Mark 1:17, “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”

Dearly beloved,

The past week church camp for us was a time like no other for spiritual renewal. The impact of the messages from the general epistle of Jude would purpose us to live God’s way of life. The next church event is the English Gospel service on the 18December 2011 for our unbelieving friends and relatives. We are thankful to God for what we are (sinners saved by grace) but we may not have gone as far as to think of what we might become. The disciples of Jesus Christ were fishermen and never would have thought that they would be preachers of the word to turn the world upside down and yet they were what Jesus made them to be. First saved by the grace of God, then by His enabling grace to be fishers of men. None of us having read the Acts of the Apostles can deny the fruitfulness of the early Church and by the same token, let us ask ourselves, how can we follow Christ and be fruitful to win souls for the Lord? Eleven of us were at last Saturday’s evangelism, including little Arielle and Nathan, to give out handbills for the gospel meeting. It could have been the whole church present for this important outreach. Below are some principles to consider for what a fruitful outreach is, for Tabernacle in the year 2012.

1. Consecration to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are set apart from the world to be Christ’s disciples. We are to separate from the world before we can consecrate ourselves to Him. The reason why Christians have little influence over the world is because they are being influenced by the world.

2. Abide with Christ. It is one thing to follow but another to abide with Christ. Abiding with Christ is to be taught by Him and to learn of Him. Whatever He teaches us is that we may be true and faithful disciples to the end, which is to be fully consumed with the glory of God.

3. Obedience to Christ. We are to obey to teach, preach and witness the Gospel of Christ and not the opinions and views of men. Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” We must believe what Jesus believed and preach what Jesus preached in the days of His flesh to be true fishers of men.

4. To know the value of a soul.

The reason why people are working to the bone is because they are convinced that money is of great value. And in the same token, our approach to evangelism is how convinced we are about the value of souls around us.

Are today’s churches producing the same results as the early Church?  We have within our reach more resources for evangelism than the early Church and yet we deviate from the true purpose which is to add the number of souls to God’s kingdom, than to ‘increase’ the number of people in the pews. We may have yet to see what the Lord can do with us because we are carried away with the lesser things in life instead of focusing on Christ to make us fishers of men.

Elder Douglas Ho

How to know God’s Will

Whenever I have a problem, I invariably ask a pastor what I should do. The stock answer is : “Pray for God’s will.” The question that always arises in my mind : “How do I know?” Some of us expect a straight forward or direct answer. Some wait and wait for His answer. Some do not even know God has already answered their prayers. One of them is me.

I have an impediment and I sought God’s will; whether I should continue to chair the worship service. So I prayed and prayed for the last six weeks. Remembering, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, ‘Pray without ceasing,’ continued to pray and pray without stopping.  In my heart, I know God hears and He cares. In His good time, in His own way, He always answers prayers.

Meanwhile, I sought some brethren’s opinions and advice. Mentioning my impediment, a pastor advised me to ask the congregation to sing louder. Thank God they did. I pray they will continue to do so. Another one told me His own chairman could not sing well too. I was comforted to hear that.

On Sunday, 13 November 2011, I phoned Elder Douglas Ho at 7.45am. I told him the night before that I had a hacking cough and I slept badly. I asked him to take over my chairmanship. His reply encouraged and cheered me greatly : “Let nothing hinder you from the work of the Lord.” His reply not only uplifted my heart but also renewed my spirit. I thanked God for His answer. It was direct and crystal clear.

On the same Sunday at 2.30pm, I asked Elder Douglas Ho to pray for us. Among other requests, he prayed that we should not let any impediment of health deter us from serving God. However, I did not get the full impact of God’s answer to my prayer until two days later. May God forgive me for the slowness of my heart and mind. God be praised for ever and ever.

God answered my prayer yet again on 27 November 2011, Elder John told me that the Session members would like me to continue to chair the worship service. Thus, with great joy and delight, I look forward to continue to serve God as a chairman.

Through this, I learn to be patient, to be more alert to His still small voice; to read His Holy Word and to listen and be led by His Word.

I also learn that God uses imperfect people to serve Him. He chose fishermen Peter, Andrew, James and John to be His disciples.  God also chose Matthew, a tax-collector and Simon, a nationalist to serve Him. Above all, He chose Paul, a persecutor of the faith to be His disciple. Paul suffered greatly but he shone for God until the Lord took him home.

Likewise, God-willing, let us shine for God in our own small way and in our labour of love for our good Lord and only Saviour. To God be the glory, Honour and Majesty.

God says : ‘Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me …’ Psalm 50:23

Brother Andrew Lum