BE 3 : Lordship of Christ

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The bible verse for this theme was taken from Phillipians 1: 21, which states “ To live is Christ and to die is gain”.  With this Pastor Lydia gave us a title of “ What are you living for?”

 

Using Gladstone who asked a young individual about his life goals as an example, we were taught that knowing our ultimate purpose and final destination in life, including the things that come after death is essential.  The reason is that this helps to determine the direction of our lives.  Having a clear purpose would be necessary to drive us to our destinations with perseverance no matter the long process and temptations (pride of life), as we aim to meet God in the end of it all.

 

Pastor Lydia shared with us the definition of “ To live is Christ” with the following 3 points.

  1. It is a union with Christ such that He is our all in all.

All in all means to we abide in Him and He in us as well.   There are certain requirements for us to experience growth in living for Christ, just as how we build friendships with people.  We need to take initiatives:

–  to know Christ with intimacy(Phillip 3:10),

–  to love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength (Mark 12:30),

–  submit all our thoughts, emotions, words and deeds to Christ’s Lordship (Col 1:10)

–  to encounter Christ as our all in all (Eph 1:23 and Col 3: 11)

 

  1. Involves exalting Christ in all we do.

We exalt Christ with our bodies, especially in our attitudes, words, behaviours and how we take care of ourselves.  This  includes choosing to do what glorifies God, and to live out His characteristics of joy, mercy and compassion.

 

  1. Dying to selfish desires in order to serve others.

A good example is Jesus who washed His disciples’ feet that indicated humility until the lowest level of servanthood.  We should desire to serve Christ all the way til death.

 

In the meantime, Pastor Lydia also mentioned that dying is of gain to Paul as it enables us to experience the promise of Christ of after  being dead.  Moreover, Christians can be assured of their final destination in this that states to die is gain.

 

Practical methods on how to live Christ was shared and the first is to make it our constant aim, as it helps us to know our direction without forgetting our purpose.  The second way is to depend on prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are not to rely on our own strength.

 

In conclusion, Christians are the most blessed people as we can experience the best of both worlds throughout our lives, because to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Read through 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 that speaks about being with Christ always and the glorious moment of His return with the achievement of our goals. We all need to ask ourselves, “ What is our aim in living?”

 

Finally, Pastor Lydia recommended us a book entitled ‘Our Sufficiency in Christ’, written by John McCarter.

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BE 2 : Plug-In , Blast Off

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As we prepare to enter into the weekend and enjoy our 2 days of rest from the hectic student lifestyle we are accustomed to but it has not prevented members of PKA from setting aside their time to attend BE to give thanks to the Lord for guiding us throughout the week and also for continuously watching over us every single day.

Our BE this week was held at the Audio and Visual Room in the Computer Science School. As we enter into the Computer Science building, we were greeted by the UNICORN CG, who were so full of enthusiasm and vigour despite the sweltering heat. Whose smiles also made us feel welcomed and at home.

BE commenced at 12.30pm and the meeting was hosted by Ruben Lai, who started the BE by asking the PKA members who were present to pair up with another person and share with one another about how their week has been and to also uphold one another in prayer.

Next was our worship session which was led by Yau Sze Min and her team which comprised of Joviel (guitar), Nicholas (cajon) and Yee Qian (keyboard). Praise and Worship started off with the song “This Is How We Overcome”, “Be Thou My Vision”, “Mujizat Itu Nyata” and lastly “Open The Eyes Of My Heart”. The first song being a declaration that with God by our side, we are able to overcome any form of  trial or tribulation that is thrown in our way.

As worship ended, Ruben introduced our speaker for the day, Pastor Selina Khoo. She is a pastor at Gateway City Church, She used to work as a nurse at Lam Wah Ee Hospital before taking the leap and deciding to go full time in the church ministry. With full of eagerness and passion she started the session off by posing a question to us. She asked us “how many years have you been with the Lord?” Through this question she related it to our PKA theme for the year which is “In Christ, I Capture, I Change”.

She also gave us a brief explanation of what our theme means and how it is related to our topic of the day which is Plug In and Blast Off. The first part of the sentence “In Christ” refers to our relationship with God. Our relationship God consists of 3 steps. It begins with a choice, that is do you want to be in a relationship with God? Next is having a commitment towards the relationship. That means praying, having our quiet time and by becoming the salt and light of the world that the Lord has set us out to be. Lastly is being committed. When we have made a choice to be committed to the Lord, there is a connection between God and you.

“I Capture” refers to when the Lord sets in your mind a vision or sight. We capture it and take hold of it. “I Change” means that when we are in a relationship with God coupled with the vision set in mind, we are transformed. Pastor Selina also encouraged us to grow from glory to glory and from strength to strength.

The next question Pastor Selina asked us was “How do you keep a relationship strong and going?” In order for a relationship to be strong and going, it has to have meaning to it.  Even though you maybe a Christian since birth but if you do not have a close affinity with God, the relationship has lost its meaning. This illustration can also be related to our world today. We live in a digital world where we are connected to everyone through social media and electronic gadgets but in reality we are not truly connected to one another because of the lack of meaningful conversation with one another.

According to Psalms 139, she mentioned that everyone is unique in their own special way and that everyone was created according to God’s image. Pastor Selina related us Christians to a mobile phone, each of us represent a specific model with definitive specifications that makes us special and unique from others.

However, although we may have all of these specifications that sets us apart but if we are depleted or without battery we are useless. Just like Christians if we are empty meaning if we are without God, our lives will end up being tiring and dysfunctional. Unlike a mobile phone there is no indicator in life to inform us that we are spiritually exhausted. Some of the examples to shows that we are spiritually depleted is when our life does not manifest on the fruit of the spirit which is love, self control, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness.

Pastor Selina further discussed on the first point, PLUG IN which means to be connected. When we are connected to God we are synced with Him and this gives us constant updates on God’s plans for our life. 1 Thessalonians 5 17-19, says “pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ”. This verse reminds us that even when we are facing a bad day or certain daunting circumstances in our lives, that we shouldn’t feel demoralised for God knows best and that we should rejoice and praise him in our every action because in the end of the day everything we do is for the glory of God.

According to the verse Isaiah 12:3 “I draw joy from the well of salvation”. In this verse, salvation refers to God, so it means that when we pray and have a relationship with God , we are able to draw joy from His Presence in our lives.

Pastor Selina compared us to the story of Mary and Martha. The story takes place during the time when Jesus and his disciples were passing by a village. In the village lived 2 women names Mary and Martha. When Jesus entred into their house, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to what he said, whereas Martha was distracted and busy attending to the work that needed to be done without giving any care that Jesus was sitting in their house. The story of Mary and Martha reflects our lives as students very well. We are so busy and caught up with our daily lives that we put God on hold. Luke 10:38-42.

Pastor Selina once again highlighted on the importance of prayer by referring prayer to our spiritual breath. If we do not breath, we are lifeless and the same goes if we do not pray, we would be spiritually lifeless.

Moving on to the second point which is BLAST OFF. It means to practice the presence of God. Then she went on to give us a situation to ponder upon. She asked whether in life would we be able to live without our mobile phones?

We never ever leave our room or house without our mobile phones because it is represents our lifeline and it shows our dependence towards it. Then she went on to challenge us by asking whether would be able to practice that same kind of attitude with God? When we pray and have our quiet time with God, we are able to sense his presence just as it was said in Matthew 28:20 “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. This verse was very reassuring because it helped us to know that God will always be with us and to also be heartened by the fact that even when we undergo difficulties in our life that God is with us and He will never abandon us.

As she came to a conclusion, Pastor Selina spurred us on once more to praise the Lord at all times and to be reignite our relationship with God and to not allow it to grow stagnant and stationery. Just as it was written in Ephesians 5: 18-19, Philipians 4: 4-7. When we are connected to God, His joy and peace is evident in our lives. If you do not PLUG IN, you cannot BLAST OFF. So, pray without ceasing, give thanks always and search for God’s presence in our lives.

 

After sharing, we opened the floor for testimonies. Jing En stepped up to share her testimony regarding her time in Camp Cameron and to also promote the upcoming Camp Cameron that is going to be held on the 20th of May 2016. Jing En started off by telling us about how she got to know about this camp. She found out about this camp through her youth pastor back in her hometown church. At that time God instilled in Jing En the passion and urgency to join the camp, which led her to joining the camp during her 2nd year. Throughout the 3 weeks she underwent the camp, she was able to Rediscover God and to learn more about who God really is and the purpose He has in her life. Other than that, she was also taught to read the Bible more regularly and this created an interest in her to study about the Word more deeply. Apart from that, she also shared about how one of the sessions during Camp Cameron is allocated specially for WI (Wordilicious Investigators). During this session, they will be taught on learn more about the Bible and to also educate them on how every chapter and book in the Bible is related to one another. Not only did Camp Cameron teach her to guard her relationship with God but to also guard her relationship with her family and friends. Some of the other sessions that were conducted during Camp Cameron was Nature Day where the campers are exposed to nature and it is used as a platform to learn more about Christ. There was also a Family Sharing session where campers shared about problems faced by their family and how by the grace of God they were able to overcome it. She went on to encourage the other PKA members especially the 1st year students to not miss this opportunity because it is a memorable and precious experience for her and she was confident that the people who were going for the camp will be touched the same way as she was.

Thank you! :D

Sound recording available :)

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BE 1 : Love him or HIM?

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Last Friday, we kick started our very FIRST BE of the second sem! :D I’m sure we were all fired up from our Friendship Camp in Gopeng, Perak and hungry to know more about God’s word and also to catch up with each other’s lives since then.

The topic for this week was “To Love him, or Him?” It was held at Living Word Centre (LWC) at Sungai Dua this week for a change.

As usual, we started off by praying for the person right next to us. This helps us to get to know each other’s weeks on a deeper level and also to encourage us to pray for each other. Then, Benedict led us in Praise and Worship with songs of declaration like Everyday, What a Friend we have in Jesus, Ku Mau Cinta Yesus and Jesus Lover of my Soul.

After that, Sophia Lim, as the emcee of the day, gave us some quick announcements of upcoming events and Hazel also informed us that the registration for mission trips this sem is now open. J If you are interested in going, the registration link is here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-kobgNFypSbP1mkit1Oo_yeUxT_XUa4H1BICJdH6DyE/viewform

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We were very honoured to have Caroline, our FES staff worker  to share with us about this week’s topic; to love him or Him? Simply put, its about romantic relationships. And how it is so important to have a Christian partner

 

She started off by bringing up a very hot topic in Facebook in the past few days. It was an article about “Why shouldn’t a Christian date a non-Christian?” She then reminded us about the purpose of dating. The whole purpose of dating is to move towards marriage, and that it is not a cure for loneliness or peer pressure. She said that there were some people who asked her, “How far can I go in dating this person?” Her reply was “It’s not how far you can go, it’s how willing you are to keep that person pure until you say your marriage vow.”

In 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Paul writes,

 32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.”

From these verses, Sis Caroline pointed out that since we are all unmarried, we should be concerned about the things of the Lord. For example, being concerned about people who have not yet heard the Gospel. For guys, they should pay undivided attention to God. For girls, it is how to be holy.

She also shared about one of the most common arguments of individuals who are in a relationship with an unbeliever: Can that person become a believer? Her response was that God never said anything in the bible about missionary dating. Based on 1 Corinthians 7:16-17, she further stated that we are only called to share to others, converting, on the other hand is solely based on the Holy Spirit.

Using King Solomon as a reference, in 1 Kings 11:4, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. She stated that if we replace God in our hearts, it gets closer to idolatry. We might tend to idolise our partners instead of worshipping God.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, (a typical verse to bring up in this context), it clearly states that we are not supposed to serve other gods. She further clarified saying that idolatry will come, we have to flee from it. She further emphasized that if you get a partner who is not a Christian, you are replacing God in your life.

Since 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a has the word “yoked” in it, she gave us a demonstration as to what that word actually means. She has us pair up and then place our arm around the shoulder of that person. After we did that, she stated that being “yoked” means to be bonded like that. Both of you have to walk forever in that position. Both of you have to have the same direction; the same goal, in order to work together and to have a lasting relationship.

If Christ is not your goal, where are you heading towards?

Furthermore, she said that love isn’t about changing the person. It’s about accepting he or she for who he really is. She reminded us that when you get into the relationship, it is all about acceptance, not conversion. Relationship is like looking at the mirror 24/7, and seeing your ugly side.

Sis Caroline then illustrated the situation of two hearts in love by holding up 2 pieces of coloured paper that was glued together. Then, if they break up, this is what happens. She then tore the two pieces of paper savagely until this is what remains

From that, she warned us to not wear our heart on our sleeves. Not saying relationship is not good, just be cautious. Don’t stir it up if you’re not ready. Guard your heart, keep your high standards. Speaking of standards, she told us to choose the one most important standard that your future partner MUST have, out of all the standards that you have set. Then reflect on yourself. Make sure that YOU are demonstrating that standard yourself, and not just expecting to see it in your future partner.

She also gave some very motherly advice to the guys. “Don’t flirt, be very cautious with girls.” she said. Good guys treat EVERY girl with extra care.

She also told us to make sure that we have these 3 relationships before even stepping into any kind of romantic relationship.

  1. Your relationship with the person you are interested in.

– build a good friendship first, get to know each other first.

– if you are really really interested in the person, pray about it and WAIT 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR. God will reveal to you within this time frame if he or she is meant for you or not.

– don’t fall for the idea of the person. Watch, wait and pray.

  1. Your relationship with the people around you, including your family and friends.
  2. Your relationship with God.

– Relationship is capturing God’s heart as Abba Father for yourself.

The next question commonly asked about dating non-Christians is this: What if I’m already in one? Sis Caroline answered this question, saying:

Then share with him or her about your life in Christ. Matthew 10:32, Luke 9:26, Mark 8:38. The person has to come to know Christ on his or her own terms. Not because of you. If he or she changes because of you, he or she can change because of someone else.

Another question was: “Can I still come back to God?” The answer is yes, always. Let go of your life and surrender to God. God will still forgive you.

As we draw closer to the end of the sermon, Sis Caroline played a video about an experiment on kids who wait. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR9UWj1q304

Sis Caroline closed by giving us some life advice. For the guys, if you are really interested, ask yourself first. Are you ready for the reality of marriage? Is she? Even with all the weaknesses? Because you will have to live seeing those weaknesses for the rest of your life if you decide to marry her. Example: you will have to live with her squeezing the toothpaste from the middle / top / bottom of the tube.

Another advice she gave all of us in general is to Run After God. Some of us are called for marriage, some are not. No matter what, chase God first. Like a marathon, it is God whom we want to choose. He is at the finishing line, and we are all the runners.

We are thankful for Sis Caroline to be able to share with us during this BE. As a sign of appreciation, we had Jasmin to present the love gift to him after the sharing, on behalf of all the PKA members.  It was then followed by a testimony sharing session where Sharon Ho came up and shared her testimony about her history teacher and the consequences of being married to an unbeliever. Then, we closed in prayer and had lunch at Bakti.

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Can listen to the recording here :) sorry for the interruption

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BACKMAN 2.0

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After a 4-week long semester break, BACKMAN 2.0 acts as PKA’s effort in welcoming members and non members alike back to USM for a brand new semester!

Backman 2.0 commenced at around 5.30pm, as people started to trickle in before the event, ushers greeted each invitee with a smile and a well received red envelope (containing a bookmark with a bible verse). After a few minutes of mingling, Emi took the reins as emcee and introduced the game masters, Chung Yi and Dickson, to conduct a round of ice breakers.

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First, members were instructed to sit in a large circle and were mysteriously given a toilet roll. They were then told to tear as many toilet papers as they wished without being told the reason why. It was later revealed that each paper represents one thing they did this Chinese New Year. Thus, came the round of sharing one’s CNY experience. Many laughed along and even empathized as some shared an eventful CNY with the conventional and unconventional family reunions, while others shared their simpler ones where sleep seems to take more importance. Haha.

 

Next came a time of worship! Led by Audrey and team. Worship opened with the song “10000 Reasons” and was followed by “One Voice” and “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God”. The latter clearly a cry of commitment for all to Seek first His Kingdom and to do his will this semester.

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Following worship, was a video presentation prepared by Li Hui, which projected many unforgettable images and moments of the past semester.

 

After that, Penny was invited to share a testimony. She started off by sharing the details of the accident that Yu Shi, herself and two other friends went through near the end of the last semester. It was her first time being involve in such an accident but despite the severity of it, her life was spared. As a result, she recalled being so overwhelmed by the love she felt from God at such a time of fear, physical pain and panic. She shared further about how sometimes we feel as if we have control over so many things. But God is the only one who has conquered and controlled death.

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Hazel was then invited to share the focus of PKA this new semester.

She started off by posing a question based on Matthew 7:21
“What is this will that God wants us to do?”

 

And the answer to that question is found in our theme verse, Romans 12:1

God’s will is for us to worship him and to be a living sacrifice. He wants us to intentionally give our whole being to him.

 

Likewise, Hazel posed a second question.
“How do we transform?”

Especially after being told to not live like the world but instead transform it from Romans 12:2

 

The answer? We need to Grow, Change and Transform.

 

Hazel illustrated how we are all like spiritual babies. And like babies, we need Milk/Water or in this case, God’s presence to help us pray and to allow living water to live in us. Secondly, we would need Food or The Word which is our foundation and seeing how God speaks through the word makes all the difference. Finally, we would need to Get up and Walk which is Action and allowing God to be the one who transform us (not the world) as well as acknowledging that he is the one giving us strength to get up and walk.

 

As the sharing came to a close, Hazel left the members of PKA with the following questions to dwell:

1. Are you Living in God’s will?

  1. Do you honor and please the Lord?
  2. Are you producing every kind of good fruit?
  3. Are you knowing God better?

(Questions 2-4 is based on Colossians 1:9-10)

 

There is no safer place to be then to be living in God’s will. Romans 12:2 mentions of how God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect. It’s not necessarily easy but it’s definitely worth it.

 

Before proceeding to leading the members in reciting the objectives of this sidang, Hazel, left this verse.

 

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

Romans 12:11

 

Hazel then lead the members in reciting the objectives of this sidang which goes as follows:

 

  1. Passion for God
  2. Compassion for People
  3. Breathrough through action.

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Succeeding Hazel’s sharing was Sarah’s briefing on the upcoming activities of PKA!
Sarah shared, according to each ministry, a number of new ideas and reconfirmed the continuation of the existing ones.

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After that, Tiam Fei and Jing En, took over and instructed members to gather according to their respective Cell Groups to discuss and determine the worship coordinators and their CG Freestyle!

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Finally, after wrapping up the CG discussions, dinner was served and BACKMAN 2.0 ended with hearts turned ever fervently towards God and doing his will and with spirits raised and comforted by the fellowship of PKA.

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BE5 : E.C.G

 

It was our last BE of the semester. Before entering the hall, we were greeted with love and warmth by the CSI CG.

Then, our lovely emcee, Ivy started by asking everyone to find a partner and pray for each other. Bernice and her amazing team of musicians and clicker later brought us into praise and worship. It was an action-filled praise and we sang in Malay/Indonesian (or should we say, our national language?).

After that, Ivy introduced our guest speaker, Annete.

 

So, what is ECG? It actually stands for electrocardiography; the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart. And the message was about it- our hearts. Is our heart “healthy”? Can we feel God’s heartbeat in this campus for all the people that come in our way, regardless of ethnic and race?

Annete started with a testimony about when she was still a student in USM. As a Computer Science student, Annete was easily stressed because of her roommate! Then, one day, a senior brought her to the roundabout with the transformation monument. And it got her thinking. So, she told us that we come to USM not only to get an education, but also to be transformed.

Lately, especially this year, there is so much news that makes us angry. And most of the news are about race-relations in Malaysia. Everyday, a drama is unfolding around us and it affects us. But we can also influence everything surrounding us. We can choose to be insulted or bless others.

Then, Annete showed us a 3-minute Petronas Merdeka clip from 2002. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8m4Axnm4nM

The video is about two best friends, Letchumi and Rokiah who grew up together since primary school. Letchumi is like an elder sister, protective of Rokiah. Throughout stages of life including high school, marriage, pregnancy (Rokiah is seen without husband), post-pregnancy (they live in the same house) and up till their kids were about 10 years old, Letchumi is always seen caressing Rokiah’s face and sometimes pinching her nose playfully. One day, on a birthday, both ladies argued. Rokiah decided to leave the house with her son. Letchumi cried while being consoled by her husband. Many years flew by and their kids have grown up. As Rokiah was taking graduation photos of her son, two familiar faces stopped by. They were Letchumi’s husband and son. Rokiah was surprised and she ran towards the husband to greet them. It was then when Letchumi’s husband told her of her death. Rokiah broke down in tears. The video ended with the quote, “When you remember the day, don’t forget the feeling.”

Shakings of Malaysian Identity

  1. d’Ruptured Muhibbah

We have no qualms about racial & religious bigotry, reversing pledges and selfish promotion & exploitation. We are busy pinpointing others but we forget that we ourselves are also racists.

 

 

  1. d’Stench of Racial Bigotry

Annete says that she can smell the stench of racial bigotry. “We are a multiracial country. Something that other countries do not possess.” But there are offensive name calling (stoking religious, racial sentiments), pride & prejudice that each race is better than the other and a dangerous forgetfulness of our mutual fight for nationhood.

 

  1. d’Red Zone of Apathy

Even though, we hear news of race-relations, people are still apathetic about it. (Note to reader: Apathy means ‘complete lack of emotion or motivation about a person, activity, or object; disinterest. To put it in Malaysian terms, the “tidak apa” attitude)

People are seeking their own advancement. They remain silent about injustices as long as it does not affect them. Red zone and cracks are already appearing but people choose to ignore them.

So, we as Christians should be the bridge. But first, we need to overcome our own prejudice.

 

  1. d’Multi-Colour Mandate

The Bible tells stories not only about Jews but also Gentiles like Ruth. God is not only the God of the Jews but also the Gentiles. That means God does not practice favoritism and is fair to everyone. We can see that God is not unfair through the account of Peter’s vision (Acts 10:9-18, 23b-35) and of Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-3, 4:9-11).

 

Acts 10:34  Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

 

Jonah 4:4  But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”

Would we act the same as Jonah too? Being angry at a people of different race and feeling wronged when God blesses them.

 

  1. d’Rude Awakening

Our God is a very unconventional God. And He has an unconventional heart for the unclean, the enemy and the differently religious. God is on an unrelenting quest to embrace all. So, how should we react to those who raised racial sentiments?

 

  1. d’Call to Breakthrough (Read Acts 10:9-18; 23b-35)

How many times have God knocked our hearts when it comes to our attitude towards our hated neighbours? What does it take for God to knock our hearts, to awaken us?

For Peter, it was the vision of eating unclean or impure food. It was against the Law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But what God wants to show Peter is that he should not call any man impure or unclean.

In other words, we should leave past taboos about other people groups behind and open our hearts to those we have always closed to.

 

  1. d’Pursuit of Compassion (Read Jonah 1:1-3; 4:9-11)

The story of Jonah shows us YHWH’s refusal to be boxed into our expectations. YHWH also went to a radical extent to rein in a stubborn and unrelenting prophet who hated the target group. It was YHWH’s pursuit of an undeserving people and embracing them with His compassion. It is still His pursuit now.

Jonah hated the Ninevites very much. They were not his people and were full of wickedness. But it was so because they did not know the difference between right and wrong, bad and good. And it took that one person who knew God to reach out to them.

 

  1. d’Courageous Embrace (Read Esther 4:14)

Esther fought for a people whose existence was threatened, a people who were powerless.

We have lost our voices because we chose to. We have closed our hearts and what does that make us? We are of no use.

 

 

Do we really know our neighbours? Do we know what we have done that hurt them? And, do we really know what is holding us back?

So, where are we Christians located? Annete urged us to be “subversive agents” by building bridges and blessing non-believers (including the group who does not have freedom of religion). We can start by inviting God into the pains we have suffered and the prejudice we have been trying to overcome. We also need to change our hearts by giving up hatred selfishness and prejudice. For such a time like this, we need to be “kepoh” or busybody (but a good one!) to our neighbours.

Annete then ended her message by sharing us a song, “Go Light Your World” by Chris Rice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5IXiVqU9OM

Following is an excerpt taken from the song:

Carry your candle, and run to the darkness/Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
And hold out your candle for all to see it/Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

After the sharing, we opened to the floor for testimonies. We not only had one but two by Benedict and Ruben. Benedict said it was an hour after CG which also held prayers for Starfish. His Starfish was in the study room and out of the blue, he asked Ben to pray for his assignment which is a video shoot. So, Ben prayed for him. Ben told him, “Call upon Jesus. He is our help in times of trouble.” After that, his Starfish asked Ben to pray for him again. He needed to drive to Ipoh at 1.30am to fetch his actor. He wanted to seek a “higher power” and it seems that he knows Jesus is the “higher power”. In the end, Ben’s Starfish reached home safely and is now more open to the Gospel.

Then, it was Ruben’s turn. He has a Russian classmate for French class and one day, she approached him and asked, “Ruben, are you good at lying?” She actually wanted Ruben to construct a lie for the next class as she could not make it. He told her that it is not right to do so and asked her to tell the teacher herself. The next time he met her, he asked what she did. She just told the truth. Ruben knew it was not right to lie and he actually pulled her away from sinning as she is a Christian too.

BE4:Free WIFI

 

12270385_10207530647961802_1887230223_nHi guys! It’s been a really busy week with mid-terms and assignment deadlines piling up. Amongst all the busyness that we experience as students, where does spending time with God fit in our schedule? That is the topic that today’s BE focused on.

Miriam was host for the day. She kicked off BE with 10 minutes of prayer time, where those who came partnered up to pray for each other’s needs as well as world events, such as the Paris bombing and ISIS threats. This was followed by an engaging time of worship led by Hazel, where those in attendance sang together to invite God’s presence amongst them.

After worship, it was time for the meat of the event as Pr. Palan, who has been serving in Reservoir Garden Baptist Church (RGBC) since 1991, came to deliver a session on prioritising God in our lives as students. If our weekly messages were likened to meat, Pr. Palan must have served a big piece of steak – it takes a while to digest but is full of muscle-building protein which is good for us.

Pr. Palan opened by making a remark that students these days are busier than adults (wow) and that there’s this old acronym for the word ‘busy’, ‘Being Under Satan’s Yoke’, that goes around in churches, hence giving us the impression that business is bad or evil. He corrected that assumption by saying that we must be busy, but only to do the right things – even Jesus was busy doing His father’s business while He was on earth.

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However, he further explained that busyness, even doing ‘spiritual’ stuff  like serving in a church or preparing sermons, should not come at the expense of spending time with God personally via reading the Word and prayer: “If we are too busy to pray and read the Word, we are busier than what God intended us to be. Hence, we are no longer in the will of God, and that is very dangerous ground,” he said.

After that, he presented a 5-step plan, entitled ‘The Journey to Spiritual Maturity’, which talks about how we as Christians can grow in the Lord instead of remaining stagnant, since you know, denggi mosquitoes like stagnant water. (That mosquito reference was from me, not Pastor.)  In order to progress in any area of life, there needs to be effort that is done with the right attitude – and this applies even more so to abiding in the Lord.

The first question that Pr Palan addressed was why people struggle in their spiritual journey. Expounding from the parable of the good seed (Matthew 13:1-23), he posed the question if we are ‘hearers’ or merely ‘listeners’ of the word. If we are hearers of the Word, the Word will take root in us and produce many fruits; but often we only ‘listen’. The condition of our hearts (represented by the soil in the parable) determines if God’s truths will be rooted in our lives.

Pr Palan explained that ‘listeners’ of the Word suffer from a condition known as spiritual apathy, where we have a ‘tidak apa’ attitude towards opening our hearts to receive the Word of God. Doing our quiet time, praying and reading the Bible is more than a spiritual chore or experience – it is vital for our growth just like how our bodies need nutrients to grow and be healthy. If the Word of God doesn’t take effect in our lives where we not only hear the Word but do it, not only will there be no transformation in our lives, we risk losing the assurance and fruit that we had as well.

An interesting addition to note is Pr Palan mentioned the misapplication of grace teaching as one of the reasons people develop spiritual apathy, where we take God’s grace and forgiveness for granted instead of striving for personal growth. He added that grace in its proper use should actually push us to love, know and serve God more instead of making us indifferent towards Him.

The second area that Pr Palan expounded on was the result of spiritual apathy, which are ‘fake’ disciples. The scary part is that these ‘fake’ disciples are actually believers, as described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 as having ‘a form of godliness but denying the power that comes with it’. Godly living is powerful, but when we only possess ‘Sunday faith’ yet become slaves to self, money and pleasure the rest of the week, the result is there are many fake disciples in the church without realizing. Pr Palan further contrasted fake discipleship with radical IS militants, who are doing what they believe to be a commission from God – is it any surprise that evil has the upper hand today?

To get out of fake discipleship, Pr Palan explained that we need to make several radical decisions, which can be unpleasant and difficult and messy (at least at the beginning). What are these decisions? They could be found in Hosea 10:12-13, which was addressed to sinful Israel back then but its truths still apply to us today.

First of all, we need to sow righteousness for ourselves. How could we, when we are by nature unrighteous? ‘Sow’ is an action word, which means that we’re supposed to be doing the sowing, but sow what? Pr Palan explained that Jesus’ names, Righteous and The Word, explain what we need to sow, which is the Word of God. This is an indeed amazing decision for students, he says. Imagine if we read our Bibles before starting anything – before class, before assignments, before group discussions… ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and everything (we worry about) shall be added unto you.’ And when we sow, we reap unfailing love.

After that, we need to plow the grounds…of our hearts, so that it is ready to receive God’s word and allow it to take root. By ‘plowing the ground’ manually, i.e reading the Word for ourselves, even stony ground becomes good ground where we can grow.

However, our job doesn’t end there. We need to continue seeking the Lord until He comes…not until we are fed up. There are many examples in the Word: Jesus asking His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit, Abraham waiting by faith for God to tell him where to go next…these should inspire us to wait on God as long as it takes. When we seek God with all our heart and run towards Him instead of standing still (or running away), we are given the promise that we will indeed find Him.

The fourth area that Pr Palan touched on was the result of the radical decision, which is a radical transformation. In Acts 4:13, Peter and John amazed the people around them and the religious leaders of their day when they bravely preached the gospel to the community. Their background as uneducated fishermen made people all the more astonished as people saw their courage and wisdom. Pr Palan encouraged us that being with Jesus isn’t a stunt, as people will know that He is in us when we consistently walk with Him. After all, most comfortable city churches are usually not in trouble, but radical ones are persecuted!

The last area that Pr Palan talked about is the result of radical transformation, which is continuous spiritual growth. As long as we live, we can grow. In 1 John 2:4-6, walking with God and obeying Him is the evidence of our faith. We are to be doers of the word – if we don’t do God’s word, we are literally liars! Pr Palan’s strong words were, ‘How many liars are there in the church, people who should have known better?’ If the truth is not in someone (and truth comes by doing the Word of God) then there is no Jesus in that person, either.

Having heard what the cost of discipleship is, and how easily we become complacent, is there hope? To know if we are growing in our faith, God’s love must be more and more evident in us. The good news is that we can cultivate it by deciding daily to grow – to know God’s will by the Word, and to know His heart by prayer. Should we feel like giving up, God’s grace is sufficient to get us through, and as we grow the journey becomes less harder and we are freed to do ‘greater things’ for Him. As John 15:5 promises, when we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit.

After the closing prayer, two brave souls came out to share testimonies. The first testimony was from Emi who shared about how God can use believers to bring about growth and change in her hometown of JB which is steeped in superstition and religious practices, including her personal experiences joining prayer walks around her hometown. The second testimony was from Shaun that shared his faith with a friend when they were both stuck in his car in a jam, and he shared about how Christianity is not only about doing good, blessings and getting to heaven but also knowing, loving and showing God to man.

BE ended with some short announcements followed by lunch at Bakti.

 

Prayer Walk~ A Walk to Remember

[Prayer Walk!]

Nicole Kumari's photo.

In the midst of convocation week, we had our not the first, but second ever prayer walk! It was good to see a lot of members showed up despite the rain, coming together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to present our prayers and requests.

The members were divided into three groups, where each group was assigned to have their prayer walk at different locations. The locations are at tapak convo, DK foyer and tutorial rooms, and at Bakti Permai hostel. Each group was distributed with prayer requests according to their locations plus the prayer requests regarding international affairs such as Paris terror attacks and Bombings in Nigeria. Oh ya kudos to Nicole for preparing it~ =). So with all set, everyone moved to their specific locations!

As we moved along with our respective groups we committed the whole USM, in and out, into God’s hands. From lecturers to students, from hostel to schools. Indeed it was a time well spent praying in unison to God.

After spending our prayer walk time with our groups we gathered back to BT144 around 7.45pm. Some of us shared on what they have felt throughout their prayer walk, reflections and concerns.

Later on we were asked to find a partner to share about our concerns and pray for each other. And our dear Alison closed the meeting with a word of prayer.