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Scripture Memory: The Beginning & the End.

VERSE : Revelation 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

29 January 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Peter Chng (All Is Well, Joshua 1:1-9)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Charles Seet (The Stupidity of Fighting God, Psalm 2)

5 February 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (God’s Sovereignty in World History, Dan 2:31-49)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (The Lord Is In His Holy Temple, Ps 11)

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CELEBRATING CHINESE NEW YEAR (Part 2)

By Elder Ng Beng Kiong

 

Chinese New Year is probably the most important, elaborate and colourful of all the Chinese festivals. It symbolizes the beginning of a new year, and for the Chinese, a signal to a fresh start with new hopes for happiness and prosperity.

However, Chinese Christians in non-Christian homes often face the dilemma of what they can do or cannot do during Chinese New Year. For those who have been delivered from the idolatry of the past we know that Chinese New Year celebration has a history steeped in the worship of idols and superstitious and pagan practices where the Chinese hope to usher in good luck and prosperity for the coming year. How should a Christian celebrate Chinese New Year? How much of a breaking off from these old practices should we make?

In the first part of this article we had seen that the struggle for Christians, lies in how we are to maintain an active appreciation of our cultural heritage without compromising our faith.

Be Knowledgeable about the Underlying Beliefs

The Chinese Christian must have a correct understanding of Chinese traditions and their significance so that he can deal with these issues wisely from a biblical standpoint, and be a good witness and testimony for Jesus Christ. This includes understanding the original beliefs as well as the current attitudes. Many of the accepted practices have become so much part and parcel of the culture that we often do not bother to check if we are engaging in anything which involves religious worship that violates biblical principles. Some practices on the other hand, which owe their origin to religious worship may have over a period of time taken up a new meaning and a more diluted form.

It is important to understand the particular tradition and examine its cultural, historical and religious roots. Is it a religious or cultural practice? Like spring cleaning in preparation for Chinese New Year – it is an acceptable practice, but do not get caught up in the superstitious belief that if you sweep the floor during Chinese New Year, you will lose your blessings and good fortune. It is the Lord who gives us our wealth (Proverbs 22:2 – “The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.”).

Concerning the eating of “yusheng”, it is not wrong to ask the Lord for spiritual and financial prosperity and well-being but we must be careful not to be unduly concerned about material wealth and success. As the Lord blesses you, remember Deuteronomy 8:18 – “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.”

So should a Christian wish others a happy new year? I suppose there is no harm with a general well-wishing during this time just like during a birthday occasion or during a wedding. However, a Christian should be careful not to wish non-Christians prosperity in the sense of wishing them good luck.

How about going around with mandarin oranges? The fruit in itself is actually altogether nothing but to the non-Christians, this fruit is significant in that they believe this will bring them luck and good fortune. Do it with understanding. Success comes from the Lord (Psalm 75:6). As for Chinese New Year goodies such as BBQ pork, pineapple tarts, melon seed, F&N orange drinks, etc, remember to give thanks, enjoy it and eat in moderation (1 Corinthians 10:31).

It is important to discern the practices that we may engage in and those we may not. More importantly, we must understand the biblical reasons for the decision taken either way. We should not adhere blindly to traditions nor deliberately reject one’s past. We must choose between the practices of Chinese New Year that are acceptable and rejecting those that are not. And this comes from a clear understanding of what is involved in the manner we celebrate Chinese New Year.

Be Consistent in our Christian Living

It is important to make clear our Christian principles and convictions which should be supported by consistent Christian living. It is ineffective and counterproductive to insist on maintaining a firm Christian stand only during Chinese New Year. Apart from refraining from involvement with the pagan practices, it does not seem to communicate a genuine sense of Christian convictions and beliefs.

Chinese culture, especially during Chinese New Year, places a great deal of emphasis on filial piety. We must communicate our appreciation and respect for filial piety. And filial piety must be seen in the light of children showing their love and care for the elderly and parents while they are still alive. This is the best way to prove our filial piety to our loved ones. We should assure our parents of our love and respect for them in a way that is tangible to them. Mere words or just showing them the Scripture passage on honouring parents would never be sufficient to get the message across to them. One has to say it in action – regular support and monetary gifts, obedience and submission in our daily lives. This fulfils scriptural instructions to honour our parents while they are still alive.

Because of the vices during Chinese New Year – gambling, merry-making, gluttony, revelry, etc – we must be careful about our participation and of our testimony for the Lord. Chinese Christians are often seen to compromise their faith by participating in the many rituals. We need to be instructed. It is imperative that we understand the requirements of God, and seek to observe biblical principles in their lives. If Chinese customs and culture infringe on biblical standards, we must, at all cost, seek to honour God (1 Sam 2:30), and to obey His Word.

We must also seek to explain to our loved ones the reasons for our actions so that they would not think that we are in any way un-filial. We are not objecting to our Chinese tradition, nor respect to our ancestors or elders. We are objecting to the unscriptural assumption of worshipping the dead. Indiscriminate rejection and rigid exercises very often cause unnecessary misunderstanding and complications. Our reasons for not participating in any religious or ancestor worship must be clearly communicated to our parents and elders with respect. Best of all, show them what it means to be a Christian through your life daily.

How Can a Christian Celebrate the Chinese New Year?

Despite all the superstitions and myths surrounding Chinese New Year, it is an integral part of our Chinese culture and tradition. Unfortunately, in our Chinese New Year celebrations, we focus too much on our earthly life and material success and wealth – with undue emphasis on good luck and fortune. Rather, we must put God in the centre of our culture and lives because at the core of our being and image is God Himself. Otherwise, through a lack of awareness, we can easily turn our celebration of Chinese New Year into a materialistic experience. Being Chinese Christians, we should celebrate Chinese New Year to maintain our Chinese identity and heritage, but with a Christian perspective. How can you celebrate Chinese New Year?

•   Thanksgiving. Chinese New Year is a time of thanksgiving unto the Lord. The reunion dinner is a good tradition to keep. Make every effort to reunite with your parents and loved ones and sit round the dining table for a good time of physical refreshment and fellowship. As believers, we look to God for the provision of our daily needs and it is His promise that He knows our needs and will always provide for us. The Christian family should make the reunion dinner a thanksgiving celebration of the mercies of God in providing for, and protecting the family.

•   Family Ties. Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions and the visiting of relatives and friends. In fact, Chinese New Year aptly reminds us that strong families are important, as they are the basis for a strong society.

•   Filial Piety. Chinese New Year is a good time to show love and respect for our parents. This is proper and consistent with our Christian value of honouring our parents.

•   Honouring the Lord with our Substance. Chinese New Year is also a time for giving and honouring the Lord with our substance, i.e. bring an angpow for the Lord.

•   Evangelism. Chinese New year is a good time for sharing God’s love with loved ones, relatives and friends. In normal circumstances, we seldom visit each other. We only see each other on special occasions. So as you go visiting, ask God to give you an opportunity to share Christ.

Chinese Christians should celebrate Chinese New Year so as to maintain our ethnic identity. Our Chinese culture is invaluable and important because it expresses our roots, of who we are. But as Christians the deepest part of ourselves and the real meaning of who we are are found in our relationship with God, our Creator and Maker. For Christians, God must be the centre of our Chinese New Year celebration.

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YAF RETREAT 2017

 

Theme   :        Renewed Minds and Transformed Lives

Speaker   :                 Rev JJ Lim (Pastor, Pilgrim Covenant Church)

Location   :                 Changi Cove

Start Date :                 29 April 2017, 9am

End Date :                 1 May 2017, 5pm

Registration website: https:/yafretreat2017.wordpress.com/

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1) 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.

2) Study Tour: Maranatha BPC will be organising a 14D Scotland Covenanters & England Puritans Study Tour from 17-30 May 2017. Those interested may contact Ms Angie Sin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call MBPC office at 65458627 for more details.

3) Far Eastern Kindergarten Online Registration.

2018 Intake: Pre-Nursery (YOB 2015) & Nursery (YOB 2014)

Priority registration for church members: 1 February to 14 February 2017. Register online at http://fek.qoqolo.com/cos/o.x?c=/ca4q_fek/registration. It will be on a first-come-first-serve basis after 14 February 2017. Please visit our website http://www.lifebpc.com/fekedu/ or call 6251 3676 for more information.

4) Nominations for Election of Session Members, 2017-2020. Nominations will close on 5 Feb 17. Nomination forms will be available from the Reception Counter on Sundays, and from the Church Office on weekdays.

5) Life BP Church Camp 2017 will be held from June 12-15 (Mon-Thu) at Batam Holiday Inn Resort. Do book your annual leave now to join us for a blessed time of fellowship, and exhortations from God’s Word.

 

6) Family Seminar 2016 recordings: Those who have ordered, please come personally to collect the recordings at the RTL Office (next to Cry Room 1) after worship service.

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