Give Thanks for 38 years of BPCWA

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Last Lord’s Day, we closed off our Easter celebrations with our Anniversary Dinner. Though our church was started in February, it has been our tradition to celebrate it on Easter instead. We are thankful that we could once again do it this year, something that we don’t take for granted anymore after we were unable to have it during the period of COVID restrictions. It was by God’s provision that we could have it together in a restaurant in an area separated from other diners. Despite the double-digit increase in food prices that we have been experiencing in our supermarket shopping, God has moved the heart of the restaurant owner to keep it at the same price for us this year, albeit at a loss to them. To maintain the cost, and since we had so much leftover food in previous years, the restaurant helped us to keep the price the same by providing sufficient but not excessive portions for each table. With these measures, I’m sure that we can attest that the adults definitely had sufficient food. There was even extra food at the children’s tables. Although the owner said that he does not make money opening on a public holiday, he has tentatively agreed to do so for us next year. So please pray that he will continue doing so. It is even more evident to us each year that it is by God’s provision that we can gather in such a manner, and we give thanks that we could do so as a covenantal family together.

As we always do, I gave an exhortation before the dinner began to remind us why we were gathering to celebrate together. For the benefit of worshippers who did not join us this year as well as a reminder to all, I’d like to recap my exhortation from Psalms 100, a psalm about thanksgiving and praising God with joyfulness. Anniversaries are times for us to give thanks and praise to God. In particular, there are 3 things that we should be thankful to God for regarding our church.

Thanking God for His work in BPCWA. 1) A local BOE and united Session. We should be thankful that we now have a local Board of Elders, something for which we have prayed for a long time. The church with a BOE is critical, as it can then be administered according to God’s model. We also have a very strong and united Session. It is difficult to describe how crucial it is for the Session to be very united in heart. It is important for the church that we will always make decisions according to God’s Word as a Board and execute the decisions as a Session with united hearts. This was a lesson I learned early in the ministry. Hence, it is something I prayed much for when God appointed me as the pastor of His church. So, it is important that we give thanks to God that we have a united BOE and Session according to His Word today.  2) Many who serve Him in His church. There are so many people that God has given gifts and talents to in this church. But more importantly, it is not just merely about having talents, but that many willingly step up to serve, whether in the foreground or the background. They do not use the talents that God gives to them for themselves. This is the reason why God gifts His people with gifts – for the edification of His church. You do not realise that there is almost an army of people who are in the background serving the Lord. They serve tirelessly, coming into the church alone or working from home to prepare what is needed by His church before the events. Many do not “switch off” even though they may be juggling their service with personal difficulties. This church has only one full-time worker, but yet it operates weekly so smoothly. This is the provision of God that we need to give thanks to God for.  3) A united church. We are now a united church. It is no longer a time where we merely tolerate one another’s beliefs. We now have a genuine conviction in the heart of worshippers, with the same doctrine and theology. A church must be based on a common faith that cements it together based on God’s Word. The creeds and confessions of the church are the very fabric and make-up of a local church. When we have genuine and united convictions, it is something that we must be very thankful for. It is only when it is so that we will defend and promote God’s Truth together, instead of infighting with each other.

Things to keep in mind as we move forward. Ps 100:4 says “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name”. 1) Be thankful people in God’s church. We must be a thankful people. This is because if we are not, the opposite of thankfulness is unhappiness, griping, murmuring, complaining, and picking on things. Instead of giving thanks, we will pick on everything in church when there is so much to give thanks for. We are where we are because of the goodness of God. The things that will especially cause us to be disunited will not be external but internal. Instead of being thankful, we can be people that are looking for things to criticise. Problems will then start. We will start to tell others the church should be such and such, instead of being thankful for so many things. So let us not lend ourselves to what Satan will use to cause disunity to the church. Let us look at what we should be thankful for. Praise God for things and give glory to Him, instead of taking glory for ourselves. It takes much effort to build unity and peace. Conversely, unity and peace are very easy to lose. Don’t be envious and jealous, which will make us troublemakers. We can forget so quickly to give thanks, so let us start practicing that instead in our conversations with one another. For example, we can say instead about the dinner “Thank God that the price is the same despite hefty price increases everywhere and despite it being a public holiday” or “Thank God that we have a venue that can accommodate our gathering at a reasonable price. 2) Continue to serve the Lord. We are to “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing” (Ps 100:2). Why must we serve the Lord? The answer is in verse 3 “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” We are His sheep, to keep following Him. But importantly, God created us to be His people, for Himself, to be useful to Him.  Will you keep serving Him, doing the same thing, over and over again, for the next 38 years and till Christ returns, whichever comes first? Moreover, we are to serve Him with gladness. Serving can be difficult and we can feel like giving up. But remember that God made you for His purpose. Continue serving in anything, whether in the foreground or background, and do so with gladness! Do not compare or be envious and jealous. 3) Endure through all generations. Psalms 100:5 reminds us “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” God’s truth will endure through all generations. But the question is, will we? We in BPCWA must hold on to His truth for generations and generations. To the teens’ table – will you be the next generation who will compromise the truth or defend the truth? To the children’s table – will you grow up to be men and women who will love God’s truth and do everything you can to uphold God’s truth? God’s truth endureth through all generations, and I pray that every generation in BPCWA will endure in the truth.

The Lord is always ready to help us. He is always good. The only reason BPCWA will fail is if we are not good, if we compromise, love the world, and want to please ourselves and the world. As long as we remain faithful to His truth, God will always help BPCWA. May the LORD keep BPCWA faithful until our Saviour returns. Let everyone who was present at the dinner and each one of us reading this for the first time be united in hearts and put our hands together to help BPCWA be faithful to the LORD for generations to come. May we be people who will commit ourselves to the promotion of God’s work in BPCWA. BPCWA is Christ’s church. We are His people that He has placed in His local church to serve His purposes, not our own. May He continue to jealously keep, protect, and preserve His church for His work’s sake for many generations to come. 

Yours in our Lord’s service,