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Vicar’s write 1 January

posted 01.01.2017

“You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11) This verse was given to us as the staff spent one day together in 2016 to planning for the SJC’s 40th anniversary. We were led to anticipate God’s glory crowning 2017. We pray God’s glory be made manifest in St James’ Church.

I imagine God pouring out His blessings with delight; both spiritual and material blessings, into our tiny wagons. Each of our wagons become so laden with blessings that the tracks create deep gullies. These deep gullies are the indelible legacy and the footprints which God desires us to leave behind for the generations to follow after and lift Him up!

Allow me to thank so many of you for the prayers, blessings of friendship and also the generous gifts you have showered on me, my family and also fellow clergy and staff. It is our duty and joy to be able to serve God and people in St. James’ Church and we are recipients of God’s grace through you.

This was also my sense as we gave thanks for 2016 at our last staff meeting of the year. Having experienced God’s grace in both our successes and failures, I pray this same grace will overflow to our families and others around.

The theme verse God had deposited to guide our celebrations is 2 Corinthians 3:18. He continues to work to perfect us to display His glory. Hence the chosen theme of “From glory to glory”; because we desire God’s glory be seen in us; we are pointing at all times to Jesus, the perfect image of God as we learned in the Hebrews sermon series last year.

We have planned SJC40 with 3 phases: REMEMBER, REJOICE and RESPOND.
We spent the last 6 months of 2016 in preparation, making space to hear and REMEMBER what God has done. This is an important part of our spiritual formation for we are prone to be forgetful. A word search shows “remember” appears 237 times in the ESV bible!

The Psalmist had warned Israel to not forget all the benefits of the Lord (Psalm 103:2). Moses also solemnly warned Israel in Deuteronomy 8:2, that all the 40 years in the desert was a time of testing so God could reveal what was really in their hearts and then learn to lean on God to keep His commandments. As someone said “God has taken us out of Egypt (a metaphor for sin) but He continues to get Egypt out of us!” May we never forget that!

40 years marks one generation in the bible and by God’s grace and power, St James’ Church has grown from strength to strength. We remember it is by grace we have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ; this same grace is now training us to live godly lives as we wait for Christ’s return. For that, we REJOICE and co-operate with God to align our lives fully to be discipled and display His glory.

Finally, God wants us to RESPOND. On the first day of 2017, we start by dedicating our lives afresh to Jesus; we renew our baptism vows and covenant to grow in God’s glory until we see Jesus. If you are not baptized yet, make this a commitment you will want to obey God in this grace He gives to us.

May God help us celebrate with all our might in His grace and goodness; until we and the whole world are found in Christ and transformed be like Jesus, to the glory of God! We will end 2017 with thanksgiving as a parish that by grace we have grown and continue to do so till Jesus comes back again.

Blessed 40th anniversary St James’ Church and to God be all the glory!

Ps Siang Guan
Vicar

 

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