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Scripture Memory: Answered Prayer.

VERSE : Psalm 34:6 “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

4 September 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (When the Lord Opens the Heart, Acts 16:11-15)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Power Over Darkness, Matt 9:32-34)

11 September 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Eld Ng Beng Kiong (In Darkness He Gives a Song, Acts 16:16-40)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (Have Mercy Upon Me! Matt 9:27-31, Mk 10:46-52)

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FLORAL OFFERINGS

We thank God for Lifers who have been providing beautiful floral arrangements for our church sanctuary every Sunday. Unlike what many may think, these floral arrangements are not made purely for decorative reasons. They are not placed there just to add colour to an otherwise plain-looking sanctuary or to enhance its ambience.

Flowers as an Offering

Like all other works of worship and devotion by God’s people, the floral arrangements are an offering to God. They can be likened to the peace offerings of the Old Testament (Leviticus 3:1-17; 7:11-34). Peace offerings symbolize the blessings of having fellowship with God. They were not made to achieve a peaceful relationship with God, but rather to celebrate it. The features of the peace offering are as follows:

•   It was made voluntarily as a freewill offering, and as an expression of thanks or love to God.

•   It involved a meal where the worshipper and his family ate part of the cooked animal together at the Temple.

•   It was enjoyed by God as well as by the worshipper and by all who were invited to the meal.

Based on this, it must be understood that floral offerings are optional, i.e. God can be worshipped with them or without them. And when they are offered, it should be done only as part of public corporate worship, not private personal worship. Some may think that placing a bouquet of flowers in church on a weekday when nobody is present is a floral offering. This should not be done. A floral offering is meant to glorify God in the presence of His people.

Flowers Declare God’s Glory

Flowers can do this well because they reveal the extraordinary beauty of God’s Creation. The psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork.” (Psalm 19:1) It is impossible to bring the heavens and the firmament into the church sanctuary, but flowers can be used to represent them and all creation. Putting a selection of flowers together into a neat arrangement is an expression of the cultural mandate given to man in Genesis 1:28 to exercise good stewardship over creation for the glory of God.

There are about 400,000 types of flowering plant species in the world, each with its own exquisite beauty. Their amazing variety of forms, colours and fragrances truly display the skillful creativity and brilliant ingenuity of the Lord who made them all! A visit to the Botanic Gardens or to the Flower Dome of Gardens by the Bay can lift up our spirits to sing in praise of our wonderful Creator, “How great Thou art!”

That is one reason why flowers are mentioned in some well-known hymns, e.g. the third stanza of Isaac Watts’ hymn ‘I Sing the Mighty Power of God’ says, ‘There’s not a plant or flower below but makes Thy glories known’ (HGG19). The second stanza of the hymn, ‘This is My Father’s World’ says, ‘The morning light, the lily white declare their Maker’s praise.’ (HGG61). The second stanza of the hymn, ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee’ says, ‘Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea…call us to rejoice in Thee.’

Flowers in the Bible

The Bible makes many references to flowers. It begins with the Garden of Eden in which man was placed to enjoy fellowship with God and to cultivate the plants which grew there (Genesis 2:8,15). Soon after Jesus rose from the dead in a garden tomb, Mary Magdalene mistook Him for the gardener (John 19:41; 20:15).

When God instituted the Tabernacle for worship, floral motifs were incorporated into the design of the seven-branched golden lampstand. Later on, floral motifs were also found on the walls and doors of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (Exodus 25:31; 1 Kings 6:18, 29, 32). God signified that the priesthood of Israel belonged to the family of Aaron by causing his rod to produce almond blossoms when left overnight in the Tabernacle with the rods of the other tribes.

The blooming of flowers is used as a metaphor for spiritual revival in many verses. E.g. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.” (Isaiah 35:1-2; cf. 27:6; 61:11; Hosea 14:5) 

Flowers remind us of our Lord Jesus Christ who is ‘the Lily of the Valleys’ and ‘the Rose of Sharon’* (Song of Solomon 2:1). Jesus Himself praised the beauty of the lilies of the field, saying, “…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:29) [*The rose of Sharon is actually not a rose at all but a bright red species of tulip (tulipa montana) that is able to grow in dry, unfavourable conditions. This inspired the writing of the 15th century Christmas carol, ‘Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming’ (HGG115)]

Flowers also remind us of the frailty of man – “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down.” (Job 14:1-2; cf. Psalm 103:15; Isaiah 40:6 and James 1:11) The wilting of a floral bouquet within a week aptly depicts the fading glory of human life.

Points to Note

There are seven important points to note when making a floral offering. Firstly, only those who are already saved should make floral offerings. This is because the unsaved have no peaceful relationship with God yet to celebrate or to give thanks for. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” (Proverbs 15:8)

Secondly, the worshipper ought to bear the expense of her offering. King David refused to accept Araunah’s offer to let him to pay nothing for the oxen and wood to make a sacrifice to God. He said, “Neither will I offer unto the Lord God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24).

What matters however, is not the material value of the offering, but the heart attitude of the worshipper. The floral offerings of those who cannot afford to buy expensive flowers will still be accepted as long as they are offered with loving hearts. The widow’s offering of two small coins was praised by the Lord (Luke 21:1-4).

Thirdly, don’t compare your floral offering with someone else’s floral offering. In the parable of the talents the servant who earned two talents received exactly the same praise from the master as the one who had earned five talents (Matthew 25:14-30).

Fourthly, don’t allow any personal dispute to defile your offering. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

Fifth, the offering ought to be without any defects and blemishes. Flowers that are broken, diseased or dying and leaves that are crushed or eaten by caterpillars should be removed (cf. Malachi 1:6-14). The offering should also be clean. Wash away any dirt and all traces of pesticides or fertilizer from the stems and leaves. Leaving these on will spoil the fragrance of the flowers.

Sixth, floral arrangements should be a help and not a hindrance to corporate worship. Hence they should be moderate and not likely to distract worshippers during the service. There should be no labels or ribbons with words or phrases included in the floral arrangement. The natural beauty of the flowers speaks more powerfully in praise of God than words.

Above all, remember Colossians 3:23-24 – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

If you are interested to know more about making floral offerings for Sunday morning worship services in Life Church, kindly contact sister Teoh Gaik Lee at 9046-8662. May the Lord be glorified as we all serve Him with love.                     —Pastor

 

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Men’s Ministry meeting
Managing Sudden Crisis / Life Changing Events

Date    : Sat, 17 Sep 2016

Time   : 5-7 pm (followed by fellowship dinner)

Speaker         :           Bro Joel Seah

Venue  :         Beulah Centre, Rm 2-1

RSVP : Jonathan Tan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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1) New Appointment: Mr Joel Seah Geok Leng has been appointed as Pastoral Staff and will be under the full-time employment of Life B-P Church with effect from 5 September 2016 and he will serve in ministry to senior adults.

2) Ratanakiri, Cambodia Mission Trip, 13-20 Dec led by Bro Lim Pin. Lifers who are interested to join the team may contact Bro Lim Pin at 81216334 or Dn Mark Heah at 97391638. Due to the bus transport capacity, vacancies are limited.

3) Video recording of Seminar by Dr Mark Harwood held on 23 Jul 16 on Creation vs Evolution available on DVD. If you missed the CMI seminar, you can order a DVD (Mpeg4) at $2 per copy by contacting Mr Lun Chee Leong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Payment and collection can be done at the RTL Office (next to the Cry room in the kindergarten block) either before or after our morning worship services on Sundays.

4) The annual Lively Teens Fellowship Camp will be held on 5-9 Dec 16. All teens who are 11-17 years of age are encouraged to join! More details will be announced when registration opens in Oct.

5) Musicians are needed for vigil services. Please contact Daniel Phang .

6) Mr Lee Fong Seng & family wish to thank pastors, session members and all brethren for their condolences, presence, prayers and well-wishes on the homegoing of Christina Lee-Lum Kum Mui on 27 Aug 2016. They are especially touched by the encouragement of comforting words and hymns during their visits to meet with Christina. 

Preaching appointment:  Rev Seet at Thai Service, 2.30 pm. Rev Wong in Batam. Rev Quek at Maranatha MLF, 1.30 pm. Rev Lee at JB Sunset BF, 6pm. Rev Khoo at Chinese Evening BSF, 7pm.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25