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Pastoral 2016

Reformers: Faithful unto Death!

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Today being Reformation Sunday, let us with thanksgiving to God cherish the memory of the Reformers who were ready to sacrifice their lives for Christ and His Word! They feared neither persecution nor death. They counted it an honour to be martyrs for their Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ! The stories of their valiant preaching for the defence and propagation of God’s Word are enthralling to every genuine believer.

In his trial (in 1555), the English Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley, was confronted and asked to reject the Protestant faith. He would not yield to the pressure, but emboldened himself and replied, “As for the doctrine which I have taught, my conscience assureth me that it is sound, and according to God’s Word … in confirmation thereof I seal the same with my blood.” As they continued to torment him, Bishop Ridley responded, “So long as the breath is in my body, I will never deny my Lord Christ, and His known truth: God’s will be done in me!”

Equally arresting was the testimony of another English martyr – Hugh Latimer, the Bishop of Worcester – “I thank God most heartily, that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by that kind of death.”

Every Reformer, who laid down his life during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Movement, believed that the welfare of the souls of God’s people in the years to come demanded that they take an unwavering stand for the Protestant understanding of the Gospel. They knew full well their battle involved the very message of salvation itself, by which souls would be saved or damned!

Brethren, our testimony (like the Reformers’) does matter too for the propagation of the Gospel in our time and in the future. Let us be emboldened to be faithful and fervent witnesses of His truth. For Christians, life is worth living if and only if it is allowed to stand for Christ. Otherwise, let it be laid on the altar of sacrifice in defence and propagation of the truth. As James 5:10 says, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” ■

 

Pangasinan Mission Update
Donald dela Cruz

Dear Pastor,

I thank God for His provision to His people, especially to the brethren from San Fernando, La Union. The Lord has provided them with their own means of transportation. They have a tricycle (i.e. motorcycle with sidecar) with a license to use as public transport. The tricycle franchise is expensive in their area, where one person had offered to buy it at a good price. Interestingly, the price is enough to buy a good jeepney plus a franchise to use it as a passenger vehicle. They sold the tricycle and bought the jeepney so that they will be able to attend the worship service. I told them that, in essence, the Lord has upgraded their vehicle for this purpose, to which they agreed. They also invited their neighbours and friends to go with them and worship the Lord with us. A total of 8 adults and 12 children came from San Fernando. Their initial plan was to worship the Lord once a month with us, but since they have their own jeepney, it is my prayer that the Lord will touch their hearts to worship with us every Sunday.

Thank God that our worship hall last Lord’s Day was at full capacity (46 adults and teens; 25 children). Some teens were sitting on the staircase and later transferred to the chairs when the children left for their own classes. If the same people will be regular in worshipping the Lord, I will have to rearrange the worship hall by moving the cabinets and table to make way for more seats. I am also considering using the adjacent dining hall as the crèche area.

The Lord has brought many children recently and the room is simply not big enough to accommodate them all. The teachers also cannot effectively teach because of the wide age range of the students. I am praying for wisdom to divide them into two groups. What restricts us is the availability of teachers. We have only 5 teachers and I shared this burden with the congregation. It is also my desire for men to teach because presently all the teachers are sisters. Another constraint is the room space. If the numbers continue to grow, I am planning to renovate the porch in the second level to be used as the second children’s classroom.

Incidentally, we had a simple celebration with the brethren last Lord’s Day in conjunction with Jesher’s first birthday. Thank God for sustaining Jesher for one year and giving him good health. May the Lord grant him salvation the soonest possible. ■

 

 

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