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

Dear family in Christ

Many countries in the world celebrate Children’s Day, a time we remember the worth, significance and dignity of children. In Singapore, it is celebrated on the first Friday of October when many happy children enjoy a school holiday. In the Church, children are God’s treasured creation and a great joy to all in God’s family.

Our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16). Children are lovingly welcome in the kingdom of God because of God’s unfailing love and for their trusting child-like faith in God.

Let us pray unceasingly for the children in the many households of faith at St John’s Chapel. May God’s Word take root deeply in their hearts and light their path in their life journey. May they grow into God-fearing godly men and women of God who love God deeply, walk with Jesus closely and serve the Lord faithfully all the days of their life.

Let us pray unwaveringly for the children whom our church is reaching with the gospel through the various church ministries. May they experience the love and grace of God deeply in their hearts. May they come to salvation faith in Jesus Christ, and also their parents and families.

(The Lord) established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Psalm 78:5-7

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Praise be to God for the 8 adults and 2 children who are baptised at the Sunday service today. We thank our Abba Father for his salvation grace and bountiful mercy for calling them to Himself as his beloved children through various people and outreach ministries. Three persons knew about Jesus Christ through their experiences at 31st GB, 52nd GB and the Befrienders ministry respectively. Three persons had caring friends who shared Jesus with them. Four had loving family members who prayed for them to believe in Jesus.

These baptismal candidates will take their vows in the presence of God and his Church to declare their allegiance to Christ. As they make their vows, let us join our hearts with them in renewing the same vows which we had taken at our own baptism. The first vow calls us to turn to Christ. The second vow directs us to repent of our sins. In the third vow, we renounce the devil and all his works, the empty show and glory of the world with all the covetous desires of it, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that we will not follow or be led by them.

Heavenly Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit, you give to your faithful people new life in the water of baptism.  Guide and strengthen us by that same Spirit, that we who are born again may serve you in faith and love, and grow into the full stature of your Son Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.  Amen.

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Today we commemorate the annual diocese ‘Education Sunday’. This year’s focus is on our Anglican pre-schools and kindergartens. What a wonderful opportunity to build good character values in these precious young lives and to create a loving school environment for them to experience the love of God. We also remember our diocese’s chaplaincy work in the nine Anglican mission schools and keep them in prayer for faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry.

We thank the Lord for giving St John’s Chapel the ministry of ‘Education Missions’ at St Margaret’s Secondary School (SMSS) for the past 25 years. Multiple generations of SMSS girls had the wonderful opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel and experience the unfailing and unconditional love of God. We thank the Lord for our committed chaplaincy team of church staff and volunteers as they serve the Lord with joy and purpose. If you are able to serve in the chaplaincy ministry in music, befriending and tutoring, please approach our lead chaplaincy staff, Florence Hou.

On another important matter, I am making a second pastoral call to our church community to gather at the diocese missions conference (17-19 Oct) to hear God’s heartbeat afresh in calling people to Himself all over the world. Please see the bulletin flyer insert for the registration details and synopsis of the five plenary messages.

Jesus said to them, “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.” Luke 10:2

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

In the second epistle of Peter chapter 3, the apostle Peter wrote that in the Last Days, there would be scoffers who will ask why the promise of the Coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has not been fulfilled yet. Peter encouraged God’s people in 2 Peter 3:9 that “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

This is the heartbeat of our loving Abba Father. “None should perish” is the key theme of the coming Diocesan Mission Conference on 17-19 October (2 evenings 17 & 19 Oct and 1 full day 18 Oct). This missions conference seeks to REFRESH THE MISSION CALL upon our whole diocese to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations – A TOTAL MOBILISATION that the called are sent, that the blessed become a blessing, that the church is alert and tuned in to what God is doing in our world today.

I am thankful and encouraged in the Lord that St John’s Chapel is a missional church in various ways. I call upon our church community to gather at this missions conference to hear what the Lord is doing in these Last Days in calling people to Himself all over the world. Let us refresh our call and commitment in how we can all be involved in world missions in praying, giving, encouraging and going.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

During my wife’s hospitalisation last week for her Transient Ischemic Attack, a family from our church visited her. The children in this family lovingly made a gift of a glass bottle filled with bright twinkling lights and wrote a card with these words “Trust in the Lord, be strong, take heart.”  The Lord graciously used these 8 words in encouraging us and lifting up our spirits and hearts in the Lord. (By the way, my wife switched on the twinkling lights that whole night, bringing much cheer to the other 5 stroke patients in her hospital ward.)

If you are facing painful difficulties in your life now or struggling in the dark valley of sorrow and helplessness, I pray that these 8 words will also encourage you in the Lord by:

  • Deepening your Faith (“trust in the Lord”): Rest securely in the unfailing love and bountiful grace of God. We place complete trust in our loving Shepherd who holds our hand and walks with us through the valley.
  • Strengthening your Heart (“be strong”): Rest calmly in the almighty power and comforting peace of God. We find renewed strength in our powerful Creator who holds our life in his sovereign hand and leads us through the pain.
  • Refreshing your Hope (“take heart”): Rest confidently in the safe refuge and faithful help of God. We have a blessed hope in our resurrected Saviour who has given us eternal life and we await expectantly for His glorious Return.

Trust in the Lord, be strong, take heart.”

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

As the school chaplain, I attended the annual Teachers’ Day Appreciation Tea last Wednesday to fellowship, encourage and pray for the teachers of St Margaret’s Secondary School. Teachers play an important role in shaping the minds and hearts of their students, especially in their growing-up years.

Similarly, in the church, those who teach God’s Word serve a vital purpose in building up the people of God to grow deep in the Word of God and to teach God’s truths to both believers and non-believers. I like to take this opportunity to thank and appreciate all those who are involved in teaching God’s Word at St John’s Chapel in the various congregations and ministries:

  1. Children ministry teachers & helpers and Befriender Club volunteers – Your teaching and modelling of Christ in your life will bear a significant long-lasting impact and influence in the lives of these precious children.
  2. Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade officers & helpers – Continue to teach God’s Word faithfully and touch many young lives with the love of God.
  3. Chaplaincy team & volunteers – Your life and ministry in God’s Word will bring great encouragement to many students.
  4. Youth leaders – Be grounded in the Word of God and guide fellow youths in the study and application of God’s Word.
  5. Cell leaders and Bible study leaders – Press on in studying and communicating God’s truths in encouraging fellow group members to grow in spiritual maturity and walking close with God.

Thank you all for your labour in God’s kingdom. May we be found faithful in teaching God’s Word and walking in obedience to His Word.

In Christ

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

At clergy meeting last Tuesday, we reflected on our pastoral care ministry with church members who struggled to find true purpose and meaning in life. One pastor shared that when a particular church member stopped working on reaching his retirement age, he suddenly felt very lost, depressed and did not know what to do with his life. His identity, purpose and his whole life had been centred around his work and status.

All of us need to answer this significant fundamental question – what is the true purpose and meaning of our life? Do the things we are pursuing and the possessions we are accumulating able to give us true contentment and purpose, real joy and meaning in life?

The writer in Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 declared, “Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun?”  He then reflected on the relentless pursuits of people: Wisdom and knowledge (1:16-18); Pleasures & achievements (2: 1-11); Toil & labour (2: 17-23); Advancement & popularity (4:13–16); Riches & possessions (5: 10–12). All these pursuits were meaningless and “a chasing after the wind”.

This was his conclusion in Ecc 12:13-14  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

When we fear God and keep his commandments, we will find and know our true purpose and meaning in life.

In Christ

Pastor John

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