God’s loving compassion has brought us to the end of 2017 – to Gethsemane B-P Church, it means 29 years of God’s faithfulness and blessings! The year 2018 will be the 30th year of our church. Let us praise God for the salvation, and all spiritual and material blessings that He has abundantly showered upon our congregation all these years. The following words of the psalmist ring in my heart as I think of the excellence of His loving kindness to our church:
“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart” (Psalm 36:7-10).
Reminiscence of God’s Goodness in the “Lead-up” to our 30th Church Anniversary
We thank God that since the inception of our church, the Lord has graciously added a few hundred souls to worship, fellowship and serve with us. In these days, about three hundred people attend our Lord’s Day ministries. His goodness has enabled us to reach out to precious souls through various local Gospel outreach ministries – such as Sunday Evangelism, Prison Ministry, Campus Ministry, Care Ministry (TGCM), the Lions Home for the Elderly (an outreach to old folks in two designated nursing homes) – whereby doors are opened before us every week to reach hundreds with the Gospel. We also have several church-based ministries to edify the members and regular worshippers of all ages. Moreover, every year, thousands around the world are blessed through our Bible Witness magazine, Bible Witness Web Radio, audio and video sermons, as well as Gethsemane Bible Institute on-line courses, on the church website.
Over the past years, the Lord also has enabled us to labour to establish about ten churches, two Bible institutes, plus a Care ministry to reach people lost in drug-addictions. In addition, we also co-labour with like-minded churches and missionaries in foreign lands. Today, our mission activities are found in Ethiopia, Kenya, the Philippines, East Malaysia and India. God willing, soon we hope to establish a publishing ministry in India, which has been an earnest desire of Bro Sujith Samuel, who now labours in the city of Vizag.
More Open Doors
Furthermore, I am very grateful for the special opportunity that the Lord gave to me last week to conduct seven lectures and a “Q & A” session for 69 Filipino pastors who had gathered in Bukidnon, Mindanao, the Philippines. This wonderful opportunity came through Dr Jose Lagapa, who now serves as a preacher in True Life BPC. Since 2011, Dr Lagapa, with the support of True Life BPC, has been conducting this Bible conference every two years for the equipping of pastors from fundamental churches in Mindanao. Dr Jeffrey Khoo had been the main speaker in the past conferences. Our missionaries from Cebu and Bohol have also been attending this conference. (Incidentally, Rev Reggor Galarpe and Eld Richard Tiu have during the past and recent conferences ministered the Word to the pastors in the morning devotions.) In the recent conference, Sis Juvy Anaviso (who is now a student in GBI, Cebu) was also there.
Let us pray for Dr Lagapa who travels to Bukidnon four times a year to conduct special courses for preachers who are in need of further training. Let us also pray that GBI, Cebu will be a place of theological training for many more men in the Philippines whom the Lord will call to labour in her thousands of islands!
Gethsemane Bible Witness Ltd
With the increase in the number of participants in our church fellowships and of our church staff, we have been burdened with the need for a bigger Church Resource Centre. As a church, we have fasted and prayed to the Lord. Our leaders in tandem deliberated and laboured to make progress in acquiring a bigger place. The good providence of the Lord then guided us to register a “company with limited guarantee” (CLG) – namely Gethsemane Bible Witness Ltd – to manage the church’s business and administrative matters, and also to have a larger space for our fellowship gatherings. To date, we also received about S$2.5 million for the purchase of a new place
By God’s providence, the latest development in this matter is that the Lord has brought a buyer to purchase our present CRC for S$1.22 million. The “Option To Purchase” has been signed by our trustees (Eld Alan Choy, Bro Stephen Yap and Bro Neo Kian Seng). We thank God for helping us to secure this deal, which will increase our Building Fund for the purchase of our new premises. As soon as the sale is completed, we hope to start acquiring new premises. Let us continue to pray, and support with our gifts, for this need of our church to be met soon.
Be Faithful and Fervent in the Lord’s Service
More than premises and programmes, our greatest concern ought to be our faithfulness and humility before the Lord. We must resist all temptations of worldliness and falsehood. Purity, devotion and sacrificial service must be our priority. Our preachers and missionaries, together with our elders and deacons, must be men of highest devotion and spiritual integrity!
We all must be vigilant, for the Scriptures warn us that in these last days, many will enter the ministry for self-gain. They are the minions of the devil. They will come to the offices of the church, and view such as a career that will provide a comfortable, easy life. In these days, many churches have been turned into lucrative business enterprises by their pastors. Those who preach for money are exploiters, extortionists and racketeers! The apostle Peter depicted them as those who “… through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Peter 2:3). In the words of the apostle Paul, they are “… men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness” (1 Timothy 6:5).
So brethren, awake out of your spiritual slumber! Stop your wanderings and return to your Lord! Follow Him as His loyal disciple. We, as a church, have much work to do for His glory. We have a high calling from God to fulfil. Only if we are spiritually renewed, revived and reinforced, can we fulfil all the works that God has called us to accomplish. Therefore, let us humbly seek Him, “expecting great things from God and attempting great things for God”. I end with the promise of God in Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
Truly, I covet your prayers for all our elders, deacons, preachers, missionaries and staff involved in our church’s various ministries. We praise God for all of you who love us in the Lord, and encourage and support us in the ministry.
My wife, Carolyn, and our children, Cornelius, Andronicus and Dorcas, join me to wish you: “A Blessed Christmas & a Happy New Year!” Please continue to pray for us.
Let us be united for the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Affectionately your pastor,