Dear Readers,


Report of Preacher Clement’s Trip to Melbourne, Australia,
26 September – 3 October 2014

I thank God for the opportunity and privilege to minister to the Bethel Bible-Presbyterian Church (Bethel BPC) in Melbourne, Australia, and especially to the Young People’s Group (YPG). This was my first time in Australia, let alone Melbourne. I am extremely thankful that my first experience Down Under was not to any other place, but to fellowship among like-minded brethren in a church!

I flew from Singapore on the night of Thursday 25 September and reached Melbourne on Friday 26 September at 6:10 a.m. in the morning. The 7.5 hours flight was smooth and comfortable. I was expecting a ponderous time clearing the customs. As I was walking towards the passport clearance area, my eye fell upon a poster. It declared that it is possible for Singapore electronic passport holders to clear the customs via an electronic gantry. What a pleasant surprise! I cleared the customs and collected the luggage in no time. The camp master Andrew Leung was there to meet me and to bring me to Bethel BPC.

I was kindly hosted by Bethel BPC in the parsonage in the premises from Friday 26 September to the afternoon of Sunday 28 September. I had the opportunity to attend the prayer meeting on Friday night, where I interacted with some of the members of Bethel BPC, especially with the international students who so kindly treated me to a home-cooked meal.

On Saturday 27 September, I was invited to speak at the Men’s Fellowship regarding Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). With the help of FEBC graduate Kenny Cheong, we were able to print out the notes for the short 2 hour seminar. The seminar was divided into two sections. In the first half, I introduced the purpose of song and music in worship and the principles by which songs can be evaluated. These principles were based chiefly on Colossians 3:16-17. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” In the second half, we dealt chiefly with the definition and origins of CCM and the arguments against CCM. We also learnt how the influence of CCM is nearer than we think. A quick look at the so-called modern conservative Christian Hymnals (such as Majesty Hymns) reveals songs that were published by CCM publishers. Therefore, the duty of the church is to be on guard with such attacks by the Evil One via music. Those who are given the spiritual gift of music have a duty to be well-grounded in the Holy Scriptures so that churches can continue to worship with God-honouring hymns and spiritual songs.

On Sunday 28 September, I had the privilege to preach God’s Word to the congregation. I spoke from Genesis 19:1-16 on “The Tragedy of Compromise”. We learnt how Lot’s continued compromise with worldliness led to (1) A Dulled Spiritual Perception (19:1-11), (2) A Corrupted Spiritual Witness (19:12-14) and, (3) A Persistent Spiritual Inertia (19:15-16). We were encourage to consider strongly the consequences of our decisions and actions. The fruit of compromise can be rather dire!

We left the church on the late Sunday afternoon for the Bethel Youth Camp (28 September – 2 October 2014). The campsite was located about 60 km north at a hilly region called Upper Plenty. The Conference Centre (which was more like a lodge) was made specifically from mud bricks and timber from the region. The surroundings were lush and quiet, free from all distractions. It was a most excellent place for the youth camp.

The theme of the youth camp was “Christ is My All!” based on the book of Colossians. I spoke a total of six messages. They were (1) My Transformation in Christ (Colossians 1:1-14), (2) My Preeminent Christ (Colossians 1:15-23), (3) My Agony for Christ (Colossians 1:24 – 2:5), (4) My Foundation in Christ (Colossians 2:6-23), (5) My Life is Christ Part I (Colossians 3) and (6) My Life is Christ Part II (Colossians 4). I also conducted two workshops on CCM. These workshops were follow-ups from the previous seminar conducted on Saturday. There was also a Q&A session where the youth asked pertinent questions pertaining the messages and workshops, especially concerning the use of Christian song and Music in the fellowship groups and worship services.

After the camp, I had the privilege to have some rest and recreation with Rev. Paul Cheng and FEBC graduates Damien Choong and Kenny Cheong. We visited mainly the Victoria Market and the South Melbourne Market. I had the opportunity to eat some oysters. They were superb, much better than those in Singapore! Much sweeter though was the fellowship I enjoyed with Rev. Paul, Damien and Kenny. There was much mutual encouragement to stand firm in the service of the Lord. It is so wonderful to have a common dedication to the forever inerrant and infallible Word of Everlasting Life!

I arrived back to Singapore 40 minutes early at 11:10 p.m. on Friday 3 October. As I was on the plane trip, my mind kept thinking about Psalm 133. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” May the Lord grant us grace to labour for Him till our time on earth is up. Amen.

Pr Clement Chew