Our Response to Urgent Needs in the Building Project

OUR URGENT NEEDS

Our Urgent Need for $700,000: Last week, our Building Fund has just crossed $4.3 million [Funds received ($3.2m) + Remaining payment from sale of present CRC ($1.15m)]. The building which we are now aiming to buy would cost us about $4.55 million, including GST, stamp duty, lawyers’ fee, and other miscellaneous expenses. Additionally, we would need about $500K for renovations, equipment, furniture, etc. So, our present shortfall is about S$700,000. By the end of July (i.e. within next two months), this amount is needed.

Our Urgent Need for Permits: The building is purchased under Gethsemane Bible Witness Ltd. (GBWL), a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), which has been registered to carry out the commercial and/or industrial activities of Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church. GBWL will be applying for URA permit to rent out a “Multi-Purpose Hall” (as per URA’s guidelines). GBWL will also be applying for GST registration, which will result in the return of the GST we will have to pay for the building. In addition, applications for renovations also need to be submitted. (In this regard, we must also pray for a good contractor for the renovations.)

OUR RESPONSE

Very weak and disadvantaged we may be. But at this point, we must not let anxiety and doubt prevail among us. Inaction and quitting aren’t for us, who have set out to do all things for the furtherance of the Gospel. We have garnered much, by the grace of God, in bringing many out of their miseries, in restoring many shattered lives, and in guiding many to pursue a renewed life in Christ. All these through tireless efforts to spread the Word of God through so many different means, whether it be social (TGCM, Seniors’ Ministry, etc.), or media (BW magazine, BW Media Ministry), or internet (several websites, BW web radio, etc.) outreaches. Our increasing need for larger premises to conduct all these operations is very acute. So, we must press on – but how?

Fast and Pray: Our church had on several occasions sought the Lord regarding new projects, needs and problems, by fasting and praying. This we did, firstly, for His strength and wisdom to remain focused and accomplish the tasks before us, and secondly, for His provision and help. He has always directed us forward and helped us with all our needs. Our experience has been as it was written in 2 Chronicles 14:7, “Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.”

Believers of all ages sought God with fasting in their time of need. Men of faith in the Bible, like Moses, David, Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Anna, the Apostles, the early Christians, and many more fasted and prayed. Even our Lord Jesus fasted and prayed (cf. Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-4).

How do you view the spiritual exercise of prayer, even with fasting? I wish that you are not among those who despise fasting. John Calvin, the great Reformer and theologian, recommended that Christians practise fasting as a private and public spiritual discipline. Read Calvin’s statement below:

“A holy and lawful fast has three ends in view. We use it either to mortify and subdue the flesh, that it may not wanton, or to prepare the better for prayer and holy meditation; or to give evidence of humbling ourselves before God, when we would confess our guilt before him. The first end is not very often regarded in public fasting, because all have not the same bodily constitution, nor the same state of health, and hence it is more applicable to private fasting. The second end is common to both, for this preparation for prayer is requisite for the whole Church, as well as for each individual member. The same thing may be said of the third. For it sometimes happens that God smites a nation with war or pestilence, or some kind of calamity. In this common chastisement it behoves the whole people to plead guilty, and confess their guilt. Should the hand of the Lord strike any one in private, then the same thing is to be done by himself alone, or by his family. The thing, indeed, is properly a feeling of the mind. But when the mind is effected as it ought, it cannot but give vent to itself in external manifestation, especially when it tends to the common edification, that all, by openly confessing their sin, may render praise to the divine justice, and by their example mutually encourage each other.

Hence fasting, as it is a sign of humiliation, has a more frequent use in public than among private individuals, although as we have said, it is common to both. In regard, then, to the discipline of which we now treat, whenever supplication is to be made to God on any important occasion, it is befitting to appoint a period for fasting and prayer…” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV, xii, 15).

It is time, once again, for a special season of consecration and prayer with fasting, that we may humbly seek the Lord for help. I call on all Gethsemaneans to gather on Tuesday evenings to fast and pray for the Lord’s guidance and help in our present urgent needs. Starting this Tuesday night, we shall set aside our evening meals and pray.

Rise and Build: Like the people of old, who rose to build their nation, their city and its walls, and the house of God, (cf. 2 Samuel 2:7; 1 Chronicles 11:10; 19:13; 2 Chronicles 14:7; 32:5; Ezra 6:22; Nehemiah 2:18-20), let us also rise and build in our time. During the building of the temple in Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s time, some gave generously, while others did whatever they could in the construction – “And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: they gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments. So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities” (Ezra 2:68-70).

Likewise, let us now arise and do all that the Lord has enabled us to do. May the work of the Lord be set forward for His glory!