Dear church family

Despite the commercial hype surrounding Mother’s Day, it is good to remember and appreciate all mothers (and fathers too) for all their love, care and sacrifice. The recent serious illness and hospitalisation of my mother brought some reflections concerning growing old and reaching the end of life’s journey. In the Fifth Commandment, the Lord commanded his people to “honour your father and your mother”.

SPEND TIME with your parents: A church member sent me a video this week about a daughter who was too busy at her work to spend time with her elderly father. She arranged for a time to meet a month later. A few weeks passed and one day, she received a call. She rushed to the hospital emergency, but was too late to say her goodbyes to her father. The best expression of love and honour is to spend time with those whom we treasure and love, for tomorrow may never come.

FORGIVE your parents:  It is a reality of life that our parents are imperfect, just as we ourselves are imperfect. Everyone needs the grace and mercy of God. If you are still holding hurts, resentment and bitterness in your heart towards your parents for what they had done (or what they did not do), may you find grace and strength in the Lord to forgive them. Let restoration, peace and joy come upon every parent-child relationship.

PRAY for your parents’ Salvation:  The greatest “gift” we can share with our parents is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and God’s gracious gift of eternal life. Some of you have been praying and sharing for many years. Press on, do not lose heart and keep on praying. By the grace and mercy of God, we look forward to that joyous day of salvation in the hearts of your parents.

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear church family

I like to highlight three church events, which I pray and encourage the whole church community to join our hearts and hands together.

  1. Giving an account at Annual General Meeting (22 April): The church AGM is a good time to see the “big picture” of church life and also a spiritual time to understand what God is doing in and through St John’s Chapel for the past one year. We will review key activities in 2017, share goals & plans for 2018, give an account for the duly-audited finances and elect church members to serve in PCC. We look forward to your presence and ministry together.

 

  1. Seeking God together at monthly Church Prayer Meetings: I am praying for a spiritual revival in the hearts of God’s people at SJCp. This is the year of Prayer for our diocese. As we prepare for the ‘Celebration of Hope’ evangelistic outreach in May 2019, we pray for the souls of those who need to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” (Oswald Chambers)

 

  1. Encouraging one another at Church camp 2018 (3-6 June): We gather every 2 years for the church retreat. This year’s retreat theme “Look, Walk, Rest” was chosen to remind us to walk in God’s ways and find rest for our souls. Let us spend time together as the Body of Christ to learn God’s Word, encourage one another and “stir up one another to love and good works … as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear friends

We are very glad to welcome all the youths and children from the Boys’ Brigade (64th, 52J, 59J) and Girls’ Brigade (31st, 52nd, 59th) to St John’s Chapel for their annual Enrolment and Dedication service on 8 April. A very special welcome to all parents and family members, school principals and teachers, and officials from BB HQ and GB HQ.

St John’s Chapel is thankful for the opportunity to serve the community of children and youths through the activities of BB and GB. I am grateful and encouraged by the commitment and love of many church members who serve as officers and volunteers, and also for the BB and GB alumni who help faithfully as volunteers. We are thankful for the support and help of the parents, school principals and CCA teachers.

We live in very challenging times in today’s post-modern world. It is our joyful privilege and trustworthy responsibility to inculcate important life values and to build excellent moral character in these precious lives. We hope that through all the experiences learnt and friendships built at BB and GB, the children and youths will grow in maturity and character and be bright shining lights in their family, school and society. May they grow to be a person who care deeply for others in the world, especially to those who are in need.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

 

In Christ

Pastor John Lin

Dear family in Christ

In the Church calendar, we commemorate Palm Sunday today. We remember the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11). The large Jewish crowd had the expectant hope of the conquering messiah and king who would come to liberate them from the Romans. As they followed Jesus along the city streets, they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  But a few days later that same week, the crowds would cry out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”.

As we go into Holy Week, let us keep our focus on Jesus Christ and His road to Calvary. We recall the series of events that took place during this significant week.

  1. Washing disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17): Servanthood and love for one another must be the hallmark of a disciple of Jesus.
  2. Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-29): Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (body and blood) as a remembrance of God’s new covenant of grace.
  3. Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46): Jesus was in agony and sorrow, yet He was obedient to the will of His Father.
  4. Betrayal, arrest, trial (Luke 22:47 to 23:25): Jesus was mocked, beaten and humiliated, yet He was meek, “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter”.
  5. Crucifixion, death, burial (Luke 23:33-56): In great suffering and painful shame, Jesus gave His life sacrificially on the cross in atonement for the sins of the world.
  6. Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10): Praise and thanks be to God for the victory over sin and death and the blessed hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Vietnam is a vast harvest field of 54 ethnic people groups in a population of 96 million, of which only 1.8 % are Protestant Christians. Vietnam deanery work began officially on 1 January 1993. The initial years were very challenging due to Vietnam’s political, religious and social situation. We are thankful to God for the gradual opening of doors, especially in the recent past decade, for the proclamation of the gospel and for active church planting of the future diocese of Vietnam.

On 9 August 2009, ABBA English Centre was officially launched at Hanoi as a platform for church planting work. This pioneering work in 2009 was anchored by St Andrew’s Cathedral and ably served by four young courageous tributors (3 sisters from St Andrew’s Cathedral and brother Tan Zong Ren from St John’s Chapel). For the past 6 years, ABBA have brought about 30 Vietnamese youths annually to Singapore for the English Summer Camp for the purposes of learning English, enjoying Singapore culture and experiencing the love of God.

This year’s camp is anchored by St John’s Chapel on 15 to 25 June 2018 at St Andrew’s Village. We need your ministry help and involvement in the following areas:

  1. Host family – Host one to two students for a homestay for one night and two days (23 – 24 June)
  2. Group leaders – Accompany the students on day excursions between 16 to 23 June
  3. Logistics – Help out in food, transport and other logistics arrangements
  4. English teachers – Conduct English lessons using a given curriculum
  5. English lesson facilitators – Facilitate discussion and activities in small groups

If you are available to serve in this meaningful outreach, please contact pastoral staff Yun Jing (office 64688425; email yunjing@patmos.org.sg ). Thank you for your ministry partnership in the gospel.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.” Psalm 22:27

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

Church camps and Christian retreats hold many wonderful memories in our hearts. We spend time learning God’s Word together and encouraging one another in the Lord. We laugh and play together and get to know fellow church members better in close fellowship. Many lives have been blessed, impacted and strengthened after attending church retreats.

I call upon all SJCp members and regular worshippers and our families to gather together at Tunamaya Beach Resort (Desaru) from 3 to 6 June 2018 for our biennial church retreat. It will be a meaningful and fruitful time of learning, growing, playing and resting. Our retreat theme is “Look, Walk, Rest” (Jeremiah 6:16). We are glad to have Canon Yee Ching Wah as our retreat speaker. He is the Dean of Thailand and the diocese associate director of missions. Brother Darius Foo will be the speaker and program leader for the Children’s ministry.

We want to appreciate all the hard work and preparations by the camp committee, ably led by Gabriel Paul and Kevin Lee. May we request of you to register for the camp soon, so as to help the committee with their planning.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

Maranatha

Pastor John

Remembering Billy Graham  (1918-2018) 

A Tribute by the National Council of Churches of Singapore

On 21 February 2018, the Rev. Dr Billy Graham died from natural causes at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, at the age of 99.

Billy Graham was arguably the most significant Christian evangelist and preacher in the 20th century. In his 60 years of active ministry, he has preached the Gospel to more than 100 million in person. Through the use of the media of the day  –  radio, television, satellite and film  –  Graham has reached millions more across the globe. It is estimated that nearly 3 million have responded to his simple but compelling invitation to ‘accept Jesus into your heart’. In addition to his work as an evangelist, Graham was also instrumental in inspiring the formation of organizations and institutions which had a global impact such as Youth for Christ, Wheaton College in Illinois, and the Christian publication ‘Christianity Today’.

Graham stood up for Christian values. In many of his sermons, he spoke against drugs, sex and violence. Graham refused to visit South Africa during the Apartheid era until the government allowed integrated seating at his events. He was also the first Christian evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States, Graham joined the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the fight against discrimination and segregation. Both Graham and King preached to more than 2 million people in New York City alone. King was reported to have said that ‘Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been’.

His influence was not limited to the West. In December 1978, Billy Graham conducted five nights of Gospel Rallies at the Singapore National Stadium which attracted 337,000 attendees in total. It was reported that 19,631 people came forward for counselling during the five nights. The evangelistic rallies took place at a time when the churches in Singapore were already active in evangelism. Some authors have described the 70s as the ‘decade of evangelism’. Mainline denominational churches like the Anglican and Methodist churches as well as Assemblies of God and independent churches and Christian organizations were steadily reaching out to different sectors of the population since the late 1960s. The evangelistic rallies helped spurt the momentum of church growth.

During his visit here, Graham envisioned Singapore’s potential global role, especially for Christianity in Asia. Seen in this context, the evangelistic rallies may in some sense be said to epitomize the work of evangelism and outreach that the churches in Singapore had been faithfully doing. It made visible the unity and collaboration which had already begun among churches in Singapore.

Billy Graham has received many accolades during his lifetime. He has been described as ‘America’s pastor’ and ‘the greatest evangelist since the Apostle Paul’. But it was the late evangelical leader, John Stott who gave him the greatest tribute. In his reminiscences of the American evangelist, Stott said: ‘If I had to choose one word with which to characterize Billy Graham, it would be integrity. He was all of a piece. There was no dichotomy between what he said and what he was. He practiced what he preached’.

Perhaps this is Billy Graham’s truest legacy.

 

Dear family in Christ

This weekend is the First Sunday in LENT, a season of repentance and restoration. King David experienced the painful process of restoration after he committed two sins against God. One, David committed adultery with Bethsheba, the wife of his army general Uriah (2 Sam 11:2-5). Two, he plotted the death of general Uriah by sending him to the battle frontline to be killed (2 Sam 11:14-15). God was displeased and disciplined David for his sins, through the prophet Nathan.

Psalm 51 is a record of King David’s humble contrite prayer. David’s repentance and restoration can be seen in the following process:

  1. Know God’s character: David cried out to the merciful, compassionate, gracious and loving God for His forgiveness and cleansing of his sins (51:1).
  2. Acknowledge our sinful condition: David knew that he had disobeyed God’s commands and done evil in God’s sight (51:3-4).
  3. Seek God’s forgiveness: David humbly sought the forgiveness of God, crying out to God – “blot out my transgressions”, “wash me thoroughly from my iniquity”, “cleanse me from my sin”, “purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean”.
  4. Receive God’s restoration: David prayed asking God to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him. True Repentance involves turning away from evil and turning towards doing what is right. As we often confessed in prayer, we need to “firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments”. We need a spiritual heart transplant to have a clean heart, a right spirit and a restored life. Being mercifully forgiven and loved by God, we are revived, restored and renewed.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”   Psalm 51:10-12

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

 

Dear family in Christ

On 14 February, we begin the 40-day season of LENT on Ash Wednesday. Lent is an intensely penitential time of prayer, fasting, reflection and self-denial. During this Lent season, I encourage us to do three things.

Firstly, let us REFLECT and give thanks for the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He walked faithfully in the way of the cross in obedience to His Father’s will. The death and resurrection of Jesus has redeemed us and set us free from the bondage of sin and death, bringing peace and reconciliation with God the Father. May our hearts be ever grateful to Jesus as we follow his godly example.

Secondly, let us REPENT of our sins as we open our hearts to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sins and unrighteousness. When we truly repent in sorrow and remorse, the loving gracious God will forgive us. Repentance involves a transformative change of heart and a definitive change in one’s way of life. May we seek to live a life of holiness and godliness that pleases God.

Thirdly, let us RENEW our first love and deep passion for God. Take time to slow down during Lent and spend time in unhurried communion with Abba Father in the Word and in prayer. Let God examine our life by His Word and His Spirit. May we grow daily in our relationship with God and transform in Christlikeness.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

 

Maranatha

Pastor John

Dear family in Christ

As pastors, we have the joyful responsibility to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”. The important ministry of Edification in the Body of Christ and Evangelism in the world cannot and should not be done by full-time workers alone. It involves the whole church community in unity and whole-hearted commitment to our calling and mission to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth.

I had the opportunity last Sunday to witness this “whole-church-in-ministry” biblical principle in action as I spent time with two groups of church members.

1. Children Ministry Teachers Training – I thank the Lord for a dedicated team of teachers who love the Lord, having a clear vision and deep passion to teach God’s Word to the children with love and commitment. Some of them had taught for many years, yet the passion remains. Pray for the teachers to find strength and wisdom in the Lord always and their lives will make a significant impact that leaves a deep spiritual legacy in the hearts of these precious children.
2. Mandarin & Dialect congregation Leaders meeting – Praise the Lord for many lay leaders who anchor certain ministries or play a key ministry role alongside the pastoral staff. These lay leaders have been serving faithfully in various areas at the Sunday worship service, in the teaching of new believers, in the discipling of believers in the Cell groups and in fulfilling the Great Commission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in the heart languages of Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese.

“And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastor-teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11-13

We have a Master to serve
Pastor John