Volume. XXV, No. 47
Sunday, 22 May 2011


Family Bible Camp 2011


Though the Church theme for 2011 is "Dedicated to Christ" taken from Luke  9:23-24, and appears weekly on the cover of the Lively Hope, we may not have given it the due consideration such a theme deserves. What does it mean? Why must I be so? What is my motivation to do so? How do I go about it? Does it mean that I must live with even more rigid rules? Will it take the joy out of
life?


The 2011 Church Camp was a wonderful time of getting to grips with our Church theme, and feasting on the juicy meat of God\'s Word as presented by  Preacher Mark Chen. Many of the campers will agree that at the end of the Church Camp, many of us have become a "little" weightier from the good food we had, a bit closer to each other from the mutual fun and sharing, and more importantly, a lot wiser from the practical lessons taught that we can apply in our lives. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the lessons I learnt during the Camp for edification, and as an encouragement for you to attend the next Church Camp in 2012.


Now with the advertisement for the next Church Camp done, let me begin. It will be of a lesser spiritual fare than what was served at the Camp due to limitations of the instrument, but I believe that God\'s Word will shine through in spite of the inadequacies of the instrument used.


Dedication to Christ is a command, not a choice. In Joshua 24:15, it was not a choice of whether to follow God or not, but if rejecting God, then the only choice was which way to go down to Hell. It is a given that we must be dedicated to Christ, Who is the Creator of
all things, even us.


There is a cost to dedication as more matured Christians have come to realise. When we were first saved, we may not have realised the true cost of what it means to be dedicated to Christ, and even now some of us may not realise this, being comfortable with our lives. It is more often that we hear about how wonderful being a Christian is, but hardly ever hear of the pain, suffering and cost of being dedicated to Christ. Would we be so willing to have been Christians if we had known that we had to deny ourselves of what we like, to surrender every aspect of our being to Christ, to seek what pleases Him and not ourselves, to be His slave evermore and in so doing, to love Him more than self and even our dearest loved ones? It seems so harsh, and it would be so if we were following just a man, but we are called to be slaves to a most gracious, loving and merciful God, Whose only wish is our good. Such benevolence caused the Creator to die on the cross for the creature that the creature may be delivered from eternal damnation. So now, count the cost of being a Christian, lest we start well, but end badly, and hopefully we can like Joshua say, "... but as for me and my house, we will serve the
Lord."


Dedication to Christ is not for a moment, but for a eternity! How can we be continually motivated to maintain this dedication here on earth? I believe that it won\'t be a problem when we are in Heaven with Christ, as His very presence will be so lovely to us to cause us to want to worship Him in the manner we were designed to; but here on earth, we are weak and have many distractions. It is important that we realise our weakness and seek strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit, otherwise we are trying to change ourselves, by ourselves, with the same pathetic failures we experience from new year resolutions. It is the Holy Spirit that affects permanent
transformations for the better, not man. It is love that motivates us to be dedicated to Christ. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the realisation that it was God Who took the initiative to love us and to redeem us (Romans 5:8), and helps us develop our love for Christ, that with each willing day, we find it easier to give up our worldly distractions for Christ. Even if we have backslidden, we are not forsaken if we repent and return to God. Now is
the day for repentance and rededication to Christ, for at the end of our lives or this world (whichever comes first), there is no further opportunity for us to do so - we are either "sheep" in Heaven or "goats" for Hell.


What about joy? Well, what about it? Sinful man, as we all are, seeks only to satisfy our own enjoyments and the lust of our flesh. We strive to achieve such joy with anticipation, but find the joy sorely wanting when we
obtain the temporal satisfaction. The worldly joy is fleeting, and like a drug, only draws us into its bondage. But dedication to Christ, though it may seem in our sin-tainted eyes contrary to a joyful life, considering the
cost to us, actually frees us from guilt and sin, and we begin to find lasting joy in serving a God who is also our Heavenly Father. Talk to a mature Christian who has gone through much suffering, and though he or she
may not be well-off, or in the best of health, or famous, they speak of their life with God with such calmness and peace that comes from experiencing the joy of the Lord. How I would wish it on myself and all of us.


The measure of our dedication to Christ is not by physical means or key performance indicators as the secular world uses to measure performance. It does not mean that we are more spiritual if we can recite the Bible
verbatim, or if we are busy in Church work, or give large offerings to the Church, or regularly attend Sunday Worship Services. Remember that God looks on the heart of man, and not on the outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:7). We need to consider our motives in our service to God and one another. Are we being busy to gain the praise of men? Do we refuse to obey God for fear of man? Do all things firstly in love for God and then for one another, which we know are the two greatest commandments (Mark 12:30-31), and the Holy Spirit will cause us to bear good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) by which we will know our standing before God. Consider the example of Mary who sat at Jesus feet to learn more about the Him and His Kingdom first,
and in the endturned out to be a better disciple than the Disciples themselves.


My brothers and sisters-in-Christ, may I bring to your attention the words of Jim Elliot, God\'s missionary who gave his life for God when he was killed by the same Auca Indians whom he was sent to save, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Is this not an apt paraphrase of Luke 9:24, worthy of our consideration as we are now confronted with the personal question of our dedication to Christ; as we ponder what all this now means to each
of us?


Thank you & God bless,


Dn Colin Gan

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham. Next Lord’s Day: Sis Lydia Fan.
*Hope Bookstore: Opening hours 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm. New books available. Please come to our bookstore for a browse.
*Help needed for Church Library. If interested to join this committee, please put your name on the sign up list on the notice board or talk to Dn Colin Gan for more details.
*Please invite family members, relatives & friends to join us for our 25th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service next Lord’s Day. Invites on the literature table.
*CDs & mp3 of Family Bible Camp messages available. If interested, please fill the order form on the literature table and leave it in the box provided. Prices are on the order form.
*Helpers needed for VBS in July. If you can help please see Sis Tabitha Tan.


Looking Ahead
*25th Anniversary Thanksgiving, 29 May.
*Vacation Bible School, July 2011
*Christmas Concert, Sat, 3 Dec.


Praise and Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Bro Daniel Ki (Adl/Pt Aug), & others who arrived safely.
Church activities - over the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Second Anniversary Thanksgiving of Sihanoukville Presbyterian Church (Pr Zhang) on 8 May.
Session Meeting - God’s guidance.


Prayer items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser;  Elton Law, & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe (Per), Margaret Pearson, Irena Kurek-Braden & Susan Varadi; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Pr Zhang (Sihanoukville).
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa (Filadelfia Church & Orphanage).
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry (China).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
Ps & Sis  Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Ki (Adl); Dns Joyce Gong (S’pore/Batam/Japan); Bros Daniel Ki (Pt Aug) & Raymond Chia; & Sis Cyndi Chan (S’pore); & those who are travelling.
Job - Sisters Clara Sim & Corinne Teng.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
God’s comfort - those in grief.
 Street-Evangelism - Protection of participants & Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts. 
Disasters in Auckland (3 May), USA (29 April), Japan (11 Mar) & Christchurch (22 Feb) - victims & families.
Anniversary Thanksgiving. Speaker: Pastor Ki.
God’s guidance & Job provision in S’pore: Bro Raymond Ang.
Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.
Australian B-P churches: unity of doctrine & fellowship.
Mission work in Mindanao - Bro Richard & Sis Myra Horenung.

 

 

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