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All 2019 April Vicar Writes

28 April 2019 | Vicar Writes

Where There is Love, There is a Way

By Terry Wong

Evangelist J. John was in Singapore last year for a Pastors and Marketplace Leaders Gathering at St Andrew’s Cathedral.
With just a few weeks to Celebration of Hope, we share here some thoughts inspired by his message which still stir our spirits and move our hearts:

1. Love is action, whatever it takes!

"They made an opening in the roof above and lowered the man…” MARK 2:4

Four men took their paralysed friend on a stretcher to see Jesus (MARK 2:2-5). A huge crowd had gathered, jamming the access doors. Nobody could get in or out. The desperate four had no choice but to climb the roof and remove a part of it to create a hole large enough to lower the man on his stretcher to Jesus.

What a powerful picture of love in action! Indeed, love is more than feelings. Love is a verb. Love looks like something. Love is an active experience that can sometimes be precarious. And if biblical love requires risk and costs us time and energy to be the best neighbour we can be, then the four friends of the paralytic win hands down. They personify love in an extraordinary
life-changing way.

Celebration of Hope challenges every Christian to make extra-special efforts in loving Singapore. Non-believers make up 80% of our population. They are all around us: family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues, classmates, strangers. Where there is a will, there is a way. To this, J.John adds: Let’s lift up the roof of our thinking to get people to Jesus.

2. People are our focus, no matter what!

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 TIMOTHY 4:5

The Early Church faced persecution. At the same time, false teachers threatened to undo the fledgling Christian community with their fake gospel. Amidst all that, Paul exhorted his protégé, Timothy, to stay focused and faithful, to carry out the ministry expected of him, including the work of an evangelist. According to the original Greek text, the Apostle Paul instructs Pastor Timothy to think like an evangelist and lead his church like an evangelist, whether Timothy sees that as his spiritual gift or not.

In other words, eat, sleep, and breathe evangelism, no matter what. Evangelism is about pastoring the lost people of our city. We watch and pray, we search and rescue, we care and share. Pastoral care and evangelism are not mutually exclusive. They are integral to what it truly means to be the Church Jesus builds.

Celebration of Hope challenges every local church to pastor our city, to reach the world by reaching ‘our’ world. Be other-centric. Because when we are other-centric, we will naturally cultivate our web of relationships. We will pay close attention to the lost among us, many of whom we know in person and by name. We will get the Gospel conversations going. We will adjust our schedules to flow with theirs, and make sure we are there for them at the rallies. If our unsaved friends make a decision to follow Jesus at the rallies, well and good. But if not, the conversation continues, the pastoring carries on. Without a doubt, God will use Celebration of Hope to spark countless conversations between believers and unbelievers all across our city—for the sake of the Gospel.

ACT NOW.
Be other-centric. Get in touch with long-lost friends who have yet to follow Jesus. Be imaginative. Think out of the box. What are some ingenious ways to engage them? Cool ideas to warm their hearts and win them over for Jesus. Go the extra mile and accompany them to the rallies.

web www.celebrationofhope.sg
email info@celebrationofhope.sg
hotline 8710 6726

21 April 2019 | Vicar Writes

For He is risen

By Terry Wong

"He is not here, for He is risen, as He said." Matthew 28:6

The resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the foundation on which Christianity is built. Without the resurrection, there would have been no Christianity, and the most dynamic movement in history would not have been. Easter is the dawn of a new hope in our pilgrimage through a present world that is passing. We know what is coming, and therefore, we can live in the present with purpose and confidence. That is why Good Friday can only be called ‘good’ because of what has happened in the first Easter. If Good Friday is about the pain and suffering in the present creation which is passing away, the first Easter was about ushering in the new creation (or world order) with our Risen Lord giving us a glimpse of the life to come.

As for guest speakers, we welcome Dr Csilla Saysell who lectures at Carey College in Auckland. She has also previously lectured at St John's College, Nottingham and guest lectured at Cranmer Hall, Durham University in United Kingdom. Csilla is Hungarian and she is married to Philip Saysell. We also welcome Revd Dr Philip Huan from Church Life Resources. He and his wife Jenni Huan work very closely with us.

Here in the Cathedral, we run The Alpha Course which gives everyone an opportunity to explore the Christian faith. This is a good place to start if you are new to the faith. We warmly recommend this course to you and invite you to join us for the next one which starts in July. If you are interested, email alpha@cathedral.org.sg for more information.

We also have many Connect Groups where you can connect with other friends in the Cathedral. If you would like to visit or be a part of one of these groups, do drop us an email at connect@cathedral.org.sg.

We welcome you to be a part of the Cathedral community and hope that you may find a spot and space where you can grow in your faith and serve.

From the 17th to 19th of May, there will be a series of Celebration of Hope rallies at the National Stadium with UK Evangelist, Canon J John. There is information in the bulletin on how you can book tickets for this event.

Our Annual AGM is at 2.00 pm next Sunday 28th April at the Prayer Halls. Even if you are not officially a member yet but feel like you are one in heart, you are most welcome to join in. Lunch will be served from 1.00 pm. We have put up posters of the nominees for PCC with the basic info in various spots in the Cathedral. Do keep a lookout, pray for them and prepare to vote. We will also be discussing why we need the Phase 2 expansion project. Please do pray and let’s seek for whole hearted unity as we continue to steward our resources (finances, land, etc.) in obedience to His call.

From The Vicar, Clergy, Deaconesses, Staff and PCC Members... we wish you a Blessed Easter Day.

14 April 2019 | Vicar Writes

The Priceless One

By Terry Wong

"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

We live in a day and age where people are reduced to numbers, alphabets and avatars. You are one of the thousands of likes on someone’s Facebook page. You roam the internet, hidden behind some avatar.

We live in city run by a super efficient civil service. It’s easy to feel that you are just a number, a national statistic. You feel that your demographic profile is just facts and stats for city planners and scenario-builders.

Without you realising it, some stranger living thousands of miles away is hacking away day and night to get to you. To these hackers, you are not mere data. You are a precious commodity to be traded, sold and circulated.  

You can’t help but feel used and devalued. So, to assure yourself that you are not alone, you join some gaming clan or you walk the streets. Yet, like ships that pass in the night, you discover that people are strangers in the night. People are talking without speaking. People are hearing without listening. All you hear is the Sound of Silence.

You step into a church service. But even there, you may remain incognito. Another statistic. You hear a lot but you are not heard. Someone might ask for your name or offer you coffee. If not, you quietly slip out, back into our own solitary world of one.

How precious is one?

Next to zero or next to nothing, as some will say. However, the Bible tells a different story. The one person, the one you, is all important to God. From Luke 15, we know that heaven pauses to celebrate when one lone sinner repents.

God is a personal God. He knows you by name (ISAIAH 43:1). And as a born-again believer, your name is in His book of life (LUKE 10:20). Every tear you shed is preserved (PSALM 56:8). Every strand of hair on your head is numbered (MATTHEW 10:30). Even in death, you remain precious to Him (PSALM 116:15).

Therefore, how we treat each person should be shaped by God’s perspective of the individual. When we invite someone to church, or to an Alpha course, or to Celebration of Hope, it is never about boosting some statistics. We invite the person simply because this person is precious to God and is deeply loved by God. In fact, this person is a human being of inestimable worth created in the image of God. This person can experience God’s love and feel its disarming effects in his or her soul and spirit. And this person can find meaning in life and fulfill God’s purpose for him or her.

You may be trying to invite many to Celebration of Hope. Well done! Remember the value of each ONE. Heaven rejoices over the priceless one—the one sinner who repents and gives his or her life to Jesus. What a wonderful hope we can offer to each person in our city, citizen or otherwise. One at a time.  

TODAY, spend time in prayer:

  • Thank God for His great love for you and for every human being.
  • Pray for unsaved family members and friends one by one, by name.  
  • Ask God to use you to show each one how precious he or she is to God.
  • Pray that each one will accept your invitation to Celebration of Hope.
7 April 2019 | Vicar Writes

Preparing for our AGMs

By Terry Wong

Our Parochial Church Council (PCC) and the Chinese Congregation Committee had a joint meeting last Sunday. We met to discuss Phase 2, which involves an underground development at the north-west lawn area.

Photo

We viewed an early design plan by an architectural firm. This design has received input by a joint-congregational working team (usage and facilities) and an architectural advisory team (design), all of whom are members of SAC. If this phase is completed, we will have:

  • A combined office area for our staff. Currently our staff is housed in separate locations, with cramped office spaces.
  • A new 600-seater Hall to facilitate growth in our Services and meet the needs for various events.
  • Additional purpose-built rooms for CE teaching, small groups Bible studies, counselling and meetings.
  • New facilities i.e. resource library, heritage centre and music studio.
  • Parts of South Transept and North Transept which can be reserved to display their heritage features.
  • Each cluster at the Nave, CNS and Phase 2 with the right mix of facilities. The transept areas can have more Sunday school, teaching and ministry rooms to support the Nave worship Services. B2 rooms, offices and B1 Prayer Halls can support the CNS Services. This will minimise movement across our grounds and improve safety for children and the elderly.

At both our AGMs, this early design will be shared with our congregations. We will be seeking for approval to begin fund-raising and continue to work on the design, which as it develops, will continue to be shared with the wider SAC community for comments and ideas.

We also discussed the plans for renovation works to restore and repair the Nave and other parts of the Cathedral. These plans will also be shared at our AGMs. Indeed, even as we think of new places, we need to continue to be good stewards of our older facilities.
 
Meanwhile, the plans to build the Pavilion are already underway and when completed, will be a wonderful addition to our space and ministry needs.
 
This Sunday is also a historic moment as we launch the new Tamil Service. Tamil is one of our four national languages and it will finally find a home in our Cathedral as a Worship Service. It is an exciting development. Please pray for Revd Joshua Raj and his team.


Recent Vicar Writes

21 Apr |

For He is risen

14 Apr |

The Priceless One

07 Apr |

Preparing for our AGMs