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Scripture Memory: Love for Pleasure.
VERSE : Proverbs 21:17 
"He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

5 May 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Charles Seet (Victory Over Exploitation, Jas 5:1-6)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Bob Phee (Christ, the True Bread from Heaven, John 6:25-40)

12 May 2013
8 am Worship Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (If Not for Mothers..., 2 Tim 1:5)
1045am Worship Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (If Not for Mothers..., 2 Tim 1:5)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Why Did Christ Send the Holy Spirit? Jn 16:5-15)

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My dear Reader,

WHAT IS A TRUE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

Many of you Lifers have been attending Life Church faithfully for umpteen years. You have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the church. But praise God because despite its weaknesses, many of you still remain to worship with us every Lord’s Day. Needless to say, some have left us for other churches. We wish them well.

What did you see in Life Church that I did not see? What did you perceive in Life Church that I did not perceive? I would like to share with you what I have seen and perceived since I became a member of the church in 1987, and more so now as one of your pastors. What I am going to share is not a criticism or a judgment of the church. I just want to make you aware of certain weaknesses in our church (other churches also have such weaknesses) that need changes. That’s my purpose of writing this Weekly.

First, I see an absence of authenticity. In ancient Greek drama, the term "hypocrite" was applied to an actor who wore mask according to the character he or she played. Most of us tend to think of a hypocrite as someone who says one thing and does another, concealing a secret life of sin that he or she hides under a veneer of spirituality. However, the term can also apply to a person who wears a mask to conceal self.

Should a Christian hide his or her self from fellow concerned Christians? Paul was not such a Christian. Writing to the Thessalonians, he said, "So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us" (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Paul was ready to share with them not only the Gospel of God but also his very own self. The word "soul" refers to the very essence of a person. He was willing to open up himself to them. He concealed nothing from them.

Hypocrisy means saying "fine" when someone asks you how you are doing, when you know deep in your heart you are not doing well at all. Instead of sharing your spiritual struggles, your pain, your heartaches, your anxieties, your problems, you interact with fellow Christians in a superficial manner.

Is that a true Christian community? You be the judge!

Second, I see a spirit of exclusion. Christianity is inclusion, not exclusion. Christ has come to bring reconciliation to God and men. He has made different races one by breaking down the wall of hostility that has kept them apart. We are to live in harmony with one another and accept one another just as Christ has accepted us (Romans 12:5, 7). Therefore, there are no parties in the Christian community like Pastor A’s party or Pastor B’s party or Pastor C’s party. There is only one party, and that is, our Lord Jesus Christ’s Party (1 Corinthians 1:12).

What is a friendly church? Sadly, some people think that a friendly church is a church where members are only friendly to each other, or to people they like, or to people who are like them. That is not a community church. Such a church has no real acceptance. A true friendly church involves looking at people, differences and all, and accepting them for who they are and how God made them. It does not matter if they are white or black, male or female, rich or poor, educated or uneducated.

A good example was Jesus. He was not an exclusive. He was friendly to the tax collectors and sinners. He befriended them and ate with them. He did not exclude them but reached out to them (Mark 2:15-17).

So, a spirit of exclusion is not a healthy thing in the Christian community. It not only damages the testimony of the church, but it also hinders its growth. Is Life Church a church of exclusion? You be the judge!

Third, I see a spirit of false fellowship. The Bible says that true Christian fellowship is Christ-centred. It is not socialization, but edification. It has the power to revolutionize a life.

The kind of fellowship that most people have experienced at church has revolved around the fifteen or twenty minutes after the service when people stand around the church foyer and ask each other superficial questions.

"So how’s it going at work, John?" one might ask. "Fine, Steve. People are having a hard time buying a car nowadays?" "Yea," Steve replies. "What’s up on the coming week?" "Not much." "Well, great fellowship with you, John." "Me too," replies John.

Is that Christian fellowship or socialization? You be the judge! Christian fellowship is not having a good time talking about things that do not edify the soul. Christian fellowship blesses the soul. A couple of Lord’s Day ago, my wife and I visited an old couple. The wife was so happy to have us. She began to share with us her childhood. She showed us her childhood pictures. She told us how her grandfather, who was a Presbyterian minister, used to carry her along to sing children’s songs to the people he ministered. She showed us a precious Bible presented to her by Leona Wu (She was the interpreter for Dr John Sung in the 1930s in Singapore). We were so blessed to hear her testimony. We were edified, renewed and charged by the Holy Spirit. To me, that’s Christian fellowship in the biblical term! (Acts 2:42)

Fourth, I see a spirit of loveless people. One of the complaints of the church is a lack of love. Christians ought to be loveable people. We are to love one another with no condition attached because God is love (1 John 4:7). We are to love both the loveable and the unloveable because Jesus summoned us (John 13:34, 35; 15:12). So a true Christian community is where Christians can love and be loved.

There is a risk to love and be loved because it creates the opportunity for pain and hurt. That is why for most people it is never easy. But it is absolutely necessary for an authentic Christian community. C.S. Lewis wisely observes, "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable… The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers … of love is Hell" (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1960), 169).

Christ-centred Christian fellowship expresses companionship, sharing and being intimately connected with other people. Such fellowship is an expression of enthusiastic love, and it takes place when people are completely upheld, completely accepted and completely supported. This is what it means "to love and be loved."

Fifth, I see a spirit of restraint. The spirit of the early church was full of sharing, talking and revealing. There seemed to be no holding anything back from them. If there was a weakness, they shared it to ask for prayer. We do not just share our struggles, needs and concerns with God (Philippians 4:6, 7), but also with one another for prayer support (Romans 15:30-32; Colossians 4:2-4).

The truth is that all of us have weaknesses. When was the last time you heard a leader openly share with us certain weaknesses and ask for prayer? One of the things I did when I was serving the Lord in a mission field was to share with the team members my struggles and asked them to uphold me in fervent prayer. We all did that in the team – for the purpose of upholding one another before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).

What will you see in a true Christian community? You will see fellow Christians standing up and say, "My name is Jenny, and I have a marital problem," or "My name is Boey See Leow, and I have an extra-marital affair," or "My name is Alice, and I am lonely," or "My name is Carol, and I just lost my job."

The purpose is to remove our masks and be strugglers together, to weep and rejoice together, to be brotherly and sisterly (Romans 12:15). When this happens, we open the door to the giving and receiving of love, acceptance and support. But it all begins with a willingness to admit our weaknesses.

Dearly beloved, this is what I see – an absence of authenticity, a spirit of exclusion, a spirit of false fellowship, a spirit of loveless people and a spirit of restraint. Needless to say, there is no end to the list. However, now that you have been made aware about it, what are you going to do? We just can’t push it aside and do nothing. We need to ask God to change us to be a true Christian community to the glory of God.

Will you make every effort to change for the betterment of the church? May God help us! Amen. —Lovingly in Christ, Pastor Colin

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Vacation Bible School 2013 
(5-7 June, Wed to Fri)

"Happiness is the Lord!" (Luke 15:10)

Registration is now open for all N2-P4 children.
Helpers (teachers/logistics/games) are needed. Please avail yourself to serve (Titus 3:8).

Registration forms for children and helpers are available at the front of the Sanctuary. Registration may also be done online at www.lifebpc.com/vbs. Sign up now! Closing date: 12 May.

CONTACT: Russell Indran at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 9188-9980.

Note: VBS Staff briefing at MPH for all helpers on 19 May 2013, 12.30pm to 3pm (lunch provided). Attendance is compulsory.

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ERBL SEMINAR

The Art and Science of Understanding the Bible by Dr Edward Paauwe


24-29 June 2013 (Mon-Sat)

8.30 am-1.00 pm (Mon - Fri)
7.30 pm-9.30 pm (Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri)

Details are available at www.lifebpc.com. Complete registration forms and place them in the box, together with payment.

Closing date: 15 May 13.

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2013 Combined B-P Youth Conference
Friday, 24 May 13. 9.15am-4pm. Beulah Centre. 
"The Crossroad" by Rev Mathews Abraham.

Lunch will be provided. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.http://tinyurl.com/bpyouth2013.

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Men’s Fellowship Meeting. 
10th May 2013 (Fri, 8pm) at Greek & Hebrew Rm 
Speaker 
: Rev Philip Heng
Topic
: "Victory Over Youthful Lust"

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1) Scripture Memory Verse Review No. 2. A written review exercise of the verses are obtainable at the front counter today. Please submit by 12 May 13. No. 1 sheets are also available for those who missed it.

2) Sponsorship of the Girls’ Brigade: On 30 April 2013 Life B-P Church assumed the role of Sponsoring church for the Girls’ Brigade Company at Sembawang Secondary School. We will provide spiritual oversight and financial support for the company. May the Lord help us to bring the Gospel to the students.

3) Tino & Lyn would like to give thanks to all for the continuous prayers and care for their daughter Rebecca during her stay in the hospital for the past two months.

4) Life B-P Church Camp, 17-20 June 2013 at Bintan Lagoon, Indonesia. On-line registration at the church website, www.lifebpc.com. Registration forms are also available at the front entrance for those who have no internet access. Love gifts to defray the cost are welcome. Registration closes next Sunday.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at JB Sunset Gospel Fellowship, 6 pm. Rev Quek in Batam.

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