Bishop’s Message [Apr 2022]. There is a lot that is not good in our world today. But in all these things, the apostle Paul tells us that God wants to work together with those who love him to bring about whatever good we can. Don’t worry about trying to win great and mighty victories for God. Just work together with God to bring about a little bit of good to all neighbours in our troubled world.
Bishop’s Message [Mar 2022]. True worship rekindles love for God and neighbour. But the Bible warns pastors and priests (and bishops!) against enforcing those very good rituals in a way that they hinder rather than help people draw near to God. Rather than restrict any from the loving goodness of God, may our rituals and rules help, and not hinder.
Bishop’s Message [Feb 2022]. We live in a world where many of us are, or feel, orphaned and lonely. God wants to set us all in loving families. Let’s work with God to be a family that welcomes orphans and all who are lonely, for we serve a God who is “the father of orphans” and who “sets the lonely in families”.
Bishop’s Message [Jan 2022]. The debate whether Christianity has any unique contribution among world religions is the concept of pure grace with no strings or conditions attached. If this is true, may we who are the Church of Jesus Christ be known, pre-eminently, as a family welcoming grace and unconditional love for everybody.
Bishop’s Message [Dec 2021]. Whilst it remains obvious that peace on earth remains elusive, let us pray that the Christ Child of Christmas will be born anew in all of our hearts; that we may not only not lose hope, but instead strengthen our hope in God’s promise of, and our desire for, peace on earth for all humanity.
Bishop’s Message [Nov 2021]. Everyone can be involved in God’s holy Mission. If we each do what little we can, we can do much more together because “coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” That is the beauty and power of partnership. If we are willing to partner with one another or with other churches, we can be partners in the wonderful mission of sharing the Good News of God’s love in Christ Jesus.
Bishop’s Message [Aug 2021]. If we hope to reap “a harvest of [God’s] righteousness”, let us try to make peace by sowing in peace because “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God …” May the God of Peace save us from becoming a nation that “turns hate into an asset.”
Bishop’s Message [Jul 2021]. Does the verse Proverbs 22:6 urge us to “train” or to “start” children off in the way they should go? The two actions are closely related in practice. For how does one “train” a child if not by helping them “start” on a good path in life?
Bishop’s Message [Jun 2021]. Some are blessed with positive memories of our human fathers; others have never met their fathers, or perhaps have only angry or painful memories of them. But whatever our personal experience of fatherhood might be, the Bible invites everyone to relate with the “one God and Father of all.”
Bishop’s Message [May 2021]. “I felt my heart strangely warmed” are the words of John Wesley describing his spiritual encounter with God on the evening of 24 May 1738. This Aldersgate Day, pray that we may renew our commitment to be Methodist Christians who love God with all our “strangely warmed” hearts by loving our neighbours as we love ourselves.
Bishop’s Message (Apr 2021). Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Our response to the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday should be to express our thanks and gratitude to God. Are we thanking God by offering sacrifices that do good?
Bishop’s Message (Mar 2021) The prophet Isaiah mentions that the ox knows its owner … but God is heartbroken because it seems as if his own human children do not. Isaiah says: If we don’t help our neighbours in need, then we don’t really know God! An ox knows its Master. Do we?
Bishop’s Message (Jan 2021) What are the plans and vision God has given us as a Church? What the world considers to be great is often completely different from what God regards as “great”. What the world deems “little” may be, in God’s eyes, “great”, and vice versa. Perhaps, our vision and ambition for this year should be to be a bit more like Christ in every area of our life.
Bishop’s Message (Dec 2020) Christmas this year will not be celebrated with the usual festive cheer, bustling malls and feasting. In such extraordinary times, continue to pray and know the promise of God’s presence with us despite the world’s strident clatter and clamour. Emmanuel! Indeed, no matter where we are, God is with us!
Bishop’s Message (Nov 2020) MCS’s challenge has always been to bear witness to God’s unchanging truth in a world where situations and people’s thinking and attitudes keep changing. Believers today are challenged by many new social values and norms. Are we remembering what the Bible teaches about not being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds … to discern what is the will of God?
Bishop’s Message (Oct 2020) One’s understanding and cognisance of happenings and situations may vary from others’, such as between those of people from ancient times and today’s generation; it differs even between contemporaries. As a church that reaches out to and lives in the community, we need to constantly evaluate ourselves to see if the form and way we present our faith remains relevant to the people of different eras and regions.
During the circuit breaker, workers, with a few exceptions, were required to work from home. Although some businesses were affected by reduced on-site coordination of work processes, working from home has been deemed to be generally viable. What will it mean for our church staff?
The Bible contains many notable narratives of capable women God used to bring about significant results. We can testify that MCS would not be the same without the participation of our women members, our sisters. Let us salute our Methodist women and seek God’s blessing upon them.
Although I am writing this message on 10 April, the prevailing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic have given me cause to assume that we will most likely not be able to resume worshipping as one congregation by 24 May, and will not be able to hold the Aldersgate SG 2020 Celebration Service at Paya Lebar Methodist Church like we have in the past.
It is the Lent season and we are in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has rattled the world. While it has exposed human failings, it has also shown there is still human goodness in times of tribulation, as seen in the selfless services of the frontline healthcare workers and mutual help among people affected. All these have deepened the significance of the Lent season.
Over the last 25 years, more and more Methodist local conferences have been observing Lent, the 46 days before Easter. The Lent season does not include the six Sundays that fall in this period as churches generally regard Sunday to be the day for commemorating and celebrating the resurrection of the Lord.
In recent months, there has been much of discussion about the status of early childhood education in Singapore. Educators and researchers agree that a quality preschool programme has a long-term impact on the development of a child’s character and stands them in good stead for their future formal education.
Whenever we don’t feel well in any part of our body, it is very normal for us to seek the help of a doctor. In the same way, if we suspect that there may be a psychological or mental health issue, then the right thing to do is to seek the attention of a specialist or psychologist or counsellor.
The word “blessing” is a very rich word. Everyone hopes to be blessed, but everyone may have a different idea as to what counts as blessings. Most people will feel blessed if they have wealth, health, education, a successful career, a loving marriage, a harmonious family and so on.
The clear implication of this saying is that bringing up children well involves more than just the parents. From the moment we are born, we interact with those around us, which include our parents, siblings and other members of the extended family.
In Luke 10:27, it is recorded that an expert in the law asked Jesus how one might attain eternal life. Drawing on the Torah books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, the expert in the law was able to find an answer for himself: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself”.
A Chinese expression provides a timely reminder: The whole year’s work depends on a good start in spring, and the whole day’s work on a good start in the morning. Time flashes by and unless it is managed and planned, each day passes quickly and leaves us with much regret when night falls. The days and seasons roll by in the same routine and, before we know it, the year has gone by and we have nothing to show for it.
For any collective body, rituals embody its memories and fulfill certain conditions. For instance, there is no society whose rituals are open to outsiders. Likewise for the Church, rituals have specific purposes: to serve as a unifying experience for all who identify as Christians; to differentiate between insiders and outsiders; and to remind us of our binding commitment to God.
There are many leadership development resources available for business managers, companies and organisations. Outstanding leaders in various fields are often invited by consultancy firms to present seminars, conduct training courses and give talks. Their success stories inspire many, fuelling an industry of books and other media.
During His ministry on earth, Christ preached the gospel in major towns around the Sea of Galilee as well as cities to the south, including Jericho, Bethany, and Jerusalem. He called His first disciples while they were going about their daily work – Peter and Andrew were fishing, James and John were repairing their nets, and Matthew was collecting taxes. These harvest fields of His, Jesus emphasised to the disciples, were ripe and urgently needed workers.
Back in my youth fellowship days, we used to sing the chorus that goes: “In Jesus Christ we are one family, from now on and forever more”. The chorus, which has a quick and catchy tune, is just this one line repeated several times. At the time, we did not think too much about the words and just accepted the song at face value.
Obedience is a form of discipline that requires truth and love to be well-integrated, as well as holding each other in mutual examination. Obeying that which flies in the face of truth is a very dangerous and foolish act, as it either benefits self while doing harm to others, or it leads everyone to ruin.
One wonders how long more such words of blessing will be heard. Already in some countries, “Happy Holidays!” has become the standard greeting. In those places, saying “Merry Christmas” to someone who is not a Christian can cause affront and be seen as a challenge to their religious freedom. Who knows how much longer it will be before our Lord Jesus Christ is replaced as the key reason for the celebration of Christmas, in a world so steeped in consumerism and political correctness?
Since assuming office almost a year ago, I have had the opportunity to attend several Methodist regional conferences as well as interdenominational meetings. These were eye-opening experiences for me as I witnessed the wonderful results achieved through various methods employed in the ministries of God’s Kingdom.
It has been 500 years since the Reformation movement occurred, but the Christian Church has a history that far exceeds that. Although the movement resulted in the emergence of Protestantism which split from the Western Roman Catholic Church, church history was not curtailed. Moreover, the Eastern Orthodox Church based in Constantinople remained relatively unaffected by the movement.
Paul the Apostle was more than just a missionary and preacher, having founded churches and being the principal theologian of the early Christian Church; he was also a pragmatist. The influence of his teachings on marriage, the family, interpersonal relationships, and their practical application has been profound and far-reaching. He taught that a Christian’s daily lifestyle has to be consistent with his faith.
Many will agree that educating our young goes beyond just basic literacy or even imparting knowledge and skill sets to help them earn a living when they grow up. It should also aim at preparing our youths to function successfully in society, not only academically, but economically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually, by equipping them with the requisite life skills, attitudes, aptitudes, knowledge, and skills.
Many Methodists would have heard of the three ‘General Rules’ of Methodism, often paraphrased as: “Do no harm; do good; stay in love with God.” However, are we aware of the circumstances in which these arose, how they are intended to help believers, and what they really mean?
Jubilee is essentially a celebration of God’s favour; the Bible calls it “the year of the Lord’s favour”. If we have been able to last 50 years, it is only because God has been merciful and gracious: gracious in the sense that He had intervened in events so that they turned out for our good when we did not deserve it, and merciful in the sense that when we actually deserved the worst, He withheld judgment, thus sparing us.
s I write this, I am in the midst of the Annual Mission Conference of The Methodist Church in Cambodia (MCC). The MCC was birthed from the union of five missions of Methodist churches from other parts of the world, that had earlier started work in Cambodia independent of each other.
Every now and then, I hear the remark that a person has had “an encounter with God”. This is said to account for the noticeable change that has taken place in that person’s life. Often the conversation refers to a person who had been a nominal Christian, a sceptic, or even one who did not believe in God at all.
Festivals were integral to the lives of people in the Old Testament. There were daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly festivals. Most of these were religious, as instructed by the Law. Even feasts such as birthdays, weddings and other personal events were not purely secular as each event included a divine blessing.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)
The love that God has for you this New Year is not last year’s love. It is a 2014 love, not something carried over from the past.
Christmas is more than just the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
We read in Romans 8:3 (The Message): “God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.”
A LEADER of the early church insisted, “I cannot see how a baby can be the God who created the heavens and the earth.” He was referring to Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. Later this church leader went on to relentlessly pursue his line of thinking and became responsible for a heresy.
In his earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus preached and taught the truth, healed the sick, and delivered those in bondage from evil. He both proclaimed and practised God’s love. He found time to often pray to the Father in quiet and remote places far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Then he would return to the needy and sin-filled world to bring God’s love to broken people. He showed the way to combine faith and action, personal piety and social concern, love for God and love for neighbour (Mt. 22:37-40).
At this time of National celebration, I call upon all Methodists to a unique expression of our gratitude. The Bible reminds us of the prophet Samuel who, more than 3,000 years ago, set up a stone to celebrate the victory of Israel over the Philistines. Today the memorial stone which Samuel called “Ebenezer” (the stone of help) could still be seen. May we also catch the spirit of celebration by trusting God who is our Ebenezer, our hope for the nation.