Pastoral Perspectives

What Brings You Encouragements?

When you consider the things which are happening around you, would they bring you encouragements? How do you view this year which is going to pass very soon? We are now at the end of the year and many things that have happened that might have probably puzzled you. You may want to consider setting aside some time for your own personal evaluations and reflections. It is good to recall and re-collect what brings you encouragements. As for me, I shall share some in this pastoral perspective.

We were greatly saddened by the passing on of our beloved sister in Christ, the late Cynthia Loke. At the same time, we are glad that now, she is in the presence of the Almighty God, meeting her beloved Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. When I reflected upon her life, I was thankful for the vivid examples which she has set for us to emulate. She met a sister in Christ at the bus stop and encouraged her to come back to church to worship and serve. Despite of her poor health, she served faithfully and fervently. She lived a fruitful life, touching many lives and spurring us on towards love and good works.

When I considered how one particular Discipleship Group (DG) was formed, starting from attending the Alpha Course to attending the Group-based ABC class to attending the Membership Class and now going to be baptised and/or transferred this Christmas, my heart was thrilled, amazed and encouraged. It is the Lord who works mightily in their lives that bring such encouragements to me. I personally saw how they have grown in their faith in Christ. When I attended their DG, I was encouraged to see how they really and seriously prepared for their Bible Study.

When my late mother was called home to the Lord on 13th November, I was greatly saddened too. At the same time, I am glad that now, she is in the presence of the Almighty God, meeting her beloved Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. She had been an encouragement to many. Every night, she would pray for her own siblings who have yet to know the Lord Jesus and also for God’s care and protection upon her children and grandchildren. During the wake, one of our Elders encouraged me through a beautiful card with these wordings “The word departure literally means to pull up anchor and set sail. Everything that happens prior to death is a preparation for the final voyage. Death marks the beginning, not the end. It is our journey to God.” (Billy Graham).

This reminds me of a much greater encouragement when I reflect upon the reality and the significance of Christmas. The birth of Christ is a reality and is significant. Without this, there is no Christmas to celebrate and no Salvation to embrace for the whole human race. Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God, the Bright Morning Star, willingly came to this sinful world to be born as a baby in a manger, so as “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 ESV) and “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV) I am reminded and also encouraged concerning the Lord Jesus in 2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV that “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” The significance of Christmas is beyond descriptions. It is so encouraging to know that “the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ESV). Wow! That is the real meaning of Christmas!

To me, Christ came not only to be my Saviour but also to be my Shepherd! He is my Saviour to save me from my sins and shame. He is my Shepherd to supply me for all my needs and to sustain me through His life-transforming Word. The acronym “CHRISTMAS” is “CHRIST, My All Sufficient”. I always remember that in Christ Jesus, I have no lack because He is all I need. What brings me encouragements? There are many things which bring me encouragements but the greatest of them all is the significance of Christmas: The Virgin Birth of Christ Jesus my Lord.”

For you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, what brings you encouragements? This Christmas, I hope that you will take some time to reflect and to re-collect.

I wish all of you:

“A Blessed Christmas and A Bountiful New Year!”

Pr George Ang

December 24, 2017