ON THE MATTER OF MARRIAGE…

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

ON THE MATTER OF MARRIAGE

I had the privilege of solemnizing the wedding of Berend & Choi Wan last May. It brings me great joy to see God’s children come together in holy matrimony before Him. As I write this article, the events of August 7th, 1999, weigh fondly in mind. Witnessed by family and friends, Mabel and I took our marriage vows before our loving heavenly Father and Lord, “to have and to hold from this day forward – for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, to honour and to cherish and to be faithful to you till death us do part.” Those words were uttered in faith and confidence in the grace and strength of our Almighty God.

There will be a couple more weddings this year, and many more to come over the next few years as we look at the growing number of young adults within our congregation. It is indeed an honour for us, the elders, to participate in these upcoming wedding celebrations as we believe that the covenant of marriage which was firstly established by God in creation, signifies the mystery of the union between Christ and His church. Therefore, the Holy Scripture commends the ordinance of marriage to be honoured among all people. Even our Lord Jesus blessed this custom when he performed his very first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, and for the help and comfort given one to another in moments of prosperity and adversity – and when in the will of God – for the procreation of children and their nurturing in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

We believe, therefore, that marriage is not to be entered into lightly but reverently and in accordance with the purpose for which it was instituted by God. Thus, we will not consent to a wedding for anyone who has yet to place his/her faith in Christ or for anyone who wishes to marry someone of the same sex. We are convinced that Scripture has made it very clear that such a union is not honouring to God.

In the event a couple commits fornication, they must come before our gracious Lord to confess, repent and renounce their sins in the presence of the elders. Through godly counsel and continuous accountability, we trust that their marriage, blessed by the elders and sanctified by the blood of our gracious Lord Jesus, who died on the cross on behalf of our sins, will be made new. To this, I echo our Lord’s words in John 8; “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

As part of our commitment to the subject of marriage, we are raising and developing, by God’s grace, within the church, marriage counselors who can journey alongside couples intending to enter this blessed covenant. The church will also continue to commit to the teaching, training and counseling on this matter of marriage. While this may not yet be an exhaustive guide, on behalf of the elders, I felt very strongly that this would be a good first step in introducing Bangsar Gospel Centre’s stand in the subject of marriage. Other circumstances and situations with regard to this holy and reverent covenant will continue to be addressed in the near future.

by Francis Dunn on behalf of the Elders

Word from the Elders (September 2012)

BGC Camp 2012 – Brave enough to follow

Needless to say there were some murmurs when the venue of this year’s camp was revealed sometime in June. The fact that we had been to the same venue 4 times in the last 5 years for camp naturally would raise some mild grunts and murmurs amongst the people. Nevertheless, on the practical side of things, few would argue that Seri Malaysia Bagan Lalang is indeed a great place to have our BGC family camp. Therefore, kudos to this year’s camp organizing committee for their labor of love in planning the camp for all 149 of us.

At this year’s camp, our Lord’s blessing came in double doses as we were extremely privileged to secure 2 excellent and gifted teachers in Dr Ng Kam Weng and Stuart Briscoe to be our camp teachers. I was joking with Dr Ng before he left home on Saturday morning that if we were to liken our 2 speakers to coffee, then Dr Ng is our ‘Aik Cheong’ coffee with local flavor (strong and hard hitting) and Stuart Briscoe is our gourmet coffee (refreshing but equally potent).

On hindsight, the analogy of coffee describing our 2 speakers is truly apt to me because in-spite of my tiredness and ill health at camp, I was kept totally awake by the inspired sharing and teaching of both our speakers. The messages were so rich spiritually, with so much to ponder, so much to learn, so much to work through and so much to be thankful for. There is no denying that our Lord is truly a Magnificent God, mighty in power and love and certainly worth following.

Dr Ng started his teaching on Thursday night by introducing us to the prophet Jeremiah, a young reluctant prophet lacking in confidence but yet called by the Lord. I will not go into details the 4 messages shared by Dr Ng as I know that many of us have been busy taking notes and searching our hearts as we learn how to follow our Lord faithfully and bravely in whatever situations we face through the examples and lessons learnt from the life of Jeremiah and his scribe, Baruch.

On Saturday morning, the teaching baton at camp was passed to Stuart Briscoe. Stuart took us through the life of one of my favorite character in the New Testament, Simon later known as Peter. Stuart had a style of teaching that was kind of new to BGC. Nevertheless, in each of the 4 sessions that Stuart taught and told stories about the successes and failures of Peter in following our Lord Jesus Christ, and supplemented by stories from his very own spiritual journey, we were blessed by the wealth of spiritual insights and lessons that Stuart provided us in our quest to follow our Lord bravely and steadfastly.

In the midst of all the camp activities, the incessant eating and our prayers of faith for Chew Peng’s recovery, the Lord has spoken to us through His word and His Spirit in this camp. I am so aware now that to be brave enough to follow our Lord steadfastly as individuals and as a church, we must firstly resolve the problem of our hearts (i.e., we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love one another deeply) and just like Peter, we must also allow the Holy Spirit to transform us to the true potential that the Lord has called us to be.

I thank the Lord because this year’s camp is a fresh reminder and encouragement to us in BGC of our continuing desire to follow after the Lord’s heart as individuals and as a church.

As we in BGC seek to follow the Lord bravely and steadfastly, may He lead us to bring forth much glory and honour to His great and holy name. Amen.

Choo Min Fook

Word from the Elders (August 2012)

The Christian Olympics

The Olympic Games in London were officially opened on 27 July with much razzmatazz and with a spectacular show depicting the rich history and culture of the British and their ancestry.

I am sure that many of us will enjoy the various events and marvel at the high standard of skills shown by athletes in their respective field of sports.  Personally for me, I am hoping that Usain Bolt will have the race of his life and break the world record in the 100 meters.

However, I am reminded that as Christians, who are redeemed by the love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we, too, are in a race for our lives. It is not the ‘rat race’ that the world subjects many to, where you go round and round in circles.  Instead it is a race for us to pursue to know our Lord, to love our Lord and to live for our Lord daily, for as long as we have breath.

In 1 Cor 9: 24-25, Paul writes:  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

The rewards we are promised by our Lord are not medals, fame, money or any transient stuff that will be forgotten, useless and become rusty some day.  We are in a race to obtain a crown that will last forever, a crown given by the eternal King of Kings.  It means that when we win this race set for us, our names will be remembered in all earthly and heavenly realms forever and ever, and our victory can never be erased or forgotten by anyone, as it is written in the book of life.

Wow, what a crown!

And, unlike the Olympics where only 3 or 4 medals are given to winners, and the losers just have to contend with the experience and emotions of competing, this crown promised by our Lord is given to anyone who finishes the race (i.e., there are no quotas at all!).

Therefore, I praise the Lord because we can go into this race full of confidence that our brothers and sisters are not our rivals but are our partners in helping each other to finish the race.

For many athletes, taking part in the Olympics is the reward and the result of years of discipline, sacrifice and hard work in training and being totally focused to be the best they can be in their field of sports.

In 1 Cor 9: 26-27, Paul writes: Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

How tragic it would be if an athlete was disqualified from the race he is supposed to take part in.  Paul reminds himself that he needs to be disciplined, focused, train hard, so that when he preaches to others to run the race, he himself will not be disqualified but will be able to join others in running and finishing the race.

I am truly humbled by this concern of Paul because sometimes it is so easy for us (myself included) to tell others how to follow our Lord but we live as if we are exempt from doing the same.  May the Lord search our hearts and lead us to His everlasting ways.

As we enjoy watching the Olympics this month, may we be reminded that we, too, must run our Christian race to know our Lord by praying to Him, meditating on His Word, loving Him, worshipping Him, living for Him, serving Him, giving Him all honor and glory daily in all that we do, to the best of our ability, until the day we touch the finish tape, cross the finish line and finish our race.

                            ~ Choo Min Fook ~

Said the Shepherd to the Flock….

This is a transcript of Uncle Tee Fatt’s parting words on the 1st of July 2012 as he announced his retirement from the position of Elder of Bangsar Gospel Centre.

 

 

“Don’t worry I am not up here to give you a sermon. I am here to make an announcement.

30th June 2012 was my last day as an elder after having served as an Elder of BGC from 1993, a total of 19 years. I would like to record my appreciation to all of you for your prayers and support. I think all of you deserve a prize for having me as an Elder for the last 19 years.

I would also like to thank Mabel and Francis Dunn who joined us when we started giving tuition and running the Sunday School at Nilai Gospel Chapel from 1998 to 2010. Along came Kareen, Irene Ngiam, Chew Kim Sun and Jonathan Wong who supported this ministry. This was followed by Gary Chien, Edward Soong, Roy Lim, Yan and Jennette Tan.  Jennette has since given her heart to a young man from Nilai Gospel Chapel and they will be married by early next year.

I take my hat off to the youths who served Nilai Sunday School and provided tuition for 12 years. They would normally leave for Nilai by or before 1 pm and would not be back until 6.30pm provided we were not caught in the notorious Sg Besi evening traffic on Sunday. The youth not only helped out in the Sunday School and tuition, they even washed toilets and cleaned up the premises before they left. Today Nilai Gospel Chapel is independent and in their own premises. The Lord has blessed the work richly.

Now some advice to the youth and the church:

(1)   Youth: Don’t tattoo your body. In Gal 6:17 “You can only bear on your body the mark of Jesus.” In Levi 19:28, we read, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you. I am the Lord.”

(2)   The church : Paul in 1 Tim 3:1 “commends the role of serving the church as an Elder as a noble task”. It is therefore good for a believer to aspire to be an Elder.

I am confident with God’s help the present leaders will do a good job for BGC. Please uphold them in your prayers.

Finally, forgive me if I have hurt anyone in my 19 years as an Elder.

May God bless all of you richly.”

WTF

Word from the Elders (July 2012)

Take up our positions, stand still and see …………

For the past month, I have been following Euro 2012, savoring the different brand of football by different European countries. From the “tiki taka” of Spain to the Dutch “total football” (though it didn’t work this time), or the German “non-fancy but efficient” style and the long balls of the English, I love to pay special attention on tactics and positions adopted by the various teams; a second nature to me. “The guy is a strategist,” Aunty Harriet once said about me.

Last week, during my alone time with God, He led me to 2 Chronicles 20:17, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand still and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” This was what the Spirit of the LORD said to King Jehoshaphat before He led Judah to victory over Moab and Ammon.

As we lead His people, the LORD reminded me of three things: have the right conviction, the right action and the right emotion. The right conviction is to know that the battle belongs to the Lord. We will not have to fight this battle. God has shown me over and over again that He alone brings revival, success and fruitfulness among His people.

The right action is to position ourselves and be still before God. This brings about a balance between the need to organize and strategize and to also recognize that there is only so much that we can do. With our limited resources, we take up our positions, stand still and we wait. Unless God shows up, nothing will happen. Rick Warren, in his book, “Purpose Driven Church” illustrates this truth by looking at a surfer who prepares and positions himself at sea. Nothing will happen unless the waves show up. And when they do, he will ride them.

The right emotion is to be fearless, knowing that God is with us. There have been some changes in Bangsar Gospel Centre and today there is yet another change in our church life. A big change indeed! When Joshua stepped into the shoes left by Moses, he had to hear these same words from our LORD, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go,” before he went into the promised land.

Where do we go from here? As much as we organize ourselves and take up our positions, we continue to pray, “O LORD, many things about tomorrow, we don’t seem to know and understand, but we know who holds tomorrow and we certainly know who holds our hands.”

by Francis Dunn on behalf of the Elders

 

 

Promised Land? Please Pray!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

God has blessed our church and despite planting new churches and “exporting” members all over the globe, we find that we are again busting at the seams.  We need more space to accommodate the growing numbers that come for our worship services and for our various ministries such as the Kid’s Church, Children’s Corner, Cornerstone and Youth Fellowship.  And every time we have special programs like our Christmas concerts, we have to rent nearby auditoriums and halls with larger capacity to host the events. Larger premises will also allow more facilities for members with young children and opportunities to start new ministries or expand existing ones.

The leadership has been asking us all to pray for God to guide the church and to provide the land for a new church building or to lead us to existing premises that could be used for our purposes.  Since we have been praying the last couple of months, a couple of possibilities have been developing and we have been given an appointment for a meeting this coming Tuesday that could lead to significant progress towards one of these possibilities.

So please pray earnestly for God to make the way straight and to overcome any potential obstacles; that our leaders going to the meeting will be guided by the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom and heart; and that we as a church will be united in seeking God’s direction in this matter.

Promised land? Please pray. (and we will keep you posted on the outcome of the Tuesday meeting)

Did You Know About NECF?

Did you know that as of this year, our church, Bangsar Gospel Centre, has joined NECF Malaysia.  NECF gave us a warm welcome and acknowledge our new membership in their bulletin, Berita NECF (April – June 2012).   The picture below is from that issue.

 

 

Now some may be surprised that we were not members of NECF earlier but some of us might not even know what NECF is.

Well, NECF stands for “National Evangelical Christian Fellowship”.  NECF was born in May 1983 to bridge divisions, pool resources and to present a credible, united evangelical voice on matters of concern to the church in Malaysia.  It seeks to enable Christians within the nation live out their purpose and calling as agents of transformation in the various places and sphere of influence that God has placed and called each one to be in.

To learn more about NECF and our larger national family, visit their website or read the Berita NECF.

Word from the Elders (June 2012)

Matthew 2818-20 sets the missions mandate of the church of Jesus Christ. As a church in Bangsar we are committed before the Lord to fulfil Christ’s missions mandate. The task at hand is fraught with danger and difficulties. Acts 4 and 5 remind us that hostility and persecution awaits God’s church that’s seriously committed to carry out its missions mandate. We thank and praise God that the early church did not fail in fulfilling Christ’s missions mandate. It did not withdraw from the task when faced with hostility and persecution. Instead it stood resolute in fulfilling Christ’s missions mandate whatever the cost. The early Christians made a stand for God and declared that they must obey God rather than man. Likewise we too as a church in Bangsar must emulate the early church Christians. If we are to be faithful to the missions task before us, we need to be resolute in obeying God rather than man.

However as the early church Christians showed us, we are never up to the task in and of ourselves. We need God and we need God’s people. We need God to boldly stand on God’s side and overcome the overwhelming opposition lined up against us and to welcome the suffering that will surely be our portion and we need God’s people because this task is never to be done solo but as a church, as a family of God intent to be the army of God in this crucial spiritual battle. Thus together as a church we will earnestly seek God in prayer to tackle the task at hand. We will ask Him for boldness and the grace to endure suffering for Christ’s sake. We will ask Him for grace to be disciples willing to lose our lives for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s sake.  And if we are willing to do this, then we will be ready for the challenges God will bring to us regarding His missions mandate In this month of June through His servants from NTM, IAM, local missions and those burdened for ministry in China.

Calvin Tan (Elder)

Word from the Elders (May 2012)

Welcome to our BGC website! It is great that you have logged on and we hope that all the information provided regarding our church will be of help and of encouragement to you.

We are a bible base church with the mission of upholding the great commandment of love and the great commission to reach the world, as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ himself.  Therefore, we in BGC have various teachings, ministries and fellowship (as listed in our website) with the purpose of spurring us on to become a church that will obey our Lord’s calling and growing deeper in love with Him more and more each day, through the teaching of God’s word and the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

For all our friends who are visiting our website for the first time, it would be our pleasure if you would visit or join us if you live in the Klang Valley or if you happen to be in our vicinity.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of help in any way.

We also wish to warmly welcome all our members currently residing overseas to our website. We hope that through this website, you will be kept abreast of all the happenings in BGC, as all of you are and will always be a part of BGC.

Lastly but not least, may God’s richest blessings and grace be upon you all.

In Christ Jesus love,
Michael Choo
On behalf of BGC Elders