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The Tale of Two Cs Alex Lee Bethesda Serangoon Church 6 June 2010 (for BSC internal dissemination only)

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1 The Tale of Two Cs Alex Lee Bethesda Serangoon Church 6 June 2010 (for BSC internal dissemination only)

2 Contentment is the state of being satisfied in the sufficiency of Christ. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in need.” (Ps 23:1 ) Source:

3 “I have learnt to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthened me.” (Phil 4:11-13) “Make sure your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have.” (Heb 13:5) 3

4 Sufficiency in Christ because He is: Firstborn of all creation ( Col 1:15-16) Before all things and in Him all things hold together (Col 1:17) Head of the Church (Col 1:18) Fullness of God’s deity (Col 1:19) Reconciled all things to Himself (Col 1:20-23) “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form … in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all” (Col 2: 10) 4

5 “In Him you have been made complete” (Col 2:10) “In Him you were also circumcised…by the removal of the body of the flesh … of Christ” (Col 2:12) “buried with Him in baptism… raised up with Him through faith … made alive together with Him … cancelled our debt … having nailed it to the cross (Col 2:14). “Therefore you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above” (Col 3:1) “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col 3:4) 5

6 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts … and be thankful.” (Col 3:15) “Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you … with thankfulness in your heart to God.” (Col 3:16) “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17) “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Col 3:23) “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Col 4:2) 6

7 Paul’s Suffering (Paul was imprisoned in Rome) “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body… filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church, I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God…” (Col 1:24-25a) “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf… and those who have not seen my face.” (Col 2:1) Peter’s warning to the Gentile Christians: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the suffering of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. I Pet 4:

8 The Calling of Moses (Ex 3:1-15, 4:2-5,17) What did God tell Moses to do with his staff? What did his staff represent? His occupation/ identity, his wealth and his influence. Throw it down and God will work miracles through us. 8

9 Parable of the talents (Matt 25:13-30) God allocates according to our abilities What does God expect of us? Resources (opportunities) + Labour (work) + Time = Profit 9

10 Am I like the servants entrusted with talents who earned double? “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.” v21, 23 OR like the lazy servant who buried our talent and complain it’s the Master’s fault? “Evil and lazy servant! And throw that worthless servant outside into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”v 26,30 Good work begets more work! Do our best work to bring glory to God. Remember, we do not know when the Lord will return v13 10

11 Feeling of self-satisfaction and comfort. Attitude of having arrived, leading to inaction in seeking spiritual progress. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! … I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say. ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.(Rev 3:15-17) No feeling of dependence on God. “I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore they forgot me.” (Hos 13:5-6) 11

12 Complacency leads to inaction in helping the less fortunate “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.” (Deut 15:11 ) “… the complacency of fools shall destroy them.” (Prov 1:32b) “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, 'The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad.‘” (Zeph 1:12) This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it”. (Isa 30:15) 12

13 13 Baptism of Christ, a fresco done from by Fra Angelico, is in the Convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy Baptism is a commitment to a lifelong spiritual practice commissioned by Jesus Christ It is a discipleship, not a one-time event. Yet… Methodists, Lutherans see baptisms slide for years. The Southern Baptist Convention has seen a half- century decline in baptisms.

14 “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Tim 6:6) We are content with what we have from God and unsatisfied with what we do for God. Godliness comes from having the Spirit of God “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Rom 8:13-14) As Christians we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but we must choose not to quench the Spirit. (I Thess 5:19) 14

15 “So then those who had received his (Peter’s) word were baptised; and that day there were added about 3000 souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need”. Based on Acts 2:41-42, let’s consider the following: Enrollment Ministry of the Word Fellowship of the Saints Giving Prayer Service and Evangelism 15

16 Enrollment 8 members were added last year through baptism Sunday School enrollment steady at about 120 scholars but prize winners dropped slightly by 3% per year over the last two years. Borrowing of books in the library dropped slightly (-11 books and -27 books over last two years) 70 members in the Care groups 16 Source: Bethesda Serangoon Annual Thanksgiving Report 2009

17 Ministry of the Word: Brethren stepping forward to speak at the pulpit, lead in worship and teach in Sunday School. Fellowships (YF, YP, CG) always incorporate bible study as a key activity Chinese Ministry Domestic Helpers Ministry Bulletin Media Resource Partnership with Bethesda Book Centre’s literature ministry Church Camp 17

18 Fellowship of the Saints: Care groups Youth Fellowship Young People Chinese Ministry Family Life Church Fellowship (quarterly) Giving: Regular giving with more than 50% going to missionaries, workers-in-fellowship and missions enterprises. Gifts for the church renovations Gifts for Sunbeam Kindergarten 18

19 Prayer: Eph 6:18 Prayer Bulletin Prayer Seminar – 80 attended Corporate Prayers: 1 st and 3 rd Sundays 10.30am, 4 th Wednesdays 8pm, Thanksgiving Fellowship, Watchnight Service. Ministry Prayers: Committees and Fellowships Family and Individual Prayers Watching ministry by the Oversight 19

20 Service and Evangelism: Sunbeam kindergarten ministry Boys Brigade 45 th Coy in Sin Min Secondary School We had home and hospital visitations to those who could not come to church We had outreach by the YF, as well as their Machap Baru ministry AEC had quarterly outreach activities Care Groups and Young People visit Peacehaven Home AMC coordinated the Cyclone Nargis Relief fund which raised over $72k. $69k has been disbursed to the victims in Myanmar. Donation of clothings. Many members involved in missions activities 20

21 Are we Content? Or Complacent? Do we rejoice in suffering?

22 Jeremiah was called of God to be a prophet to Judah. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:4-5) God’s promise to Jeremiah: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.” declares the Lord. (Jer 1:8) Yet, Jeremiah could not take the suffering, “Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me as a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! … everyone curses me.” (Jer 15:10) 22 Jeremiah by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

23 The LORD assured Jeremiah again, ”Surely I will set you free for purposes of good; Surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you.” (Jer 15:11) Jeremiah is encouraged and re-commits himself: “You who know O LORD, remember me, take notice of me,… Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by your name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jer 15:15-16) The promise fulfilled: “But now, behold I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands.”(Jer 40:4) 23 The Cry of the Prophet Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusalem by Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1870)

24 God stirs the nest to make us leave our comfort zone (nest) God flutters His wings over us – see how big He is Believe God and step out in faith Learn to soar with the Holy Spirit beneath our wings, live above the storms. Recognise our exalted position – Christ completes us. 24 Rejoice in Suffering :

25 “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17) God is a Creative God. We are made in His image and therefore can be and are expected to be creative too. God wants our best, not the rest. “If they hear and serve Him, they will end their days with prosperity and their years with pleasure”. (Job 36:11) 25

26 Sufficiency in Christ Appreciating what we have Fulfillment in what we are doing A Choice we make 26


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