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Scripture Memory: Diligence.
VERSE : Proverbs 30:25 
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

21 April 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Charles Seet (Victory Over Selfish Presumption, Jas 4:13-17)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Christ, the True Vine, Jn 15:1-11)

28 April 2013
9 am Combined Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (A Biblical Model of Lay Ministry, Neh 4:6)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Christ, the Good Shepherd, Jn 10:1-38)

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WHERE WAS GOD?

Reflections in the wake of the Boston marathon blasts

Boston marathon bombing. September 11. Connecticut school shootings. Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Natural or manmade disasters.

As we watch the extent of human suffering in the terrifying videos, we cannot help but ask: Where was God? Why did God not stop the evil and the suffering when it is in His power to do so? Why the senseless loss of lives? What kind of God would allow such disasters? One reporter commented "If this world is the product of intelligent design, then the designer has some explaining to do."

Lots of questions, but no easy answers. Grieving families will hardly be comforted when told that God has a purpose in the loss of their child or husband. Glib answers hurt; they do not help. Do you dare to search for the answers?

1. Sin Changed Everything.

There is a vast difference between the world God originally created and the one that erupts with earthquakes, floods and bombings. Sin changed everything. Nature was accursed (Genesis 3:14-19) - "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22). In natural disasters, God intensifies the curse upon nature and us. Hence, natural disasters, death and destruction are all judgments of God. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

2. Is God Responsible?

When faced with such a question, Christians are sometimes too quick to come to God’s defense. If God is sovereign, good and all-powerful, surely He is able to stop the disasters. But He did not. So that leaves us with either of two conclusions: either He is not good, or He is powerless. The Bible tells us that God rules nature directly or through secondary causes; but either way, He is in control. The biblical Job, in his moment of grief, articulated this doctrine clearly: "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;" (Job 1:21b). It was God who sent the worldwide flood that wiped out the entire world population except for Noah and his family. It is the same God who sent the calamities today. In other words, disasters fall within the providence and will of God.

3. Dare We Charge God With Evil?

Natural disasters are not evil in the moral sense of the word. If a tsunami occurs in an ocean and no humans are affected, we would not think of it as evil. It’s when humans suffer that disasters become ‘evil.’ Let us remember that God is our Creator; He does whatever pleases Him (Psalm 115:3) i.e. He does not play by our rules. Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." We (creatures / the clay) have no right to question Him (our Creator / the potter, see Romans 9:21). He is the Giver of life; we belong to Him, therefore He has every right to take away life.

Moreover, we believe that God is always good, all-wise, all-powerful. John Piper said, "[God] had hundreds of thousands of purposes, most of which will remain hidden to us until we are able to grasp them at the end of the age." When He said to Moses, "I AM that I AM" He in effect said, I am Who I am and not Who you would prefer Me to be. If God decides that disasters need to happen, then we will have to trust Him (Hebrews 11:6) even though He has not revealed His purposes.

4. Are There Lessons To Be Learnt?

(a) Disasters are not necessarily God’s judgment on the wicked. In Luke 13:4-5, Jesus taught His disciples that those who died in the collapse of the tower of Siloam were not greater sinners than those who survived.

(b) Disasters teach us the uncertainty of life. James 4:14 tells us our lives are transient like water vapour. Uncertainties rid us of the over-confidence we have that we are in control of our destinies. Today could be your last day on earth. Therefore, let us live meaningfully, for the glory of God, doing His will.

(c) Disasters teach us the danger of self-delusion. Many of us delude ourselves that the good life consists of money, pleasure, and leisure and the not-so-good life is one of poverty, struggle and servitude. But Jesus told a story that completely overturned that delusion: the rich man enjoyed luxury in life and found himself in torment after he died, while the beggar suffered in life but enjoyed bliss in heaven after death (Luke 16:19-31).

(d) Disasters teach us the need to repent immediately, because death may come any time. Jesus said, "…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3, 5). Death is certain, we will have to give an account to our Holy Judge one day - "as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27) In disasters, God reminds us to turn from our wicked ways, forge a right relationship with God and prepare for a better world to come.

(e) Disasters teach us that the most valuable thing in life is to Know Christ. In the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings, the survivors quickly went home and embraced their loved ones. When they realised they came so close to losing their lives, they cherished their loved ones and their own lives even more. They realised that what is precious in life is not more money, luxury house, or designer goods, but the time to enjoy life with their loved ones. Jesus reminds us to beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15). More importantly, John Piper said that natural disasters remind Christians that no earthly treasure can compare with the value of knowing Christ. You can lose every earthly thing in a moment, and yet a true believer will never lose Christ. The apostle Paul concurred when he said that he counted all things but loss for the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8).

(f) God’s answer to disasters is the Cross. Jesus died for me so that I no longer have to die. He suffered the greatest sufferings so that I do not need to suffer any more in eternity. God has agreed to transform this present world by removing the curse of sin and bringing about an eternity of justice and righteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:21). Stackhouse said, "We can respond properly to evil in our lives because we know that God is all-good and all-powerful because we know Jesus."

5. What Do You Say When Friends Ask?

(a) We Must Grieve. For those who are in pain, we grieve with them, we share their pain and sorrow with hearts of compassion and love.

(b) We Must Give Thanks. In the face of disasters, we must ask a different question – why are so many of us (including ourselves) still living? Life is a sign of God’s mercy. Who am I that I should live, and another dies, if not for the grace of God, if not for His mercies (Lamentations 3:23)? Life is a gift from God – it is His to give; it is His to decide when to take away. We do not decide when or where we are born. Likewise, we do not decide when we fall sick, or when we die. Instead, we give thanks that God has given us eyes to see ourselves as sinners, and to see Him as a Holy God who loves us. Give thanks for spiritual eyes to see the truth that sets us free from our sins.

(c) We Must Choose. Disasters force us to decide how we will respond to God. We can choose to become angry. Or we can choose to stand in awe of the Almighty God. We can accuse Him, or we can worship Him. Job chose to worship: "Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." As Erwin Lutzer says, "When disasters come, God is not on trial, we are." Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation.

My friend, are you ready for the Big One?

For years, Tokyo has been living in fear of the big quake. California has been waiting for the "Big One" that may destroy Los Angeles. But are you ready for the really BIG ONE? God tells us, the day of the Lord will come as thief in the night, and the whole earth will melt with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10-13). Christ will return with His angels and saints to judge non-believers who have rejected Him. God is our only refuge (Psalm 46:1). I pray that you will seek shelter in Jesus because He is the only way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). I am a sinner. Jesus died to remove the curse of sin, to free me from the wrath of God. Receive Jesus as your Saviour today! Obey Him as your Lord. Do His will from now till we see Jesus face to face.
— Dn Lee Hock Chin

Reference: Lutzer, Erwin W., Where was God?- Answers to Tough Questions about God and Natural Disasters. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006.

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Notice of Annual Congregational Meeting next Lord’s Day, 28 April 13, at 10.45 am sharp

All members of Life B-P Church are reminded to attend this meeting. The combined English worship service begins at 9.00 am.

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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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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE SEMINAR

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

24-29 June 2013 (Mon-Sat) at Beulah MPH 
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 
Please complete registration forms available at the reception counter and place them in the box, together with payment. Closing date: 15 May 13.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr Timothy Okman Ki is unable to be the speaker. The seminar will be conducted by Dr Edward Paauwe. The rest of the details remain unchanged.

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1) Employment of a New Missionary: Rev Daniel Khoo Hung Siang will be joining Life B-P Church as a missionary with effect from 1 May 2013. We welcome him and his wife into our membership.

2) 2013 Combined B-P Youth Conference. Fri, 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.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Thai Service, 2.30 pm. Rev Wong at Shalom BPC, 9am and Evening Service, 6pm. 

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