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

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Sermon: Jesus, Be The Centre – Rev. Augustin

Station8

Speaking from this week’s lectionary readings (Amos 8:1-12, Colossians 1:15-28, Luke 10:38-42), Rev. Augustin preached a challenging message on what it truly meant to have Jesus at the center of our lives; moving us away from superficial, pre-fabricated, and insipid spirituality.

Amos begins this mornings readings with dire warnings of doom and gloom. The Israelites have convinced themselves that, as God’s special people, they could do whatever they wanted and get away with it. It was the heathen nations such as Egypt and Assyria that would suffer God’s wrath because they did not know God and they also would suffer because they went again God’s own people.

But in this series of messages to Amos, God points out that He actually helped Egypt and Assyria, but it is Israel who would suffer His wrath – simply because they were His people. God was upset with them because they did not change their ways. It was business as usual for them even though they were now a Holy Nation. Amos calls us to move out of superficial spirituality – to get deeper with our faith.

Very often, our faith does not impact us enough to cause real change and we go on as before, like everybody else. How that change is to occur is a mystery, says Paul. The secret is that Jesus is in us. The mind-blowing fact is that God lives in us! As Paul addresses the Colossians, he reminds them of this all important truth – our God is not far away. He lives right inside us.

This second reading thus warns us against pre-fabricated spirituality. We often want to make God over to fit our lives and our perceptions. We want a faith and spirituality that we are comfortable with.

But as we sang in the morning: “Jesus be our center…” – if Jesus is to be our center, then He will remodel us to fit Him, not the other way around. We sometimes have a cheap view of grace, much like the ancient Israelites had – God is gracious and kind, so no matter what we do or how we live, he will close one eye. However, the Bible tells us that grace does not exists without law. Grace does not replace law. Jesus said he came to fulfil the law, not abolish it. The second reading encourages us to move beyond pre-fab spirituality to a faith that really remodels us.

The third reading speaks of the priority of Jesus in our lives. He calls us from the things that would distract us, that would turn our attention away from Him – even doing his works can be a distraction. When was the last time we enjoyed the presence of Jesus? When was the last time we gloried in his presence? He calls us to move from an insipid spirituality to a deeper communion with Him, holding Him in our hearts as we go about life this week.

May this week see Jesus revealed to us as move deeper, fuller, into a closer walk with Him.

Jesus, be our vision, be the center and hope of our lives.

Sermon: The Douchebaggery of a Prophet, the Humble Faith of a Centurion, and Deciding to Follow Jesus – Leigh

DouchebagElijah

Based on this week’s lectionary readings, yesterday, Leigh shared a message that drew inspiration from Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Ba’al and the faith of the Roman Centurion; and how these both illustrate a call for us to be steadfast in our decision to follow Jesus.

And, he got away with using the word “douchebag” in church. 🙂

Here are his slides:

Bible Study – Livin’ Da Life!

book-and-heart-book-heart-love-1400x1050Hi, all. Our Sunday morning Bible study returns after some hiatus and will resume this Sunday (tomorrow, 14 April 2013) at 8.45 am.

Our theme for the next few weeks will be “Livin’ Da Life!” – exploring the resurrection life in terms of life choices, discipleship and ministry / mission. This Sunday, we begin by looking at the Bible, and Jesus’ words: “I have come to give you life…

See you!

Pastor Augustin

Our Call To Discipleship & Ministry – Rev. Augustin

AugustinPreaching from the lectionary text this week, Rev. Augustin shared some devotional thoughts on our call to discipleship and ministry.

The call of Jeremiah reminds us of our own call to discipleship and ministry. We often think of ministry of something we do, and discipleship as something we complete or achieve. Discipleship then becomes a lot of ‘doing’ while ministry becomes tiring as we strive to do what God calls us to do.

What if ministry was an outflow of our being, rather than our doing?

What if discipleship is a matter of uncovering what God sees in us, rather than a program we complete?

David was just a shepherd boy, but God saw a King in him. If we think of the rest of David’s life as discipleship, then it was a matter of uncovering the king in him. God saw a prophet in Jeremiah, and Jeremiah had a hard life – nobody likes a prophet of doom. But he could not help but prophesy, because that is who he was. It was an outflow of the prophet he was. But this outflow of ministry will not work without love.

Paul writes to the Corinthians that all the spiritual gifts in the world would mean nothing if there is no love as the motivating factor. When we function out of that love, our ministry is effective. Things happen. When we do not, it is just more work.

The gospel reading points out that great love that Jesus has for his people. Driven out of his own hometown, by his own people, he still comes back to die for them. In order for us to function out of that love, we need to first realize the great depth and breadth and height of God’s love for us.

Crossing the Jordan: A Challenge To Discipleship – Rev. Augustin

Today, we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany. Preaching from this week’s Lectionary readings, Rev. Augustin drew parallels from the story of Joshua’s crossing of the Jordan river into the Promised Land to we could look at our transition from year 2012 to 2013.

In the Bible account, God covenanted with Israel saying, “You will be my people.” It was a challenging time for the Israelites – Moses – the charismatic, miracle producing leader – was dead. Now they all had to cross the Jordan into the promised land – without Moses.

This can be intimidating. But the Lord says, “I am with you, as I was with Moses.” This, for Joshua who had to take on the leader’s role after Moses, was an epiphany moment. Just like how the Magi had their epiphany moment with Jesus – the sudden realization that they were in the presence of something greater than themselves.

The cusp of a New Year can be like this for many of, but we are all assured of His abiding presence. In crossing the Jordan, the Israelites had to move away from what they already knew to what they were about to be given. Just like, in the Hobbit, Bilbo was faced with an unexpected adventure, we all need to learn that our adventures in God is often less about the destination but more about the journey.

The Bible calls this discipleship. It is not a destination – but a lifelong journey. Every step is an opportunity to be discipled; making us into the people He wants us to be. Discipleship takes us into what God has prepared for us; though this is not necessarily what we can see or expect. In fact, it could be said that God showed Joshua where the borders of the Promised Land lay in an attempt to enlarged Joshua’s vision of what was possible through God!

The call to discipleship is also to the entire community and nation. God calls us to arise and shine as a community and nation. We are called to engage God on His terms, not ours. But this is not easy – that’s why Israel kept making idols… attempting to grasp God on their own terms and not His. That is also why God continually had to break those presumptions, saying, “I AM that I AM.”

We are thus called to be careful, to not turn to the left or right and not to create a conception of God. Thus, this requires obedience. Obedience implies discipline. In turn, discipline implies pain. But what comes out of us is based on what we put in it.

Therefore, a reminder to parents to remember to provide Christian education to their children – beyond the numerous other classes for music, language, school work, sports and more. Parents are called to keep the book of the law always on their lips as well as those of their children.

Having said all that, Rev. Augustin also outlined a few important things the church will emphasise in this new year 2013: Education, Discipline, and Practicing The Presence of God.

We will do this by:

  1. Introducing an Education Hour, once a month after service. The first one in January will be about Early Communion (to Children)
  2. Enforcing discipline by starting our worship services promptly at 10am
  3. Opening the church every Friday for an open time of prayer so that we can practice the presence. There will be no set “program” for these open times – but all are welcome to just come and spend time in the church. Rev. Augustin will be present for prayer and counselling as necessary.

Therefore, God has provided the opportunity; assurance is given and provided. Now it is up to us to respond – will we undertake the journey and cross the Jordan?