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Scripture Memory: Sin
Jeremiah 27:9 
"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

5 February 2012
8 am & 10.45am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (Are You Genuine? Luke 18:9-14)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Mark Chen (Jesus Christ, Only Christ, Col 2:1-10)

12 February 2012
8 am & 10.45am Worship Service:

Rev Charles Seet (Are You a Witness? Mat 5:13-16)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek KK (What Prevents Maturity? Col 2:8-23)

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LESSONS FROM THE TITANIC

Three weeks ago, the Costa Concordia claimed 33 lives when it capsized off the coast of Giglio island. Built six years ago at a cost of US$570 million, it was reputedly the largest Italian cruise ship ever conceived. A Bloomberg editorial described it as being "so enormous that it is essentially a floating town." Its untimely demise brought back haunting memories of a worse maritime disaster which took place a hundred years earlier…

On 14 April 1912, over 1,500 passengers and crew members of the famous luxury liner, the Titanic, perished in the icy waters of the North Atlantic when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank into the deep blue sea. As the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic is just two months away, it would be very instructive for us to learn three important lessons from this unforgettable disaster.

1. The Fatality of Exalting Self

Since the aborted building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), many who have taken pride in accomplishing great feats to make a name for themselves have suffered horrific consequences. As Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

This was sadly true of the construction of the Titanic as well. Built at a shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, this ship was designed by experienced engineers using the most advanced technologies to be the largest and most luxurious ever to sail. Described as a floating palace it had many things to boast of, including a swimming pool, library, gymnasium, squash court and Turkish bath.

Although the ship had four funnels, only three of them were functional. The fourth was added just to make it look more impressive. More importantly, it was equipped with such extensive safety features that made many – including the ship’s designers and captain – believe that it was unsinkable. Its 16 watertight compartments would keep it afloat as long as no more than four of them were filled with water.

Thomas Andrews Jr., one of the naval architects who had designed the Titanic, remarked to a friend that the ship was "as nearly perfect as human brains can make her."

One passenger asked a ship’s agent for extra insurance on some valuables in her luggage. He replied, "Ridiculous. This boat’s unsinkable." When the captain was asked about the ship’s safety, he answered: "I cannot imagine any condition which would cause the ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that."

After the Titanic had struck the iceberg, a passenger asked her employer if they should do something about it. He replied, "Go back to bed. This ship is unsinkable." A passenger expressed concern when the ship began to list as it took on more water. But another passenger replied, "You cannot sink this boat."

As early reports about the disaster began to reach the U.S., the vice-president of the White Star line in New York responded: "We place absolute confidence in the Titanic. We believe that the boat is unsinkable." When one passenger asked a dock hand, "Is this ship really unsinkable?" The man replied, "Yes, lady. God Himself couldn’t sink this ship."

But God has ways to humble those who make such bold claims. On that fateful Sunday night in April 1912, everything that could go wrong for the Titanic went wrong! The weather was unusually cold with temperatures dropping to near freezing point. The northwest winds behind the cold front pushed a giant ice field southwards.

Earlier that day, messages from several other ships warning of large icebergs in the Titanic’s path, had failed to reach the ship’s officers. That night happened to be hazy, dark and moonless. The key to the cabinet where a pair of binoculars was kept was missing. This means that the lookout in the ‘crow’s nest’ did not have binoculars to use. Thus the huge iceberg was detected too late. Within 37 seconds it grazed the ship’s right hull, causing the steel plates to buckle and opening the first six compartments below sea level.

As water rushed into these compartments the ship’s bow began to sink. The captain ordered an evacuation 25 minutes after the collision. Preparations to board the 20 lifeboats were made, but it was soon apparent that they were sufficient for only half of the passengers. In the chaos that ensued less than 60% of their total capacity was used. At least 470 more lives would have been saved if all the lifeboats had been maximized.

Although the Californian was within sight of the Titanic that night, it did not receive any distress signal because its radio system was turned off and its crew thought that the eight distress rockets fired from theTitanic was merely a party celebration. Several other nearby ships did receive the distress signal, but none of them were close enough to reach the liner before it broke into two parts and sank. Some of them did not fully comprehend the seriousness of the collision. As news of the disaster spread, many reacted with shock and disbelief that the unsinkable ship had sunk with such great loss of life!

All these coincidental happenings worked together to produce an unexpected disaster of titanic proportions. They cannot be explained apart from being acts of divine providence working to execute God’s punitive will. How awful it is to reap the results of exalting self!

Let this lesson be deeply engraved in your heart: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) Do not allow any personal accomplishment to get to your head and make you proud. Keep yourself humble and always give God the glory for everything that you do (1 Corinthians 10:31).

2. The Futility of Trusting Riches

In the Parable of the Sower, Christ described riches as being deceitful (Matthew 13:22). They often give an illusion of unlimited power. But when one’s life is in danger, they prove to be most useless and disappointing.

Many passengers on board the Titanic learned this painful lesson all too late. Some of the world’s richest people had paid as much as £870 (equivalent to S$38,000 today) to sail first-class on that historic voyage of the world’s largest symbol of materialism and wealth.

One of them was the wealthy streetcar magnate from Philadelphia, George Dunton Widener. He had just commissioned the design and construction of a 2,800 sq.m mansion on Rhode Island for his summer home, but he never got to see it. After traveling to Paris to look for a chef for his new hotel, the Ritz Carlton, he decided to return to the U.S. on board the fateful vessel. He went down with it and his body was never found.

The richest passenger on the Titanic was John Jacob Astor IV, a 45-year old American millionaire whose family had made a huge fortune in opium, fur trade and real estate. In 1897 he built the world’s most luxurious hotel in New York City and named it the Astoria Hotel which later became the 5-star Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Astor’s wealth earned him an esteemed welcome on board the ship. But when disaster struck and the life boats were being loaded, his request to board one of them was rejected because of the rule that only women and children were allowed to board the lifeboats. He went down with the ship after half an hour. A week later, Astor’s body was recovered with his gold watch, gold cuff links, a diamond ring and today’s equivalent of about S$100,000 in cash.

In the ship’s final hour another rich passenger reportedly went to the railing, took out his wallet and emptied all his money into the sea, disappointed to realize that it could not save him from going to a watery grave.

Concerning the futility of trusting in riches, the psalmist once made this sober observation, "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish." (Psalm 49:6-12)

No amount of wealth can prevent death from coming, or purchase a place in heaven. This is why all who are rich must be warned "…that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." (1 Timothy 6:17) As you trust in the living God, He will make your life a blessing to others. This brings us to the third lesson that we can learn from the Titanic

3. The Felicity of Rescuing Souls

All who survived in the lifeboats have one person to thank for rescuing them – Captain Arthur Henry Rostron. When the distress signal came, he sprang to action immediately, setting the course of his ship at maximum speed to reach the Titanic’s last known location, 93 km away. He ordered all off-duty stokers to the engine room to coax every ounce of steam out of the ship’s boilers. He even ordered the ship’s heating and hot water to be cut off in order to make as much steam as possible available for the engines.

Working his way carefully through the dangerous ice floes, Captain Rostron arrived at the scene three hours later. He rescued all 705 survivors out of the cold night air, and brought them into the Carpathia’s warm cabinsThere they were provided with blankets, food, drinks and medicine until they disembarked safely at New York three days later.

Captain Rostron was a very devout Christian. One writer described him as follows: "He neither smoked nor drank, was never heard to use profanity, and in a day and age when recourse to the Almighty was not regarded as quaint or a sign of weakness, [he] was known to turn to prayer for guidance."

Here is an account of what he did after issuing all the orders for the rescue mission: "In all this excitement, one other thing was not overlooked. The second officer noticed it. Then every man on the bridge noticed. Captain Rostron stood at the back of the bridge holding his cap an inch or two off his head, eyes closed, lips moving in silent prayer."

The heroic rescue which this man accomplished with God’s help speaks of an even greater rescue which was accomplished through Jesus Christ. When we were helplessly doomed to perish in the raging waters of sin, this Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10) came speedily to our rescue. Enduring the cross, He delivered us out of darkness into His marvelous light; He sustains our spiritual life, and will bring us safely to our heavenly home!

How should we respond to this great rescue? While we stand in gratitude and awe of our Saviour’s love, should we not follow His example as well? We who have safely boarded His lifeboat: How can we turn a deaf ear to the cries of those in distress? Souls all around us are in danger of drowning in the waters of sin. If nothing is done for them, they will sink to rise no more. What are we doing for them? May the Lord move our hearts to rescue the perishing. —Pastor

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YAF RETREAT

Theme: Did you think to pray?

Date: 15-18 March 2012

Venue: Pulai Desaru, Johor Bahru

Speaker: Elder Ng Beng Kiong

Retreat fees: Working – S$285 ; Non-working – S$235

Contact: Tim Goh @ 9876-8654/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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1) Infant Baptism on Easter Sunday, 8 Apr 12. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 26 Feb 12. Please call the Church office (6594 9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

2) Book Table by Tulip. There will be a book table today and next Sunday from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. Memory verse prize winners, please bring your vouchers to exchange for books/items.

3) Far Eastern Kindergarten Registration for 2013: Pre-Nursery (2010); Nursery (2009). Priority for Members’ Closing Date: 28th February 2012. Please call 6 251 3676 or log on to www.lifebpc.com/fek/ for more information.

4) Life B-P Church Camp 2012. 11-14 Jun 12 (Mon-Thu). To register, please log in tohttp://www.lifebpc.com/churchcamp2012.htm for online registration. Venue: Nirwana Resort Hotel, Bintan, Indonesia. Theme: ‘One in Christ, Unity in Diversity’.’ Speaker: Pastor Tan Soon Yong from Fishermen of Christ. Registration forms are also available at the front entrance for those who have no internet access.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet 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

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