payoh. She and her ministry partner, Pei Yann, themselves struggling with illness and other limitations, carried on the work with passion.

After the residents became familiar with them and became more open, these ladies started to openly pray for them. From food, prayers, and bible stories, they started to offer other practical assistance, like, lending them wheelchairs and accompanying them to the doctors, and helping them to read their mails. Regular gatherings are arranged in the void decks for mundane but necessary care like cleaning, toenail clippings, shoulder massages, etc.

Through word of mouth, they now are able to reach out to more the single-room dwellers in the neighbourhood.

I ask: What can I do for Christ? My answer: Small services.

Small services are often all we have it in our power to render.

Small services are sufficient to show love for the Saviour.

Small services are invaluable--often trivial--like the “cup of cold water” Jesus alluded to.

Small services shall be richly rewarded: “He will by no means lose his reward.” 

From Thee all skill and science flow,

All pity, care and love,

All calm and courage, faith and hope;

O pour them from above.

Pastor Robert Chew, with contributions from Ip Lee Lee and Daniel Hoo

Count on me, Jesus Christ

“Count on me Singapore, count on me to give my best and more

You and me, we'll do our part, stand together, heart to heart

We're going to show the world what Singapore can be

We can achieve, we can achieve”

I remember growing up singing countless National Day Songs from 1980s such as “Stand up for Singapore”, “Count on me, Singapore”, “One People, One Nation, One Singapore”. The lyrics and the tunes of these familiar oldies have stayed with me through the years and I’m sorry to say that to me; the newer National Songs have failed to grip my heart with the same passion and heart-wrenching emotions.

Perhaps as I grow older, I became less patriotic. I can’t remember when was the last time I watched the NDP Parade from start to end. I can’t even remember the title of last year’s National Song because I hardly hear it. Gone were the experiences I had in school where I’ll be standing side by side with my Malay and Indian friends in the hall, singing loudly and offkey to “what Singapore can be”. As I grow older, I grew inward-looking and focused primarily on my family, finances and health. My circle of pre-believing friends also shrank and shrivelled.

One of them asked me, “You’re working in a church? Aren’t you like a priest? How is it that you can get married?” That’s when I realised that my impact on my pre-believing friends had been minimal. Much like how the Romans viewed the early church Christians with much misconceptions – calling them incestuous (because they called themselves “brothers” and “sisters” and yet married one another), atheists (there was no imagery or idols within the early church) and cannibals (that Christians consumed the blood and flesh of Jesus during Holy Communion); there will be much misconceptions and a skewed perspective of what Christians are, and what we stand for IF we do not show our pre-believer friends what Christians can be.

Perhaps from this National Day onwards, we need to be more intentional in showing Singapore the way we trust God for our family, finances and health. Everything we say and do ought to reflect our full confidence in a Risen Christ for our lives in this world and the next. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Singapore is watching us. Our pre-believer friends are watching us. To Jesus, we ought to pray then, “Count on me, Jesus, to give my best and more. That we as a church will do our part, stand together, heart to heart. To show Singapore what Christians can be. Because Jesus, you have already achieved. You have already achieved.”

May Singapore hear the news of salvation through us.

Daniel Gan

“Praying with the Psalms” 

“Praying with the Psalms” (by Rev Timothy Keller) was selected for Sunday Bible Class’s study this year because it resonates with our desire as a ministry and church to grow in our intimacy with Christ. In fact, our church vision statement also carries the same aspiration: 

We make passionate and faithful disciples of Jesus

who abide in an intimate relationship with Christ

as they impact the community

 

Making passionate and faithful disciples of Jesus and impacting our community are but the fruits of a church that is walking closely with Jesus. Prayer and meditation of God’s word are the keys to developing that intimacy with Christ. Praying with the Psalms is helpful in this pursuit because the Psalms are exactly that, prayers. Israel has been using this collection of sung prayers for worship from ancient times till present day. Here are 3 benefits of praying with the Psalms:

 

- the Psalms teach us how we can pray in all of life’s situations. They prepare and inform us on how we can deal with every possible human emotional experience. In the psalms, we are taught how we can express the different feelings with words to God who hears. Words that can communicate our praise (Ps 29) gratefulness (Ps 9), despair (Ps 77), anxieties (Ps 70), contentment (Ps 23) and the longing for vindication (Ps 17).   

 

- the Psalms move us beyond our emotions to rest on God’s truth. While we can’t deny our emotions, we can and must have them weighed against the absolute promises of God (1 Pet 1:13). Praying with the psalms reminds us to deal with life’s defeats and victories with God’s immovable truth. Delving stubbornly into our problems and refusing to see them against the backdrop of God’s promises, providence and power makes one culpable of unbelief. Reliance on emotions, devoid of God’s word to direct our faith and life will only lead to more confusions and anxieties.

 

- the Psalms assure us that we can be honest with God. Looking at how the different writers spoke with God and how God revealed Himself to them, we can sense the complete honesty from the writers as they are met with the steadfast love of God. We can approach the throne of grace with boldness because Jesus, our Great High Priest is the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins (Heb 4:16), thereby permanently reconciling us to God (Rom 8:38-39).

 

There can never be any relational intimacy without communication, trust and honesty.

Deepen your prayer life. Pray with the Psalms today.

Dn. Gideon Loh

Our Memories of Moriah Bible-Presbyterian Church

by Wei Jian and Cherie Leow

Exciting, challenging, foundational… These are some of the words that Cherie and I will use to describe our journey in Moriah BP Church. However, if there is one word to sum this 21-year journey, it would be GRACE. We all know, 21 years of age marks the end of our youth and the big step into adulthood. So as Moriah celebrates her 21st Birthday, we thought why not focus the sharing on remembering God’s GRACE shown to us during our pre-21 years’ period…our Youth Fellowship (YF) days. 

As some of you may know, Cherie and I were in our late teens (17 y.o.) when we moved from Sembawang BP Church with 80 other members. We were both in the YF and while there were only 7-8 of us then, we thank God for His GRACE that led us through the ups and downs of ministry life and our teenage years. He alone sustained and guided us in spite of our immaturity and failings. Led by His faithful and humble servants, Bro Joshua and Bro Mathews, the YFers grew in faith and expanded as we tried to reach out to the Simei community. 

We can still remember those Friday nights when we had YF committee meetings, and we would discuss and argue (as usual!) about ministry matters into the wee hours of the morning. Looking back, while sometimes we laugh at ourselves, we also lament where our youthful passion for God had gone. The Psalmist in Psalm 84 wrote a psalm of great joy and longing for God. It reminded us to long for a deeper relationship with Him.

“Our youthful days will come and go,

but our youthful passion for Christ should ever remain”

Well, back to our recollection… We can still vividly remember, and sometimes reminisce with other YFers, about past countdown fiestas, YF outings, mid-week fellowships, mission trips. YF camps were a highlight – Dare Explorer, MADness Unlimited, Fishers of Men etc which we had fun (sometimes too much fun) doing skits, music jamming, amazing races. Yet in our imperfections, God’s GRACE sustained His people. All glory to God, for by His GRACE, many of those “Simei Youths” who joined the YF have gone on to serve the Moriah family in different ways. Youths ranging from Mervin Lin to Clarence Wong, Benjamin Wong to Ho Zhiwei and Alicia Yap to Jonathan Jeganathan.  

 

21 years on, and we’re now closer to 40 years old. What we learnt and experienced during those days in YF was a needful foundation for our life’s ups and downs. This journey has taken us from YF to YAF to HCG, from partners in ministry to partners in marriage. It certainly hasn’t been easy; God convicts and chastises us of our sins, He challenges us out of our comfort zone, He chooses to answer some of our prayers and withhold others. Suffice to say, without YF and God’s sustaining GRACE, adulthood would have been impossible.

Likewise, the past 21 years have indeed been exciting, challenging and foundational for Moriah! We have consistently witnessed the sustaining GRACE of God. So, as we step into the precipice of “adulthood”, let us do so with confidence!

The journey will not be easy - we will be tested, we will need to put aside our pride, fears, distrust, and embolden ourselves to build His church one brick at a time. The ever faithful God will sustain us as a family and empower us to be a beacon of light in our community here in Simei. 

Isaiah 40:30-31

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Calling on all young people,  “Give of Your Best to the Master!”

Back in the 19th century, a young man by the name Charles Thomas Studd, founder of World Evangelization Crusade (1860 to 1931), was in church on a Sunday morning. When the offering bag reached him, he found out that his wallet had no cash.

He took a piece of paper and wrote, “I am offering myself to Christ to serve Him...

If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.” That note became his tithe & offering to Christ that morning! 

After graduating from Cambridge University, Charles became a missionary to China under China Inland Missions (today’s OMF). Subsequently, he served in India and Africa.

At the age of 25, he inherited a large sum of money, yet felt led to give his entire fortune to Christ! "This was not a fool's plunge on his part. It was his public testimony before God and man that he believed God's Word to be the surest thing on earth, and that the hundred fold interest which God has promised in this life, not to speak of the next, is an actual reality for those who believe it and act on it."

Charles gave thousands of pounds away, even before knowing the exact amount of his inheritance!

In later years, Charles was stirred by the need for missionary work in Central Africa. Penniless, against doctor’s advice to travel, rejected financially by a Committee, yet told by God to go, C. T. once again staked all on obedience to God. As a young man he staked his career, in China he staked his fortune, for Africa he staked his life. "Gentlemen, God has called me to go, and I will go. I will blaze the trail, though my grave may only become a stepping stone that younger men may follow."

When financial support became low, Charles proclaimed, "Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands."

Charles sailed, contrary to medical advice, for the heart of Africa in 1910, where he continued to work until his death in 1931.

What is the moral of the story? God takes note of our offering and will honor it!

In that simple act of worship, C.T. Studd presented himself as a living sacrifice to Christ. A simple act of worship and consecration resulted in a life-long service to Jesus Christ!

Studd continues to be best remembered by many for the poem, "Only One Life, 'Twill Soon Be Past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Mr Gn Chiang Tat

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, ...

… and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord,

until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. - Hosea 10:12 (NIV)

To all the people of God to whom Moriah Bible Presbyterian Church is your local church, let me ask you two questions concerning the church’s future.

  1. How will you help to safeguard our “common salvation” and “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints?”

  2. Where do you see this church in twenty years time? And what role will you play to get it there?  

A little backward looking to help us look forward...

Moriah Bible Presbyterian Church opened its doors for the first English worship service on 12 July 1998. This means in two weeks time we will celebrate the church’s twenty-first anniversary. It seems to me like we got here in the blink of an eye. 

I still hold images in my head of the then Session, sitting in a not very brightly lit sitting room of a corner terrace house (which also served as our “mother” church). The Session met monthly to discuss the normal run of the mill matters of a young small church. On several occasions, however, the Session was forced to deliberate about the church’s future as we were then legally notified that we cannot continue as a church in that house. (Our neighbours complained about us.)

Since then, as they say, there’s a lot of water under the bridge. But they are, to me (and I’m sure also to other “Merdeka Generation” leaders), refreshing thirst-quenching waters. Because we can look back with joy, praise, and thanksgiving to our loving, faithful, and covenant-keeping God. He led us and kept us through our “Sinai wilderness”, helped us crossed our “Jordan River”  and, so to speak, set us up on Mount Moriah - the site of one of the great acts of faith in the Bible. 

The baton of our future pastoral ministry and our doctrinal stand is now slowly but surely passing to new and younger hands. Will you be here to take this baton? How willing and how firmly will you grasp the baton? And where will you run to and in what direction?

Only you can answer these questions. By the grace of God, I strongly urge you to take Hosea 10:12 - the epigraph above - into serious consideration as you reflect on these questions. And may God bless and lead you forward.

Pastor Robert Chew

Church History: The Age of Jesus and the Apostles (6 BC – AD 70)

Jesus’ ministry was reminiscent of Israel. However, where she failed, He was faithful and ushered in a new covenant. This all happened against a backdrop of oppression by the Romans on Israel. Amid this foreign occupation, several factions arose in Israel to resist and respond to the enemy. But Jesus’ ministry had a purpose that distinguishes it from among these factions.

Jesus began His ministry at the ford of the Jordan, as John was baptizing there. He had a similar proclamation of repentance and belief in the gospel. Jesus proclaimed that the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. He backed up His message with sign miracles that showed the new age has already come, but His popularity caused the Pharisees to resent Him. The message that Jesus brought was one of repentance and grace. This was in contrast to the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. His kingdom was one that was governed by love and service as opposed to lording over others. However, Jesus’ disciples and the crowds did not fully understand His role in God’s plan of redemption.

In the last week of His ministry, Jesus challenges the Jerusalem authorities to recognize the arrival of His kingdom, but they rejected and killed Him instead. Before He died, Jesus instituted a way to remember the new covenant in His blood. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, His message was spread by His disciples. Jesus had opened their eyes to discover that the Old Testament had a message for the entire world. Its central purpose was to promise the Messiah. Even the Old Testament law and temple rituals were temporary means that pointed to Jesus Christ and were fulfilled by Him.

It was not until the Pentecost event that the Christian church grew exponentially. Peter’s preaching was used by the Lord to add three thousand followers to Jesus. The rapid growth eventually resulted in the inclusion of the Gentiles. It was Paul who theologically clarified that this group of believers need not submit to the Jewish law. Paul was instrumental in bringing more Gentiles into the church. This eventually led to the decline of the role of the Jerusalem church and the character of Christianity moved from Jewish to Gentile.

Dn. Mervin Lin

Pray For Our Mission Team

This year marks Moriah's first Combined Mission Trip to Cambodia comprising YAF members, adults and some children. The theme, "Every Cambodian A Christian, Every Christian A Disciple, And Every Disciple An Evangelist" represents the team's aspiration for our Cambodian brethren.

The YAF's fund-raising activities met with immediate and generous support from the congregation, raising some $8350.  These funds will be used to defray YAF's costs, and to pay for the various programme costs, including hosting the outstation pastors' and leaders' attendance at the 2- night- 1- day Pastors' Conference in Phnom Penh.  The Pastors' Conference seeks to encourage our missionaries and their leaders to a closer walk with Christ, whilst equipping them for the work of the Gospel.

The team will split into two groups on Friday, 7.6.2019: one to Kampong Som (Ps Nehemiah and Ps Rithy's stations), and the other to Kampong Thom (Ps Sokhon's station where the student dormitory is located). The teams will engage in visitations, fellowship, teaching, painting and children and youth programmes.

I am grateful that Moriah is a mission- minded church.  We spend more than 13% of our annual budget on missions (excluding off-budget collections by groups and individuals), and the mission committee undertakes several mission trips yearly to encourage our various mission stations spread over Batam, Bintan, Cambodia, China, Myanmar and North Thailand.  Our congregation has been supportive monetarily, and in allowing their children in the YF and YAF to participate in such trips for the past 10 years and more.

I would like today to quote Rev. John Piper: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't.”  This week, 5-10 June 2019, our combined mission team will be worshipping God with our Cambodian brethren through the various activities stated above.  We seek to encourage and equip our missionaries, their leaders and the local churches to actively live out the Gospel powerfully.

As you read this article, My call for you is to PRAY: for more labourers (Matt 9:37-38); for the safety of the team; for the team to be empowered by the Spirit such that "the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored" (2 Thess 3:1); that our Cambodian brethren may be edified; and that the efforts of the team will please God!

Lastly, pray also that our Lord's Commission becomes relevant to you; not only as a command, but because you desire to please him and partner Him in His exciting work!

Dn. Kenny Khoo

Work and the Worship of God

Work and the Worship of God

For the Singapore worker, the notion that our work serves as a form of worship to God might seem laughable. A recent report by Mercer found that employee satisfaction in Singapore has declined over the past three years, bucking global trends. Our direct experiences with colleagues and employers would only serve to affirm this and other surveys which place the Singapore worker below our regional and international counterparts in employee and workplace satisfaction. Indeed, our daily work is tainted by sin and marred by a deep-seated sense of estrangement and alienation (Gen. 3:17-19).

Yet, Christians possess the ability to radically reshape the manner in which we exercise our faith and glorify God through our work.

First, with our work oriented towards the Audience of One, we may find rest from our constant struggle to seek acknowledgement from our colleagues and employers. This is not to trivialise the role and work of affirmation, but to recalibrate and recover the source through which we may find true affirmation. As Christians, we are called to glorify and worship God in all spheres of our lives (1 Cor. 10:31). This frees us to focus on work which is right and good, knowing that we are God's "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).

Second, with seemingly trivial tasks such as eating and drinking possessing the potent capacity to glorify God, then there is no menial work. Tim Keller observes that "Jesus came not as a philosopher, not as a general. He came as a carpenter. The Bible says that all works matter to God.” We are freed from the ceaseless pursuit of status and prestige to rest in the assurance that even the smallest and simplest task, whether inside or outside the church, saturated with integrity, faithfulness, and justness in service to God and man, pleases and glorifies our heavenly Father (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:23).

Finally, just as God sovereignly directs us to particular roles and tasks in life, John Calvin observed that it is also God who fills each role with a dignity rooted in his Personhood. Indeed, it is only in our ultimate rest that may we find ultimate worship. As Christians, we are not called primarily to something or somewhere, but to Someone. While our work might be imperfect and in many instances fraught with injustice, we find our full assurance and acceptance in the complete work of Christ. His perfect labour enables us to please and glorify God (1 Pet 2:5–9). For the Christian worker, Jesus' invitation is never closer, truer, or sweeter:

"Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28–30)

Ho Zhi Wei

King of Thrones

The TV Series, Game of Thrones aired its final episode earlier this Monday. And all over the world, fans are bemoaning the lackluster season and finale. They were so disappointed and discontented that over a million of them signed a petition calling for a remake of Season 81. They really didn’t like the ending and disliked that Bran, the Broken was on the Iron Throne and not Jon Snow, Daenerys, Tyrion or Sansa.

It’s a fact that we face disappointments often in life. And disappointments come about because we have hopes and expectations. But is it wrong to have hopes? To have expectations? I don’t think it’s wrong, but an issue arises when our hopes and expectations are not tempered through the lens of God’s Word, but rather, through the lens of “what we want” and “what we think is best”.

You see, when our hopes and expectations fall flat, we grow discontented, disenchanted and disillusioned with God. Our discontentment tells us that “we deserve better” and that God is not “giving us what we deserve.”

  • Many people don’t like the ending in the Bible, that all who refuse to acknowledge the sovereignty of the King of Thrones will be thrown into hell and everlasting fire. (Matt 13:42)

  • Many people don’t like the Final Season where Christians have to suffer and go through countless tribulations. (Acts 14:22)

  • Many people don’t like the fact that King Jesus, the Broken is going to sit on the Throne. (Rev 7:17) They had someone else in mind for the Throne!

But, when our hopes and expectations are interpreted through the lens of God’s Word, things begin to look different.

  • We see that King Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, suffered and his body was broken on the cross for our sake (1 Cor 11:23-24) because God loves us (John 3:16).

  • We see that just as Christ has suffered, we are expected to suffer and go through tribulations because it shapes us to produce endurance, character and hope (Rom 5:3-5).

  • We see that although we suffer with Christ in our lives, we also share in His comfort (2 Cor 1:5).

Only when we see God’s directions for us in life as good, would we become contented, knowing the joy He has for us as we say in unison, “King Jesus Christ the Broken, Ruler of All Kingdoms and Protector of His people. Forever may He reign.”

Mr. Daniel Gan