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Vicar’s write 30/31 January

posted 31.01.2016

(taken from an email address to Cell Leaders for the first Cell Leaders Meeting on 29 January 2016)

Shalom. I greet all of you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ as part of a delegation of 9 in Manila for the Global Discipleship Congress (GDC) Asia 2016. I would have loved to be with you for the 1st Cell Leaders Meeting in 2016 but unfortunately cannot; the next best thing is to share some thoughts through this email from Manila.

We opened GDC 2016 with Ps Edmund Chan asking us what is "The ONE thing that determines everything"? As I formed my thoughts after reflecting on Genesis 16 (lectionary passage for 29 January) I sensed the Lord saying to me and all of us:

  1. KNOW that I [Jesus] love you - totally and unconditionally. I cannot love you any more or any less. You are loved not because you serve as Cell Leaders or as Assistant Cell Leaders. The Bible tells us that in so many places e.g. Romans 8:5 and Romans 8:32. We are encouraged to know God's word and encounter His love each day.
  2. BE rested in my love - let us trust in the Word. Sarai and Abram were restless in helping God; they thought the ONE thing was to have a child. In their restlessness to help God, they created a mess that we continue to see the effect of today? The ONE thing for us is to remain or abide in Christ. Let us guard our own QT and respond to the renewed call to prayer. Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless we pray, it is only us who work; when we pray, God works. Hallelujah!
  3. DO the ONE thing that matters - Discipleship. It is for everyone and the Lord in His mercy prepares us and you as Cell Leaders to play such an important role to engage and edify (build up and lay foundations) so that one day every St. Jamers will be ready to be equipped and trained as a disciple in the mould of 2 Timothy 2:2; someone able to "teach others also" as they have been taught by their discipler.
  4. LOVE is the ONE thing that matters; God is love and it speaks of the transformation of my own heart and yours. The KNOW-ing, BE-ing and DO-ing must transform you and I first and foremost to become like Christ. Only when I am transformed can I impart that Christ image to another. It is God's perfect love in us that will drive out all fears (see the other lectionary passage from Matthew 26:57-end) Sometimes we feel like Peter for letting down Jesus in our denial. If we feel this way, know that Jesus loves you; be rested in His love and continue to patiently wait to see where Jesus is working and follow along doing all He commanded us: make disciples.

It was 10 years after Abram received the promise that this incident in Genesis 16 took place. It took another 15 years for Sarah to finally bear the child of promise, Isaac. The ONE thing is clear for us; all we do in church is focused on discipleship and I thank God that He is ever patient with us as we continue to map this out for St James'. He continues to sanctify us through and through and He is faithful and will do it.

Have a blessed meeting on Friday and our thoughts, love and prayers are with you. Shalom!

Your fellow disciple on the journey;

Ps Siang Guan