BLC Anniversary Celebration and Dinner Saturday 5.30pm 19.08.2017

We will be celebrating our church anniversary this Saturday on 19.08.2017 at the Father’s House in Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar.

We start at 5.30pm with a thanksgiving service and will continue with a pot luck dinner at about 7pm.

Come and join us for a time of celebrating God’s faithfulness together. Please also email us so we can take note of the headcount for food.

Important note: There won’t be a Sunday service the next day (20.08.2017).

Satisfying Hungry People

Satisfying Hungry People (Matthew 14:13-21) — Rev Dr Sivin Kit 06.08.2017

Parking around Bangsar Lutheran Church


When you drive in through Jalan Abdullah the options for parking is mainly along the road. But we recognize free parking is limited, especially if you want a shorter walk to The Father's House (that's what we have affectionately called the BLC premises since it's founding).

On Sundays (and when we have meetings), we would move the cones and you could park opposite the church.

Most people would drive to our church through Lengkok Abdullah next to the Tamil primary school. Along the road there are two parking lots. The person in charge would request for a flat rate of RM5 on Saturdays and Sundays (we are still trying to negotiate a better rate — will keep you updated). It's about 2-3 minutes walk to the church premises.

BLC Preaching Series 2017: Christ’s Abundance, Presence, and Power

BLC2017_PreachingSeries_AugustSept

As we move into the month of August, we would like to invite you to join us for a new theme guiding our corporate worship and preaching.

Overall Theme:
Christ’s Abundance, Presence, and Power

August

6 Satisfying Hungry People (Matt. 14:13-21) —  Rev Dr Sivin Kit

13 Stepping Out of the Boat (Matt. 14:22-33)  — John Cheah

19* BLC Anniversary Celebration on Saturday 5.30pm
Clean Living Inside Out (Matthew 15:10-33) – Rev Dr Sivin Kit

27 Ministering to the Poor (Luke 4:14-21) — Yeoh Seng Eng 

September

3 Turning Point: Human Concerns verses Divine Priority (Matthew 16:21-28) – Rev Dr Sivin Kit

10 Wisdom invites! (Proverbs 1:20-33) – – Dr Elaine Goh

17 The Difficult Art of Forgiving (Matthew 18:21-35) – Rev Dr Sivin Kit

24   Confronting Specialists in Complaining (Matthew 20:1-16) – Dr Lim Kar Yong

 

Thoughts on Rewilding in BLC (or: A Version of Eco-Theology) – Benjamin Ong

BLC Tree Planting - 31 Jul 2016

Last week, we planted two trees in church: a neem tree, dubbed the Luther Tree, and a wild cinnamon, dubbed the BLC Tree.

Left: Sivin blesses the neem tree, a tree of Indian origin with many medicinal and cultural uses. 
Right: Leigh and Clarice plant the neem, near the path where its fragrance can be felt.

Now tree planting is, to say the least, not the most common of church activities. But in this time and age, nothing could be more appropriate. Let me begin by recalling an anecdote Sivin used in his sermon: he compared the fascination of children, seeing taugeh germinating from the seed, to the jaded eyes of those of us who are older—‘OK taugeh, so how to fry ah?’ It reminded me of how an anthropocentric worldview—one that places man at the centre of the universe—ultimately results in a distorted perspective of nature that has all living things defined according to their usefulness, direct or indirect, to humans. But if we as Christians are serious about the salvation of the world, then we must recognise that—as Soo-Inn once pointed out—the entire narrative of the Bible is sandwiched between Genesis 1 and Revelation 22. We preach the salvation of creation, not just of humanity.

The imagery of Leviathan from the book of Job is appropriate. It is good to create a space where it is not about our dominion and manipulation of nature. While horticulture and agriculture have given us the means to sustain human civilisation—I, for one, love eating and exploring Earth’s bounty and all the diverse cuisines that humankind, over the ages, has wrought from it—we would be missing something if we perceived nature primarily through the eyes of edibility or even usefulness. Who are we deceiving? In our efforts to culture the world and all that is in it—to make it subservient to our needs, to make it conform to our systems—have we perhaps missed out on appreciating raw, wild beauty?

Some may counter this by saying, let us accord to the city that which is the city’s (man’s dominion), and to the wilderness that which is the wild’s (nature’s dominion). But I think such dualistic thinking has no place in a theology that recognises one God as the maker of all things, man and otherwise. It seems humans have dominated everything: we have collected and sorted our specimens; we have organised knowledge of nature into convenient categories. Botanists, zoologists and farmers are to nature perhaps what theologians, scholars and pastors are to religion. And maybe that is why wilderness (in this case, the “urban wild”) is needed: to remind us of our place in creation. Maybe here lies the intersection between God, man and nature.

Sivin credited the donation of the wild cinnamon to me, something I later clarified. It is useful to repeat the lesson here: I started the ecology project that got us looking at trees in urban neighbourhoods; Van harvested the wild cinnamon from a drainside slope; Fitrah runs the nursery that nurtured it. But ultimately it is God who makes a plant grow. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

Left: Planting the wild cinnamon; I didn’t notice the crowd of curious onlookers!
Right: The children then watered both trees.

“Consider the lilies of the field,” Jesus said, “how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The lilies of the field are the wildflowers, not the ‘cultured’ flowers created by genetic manipulation or artificial selection to look good in Valentine bouquets or funeral wreaths. The latter speaks to the genius of man; the former, to the genius of God. Again Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” That is only half true: having eaten the fruits of trees, a bird sows the seed (though it knows it not) that becomes the tree of life that, in time, comes to bless the hundreds and thousands of birds and myriad creatures that take shelter and sustenance from it. Consider the banyan at BLC’s corner—a fine example of this phenomenon.

Left: The banyan at the corner of our church, December 2015.
Right: The treeshrew skull discovered in our backyard, June 2015.

I remember when we discovered the treeshrew skull last year. It was as if to say, here is life. Whether that life has any bearing on man or not, it doesn’t matter. Here is life we may not be able harvest for our curries, or arrange for altar decoration; but here is life nonetheless, wild and free, imbued by the spirit of its Creator.

So, back to our two trees. On the one hand, represented by the neem you have sustainable greening, urban farming and permaculture, where we cultivate that which is useful to us in a way that is environmentally friendly and harmonious with nature. On the other, represented by the wild cinnamon you have rewilding, where we more or less let nature chart its course and reap indirect benefits. We need both for a sustainable future—the yin and the yang, the dark side and the light. BLC has long had a reputation as a “safe space”—may we even now be a safe space to that which is chaotic and chthonic: nature in its wild, resplendent beauty.

Christ Alone: The Inclusive Gospel of Christ – Rev. Augustin

Slide2

In the world of the first century, the gospel encountered many kinds of people.

Many of the cities that the Gospel encountered were actually quite cosmopolitan, with different races, and different classes, of people interacting in their daily routine. There were Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, slave and free, masters and merchants, rulers and the ruled – all sorts. Even with all this intermingling there were still strict rules – slaves could not sit at table with their masters, for example. The rich would not patronize the same shops as the poor. The nobility jealously guarded their bloodlines and heritage. It was a society that had many divisions and inequalities. In order to belong, one had to have certain prerequisites.

The Gospel of Jesus was radical because it was inclusive. There were no prerequisites. As Paul puts it, in Christ there is no Jew and Gentile, slave or free. The salvation of Christ was available to all, and not just a special few. The rich and the poor alike could hear the gospel, turn to Christ and believe.

But the inclusive nature of the gospel did not end there. The gospel of Jesus was the great leveler. Rich and poor alike sat at the same table for the fellowship meal. Slave and free alike sang together and prayed together. The same water that baptised the nobility baptised the common folk as well. All ended up in the same church with no divisions, only Christ. Jew and Gentile alike were co-inheritors of the heavenly inheritance.

That is not the end of the story, however. The Gospel of Jesus was not just available to all and level all differences, it also created a new people – a Christian people. As Peter put it, once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God – a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. As Peter preached on the first day of Pentecost, the list of countries mentioned there reads like a who’s who of the nations in that time. Yet out of all those different backgrounds, 3000 people were baptised that day and the church was born – a church with one people – a people belonging to God.

Great beginnings, indeed. Sadly, of course, since then we have come a long way in putting back those pre-requisites, raising those divisions, and segregating the one people into many different kinds of people. We have to wonder sometimes whether we are committed to Christ alone without demanding pre-requisites, insisting on divisions or even raising ourselves one over the other. How could we? For we are all in the same boat, equally sinful, equally needing Christ alone.