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
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.