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All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Are you called to gospel ministry?

If there is anything else a man can do other than preach, Martyn Lloyd-Jones maintained, he ought to do it. The pulpit is no place for him. The ministry is not merely something an individual can do, but what he must do. To enter the pulpit, that necessity must be laid upon him. A God-called man, he believed, would rather die than live without preaching. Lloyd-Jones often quoted the famed British pastor Charles H. Spurgeon: ‘If you can do anything else do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry’. In other words, only those who believe they are...

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September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Lessons learned from a crank sensor

Trials are part and parcel of the Christian life. We may not like that, but it is a fact we have to face up to. Trials refine us and remove the dross. But, I never imagined in a million years that I would learn something about trials from a ‘crank sensor’! What on earth is a crank sensor? Well, any car mechanic reading this article should know what it is, but for those ignorant like myself here is an explanation (if you can follow it! In the diagram of the sensor, 1 = coil, 2 = soft iron, 3 = magnet, 4 = electrical connector), courtesy of Wikipedia: ‘A...

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Jonah for today’s church (1)
September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Jonah for today’s church (1)

I once heard a prominent British preacher say the book of Jonah might well be the most underrated book in all of Scripture. Having just taken a Bible study group through this little book, and having also taken a local church through it in recent years, I agree with that statement. The book of Jonah was written around 770-750BC. This was at the time of Uzziah’s reign in Judah, Jeroboam II’s reign in Israel and Assurdan III’s reign in Assyria. It was also the era of Isaiah’s birth. So what does this book and its main character Jonah have to say to the contemporary church?...

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August 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Hospitable hearts

More than 20 years ago, a shy, humble, elderly man transformed the fellowship at our 6.00pm church service. How did he do it? He brought a packet of biscuits and butter menthols to church. Up until that point, people didn’t stay around for ‘supper’. But little did this elderly man foresee the impact his simple act of hospitality would make. I will never forget the way Vic quietly shuffled around the building each week, wearing his familiar brown coat and carrying a plastic bag full of goodies. With the very little that he had, he showed great generosity and love to those around him. After...

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July 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The worst day of my life

The best day of my life (apart from becoming a Christian) was 22 July 1978, when I married Maureen Margaret Ann Taylor at Cosheston in Pembrokeshire. The worst day of my life was 25 November 2014 when Maureen, my wife for 36 years, died peacefully at home. Earlier that day, a district nurse had told me that she had only five or six hours to live. I prayed, ‘Oh God, I don’t want to be alone when she dies’. That evening the phone rang. It was Nigel, ‘Would you like some company?’ We were playing chess when she slipped away. My grief was mixed with...

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July 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Overcoming your doubts

Mr Doubtful couldn’t believe it! There he was standing at the entrance to the Celestial City. Was it all a dream? Had he really been summoned to live with Prince Emmanuel and his people? Were they all expecting him? Would he be welcomed or turned away? He stood frozen to the spot. Suddenly, the porter appeared with two guards. ‘Have you a summons?’ ‘Er, here it is, I think’, answered Doubtful, in a quivering half whisper. Out of his inside pocket he retrieved, hesitantly, a crumpled piece of paper. The porter turned towards the two guards behind him, ‘You may open the gates. The document...

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June 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Sleeping well

Insomnia is an unpleasant experience which can afflict us all from time to time. Our cat Sally never used to have any difficulty in sleeping. We humans though are not quite like that. It can be as though the whole world is peacefully asleep, but we are awake, tossing and turning. The anxieties of the day — and perhaps bodily pain — can prevent our falling asleep at night. Acts 12 relates a time when the apostle Peter was put into prison. Peter was a leader in the infant church of Christ. It was a period of church growth, with many coming to saving faith...

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April 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Smiles amongst sorrows

‘I’m pregnant!’ Two words I could not wait to shout to the world. Everything was moving along swimmingly in my life plan. I could tick off good results in school and university, a loving husband, a job, even a dog! Now, just like pretty much anything else, I had put my mind to do, I had gotten pregnant. Life was on track; everything was going according to my plan; and life was good. How easily we get on in life without God, when everything is ‘good’. Yet, how quickly we blame God, when everything goes wrong and bad things happen. In April 2014, my ‘life plan’ reared...

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April 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘The Lord led me’

We may often hear people say, ‘The Lord led me to this job’, or, ‘The Lord led me to marry this man’. In some cases, one cannot doubt the providence of God in the matter. However, there are times when people use this expression to justify sinful or unbiblical conduct. I heard someone claim the Lord’s leading of them when marrying an unbeliever, even though the Scriptures prohibit this (2 Corinthians 6:14). The argument was that the Lord led them to that person; they fell in love with them; and, as the partner did not openly oppose the gospel, it gave an opportunity to lead...

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A happy marriage
March 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A happy marriage

Statistics show a total of 26,254 marriages registered in Singapore during 2013. But the total number of marital dissolutions rose four per cent — from 7,237 in 2012 to 7,525 in 2013. Here are some suggested helps for a healthy, God-centred marital life, in the midst of the mounting challenges facing many marriages. Nothing is impossible with God, but we must do our part too. 1. God’s blue-print for a successful marriage includes the headship of the husband and the submission of husband and wife to the Lord (Colossians 3:18-19). 2. The husband has the privilege and responsibility of loving his wife and being faithful...

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March 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘It takes all sorts!’

‘It takes all sorts!’ This expression was sometimes heard in the railway office in which I once worked. We were an exceedingly diverse work force. I used to sit opposite a Muslim lady, and we got on quite well. One or two of the work force weren’t long out of college, yet there was also an ex-army man who had ‘been there, seen it and done it’. One or two male colleagues were real railway buffs; their work was their hobby as well as their living. Another man kept reptiles. My main hobby was, as it still is, running. The colourful characters working for the...

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February 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Personal view: Should there be a dress code for Christian meetings?

Does how we dress matter? Dress obviously mattered to the recently elected executive chairman of Barclays Bank. On assuming control, he banished flip-flops and T-shirts from their Canary Wharf head office because, ‘It’s important that we present the right image’. Apparently flip-flops and high powered banking just do not mix! Dress also mattered to the missionary who was evangelising in an African village (and I have the story from an eyewitness). He insisted that the ladies be decently dressed for worship, so had some gourds cut in half, emptied and placed at the door of the church, so that all the ladies could ‘veil’ their...

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