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Scripture Memory: Sin
Romans 5:12 
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

22 January 2012
8 am & 10.45am Worship Service:

Mark Chen (Are You Forgiving? Mat 18:23-35)

29 January 2012
8 am & 10.45am Worship Service:

Rev Mike Redick(Are You on the Right Track? Mat 7:13-14)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Calvin Loh (The Pastor’s Work, Col 1:24-29)

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A CELEBRATION OF CHANGE

My dear Reader,

Today is the eve of Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are as important as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in western countries. So what will happen on the New Year’s Eve? Traditionally, a Reunion Dinner is held on Chinese New Year’s Eve where members of the family get together for a sumptuous feast which includes Imperial cuisine such as shark’s fin soup, Buddha jumps over the wall and raw fish.

The Reunion Dinner, also known as "Tuan Nian" or "Wei Lu" marks a family gathering on the Lunar New Year’s Eve. The Chinese people consider it to be the most important part of the celebration. Therefore, no matter where you are, you are expected to come home for the celebration. However, if you are really unable to make it for this family reunion feast, then an empty seat will be kept to symbolize your presence at the banquet.

The Lunar New Year begins with the New Moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the Full Moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the New Year is called the "Lantern Festival," which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

A Chinese Proverbs says, "All creatures are reborn on New Year’s Day." The Chinese New Year is a celebration of change… out with the old and in with the new! So during the Spring Festival, young and old participate in many traditional activities because the Chinese people believe that as they enter a new year, they should put behind them all things of the past.

Physically speaking, they clean their houses, paint their doors and window panes, pay off their debts, buy new clothes, shoes, furniture and even get new haircuts. Relationally speaking, they put their unhappiness, hurt, disappointments, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness behind them. These activities symbolize new life and new beginnings.

According to Chinese Astrology, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon which begins on 23 January 2012 and ends on 09 February 2013. From the Christian perspective, it does not matter which year of the Chinese Zodiac you are born, what matters most is a celebration of a new leaf of life. That’s what Chinese New Year means – The Old has gone and the New has come!

A New Creation

Writing to the Corinthian Christians, Paul said, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). You and I who believe in Jesus have become a new creation. Our old way of living is gone. A new way of living has come. What a wonderful thing has happened to us! Everything is new. We have become a brand new person inside. We are not the same any more. A new life has begun!

The Christian life is dynamic in nature, not stagnant. Because of its dynamism, it progresses steadily. We are not perfect yet. God has not finished with us yet. He is still molding us. The way He does it is twofold: He molds us by the sanctifying power of the Word (John 15:3; 17:17) and He molds us by allowing us to go through the storms of life (1 Peter 1:6, 7; Job 23:10). The latter is gruesome. But the comforting thought is that He knows our limits. He will not allow us to be tested beyond our ability. He will give us the strength to endure it. When He has tested us, He will provide us with a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). For that reason, we have the confidence that God who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

The Christian life is a celebration of change. It changes us from one degree of glory to another. Paul put it this way: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we come face to face with God and commune with Him daily, a celebration of change takes place (Psalm 27:4). We shall be changed into His image (i.e. Christlikeness) with ever-increasing glory by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29; Exodus 34:29-35).

Practical Steps to be like Jesus

Every Christian ought to be like Jesus (1 John 2:6). But to be like Him requires a practical progressive holiness in a believer’s life while awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. To achieve it in the Christian life requires a life of discipline (1 Timothy 4:7b). Jesus said, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate" (Luke 13:24a; Hebrews 4:11).

Philippians 2:12 and 13 is a good exhortation to a practical progressive holiness in the life of the Christian. Paul said that Christians must keep on working with fear and trembling to complete their salvation (Human Responsibility) and at the same time, God will work in them both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Divine Responsibility).

To keep on working with fear and trembling to complete our salvation simply means to stop living like the people of the world who do not believe in Jesus. We must stop living the old way which we used to. That is to say, we must stop telling lies. We must always speak the truth to each other because we all belong to each other in the same body. We may get angry with people but we must not let that anger make us sin. We must not let the sun go down on our anger lest we give an opportunity to the devil. We must not steal. We must not talk anything bad about people. We must always say good things to help people grow stronger. Whatever we say must bring a blessing to those who hear us. We must not grieve God. We must not be bitter, resentful, hateful but be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other the same as God forgives us in Christ (Ephesians 4:17-32). The list goes on.

On the one hand, we are told to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godly living (1 Timothy 4:7b) and on the other hand, we also acknowledge that we alone can never live out the Christian life with our own strength. We may know the "how" of living it, but that’s not enough because the Christian life is a spiritual life, and it is to be lived in accordance with the way God intended it. That is why we need God the Holy Spirit to work in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Or else there is no celebration of change, not a bit of it (John 15:5).

Dearly beloved, I would like to encourage each and every one of you in this Lunar New Year to do this onething: Forget what is behind you and give of your best to reach what is ahead (Philippians 3:13). Let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1, 2a).

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, symbolizes a better way of life or a renewal of life. This evening of the Lunar New Year’s Eve, you and I will be gathering with our family members for a Reunion Dinner (VWm). The purpose of it is not only help to keep the family bonded, but it also symbolizes a good start of the New Year in the Lord. Therefore, I would suggest that it will be a good thing to make peace with God and people whom you may have offended in the past year and start the New Year afresh.

Will you do it? Amen.

Our Family Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this great family.

We honor Your presence and grace

bestowed upon us through the years.

Once again, You have allowed us

to gather and celebrate the legacies

left by our fore-fathers

and the legacies we will leave for future generations.

You taught us the strength of our family is Love, Humility, Understanding, and Faith.

As we stand in reverence of You, O Lord,

We pray for Your blessings and guidance to continue our journey.

This is our family prayer as we exemplify You in all that we do.

Amen!

Wishing all of you a blessed and joyous Lunar New Year!

Lovingly in Christ, 
Pastor Colin

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1) There will be no Evening Service today.

2) Chinese New Year Service tomorrow at 8.00am, Beulah MPH.

3) Please Note: There is a change of date for Vacation Bible School 2012 to 5-7 June.

4) Membership Roll Update Exercise: If you are a member of Life B-P Church, please fill the form and put it in the box at the church entrance.

5) Corrigendum for Focus on Missions: On the back page of the December 2011 issue of Focus on Missions the following was reported under the title, "Missions Events in the Coming Months": March 12-17 - Mission trip to Vietnam by Pastor Colin Wong. It should have been reported more fully as follows: March 12-17 - Mission trip to Vietnam by Pastor Colin Wong (To help in Calvary Jurong BPC’s mission work)."

6) Church Camp this year will be held from 11 - 14 June 2012 at Nirwana Resort, Bintan. Speaker: Pastor Tan Soon Yong. Apply for annual leave to attend this spiritual feast. Look out for more details on the camp and registration.

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