Dear Brethren,

We thank God for bringing us to the last day of this year 2011 and to end the year in worship of God who has preserved our lives for another year. There are many people, old and young, who never get through 2011 because death has caught hold of them. If the Lord gives us life for the new year 2012 and our Lord Jesus tarries in His coming, what will you do with the gift from God of 365 days?

365 days can be broken into 8,760 hours. Of these hours, 1/3 of it i.e. 2,920 hours will have been spent in sleep, and another 2,920 hours at work or school. That will still leave us with an equal number of hours, i.e. 2,920 hours, to spend in preparation for the moment when days and years shall cease and time shall be no more. What prayer could be more spiritually appropriate than that of Moses, the man of God : “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot wrote that in his journal shortly before giving his life on the mission field. He knew that the cost of the cause of Christ is everything you have. I wonder whether we have resolved to make 2012 a spiritually fruitful year for the Lord to give Him our time, our energy, our resources and most of all, our lives. If 2011 had been a year wasted living for our own selfish ways and ambition and earthly treasures, do we still want 2012 to be lived in such wasteful and fruitless manner? We have to make the decision today whether we want 2012 to be spent for the Lord or not. If there is no resolve or purpose in our heart now before the new year starts, the year 2012 will just pass by and another 365 days will be wasted. Remember, we may not have many “365 days’ left in our lives.

Let us also make sure our service for the Lord is from our heart and not done merely as a ‘Job’ but truly as a “Ministry”. May this poem below encourage your hearts as you labour for the Lord this coming new year 2012.

Some people have a JOB in the church; others involve themselves in a MINISTRY.

What’s the difference?

If you are doing it just because no one else will, it’s a JOB.

If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a MINISTRY.

If you quit because somebody criticized you, it was a JOB.

If you keep on serving, it’s a MINISTRY.

If you’ll do it only as long as it does not interfere with your other activities, it’s a JOB.

If you are committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of  other things, it’s a MINISTRY.

If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it was a JOB.

If you stay with it even though nobody recognizes your efforts, it is a  MINISTRY.

It’s hard to get excited about a JOB.

It’s almost impossible not to be excited about a MINISTRY.

If our concern is success, it’s a JOB.

If our concern is faithfulness, it’s a MINISTRY.

An average church is filled with people doing JOBs.

A God-pleasing church is filled with people involved in MINISTRY.

Where do we fit in? What about us?

If God calls you to a MINISTRY, don’t treat it like a JOB.

If you have a JOB, give it up and find a MINISTRY.

God does not want us feeling stuck with a JOB, but excited and faithful to Him in a MINISTRY.

Elder John Leong

Dearly beloved,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and a blessed 2012,

The Need For Church Unity

Given the pleasant and joyful circumstances in the House of God with family and friends, as well as with brothers and sisters-in-Christ is to preview our future eternal dwelling in God’s presence. While waiting in expectation for Christ’s coming, we can never say which Lord’s Day is to be our last worship service on this earth. But in the meantime, in the atmosphere of peace, what can threaten to ruin the unity of God’s people is the lack of trust that we may have for one another. In order to be united, it must be our constant desire to realize our oneness as believers in Christ. One of the signs of an unhealthy church is the sign of disunity and divisions amongst God’s people. The Lord reminds us through His Word that the world will only know that we are His disciples by the agape love that we have for one another. And the only time that is permissible for the church to be divided is when individuals advocate false doctrines and to the denying of true doctrines in the Bible. To remain unrepentant after being admonished, such individuals that are in open rebellion against God and His Word, it is on the part of the Church not only to be prudent but biblical to have no fellowship with them. It is necessary for them to be disciplined. The Apostle Paul says that apostasy in the church is for the purpose that there would be unity amongst true believers; 1 Corinthians 11:19, “For there must be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” God is the sovereign God. He rules and He overrules to show who He is and who are His true disciples.

What Is It That Unites Us?

It is the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ that unites us, for the blood of Christ was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. True believers worship and serve the living and true God on the basis of the personal and intimate relationship with Christ. Christ came to build His church that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it and therefore, the Christian Church as a whole needs to repent. We need to take a closer look at our church, Tabernacle BPC. We need to take a closer look at ourselves as Christians and we need to take a closer look at one another as brothers and sisters in the faith, for we are united by the blood of Christ and are not enemies with one another. What then should we do to bring unity to the church wherever possible? We need to look at our own hearts first and to examine it under the light of Scriptures. If ever the two are not in agreement, it is we who have to change. We must pray for opportunities to serve together, the need to lift each other up and to be united in Christ. Philippians 2:2, “Fulfill ye my joy that ye be likeminded having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. ”

Brothers and sisters, as believers in the body of Christ, we may have come from different backgrounds but we can stand on the common ground of faith because of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we walk in unity, we are living evidences that Christ has the power to make the difference in the lives of those whom He touches. Above all, the Lord wants us as a church to walk in absolute unity for His glory.

Elder Douglas Ho

New Year
‘…. now is our salvation nearer than when we believed’ Romans 13:11

O Lord My God,

The new year beckons to travellers on this earthly sojourn; days of opportunity lie ahead! As for me, Lord, I pray that every day of this year may be spent as in your presence, in Your service, and to Your glory. Grant me a holy resolve to make every hour of every day count for eternity. Holy Spirit, direct my every thought and word and action, and prosper each work done for the advancement of Your everlasting Kingdom. May this year take me one step higher in my spiritual walk with you.

Holy Spirit, gird my loins about with truth, and keep my lamp always burning bright in Christian witness; keep my ears attuned to Your promptings, my heart filled with fervent love for You, and my soul free from the entanglements of this world. May the grace of Jesus sanctify me; may His right hand lead me. O Spirit of Jesus, grant Your comfort, wisdom and counsel to speed me on my way to the heavenly goal. Make this a blessed year, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

(Adapted from 66 Pocket Prayers, S H Tow, p48)