June 2012 Youth Retreat Testimonies

It was my great pleasure to have an opportunity to interact with our youths and to teach them in the recent Youth Retreat (June 8-9). I thank the Lord for Ruth Low, Donald dela Cruz, Andrew and Lynn Koh, Sis Diana Chan and Sis Lee Kim Lei who have co-laboured with me in this retreat. About 30 youths participated in the retreat. How I wish that more youths had taken advantage of this opportunity to learn His Word and to draw close to God!

Every youth will have to make many choices concerning his studies, friends, activities, entertainment, etc. Youth are often under pressure from the world to conform to its ways which are displeasing to their Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. So every Christian youth needs to be discerning to make choices that will please Him. Only if they are skilful in applying the Word of God correctly in their making of choices, they can please Him. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).

So I would like to urge all the youths who worship the Lord in Gethsemane BPC to join the Youth Bible Hour on Sundays and other activities that you may be well equipped to discern that which will please the Lord. For the encouragement of every youth, I am publishing some of the testimonies of participants of the Youth Retreat.

– Rev. Dr. Prabhudas Koshy, as published in 1 July 2012 Gethsemane B-P Church Weekly

Andronicus Koshy, 16 years old;  I thank God that I was able to attend this retreat. My time had not gone to waste. I am thankful that Pastor spent time to share the Word with us and as a result, I have learnt how to be a better Christian. Lessons such as how to apply justice and wisdom in our lives in different situations were beneficial. An example would be to use our talents or abilities for His glory. This is wisdom…

Dorcas Koshy, 14 years old;  I’m very grateful to God for this year’s Youth Retreat. It is encouraging to see that this year’s turnout is about twice the number of youths who attended the retreat last year. I also thank God for sustaining our preacher, Rev Koshy, who ministered to us during the two days. With God’s strength and the Spirit’s enabling, He shared with us God’s instruction on how to be a discerning youth, especially in this time when the devil’s influence on us is ever increasing and becoming more powerful.

Now I would like to share 3 truths about being a discerning youth, as declared by God in His Word:

1. A discerning youth listens to his/her parents who speak God’s Word. God graciously imparts His knowledge to those who seek it. It is not natural for us to possess God’s divine knowledge. Hence, when our parents bring us up based on the Scriptures, we should heed their word to enjoy the blessings of having a knowledge of God.

2. A discerning youth will accept chastisement and admit his/her mistake as well as do everything possible to avoid such a mistake again. Proverbs 3:11&12—“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Just as the LORD’s discipline is not to be taken negatively, we should welcome chastisement that is brought upon us out of a love that purifies us. The discerning youth knows that God’s discipline is meant to bring erring people back to God’s ways.

3. A discerning youth is one that useth strong meat, as it “belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13&14). To be discerning, we must be “skilful in the Word”. We have to be familiar with it in order to handle unfamiliar situations. Such a youth knows what God has instructed about certain situations and hence will be of great, even greater use to God.

In conclusion, I pray that this testimony will be used by God to edify the young hearts of Christian youths, that all of us will seek to be discerning in this modern world.

Dorothy Delina, 15 years old;  Thank God for the retreat. I had a blessed time during the games and the study of God’s Word, along with the fellowship. The games were fun and engaging, and the topic of “Discerning Youths” was interesting. I have learnt a bit more about Hebrew vocabulary in the process and also more about Proverbs which took up the bulk of the sermons… I am also very thankful for Auntie Kim Lei who prepared the wonderful refreshments, and for Uncle Andrew and Uncle Donald who planned the games. For those who have missed this retreat, I would like to encourage you to join the next one as there are many lessons you can learn from the Bible to apply in your life. The Bible itself tells us not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together”, and throughout the Bible, God instructs us to come together to worship Him. Once again, I’d like to thank God for allowing me to come to the retreat, and I also thank Pastor for preaching wonderful sermons. “Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised” (Psalm 113:1-3). All glory be to God!

Eunice Choy, 19 years old;  In this Youth Retreat, I have learnt that the best thing to ask of the Lord is discernment. We are to acknowledge that we are just like children who need God’s wisdom in all matters of life. Like Solomon who asked God for “an understanding heart to judge [God’s] people” and to “discern between good and bad” (1 Kings 3:9), we should ask God for discernment in order to be the kind of person He wants us to be. Discernment is choosing the best that God’s glory offers and rejecting all the evil of this world. We should ask God for more grace, more grace today than yesterday. God will be pleased that we ask of Him wisdom and He will answer us. Seek what God wants us to do. Do what He tells us to do.

Gan Chien Huey, 17 years old;  Through this retreat, I have learnt many things that we have to take note of to be a discerning youth, and the reasons for being one today in this world. My duty in this world is to carry out God’s purpose; I must ask Him to show me the way to do so. As He may send chastisement and rebuke through people around me, I must not get angry or remain stubborn, but accept the instruction and change. We must be well versed with God’s Word to be skilled in applying God’s truths in our lives. We must also be prudent and seek wisdom and understanding from God so that we may be discerning in our lives. Being a discerning youth is important as it is a good testimony to those who are non-Christians and as such, we may flee from evil and glorify God.

Gan Sze Huey, 19 years old;  I thank God for this year’s Youth Retreat. This year’s theme “Discerning Youths” has been very applicable to me. As a student, I can be rather heavily influenced by my peers and may sometimes carelessly accept certain behaviour (as seen around me) as normal. Pastor’s messages have taught us that we need to exercise prudence and careful discernment so as to bear a good testimony for Christ. To be a discerning youth, I must first acknowledge that my weaknesses are too much for me to overcome on my own, and I need to ask God for His help and grace to guide my path, so that I may become who He wants me to be. The message, “Being Who God Wants Me to Be”, specially resonated in me. Pastor taught that only God knows His plan for us, and that His plan for us is the best. We need only to trust, pray and follow Him. Even as I am now confused about my studies, I need to only trust and pray, leaving it in His hands and simply be ready to follow where He leads me.

Another important lesson was taken from Hebrews 5:14—“…even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Studying the Scriptures is important. We need to continuously study God’s Word thoroughly, completely and exercise it in our hearts, to the extent that we are able to discern or instinctively “sense” good from evil.

This retreat has been a very blessed, fruitful and enlightening one. It has been a timely reminder for me, that even as I will soon start school again, I need to keep learning and abiding by God’s teaching, and to be ever alert and discerning so that I may shine for Christ. All glory be to God!

Joey Lim, 18 years old;  The Youth Retreat has taught me that the Bible is the wisdom of God, with the fullness of knowledge contained within. By searching the Scriptures, the young man will gain “knowledge and discretion”, for only God is all-wise and all-knowing. The retreat also made me think more about how God knows the hearts of all men, even more than we know ourselves, and that we tend to lie to ourselves and dismiss the gravity of sin when we sin. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits” (Proverbs 16:2).

The video “Courageous” taught me the role of the man in the spiritual leadership of his family, and that he, being the head, must be a God-honouring man.

Lim Hua See, 19 years old;  Through the retreat, I was reminded of God’s grace and mercy upon us. God never promises a smooth-sailing journey but His presence at our side always. He is near. This itself is something to rejoice in. Everyday I learn more about God and the more I see God’s work and grace in me. Therefore, I say, “I love my Lord, my God, for He first loved me!”

From the video, “Courageous”, I have learnt that abiding in God’s Word is the only way of life. No compromising! God has His purpose and plan for me. Before Him, I am accountable for what I do. So I pray that God will help me to be a good testimony at home through His Word. If God will give me a husband, may He teach me to be a good wife/mother. I know that I am nothing on my own without God’s grace. Hence, I pray for nothing more but for His grace and mercy. May God continue to lead me so that one day I can proudly proclaim, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”!

Lok Qian Hui, 18 years old; Thank God for the opportunity to attend the Youth Retreat 2012. Praise God for Pastor Koshy’s instruction on “wisdom” from the book of Proverbs. I have learnt that wisdom is instilled in us by God. We must have wisdom and discernment in all decisions we make in life. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

We watched a video entitled “Courageous”. There are many lessons to learn from it and I will mention some. The role of fathers in godly Christian families is crucial. Every father must be courageous and say he will be the head of the house, to lead the family in a godly way. He must love God with “all [his] heart, and with all [his] soul, and with all [his] might” (Deut 6:5). He must be willing to say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Hence the entire family must also be willing to serve the Lord together.

In conclusion, we must be eager and have a thirst for God’s Word so that we will be wise. His Word is the perfect standard and we must follow all His counsels.

Marcus Peh, 17 years old;  Through this retreat, I have learnt many things. I’ve been worrying about my future. Will I be able to get a stable job? Will I have a family? Am I able to stick close to God? These are questions I ask myself everyday. But in this retreat, Pastor Koshy taught us how to lead a family, and that leading a family starts with my own spiritual growth. If I do not set an example to my family in the future, things will turn out bad. I don’t even want to imagine that. If I want to have a family that is devoted to God, I’ve got to start being a good example in God’s eyes.

During the retreat, we watched a Christian film called “Courageous”. I remember one of the scenes in which the pastor said, “Through this life’s journey, it may be tough, but remember to keep trusting the LORD.” Indeed, often times we forget about the LORD. When we are in trouble, we often neglect God and go astray. But this retreat has reminded me that God is a present help in trouble. This is also a reminder to every single one of us. Let us always remember that we are not alone. God knows when we are in trouble, and He will help us because He has promised so. WHY WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW?

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