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.

Reminder: Last Day To Register For Godly Play Workshop

Dear Parents, Sunday School Teachers, Pastoral Care workers and anyone who loves children,

This is just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to register for the 1-day workshop on: How To Tell Children Sacred Stories From The Bible Using Godly Play®.

  • Date: Saturday, 10 November 2012
  • Time: 9am to 5pm
  • Venue: The Father’s House, Bangsar Lutheran Church (directions and map here)

Fees: RM60 per person, Group of 3 persons and above RM40 each: Includes registration, handouts, tea & lunch.

Please register by 3 November 2012 by emailing Yu Chiet atyuchiet[at]hotmail[dot]com or calling at 019-2288869 or 012-3292681.

For more information, please click here.

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:

Workshop: How To Tell Children Sacred Stories From The Bible Using Godly Play®

Dear Parents, Sunday School Teachers, Pastoral Care workers and anyone who loves children,

Bangsar Lutheran Church is pleased to host a 1-day workshop organized by Breakthru Enrichment Station on: How To Tell Children Sacred Stories From The Bible Using Godly Play®.

Date: Saturday, 10 November 2012
Time: 9am to 5pm
Venue: The Father’s House, Bangsar Lutheran Church (directions and map here)

What is Godly Play?
Godly Play teaches children the art of using Christian language – parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action – helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. The goal of Godly Play is to show how to be open to the Holy Spirit, The Creator, and the Redeemer all at once and all the time in every place. For more information, please visit: http://www.godlyplayfoundation.org

Here’s a video intro to what Godly Play is all about:

Facilitator: Mr. David Pritchard, Spain (Children’s Ministry Coordinator with Scripture Union Spain & certified Godly Play teacher trainer)

Here’s a video of when David last visited us here in Bangsar Lutheran Church, where even the adults were as captivated as the children!

Fees: RM60 per person, Group of 3 persons and above RM40 each: Includes registration, handouts, tea & lunch.

Please register by 3 November 2012 by emailing Yu Chiet at yuchiet[at]hotmail[dot]com or calling at 019-2288869 or 012-3292681.

Other info: Participants should wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to sit on the floor during sessions… although chairs will be provided for those you may have difficulties with this!

Kindly share this information to those who may benefit in attending the workshop.

Godly Play is also suitable to use to approach children who have special needs. David Pritchard will be doing a 1 hour session with children who have special needs on 3 November 2012 at Breakthru Enrichment Station.

September Sermon Series: A Royal Priesthood

We are now into our third week of our September series exploring different images of church and community, as found in Scripture.

This week, Rev. Augustin explores what it means to be a member of the Royal Priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

The priest, originally, was appointed by God to intercede on behalf of the people. It is interesting and important to note that the priesthood is not something we can choose or volunteer for. In fact, it is initiated by God when He call us.

According to the Bible, the priest’s responsibility was to:

  • intercede on behalf of others for God’s blessings to be poured out into their lives
  • pour out the grace and power of God into the lives of those around us

Unfortunately, over time and throughout history, the idea of a priest changed into a sort of “elevated” position. Martin Luther restored the idea of the Church community being priests especially over two key points:

  • All of us have the privilege of access to God
  • All of us have the responsibility of serving

Thus, we are all called to be priests to everyone around us. It is our responsibility to intercede on behalf of others for God’s blessings to be poured out into their lives as well as to pour out the grace and power of God into the lives of those around us. Now, this cannot be done without true care and concern for those around us.

As priests, God therefore calls us to a whole new level of caring for the people we represent!

With today being Malaysia Day, the one thing we can do for the country is to be priests for the nation – to intercede on behalf of the nation to God. We should be like the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, who give themselves no rest as they call on the Lord (Isaiah 62:6). Can we certainly take our prayers up a notch – not giving ourselves rest as we call on the Lord?