Dear family in Christ

We rejoice with the 12 brothers and sisters in Christ who are confirmed today. We thank the Lord for his grace and mercy in calling them to our Abba Father as His children and for God’s strength and wisdom in guiding their discipleship journey.

In the Anglican Church, the rite of Confirmation is significant for several reasons:

  1. It is for the strengthening and commissioning of the believer for Christian life & witness and for ministry & service by the empowering of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by the bishop.
  2. It is an opportunity for those who were baptized as infants to confess their faith and personally renew the baptism vows undertaken on their behalf by their parents and godparents.
  3. It is a rite of full membership in a particular parish of Diocese of Singapore and to declare their commitment to the local congregation, St John’s Chapel.

As we witness the Confirmation today, let us be reminded of the following:

  1. Community: We are a community together as the Body of Christ. Let us encourage one another to walk close to Jesus and serve God faithfully in the work of His eternal kingdom.
  2. Commitment: We have made our baptismal vows to God at our baptism. Let us honour our vows to live a Christ-centred godly life and to trust in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  3. Communion: We have the communion of the Holy Spirit with us. Let us walk in step with the Spirit in obedience and faith as we proclaim the gospel of Christ, even as we eagerly await the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

As we grow older, we need to watch the condition of our physical heart. Oftentimes, there are warning signs to indicate that our heart is not functioning well. Some of us need regular medical checks and medication to control our high blood pressure and cholesterol.

In our spiritual journey as disciples of Jesus, we need to watch our spiritual heart. God’s wisdom in Proverbs 4:23 exhorts us that “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (NIV).”  We need to guard our heart above all else, giving it priority and attention. We need to watch over our heart with all diligence and vigilance because everything that we think and do in life flows from the heart. Jesus warned his disciples, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person…” (Matthew 15:19-20).

How then can we guard and watch over our spiritual heart well?

Firstly, let us walk by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. Do not gratify the desires and passions of the flesh or do the works of the flesh, but grow in the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-26).

Secondly, let us walk in obedience and store God’s Word in our heart. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!  I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9-11)

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Sometimes I wonder what my life may be like now, if my grandparents had disembarked from the ship when it landed at Sibu (Sarawak) after sailing from China. Instead, they continued on their journey, found a new home in Singapore where they raised their family of 13 children, of whom my father was the eldest. God’s gracious guiding hand was upon my grandparents and our family became a part of Singapore’s history.

As we celebrate Singapore’s 52nd year of independence, I would like to share the following thoughts:

  1. Let us be mindful of God’s sovereign hand that has placed us and our families in this nation.
  2. Let us be grateful to God for the peace we enjoy, provisions of daily life and a roof over our heads.
  3. Let us be purposeful to understand God’s will in our lives to shine brightly for Jesus as His witnesses.
  4. Let us be faithful to God’s command to share the love of God to every people group in Singapore.
  5. Let us be thankful to God for every blessing and provision so that we can be His blessing to many for the sake of the gospel.

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:3-4

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

When King David was in deep distress because of the attacks of his enemies, he called upon the Lord for help. God heard David’s cry and mercifully rescued and delivered him from his troubles. David praised the Lord and declared, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-3.

In the difficult seasons of life, we may experience despair, helplessness and loneliness. In such times of struggle and pain, we can trust and lean on our loving faithful Lord for his gracious help, sufficient grace and empowering strength. We can be thankful that we need not go through life’s struggles alone. God has called us into the church community to journey together, to encourage and pray for one another in caring concern.

I am so excited and glad for our Church Family Day today. Let us spend unhurried time in sharing a lunch meal, having meaningful conversations and fellowship across all the five congregations. As we take our slow walks at Sungei Buloh Park and enjoy God’s creation, let us look out for those who may feel lonely and discouraged and offer a word of encouragement and prayer. “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ
In apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he focused on God’s grace of salvation in Jesus Christ as the Hope of the Jews and the Gentiles. He wrote in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
As God’s people experienced fierce persecution under the Roman authorities, Paul encouraged them to trust in the God of hope. “May the God of hope  fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13). There is a blessed hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Our life can abound in hope because Jesus our Messiah has won the victory over sin and death. Jesus will return as the victorious King as we look forward eagerly to be in the glorious presence of Almighty God.
For those going through deep struggles in life, may you abound in hope in Christ.
For those suffering from chronic illness or painful grief, may you find peaceful hope in Christ.
For those facing the future with uncertainty, may you be strengthened with hope in Christ.
For those coping with pressures and stresses of life, may you find hopeful rest in Christ.
For those drifting away in your relationship with God, may you return to the God of hope.
Where there is God, there is hope.
In Christ
Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

In apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he focused on God’s grace of salvation in Jesus Christ as the Hope of the Jews and the Gentiles. He wrote in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

As God’s people experienced fierce persecution under the Roman authorities, Paul encouraged them to trust in the God of hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.(Romans 15:13). There is a blessed hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Our life can abound in hope because Jesus our Messiah has won the victory over sin and death. Jesus will return as the victorious King as we look forward eagerly to be in the glorious presence of Almighty God.

For those going through deep struggles in life, may you abound in hope in Christ.

For those suffering from chronic illness or painful grief, may you find peaceful hope in Christ.

For those facing the future with uncertainty, may you be strengthened with hope in Christ.

For those coping with pressures and stresses of life, may you find hopeful rest in Christ.

For those drifting away in your relationship with God, may you return to the God of hope.

Where there is God, there is hope.

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Before our PCC meeting last Tuesday, the church staff had a simple dinner of homemade dumplings made by a very kind sister from our Mandarin congregation. I requested to know more about her and her family pastorally and was so encouraged to hear of how they became a part of God’s family at St John’s Chapel. Through the L’Joy outreach ministry some years ago, her two children heard the gospel and experienced the love of God. By God’s grace, her children became believers in Jesus Christ, and thereafter, her husband and her also received salvation in Christ. Praise be to God.

This week, a church staff passed me an old magazine commemorating the tenth anniversary of 64th Boys Brigade Company in 2002. I recognised the young faces and read the testimonies of some BB boys. They are now adults and have set up their own families. Having come to faith in Christ, they are following Jesus committedly and serving God faithfully in our church. Thanks be to God.

There are many more wonderful stories of God’s grace and mercy in touching and transforming lives through the various church ministries such as school chaplaincy, befriender club, House of Joy, Cell groups, youth fellowship, etc. Thanks be to God for His transforming grace and restorative healing.

I am encouraged by many at John’s Chapel who had served in various ministries and many who are faithfully serving the Lord in sharing the love of God and building up the Body of Christ. May you find joy and purpose in the work of God’s eternal kingdom. Press on.

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

We are having our bi-annual Church Family Day on 30 July (Sunday). We will begin the day with a combined Worship service (10 am) for a time of praising God and listening to His Word together. After service, we will spend unhurried time in sharing a lunch meal, having meaningful conversations and catching up with one another across all the congregations. I encourage everyone to have a lunch meal together, even if you are unable to go for the afternoon outing.

After lunch, we will journey to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve located at Kranji. What a wonderful way to enjoy God’s creation and have a relaxing walk in small informal groups. The Family Day is also an opportune time to invite your family and friends for them to experience life in a church community and to hear of the love and grace of God.

We are grateful to “Claypot” cell group members for their hard work in organising the outing. Please help the planning committee by registering early, so that they can plan for the bus transport and lunch catering. Registration forms are available at the Ushers’ table. For the families in our church, only one form is needed.

I am very much looking forward to your presence and for everyone to have a joyous time of fellowship together as God’s family. Let us encourage one another in the Lord in our life and discipleship journey.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Psalm 133:1

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

I received news last weekend that an elderly member of St Andrew’s Cathedral had gone home to be with the Lord at the age of 99. I was her congregation pastor and remember her fondly. Each time I greet her before the church service, she would clap her hands, smile gently and sing the chorus of the hymn “Trust and obey”. Whenever I hear her sing it, my heart was encouraged and my faith was strengthened.

At her funeral wake, I saw her Bible placed near her photo. It was well used and marked with highlights. Truly a woman who read God’s Word regularly all her life until her eyes grew dim, learning to obey God faithfully and walking by faith. She had the wonderful privilege to know God as the loving Creator, especially when she had worked as a mid-wife at Kandang Kerbau hospital delivering thousands of babies for many years.

As my wife and I viewed her body lying at rest and bid her farewell, I could hear her singing in my heart. In the midst of present challenges and struggles in my life and ministry, my spirit was lifted up and my faith was strengthened to keep my eyes on the Lord and trust him whole-heartedly, for He is our Refuge and our Strength. In the struggles of your life, may the Lord be your loving Shepherd and gracious Helper as you trust and obey Him.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”.

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

In our daily living, there are two important things to hold close in our heart: Loving forgiveness and Deep gratitude. I came across this meaningful story which illustrate this well.

Two friends were walking through the desert. During the journey, they had an argument. One friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt. Without saying anything, he wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.”  They kept on walking until they found an oasis and decided to take a bath. The one who was slapped got stuck in the mud and started to drown, but his friend saved him. After he recovered from the near-drowning, he wrote on a stone:  “Today my best friend saved my life.

The friend who had earlier slapped him and now had saved him asked, “After I slapped and hurt you, you wrote in the sand. But now, you write on a stone. Why?”  The grateful kind friend replied “When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.

In our relationships with people, let us learn to write our hurts in the sand with forgiveness and to carve our blessings in stone with gratitude.

“Then Peter came up and said to (Jesus), “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

What legacy will we leave behind when we finish our earthly journey? Are we just focusing on the material legacy of wealth? It is important to think about leaving a spiritual legacy. As fathers &  mothers, godfathers & godmothers, grandfathers & grandmothers, uncles & aunties and as elder brothers & sisters in God’s big family, we can all be involved in building a rich spiritual legacy in the lives of those whom we have the responsibility and privilege to care for.

As we celebrate Fathers’ Day today, we remember the significant role of the father in leaving a spiritual legacy in the lives of his children. In what ways can the father make a deep spiritual impact?

1. Be a role model by setting a good example in life and instruction.

2. Be a loving disciplinarian to build self-control (self-discipline).

3. Be a godly teacher to teach gently in whole-of-life experiences.

4. Be a Christ-like “priest” to guide the way to God in Christian faith & spiritual life.

If you may have grown up without a good father, may you find healing and love in God our Abba Father. The foundation for good fathering is the emotional healing of the “father” wound in forgiveness, reconciliation and honour. As children of God, we have a firm security in our Abba Father’s love and faithfulness.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

Personal reflection: What kind of father (mother) am I to my children?  What spiritual legacy will you leave behind?

In Christ

Pastor John