Sermon Series: Fundamentals Of The Church (#ChurchFundamentals2015)

 

201509 Fundamentals Of The ChurchBased on Acts 2:42-47 (TLB), we will explore our BLC Family can follow the example of the early disciples: “They joined with the other believers in regular attendance at the apostles’ teaching sessions and at the Communion services and prayer meetings. A deep sense of awe was on them all, and the apostles did many miracles. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other, selling their possessions and dividing with those in need. They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, praising God. The whole city was favorable to them, and each day God added to them all who were being saved.”

DATE TIME TOPIC READINGS SPEAKER
6 Sep 10 am Prayer OT: Isaiah 35:4-7a

NT: James 2:1-17

Gospel: Mark 7:24-37

Pastor Augustin
13 Sep 10 am Discipleship/Fellowship OT: Isaiah 50: 4-9a

NT: James 3:1-12

Gospel: Mark 8:27-38

John Cheah
20 Sep 10 am Worship OT:  Jeremiah 11:18-20

NT. James 3:13-4:3,7-8a

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

Pastor Augustin
27 Sep 10 am Stewardship OT: Num 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29

NT: James 5:13-20

Gospel: Mark 9:38-50

Pastor Augustin

If you’d like to follow or respond to the messages via social media, please hashtag it as #ChurchFundamentals2015. Find us at:

BLC Council Studies: Review & Re-cap: Exploring Church

Introduction: The Church Council will be embarking on a series of studies that are led by Pastor Augustin, to explore each of our portfolios – which aligns back to life at BLC. We encourage everyone from BLC family to join us especially if you feel particularly called to a specific ministry and wish to know more. If you wish to serve in the future, but do not know where to start, feel free to join every or any session at all! We have just completed our second study of the series and wish to provide a review of what we have gathered. The details of future studies are listed at the end of the article and we welcome you with wide arms to join us. For further details of how to, please scroll to the end of the article. Thanks!

– Sincerely, BLC Council Members

***

Exploring Church

 July 12, 2015

The Father's House signboard

What is Church?

  •  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2: 9 (NIV)
  • Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3: 16 (KJV)
  • to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up Ephesians 4: 12 (NIV)

How do we recognize a church?

  • The gospel is purely preached.
  • The sacraments are rightly administered.

How does a church sustain its life?

  • Word
  • Sacraments

How is a church organized internally?

How is a church organized externally?

** Within Malaysia **

** Beyond Malaysia **

What are the Four Pillars of Church?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2: 42 – 47 (NIV)

  • Discipleship (Teaching)
  • Fellowship
  • Breaking of Bread – Sacrament (worship) & Agape Meal
  • Prayer

What is the Mission of the Church – Why do we exist?

***

Review: During the session, each one of us shared what the word “church” mean to us personally. We talked about how being a Holy Nation meant we were set apart, while being the body of Christ meant that the church is alive and grows, with Christ being the head that is leading the church. We also looked at the similarities of Corinthians to our world today, and how Paul guided the church based on the letters to the Corinth, among many other interesting discussions. If you wish to know more and have the notes to the session, please feel free to drop us a comment in the comment box and we will reach out to you.

In the next couple of months, we will be having the following studies after service and we are excited to have you join us.

  •  21-Jun-2015: Being Lutheran
  • 12-Jul-2015: Exploring Church
  • 2-Aug-2015: Worship
  • 27-Sep-2015: Stewardship
  • 25-Oct-2015: Mission
  • 15-Nov-2015: Community
  • 20-Dec-2015: Discipleship

In the coming session, when we talk about Worship, we anticipate interesting discussion on lithurgy, Worship from the Early Church and concepts as well as essentials of Worship. We will also seek to craft a vision for worship in BLC.

If you are interested in the topic that will be discussed on 2nd August 2015, please do drop us an e-mail, one week in advance (26 Jul 2015), to rumahpapa[dot]admin[at]gmail[dot]com or leave us a comment below. Lunch will be provided if you register and express your wish to have lunch to be provided accordingly.

See you there !

Sermon: Christ’s Compelling Call – Upwards and Outwards Towards Our Deep Gladness And The World’s Deep Hunger – Leigh

Christ's Compelling Call

(Some background: For the first six months of the year, BLC will focus on the preaching theme, “Upwards and Outwards“. Also, this sermon is based on this week’s liturgical readings: Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 and Mark 1:29-39)

Sermon summary by Leigh:

If I were to ask you, “What is your deepest gladness?” What would your answer be? Now, hold that thought.

I am told to be more like Jesus and, based on today’s gospel lesson, I don’t think I’ve lived out a life of being a radical, subversive full-time preacher with a penchant for healing, hanging out with people on the fringes, and dying on the cross at the age of 33.

Yet, as a Christian, it is an undeniable truth that we are called to be like Jesus. Put another way, our journey as Christians – literally, “little Christs” – is a call upwards: towards becoming more and more like Jesus, even today.

Not only that, our call is a call outwards as well – having encountered Jesus, we feel compelled – as Paul did in his letter to the Corinthians – to preach the good news. What does “do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” mean for you, in practice, today?

This week, I went to the Big Bad Wolf Fire Sale and fortuitously picked up a book by Timothy Keller, called “Every Good Endeavor“. I liked what it had to say about integrating faith and work:

“I’d learned that I was supposed to be changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and therefore be “used by God” in my relationship with others, and maybe even be distinctive in the way I [worked]. Nice concepts, but what did they look like in practice?

One CEO would share that he kept a Bible on his desk and that occasionally someone in the company would ask about it. Another prayed and the company thrived. Many viewed their corporate jobs primarily as a means to make lots of money to give away to charities and organizations they cared about. When I asked pastors and business-people how their faith related to their work, they often answered that a Christian’s primary, if not sole, mission in the workplace was to evangelize those with whom they worked. But most businesspeople would quickly add that evangelism was not one of their gifts. And none of these approaches addressed the issue of how Christians’ faith should affect the way they worked.

Living out my faith in my work seemed relegated to small symbolic gestures, to self-righteous abstinence from certain behaviors, and to political alignments on the top cultural and legal issues of the day.”

Keller then draws on the work of Robert Bellah, a sociologist, who highlighted the need for “…a re-appropriation of the idea of vocation or calling, a return in a new way to the idea of work as a contribution to the good of all and not merely as a means to one’s own advancement,” before going on to explain:

“The Latin word vocare – to call – is at the root of our common word ‘vocation.’… A job is a vocation only if someone else calls you to do it and you do it for them rather than for yourself. And so our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests.

To be a Christian in business, then, means much more than just being honest or not sleeping with your coworkers. It even means more than personal evangelism or holding a Bible study at the office. Rather, it means thinking out the implications of the gospel worldview and God’s purposes for your whole work life – and for the [area] under your influence.

So, if we are called to be like Christ (our upward call) and to impact the world around us just like He did (our outward call) – we need to reconsider the fact that our work is more than just a job; it is a vocation.  So where, or how, then are we called?

This brings me to this quote by Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Because God has made us the way we are and is continually at work in our lives, we can recognize that our deep gladness – the things that truly give us our deepest joy and sense of fulfillment – are part of His work in us. This includes our sense of fulfillment at work – consider the examples of Eric Liddell, John Coltrane, as well as other members of our faith community.

Integrating our “deep gladness” with the “deep hungers” of the world around us, thus, is where God has called us to. So, where is the deep hunger of the world around you?

And yet, as always, there is good news: God’s call does not take you where His grace does not cover you. Our Isaiah passage is remarkable because of the juxtaposition it offers between the great power of God as Creator and Lord of the Universe, and with the amazing fact that all that power is bequeathed to us:

Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

How this comes together for me stems from God’s call on my life, which I received when I was 16. Since then, I have gone on a lifelong pursuit of that calling – to be an evangelist, to help Good News get told through the power of marketing and communications.

And, so, the challenge now before us is this: Where has God called us to today?

An exercise to help us figure that out was to use the following graph – where, on one side, we list down what we think is our deepest gladness, and, on the other side, we list down where we think God is at work in the hurts of the world around us. Then, we take a good look at where the two meet and see where God brings the two together.

Where God Has Called Me To

For a final thought, I leave this for consideration:

Think of that cliché that nobody ever gets to the end of their life and wishes they spent more time in the office. It makes good sense, of course, to a point. But here’s a more interesting perspective: At the end of your life, will you wish that you had plunged more of your time, passion, and skills into work environments and work products that helped people to give and receive more love?

Can you see a way to answer “yes” to this question from your current career trajectory?

My sermon slides are available here:

Doing The Right Thing (Free E-Book Download)

 

Kairos Research Centre has decided to make available online – with free access – the full text of its legal handbook, Doing the Right Thing: A Practical Guide on Legal Matters for Churches in Malaysia.

In a statement on its website, Kairos said, “Our hope is that the book will help readers to gain confidence to defend their right to profess, practice and propagate their religion and to remain vigilant in defending their religious rights.  Sales of the book has been brisk and we are down to the last few copies in our stock. Perhaps the positive reception of the book is an indication of a growing concern in the mind of the public sparked off by recent trends in legislation that have led to the erosion of religious freedom, and by a series of disputes involving Shariah and Civil law which has generated some tension. These events confirm our conviction that all Malaysians should be well-informed about matters pertaining to law and religion in our society.”

Suggestions that will help improve the book are welcomed and may be sent to (email): kairos (AT) streamyx (DOT) com. The revision will be supervised by an Editorial and Revision Committee, members of which will be announced later.

  • Click here to go to Kairos’ announcement and for further information.
  • Click here to download the book (PDF format). 

September Sermon Series: Temple of the Holy Spirit

(Pictured with her husband Zach, Emily’s the one on the right, just in case you were wondering)

This morning, we had the distinct pleasure to be blessed by Emily Shipman‘s maiden sermon at The Father’s House!

She wrapped up our September Sermon Series exploring different images of church and community, as found in Scripture, with a sermon about how the church family is also called to be the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

In our Old Testament (Ezekiel 37:1-14) she shared about how the Spirit breathes life into those dried up.

From the New Testament Reading (1 Corinthians 12:1-13) she shared about how spiritual gifts given by the one Spirit in unity “for the common good” – this is always their purpose. In fact, our common good is about unity in diversity, not despite diversity.

From the Gospel reading (John 14:15-27), she shared about how the Holy Spirit is promised as well as personal, with New Testament references showing how He leads believers, bears witness, loves, grieves, intercedes, cries out.

In fact, the Greek word for Him is παράκλητος, which can be understood as a court-room term for someone who advocates for the defendant, defends and strengthens when accused, offers counsel and aid, encouragement when depressed, grants assurance and hope.

The Holy Spirit is also the “Spirit of Truth” Who “testifies on behalf of Christ”. He inspires faith – which comes through the hearing of the Word of God.

Finally, tying it all together in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Emily shared about how, in the context of Corinth, she preached about how our bodies joined with Christ as “the temple of the Holy Spirit” – united in goal, aided in our weakness by the same Spirit. As being filled with with the Holy Spirit, therefore, we should be the body of Christ in the world – sent out for reconciliation, forgiveness, proclamation, justice and to give in to things that destroy the body.

September Sermon Series: A Holy Nation – Leigh

This morning, as part of our September sermon series exploring biblical images of Christian community, Leigh shared with us what it meant to be a Holy Nation.

He led off with the idea that a Holy Nation is defined as a community of people who are set apart and made whole by God with a common language, culture,  identity, history and destiny.

Next, he shared how a Holy Nation – being intertwined with the concept of states and citizenship – is one that dispenses rights but also demands responsibilities. To illustrate this, he talked about our responsibilities to our own countries and how it parallels the responsibilities of being a part of God’s Holy Nation. Even as God made the first move to rescue Israel out of Egypt – He also entered into a covenant with them, which included requirements and responsibilities; most notably, the 10 commandments that immediately followed the invitation in Exodus 19:1-7.

Finally, Leigh talked about how – for us – all of us are called to be that Holy Nation, but it isn’t easy; it’s practically living in two worlds at the same time. The demands and calls for living according to God’s covenant often puts us in conflict with those of the world. Even so, God’s call comes with God’s power to follow His covenant call in the world. And that is what will carry us through to the end.

Leigh has also made his slides available here:

Note – there is supposed to be a video on slide #19 which can be viewed here: