Dear family in Christ

In the first week of Advent, the Spirit of the Lord moved powerfully at the unprecedented “Love Hanoi Festival”. For two evenings on 8-9 December, 6,000 Vietnamese inside the Indoor stadium and another 20,000 seated outside watching the giant screens, heard Revd Franklin Graham preaching on the love of God, the problem of sin, the cross of Christ and the forgiveness of God.

As I sat among the gathering, I sensed a deep hunger for God amongst the people. It was a joy to see thousands coming from the other provinces and the multiple ethnic minority people groups in their traditional costumes. I was deeply moved in my heart to witness the hundreds of Vietnamese responding to the altar call to believe in Jesus and receive God’s gift of eternal life. The power of God was ministering to many lives calling upon the name of the Lord because of the amazing grace and bountiful mercy of God.

Thanks be to God for 500 over churches in Hanoi (many of them are very small unregistered congregations) coming together in partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) to proclaim Jesus Christ publicly. Several key government officials were present at the opening ceremony of “Love Hanoi Festival”. Many Vietnamese pastors were encouraged to see the increasing openness of the Vietnam government for Christians to share about Jesus Christ openly, especially on such a large scale.

Let us continue to pray for the Lord of the harvest to do His mighty work in Vietnam. Praise be to God.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  Revelation 7:9-10

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

We rejoice in the joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus the Messiah in his First Advent. Our hearts are deeply grateful for God the Father’s amazing love for a fallen broken world, reconciling sinners to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

As the people of God, let us be Ready for the Second Advent as we reflect on these key truths.

  1. Christ will Return  (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11)

Jesus Christ will come a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to all those waiting for Him. In great triumph and with the loud trumpet call, Jesus will come again to bring His people to dwell in His presence eternally. We need to be watchful and alert in living our spiritual life daily. Are we ready for His return? Are we preparing others for His return?

  1. Christ will Judge  (1 Peter 4:1-11)

When Jesus returns, He will judge the living and the dead. Everyone must give an account of our life to Him. Are we living in sin or living in obedience to God’s will? When the Lord comes again, would He be satisfied and pleased with me?

  1. Christ will Reign  (Revelation 11:15-19)

When Jesus returns, He will reign as King in power and majesty. The kingdom of the world will end and God’s kingdom will reign. The whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. All the peoples who are redeemed and saved in Jesus will bow before God and worship Him with joy and gladness. Hallelujah!

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

The liturgical season of ADVENT marks the beginning of the Church calendar. Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning ‘coming or arrival’, as it focuses on the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ. Advent is a time of spiritual preparation marked by prayer – Prayers of humble devotion, commitment, submission and for God’s deliverance. It is a time for calm and reflection, so that we will not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and gatherings.

Advent is an opportune time to involve our children in devotion activities at home that directly connects with the worship of God in church. I encourage all parents to use the Advent-Christmas Devotional Guide (available at the reception table) to teach and transmit the Christian faith to your children and involve them in reading the Scriptures, lighting the Advent wreath candles, in interaction and prayer.

Advent reminds us of three ways in which Jesus Christ comes to us:

  • 2000 years ago, as God incarnate in the new-born Jesus at Bethlehem
  • Today, as Christ our Lord in our lives, calling us to follow Him faithfully
  • Some day in the near future, as Christ triumphant, returning as Judge and King

The double focus of Advent is the joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus the Messiah in his First Advent and the anticipation of His impending return as King in his Second Advent. It is a grateful celebration of God’s amazing love for a fallen world. We celebrate the revelation of God in Jesus Christ in his First Advent for the purpose of reconciling the world to God the Father. Having known God as Father and walking in obedience with Him daily, we now look forward in great anticipation to the hope of eternal life in the Second Advent, where God the King will come in power to rule, save and judge the world.

As we live in between the two Advents, we need to live our lives with gratitude to God and with accountability to Him. As we live “between the times”, we are called to holy living and be faithful stewards of what has been entrusted to us as God’s people. In our spiritual journey as a Christ-following community, we have an important responsibility to live lives that bring glory to God and share about Jesus Christ through the gospel message and our loving deeds.

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Praise and thanks be to God for the missional heart of St John’s Chapel community. Let us continue to grow in our passion for evangelism and missions to see the gospel of Christ proclaimed in Singapore, the six deanery countries and throughout all the world. How can we grow and deepen our missional heart?

  1. See the cross of Christ deeply

Someone once said: “Missions is not just about crossing the seas, but seeing the cross.” When we can see the cross of Christ clearly, we will understand the love of God deeply. We will then be motivated and challenged to commit our life to reach out to others with the gospel. The hymn-writer Isaac Watts understood this well and penned these words: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

  1. Set our mind on things heavenly

We live busy and cluttered lives. We are constantly faced with pressures in life, demands at work and struggles of family. These life realities often drain us and distract us from being purposeful in our evangelism or being a good witness at the workplace or family. In our life pursuits, our minds become so preoccupied with “things that are on earth” that we may have forgotten to “set (our) minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2). When we set our minds on eternal heavenly things, we will be deeply concerned for the salvation of others.

  1. Count the cost willingly

There will be times when we are called upon to count the cost of following Christ so that others can hear the gospel. For some, it may involve the strong endurance of faith in the midst of persecution. For others, it may mean leaving the comforts and security of home and homeland to live and bear witness amongst another people group.

May we learn from the apostle Paul’s example in devoting his whole life for the sake of the gospel. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

This weekend, we commemorate Diocesan Missions Sunday as we rejoice in the Lord’s gracious work of salvation. We see the merciful hand of God in calling people to Himself in reconciled relationships and transformed lives, people from every tribe and language in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. Please pray for the faithful proclamation of the gospel in these 6 deanery countries. As the Lord enables, please give unto the Lord for “Give Him a Hundred” missions giving in support of church planting work in these 6 deaneries.

Praise the Lord for his faithfulness and goodness to the St Margaret’s School family as she celebrated her 175th anniversary this week on 16 November. The little seed of compassion planted by Mrs Maria Dyer in 1842 has blossomed into a strong huge tree that has provided shade and borne much fruit in the lives of thousands of students. Grateful thanks to many at SJCp who have previously or are presently serving faithfully in the school chaplaincy ministry.

We rejoice with the Girls Brigade 31st coy (SMSS) and Boys Brigade 64th coy (AMKSS) in celebrating their 25th anniversary today. We praise God for the many streams of GB girls and BB boys who have been blessed with the love of God and whose lives have been touched by the care of many committed GB/BB officers and volunteers.

I have written an Advent-Christmas Devotional Guide for use in our Family and in our Cell groups as we prepare for the season of Advent, beginning on 3 December. This Advent devotional was written with two aims in mind. Firstly, to help us transmit to our children “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3), from one generation to the next. Secondly, to share this same faith with our friends and loved ones during this Christmas season. Please use this devotional at your Family devotions and for your personal devotions and also in your Cell group by using it as a tool to share the good news of Christmas. You may collect a copy of the devotional from the Welcome reception table at the church entrance.

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

This weekend, we have the joy of commissioning sister Deborah Loh Wei Juan in prayer before the Lord of the harvest. We give thanks to God for Deborah’s obedience to God’s calling in her life to serve in overseas missions. She will serve as a Missionary Associate with Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) to do church planting work at Isaan (north-east Thailand) for 2 years. St John’s Chapel is glad to be in partnership with OMF in facilitating and financing Deborah to proclaim the gospel among the Thai people.

Even as we see God’s heart for the lost that “none should perish” (2 Peter 3:9), we see the amazing sovereign hand of Almighty God in orchestrating Deborah’s missionary commissioning today.

  1. In 1842, Mrs Maria Dyer, a missionary from London Missionary Society, started a home and school for homeless girls in Singapore. This first girls’ school eventually became known as St Margaret’s school.
  2. In 1858, Mrs Maria Dyer’s youngest daughter, Maria Jane Dyer, married James Hudson Taylor, and together they were pioneer missionaries and founders of China Inland Mission in 1865, which was renamed as Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) in 1964.
  3. In 1996, a young teenage girl started secondary one studies at St Margaret’s Secondary school, who will celebrate her 175th anniversary on 16 November. During her CCA with the school Christian Fellowship, she heard the gospel and became a follower of Jesus Christ. Her name is Deborah Loh Wei Juan.
  4. Today in November 2017, we gather as God’s people to commission Deborah to serve with Overseas Missionary Fellowship in the Thailand harvest field, in the footsteps of courageous England missionaries 175 years ago.

Praise the Lord for His sovereign hand. Give thanks to God for His unfailing love. Let us press on in being God’s missional church.

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

The theme for our missions month this year is “Throughout all the Cities and Villages”. In Matthew 9:35-38, Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom as he ministered throughout all the cities and villages, having loving compassion for the helpless people in need of a Shepherd. The preaching theme will focus on (1) Growing as a missional church; (2) Local missions – reaching out to prisoners and their families. Appreciative thanks to those who are serving in the Angel Tree hamper project; (3) Overseas missions – practical ministry in ACROSS crisis relief and also prayer & outreach ministry for Deanery of Vietnam.

We give thanks to God for the willingness of Deborah Loh Wei Juan to serve in overseas missions. Deborah will serve as a Missionary Associate with Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) to do church planting work at North-East Thailand for 2 years. Our church has committed $1,000 monthly to OMF for Deborah’s ministry support. There will be a Commissioning Prayer for Deborah at the church services on 11 & 12 November.

Please uphold the following in fervent prayers: (1) SJCp missionaries Gerry and Yahui serving at ChiangMai with Deanery of Thailand; (2) The Goslings serving with a missions agency focusing on IT support and outreach to refugees; (3) Church planting work amongst the Komering people in Indonesia; (4) Preparation of Mission teams going to Batam, ChiangMai and Mae Sot.

Grateful thanks to those who responded to the Missions Fund appeal on 15 October. We received about $23,000 in freewill offerings to cover half the deficit of $44,659. As the Lord lead and enable you, let us give generously to the Lord for the work of missions.

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Five hundred years ago on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg Castle church, which started the Protestant Reformation that changed the history and direction of Christianity. The Reformers (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Zwingli, etc) saw major problems in the Roman Catholic Church at that time: Corruption and abuses in the selling of “indulgences” to provide absolution to sinners without the need for repentance; Wrong teaching that salvation was possible through good works of righteousness that pleased God; Authority and teachings of the Pope & priests and church traditions were higher than the authority of the Bible.

The “Five Sola”s were five Latin phrases  that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the key essentials of Christianity.

1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our ultimate and highest authority for faith and practice. It is the divine revelation of God and teaches salvation & life in Jesus Christ. (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ. “Justification by faith” is the act of God by which he declares ‘believing repentant sinners’ to be righteous because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and death on the cross. (see Romans 5:1-2)

3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone. Salvation is the gift of the merciful God and cannot be earned by our good works or attained by human methods. (see Ephesians 2:8-9)

4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is the one Mediator between the holy God and sinful man. Our salvation is accomplished only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not through human mediators or religious rituals. (see 1 Timothy 2:5-6)

5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): Salvation in Christ and the whole of life lived for Jesus is for the glory of God alone.

“The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. (Westminster Catechism)” (see Revelation 4:11 )

As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, may we always keep Jesus Christ at the centre of His Church and as the strong anchor, the firm foundation and the blessed hope of our Christian faith and practice.

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Praise God for a fruitful Diocesan Missions Conference. Various speakers spoke from 2 Peter chapter 3 on the theme “None should perish”. We were reminded of God’s faithful compassion for the lost and the imminent Return of Jesus Christ very soon. We were encouraged to hear the tremendous spread and impact of the gospel in recent decades. We were challenged on the urgent gospel mission, being the Spirit-empowered people of God.

I am thankful for SJCp church members who attended the Conference. Hope you are encouraged by the following reflections:

Despite my initial hesitation (“what is this conference all about?”), I was glad to have attended! It allowed me to see the big picture of what God is doing in the Diocese and its deaneries. I was particularly encouraged by the testimonies of the missionaries.” (Elly Chiu)

I’m reminded that disciple-making begins with myself and that I cannot reproduce what  I am not. For this reason, I need to re-examine and build up my spiritual life, so that I can be a better disciple-maker.” (Yap Tuan Bin)

As I reflect on God’s promise of our Lord Jesus Christ’s impending return, I know it is time for me to take a step of faith to come out of my comfort zone, to surrender myself to be used by God for His kingdom purpose. I should hesitate no more, but to avail myself to labour alongside God’s people in the mission field to proclaim his gospel, to love and to care for others.” (Emily Wong)

Time is short. The Return of Jesus Christ is imminent. Let us commit our life to the Lord in advancing the kingdom of God.

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

It is such a great encouragement to see St John’s Chapel being a missional church. This is reflected in church members being involved in ministry outreach & missions, leaders who are missional in heart & focus, and obedient & generous giving to the Lord in tithing and freewill giving.

In obedience to God’s command to bring the gospel “to the ends of the earth”, St John’s Chapel has been supporting the following in monthly finance and regular prayer: (1) church full-time staff Gerry and Yahui serving at ChiangMai with Deanery of Thailand, (2) SJCp church couple serving with a missions agency focusing on IT support and outreach to refugees, (3) church planting work focusing on the Komering people in Indonesia, and (4) Deborah Loh serving with Overseas Missionary Fellowship for church planting work in Thailand (wef Nov’17).

In addition to the above monthly missions support, we have given one-time gifts in 2017 for the following: (a) post-earthquake Church rebuilding project in Deanery of Nepal, (2) Anglican Boarding school for displaced Myanmar children, (3) South Sudan famine, and (4) SJCp youths on SERVE program (Jan-Mar’17).

Our grateful thanks to those who have given generous freewill givings to the Missions Fund this year. As at 30 September 2017, our Missions Fund is at a deficit of $44,659. I write to appeal to St John’s Church community to consider giving a one-time gift (or regular giving over the next few months) towards the Missions Fund. As the Lord enables you, any amount will go a long way to reduce this deficit. Missions-giving envelopes are available at the church entrance table. Meanwhile, I would also like to encourage church members to continue returning the Lord His tithe as an act of obedience and worship unto God.

In Christ

Pastor John