FacebookTwitterRSS FeedPinterest

Scripture Memory: Correction. 
VERSE: Proverbs 27:6 
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

* * *

O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

14 July 2013
8 am & 1045 am Worship Service:
Rev Charles Seet (Provisions of the Christ-Centred Life, 2 Pet 1:2-4)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (El Roi: The God Who Sees, Gen 16:13,14)

21 July 2013
8 am & 1045 am Worship Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Cultivating Christ-like Virtues; 2 Pet 1:5, 1 Pet 2:9, Phil 4:8)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Frank Low (El Elyon: The God Most High; Ps 57:2)

* * *

ATTITUDES TOWARDS STUDIES

The pursuit of good grades and academic excellence has become a major theme in Singaporean life, as can be seen in almost every school and household. The stress of unceasing tests and exams affects teachers, students and parents alike. In some families, parents are far more interested in their children’s academic performance than in their children.

Many see education as a means of attaining one’s ambitions for power, prestige, popularity and position. Paper qualifications are regarded as the key that unlocks the door to a life of comfort, wealth, status, luxury and ease.

Unfortunately many Christians have become too engrossed with the paper chase, at the expense of other important aspects of life. Some would compromise on their Quiet Time, their reading of God’s Word, and most of their spiritual activities because "studies must come first." Attendance at church and fellowship meetings falls whenever exams come. Perhaps we need to ask: Has the pursuit of academic excellence become the new idolatry of Christians today, for which we willingly devote all our time and energies?

On the other hand, some students are indifferent toward their studies. They need much external motivation and ‘rewards’ to fulfil their most basic student responsibilities. This attitude does not help their Christian testimony at all. Some would put the blame for this on the school environment, or on the quality of teachers or tutors, or on peer group influence. But very often the prime cause is found in the attitudes of the students themselves.

Christian students need to have the right attitudes toward academic studies that will help them to maintain a good balance. Let us consider three principles from God’s Word that should moderate our attitudes to studies.

1. PRIORITY – Putting Christ above all things

Christ has full rights to Lordship by His costly redemption of your soul from sin and eternal death. You must therefore let Him exercise His rights as the Lord of our lives. "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:20) His Lordship must be exercised in every area of your life, including your studies.

But what does it mean in practical terms, to give priority to Jesus Christ, and to subordinate your studies to Him? Colossians 3:2 tells us, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." To set one’s affection on something is to let one’s mind be controlled by a particular inclination. Thus you must be careful not to let your mind be controlled by a desire to obtain better grades than all your peers, or by a desire for good paper qualifications, or even by a desire for a very promising career.

If God were to ask you to give up your academic pursuits for Him right now, would you do it? (Note: not everyone will be asked by the Lord to do this, just as not everyone will be asked, like Abraham, to sacrifice his son.) This was a question I had to answer 30 years ago. I had to decide whether or not to terminate my university education halfway, when I was sure that the Lord wanted me to serve Him fulltime. By God’s grace, I finally heeded His call and discontinued my studies to prepare for fulltime service.

Many people thought I was foolish to throw away such a good opportunity. And they said that I should have completed my university studies first, and then heed God’s call to serve Him, with the added advantage of a secular degree. But the issue was one of obedience: Who is more important to me: God, or my career? If I call Jesus "Lord" do I show it in my daily living and in the choices that I make? Is He really the Lord of every area of my life, including my studies?

2. PURPOSE – To bring glory to God

The second principle that must moderate your attitudes to studies is that it is not an end in itself, but a means to bring glory to the Lord. This is stated in 1 Corinthians 10:31 – "Whether therefore ye eat or ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." In whatever you do, your concern must always be how you can glorify the Lord through it.

You are to glorify God not only when you come to church on Sundays to worship Him, not only at moments when you pray to Him, and not only when you talk to others about God. You are to glorify God in the ordinary things you do each day: in your studies, in your play, and even in taking your meals.

But many tend to compartmentalise their lives. Going to church, spending time in prayer and witnessing belong to the sacred compartment, and are done for the Lord. But all other activities belong to the secular compartment, and are not done for the Lord. As a Christian, you should do everything for the Lord, including your studies.

You may ask: "How can my studies be used to glorify God?" Firstly, by consistent, disciplined effort made in them not just at exam time, but throughout the whole year. As Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Christians should be exemplary students, regular in attendance, attentive at lectures, handing up assignments on time, and faithful in revision and project work. You bring glory to God before your peers when they can see such virtues in you.

On the other hand, if you are always irresponsible and sloppy in your work, inattentive during lectures, and producing poor quality results due to carelessness and last-minute work, we can hardly give others any reason to glorify our Lord.

Some students are blessed with the ability to get the top marks quite effortlessly. Those who are able to achieve that have a unique opportunity to glorify God when people inquire how they managed to do it. In March or April every year, just after the O and A level results are released, many are interested to find out who the top students are, and how they were able to gain perfect scores. And most top students attribute success to their own hard work, encouraging teachers, supportive parents, or diligent practice.

How many would testify that it was God’s grace that gave him or her academic success? Why is there such reluctance to give glory to God for this? Perhaps God may bless you with an opportunity to testify like this one day!

Another way that you can glorify God in your studies is by using your knowledge to help fellow students who are academically weak. You have opportunities to show Christian love to others and to be a blessing unto them. Among your classmates you may know some who have difficulty in understanding lessons, or who do not use the right method of study. Show that you care by offering to help them.

Perhaps you are good at taking down legible and comprehensive notes during lectures. Perhaps you have the ability to make clear and easy-to-understand summaries of difficult topics. Why not make them available to others? This may involve some sacrifice on your part, as you have to spend a little extra time with those you help. But it is worthwhile when they come to regard you as their helpful and concerned friend, and God is glorified when they know that you are a Christian. As a bonus, your own understanding of the subject will improve tremendously, for there is no better way to learn something, than to teach it!

A third way of glorifying God in your studies is by doing all these things while at the same time being involved in Christian service. People around you will gradually come to know about your involvement in Church or in a Christian group. And if they know about it and at the same time see that you are doing well in your studies and helping those who are weak in their studies, this will make an impact upon them.

But it is not easy to do this. In your own strength alone, you will utterly fail. You need the application of one more principle:

3. POWER – Finding your sufficiency and strength in God

With all the tutorials to prepare for, assignments to write, books to read and projects to complete, studying can be a humongous task for most students. All these have to be done while keeping up with CCA and family expectations and commitments. Students cope with these things and with all the stress they generate in different ways. Some seek solace in their peers but some end up in depression. The best way to cope with all these things is to seek God’s help and to surrender yourself and your expectations entirely to Him.

Joseph could have wallowed in self-pity and resentment when his brothers sold him as a slave to Egypt. But he surrendered himself to God’s purposes for him there. It was only by doing this that he rose up from being a despised foreign slave to becoming an eminent prime minister.

What was the source of Joseph’s success? Genesis 39:3,23 provides the answer: "And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand…The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper."

In order to find your sufficiency and strength in God like Joseph did, you need to pray. In prayer, you can seek for divine enablement and blessing upon your studies. Pray that He who created your mind will grant you the ability to understand, retain and reproduce whatever you have studied. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

Ask God for wisdom to choose the right approach for each subject. For instance, certain subjects require you to remember a long sequence of facts, figures and events, while other subjects require a lot of mental reasoning instead of memory work. A mind that is sanctified by God and a heart that trusts in the Lord’s divine enablement will provide the best potential to discern and apply useful approaches to master each subject.

Besides that, you must always seek God’s wisdom to organise your time well enough so that you can meet all your responsibilities and commitments. You should also pray for wisdom when you need to decide which school, stream or combination of subjects you should choose.

Dear Student, before you do anything, please remember to pray! Pray before you do your assignments. Pray before each test and exam you take. In time, you will be able to see the difference that trusting God in prayer has made in your studies.

Dear Parent, learn to trust in God for your child’s academic success. Worrying will not avail as much for your child as praying for him will (Philippians 4:6; James 5:16).

In this article, we have seen that our attitudes to studies should be moderated by Scriptural principles that can be summarised in three words: Priority, Purpose and Power. Put these principles into practice, and your academic life will be in accordance with the will of God, and your education will prepare you for a lifetime to live victoriously for Christ in a modern world. —Pastor

* * *

Pastoral Announcement:

During the ACM held on 28 Apr 2013, members were informed that the Life B-P Church ("the Church") may have to resort to the law to protect and guard the interests of the Church in dealing with FEBC. Regrettably, the Church has filed a Writ of Summons in the Subordinate Courts and served it on FEBC to seek recovery of a sum of S$250,000.

As you are already aware, the Court of Appeal has ruled that FEBC is a separate and independent unincorporated association and not one of the Church’s ministries.

FEBC had previously offered to pay the sum claimed as part of their obligation to contribute towards the past maintenance and upkeep of the premises at 9&9A Gilstead Road. While the Church was of the view that the amount offered by them is inadequate to reimburse the actual costs which the Church has incurred and is entitled to be reimbursed, the Church was prepared to accept the amount offered as an amicable compromise. However, despite our many requests, FEBC failed and refused to honour their commitment to make such payment. Therefore, the Church has, on the advice of our lawyers, decided that commencing legal proceedings against FEBC is necessary.

Please pray along with the Session that notwithstanding our filing of the Writ of Summons, this matter will be resolved expeditiously and amicably, without the need for adjudication by the Courts.

* * *

1) Migrant Workers Outreach: Medical screening for migrant workers will be held on 21/7 and 28/7. We will meet at 4.30pm, Beulah House. We need brothers to help in personal evangelism and sisters to help in the clinic. For enquiry, please call Bro. Beng Hong (hp: 96230800).

2) Traffic wardens needed, between 10.15 to 10.45 am each Sunday. If interested to serve, please contact Dn David Tan at 9667-9733 or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3) Church Camp 2013 Message & Photo CDs are available at the front of Sanctuary after 1st & 2nd Services TODAY & next Sunday. Thereafter, get the CDs from RTL Office after Service time. CD at S$1/- per copy.

4) Scripture Memory Verse Review No. 3. The deadline for submitting the review is today. Review No. 1 and 2 are also available for those who missed them. Obtainable at the front counter.

5) Catechism Class for Anniversary 2013 Baptism. 9.30 am at Rm 5-4, Beulah Centre. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the Catechism Class.

6) Congratulations to Mark and Sally Liu on the birth of a baby girl on 10 Jul 13.

Preaching appointment: Rev Quek at Young Lifers Worship, 10.45am and Life Evening Service, 6.00 pm.

During Rev Colin Wong’s absence, Yishun NBC will continue to be held every 3rd Friday of the month at the home of Mrs Annie Wong. Address: 469A Admiralty Dr #13-109, Singapore 751469. Tel: 9725-7070.

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

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11