2022 has been a difficult year for Bukit Arang with the many challenges and restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we thank God for seeing us through and blessing us beyond all that we can ever ask or imagine. A number had contracted the virus but God has mercifully restored them back to health and strength. Many new people have joined our BA community when we started to resume physical meetings. Among them, some were previously unchurched, and even more encouraging, there were some spiritual conversions to the glory of God!
I thank and praise God for giving to us the precious family of God’s people in Bukit Arang, loving, encouraging and spurring each other as we journey on the hard road home. We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. This is indeed a great privilege and blessing of being part of God’s family.
Families are imperfect organisms, given that they comprise of imperfect human beings. The same is true of church families. Regardless, the church is where God places believers into a spiritual family.
When God puts you into His family, there are both blessings and responsibilities, just as in our biological family.
Firstly, we Share in the Blessing of a Relationship with the Same Heavenly Father.
God’s family is defined by our faith origin, that is our faith and trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ.
God’s family is a forever family. When we place our faith in Jesus, we become part of His family with the same heavenly Father. We are to address one each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. What a wonderful privilege!
Christians are children of God (John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1-2). The moment you are spiritually born into God’s family, you are given the same family name, likeness, privileges, intimacy, and even inheritance. Furthermore, we also have the great blessings of being a family member of God with other Christians globally!
I thank God that I have been in the BA family for the past 47 years and still counting! Coming over in 1975 with 70 other brothers and sisters from our then mother church, Bethesda Hall Bras Basah Road to plant our present church. It is a joy to see many of them still growing strong in the Lord!
Whether present or absent in the body, God’s family is knitted together by the bond of God’s eternal love for us and our love for one another because we share a blessed relationship with the same Heavenly Father.
Second, we Share in Opportunities for Serving and Encouraging One Another.
While the spiritual reality of being part of God’s family is such a wonderful blessing, it also comes with the responsibility of serving and encouraging one another in love.
We ought to be reminded of the words in Hebrews 10:24-25 – first to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” and “encouraging one another”. That means, we are to actively look out for the needs, problems and struggles of one another.
Our Christian faith is to be other-centered and not self-centered. It also means to exhort or to comfort and to come alongside to help – best done is in the context of our small groups. We also help one another to walk the Christian journey by encouraging and praying for one another.
There are many lonely people around. We need to be intentional to look out for them when we gather on Sundays. Why not reach out to someone and try to form a spiritual friendship with him/her? I know that it can truly be an enriching experience to building up community!
Finally, brothers and sisters in Christ, I take this opportunity to wish you a very blessed, meaningful and enriching New Year 2023!
May we all experience afresh what it truly means to be part of forever family in BA!