Easter 2019 – Good Friday & Maundy Thursday Services

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Easter Service 2019 – The Witness

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Where Are You, God?

Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5)

Cancer steals the ones we love. Babies die before they get a chance to live. Police officers are charged with murder. People riot in the streets and burn cities. Christians are beheaded for their faith.

If God is a good God who wants good things for His children, why do bad things happen? Where is the justice?

When devastating circumstances rock our lives, even the most faithful among us can be shaken with doubt. Where is God? Why is He allowing this? Is He really good? Does He even exist?

God is not scared of our questions, and He is not surprised by our doubts.

Even the prophet Habakkuk had doubts and questions for God. In Habakkuk 1:1-4, surrounded by violence, injustice, wrongdoing, destruction, strife and conflict, Habakkuk cries out to God, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2).

The Lord doesn’t condemn him for asking. He answers and gives him hope. God explains to Habakkuk that He has a plan so amazing that Habakkuk wouldn’t even believe it (Habakkuk 1:5).

When devastating and confusing circumstances cause us to question God, we can be assured He cares, has a plan, and is working it all together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We may not understand because we only see part of the story, but God sees the big picture and has a plan greater than anything we could imagine.

God is working in your life and in our world in ways that if He told us, we would not even believe.

For Your Reflection:

• What is one thing in your life, or our world, that causes you to doubt or question God?

• When was one time that you have seen God work a bad situation for good?

• What is one of God’s promises that you need to cling to today?

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The Scandal Maker

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him (Mark 2:15)

This evidently was a farewell dinner Matthew gave for his friends, his tax-collecting buddies. He was saying farewell to his work and friends and leaving to follow Jesus. It was also an opportunity to introduce them to his newfound Lord.

What a collection of rascals must have been there that day! All the tax collectors of the city, all the sinners, all the despised social outcasts were sitting there. As the scribes of the Pharisees passed by and saw Jesus in the midst of it all, they were absolutely scandalized! It was obvious that He was the friend of these men. He was not lecturing them. He was sitting among them and eating and drinking with them. The scribes were simply appalled at this and called the disciples aside: “Why does He do things like that? Doesn’t He know who these people are?”

Jesus’ answer is very revealing. He actually agrees with their remarks. He says, in effect, “You’re right, these are sick, hurting, troubled men. Their style of life has damaged them deeply. They don’t see life rightly; they are covering up many evils; they are false in many ways. You’re right, these are sick men. But where else would a doctor be?”

He says something to them that turns their gaze back toward themselves. He says,” I came to call not the righteous, but sinners.” That is, those who think they are righteous, as these Pharisees did, are actually more needy than those they regard as social outcasts. These Pharisees were actually more deeply disturbed than the tax collectors and sinners, but they did not know it. But Jesus was saying to them, To those who think they’re righteous, I have absolutely nothing to say. But to these who know they’re sick and are open for help, I am fully available as a minister to their souls.

Our Lord made several things emphatically clear by this reply. First, He indicated strongly that when people think they have no need of help from God, they are in no position to be helped. There is nothing to say to them. But our Lord always put His efforts where men and women were open to help, where they were hurting so much they knew they needed help.

The second thing our Lord reveals is that people are more important than prejudice. Prejudices are preconceived notions formed before we have sufficient knowledge, usually mistaken or distorted ideas with which we have grown up. When prejudices are in opposition to the needs of people, they are to be swept aside without any hesitation. We Christians must learn to treat people like Jesus–regardless of what their outward appearance may be.

Do we need to repent of the self-righteous judging that separates us from God’s forgiveness for our own sins, and from caring compassion toward other sinners?

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Church Camp 2019

Pastor Benny has seen a lifetime of ministry work, including mission work with World Vision, bible school planting in Asia, and over twenty years in various pastoral roles in local churches.

He founded Arrows College as a teaching and resource ministry to the Body of Christ, and is the Apostolic Leader of D-Net Churches, a network that carries his desire to see churches strengthened to become intentional disciple-making cell churches. As the Senior Pastor of Faith Community Church, he enjoys leading a team of people who loves God passionately and loves people practically.

All this never seems like work to him – his conviction for advancing God’s kingdom fuels everything he does.

One of his passions in ministry is expository preaching, particularly preaching through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

Pastor Benny is known for his down-to-earth humour and approachable leadership style. He is happily married to his biggest supporter, Cecilia, and has three children: Joel, Abigail, and Rachel. In his free time, he enjoys people-watching in cafes and is moved deeply by movies that showcase the better side of human life.

For more information, please contact Church Office

Download flyer and registration form here.

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What Is True Fasting?

True fasting has to have something behind it. External disciplines are good, but there has to be truth lying behind them. A kiss is a powerful way of saying I love you, but it was with a kiss that Judas betrayed Jesus. So what is the true inner meaning that lies behind our outward fasting?

Isaiah says: “Share your bread with the hungry” (Isa 58:7) – Martin Luther King said: “As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars…I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made.”

Isaiah says “Bring the homeless poor into your house” (Isa. 58:7) – What about this house – God’s House? We all want to welcome people in here when they are the right sort of people, respectable people. people like us. But what about people who are more difficult to get on with? What about people who barely speak any English who is a real struggle to chat with over coffee after the service? What about children with ADHD or autism who run around in the middle of the church service making a terrible racket? These are the spiritually homeless poor.

Isaiah says: “If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,” (Isa 58:9) – It’s true isn’t it – for all of us it’s so easy to criticise, to blame to point the finger” In one of my past churches there was a lady who never said a word against anybody. She always pointed out the good. It is amazing the difference it makes to have someone doing that. It lifted the hearts of all and spoke blessing. What can we do not to point the finger but actively to speak blessing to those around us?

There once was a church where the walls were painted white. Whenever they sang Amazing Grace, the entire congregation turned to face one particular wall. The new minister was curious about this, so she asked people why, but no one knew. Eventually she was taking sick communion to a 96-year-old member of the church so she asked him. “Ah” he said, “When I was a boy we couldn’t afford hymn books for everyone, so we painted the words of Amazing Grace on one of the walls. Every time we sang it we turned to face that wall. Over the years the words faded and the walls were repainted, but we still always turn to face that wall.

Isaiah has God ask question “Is this the fast I seek?” As we observe Lent and give things up or take things up, let us make sure that they are not empty shells like that wall that once had a meaning, or a lie like Judas’s kiss of Jesus. Let them be true fasting where the exterior disciplines reflect the inner realities. (FATHER EDMUND CARGILL THOMPSON)

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How Far Are We Willing To Go To Bring Others To Jesus?

Mark’s Gospel (Mark 2:1-12) tells an incredible story about four men carrying a paralyzed friend to Jesus. We don’t even know their relationship to the paralyzed man or what became of them afterward.
Nor are we told how far they traveled to perform such an act of kindness or what it cost them. Yet it’s apparent that no distance was too far, no cost too great, and no complication too much. Despite the difficulty and inconvenience confronting them, this quartet was determined to get their friend to Jesus.

I can’t help wondering what it must have been like to be the paralyzed man. To rely on others for everything. To never be able to stand on his own and stretch, or enjoy a change of scenery without troubling others. Did he ever feel anything besides helplessness, humiliation, isolation, frustration, or despair? How did he react when his friends grabbed the four corners of his cot and headed out the door with him? Was he excited, frightened, or embarrassed when they started lowering him through the hole? We can’t know the answers to these questions, but one thing is certain. When Jesus beheld the one who’d landed safely at His feet, He saw the truth—that the man’s paralysis was deeper and more pervasive than it appeared. Within that withered body was a crippled soul, paralyzed by sin and shrunken from shame.

However, the crippled man before Him wasn’t the only thing that Jesus observed. He also saw the spirited, sweaty faces of four desperate men peering down at Him through a hole—men whose faith was bold, earnest, insistent, and seemingly indifferent to social consequences. He saw four men who would not be denied, whose bloody knuckles offered proof that they would stop at nothing. Four filthy faces, craving a miracle. Panting with anticipation. Wide-eyed with hope. Apparently, it wasn’t what Jesus heard that arrested His heart. It was what He saw that moved Him. They destroyed someone’s property, interrupted Jesus while He was talking, and aggravated the people who were listening. Their trust in Jesus’ power to heal their paralyzed friend moved the Lord’s tender heart.

One of the greatest privileges, and oftentimes most difficult challenges, is bringing people to Christ. But it is worth every ounce of labor. Hopefully, you won’t have to dig through any roofs to do it, but you may have to break down some walls of ignorance, misunderstanding, pride, prejudice, and past hurts. You may have to get dirty, use your head, adjust your schedule, modify your budget, swallow your pride, and creatively use your gifts. But like the four men in Mark’s Gospel, you won’t be disappointed. (FIL ANDERSON)

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The Definition Of Discipleship

Encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:5:11)

Jesus’ primary call to His disciples is seen in His words, “Come to Me” (Matthew 11:28) and “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19). Mark records: “He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons” (Mark 3:14-15). Notice that Jesus’ relationship with His disciples preceded His assignment to them. Discipleship is the intensely personal activity of two or more persons helping each other experience a growing relationship with God. Discipleship is being before doing, maturity before ministry, character before career.

Every Christian, including you, is both a disciple and a discipler in the context of his Christian relationships. You have the awesome privilege and responsibility both to be a teacher and a learner of what it means to be in Christ, walk in the Spirit, and live by faith. You may have a role in your family, church, or Christian community which gives you specific responsibility for discipling others, such as husband / father, pastor, Sunday school teacher, discipleship group leader, etc. But even as an appointed discipler you are never not a disciple who is learning and growing in Christ through your relationships. Conversely, you may not have an “official” responsibility to disciple anyone, but you are never not a discipler. You have the opportunity to help your children, your friends, and other believers grow in Christ through your caring and committed relationship with them.

Similarly, every Christian is both a counselor and counselee in the context of his / her Christian relationships. A good counselor should be a good discipler, and a good discipler should be a good counselor. Biblically, they are the same role. Your level of maturity may dictate that you do a lot of Christian counseling. But there will still be times when you need to seek or receive the counsel of other Christians. There will never be a day when we don’t need each other.

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