Sunday, December 29, 2013

Radical Grace - Joseph Prince

 http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/40943-is-joseph-prince-s-radical-grace-teaching-biblical

Joseph Prince is the Senior Pastor of New Creation Church, Singapore.  He recently preached in Joel Osteen's church in the US.

Since my last post was about hyper-grace it is beneficial for interested readers to read about Jospeh Prince written by Joseph Mattera at Charisma Magazine.  He is a leader in radical grace or hyper grace.

The article is well written and it is beneficial for readers to read in the above link.

The writer recommended Prince's books to new Christians, but I tend to disagree with his recommendation.  A new believer needs a balance view and understanding of all the theological facts contain in the Bible, and not lope sided facts.  It is better to learn the whole truth from the beginning rather than discover them too late.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Danger of Hyper-Grace

 http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/40060-eight-signs-of-hyper-grace-churches
What is hyper-grace?

"The term hyper-grace has been used to describe a new wave of teaching that emphasizes the grace of God to the exclusion of other vital teachings such as repentance and confession of sin."

There is a rising trend of such teaching in the US and elsewhere recently.  This is dangerous because many Christians have been misled by such preachers.  The over emphasis of grace to the extent of the other Biblical teachings like sin, hell and judgement by God.  These preachers mixed the truths of the Bible with principles that the audience wanted to hear.  Many are misled, they committed sins and live in sins thinking that the grace of God covers all sins past, present and the future.  This is wrong teaching and is not Biblical.  

In Asia we are not spared, there are churches teaching such grace, and there is a large church in Singapore which is considered a pioneer in such teaching.

8 Signs of Hyper-grace church by Jospeh Mattera:

1. Preacher never speak of sin.
2. Preacher takes stand of cultural righteousness.
3. Ignor Old Testament.
4. People who live immoral lives are allowed to preach.
5. Pastor speaks against institutional church.
6. Pastor preached agaisnt tithing.
7. Pastor preach motivational messages.
8. Leading members of church live sinful lives.

Usually these churches teach properity gospel and the preachers are more like motivation speakers than preachers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas 2013


http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/23/9-things-you-should-know-about-christmas/

Time flies, it seems just a while ago we celebrated Christmas, and now Christmas 2013 is just around the corner! 

"Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone!".

I found the article "9 Things you should know about Christmas" interesting.  You can read it at the above link.

God bless.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Parade 2013 - The Gift of love



On Saturday 14th Dec 2013 Kuching city witnessed the annual Christmas Parade organized by the Methodist Church.  It was an interdenominations event as various denominations like Catholics, Anglican, Baptists, Seven Day Adverntist, SIB and others joined in to celebrate the birth of Jesus with the city folks of Kuching.  Despite the rain a few thousands Christians from all walks of life joined in the celebration.

As the theme of this celebration was "The Gift of love", members of churches prepared small gifts which were given to the public along the way.  Our church gave away ballons bearing Scripture messages.

Praise God that as we moved along the way, the rain was just drizzling although we had to use our umbrellas.

Note: Pictures credit to Benjamin Ho.

Friday, December 6, 2013

John Piper's Peom: The Calvinist

Be blessed by this peom cum short film


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Isreal, The Church and End Times

The Full Gospel Businesmen Fellowship (FGB) organized a seminar entilted "Isreal, The Church and End Times" on 27th Nov 2013 at Trinity Methodist Church, Kuching.  The speaker was David Silver a New Zealander based at Mt.Carmel, Israel.  Since moving his family to Isreal in 1992 he and his wife have been sharing with people around the world to support Israel because of the prophesy in the Bible.

He said that the western world is declining spiritually and Isreal needs the support of Christians from Africa and Asia where Christians are already fervently praying for Isreal.  Christians need to support Isreal because this is God's prophesy in the Bible.  The Isrealites are the chosen people of God Deuteronomy 7:6-8.  God wants to bless people through Isreal Isaiah 27:6.

The end times is also drawing near, and all of us are to pray for Isreal and that Jesus will return to Jerusalem as it was prophesied in Act 1:9-12, Zechariah 14:4-5, Matthew 24:44.  Since the creation of the nation of Isreal in 1948 many nations are opposing Isreal because they
claimed that Isreal has occupied Palestinian land.  However, the Bible said this is the Promised Land that God has given to Isreal.  It belongs to God not anyone else.  Sadly David said many Christians denominations are also supporting these nations to oppose Isreal.  But as Christians we are tied in with Isreal since this was prophesied in the Bible.  You can say Christians shared the same heritage as the Jews.

David urged all Christians especailly those from Asia to pray fervently for Isreal untill Jesus return to Jerusalem. If there is no Jerusalem, the Son of God will not be released from heaven.  Prayers are powerful and we all know that.

Next David played a short video of a orthodox Jew singing "Cry No More".  It is about the hurts people inflicted on the Jews and they cried to God "No More", they realized the importance of the Jewish nation.  Although the orthodox Jews do not believe in the Resurrection, the video depicted a dead child coming back to life again.  The powerful prayers were shown as prayers written of papers inserted in the Western Walls flying out destroying missiles and finally forming the Temple of God.  Watch this video here:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tweeting the Bible in Three and Half Years

 http://global.christianpost.com/news/man-finishes-tweeting-entire-bible-after-three-years-work-108655/
This is interesting a British worship director at Kings Church Durham tweeted the entire Bible in three and half years.  He has 30,000 followers.  That's interesting and what is more interesting is that he gets queries from non believers about the Bible.  His effort is certainly helping to share the Gospel with the lost.  Praise God for his effort!

Note: you can read the story at the link above.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Association of Churches Sarawak Official Press Statement on "Allah" Issue

This press statement was presented by Archibishop Datul Bolly Lapok the Chairman
of Association of Churches Sarawak at a public forum on 13th Nov 2013 in Kuching.

The Bumiputera Church will continue to use the word “Allah” as it is the fundamental to all aspects of our profession and practice of our Christian faith.
As we have heard from the public forum today, and has been stated numerous times to the media by church leaders from both East and Peninsula Malaysia, the word “Allah” has been used or spoken by the native communities of Sarawak and Sabah for generations. “Allah” has been used long before the formation of Malaysia and is part of our native language.  It is used in all aspects of Christian faith and practice by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian and other native speaking including in services, prayers praise, liturgy, worship and religious education.  As such, it is reasonable to expect that the word also be use in our Christian publications and multi-media resources.
It thus makes no sense that only Christians in Sarawak and Sabah may use “Allah”.  Christians from Sarawak and Sabah move across the country from East to West to live and work and carry with them their Alkitab and other Christian materials in the Bahasa Malaysia language.  Even non-native from West Malaysia own and read the Alkitab as Bahasa Malaysia is our national language.
It also makes no sense for the Court of Appeal’s recent judgement to be interpreted as being applicable only to The Herald.  While The Herald may have been the case brought before the court, it is our view that the judges have overstepped their boundaries in determining that using the word “Allah” was not “intergral to the Christian” faith.  In deciding thus, the judges have arrogated to themselves a right that does not belong to any human court of law-the right to determine religion.  It is the fundamental right of every religion to determine its expression and practice of its own faith.
As such, the “Allah” controversy is about unreasonable government policies and laws that infringe on the right of non-muslim Malaysians to practice their religion of choice.  In the face of such unreasonableness we cannot and should not remain silent.
The right of native Bumiputras to profess and practice their faith in their own language is safeguarded by the Federal Constitution.  When Sarawak and Sabah agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963, they did so as sovereign states and with conditions attached; these being known as the Sarawak 18-point and Sabah-20-point Agreements a kind of covenant to which Malaya was a party.
It was not coincidence, it was intentional that the first point in both these agreements concerns the freedom  of religion, Sarawak and Sabah consented to form the greater Malaysian nation with Islam as the religion of the Federation on the express condition that there will be complete freedom of religion without hindrance placed on other religions.  According to these agreements, Sarawak and Sabah were not to have any official religion.
We thus view with grave concern the Court of Appeal judgement on The Herald which has re-interpreted Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to mean that non-Muslim religions may only be practiced in peace and harmony subject to Islam.  We do not believe this was ever the original meaning of Article 3, which simply states that other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
We need more that just a display of and ad hoc benevolence by the Malaysian Government.  We need  a tangible commitment from the authorities to respect and uphold the freedom of religion guaranteed.  By the Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of the nation.
We thus ask the Government to recognise and affirm:
  1. that the word “Allah” is an integral part of, and inherent to the practice of the Christian faith by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking and other native speaking churches in Sarawak and Sabah and Christians in and from these two States;
  2. that the Churches expect that guarantee of religious freedom enshrined in the Federal Constitution when Sarawak and Sabah joined Malaya to form the Malaysian nation will be full respected and honoured; and
  3. that the 10-point Agreement by the Federal Cabinet in April 2011 on the printing, importation and distribution on the Alkitab in which the word “Allah” is an intergral part of the Bahasa Malaysia Holy Scriptures and also on the practice of the Christian faith in Bahasa Malaysia-speaking churches based on the Alkitab, will be fully honoured.
Two thirds of Christians in Malaysia are the 1.6 million Bumiputra Christians of Sarawak and Sabah who use the Bahasa  Malaysia language of worship in addition to their native languages.  The rights of these Bumiputra Christians must be respected and upheld.
Any attempt to forbid the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims would be most regrettable and wholly unacceptable as it is a flagrant disregard and betrayal of the Malaysia Agreements which guarantees the inalienable rights of non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah to complete religious freedom.
With greatest respect, we asked that these rights be given its rightful place and that religious bigotry, racism and extremism should not be allowed to show its ugly head.  Mutual respect and acceptance of each other community of faith should be the order of the day in a plural society like Malaysia.
We are most heartered by YAB Pehin Sri Chief Minister of Sarawak public stand that Allah is non-issue in Sarawak.  We are also most encouraged to know that many members of Council Negeri  had expressed their dismay and deep disappointment over how the Allah issue was handled.
Malaysia was formed and built upon trust and mutual respect of all that made the rich diversity of Malaysia.  Let us build upon that foundation and defend it from any who would want to rob it away from us.
God bless Malaysia!

Signed,
Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok
Chairman, Association of Churches in Sarawak
Dated on:  Wednesday 13th November 2013  Kuching, Sarawak

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Standing Together For Religious Freedoom

 http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=186871:swak-church-snubs-najibs-hazy-assurance-hints-of-taibs-support-demands-clear-affirmation&Itemid=2#axzz2kWb8nvSt


A public forum was organized by Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) at ACS building in Kuching.  The forum came about because of the current controvesy in the use of the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God which the Muslim claimed they have the exclusive right.  The Court had recently passed judgement prohibiting the Catholic Herald to use the word "Allah" refering to the Christian God in their publication.  However, the Christians in this country do not think so as religious freedom is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Three distingushed speakers spoke on the Following:

1. Constitution and religious freedom by lawyer Lee Heng Seng
2. Theological and historical perspective on the use of Allah by Dr. Ng Kam Weng
3. The role of churches in nation building by Prof Jayum Jawan

The show of support from all Christians denomination was very encouraging as more than 1,000 Christians from various denominations went to listen to the speakers.  Leaders from Hindu and Buddist oragnizations were there too.

These talks were very helpful because they explained the rights of all people under the Federal Constitiution.  Most importantly they explained why Christians should take their stand in this issue.  When Sabah and Sarawak joint Malaya to form Malaysia, the freedom of religion was enshrined in the Constitution especially Article 3 but the Court chose to re-interpret as if all other religions are subsevient to Islam.  This was not the case at the time the Constitution was drawn up.

One of the speakers said it rightly that all Christians will continue to use Allah in our worship and practise of our faith untill the second coming to Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!  Praise God!

Note: you can read the full statement of Archibishop Datuk Bolly Lapok in the above link.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Piper on Pastors' Pay

 http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/11/07/piper-on-pastors-pay/
There are many pastors and evangelist out there who seem to live very luxuriously when so many people they ministered too are struggling.  Some how this just do not seem right.  How can pastors own luxury homes and live like super stars?  They do not resemble Christ at all.  These pastors are not only found in American but all over the world.  Even in Singapore we had read of pastors living in luxurious condominium and homes.

Pastor John Piper's article about how a pastor should handle his pay and honorarium is Biblical and closest to how to be Christ like in handling one's income.  Read it on the above link.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

God's Plan for Human Sexuality


Our church has the privilege to host Re. Andrew Carter pastor of Therfield Chapel, U.K.  he is also a lecturer in Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Christian Heritage Cambridge.  Rev Carter is no stranger to us as he has accompanied his father John Carter to our church about three years ago.  His father John Carter has been minsitering to churches in Malaysia for the past 30 years, in view of his age (70s) he could not come this time.

Rev Carter is speaking on a very important and pressing issue of human sexuality especially the kind that is not according to Scriptures.  He said in the West everything is seen from a secular view point, like sexual orientations.  The West claimed that human has the right to chose their own sexual orientation and no one is to judge these people.  He said the Western reality is like plastercine, they can creat their own reality.  Therefore this secular views and pratises are at odd with Christianity.  How are we as Christians are to response to these threats? How are we to influence the public to subscribed to the truths as prescribed in the Bible? Can people of the same gender get married?  What does the Bible says about marriage?  There are many more questions regarding sexuality will be answered by Rev Carter in his four sessions talk from 28th Oct to 31st Oct 2013 at FBC, Jalan Tapang, Kuching.

Those who are interested to learn more, you are welcome to attend his sessions tonight 30th Oct and the last session 31st Oct 2013.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kelvin Soh Evangelistic Outreach at FBC, Kuching

On 27th Oct 2013, our church hosted the Kelvin Soh Evangelistic Outreach.  Kelvin and his wife Suzanne are from Singapore.  This was jointly organized with Joy Women Fellowship in Kuching.  Prior to coming to our church, I understand Kelvin had a successful dinner outreach organized by EBC, Kuching where about 500 people attended.

Kelvin Soh and his wife Suzanne had a powerful testimony.  Both came from different world, Kelvin a former drug addict and prisoner where as Suzanne formerly an air stewardess. By God's grace they became husband and wife.  Kelvin went in and out of prison for about 24 years, so a large part of his life was spent in prison.

He testified that one day after he was canned four strokes, he could not sit because of the pain at his back, he asked for a comic to read.  Instead, the prison guard gave him a Mandarin Bible, and there was a book mark on Hebrew 12:5 and he read "My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,...After reading this verse he realised God is calling him to return home.  After coming to the Lord he started writing Gospel songs in Hokkien and Mandarin.  He had no prior knowledge of music, and even now he could not read music.  His talent is a gift of God.

His wife's testimony was amazing too.  She had came to the Lord earlier and she was trying to evangelise to her parents although a habitual gambler, but her parents said if you get married than they will accept the Lord.  So Suzanne told her friend and sister, they prayed about her marriage.  One evening she attended Kelvin Soh's singing outreach, and she tried to hand him a CD to encourage him as he was just starting out.  However, she felt and could see that Kelvin was interested in her, she shared that there was "electricity" in his look.  She spoke to the Lord and said this could not be the man she will marry because both came from very different back ground.  However, this meeting was confirmed by her youner sister who have been praying for her.  To cut the story short, both became husband and wife.  Now they travel together to evangelise in many countries.  Both of them shared that it was indeed the grace of God that they can be together serving Him.  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!.

At the end of the meeting Kelvin made an altar call, and 14 people accepted the Lord!  Praise God and thank our God!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Joanne Ng Evangelistic Outreach

 http://www.tabernaclemusic.net/index.cfm?menuid=279&parentid=17
On 13th Oct 2013 our church had the previlege to host Gospel singer/song writer for an evangelistic outreach to the people in Kuching.  It was organized by our Mandarin church for the purpose of evangelising to the losts.

The testimony of Sis Joanne was very powerful as she came from a Chinese family back ground that was familiar to many of us.  Her mother was a temple medium and she was brought up staying at the temple.  Her mother would go into trance in worship to her gods, many times multilating herself in the act of seeking favours on behalf of devotees.  Joanne often cried because she did not like what her mother was doing.  She felt that her mother had a hard life serving her gods.  While she was about 11 her friends introduced her to Jesus.  She learnt from her friends and eventually at 13 years old she accepted the Lord!  After that she felt much peace and she could sleep well.  Her mother despiced her for accepting a "foreign God".  That was how many Chinese non believers understood about God. Through Joanne's prayers and worship her mother slowly changed and accepted her as a Christian. One day she took her mother to church, and her mother felt peace and wanted to become a Christian.  When the pastor gave an altar call, she went forward and accepted Jesus as her Savior.  However, after she got home she still worship her gods.  Joanne rebuked her for doing so, but her mother said she was afraid that her gods will come after her that was why she worshipped them.  Eventually, with prayers and help of Joanne's pastor all idols were removed from her house.  She accepted Jesus as her personal Savior and felt much peace.  Her dad only came to the Lord in his old age of about 73 years old.  At that time he was suffering from cancer and had to take morphine prescribed by the doctor.  Before he came to the Lord, God showed him the beauty of heaven, with many beautiful flowers, nice buildings, and pleasant environment. He yold Joanne he was ready to be a Christian and requested for a priest to baptise him.  He wanted a priest and not a pastor, and that was arranged.  He was baptised accordingly.  That night he had the most restful sleep, and he slept until 10 am the next day which he never did before! Praise God!

We thank God for such an inspiring testimony.  Sis Joanne made her session interesting because as she shared and she interceded with her Gospel songs in Hokkien and Mandarin.  She wrote all her Hokkien songs.  The amazing fact is that she could not read or write Mandarin yet she could write Mandarin Gospel songs. This is also a testimony of a great God we worship!

At the end of the meeting, Sis Joanne made an altar call as well as praying for those in need.  Many people came forward and the most encouarging thing was that five people accepted the Lord that evening.  Praise and thank God!  Hallelujah!  All glory to God!

To read more about Joanne go to the link above.




Friday, October 11, 2013

Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

Pastor Timothy Keller recently launched his new book, "Walking with God through pain and suffering" and here is a short video of his comments on these subjects.

What he says is true we cannot escape suffering and pain in this life but we can be prepared.  As Christians we can be better prepared as we have the teaching from the Bible to help us.



Here is another interesting video about God, pain and suffering.  Many people argued that if there is a God evil should not exist.  Then again.. watch this video for the answer.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Teaching of Giancarlo and Catherine Elia

This morning our Church had the privilege to host Giancarlo and Catherine Elia from the United Kingdom.  They had preached in our Church before.  Giancarlo is a former lawyer who praticeed law fro about 27 years before leaving his profession to minister to varous churches worldwide.  Catherine worked in different industries in North America, Europe and China.

The broad messages of both are God's love, God's presence and evangelism.  Catherine shared that people our there are crying for God and many do not know Him.  We as Christians, having God in us are to reach out to them in love.  Many other religions recated with anger against those who do not believe what they do, but for us we reach out in love.  She shared how she approached people in public places and how she prayed for them. Many accept her offers.

Giancarlo shared Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord God is with you, and He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing”. God is with us and in us.  We are to reach out in love for the lost.  We have power because of the Holy Spirit that is in us.  In John 16:7 Jesus said He had to leave otherwise the Counselor cannot come.  Once He leaves for the Father, the Holy Spirit came to indwell in us.  

The Gospel may be foolish to the world, but to us it is power.  We are to share the Good News with others.  Many out there are lost and they do not know what to do.  In what ever professions we are in, reach out to others in love.  It is God's command for us to share the Good News with others.

After both of their sharing, there was a time of prayers and ministering to the congregation.  Many went to the front of the sanctuary to be prayed for by Giancarlo and Catherine.  Many of them were "slained" by the Holy Spirit.  It had been a wonderful work of the Holy Spirit and many were ministered in our congregation.

Praise God and thank Him for Giancarlo and Catherine Elia.

 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES)

On Saturday 21st Sept 2013, FES Sarawak celebrated their 10th anniversary at FBC, Kuching.  FES started in the Peninsula in 1962 but it came to Sarawak only in 2002.  The General Secretary shared that earlier on it was not condusive to come but by 2002 many colleges and unversity had mushroomed in Sarawak, and working with Scripture Union, FES came to Sarawak.

Today there are about 750 higher learning institutions in Malaysia.  FES are in 80 of them nationwide.  The challenge is manpower to reach these universities.  FES is in need of Christians to serve in reaching out to the students.  From their experience they found this Christian foundation while students are in colleges most effective.  Many students who came through FES in varsities remain committed Christians through out their lives.

Sarawak has only 3 full time workers and they could only reach 20 institutions.  There are alot more ground to cover.  Our church elders Dr.Tiong and Dr. Chung are the Sarawak committe members, and they are in the forefront of students work here.

The 10th anniversary was well attended by all the top committee members from Peninsula and locally.  There were about 400 people attending and our churh sanctiary was full.  The evening programs included worship singing and some skips from the stidents from Miri, Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching.

Our church helped by providing the venue as well as the manpower to serve foods to the students and visitors.

All in all a very succesful evening.  Praise the Lord!



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Visit To Hell

 http://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/trip-hell-crusade-philip-mantofa/
There have been many testimonies of hell and the Bible also talks about it and it is really real.  People who are atheists have also experience going to hell.  The testimony of Pastor Philip Mantofa which he shared with FGA, Kuala Lumpur recently is very powerful and at the same time very scary.  You can read the details at the link above.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Julius Suubi at Blessed Church


http://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/prayer-school-ps-julius-suubi/
Pastor Julius Suubi is from Kenya although he is an Ugandan.  His church is called Highway of Holiness International Ministry based in Kenya.  This is not the first time he is in Kuching, he came here last year.  His last visit made an impact in Kuching especially in his prayer ministry.  His main teaching is about prayers and how all Christians can connect with God with prayers.  This time round, he emphasized on corporate prayers for our country.  This year is significant for Malaysia because it is the year of Jubilee.

Pastor G T Lim of Blessed Church led worship which ushered people to experience the presence of God during the service.  Pastor Lim is an experienced worship leader/recording artist and performer so the people really got into the worship "mode" during the service.

Pastor Julius taught about prayers and he refered to verses in the Bible to support his teaching. (Read more details in the link above written by professional journalist ).

After his sharing and teaching he led the congregation into praying in tongues. This must have lasted more than half and hour.  During this prayer I could feel in presence of the Lord.  The atmosphere was really charged with fervent prayers by those presence.

It was a wonderful and blessed prayer service.  Prayers in corporate setting is also important to the church beside personal prayers.  According to Pastor Julius these prayers have tremendous power.

Thank Pastor Julius Suubi for coming here to help us. Thank Pastor G T Lim for allowing this service to be held in his church.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pilgrimage to Holyland 8 - Prayers

Prayer is very important to us Christians because it is like blood in our bodies.  How can we survive if we do not have blood in us?  Therefore, one of the aims of our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was pray and worship.  Infact, during our visit to the Holy land everyday we prayed.  In the morning before we start our journey, we prayed in the bus.  Everyday at the end of the day we shared a devotion in the hotel we stayed.  Each pilgrim was assigned a day to lead the devotion and pray.  During this time, we also shared our experiences and what God had taught us during our visits for that day.

Answered Prayers

I remebered clearly the answer to one of our brothers who was baptiz
ed in the river Jordan.  He was scared of cold weather.  Therefore everyday he prayed that when he gets baptize in river Jordan, the weather will be warm. He was supposed to be baptized on a cold day, but thanks to God it was postponed by the tour guide.  On the day he was baptized, it was the hottest day we experienced while in Israel!  In fact it was unbearably hot around 40 degrees centigrade!  Hallelujah!  God answered his prayers!

Every holy places we went people were praying and some prayed very fervently.  I took a picture of a man wearing a usual cap instead of the skull cap praying very fervently devoting all his prayers to God on the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (See this picture on this page).  Many of us were praying with all our hearts during our visits to various sites.

God commanded us to pray unceasingly, 1 Thessolonians 5:17.  Of course there are many verses about prayers.  The challenge to us is to pray unceasingly everyday.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Call To Prayer on the Allah Issue

 http://www.necf.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?&menuid=43&action=view&retrieveid=1517
Tommorow 22nd Aug 2013 is an important date for all Christians in Malaysia.  It is very important to East Malaysians Christians because the majority of Christians in the two states of Sarawak and Sabah use Bahasa Malaysia
( Malay language ) in their Bibles and also their worship.

The Malaysian government is appealing against the court decision earlier to allow the Catholic Herald to use the word "Allah" to mean "God" in their publications.  The government maintained that only the Muslims have exclusive rights to use "Allah" to mean God and no other religion in Malaysia has the right to use this word to refer to their "Gods".  Despite historical and theological evidence against the logic of Malayisan Muslims, they insisted that they have the exclusive rights to the word "Allah".

All Christians in Malaysia do not agree that the word "Allah" is eclusive to the Muslims because this word predate Islam, and have been in used in the Malay Peninsula before the creation of Malaysia.  It has not been an issue for decades untill recently.  Banning the use of this word will have a great impact to East Malaysian Christians because more than 80% of the Christians use Bahasa Malaysia (Malay language) Bible and also worship in this language. This Bible contains the word "Allah" to mean "God".

On 22nd Aug 2013, between 9 to 12 noon the court of Appeal will be deciding on this case, and all Christians are urged to pray and fast during this period when the court will be in session.  We pray for God to grant us favours, and to enable Malaysian Christians to worship freely and to use the word "Allah" in our Bahasa Malaysia Bible without any hindrance from the authority.  We pray against parties trying to take away the rights of Malaysian Christians rightfully granted in the Federal Constitution.

Man may has his ways but it is God ways that prevail.  Hallelujah!

Proverb 19:21

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand" (ESV)


Monday, August 12, 2013

FBC Church Camp 2013

On 9th Aug to 10th Aug our church had our annual church camp at Damai Puri, a seaside resort about 35 KM from Kuching.  On the morning of 9th Aug 2013, all partcipants gathered at our chruch building to start the event.  From our church many of us participated in a treasure hunt going from Kuching to Damai beach where the hotel is located.  On the way we had to stop in various spots to locate what we were suppose to locate as instructed in the rules of the treasure hunt.  Thank God that the weather was fine and there was no rain. On the way there we passed by Pasir Panjang beach resort which is very beautiful.  Many of our members have not been there before, so that was an adventure for us.  Most participants reached the hotel around 1 pm.

By 1.30 pm our first seminar started.  This year we had Bro. Bernard Chan from Sinapore.  He is into family mentoring and discipleship training.  Our camp main theme was "Discipleship" so his talks were appropriate. The first session lasted until 4.00pm.  At 4.30pm four members of our church were baptised in the hotel pool.  Bro.Neslon, his wife Sis. Hwei Choo, Bro. Andy, and Sis. Nancy were baptised in the pool witnessed by members of our church. Bro. Nelson and Sis Hwei Choo attended Senior Alpha last year.  Thank God for their salvation!

We had our dinner just outside the resort.  There is a commercial building just outside the hotel where we had our dinner.  This place is also near to the beach, and its surrounding was very pleasant.

The the evening we had another session starting from 7.30pm to 10pm.  By then many were exhausted, but some fellowshiped till the early morning.

The following day our last session started at 10am and ended at 12 noon. 

the message from Bro Bernard was encouraging especially the subject of community in a church and how we can foster closer relationships with one another in our church.  Praise God for a fruitful church champ!  Hallelujah!  Praise God!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pilgrimage to the Holyland 7 - Garden Tomb

During our pilgrimage to the Holy Land, our group visited two Biblical sites which were supposely the location of Jesus' burial after His Crucifixtion.  Many of us were puzzled because on that day we visited the Holy Sepuchre in the morning and in the afternoon we visited the Garden Tomb.  Later when we listened to the tourist guide at the Garden Tomb explaining than we understood the stories to these two sites.

Traditionally the Protestants identify with the Garden Tomb as the place where Jesus was crucified because this place resembled the description in the Bible. Hebrew 13:12 says, "12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood".  This location has always been outside the City Gate.  Also near to the tomb is an outcrop of a hill that resembles a skull.

On the other hand, many believed that the Holy Sepulchre is the real location of Jesus' Crucifixtion and burial as it was also outside the City Gate during the time of Jesus.  This location has been taken as the real site since the time of Constantine.

Nevertheless, like the tour guide explained whichever is the real site is not important, the important aspect is that the crucified Christ resurrected for the dead after dying for three days. It is also left to the pilgrims to decide which is the right one.  

At the Garden Tomb it was not crowded and believers can sit and pray to our Lord Jesus, and spend quite time with Him.

A video of our group at the Garden Tomb.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Launching NECF 40-Day Fast and Pray

 http://www.necf.org.my/
On 15th July 2013, NECF launched the 40-day fast and pray for Kuching at FBC, Kuching.  This year's theme is "Thy Kingdom Come".  We are going to fast and pray for this nation, praying God will intercede to put wrongs into rights.

Many people may have felt dispointed with the recently concluded general election but a speaker reminded the audience that indeed God has answered our prayers.  His answers may not be like what we wanted but He did delivered us from violence and blessed our country with peace after the elections.  Beside, many more citizens are much aware of their rights as citizens and as a people we can all make changes for good.  One other important result was that Chrsitians from all denominations united in One body to pray for our country.  This outcome was unprecedented.

The fast and pray will start from 7th August 2013 to 15th September 2013.

A booklet for this year 40-day fast and pray containing the topics to be prayed is available from NECF.  Many local churches have also ordered their copies.  In case you need it please refer to NECF website in the above link.

Let us continue to fast and pray for this nation of ours.



Friday, July 12, 2013

Pilgrimage to Holy Land 6 - Baptism of Bro. Austin Neo, FBC

Our Bro. Austin Neo was baptized in river Jordan, Israel during our pilgrimage to Israel.  It was a very significant event for him and his wife as they have been waiting for this very moment for a while. As a church we are happy for him and we praise God for his baptism in river Jordan, Israel.

A few weeks ago Bro. Austin shared in church his testimony and prayers about his baptism.  Bro.Austin shared that he was afraid of the cold, so since arriving in Israel on 17 th April 2013 he had been praying for warm weather.  When we were in Israel, the day temperature range from 17 degree centigrade to about 19 degrees centigrade.  To many it may not be cold but to Austin it was cold beside he has to be submerged in the river during baptism.  Each morning when he awake he prayed for warm weather and he will look out of the hotel window to check on the weather outside.  He was supposed to be scheduled for baptism as soon as we reached Israel, but the tour guide said he has to postpone it as he had other arrangements.  Austin was relieved when he heard that because at that time the weather was cold.  He continued to pray for warm weather everyday.  Finally his time to be baptized came a few days after we arrived in Israel.  As the bus approached the river Jordan we noted the hot weather.  At that time we did not know Austin's reservation about the cold weather. When we arrived by the river Jordan, the weather was hot, it was about 32 degree centigrade.  But Austin shared that although he noted the sunny weather he did not know whether it was cold in the river.  He went to the shower in the shower room, and found that the water was hot because of the heat on the water pipes.  He thought to himself, "Well, the water is warm here wonder whether it is the same in the river".  He got ready and stepped into the water and felt that the river water was not cold.  From then one he had full confidant and went through the baptism ceremony without any issue.  Praise God that He had answered Austin's prayers!  Hallelujah!  Praise God!

Here is a short video of Austin baptism.



Friday, June 28, 2013

Seminar on the Book of Hebrews

From 21st June to 23rd June 2013, our church had the privilege to host Rev.Dr.King Long She from Melbourne Theological School to teach us on the Book of Hebrews.  In fact, it was the sponsorship of one of our church brothers that we had the chance to learn from expert like Rev. She.

Rev. Dr. She graduated from Dallas Theology School with Master and Phd.  He is an expert on the Book of Hebrews.  During his studies his thesis was on this Book.  He has also written several books on subjects in the Book of Hebrews.

The seminar was intensive because of the length as well as the dept of the Book that Rev She has to cover.  He said he was only able to cover pretty much the surface but good enough for our purposes.  Indeed, it is a difficult book with many theological issues that many would like to know.

One of the many issues that most Christians would like to know is whether a Christian is saved once, and he or she is always saved.  From Rev She's opinion he took both positions, that is it all depends on the situation of the believers.  There are two schools of thoughts, one said once saved always saved and the other salvation is not guaranteed. It was scary to learn about the many warnings to Christians in this book. Perhaps it is timely at least for me to learn about these warnings as a Christian trying to follow Jesus my Savior.

On Sunday 23rd June 2013, Rev.She also preached in our church.  His sermon was "The Test of Love".  He said all Christian will be tested.  There are 7 components to this test:
1. Tester
2. Time
3. Target
4. Tasks
5. Trial
6. Turnout
7. Telesis
For detail check here: http://fbcstaf.blogspot.com/

The seminar was opened to churches in Kuching.  Thank God that the turnout was very good.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 5 - The Dead Sea

As part of the Holy Land pilgrimage we also had the chance to spend a night at a hotel by the Dead Sea.  This mystical lake is beautiful.  The lake is located at the lowest land point on earth, about 1338 ft below sea level.  We could see that the bus had to drive lower and lower near to the lake towards the hotel we were staying.  The Dead Sea is 34 miles long and 11 miles wide, so it is very large.

In terms of the Bible there were few references to the Dead Sea.  In the Bible this sea was called,  "Sea of Arabah", and "Salt Sea".  Pre-Biblical times, it was also called "Sea of Sodom" or "Sea of Lot".  The Ammonites and Moabites when advancing to attack King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicle 20 ) of Judah had to cross over from a shallow section of the Dead Sea.  King David was known to have hidden in the caves at Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea.  Ezekiel prophesied that the sea will become fresh Ezekiel 47:8-9.  Zechariah had a similar prophesy Zechariah 14:8.

The now famous Dead Sea scrolls were discovered at Qumran near to the Dead Sea.  We had the chance to visit Qumran.

To the modern visitors to the Dead Sea one of the most sort after experience was floating on the Dead Sea.  Personally, I felt that if I did not try this out, I cannot say I have been to the Dead Sea.  We were staying overnight at a hotel next to the Dead Sea, so we tried swimming in the Dead Sea.  In fact one need not swim, one can float in it!  It was an amazing experience. Thank God for this experience.




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pilgrimage to Holy Land 4 - Petra Jordan

Prior to visiting the Holy Land, I did not realize that the Holy Land also includes territories outside of Israel.  If you examine the map of the Old Testament you will realized that the Holy Land was indeed a wide territory including the present country of Jordan.  Therefore in Jordan of today there are many Biblical sites like Mt. Nebo, Petra and others.

One of these places we visited was Petra, Jordan.

Background of Petra 

Petra is the Greek word for “rock”.  In biblical times it was known as Sela or Selah or Seir.  Between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba there is a valley surrounded by rocky cliffs, with a few narrow gorges leading inside.  Access to Petra is by a narrow crevice called the Siq.  The city of Petra was built inside this valley.  This was a natural protection for Petra as it was in a valley surrounded by high cliffs, with limited access via the Siq.  Petra is located about 170 miles from modern Amman.
Petra was extensively mentioned in the Bible especially as it concerned Job, Esau and Isaac.  Jacob tricked Esau of his birthday rights ( Gen 25-27 ), angry because of the betrayal he and his family left to settle in the new land of Seir or Petra.  From Esau came his descendants the Edomites.  The Edomites lived in this land when the Israelite came out of Egypt during the Exodus about 1445 BC.  The Edomites became the enemies of the ancient Hebrew together with the Amalekites, Moabites and Ammonites.



About 400 BC the Edomites were driven out by the Arabian Nabateans.  The Nabateans made Petra their capital and controlled the important trade routes between the East and the West.  Caravans passing through these routes had to pay taxes to the Nabateans who became very wealthy enabling them to build beautiful palaces, temples, theatres and tombs hewn out of solid rock in the valley.
In later centuries trade dried up as trade routes were conducted between the Orients and Europe.  Petra was forgotten for centuries and it became a legend.  Ancient people claimed that references to Petra were figment of imagination as this city was just a legend.  They claimed the non existence of Petra was the proof of unreliability of the Bible.  They were wrong.  God is never wrong!  In 1812, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt disguised as an Arab Sheik discovered the lost city.  It was incredible that such a picturesque place existed just about 161 Kilometres south of Jerusalem! Due to unstable Middle Eastern political situations, visit to Petra was near impossible only in recent years this city is readily available to tourist visits.