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Editors Foreword

Anyway, speaking of allegory, we head this issue off with a hefty piece of Preacher Joshua Yong regarding the hermeneutics of Biblical narrative. If the deeper portions of scripture are described as meat, then this article should serve as a Michelin star chefs cookbook on how to turn meat into juicy steaks. Getting to the Core of Biblical Narrative is guaranteed to improve your study on stories in the Bible, or your money back. In the interest of a balanced spiritual diet, the Uth committee has also procured three deeply practical articles related to sincerity, sanctimony, and how they relate to picking a life partner. Sis Molly expounds on Yours Sincerely, How to be a good friend in Christ, drawing Biblical principles No, nothing to do with the parody news service that brings me so much entertainment. Instead, all to do with appearance, hypocrisy and sanctimony, and all the other allegorical spiritual significance we could squeeze out of the onion. (Did I just compare this issue to onion juice?! My apologies. Its my first day on the job.) from Acts 2. Next, Preacher Ko Lingkang tells us about The Pharisee Trap. It is an incredibly devious trap, for if you can come up with a list of people that might be in it,the trap has already closed around you Lastly, Bro Henry holds up a massive Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) sign, and explains the Biblical manner of protecting

GREETINGS! =D Im not entirely sure what Elvins going with on the front cover, but I hope its obvious to you by now that the theme for this article is the ONION.

oneself from being subject to a bait and switch scam while choosing a life partner. Following suit, we have not one but two retrospect articles written by mature Christians, already married, taking advantage of the Uth Chronicles time machine and writing to themselves when they were Uths. The subject matter relates to their search for life partners, so if you were looking for an example to emulate, we have one for guys and one for the girls.

BLOO to tell us how she is, while Brian and Yeda interview the 5 AGLs of CPYF to tell us more about them.

Do check out our other routine features Get to know some of our newer YFers in Personal Points, which for some reason only features people who want to be musical instruments or comfortable chairs. Also, keep up to date with YF affairs and happenings in Short and Broad, and our calendar of events. If youve missed an important event like the 30th anniversary or the FCM combined meeting, Im sorry, we cant lend you our time machine (strictly for retrospect articles only) but we have published reports of these events for your perusal! Lastly, a short summary on the recent Doctrinal Defense activity conducted. If you had any questions from that evening, hopefully they are answered in the article. If not, please feel free to direct any further queries to your group members, myself, or Rev Quek. I pray that this issue will be a blessing to each and every one of you! Genuinely! Sincerely, jQ

Last on our list of onion themed articles is the result of a survey that you likely would have participated in. Are the leaders of CPYF genuine? Is CPYF in general genuine? Well, theres no surefire way to tell from the results of the survey, but hopefully the pretty info graphics and accompanying statistical analysis captivate you for long enough to contemplate the importance of being genuine to each other. Outside of the onion, we have an article from Carolyn Ho providing practical tips to improve our ministry at home. Yin Leng writes to tell us what HOYJ is all about (just in case you werent listening to William, or reading his emails) and tells us how it has blessed her. Lingting writes to us from Manchester in our

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
Dear all, This issue of Uth Chronicle might be the last one for the foreseeable future. The problem facing the Uth Chronicle is one of manpower due to extraordinary circumstances, the majority of the current committee has found themselves indisposed for one reason or another and cannot help produce the next issue. The Uth Chronicle needs help we require everything down from chasers (to keep in touch with the writers and make sure they submit before deadline) to formatters to special ops to conduct surveys and interviews. No prior experience required!

If you are willing to serve in this capacity, please indicate your interest by leaving an email at reach.jq@gmail.com. The first meeting if we have sufficient numbers will be on Saturday 16th April 2011 at 1.30p.m. in church.

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Getting to the Core of


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things were so (Acts 17:11). Learning how to as we must study to shew thyself (ourselves) The Bible is an open book. This means every Christian can study and understand the Bible. As it is important for Christians to feed on the Word of God, it is equally important that Christians also know how to feed on the Word of God. There are, certainly, some portions of the Bible where the teachings and principles taught are so clear and incisive that we can simply open our mouths, put the food in, chew and swallow. There are, however, other portions of the Bible where there are some things hard to be understood, which require more diligence, effort and skill before they can be safely partaken. Contrary to this are those who areunlearned and unstable who would wrest scripture unto their own destruction. (2 Pet 3:16). While God has given us pastors and teachers to guide us in our understanding of Scripture, it is still our responsibility to have the attitude of the Berean Christians as they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those
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interpret and apply the Bible is therefore our duty

approved unto God, a workman that needeth not

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be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15).

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Continue newsletter study But you may ask: why is it important totext here. Continue newslette here. these individual literary genres in the Bible

separately? Studying some of these genres is important because different literary genres have different characteristics and structures. When we have a proper understanding of each of the different genres, we will then be able to take into account certain elements that are unique to individual genres. For example, the books of poetry have the distinct feature of parallelism; epistles would take on the form of a logical discourse with clear and distinct sections of exposition and exhortation. This would help us to understand the different passages of the Bible in their proper context. This would also prevent us from reading too much into a passage and from missing things we should be observing.

But you may ask: why is it important to study these individual literary genres in the Bible separately? Studying some of these genres is important because different literary genres have different characteristics and structures. When we have a proper understanding of each of the different genres, we will then be able to take into account certain elements that are unique to individual genres. For example, the books of poetry have the distinct feature of parallelism; epistles would take on the form of a logical discourse with clear and distinct sections of exposition and exhortation. This would help us to understand the different passages of the Bible in their proper context. This would also prevent us from reading too much into a passage and from missing things we should be observing.

that we know how to interpret and draw principles from narratives passages in the Bible. Narratives are not difficult to understand; on the contrary, the story lines of narratives are often easy to follow. But because narratives seem to be so easy to understand, we would often go on and ask the question: what does this passage mean to me? This question is often asked in our attempt to make the narrative passage relevant to us. Herein lies the danger- for often in our haste to make a narrative passage personal or relevant, we take an action of the narrative out of its context and try to make sense of it in application for today. Thus someone reading the account of David and Goliath may simply conclude that it is biblically acceptable to hurl insults at ones opponent during a basketball match as David did to Goliath during war. Of course we know that this application of the biblical

Of all the literary genres found in the Bible, narrative is the most common. It makes up about 40% of the Bible including the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), the historical books (e.g. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah), the book of Job, some of the prophetic books (e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah, and Haggai), as well as the four Gospel books and the book of Acts. With so many books written in narrative form, it is of great importance

account is wrong. But why is it wrong? How can we then make the right application of a narrative passage? This is the purpose of this study. It must be stated on the onset that this study would only serve to provide some principles and tools that would help us better know how to understand Biblical narratives. It is only an introduction to the study Biblical narratives. It is not an attempt to unravel all the intrinsic literary characteristics of each and every single narrative passage.

This article will recommend some books at the end that will aid us in the study of Biblical narratives. This study would provide the skill, but the workman must still practice and apply the skills learned that he might be more proficient and skilful in his study of Biblical narratives. Biblical narratives generally follow a pattern in its plot development. It usually has a background or introduction before a problem occurs with increasing complications and progress. As the story unfolds, it peaks in a dramatic climax where a

What are Biblical narratives?


Narratives may generally be defined as stories or accounts which convey messages through a series of events revolving around people and their related situations. Biblical narratives are historical in nature; as such they are not fictional but recorded events that really happened in order to show the workings of God among His people. Biblical narratives, as with all other narratives, have three basic elements: the setting, characters, and plot. (Elliott E. Johnson, Expository Hermeneutics: An Introduction, p. 168) The setting provides the historical and cultural framework for the story to unfold. The characters and the plot uniquely relate with each other to produce the story line. The characters, which are the people in the narrative, produce the actions. These actions or series of events which unfold is the plot. At the same time, the people are made known to us by their actions.

solution and resolution of the problem is reached. While this is a general pattern, the plot development may vary from account to account. It is also of great importance that we bear in mind that while the Bible has sixty six books, it is actually one book which is further comprised of many books. The history of the Bible is in fact Hisstory i.e. Gods Story. The Bible essentially unfolds a singular story. There is a unifying plot that runs throughout the whole Bible. Graham Scroggie calls this the unfolding drama of redemption. He likens the central theme of Gods redemption plan for the salvation of mankind through Christ to a scarlet thread which runs through the whole Bible. Bearing this truth in mind, we may say that Biblical narratives are not only historical in nature, but they are also very much theological. The theological themes of Gods divine plan and purposes in history are clearly evident throughout the Bible.

Interpreting Biblical Narratives


Because Biblical narratives are both historical and theological in nature, these two characteristics must be taken into account when trying to interpret narrative passages. A very important rule in interpretation is that we should not impart to a passage any meaning that is not intended by the author. This kind of interpretation is commonly found in what is known as the allegorical and spiritualisation mode of interpreting the Bible. In allegorising a passage, the interpreter reads meaning into every detail and word that is found in a particular passage. The only limitation in allegorising a text is ones imagination. For example, in allegorising, one may say that each of the five stones that David used had various significances each stones represent the various virtues of love, justice, truth, faithfulness and courage and it is with love that the enemy is conquered. This kind of interpretation must be rejected as it denies the historical nature of the Bible. Spiritualisation is similar to allegorisation in that this method sees that there is a deeper, mystical and spiritual meaning behind the physical words (this is different from seeing the Bible as a spiritual book which deals with spiritual things this we acknowledge). For example, they may say that the

fight between David and Goliath represents the battle between good and evil. Another example I heard recently is of a preacher who spoke of how Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) represent grace and law. This preacher then said that in the mixture of grace (represented by Ananias) and law (Sapphira) there is death. As with the allegorical method, there are simply no boundaries guiding this kind of interpretation. We believe that the Bible only has one meaning, and that is the literal sense which is also the plain sense of the Bible. We must remember that in studying the Bible, we are interested in the divine intent Gods intent and not just the human intent of any particular narrative passage. While this is our focus, we must also keep in mind that God has also ordained the means for His will to be revealed. Where narratives are involved, God has chosen to convey it through the historical settings, the characters involved and development of plot. It is important to note also that biblical narratives are not designed to give the full details of every historical event. The writer, under the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit selects the details of an event to be included as inspired Scripture.

Historical-Cultural and Contextual Study that men seemed to wear skirts in the Bible - what The first step in interpreting any narrative passage is, therefore, to have a proper historical-cultural understanding of the passage under consideration. Having an understanding of the historical circumstances surrounding the characters and the plot is to have an understanding of the setting of the narrative within the proper context of its time. With a proper consideration of the historical setting surrounding the narrative, we will be more precise in our interpretation of the narratives. The narratives in the Bible do not take place in a vacuum. In looking at the historical context we are considering the local surrounding of the narrative, including the political, economical, social, religious, geographical and domestic situation. The historical circumstances of the days between Abraham, Moses, David, and Jeroboam are all different. Thus each passage must be studied in its proper historical context (e.g. how is it that Rahab was said to have her house on a wall [John 2:15]; what is the significance of certain people sitting at the gate? [Ruth 4:1]). As the historical circumstances of different narrative passages are different, the cultural context would also be different. A proper understanding would be crucial in understanding the reason and meanings of certain actions that may be unfamiliar to us (e.g. The actions of Ruth in approach Boaz; How is it So how can we determine the historical and cultural circumstances of the narrative passage? First, one has to read the narrative passage in its context (by this I mean the context of the text) many times. After reading the passage many times, you would have gathered the main themes of the particular book and would be able to see how the passage under consideration adds to the development of the book. Once you are very familiar with the passage, identify the writer of the book (if there is one). See if the audience of the book is identified. Recognise the purpose of the particular book being written. The purpose can be recognised when you are familiar with the book through many careful readings. Next, identify the characters in the particular passage. Recognise which are the key characters and those who are the supporting casts. You can use encyclopedias, Bible dictionaries, cultural dictionaries and Bible atlases to help you better understand the historical and cultural situation of that particular passage under consideration. is the meaning of these skirts). A misunderstanding of the historical settings and culture may lead to a wrong interpretation of a passage.

Having understood the historical context of a narrative passage, we would then go on to study the immediate context of the passage. When the passage is considered in its immediate context, the whole development and thrust of the book is taken into account. This will prevent the error of misunderstanding a passage due to the neglect of the context. Words and phrases will also be properly understood when studied in its context. When trying to understand the immediate context of the passage, first, try to develop an outline of the book under consideration. You can use books which give a survey of the Bible to help you develop this outline. The outline will help you see how the passage you are studying fits into the whole book as a whole. Next, see how the narrative passage you are studying relates to the passages immediately preceding and following it. The surrounding context would shed more light on the passage under consideration. A proper understanding of the historical-cultural context and the immediate context of the narrative passage is a big stepping stone in understanding how we should interpret narrative passages.

Theological Study
As narrative passages carry with them a theological significance, it is important to know the theological framework in which one understands narrative passages. Ones theological system will inevitably influence ones interpretation and application of a narrative passage. A theological framework will affect how we understand the covenants found in narrative passages throughout the Old Testament, how we relate the Old Testament and the New Testament, how we understand the doctrine of salvation throughout these narrative passages, and the unity of the different portions of the Bible. This will in turn affect how we understand many of the promises that were promised to the patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to Israel. How we understand the gospels and the 1st coming of Christ and His ministry is also dependent on our theological understanding of the Bible. For example, without a clear understanding of that the Old and New Testament (which are actually different administration of the same covenant of grace), one may think that the way of salvation in the Old and New is different. We see in the Old Testament the laws pertaining to the sacrifice of bulls and goats for sins. If we do not have a proper theological understanding of how these sacrifices are a picture of Christ, we may wonder why we do not obey the Old Testament instructions to still practice these sacrifices today.

Narratives must therefore be interpreted within a proper theological framework. This article cannot address all the theological issues and implications involved, but the general theological system which is Biblically consistent will be explained. This will serve as a guide and defence as we seek to understand biblical narratives. We hold on to the theological system called Covenant Theology or Reformed Theology. Covenant theology may be defined as the system of theology which sees the whole of Scripture as being covered by two covenants: 1) the covenant of works; and 2) the covenant of grace. The covenant of works was where God promised eternal life to Adam on the condition of perfect obedience. Adam disobeyed God and by his fall, he had disqualified himself from life through the covenant of works. God then instituted a second covenant, the covenant of grace, whereby salvation unto eternal life is offered to believing sinners through Jesus Christ. In understanding the covenant of grace, two different aspects must be considered: 1) Regarding Gods part; and 2) Regarding Mans part. Regarding Gods part, the content of the covenant relates to the promises of God expressed in the oftrepeated words, I will be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (Gen 17:7). This describes the covenantal relationship God has with man. In this

main promise of God, all other promises of God such as temporal blessings, the promise of justification, sanctification and glorification are included. Gods promises in relation to the covenants He has established with man are important factors in ones understanding of how biblical narratives are unfolded. Regarding mans part, the content of the covenant relates to the duties that are required of man. The duties which are required of man are reflected in this they shall be my people. This is a reflection of the relationship established between God and man in the covenant. Since a response from man is required in a covenant relationship, the question one has to deal with is whether the covenant of grace is conditional or unconditional. There seems to be many promises found in the Old Testament which are conditional. If they are conditional, does that mean we have to understand that Old Testament believers are saved by means of works? In the covenant established with Abraham, God confirmed His promises to Abraham in a special way. Genesis 15:8-18 describes how God alone passed through the animals which have been cut in half, thus declaring that He would take upon Himself the guilt and curse should the covenant be broken. It is significant that the promise in focus here is with regard to the land.

This account was Gods response to Abraham when he asked God how he knew he was going to possess the land (v. 8). God then confirmed His promise by passing through these animals alone. The covenant with Abraham cannot then be conditional. Yet, when we read Genesis 17:9, God told Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant The warning was with regard to the ordinance of circumcision, whereby should one not circumcise his foreskin, it is regarded as the breaking of Gods covenant, which would result in a cutting off (Gen 17:10-14). These features cannot be regarded as conditions of the covenant since God has taken upon Himself the responsibility to fulfil the demands of the covenant. If that is the case, how does one understand Gods expectation of Abraham in Genesis 17? These conditions are not to be understood as conditions of the covenant relationship. These conditions instead are to be regarded as conditions for the enjoyment of the relationship that has already been established. What this simply means is that the relationship that has been established is unconditional, but the enjoyment of this relationship, i.e. the fellowship is conditional upon obedience. Similarly, in the covenant established with Moses, what seems to be some conditional features whereby God demands obedience to the law in order that Israel will be blessed (Exod 19:5), are not conditions of the covenant. Notice that Exodus

19:5 does not require obedience in order that God might establish His covenant with them; instead what is said is If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me. This means that it is not the covenant that is conditioned upon obedience; again, it is the enjoyment of the blessings that are conditional. Therefore Old Testament Believers are not saved by works, but they are also saved by the same covenant of grace which is in Christ. The next question that comes to mind is, why are we not fulfilling the laws of sacrifice and circumcision found in the Old Testament? The answer lies with the different administration of the same covenant of grace. The Westminster Confession of Faith explains: This covenant (the covenant of grace) was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the Promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament. (Westminster Confession of Faith 7:5).

Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which the covenant is dispensed are, the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and Lords Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensation. (Westminster Confession of Faith 7:6).

A proper theological framework coupled with a right understanding of the historical-cultural and contextual understanding of the passage will give us the building blocks to the applying of biblical narratives.

Principles of Principling

Having understood how to interpret narratives, we will now consider some guidelines to help us draw principles from narrative passages for our learning.

Biblical Narratives are not written to illustrate It can be observed from the statements quoted that the Westminster theologians believed that the Old and New Testament are distinct administrations of the same covenant of grace. There is still such a unity in these different administrations that they can still be considered as one covenant of grace. Understanding the different administrations of the same covenant of grace will guide us in drawing principles from different portions of the Bible. We may not enforce certain laws (for example the ceremonial laws or civil laws of Israel) that are no longer relevant today, but the principles that govern these rules will still be relevant. Our theology must guide our interpretation. The more one has a better grasp of systematic theology, the more one will be informed as he interprets narrative passages. moral lessons. They are not illustrations a preacher would use in his sermons to illustrate a point that he has been explaining. They are historical records of Gods dealing with certain people in certain situations. The gleaning of principles from Biblical narratives must be from a complete passage within its context. This means that we should not try to find a moral lesson from every passage or detail without considering the divine intent of the passage under consideration. This does not mean that these passages do not have principles for our learning. But what this means is that we must first understand the divine intent of a particular passage and then determine what lessons can be drawn from the proper interpretation of the Word of God in its proper context.

We must be careful to not ask the question: What does this passage mean to me? We should rather be asking: What does this passage mean in its proper historical and cultural context? Having understood the meaning of the passage, we then may proceed to ask: How does the understanding of this passage now apply to me? Applications must stem from the proper interpretation of a text.

passage. There are other guidelines that must be observed.

Not every detail that has been included in the narrative conveys a particular lesson or moral teaching. Sometimes there are some details that have been added in as embellishment to tell a complete story. If we take every detail of every account out of its context and read some ideas into

It is important to note that narrative passages are primarily descriptive and not prescriptive in nature. A prescriptive passage is where there are clear instructions on how you should live or conduct yourself things commanded which you should obey. Narratives are not prescriptive. There are words which are spoken in narratives by wicked and evil men; this does not mean that what these wicked men have said are to be followed. God used Eiljah to raise a young man from the dead; this does not mean that Christians must start raising people from the dead. These are descriptive passages that describe events that took place in history. When drawing a principle from a descriptive passage we must see if the principle or doctrine taught is also taught elsewhere in the Bible. We must make sure that a principle drawn does not contradict a clear prescriptive portion of the Bible. We must, however, also be careful to not think that just because a doctrine is taught somewhere else in the Bible, it is therefore the same doctrine taught in that particular narrative

each passage as it relates to every one of us, then we will arrive at very strange doctrine. For example someone may try to find some meaning to the material of the sling David used to swing his stone at Goliath; or some may read into each of the colours of the multi-coloured coat of Joseph. Ridiculous as it may sound, these kinds of interpretation will arise when one has a wrong interpretation of Biblical narratives.

OT narratives record what happened, not necessarily what should have happened or what ought to happen every time. Therefore, not every narrative has an individual identifiable moral application. What people do in narratives is not necessarily a good example for us. Sometimes we are not told at the end of a narrative passage whether what was done was good or bad. We are expected to judge this on the basis of what God has taught us directly elsewhere in Scripture (Adapted from: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p. 83-84).

Therefore, just because God did not condemn David for having more than one wife, it does not mean that polygamy is an acceptable pattern for us to follow.

1.

Pray continuously for the Holy Spirits guidance and illumination

2.

Read the book in which the narrative passage is found. Gain a good general flow of the

Principles drawn must be implicit in the text. This means that the principles draw from the narratives must be those which applicable across all time and culture. The details of the narrative may vary, but it will not affect the principles. For example, when God sent the ravens to feed Elijah, it does not mean that God will use birds to provide for the needs of his children, but that God sometimes would meet our needs through unusual means. 3. Having drawn the principles from the narrative we can then apply the principles to ourselves. We should remember that a text may have only one meaning (this does not mean that it has only one teaching, but one literal and plain meaning David means David; etc.) it may have many applications. 4.

book. Gain a general understanding of the book. Who was the writer? To whom was he speaking or writing (e.g. believers,

unbelievers, apostates, believers who are in danger of becoming apostates, etc.)? What

was/were the writer's purpose/s in writing this particular book?

Find the context of the Narrative. The context is determined from the immediate context, before and after the said Narrative.

If you are teaching or preparing a passage for Sunday school, make sure the passage you have chosen is a complete passage.

Summary: General Steps to interpreting narratives (Adapted from Rev Queks Course notes on Hermeneutics) It is important to note that these steps are flexible and not rigid. They are not rules but a guide to help you understand and apply Biblical narratives.

5.

Read the narrative passage many times through until you have a good knowledge of the whole Narrative in your mind.

6.

Check from other related books of the Bible if there is a parallel text or related text that will help shed more light on the Narrative.

7.

Understand

the

historical

and

cultural

14.

Restate the main and sub-points to ensure that they cohere with the title of the lesson. They must all be related to one another. The guide is your title of lesson.

background. Refer to books which provide information on biblical customs, characters of the Bible, and the historical context, in which the narrative account took place. Use a Bible Atlas to help you understand the geography of the narrative. Examine and meditate from Gods Word and then separate the essentials from the embellishments. 16. 15.

The sermon or lesson should have -- a Title; a Proposition Statement which is your summarized statement; Main and sub-points;

8.

Illustrations; Applications and Conclusions. Check a conservative Commentary for new thoughts or lessons or points that you might have missed or not able to discover. Retain

9.

Do not go to the commentaries to help you yet;

your OWN thoughts and do not change it just to fit the commentaries without a very good biblical reason.

10.

Summarize the entire Narrative into one principle statement; Make it as focus as possible. This is the drawing of principle from the text. 17. Learn to be God-confident in your understanding of Gods Word and never allow the commentaries to become your crutch as if without heir confirmation you cannot understand Gods Word. 18. Let your focus be on knowing and understanding the Word of God. 19. Do not be too quick to apply the text. There must be an application. But it must be

11.

Restate the summarized statement into a title for your teaching lesson. It has to capture the attention of the hearers. Do not overstate the title such that the expectations cannot be fulfilled.

12.

Find out how many MAIN points there are in the whole miracle;

drawn from the text at hand. Do not apply everything about a particular doctrine into one

13.

Find out how many sub-points there are in each of the main points;

single text. Let the application we make be drawn from the text.

The point to ALWAYS bear in mind is that ALL applications must HONOUR GOD AND EXALT THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

20.

Example
(Rev Queks Example from FEBC Hermeneutics Course notes)

-- vs. 9, 31, 34, 36. * Sequence of steps -- vs. 1-4, 5-13, 14-17, 18-21, 22-30, 31-36. * Different types of sacrifices offered. 4. Outline Use own words to summarize your observations of the main sections.

Text: Leviticus 8 Theme: Consecration must be initiated by God and has to be done according to God' stipulations.

Topic: THE CONSECRATION OF A CHRISTIAN 1. * Historical Background First national religious act after they left Egypt. * How long have they travelled in the wilderness after they left Egypt? * * The Tabernacle was just completed. In OT -- the tribe of Levi and particularly the lineage of Aaron designated role of priests and high priests were the only ones allowed to minister as priests. * Leviticus 8 describes the act of consecrating the high priests and priests for this particular function -- as mediators between God and man. 2. Observe the places, things, and characters involved God, Moses, Aaron and his sons, the people of Israel, the Tabernacle, the animals for the offerings, anointing oil, unleavened bread, 3. Key words or Phrases * As the LORD commanded Moses ii) A. i)

I. CONSECRATION -- A VERY SOLEMN ACT FROM GOD TO MAN (8:1-13) God Initiates the Act Man cannot consecrate himself -- ever though Aaron and his sons were already told by God that they were to be the high priests and priests respectively (Exod. 29). God consecrates the priests through Moses who represents God -- not a personal affair it needs recognition and acceptance by God (vv. 1, 5, 9, 13, 21, 29, 31, 34). Priests here regarded as ones who present the offerings rather than the executors of the offerings. Moses was regarded ads God. That was why he did not have to offer any sin or burnt offering for his own sins before he could sacrifice the offerings on behalf of Aaron and his sons. iii) Not a private act but a public one.

B. i.

A Very Solemn Act as seen in the presence of the whole congregation (v.3) B. Priests Atone for their sins -- Burnt Offering (vv. 18-21) i) Burnt-offerings offered by Moses on behalf

ii.

as seen in the elaborate attire of Aaron (vv. 7-9)

of the priests to have their sins atoned for. Sins of priests "transferred" onto the ram by the pressing of their hands onto the animal (v. 18). ii) The ram is killed and the blood sprinkled

iii.

as seen in the act of sanctification (vv. 10-13)

II. CONSECRATION -- A TOTAL AND COMPLETE DEDICATION (8:14-30)

around the altar -- to symbolize the shedding of blood for the remission of sin (v. 19). iii) Entire animal was burnt with certain parts

A.

Altar Cleansed from the pollution caused by sins of priests -- Sin Offering (vv. 14-17)

washed first with water -- symbolizes acceptance and a propitiation of God's wrath against sin. Thus the "sweet savor" came forth from the fire of the burnt-offering to God (vv. 20-21).

i)

Sin-offering done first to purify the altar C. Priest Sanctifies from his sins -- Peace Offering (vv. 22-30) i) Peace-offerings, again offered by Moses on

before the rest of the offerings can begin. ii) Presence of God at sacrifices demands that

the sins of the priests do not mar and defile the altar in which the offerings are made (v. 15). iii) Sins of the priests transferred onto the

behalf of the priests. The priests pressed their hands upon the head of the ram and it was then killed by Moses (v.22). ii) Before blood was sprinkled upon the altar it

bullock by act of laying hands upon head of bullock. Then bullock is killed and parts of it burnt upon the altar which had just been sanctified by the blood of the bullock. The unsavory part of the bullock like his skin, dung and flesh burnt outside the camp. The burning of the former upon the altar symbolizes God's acceptance and the burning of the latter outside the camp symbolizes the separation of sin from that which is holy.

was put upon the tip of the priests' right ear, thumb of right hand and great toe of right foot. Right side symbolizes more important and favored side (Gen. 48:17ff.) Consecrated ears -- to listen to God's holy voice; consecrated hands -- to do holy deeds at all times; and consecrated feet -- to walk holy ways at all times (vv. 23-25).

iii)

This is followed by the

ii)

Defilement can occur instantaneously but

thanksgiving-offering made by the priests -symbolized by the waving of the unleavened, oiled bread, the fat and the right shoulder. Moses then took them and burnt them on the altar as a sweet smelling sacrifice to God--symbolizes acceptance by God (vv.26-29 cf. 7:12ff.) iv) Sanctifying the priests and their garments by

cleansing takes seven days. This process of consecrating the priests for holy service lasted seven days (v. 33). Other events which occasioned a seven-day break are: after healing from a serious skin disease (14:8ff; 15:13-14; 28-29); birth (Lev. 12; cf. Gen. 17); marriage (Gen. 29:27); and mourning (Gen. 50:10). iii) They are to repeat this act of atonement.

both oil and blood--symbolizes their new state of holiness and are now ready to do the work of priests and mediators for God and man (v. 30).

There is no once for all act of cleansing in the OT even for the priests, the holiest of all the people of God (v.34).

III. CONSECRATION -- ACCOMPLISHED ACCORDING TO GOD'S COMMANDS (8:31-36) A. Consecration is a Lengthy Process

B.

Obedience is Key

i)

The sequence of command is clear in the

chapter: God to Moses to the priests. Moses obeys God and the priests obey Moses. The acceptance of

i)

The priests must eat the meat of the

the offerings of the priests results from their obedience to God's word. ii) Every detail has to be adhered to closely.

sacrifices in the holy place. There is no stipulation where the ordinary offerers were to eat theirs. The priests are no consecrated and have been accepted by God to do their distinct and privilege work of intercessors so they must begin with eating their own sacrifices inside the holy place. This is the place they are to eat all the sacrifices offered by the people as well. Any balance is to be burnt and cannot be kept (vv. 31-32).

There is no short cut to obedience. Both the means and the ends must be accepted by God. iii) The punishment for breaking what God has

stipulated as the only right way of consecration is death. Chapter 8 of Leviticus is not merely a list of mundane optional steps to be followed as the priests pleased. They are mandatory steps/commands to be strictly followed for them to be considered holy and acceptable by God (vv. 35-36).

Application: * No man who is serving God is excused from consecration. In NT times the only way is through the blood of Christ who once for all offered Himself as our sin-offering, burnt-offering and peace-offering. * There is no seven-day break for cleansing because Jesus paid it all completely and to the full. When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we become holy positionally making us acceptable to God. We are not sinless because we sin daily. Therefore we need to go and confess our sins daily. * Obedience is still the key today for holiness. As a holy priesthood of believers, we must live holy lives and serve God in ways that will reflect our new positions as priests of the most High God.

QUESTIONS TO NOTE AS YOU STUDY AND INTERPRET THE TEXT.

a)

What is the main theme or themes of the passage?

b)

What is the historical setting? Name the places involved? Briefly mention something significant about the places and people involved, if any?

c)

Who are the main characters in the text? Who is doing most of the talking?

d)

Use own words to summarize the main points. Provide as many sub-points as possible under the various main points.

e)

What is the doctrine this particular text is teaching us? Man? God? Christ? The Holy Spirit? Sin? etc.

f)

Confine the applications to those derived from the text only.

Recommended Resources
Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, editors, William Sanford LA So, David Allan Hubbard, Frederic William Bush, Leslie C. Allen, Eerdmans Publishing, 1996. Concise Old Testament Survey: http://bible.org/series/concise-old-testament-survey Biblical customs: Ralph Gower, The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times, Revised and Updated, Moody Publishers, 2005 Encyclopedia: The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. In 5 Volumes. General Editor, Merrill C. Tenney. Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1975-6. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, General Editor, Geoffrey Bromiley, Eerdmans, 1994. Dictionaries: The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987; Holman Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991. Bible Atlas: Barry J. Beitzel, The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985. Resources Used Henry A. Virkler, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and NewTestament Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation Elliotte. Johnson, Expository Hermeneutics: An Introduction Berkeley Mickelsen, Interpreting the Bible Richard Mayhue, How to Interpret the Bible for Yourself

Yours Sincerely: How to help and be a good friend in Christ


By Sister Molly
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:36-45)(my emphases)

Learning from Peter!


Peter preached about salvation in Christ to the early believers and exhorted them to put their faith and trust only in Christ. They had heard the gospel, responded to the gospel, repented and believed. Their lives radically changed and what characterised them was this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, for they belonged only to the Lord Jesus Christ. Their lives were characterised and marked as recipients of the grace of God and the saving work of Christ.

Just as an aside
Think about this for a moment and what Scripture says when people are saved. Scripture does not simply say that when people are saved, they change their minds, stop believing that which is false and henceforth believe that is true. That certainly is true, but that is not the entire story. Nor does Scripture say that salvation is just a moral reformation in peoples lives. When you examine these peoples lives in the light of Scripture, should their lives not be more moral than an unbeliever? Absolutely! However, salvation is not simply just about being moral or more moral. Some commentators use the metaphor of broken vessels and say that salvation is how God has taken us, broken vessels, and fixed or repaired the cracks in us; other commentators use metaphors of unclean vessels and say that salvation is how God has taken us, unclean vessels, and cleanse us. These metaphors are familiar to us and there is a vestige of truth in such descriptions of what transpires in people when they come to know Christ; but it only scratches the truth of what Scripture says. Scripture says that when people are made Christians, they become new creatures in Christ Jesus. They were not what they once were, as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. These early believers that Peter preached to were religious Jews- they had an intellectual awareness of God and a mental understanding of what other men, namely the Scribes and Pharisees, thought God had expected from them, although those were not Gods expectations. This was because the Scribes and Pharisees had added oral traditions to the written Word of God. Nevertheless, these early believers had lives that were transformed and what characterised them were not religious rituals, but lives bearing fruit that they belong to Christ. It is shown in their devotion, as we read in verse 42, And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Further, we also learn in verses 44 and 45, what these believers did in relation to one another, when others in their circle (the other believers), had physical needs that needed to be met. In short, we learn from verses 44 and 45, how other Christians were ministering to other Christians. Indeed, when you think about your own life, are you not thankful to the Lord for making you new and that you are no more what you once were, before you were saved?

And back to the main topic!

The Principles of Ministering to Others


The principles behind ministering to other Christians that is set forth in these two verses are as follows. Firstly, once we are saved, we need to look at our existing resources differently. In verse 44, we read that the early believers came to see that the things that they had, whether it be land, personal possessions and food, were not simply to be used for their own selves. This verse does not teach an early form of communism, socialism nor does it imply that these early believers sold their houses and lived together in some commune. Instead, these people believed that what they had could be used for the common good. In verse 45, we read that when the early believers found out that other believers had needs, they would sell their possessions, things God had given them, for cash and minister to them. Take note that only when the need arose, would they take what they had and sell it to meet those needs. Hence, the first principle tells us to have a biblical view of our possessions. That is, God is the Creator and Owner of everything. David wrote in Psalms 24:1, The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. The earth and all that it contains are the Lords. sees fit.

Then, it stands to reason that all we can do is to be stewards of what belongs to the Lord, including what we deem as our possessions. That is how we should use our possessions to help others in a biblical way.

The second principle is to be good stewards of what belongs to the Lord, both the material gifts (possessions) and spiritual gifts (honesty, meekness, kindness, goodness, diligence, ); and we are to use these gifts or resources to His glory. In Luke 16:113, we read of the many parables that Christ has taught us, which illustrate this principle of being good stewards of what God puts in our disposal. In 1Cor 10:31, Paul also exhorts us to eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. So the question you have to ask yourself is: when you say you are the Lords steward, are you acting responsibly to the things that God has given you? Are you truly using them to His glory and His honour?

The third principle is to use what God given to you to the benefit of others. You have to look beyond yourself, see what resources God has given you, and to use them to the benefit of others. And you are not to use them in a reluctant or begrudging way. Remember what Paul exhorts in 2 Corinthians 9:7, Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Fourth principle- do not be selfish and hoard possessions. God gives an abundance to those for the purpose of helping others. In Luke 12: 13-21, Jesus told a parable of a man who was not satisfied with his wealth and wanted more; and the more he got, the more he hoarded. In this parable, Jesus taught us of the danger of covetousness. Later on in the chapter, He goes on to teach that when we are given more, we are expected to be generous and to help others in need. In verse 48, He said that for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.

Biblical Friendship, Love and Unity


In my discussion of ministering to fellow brethren, I have hinted how our relationship to them also needs to operate from this love that we have for Christ. In 1 John 4:20-21, we read, If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. We know this and have heard it preached from the pulpit many times. Yet, why do we find our friendships with fellow brethren difficult and challenging at times?

Fifth principle- be sensitive to others in need. Do not turn a blind eye or deaf ear to a legitimate need of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Be especially sensitive to those genuine needs which arise that are of no fault of their own. Further, we must also not develop a critical nor condemning attitude towards those who are in need. Be prepared to go beyond just addressing their immediate needs, as you may be called to give of your time to teach or train them to be in a better position to meet their own future needs. Yes, it is the old saying of Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Definitions of Christian friendships can be traced in Scripture, starting with Deuteronomy. In chapter 13 verse 6, we read thy friend, which is as thine own soul. In the Book of Proverbs, we read A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (17:17). A friend is someone who does not forsake you, is loyal and steadfast, and one that you do not forsake as well. The world tells us that each of us is so different from the other. Christians included. However, I dare say that there are more similarities than differences among us and the reason for that is Christ, from whom we all share the name Christian.. In Ecclesiastes 4:12, we read And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

A true friend is one who cares about your spiritual condition, not about your wealth (Pr 19:6). That friend may be somebody who has to rebuke us (Pr 27:5-6), for Open rebuke is better than secret love; Faithful are the wounds of a friend. This differs from worldly friendships where very often people sit on their resentments, nurse grudges and not sort things out in the way that was pleasing to the Lord.

Yes, Jonathan had to surrender the crown and the kingdom. Not many of us will be called by the Lord to give up such a magnitude of a sacrifice; but perhaps, in some small way, we are tested on our willingness to give up certain creature-comforts for our friends. What creature-comforts? Our time, convenience, staying up a little later or not being able to do something that we were planning to do, to name but a few. Perhaps when we think of what Jonathan had to sacrifice, we might be able to do these things a little easier!

David and Jonathan


In the classic example of godly friendships, we often read about Jonathan and David, and the deep affection they had for each other, a deep devotion and a very sacrificial covenant between them. In 1 Samuel 18:1, we read, And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. This reminds us of what we read in Deuteronomy 13:6, where thy friend, which is as thine own soul. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul (1 Sam 18:3). One of the things we note in Jonathan is that he was risking his own life to be a friend of David (1Sam 19:1-6). That does not happen to most of us; we are not heirs to earthly thrones or business empires, we do not have this lofty role in life. However, I want us to think of what Jonathan had to give up to keep David alive, as his father, King Saul, wanted David dead.

Should Opposites Repel?


Besides self-sacrifice, what can get in the way of our godly friendships? One of the factors is what I would call cross-cultural issues: personality differences, preferences, education, generation gaps, what we like to eat All this can keep us from having the friendships that the Lord wants us to have with other God-fearing brethren. Many things that are different among us may not always be sinful differences. They are just different, and we need to sort out the difference between matters of sin and what I would call, just a matter of taste. A fool does not want to know this; a fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his own opinion (Pr 18:2; 12:15). To me, this is how the world foolishly looks for friends. Typically, when a person looks for friends, he or she looks for similar educational backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, similar tastes in food, lifestyles in short, people tend to like people who are like themselves.

There is nothing wrong in sharing similar interests with people you consider as friends; however, it is another matter to exclude others from your fellowship because they differ from your preferences. This comes easily when we belong to a church with a sizeable membership, where people split up into their little groups and before you know it, you start to wonder who is that person at the other corner because that person is unfamiliar to you. Birds of a feather do tend to flock together. But keeping fellowship with mainly people fairly similar to you is not what Christ has called us to do.

True, it may sound trivial but it may also cause misunderstandings that result in the person not being invited ever again. What about humour? How many times have you been the butt of someones jokes when you did not appreciate? Or you try to be funny and the joke fell completely flat, with everyone staring at you thinking you are a clod? People have different ideas about whether teasing others is okay. Some cultures find teasing appropriate, while others would cringe with embarrassment. Quite often, humour is used to show solidarity. People typically kid with one another when they are familiar with each other. Some think showing respect is addressing people as Auntie or Uncle, while

Let us think for a moment whether our assumptions of others are wise or do we need to learn to be a bit more open-minded in some situations. Take politeness as an example. I think many of us can offend each other unnecessarily just because we have different ideas of what is polite or not polite. Say you visit someone at home: is it more polite to bring something (snacks or fruits) with you on your visit or not? What if you were visiting your best friend? Sister? Brother? Friends friend? Ideas of politeness depend on the situation and where you are from. Is it more polite to bring fruits or flowers? Kueh or cake? Say you like flowers and bring them to a host who not only does not appreciate flowers but also associates them with death and funerals. Yes, you have a problem.

others think that it is being too intimate, or a form of ageism; addressing them by their first names would suffice. So, which way is right or wrong? Both ways are right, as long as everyone understands each other. Some people think that a neat and tidy house shows care and affection for a family, while others think that a messy house shows a home that is lived in by real people. Others like communicating with others who have more or different education than themselves, while some do not like talking to others with different education than themselves, for fear of saying something wrong or stupid. As you can see, the list of differing opinions is endless. The purpose with these few examples is to jolt you to the different ways people can have in thinking about things, and how when you stick them right next to each other, they all appear quite arbitrary. They are just peoples ideas and different expectations.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, I think we must be able to distinguish between peoples preferences and ungodly choices. So when I prefer to bring edible snacks in my visits, it does not necessarily mean that everyone should bring snacks when they visit me. I can still love that person in Christ even when he or she brings me flowers instead. There are many different ways of looking at things, and we can still love each other in spite of differences in backgrounds, preferences, education, whether you like a neattidy home or a messy one! However, if this brother or sister in Christ encourages us to participate in worldly entertainment, lifestyles or engages in conversational topics that are ungodly, then we must pray for godly wisdom to exercise gentle rebuke (Pr 27:5-6, Gal 6:1, 2Th 3:15). That would be the first recourse; the next step would be to seek an elder brother or sister for further assistance (Matt 18:15-17).

Are you Singapores undisputed Complain King or Queen? Sure, life is not a bed of roses and there are lots of things that you can complain about. But do you have to complain about them ALL the time? And do you have to go into Nitty-Gritty details? Do you tell embarrassing jokes? Do you know when to quit? What are your conversation topics? Do they focus on you and what you want to talk about? Do you have this grasshopper-habit of changing conversation topics and at a speed that people cannot keep up with? [Editors note: grasshoppers change topics quickly?!] I have a relative who does this so well that half the time the people around her smile with silence when she is talking, because she converses about so many different things at Roadrunner speed! Do you over-react with the Oh-my-goodness-that-is-so-horrible-drama-rama that makes the other person feel worse off for telling you? Do you listen well? Even before the speaker has finished relating all the facts, are you ready with the next topic, jumping in with a solution and/or making mental to-do lists? Are you a let-down? Do you promise to do something and when the deadline approaches you say you cannot do it without a good reason? Are you a no-show? Do you call five minutes before you were supposed to show up and say you cannot come, without a good reason? Or do you show up too early and grumble when others arrive late? Do you show up early for an event and then leave early so that you are not much of a help? When you borrow something, do you forget to give it back? Or when you do, is it in pieces?

Its not you, itss me!


The remedy to the impediments of our friendships begins with us: we are not to find fault with others but to take the beam out of our own eyes (Matt 7:5). We need to consider our personalities- are we a bit extreme? Are we a burden to others by our behaviour? Think for a second- if nobody ever calls you up or people do not invite you over, it may be because you have some behaviour you need to reflect upon: Are you a drag to be around?

I think we do some of the above from time to time and we must recognise that these are impediments to friendships, for us untrustworthy. Some may argue that this is just-the-way-I-am-and-othersare-not-perfect; well, may be it is time for you to start changing some of these behaviour instead of blaming others and writing them off as not worth knowing. Remember: first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye (Matt7:5). In other words, before judging another, you should reflect upon your own behaviour and be sure that such behaviour can stand up to your own judgment. Otherwise, you are not only a hypocrite but a fool as well.

DID YOU KNOW ONIONS WERE MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE?

This product is mentioned only in (Numbers 11:5) as one of the good things of Egypt of which the Israel regretted the loss. Onions have been from time immemorial a favorite article of food among the Egyptians, The onions of Egypt are much milder in flavor and less pungent than those of this country.
5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

As believers we are called to be faithful and diligent in storing up treasures in heaven. When we leave this earth, we will leave it the same the way we came- empty-handed. But as long as we live on earth, it is a joy knowing that what God has given you-the ability, some more than othersto reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to be a great blessing to them, to help them, in their times of need. Those early Christians were characterised by that. Are you characterised by that too?

The Pharisee Trap: You can be in it without knowing it


By Preacher Ko Lingkang
Who were the Pharisees?
The Pharisees were a strict sect of Judaism that existed during the time of Christ. Despite this, they had strong influence amongst the Jewish community, and received widespread popular support and respect from the people. They prided themselves in their knowledge and seemingly high level of moral standards and piety.

ITS A TRAP!
Introduction
The word Pharisee today invokes all sorts of negative responses. It is often used to describe one who is a religious hypocrite, who adopts a holier-than-thou attitude and is self-righteously critical of those who do not meet up to his standard of spirituality. Surely, no one would like such a label on himself. Yet, we do realize that especially within fundamental Christian circles, it is quite easy to fall into the Pharisee trap to adopt the attitude and mind set of a Pharisee without realizing it.

Another distinctive of the Pharisees was their strict observance of the Law of Moses, which consisted of the first five books of the Bible. On top of that, they also abided by additional religious texts written by Rabbis, a compilation of Jewish traditions and oral laws called the Mishna. In this contained teachings that were supposed to be an explanation and interpretation of the written law of Moses. However, these teachings were extremely legalistic, to the point of being absurd. Yet the Pharisees upheld it as truth, and taught it as equal, if not superseding the Mosaic Law.

How Can We Be Like A Pharisee?


To be like a Pharisee is a subtle thing, often found in our churches, but seldom pointed out. Jesus description and denunciation of them in Matt 23 would be a useful starting point for us to outline In their day, they were viewed as the yardstick of morality and spirituality, and if anyone could earn their way to heaven, it would be the Pharisees. They also acted as the moral police, rebuking all who did not meet their standards of holiness. Do not practice what you preach (Matt 23:3) Set extremely high standards of morality and impose it upon the masses, but do not have the same However, a quick glance through the gospels would reveal that the teachings of Christ were completely antagonistic towards the way of the Pharisees. They were often seen questioning him (Matt 9:11, 12:2), rebuking him (Luke 15:2, 7:39), and later on, plotting to kill him (Matt 12:14, John 11:47). In turn, they were also harshly rebuked by Jesus, repeatedly denounced, and often portrayed as the stumbling block that is keeping people from accepting the message of Christ (Matt 23, Luke 11:39-44). Impose high standards on others (Matt 23:4) Often take scripture out of context, or apply it to an One estimate has calculated that roughly one third of the gospels are taken up with Jesus interactions and rebuke of the Pharisees. If the Bible places such a large emphasis on the errors of the Pharisees, surely we ought to take a deeper look, and ask if we too have in some way or other fallen into the same Pharisee trap? extreme, and then impose them upon the people around you as the standard for spirituality. Assume that since you deem something to be sinful, then it is sinful for everyone. If you feel that a certain standard of dressing must be met, then it has to be so for everyone. standards for yourself. Be quick to sound a stern rebuke the moment you see a brother or sister err in a certain small way, or preach a little sermonette during discussions to make sure everyone knows about your knowledge and piety. However, your conduct is often opposite of what you preach, giving no example of any practical application of your high standards. Be like the Pharisees for they say, and do not. Basically, be a hypocrite. some characteristics of Pharisees, and see how we have become like them.

If you think that being involved in this amount of service, and attending this number of church activities a week is the minimum standard for a good Christian, then go about ensuring that everyone around you meets that standard. Make sure that your standards are so high that they become heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, such that they no longer have joy in worship, but instead feel guilty every time they see you, for they would feel unworthy and that they are not as spiritual as you. Basically, be judgmental.

Be

quick

to

boast

about

your

spiritual

accomplishments (Matt 23:14, Luke 18:11-12) Be very eager to let people know about how you are so firm on avoiding certain sins, and how much you are doing for the Lord. In fact, publicly thank God for your apparent piety. One favourite time of yours would be during prayer meeting, where you can boast openly under the pretext of pray for me. You would gladly list all the many things you are doing for God, and then proceed to for a pretence make long prayer. Of course you never had any desire to ask the Lord for help about all these things, because

Do things to be seen of men (Matt 23:5-7) Adopt the motivation of a Pharisee, all their works they do for to be seen of men, and to receive their praise. Apply this principle to every area of your life, whether it be at work or school, at home, or even when serving in church. All you want is for people to notice the things that you do, and thus think highly of you. Especially so in church, you want to be known as Mr Zealous, Mr Holy, Mr Righteous and Mr Spiritual. You want to be the one everyone comes to when they have any questions about the Bible; you want to be involved in every activity that happens in church that involves the pastors and leaders of the church. You yearn for the praise of men, to be given a pat on the back, and a commendation for the many things that you have done. Basically, be motivated by a desire to please man, and not to please God.

in your mind, it is all your effort and hard work that is accomplishing so much for God. Basically, be proud.

Nit-pick on the inconsequential matters while missing the big picture (Matt 23:23-24) You love to major on the minor things, to spend hours debating on the most minor and obscure points of scripture. You are careful to observe certain pet verses that few people know about. You hold strongly to your convictions about these minor points of doctrine and are very quick to point out these errors when you hear preachers stumble at that point. However, you show little concern about the larger and more important points of Christian teachings, for you have omitted the weightier matters of the law, especially those that involve in your personal conduct and relationship with God. Basically, be an armchair theologian.

Spend great effort to put up a faade of spiritualty (Matt 23:25-30) Be very careful about the image that you project to the people around you. Seek to be flawless and blameless, and appear to be white as snow on the outside. Give the impression that you are the perfect Christian, and the role model that everyone should look up to. However, inside you are engage wilfully and unrepentantly in all manner of sins, such that you appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Conclusion In some way or another, we do at times fall into the Pharisee trap without realizing it. As we look through this list before us, it is important that we take a moment to honestly search our hearts, and ask if we have somehow become somewhat proud or hypocritical in certain ways. If that is the case may we be quick to repent, and seek the Lords forgiveness. What we most certainly shouldnt do, is to look through this passage and the list before us, and start to point fingers at the people around you, and deem them to be pharisaical, for that would straightaway make you one as well! Jesus gave very stern warnings with regards to the Pharisees, and pronounced woe upon them for their behaviour. May we all take heed, and take active measures to ensure that we do not fall into the Pharisee trap!

Onions in BGR
By Bro Henry
In the church I attended as a youth was this longtime friend lets call him N. N was tall, dark and handsome. He was a youth leader, in a top secondary school, and had the gift of the gab. He was also humorous and you can imagine he was a popular guy in church. Back then, N seemed like a nice guy to have as a potential boyfriend.

N married a few years after I did and also had 2 kids. But after a few episodes of undisputed marital infidelity, N divorced in 2008. He just remarried in Feb 2011 to another divorcee with kids. He surprised his old friends with what we now know of his philandering ways, his ill discipline with money, his late nights, and his raw ambition to climb the corporate ladder.

Are there youths in Pandan who may turn out to be like N?

As we see divorce escalating, marriage seems to be outdated. Many have given up on it, preferring single-hood or cohabitation. Some choose

Be careful of people who are sanctimonious. These remind us of the Pharisees of the past outwardly holy but inwardly unchanged. But many of us may fall into this at times as well. How often do we adopt the habit of using Christian terminology without meaning it? We use the word sharing when we mean talking. We say Ill pray for you without committing that person to the Lord. Phrases such as God bless and The Lord will provide may also be bandied around. Perhaps in a fundamental church likes ours, the danger of us falling into this sin is greater. Watch out.

annulment, an easier way out of failed marriages than divorce. It is a cleaner cut, a term less harsh than divorce. But even divorce has lost its stigma for many openly proclaim theyre divorcees.

Talk to a divorcee or someone in a pained marriage and almost inevitably, their complaint would be that their partners have changed. Or worse, that they did not know their partners could descend to the level theyre deemed to be in.

Be genuine; seek someone who is genuine. My old Do people change or it is just that we do not see through the layers they camouflage themselves under? How about us do we not change? Or worse - do we camouflage? Are we like onions, with layer after layer before the core is reached? friend N, if I may still call him a friend after all that he has done, was perhaps not genuine. As a youth, he used the right vocabulary, the correct terms, the expected phrases. Are you like that? Am I like that? The worst thing you want in a future boyfriend or girlfriend is not to know who they really are. That is Why open this discussion with so ominous a topic as divorce? Because a wrong turn in BGR can result in thoughts or reality of divorce. Seek someone who loves the Lord. One who loves To be wise in BGR is to see through any camouflage and to refrain from putting on any camouflage. Dear YFer, in BGR, choose wisely. A wrong choice will land you into woes untold; a right choice will bring blessings incalculable. God loves Him outside of Sundays too. If there is reason to believe a chap is different in church and outside church, there is reason to be wary. This does not mean he is to be perfect. But this does mean he tries to be an imitator of Christ in and out of church, with or without church friends. So what criteria should we consider? a scary thought. But that may come true, if you choose a partner who is not genuine.

Seek someone who treats others well, especially the weak & old. Its scary to see two-faced people in the world. Many snub the poor and unimportant; many fawn on the powerful and connected. Make sure your future partner is not in this category. And one way that may throw light on this is how they treat those serving them, those in a position lower than theirs.

Choose someone who is real. Someone who acknowledges he is like all of us mere sinners saved by grace. And still needing a lot of that on a daily basis. The most perfect chap may seem too good to be true, and indeed may be. You could sense when one is putting on a front or pretending to be who he or she is not. One churchgoer I know pretended to live in an expensive district when he came from a more modest background.

As you consider a boyfriend or girlfriend, pray for a life partner. Transcend the trend to need to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Perhaps its not the Lords will for you to have one. Or perhaps not yet. Nonetheless, know we are all weak. We all need the Lord and in looking and weighing the points above, dont ever be judgmental and be a selfanointed and self-appointed censor. Peeling an onion brings tears to ones eyes. Be wise to spot and avoid one.

My Dear Dreamer,
Its been some time since I wrote a letter. The last time I did was in the States circa 1989-90. How the years have flown. I praise and thank the LORD for being so very good to me and my family. I thank Him for my three wonderful children and my husband of 25 1\2 years. Our prayer is that God will send to our children godly spouses in His own perfect timing.

This brings me back to when you uttered a similar prayer.

Retrospect

As you were growing up, did you not watch too many so-called romantic TV shows and read Mills and Boons books? Yes, you did. And your silly, unregenerate heart was misled as to what a boyfriend should be. Before the LORD opened your spiritual eyes and you received the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, you were, as the song goes, looking for love in all the wrong places. The silly notions of a knight in shining armour, or in the modern day context, a handsome Korean man in a sports car, and romance, were part of your criteria for a husband. You thought a boyfriend should be able to provide a comfortable lifestyle, a home and a car normal things. Just thinking about it now makes me smile at how much of a dreamer you were.

When you were born again, and surrendered your life to the LORD, His Word became very special. I remember that you prayed that the LORD would send you a life partner who is godly, and able to help you grow spiritually. You told God that you would not even specify his looks or anything else. What mattered was that he is Gods will and choice, because God is perfect. God had convicted you of the fact that it is very important to surrender completely to the LORD. As a young believer then, you did not know the

implications and had little knowledge of the Book of life. Thank God that He gave you the peace to not fret and not be on the look-out, but to just wait upon Him. It was like a scene in the movies. When you first saw the one, you thought: hes the one. Rightly or wrongly, that was your thought. Maybe you were hoping, or dreaming again. The thing is, you did not think that of anyone before him. He was not handsome per se, with his funny eyebrows, and as you discovered later, did not have much to his name. His speech was not anywhere near eloquent. His name sounded weird to you. I remember you were thinking, what kind of name is that? He had hairy caveman-like legs. He wore his fathers shirts and pants to work. He did not own a car. Hello, he could not even drive! And romance? He did not know what it was. One could not call him worldly-wise at all. In fact, he was (and still is) quite dit (Hokkien term for straight or one tracked. It wasnt an act, as time has revealed.

Your dear mother must have prayed hard for you to find someone to take care of you. The only thing she asked you about him was: Why do you like him? He smells. But mom saw what you saw, which was beyond the externals: he loves the LORD. The LORD answered your prayer. The one was hungry for the Word, and eventually gave his life to serve Him full-time. He attended prayer meetings faithfully and served with all his heart, even after you came into his life. The LORD was first in his life, and you were second. You learned that faithfully going to church, fellowship meetings and serving are what God wants you to do. But these must not be going through the motion activities. These must not be sanctimonious. Sadly, there were friends who may have succumbed to sanctimony, but they left the faith and yielded to the world. They were in Sunday School, attended bible studies regularly, and appeared to be fervently serving, but they did not follow the LORD with all their heart. By Gods grace and mercy, you grew spiritually. God provided many avenues to study His Word. Because the Lord Jesus Christ has first place in his heart, you were able to love Him and grow in Him. And you also learned to put God first in the relationship. Gods precious ornament of grace was the best gift you received. How wonderful is our Heavenly Father, and He continues to teach us that it is so important to pray with Godhonouring motives and not for selfish gains. Experience is the best teacher for some people. You werent prepared for the sacrifices that have to be made in a relationship. It is no longer I but we. It is a relationship which involves more giving rather than taking. Theres no place for selfish demands or even thoughts. In time, you learned that love, in the timeless words of 1 Cor 13:5,7, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. I shall stop my reflections now and leave you with the verse Matthew 6:33. Please continue to apply this verse in your life, until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Amen.

Your much older, but no longer a dreamer, self.

Dear Michael,
How are you? It has been quite a while since I have written to you. It must have been the chores of our daily life that make us forget to keep in touch with people we care about. We should write to each other more frequently to encourage one another in the Lord. It is also always good to sit back and have the time to reflect on how our lives and relationship with God are

Just the other week, you wrote to me about settling down or at least going "steady". You asked how God can give us direction regarding BGR and choosing the right life partner.

I remember you shared about how you are still happy being single and unattached. You wondered why God has not yet directed you to someone with whom you may share your life with. And yet, I know that you are under pressure from both your parents and some caring aunties in the church who want to get you attached to a girl in church quickly.I am glad that you shared that with me. I hope that my personal journey can encourage you by testifying of the Lord's hand in our lives if we rely on Him.

My first thought is to say "Do not be dismayed". The call to companionship and marriage is God's gift in His timing. On the other hand, singlehood may be a calling as well. My simple advice is to pray seriously for God's direction and wait upon the Lord. I prayed and waited until I turned almost 30 years old before the Lord gave me a girlfriend, who later became my life partner.

Praying for a life partner means that we should follow God's will in our lives. A good place to start, then, is with the Bible itself. This letter is not about listing a set of criteria of what a good Christian girl should look like. However, I would like you to consider if you are ready to be the godly boyfriend by looking at the principles behind being a good Husband. Are you ready for the commitment, and are you prepared to be that godly boyfriend/husband?

Obedience to God's word is the first step to let God control your life. This is your first love when you became a Christian. Love is not just a feeling. It means a sacrificial and selfless love for someone. If we look at Ephesians 5, we see that God gave His standard of what husbands should do if they love their wives (and that starts with being boyfriends...). Isn't that a lesson on true love?

Therefore, before seeking the girl of your dreams, you need to be ready for it. Can you be like Christ, who loves His Church? Courtship is the beginning of a beautiful relationship that mirrors Christ loves His Church. Christ loves His church so much that He is able to give up His all for the Church. You must be willing to give of yourself to develop a relationship based on unselfish love. Christian courtship is 1+1 = 3. It a synergistic relationship, and God must be in the equation as He should be the centre and cornerstone of your relationship.

What is the purpose of this relationship? When one gets into a BGR, one is looking for companionship. If Christ is the cornerstone of this relationship, your relationship must first of all be with a Christian girl. She must share the same faith in the Word of God. The Bible says that two shall become one. How can that be if she is not a true believer? Can you be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14)? Stay close to God and be obedient to His word, and trust that He will provide you with a helpmeet, perhaps from the same church if possible. God was most gracious to me when He brought the love of my heart to Calvary Pandan from another BP Church! See what prayer and faith can do!

Secondly, physical beauty is only an outward manifestation of attractiveness. God sees the inner beauty of the heart. So must we. Do not just look at the outward appearance alone. Therefore, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I hope that you see the real beauty of a godly woman. In the Bible, there are passages that you can read to know what characterises a spiritual woman.

However, I would like to point out that it is you who needs to be the head of the relationship and continue to lead her in godliness, and to grow in love in the ways of the Lord. Therefore, you should not "assess" her sprituality alone, but look at your own spiritual maturity as well. Are you ready to lead in the relationship?

That being said, although we may say that spiritual beauty is important, if we were to consider scriptural passages, there is such a thing as feminine beauty it does not mean that the two cannot go together. Abraham married Sarai who was a beautiful woman and said to her "Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon" (Gen 12:11). Her beauty was confirmed when they got to Egypt, that "the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair" (Gen 12:14). There are other examples such as how Isaac married a beautiful wife (Gen 24:16) and Jacob married the beautiful Rachel (Gen 29:17). However, we do know that they were godly women too.

When you find a loving friendship with a soul mate, the relationship must be built and nutured in love and respect. This is the relationship that God also intended for the husbands and wives in Ephesians 5. The female counterpart would be a person that respects and honours you (Eph 5:33). She is to be your helpmeet and support.

However, the love and respect that you have to give is much more. Man is commanded to love (agapao*) their wives to the uttermost. "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself" (Eph 5: 28). How best to learn about love? Love as you would love yourself! Love should be sincere and honest. To show respect and honor your girlfriend, these are some simple tips: I. Always be a gentleman and treat her like a lady II. Pay if you are taking a girl out on a date. III. Bring God into your conversations

I hope the above 3 points help you think about what BGR is. God's Word sets forth good guidelines for Husbands. These are good guidelines for any young man considering a serious relationship. Understand God's purpose in your relationship, and God in His due time will reveal the love of your life.

I can say that these principles work. God has indeed given me a godly, beautiful and wonderful wife in my 13 years of marriage. We even share the same life verses! Prov 3:5&6 echoes my prayer and summarizes my thoughts.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Brother in Christ, Michael Lim


(*verb form of agape)

Onion-inspired Uth Survey


On the 25th of Feb, Uth Chronicle conducted an o(pi)nion-inspired survey with 47 YFers. The general question was, How genuine are YFers? The last question had the YFers answering what they were most afraid people will find out if they were peeled.

10 were worried (we think they would be) that


The YFers were told that it was a survey on YF leaders, and how genuine the leaders were. They had to rate their leaders on a scale of 1 to 101 being genuine, and 10, not genuine. The average others would find out about their judgmental thoughts, and misguided and sinful motives. 8 were concerned that they were seen as

hypocriticalbeing a different person in school, secretly sinning, and/or not living as holy a life as they should, even if they encourage others to.

score on this question was 2.79, which showed


that everyone thought their leaders, in general, are quite genuine.

5 admitted to personal flaws (How lazy and


Next, the YFers had to rate their own genuineness, on the same scale. The score they gave themselves was self centered I am, Short-temper), though were not too sure how one can be afraid of being found out as being overtly emotional or being indecisive. 4 people werent too sure what youll
More genuine than their leaders As genuine as their leaders 32% 60% YF leaders are more genuine than themselves

3.85still

fairly genuine, but less genuine

than what they thought their leaders were.

Looking at the answers to both questions: 4 respondents thought they were more genuine than their leaders, 15 respondents thought YF leaders were as genuine as themselves (Out of which 5 thought their leaders were as un-genuine as they were), and 28 respondents thought YF leaders were more genuine than themselves.
8%

find, and another 4 couldnt write down what youll find (Left the question blank). One of the greatest fears for 4 respondents was that others would find out that they dont know enough of Gods word (Im not able to defend the word of God with my knowledge).

If the person that conducted the survey was peeled, she would be most afraid people will find out that (on top of everything that was mentioned) her thoughts/desires/motivations are mostly earthbound.

However, what she should concern herself with is 2 simply admitted: Im not genuine enough. Another 2 listed specific sins: My sin of pride and Lack of faith. Yet another 2 cited their struggles with a fruitful spiritual life as the thing theyre most afraid of revealing. 2 were afraid of being out-ed as strange and finally, for the groups of twos, great to know that 2 said youll find nothing. One was afraid that others will find out How rotten and wicked my heart and mind can be. Another admitted his/her ineptness in the kitchen (couldnt crack an egg properly), while another professes his choice of basketball over his girlfriend (Ladies, come check his handwriting). [Editors note: Actually, the number of basketball players with a significant other who attended YF that day is quite small, so *ahem*] May God show mercy on us all, and may we always endeavor to be the children that God would want us to be. Editors post script: And remember, dont be afraid to confess your faults one to another, so that you guys can pray one for another, that ye may be healed. (Loosely based on James 5:16) what the God, from whom nothing can be hidden and is the true judge, thinks. Prov 5:21, For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

Peeling your own onion is important, even if it does make you want to cry.

Over 25

How to witness to non-Christian parents


By Carolyn Ho Spending enough time at home
YFers are an active bunch and perpetually appear to be involved in church-related activities. That's a very commendable thing, but do remember that you hold three main duties simultaneously: the duties of a child, the duties of a student, and the duties of one serving in church (Do note that all these duties are Christian duties!). Spending time in church/YF must be balanced with time at home, lest your prolonged absence from home becomes grounds for your parents to accuse you of making your house a hotel and turning church into your home. The secular demands on today's youths are already very high: long school hours, CCAs and high academic expectations. Ever heard your parents yell at you, ..... and you call yourself a Christian? Those are mighty stern words that cut extremely deep. It also hurts at another level in that we feel we have let the Lord down in trying to be a good witness to our unbelieving parents. I've been on the receiving end of such words, and I can testify that trying to bear a good Christian testimony to my parents can be a trying task. What I would like to share with you is how we can improve on our testimony at home.

Now, if you pack FEBC night class, Tuesday night prayer meeting, Guys Bible Study / DotK, YF, group outing into the weeks schedule, there's actually very little opportunity for you to be at home. Although some parents might not voice their displeasure, there's still a good chance they are silently unhappy with church activities taking up a big chunk of your time. So how much time out is too much? How does one render unto Caesars what is his without stealing from God?

Family versus Fellowship


I decided to elaborate on this point just in case there are some who have the misconception that fellowship activities automatically take precedence over family duties, i.e. attending fellowship meetings are more important than going for family events. To put it another way, it is wrong to think that only fellowship meetings are spiritually beneficial, whereas family events have no lasting importance and hence should be given lower priority. I write this with caution as there's a potential to be misunderstood. Coming for YF to fellowship with brethren and feed spiritually is important, doubtless. However, when family events call, such as a close family member's birthday celebration, a farewell dinner before a long overseas posting, or visiting a sick relative at hospital, we should place priority on ministering physically as well as spiritually to our family. Building strong family ties is a means towards sharing the gospel and also shows that we care for our family members. Conversely, indiscriminately placing church duties over family duties drives an invisible wedge between your parents and yourself, sending the wrong message that Christianity teaches its disciples to have no regard for ones family.

Introducing church to your parents


Most if not all parents are concerned about the company their children keep. Therefore it is not surprising if they get apprehensive about us being led astray by our new found Christian friends. One way of allaying their fears is to share with them about your activities: YF, bible study etc. and another is to introduce them Christian friends you hang out with. Take the opportunity to invite them to church on Sunday! Christmas presents a good opportunity for bringing your parents to church. Perhaps your friends or the YF can organise a carolling session to share the gospel to your parents. I admit the road to the gospel is seldom easy, but ... faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)

The Road Ahead


In a few years, many of you will enter a new phase of adulthood and exercise more autonomy in decision making. Your parents will observe how you make your decisions, such as your choice of job, spouse, and method of child rearing. For example, you may choose to decline a lucrative job offer that requires you to work on Sundays since the Lord's Day is to be kept holy. Remember we must walk the talk as Christians since our actions will show how important God is to you.

Why did I sign up for Helpers of Your Joy? The Overarching Principle: Be Blameless
If there's one word to characterise how best we should conduct ourselves before our unbelieving parents, it would be blameless. Observe what Paul said in Phil 2:15 - That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Our home is our God-assigned mission field! That being the case, how much more should we let our light so shine before them, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven! (Matt 5:16).

To put it simply, signing up for the Helpers of Your Joy system gives me an opportunity to serve God in whatever way I can. Why do I want to serve God? There are 3 main reasons.

Love
Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. A child who loves her father would seek every possible way to please Him. Similarly, a love for God would be expressed as a desire to glorify, please and know God.

Gratitude
1 Samuel 12: 24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.Thinking about how God loved me even when I was his enemy, and gave Jesus Christ to die for my sins even when I didnt deserve salvation makes me feel very thankful. God has given me the gift of salvation, and in return, it is only natural to give my life in service to Him.

Significance Being better children of God should not be at odds with being better children to our parents!
1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.For me, I find it very easy to slip into the mad rush of finishing homework, studying for exams and completing projects, without questioning what I am doing all this for. On the other hand, service to God is something that is eternal in its impact and importance, and it is through serving God that I am reminded to keep eternitys values in view. Please pray that God will lead me to where he wants me to serve, and I pray that you will be encouraged to serve as well.

Yin Leng

Dear YFers(:

My Bloo

If you havent seen me around church/YF recently, its not because Im backsliding, dont worry! Yep for the past 2 months or so, Ive been here in Manchester, UK for a semester-long exchange programme. By the grace of God, Ive been able to settle down well and learn to cope with life alone away from home(: My newfound hobbies over here include grocery shopping and planning my dinner menu daily, cooking is really quite fun!

Honestly speaking, though, it was pretty rough during the first few weeks, when the homesickness and loneliness were almost too much to bear. It was during that time when I really found myself leaning on God and trusting in Him in a way that Ive never experienced before. Looking back, before that, Id started to grow complacent in my spiritual life and to take things for granted it was only when all the comforts and securities of life as I knew were removed that I realized that what matters most is my relationship with God. So thank God, truly, for drawing me closer to Him once more and teaching me the lesson of complete and total dependence on Him and Him alone. Thank God too for a good sound church that Ive settled down nicely in, I think this was a big factor too that helped me start to actually enjoy life here. The faithful and powerful preaching is something I look forward to every week, and Ive managed to find sweet fellowship amongst the students as well as the other church families whove really shown me what true Christian charity and hospitality is about. Doesnt hurt that there are so many cute and lovable lil tots to play with too!=p

Still, nothing can ever quite replace home and Pandan and YF, I really do miss you guys very much! Every good report that I hear gladdens my heart, its so good to know about the younger ones whove been attending regularly and about the blessings received through retreat and messages. Praying that each and every one of you are walking closely with the Lord and growing in His Word day by day(: Looking forward to seeing you all again super soon!

Lovingly in Christ, Lingting

AGL of P.E.A.R.L Gabriel Teo!


And so the interview started with a few casual questions in Mandarin, and whether Gabriel would prefer having his interview conducted and published in Chinese for the Uth Chronicle. Many of our readers might be relieved to know that he gladly consented to having it done in English. Disclaimer: The following interview has been transcribed and summarised to the best of the interviewers abilities we seek your pardon where the essence of the subject may have been lost from the Chinese-English translation. Not that you would know any better ha! Uth: So Gabriel, about yourself G: I have been serving National Service (NS) for about 9 months already, currently a Sergeant, and [counts months with fingers] 1 year and a month more to ORD! I am involved in groundbased air defence. In my unit I get to operate machinery on a tripod and train to shoot down aircraft. Operate machinery on a tripod. Uth: Any particularly memorable episode in your NS thus far that has helped you to grow spiritually? G: Just recently in November 2010, I had to go for a field camp. Back then I was the second in-charge of my section, with 7 people in the group. It happened that the Commander was not around, thus I was the only man left to manage the important tasks and duties (e.g. digging trenches). I got too caught up and continued to rely on my own strength, and ended up where most of the tasks in my group were not completed on time. It really made me reflect that it is only through Gods grace and strength that I would be able to go through such trials and not by my own strength. Uth: Thats must definitely be a humbling experience. NS aside, how about your service to God? Being your second year as an AGL, would you like to share about Gods calling that has led you to this area of service in the YF? G: I remember that William approached me to talk about my service in YF. I thought as I was in army, I would not have much time for Gods service. However, William encouraged me to pray about it if it was really Gods will, and if so He would surely grant me the strength. So yup, I am now serving my second year of service as an AGL.

Uth: Any difference that you would like to have in your current year of service? Any hopes that you have for your current group? G: To take the initiative to get to know my group members better know their struggles, so I would be able to encourage them better. To have more love for Gods people, and care more for them. I think I have not stepped out of my comfort zone yet, so that is something to challenge myself. To build up treasures in heaven! And of course, to have more love and higher regard for Gods Word and draw closer to God in my own spiritual walk to walk the talk. Uth: How have you seen yourself grow as an AGL? G: I have particularly learnt much from the prediscussion that group leaders have regarding the discussion questions before facilitating the

Uth: It sounds like even barely a quarter way through your new year of service, God has been good to direct you to these possible avenues of service! Alright, before we end, anything interesting about yourself that you would like to share with our readers? G: [mulls for a really long time] Nothing leh Basketball? But I dont play so often nowadays lazy! :P

And thus we conclude this short interview with our resident Ah Tiong AGL, Sergeant Gabriel Teo! May he continue to be a good Christian soldier for the Lord in the year ahead!

discussion with our groups during YF. I think right now in P.E.A.R.L, most of the work is done by Joyce and Jan haha! I hope to be able to get out of my comfort zone and serve by facilitating the group discussions in the future. during army that guys either grow stronger in the faith or fall.

AGL of S.S.S
Brian: Hello Huimin! Huimin: Hello!

Thong Huimin!
Brian: Unlikely, unlikely. Okay, tell us something your service like when you were first approached to be AGL, what did you feel? Huimin: Uhm, when I was first approached with the duty of an AGL, I felt that I was very I didnt feel prepared enough. Like, theres always this feeling of insufficiency, but then you know that after youve prayed to God, you realise that this is the responsibility which God has given you, and that whatever insufficiency you feel in yourself, that sufficiency can be met in God. So just daily seek His strength, and go to Him in prayer, and trust that whatever responsibilities He gives to you, He will see you through, no matter how hard it may seem as first. Brian: So its April now Brian: How do you think youve done so far? Brian: Tell us something about yourself. You like to run very fast, right? Huimin: No Im not fast! Okay, when Im swimming, Im not, because I normally swim when I want to relax myself, so I wont push myself too hard. But sometimes when people overtake me Ill be like, Okay, Im going to overtake this person! This person overtook me twice! so Ill just overtake. But when it comes to running uhm, I wont say Im very fast. Because I havent been running for very long, so Brian youll probably win me. Huimin: Er, I would say, because this year, Ive been particularly busy because of commitments and stuff I wont say that I did a very good job, unfortunately. Because I didnt really look out for my fellow group members, especially those who dont come to YF, like the army guys. Yeah, so, I should try to remember to pray more for them, because I think prayer is a very powerful tool, but its often very neglected. Because prayer is like moving the arms of God to do something for you in His will, and if Im not praying then Im saying that, Okay, I can do this by myself, I dont need Gods help, which is totally untrue. So I need to pray for my members more. Brian: Alright, thank you very much for your time! Brian: Okay, can you tell us something about your school what are you doing now? Huimin: Im in NTU, Im in my third year, studying in the school of Biological Science. Ill be graduating next year, May to June period Brian: Do you like what youre studying? Huimin: Unfortunately, no! Haha, because the thing is I used to think I like bio, but after I went to bio science I realised its not the kind of bio which I want. But the thing is, Im still interested in the way things work, but in the practical aspect as in, not in the labwork research kind of thing. So I probably wont pursue biology after I graduate.

Brian: Unlikely, unlikely. Okay, tell us something your service like when you were first approached to be AGL, what did you feel?

AGL of P.E.A.R.L Jan Yap!


Brian: Hello Jan! Can you tell us what youre doing now in the secular world? Jan: Not really doing anything. Does FEBC count as the secular world? Brian: Haha okay, before you graduated, what were you doing? Jan: Mm, JC, Arts stream. I was also in the harp ensemble with Yi Jie. Brian: Where did you apply to for your uni? Jan: Mm, NUS FASS, probably History. Brian: Could you tell us something about yourself? Jan: I like to read stuff, I like history, stuff related to history. Both fiction and non-fiction. Brian: So do you read biographies of famous people in history? Jan: No, not biographies, more like general stuff like world history. Greeks, Romans, yeah Brian: Ah, so more ancient, or classical history? Jan: Yeah. Medieval also. Brian: So besides reading, anything else? Jan: Mm, I also like baking. Occasionally. Brian: How proficient are you at baking? Jan: Uhm, I follow the recipe, and then its edible. Brian: Looks like we have a new YF refreshments IC! Okay, its April now but how did you feel when you were first approached to be AGL? Jan: Kind of like if it was me, I would be the last person I would ask. So I felt surprised. But I was looking for somewhere to serve, so it was like kind of an answer to what I was looking for. Brian: So now, four months into the role, how do you think youve fared so far? Jan: Mm well, actually, I havent really had to do much. More like small things like passing around birthday cards and icebreakers, except we didnt carry out the icebreakers. Brian: How about reaching out to people? Jan: Yeah, I also message some people. Brian: Anything else you want to say? Jan: Not that I can think of! Brian: Alright, thank you very much!

AGL of a Working Faith Joyce Huang!


history, Brian: Hello, Joyce! Joyce: Hi! Brian: Could you tell us about what youre doing now in school? Joyce: Im currently waiting to go to University, so theres about 6 months from January to August, so Im doing some temporary jobs. Like, in January and February I did an internship at NCYS, then I took a 1-month break to try a medical attachment to see if I wanted to be a doctor. Then this month, April, Ill be doing a job at the Science Centre as a temporary Events Assistant. Then in June Ill be travelling. Brian: Whatll you be doing in uni? Joyce: I applied to NUS Medicine, so Ill either go there or go to the US, cause Ive also got a place over there with a scholarship. Brian: Is it also medicine? Joyce: No, its biology. Brian: Ah, alright. Tell us something about yourself! What are your hobbies? Joyce: Hmmm... I like to read! Brian: What kind of stuff do you read? Joyce: It depends. Sometimes I prefer crime thriller novels, like those that solve crimes and mysteries. Sometimes, like recently, I like to read Chinese history, like those Empowerment of Women kind of thing, about the Chinese Cinderella. Now, Ive been reading some books by surgeons, like those who keep a journal of their journies. They talk about their experiences, and about medicine in general. Its very interesting. Brian: Ah, I see. Okay, when you were first approached to become an AGL, can you share what you felt or thought? Joyce: Ah, okay. Got a lot of feelings! Like first, I was quite shocked cause I didnt know whether I was ready. So I was thinking about whether Ill be able to serve well, and also thinking that when I start uni, I knew I wouldnt be as free, so I wanted to serve as much as I could during this year. Then, I also wondered if Id be able to be a good testimony for my members, and whether Ill be able to be responsible to them also. So I had to think quite a lot about it, and also had to pray, and I asked my sister about it too. Then in the end, I thank God that I decided to be an AGL, because I felt like I wanted to serve this year as much as I could.

Brian: So now, four months into the new year, how do you think youve done so far? Joyce: Well, its more difficult than I thought, because other than all the little admin things you have to do, you also have to think about the spiritual growth of your members, so I think sometimes I feel quite bad that I havent been doing as much as I want to. At the beginning of the year when you write down all your goals of being an AGL, you think about fulfilling them, but in the end, four months later, you feel like you havent accomplished much. And its a new thing for me, and Im not a person who can easily approach someone and talk about their spiritual growth, so Im trying to, hopefully through other ways like writing letters. Brian: Any parting words? Joyce: Parting words COME TO YF MORE! Brian: Haha, thank you!

At first YF was a rather novel experience for me; going to church on a day other than Sunday felt strange. But since then, Ive learnt that it is a blessing to be engaged in spiritual activities in Gods house as often as possible. YF is, firstly, an excellent prelude to Sunday, turning me towards God and readying me to receive His Word. I have learnt and been encouraged much from the experience of other YFers shared during times like group discussion. YF, furthermore, presents an opportunity to serve God, even if it is the simple task of preparing refreshments or saying a kind word to another. I regret the times when I would not or could not go for YF, for those hours of spiritual feeding and fellowship are lost to me. Yet, I am thankful for the years in YF that I have ahead, God willing. So, come for YF, not just to receive, but to give of yourself to God! (((:

Ex-Teenz that Talk

Personal Points
The questions were as follows: 1) Your Full Name. 2) What are you doing currently? 3) What are you hoping to do in the future? 4) Favourite Bible verse and why? 5) If I were a piece of church furniture...

Joy Chua Ying Ying


2. ACJC/JC1/Science Stream, BCME (Bio, Chem, Maths, Econs) 3. Don't know yet : ( 4. I don't really know what my fav bible verse is, but i suddenly remember Psalm 17:8 so haha yeah. I reminds me that God will protect me 5. I would be a guitar (if that's considered a furniture) and make music for the Lord ~

Wong Xue Ying Grace


2) Schooling in ACJC - JC 1, Science Stream, Bio, Chem, Math & MEP (Music Elective Programme) 3) I'm not sure! But for now, I'm just hoping to survive school.. 4) Rom 8:28 It reminds me all the time that everything is in His hands, whether it be in good times or bad times, that ultimately all things will work together for good! For although we are but passing pilgrims in this world, there are still times where it feels like long periods of travail, so it serves as a timely reminder that God always has a higher purpose for us and eveything is accordance to His divine will (: 5) I'd be the sofas in the lounge - a 'haven of rest'! :P

Nicholas Lim Seng Yew


2) Currently studying at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) at Dover Road, in Year 5 and taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Current subject combination is Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics at higher level; English A1, Chinese B and Economics at standard level. 3) Currently aiming towards being a doctor (like my dad) in the future as I want to meet people and help people. Considering psychiatrist or specialist, but am still praying about it~ 4) I do not have a favourite verse, but here's one I have on hand that I like: Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." I find that the first two parts show me how to live my life and be happy, while the last part is a very reassuring promise! :D 5) If i were a piece of church furniture, I would be big and comfortable so people can sit on me and be happy.

Short and Broad


JANUARY Jan visited the Malaysian Embassy for the first time 3
RD

MARCH 1
ST

Alanna starts work at Cambridge Child Centre. Not affiliated with that

Grace Auyong got attached but only

Development

industrially, and to Mindshare SG. 7th ZY had a T-Rexerific birthday party! Hopefully all the chlorine from jQs pool has been expelled from his system. (He had to decipher a Morse coded message at the bottom of the pool.) 15th Jason Quah officially became and Occifer. Remember to call him SIR and salute! 20 Lingting flew off to some college beside Old
th

University in England. 9TH Joyce Huang watched an open surgery being performed in the operating theatre for the first time! 8th-27th Jon Tay died , ie: MEDICAL STUDENT FINAL EXAMS! However, recent reports from an examiner (also known as Prof Quah or jQs dad) indicate that Jon Tay has survived. PTL! 11th-12th Zach, Joel Tan and Binnyi formed the triumvirate for the running of the March Retreat. It was the first time that three first timers ran the first camp of the year. 11th-16th Abby and Alanna, home grown

Trafford to watch soccer for an exchange programme. 28th-10th Feb Raphaels lack of any padding finally cost him as a Frisbee (supposedly a non-contact sport) collision punctured his lung (also known as a pneumothorax) and was hospitalized. FEBRUARY Some of the 1994 batch started lives in JC! Joy Chua made new friends Bernice Ong joined FCM NUS and YF Jehanne became the 2 Ko and 5 /6 Pandanite to work at SGH. 18th Alanna finally got her license to take care of other peoples kids for money! YAY! 20 Dora said ahnyonghasekamsahamnihegasey
th nd th th

missionaries, flew to BDC, Chiang Rai, to conduct Vacation Bible School for the kids there while Rev Quek spoke to the adults. 22nd-25th Serena Lok went for a very dreaded CCA Leaders Expedition OBS Camp but was

subsequently able to share about it in a positive light for 10 minutes during SSSs prayer meeting! His eye was on the sparrow! 31st Michelle flies to Nanjing for three months

pursuant to her TCM course and immediately begins showing off the ridiculously low China prices by updating her status on Facebook, a site banned by China (maybe thats why they are as productive as they are)*. *The editorial committee disclaims any responsibility if the relevant authorities find out about her unauthorized access through this media and executes her.

or something or rather as she flew to the land that wastes the most time of our nations female youth. To study on an exchange programme, naturally.

Calendar of Events
April
2nd Church Bible Study (Rev Quek) 9th Jonah: The Unwilling Evangelist (Bro Simon Chua) 16th Tracting Workshop (Bro Patrick Tan) 23rd A Lifelong Ambassador for Christ (Eld William Seah) 30th YF Group Visitations

BMC Quiz 23rd April May


7th Church Bible Study (Rev Quek) 14th Parents Appreciation Day Relationship with Parents (Rev Das Koshy) 21st Relationship to Powers (Rev Das Koshy) 28th Relationship to Peers (Rev Das Koshy)

FCM Camp 23rd to 28th May June


4th Church Bible Study (Rev Quek) 11th YF Outing 18th No YF (Church Camp) 25th YF Mid-Year Remembrance Night

Church Camp 13th to 18th June

CPYF 30th Anniversary


By Joyce Huang Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

Thank God for seeing our YF through 30 years of worship, service and blessed fellowship! The theme for this years anniversary was Constantly Abiding, an apt theme to sum up how the Lord has been with us throughout the past 30 years, and a prayer to many more years of fruitful service abiding in Him.

Guests from other fellowship groups, other YFs, and not to forget, our very own YF alumni, came to celebrate this event with us, filling half the sanctuary! They were greeted at the registration table with little bottles of grape juice and pin badges, our door gifts for the anniversary. This years celebration started off with a welcome address by our dear YF Advisor, Dn Chia, followed by a song item presented by our YF to the guests! Dr Tow gave a message based on the scripture text John 14:15-18. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Indeed, these verses remind us of how God has constantly been by our side, and has filled our hearts with comfort every time weve met a trial in life.

The message was followed by well-wishes from the other fellowship groups, and a video montage that brought back old memories with photos of YF from waayyyy back then (think 1980s and 1990s shots of our Deacons in their youth!) After all the brainwork recollecting the past, we rewarded our hungry stomachs with a buffet spread. And not to forget, the pizza that came an hour later (in an attempt to make people stay longer and fellowship with one another =D) All in all, it was a meaningful event to bring like-minded brethren together and remember the goodness that the Lord has blessed our youth fellowship with.

March Retreat 2011


By Zachariah Quek Hahaha hi! I have been asked to write about my experience serving in the March retreat and i will attempt to make sense and I hope it does make sense! It has been a very blessed and interesting experience serving in the March retreat committee! I thank God for enabling me, actually, all of us, to be able to do all that we were able to do. And for the fact that everything ran.. I guess you could say, smoothly? Haha When my sister approached me to serve in the March retreat committee, i was initially a bit hesitant, because I was scared that I would not be able to live up to the responsibilities dished/handed out to me. But, after praying about it, and lots of reflection, I agreed to help out. I guess ultimately what made me want to serve was the impact of the two camps I attended last December. The first one was the CPYF December camp. The theme was What if it were today? which was, for me, a time of lots and lots of reflection and questioning on my part, as to whether or not I was saved. Why wasnt I doing my part for my Lord on earth? Why wasnt I walking worthy of the Lord? There was also the evangelism workshop and tracting, which was super encouraging and really edifying. To sum up, the camp really made me realise how much i was not doing for God, and how our Lord Jesus Christ had died for us, to save us from eternal damnation. And if I said I was a Christian, and was saved, why wasnt I serving God?! How you live affects how you die, and knowing how you are going to die, affects how you live. These words from Pr Joshua Yong really shook me! If I said I was going to heaven, shouldnt I be serving him and living for Him?!?! Philippians 1:20,21- According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. The second one i attended was the True Life YPF camp held at Calvary Tengah. The theme was Loving God with My All by Pr Joshua Yong... again! (This is a good rather than a bad thing!) As the theme suggests, it was on how to love God with everything we had. Loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength! (Mark 12:30) So again, a rebuke to me why wasnt I serving God more? Did i not say i love Him? So why wasnt I showing it and acting upon it with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? I know this sounds super preachy, but its really, really true. And thank God, there was also a door-to-door evangelism session as part of the activities, and this again encouraged me, not only because of what i experienced, but also because of the testimonies that the other campers shared.

If I were to ignore Gods messages from his preachers and word, am I truly a born-again Christian? Ok, so after Ive written so much explaining why i accepted the request to help out in the March Retreat, I will actually write what i was asked to write. :p HA. The first meeting was on a Saturday afternoon, and it was really exciting. It was my first time in a committee meeting so of course i would be excited! But... someone was late... you know who you are... Hahahahhahaa. Anyway, I was given the duties of making the camp booklet, camp poster, camp forms, publicity, organising night games. I was also helping Joel with his registration duties and was initially asked to do be in charge of logistics, but Suling heroically offered to do that for me thank you! And also for the templates for the camp stuff! At the onset I was overwhelmed by the amount of duties I had. And this was my first time as a committee member!!! How can they expect a noob (editors note: novice) to do so much! But then, after a bit of reflection during QT, I realised it was stupid and wrong of me to think that way. I should be happy and glad that I was given the opportunity to serve in so many areas! It was truly a blessing to be able to do so much considering it was my first time. Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Doing the poster was tough as I didnt know what to draw. I initially thought of doing a sort of doomsday scenario thing, where everything is collapsing except this small pathway to *cue spotlight* which would be the Bible. If you dont understand what i mean by this, never mind. I guess that would explain why I didnt go with that idea! My dad then suggested something like a bridge between Heaven and Hell and the bridge would be Soteriology. So i tried doing it, but it was too complicated and I decided to do the one i did. Haha. I wasnt able to properly finish it, cause my sister wanted to advertise everything during the church bible study which was NOT as early as the initial deadline given btw! Haha. Thank God my sister, Alanna can colour super pro and fast and she helped me colour everything right before we left for church. Thank God for her help! And my family who gave many good suggestions that really helped! My sister, Abby was not going to be in Singapore for the duration of the camp as she was going to BDC for a mission trip. So she entrusted the rest of us with the duties of running the camp. Suling split the camp leaders duties among Binnyi, Joel and me. Joel was in charge of the first night; I was in charge of the morning and afternoon; Binnyi was in charge of the second night. It was a really good experience as I finally know how leaders feel when assembling everyone and giving announcements. Haha, whoops. And being in the committee also gave me another opportunity to chair! Thank God for all the great and wonderful opportunities to serve and help out due to the March retreat!

I had originally planned to do the night games as more of a physical activity rather than a sedentary activity. But Suling reminded me its YF, not Teenz. Which is weird! Cause shouldnt the YF be more physically fit and eager to participate in activities as opposed to Teenz, where everyone is awkward, shy or super self-conscious so wont participate? So i disappointingly agreed and changed it to something not physical! :D However... honestly speaking, I was a bit disappointed as I had imagined the game to run a certain way, and when it came down to it, it didnt. But i still thank God that people enjoyed it and learned some trivia! :D Haha. Not everything will turn out the way you want it to, because God has the best plan. (Editors note: I believe Sulings objection to the night games was not that it was physical, but that it must have a spiritual focus. As a general rule of thumb, its only too physical if the physicality detracts from the spiritual objectives of that activity. Just sayin!) Oh, oh, and thankfully the morning activity went smoothly and everyone was able to wake up early :D We were all originally afraid that people would not be able to wake up for it, as it started at 6.30am!! The point of the walk was to wake everyone up for the busy day ahead! Something like 5bx/morning exercise but also dealing with the mental aspect because everyone had to solve a puzzle that Suling and Abby had created :D We tried our best to make the camp interesting and fun for everyone! The activity, the night games, the cookout everything! It was all a joint effort and it was only accomplished with Gods help. Ah, but i think the highlight of the camp was the messages. The theme verses were 1 Corinthians 15:2-4 and Soteriology is a very important part of theology I believe. I think, from experience, a common, frequent question among Christians is, Am I truly saved? So the theme would be really appropriate and relevant to many, many people! Sadly, I think the retreat was too short, so there wasnt enough time for Pr Lingkang to do justice to the topic of soteriology so he could only cover a bit. Even so, I think it was quite informative and encouraging (my opinion!). Haha. Go download the camp messages online if you missed it! Its in the CPYF mail! :D Overall, I think that the camp went smoothly without any hiccup. Haha. However, if asked what was the worst part of the camp for me. I guess it would be the fact that so many people from my batch werent there. When Joel emailed us the registration list, i only saw like a handful of batch mates. The theme was on knowing our Salvation, and so many of us would have doubts or queries on our Salvation. I pray that those who are of the appropriate age and are not coming to YF will reflect on why they are not! And for those who are, ask yourself, why am I coming to YF or serving? ....Hahhaa i just became all serious there so suddenly without warning. Sorry. In conclusion, (like finally right? Haha) i am really grateful for the opportunity and chance to serve. And it was a delightful and enjoyable experience :). Thank you for reading!

FCM Combined Meeting 2011


By Ruth Ng The first FCM combined meeting for 2011 was held on 11 February 2011. This time, SMU FCM was appointed to organize the meeting. Being a small group, this meant that all members had something to take charge of and help with. It also placed a bit of stress on the SMU students; some were inexperienced with organizing and all had hectic schedules. However, it is undeniable that all the SMU FCM members recognized that it was a blessed opportunity to serve and thus did so willingly and cheerfully. The event was held in Calvary Pandan BP Church at the 3rd Floor Sanctuary. At 6.15pm, about 20 FCM-ers gathered for a simple but hearty meal while the rest of the FCM-ers joined at 7.00pm for the meeting. There was a good mix of students from the different varsities and even a few JC students! Joseph Ting, though unfamiliar with Pandan, chaired the meeting. He led in prayer and in singspiration before he passed the time to Rev Quek Suan Yew who spoke on Providence vs Health & Wealth. It was an apt message that pertained to that other gospel, the health and wealth gospel. Firstly, Rev Quek asserted that being healthy and wealthy is not a sin. The problem arises when we prioritize health and wealth above God. Rev Quek then went on to expound from Romans 13:11-14. He reminded us all that Christ is coming again sooner than we think and that we have to awake out of sleep. Have we been neglecting our Christian duties? Furthermore, are we in darkness and in sin? From Romans, we are told to put on the armour of light and never take it off! Applying the passage to us students, health and wealth could be our idols. It could come in the form of ambition in your studies and perhaps sports. While there is nothing wrong with these things, it is wrong if we put them before our God. Do we neglect our service to the Lord and the sweet fellowship of the saints? Have we become so focused on our earthly tasks that we have forgotten our high calling and the urgency of it? Rev Quek spoke about not living our lives purely to make provision for the flesh but to remember the importance of putting on the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Let us be testimonies for our Master and not slaves to this world. Since the message was in the middle of the school term, I am pretty sure it was a timely reminder to all not to get so absorbed in their studies that they lose focus on what really matters. It was a good occasion to reevaluate ones life. The meeting was closed soon after and all gathered for a group shot. This was followed by simple refreshments laid out downstairs where all could gather around and chitchat happily. All in all, it was a fairly simple affair but a welcomed respite from school. Thank God for the sweetness of His Word and of fellowship. I pray that the FCM will continue to flourish over the years and that we will continue to find much refuge in the meetings.

Doctrinal Defense Summary


On 26th March 2011, the YF engaged in an exercise known as Doctrinal Defense. The concept of the exercise was simple theologically evaluate a statement given to them, take a stance either in support or in opposition of that statement, and defend that statement. The actual execution of the exercise was not as simple. The two groups that took the stage were coalitions formed by LOGgers/Scripture Seeking Saints and PEARL/A Working Faith. In that order, they faced off against Rev Quek, who played devils advocate, centering their arguments about the two topics listed below. "In the incarnation of Christ, He was fully man but not fully God as He surrendered His attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. Consider in the light of Philippians 2:7-8 and the Kenosis Theory." "While Christ trod the earth as a human, He must have had the ability and potential to sin. To adopt the 'cannot sin' model over the 'can not sin' model is to compromise the efficacy of His high priestly office."

The time limit set for the activity was 15 minutes, clearly insufficient time to debate the issue fully. The exercise had sparked questions amongst the participants and audience pertaining to the two statements, questions that remained unanswered that night as Rev Quek had to rush off for his next speaking engagement.

In the following paragraphs, an attempt shall be made to outline the proper theological understanding of the divinity of Christ and His capacity to fulfil His high priestly office, as pertains to the cannot sin and can not sin models.

Divinity of Christ
As succinctly stated during the exercise, Christ is known as theoanthropos, that is to say 100% God (theo), yet at the same time 100% man (anthropos). The controversy raised in the statement is that Christ emptied Himself of his omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence when He came down to earth as a man. This is known as the Kenosis theory and results from an incorrect reading of Philippians 2:7-8. Kenoo is the Greek word used in the original text, meaning to empty, and together with a reflexive pronoun is translated as made himself of no reputation. This does not refer to the divine attributes that make Him God, but simply to His form. What Christ emptied Himself of was His heavenly glory. One might argue that Christ could not have been omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient when He was a humanhowever this is an argument from silence and is logically unsound. There is no time that Christ exhibited a loss of His divine attributes. Where there was apparent weakness, such as hunger, fatigue or death, He was merely cooperating with His humanly limitations. That Christ did not exercise His divine attributes all the time in no way proves that He had lost them. Conversely, there were many occasions where Christ displayed His divine attributes in the form of miracles turning water to wine, raising the dead, just to name a few. Even the Devil acknowledges Christs omnipotence, in that He told Christ to turn the stones into bread, which in itself is a supernatural feat. An additional line of argument proving Christs divinity is to ask whether by definition, God can at any point in time cease to be God. It is submitted that this is impossible once God, always God. There is no mechanism whereby Godhood can be imparted or stripped. The Bible states that Christ was God from the beginning, and since that is so, it must be that He was also fully God during His sojourn on earth. The importance of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is twofold first, scriptures clearly teach this doctrine, and we would do well not to contradict the very Word of God. Second, Christ is the Lamb of God that is given for the sin of the world. It is argued that if Christ were merely human, His substitutionary sacrifice would be sufficient for only one other person. This argument draws from the principle of proportionality clearly exhibited by the Levitical system of sacrifice, i.e. the sacrifice for a common sin was smaller than the sin offered for the sin of the nation and also from Lex Talionis as laid down in Exodus 21 (eye for eye). Since the sins of the world throughout time were at stake, Gods justice demanded the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, who was theoanthropos, and not merely a man.

, let us hold fast our profession. Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. The argument is as follows: if Christ was impeccable and cannot sin, then He cannot have been said to be tempted. If He cannot be tempted, then His experience on earth would have been significantly dissimilar to our own, and would not have been touched with the feeling of our infirmities as stated in the above verse. Without

Christs High Priestly Office


The verses central to this argument are Heb 4:14-15 and deserve to be laid out in full. Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. The argument is as follows: if Christ was impeccable and cannot sin, then He cannot have been said to be tempted. If He cannot be tempted, then His experience on earth would have been significantly dissimilar to our own, and would not have been touched with the feeling of our infirmities as stated in the above verse. Without having personal experience of the feeling of our infirmities and being tempted like as we are, He would be incapable of fulfilling His office as our great high priest, who intercedes on our behalf. Since the Bible states unequivocally that He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities and was in all points tempted like as we are, the logical conclusion is that we cannot subscribe to a cannot sin model. However, I would not go so far as to make this argument. On close examination, one realizes that the central focus of the above two verses does not directly deal with the can not sin or the cannot sin model. Rather, what it states is that Christ was tempted, and is privy to the feeling of our infirmities. One is only forced to adopt the can not sin model if one believes that the cannot sin model precludes temptation! More important is that one acknowledges, since scripture is clear on this point, that Christ was tempted by the Devil and through His earthly sojourn He gained personal knowledge of the feelings of our infirmities and is thus enabled to fulfil the office of the great high priest perfectly. Now, coming back to the secondary issue of can not sin and cannot sin, there are a variety of convictions on this point. Rev Quek is not for the impeccability of Christ; conversely, I am. That is not to say that our views are incompatible, but that the way in which we define certain terms are different. Without going too deeply into the issue, I shall attempt to provide support for my view of impeccability. The simplest argument is as such Christ is God, and God cannot sin. Therefore, Christ cannot sin. Reiterated in different terms, I am saying that there was no effective potential for Christ to have succumbed to the temptation of the devil. This is not to say that the temptation had no effect Christ was 100% human as well as 100% God, and His human nature dictated that He was hungry after many days of fasting. There is no doubt that He was hungry, and that there was a desire to satisfy the hunger. In this sense He was tempted, and did experience the feeling of our infirmities. Yet, despite this tension, there was no possibility of Him buckling under the stress placed on Him by the Devil, for saying that God is capable of sin does seem fundamentally erroneous. .

THE LAST PAGE


Having laid out my case, I would like to reiterate that the central issue in this case is that Christ was tempted, and through this temptation He was equipped to fulfil the office of great high priest. The decision of can not sin and cannot sin is not entirely essential, and engaging in that argument first will draw you away from the important issue.