Volume. XIX, No. 24
Sunday, 26 December 2004

From the pastors heart: Year-end reflections

Having spent a week in Los Angeles, we came to Philadelphia and finally to Easley, South Carolina today (December 23), which will be our temporary home for the next few weeks. Time comes and goes without greeting or parting words. Only one more week remains with us before we open a new calendar for year 2005. Thinking of all our resolutions and happy and sad memories, we will have to say good bye to year 2004. Though we have neither been perfect people nor maintained perfect life, the Lord has made all things good for us this year. Thank the Lord that we stand on these last moments of the year to praise and thank the Lord for His goodness and greatness.

In this changing moment of time, I think of Jesus Christ who does not change but is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ always impress our hearts. He is our Guide in every situation. John aptly described Him as the Light of the world, but the world did not know Him even though He came to His own people. In this darkened world, Jesus shines forth our ways for our benefits and for His own glory. We would like to follow Him whenever we face situations for which we must make decisions. As we are preparing ourselves for a new year, we commit everything in His gracious hands. By saying this, I do not mean that we have to maintain passive lifestyle as if there is nothing that we can and must do, for God will do everything for us. Our part of commitment is to be active and real. We ought to obey His words and to listen to His guidance.

However, in our spiritual pilgrimage in this world, we do face many challenges. One of the dilemmas we face when we want to follow Him is well summarized in a question a student once made. “Why does nearly everyone we know of as great men or women of God end up getting crucified, shot or hanged?” It seems that the most well known believers of God seem to have suffered more than most people. Our sincere commitment and determination to follow Him does not eliminate all problems and difficulties in life. Besides, when we, believers, want to look for guidance from the Scriptures, we are often puzzled and confused. There are plenty of examples. For example, the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples to love their enemies. He even suggested to turn their cheeks to their enemies for more beatings. Jesus told them to sell everything and to give them away to the poor. Matthew 6:31 says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” We have many students in our church. What is the reason for them to study? Isn’t it to prepare for their better future? Why do I tell my children to study hard, if there is no need to take any thought for tomorrow? I have been teaching in Bible Colleges for years. I have given them assignments and exams. After all, isn’t it to help them prepared for their future? If the next week happens to be the exam week, is it okay to say to them not to have a thought of tomorrow? Jesus told His disciples that they were better than lilies in the field. Matthew 6:28 says, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” But, we often raise questions: “They do not have to think about clothes to wear. They do not have to worry about clothes for job interviews. Teenagers today seem to be very conscious of their clothes in order to touch with others in their age group, or in order not to. The lilies in comparison seem to be inappropriate.

As a result of these thoughts and questions, we feel it difficult to connect ourselves to Christ in every situation. Thus, some people become theological liberals who do not believe in the Scriptures. Or, at least, they do not believe in literal teachings of the Scriptures. Everything in the Bible is mystical to them and they try to find mythological implications from the Biblical accounts. Thus, it does not matter to them whether the Bible is inspired and there is no error in it. To them, it is a meaningless discussion to talk about verbal inspiration of the Bible.

Of course, teachings of Jesus in Matthew 6 are important and significant to our Christian life. Only problem is that the way of understanding of the chapter in the previous paragraph does not reflect the true meaning of the passage. What I am trying to say is that there are many challenges (especially, ethical and moral questions) before us, and we need answers for them from the Scriptures. What rights do we have to tell Japanese not to kill whales for their gourmet dishes? What rights do we have to tell North Korean not to test nuclear weapons? What rights do we have to tell Brazilians not to destroy the rain forest? What are we going to tell our friends about abortion or divorce issues? How are we going to advise our children about their job choices and future plans? In this pluralistic society, how are we going to maintain our relationships with others while not abandoning our principles?

Before all these challenging thoughts and questions, let us be reminded once again that Jesus is the light and He gives us His light. John 1:1-14 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Only Jesus is our hope and future. Look unto Jesus as the year is about to end. With good and bad, happy and sad memories, look unto Jesus.

Treasures of the Scriptures will be found by those who seek and search. The Spirit of God enlightens our minds and thoughts to understand His truth. As this year is about to be ended, let us ask the Lord to give us desire to search for His truth and to experience the joy we ought to have by finding His hidden treasures in His Word. Thank God for His bountiful grace. Thank God for His immeasurable mercy on us. Thank God for Hope church. Thank God for all of you. Commit all things to Him and trust in Him.

Lovingly, Your pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 82: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God? No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.

Please pray for healing for Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, & Sisters Myung Ki, Aranka Rejtoe & Susan Varadi “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Please pray for - journey mercies for Ps Ki & family (USA), Bro Winston & Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam (Sydney), Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (UK), Dn Eric & Mrs Lee (Singapore), Bro Terence, Sis Evelyn & Lauretta Lee (Perth), Bro Dillon Chang (Sydney), Dn Ngie Joo Gong & family (SA), Elder Lee & family (SA, VIC), Dn Edwin D’Mello’s brother & family (QLD), Sis Lee Lan Chong & family (Melb); Missionaries - Rev Moses Hahn & family in Sihanoukville and Rev Stephen Choi & family in Phnom Penh; Missions Team’s preparation to Cambodia, Jan 10-31; Ministry of Elder Peng Kiat Khoo at Hope Church.

Praise and thank God for - journey mercies granted to Dn Eric & Mrs Lee, Bro Terence, Sis Evelyn and Lauretta Lee (Adl), Sisters Sophine Bai (S’pore), Min Yen Chia (KL), Ayli Chong (Adl), Sui Ling Chong, & Gillian Ong (S’pore), Dn D’Mello’s brother & family (Adl), Bro Lincoln Law (Adl), Mr Jin Weng Lim (KL), Bro Hai Seng Lim (Melb), Bro Winston & Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam, Bro Joseph, Sis Christhani & William Selvanayagam; AFG Christmas Dinner; Christmas Service yesterday; Dn David Yeo & family for hosting the Christmas lunch and for all those who helped.

Church Program 2005: All church leaders, please let Elder Lee know of your intended activities for Jan - Mar 2005.
RPGs and Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ for Jan - Mar 2005 available. Donation: $1 per copy. Junior RPGs also available - please see Sis Purdee Yeo.

Roster for next quarter (Jan - Mar 2005) are being prepared. Please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know your availability for services for the LORD.

Please note: Members who are interested in serving in the Finance Committee, please see Dn. Yaw Chiew Tan.

Please fill in your name in the hospitality roster for Elder & Mrs Khoo if you are able to invite them for dinner/lunch while they stay in Adelaide.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041