“Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psalm 148:12-13).
As we draw nigh unto the end of the year 2019, let us be a thanksgiving people – not just thankful, but thanksgiving people. The LORD, who has loaded us with innumerable blessings throughout this passing year, is worthy of our wholehearted praise!
Let us come together this Tuesday (8.00 – 10.30pm) for a time of worship and a time of thanksgiving testimonies. I would like to exhort all of you to come together with prepared testimonies to be offered to the praise of our God before His congregation. As Scripture teaches us, let us come with hearts that say: “I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people” (Psalm 35:18).
GYF-GYAF Combined Retreat
Our major programmes for this year ended with a combined retreat of the youths and the young adults of our church. A good number of (about 100) participants gathered in Pulai Spring Resort, Johor for this three-day retreat. The Lord’s blessing has been upon the GYAF committee that took leadership in organising this retreat. Praise God for all who had laboured to make this event a joyful gathering of our youths and young adults. Following are the testimonies of some of the youths who participated in the retreat.
I praise God for the recent GYF-GYAF Retreat. I have learnt much from the messages preached. I was reminded not to worry about tomorrow as God will take care of the basic necessities of everyone who is wholly surrendered to Him. For a child of God, the most important matter is that he will be obedient to God’s will, because only those who do God’s will can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
I also learned much about how to read the Bible with understanding during the Bible-reading sessions. Praise God for such sessions in the retreat. I want to thank God for Pastor and Bro. Cornelius, especially for giving grace to Pastor who preached five messages and led in the Bible-reading. May God help me to delight in His Word, and grow in the faith. All glory be to God.
Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I praise the Lord for the opportunity to attend this year’s combined GYF-GYAF Retreat. This retreat has truly been a blessing to me, whether it be the Morning Devotions, Theme Messages, or the Bible-reading sessions. I am thankful also for the fellowship I had amongst my roommates and the other youths! As Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Truly, how blessed it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
I thank God for Pastor who taught us through five messages on the theme, “Understanding the Scriptures and Knowing God’s Will”, and for Bro. Cornelius who preached during the Morning Devotions. I have gained much Bible knowledge through Pastor’s messages, especially on knowing God’s will for us. May the Lord help me not only be a hearer of God’s Word, but also render my life to be a living testimony of His Word.
Worrying about our future will neither solve our problems nor lead us to God’s will. We ought to obey the Word of God, be patient and wait upon the Lord in prayer, also not forgetting to walk in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit who dwells in us will continually guide us, and the Lord will show us His will for our lives. Surely, He will fulfil His will for us in due time! Psalm 37:4 states, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” I pray that I will have the commitment of reading the Bible all the days of my life and trusting Him to lead my life according to His perfect will. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). May all praise and glory be unto the most High!
I thank God for enabling my sister and me to join this year’s YF-YAF retreat. It was a fruitful experience for me learning from the theme, “Understanding the Scriptures & Knowing God’s Will”, and fellowshipping with fellow youths, especially my roommates. I thank God for God’s grace in enabling Pastor to preach the five theme messages, despite being troubled by his physical infirmities. One important lesson gleaned from the theme messages, which caused me to fear the consequences of sinning gravely against the LORD, is captured in 1 Corinthians 3:17 – “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” God will not hesitate to chastise His children if they wilfully sin and do not repent of their sins.
Thank God also for enabling Bro. Cornelius to preach in the Morning Devotions. One of the points in his message from Isaiah 55:1-3, is about the need for diligent procurement of God’s blessings. God’s blessings are given to us freely, which are ours to keep though we are undeserving. I am thankful to God for this short retreat; my prayer is that God will continue to bless the GYF and GYAF ministries, and keep everyone in faith and obedience to the LORD.
“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel” (Nehemiah 8:1).
Firstly, I would like to thank God for the opportunity to attend the combined YF-YAF Retreat. During the retreat, I learnt much from God’s Word on the theme, “Understanding the Scriptures & Knowing God’s Will”. Thank God also for the fellowship with other brethren, particularly my roommates, and for the good weather.
Allow me to share 3 key points gleaned from the theme messages and morning devotions (by Pastor and Bro. Cornelius respectively): Firstly, I learn that the true people of God are consumed by a passion to do God’s will. Secondly, I realise that even though God’s Word is freely offered to us, its blessings must be sought after and diligently acquired. Finally, I am reminded that God’s Word must be the only standard for our living. All glory be to God!
I thank God for the opportunity to attend this year’s combined GYF-GYAF Retreat. Praise God for the five theme messages and two morning devotions by Pastor Koshy and Bro. Cornelius respectively. There are 4 main points which I have learnt during this retreat. Firstly, I learnt that I should not go to God in prayer only when I need something from Him. Secondly, I should be worry-free, seeking the kingdom of God first, according to Matthew 6:31-33. Thirdly, I should wait in prayer and thanksgiving to know God’s will (Philippians 4:6). Lastly, I have learnt not to keep asking for God’s will concerning my life and then refuse to submit to it!
Through the various Bible-reading sessions led by Pastor, I learnt how to read the Bible with more focus on its truths. The Bible-reading session from Galatians 5 taught me that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (v. 17).
In conclusion, I am grateful for all the spiritual lessons learnt and for the fellowship with my roommates throughout the 3 days. All glory to God!
I would like to praise and thank God for the opportunity to attend my second youth retreat. I thank God for the camp committee who had laboured hard to ensure a smooth retreat for everyone. Praise God for enabling Bro. Cornelius to teach us the two morning devotions from Isaiah 55:1-3 and Isaiah 55:6-11, as well as for enabling Pastor Koshy to preach to us five theme messages on “Understanding the Scriptures and Knowing God’s Will”, even though he was slightly sick.
Thank God for the various lessons I have learnt from the five theme messages. One of the key lessons is that we have no need for worry, as God will provide for us if we “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (cf. Matthew 6:31-33). Thank God even for the Bible-reading sessions conducted by Pastor which allowed us to have a more in-depth look at various passages of the Bible.
Thank God for a good time of fellowship with the many youths and young adults during the retreat. Truly, it is by God’s good grace that we were all preserved and kept from harm and injury during our sports sessions in the afternoons, and even as we travelled back to Singapore in the rain. Thank God especially for my roommate, Jordy, who took care of me during the retreat, and for the fellowship that we had (in the room) sharing about our personal morning devotions and other matters. To conclude, I would like to share a verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which tells us: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” All glory to God.
There are five things that I’m thankful to God for:
Firstly, I am grateful that He has been so gracious, loving and forgiving me despite my past wickedness and iniquities. I thank God for the salvation He has so freely given. A worthless sinner I am, yet He has always been gracious – in chastising me, quickening me, and delivering me from the bottomless pit. Truly, it is of His mercies that I am not consumed, because His compassions fail not, being new every morning (cf. Lamentations 3:22-23)!
Secondly, I thank God for preserving me and keeping me in His fold. I know people have strayed far from God, exploring all the attractions of this world. And even for me who had once clung to a lifestyle which had failed me, and left me with nothing substantial but just more pain, sorrows and disappointments, I know I cannot move forward on my own. I thank God for the stirring of the Holy Spirit within me to seek Him and to desire the sincere milk of His Word, bringing me into a deeper personal relationship with Him, that I may be guided by Him through every daily affair of my life.
Thirdly, I thank God for giving us faithful servants in preaching and teaching God’s Word, without perverse doctrines and corrupt humanistic ideologies. Thanks to the Holy Spirit’s unction on the preachers, I am fed and nourished spiritually, that I may fight a good fight of faith against the devil’s wiles.
Fourthly, I give all glory to God for giving me the grace to complete my education. Although I needed to fulfil my responsibilities, I thank God that I wasn’t blinded, burdened and confused by the material things and necessities of this life. With the constant guidance from my parents, I kept in mind that I have a heavenly Father who cares for all aspects of my life. Now I don’t want to be anxious about anything, knowing that He is the source of my strength and supply. Indeed, He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)!
Lastly, I thank God for the YF-YAF Retreat that has further expanded my understanding of the Scriptures and my knowing of God’s will for me. The Bible-reading sessions had helped me greatly to improve my quiet time, because they taught me how I ought to meditate upon the Word of God properly. Bro. Cornelius’ morning devotions encouraged me a great deal, having seen his zeal in serving the Lord. I am also thankful for the fellowship among godly brethren, which has enabled me to pray more for others.
In conclusion, I request your prayers for me that I will wait upon the Lord in every aspect of my life, and that I will not rush or depend on my own ability and strength. May the Lord help me to “hold the fort”. No matter what He will give, or what path He may open for me, may the Lord help me to be fixated on the Lord always. Praise the Lord for His assurance that “all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). May our Saviour Jesus Christ be praised!
2019 Daily Vacation Bible School
Kelvin Lim, on behalf of the GCM Committee
2019 has been an exciting year for our church, and especially so for Gethsemane Children’s Ministry (GCM)! There were so many “firsts” for GCM in this year’s Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS). For the first time, we did not have to search for a venue to hold our DVBS – we held it in Gethsemane Media Centre (GMC). The event was video-recorded by Bible Witness Media Ministry (BWMM) too. We added an outing to the programme as well!
Initially, we had 50 registered children and about 20 volunteers. But quite a number of children fell sick on the first day, with several pulling out of the event. Nonetheless, we still thank and praise God for everyone who could join us for a time of praising God, and learning His blessed and perfect Word (whether for a day only or throughout the 3 days)!
The theme for this year’s DVBS was “Rooted and Built Up in Christ”, taken from Colossians 2:7. The children were divided in two classes: the younger group (kindergarten and below) and the older group (primary one to six). Both groups of children were taught a total of 5 lessons, namely “Rooted in Christ”, “Built Up in Christ”, “Stablished in the Faith”, “Taught by the Word”, and “Abounding with Thanksgiving”. The lessons for the older children were conducted in the Studio on level 3. This was deliberately done to facilitate the video-recording of the lessons which, God willing, will be aired on web television in future. As for the younger children, their lessons were conducted in Seminar Room on level 2, which was also used for the combined activities, such as singspiration, craft and games. There was also recording of the children doing action songs with the song leader and youth helpers.
In the afternoons, there were two sessions of craft. The children were divided into various age groups, and volunteers assisted and helped them complete them accordingly. They made two ‘hanging’ craft items – one on the theme verse (to remind themselves of the lessons learnt), and the other about the birth of Christ, the Saviour. After which, it was time for games! During the first day, it was relay activities, whereby the children were divided into 4 teams and competed against one another. One of the games required each team to build a tower comprising 10 cups. This required speed, motor skills and teamwork. It was truly encouraging to see the bond within the teams, as demonstrated by how the team leaders (selected older children) helped the younger ones in their respective teams to complete the tower! It was equally heart-warming to hear the joy of laughter throughout the seminar room. God is good!
On Friday, the plan was to go for an outing. As it had been raining consistently over the previous few days, some concerned parents were hesitant about bringing the children outdoors, but we managed to assure them that rain would not affect the plan as the venue was “sheltered”. Praise God, we went ahead to charter two buses, and went to Gardens by the Bay (East), where we held our activities under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. The Lord was very good to us, for He held back the rain for us to proceed there and conduct our activities. When we were about to have our group photo-taking, the Lord stopped the light drizzle, and gave us sunshine. The rain only poured down when we were concluding our last activity. We quickly boarded the buses and went back to GMC, bringing the 3 days of DVBS to an eventful close.
We thank the Lord for His enabling grace in organising another DVBS for the children, and for the safety He had given us during the outing. Our prayer is that the Lord would be gracious to save some of the young souls who had heard the Word, and strengthen the faith of those who belong to Him. All glory be unto the Lord our God!