SEP 2023 #429

27 Sep: A Seed Planted, A Seed Grown

Christmas has its Cradle and Easter has its Cross. In April, we commemorated Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and His resurrection on the third day. The cross was what began and kept me in my journey of faith.

In my first job, I was sent for training at a training school situated on a hill in a converted colonial house. Some people said that the house––built during the colonial days––was very old and haunted. That scared me and I shared it with my late mother. As she went to a mission school and knew the cross, she immediately took me to a goldsmith to buy a cross pendant. She did not say anything but she believed the cross to have the power to ward off evil forces. I did not know God then, but the cross still gave me an immediate assurance of peace and protection.

I once had colleagues who would use their excess lunchtime for worship and fellowship in the empty general office. That was when I started learning and singing Christian songs. A particular song, “How Great Is Our God”, has stuck with me to date. I still remember the lyrics we sang: How great is our God. How great is His name. He’s the greatest of all and He’s always the same. He rolled back the waters of the mighty Red Sea, and He said: I’ll lead you if you follow me.

My colleagues were my seed planters. A friend of one even gave me her very old KJV bible which I still hold today. I eventually accepted Christ during the mass altar call at an evangelistic event and was then baptised, over 30 years ago, along with all my immediate family members. This faith milestone came with abundant grace and blessings as the Lord saw each of us through our respective lives.

I found myself on unfamiliar grounds with each new job that I moved into but I relied on God amidst my feelings of inadequacies. By God’s grace, my work efforts were also acknowledged. Praise be to God.

Jesus came to earth to serve; not to be served. Based on this, and knowing I have to work out my salvation, I always look out for opportunities to serve because serving others is akin to serving Him.

I am grateful to our great God for watching over the seed that was planted in me decades ago and for growing me into what I am today. Indeed, our God is an almighty God with the power to roll back the mighty Red Sea to create a strip of dry land to save the lives of His beloved people. Amen.

29 Sep: CAC Special Announcements

2024年9月 ·《卫讯》· 第4297期 · 华人年议会特别报告:年会资源 +《卫讯》征稿
September 2024 · CAC News · Issue #429 · Special Announcements – Resources Available + Call for Contribution

19 Sep: Learn with Our MOTs: Baptism & Holy Communion

MOT: Member-on-Trial. This title is given to pastors who are beginning their full-time pastoral journey with the Annual Conference in the Methodist Church in Singapore.

Did you know that every MOT undergoes MOT training? This period of training typically lasts 4 years, during which MOTs are usually ordained as Deacons at the 2-year mark. This training formally prepares them for their pastoral ministry. Upon completion, they will be ordained as Elders. In the Methodist Church, only Elders are given the authority to administer Holy Communion.

CAC currently has 9 MOTs. We share here some of their reflections from their training on Baptism and Holy Communion. As you get to know who some of our MOTs are, may you also gain a bit more understanding of these sacraments that we Methodists practise and observe.

27 Sep: My Journey with God

Over the years, I have learnt of the posture we ought to have when we serve God. Some Christians may think that to serve God, we must be perfect individuals. On the contrary, if we think this way, we could lose the joy of serving or simply forget that we are serving God.

When we serve God, we are on a journey of obedience and transformation. It calls for us to sacrifice the time, energy, and resources that God has graciously given us, so that we may in turn be a blessing to others. Each decision we make to surrender and submit to Him enables our faith to grow stronger.

My mother’s salvation was one particular challenge that God had used to strengthen my faith.

My faith grew stronger in getting my mother to accept Christ and be baptised. In this journey, I prayed a lot. This went on for years and when I grew tired and felt like giving up, God moved in quickly to show me that salvation belongs to the Lord.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Cor 3: 6-7)

11 Sep: President’s Gallery: The Heart of Love is The Essence of Piety

In Matthew 25: 31-46, Jesus speaks of how sheep and goats will be separated when He comes again. The former will be deemed righteous while the latter as those who have not acted in ways that please God.

As the book of James echos, a piety that is not accompanied by outwardly works, is false. Nobody can receive salvation unless through the Cross of Jesus Christ, before which we have been unconditionally accepted. But the faith we profess in Christ must be translated into actions and into the way we live.

Jesus exhorts in Mark 12:30-31 that “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The commandments are not to be mistaken as divided or sequential; their summation forms the foundation of all of God’s laws and are to be carried out simultaneously.

When you submit yourself to the will of God in loving others, you will also experience the grace of God coming upon you, sanctifying you.

15 Sep: The Sacrament of Holy Communion: Christ for the Church, and the Church for the World

The World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (WFCMC) has recently created a pamphlet to educate and inspire churches to approach the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion with a deeper understanding and significance.

As I delved into the enlightening content of the pamphlet concerning Holy Communion, it immediately reminded me of Alexander Schmemann’s renowned work, For the Life of the World. In this profound piece, Schmemann dismantles the false divisions between the secular and the sacred, the natural and the supernatural. He invites us to embrace the notion that the Christian life can be lived sacramentally within the fabric of our everyday existence. The sacrament of Holy Communion stands as the pinnacle experience of encountering and enjoying the divine presence of God amid our daily lives, empowering us to live sacramentally for the betterment of the world.

But how do we go about embracing our role as sacraments for the world? I find Henri Nouwen’s insightful concept of being taken, blessed, broken, and given, beautifully depicted in his book Life of the Beloved, to be profoundly helpful in illustrating this idea.

20 Sep: Welcome Home!

As I write this reflection, I realise that it’s only been 6 weeks since my family returned to Singapore. My husband George and I moved to Auckland slightly more than 4 years ago as we felt God leading us there. Over the last 4 years, we experienced many unprecedented events.

Through these events, I had the privilege of witnessing and being part of what God had already started doing in the land. While New Zealand seems to be a post-Christian society, migrant churches are growing rapidly and the people are hungry for the Word of God. In faith, I see God using the displaced to reach out to those who belong, calling them back to Christ.

In my own ministerial journey, I too sensed the tension between being displaced and belonging. Yet, in the midst of the “out-of-place-ness” I very keenly felt, God used me – during a time of significant change for the local church – to bless, disciple, and shepherd both those who were out-of-place as well as those who belonged.