Volume. XXIII, No. 27
Sunday, 28 December 2008


From The Pastors Heart: Year-End Thanksgiving


As the end of the year is zooming in, so our thoughts and emotions begin to rise high.  There are lots of thoughts about events we have experienced this year and emotions also follow them.  I am sure that there are some unforgettable incidents, whether good or bad.  There were times of feeling happy, but also times of feeling sadness.  There were times of hope, and there were also times when we were discouraged.  At times we enjoyed our heartfelt laughs, but we cannot forget those times when we could not but weep and cry.  As your pastor, looking back at year 2008 is both joy and sadness.  I rejoice in the Lord as we have grown up as a congregation.  I also am happy to see that some of us have come forward to making professions of faith, some to church membership, and some for baptism.  It is my joy to see that various individuals have served the Lord in the most God-honoring and God-fearing ways.  They have not sought for any human recognition but been simply faithful to God.  When I see little ones are growing and filling the Stone Mansion with their giggles, laughs, or cries, I feel happy.  Little children have grown up, and young girls become young ladies, and young boys become young men.  What a joy it is to see them grow!  It is also good to see our senior citizens.  Despite their failing health conditions, they have shown undiminished love and affection to the Lord and to the younger generations.  Thank God for them.  And also, some of us had health troubles and also had operations done.  Some are better now, and some are still struggling.  Some have lost their loved ones, and I am sure that grief will take its own time till they are united with their loved ones in eternity.  We also had some precarious moments in life, on the road, at homes, or in work places.  Thank God who has enabled us to survive those serious challenges and discouragements, though struggles may still be lingering.  The Lord has blessed us all by bringing Pastor Weng and his family into our midst for the continuing growth of our church both physically and spiritually.  Thank the Lord for various committees, for Lively Hope bulletins, finance, IT ministry, tapes and book shop, choir and music ministry, building and property, ladies and men’s fellowship, Sunday School, YAF and Spark4Christ, Adults Fellowship, senior citizens, and more.  Thank the Lord for the street evangelism our young people have done. 

 

There are lots of things I need to talk about the Lord’s graciousness to His church in year 2008.  Thus, I may have to limit myself to one particular area of my thanks to the Hopefuls.  I’d like to talk about the labour of love.  There are two places in the Bible, in which we can find that very phrase, labour of love.”  One is in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”  The other is in Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”  Our faith is not to be shown only on our lips but in actions too.  Apostle John talks in 1 John 2:10 about our duty to love our brethren, “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”  And he also says in 3:18 about the necessity to love in right manners, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  If love is on the top of the list of characteristics Christians must have, the labour of love is the culmination of the beauty of love. 

 

As I look back, I would like to talk about one particular example of love with labour shown in our midst.  It is our Sunday fellowship lunch.  It has been our long tradition to eat lunch together.  It means that we need volunteers to cook and to wash.  When we had 40 or 50 people, it was not much trouble.  All of us brought small dishes and shared them.  The Lord has given us an increase in number.  When the number of our congregation reached around 80-100, some ladies volunteered to cook major portions of food.  They are Alice Lee, Sally Law, Giok Yeo, Iris Surman, Mary Ting, and Myung Ki.  Some of their spouses got involved in this labour of love, and Tony Law and David Yeo have cooked big portions for Sunday lunches.  The Lord has given us continuing growth, and the number of worshippers has grown up to over 130 quite easily these days, some days 140 or close to 150.  Now these volunteers have to cook for that number of people.  It implies a lot of hassles.  First of all, the quantity of food is huge.  Second, it means that the cooks have to take lots of time to prepare.  Third, they cannot cook at home any more.  So, they have to bring materials to cook in the church kitchen.  Fourth, most food preparations are done during Saturday afternoons.  It means that they have to store the food in the fridges, and there is no more room in the fridges to store that quantity of food any more.  In fact, last summer, food left in the church kitchen was spoiled and we had to throw it away.  It is not only a waste of food, but also a health hazard.  Fifth, while the work load for cooking is growing, these volunteers are not becoming younger.  In fact, they have been overworked for the last few years.  Just think about cooking for more than 130 people.  Of course others have also made contributions, for which every one of us needs to be thankful.  I see that by the grace of God our congregation will continue to grow.  It means that we cannot depend on those few ladies and gentlemen for Sunday fellowship lunch any more.  They have done more than they could.  We all have enjoyed their labour of love.  I trust that the Lord remembers what they have done for all of us. 

 

All of the points I have made will lead us to think one more point.  If we should not depend on those few individuals for most of food preparations, what shall we do?  What do you think?  Well, last week there was a Session meeting, and we decided to deal with this issue without any further delay.  Our discussions were based on one common understanding that Sunday lunch is important for our fellowship and that we should not depend on only a few people any more.  Then, the only conclusion we could come up with is to appeal to the whole congregation for their cooperation in this matter.  Until only a few years ago, every one of us brought a dish and we shared them.  Likewise, if we can make our Sunday lunch as communal through everybody’s participation, we can lighten the burdens of food preparations.  It is very obvious that not everybody is able to bring a dish every week.  I believe that every one of us does understand that.  Thus, what the Session tries to say is that if you can bring a dish, would you please do so?  We simply need to recognize that we should not expect big portions of food to be provided by a few individuals any more, but all of us will work together to make our fellowship lunch possible.  I am not sure how much I can edify the body of believers by encouraging them to bring dishes.  However, what I must say is that we help each other as much as we can.  If we share any burden together, it will not be an unbearable burden any more.  We have left too much work with a too small number of people for too long.  It is time for all of us to come in and help one another.  I thank the Lord for those ladies who have worked hard for the last few years for all of us.  What they have done is the labour of love.  Of course, there have been many people who washed the dishes, cleaned up the dining and kitchen halls, and emptied the trashes.  Thank you.  What you have done is not in vain.  I trust that the Lord will reward you accordingly.  The labour of love means hard work, but would you consider being a part of this labour of love?  The Session hopes to change the Sunday lunch to be communal so that there will be more participation from the congregation in general.  The Hopefuls have been known for their hospitality.  Would you help us to make this change possible without much trouble, please?  May the Lord strengthen us as a body of believers and bless us continually!

 

With lots of thanks,

Your Pastor

 

 

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Kitchen Rosters - Team Leader: Sis Ethel Chung

Wishing all Worshippers a Blessed New Year.

Next Year’s theme “Serving the LORD in Sincerity and in Truth” (Joshua 24:14)

From the next Lord’s Day, Fellowship Lunch after Worship Service will be communal. Please bring 1-2 dishes for sharing. Last Sunday of the month will still be “Coffee and Cookies”.

Service Roster for Jan-Mar quarter is available on the literature table in the foyer.

 

LOOKING AHEAD:

Sunday School Teachers’ Training Video on 18 & 25 Jan 2009, 7.30pm.

 

PRAYER ITEMS:

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagan, & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Yeom. Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia (Bros Joseph Lo & Richard Tee, & Sis Wui Chiuen Kew in Phnom Penh); Kuching - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: future ministry

Journey Mercies: Bro Colin Gan & family; Bro Winston & Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam; Bro Wai Kin Wong & family (Adl); Bro Lincoln Law (Tas); Sisters Judy Li (Dalian) & Clara Sim (S’pore), and all others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: ministry in Hope BPC; application for permanent residency in Australia.

Outreach to Mandarin speakers in Adelaide.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Tabitha Heah & Judy Li.

BPCWA (Perth) - God’s guidance & wisdom.

Hopefuls & regular worshippers away during the summer vacation.

 

PRAISE & THANKSGIVING:

Journey mercies: Dn Mark Heah & family; Bro Lawrence Tan & family; Bro Vincent & Sis Carol Sim (Adl/S’pore); Bro Timothy Tan & family (S’pore); Bro Yew Kay Cho & family (Batu Pahat); Bro Colin Gan & family; Bro Wai Kin Wong & family (Melb); Bro Pee Yau & Sis Kim Tan (Melb/Adl); Bro Lincoln Law (Adl); Sisters Marion Chan, Gillian Ong & Clara Sim (Adl); Lydia Fan (UK); Judy Li (Seoul); Mr Laurie Brown (Adl) & all others who have arrived safely.

Church activities: Christmas Worship Service; E-Ministry; Junior & Youth Instrumental Ensembles; Choir Presentation; Shorter Catechism Class; Session Meeting; Wed Bible Study & Working Bees.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063