Year: 2018

Revisiting 2018 Church Theme

Dear BPCWAians, Before we move on to 2019, let us revisit our 2018 Church Theme so that we do not forget the lessons we wanted to instil in ourselves and our families regarding what God says to His people, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deut 10:12). Have you lived in the fear of God in 2018? What have been your greatest fears in 2018? Fears about health issues, financial difficulties, job security, family troubles, bringing up children, not having children, singlehood, failing exams, and losing friends? Perhaps there are others not listed here. Fear is the greatest foe of faith. Did the fear of man (eg friends, spouse, children, parents, boss, teachers) and the fear of situations cause you to distrust your LORD in 2018? Fear cripples you from having courage to make decisions that are based on faith. Have you deferred making the right decisions, delayed obeying God in your personal life and family choices? Our fears can be camouflaged as “practicality”. At the beginning of possessing the Promised Land, the task in crossing the Jordan river at the time of year when it is at its peak flooding and obeying God in marching before the walls of Jericho were most the “unpractical” and “illogical” ways to the human mind. It is time to take stock as you search your heart and ask in all sincerity before the LORD in prayer – have you compromised, given excuses, and avoided God’s known command while sounding so “wise” and “realistic” about life? Be honest. No one knows. You can even deceive

Some roadblocks to evangelism

Dear BPCWAians, We continue on this important matter about evangelism in the believer’s life. The failure to evangelise is perhaps the most common sin of omission which we commit, because it is either not understood, or we have chosen to ignore it, or we have good excuses not to evangelise. Let us see what are some of the hindrances that we should be aware of and repent. Embarrassment of being rejected. This is often the hurdle that the unfamiliar must first cross when it comes to evangelism. We must recognise and ward off the “what-if’s” that Satan’s darts shoot into our minds. “What if he gets angry at me?” “What if I get rejected?” “What if they think I’m strange?” “What if my colleagues see me and think I am weird?” Rather, let us count it all joy when we are counted with God’s people, and bear His reproach. Remember what Christ bore for us. Remember that there will always be those who will keep rejecting Christ. Not setting aside these thoughts will cause us to not speak of the Gospel to anyone. Also, do not forget that there are the elect who may reject for now, but the Word sown will be used by the Holy Spirit one day to turn them to God in His timing. Let us not be so conscious of what others may think of us but more “soul-conscious”. When we focus on the eternal state of the soul of the one we speak to, we will be less concerned about the possible rejection. Also, they are rejecting Christ and His message, not you. Ultimately, our pride is the sin that is involved here. Call it by any other name, “shy, embarrassment, self-consciousness, or fear of rejection,” we have to admit in reality it is

Evangelism…me?

Dear BPCWAians, It has been encouraging that several have been making efforts to invite unbelieving children to our Holiday Bible Program. In addition, some have also contacted unbelievers as well as those who had come before for the Christmas gospel service. Perhaps as you read this, you may be wondering, “Must I evangelise? Why? I have been faithful in studying God’s Word through fellowship groups and even FEBC courses and obedient to God in many ways, is that not sufficient as a Christian?” It is very good that we have been interested in God’s Word and living according to it. But we need to also grow in this area of obedience to Christ’s command – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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. Amen” (Matt 28:19-20) “Well the elect will get saved anyway”. There are 2 extremes when it comes to evangelism. The New Evangelicals emphasise it to the extent of downplaying all other doctrines such as sin, repentance, and holiness; while others downplay evangelism by thinking that since God has elected and predestinated, then whether I evangelise or not, they will still get saved. Some even blame this “Presbyterian doctrine” of election for the cause of apathy among Christians when it comes to evangelism. But we must remember that right doctrine should not be attacked just because believers fail to obey God. The failure to evangelise is due to the disobedience of believers to the great commission. The truth is that Presbyterians were among the most active in evangelism wherein many were saved in Christian history. The doctrine

It is the end of the year . . . invite your friends!

Dear BPCWAians, It is the end of the year. What are you looking forward to at this time of the year? Perhaps having your kids come for the Holiday Bible Program, or the Christmas Service and the lunch thereafter? That is good, but I hope that these programs at the end of the year will cause us to be excited about something as well – the opportunity to invite unbelieving friends to church! Let me ask you, when was the last time you invited someone to church? This, I believe is one area that we need to improve on in BPCWA. Year-end opportunities. The year-end Holiday Bible Program (Mon 17- Wed 19 Dec, 8:45 am – 12 pm) is a wonderful chance to invite your unbelieving friend’s children to come. Today is the closing date, so do make a final push for it. We can accommodate for another week, after which we will not be able to accept any more enrolments. Parents may be more open because they wish to have their children occupied in some meaningful organized program with other children. Then there is of course the Christmas Gospel meeting which we organize every year (Friday 21 Dec, Carolling at 7:00 pm and program at 7:30 pm). Friends are generally more interested in coming to church at your invitation because it is after all Christmas. Christmas season is a time when some tend to be either curious and more open to see what goes on in a church at Christians. But if they cannot come for this, there is always Christmas Service itself (Tuesday 25 Dec, 10 am) that you can also invite them to. You do not need to feel awkward about trying to invite them, because people naturally expect that Christians would invite friends to church at

Will you come for the Pre-Service Prayer?

Dear BPCWAians, Every week in our church bulletin under “Appointments for Today and the Week” we print a Sunday 8:30 am Pre-Service Prayer Meeting. Perhaps of all activities in the church, this is one that is least known amongst its worshippers, but yet one of the most important activities. I hope that through this Pastoral, you understand what is this about and as a result, come for this pre-service prayer meeting. Who is this for? Simply because it is in the appointments of the week without any specific target group specified means that this is a prayer meeting that is open to all worshippers. It is not just merely for church leaders and full-time workers. It is not even just a ministry that is open only to members. In fact, when you read this announcement in the bulletin, as much as the Tuesday night Prayer meeting is an invitation for you to join us in praying for the church, likewise the pre-service prayer too. Whether you are more comfortable praying in English or in Chinese, whether you are a student that has chosen to worship with us while you’re studying here or an adult, whether young or old, this Sunday prayer is open to you. If you’re here for the Basic Bible Knowledge classes and are able to come just half an hour earlier for this prayer, come. Even if you can’t make it every week, come even if only just for some weeks. Join us together in prayer and experience the blessedness of starting off the Lord’s Day in prayer with God’s people. What is this for? Being a time of prayer before even the 1st Bible Study for the Lord’s Day, it is a time that we set apart to seek God’s help for the day ahead. When

How should I pray?

Dear BPCWAians, We saw last week why God answers our prayers – “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). When we pray for things that will glorify God, He will answer. And we rejoice in answered prayers not because we obtained what we hoped for ourselves or even for others, but because God was exalted through it. So how do we pray such prayers in whatever we bring before God, both in our personal prayer and at church prayer meetings? How should I pray then? (1) The glory of God must be a foremost conscious thought behind whatsoever you ask for in prayer. Having understood that God answers prayers to achieve His end purpose for His glory, then you must pray according to that. We typically pray for our health, family, jobs, school work, daily needs, church, and friends. For each item we pray about, we should remind ourselves with this question – “Am I praying for my selfish desires or truly for the glory of God?” For example, with that in mind, a prayer for recovery from sickness would be, “Lord heal me so that I can serve you better, but if being sick will show others it is your grace alone that enables me during my sickness, then let it be so”. It will no longer be “Lord heal me so that I can enjoy my holiday, play games, and not feel so uncomfortable”. Or in another situation, our prayer may be “Lord please provide me a job so that I can give to your work. But if being jobless will show others how you continue to provide for our needs, then teach me to trust you”, instead of “Lord give me

Why God answers our prayers

Dear BPCWAians, We thank God for the people who have been coming to the weekly Tuesday night prayer meetings. It is encouraging to see adults coming after a long day of toil, be it at work or at home, families bringing their children although there is school the next day, students coming even though it is exam time, and some grandparents coming as well, making 3 generations present. But what has been the result of prayer meetings? Will God really answer our prayers? The church makes a prayer list of things to pray for the church and for each other since God exhorts us to be “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:18). Sometimes, I wonder if and fear that people get tired and wonder why they are repeating the same prayers week after week in the prayer list given out. Some prayers have been there for months. Yet I know that as a church, we cannot falter in obeying Ephesians 6:18. And then, we get news about God having answered the prayers which our prayer meetings have been bringing before God. Sometimes, God answers after a long wait, but in some instances, quite soon. Recently, we have been hearing testimonies of God answering prayers we raise to Him at our prayer meetings in marvellous ways. For example, jobless ones get jobs, visas get approved even while others are rejected in these tight times, and the job situation at work improves. When we were at the crossroads and did not know how to choose and we prayed, God even caused one of the architects to back out from our church extension project. God chose for us in answer to prayers. We prayed for months

Infant baptised, now roles of parents and members (yes, you too!)

Dear BPCWAians, Before you decide not to read this pastoral because you do not have a child, please read on. If you are not a parent, you still need to also read the following because you have your part to play as a member in BPCWA when you engage with children in our midst. If you are a parent (no matter how old your child is now), the following is for you too, not just to parents of the newly infant baptised child. We covered the important roles of parents in diligently teaching God’s child His Word and persevering in bringing the child up in God’s ways. But even as parents do these, we must be astutely aware that the world is also constantly seeking to teach the child through the media, and desires to influence by every means the child to walk in the ways of the world and cause him to sin. Hence, what you expose the child to must be of very high concern to you daily. This week, we shall look at the child in the home and in the church. Hence, even as parents do their part, we have to realise that the child is also in the midst of our influence in church. (1) Living by example. Live by God’s Word in your own life. While teaching and guiding the child to obey God’s ways, the parents must live out God’s Word consistently in their own lives. When you bring your child for infant baptism, you vowed before God and man to do so, asking God to help you to raise godly seed for Him. Living by example in your own life is the most effective teaching and guiding. As you teach the child what the Lord Jesus desires of us in Matt 22:37-40,

Infant baptism, so what is to follow?

Infant baptism, so what is to follow? Dear BPCWAians, Having explained the Biblical reasons for infant baptism and answering common arguments against it, we need to now consider what should follow infant baptism. This is the critical part because many parents think that all there is to infant ba ptism are the few minutes of answering a few questions before the pulpit, some water being put on the infant’s head, and all is done. Parents must know that it is just the beginning of an important spiritual journey for them as a covenantal family. It is the commencement of carrying out your vows before God who promises to aid you. We shall look at the duties of the parents: (1) Teaching them God’s Word. God commands parents, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deut 6:6-9). Infant baptism does not give the child sudden interest in and the ability to understand God’s Word. The duty to teach God’s Word is put on parents. Parents have the privileged duty to read the Bible with them, teaching them what God is saying through the day, and teaching them to pray daily. And this you should do at home, when you go out with them, before you put them to bed and when they first arise. When they see the birds,

Arguments against infant baptism

Dear BPCWAians, I hope that after last week’s pastoral, you are able to explain the Biblical reasons for infant baptism. We baptise infants because it is the sign of the covenant which believing parents are in with God, because it is covenant keeping with our covenantal God, and because it is the receiving of the covenantal promise from God. My initial intention for this week was to write to you about what should happen after infant baptism. But I felt it was needful that before we answer that, we should address some common misunderstandings and questions that arise regarding infant baptism. Our understanding and convictions on this Biblical practice must be firm and we must be ready to give an answer so as to help others come to the right Biblical understanding too. Without a right understanding, parents may do it only as a matter of ritual and lose the real intent. Here are common arguments against infant baptism and the Biblical responses: (1) It is a Roman Catholic practice. The Roman Catholic’s erroneous beliefs and teachings regarding a right doctrine does not make the correct practice of that doctrine wrong. Just like they have wrong beliefs about the Holy Communion (which they called Eucharist), it does not make the practice of Holy Communion wrong. They believe that infants who do not get baptised will not be saved. They practice infant baptism with the belief that it confers salvific powers. These are wrong beliefs about infant baptism. (2) Baptism should be for those who have believed, but infants have not yet believed. We emphasize that infant baptism is different from believer’s baptism. God did not tell His people to wait till their children has grown up and have believed in Him, and then circumcise them. He commanded parents to do

View More