Volume. XXVIII, No. 33
Sunday, 16 February 2014

From the Pastors Heart Believers Community

Giles Slade asserts a very interesting statement in his book, Big Disconnect: The Story of Technology and Loneliness (Contemporary Issues), as following: Increasingly, the lack of human interaction breeds the lack of human interaction so interpersonal difficulties become easier and easier to avoid. Instead of visiting, we phone; instead of phoning, we text; instead of texting, we post updates for our friends on Facebooks wall, and when they dont like these updates, we unfriend them. In public, we catch up on our smartphones with people we no longer have time to visit, or we steal a few moments during our commute to listen to a playlist while reading an eBook on a Kindle. The luminal spaces of our cities are full of people experiencing and practicing uncomfortable elevator silences (loc 85, Kindle). We are not living in a so-called backward society anymore. We are talking about personal and private spaces, which were literally an unknown concept even till a few decades ago or in our present generation in the undeveloped countries. Many of the Hopefuls grew up in small homes often living with extended families. Individual room was a luxury, and many of the family members had to share rooms. When I was a little boy, TV was a very expensive commodity, and not all people could afford it. Many of my friends visited a nearby friends home to watch childrens TV shows or even wrestling games. I cannot imagine how my friends family felt every night. They gave up their own private space and accommodated their neighbors to join them to watch their TV together. It was not just once in a while event, but as far as I remember, some people were always there every night! They brought snacks to share. It was a totally different lifestyle from todays. There was no clear sense of individualism, but they had a community life. Some nights my family gathered by a transistor radio to listen to a popular show, music, or news of the day. I must say that it happened in one room.

Alas, things have changed so much since those days. There is no more reason for families to be together to watch a ball game in one room any more, because there are more than one TV in each household. The story does not stop there. Some families have TVs in each room, which keeps them from fighting over channel controls. Everyone chooses his or her own favorite shows for convenience, and family talk ceases at the same time. TV sets are only a precursor of further troubles. Most family has more than one computer. Consider a family of four people including parents and two children with desktop and laptop computers, and everyone keeps his own machine and dwells in his or her own cyber world. Some people do not even bothered to walk into the real world. They can make friends over the internet. They can find friends to chat and play games, though they had never met before and still do not know how their cyber friends look like.

Now we have smart phones everywhere. We do not need friends of flesh and blood any more. If we have questions, we go to the screen and press a few buttons. We carry them anywhere and everywhere including toilets! I have seen people playing games in the toilets. As soon as families get into a car, virtually everyone, except the driver, takes his or her phone out and does something with it quite busily. More and more people are losing the concept of community. Parents and children do not talk any more. Husband and wife do not spend time chatting any more. All these social changes have made people feel lonely. Such sense of loneliness drives them even more to these machines which they fellowship with. Some people name their phones as if they are real characters. They dress them with various phone covers. Their machines are their companions. Instead of human company, they choose machines. William Deresiewicz says in Faux Friendship, Chronicle of Higher Education (April 20, 2012), that we have given our hearts to machines, and now we are turning into machines.

If we turn our eyes to church communities, we also realize that they are not doing well, either. There are isolated believers who refuse to join any fellowship groups. They are only turning to themselves. They argue that they want their personal space. They voice their desires for privacies and personal times. Of course, church fellowship should not intrude into someone else private matters. Church fellowship should not break into someones personal space without any justification. However, at the same time, we ought to understand that the believers of Jesus Christ are members of the believers community. They are described as members of one same body. Jane Jacobs says that it is the repeated process of such trivial interactions that establishes, over the course of time, social familiarity and trust, the intangible glue that holds our society together (loc. 165, Kindle). Through prayer meetings, fellowship times, Bible studies, visitations, sharing meals and helping each other may be small matters, but when we do them continually, we begin to understand each other better and to have stronger bonds amongst us. I am concerned about some who desire to isolate themselves from the rest of the body of believers. It is because isolation is not a way for them to live as believers of Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks about togetherness so much. Let us look at the following examples:

Romans 1:12, That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 15:30, Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. 1 Corinthians 3:9, For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 1 Corinthians 12:24, For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. 1 Corinthians 14:23, If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 2 Corinthians 1:11, Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. 2 Corinthians 6:1, We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. Ephesians 2:21, In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. Philippians 1:27, Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Colossians 2:2, That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.

Come out, my friends, come out from your own shelled world to the community of believers!

Your pastor

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Bro Raphael Ng. Next Lords Day: Volunteer.
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.
*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class commences on 2 Mar. For details, please see Elder Michael Lee.
*Family Bible (Easter) Camp - Volunteers (inexperienced or experienced) wanted and most welcome to join camp committee. Please meet at Extended Sanctuary after Worship Service.
*Greetings from Sis Judy Creamer (USA)
*Congratulations to Bro Aaron & Sis Monica Tan on the safe arrival of their second daughter on Friday.
*Please note: BSAG NBS Group starts on Thursday; Tiny Tots will resume on Tues, 25 Feb.

Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Bros Raymond Ang (Adl/Pinnaroo), Edwin DMello (Spore/Batam), Timothy Gan (Adl) & Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl); Sisters Xandrea Cai, Xiao Hui Chye, Kimberley Gan, Yvone Kam, Buey Yeo, & Peng Ha Yeo (Adl); others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities in past week.
3. Gods daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
4. Visitors & new worshippers.
5. Safe Labour - Sis Monica Tan; Safe delivery of healthy baby daughter.
6. Cooler weather & rain over last few days.
Prayer Items

1. Health & Gods healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (Spore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (Spore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicias father - Spore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gans father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Ruth Ngoma, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi & Sis Mavis Wongs mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wongs father); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
2. Special Prayer: Mrs Maggie DMello (ICU - Mumbai); Sis Nita Chongs cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing) & Sis Iris Surmans brother (healing).
3. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.
4. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & Ministry(Sihanoukville); Bro Sun Sokha (Phnom Penh).
5. Battam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage & kindergarten.
6. New Life BPC (London) - Gods encouragement & guidance for congregation; Rev Colin Wongs health & visa application to be approved.
7. Ministry in Hope BPC - Gods guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng.
8. Journey mercies: Bros Edwin DMello (Mumbai) & Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl); & others travelling.
9. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
10. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Yashu Qin (Adl) & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for stable jobs.
11. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Kerrie Lam, May Lau & Tabitha Tan.
12. Postnatal health, recovery & strength - Sis Monica Tan; Baby Tan - health
13. Recovery & strength: Sis Susan Weng; Development & health: Caleb Weng.
14. Gods guidance & wisdom for those in authority in this country.



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