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06.01 Editorial: Spiritual Lethargy

Q: What do the worm and pig have in common?

A: They are used to describe lazy people ( e.g. 懒惰虫,懒猪,lazy pig).

worm+pig

Should these metaphors find its way into the Christian’s reputation? Do you really want to be known and remembered by others as a sloth, even though you admit that you are a procrastinator, loafer and couch potato?  If your answers are ‘no’, I beseech you to snap out of your world and get into action RIGHT NOW.

To put it plainly, laziness is a sin. The world makes light of laziness and terms it a trait or a habit. On the other hand, the Bible which is our sole and final authority on all matters in life, calls laziness a sin. Laziness displeases God to the core; it disgusts Him and is totally contrary to the nature of God. Jesus said “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Jesus worked like no man ever worked. He was tireless in his travels-preaching and teaching everywhere He went, to whoever was present with Him. When night fell, He prayed for hours. Before the sun rose, He was already up communing with His Father.  The life of Christ was a life of service. Therefore, lazy Christians are a disgrace to God. They are also useless in the kingdom of God and send out a live message that the blood of Christ cannot wash away the sin of laziness.

Maybe you are thinking “You have no idea how hopeless I am. I have been trying but I always end up lazy… again. I just want to give up.” There is only one thing to do: run to the cross and truly weep over your sins at the feet of Jesus. The curse of sin in your life has already being lifted by Christ’s work on the cross. Victory over sin is already guaranteed because Christ rose from the dead. Why then should you be hopeless and helpless? We have all that we need in Christ Jesus.

May you have a blessed Easter, and a blessed time with God.

(Written by Eileen Chee)

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05.01 Editorial: What if there was no Christmas?

While this question is posed on a tract to non-believers, it is also something for us Christians to think about. I tremble to think of the many consequences that would come about if truly there were no Christmas, because to have no Christmas is to have no Jesus Christ at all.

  1. God would not be the same God whom I know now. God is my Heavenly Father who is ever ready to help me, support me and take care of me. Without Jesus Christ, I cannot call God my Father. God will only be my Judge and I will only want to run away from this fearful and terrible God. God would also not be a God of love, grace, mercy and peace because without Jesus, it would mean that He does not care about me; He is content to let me perish in my sins.
  2. God would also not be a faithful God. All His prophecies about a Saviour would be nothing but lies. His Word would not be true and I would never find delight in His laws. I would pity all the heroes of the faith who suffered and died for His Word.
  3. God would also not be a powerful God. Satan and his minions did not want Jesus to come and save us, and so they did all they could to prevent His coming. If there were no Jesus, it would mean that Satan is more powerful than God. I would laugh at anyone who tells me to trust in a God who cannot turn the hearts of kings, feed the sparrows and clothe the lilies of the field.
  4. To have no Christ would be the most miserable thing in my life. He who was to be my Sun and Shield, my Saviour and Lord, my Husband and Friend, had never come for me at all. He would be one who loves His glory above so much that it was unthinkable to Him to be made a man. He prefers to stay in Heaven and mock at us.
  5. Every man on earth, in every age and time, would come into this world absolutely helpless and hopeless. Everyone would be on the road to hell, bearing his own load of sin and forever cursed by God. God and man would be so far apart that there is no way of reconciliation at all. God would always look down on us with wrathful eyes while we pitiful mortals only choose to turn our backs on God continually.
  6. There would be no joy in our hearts. Our lives would be meaningless. Eating, drinking and making merry are just drugs to numb us from being reminded of a dreary life and the doom that should come. Everything we do is tasteless. Fathers and mothers will despair to bring any child into this world. I would wish I were never born into this world.
  7. I would never enjoy any interaction with church-goers. I would not care whether you die or live. Everyone lives for his own. I would not forgive anyone who gets on my nerves, much less sacrifice my time and energy for others. There would be no worth and value in toil and labour.

Enough said. Thank God for Christmas; thank God for Jesus Christ. I really owe my life to Him more than I can ever repay. All of us have a debt to pay. This makes me want to share the Good News of Jesus with lost souls even more. I confess my heart has been cold-towards Jesus and towards the untold millions. This Christmas season began with deep remorse. Thank God for giving me strength to renew my long-lost love for Christ. How about you, my dear youth? Do you still love Jesus? Will you love Him even more?

2012 has finally come to an end, but may it also signal the end of our wasted lives.

(Written by Eileen Chee)

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04.01 Editorial: Spiritual leadership

During my primary and secondary school days, my principals and teachers were generally eager to nurture students with leadership skills. Positions such as Class Monitor, Subject Representative, Prefect, and Councillor were easily filled up. As this was the situation in those days, I am certain it continues to be so in your current generation, for it is an honour to be raised above one’s peers and be someone whom others have to pay attention to and even listen to.

How are student leaders selected? Usually, youths who are responsible, nice and popular get the support of the masses. I remember I had to campaign for myself as I ran for Student Councillor in Secondary One. I was expected to design and put up my own posters, make as many ‘friends’ as possible and gave a really short speech on the day of election. Somehow, I got enough votes and I became a Student Councillor. It was just a popularity contest.

Should the more popular YFers be nominated into the Executive Committee then? Should members find someone who is just friendly and pleasant to be their leader? The answer is “No!” In the Youth Fellowship, things must run differently from the world. We do not copy and paste the method of the world onto a spiritual body of believers. We are to look into God’s Word and know God’s way of choosing leaders. The Bible sets a totally different standard; in fact, it is much higher and more demanding.  A spiritual leader is to lead by his godly example – how he walks with God and how he ministers to others around him. He has to care for the various spiritual needs of his members and yet be strong himself. If the wrong person is put up into position of leadership, the YF will most likely head into disaster. It is perhaps better not to have a committee than to have a group of youth leaders seeking fame and ‘friendships’. As the YF enters this time of nomination, may every member pray earnestly for the leadership of the YF.

Thank God that He has provided the YF with the right people who have the burden and love to serve as leaders since 2006. There has been a series of ups and downs but looking back, we see Jesus Christ as the Shepherd of the many youthful souls. It is to Him we look to for guidance; upon Him we lean for strength to do this tremendous work; and in Him we find the joy of service. Let us trust in the Lord’s good hand to gently lead this flock of 22 sheep and lambs.

(Written by Eileen Chee)

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03.01 Editorial: Hymns

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:19).

It is so sad when one glances at the faces of the youths today, whether on MRT trains, buses and along the streets. The expressions are dull and moody, as if they are bearing the entire world on their shoulders. Then when one surveys the faces of youths in the church, it is a wonder why the same blank look is found.

How does this relate to the issue of singing? A singing Christian is a joyful Christian. He may not be singing outwardly but his heart is constantly lifted up in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. He never ceases to worship God. His face is bright, ever ready to break into a smile; his lips drip with honey-sweet words, ever thanking God in all circumstances and encouraging those around him. Does this describe any of us in Truth YF?

More importantly, the first sign of a Spirit-filled Christian is a singing Christian. Ephesians 5:19 is immediately preceded by “and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18). The Spirit of God already dwells in our hearts on the day we confessed Christ to be our Saviour, as a seal of our salvation. However, if we want to be victorious Christians in our daily life, we must constantly be filled with the Spirit. This means that we are controlled by the Spirit of God in all our thoughts, words and actions. We need His help to grow in grace and abide in Christ. Thus, when we find ourselves slow to praise God (both with our hearts and lips), and even reluctant to sing and make melody in our hearts, then it is a tell-tale sign that we are not walking close with the Lord ie we are not filled with the Spirit.

Before we could fully appreciate the beauty of singing hymns, we must then reflect whether we are obedient Christians. Are you seeking God through your bible reading and prayers? Are you still enjoying the things of the world while trying to hold on to God? Have you pushed God out of your life? Do you still love God?

While this issue aims at stirring up your love for singing hymns, I pray that it may also assist us to examine our spiritual condition. Whenever I pause to silently contemplate on the words of the hymns we sing, I do bemoan at times why I could not express my Christian experience in such language.  Is it because I am not walking well with Christ such that I do not know Him as I should? I have much to think about.

Let me end by sharing a snippet of J.S. Bach’s love for God and his calling as musician. Bach was one of the greatest music composers the world has ever known. If you recall, the haunting melody of “O Sacred Head Thou Wounded” was written by Bach. It has also been said that Bach had a reputation of being called “the fifth evangelist” (after Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). When Bach read his Bible, he would often underline verses and write his comments in the margins. Here are just a couple of them (taken from Christian History Issue No. 95): “1 Chronicles 25 lists the members of the musical families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun who are given the responsibility to lead Israel’s worship, and thus “prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals.” In the margin, Bach wrote: “NB. This chapter is the true foundation of all God-pleasing church music.”

“The heading in the Deutsche Bibel for the section 2 Chronicles 5:11-15 is “How the Glory of the Lord Appeared After Beautiful Music [in the Temple].” Bach underlined “Beautiful Music” and added in the margin by verse 13: “NB. Where there is devotional music, God with his grace is always present.”

At the end of most of Bach’s scores, he would append the letters SDG (Soli Deo Gloria — “To God alone be glory”). Music must bring glory to God. In like fashion, may this issue be to God all glory. Soli Deo Gloria!

(Written by Eileen Chee)

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02.01 Editorial: Holidays

HOLIDAYS IS THE TIME TO…

“Plaaaaaaaaaaay!!!! Sleeeeeeeeeeep!!” Is that your answer? Let’s think again.

24 hours. This is the amount of time you have per day. On a normal school day, taking away time which you cannot control such as our sleep hours and school hours, you would be left with 24hr – 6hr (sleep) – 8hr (school + meals) = 10hr. Then for those of you who have CCA and Tuition, that will be 10hr – 2hr (CCA) – 2hr (tuition) = 6hr. Finally, if you subtract another 2hr for miscellaneous activities such as showering and travelling, you still have 4hr per day to make use of. So what do you do with the remaining 4hrs? It is highly probable that it will be given over to recreation and leisure such as dreaming (which can be done on a bus or train), facebooking, messaging etc. At the end of the day, what is leftover is given to a very speedy and sleepy Quiet Time. If this describes your life so far for the past 5 months, then holidays is NOT the time to play and sleep.

Surely there are more hours to spare during the holidays, even though you have to return to school for extra classes and trainings. Seeing that much time has being lost to the world during the school term, this vacation is the best time to buy back the hours and minutes you have lost, whether it is spending time with family, catching up on studies, pursuing meaningful interests (read: computer games, drama serials are not meaningful interests) and most of all, healing your backsliding ways. The main reason why many of us are so far from God is that we have given up communion time with God for something else; and when we are far from God, we will waste even more time on the things of the world. It is a vicious cycle that we all must break out from. Holidays is the best time to restore personal time with God and stocking up on our spiritual ammunition to face the world again.

This is a privilege which youths have and working adults wish they can have. While it is good to attend retreats, church camps, fellowship meetings, do not count on them to fix your relationship with God. You must nurture a habit of devotion to God in reading the Bible and prayer. Start by waking up early to have your Quiet Time. Ask God to bless your Bible reading. Instead of using the RPG, try studying an OT book, Gospel or Epistle this holiday. Slowly think over the words you are reading. Write your thoughts down. Take time to memorise bible verses too. At the end of it, pray that God will guide you in the day and help you to remember the lessons learnt. Do this day by day. When the new term begins, even when you are so pressed for time, you will not sacrifice your QT for anything else in the world, because it is here in this hour that you find peace and joy for the rest of the day which the world cannot give. 

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

P/S: For those who are working, at least we do not have homework to do! We can have our own fruitful and meaningful time in the evenings. :)

 (Written by Eileen Chee) 

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01.01 Editorial: Reading

Youths nowadays need to read. There is too much entertainment going on, like television and games. Entertainment of these kinds, while said to help relax minds and bodies, essentially lock us in the time and space of another world, which is not real. While catching criminals and stoning pigs with birds in that world, TV watchers and gamers lose precious actual seconds and minutes in their own real world. Before long, life is wasted and they grow old without having done anything worthwhile in this world, except perhaps making a huge dent in their couches and beds.

Reading, on the other hand, helps us to be aware of the world we live in. Of course, we can gain knowledge in many areas such as world history, geography, photography, beauty, eating well etc. These topics are no doubt interesting and knowing facts about them are helpful to a certain extent. But more specifically, they are helpful only in the physical realm; up to the time we enter our coffins. At that point in time, they will be buried in the sands of time, literally, even as your eyes close in death. As Christians who are going to live with Christ on high after this earth passes away, we must gain knowledge of eternal things – most of all, we must know the eternal God intimately. This we can do by faithfully spending time with our Heavenly Father in reading His word, praying and serving Him.

Another way we can increase our knowledge of God and His word is through the reading of literature that expounds further for us the deep truths found in the Scriptures, and of testimonies of Christians who live out God’s Word in their lives. Here is what this newsletter will attempt to do – to influence you to love reading Christian literature in a non-intimidating and interesting way (just in case some of you are already feeling threatened…). Since this issue is the first issue, we will give you a sneak preview of what you can expect in the following issues. Any feedback and suggestions are welcomed too! Also, if you would like to contribute any noteworthy articles or have a question that you want answered, kindly look for any of the Exco members too!

(Written by Eileen Chee)