FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK

8 & 9 DEC 2018


Dear family in Christ

This Advent-Christmas season is an opportune time for spiritual reflection. In what ways can Advent encourage us in our spiritual walk with the Lord?

Firstly, be Faithful followers of Christ. As we live in between the two Advents, let us live our lives with gratitude to God and with accountability to Him. We are called to holy living and be faithful stewards of what had been entrusted to us. In our spiritual journey as a Christ-following community, we have an important responsibility to live lives that bring glory to God. We have the joy and privilege to share about Jesus through the gospel message and our loving deeds. The lights in Advent are a reminder of our calling from Jesus to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Secondly, be Ready for Christ’s return. This will be the Second Advent. “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28). In great triumph and with loud trumpet sounds, Christ will come again to bring his people to dwell in his presence for all eternity. We need to be watchful and alert spiritually in our daily living. Is the Lord pleased and satisfied with the way we are living our life? Is there true worship of God in the total surrender of our life to Jesus and His kingdom?

Are you ready for His Return?

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

1 & 2 DEC 2018

Dear family in Christ

In the church calendar, the liturgical season of ADVENT begins today. Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning ‘coming or arrival’. It focuses on the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Advent is a time of spiritual preparation marked by prayers of humble devotion and for God’s deliverance. It is a time for calm and reflection in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and parties.

There is a double focus in Advent. Firstly, it is the joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus the Messiah in his First Advent. Secondly, it is the anticipation of His impending return as King in his Second Advent. It is a grateful celebration of God’s redeeming 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 eagerly 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 disciples of Jesus Christ, we have an important responsibility to live a life bringing glory to God and to share about Jesus through the gospel message and our loving deeds.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her King!

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

24 & 25 NOV 2018

Dear family in Christ

The liturgical season of Advent begins on 2 December. I have written the Advent-Christmas Devotional Guide for our church community. It is written with two purposes 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 the good news of Jesus Christ with our friends and loved ones during this Christmas season. Please use this devotional at your family devotions and/or personal devotions. You can also use it in your Cell group as a teaching material or as an evangelistic tool to share the joy and meaning of Christmas.

We are glad to encourage the Cell groups in all our five congregations to participate in ‘I will Be Home For Christmas’. This is a home-based and cell-based intentional outreach program where opportunity is given to every cell member to invite our non-Christian friends and family for an informal relaxing fellowship meal and to hear the true meaning of Christmas and respond to Jesus Christ – ‘The Light Has Come’. Home cells may choose any day within the Advent-Christmas season to host this meal. You can also consider partnering with other Cell groups at a suitable location. Activities can include singing of Christmas carols, gift exchange, invite a carolling team, personal testimonies and a short Christmas message.

We hope that through this warm and informal setting, our non-Christian family members and friends will feel welcomed in a church community and understand the true meaning of Christmas. This Christmas outreach will also serve as a good build-up of momentum in friendship evangelism in preparation for Celebration of Hope next year, 17-19 May 2019. Let us be in fervent prayers and active evangelism for the salvation of the lost.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

17 & 18 Nov 2018

Dear family in Christ

This weekend, we commemorate Diocesan Missions Sunday. We see the gracious merciful hand of God in calling people to Himself in reconciled relationship and transformed lives. We praise God for people from every tribe and language in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, coming to salvation faith in Jesus. Please pray for the continual faithful proclamation of the gospel in these six deanery countries and for growth in spiritual maturity of God’s people in committed discipleship.

As the Lord enables, please give unto the Lord for “Give Him a Hundred” (GHH) missions giving in support of church planting work in these six deaneries. I am grateful for the Lord’s provision that last year’s GHH giving had enabled the deanery of Vietnam to purchase an office space property at Hanoi to be used as a place of worship for Church of The True Light and for Abba English centre. Thanks and praise be to God.

Praise the Lord for his faithfulness and goodness to the St Margaret’s School family as she celebrated her 176th anniversary 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 the shade of education and character building, and borne much fruit of transformation and salvation in many lives. Our grateful thanks to brothers and sisters at SJCp who have previously or are presently serving faithfully in the Chaplaincy (lighthouse) ministry and the Girls Brigade ministry.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

10 & 11 Nov 2018

Dear family in Christ

From 13th to 25th November, bishop Kuan Kim Seng will lead a team of 24 participants (13 from St John’s Chapel) to Israel for the Shoresh Israel Study tour. Pls uphold the study group in prayer for journey mercies and a fruitful time of good learning and spiritual growth as they focus on “The Life and World of Jesus, our Messiah”.

Romans chapters 9 to 11 are significant Bible passages for a clear theological and biblical understanding concerning the remnant of Israel and the salvation of ethnic Jewish people. Let me summarise the key points as follows:

  1. Israel, who was God’s sovereign choice and an elected people belonging to God, had received all the promises of God. (Rom 9:1-21)
  2. God had prepared Israel, through prophets Hosea and Isaiah, that belonging to God’s family was not simply a matter of biological heritage.    (Rom 9:22-29)
  3. God’s patient grief for Israel because of her unbelief (hardened hearts of unbelieving Jewish majority who pursued righteousness by works (Law), and her rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah and divine Son of God (“stumbling stone”). (Rom 9:30 – 10:21)
  4. God remains faithful to His covenant and has not rejected his people, Israel. By the grace of God, there is a Jewish remnant, who by faith believed in Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah of Israel. (Rom 11:1-10)
  5. Salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous”. With the Gentiles (“wild olive shoots”) being grafted into the cultivated Olive tree (Israel) by their faith in Jesus Messiah, this would provoke many Jewish people to think seriously, turn to Jesus and believe in Him too. (Rom 11:11-22)
  6. When the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in”, the “Deliverer will come from Zion” to bring restoration and salvation to the Jewish people (“all Israel shall be saved”). The broken natural branches (unbelieving Jewish majority) will be grafted back into the Olive tree because they believed in Jesus Messiah by faith. (Rom 11:23-32)

As we discern God’s sovereign timing and keep watch eagerly for the signs of the End Times and the impending Return of Jesus our Messiah, let us proclaim the good news of the gospel whenever any opportunity arises, especially during the coming season of Advent and Christmas. Let us pray for active outreach and evangelism ministries to Jewish people in Israel and many parts of the world, and let us uphold Messianic Jews in prayer for strong faith and spiritual maturity.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

3 & 4 Nov 2018

Dear family in Christ

The theme for our November missions month are “None should perish” (English services) and “Light of the World, Light of Life” (Mandarin/dialect services). We have invited guest preachers with varied missional experiences to share God’s Word and their particular areas of ministry in missions. I pray that the various messages will help us to see what the Lord is doing in Singapore and in the nations of the world in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There will be a diocesan ‘Synod Plus’ Missions gathering on 8 November, Thursday 7.30 pm, at St Andrew’s Cathedral. The focus is on “Diocesan Perspective and Strategy on Church Planting in the Deaneries”. May I encourage us to make time to attend, so as to hear and pray for the growth and development of church-planting work in the six deaneries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.

Pls 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) Deborah Loh serving with Overseas Missionary Fellowship in church planting work at Bangkok, Thailand. Deborah is currently back in Singapore on special leave to care for her father undergoing cancer treatment; (4) Preparation of church Mission teams going to Batam (Nov) and Hanoi (Dec).

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

27 & 28 Oct 2018

Dear family in Christ

Caregiving for our elderly family members and our chronically sick loved ones is a tough and difficult responsibility. It can be stressful, frustrating and exhausting – physically, mentally and emotionally. Are you feeling tired by the endless task of caring for your loved ones? Do you sometimes struggle with guilt, resentment or bitterness? Do you find it difficult at times to keep on trusting God?

Many caregivers hope to find rest and respite in the unending cycle of caring for others. How do we replenish our strength? How can we press on with compassion and patience when we feel so drained with limited time, energy and resources? As Christians, we look to the Lord for his grace and strength in this long and arduous walk of caregiving. It is a journey in which we can take together with the Lord as He walks with us, guides us and helps us.

Our Daily Bread Ministries has produced a special devotional for caregivers, entitled “He Walks with Me: Devotions for Your Caregiving Journey with God”. It is a series of 30 devotions focusing on journeying with God, journeying with yourself and journeying with others. It offers both biblical wisdom and practical tips on coping with the challenges of caregiving. If you would like to have a copy of this devotional, pls approach the pastoral/admin staff, or pls collect a copy from the book table at the church entrance.

In this process of caregiving, let us grow in our relationship with God as we submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming and shaping our hearts, and let us be God’s joyful channel of blessing and encouragement to others.

 

Love in Christ
Pastor John

20 & 21 Oct 2018

Dear family in Christ

An essential mark of spiritual maturity is the commitment to a life of prayerfulness. What happens when God’s people gather to pray together?

In his book “Praying together: Equipping small groups to grow their prayer potential”, Dr Allan Harkness listed six benefits of corporate prayer:

  1. Expression of community between God & people, and between people themselves.
  2. Sense of belonging where Christians know that they are “at home”.
  3. Provision of a setting to see God to work at transforming His people.
  4. Process of growth in spiritual maturity and committed discipleship.
  5. Careful and sensitive listening to God and to one another.
  6. Missional focus to see and respond to God’s heart of salvation for a fallen world.

I encourage everyone to gather for Church Corporate Prayer meeting on every second Friday (Mandarin) and on every last Friday (English). There is tremendous potential when prayer and the church (at congregation level and at Cells & small groups) are integrated. A church that prays together stands in unity together, love one another and reaches out with the gospel together.

I call upon God’s people to gather at our annual Diocesan Day of Prayer and Fasting on 3 November, Saturday 9am to 12 noon, at St Andrew’s Cathedral. The prayer theme is “Let the gospel light shine!”. Let us lift our eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest. Let us gather to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers for the harvest. Let us seek God for a powerful work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in His Church for the proclamation of the gospel in Singapore and the world.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

14 Oct 2018 – Confirmation Service

Dear family in Christ

We rejoice with the 21 brothers and sisters in Christ who are confirmed today. We give thanks to Abba Father for his bountiful grace and mercy in calling them to Himself as His beloved children and as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

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

  1. It is for the strengthening of the believer for Christian life and witness and also for ministry and 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 had been baptized as infants to confess their faith publicly and declare personally their baptismal vows, as undertaken on their behalf by their parents and godparents.
  3. It is the receiving into full membership in a particular parish of the Diocese of Singapore and a declaration of their discipleship commitment together with the church community at St John’s Chapel.

As we witness the Confirmation today, may we be strengthened in the following areas:

  1. Community: We are a community together as the Body of Christ. Let us encourage one another, especially those in our Cell groups, to walk close to Jesus and to serve God faithfully in the work of His eternal kingdom.
  2. Commitment: We have declared 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, and proclaim the gospel of Christ faithfully, even as we await eagerly for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

6 & 7 Oct 2018

Dear family in Christ

It is that time of the year again. Shopping malls are less crowded. Sales of vitamins increases. Playgrounds and parks are quieter. Anxiety levels of many parents go up. Yes, it is October exam fever in Singapore. Many children and young people experience great pressure and deep anxiety to perform well in school and get good grades.

How can we as Christian parents and the church family be an encouragement, support and help to our children to alleviate their pressure and stress and to help them grow into resilient, mature and secure adults?

  1. Teach our children on the value of hard work, perseverance and resilience, motivating them to do their best and learning to cope with failure.
  2. Encourage our children to look out for their classmates who need help, support and encouragement in their studies or family/friendship issues.
  3. Remind our children that academic exams cannot measure their good character, special gifts (talents) and their compassion and care for others.
  4. Assure our children that our love for them is unconditional and unchanging, regardless of their study grades or school performance.
  5. Anchor our children in the love and grace of God and find their true worth, deep joy and spiritual identity in Jesus Christ.

As we await eagerly for the Return of Jesus Christ, let us keep our children’s educational life with the right perspective and priority. Let us be mindful of the things that really matter in the light of eternity: (1) Relationship with God, (2) Salvation of souls, and (3) Glory of God.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

29 & 30 Sept 2018

Dear friends, guests and church family

A very warm special welcome to all our friends, guests and visitors. We are so glad that you are here today to enjoy the Hymn Festival. We hope that you will have an enjoyable and meaningful experience that will bring much peace and great joy in your heart.

We are very thankful for the choir team from St Andrew’s Cathedral for their kind presence and good partnership with the St John’s Chapel choir in presenting these beautiful songs and hymns that bring delight to our ears and refreshment for our soul.

We are privileged to have Pastor Leon Stewart to share on the “The love story of God’s amazing grace”.  Pastor Leon’s life was changed and transformed wonderfully by the grace and power of God after his encounter with Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

Thank you once again for your presence with us today. May the love, joy and peace of God fill your hearts and minds always.

Wishing you every blessing in Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor John
Vicar, St John’s Chapel

 

22 & 23 Sept 2018

Dear family in Christ

Today we commemorate the annual diocese Education Sunday. This year’s focus is on the alma mater of our nine Anglican primary, secondary and college schools. Many had fond memories of meaningful fun activities, kind caring teachers and personal character growth. Some had returned to their alma mater as school teachers to continue this meaningful tradition and mission in educating future generations of students.

We are thankful to the Lord for guiding many graduates of St Margaret’s Secondary school to become members and friends of our church community. We thank God for their salvation in Jesus Christ, and also that of their families. We rejoice to see them growing in spiritual maturity and good character. We appreciate their love and heart for the Lord in serving Him in various areas of church ministry and also in local & overseas missions. We thank God for all of them for being God’s wonderful blessing and encouragement in our community.

For the past 26 years, St John’s Chapel has the joy and privilege of Education Mission chaplaincy work in this school. We thank the Lord for a committed chaplaincy team of church staff and volunteers as they serve God with a joyful purpose in sharing the good news of the gospel and in caring & helping the students. If you are able to serve in the chaplaincy ministry in the areas of music, befriending, tutoring and praying, pls approach our lead chaplaincy staff, Florence Hou.

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”   Luke 18:16

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

15 & 16 Sept 2018

The Diocese of Singapore

Pastoral Advisory on Penal Code Section 377A

Recent media comments by prominent figures have reignited the call to repeal Penal Code Section 377A. As you consider the matter, do note the following:

a.   It has been established by the Supreme Court in October 2014 that Section 377A is constitutional.

b.   Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Parliamentary Debate in Oct 2007 on Section 377A explained why the Government would retain Section 377A in the Penal Code but not enforce it. The Diocese, together with the National Council of Churches of Singapore, supports the Government’s carefully calibrated position on this.

c.   The evaluation of Section 377A goes beyond legal technicalities and pure logic. It is a boundary-stone marker for what Singapore society wants to hold as normative in its moral framework and in how people conduct themselves in the public square. 377A is a moral marker consonant with fostering strong families for the long-term well-being of our nation.

d.   The Government has stated that it will not repeal the law as long as mainstream society wants it to remain: “It is up to society to decide.”

It is heartening that the Government’s recent Penal Code Review did not recommend any change to Section 377A. As the Review is now open for public consultation until 30 September, before going to Parliament in November, it is timely for us to reaffirm that we want Section 377A to remain.

In the context of all the above factors, we would strongly encourage you to:

1.   Provide feedback to the Government by:

a.   Sending this simple message “I want 377A to remain” to REACH reach@reach.gov.sg, and

b.   Signing the petition at https://www.change.org/p/singaporegovernment-please-keep-penal-code-377a-in-singapore

2.   Remain respectful of persons with different views. Do not make disparaging remarks about anyone. Let your conduct be governed by love and “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Col 4:6).

3.   Pray fervently. Pray that the Church will learn and grow in its ministry to same-sex attracted persons. Pray for the ‘shalom’ (total well-being) of Singapore: “…seek the welfare of the city”
(Jer 29:7).

May the Lord bless and watch over Singapore from generation to generation!

 

12 September 2018

8 & 9 Sept 2018

Dear church family

One key distinguishing mark of the living church of Jesus Christ is to be a Koinonia Community. We have a common faith in Jesus, a common bond in Jesus and a common love for one another. We are called to build up and edify one another in the Body of Christ as we see the Return of the Lord drawing near.

The following “one another” actions and attitudes are expressions of true biblical koinonia:

  • Accept one another (Rom 15:7)
  • Be devoted to one another (Rom 12:10)
  • Be kind & compassionate to one another (Eph 4:32)
  • Bear one another’s burdens   (Gal 6:2)
  • Bear with one another in love (Eph 4:2)
  • Care for one another (1 Cor 12:25)
  • Comfort one another (2 Cor 13:11)
  • Do good to one another (1 Thess 5:15)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thess 5:11; Heb 3:13)
  • Forgive one another (Eph 4:32)
  • Honour one another (Rom 12:10)
  • Live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16; 1 Pet 3:8)
  • Love one another (1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:7; 4:11-12)
  • Serve one another in love (Gal 5:13)

For the past two years, it has been such a joy and encouragement for me to see God’s people at St John’s Chapel edifying and encouraging one another in love. May we grow strong together as God’s Koinonia Faith Community.

Maranatha
Pastor John

1 & 2 Sept 2018

Dear church family

My son was very excited to have the opportunity to cook a meal for his teachers in school last Wednesday. As the school chaplain, I attended St Margaret’s school Teachers’ Day Appreciation high tea last Thursday. This is the time of the year where we remember and appreciate those who teach and influence lives, not only those in the public sphere, but also in our church family.

1. Teachers in our Children’s ministry

We want to appreciate and thank the many committed brothers and sisters who teach the Word of God to the children in our church faithfully and sacrificially. It is a vital and significant ministry in coming alongside the parents in building a strong faith foundation in the hearts of the children and in exemplifying wise godly values for daily living. We appreciate their labour and their love for the children.

2. Those who teach God’s Word at the various church ministries

We thank the Lord for those who study the Word of God diligently and share it joyfully with those amongst whom they serve, be it their Cell members, chaplaincy ministry, BB boys, GB girls, youths, young adults, elderly, etc. It is a labour of love which will bear much fruit in growing the spiritual life of the listeners and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ.

3. Those who teach vocationally in the ‘Marketplace’

In our church family, we have quite a number of brothers and sisters who are teachers in heart, working and serving at various spheres and institutions such as childcare, pre-school, primary & secondary schools, tertiary institutions, special needs, etc. Let us remember them in prayer for God’s strength, purpose and wisdom in their teaching vocation as they influence and impact lives with the love of God and as they shine brightly for Jesus Christ in the marketplace.

 

Blessings in Christ
Pastor John

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