THE MAGAZINE OF FAITH METHODIST CHURCH | MICA (P) 155/11/2011 |
The Royal Family:
“You Helped Me Remember How to Laugh”
Despair to Joy The
Truth on Christmas The
I am a huge fan of the CSI drama series. I don’t think I have loved or watched any other TV series as much as this one. For the uninitiated, CSI, or Crime Scene Investigation, is a long running American TV drama about various groups of forensic crime scene investigators cum police officers who meticulously, painstakingly and amazingly dissect every strand of hair and fibre, analyse every drop of blood, and just about tear apart everything at a crime scene. There is actually a very predictable sequence to every episode. There is a crime; they collect evidence; do rigorous forensic analyses in the labs; display some clever police work; and at the end, justice is always served, victims are always comforted and those who need to be rescued are always rescued. The truth is always revealed. I love this drama so much that I had to stop and ask myself why. It didn’t take long to figure out. I take immense comfort in the very clear themes of justice, redemption and righteousness portrayed in almost every episode. I love how the case is built up for the revelation of
truth at the end. Against the tide of injustice, callousness and suffering in the real world, this is my little unreal oasis where I can have my senses satiated with some goodness. That is why I have always loved Christmas. It is that one season when I feel pure goodness and a redemptive hope that is alive, all because of that little manger scene 2,000 years ago. Was there scientific evidence of the virgin birth? No. Did the baby Jesus leave any strands of divine hair for a CSI moment? No. Were there any eyewitnesses who gave authenticated 2,000-year old testimonies of what they saw? No. But, there is a vaccine of hope that was injected into the world that first Christmas night, that still works effectively against the viruses of decay and despair today. There is a transformative peace that floods into the rush of life, slowing feet and stilling hearts to know that He is God. There is the presence of God Almighty in that manger, that is credibly felt every day in the midst of His people. Christians know that the same God who came to Mary and Joseph that night is still with us – there are many,
ongoing credible testimonies of the blind being able to see, the lame being able to walk, the oppressed finding freedom, the sick receiving healing, the sad being comforted. This issue, we bring you first-hand witness accounts of people who have experienced God in their dire situations. For them, and many others, they have encountered Immanuel – God with us. The drama of Christmas is a 2,000-year old running series which has withstood the analysis of time and examination of conscience. Sceptics may remain sceptical but the faithful find joy and strength in it. If you are doubtful, we invite you to inspect the stories of God with us and in us. But beware, once you embark on this investigation, you may be confronted with evidence that you cannot ignore. Have a joyous journey of discovering the Truth! Blessed Christmas!
Noelle Tang Shuk Yee Chief Editor
400 Commonwealth Drive Singapore 149604 Tel: 6475 9433 Fax: 6475 3339 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.faithmc.sg Faithlink is published quarterly by Faith Methodist Church, Singapore, for internal circulation within the congregation of Faith and their friends. Views expressed in Faithlink are of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Church and the Editorial Board.
hy did JESUS
Come This Way Christmas is here! Walk down Orchard Road and you are plunged into a sea of decorations and lights proclaiming that this is the season of peace and joy. Christmas IS a season of peace and joy… for those who know the reason for the season. But the first Christmas was far from peaceful or joyful; it was messy. Matthew tells the story of the birth of Jesus like this:
His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:18-23, NIV) When I read this story, I have to ask, “Why? Why did Jesus come in such a messy way? Why can’t God send Jesus in some more glorious way? Why enter the world as an illegitimate son of a young girl? Why be wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger, because there was no room in the inn? Why make Your Son a refugee, fleeing to Egypt to escape the murderous Herod? Why grow up in the backwater town of Nazareth; where nothing good could come?”
When I am ridiculed by others, JESUS understands what it means to be laughed at. When I am rejected by others, JESUS understands what it means to be scorned. When I am lonely and unwelcomed, JESUS understands what it means to be alone and be turned away. When I am pressured or bullied, JESUS understands what it means to be pursued and hunted. When I feel insignificant, JESUS understands what it means to be a nobody. Because… JESUS is IMMANUEL GOD WITH US
Rev Dr Kow Shih Ming Pastor-In-Charge
01 Why Did Jesus Come This Way?
Chief Editor: Tang Shuk Yee Noelle
Coordinator: Shawn Lam
The Truth On Christmas
Editor (Theology): Ng Moh Ying
04 This Christmas, Remember The Shepherds 06 The ‘One’ Gathering 08 God The Risk Taker 12 God Is With Us! 14 Love Was When 16 The Christmas Small Group
Sub Editors: Linda Gong Shawn Lam Melvin Seow Writers: Tammy Ang Khoo Tse Horng Lily Lee Pearl Lee Aida Mekonnen Shirley Mok Lynette Ng Winnie Png Contributors: Alan Ch’ng Chong Mingli Lim Eng Jee Low Hwee Sian Judy Ong Joanna Tan Translator: Roy Lam Photography: Gabriel Chua Gabriel E Claire Bang Thomas Koh Joash Lee Mark Lee Daniel Quah
This Christmas, Remember The Shepherds
Vivian Sia Christopher Tan Harry Tan Henry Tan Michael Tan Alan Wong William Tang William Tay
Ps Wendy Tay Wee Lian Kuanh Athel Woo Jiamin Rev Joel Yang Yap Tat Ming
18 Pastor Wendy Tay: “One Step At A Time” 22 Written On The Wall 26 Journey Into Listening 28 Shirley Ng: Acting Out Her Faith 32 Bidding Farewell 34 Pastor Paul Nga: “I Am Home!” 36 Faith’s New Logo 11, 21, 31, 38, 39, 61 Whazzup!
Pastor Paul Nga: “I Am Home!”
40 圣诞小组 42 战胜忧郁和恐惧 47 把沮丧化 为喜乐
战胜: 忧郁和 恐惧! Youthz.com
44 Journey Of Faith
Nuggets of thanksgiving
48 Depression And Fear Overcame! 50 Goodness In The Bad Times 52 The Royal Family: “You Helped Me Remember” How to Laugh 56 From Despair To Joy 58 Miracle Delivery
The Royal Family: “You Helped Me Remember How to Laugh”
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Have a story to tell? Tip us off at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Noelle at 6471 9424! We welcome contributions to Faithlink. To avoid duplications, please let us know before writing your article or story. Articles should be kept within 800 words. Submissions must include the writer’s profile, photo and all necessary accompanying pictures in high resolution format. Faithlink is also available online at: www.faithmc.sg/faithlink
the case for faith
62 When God Became Man 64 Nicodemus Reborn
1 LIFE 4:1
66 Beauty Fix 68 Helping Hands 70 Heart And Soul 71 Eat, Drink And Be Merry 72 Who’s Reading What 74 On The Big Screen 76 Baking With Kids
Remember The Shepherds My elder son Nathan has always loved the Nativity set placed at the entrance of the church sanctuary every Christmas season. He would run his fingers through every figurine (the angel, baby Jesus, three wise men, Joseph and Mary). Surely, he was intrigued by the whole beloved scene of baby Jesus in the very centre of the wooden manger. In particular, he would play with the three majesticlooking wise men. I believe he was captivated by their attractive stature with colourful robes and their precious gifts fit for a King. Last Christmas, during a charity sale, I finally bought a Nativity set made of wood and ceramic. What I love most about the set is the wooden manger. It looks very raw. It is not painted. No frills but functional. My sons loved the Nativity set and would spend time playing with the figurines over and over again. Without fail, the three wise men were their favourites.
As I pondered over the Nativity scene from Scripture, I realised one group is missing. Why are the three wise men often the favourites on Christmas cards or on decorative Christmas ornaments? Perhaps the rich and grandeur status of the wise men fit perfectly for a King. But where are the shepherds? Concerning the birth of Jesus, only the Gospel of Matthew contains the account of the wise men and only the Gospel Luke has the scene of the shepherds. For Luke, his main heartbeat was to tell the world about the nature of Jesusâ€™ Messiahship and His Mission. I believe the shepherds are there to tell us something about the Child of Christmas. What is it like to be a shepherd in the ancient times? The book of Genesis gives us a glimpse. Joseph, an Israelite who was successful in Egypt, advised his brothers how to live in a foreign land without being a threat to the Pharaoh. They were told to answer
the Pharaoh in this way, “Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.” Then they will be allowed “to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.” (Genesis 46:33-34, NIV) Shepherds were detestable and were considered the least in the order of society. It was not a high-flying or glamorous profession. Rather, it was one of those vocations that demanded long hours of work with hard working conditions in a harsh environment. Like any wage earner, shepherds were paid to watch the sheep of others. The shepherd’s job nature was risky and they were paid lowly. They often have to encounter wild bears and prowling wolves; they have to risk their lives to rescue stray sheep on dangerous cliffs. Most often, shepherds were lonely. They have to live apart from their own society, being largely nomadic, always in search of pasture for the sheep to graze and eat. “And there were the shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:8-9, NIV) While minding their usual business, bearing with the usual chilly, dark and lonely night, an angel appeared. It is no wonder that the shepherds were terrified. I can imagine the wonder when the glory of the Lord shone around them. Being the least in society and the most forgotten people at nights, in the words of David Jeremiah, “on this night, they were the most favoured by heaven”. They were with a great company of the heavenly host; they were invited as special guests to witness the most joyous moment, the birth of a Saviour. They were the V.I.Ps (Very Important Persons). God has not forgotten the lowliest in the society! He sent His angel to invite them with a personal message: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:1011, NIV)
Jesus’ birth event says it all. God invites the forgotten people, the lowly and the simple to take the road that leads to Christ. This is the same Christ who would wine and dine in the homes of the rejects, tax collectors and the “sinners”.The one who would touch and heal the sick. The one who was not ashamed to be with the “unclean”. The V.I.Ps (shepherds) returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they have seen and heard. Their lives have been touched. They have heard the good news and seen the Lord. They have found “peace on earth.” In this Christmas season, in the midst of festive cheer with family gatherings and celebrations galore, I would like to encourage us to do something different. Be an angel to the “shepherds” in our society today. While they are away from their own families and society, toiling late into the nights with no holidays, be that angel or host to bring them good news of great joy. Remember them and invite them to the message of peace. As Jesus has once said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40, NIV) This Christmas season, remember the shepherds. †
By Ps Wendy Tay Pastor Wendy loves to see the world and travel. A cup of coffee in a nice cosy ambience refreshes her soul. She is a firm believer that God has a plan and purpose for everyone and it is her passion to see people discover it. She is thankful for her two energetic boys, aged 5 and 7, who remind her to have fun and to live life with a childlike faith.
We are gathered here to come and bless the Lord, together with one voice praise His name. Let us join our hearts as one, to worship and adore, the Almighty King, the Lord of Lords. Come and bless the Lord, bless His holy name, come and lift Him up in praise, sing a new song unto Him, from our hearts deep within, bringing sacrifice and offering. (Lyrics by John Koh, FCBC, 1998)
As we ponder upon the lyrics of this song, we are reminded about the purpose of gathering as God’s children. We gather in His name, to declare Him as Lord and to draw near His presence. This ‘one’ gathering strengthens us, for the Lord Himself will come and be with us. Being part of a group of people with different personalities requires us to come out of our comfort zones. When we gather as a group, we must be prepared for both positive and negative experiences. We 6
Features must be prepared to be blessed and to be a blessing to others. We must be prepared that conflict and tension will come with increased interaction. In our experiences from the school of life, our character growth and comfort level are rarely a positive correlation. John Maxwell once said: “If we are growing, we will always be out of our comfort zone.” Though we may not be comfortable with sharing our lives with a group of people, we must
Life should never be a lonely journey. Let us not miss out on this ‘one’ gathering in the Lord.
My small group is called GST2, (Growing Spiritually Together in Grace, Steadfastness and Truth). We are just over a year old with a mix of couples and singles. I am thankful that though we are different in our personalities, the Lord has united us in His love. We have this saying in our group: “We are all in this together”, which reminds us that no one is above anyone and each is to encourage the other in this journey of faith. I thank God for His presence of peace that helps us to share freely. In our group, we learn from one another’s faith experiences in everyday living which in turn strengthens our own faith. We share openly and bare our hearts, but we also have mutual trust with one another, knowing that what we say in the group stays in the group. I have learnt that the preparation of the heart is crucial if we want to experience God in our midst. Our hearts must be centred on Christ, expecting to receive His Word. This is something I try to do before every small group meeting. During the meeting, we also share and labour in prayer for each other. I believe that through praying for one another, God joins our hearts so we may find the strength to bear each other’s burdens. Life should never be a lonely journey. Let us not miss out on this ‘one’ gathering in the Lord. May Hebrews 10:23-25 help us focus on the purposes of our gathering together:
not neglect the purpose God has for us through our gathering in His name. Sure, we can experience God on our own, but it is in constant fellowship with fellow believers that will help us build our faith. Though everyone in a group is so different, we have the same Father who wants to teach us about love and His love will unite us. For it is in the conformity to the image of God that we see our commonality. Therefore, it is only through loving God first that we would then be able to love one another. Acts 2:42-47 provides for us a picture of Christians who were strengthened in their faith towards God and love for one another as they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to fellowship. Our Lord has a purpose for us when we gather in small groups!
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25, NIV) As we come together with Jesus as our head, may we truly experience the Immanuel in our ‘one’ gathering! †
By Chong Ming Li Ming Li is Counsellor at Faith Methodist Church and attends GST2 PCM group. She is a self-confessed animal lover and enjoys music and trying out new things in her free time. On Sundays, you can often catch her with the youth at The TackleBox Service!
GOD the risk taker
Relationship is a high risk endeavour. Ask a guy who is trying to woo a girl and he will vouch for it. He risks being rejected or shocked that his image of the girl is far from reality. Ask a mother who cares and nurtures their children unreservedly and she will vouch for it too. There is no guarantee that the cute, chubby baby sleeping in her arm will not turn out to be a crook or worst, someone like Hitler. Ask a lady who confides her deep thoughts to a certain good friend and she will vouch for it. She risks hearing her deepest secret from someone else. God is probably the highest risk taker when it comes to relationship.
He took the first step of risk to create us in His image. It was a good start. God said it was very good after He created Adam and Eve. God and man had open communication and a close relationship. Maintaining it requires effort. For Adam and Eve, or for that matter, any relationship, trust is needed to initiate and maintain it. But Adam and Eve trusted the crafty serpent more and doubted God’s intention when they ate the very fruit they were told not to. The foundation of their relationship – the trust that God loves them – was lost. And when Adam and Eve doubted God’s love and decided to act upon their desire, they sinned. Shame came upon them1. The first couple hid themselves from God. A chasm between human and
Genesis 3:7-10. The significance of realising for the first time they are naked and the need to cover implies a certain degree of shame.
Features God has taken over the once close and living relationship. God’s risk of making humans in His image and choosing a special relationship with men seemed disastrous. The only way to bridge the chasm has to be initiated by God. Compelled by His love for us, God reached out to His people through words of wisdom from teachers, words of pleading from the song-writers (Psalmists) and words of warning from prophets. But His actions fell on hardened hearts. People continued to fight against God. God took the ultimate risk to re-establish this unique relationship. He sent His best Messenger, the One who knows His will to the ultimate sense. He sent His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ. To bridge the chasm, He took an even greater risk – the Son came as human, a mere human with limitations and deficiencies. Why? Could He not descend in the midst of thunder and cloud? Why would He choose to be born like all of us, through our mother, and be shocked into tears by the cold, dry world the moment He leaves the warmth of His mother’s womb? Why would He choose to cry helplessly when He is hungry? Why would He decide to give up His power, majesty and take on human nature? The answer: God had to take the ultimate risk to bring His beloved people back – to re-establish the betrayed relationship – by being human. St John summarised the reception of human towards this cosmic risk-step: “He was in the world, the world was there through Him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him.” (John 1:10-11, The Message) And the Son of God was described in a prophecy as such: “His servant grew up like a tender young plant. He grew like a root coming up out of dry ground. He didn’t have any beauty or majesty that made us notice Faithlink
Him. There wasn’t anything special about the way He looked that drew us to Him. Men looked down on Him. They didn’t accept Him. He knew all about sorrow and suffering. He was someone people turn their faces away from. We looked down on Him. We didn’t have any respect for Him.” (Isaiah 53:2-3, New International Reader’s Version) Surely this is unacceptable! Such treatment for the Son of the Creator! But God chose to take that risk and pain, because of His relentless love for us! As we commemorate Christmas, with all the pomp and partying, celebration and cheering, we must not forget that the Son of God – the birthday boy – was destined to experience pain, grief, rejection, and ultimately a humiliating death. Did God’s risk work? It worked because He gave His one and only Son to bridge the chasm. The same prophet said this, “He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on Himself the pain that should have been ours. But we thought God was punishing Him. We thought God was wounding Him and making Him suffer. But the servant was pierced because we had sinned. He was crushed because what we had done what was evil. He was punished to make us whole again. His wounds have healed us. All of us are like sheep. We have wandered away from God. All of us have turned to our own way. And the LORD has placed on His servant the sins of all of us. He was beaten down and made to suffer. But He didn’t open His mouth. He was led away like a sheep to be killed. Lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off. In the same way, He didn’t open his mouth. He was arrested and sentenced to death. Then He was taken away. He was cut off from this life. He was punished for the sins of my people…My godly servant will make many people godly because of what He will accomplish. He will be punished for their sins.” (Isaiah 53:4-12) God risked His Son and it worked. Because He promised, “But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not bloodbegotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.” (John 1:12,13, The Message) The broken relationship is mended permanently by making us to be children of God. We no longer
oppose God’s will and heartbeat and are able to will after God’s will and seek after God’s heartbeat. We no longer live in our sin, guilt and shame, or need to hide ourselves from God. Christmas is God’s risk to re-establish the relationship. But this can only happen if you ‘want Him’. Would you, for this Christmas? †
By Khoo Tse Horng Tse Horng has been blessed by the ministry of Faith’s people and his PCM group (Barnabas) since 1982. He now attends the 11am Service with his wife, Bee Leng and youngest child, Eliora. His other children Zuriel and Karis are in SUN JAM. He hopes to receive comments at email@example.com.
He sent His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ. To bridge the chasm, He took an even greater risk – the Son came as human, a mere human with limitations and deficiencies.
Whazzup! 45th Anniversary: Family Bowling
Photography: Claire Bang & Joash Lee
Photography: Gabriel E
God Is With Us!
Christmas is that time of the year when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Gospel according to Matthew presents the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:18-23 (NIV): This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.” With the birth of Jesus Christ, God is with us in the most profound sense. John 1:14 (NIV) says: “The Word became flesh
Features and made his dwelling among us.” And who is the Word? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1, NIV) John 1:15 says that John (the Baptist) testified concerning the Word, and in John 1:29, it is recorded that John (the Baptist) saw Jesus and testified, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” The Word is Jesus Christ, who became flesh. Jesus Christ, the second Person in the Triune God (Christians believe in one God in three Persons: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit) became human and lived among us. At Christmas, Christians celebrate “God became man”.
“They will call him Immanuel – God with us.” During Jesus’ time on earth, humankind experienced ‘God with us’ in the person of Jesus Christ. In John 8:19, Jesus said, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” And in John 9:30, Jesus put it more explicitly, “I and the Father are one.” He prayed to God for all believers, “that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me” (John 17:22-23, NIV). “I in them”. How is Jesus Christ in them, the believers? In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.” When we gather in Jesus’ name, in worship, in prayer, in Bible study, or in any other setting, Jesus, who has God in Him, is with us. 1 John 4:12-13 (NIV) also tells us how God is with us as a body of Christians, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” Note the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ in this verse. This is of great significance: God’s love is made complete in us, when we love one another. ‘God with us’ is complete only in a Christian community; God’s love is not complete in you, or for you, if you are a ‘stand-alone’ Christian without a Christian community. It is therefore not surprising that Bible passages such as Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:30, Colossians 1:24 describe the church (assembly of Christians) as the ‘body’ of Christ, comprising different ‘members’ (parts of the body). Christians
form the body of Christ, and so we belong to one another. When we love one another, God lives in us – “God with us”, because God is love. To truly love one another as Christians, it is perhaps necessary that we be a part of a small group, where we are less likely to don masks, and more likely to be our true selves. In a small group setting, we get to know people much more deeply: the good, the bad, and the ugly sides. And that is where we practise loving one another, regardless. When a member goes astray from God, how will she experience God’s hand reaching out? Through her small group members who teach and admonish her with all wisdom from the Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16). When a member in a small group hurts, how will she experience God’s love? God’s love is experienced in the loving acts of other Christians in the small group. To be loved by the other members is to be loved by God. In fact, there is a real-life story about how a young lady experienced God’s love during a crisis, through the love of other Christians in her small group. Read it on page 52 and be blessed. Jesus told his disciples in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I loved you, so you must love one another.” And in John 14:15, Jesus told them, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Oswald Chambers wrote: “If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.” God with us. The Gospel according to Matthew ends with Jesus telling his disciples, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” – the empowering and reassuring words of the One who came to earth to be Immanuel – God with us, to the end. †
By Wee Lian Kuanh Lian Kuanh is Parish Leader at Faith Methodist Church. He is married to Belinda Koh and they have two lovely children, Liza, 11 and Daniel, 7. Lian Kuanh loves the great outdoors – he is often contented with kite-flying or feeding fish with his kids at Botanic Gardens, and is super happy when he goes on a dive trip!
LOVE was when “They lived happily together…” That was how the greatest love story began.
When God created man, He made him in His own image and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. He purposed this special creation of love to have a soul that would endure eternity with Him (Genesis 1:27, 2:7). Indeed man lived happily with God, but only for a while. Imagine God as the person Jesus, sharing with man the most intimate moments, talking, playing and laughing in the Garden of Eden. They would hold hands and take long walks together. Jesus would display the stars, mountains, rivers and trees to man, and tell him how He fashioned them just for him to savour (Romans 1:20). Jesus would pick fruits for man to eat when he grew hungry, chatted with him when he felt lonely, patted him to slumber when he grew tired and sang him lullabies when he could not sleep.
The fateful day came when the deluded angel whom God casted out of heaven entered the scene (Ezekiel 28:11-19, Isaiah 14:12). He was the devil who deceived man into choosing disobedience against God. As man was pulled away and separated from God (Isaiah 59:2), the devil seized dominion over earth and started his destruction of life and God’s creations. Like many love stories, the lover would suffer pain when he lost his love. When man became separated from God, he suffered heartaches and became lost, lonely and purposeless. He chased after meaningless things and struggled in a fallen world plagued by imperfections, sorrows and tears. As the story goes, God initiated to seek out His love. Don Wyrtzen & John Walvoord wrote a song in 1970, which aptly summarised this part of the love story:
LOVE WAS WHEN Love was when God became a man, Locked in time and space, without rank or place; Love was God born of Jewish kin; Just a carpenter with some fishermen; Love was when Jesus walked in history, Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free, Love was God nailed to bleed and die To reach and love one such as I. Love was when God became a man, Down where I could see love that reached to me; Love was God dying for my sin And so trapped was I my whole world caved in. Love was when Jesus rose to walk with me Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free Love was God only He would try To reach and love one such as I When God took on flesh and became man, it was love in action and the greatest rescue mission. It was like a man putting on his diving suit, jumping into the sea to save his drowning friend. He sacrificed his life by giving up his own regulator and gas tank to save his friend. The Bible is filled with stories about God’s acts of love. One poignant scene is when a leper’s cry for healing interrupted Jesus as He was with a large crowd of followers (Matthew 8:1-4). Jesus could have said a word and healed the leper, like He did for the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13) or the official’s son (John 4:43-54), but He chose to go to him, reached out His hand and touched him before healing his skin disease. His touch was a colossal act of love that healed more than the physical leprosy; it healed the leper’s heart that had suffered pain of rejection, ridicule and humiliation. While others treated the leper as an insignificant diseased man to be shunned, Jesus loved him and saw a significant man with a heart to be won. Indeed Jesus came first to win man’s heart (Isaiah 54:4-8) before coming again to win the battle against the devil (Revelation 20:1-10).
God in the form of Jesus came to man on Christmas day about 2000 years ago. He felt man’s pulse, as He donned a physical body. He held man’s hand and reminded him of their love in the Garden of Eden. He demonstrated His love further by dying for him (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). He proved Himself as man’s creator and life-giver by rising from the dead. He promised man never to leave him (Matthew 28:20) and vowed He will return one day to bring him home again (John 14:2-3). As how a typical love story would culminate, good will win over evil, the lover’s heart will be won and the beautiful bride (man) will one day walk down the aisle and take the hand of her husband (God). She will henceforth be under His love and care, as He wipes her tears away forever (Revelation 21:2-4). The two lovers shall hold hands and take long walks together again, beside the trees and alongside the river of life (Revelation 21:2-4), where there will be no more tears but perfection, joy and love. That is how the greatest love story will end, “…And they lived happily ever after.” †
The two lovers shall hold hands and take long walks together again, beside the trees and alongside the river of life (Revelation 21:2-4)
By Yap Tat Ming Tat Ming attends the 8am Service with his wife, Pamela. They have two boys aged seven and ten. He enjoys nature and volunteers as a park ranger and guide at Fort Canning Park.
The 3 Magi Legend has it, that there were three of them, and their names were Melchior, Gasper and Balthasar. Known as the Magi, they were members of the supreme priestly caste in Persia, and kings often sought their counsel before embarking on their various ventures. Being skilled in the interpretation of dreams as well as the study of the stars, they held a dual role in both the priestly and governmental arenas. These three men in particular, travelled a very long distance from their land of origin (the distance from ancient Persia to Bethlehem is estimated to be about 1,000 miles or so, roughly the distance between
Singapore and Vientiane, Laos) to seek out the King of the Jews, whose imminent birth was announced by the celestial sign they had spotted.
Why They Came What made the magi undertake such a momentous journey? I have three suggestions as to why. Firstly, it must have been an attraction so great that they would consider the arduous journey worthwhile. Tradition has it, that they were probably familiar with certain Old Testament scriptures like those of Numbers 24:17 (NKJV): “…A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel...”
Secondly, perhaps knowing that they would not be journeying alone, but with the company of other wise men who shared the same vision, further emboldened them. Thirdly, I believe God foreordained for these men to witness the star signifying the birth of Jesus Christ, knowing that as they embarked on their quest to greet Him, they would be changed forevermore. They were after all, practitioners of divination (they studied the celestial bodies for revelation). Old Testament texts like Isaiah 60:3 (NKJV) prophesied: “The Gentiles shall come to Your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising.” After all, that is what our God does – He does not delight in us simply remaining in darkness, but continually seeks to draw us towards His light, so that we will be able to see, and understand His ways.
Magi Groups Repeated Today I wonder if our small groups of today could learn from the Magi of 2,000 years ago. They were not a random group without a purpose – they shared a common goal. The goal of seeing the glory of the King of Kings. Do our groups today know where we are going? Do we have a destination in mind, for our groups? How about setting targets for our group to achieve within the span of each year, such as growing in a certain aspect of our character, or our service to God’s Kingdom?
Thirdly, the Magi’s journey was one whereby God intended for them to not just serve the King of Kings, but be transformed by their witness of His glory. God has a reason why He gathered us in the small group that we are a part of. Through the common journey we will take, He expects us to come out of it, having been touched by His grace, and changed from our previous ways. It is said that in the Monastery of St. Paul of Mount Athos, there is a 15th century golden case purportedly containing the Gift of the Magi. It had been donated to the monastery in the 15th century by Mara Branković, daughter of the King of Serbia Durdad Branković, wife to the Ottoman Sultan Murat II and godmother to Mehmet II the Conqueror (of Constantinople). It seems that they were part of the relics of the Holy Palace of Constantinople and it is claimed that they had been on display there since the 4th century AD. After the Athens earthquake of 9 September 1999 they were temporarily displayed in Athens in order to strengthen faith and raise money for the victims of the earthquake. Though the Magi are long gone, and though the only mention of the Magi is in one out of the four Gospels (in the Gospel of Matthew), their act of homage to the King of Kings is long remembered. It is my prayer this Christmas, that the small groups in our church of today would show the same purpose, commitment and influence, as the first group of Magi did, that first Christmas. †
Secondly, the Magi were aware it would be a long and difficult journey, but they counted the cost, and rallied together, spurring each other towards finishing the journey. In this long, hard road called life, having set a destination to which we can advance towards, can we rally around to support and encourage each other actively, along the way? Or do we only watch out for our own backs, despite being in a small group?
By Rev Joel Yang Pastor Joel serves as a pastor at Faith Methodist Church. Having been a pastor for nine years, he considers teaching and preaching his main passions. He is married to Arlene, with whom he has a son, Pyro Jaden.
Pastor Wendy Tay:
SAttA eTime” p The first time I met Ps Wendy Tay was at a cafe at The Methodist Centre, Barker Road, where my office was located. She and her husband were carrying a cake box, blending in perfectly well with the other parents at the kindergarten where her younger son was attending. “Hi,” she called out cheerily and explained the box, “It’s my son’s birthday today.” I remembered that incident when I was waiting to interview her as a new pastor appointed to Faith Methodist Church in August this year. As she came out of her office to meet me, dressed in casual pants and a comfortable blouse, her hair cropped fashionably short, she looked every bit the young mother and career woman of our modern society. Ps Wendy is definitely more than your average career woman/mother/ wife combination though – she is also one of the minority of women pastors in the Methodist Church.
Touched At A Tender Age Just like the Old Testament judge, Samuel, Ps Wendy was called by God as a child. As a first generation Christian in a former Buddhist family, she recalled, “I remember the house filled with many idols, but I believe God first touched me when I was as young as nine years old. My tuition teacher brought me to a Bible camp at Foochow Methodist Church and after being taught about Jesus Christ and having sung “Our God Is So Big”, I told myself that this is the “god” that I want to follow when I grow up!” A few years later, at age 13, she attended a Christian Fellowship camp, and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Saviour. While she was not allowed to attend church on Sundays, the Word was continually fed to her at a Saturday youth fellowship at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church (KKMC). “It was quite amazing,” Ps Wendy testified, “it was one of the milestone events of my life. I had nightmares since I was seven and no amount of “talisman
water” I drank worked. But on the day I accepted Christ, the nightmares stopped, completely.” From then on, she knew there was no looking back. She had been called to serve God. She continued to be very active in the youth ministry at KKMC and also in Wesley Methodist Church. As with most young adults, she went through the same life struggles while transitioning from the teenage years to adulthood – finding a life partner, choosing a good career and wrestling with the desire for material comforts.
Hearing And Following God’s Voice God however had planted in her a vision which resulted in her making decisions in response to His will. “I can hear God speaking to me,” said Ps Wendy. From her earnest look I could see that she was serious and while I instinctively knew she meant this
to be more of an inner voice than an audible one, the closeness of her relationship to God was both palpable and extremely real. She continued, “I learnt to be very sensitive to God’s voice at a very young age and as I searched deeply and opened myself up to Him, God never failed to show me His path for me, one step at a time.” The call to full-time ministry happened during her undergraduate years. Ps Wendy knew that God wanted her to “feed His sheep”; the pastoral call was affirmed later when she did her Masters of Divinity in Trinity Theological College (TTC). After graduating from the University majoring in Banking and Finance, she worked in a bank for about six years, before becoming a Lecturer in customer relationship management in Nanyang Polytechnic. God has blessed her with a lifelong best friend and soul mate, Rev Aaron Tay, who is the current Pastor-in-charge of Living Waters Methodist Church. They married in 2002 and have two boys, seven and five. “My husband was the one who encouraged me to be a pastor. He sensed that I should take the step of faith and the family was ready,” she beamed.
Coming Together of Talent And Calling Pastor Wendy is right where she knows she should be. Using her work experiences, theological training and experiences from being a Christian ministry staff at ACS Independent, she feels that her first appointment at Faith Methodist Church as Assistant Pastor (Minister on Trial) is the natural coming together of what God has prepared her for. And she is learning what it means to be a pastor: besides being part of the leadership team in the church, she is also involved in visitations to church members at home, in hospitals and conducting funerals. As a new pastor, she is reminded of the key lesson God had taught her in her youth days, to take “one step at a time”. She rests with the conviction that God will do what He promised in Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8, NKJV) She looks forward to being a full contributing member of the leadership team, sharing the vision and working out her special place in God’s sovereign plan for her and for Faith. Welcome, Pastor Wendy! †
By Pearl Lee Pearl attends the 10am Service and is currently Director of Communications and Fundraising at Methodist Welfare Services.
Whazzup! Celebrating the First Anniversary of the Mandarin Service
Photography: Noelle Tang
Up Close with Chow Tat Keong of the PCM Ministry After an illustrious career spanning almost 30 years, the IT management professional answers a higher calling to go into full-time ministry. He graduated recently from Trinity Theological College with a Master of Divinity and began serving at Faith’s Pastoral Care Ministry in July this year. Chow Tat Keong as a young boy in the 1960s often got his eldest brother into big trouble. “We came from a Buddhist home,” Tat Keong, 56, recalled of his childhood. “My brother was the first in the family to become a Christian. Before long, his conversion became an issue. I was the youngest son and was tasked by my parents to spy on my brother! Each time I caught him kneeling to pray in his room, I would report to them about it, and my poor brother would get a nasty scolding!” That brief episode left the Bukit Ho Swee boy with a vague impression of Christian solace in solitude. But it was enough to stir up curiosity and a thirst for the truth through his secondary school years. One August 1973 evening, Tat Keong attended a rally in Faith Methodist Church. At the outreach event, someone shared with him the gospel. After listening, the 17-year-old lad reached out and prayed to Jesus for the very first time.
“It was an uplifting experience,” Tat Keong quipped. “When I left the church that night, I sensed an overwhelming joy inside me! I told myself that if ever my elders allowed me to attend church, I would come to this particular church (Faith).” In December that same year, the teenager met Polytechnic classmate Larry Lai, who invited him to his church that Christmas. “I was overjoyed when I learned that it turned out to be Faith Methodist Church!” exclaimed Tat Keong, who is convinced that it was not sheer coincidence but God’s will. And having sought permission, he returned to Faith to attend Sunday School. At the age of 25, Tat Keong embarked on a longstanding career in IT with a reputable multinational corporation (MNC), and he rose through the ranks to reach senior management level. But why did he leave a lucrative corporate
sector job for full-time ministry, you may ask. To which Tat Keong responded in a fashion typical of a seasoned technocrat, forthright and point by point. “Let me first testify of God’s goodness and blessings upon my family all these years. He gave me a rewarding career for 28 years. When I turned 50 in 2005, I felt it was time to take stock of my life. I mulled over the prospect of volunteering in a Christian marketplace ministry, where my training and experience would come in useful. “In the MNC where I worked, succession planning was a process across the board. The process went on smoothly and the team I had groomed to take over was ready for the task. “Then, I received Pastor Shih Ming’s email to small group leaders on their prayer needs. I sought prayer intercession to ask God for clear directions to His
calling. Pastor Shih Ming was very encouraging. He recommended me two books – “Half Time” by Bob Buford and “Unlimited Partnership” by Lloyd Reeb – which I read and discovered that God spoke to me through the testimonies in the books!
achieve the God-given vision for Faith to transform lives and change the world.” With the free time that he has, Tat Keong pampers himself by listening to music –moderate jazz, country folk and chamber strings orchestra compositions – on his hi-fi system.
“At home, we prayed as a family earnestly to God on the matter, as the leaders at Faith helped to finalise the plan to enroll me in Trinity Theological College (TTC). With the succession planning in place, I submitted my resignation. The management, however, proposed that I take a year’s leave without pay, and told me that I could return to the company if things did not work out for me.
Both Tat Keong and wife Siew Chan love Asian food. The tze char stall at Block 119 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre, which serves sliced fish/fishhead soup with rice noodles, is a favourite of theirs. Homemaker Siew Chan also cooks well and her specialty is Cantonese herbal boiled soup.
“But God made all things possible. I sat for my firstyear TTC exams and passed; it reaffirmed my move to resign from my job and move on.”
Married for 28 years, the couple have three grownup children – Jonas, Janice and Joanne – who are serving in the church in various capacities. †
Tat Keong shared on his first month in the Faith pastoral staff team, “I thank God that my colleagues were both reassuring and helpful during the period of adjustment, especially amid the information overload. The orientation on the church’s various ministries was most useful. In due course, I will get to know the leaders and the group members in my parish, and I will work with the pastors to help
By Harry Tan Harry and his wife Grace worship at the 11am Service. They belong to a pioneer PCM group led by Mr Fong Ngan Keong.
What if Jesus is tired today?
What if Jesus is tired today? From needs and wants we ask of him. At the break of day till the sight of stars, Urgently we wish, be quick His reply. What if Jesus is tired today? From prayers short and prayers long. Cries for help, cries for love, Lift me up, forget me not. Are you tired today? From work till late, yet to end. Much still to do, So to church I have to miss. Are you tired today? From family chores, to do I must. My home, my love, The cellgroup tonight I have to pass. Are you tired today? From fun nights out, so late to bed. The time and space, the rest I need, That harvest for the Lord will have to wait. What if Jesus is tired today? From reasons of why we can’t, But please, oh please meet our wants. Even when rich, or when we are poor. Jesus is not tired today, nor ever will Ever there, always near, you know it too. With love He gives, assurance we keep. Faithful as a man, faithful as a God. Are you tired today? Remember Jesus, His tireless love. Faithful to Him, we need to be, Those things we can’t, now we can.
By Alan Ch’ng Alan attends Cellvision 1 PCM group and on Sundays, he can be seen at all three English Celebration Services 8am, 10am and 11am) so that he can catch up with his group members!
Journey into Listening Faith Methodist Churchâ€™s Counselling Ministry started its first Lay Counselling training this year (April to October 2011) with over 20 participants. Praise God for the smooth learning journey throughout the seven months. Apart from CareNet, the Counselling Ministry serves as a second layer of support to the Faith church family. Besides their small groups, members can also turn to trained counsellors in times of difficulty. Confidentiality is maintained at this level. Besides serving people in the family of Faith, the ministry also seeks to lend a listening ear and reach out to those in the community whenever the need arises. We thank God for calling and raising a team of Lay Counsellors who will begin their journey into listening in January 2012. Karen Chew, one of the participants of the Lay Counselling training who has come onboard as a Lay Counsellor, shares her thoughts on the course.
What do you like most about the sessions? I like the role play in class when we acted as the counsellor, the client and also the observer, which gave us insights into what the client thinks and how to respond to him/her as a counsellor. Through the eyes of the observer we know what to avoid saying and how to show our empathy towards our client.
Please share one skill that the course has equipped you with and how is that important for you. The course has equipped me with the knowledge to use the right words, tone and body language to encourage clients to share their story with us. At the same time, we need to avoid words such as “I understand” – this is a common mistake because no two persons actually feel the same emotional feelings in any given circumstances. This is important as we must convey empathy, acceptance and authenticity so that the client would feel that they are not alone in facing the problem or issues in life.
How can one be helped through a counselling session? We can help someone by assisting the counselee to change as they learn to think things through for themselves and make their own decisions, free of the constraints of past conditioning.
Complete the sentence: I am now more aware that… I am now more aware that I need to work on helping individuals feel safe talking to me. I also need to lessen my listening challenges such as being judgmental, interrogative and making assumptions that prevent me from being an active listener. I need to pray for God’s wisdom and discernment to speak the right words at the right time and also do reflective listening and give appropriate responses at the end of what I hear. †
By Chong Ming Li Ming Li is Counsellor at Faith Methodist Church and attends GST2 PCM group. She is a self-confessed animal lover and enjoys music and trying out new things in her free time. On Sundays, you can often catch her with the youths at The TackleBox Service!
Faith Methodist Church extends a warm welcome to our new Executive Director of FaithActs, Ms Shirley Ng! Shirley is certainly not new to FaithActs. She recalled being at the meeting held at the Anglo-Chinese Junior College canteen on 25 May 2003, together with nine other pioneer members to discuss the establishment of a community agency that could reach out to the neighbourhood through community service. Initially, it was simply called the “Faith Community Service Centre”. On 11 February 2004, the agency was official named “FaithActs”, a name that reflects the acting out of our faith and our love of God. Shirley said, “We praise God that FaithActs was established because pastors, church members, and staff were willing to act on their
We praise God that FaithActs was established because pastors, church members, and staff were willing to act on their faith in God to meet the needs of the community.
faith in God to meet the needs of the community”. The first Deputy Executive Director at that time was Ms Tricia Yeo. So what made Shirley decide to take on the key role of Executive Director now? She shared, “This was the third time I have been approached to serve in FaithActs. I believe it was timely and it was the season for me to seriously consider doing so. As I was seeking God’s direction on this, I felt the Lord saying that even if I don’t take up this offer, He has no lack of choices and is able to get someone else to fill the gap. But, I would have missed His purpose”. She continued, “On another day, the Lord graciously impressed again in my heart that I could go anywhere to work, but did I want His presence to go with me? That was rather strong, for without His presence, I would be good for nothing. So I decided to take on this position and see God work in and through me.” Shirley described the purpose of FaithActs: “Our mission is to provide quality and holistic services that address social issues with our distinctive love that meets the changing needs of the community. FaithActs serves the people on the fringe. We try to meet the needs of the youths through the schools and institutions. Counselling is provided to individuals and families. The Seniors are empowered to recognise their worth, and we nurture our staff and volunteers to fulfil their potential in impacting lives.” FaithActs now has 16 staff members and about 70 volunteers who have been actively serving for the past two years. It has certainly been blessed with the number of Faith Methodist Church members who have come forward to
support them. “Of course we can do more. We are always looking for volunteers. They must be willing to attend our training programme, be committed to serve on a regular basis, have a genuine desire to get to know FaithActs’ clients, and show compassion and care,” Shirley added. When asked about her aspirations for FaithActs in the future, Shirley placed the answer in the hands of God. Shirley explained, “Just like the verse in Zechariah 4.6 that it is ‘not by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of God’, I pray that God will establish FaithActs to be what He wants her to be.” As Faith Methodist Church celebrated her 45th Anniversary, and seeks to transform lives and change the world, FaithActs remains an important conduit of outreach and love to the community. Shirley hopes to be able to reach even beyond the Tanglin Halt and Commonwealth area. And the Faith church family can play a part – it can extend its big befriending hand and heart and volunteering time, showing Christian love for our neighbours and bringing God’s blessings to those in need. On a personal note, Shirley is “joyfully single, with many close friends and companions”. She lives with her Mum and treasures her closely knit family,
spending time with Mum and her brothers’ families, especially over the weekends. She particularly enjoys being a “doting aunty” to her nieces. Shirley is an active member of the Faith church family. She grew up with Faith in the 1980s and now regularly attends the 11am Sunday Celebration Service. She is involved in CareNet, and is currently serving as a Team Leader in Soh Lan’s Parish. She is also the Group Leader of a small group called ‘Dreamers’, as well as the Vice Chairperson of the House of Prayer 56.7 committee. In whatever spare time that she has left, Shirley enjoys “anything IT”, reading, quiet time, nature, and doing creative handicraft. She also likes sleeping, learning and talking about health matters. We wish Shirley all the best in her mission to bring FaithActs forth to a wider and more enriching outreach to our community as we Act out our Faith! †
By Henry Tan Henry attends the 8am Service and Finders and Seekers PCM group. In his free time, he enjoys being a Volunteer Docent at The Peranakan Museum and trekking. He has three adult sons.
In public, he is always serious and bears a tinge of stately austerity. The dark-coloured shirts even lend to a somber mood. But somber is about the most unlikely adjective to use on this lawyer-turnedpastor. Appointed to Faith Methodist Church on 1 January 2009, Rev Kenneth Huang has been a voice of wisdom and a figure of pastoral care to the Faith church family. Beneath that veneer of fatherly charm is almost always a mischievous grin and a hearty chuckle, which he generously combines with his unique brand of humour. In his three years with Faith, Pastor Kenneth worked with the Worship & Music, House of Prayer and Family Life ministries. He also set up, launched and grew the Dads’ Ministry. Pastor Kenneth said, “In the time I have been at Faith, I have tried to serve God with my whole being and prayerfully, have been an example of humble and dedicated service to those I have worked with in the different ministries, and the congregation in general. I must say that it has been a great joy working alongside those in these ministries.” On 1 January 2012, Pastor Kenneth will be leaving Faith to be the Pastor-in-charge of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church (KKMC). It comes not as a surprise that this people-oriented pastor listed various groups of people as the best memories of his years at Faith: “Firstly, I am grateful to have worked with good colleagues who love the Lord; I can see great joy and dedication in their service to God. Then, I rejoiced at partnering with a God-seeking church leadership; one that mutually respects, encourages and appreciates one another. Last but not least, we have a teachable,
co-operative and loving congregation who gives of their best for God and each other – though not all the time, but often enough!” Working with Pastor Kenneth has been nothing short of a ‘challenge’. His corny jokes during staff meetings often send us into fits of laughter; his gentle and persistent prodding often challenges us to move out of our comfort zone; his faith not only encourages us with a timely word during trying moments but at times also helps us realise our lack of faith. Just as he has blessed the Faith church family, he shared how he and his family have been blessed by their stint with us: “Faith has been very welcoming to us, and you have let us be ourselves! For me personally, I am thankful that you have accepted my ministry as a pastor from the time I was appointed to Faith – corny jokes and all! I will miss the genuineness of the people at Faith the most – you are as real as people can be in relationships with one another.” Did you know that Pastor Kenneth is the main pastor for conducting weddings in Faith for the past three years? True to his shepherd’s heart, he rejoiced in “conducting baptisms, weddings and teaching sessions, because those involved were keenly aware of the Lord’s presence and working in their lives, and because I had the privilege to be a part of a most meaningful encounter in their lives”. It is therefore not surprising that he cited ministry to married couples as one of his greatest concerns. In fact, this was an area of disappointment for him. “I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to better help couples whose marriages were breaking down,” said Pastor Kenneth. “The reality is that by the time people approached the pastors, their marriages
Home Front were already facing great difficulties. I want to urge couples going through difficulties in their marriages to start seeking help earlier than later.” As pastor of a local church cum Director of Ministry in Schools, Pastor Kenneth already has his plate full on a normal day. As he prepares to move to Kampong Kapor Methodist Church who is incidentally celebrating her 118th anniversary in January 2012, he is shouldering even more areas of responsibilities. Nonetheless, being the ever-steadfast man he is, he counts it a privilege to lead the church and is looking forward to it.The experience at Faith has been helpful as a preparatory chapter, he said. “I have learnt from Pastor Shih Ming insights on how to pastor and lead a church which I will add to my own experience. This will be of great help as I move to KKMC. Pray for me to have God’s wisdom to lead KKMC well, to get to know and love the congregation, to help them grow in Faith, Hope and Love and to live worthy lives, for the honour and glory of God!” As Faith sends off our well-loved pastor in the midst of moving into the year 2012, we receive Pastor
Kenneth’s parting words of encouragement for us as a church family: “As individuals, small groups and congregation, do continue to emphasise Faith, Hope and Love (1 Corinthians 13:13) in all that you do, and seek to live lives worthy of the calling God has given to you (Ephesians 4:1). And as you do so, with what you may be called to do and have to adjust to in 2012, you will then do it in a manner that will show that you love God and love people. May God bless Faith! It has been a privilege to have been one of your pastors!” It has been a privilege to serve along with you too, Pastor Kenneth, corny jokes and all. †
By Noelle Tang Noelle serves as Communications Manager in Faith Methodist Church and attends Agape Amigoes PCM group. She loves the 11am Service which she calls her ‘Jesus time’, and you can often find her at the second row when she is not roaming with a camera in hand. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and reading, and cuddling her Norfolk Terrier. When the travel bug hits, she loves to travel and have varied experiences of this beautiful world!
“I am Pastor Paul Nga:
Home!” It is not everyday that you get the privilege of interviewing someone who has dedicated his lifetime to serving the Lord. Rev Paul Nga’s love for God is heartfelt and his experiences are vivid. Pastor Paul joined the Faith church family in August 2011 and is quickly assimilating into the church. He is usually seen chatting with people after Sunday Services. His humble disposition and charming sincerity naturally sets you at ease, and his unique brand of humour is sure to tickle your funny bone! Faithlink catches up with our ‘new’ pastor.
You are new but not ‘new’. Can you introduce yourself for those who do not know you? To date, I have served 30 years as a pastor with the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) under The Methodist Church in Singapore. I am a “PK” (not “pai-kia” but “Preacher’s Kid”), as my Dad, Reverend T.C Nga, was a teacher-pastor and the founding
pastor of Faith Methodist Church, as well as some other Methodist churches. My mum was a teacher and I have three sisters. We stayed in the old Faith Methodist Church parsonage from 1965 till 1976 when my dad was elected as the first full-time President of TRAC. Faith was therefore very much a part of my growing up years.
Has it ever occurred to you that you would come back to Faith? Any feelings when you received your appointment? As an elder with TRAC, I can be appointed by the Conference President anywhere and anytime. However, whenever “movement” takes place, I believe that it is God’s perfect plan and timing for me! When I first received word that I would be appointed to Faith, I must confess I was somewhat confused. I thought that after the season of pruning, ploughing
Home Front and purging in Living Waters Methodist Church, God would involve me in a season of planting and producing. However God has other plans and brought me to Faith for a season of recuperating, refreshing, and restoring. As such, you can say that I am “home”! Interestingly, I would like to mention that God in His own way guided me to read two books during the Lent season this year – “The Happiest People on Earth” by Demos Shakarian and “The Grand Weaver” by Ravi Zacharias. In retrospect, God was preparing me for the season of transition.
You have been away from Faith for some 10 years. Can you tell us where you have been serving during these years? After Faith, over the last 10 years, I pastored Aldersgate Methodist Church and Living Waters Methodist Church and served at TRAC level as Youth Director, Director of Ministry in Schools, Chairman of the TRAC Board of Youth Ministry and TRAC Secretary (not in chronological order).
We are so glad to have you back at Faith. Can you tell us more about your current area of responsibility? In the last few months, Pastor Shih Ming has assigned me to “shadow” Pastor Kenneth who will be appointed to Kampong Kapor Methodist Church as Pastor-in-charge from 1 January 2012. Hence, I have been slowly getting involved with the Worship & Music Ministry, and I am also spearheading the committee that is putting together a church-wide prayer gathering on Saturday 7 January 2012.
You always give us plenty to laugh about on Sundays when you preach! Is that your unique style? Pastors preach only out of our experiences with God and what He places in our heart to meet His people at their points of need. But of course, we also preach in our God-given style – according to our personalities, interests, gifts and talents. So, in a way, yes, that is me!
Can you share with us about your family? This October 2011, my wife Mee Hee and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Mee Hee continues to serve as Pastor-in-charge of Christalite Methodist Chapel, and our children, Hosea and Dorcas, are both working. We continue to trust in the Lord for life partners for both of them, and God willing, the “gift(s) of life”!
Is there any particular thanksgiving and blessing in your life that has been a defining moment for you over the past years? God continues to preserve my life for His own purpose. In end-September 2006, while at a full-time youth workers’ retreat in Malacca, I experienced increased tightening and pain in my upper chest. Thankfully, I received medical attention immediately and was evacuated to Singapore the next day. I received two stents, but my heart muscles were not affected at all! Praise the Lord! With the Lord’s protection and provision, I have been able to continue serving Him fully.
Please share something interesting about yourself that no one knows. I am an introvert – yes, believe me! I am actually extremely reserved and shy. This is something which not only few people know about, but those who do find it totally incredulous!
Do you have any personal mandate or Bible verse which you keep close to your heart? The Bible (God’s Word) is full of “gems” to help me know and align myself to the heart of God the Father, the love of God the Son Jesus Christ, and the power of God’s Holy Spirit. I strive always to hear the Lord Himself say of me as a “good and faithful servant”, and as much as possible, to have a clear conscience before God and people. †
By Lynette Ng Lynette attends the 10am Service and occasionally the 11am, as well as Shalom PCM group. She works as an Analyst and in her free time, loves travelling and reading. She is also an avid dog lover and proclaims her German Shepherd Hugo as her pride and joy!
Faith’s New Logo:
What Do You Have To
As part of Faith Methodist Church’s 45th Anniversary celebrations this year, the church embarked on a revamp of the church logo. The familiar motif of the ‘tree’ has made way for a ‘butterfly logo’ that sports vibrant colours and entails significance behind each element.
By Winnie PNG Winnie attends the 11am Service and am part of a cosy little PCM group called Matches. She enjoys running, reading and eating desserts in her free time!
Home Front Here are what some in our church family have to say about it:
“It’s very modern and forward-looking, something that I think the younger generation can better identify with.” ~ Jacelyn
“It’s a good move, given the direction the church is moving towards – to transform lives and change the world.” ~ Gail
“I think the new logo is very fresh!” ~ Jane
“It looks very modern, and every part of the logo has significance behind it.” ~ Bill
“I like the new church logo because it is vibrant, shaped like a butterfly that depicts continuous transformation.” ~ Larry
Looks like our guys and gals have got it right! The new logo is beginning to resonate with the church family and its vibrant colours and dynamic look is certainly growing on us. Not convinced? Here is the not-so-new logo and an explanation of its various elements. I hope it begins to grow on you too. †
The Faith logo is a visual representation of Faith’s vision to transform lives and change the world.
and outward, espousing the energy and vitality of the Faith church family.
• The image of a butterfly swiftly brings to mind metamorphosis, or transformation of lives. • Its wings are in a position of taking flight, symbolising our focus on outreach. • The Cross at the centre affirms our dependence on Jesus Christ as the centre of our lives and in all that we do. It reminds us that transformation of lives and the world is for Christ, with Christ, by Christ and in Christ. • The gradual outward radiating gradient of colours is akin to the transformed life that, with Jesus at the centre, radiates outwards to change the community and the world. • In general, the new logo has a vibrant feel and projects a sense of movement forward
COLOURS The warm colours of the logo represent the mood of Faith – warm and friendly; happy and lively; exciting and energetic; active and sociable; confident and courageous…yet tender and compassionate. The bright colours reflect a celebratory atmosphere. TEXT The font [Baker Signet] is modern and contemporary, well-suited for a progressive, decisive and dynamic church.The colour purple is used to represent spirituality and transformation.
Whazzup! 45th Anniversary Celebration Service and Dinner
Whazzup! 10-07-2011 18-05-2008
圣诞 小组 三位智者 相传从前有三位智者，名叫梅尔基奥尔(Melchoir)、加斯珀(Gasper)和巴尔萨 泽(Balthasar)。 身为智者，他们是波斯国最高祭司阶级成员；国王经常在寻求他们的忠告后才 开始他各种各样的事业。他们熟悉解梦以及占星术，在祭司和政府领域中扮演 双重角色。 这三个人，特地跋山涉水远行了一段很长的路(从波斯到伯利恒估计大约一千 里，约为新加坡到寮国首都的距离)，去寻找他们在天上发现到显示犹太人君王 即将出生的星象。
他们为何而来 是什么使智者进行这一次重大的旅程？我 认为有三个原因。 首先，那里一定有某种很大的吸引力让他们 认为这艰苦旅程是值得的。历代传说他们极 可能熟悉某些旧约圣经上的经文，像民数记24 章17节“……有星要出于雅各，有杖要兴于以色 列……” 第二，他们也许知道不会独自一人踏上旅途，而是与其 他志同道合的智者同行，从而让他们更加壮胆。 第三，我相信神预备让这些人见证象征耶稣基督即将出 世的星象，因为祂知道，当他们踏上向耶稣致敬的旅程 时，他们将会经历属灵上的转变。他们毕竟是从事占卜 的人(他们是研究天体寻求启示的)。
或者是不是我们尽管在团契小组里，却仍然自家自扫门 前雪？ 第三，智者的旅程不只让他们侍奉上帝，也是让他们在 见证了上帝的荣耀后得到改造。 上帝让我们成为小组的一部份是有祂的理由的。通过我 们共同的旅程，祂期望我们感受到祂的恩典，从而脱胎 换骨，不再走以前的路。 据说在阿陀斯山的圣保罗修道院里，有一个15世纪的金 箱，里头收藏智者送给圣婴耶稣的礼物。它是由15世纪 的玛拉班库唯捐献给寺院的。玛拉是塞尔维亚国王德达 班库唯的女儿，奥托曼苏丹穆拉特二世的妻子和穆罕默 德二世征服者（君士坦丁堡）的教母。
旧约中有经文，如以赛亚书60章3节的预言 ：“万国要 来就祢的光，君王要来就祢发现的光辉。”
它们似乎属于君士坦丁堡圣宫遗址的一部份，据称自公 元四世纪以来就在那儿展示。1999 年 9 月 9 日的雅典 地震后它们暂时转移到雅典做展示，以便加强人们的信 仰和为地震灾民筹款。
毕竟，这就是我们的上帝做的事 -- 祂不乐意看到我们 活在黑暗中，而是不断引导我们走近祂的灵光，好让我 们可以看见并了解祂的行事。
智者已不在多年，圣经上唯一提到智者的也只是四部福 音中的马太福音。但是，他们对万王之王的臣服行为却 是世世代代令人们铭记于心。
智者小组的重现 我不知道如今我们的团契小组是否可以学习两千多年前 的智者。他们不是漫无目的、偶然的组织 -- 他们有 一个共同的目标。他们的目标就是要见证万王之王的荣 耀。
今年的圣诞，我祈祷我们教会的团契小组将会有相同的 目标、决心和感染力，像第一批智者，在那第一个圣诞 节一样。 †
今日，我们思珍堂的团契小组们知道要往哪个方向走 吗？我们的小组有没有目的地？我们能不能替我们的小 组设立年度目标，比如提高某方面的品德或为神的国做 侍奉？
杨治伟牧师 其次，智者都知道旅途将是漫长而又艰难的，但他们清 楚其中的代价，并团结在一起，鼓励彼此完成这次旅程 。 在这漫长又艰难的人生道路上，我们可以在一路上积极 地互相支持和鼓励别人继续朝着设定的目标前进吗？又
这一切都是在耶稣受难日的一个星期前开始的。当时，我出差台北回来后胃 炎发作。我觉得极端的悲伤和恐惧。我脑海里重复地想像我会突然去世，遗 留下亲爱的人。我家婆去年七月也是这样离开了我们。我感觉被恐惧袭击至 瘫痪，时时刻刻需要有人陪伴，常常莫名其妙地想哭。 我的丈夫虽然困惑但是很体恤我。他接管整个家务和看顾孩子们，并一次又 一次送我去看医生。他甚至问是否他做得不够。我感觉糟透了，尤其是因为 他已经做了这么多。 我自个儿想了一会儿，但找不到任何理由来解释这些恐惧和悲伤。我的家庭 和工作一切都很好。生活基本上很美好，而我也每天祈祷，感谢上帝赐给
我们生活中所有的恩典。属灵方面，我们是比两年前 更坚强。我们参加教会、小组、甚至在教会里的一些 座谈会。我就是无法理解这些无端的恐惧和极度的悲 伤。我甚至祈求上帝，叫祂不要把我带走，不要让我 离开我的家人。 这抑郁的思想让我感觉衰弱。每当有发烧、头痛，我 就会害怕动脉膨胀而突然暴毙；脑子里涌现救护车和 躺在加护病房被胶管缠身的情景。我本身有护理的背 景，所以这些想法在过去是不可能会吓倒我的。现在 它变成了一种恶性循环 -- 发生时我会感觉疾速的心 跳、胸口闷等症状，想像我将会突然死去。我平常的 应变机能完全丧失了！甚至连祷告都没有帮助；有的 只有不信和疑问。 其实，自从我家婆过世后我便一直有惊慌症。这样的 事件已经不是第一而是第二次发生了。多年前，我曾 经目睹我叔叔孤独死亡后腐烂的尸体。 我决定打电话给教会，并要求李光汉牧师通过电话为 我祷告。他告诉我诗篇46章10节：“你们要休息，要 知道我是神”也可以解释为要安静，不做任何事情， 只要休息。也许，我的确过着非常紧张的生活 -- 要 应付家庭、工作和学业。他也和我一同祷告约翰一书4 章4节的经文: “…因为那在你们里面的，比那在世界 上的更大”。我在这些经文中找到慰藉，祷告后感觉 好些。他还建议我联络CareNet（思珍堂关怀事工） ，而我也通过我的小组成员联络上了。我也打 电话给我教会的好朋友 -- 她在面簿上寄 了一首歌给我。 关怀事工的 Christine 和 Jackie 在很短的 时间内联络我，聆听我的问题，并和我及 我丈夫一起祷告。他们告诉我要深思这些 经文，并提醒我恐惧不是来自上帝。 “要穿戴神所赐的全副护甲，就能抵挡魔鬼 的诡计。”（以弗所书6章11节） “因为神赐给我们，不是胆怯的心，乃是刚 强，仁爱，谨守的心。”（提摩太后书1章7 节 ） 他们劝我争取时间休息，允许自己哀悼家婆 的逝世。事后想想，家婆过世后我的确不敢伤 心，因为了害怕小孩受到影响。 就在濯足星期四那天(耶稣受难日前夕)，通过 祈祷与支持我终于有了一个突破。我独自坐在 家里祷告，祈求上帝给我解脱；带走我的痛苦并 让我充满祂的圣灵与平安。最初，我觉得有点挣
扎；但当我放松后，我觉得体内有一股暖流从头顶流 至脚趾尖，流遍全身。这股力量强大，我开始大哭， 但是这一次，是一种解脱的哭泣。过去几个星期，我 像是被困在极端哀伤、恐惧和绝望的网中一样。在这 一刻过后，我觉得面罩被移开了。虽然我因为不吃而 身体疲弱，但我觉得轻松和解脱；不再感到极度恐惧 和绝望了。 在濯足星期四那天我们去了崇拜会，杨治伟牧师为我 们祷告。他告诉我先生说他既是一家之主，在属灵 的领域中就有权力，所以他应该每日为家人的平安祷 告。我先生就开始每晚大声为我们祈祷。 经历了这一切，上帝让我看到了祂对我的大爱。我也 意识到我的丈夫、家人和朋友们在这段期间的照顾和 关爱。我尤其感激我的丈夫在我复元其间照顾家庭。 我的姐妹也来看望我，和我一起分享经历并鼓励我。 同事在我拿病假时帮忙分担我的职责。我在教会、关 怀事工、小组和所有祈祷武士的支持下，终于走出抑 郁症！通过这次经验，我也知道将来要到那里寻求援 助。 有时，上帝让我们经历某些事情，是要我们张开眼睛 看我们周围的人。我觉得非常蒙福和被爱。我确实还 有一些突然而来的恐惧时刻；届时我寻求了我亲密的 基督徒朋友帮忙为我祷告。 这次经历过后，诗篇23章4节现在对我来说有了新的含 义。“我虽然行过死荫的幽谷，也不怕遭害。因为袮 与我同在。袮的杖，袮的竿，都安慰我”（诗篇23:4 ）。我们有时以自己的力量去战斗恐惧而忘记这么爱 我们， 爱到让祂唯一的儿子为我们死在十字架上的神 是会把我们从生活的困境中解救出来的。 说真的，知道神的话语是非常重要的。你知道圣经 (BIBLE)的意思是“地球上生活的基本指导书籍”( Basic Instruction Book of Life on Earth)吗？在这样 的非常时期，我们应当领取圣经中所有承诺，让它们 成为我们的护甲、 弹药和指导 。 †
茱蒂 茱蒂参加上午11时的主日崇拜。他们是Jabez 1小组的组员，有三个孩 子，15岁的达里尔(Daryl)，6岁的爱尔登(Ethan)和5岁的妮可(Nicole) 。空闲时她喜欢听音乐和步行。
Organised by the Trinity Annual Conference, TRACKers is a three-month programme for youth awaiting further education or national service, in order that they may grow in their Christian faith through the three phases of Biblical Training, Overseas Mission and Local Internship. With the intention of wanting to know God’s Word and the encouragement of a very excited TRACKer from the 2010 cohort, five youth – Rebecca Lok, Esther Lim, Sophia Chan, Clarence Ho and Joanna Tan – from Faith Methodist Church’s The TackleBox enrolled in the 2011 programme held from January to March this year.
Being Equipped The Biblical Training phase was held at Paya Lebar Methodist Church. I am so thankful for the speakers who came down to share insights on many different topics, for the knowledge received was truly priceless. Esther also found it particularly meaningful. She said, “It was a very enriching period as I learnt to draw closer to God. I felt that God surfaced the issues
entrenched in my life and it was quite interesting to pursue God’s take on those matters. I also learnt the importance of journalling our walk with God so that we will not forget what He has taught and done for us.”
To The Regions Beyond! The TRACKers had the chance to apply what we learnt from the biblical training by preparing for and going out on mission trips! This year, teams were sent to Cambodia, East Timor, Myanmar, India and Philippines. I had the privilege of going to Cebu, Philippines. We stayed at the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base in Cebu and participated in their ministries. The YWAM missionaries left a deep impression on me. They have shown me that there can be no limit as to how much you are willing to give God. Though it was not my first mission trip to Philippines, it was my first time interacting with kids from the slums. They are so lovable, full of energy and eager to learn! I am overjoyed to be able to learn so much from them and for the opportunity to be a part of their lives. For Rebecca, her team went to Madurai, India, and it was there that she experienced the power of the Holy Spirit strongly. She shared her experience, “One of the things I’ve learnt during TRACKers which has forever changed the way I think and pray is how the Holy Spirit empowers us. Through TRACKers, I’ve learnt that anyone can be a healer, and anyone can cast out demons because we have the authority of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. All we need to do is believe!
“During our home visits in Madurai, my team split up into groups to go to different homes, sharing our testimonies and praying for the villagers. The villagers and missionaries in turn also shared with us how people were healed of cancer, tumours and many other afflictions. A deaf and mute boy was in fact healed when one of our groups prayed for him! Regretfully, I was not there to see it in person but it was truly encouraging and amazing to hear it firsthand from my team members.”
Transforming Lives, Changing the World As part of the final phase of TRACKers, the five of us had the opportunity to intern with our own Faith Methodist Church, arranged specially for us by dearest Auntie Moh Ying. We learnt about the various ministries and even forged relationships with the friendly church staff!
Did TRACKers help us get to know God more? Perhaps Sophia summed it up well, “Most of the time it was just simple things like looking out of the window, seeing His creation and wondering how one can see all this and not believe that God exists; or how Someone so big and mighty could love a sinner like me; or seeing the kids in East Timor and how happy they were, knowing that this kind of pure joy only comes from God Himself. I feel that if we are ever looking for love or looking to find something or someone who embodies love, we just have to look to God and know that He is the greatest love story ever told or written about.” †
Our one-month stint at Faith was meaningful mainly because we got to know the staff at our church better. The staff are really sweet and we have to sheepishly admit that they must have tolerated us quite a bit – we have a reputation for eating snacks by the truckload and our noise level was so loud that even though we were stationed in the Prayer Room behind the Worship Hall, we could be heard loud and clear from the church office! We are truly thankful for Faith’s support in our journey and for our mentors Esther Ong, Chong Ming Li and Wee Lian Kuanh. We may have graduated from the TRACKers programme, but our journey of faith continues.
By Joanna Tan Joanna attends GoFish Rangers PCM group. She enjoys singing, swimming, playing musical instruments, reading fiction, looking for good food and exploring new things! She is currently studying Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore.
It all started with a bad bout of gastritis upon my return from a business trip to Taipei, just a week before Good Friday. I felt extremely sad and fearful. Imaginary fears of sudden death, leaving all my loved ones behind, were constantly in my mind. That was the way my mother-in-law left us last July. I felt very crippled by the fear and could not be left alone. I felt like crying all the time, for no apparent reason. My husband, though baffled, was very supportive. He took over the entire household, managing the kids, sending me to the doctor over and over again. He even asked if he was not doing enough. I felt horrible, especially since he had done so much. I sat down to think for a moment, but I could not find any reason to explain these fears and sadness. Everything was fine at home and at work. Life was basically great and I pray daily, thanking God for all the blessings in our lives. Spiritually, we were stronger now compared to two years ago. We attend church, small group and even some talks in church. I simply could not understand these unprovoked fears and extreme sadness. I even prayed to God, asking him not to take me away from my family. The depressive thoughts were debilitating. When I had fever and headache, I immediately
thought I was going to get an aneurysm and will collapse suddenly, picturing an ambulance and being in an ICU ward with tubes sticking out of me. These thoughts would not have frightened me in the past because of my nursing background. It became a vicious cycle; I would panic, start feeling all the symptoms of a raised heartbeat, chest tightness and thought again that I was going to die suddenly. My usual coping mechanism was missing! Even praying did not help; there was disbelief and doubt. Actually, I had been having panic attacks since my mother-in-lawâ€™s passing last July. This traumatic event was not the first but second, as I had to witness my uncleâ€™s decomposing body when he died alone many years ago.
Nuggets of Thanksgiving I decided to call the church and ask for Pastor Clarence to pray for me over the phone. He told me that Psalm 46:10 (NIV): “Be still, and know that I am God” also could be interpreted as to be still, not doing anything and just resting. Perhaps, I was leading a very hectic life, juggling family, work and studies. He also prayed with me the verse in 1 John 4:4 (NKJV): “…He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world”. I found comfort in these verses and felt better after the prayer. He also suggested that I contact someone from CareNet, which I did through my small group member, Portia. I also called my good friend Monica from church and she sent me a song via Facebook. Christine and Jackie from CareNet came on very short notice and listened to my problems and prayed with my husband and I. They told me to meditate on these verses and reminded me that fear is not from God. “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11, NIV) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV) They advised me to take time to rest and allow myself to grieve over the loss of my mother-in-law, which, upon hindsight, was something I did not do for fear of upsetting my children. I finally had a breakthrough with prayers and support, on Maundy Thursday. I sat alone at home praying to God, asking him to deliver me from this; to take away my suffering and fill me with His Holy Spirit and peace. Initially, I felt a bit of a struggle but when I let go and relaxed, I could fill something flowing right through me, from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. It was powerful and I began crying and crying, but this time, it was a cry of relief. The past week, I had felt entrapped in a web of extreme sadness, fear and hopelessness. After that moment, I felt a veil had been lifted off me. Though physically weak from not eating, I felt light and relieved; I no longer felt the extreme fear and hopelessness anymore.
We went for Service on Maundy Thursday and Pastor Joel prayed for us. He told my husband that as the head of the family, he has the authority in the spiritual realm and he should pray for the family daily for protection. My husband Felix started praying for us aloud on a nightly basis. Through it all, God has shown me His great love for me. I also came to realise the love of my husband, family and friends who cared for me during this period. I am thankful especially for my husband, Felix; he took care of the family while I took time to recover. My sister visited me, shared with me and encouraged me. Colleagues at work helped cover my duties while I was on sick leave. With the support of the church, CareNet, my small group and all the prayer warriors, I managed to get out of depression! Through this experience, I also know where to look for support in the future. Sometimes, God allows us to go through certain experiences in order that we open our eyes to the people around us. I feel extremely blessed and very much loved. I did have some more sudden fearful moments, during which I sought help from my close Christian friends to pray for me. The words from Psalm 23:4 now has a new meaning after this experience. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, NIV) We sometimes try to fight fears with our own strength and we forget that the God who loves us so much…so much that he sent His only son to die on the Cross for us, will deliver us from our life’s difficult situations. Truly, knowing the living Word of the Lord is very important. Did you know that the BIBLE is the Basic Instruction Book of Life on Earth? We should claim all the promises in the Bible and they will become our armour, ammunition and instructions in times like these. †
By Judy Benetta Ong Judy attends the 11am Service and is married to Felix Ng. They attend Jabez 1 PCM group and have three children, Daryl, 15, Ethan, 6 and Nicole, 5. In her free time, she enjoys music and brisk walking.
Goodness In The
Bad Times I was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in October 2005. My family and I were shocked to learn of the illness. At that time, I was in very bad shape, having been hospitalised for about 50 days in the high dependency ward. My platelets were near zero then. After six rounds of chemotherapy, I had a stem cell transplant done in March 2006. I knew God was fighting the battle with me. I told myself that I must be strong and positive. But in all honesty, I was emotionally weak. By Godâ€™s grace and mercy, the chemotherapy and stem cell transplant successfully treated the disease. Without family support and the love of everyone, I would not have be able to go through this ordeal. This was an emotional journey no one has prepared me for. The chemotherapy and transplant was a long and frustrating process, and I suffered the side effects of nausea, numbness of fingers, ulcers, loss of hair and taste buds and was given diet restrictions. In these bad times, however, I received many blessings and miracles and I know it was Godâ€™s
Nuggets of Thanksgiving
mighty hand at work. God knew my fears and He was quick to comfort me with His love in so many wonderful ways. The tremendous support from each of my family members was a source of encouragement to me. I am so thankful to the Lord for them. My sister Tess, being my main caregiver, had to learn to do dressing on my peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line. The insertion of the PICC line was necessary for giving intravenous medicine and fluids. She gave me injections when my blood count was low and also delivered home-cooked food to me, despite having to juggle work and hospital visits. My Dad would do the marketing and Mum made sure that the food prepared was ready for my sister’s collection. My nephews and sister Molly would run errands and keep me company in the hospital. Friends, relatives, colleagues, brothers and sisters-inChrist constantly gave me words of encouragement. They brought me both physical and spiritual food. I received all sorts of blessings, well-wishes, calls, flowers, letters, cards, reading materials, sermon CDs. One even took the trouble to cook hokkien mee to satisfy my craving in the hospital. A Christian friend messaged me a Bible verse every morning. Another tried to find out the best TCM doctor for me and would drive me there. My sister’s colleagues from another church also offered to pray for me at home. God even opened opportunities for me to encourage and share His Word with a neighbour’s daughter who was a backslidden Christian while in the ward!
March this year due to a persistent high fever and chills. Various tests were done, including blood test, X-ray and scans, but the doctors were still unable to find the cause of my fever after a two-week stay in the hospital. I became anxious during this period of waiting though I believe God was teaching me to be patient and to draw strength from Him. I would like to trust the Lord for the outcome of the test results, but my faith faltered when one of the doctors claimed that there is a possibility of a relapse. The church pastors and brothers and sisters in-Christ came to pray for me and it gave me great peace and encouragement. I am very honoured to be a member of the Faith church family indeed! The result of my tests came after I was discharged from hospital. I was diagnosed with tuberculosis! What a rare disease to have nowadays. I believe it was due to my weak immune system. I was told to take medicine regularly for six months and I believe God will heal me completely. In the course of my illness, I learned some important lessons. I came to know the importance of relationships, patience and the power of prayer. Through this, I have drawn closer to the Lord. I believe and have faith that I am healed completely from lymphoma, and I am praying for my loved ones to also know this mighty God who heals and loves, and who is always with us, one day. †
I went back to work after a 10-month break, initially part-time and later full-time. I thank God for giving me a wonderful boss who was very supportive. I am grateful for his care and concern, encouragement, prayer support and especially his allowing me to stay employed after such a long break. And after I resumed work, I have a thoughtful brother who came to fetch me daily to work without fail for more than three years. I believe God has healed me completely but He has put me to a test recently. I was hospitalised on 20
By Lim Eng Jee Eng Jee attends the 8am Service and serves in the Finance team on Sundays. She is also a bus befriender for the Mandarin Service.
When I first heard Mr Chew Kok Cheong’s story, it felt so surreal. In my mind, such events seem to have come right out of a TV serial or from a scene in the Hong Kong movie “Young and Dangerous” (古惑仔). A coffeeshop brawl that broke out over 10 years ago left him with a slight disability. He was not able to recount the exact details, but it was over drinks that his friends started getting rowdy. Before he knew it, one of his friends attacked him on the head with a knife. That fateful incident changed his life; the cut left him walking with a limp and with a slight speech impediment. Although he is able to move around by himself, Mr Chew has not been able to work since the incident due to limited movement. He stays with his brother who supports him financially. Faith Methodist Church came to know Mr Chew in 2008, through her Adopt-A-Block initiative where small groups from Faith visit residents at selected blocks regularly. Although he was reserved
Nuggets of Thanksgiving
initially, Mr Chew began participating in the FaithActs Seniors’ “We’re of Worth (WOW)” workout on Saturday mornings in 2009. When Faith Methodist Church’s Mandarin Service started in 2010, he went at the recommendation of a friend. Since then, his relationship with God grew, and I could tell that Mr Chew was brimming with joy and confidence as he recounted his experiences with God lately. One of his two tenants caused him some grief and almost got him into trouble with the authorities. The tenant reported that Mr Chew was renting out a room to an illegal worker because he was sore that Mr Chew did not want to continue letting him stay. The authorities came and did investigations. But curiously, the case was dropped after some time. Mr Chew believed that Jesus helped him as he had prayed about the situation. Early this year, Mr Chew was diagnosed with kidney stones. After a few visits, the doctor advised that he should go for a surgery to have them removed. He prayed about the condition. Again, miraculously, the doctor was surprised to find that the stones were gone a few weeks later during his review! As he recounted his experiences, he told me that the idols he prayed to before
Ten years ago, a violent act had almost ruined Mr Chew’s life. Ten years later, as he turned his life over to Jesus, God transformed his life from despair to joy.
did not protect him. These incidences convinced him that Jesus is real and he decided to become a Christian. As much as he is unable to read, he is getting a headstart in discipleship – he stays back after Service with a church member who shares the Bible with him using children’s materials and Mr Chew enjoyed the sessions! He also likes the sermons at the Mandarin Service and was eager to attend the baptism course that began on 1 October. In fact, by the time you read this, he would have already been baptised on 19 November! Ten years ago, a violent act had almost ruined Mr Chew’s life. Ten years later, as he turned his life over to Jesus, God transformed his life from despair to joy. The next ten years of Mr Chew’s life promises to be the best years as he finds his security in God. Mr Chew’s life was transformed because of the outreach by the small group that had participated in the Adopt-A-Block initiative. Despite Mr Chew’s initial reticence, they persevered and he was touched by their sincerity. If your small group has not adopted a block yet, would you consider doing the same for other “Mr Chew”s who are waiting for you to reach out to them with love that comes from the Father? † If your small group is interested in adopting a block, please contact Mr Patrick Chua at 6475 9433 or patchua@ faithmc.sg for more details.
By Tammy Ang Tammy loves singing and cats. Sending her links of cat videos will melt her heart and make her day. Nowadays, you will find her leading worship in the Mandarin Service on Sundays. She is also Ministry Assistant to both FaithConneXions and FaithFormation at Faith Methodist Church.
While every birth is viewed as a miracle for parents, especially first-time ones, the birth of Justine Goh in 2009 was especially miraculous considering she was born a number of weeks premature. Very tiny and delicate at birth, baby Justine is Faith Methodist Church member Sally Tan’s first granddaughter. Born in the early part of New York City’s cold Spring, Justine’s safe delivery was the fruit of plenty of prayers from Sally and her small group. Sharing and recalling how surprised she was to learn of her granddaughter’s pre-term arrival, Sally said her first priority then was to immediately book for a flight to New York. The possibility of her daughter’s
Nuggets of Thanksgiving delivery some two months ahead of schedule was worrying. “I was extremely worried; so much so that my blood pressure shot up,” Sally recalled. So she quickly mobilised her small group friends to pray for her granddaughter’s safety as well as for her own health, since she would not be able to travel if doctors deemed her blood pressure too high. “When I saw the doctor, he initially wanted to admit me to the hospital for monitoring as my blood pressure was too high,” she said. “I told him I simply had to fly to New York to be with my daughter and he told me to rest for the next few hours in his clinic and thankfully, my blood pressure managed to lower after medication and I was able to ask for my son to pick me up.” After securing an earlier flight to New York, Sally’s next challenge was making it in time for the birth of her daughter’s first child. Keeping her friends back in Singapore updated of the situation, Sally braced herself to meet Justine for the first time. At the hospital, Sally, together with her daughter and son-in-law, were shocked and saddened when they first saw Justine’s tiny size. Their fear and anxiety stemmed from the fact that premature infants were at greater risk for short and long term complications, including disabilities and impediments in growth and mental development.
While every birth is viewed as a miracle for parents, especially first-time ones, the birth of Justine Goh in 2009 was especially miraculous considering she was born a number of weeks premature.
Because she was nearly two months premature, Justine’s organs were not well-developed and she had to be placed in the intensive care unit for roundthe-clock monitoring and nursing. Sally remembered being particularly concerned about Justine’s frail health as she watched her little granddaughter
struggle for every breath while in an incubator. “Because her lungs and other organs were not well-developed, the doctor had to inject drugs to expedite their development,” she said.
good command of Mandarin, considering she is growing up in New York. Sally visits her twice a year and is filled with gratitude for God’s grace whenever she sees Justine.
Sally recalled how shocked she was to see so many tubes and drips attached to Justine’s delicate frame, “It was such a shock and I just could not hold back my tears. So I excused myself and ran out of the ward to cry and call out to God.”
Sally has this to say to encourage others who may be going through similar trials – do not feel embarrassed to ask others for help, even if it is for prayer because prayer certainly helps and the support from friends is crucial to getting through life’s crises. More importantly, trust in God to see you through and trust Him to give you the strength to wait for His deliverance. †
During those moments of despair, Sally was continually encouraged by God’s Word and her friends in her small group, whom she knew were steadily praying for her. Specifically, she was most assured by this verse which kept appearing in her mind: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12, NIV) After some days in the hospital, Justine was finally declared well enough to go home, much to her family’s delight and relief. Sally shared proudly that Justine is now a happy, healthy and precocious toddler with a sunny disposition and a surprisingly
By Aida Mekonnen Aida worships at the 11am Service and spends Friday evenings with her lovely friends from ‘Under His Construction’ small group.
Whazzup! Community Dinner: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Faith Methodist Church and 7th Anniversary of FaithActsâ€?
Photography: Gabriel Chua
God Became Man
The lyrics of the song “Christmas in The Air”:
God has granted all a second chance … There’s Christmas in the air On this night To this light We see it all again We are, with other Christians round the world, celebrating this important date in our calendar. It brings to my mind the incarnate Christ entering the human and physical world. I thought of three significant aspects when God took on the form of humanity, namely:
The Case For Faith
Historicity of Christ Here Jesus the second Person of the Godhead appeared to humankind and made His physical presence in our history. No one doubts the historicity of Jesus. We have several pieces of evidence that establish the historical reality of the founder of the Christian religion: the New Testament documents, ancient Jewish sources, Roman writings, early antagonists of Christianity, the testimony of the patristic writers, the art of the Roman catacombs, and the impact of Christianity in history. Albert Einstein, the famous physicist, said, “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene...His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
Humanity of Christ The humanity of Jesus is as essential to the Christian faith as His deity. When Christ became human, He subjected Himself to space and time. He experienced the pain and struggles of humanity. He understands our lives because He has also lived it (Hebrews 2:18). Because He understands, coming to Him we “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). As a man, He provided for us the pattern for living as a human (1 Peter 2:21). Karl Barth, the renowned theologian, said: “In Jesus, God wills to be true God not only in the height but also in the depth – in the depth of human creatureliness, sinfulness and mortality.”
gave up the voluntary use of His divine attributes” or “Jesus restricted the use of these divine attributes when He took on the form of man.” Think about how much the omnipotent God had downsized to become flesh. Those hands that formed all the worlds…they would now have to be held. The mouth that spoke to create the heavens and earth…it now had to learn to speak Aramaic and Hebrew. As Paul the apostle reminded us, “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion.” (Philippians 2:5-8, The Message) Such compelling historical evidence of Christ, the deity who is deeply acquainted with humanity and His pure humility in willing to die for the sins of the world should make us respond like Isaac Watts, who wrote: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” May Christ’s incarnation warm our hearts this Christmas! †
Humility of Christ We often hear that Jesus “emptied Himself of His divinity” or His deity, or that He abandoned a sovereign position and dominion when becoming incarnate. It has also been said, “When He left heaven and came to this earth, He
By William Tang William is one of Faith’s Local Workers with Eagles Communications. He is married to Serene and they have two children – Sandra, 21, and Jonathan, 18.
Do Christians believe in reincarnation? The Bible says that man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore, there is NO rebirth again and again. However, Christians believe in being “born again”. Jesus said that no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3). This raises the question, “How can a man enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born?” Nicodemus, a religious Jewish teacher, was struggling with this issue. He was impressed by what Jesus did and said, yet he did not dare to acknowledge this openly because of his peers. You see, Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish ruling council which was antagonistic towards Jesus. So Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night. Nicodemus knew that there was something special about Jesus – He was a teacher who had come from God. That was when Jesus said that Nicodemus must be born again. Nicodemus was puzzled, “How can someone be born when he is old?” Jesus clarified that this “rebirth” is not a physical rebirth but a spiritual birth. To be born again is to be born from above. This
The Case For Faith
When Jesus became a man, He came not to condemn man but as man’s Saviour, to provide the way of salvation for everyone.
is receiving a new life from God. You cannot see the spiritual birth but it is real. Just as you cannot see wind, nevertheless, it is real. Nicodemus was still skeptical and asked, “How can this be?”The problem with Nicodemus was not a lack of understanding but of belief. Jesus said, “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — Jesus Christ who was born into this world as a baby. Who would be in a better position to explain who God is and what He is like? Man or Jesus (who came from above)? Man (who is from the earth) speaks as one from the earth. A finite man cannot explain an infinite God! No one has ever seen God, but Jesus. He is the one and only Son, who is Himself God and being closest to the Father, He has made Him known to us. So, what did Jesus tell us about God? “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV) The Bible also tells us that “… to all who did receive Him (Jesus), to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent…but born of God.” (John 1:12-13, NIV) All his life, Nicodemus taught others that they could earn God’s approval by following a list of rules. 1
Now Jesus turned the tables by explaining that man simply needs to believe in Him to be born again, that is, to be born of God to become His children. This means that you have to abandon all attempts to become good or righteous to earn favour with God. Instead, you need to be willing to accept the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life offered by Jesus. When Jesus became a man, He came not to condemn man but as man’s Saviour, to provide the way of salvation for everyone. However, when He comes back a second time He will come as the Judge of all men. Nicodemus was faced with a dilemma. Should he seek acceptance by his peers or acceptance by God?1 You too have to choose whom you believe. Will you believe that Jesus came to die for your sins? Sin is anything that we think, say or do that breaks God’s laws. According to the Bible, Jesus died for our sins and was buried, but three days later, He came back to life. Jesus appeared first to His disciples; after that He was seen by more than 500 people at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). And without dying again, He went back to Heaven, where He is today. Because Jesus rose from the dead, He can give you a new life. So when a man believes in Jesus, he is forgiven of his sins and is born again (to become a child of God) making fellowship (friendship) with God possible. But if he chooses to reject Jesus then he chooses to stand before God on the basis of what he has done (instead of what Jesus had done on the cross). And he will be condemned because all his works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This Christmas, will you believe in Jesus, who came for you? †
By Alan Wong Husband of one and father of two adult sons, Alan is a Sunday School teacher at SunJam@10, ACJC and the Acting National Director of Child Evangelism Fellowship, Singapore. He is the author of “Building the Next Generation”, a book on dramatised family devotions for preschoolers and early primaries. He is also the webmaster of a parenting and education website.
So did Nicodemus believe in Jesus? See John 7:50-51; 9:38-40 for a probable answer.
Beauty Fix This column provides answers to any of your queries on beauty, skin and body care. Send your questions to us at Faithlink@faithmc.sg. Hear out the views and initial assessments by our columnist, but remember to seek further professional advice if necessary! Ultimately, God looks at the beauty of our hearts, not just external beauty!
My skin is dry, rough and showing signs of ageing like tiny lines. Would including more vegetables in my diet reverse the condition?
Signs of ageing include dry and rough skin and appearance of fine lines and pigments. Stress, UV light and a weakened immune system contribute to ageing. Free radicals are the main culprit for degeneration of skin cells. Oxidative stress and inflammation on the cellular level make skin appear dull, and slow down the skinâ€™s self-healing ability.
Nutritionists advocate the slogan, â€œWe are what we eat.â€? The food that we consume everyday feeds our skin cells. The fruits and vegetables mentioned below are essential for good health and benefit our skin as well. Vegetables: Spinach is rich in lutein and facilitates skin hydration. Yellow and orange root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes are rich in beta carotene and are strong antioxidants. Garlic is antiinflammatory and detoxifies the body, protects the body against cancer and heart disease, and boosts the immune system. Broccoli, turnip, brussel sprouts and radish (cruciferous vegetables) fight against toxins and free radicals, and are also rich in Vitamin C which rejuvenates skin. Ginger helps to reduce excess water retention and prevents bloating and puffiness that comes with ageing due to the slowing down of the digestive system. Fruits: Avocado is a good source of Vitamin E (antifree radicals) which slows down skin ageing. Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are rich in antioxidant flavonoids and anthocyanin (thus their colours), and help repair and protect skin cells. Tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit contain lycopene which neutralises free radicals and inhibit suninduced ageing. Kiwi and lemon contain high levels of Vitamin C, detoxifies our systems and supports the liver and kidneys. Besides consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, it is advisable to have a diet rich in omega 3 fats, which can be found in fish
such as salmon. A diet rich in proteins like lean meat, chicken and beans would help retain our skin’s youthful plumpness. Green tea and wine also contain antioxidants. Last but not the least, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day hydrates our body (and skin) cells and aids in detoxification. However, although nutrition from food keeps us healthy, it does not necessarily benefit our skin immediately. When food is digested, the nutrients are used to maintain our vital organs. It is very difficult to assess how much nutrients are transferred to our skin cells.
The skin under my fringe feels bumpy and hard. Why, and what can I do?
While there may be many causes which lead to bumpy forehead skin, I would like to suggest two common reasons: Acne skin during adolescence is usually barely visible while in the process of growing up. However, the presence of acne normally extends over a few years and the damaged cells may not have “healed” properly, thus leading to scars and open pores. Other secretions such as hardened sebum could still be trapped inside the skin, making it hard and bumpy. On the other hand, the metabolic rate of skin cells slows down with age. The renewal of the epidermis takes a longer time and skin complexion may be dull and coarse. The loss of collagen and elastin reduces the suppleness of the skin, and constant muscle contractions everyday harden the facial muscles, so skin tissue becomes thick and bumpy.The most common areas are muscles between and above our eyebrows (that is, just under the fringe) as most people furrow and raise their eyebrows unconsciously.
Therefore, besides maintaining a good and healthy diet, direct application of skincare products is fundamental to having good skin. Skincare products with ingredients which are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities (such as avocado extracts, centella, vitamin A, C, E, soya protein, rice oil etc) would give more prominent results in a shorter time frame; regular skincare treatments in salons facilitate as boosters to accelerate the skin cell’s absorption of nutrients too.
The easiest way to improve the condition is to apply hydration-based skincare products to soften the hardened patches. Salon treatments which combine softening products with extractions may help release, if any, the hardened sebum left behind by acne a long time ago. In addition, the use of advanced equipment such as Radio Frequency, which targets the deeper layers of the skin, can effectively relax hardened muscles. At home, apply a serum or cream with anti-ageing properties twice a day, and massage (at least once daily) both horizontally and vertically over the frowning lines and above the eyebrows. These will help relax those muscles, while providing the skin cells with the necessary nutrients. There is no one method which can permanently stop the degeneration of skin cells. Consistent maintenance and positive emotions (such as peace, happiness and contentment – fruits from the Spirit of God) are the keys to defying ageing.
By Shirley Mok Shirley has been working in the beauty care industry since 1994. She came to know the Lord Jesus at age 18 in Hong Kong, and her family (husband and two children) are members of Heritage PCM group. Her desire is to lead a balanced and abundant life. She is amazed at how skin reacts and heals, affirming that God is indeed a most wonderful Creator.
Helping Hands “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.” (Psalm 6:2) As we age, aches and joint pain seem increasingly inevitable. What used to be taken for granted in our youth – climbing the stairs, running, even walking - gradually becomes a dreaded ordeal. Though the context of this Bible verse may not be about rickety bones literally, yet how many of us have cried out to God in this way for healing in our pain and agony? God may heal our bones and bodies through signs and miracles – as Jesus did – but He may also choose to heal through doctors and trained professionals. So, check out the advice here. It may just be that help you need!
Should I switch from jogging to brisk walking as an alternative to my exercise routine? What sort of stretching exercises should I do to prepare for brisk walking? Physiotherapist Lily Lee provides some insights.
Jogging has many benefits as does brisk walking (fast walking). However, if you are not doing your jogging properly, it will lead to injuries. Brisk walking is a safe and low impact exercise, suitable for all ages. Wearing a proper walking shoe is essential. If you are young and not experiencing any pain at the knee, ankle, spine, neck, sole of the foot or leg muscles, by all means enjoy jogging. You can try five minutes of brisk walking followed by 10 minutes of jogging. Repeat this routine twice and end with five minutes of brisk walking. Nonetheless, if you have pain in any of those areas or you are in your forties, it is better to change to brisk walking. Do note that you will need to double your exercise time to burn almost the same amount of calories when you switch from jogging to brisk walking. Doctors recommend a brisk 30-minute walk for three to five days weekly at the speed of five to six kilometres per hour for good health. New walkers should start with 10 minutes and increase
the duration slowly. Swinging your arms from the shoulder while brisk walking will give you an upper body workout concurrently. Now, let us talk about stretching. Before exercising, we need to warm-up (low level activity) and after exercising, we need to do stretching (pulling). Warming-up before exercise prepares our body to accommodate the higher stress. It increases our body temperature to prevent injury and muscle soreness from exercise. Passive warm-up (wearing thicker clothes, massage with heat ointment) should follow with active warm-up (gentle and slight bending and stretching movement of arms, hips and knees, walking, brisk walking, slow jogging). Active warm-up is more effective and includes the low intensity workout of the whole body. The easiest way to warm-up is to walk or brisk walk five to eight minutes before jogging. This should be enough for a non-athletic person. Specific areas of warm-up would be needed for a specific sport. At the end of your exercise routine, do stretching with breathing exercises for 10 minutes. Stretch your hamstrings, hip muscle, calf muscles, back and abdominal muscles and neck and shoulder muscles. Hold the stretched muscles for 10 to 15 seconds and relax. Repeat this action 10 times and do the same for the other side. Please do not overstretch the muscles. You can do stretching in a lying down or standing position.
Here are some suggestions for basic stretching: For leg and abdominals: • In standing position: bend your left leg’s hip and knee at 90 degrees with foot touching the floor • The right leg should stretch out straight backward with heel up and with your face looking slightly upward till you feel the stretch • Hold for 15 seconds and relax • Change the position of left and right and repeat the procedure 10 times For forearm and trunk stretching: • Stretch left arm upward with the right hand holding the opposite (left) shoulder • Turn the trunk slightly backward and hold for 15 seconds for stretching and then relax • Change arm for the other part of trunk to stretch • Repeat this 10 times For back and leg stretching: (* if you have back problems, please do not do this) • In sitting position on the floor with legs straight and slightly apart • Reach for your toes with both hands as far as possible • Hold for 15 seconds and relax • Repeat this procedure 10 times For details of other stretching exercises, you can visit http://sportmedicine.about.com/cs/flexibility.
By Lily Lee Lily is a physiotherapist by occupation. She is married to Victor Lee and they have two adult sons, Jonathan, 32 and Daniel, 27. She attends the 8am Service and Sweet Aroma PCM group. Lily is also involved in international ministry work in Myanmar. In her free time, she enjoys flowers and gardening.
The information provided here is for educational and information purposes only. This is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified and licensed physician or healthcare provider. Please consult your doctor if you require professional medical help.
Heart & Soul Spirituality touches all aspects of our lives and defines the way we live. However, there may be times when you are confused or simply faced with a dilemma. Do not lose heart! If you have any queries on Christianity, matters of theology or spirituality, send them to us at Faithlink@faithmc.sg. Questions should be concise and kept within 40 words. Hear out the views and initial assessments by our columnist, but remember to seek further pastoral advice if necessary!
I work among children and get frustrated and angry easily. Hence, I find it hard to look cheerful. I feel ‘unChristian’ as a result, and cannot bring myself to mention God when I am at work. I feel guilty I am not bearing testimony for God and feel like resigning. I need advice on this.
Even though I am not a career guidance counsellor, I can sense that working among children may not be your passion and competence. As far as I know, people who work with children tend to be more patient, understanding, and are able to relate to children at their level. Even if children can be rebellious, noisy and unruly, often testing one’s nerves, a teacher or a caregiver of children would be trained to handle such situations well without losing one’s temper. The problem is often not with the children – they are after all, children. If you are unable to work with children without getting easily frustrated and angry, then perhaps you need to find your happiness somewhere else. Or perhaps you can seek training opportunities to better equip yourself for the job!
By Michael Tan Michael Tan is Vice President of Corporate Communications at Eagles Communications. He is also an editor and evangelist. Michael and his wife Siwilai attend the 11am Service and Grace PCM group at Faith Methodist Church.
1 Life 4:1 eat drink and be merry
Cheese and Herb Scones
These scones, besides being good for breakfast or tea, are great to serve with a festive meal – use them to soak up gravy and sandwich roast meats.
Ingredients 285 grams pl ain flour 15 grams po tato starch 1 1/2 tablespo ons baking po wder 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1 1/2 tablespo ons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon fresh rosemar y leaves 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 60 grams co ld unsalted bu tter, cut into 150 grams ch small bits eese, grated 175 grams pl ain unsweete ned yoghurt 10 0 ml water
Makes 12 scones Method
Celsius. Line a baking 1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees sheet with baking paper. baking powder and 2. Sift flour, potato starch, ing bowl. Add sugar bicarbonate of soda into a mix rything is thoroughly and salt and whisk until eve mixed. e and add to bowl. 3. Finely chop rosemary and thym rub it into the flour 4. Add butter to the bowl and l the mixture looks mixture with your fingertips, unti cheese. like fine sand. Stir in the grated together until smooth, 5. Whisk yoghurt and water spatula until a moist, then pour into bowl. Stir with a crumbly dough forms. flour. Turn dough out 6. Dust a work surface lightly with just to help it come onto surface and knead briefly scones will be hard. together – do not over-knead or ghly 20cm by 15cm. Pat dough into a rectangle rou and cut dough into 12 Dip a very sharp knife in water een each cut. squares, wetting the knife betw et, spacing them at least 7. Place scones on baking she utes, until risen and 5cm apart. Bake for 15 to 18 min well browned. Serve warm.
By Christopher Tan Photography by Christopher Tan
Christopher is a writer and food consultant who attends the 8am Service, and who believes that good food – like all beautiful art – should be appreciated as a gift.
WHO’S READING WHAT Looking for book recommendations or just curious what Faith’s bookworms are poking their noses into? Faithlink hunts down our own personalities to find out for you!
“More Than A Parting Prayer:
Lessons in Care-Giving for The Dying” By William H. Griffith
Death is not usually a subject that people feel comfortable discussing. When we are informed that someone we value is dying, some of the questions that race through our minds are often: What will I say when I see her? Should I call? Should I visit? What will we talk about? This book is a must-read as we are bound to face such situations sooner or later. Ironically, death is a certainty for everyone, yet we all fumble on how to handle it when the time comes. But, I quote Griffith: “We are not, after all, the ‘living’ ministering to the ‘dying’. We are living persons, who will die, ministering to living persons who will die sooner”. Indeed, this book can allay much of our fears and anxieties of care-giving for the dying. By recounting his firsthand counselling experience in hospice care, William Griffith provides simple and realistic responses in Christian care-giving for the dying. He lists three broad principles in care-giving for the dying.
• First, Being is Doing – We will be frustrated by our inability to do something to change the diagnosis of the dying. But remember he does not need answers; he simply needs a person to journey with him. • Second, Be Honest – We worry about saying the wrong thing. Be honest about feelings and inadequacies; admit your vulnerability, including the sharing of embrace and tears. • Third, Redefine Hope – The person with a terminal diagnosis must not be robbed of hope. She may not hope for a cure but she needs to be able to hope for what is achievable. Besides these three overarching principles, case-specific lessons are drawn out in 25 short, easy-to-read chapters discussing cases that highlight differing needs, with simple and realistic suggested responses to the dying and their care-givers. Every chapter ends with ‘Lessons for Caregivers’ where he
1 Life 4:1
analyses the underlying feelings and desires of the dying and the grieving process, as well as the lessons on care-giving for these specific situations. Some of the pertinent questions covered in the book include: • How do you minister to a non-responsive patient? • How do you respond to a dying patient who still believes in being healed by faith? • How do you respond to a patient whose faith in God has been shaken?
has meaning so reviewing their life contributions has an important part in comforting the dying. In the last three chapters, the author focuses not on the dying but on the care-givers. The author examines coping with care-giving when struck with personal tragedy and the apprehensions of some clergy ministering to the dying. He also relates his own personal journey of “grief to comfort” when his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The cases are not just about the elderly or terminally ill. There is one especially heart wrenching case where he recounts the struggle of a couple over the decision to remove life support from their threeyear-old.
Most of us prepare for major milestones in our lives like career, marriage and childbirth but few of us think about preparing for the final milestone -death. “More Than A Parting Prayer” is a handbook that helps us handle the issues of the dying responsibly and prepare us to face the final stage of life’s journey.
For me, I learnt two lessons from Griffith. One is that “care-giving is rarely about highly developed plans that take a great deal of money or effort… but it is the small, seemingly insignificant measures that signals to the dying and the grieving that they are not alone.” Another lesson is, for close ones facing death, that affirmation of their legacies is important. Everyone appreciates that his or her life
Hwee Sian attends the 10am Service at ACJC and has been a Caregiver since 2010.
By Low Hwee Sian
Kung Fu Panda 2 In 2008, Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda proved such a hit that it raked in over US$630 million at the box office worldwide, which was not bad for an animated flick. With such a performance, a sequel was almost inevitable. And after a three-year hiatus, I think they made another hit with KFP2!
On The The Cast
Almost all of the original cast appears again in KFP2; Jack Black (Po), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Jacky Chan (Monkey), Lucy Liu (Snake), Seth Rogan (Mantis), David Cross (Crane) and Dustin Hoffman (Master Shifu). Add Michelle Yeo (Soothsayer), JeanClaude Van Damme (Master Croc) and the brilliant fiend Gary Oldman (Lord Shen) and you have a group of actors who clearly had great fun in the recording booth!
Some of you might have noticed that there was no movie review in the last issue of Faithlink (did you?) It was all the fault of my not-so-trusty four-year-old laptop which, in a fit of electronic rebellion, simply refused to cooperate! Partly to make up for the column’s ‘absence’ in the previous issue, and partly to have the best of both movies (I had a hard time deciding which one to choose), I will review both Kungfu Panda 2 and The Blind Side in this issue.
There was a ruthless and bitter Peacock warlord, Lord Shen,
The Blind Side Directed by John Lee Hancock and released in March 2010, the film is a truelife biopic based on the story of AfricanAmerican, All-American football star, Michael Oher. Made on a miniscule budget of under US$30 million, it went on to gross worldwide takings of US$310 million with lead actress Sandra Bullock picking up the Oscar for Best Actress along the way. You may recall that one of our pastors briefly mentioned the movie during our Church Camp in 2009. That was one of the reasons I chose to watch the movie – the other was because Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite Hollywood actresses who has come a long way since her first movie, Speed, released in 1994.
The Cast By William Tay William attends the 8am Service, together with his wife Evelyn, two children, Gabrielle and Glenn, his mother, Nancy, and their Christian domestic helper, Sati. He and his family also host and lead an inter-generational small group, “Big Feet and Little Feet”.
Sandra Bullock (Leigh Ann Tuohy), Tim McGraw (Sean Tuohy), Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher), Jae Head (S.J Tuohy), Lily Collins (Collins Tuohy) and Kathy Bates (Miss Sue).
Michael Oher is a hulking, gentle and homeless African-
1 Life 4:1 on the big screen who wanted to do away with Kung Fu and rule over the whole of China. Po and his band of Kung Fu buddies heard about it and they set out to stop him. However, the odds are heavily stacked against them as Lord Shen has a secret and deadly weapon which is said to be able to stop Kung Fu in its tracks! Woven into the main story was the no less significant sub-plot of the revelation of Po’s adoption and how he dealt with the sinister truths of his past. KFP2 is unmistakably darker in nature with intense fighting scenes, killings and even shades of vengeance, but these were balanced out or even overshadowed by the funny parts of the movie. The scene in which Po attempts to find inner peace, only to be thwarted by some rogue rainwater is particularly hilarious!
Why I Liked It
Just because it is an animated movie! On a more serious note, I truly enjoyed the inspired and somewhat complex fighting choreography and the
American teenager from a broken home. One night, the Tuohy family passed Michael on the side of the road. He was walking, in the dead of winter, wearing only a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. The affluent family, led by Leigh Anne, took pity on the introverted teen and took him in for the night. Eventually, they adopted the gentle giant. Along the way, Oher’s presence in the Tuohy’s lives led them to some enlightening self-discoveries of their own. Living in an entirely new environment, Michael came face to face with many challenges along the way, the least of which was his adoption by a white family. As a football player and student, he worked very hard and with the help of his adopted family, a wonderful tutor (Kathy Bates) and his coaches, he eventually became an All-American offensive tackle.
Why I Liked It
I will be very upfront and admit that I specifically liked it because it is a movie with Christian values. TheTuohys’ Christian faith could be seen throughout by their actions. In one scene, Leigh Ann commanded the entire family to leave their Thanksgiving dinner perch in front of the television to join her and
pixel-perfect animation, where every strand of fur, hair or feather on Po and the characters was so lifelike! Not bad at all for first-time director Jennifer Yuh and her team of animators and CGI specialists! To top it all, the eclectic voices were all a perfect fit for their animal counterparts! They truly gave their characters life and a great deal of ‘believability’, if you know what I mean.
With KFP2, Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc has shown that it is able to churn out quality animated features to take on the market leader, Pixar Animation Studios. I cannot wait to get my hands on the Blu-Ray version of KFP to add to my collection of animated movies. If you have not watched it, catch it on DVD or BluRay! KFP2 is a gem of a sequel and should not be missed! Hiii Yaaaahhh!! Photo from www.impawards.com
Michael at the dining room table. There, they offered up a prayer of thanks for their many blessings, and for the addition of Michael to their family. The real life Leigh Ann Tuohy had said, “I think Michael had a much greater impact on our lives than we did on his. You take so much in life for granted, but when Michael moved in with us, he made us realise how blessed we are. We viewed life differently after he joined our family.” While there were some situations when the characters struggled over the appropriate Christian response in their circumstances, in the end they made the right decisions based on their faith and beliefs.
Overall, I feel that The Blind Side is an inspiring family drama. I felt a ‘strange, warm feeling’ at the end of the show. Michael’s life could have easily ended in tragedy. Instead, the opposite happened! Why? Well, with man, some things are possible, however, with God, ALL things are possible! Photo from www.entertainmentwallpaper.com
1 Life 4:1 baking with kids
Cranberry Muffins As the kids are enjoying their school holidays, take out the muffin tray and start baking with them! Let the kids enjoy the nutritional cranberry muffins and bake them for your family and friends – an ideal gift for Christmas! Cranberries are high in Vitamin C, dietary fibre, dietary mineral and manganese. Besides being a healthy snack, you can also use them for baking and for salads. Happy baking, happy bonding!
Serving size: 12 muffins Ingredients • 1/2 cup softened butter • 1 cup sugar • 2 beaten eggs • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 cups flour • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1 cup preserved cranberries
Directions 1. In a mixing bowl, ask the children to cream butter and sugar. 2. Have the kids add beaten eggs and vanilla and mix well. 3. Children to add in flour, baking powder and stir into smooth mixture. 4. Ask kids to put in cranberries. 5. Help the kids fill paper-lined muffin cups to two-third full. 6. Bake muffins at 220 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. 7. Let baked muffins cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack.
By Vivian Sia Vivian attends the 11am Service with husband Richard and children Daniel and Michelle. She does her discipleship training with Family Connect PCM group.
Christmas Combined Celebration Service Sunday 25 December 2011 11am l Levels 1 & 4 圣诞节崇拜兼午餐聚会(华语) 2011年12月25日(星期日) 上午10时15分 l 英华初级学院 短程巴士在上午9时45分从联邦地铁站(跑道和操场前的等候处)出发. 请在办公时间拨电6475 9433索取午餐卷.