Last Sunday I went church visiting with my cell. I have to say that it’s really an eye-opening experience for me when I attend other church services which follows a different order of service. Nevertheless, I’ve gain alot of insights about church fellowships and knowledge from other church pastors. No matter where I am, it just felt great to be worshipping God with the masses together as one.
|This sanctuary houses a large congregation.|
Covenant Evangelical Free Church (Woodlands) is more of a modern church where they do away with wooden church pews and large big books of bibles and hymns which are usually slotted neatly on the racks. This church housed a large air-conditioned auditorium with 3 large HD screens and a well-equipped stage with a full band set which includes electric guitars, drums and keyboard. The images cast on the screens were so clear,vivid and define. I would say that it’s even better and clearer than the cinema screens! Another stark difference from my church at Kampong Kapor Methodist is the absence of a pulpit here at Covenant Evangelical. It’s a modernized church that made full use of the available technology to run its church.
So, some of you may wonder, what are all the implications here? I’ve been attending traditional church services for the past 6 months where we sang mainly hymns with organs but right here in this modernize church, they are singing songs of pop Christian bands like Hillsong with drums and electric guitars. This also oftens leads to the stigma on Charismatic churches where some Christians felt that these churches placed too much emphasis on the music and youths rather than on God. I used to nod my head in agreement when people mentioned that charismatic churches are too youth-centric. But today, after knowing more about Christianity, I beg to differ. In one of Edmund Chan’s sermons, he said something like this,” Would you rather have your children clapping and jumping to songs of worship or hanging out with people of bad influences?” By and large, whether it’s Charismatic or not, I believe we Christians come to church for one reason: to worship our God.
|Order of Service|
After I read the cover page of the service order, I was singing a happy tune in my heart. On the cover page, it read “Speaker: Edmund Chan!”. In my head, I was like :” You mean I can get to see my favourite pastor today? Could I take a photo with him? Can I interview him,maybe? ” To me, Edmund Chan is one inspiring leader of the church and a great story-teller who speaks about God with so much passion and conviction. His sermons are engaging, up-lifting and thought-provoking. But, to my little dismay, I did not get to see him “LIVE” because he was giving the sermon at the other Sister Church at Bukit Panjang but I was lucky enough to hear him speak about the word of God through the live video conference in ths auditorium.
|Thank God ! We are still able to catch the live telecast of Pastor Edmund’s sermon all the way from Bukit Panjang!|
Last Sunday’s sermon was on God-Centred Discipleship. It was another moving-and-shaking speech that stirred the heart of the worshippers. Here’s some of sermon note-takings:
Book: Luke 10:25- 11:13
Sermon: Rev Edmund Chan
Three key portraits of God
A. The God of Whatever More (Luke 10:25-37)
– A Love that knows no boundaries.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we learnt about a lawyer who questioned Jesus about what he has to do in order to gain eternal life. Jesus prompted him to refer to the book of Laws and the laywer replied, ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; Love your neighbour as yourself.” Then, the laywer asked,” Who is my neighbour?” The pastor went on to explain about the essence of this parable and highlighted this one important message to us:” Everywhere we go, we are the neighbour.” We are everyone’s neighbour and we must learn how to love one another just like how God has loved each and everyone of us. He has demostrated His love for us through Jesus Christ. When Christ died, he died for all.
B. The God of the Worry No More (Luke 10:38-42)
-A Hope that knows no more anxieties.
In another story, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him with open arms to her house. Martha began cooking and preparing food in the Kitchen for the guest while her sister,Mary was washing the feet of Jesus and listening to his teachings. Martha was worried as she busied herself with all the preparation and in her distress, she walked to Jesus and said, ” Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” But Jesus replied, ” “Martha, Martha,you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Whatever you do, do it for the Lord.
However, there’s more meaning and depth to this scripture. Take note, as what the Pastor has mentioned, the one thing which is important is not merely about quitting your present day job and lock yourself up in the room with the bible. It is actually the state of restedness that God is advocating. Let us examine our hearts, what are our present day anxieties? What is bothering us? Beware of such emotions because anxieties can lead to anger and anger will lead to bitterness and eventually, resentment. Resentment will churns inside of us and very soon we will become upset not only of ouselves, but with God as well.
Pastor Edmunds adds that anger and resentment are toxicity for the soul, so how then do we manage our anger? He told us about this method of managing our emotions: ENAF (enough is enough)
E – Managing your expectations
N – Manage your needs
A – Manage your anger
F – Manage your focus
“Let your anger goes down with the Sun”, said Rev Edmund Chan.
C. The God of the How Much More (Luke 11:1-13)
– A Faith that needs no formulas.
We were asked to refer to the scriptures in Luke 11 on Jesus’ teachings on Prayer. John, the Baptist, taught the disciples how to pray by asking them to recite the Lord’s prayer. He gave them a prayer formula which also known as the disciple’s prayer.Then,Jesus came and told a story to the disciples about a man who has insufficient food to serve his guest in the middle of the night and had to knock on his neighbour’s door to ask for more food. said to them, “And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
(I remembered very vividly that as the Pastor was telling us the story, he become very animated with began renacting the scene, ” BANG! BANG!”, he exclaimed. )
1. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.” (Lk 11:9)
2. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”(Lk 11:13) How much more will the Father give to the Holy Spirit to do good things to you when you asked for it? How much more, how much more? The holy spirit will brings you beyond the formula. Having faith in God needs no formulas.
Once again, the word of God has left me in awe.