Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Written by Amelia   
Topic         : The Power of Forgiveness
Speaker    : Ch’ng Yeang Boon
Date          : 21st February, 2010
Scriptures : Romans 12:14-21

Some questions to ponder.
  1. How to bless those who persecute you?
  2. How do we not repay evil for evil? It is our natural tendency to do so.
  3. How do we not avenge ourselves to those who hurt us?
  4. Why must we not take vengeance on those who hurt us? Yet God says, vengeance is His. In the OT, Leviticus 19:18 , “God says we must not take vengeance or bear grudge against the children of your people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

3 things to be highlighted:

  1. Bearing a grudge on those around us. We should not bear grudges for it is God’s command. God knows what to do and when to act when we are treated unjustly.
  2. Against the children of your people. This would mean members of God’s family.
  3. Love your neighbor as you would yourself. This would mean people whom we are in contact with daily, Christian or non-Christian.

The Word tells us to bless those who persecute us, to rejoice with them and to feed them, live peaceably with all people. As disciples of Christ, we have to forgive our enemies even though it is not an easy task. The burning coal (v20) reflects the pangs of conscience that will bring about repentance. In 1 Samuel 24:17 – 20, David’s act of withholding vengeance on Saul made Saul realize that David will be King.

In our Christian life, we must always bear the image of Christ. People must see Christ in us, by the way we think, our thoughts, our response to certain life’s issues. We must bear the mark of Christ. I am reminded of what Peter said in 1 Peter 2:9 ; that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people…… This is the mark to be found in every genuine believers. We are to be different from the unbelievers. We are to be mediators between God and man, living our lives worshipping Him. So how can we take vengeance when we are supposed to show God in our life?

Abraham Lincoln was once criticized for the way he dealt with his opponents. He made friends with them. To him making enemies our friends is like heaping burning coals on their heads. Forgiveness is not easy. It is costly. But there is power in forgiveness. It can alter and change relationships. We can be set free from all bitterness when we forgive. Forgiveness is difficult to do it with our own strength. To forgive means to take the pain and acquitting the cause of the pain while allowing God to heal that pain. There is a price to be paid when we decide to forgive a person. To forgive is to let go the anger in us. Without the anger to focus on, grudges and bitterness will go away. To forgive means to say that though you feel the pain, you choose to release the transgressors of the penalty and guilt. That is also why we choose not to forgive sometimes.

But forgiveness is important. What must we do before we can obtain the forgiveness of sins? The first step is always difficult. All of us sin. Yet we’ve all been forgiven through Christ. Jesus knew that we’d have this objection to forgive. Yet the Bible is full of promises. If we forgive, God forgives. As Christians we can find the grace to forgive. If we do not forgive we are not forgiven also. Forgiveness is essential for the building of our community and the church to grow. We need to go to where God’s Word take us. When we forgive others, it helps us to know the importance of the forgiveness we receive from God. When we forgive, our past loses its stranglehold on the present. God’s blessings will flow and relationships will be made alive. We are set free to love and obey God; and also to love others.

Forgiveness heals relationships; friends, marriage. All relationships thrive when there is an understanding of forgiveness. Forgiveness gives us the freedom to be ourselves with our imperfections and also strengths. Without this freedom, we cannot have relationships of length and depth. Forgiveness also releases us from bondage. It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than let bitterness take root and destroy the present and the future. We need to move on for is we get stuck in the bitterness, we suffer. Our relationship with God is also affected. We end up in bondage to our bitterness.

We’ve heard about the phrase… forgive and forget. I think it’s not a good advice. We don’t forget easily. But with God’s grace we can ask God to slowly erase the memory from us. With God’s grace and strength we will be able to move on. The power of forgiveness is that it enables us to move forward, to fulfill the calling of our lives.

To develop forgiveness:

  1. We need to look to Christ.
  2. Recall the kind deeds shown to you by the person who offended you
  3. Make a list of the good things that we have received from the Lord
  4. Give thanks for those good things
  5. Make an honest effort to pray for the one who have hurt you
  6. Ask for God’s grace to replace those memories with generous thoughts
  7. Before you go to sleep… from the Lord’s prayers; forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us
 
Written by Amelia   
Topic        : The Four Wells
Speaker   : Pr Sam Dharam
Scripture  : Genesis 26:1-6
Date         : 7th Jan 2010

In Gen 26 , there was a famine. Famine has the ability to suck out the sustenance in the economy. It makes people want to move on to a better place. But we could also have a spiritual famine. Famines don’t last long. It is how we approach it that makes a difference. During the famine in Genesis 26 , Isaac was thinking of going to Egypt, a land of abundance.

When I first when to the US, I got confused just trying to buy a box of cereals cos there were isles of cereals and I left without buying. I didn’t know which one my wife would approve. I went to another grocery store and saw a lady dumping juicy chicken into the bins. It’s a land of abundance. You have no idea of what a famine feels like. Isaac was already giving word to his family about leaving for Egypt. God stopped him and asked him to dwell on the land. God said He will bless Isaac. Isaac must have wondered how it was possible based on the current reality. For the most part people will walk away because they cannot reconcile that the Word is for the present. Isaac’s father had gone through a similar experience.

In v12 Isaac sowed in the land and reaped 100 fold in the famine. He began to prosper until he became very prosperous. The Philistines envied him and filled up the wells his father had dug up. The King told Isaac to go away from them as he was mightier than them. Can you imagine a King coming to a stranger and asking him to leave. That is the power of the prosperity. God wants us to prosper no matter the current reality. The real prosperity is the well-being of your soul. As a church as we prosper too we will begin to reposition ourselves. In order to experience what Isaac went through we have to employ the Word of God.

Isaac agreed to leave and dug his another well further on. A group of people then came and quarreled with him. They claimed that the water belonged to them. They consider the water their rights. Isaac named the well Esek because they argued with him about it. There is antagonism. But sometimes the problem is compounded by other factors. We sometimes take other people’s offenses and fight. We fight for ownership. When someone infringes that, it agitates us.

Isaac was around 40 years old. His wife was barren and he pleaded with God. His wife Rebecca conceived and had twins. At birth, she felt violent kickings of the babies. God said 2 nations were in the womb. God said the older will serve the younger. Jacob came out holding on to his brother’s heel.

Isaac then dug another well and again there was an argument. A group of people came and said the land was theirs. They are now fighting over territory. Isaac called the land Sitnah. A barrier comes up and they become enemy territory.

Sometimes we bring our quarrels from both wells, Esel and Sitnah.

We set up ourselves to be cut off from the full spiritual authority… the wells of Esek (rights) and Sitnah (territory). We make idols of things and we get upset when anybody touches it.

Isaac then dug yet another well. This time he waits and no one makes a claim. He named the well Rehoboth, the Lord has made room.

We are faced with obstructions and space (room) would be good. Sometimes we feel that everything is closing in. We need the space so that we can feel that our inheritance eludes us. This is because we drink from both the wells of Esek and Sitnah. God told Jeremiah that even before the foundations of earth were laid, He knew Jeremiah and called him by name. Our God is a personal God. We are the object of His love. We mess it up ourselves by allowing Esek and Sitnah to infiltrate our lives.

We should drink from the well of Rehoboth. Sometimes we allow prejudices, distrust (Esek and Sitnah) to stand in the way. In a football game, 40000 people will shout with elation when a goal is scored. Yet when God touches down in our midst, we forget to drink from the well of Rehoboth. While many of us are productive we are not responsive.

Isaac had 2 years of peace. He went to another place and dug another well. After he had hit the water, the King Abimelech came with Ahuzzah and Phicol. Isaac asked them why they came as they hated him. They told him that they had seen the Lord blessing him. They asked to be allowed to make a treaty with him. In days of old, 3 were needed to make a covenant so that if there is a breach of the covenant, the rest will remind when there is a lapse or make sure there is accountability. In our churches today there is lack of accountability. Usually we hide behind forgiveness. When there is a hand of God upon us, people will notice. Isaac called this 4th well Shibah; the city of Beer Sheba exists till this day.

  1. If we say this is our church, then we need to drink from the well of Rehoboth.
  2. The next thing we need to do is to dig another well when we go home, dig the well of Shibah.
God wants to prosper us.
 
Written by Amelia   
Topic : Giving – Contribution or Commitment
Scripture : 2 Corinthians 8:1-12
Speaker : Pr Lee Peng Chiat
Date : 31st Jan 2010

Today is Pledge Sunday. It is about giving to God.

A pig and chicken were walking down the road together. As they walked they saw a billboard advertising breakfast to benefit the poor. The chicken said to the pig, “You and I donate a ham and egg breakfast” But the pig replied, “For you it would be just a contribution but for me it is a total commitment.”

The pig has to commit his life to the butcher to get ham. To the chicken it was just a contribution. To commit ourselves means we have to yield ourselves. Commitment is not something we can take back. What is given to God is given to Him. Is our giving a contribution or commitment?

In the letter to Corinth, Paul encouraged the people to finish the task they had committed. The church had pledge to contribute to a church in Jerusalem. But the money was not forthcoming. So Paul wrote to them by using the Macedonian churches as an example. The area included Philippi, Thesolonica and Beria…. Paul said 4 things regarding the grace of giving by the Macedonians. They gave joyously, generously, completely and earnestly.

They gave joyously; v2...out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. Do we give in an overflowing manner? The great joy was not because there was abundance they had. In fact there was severe trial and extremely poverty. We are not told specifically what those sufferings were. It could be religious persecution and economic downturn. But in spite of those, they gave joyfully, grateful for the opportunity to be able to give. When we give to God’s work, we give to a cause whose work is for eternity.

Paul says the Macedonian also gave generously, even beyond their ability. Indication was these people were poor. Studies show that the most generous people are those who earn the least. This reminds us of the story of the widow who gave all her coins. When we give to God’s church, we are giving to the cause of telling me about eternity, that the Saviour came to die for our sins. This work needs resources.

The Macedonian church also gave completely to the Jerusalem church. Sometimes we give to clear our conscience. Paul says that the Macedonians in keeping to God’s will. They gave because God touched them. This takes a will to give. They put themselves at the disposal to God and His representative. How did they do that?

Paul challenged the Corinthian Christians to give as earnestly as the Macedonian Christians. The latter saw it as a great opportunity to God’s work. Likewise we need to do the same as the Macedonian Christians, that giving is a commitment and not a contribution.

In conclusion, is our giving a contribution or a commitment? Are we miserly in our giving? Do we give grudgingly? Do we recognize that we give as part of the greatest cause? What will God say of our giving?

 
Written by Amelia   
Title           : Together Everyone Achieved More For God
Speaker    : Alan Seow
Date          : 24th January, 2010
Scriptures : Nehemiah 3 :1 -32

A man once said this…”I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.

When it comes to building our church, families, nation, there should be no spectators. We need workers. Last January I came for the first time. The building was new. The foundation of this church was set. The second year is dawning on us. We need to build the church. Nehemiah asked that he be sent back to build the wall again. He planned and carried out his work. He needed to mobilize each of his people for each section. Effective planning and managing is important. To do well we need to give thoughts to it. For if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Everything we do in life, we should plan.

In Chapter 3, Nehemiah with his extraordinary planning skills began his work for God. He prayed and had faith. And he planned so that God’s work can be carried on.

We should be involved, not just stand by the side and do what spectators do. We need to build so that we can go out into the community and touch their lives. Our church, marriage, families, work place, nation need people to participate. But sadly some churches are built by a few people, some marriages are built by one. Marriages need two for it to work… in today’s world, most of the time the father is an absentee husband and father. All their energy is focused in their work. Divorce rates are climbing. Marriages are being destroyed by work. When the family unit is destroyed, the church will be weakened. Even churches are experiencing higher rates of divorce.

Families need the fathers to plan for the family. Nehemiah planned and carried out the work. He mobilized everyone and assigned them tasks. Each one was given a specific job to do. All the time the people found themselves working next to each other. Why did Nehemiah assigned them to work next to each other? Together, we will be a formidable force for encouragement, accountability will be there. And that will make it hard for Satan to break us.

Nehemiah was also wise. He assigned the people to work near to their homes so that when the enemies attack, they will defend their home. God has called us and assigned each of us a task.

Know our gifts and use it for God’s work. Whatever we do we should do our best for the glory of God. As Christians we are often put under the microscope. So our lives will have to show. There’s more scrutiny. Therefore we’ve to be zealous in our endeavours.

In Hebrew, the word repair means “make strong and firm”. It suggests that they are not doing a shoddy work, not slipshod. It suggests that people are doing their best all the time, even in private. In Nehemiah 3 , God used all kinds of people in the repair of the wall. Age, occupation, social standing; everyone is a soldier for God. There is no exception. But we must be committed to the same goal.

Leaders should set good example. In Nehemiah some did more work but there were also some who did not work. Yet there are those who worked zealously. It is also the same in the church setting. A reminder, at the foot of the cross everyone stands equal before the Lord. There is no exception. So no matter how high we are in the society, we need to be humble.

Point to ponder: When we meet God, what if God asks us whether we worked zealously for Him or for ourselves? What would our answer be?

Colossians 3:17 ; And whatever you do in word and deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

What we are missing is wise young believers and old zealous believers. How do our youths catch on? By seeing us. By, we being role models. When we are zealous for God, they will catch on because that is what they will see.

God remembers. Hebrews 6:10 ; God is not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

God also remembers those who purposely seek to destroy His people, His work and His church.

So the challenge: Are you for or against God?

Principles of the Geese
They fly in a V shape formation. They fly thousands of miles. They always fly together. If they fly alone, they will not reach their destination. The geese in front will fly at high altitude and create an undercurrent, making it easier for those behind. They will take turns taking lead until they reach the destination. That’s what a church should be. The leaders need the support.

Even Mount Everest was not conquered on the strength of one man. There were 450 people in the expedition! At every level, less went up. By the time the push for the summit came, there were only 2 people. Yet the success of the two was not possible on their own. It was unselfish team work. The church needs to work together as such a team.

 
Written by Siew Lan   
Topic: A Vision of the Church that God Intended
Speaker: Dr Lee Kok Tee
Date: 17 January 2010
Scriptures: Romans 12: 9 -13

The word Church (Grk = Ekklesia) means called out. Church never refers to a building. Church refers to a community of people who responded to the call of God and established a relationship with God.

Relationship with God

  • submit to God as a living sacrifice – holy and pleasing
  • submit to His Word/His Will – this is good, perfect and pleasing
  • we have a loving heavenly Father (Matt 7:9-11 )
  • God is Love. His will is always the best
  • God is all-knowing and His directions are always right.
  • God is all-powerful and He enables us to do His will.
  • we should be fully dependent on God.

God not only calls us into a relationship with Him but also with one another.

Relationship with one another

We are to help one another to become more Christlike.

Then we can shine like stars and witness to the world (Phil 2:14-15 )

We are to love one another.(John 13:34-35 )

This not easy, so Jesus in His prayer prays not only for his disciples then but for us now as well (John 17:20-21 , John 17:23 )

Most of the time we think of personal evangelism as on a one-to-one basis. We forget the importance of body evangelism where EVERYONE is involved. For this to happen , we need to love one another ,be united in purpose, depend on and submit to one another.

How to submit to one another? (Rom 12:9-10 )

Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘love’ as an intense feeling of deep affection.

What is biblical love?

(1 Cor 13:4-7 ) names 7 characteristics of love.

Love as described in 1 Corinthians involves Action and Attitudes.

This love is self-giving

Someone said the measure of love is what one is willing to give up for it. The ultimate expression of love is found in Jesus’ example (1 John 3:16 ). Humanly speaking, this seems impossible. Indeed there is no way we can express / exhibit Christlike love except through His enablement. Therefore we need to pray to be filled with God’s love so that we can love others.

Pray Faithfully – How?

  • Be dependent on God and His Spirit
  • Have daily personal relationship with God (1 John 4:7 )
  • Pray for ourselves
  • Pray for one another (James 5:16 )
  • Pray as a church
  • Pray for all churches
  • Pray for our nation (2 Chronicles 7:14 )

When we read God’s Word, we realize that nothing can happen without our praying for His enablement. Romans 12:12 encourages us to pray and not lose hope.

Come together to share and pray.

  • Pray for things to happen. We desire certain things to happen but they will not happen via our own efforts. We need God’s enablement.
  • Pray for rekindling and revival of God’s love for TRAC churches and all other churches in our country
  • Pray for our nation.
  • Pray for the transformation of our nation and revival of our churches and especially for TRAC churches at 12 noon on Fridays.
  • Call to set up lighthouses in different parts of the country where 2 or 3 Christians gather weekly to pray for their neighbourhood. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Most of us are driven to our knees by problems. We become fervent in prayer and dependent on God when we encounter problems.
Out of our daily relationship with God comes the zeal to serve the Lord.

Serve Fervently

‘serve’ comes from 2  Greek words:

  • Douleo = to serve God and others in love
  • Diakoneo = to care for one another’s material need

In Gal 5:13 Paul asks us to serve one another in love. This role is like that of a slave. Again, this seems humanly impossible.

  • It is Jesus who sets us the example (Phil 2:6-7 ).
  • It is Jesus who gives us an explanation of God’s Kingdom practices (Matt 20:25-28 )
  • It is Jesus who empowers us to do what He has done (John 14:12-14 )              (p.s.When we read verse 14 the last thing we would ask from Jesus is to be a servant to others. We usually claim something monetary or material for ourselves.)

The barrier to serving is usually selfishness. The number one reason we do not use our time, talents  and temporal possessions to serve others is because we are preoccupied with our own dreams and pleasures even though we know that continuing to live this way will not bring true fulfillment (Matt 16:25 ). So the challenge to us is to use our time, talents and temporal possessions for the benefit of others (1 Peter 4:10 ). Start by responding  to  our own church various ministries or contributing devotional thoughts and testimonies in our church website.

Then Paul takes us even further, even more scary. He calls us to share freely with God’s people who are in need and practise hospitality .

Share Freely

  • Example of the early church – Acts 2:44-45 , Acts 4:32-35 , Acts 2:47 . Although their communal arrangements are not meant for every Christian community, the underlying principle is that we are challenged to share with God’s people who are in need. We can see the powerful results …God add to their numbers daily those who were being saved.
  • Exhortations from the Gospels and Epistles to share – Luke 3:10-11 , Eph 4:28 , Heb 13:16
  • Sharing is Evidence of our faith – James 2:15-17
  • Endowment from God to be shared with others in need – James 1:17 , 1 Tim 6:17-18

So we are challenged to share freely and practise hospitality. Besides money, it may involve things that we have- to give it away or to lend it.

 

The theme for our church this year is to PRAY FAITHFULLY ,SERVE FERVENTLY, SHARE FREELY. Meditate and see how we can put into practice our church vision and mission and make an impact (Rom 12:11-13 ).

We are also in line with TRAC Vision Statement :- Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming the Nation  and the 4 Essentials:-

  1. Lifelong Discipleship - There is a need to go back to the basics to be able to build on the foundations before we can take off.
  2. Wholesome Families - There is need to build up the body of Christ and strengthen marriages
  3. A Voice to our Nation - There is a need to revive ourselves and our churches before there can be a transformation of our nation through prayer and reaching out through the love of Christ.
  4. A Vision for the World - There is a need to go out of our comfort zone to share the good news to people whom we usually do not come into contact with.

 

 
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