Sermon: The Love Of God Makes It Possible To Love God – Rev. Augustin

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Last Sunday, we decided to commemorate Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Mei during service by distributing a small packs of chocolates. Pastor Augustin then preached a sermon based on the week’s lectionary readings.

Here’s the summary of his sermon:

With Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Meh this past week, romance is in the air. Lots of pink, lots of roses, and the malls packed. People talking about love and being in love.

The Church does not celebrate Valentine’s Day. Once upon a time there was a Feast day for St. Valentine. However, what’s happening now has almost no connection with that feast day, other than the name.

But it is interesting that all the texts this Sunday talk about love. A particular kind of love, actually. Like most other things, the love that is celebrated in the world today does not reflect the love of God in the Bible. The Old Testament text tells us of a choice that God puts before His people, a choice between life and death. To choose life, means to choose to love God. And to choose to love God means obeying his commandments and clinging to Him.

So what does it mean to love God?

Firstly to love God is to love Him with all our heart, mind, and strength. It is vastly different from the love practiced in the world today. It is a love that involves our whole being. Not merely intellectual assent or emotional high, but our whole being.

Secondly, to love God is to obey His commandments. Paul talks about maturity in the Epistle reading today. He talks about having a ‘Kingdom perspective’. To love God is to love what He loves, and to be mature is to have His perspective on the world around us. While we tend to consider rules and commandments restrictive, to love God is to understand that these commandments are there for our good. Yet we do rebel and we often run away from Him, not understanding that He is trying to keep us safe. Then we end up in trouble. Paul encourages us to move from infancy to maturity.

Thirdly, to love God is to cling to Him. To live in His love by showing that same love to those around us. In the Gospel reading Jesus interprets and applies the Ten Commandments, and in this passage, the commandment about murder. He begins easy enough, ‘You have heard it said…’ that part is quite easy. Most of us are not murderers. Then he goes on about getting angry with our brothers or sisters – there is no ‘without reason’. Anger is bad enough. Then he talks about calling people idiots and being in danger of the fires of hell. We use the term lightly enough, but the consequences are dire.

For Jesus, to love God is to live as His children. Being forgiven, we are to be forgiving. Being at the receiving end of mercy, we are to dispense mercy. To love God is to love those around us. Thus Jesus says, if you know of anyone who has a grudge against you, stop your worship, go settle it and then continue. Yet when we measure ourselves against the demands of God’s love, we realize how very often we fall short. We often only love God when things are going well. We often do not have maturity in our faith. We often do not love or forgive those around us and hold on to our grievances.

So what can we do? We come to Yahweh Elohim. The covenant God who always holds our hand even if we find difficulty holding on to Him. This Sunday, he stands ready at the Lord’s table and invites us to come and partake of the Body and Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ and stands ready to forgive us and gives us grace to love God for another week.

The love of God makes it possible to love God.

Amen.

Eschatology & The Age To Come – Pastor Augustin

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This morning, speaking from this week’s lectionary texts, Pastor Augustin shared with us about Eschatology and The Age To Come.

This week’s Old Testament reading talks about the Kingdom of God that is to come. Isaiah draws an idyllic picture of life where the reign of God is total and there is no pain, no sorrow, no poverty, no corruption, no loss. As Isaiah speaks to the people of Israel, he speaks of an age to come. We, too, look for that age to come. Our yearning for a time of bliss and peace is expressed every Sunday when we pray, Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Yet when Jesus came, this Age to Come came crashing into our current age. Because of Jesus, we now live in two ages, two kingdoms as it were. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God as well as citizens here on Earth. Isaiah’s text gives us hope of the culmination of the Kingdom  of God here on earth. The Epistle text encourages an attitude of working, of giving our best, even as we wait for this fulfilment of Jesus’ reign here on earth. As we wait, we are not to be idle, but to unpack all that we are and all that we have as citizens of God’s kingdom to make a difference while we are here on this earth.

Jesus redeemed us, equipped us and empowered us so that we will be a blessing. We are ‘the bread that was broken, and the wine that was poured out’ to the people around us.

We are blessed in order to be a blessing.

Happy Pastor’s Sunday Rev. Augustin!

This past Sunday, we commemorated Pastor’s Sunday and thanked God for Pastor Augustin‘s ministry with us.

It’s been three years since he became our Pastor, so we thought we’d spend some time catching up with him – getting to know him better and understand more about his role as our Pastor:

We also opened up to the floor for a session of general questions and answers:

We then handed him a small token of our appreciation (in case you were wondering, they were various gift certificates for the family) and ended with prayer for him and his family – something which he has asked us to continue doing (so please continue praying for Pastor Augustin and his family!).

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And yes, we do liken him to Yoda (it helps to have a sci-fi geek as a Pastor!).

Thank you for your ministry to us, Rev. Augustin!

Sermon: My Way Or The Highway – Rev. Augustin

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This past week, we think Pastor Augustin really outdid himself with his sermon, “My Way Or The Highway”. He transformed our worship space into a “4D” (four-dimension),  immersive, interactive & experiential space with loads of visual cues and interaction stations.

It started right from the entrance; with signs from pointing to “My Way” or “The Highway”.

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In our worship space, we were greeted by a massive mind map of today’s sermon.

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All throughout the worship space, there were other visual cues and interaction stations.

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The interactive nature of the sermon was certainly very well received! Even the children enjoyed themselves!

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So, here’s the thing – to show how much we enjoyed this and how much we want Pastor Augustin to repeat this, we’re calling for you to give us Likes and Comments. With enough of a response, I’m sure we can convince Pastor Augustin to repeat this again real soon – or, better still, to do it every week he preaches!

#GettingToKnowYou – BLC Council 2013-2015: Augustin Muthusami, Pastor

[Since we have just installed our BLC Council for 2013-2015, we thought it would be good to get to know them better. To do that, we are posting a profile of each council member – a profile a day for the next 8 days! The profiles will cover the roles and responsibilities of each council member, as well as a short question-and-answer interview – in their own words.]

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Rev. Augustin Muthusami is the pastor of Bangsar Lutheran Church. As pastor, he is responsible for:

  • General oversight of the spiritual life and ministry of Bangsar Lutheran Church.
  • Proclaims the Word of God through preaching and the administration of the Sacraments.
  • Conducts services of worship in accordance with the faith and practices of the Lutheran Church.
  • Provides catechetical instruction.
  • Visits members of the congregation regularly.
  • Together with the Church Council, to supervise all activities and organizations of this congregation and to administer discipline.
  • Seek out and encourage qualified men and women to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel and strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the homeland, and abroad.
  • Member of the District Council which shall have the responsibility to co-ordinate the work in the District and to deal with spiritual and temporal matters concerning the District as a whole.
  • Participate actively in the life and work of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia submitting such regular reports as are required.
  • Serves as the main contact person for the church – mail correspondence, official letters, etc.
  • To oversee and report on behalf of the Youth, Sunday School and Family ministries.

Tell us briefly about yourself?
I hail from Penang, but was mostly brought up in PJ. My primary school days were in Seremban. My secondary school was Sultan Abdul Samad in PJ, and thereafter, College was Seminary Theoloji Malaysia when it was at SFX in PJ. After my seminary training, I was posted to Bukit Mertajam for nearly 8 years before returning to KL / PJ.

I was born on 7 December 1966, and was baptized in the same year. I am married to Deborah and have two sons: Timothy and Noel. My wedding anniversary is on 30th December. I am a Pastor. My passions are in teaching and training, and so I have been doing that for the past 28 years or so in some form or another. I have served in 4 other congregations prior to BLC.

How long have you been at BLC and what were your first impressions about it, when you first came?
I have been in BLC now for about 2 ½ years. People here know where to go for food…

What do you do during your free time?
Read fantasy novels…at the rate of 1 per year!

What’s your favorite…

  • Food? Chicken Rice
  • Drink? Coffee
  • Movie? Star Wars (TOS) / Star Trek / LOTR – you get the idea…
  • Smell? Freshly baked bread
  • Music genre? 80s
  • Book or literary genre? Fantasy
  • Conversation topic? Er…

What would you consider your strength(s) and weakness(es)?
I can teach and train. I can organize thoughts and processes.  As I get older, I suppose my main weakness is lack of patience… with stupidity!

Can you share what your personal dream and aspiration is, for the next 10 years?
Leave my mark on the world… by helping those around me reach their fullest potential in Christ.

What is your dream for Malaysia (or the world), for the next 10 years?
Stay safe, stay sane, and stay unique.

What does it mean for you to follow Christ today?
It’s a tough road that keeps changing as the days go by. The biggest challenge is to turn theory into praxis as I strive to obey and then realize that it is not striving, but being.

What do you think God is saying to you lately?
Live long and prosper.

What’s the most random thing you can think of right… NOW?
Hungry.

What’s the best way(s) to get in touch with you?

  • Catch me on a Sunday
  • Call: +60 10 779 6449
  • Email: revaugustin[at]yahoo[dot]com

An Eventful Sunday – Celebrating Moms and Dads, and Welcoming Our New BLC Council 2013-2015!

We had a pretty eventful day today: celebrating our BLC moms and dads (biological, adoptive, spiritual, metaphorical, etc.) with our BLC Parents Day 2013 Celebrations as well as welcoming our new BLC Council with an installation service.

The day started early for some in what is now lovingly known as “Emily‘s Sweatshop” (courtesy of Jason!). We had to roll stacks and stacks of newspapers into balls… which were then used for games later in the afternoon. Unfortunately for us, the air-conditioning in the room failed… (and yes, Emily got little kids to work too!).

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Emily even found the time to have a little fun with one of her underaged “volunteers”! 😛

Mei Li set up a pretty neat altar decoration…

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…and Aaron even came decked out in the latest fatherly fashion!

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Since it was Father’s Day today, Rev. Thomas Low preached a moving sermon based on the life-example of Joseph, the father of Jesus.

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Then, we installed the new church Council for the 2013-2015 term!

Of course, any celebration would be remiss without the obligatory fellowship meal – i.e. lots and lots of #omnomnom!!!

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And, then, lots of laughter with games by Emily (the sweatshop did not labor in vain!)!

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And finally, family photos for everyone!

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A huge word of thanks to Jamie for organizing everything!

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