FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK

14 Apr 2019

Dear family in Christ

We commemorate Palm Sunday today. Jesus Christ had set his heart to walk the way of the cross to Calvary. He rode into Jerusalem city on a humble donkey (Matthew 21:1-11). The Jewish crowd had the expectant hope of the conquering Messiah and king who would come to liberate them from the tyrannical 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, loud voices cried out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”.

As we go into Holy Week, let us keep our focus on Jesus Christ and His sacrificial obedience to the will of God the Father. As we remember the series of events during this significant week, may our hearts be filled with gratitude and our wills be resolved to walk the way of the cross.

  1. Washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17): Servanthood, humility and love for one another must be the hallmark of a committed disciple of Jesus.
  2. Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-29): Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (body and blood) as an important remembrance of God’s new covenant of grace.
  3. Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46): Jesus was in deep agony and sorrow, yet He was fully obedient to the will of His Father.
  4. Betrayal, arrest, trial (Luke 22:47 – 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): He is Risen. Praise and thanks be to God for the victory over sin and death, and the blessed hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

7 Apr 2019

Dear friends

We are very glad to welcome all the children and youths from Girls’ Brigade (31st, 52nd, 59th) and Boys’ Brigade (52J, 59J, 64th) to St John’s Chapel for our annual Enrolment and Dedication service. We are honoured to have Mr Patrick Koh, Boys’ Brigade Vice-President, to grace this joyful occasion as our Guest of Honour. A warm 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 love and commitment of St John’s Chapel 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 wonderful support and help of parents, school principals and CCA teachers.

We live in very challenging times in today’s complex globalised world. We hope to inculcate significant life values in the process of building excellent moral character in these precious young 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 wonderful blessings to their family and be good citizens of Singapore. May they grow up to be fine young men and women with integrity and compassion and make a significant difference in the world.

 

In Christ
Pastor John Lin

31 Mar 2019

Dear family in Christ

During my teenage years as a young Christian, I was privileged to be taught the importance of memorising Scripture. One particular Bible memory verse has impacted my life deeply all these years. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

As I reflect upon my children’s lives in their respective life stages currently and consider what their future may hold, the Lord encouraged me with Matthew 6:33 as a guide for my reflection and as a significant focus and priority on how my wife and I should guide our children. Let me share three thoughts from the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-34.

Firstly, “do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… (6:19-20). Let us live our life with the focus on laying up treasures in heaven. We have only one Master to serve – Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Let us do the work which our Master has called us to do and live in obedience to the will of our heavenly Father.

Secondly, “therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (6:25). A recent poll revealed that many Singaporeans are highly stressed, with a rising trend of depression and mental illness amongst the young generation. Let us trust in the sovereign Father, who holds our life and future in His loving powerful hand.

Thirdly, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (6:33). Let us seek God in close relationship and grow in Christlikeness, trusting God to provide for our needs. May our life priority be on matters that concern the kingdom of God in the proclamation of the gospel. May our life be lived to the glory of God in our family, workplace or school, and among our friends and neighbourhood.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

24 Mar 2019

Dear family in Christ

We thank the Lord for our church missionaries, called by God to bring the gospel of Jesus our Messiah beyond the shores of Singapore. Pls remember them regularly in prayer, give them a call, write an email or send a card to encourage them in their ministry.

  1. Ian & Alison Gosling – They serve strategically under a foreign missions agency, with Ian providing significant IT development and support for the agency’s mission outreach to many unreached people groups around the world. They also reach out to displaced refugees with the gospel. Pls pray for Alison’s health and for Ian to recover well from his cataract operation.
  2. Gerry & Ya Hui Gan – They have served faithfully for the past 7 years at ChiangMai in church planting work through education and community services under the deanery of Thailand. They will be in Singapore from June to August 2019 for a sabbatical. Pls pray for God’s grace, wisdom and strength for their family life and ministry outreach.
  3. Deborah Loh – She is currently in Singapore under admin leave of absence to care for her father as he recovers from laryngeal cancer surgery. She plans to return to Bangkok in May 2019 to continue her outreach to the urban poor community. Pls pray for her to receive the four clearances required by Overseas Missionary Fellowship, especially in the area of financial support.

Our church practises the two-envelope giving system. The first is the Tithing envelope. All tithes returned to the Lord go to the General Fund, which is used to pay staff salaries, ministry expenses, diocese quota, etc. The second is the Freewill giving envelope. This goes to the Mission Fund, which is used to support the above-mentioned missionaries, plus other regular and ad-hoc giving to missions as decided by PCC. As the Lord enables, may we give obediently, joyfully and generously for the work of God’s eternal kingdom.

Maranatha
Pastor John

17 Mar 2019

Dear family in Christ

Celebration of Hope is drawing nearer. 60 more days to go. Thousands of Christians in Singapore are undergoing training, making preparations, issuing invitations and praying fervently. Are you excited and ready for the mighty work of the Holy Spirit in the bountiful harvest of precious souls for the kingdom of God?

I call upon our church community to continue in committed actions and fervent prayers.

  1. Leadership: Pray for God’s protection and wisdom upon Bp Rennis, Rev Lewis Lew, Rev Tony Yeo, the organising committee and key team leaders.
  2. Unity: Pray for good brotherly unity among all the churches in Singapore as we gather and serve together for the Lord’s harvest.
  3. Speakers: Pray for God’s grace and protection upon the evangelists Canon J. John, pastor Kou Shao En and Mr Mohan Lazarus.
  4. Open hearts: Pray for the hearts of family, friends and colleagues to be open and willing to attend the rallies to hear the gospel.
  5. Resources: Pray for sufficient finances, coordinated planning and committed volunteers in the various areas of ministry.
  6. Ushers: Pray for our church community to respond in serving as Ushers (120 people needed) on Sunday morning rally 19 May.
  7. Personal evangelism: Pray for urgency, courage and wisdom to share the good news of Jesus Christ to our family and friends.

Let us kneel and weep before the Lord for the salvation of our loved ones, friends and the thousands in Singapore who need reconciliation and peace with God in Jesus the Messiah.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

10 Mar 2019

Dear family in Christ

I call upon St John’s Chapel community to serve the Lord as USHERS in welcoming and guiding people to their seats on 19 May Sunday morning rally at Celebration of Hope. Your smile, help and welcome will bear a wonderful testimony for Jesus to many non-Christian invited guests.

Heartfelt thanks to the 70 church volunteers who have signed up till date. We need another 50 more, so that we can cover our assigned area effectively. It will be such a wonderful joy to serve the Lord’s kingdom work together.

You can register as an Usher at this weblink  http://cathedral.celebrationofhope.sg/register  You need to provide the following info during registration: St John’s Chapel; part of a group;  Lawrence Mun (group Leader); Usher (Interior).

We look forward to much tears of joy when we witness thousands responding to the gospel call to believe and follow Jesus Christ, in whom we have the joy of salvation and the hope of eternal life.

Let us continue to be steadfast and fervent in our prayers for the gracious salvation work of God in many lives.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

3 Mar 2019

Dear family in Christ

We begin the 40-day season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, 6 March. At the Ash Wednesday service, the priest places some ash on our foreheads as a reminder that our bodies (sinful fallen nature) are mortal (“… you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19b). By the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are set free from our bondage to sin and death.

Firstly, let us Reflect and give thanks to God for the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ during this Lent season. In submission and obedience to His Father’s will, Jesus walked the way of the cross, so that we can have peace and reconciliation with God the Father. May our hearts be ever grateful to Jesus and follow his example of humble obedience.

Secondly, let us Repent of our sins as we open our hearts to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in convicting “the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”. (John 16:8). God will forgive us when we truly repent, having a transformative change of heart and a definitive change in our way of life. May we seek to live a life of holiness and godliness.

Thirdly, let us Renew our first love for God and deep commitment to God. Take time to slow down during Lent and spend time with Abba Father in the Word and in prayer. Let the “searchlight” of the Holy Spirit examine our life for spiritual renewal, restoration and revival. May we grow daily in our relationship with God and in Christlikeness.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”  Psalm 51:17

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

24 Feb 2019

Dear family in Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught his beloved disciples at the Upper Room on the night before being crucified on the cross, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Having experienced the deep sacrificial love of God, we are called to love one another as children of God. This is the joy and privilege we have as God’s community in His Church. This is the powerful testimony to the watching world that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ, who walk in obedience to his commandments and walk according to the Holy Spirit.

As God’s community at St John’s Chapel, let us love one another, showing care, concern and help for each other. Amongst our church community, some are struggling with work difficulties, ill health, strained families, childcare issues, elderly care, financial concerns, deep grief, sad loneliness and life anxieties. Let us bear one another’s burdens and struggles. Let us make time for good listening and meaningful conversations. Let us pray with and for one another lovingly as we lean on the sufficient grace of God as a community.

“… those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”  Proverbs 11:25b (NLT)

Love in Christ
Pastor John

17 Feb 2019

Dear family in Christ

Thank you, dear brothers and sisters, who have already registered to attend Celebration of Hope (CoH) “Andrew Initiative” Training on Personal Evangelism. In the case during the CoH rallies that the Counsellors are overwhelmed by the large number of people responding to the alter call, those trained by the “Andrew Initiative” will be called upon to serve as Counsellors.

I am making a final appeal and encouragement for many in our church community to attend this centralised training, which will help us in personal evangelism in our daily life. This 3-hour workshop empowers participants to engage their harvest fields and be effective “Andrews” in bringing their family and friends to Jesus (John 1:42).

  • Praying:       Praying for the harvest force and for the harvest field.
  • Engaging:    Building authentic relationships; Sharing your life story;
    Sharing THEFOUR; Handling objections Basic follow up
  • Gathering:  30-day challenge

You can choose to attend any ONE  of four training dates and venues (9.00 am to 12.30 pm, Saturday):

  • 23 February     Covenant Evangelical Free Church
  • 2 March            St Andrew’s Cathedral
  • 9 March            Lighthouse Evangelism (Tampines)
  • 16 March          St John’s – St Margaret’s Church

For registration, pls email by today to Rev Bernard Yee (bernard@patmos.org.sg ), with copy to Lydia Leong (dianalydia@patmos.org.sg ), to indicate your preferred choice of training date.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”   Luke 1:76-79

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

10 Feb 2019

Dear family in Christ

During the Lunar New Year festive season, many families gather for a sumptuous meal and a joyful time together. Yet there are some families who do not wish to meet one another or they experience tension and pain when meeting up. Why are some families happy while other families are sad?  

1.      God’s Plan – Families are close to the heart of God. The family unit is God’s creation plan, as seen in Genesis 1 and 2. In the life of ancient Israel, who are God’s chosen people, families play a central role in society and in their relationship with God. In God’s creation design, the family is to live together in love and solidarity, in joy and unity, in peace and harmony.

2.      Man’s Brokenness – Because of human sin and disobedience to God, every family experiences brokenness and pain in some way. It is the strategy and deception of Satan to destroy and break up families and marriages. This results in deep sorrow and painful grief in the hearts of God’s beloved people. This family brokenness often caused emotional turmoil, mental anguish and societal disorder.

3.      God’s Restoration – Thanks be to God for his grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. In Christ’s death and resurrection, we are a new creation, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord can bring about restoration to every family broken by sin. God can turn the brokenness into wholeness, from sorrow into joy, from hopelessness to a renewed hope.

Let us pray for every family to receive the grace and mercy of God that leads to restoration and wholeness, and to experience the love, joy and peace in Jesus Christ.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

3 Feb 2019

Dear family in Christ

During the coming celebrative Chinese New Year season, there will be many occasions to meet family relatives and catch up with good friends. As you enjoy the delicious food and interesting conversations, make use of every opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus Christ and shine brightly for Him.

  1. Pray – In the midst of our conversations, silently commit our family and friends to the Lord in prayer for God’s mercy and salvation.
  2. Respect – It is important to give due respect and honour to the elders in our immediate and extended families.
  3. Listen – Hear life stories through the conversations and understand the heart and struggles of family and friends.
  4. Build – Build good family ties and grow in your friendships with genuine care and concern.
  5. Invite – Be discerning and courageous to invite them for Alpha course and Celebration of Hope.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Revelation 21:5a

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

27 Jan 2019

Dear church family

Psalms 120 to 134 are a special group of psalms known collectively as the “Songs of Ascents”. Ancient Jews traveling to Jerusalem for the annual major Jewish festivals traditionally sang these songs as they ascended the uphill road towards the city. These ancient songs have been expressed in many hymns and songs of worship amongst Jews and Christians today. The songs teach us about our trust in God and our worship of God.

In Psalm 125, the psalmist expressed his trust in the Lord. He was assured of God’s sovereign protection from the wicked and felt the shalom and love of God surrounding Israel, the covenant people of God. “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psa 125:1-2)

Sometimes in our life, we go through uphill struggles, difficult situations and painful times. May we grow in trusting God deeper in the midst of our pain and difficulties and learn to be steadfast and patient. May we look to the Lord and experience the grace and power of God and learn to rest in the sovereignty of our heavenly Father who surrounds His beloved children with His love, joy and peace.

 

Shalom in Christ
Pastor John

20 Jan 2019

Dear church family

As children of God, it is such a great joy and privilege to be in a close loving relationship with our Abba Father. In this intimate relationship, we listen to God through His Word and we converse with God in prayer. I pray that Word and prayer will always be an integral part of our spiritual walk with the Lord daily.

  1. Word – Let us encourage one another as God’s community to read through the whole Bible in one year for 2019. Our church is using the “Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan”. Pls collect a copy of this Bible reading plan at the resource table located at our church entrance. If you may need more than one year, pls feel to do so. The purpose is to read the Bible regularly for our spiritual growth and maturity.
  2. Prayer – Let us gather as God’s people to pray together at our monthly prayer meetings, in our cells and during church service. We pray for one another and for God’s work of the gospel in evangelism and missions. I would like to introduce the Operation World Prayer Guide which I am using for daily prayer. It is a useful prayer guide in praying for every nation of the world and helps us see God at work in all these nations. You can download the “Operation World Prayer Guide” App onto your mobile phone for free from Google store. May we grow in our prayer life and may the Lord open our eyes and heart as we pray for the nations.

Through Word and Prayer, may we grow in a close walk with the Lord and in spiritual maturity.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

13 Jan 2019

Dear church family

We are very excited to see the Lord’s harvest of souls as God’s Church in Singapore gear up for Celebration Of Hope on 17-19 May 2019. There is a Training Workshop for PERSONAL EVANGELISM, which I am strongly encouraging our church community to attend.

This 3-hour workshop empowers participants to engage their harvest fields and be effective “Andrews” in bringing their family and friends to Jesus (John 1:42). The workshop will provide practical handles on:

Praying
  • How to set up personal prayer altars
  • How to pray strategically
Engaging
  • How to build genuine relationships
  • How to share your life story
  • How to share THEFOUR (the 4 Spiritual Laws)
  • How to deal with objections
  • How to follow up and offer counselling
Gather
  • How to integrate prayer, engagement, and gathering into a 30-Day Challenge

You can choose to attend any ONE of four official training dates and venues:

North Covenant Evangelical Free Church 23 February, 9am – 12:30pm
Central St Andrew’s Cathedral 2 March,      9am – 12:30pm
East Lighthouse Evangelism (Tampines) 9 March,      9am – 12:30pm
West St John’s – St Margaret’s 16 March,     9am – 12:30pm

All are welcome to attend this Personal Evangelism training. It will be great if you can attend together as a Cell group. (Cell leaders – you can register on behalf of your cell). We will collate our church participation responses together and send it to the CoH organisers. Acceptance of registration is dependent on the seating capacity of each venue. First come, first served.  Pls email Rev Bernard Yee (bernard@patmos.org.sg ), with copy to Lydia Leong (dianalydia@patmos.org.sg ), to indicate your preferred choice of training date by 27 January.

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”   Romans 10:15b

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

6 Jan 2019

Dear church family

As we begin the new year 2019, we are drawing one year closer to the Return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

May the last prayer found in the Bible at Revelation 22:20,  “Come, Lord Jesus”,  always be at the centre of our heart and prayers.

What is the Church (people of God) called to do in the light of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

  1. PREPARE herself as the glorious Bride to meet her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
    (Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:6-9)
  1. PROCLAIM the gospel and make disciples of all nations for our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
    (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:12-15)
  1. PRIORITISE and live our life with vision and purpose for our Lord Jesus Christ.
    (Matthew 6:24-34; Acts 20:24-27)

 

MARANATHA – “Even so, Come Lord Jesus”

 

Love in Christ
Pastor John

29 & 30 Dec 2018

Dear church family

Praise be to God for the 12 persons who were baptised on Christmas Day. We thank our Abba Father for his salvation grace and bountiful mercy in calling them to Himself as his beloved children in the kingdom of God. Interestingly, these 12 baptismal candidates is a reflection of a beautiful multi-generational picture from the very young to the elderly: 1 baby, 2 toddlers, 1 youth, 4 adults and 4 elderly.

I spoke briefly with a Christian lady guest and saw the joy on her face and delight in her eyes as she witnessed the baptism of her elderly parents. It was also a great joy to witness the baptism of a father and his twin sons together. Every baptismal candidate has a wonderful story to tell of God’s love and grace in their lives. Indeed, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13.

What a wonderful way to end the year 2018 with the joy and encouragement of the Baptism service on Christmas Day as we rejoice in the First Coming of Jesus Christ our Saviour. It reminds us of what the church is to BE as the redeemed people of God and what we are called to DO in the faithful proclamation of the gospel. As we move on to the new year 2019, remember the words that the whole church declared together: “Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified. Fight valiantly under the banner of Christ, against sin, the world, and the devil, and continue his faithful soldier and servant to the end of your life.”

Maranatha
Pastor John

22 & 23 Dec 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 for our special Christmas program. We hope that you will have an enjoyable and meaningful experience that will bring deep peace and great joy in your heart.

I often spend time at the hospitals, either to visit church members or to care for my family members. Last week, a church member went for surgery and I waited awhile along the corridor outside the operating theatre. I saw patients being wheeled into the operating theatre and also out of it, accompanied by their family members. Their faces were understandably filled with anxiety as they clung on to the hope that the surgery will go well, the recovery will be good and the illness can be cured.

Hope is so important in every area of life. Parents hope their child will grow up well. Students hope to pass their exams. Families in conflict hope for restoration in their relationships. Poor families hope for enough food and finances. The unemployed person hopes to get a job soon. There is a popular Mandarin song that expressed the hope in every heart – “Tomorrow will be better” ( 明天会更好).

Christians all over the world celebrate the joy of Christmas because of the blessed hope we have in Jesus Christ. We experience the love and peace of God. We receive the grace and mercy of God. We receive forgiveness for our sins. We have purpose and meaning in life. We have the joyous hope of eternal life.

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

 

Love in Christ
Pastor John

15 & 16 Dec 2018

Dear family in Christ

For many people living in countries that experience the four seasons, the melancholy of the Fall season deepens into the depression of Winter. Scientists and researchers agree that people who suffer from winter depression, also known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (S.A.D.), have one thing in common – they are particularly sensitive to light, or the lack of it. This winter depression is felt deeply even in the midst of busy Christmas festivities.

Some years ago, I had to provide emergency pastoral care for a church member who wanted to end her life. She felt very depressed and suicidal amidst all the Christmas festivities because of a very difficult family situation. Amidst all the bright lights, loud music and festive shopping along Orchard Road and the heartland shopping malls, I wonder how many people amongst the festive throng are depressed, lonely or even suicidal. Some may be grieving over a relationship loss, experiencing conflicts in their family, or feeling anxious about their health, finances and future.

During this Christmas season, may I encourage you to look out for those in your family, in our church, at your workplace and among your friends, who may be feeling down, depressed or lonely. Pray and ask God for a compassionate and discerning heart to care for them in several ways: (1) Share a word of encouragement; (2) Write a card to cheer them up; (3) Spend time with them over a meal or outing; (4) Invite them to your family meal or to your Home Cell Christmas celebration or our church Christmas service.

May the Light of Christ fill your hearts with God’s unfailing love, unspeakable joy and unceasing peace always.

 

Maranatha
Pastor John

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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