Volume. XXX, No. 48
Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Reflections - Past & Future


Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church celebrated her 30th Anniversary last Lord’s Day. There was a celebration with an afternoon concert and a church dinner on Saturday, followed by a Thanksgiving service the next day, with Bible conferences on Sunday afternoon and on the following two evenings. It was a great joy. We had Rev Keith Coleman, Executive Director of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, as our Thanksgiving Service speaker. We had our founding pastor, Rev Edward Paauwe and his wife, Mrs Lehia Pauuwe, with us. We were also blessed with the presence of Rev & Mrs David Koo from Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Rev & Mrs Pong Sen Yiew from Singapore; and Preacher Hai Seng Lim, our missionary, from Melbourne.

Many hopefuls were involved in organising and participating in the concert, and they spent many weeks preparing for this big day. By all accounts, the Anniversary concert was the best we ever had, and this is all to the glory of God. There were many who worked behind the scenes, and there were others who were working on the magazine as well. Due to technical issues we were not able to release the 30th Anniversary magazine on the day of our celebration.

There was joy on the faces of all the hopefuls because, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). We were glad and we rejoiced because we had reached the age of 30 years. We had triumphed through periods of discouragement, anxieties, fears, and griefs, and we were blessed by the LORD for His provision of Bible-believing pastors in Rev Edward Pauuwe, Rev Peter Chua, Bro David Weng (as assistant pastor) and Rev Okman Ki, our current and longest serving pastor! We are also blessed by able brothers and sisters who had served and are serving in the Session, the governing body of our church, and the various committees and fellowship groups. God provided us with the stately Stone Mansion where we stayed from early 1994 till Oct 2015, when it was sold for a handsome price. We are blessed with a temporary place of worship at the Bible College of South Australia, a stone's throw from our former Stone Mansion, plus a temporary place for office and fellowship activities in a rectory, also not far from our former location. We have seen many blessings of marriages and many funerals for our loved ones. We have also witnessed many people who received Christ and the majority of them are serving the Lord in this church or churches in their home countries. For all these we should sing with joy and gladness, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” (Psalm 103:1,2). We must remember the benefits that the LORD has given us!

Should we just sit and look back? Should we just reminisce about the old times like the Jews did when they were dispersed to Babylon? The Psalmist revealed how the dispersed Jews reminisced: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” (Psalm 137:1). They were in tears because they had been taken away from Israel, and forcibly settled in Babylon. This was because of their sins and not keeping themselves pure in the sight of God! Do we need to wait till something disastrous happens to us, or to our church? We may look back and wonder with awe how we got through, how we grew from a mere 10 worshippers to about 200 now.  We cannot just sit on our laurels and hope that events will carry on as they were before.

In secular history, empires were brought down, not by external enemies but by enemies within. The Great Wall of China was supposed to protect and preserve the empire of Ming China from barbarians from the north. It was one of her jilted generals who opened the gates on the eastern shores of the Great Wall to allow the hordes of Manchus to conquer China. It was General Yi of the (Korean) Goryeo Dynasty who destroyed the dynasty that he served to become the first king of the Joseon Dynasty. In churches, it is also the people within that cause divisions and splits resulting in families being divided into different camps. Let us learn from the past, and the experiences of other churches, and learn not to cause divisions and dissensions within our church by our lustful desires, and pride. Be not be the one to cause such havoc as an instrument of the devil!

How do we protect our church from future divisions and painful splits?

The first thing to do is pray. Pray not only for your family, your work, and yourself, but pray of our church to remain united in spirit, doctrine and fellowship. Pray for your pastor, elders, deacons and deaconesses, and church leaders that they remain faithful to God.

Secondly, read and study the Word of God, and be prepared to attend the Bible study groups and classes that our church has provided. Learn to be discerning so that you are able to pick false from true doctrines. Avoid Bible study groups that are ecumenical and be careful with Bible study leaders who are charismatic in their style and character. Above all “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). Seek advice from your pastor whether or not a certain speaker or writer is appropriate and correct in his teaching! The resource is there and all you need is to ask. When you go to a “Christian” bookstore, check with the pastor or an elder if a certain author or book is in line with our beliefs!

Thirdly, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” (1 Peter 1:14-17). Let us be obedient to the commandments of God and not live like we used to BEFORE we were saved. Be holy as God is holy. Peter said that we will be judged according to what we do, therefore we should conduct our speech and conduct our lives in a manner that is fitting to be a member, a royal of God’s Kingdom.

Fourthly, let us have the fruit of the Spirit! What is that? “(But) the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23). Pray that you have this! If you belong to Christ, note what the apostle Paul writes - “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24). We no longer are interested in things of the flesh. Therefore, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:25,26). Let us, in this church, be united in doctrine and fellowship, loving and caring for one another, and be active in serving God in the ministries and missions in this country and overseas. Let us not indulge ourselves in anything that would cause divisions and cause our church to be split and families to split. Let our church be a united, praying, loving, caring, and missions-oriented one. Let us have the fear of God in us.

The days ahead are dangerous. The apostle Paul warned: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2 Timothy 3:1). In 1 Timothy 4:1 Paul also warned: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (1 Timothy 4:1). This is an important warning for us. Let us focus on the Lord Jesus and look forward to His Second Coming. In so doing we will never be distracted by events that will happen in “the latter times” when the situation will be “perilous”. Please pray and pray!

God bless.

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bros Kevin Low & Jae Hoon Mun; Sis Kristy Low. Helpers next week: Bro Phil Surman; Sisters Natalie Cheng & Natalie Gan.
*Special thanks to all brothers & sisters who helped, organised and participated in the Anniversary activities. Hebrews 6:10
*30th Anniversary greetings received from Bro Raymond & Sis Swee Yee Chia (S’pore) & Bro David Chua (KL)
*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class will begin soon. Anyone seeking Baptism, Reaffirmation of Faith or Membership Transfer, please see Elder Michael Lee.
*All members are expected to attend ECM next Lord’s Day.

Praise & thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev & Mrs David Koo (Syd); Rev & Mrs Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Pr Hai Seng Lim (Melb); & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the  past week; 30th Anniversary Concert & Thanksgiving Service; & Bible Conferences.
Healing: Bro Gregg Eustice’s mother & Sis Narelle Chong.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe & others in affliction.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions
Other missions: IBPFM & PMU- board members & missionaries all over the world.
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.
Future ministry at Hope BPC: Bro Kevin Low & family.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Journey mercies: Rev Keith Coleman (USA); Rev & Mrs David Koo (Auckland); Elder David Yeo (Cebu); all those who are travelling.
Safety in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zhang.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.
God’s guidance & provision of new church property for worship, office & fellowship activities.
Persecuted believers in Islamic & Communist countries.

 

 

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