Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Written by Amelia   
Topic         : Is There Hope For Us All?
Speaker    : Dr. Lee Kok Tee
Date          : 29th November 2009
Scriptures : Luke 1:5-25

As we look around, we see many problems; natural disasters, diseases, wars, terrorism, wastage of public funds, corruption, racial & religious tensions, personal problems. We often wonder whether there is hope for us and where God is.

This is Advent Sunday  – 4th Sunday before Christmas Day. God is not absent from our world because he came into our world on the first Advent. He lived a life as a man and died for our sins. He came back to life, victorious over death and sin. He will come again as King and Judge.

Israel is a nation without hope. The Jews came under foreign rule from 722 BC, followed by a succession of other invaders. Palestine was contended by various powers for a long period. Israel gained independence for a while until the Romans took over in 63BC. During the time of Herod aligned himself with the Roman rulers and was appointed as the King of Judea in 37BC. He killed his rivals including his favourite wife and all her relatives to entrench himself in power. Then came a period of prosperity. He enlarged and beautify the Jerusalem Temple and other structures. However because he was worried about losing his power, he killed many of those he felt would be a threat to him, including his sons. Just 5 days before he died, he killed his designated heir. He represents a king without hope and meaning in life.

Against this dismal background, Zechariah and Elizabeth were still full of hope and trust in God. Instead of being cynical and disillusion, they remained upright in God. Their personal problem was they could not have a child. They were past child-bearing age. In the Jewish culture, not having a child was seen as being not favoured by God. But they continued to believe that God was still ever present; that God was not absent when there seem no answer to their prayers. Faith is not looking at circumstances. It is looking to God and His Word. We do not know how long they persevered. They suffered considerable shame. But Zechariah was favoured by God to go into the temple to burn the incense. During Zechariah's time, there were 20 000 priests. So they were divided into 24 divisions to be on duty. So some priests would not get the opportunity to go into the temple.

Based on the biological facts, it was impossible for them to have a child. But an angel appeared to Zechariah. Zechariah was told that his prayers were answered and his wife would bear him a son. He was to name him John. He was going to be great and filled with the Spirit. God was going to use him to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, preparing the way for the Messiah.

But then doubts began to creep in. He questioned the angel. The angel Gabriel told him that he had been sent to deliver the good news but because Zechariah doubted, Gabriel told him that he would not be able to speak. In the meantime, the people outside wondered why he stayed in the temple so long. When he came out, he could only signal them.

His silence could be taken to mean that

  1. he would not say anything negative
  2. he would have more time with God. He had 9 months to learn to trust God, doing only what God wanted to do and waiting patiently for the words of God to come to fruition.
After he was done with his service, he went home. After that his wife conceived. God fulfilled his promise. Elizabeth personally experienced God. He provided her with a son. Yet she remained in seclusion for 5 months. She probably wanted more time to confirm that she was pregnant and could carry the pregnancy to term. When Elizabeth allowed God to work in her, others around saw it and they came and rejoiced with her.

On the 8th day after the baby was born, it was time to circumcise the baby. They wanted to name him, Zechariah like his father but Elizabeth said he was to be named John. It left them bewildred as they had no family members by that name. They went to ask Zechariah and he wrote the name John. Right about that time, he started speaking again. As a result people in the surrounding area and as far as Judea heard about how Zechariah was able to speak again. God fulfilled his promise to Abraham, that He will send them a Saviour. John was to be the one to prepare the way for Jesus to give his people the knowledge of salvation. This is by the tender mercy of God.

Written by Amelia   
Topic      : Life is Mission and The Key to Mission Is Love
Speaker : Mr. Phil Plowman (Missionary Venture International, Australia)

Intro from Weng Seng
Phil came from MVI Australia and stayed with me for a few days last year. Hosting them allowed me to observe what they were doing. Last year they invited me to join in their work. In the place we went, we stayed in a tough situation, sleeping on the floor, mattresses crawling with cockroaches. Made me wonder why they travelled half way round the world here. Phil is a man of God, though big in size but a gentle giant. He’s not one of those who come and make a big impression and then leave. He’s been serving God faithfully among people we’ve never heard of. The other observation is Jessie, being groomed by Phil for the mission field. This relationship warms my heart. We have many teachers but few spiritual fathers to guide us. By the end of the year, Phil would have covered over 10 countries with 70 over mission trips. Check out

MVA is working in many countries in this region. We have 3 words we hold on to – involve, inspire, impact.

I am a missionary all the time, not just when I am out in the mission field. Jesus said as you go about your daily lives, at home, work; be ready to proclaim the kingdom of God. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn into two. We gain access into the presence of God through that very act.

It’s not the buildings which are holy but us, the people of God. Wherever we go, we take the supernatural presence of God with us. Life is mission. The truth of the Kingdom reign in us. God’s presence in our lives should make an impact wherever we tread.

When the Brit was in India, Lord Mountbatten was sent to India as the Viceroy. The title intrigued me. Viceroy is a Latin word. Vice means in place of the real person. Roy means king. That meant he was there in place of the King. Whatever Mountbatten said in India, he had the authority of the King of England. We have the King of Kings and Lord or Lords and he has delegated to us His authority while we are in a relationship with Him. Matthew 28 .. all authority given ….

If we go into Luke, Jesus summoned 70 people and sent them out. They went back to Him rejoicing saying even the demons were afraid of His name. Likewise we have the authority. Jesus said wherever we go, preach the Kingdom of God. Life is mission.

The key to mission is love. We know the story in Mark 12 . Jesus was talking to the scholars who trying to trick him. So, one of them asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment. The answer Jesus gave was not about rules or regulations but about relationship. He said you shall love your God with all your heart, your mind, your soul and all your strength. You shall love your neigbour as you would love yourself. First is the relationship with our God. Next, from this loving relationship we reach out to our neighbours. We reach out in love and compassion. This is the purpose of the church.

While we were still sinners Christ died for us. John 1:14 … He first loved us. In Indonesia we would have revival meetings in Surabaya. People would come from the dumps; basically the poor people. One day, a couple came up to us. They had just given their lives to Christ. The husband was holding a baby that could not have been more than a few days old. The doctor told them she needed a C-section but they did not have the money. So they cried out to God and she delivered him normally. They wanted to commit the child to God. As we prayed for him, I could feel the intensity of the baby’s father. That is just a fraction of what God’s love is to us.

In Fiji, as we were going around the island at the back of the truck. The Pastor’s wife insisted that I got in the front of the truck. I said hello and he grunted. As we were driving out, the driver turned around and poured out his life to me. He was preaching before this but got involved in alcohol. His life became a mess. As we drove around I felt the love of God filled the cabin of the truck. Joe (the driver) is like the prodigal son. I said to Joe that God loves him. When we got back to the village, tears were streaming down his cheeks. We prayed for him. A few weeks later, when we went back to the island, Joe picked us up. This time he was smiling and his eyes looked alive. After that night when we prayed for him, God restored his life I remembered sitting in the truck, marveled by how God had been able to use a total stranger to change Joe’s life. Joe is now an elder in one of the churches serving.

We are reminded of the one missing sheep. The Shepherd went out to seek out the lost sheep. This is the love of God.

In Madura there was a drought. We were asked to meet with the Kiyai and Imans to discuss what could be done for the people. The night before I was supposed to go there, God asked me why I wanted to go to Madura. I said it so that we could start some water projects and perhaps out of that involvement some of the Madurese would get to know God. But God asked me whether I loved them. The issue with God is how clever we are but whether we love those we are reaching out. If we don’t have love we just like clanging symbols. Without love, it profits you nothing. Without love whatever we do amounts to nothing. Love is a choice. So I told God that I would choose to love them. So the next morning we went into Madura. I spent the day with the clerics and kiyais and we discuss how we could help with the water problem. We have been able to get water for them.

The core that drives us in our work in Asia is this; We will be motivated by love in what we do.

In Indonesia, people live under bridges. There are Christian communities living under those bridges. We work among these people. We make a choice to love these people.

Written by Siew Lan   
Topic         : What is a disciple?
Speaker    : Eric Fung (Asian Outreach)
Date          :15 Nov 2009
Scriptures : 2 Timothy 2:1-10

This passage is very much related to mission.

  • Paul is saying to Timothy that he is enduring hardship for the elect; he is to endure hardship because persecution has come. Similarly we must endure hardship because persecution is coming.
  • Paul is also telling Timothy to stand firm. Why? Because wrong doctrines are sweeping across the church. We cannot stand firm unless we know God’s word.
  • Paul is asking Timothy to pass on what he has received from Paul.
  • Paul is telling Timothy how to be a disciple.

Kenya has a population of about 32 million. In 1990 2.7% were Christians, i.e. 900,000 people. There was phenomenal growth in the next 10 years and in 2000, 78% or about 25 million of the population were Christians. 2 past Presidents and 75% of the Cabinet ministers were also Christians. Today, Kenya is listed by World Integrity as one of the most corrupt nations. Today 2 million of the working population suffers from HIV.

Closer to home – Sitiawan was evangelized by John Sung 74 years ago and 75% of the town population were Christians. It was known as a Christian town. Today, only 20% are Christians.

Why is this so? Is it because the Gospel of Christ has lost its power? Has the blood of the Lamb lost its power? Is the Gospel so diluted that it is no longer effective?

Evangelism is fantastic. But we have to do more.

Some say the church today is 1 mile wide but only 1 inch deep.

Unless we grow deep we will not bear fruits. In a storm trees that are uprooted are those that have roots spread wide but not deep. The church is expanding…the people are coming… but we are not making disciples. We are only making believers. The church today is overwhelmed by the desire to increase numerically, to fill up the pews…

We must look at evangelism in a new perspective. In Matthew 28:18-19 , Jesus commanded us to ‘make disciples’ … not converts or believers. There must be a shift in what we see and how we do things, otherwise we will not have fruitful members, we will not make disciples.

What is a disciple? What does Paul say is a disciple? Paul says a disciple is like a soldier, an athlete, a farmer. What are the traits of these 3 characters?

A soldier

  • A soldier must be obedient – if not, he cannot last long in the military. He will be removed. As Christians, we have been roped into God’s army, we are God’s soldiers. We must obey the instructions given to us. We are not to be like the Pharisees with their 663 laws to be obeyed – but the bible does have many instructions for us to obey.
  • A soldier must be able to endure hardship - the jungle is full of dangers. As Christians we will face hardships. Today many Christians fall when tempted, give up when challenges come their way. Why? Because they have not been trained. There is a saying-‘tough times don’t last but tough people do.’
  • A soldier is single-minded – not easily distracted. He must be focused on the enemy.  Rick Warren says that our sole purpose in life is to please Him. 2 Corinthians 5:9 says the same thing. The focus of a Christian must be to live life with the single-minded purpose of worshipping and pleasing God no matter what position we are in or what status we hold.
  • A soldier must be prepared to make sacrifices – even to the point of death, to die for the nation, to die for a cause. Without self-sacrifice, a Christian will never be able to die for God’s kingdom if required to.
  • A soldier must be prepared to die to himself.

An athlete

  • An athlete must be humble. He has been given a gift, a talent but he still needs a coach. We must be humble enough to receive instructions/coaching to reach to another level. Many of us have read the bible and we say “ah, I know that!” Knowing is one thing, living it out is another.  The knowledge must be transferred to the heart, it must saturate the heart. Discipleship is living out this knowledge – not how much we know.
  • An athlete must have a fighting spirit. We must have the mental strength to sustain. We must not give up easily.
  • An athlete must be disciplined. We must be disciplined in reading the bible.
  • An athlete must come together with others for mutual encouragement, mutual strategizing. We are a team, a family. In Hebrews 10:24-25 , God challenges us not to give up gathering together to encourage and to spur on one another.

A farmer

  • A farmer must be a visionary. When a farmer starts to till the soil he does not know the fruits he will harvest. A disciple must have a vision for “without vision we perish.”  What has God instilled in your heart? What are you suppose to do for Him? We must begin to crystallize what God wants us to do for Him – that is our mission field.
  • A farmer must be hardworking and patient. After planting, the farmer must water, weed, fertilize, spray pesticides- what if he gives up half-way? Many people give their whole lives to their employers in order to get their wages but they are investing in perishables. In Christendom, we work hard for the imperishable
  • A farmer need to sow to be able to enjoy his fruits. If we don’t sow there can be no reaping. Disciples must sow if they want to reap eternal rewards and receive the crown.

A disciple must therefore become a soldier, an athlete and a farmer – otherwise all labour in vain.

Written by Amelia   
Topic         : People Need the Lord
Speaker    : Pastor Joshua Krishnan (Malacca Prayer House)
Date          : 8th November, 2009
Scriptures : John 4

This is from a video...

Once there was a man who had a son. He worked as a bridge master. His son loved to watch the trains, and the people who travelled on it. He noticed all kinds of people – angry, lonely, hurting, addicted. A tragic mistake happened one day. He pulled up a bridge to allow a barge to cross under. The train did not stop at the red light and was heading towards disaster. His little boy who was fishing down at the river there saw impending danger. He rushed to the bridge to try to bring the drawbridge down. The bridge master realized the impending doom. He saw his son. Was he to pull the lever and allow his son to be crushed by the bridge or save the hundreds on the train? He did the former and it came with much anguish. And the people on the train did not even know how close they had come to losing their lives. They train moved on while the father clasp his hands in anguish at the loss of his son. Many were oblivious of what had happened. One or two noticed, though. Salvation required the sacrifice of one most dear. And very often we don't realize we need that salvation too.

In John 4 , there was this Samaritan woman who spoke to the Jesus. His disciples had gone to buy food and he asked for a drink of water from this woman.

My point tonight. This woman of Samaria. She did not go to Jesus with a need. She went to the well to get water. She didn’t know she was going to meet the Messiah. She had problems in her life. The man she was living with was not her husband. She did not know she needed Jesus in her life.

The 'Samaritan-type-woman' people are all around us. They are not looking for God. Many of them are out there like the Samaritan woman, fetching water from the well, going about their daily lives.

v7 Jesus said give me a drink. He said it to a Samaritan woman. Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. The Jews looked down on the Samaritans who were considered half-breeds. As Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman, his disciples came and it shocked them to see their Teacher talking to the woman. It was not customary thing at that time, what more a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman. Jesus talked to her because people need the Lord. He overcame the social cultural boundaries at that time.

People need the Lord. Are we ready to break the barriers to reach out to them? Peter shared with the household of the Cornelius (Gentiles) and the Holy Spirit came upon them. God says salvation is for all. The annointing of the Spirit is for all. Each one of us may have difficulty reaching out to people because we have our own issues to deal with. It’s not easy but we must because people need the Lord.

To be a disciple Jesus means we should do what He wants us to do and not what we want for ourselves.

v25-26... the woman said she knew the Messiah would came. And Jesus said He was He. John wrote this whole thing to let the divinity of Jesus come forth. He revealed Himself to the woman. People around us need the revelation that they need Christ. Only a revelation of Christ who died on the cross at Calvary will bring salvation.

All around us, people are looking for meaning to fill the emptiness in their hearts. But nothing will fill that emptiness except the revelation of Christ. We must be able to reach out to these people. For only Jesus can fill that emptiness.

After the woman recognized Jesus as the Messiah, she left her water pot and went to tell the village people about Jesus. This woman rushed to tell them because Jesus was only passing thru. She knew and she went back to tell the men. Women who go to the well usually go at dawn or dusk. Very likely she was ostracized. But the news she brought broke that barrier with the village folks. And the villagers went to listen to Jesus.

The Samaritan woman got her priorities right. She dropped everything to tell everyone about Jesus. Who gets priorities in our lives? For many of us, we take care of ourselves. Even our pets take precedent over people in many of us these days.

The Lord’s Prayer…. Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread……

The kingdom of heaven supersedes our desires…. Seek ye the first the kingdom of God. It does not say seek ye first the kingdom of God after you have sought for the things you desire.

The Samaritan woman knew her priorities after the revelation… receive and spread the Good news.

Written by Amelia   
Topic       : The Unfinished Parable
Speaker   : Ps Lee Peng Chiat
Date        : 1st November, 2009
Scripture  : Luke 13:6-9

Parables are also found in the Old Testament; e.g. Judges 9 and 2 Sam 12 and not only in the Gospel.

Fig trees are popular sources of inexpensive food in Israel. It takes 3 years for a tree to bear fruits. Each tree yields fruits twice a year. The figs grow as leaves fill up the trees.

In the Bible, a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. Most of us know that vineyards are for grapes and fig trees are usually not planted there. In this case, the owner planted one in his vineyard. Usually fig trees grow by the roadside, in unfertile soil. In the vineyard, the soil is fertile. There is also someone who cares for the trees to ensure that they get nutrients, in short provide for the tree’s needs.

The fig tree represents us. God has taken us from the wayward life and moved us from darkness and despair, from degradation and disobedience, out of no hope, peace and joy and planted us in His vineyard. His vineyard is likened to a place where blessings come down and praises go up, where we are fed by the Spirit of God. It's a place where we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. It is a privilege to be part of God’s vineyard.

But the text tells us, the owner showed up. He headed for the fig tree. He must be excited at the possibility of finally eating some figs from his tree. He went to look for fruits on it but did not find any. A fig tree full of leaves should have lots of figs. But he did not find any fruits. Are we like the fig trees? Promising much but delivering nothing.

The fig tree seemed good but when examined closely it was fruitless. How many of us are like that? We look good on the outside. It is easy to be like this fig tree. We know the holy look, walk and talk expected of a Christian. When we preach and pray, it looks like we’re bearing fruits. But we can’t fool God because He knows us for He looks at our heart. He looks to see if we treat our spouses with patience and affection. Many times we neglect to give our hearts to God. Many Christians live with a once a week religion. We continue to engage in sinful activities, giving God what we feel like instead of what He wants us to do. But if the truth be told, we are barren spiritually for God is not in the centre of our lives.

v7, the owner told the man who took care of the vineyard for 3 years to cut it down because it did not bear any fruits. For 3 years he had kept going back and found nothing. The tree was not only fruitless but was making the ground useless. It was absorbing all the resources but giving back nothing. When other trees were planted in the same soil, they would not grow because the nutrients had been used up by this fig tree.

Similarly, unfruitful Christians rob others who have not had the opportunity given us. We are supposed to bear fruits in our lives. Those around us are supposed to see changed lives but the problem is when we belong to Christ, and others see no difference in our lives, we make the Word of God powerless. People judge God by the way we as Christians behave and live. If we are in touch with God and still live, talk and curse like everyone else, we are hardening the hearts of others around us.

The vinedresser speaks up and says, “Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and dung it:” He was asking for another chance and he would pay special attention to it. This sounds like Jesus. He doesn’t give up on us. He labours with us and cries with us over our shattered dreams. Jesus came down to earth to hang out with the rejects of the society – the tax collectors, the thieves. The vinedresser was willing to get his hands dirty with dung to save the fig tree. Christ came down from divinity and put on the garment of humanity and took all our sins to the cross for our salvation.

It was the practice of those days for the vinedresser to be paid from the harvest. His livelihood depends on the fruitfulness of the trees. By asking another chance for the tree, he is actually linking his future to the tree. He could have cut it down and replaced it with a tree that will bear fruit. But he was willing to risk his earnings. God could have banished men into utter despair and given up on us but Christ came down. He became one of us, paid the price to redeem and restore us. Like the vinedresser, Christ gave us the second chance. v9…. If he bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down. God is also a God of Justice. In the final judgment we still have to give an account (2Cor 5:10). If there is no change, one day mercy will have to be exchanged for justice. Isaiah 5:4 ; What could have been done more in my vineyard that I haven’t done to it?”

The parable is unfinished…. The answer to the ending is for us to decide; whether to live a life of real relationship with God.

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