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Scripture Memory:Effects of Speech.
VERSE : Proverbs 12:18 “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

17 November 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Charles Seet (Clean Hands or Clean Hearts; Mt 15:1-20)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Colin Wong (A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break; Mt 12:20) 

24 November 2013
8 am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Losing to Gain, Mat 16:21-26)
1045am Worship Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Losing to Gain, Mat 16:21-26)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Eld Sherman Ong (When It’s Only Words, Mt 12:33-37)

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LONELINESS

Have you ever felt lonely?  If we do not have meaningful interaction with other people in church, we can feel extremely lonely. Do people really care?  Do they even notice my presence? Loneliness can be unbearable. 

We yearn for acceptance and genuine friendship.  It seems strange, however, that we should feel lonely in this age when friends are easily added and accessible through smartphone, whatsapp, emails, sms, facebook and twitter.  A Vimeo animation entitled “The Innovation of Loneliness” suggested that social networks actually isolate us more from others. Enuma Okoro commented in an article entitled It’s Inevitable: We’re Human, We’re Christian and We’re Lonely - How an over-connected, over-independent culture keeps us from the intimacy we all crave in the Sep 20, 2013 issue of Christianity Today, that though we are always connected with people in virtual communities, yet we “feel a pervasive sense of disconnected-ness.”  Sherry Turkel, MIT professor and author of Alone Together, explained that the false sense of intimacy in the virtual world fails to satisfy people’s real needs of knowing others and being known.

In a society that champions individual achievements, we become increasingly self-absorbed in our pursuit of personal or familial goals.  After expending much time and energy cultivating relationships in business and office, we do not have any time or energy left to cultivate friends in church, neighbourhood or family.  Gradually, family members become strangers and lonely.

In order to fill the voids of loneliness, some pursue quick-fix solutions that gratify desires eg. buying the latest gadget, shopping, travel experience, online games, new apps, new pet, new romantic relationship, sexual encounter, gambling, cool drugs, alcohol and fun parties. 

Online dating sites are hotbeds for scams that exploit the lonely and broken-hearted, even Christian women and men.  A victim said, “At my age, I never thought I would find such a considerate and understanding soul mate who really cares for me and touches my heart.” Floored by romantic, loving, kind words from daily emails and calls and flattered by gifts and flowers, they thought they had finally found someone who truly loves them. If you have not met that person face to face, and if that person looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. The entire online profile may be false, including the photograph - taken from actors on the Internet. You can’t be sure who that online person really is. They manipulate your emotions through all sorts of promises:”No, I’ll never let you down. Trust me. I love you, you mean the world to me.” They may even invite you for a date, and then, something happens. They request for help, and money - that’s a red flag! Their incredible stories are as creative as the variety of Nigerian scammers: “I had to go on anurgent business trip was robbed at gunpoint…  hospitalised after an accident/assault; woke up from coma … can’t pay hospital bills … my daughter was kidnapped and need to pay ransom … cargo stuck at a Batam port; I need to pay import duty.” They even exploit your greed “I’ll pay you back in full next week plus 50% interest. … this $100,000 is for you - please send only $5,000.” They broke hearts and deplete bank accounts. If you are lonely, you are vulnerable because you want to trust this person who has been romancing you daily for the past three weeks.

Instead of pursuing virtual friends, how should Christians cope with loneliness?

1. Be-friend Christians. Spend time with friends who can help us grow in godliness.  Come together and encourage one another to love and to serve (Heb 10:24-25). Join NBCs, Sunday School class, small discipleship groups, fellowship meetings, prayer meetings, visitations, coffee, lunches, etc.  Cultivate meaningful Christian friendships. Share your prayers, sorrows and joys with brethren in confidence, caring for one another in the church family.  It requires transparency, acceptance of others and reconciliation for broken friendships.  If friends have offended us we need to grant forgiveness and biblically confront (Mt 18:15). If we have offended someone, humbly seek forgiveness (Mt 5:23).  By this, we apply the gospel of Christ (show the grace of God) to others.

2. Be-friend the lonely and elderly. When you are lonely, reach out to others who are lonely too.  When you call and meet them over coffee or lunch at hawker centre, there are now two less lonely people. James 1:27 encourages us to visit widows and orphans in their distress. As you serve others, you feel happy because it is more blessed to give (Acts 20:35).  A puritian pastor’s  cure for loneliness on Monday after Sunday’s exhausting ministry is to visit a member lying on a bed of affliction. Then he is able to rejoice that God had used him to  bless at least one lonely soul.  The elderly and the shut-ins are lonely and sad when good friends leave this world, one by one. Vacant chairs, faded photographs and old haunts may trigger memories of past glories and happier times.  Loneliness hits us hard. Old age and sickness adds to the pain.  Yet the elderly Christian can say, “I am not alone!” No changes in life can take Jesus away. “And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar (grey) hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4).  For the elderly Christian is very near to glory! It will not be long before we reach our heavenly home and reunite with our loved ones.  As we walk the final journey, we are not alone because our gentle Shepherd walks beside us and assures us, I am with you, my rod and staff will comfort you (Psalm 23:4).  I love this Fanny Crosby hymn:

I must have the Saviour with me, 
for I dare not walk alone.

I must feel His presence near me, 
And His arm around me thrown.

Then my soul shall fear no ill, 
Let Him lead me where He will,

I will go without a murmur, 
And His footsteps follow still.

3. Be-friend the family.  Our parents should be good friends whom we can trust and confide in, to seek advice on important decisions in life. Our spouses ought to be best friends who can speak the truth in love for our good. Yet we may be too familiar and harsh with them.  We may in turn be deeply hurt when our loved ones whom we most desire affirmation, criticise us in our time of need.  When that happens, let us apply the gospel of Christ and forgive them by the grace of God.  If you are married, love your spouse with Christ’s  sacrificial unconditional love. Honour and love your parents. Ease their loneliness by taking them for meals and walks with their grandchildren in the park and shopping centres.  Make them feel they are a part of your family.  In doing so, we love our closest neighbour as ourself.

4. Make Christ your best friend.  We are made by God to have communion with Him, and our souls are lonely when we are not in communion with God. God’s friendship meets all our soul’s deepest needs and cravings.  Human companionship helps us at a few points; but divine friendship blesses us at every stage of life.  You are never alone because Christ has promised “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb 13:5); “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Mt 28:20).  King David in his moment of loneliness relied on the only One who could help him: “I cried unto thee, O LORD, I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Ps 142:5).  Let us desire Jesus most (Ps 73:25), for in His presence is fullness of joy and eternal pleasures (Ps 16:11). He loves me so much that He gave Himself for me. Nothing, not even trials, sickness or death, can separate me from Christ’s love (Rom 8:35, 38-39). He is my best friend (Prov 18:24);  He cares for me; my tear drops are kept in His bottle (Ps 56:8). He is more than enough for me (2 Cor 3:5). I am content in His will (Phil 4:11) and look forward to heaven - a beautiful place of communion with my Saviour and brethren. Till then, I can enjoy sweet daily fellowship with my beloved Jesus through His word and prayer.  With Christ, I can be alone yet not lonely. I am accepted in the beloved. My beloved is mine and I am His (Song 2:16) and He covers me with His love (Song 2:4). – Dn Lee Hock Chin

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ERBL LECTURES (JAN-MAY 14) : Expanded to Day Lectures!

Day Time Course Lecturer

Mon 7.30 - 9.30 pm OT Survey II Rev Charles Seet

Tue 10 - 12.00 pm Basic Greek II Rev Ho Chee Lai

Wed 10 - 12.00 pm Theology of Prayer Rev Isaac Ong

Thu 10 - 12.00 pm 2 Corinthians Rev Isaac Ong

7.30 - 9.30 pm NT Survey II Rev Ho Chee Lai

Fri 10 - 12.00 pm Nouthetic Counselling Rev Dr Jack Sin

Closing date for ‘Early Bird Discount’ of $5 is 2 Dec 13, and is valid only with payment. Lectures begin on 6 Jan 14. Place completed registration forms with payment in the box.

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An Appeal for Typhoon Relief Funds

Those who wish to contribute, please designate an offering “Disaster Relief” and put it into the offering bags during any of the worship services in Life Church today and next Sunday. Offering envelopes are available in the pews in the church sanctuary.

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1) “Evening by Evening”: Daily Devotional by C H Spurgeon, Vol 1 (Jan to Mar 2014). Available at the front counter. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions.

2) LTF Camp 2013 (9-13 Dec)Theme: What God wants of me. Speaker: Mr. Lim Chien Chong (Grace B-P Church). All teens aged 12-17 are invited! Registration is extended till TODAY. Contact Elder Lim Ching Wah (9183-6783) for more information. Love gifts to defray the costs of the camp are greatly appreciated.

3) YF Camp 2013 (16-20 Dec)Theme: Back on Track. Speaker: Rev Mathews Abraham. Registration closes on 1 Dec. Sign up at our booth outside main sanctuary after 8am & 10.45am service. For more information, contact Timothy Loe at 9678-1953.

4) Sunday School Prize-Giving TODAY, 9.30 am. Primary & Junior Dept at Chinese Service Hall; Teens, Seniors & Young Adults at Sanctuary. Prize winners can redeem vouchers at book table at front porch.

5) Infant Baptism on Christmas Sunday, 22 Dec 13. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 24 Nov 13. Please call the Church office (65949399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

6) Our condolences to the family of Joan Tan Kim Peng (49 years old) who went home to be with the Lord on 15 Nov 13. Vigil service at 8 pm tonight at The Chapel, Garden of Remembrance, 920, Old Choa Chu Kang Road. Funeral tomorrow at 8.30 am. Cortege will leave for Mandai Crematorium Hall 1 at 9:15am.  

7) Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Dong Xiaoke on the gift of a baby girl on 18 Nov 13.

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