Month: October 2021

Reformation Sunday: Will you stand under pressure?

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Today, we commemorate Reformation Sunday. As many of you are aware, the 1517 Reformation was sparked by Martin Luther, a previous Roman Catholic theology professor and monk, when he nailed the 95 Theses (statements) on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. The 95 Theses disputed the errors of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings and practices regarding salvation, penance, and indulgences. Luther had come to realise that the theology he had learned and was propounding as a Roman Catholic was not what the Bible, God’s Word, taught. Though it was not initially meant to be a protest but to seek clarification and even perhaps not quite expecting the uproar that would follow his action, Luther would spend the rest of his life defending and upholding the doctrines taught in the Bible. Believing firmly, despite religious pressure. The attacks that Luther faced for his opposition to the Roman Catholic church’s teachings only served to intensify his study of the Scriptures to find the biblical truth. As he searched the Scriptures, it shaped his mind, his theology was soundly solidified, and he developed a clearer understanding of the Bible. The indisputable biblical doctrines of justification by faith through grace inevitably resounded with greater conviction in his heart. Luther wrote several great works, including 3 Reformation treatises included Freedom of a Christian, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation. These writings would cut him off further from the Roman Catholic church.  The inquisition against Luther led to a Papal Bull (an edict issued by the Roman Catholic Pope) condemning his teachings and threatening to excommunicate him from the church in 1520 unless he recanted. This edict was significant because according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, excommunication

Influence of Family Examples

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Last week, I wrote about what I covered at the Family Seminar. I hope that every married couple, grandparent, and parent has watched the video on our YouTube channel by now. I wonder if there are some parents who, in their minds, may be thinking “Is that really so?”. On the other hand, there may be some who may feel that as long as the children are taught “what is right”, the children will make the right choices, irrespective of what the parents do. Will that certainly happen? What even the world knows. To say that the family’s life does not affect the child is to simply be in self-denial. While we do not believe or disbelieve something simply because research bears it out but simply based on what the Bible teaches, we do see that numerous secular studies do inescapably agree that families do affect children. Studies validate that the family structure does have an impact on the well-being of the children. Children growing up in a dysfunctional environment either learn to follow their parents’ examples, or, by God’s mercies, resolve to never follow such poor parental examples. It is difficult to undo what is “seen” being practiced by the parents, even if attempts are made later to “undo” many years of inculcation. A case in point is China’s one-child policy. After years of enforcing this in families, the current generation of young adults has only grown up with a one-child family as a norm. Now, it is trying to promote a three-child family. A news article well summarised the reaction of those the government is trying to encourage as – “Generations of Chinese people have lived without siblings and are used to small families – affluence has meant less need for multiple children to become

Growing to be like me

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In this pastoral, I want to recapitulate the salient points of our family seminar so that key lessons take root in our lives. Is it useful for grandparents, singles, and the young? Of course. Grandparents, you still engage with your children and grandchildren. Singles, you may have a family one day. The young, you are part of a family. And we all are ultimately an influence to children in the church too. So, do read on, praying that God will help us be godly examples. Better still, I hope that parents and everyone who missed the session will watch the video of it on our YouTube channel bpcwa.org.au/youtube. Teaching by my example. Your example speaks louder than words to your children and grandchildren, even to children in the church. They see you as an authority and look up to you. What you do represents what is allowable, even to be desired, and they will emulate you. And even if they were sinful behaviours, children will follow suit too. In fact, they will take it to the next level of sinfulness beyond you. Am I exaggerating? Do my children and grandchildren really grow to be like me, you may be asking? Do children do really grow to be like me? God both encourages and warns us clearly, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6-7). God promises grace to the obedient. And the reason why God will be

Chosen to Witness

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Have you ever taken the trouble to go out of your way to buy something for a specific purpose, paid a very high price to purchase something that is not worth anywhere close to what you paid for? What if, when you finally want to use it for your purpose, that thing refuses to function the way you intended it to – how would you feel? Well, we often say that God chose to save us for His purpose, but do we actually want to live a life to fulfill His purpose? Or do we refuse to? In this 35th Anniversary year, BPCWA and individuals in it must truly reflect upon this fact lest we go on failing God if we have not been out living His purpose. I wish to remind ourselves what we have learnt from the church series on “Chosen to Witness” so that we do not quickly forget what God’s Word commands of us as His children. Chosen to be witnesses. God chose us to glorify Him, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world . . . To the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph 1:4,6). And we do so by shining forth for Him, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 5:15-16). Hence Christ sends us out to bear witness for Him, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all

Are you observing the times?

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Winter is officially over, and spring is here! How do we know? Is it just merely by the calendar? Not totally. We also observe it from the changes around us. We see God’s creation changing according to His calendar as the seasons change. His creation obeys his creation command to “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen 1:22) as we see that even birds prepare nests to birth their young and actively protect them. They know that spring is the best time for the survival of their chicks, and so they change their habits when they sense the warmer weather come after winter, without the need for printed calendars or humans to tell them to do so. God made them to do so, and they observe the times. You must be willing to act based on the knowledge when you see the signs. Watching the weather plays an important role in our daily lives. If we are planning to travel, we worry about extreme weather. We plan our laundry days based on the forecast, and when we see dark clouds looming, we rush out to keep our laundry. When it comes to our physical life, we are generally very apt in planning based upon what we see and observe.  This was what Christ said of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came asking Him for a sign from heaven.  “… When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring.” (Matt 16:2-3). Yet, we are often less ready to “see” or respond spiritually based upon what is already made known to us “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can