Lighting up Perth

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Lights make such a difference to an area. A recent initiative around Applecross was to light up the trees with fairy lights. Many also light up their houses and gardens with lights, making them stand out among the typically dark neighbourhood. With these physical lights, the ambience instantly changes. But as we typically enjoy looking at these lights, are we reminded also that we are to be spiritual lights in a world of darkness?  Our Lord used the city lights, which travellers looked toward, to be an object lesson to teach his disciples this lesson, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Mt 5:14). However, our mission as lights is not to draw man to glorify ourselves, but to Jesus Christ, who “was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (Joh 1:9). As we start off 2023, let us, as individuals, plan how we can we bring those around us to the true light. Do remember this – there are people around you who are looking for answers in life and even for a church. If you do not ask, someone else will. If they end up in an unsound church, you have failed to do what God has put you there to do. All you need to do is ask! So many were shocked that their friends said, “Yes, OK!” to invitations. As you take the bookmark calendar, make a mental bookmark of the opportunities you can use to be the light where you are.

Starting with the students. In our recent Holiday Bible Program, we thank God for our children who invited their friends to the program, where we had visitors register in all three classes. I am thankful particularly that as they grow, our children are learning to be witnesses, such that more than a third of the high school class students were visitors. While this program is conducted primarily for our children, we also want to use this as an outreach to unbelievers and those who are looking for a church to settle into. A few of these visitors were unbelievers and had the opportunity through the lessons to hear the gospel and know of our Saviour Jesus Christ. To some of these, it was their first time hearing of Jesus Christ – what a precious opportunity! Do you realise that God put you in your particular school to be His light so that those in your school can come to know the Lord? Keep this in mind throughout the year. I am glad also to see that many of our children were hospitable to their friends, sitting with them in class and during the break to help them settle in, and helping them with their Bibles when needed. Many of our high school students have also recently been active in inviting their friends to our fellowship groups as well. We thank God for their zeal and boldness for the Lord. They are “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Rom 1:16), which perhaps sadly many adults may be. May they never wane in this zeal to be God’s light as they grow up. Admittedly, some may only come once, but the seed of the Gospel is sown. We hope that among those invited may be some true sheep who, hearing their Master’s voice through the Word preached, may desire to follow Christ, know more of their Saviour, and return to study with us regularly. 

To University students. The next wave of programs lined up for the year will be the university outreaches. With borders now having reopened and students returning to face-to-face classes, this will be our opportunity to reach out to students as we used to in pre-COVID days. While our current university students will be the main witnesses at these outreaches, we will need support from more people and we look to our working adults to support this program at the Orientation Day university outreaches. Adults may also know of friends’ children who will be coming over to study. If so, do use our planned programs to introduce the university students to our Youth180 fellowship and our university students who can help to induct them to Perth and our church. Let us all be prayerful that after several years of COVID-19 hiatus, we will be able to reach out to some students – local or international – who will make BPCWA their spiritual home at least during their period of studies and set their hearts to grow in God’s truth during this period. As a church, we must desire to be used by God to build strong foundations of the holy faith for this crucial age group before they are ensnared by the world in material pursuits and aspirations when they enter the working world.

To Adults.  Notice that I say adults, and not just working adults. God puts us in different places so we can be a light for Him there. Are you a mother? Pray that God will direct you to someone – perhaps another mother – who may be seeking a purpose to life for herself, her children, and her family. Are you a working person? Look around at those you meet in your workplace, peers, ex-schoolfriends, or even gym acquaintances. We don’t know who it may be, but we know that with God, there are no chance encounters. It could be someone that you least expect to be interested. It could be someone who was proudly self-reliant previously but was humbled by a recent calamity in their lives that you may not even be aware of. It could just be someone who has been in Perth for several years but yet (we wouldn’t have guessed) was still looking for a sound church to learn God’s Word in. We no longer have City Evangelism outreaches, but personal evangelism never stops for a Christian, which is even more critical. For example, Australia Day is just around the corner. Use the holiday, our weekends, and every opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life – a difference that may make an eternal difference for their souls. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ to bring others to Him. Let us be earnest in this work and not not speak because we assume the other party won’t be interested, or we are too embarrassed of Christ, or we are fearful. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6). 

Even to Seniors. While one has life and breath, God is longsuffering and waits for them to repent. Very often, we think almost resignedly that seniors won’t change because they’re so fixed on their ways. True, but then we forget that salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit, transforming the sinner to a saint. I myself can testify of how many of whom I would’ve thought “unlikely” have come to be Christians. I know personally of some seemingly “impossible” cases who by their lives today indicate a genuine salvation. An elderly lady who smoked and gambled almost all her life had the gospel shared with her and is now a regular church attendee who even diligently goes to church camps every year.  When I was young, I remember an aunt who had idols in her house as a practicing Buddhist. She used to disdain people who would “speak Jesus” to her. A Christian shared the gospel with her and she believed to the saving of her soul. I know of uncles who got saved late in their lives but who were drinkers and gamblers in their younger years. I never imagined they would even care to listen to the Gospel, let alone believe in the Lord.  I also recall a family friend who mocked me when I shared the gospel with him when I was a teenager. Decades later, he trusted in the Lord and was so keen for his children to believe too. Such is the testimony of a gracious God who elects and waits with longsuffering until the appointed time of their salvation when He draws them irresistibly by His grace to Himself. Why are you so fearful and reluctant to be God’s light?

As I close off this pastoral, I want to urge each and every dear worshipper to use this 2023 to be a year to fulfill our Saviour’s intention for His disciples whom He leaves behind on this earth. Let us not withhold this precious truth because we assume “they will not” believe. Instead, let us be reaching out to those next to us. At the same time, let us also labour to bring the good news to all mankind and not just sit and hope that many sheep will find the church by themselves. The purpose of inviting those around us to church is so that they can, here in BPCWA, learn of the marvellous God who reached out to man with the gospel of Light. It is so that more can sing His praise, testify of His graciousness, and live for His glory. While we have breath, may it be our passionate desire to speak of our Saviour, the “Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) so that we would be, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6). This is the grandest story through the ages – a story we’ve been commissioned to tell to the nations, beginning here in Perth, Australia. Do not forget that some are seeking to know God, and God has a remnant who are hoping to find a sound church in 2023. Let us join together to tell this wondrous story until our time on earth ends, or when Christ comes to call His children to Him in the air . . . the time is short! Will you be a shining light to point others to Christ in 2023? Let us act on our Lord’s reminder in 2023,

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 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. (Mat 5:14-15).

Yours in our Lord’s service,