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Taking Stock Before Setting Goals – By Yen Siow

In October last year, I sat down and did a timeline of the last 14 years of our family journey.  It was a time of reflection to see how the hand of God has carried us through our seasons, and to recognise certain milestones and challenges we have faced.

We reminisced the birth of each son, the major accidents my son Emmanuel had encountered; we even talked about the loss of baby number 3 before Nate came along – how God has His plans, and how everything happens according to His good purpose. And finally, we gave thanks for each milestone and crisis moment as we know our lives are in our Creator’s hand, and only He can orchestrate the miracles and teach us new things – through our faith and trust in Him.

These milestones and crises are worth celebrating and remembering, before we make plans to move forward as a family.


Timelines are particularly useful for studying history as they convey a sense of change over time.  Wars and social movements are often shown in timelines. If we look at the events that took place in 2017 – we would see the following:

January 20 – Trump’s election to the US presidency
March 29  – The UK government invoked Article 50 of the treaty of European Union – which put it on course to leave the EU on March 29 2019.
July 21 – Yemen, Southern Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia are predicted to lose 20 million people this year to conflict driven famine
August 25 – Start of genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar
August 30 –
Hurricane Irma’s devastation and damage of around $200 billion dollars…


As we approached the end of 2017, my boys and I discussed these events that took place. The most memorable event for them was Donald Trump’s presidency. How does God use new and unconventional leaders to shape his world? What are his plans for the US and how will that impact the rest of the world? Can we trust God when the economy and policies of global powers seem unfair?

I highlighted the plight of the Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia famine, as these stirred my heart the most. We looked at internet pictures of the crisis and the people affected by the famine.  It is a difficult picture for young children to look at, kids who have never experienced hunger, let alone severe famine and war; what can we do to grow in empathy and compassion for the poor?

We also discussed the story of gratitude, and how Kevin and I were able to meet the people who had rescued my family when we were boat refugees, and what it means to truly be thankful. The outcome of that discovery has been a greater desire to pay it forward to make a difference and to always know that God can use terrible circumstances to bring out the best in us. And then we looked at what has happened more locally – and the one thing that struck us all was the family conflict between the Prime Minister and his siblings – how social media cannot be contained, and the problems that arise when bad press and family feuds overlap with the nation’s political agenda.

As we set goals for the year ahead, these discussions help set the stage as I guide the boys with leading questions so that they can form a deeper understanding of God’s hand in global and local situations.

We looked at our own lives and ask, “God, what are you doing in each of us – and in the family as a whole”?  Training children to see from God’s perspective requires an intentional effort to read His word and discern what God’s bigger story is and how we are called into His plans.


Our family goals for 2018 are still being formed, but we do know that this process of reflection is an important process for us to move forward for 2018, as only God can mark out our steps and though we plan – He is the one who will direct our paths.

 

 

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The Good Shepherd (Pt 3): Believing in miracles – by Elder Paul Seow

The Lord is my shepherd . . . 3 He restores my soul. –  Psalm 23 ESV.

 

Believing in miracles.

In the last verse of his Gospel John writes, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  John 20:31NIV. “These things,” in our verse above, refer to the works of Jesus, His life and His miracles.  Incidentally, do you believe in miracles? John 9, the chapter before the account of The Good Shepherd (chapter 10) is about miracles.  The religious Pharisees, have resisted believing that the blind man has been healed.  Here’s what the Bible says, They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents.” John 9:18 NIV.  They need to be given the evidence before they believed. So, how important is it for us to believe in miracles? It is common sense that we accept miracles when we encounter them firsthand, because then, we have no chance to deny them.  In the same way, the Pharisees believe in the miracle concerning the blind man receiving his sight, because that is what the facts say. The blind man of course also believes in the miracle because the miracle has happened to him.  He is not just a witness. He is the beneficiary of the miracle, the subject and object so to speak.

 

The Shepherd – looking for His sheep.

Now if our focus was on the miracle only, we might miss the point.  We would allow ourselves to be distracted from the main issue!  When Jesus heard that the Pharisees had thrown the blind man out, he went out and looked for the blind man.  Jesus found him.  Jesus did not ask him about the miracle, instead Jesus asked,  “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” John 9:35 NIV. Why? Is there a connection between Jesus being the Son of Man and that miracle? Do, you remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the goose that laid the golden eggs. Jack knew better. Jack wanted the goose that laid the golden eggs rather than the golden eggs themselves. The logic is simple, if you have the goose you would have the golden eggs. 

In the same way, we could be distracted by the miracles (the golden eggs as it were) and forget that it was Jesus that caused miracles to happen. To the question, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” this was the answer: 36 “Who is he, sir?” the (blind) man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. John 9:36-38 NIV.  Receiving his sight meant so much to that blind man. Yes, the blind man worshiped him, worshipped Jesus.  His focus was on Jesus, his healer not on his newly found sight, the miracle.

Now, let’s slow down a little to gather our thoughts together. John 9 is about miracles. John 10 is about Jesus – the Good Shepherd. That is the connection between John 9 and John 10. John clearly and rightly shifts our focus from the miracles Jesus did (in John 9) to where our focus should really be, on the Shepherd, on Jesus (John 10). 

 

John the Baptist – looking for the Shepherd.

This was what Jesus said of John: “Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him.”Matt 11:11 MSG.

Now, John the Baptist was very interested in the miracles of Jesus.  Was it because John himself had never performed any miracles? – John 10:41.  Not really, you see, when John was in prison he heard about the miracles of Jesus.  He asked his followers to find out from Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” – Matt 11:3, Living Bible.  You see, John saw the connection between miracles as evidence of Jesus being the Messiah. 

4 Jesus replied, “go back and report to John what you hear and see 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”Matt 11:4-6 NIV.

This was what the prophet Isaiah had prophesied, Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. – Isaiah 35:5.  In fact the entire prophecy of Isaiah was about the miracle of healing and restoration; as stated in the headline of that chapter “Joy of the Redeemed.” – NIV.  The miracles were possible because of Jesus the Messiah. We need to establish our priorities on firm ground. Miracles are important because they point us to Jesus. The focus has to be on Jesus Christ the Son of God.

 

Miracles – the Christ connection.

Here’s an example we can learn from.  Remember the woman caught in adultery who was brought before Jesus?  This was the accusation, “Teacher (Jesus), this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. John 8:4-6 NIV. We write with a pen, a pencil or a Chinese brush perhaps, but Jesus wrote with his finger.  That was what his Father in heaven had done. Here was what Moses recorded “18 And he (God) gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets . . . written with the finger of God. – Ex. 31:18 ESV.  Yes, God also wrote with his finger the seventh Commandment, 14 You shall not commit adultery.” – Exodus 20:14.  But the Ten Commandments are not a part of the Laws of Moses.  And there was no mention of stoning to death for adultery anywhere in the Bible much less in the Ten Commandments.  However there was mention of punishment of death for adultery in the Laws of Moses: ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death’Lev 20:10 NIV. But there is no mention of the method, death by stoning.  So the Jews who claimed that the woman caught in adultery has to be stoned according to the Laws of Moses, were completely wrong. They were blind-sided by their own prejudice.    

Without going to town to argue whether the Ten Commandments were a part of the Law of Moses, let me just point out that the Bible had clearly made the distinction between the Ten Commandments and the Laws of Moses.  Here was what Moses himself commanded the Levites carrying the ark of God to do, “Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.” Deut 31:26 ESV. The Laws of Moses had to be separated from the Ten Commandments – the covenant of the Lord our God!  The Ten Commandments were placed inside the ark of God and the Laws of Moses outside, by the side of the ark. Now, it was Moses who wrote The Lows of Moses as God had given him (Deut 31:24).  But God with His finger wrote the Ten Commandments. There was a huge difference!

Too often we are like the Jews who asked Jesus to pass judgment on the woman caught in adultery.  We tend to be self-righteous and judgmental. How did Jesus respond?

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”- John 8 NIV.

What a great example! 

 

Our trustworthy and dependable Shepherd.

If you were brought up with the King James Bible then you will be familiar with this verse from Hebrews.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:2 KJV.

Now to a more contemporary translation of that same verse: 

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. – Heb 12:2 The Message Bible.

 

So, don’t lose sight of that exhilarating finish in and with God. Don’t be distracted by miracles.

 Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever.Psalm 23:6 NIV.

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Short-Term Missions Report: Surabaya, 19-23 Oct, 2017

In October, a team of four from FGA Singapore went to Surabaya to visit our church plant. In the five days that we were there, we had the opportuity to teach some of our “Being Rooted” syllabus, train some new leaders who can assist Ps Dodi with his ministry to university students and pray for and minister to the congregation.

The previous trip to Surabaya, we had contact with about 14 young people but this time, we met with and spoke to about 25-30 students each day.
After meeting include a delicious dinner home-cooked by Ps Dodi’s wife, Leni. The students also appreciated having a healthy homecooked meal, and we had a good time of fellowship before each session.

Douglas Choo had the opportunity to train 10 potential leaders on how to study the word and the cost of discipleship”. He shared Luke 9:57-62 ad talked about counting the cost and what total devotion and commitment to Christ looked like. At the end of the session, we had a pledge of commitment to serve Christ.

He also preached on Sunday. The total attendance was 35 people. After the service we had lunch together. In the afternoon we broke the group into males and females. Nalinee and Pat ministered to the ladies and SK Charles and Douglas ministered to the males.

Next year, we hope to be able to bring some of our other programmes like Know Your Shape, the GABS process and how to run life groups. If you want to be a part of the next trip in January, contact Douglas Choo at the church office.

The Good Shepherd (Pt 2): The Fisherman-Shepherd – by Paul Seow

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” –  John 21:17 NIV.

 

The Shepherd:
Sometimes when we do our quiet time in the mornings or listen to a sermon on a Sunday church service, we think, “Oh, I’ve read that before,” or “I’ve heard that sermon before.” When that happens pause a moment. Don’t dismiss it. Get fed not fed-up. You see, the more we read the Bible, the more we discover, the more we learn and the more we’re blessed. Bertrand Russell sums it up this way, “All knowledge is more or less uncertain and more or less vague.” So be patient, read through that familiar Bible passage; sit through that sermon you thought you knew. You’ll be surprised. There are new revelations to be gathered, a new idea to the Bible passage we’ve just read or new lessons to be learnt from that sermon we thought we’ve heard before.

To be a Christian is to be a sheep with God as our Shepherd. In my last exhortation we talked about the shepherd – “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd . . .” (Isaiah 40:11 KJV) and we reminded ourselves of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd . . . He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:” Let me share with you what else I have learnt from reading these great passages this time.

Isaiah’s picture of the shepherd is of one who shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. – Isaiah 40:11 KJV. It is an unusual picture of a leader because the shepherd does not issue judgment like a judge, or manage a ministry like a government minister, or win great victories like a four star general. Like a shepherd is more about caring for others, to be loved, and for the sheep; to be loved!

The shepherd guards his sheep. He is the guardian who takes responsibility for the well-being of his sheep. King David tells us that, “He (the Shepherd) makes me to lie down in green pastures.” – Ps 23. And the prophet Isaiah says that He (God) shall feed his flock. This is more than a matter of providing His flock with grass to feed on. I came across “Albert Barnes Notes.” He explains, “The verb translated ‘to feed’ (yire‛eh ), denotes more than our word feed at present. It refers to all the care of a shepherd over his flock. it means to tend, to guard, to govern, to provide pasture, to defend from danger, as a shepherd does his flock.” You see, the word feed represents a complete package able to meet all your needs. If the Lord is your Shepherd then you are under His protection or his guardianship. So the imagery of the shepherd in the Old Testament gives a complete picture of who our God is – the Good and perfect Shepherd. Isn’t that great!

Peter’s moment of truth:
The leaders God had chosen in the New Testament were by background, quite varied, different. They were not shepherds like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Moses or King David. They were generally fishermen like Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and two more disciples possibly Philip and Andrew (John 21:2). They were together with Peter. Then, Jesus appeared before them. That was before He ascended to heaven. Here was how the Bible recorded the event. Jesus said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”– John 21:6 NIV. They had a breakfast barbecue over a charcoal fire at the beach after that. The last time when Peter was at a charcoal fire it was at the high priest’s courtyard. That was a shameful moment for Peter, because he had denied Jesus three times. Now he found himself face-to-face, one-on-one with Jesus. Embarrassing? No, it was a powerful moment! The question this time (these three times) was about Peter. Peter was asked three times if he loved Jesus! When my wife called my daughter (when she was a little girl) using her name in full – her Christian name, her Chinese name and her surname. You know that it had to be a serious moment.

From fisherman to shepherd . . .
When the disciples had finished their meal with Jesus, that was how Jesus called Peter by his name in full, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” – John 21:15, 16 17. Want to know how serious this encounter was? The second question Jesus asked Peter was exactly the same as the first. And the third question was exactly like the first and the second, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter responded with some embarrassment, and he was of course somewhat exasperated too. But this was a defining moment for Peter the fisherman. Why? Jesus had responded to Peter with, “Feed my lambs,” (John 21:15 NIV), “Take care of my sheep” (john 21:16 NIV) and “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17 NIV). All three times, the same question and the same response! This had to be important, as I had described it – surely a life-changing moment for Peter as he stood there on his seafaring legs. I believe that when Jesus asked Peter to throw his net to the right of his boat that was Peter’s last fishing trip as a fisherman. Jesus was now asking the fisherman to be a shepherd – “Feed my sheep.”

The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 21:11 NIV
We had already learnt that to feed means “to provide all the care of a shepherd over his flock, to tend, to guard, to govern, to provide pasture, to defend from danger” even to the point of laying his life for his sheep. That was what being a shepherd was all about. Remember how Jesus called Peter when they first met?

Here is that account. Peter and his brother Andrew “were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people (to be ‘fishers of men’ – KJV).” – Matt. 4:18-23 NIV. Here’s an interesting observation. At this very first meeting of Peter with Jesus, Jesus says to Peter, “Come, follow me.” After his resurrection from the dead, guess what Jesus says to Peter before he leaves for heaven? Again Jesus says to Peter, “Follow me!” It seems quite incredible that Jesus greeting and goodbye to Peter makes use of these same two words, “Follow me”. From fisherman to shepherd! That seems to be the transition of Peter – – from a worker (fisherman) to a leader (a shepherd). Of course, Jesus is the ultimate shepherd of people. To follow Jesus is to be a shepherd like Jesus. Like Jesus, the shepherd must be willing to give his life for his sheep. Jesus clearly explains to Peter what to follow and to be a shepherd means. 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” – John 21:19 NIV.

The two “Follow me” calls:
So, “Follow me” was more than just keeping pace with Jesus as he journeys along the road. It was about following or mirroring the life of Jesus, to do what Jesus had done, to adopt Jesus’ attitude – His care, His love and His willingness to give His life for his sheep. If Peter had not been too certain what Jesus meant when Jesus said, “Follow me” at first, Peter now understood.

 

To witness and disciple:
The very first, “Follow me” from Jesus was a call for Peter to be fishers of men. It was a call to be a witness and to win souls for the kingdom of God. The second “Follow me” was a call for him to be a shepherd. This was not just a call for witnessing or evangelizing but shepherding. It was about making disciples of the converts – feed my sheep. Peter understood this. In 1 Peter 5:2 he instructed his team “Tend the flock of God,” that means, take up the shepherd’s staff to tend and to feed the sheep in the fold.

The word ‘tend’ had come from the Greek word ‘poimaino’ to shepherd and to feed the flock of God. We belong to that flock of God. We are God’s sheep. Many of us who are Christians accept our call to be witnesses, that is, to be fishers of men. But what about the second call to be shepherds, to disciple? To be shepherds requires us to feed His sheep.

The next time you meet your pastor, honor him/her. Your pastor is following both calls from Jesus. Your pastor tends the flock of God in your church. He needs you to work alongside him. He needs your support and your love. Uphold your pastor in all your prayers and shower him with your personal care. If you have heard God’s call to be fishers of men, I pray that you will respond to His call to be shepherds alongside your pastor.

282FGA Singapore Church Photography

Arise, O younger generation, Arise

A call to us, the younger generation, have been issued. The question now is, what are we going to do about it?

As I was seeking the Lord about what to share over the anniversary weekend, the only thing that the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart was Malachi 4:5-6.

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

As I read this, the urgent necessity of our response as a younger generation hit me hard. The fathers of our land, our parents, the elders, their hearts will turn and have been turning to their children, but as a younger generation, we need to intentionally make that active decision to turn our hearts to our fathers. This is a necessity and it’s fundamental in the family. We as a younger generation need to Honour the generations before us. And it can’t just simply be empty words or lip service. It needs to come forth in our genuine actions.

And as a church body, we know that we’ve been marked to magnify. We know that we need to make disciples that make disciples. We know that as a church, we have an apostolic calling.

But for us to do all of that, we need strong families that are grounded in His word. Strong families whose hearts are turned towards each other and aligned with the Father above. Because Discipleship truly begins at home. It needs to happen internally within our families before it happens externally with the people around us.

So to us, the younger generation, let’s make the intentional effort to turn our hearts to our fathers. Let’s bridge the man made gaps and connect heart to heart. This is fundamental in our families and it’s a necessity for such a time as this.

Pray:
1. We as a Generation, choose to repent of our old ways and turn our hearts to our parents and to the generations before us.
2. As your word says in exodus 20:12: “Honour your Father and Mother so that you may live Long in the land your God is giving to you.” Father, we choose to do so intentionally.
3. Let Honour be established in our families and let our families be turned towards each other and aligned with you.
4. We thank you for who you are to us and who we are to you. Let us your children arise to do your will for such a time as this.

Let us arise because we are marked to magnify.

22 Sept

Water Baptism – 28 & 29 October

Has God placed a desire in your heart for you to get baptised, as a response to the unconditional love He has for you? The next Water Baptism takes place on 28 and 29 October.

Those intending to get baptised must have completed the Being Rooted course – which is our basic foundations class.

Want to get baptised? Complete the water baptism form at the information counter at level 4, or email your interest to maureen@fgasingapore.org. The closing date for registration is 15 October.

The Good Shepherd… My Shepherd (Pt 1) – by Paul Seow

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10: 14,15

Pastoral:
What distinguishes a Christian from other people? And we all have our own picture of what the Christian should look like in our minds. The picture that relates best to me is that described by the Apostle John. In the tenth chapter of his Gospel he paints a pastoral picture, a sheepfold with a gate. He talks about the shepherd, about sheep, thieves, robbers and the gatekeeper. Here then, are the first two verses,
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” – John 10:1,2 NIV.

It is a simple picture, a pastoral scene – the picture of a rather quiet countryside, a low fence yet high enough so that the sheep cannot get over it. The time of day . . .? Let’s say early in the morning, sunrise! Somewhere along the enclosure is a lamb, a gate, lots of sheep and a shepherd keeping watch over his sheep. But wait a minute. There is someone in the shadows. What’s he doing there? John clearly states that he is not an innocent by-stander but a thief and a robber. Look at the picture again. Can you see yourself there? No? Do you remember Psalm 23? Of course, it says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Metaphorically then, you and I are represented in one of the sheep in the picture. Christians are sheep under the loving care of Jesus our Shepherd. How can any Christian forget Psalm 23 or John 3:16! It is about the Shepherd and His love for His sheep – us Christians! David says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul . . .”

In sheep’s clothing:
The use of the word soul in “he refreshes my soul” is a direct reference to the creation of man not sheep “ . . . the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Gen. 2:7 NIV. The King James Bible says, “and the man became a living soul.” Here’s what Watchman Nee has to say about the soul. “Man is composed of two independent kinds of material: spirit and body. When the spirit entered the body of dust the soul was produced.” So there are two elements in Man, the physical and the spiritual. So, when the Shepherd leads you to green pastures beside the quiet waters He meets all your physical needs. He meets your spiritual needs when he refreshes your soul. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” is a hymn King David wrote for his God but it has inspired Christians in all generations. Among them was Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836 – 1887) the daughter of a Church of Scotland parish minister who served at Crimond in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She composed “Crimond” the tune to David’s Psalm “The Lord is my Shepherd”. It is a great picture of Psalm 23 painted not with the colors from the painter’s brush but sounds from the voice and musical instruments.

As I write about “The Lord is my Shepherd,” Handel’s alto airs from Handel’s great work the “Messiah” simply keep sneaking into my mind. It was Charles Jennens who assembled the scriptures from the Bible for Handel’s great oratorio, the “Messiah.” One of the most beautiful airs (songs) in the oratorio explains the picture in David’s Psalm 23. Handel brought in the two lovely airs sung by an alto and a soprano voice (unless of course you were Barbara Bonney who took on both airs singlehandedly). For me the words from prophet Isaiah and the Psalmist, when placed side-by-side, or together present to us a great picture of our Shepherd. Here are the words of Isaiah followed by the words of the apostle Matthew:

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11 KJV
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matt 11:28,29 KJV.

Whether it is John 10 or Psalm 23 or Isaiah 40, it is all about the Good Shepherd who makes us to lie down in green pastures who leads us beside quiet waters, who restores our soul, who feed us like a shepherd, who gather us with his arm, and carry us in his bosom and ye shall find rest unto your souls. What beautiful expressions of God’s tender and loving care for us – always keeping watch over us His sheep.

Here’s another curious thought! Jennens not only chose the words from the Isaiah 40 but also inserted Isaiah 35 in his recitative that introduced the two alto airs (songs) – “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. “ – Isaiah 35:5,6.

Here’s an interesting question, “What has the words, “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened . . .” in the recitative to do with, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd . . .” in the two arias or airs following? Remember that we started this exhortation with John 10 and it was about the Good Shepherd. It’s like asking what has John 9 to do with John 10. You see John 9 is about a man born blind. He received healing from Jesus. The apostle John writes, “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” – John 9:32 NIV. The following chapter, John 10 is about something else. It is about “The Good Shepherd.” There seems to be a serious disconnect. This is the exact same sequence adopted by Handel-Jennings. His recitative is about the blind made to see – “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened . . .” (as in Isaiah 35) is followed by the Shepherd – – “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd . . .” (as in Isaiah 40). So, is there a connection between the blind and the shepherd?

Let us return to John 9. Jesus heard that they had thrown him (the blind man) out. But Jesus found him. The Good Shepherd found the blind man. The blind man would never have recognized Jesus because he could not see the man who had healed him before he received his sight from Jesus. But then Jesus took the trouble to look for him as a shepherd would look for his lost sheep. Then, he (Jesus) said (to the blind man), “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The blind man could not recognize Jesus by sight. But the blind man recognized Jesus’ voice, ‘My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.’ – John 10:27 NIV. Here is that conversation between the man born blind and Jesus:

36 “Who is he (the Son of Man, the Healer), sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. – John 9:35-38 NIV.

Question, “Who is He?” “Do you recognize your Shepherd so that you may believe in Him? King David says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He is the one who brings healing, who restores your soul, and guides you along the right paths for His name’s sake. He is the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13,14), the one given dominion and glory and a kingdom. He is the son of David (Matt 21:9), the fulfillment of the prophecy of the seed of David, the son of God (Psalm 2:7), the promised Messiah. That’s who He is. Praise the Lord God Almighty!

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Elijah House Prayer Ministry

Desiring a breakthrough in your life?

Elijah House Prayer Ministry

The Elijah House prayer ministry is based on scriptural principles and led by the Holy Spirit, through the use of listening prayer and other tools, to uncover roots that hold us to these patterns. In a prayer ministry session, the prayer counsellor leads the seeker in prayer at the foot of the cross to forgive those who wounded him/her, as well as to receive forgiveness of judgments, and other strongholds the heart has formed. Each session is completely confidential and run by a trained prayer counsellor.

Prayer ministry is available to all FGA partners in the month of September. Sign up, and experience newfound freedom and breakthrough in your life!

SIGN UP FOR A PRIVATE SESSION HERE

 

Laying the Foundations Seminar

Mark and Terry Benavente from Elijah House Ministry, Guam, will be back in FGA this September to conduct the “Laying The Foundations” seminar, which covers the basic principles used in prayer ministry and the keys to receiving heart healing and true breakthrough in our lives.

Date: 10 Sept 2017
Time: 12.30pm – 7.00pm
Venue: Studio 6, FGA@Playfair, Level 4
Seminar Fees: Free of charge
Who can attend: Open to all, and compulsory for those who have signed up for the private prayer ministry sessions.

This session helps attendees identify recurring patterns/sin in their lives by discovering root causes with the help of the Holy Spirit and keys of knowledge including identifying:

  • Bitter root judgments
  • Inner vows
  • Foundational lies

As well as steps to pray through these processes in order to experience a greater level of freedom.

REGISTER FOR SEMINAR HERE

WRITING WORKSHOP FGA website

In the Beginning was the Word – Writing Workshop

The Internet is the source of a lot of news today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – it’s so easy to share news and stories with everybody. But sometimes news becomes inaccurate, and the stories become all about us.

How do we communicate the grand narrative of God’s story to the world with the use of modern-day writing techniques?

In 2 days, learn the basics of how to use social media to speak life and God’s truth into your community, or how to script videos that inspire people and bring joy.

Writing for Social Media – 30 Sept, 2-4pm
Scriptwriting for Video – 14 Oct, 2-4pm

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR ONE OR BOTH WORKSHOPS

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#iamadisciple – Pastor Dodi Togatorol

FGA Surabaya Life Group - the ongoing journey, by Pastor Dodi:

About the Life Group: "My Life Group comprises students who come from different tribes in Indonesia such as Irian Jaya [PAPUA], Ambon, Flofes, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Java, Roger, and Sumba. These students are always busy with their assignments, and so I have to constantly adjust meeting times to suit them in such a way that our meetings do not disrupt their study times."

The biggest challenge about starting a church plant: "Teaching them the Bible in a simple way, because they have not much knowledge of the Bible despite coming from Christian families. Next would be enlightening them on the importance of discipleship and how to evangelise to the community around them."

What I love most about my work: "This opportunity gives me a chance to mix with a different culture and age group from my own, and the biggest challenge in my relationship with them is to learn to recognise their needs in spite of the difference. Through this opportunity, God shapes my character too." How God shapes my character: "God shows me that how to love people who are different from who I am, and to guide them as disciples. Discipleship does not mean that God sends us people who are exactly like us. Also, God has taught me how to be a good shepherd, just like He is to me."

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  • Allow yourself to be concerned with what concerns you Come
    13 hours ago Allow yourself to be concerned with what concerns you. Come back this weekend for next steps on how to be a solution in your world.
  • When we receive the gift of life that is Jesus
    6 days ago When we receive the gift of life that is Jesus, we can’t help but be joyful! Let's keep praying for more to experience the love of God!  #fgasingapore   #markedtomagnify 
  • Our first water baptism of the year will be held
    7 days ago Our first water baptism of the year will be held on 1 April! Want to get water baptised? Contact Assistant Pastor Maureen Khoo and sign up for Being Rooted. The next class is held every Saturday from 20 January to 17 March, 3 to 4.30pm. Yes, that begins next week so be sure to get on board! Sign up via the link in our bio. P.S: While attending Being Rooted is necessary if you want to get water baptised in FGA, the class is also open to anyone who is interested in learning the basic foundations of the Christian faith.
  • Start 2018 different Are you in with us? Then come
    1 week ago Start 2018 different. Are you in with us? Then come back for part 2 this weekend.  #fgasingapore 
  • A simple hello breaks the ice Say hello to someone
    2 weeks ago A simple hello breaks the ice. Say hello to someone new at church this weekend!  #fgasingapore   #markedtomagnify 

15 Playfair Road, FGA@Playfair, Singapore 367987
6339 1317     6334 6694

info@fgasingapore.org

MRT - Tai Seng (circle line), exit at Harper Road

Buses - Tai Seng MRT: 22, 24, 28, 43, 58, 62, 70, 70M, 76, 80, 93, 158

             - Citimac Industrial Complex: 62, 90, 151