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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

Our Missionary Dominino dela Cruz

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Our missionary Dominino dela Cruz

Knowing that all of you are deeply concerned about Preacher Dominino's medical condition, I would like to update you on his present condition. Domi is now undergoing chemotherapy in Cebu City in an attempt to arrest the spread of cancer in his stomach and intestine. The first round of chemo has already been administered. The second round of chemotherapy is scheduled for the last week of August. This week, Domi and his family will reside in the church premises in Cebu. They will remain in Cebu for at least one more week before returning to Bogo. (There will be updates on Domi's condition almost every week through the 'prayer hotline'.)

A Medical Fund for Dominino's treatment was set up last Sunday, and it was announced last week. Since then, we have received several gifts that add up to S$5,710/-. Praise God for these gifts. If you are moved by the Lord to give to this fund, please place your gift in an envelope and mark on it "Dominino's medical fund".

Please pray for God's strengthening grace to be upon Domi as he undergoes chemotherapy. Remember also his wife, Sharon, and their child, Nehemiah, that the Lord will give them the wisdom and strength of hearts to go through this trial.

The churches in Bogo and San Antonio will be attended by our preachers from Cebu. They too need your prayers.

3rd Missionary Conference

We are now in the process of making our bookings with Emirates Airlines for those who are participating in Gethsemane BPC's Third Missionary Conference. According to our schedule, the participants will leave on 4th December (Sunday, midnight) and return on 12th December (Monday, afternoon).

37 participants have already signed up. Only eight seats are left for the best price that we have obtained. These seats will be given to those who book quickly. "First come, first served." (Please look out for announcements concerning the airfare and other expenses in due course.)

I would also like to advise all the brethren, particularly the participants of the conference, to have a patient and a very charitable attitude in all matters with regard to our travel, accommodation, food and the programmes. Let us be mindful that we are travelling to a faraway land for a Gospel mission. It is not a holiday trip! We do not go for personal relaxation and fun, but to be a service to the glory of Christ! So we must be ready to bear one another's burdens (cf. Galatians 6:2), esteeming others with lowliness of mind (cf. Philippians 2:3). Let us be Christlike.

Fasting and prayer

In times of many burdens and trials, we must seek the Lord earnestly. Right now, as a church we need to seek the Lord with great humility and devotion because several of our members are undergoing severe trials and also we have many challenges to overcome. We need to earnestly pray for those who are undergoing severe health problems. We need to pray for our young people that they will walk in the way of the Lord. We must pray for those who have given their lives to the Lord's work. We need to seek the Lord's help to complete the Ethiopian building project successfully. We need to pray for the election and appointment of elders and deacons next month. We need to pray for Singapore - for its government; for righteousness, justice, peace and for religious freedom to worship and to carry on with the Gospel work.

By fasting and praying, we must seek our Lord's help. Let us be like Daniel who "set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting..."

I call on all members of the church, if your health permits, to come together to fast and pray for this whole month during our Tuesday night prayer meeting.

Without sitting before the Lord with genuine repentance, faith and earnestness, we will not be able to overcome our problems and serve Him effectively. So starting this Tuesday night, I call you to fast as you come for prayer meeting. May the Lord be merciful and cause His face to shine upon us.

Social media and you

A considerable number of Christians, particularly young adults and youths, have conducted themselves in social media networks in a manner that is unworthy of their holy calling. This matter was addressed by Rev Reggor Galarpe in one of his recent pastoral exhortations in the weekly of Gethsemane BPC, Cebu. I publish it for your admonition.

 

 

A Word on the Use of Social Networking Media
Rev Reggor Galarpe


 

We are living in a time when connectedness is the rule of the day. “On Line” – that is how it is called. Through the Internet, people go “on-line” to keep in touch with others from all corners of the world via email, on-line chat, Messenger, webcam, and the most recent trend, through social networking media like Facebook.

We are living in a time when connectedness is the rule of the day. “On Line” – that is how it is called. Through the Internet, people go “on-line” to keep in touch with others from all corners of the world via email, on-line chat, Messenger, webcam, and the most recent trend, through social networking media like Facebook.

But in the midst of all these “benefits”, social networking is not without risk. Sure you’ve heard of criminal and illegal activities done through this medium and of incidents of rape and murder perpetrated by so-called “friends” the victims have met in these social networking sites.

Aside from these risks, I would like to bring to your attention another risk which concerns our personal testimony and witness before the world. It is sad that many Christians today have not been wise in their conduct before the world via social media. And it can be well noted in any, if not all these areas:

  1. Postings – Many have engaged themselves in unwholesome talks using vulgar words; others post to express their frustrations, disappointments, even anger; others post to criticize. Add to it, there are those who can be unwise if not careless in their comments. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth! (Ephesians 4:29ff).
  2. Photos – Putting up pictures on Facebook can be very exciting, in a way you are sharing your life or your family with others giving them the opportunity to know you. But I think there are those who have gone too far to share with others (and the world) those “daring” and “baring” photos that are better kept private and personal. This is one area we should be extra careful and be sensitive. A word of advice: Don’t put up something you would not be comfortable showing or doing in public. While we encourage modest dressing, it is sad that there are those who exhibit their bodies in a “revealing” way on FB. May I encourage everyone to check their photos, including those shared ones in their respective accounts and take out those inappropriate ones!
  3. People – It is interesting how many people you would “meet” and be “friends” with in these social networking sites. And it is sad that there are those who “mix” with the wrong people. You see, in social networking sites, you can be a friend to everyone. And it poses a risk not only on your physical life but also on the spiritual. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

No doubt, social media plays a vital part in today’s world. Let us make good use of it to connect and to reach out to others, to proclaim the message of the gospel, to encourage and edify one another, to pray and comfort one another. Lest we forget, we are the light of the world, and so, let your light so shine even on Facebook!

(Published on 10th July 2011)

 

Pastoral Exhortation