You’ve probably heard that tagline: “Malaysia, truly A.S.I.A.” I would like to use Asia as an acronym: AFFIRMING SUPPORT IN ACTION. This is what Sis Marie and I and the Gereja Grace Batu Pahat church experienced mutually. We experienced a warmth, love, kindness, courtesy, respect, hospitality that we have never experienced before in all of our ministries here and abroad. They truly displayed loving Christianity in action. The brethren there likewise experienced God’s grace through Sis. Marie and my preachings. Indeed, our ministry with the Gereja Grace Batu Pahat church family camp was a tremendous success.
In the words of Elder Teng, this is what he wrote Dr. Anthony Ang as a report on the family camp:
“We want to praise God for the ministry of Pastor Mel and Sis Marie (the M&M) during our recent Church camp. Our evaluation shows that the campers were very happy with the preaching and sharing of God's Word by the M&M. They ranked the sermons number 1, all praise to God. Usually the fun night in the camp is ranked very high, even 1st, but not this time. Please convey this to affirm Pas. Mel and Marie.”
Just to give you a preview of what Sister Marie and I shared, let me share to you some of the topics and the theme of each sermon or talk.
1. “THE CALL OF GOD - BUILD UP THE BODY” by Sister Marie
When you ask the question: “What’s wrong with the church today?” you will get plenty of answers. Why? Because it’s easy to criticize what others are doing. If you look diligently enough, you can find something wrong with everything. The church is something else. We ought to see each other at its best, not at its worst. If we do this, we can see that most churches are 98% wonderful. The problem is that we focus on the 2% that is negative, not on the positive 98%.
SOMETIMES, WE’RE SO QUICK IN DETECTING THE NEGATIVE SIDE IN PEOPLE AND SO SLOW IN SEEING THE GOOD SIDE IN PEOPLE. More often than not, we focus on the negative things without even thinking about the good qualities each one of us have.
For that reason the church cannot move forward if we allow this to continue.
Now is the time for the church to look out for each other’s good instead of protecting their own, to promote others rather than promoting self. What a change it would make, if people would just follow and apply it consistently and sincerely. This is what would revolutionize the church. Just as marriage is not a place for competition and envy, neither is the church. Let us commit ourselves in working together to build up the church. If we stay true to this purpose, we can expect certain things to happen.
2. “Passing on a Godly Heritage to our Children” by Sister Marie
The dilemma that society is facing right now is on how to preserve personal and family values in a nation of diverse tastes. In this troubled and wicked world that we live in, it is indeed very alarming to see families being broken apart. Children living promiscuous lives, marriage ending in divorce, young kids on the brink of dropping out of high school.
Parents play a great role in shaping and producing godly children. No pursuit is more important than the cultivation of a godly family. The most precious gift that every parent can give to their children is a godly upbringing that will serve as the foundation for their future ministries.
3. “The True Disciple” by Pastor Mel
Contrary to opinion, “disciple” is not used by Matthew to refer exclusively to committed believers. In context the word cannot have that meaning in Matthew 8:21. “Disciple” here and elsewhere in Matthew arguably refers to one who is following Jesus in a loose or casual way without any entailment as to whether he or she will press on in “discipleship”.
Dwight Pentecost states that there are THREE CLASSES OF DISCIPLES: The CURIOUS, the CONVINCED and the COMMITTED.
Our concern here would be the last class of disciples, the COMMITTED DISCIPLES. Many Christians however show themselves as NON-DISCIPLES. An illustration entitled “DEVIL'S BEATITUDES” might bring home this point clearly.
If the devil were to write his beatitudes, they could probably go something like this:
Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians in Church, they are my best workers.
Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and
expect to be thanked - I can use them.
Blessed are the touchy, with a bit of luck they may stop going
to church -they are my missionaries
Blessed are those who are very religious but gets on
everyone's nerves - they are mine forever.
Blessed are the troublemakers -they shall be called my children.
Blessed are those who have no time to pray -they are easy prey for me.
Blessed are the gossipers -for they are my secret agents.
Blessed are those critical of church leadership -for they shall inherit
a place with me in my fate.
Blessed are the complainers - I'm all ears for them.
Blessed are you when you read this and think it is about other
people and not yourself - I'VE GOT YOU!
4. “13 elements in TRUE DISCIPLESHIP” by Pastor Mel:
A lot of talk has been done on the IMPORTANCE of DISCIPLESHIP and yet many times, we are left without any REAL UNDERSTANDING of what discipleship is. We get the passion, but not the understanding of what discipleship really means.
In plain language, true discipleship means being an honest to goodness COMMITTED FOLLOWER of Christ. But what does it really involve? Iʼd like to share to you 13 elements that you will find in TRUE DISCIPLESHIP. This is not a COMPREHENSIVE LIST, but it covers the MAIN THINGS to look for in true discipleship.
1.The first step of discipleship is BEING with Christ; in other words, you need to be a CHILD of GOD first of all, before you can participate in any discipleship process.
2. Discipleship demands DEEP TEACHING and DEEP CRAVING of ALL of God’s word.
3. Discipleship is about IMITATION.
(a) IMITATING GOD - learning to obey the PRECEPTS of God.
(b) IMITATING a GENUINE DISCIPLER
4.Discipleship is living a RADICAL LIFE.
(RADICAL OBEDIENCE even when it seems ILLOGICAL!)
(RADICAL CONFESSION)(RADICAL COMMITMENT)
5.Discipleship is LIVING the NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE, which means LIVING as a CITIZEN of HEAVEN.
6. Discipleship means that you have come to a BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING of WEALTH. ✴The children of the world advance by TAKING!
✴The children of the Lord advance by GIVING!
7.Discipleship means being MISSION ORIENTED. If we are to examine the Gospel of John, the key idea is BEING SENT.
★Jesus is the SENT ONE - The Shalliah - envoy; ambassador. The Father sends the Son. Then the Father and the Son sends the Holy Spirit. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit sends us - THE CHURCH.
8. Discipleship means that we are all PARTICIPANTS and NOT SPECTATORS.
Leaders are EQUIPPERS / DRILL INSTRUCTORS so that others might participate in the works of ministry. All Christians are MINISTERS.
9. Discipleship demands SPIRITUAL GROWTH from us.
10.Discipleship means understanding COMMUNITY. The New Testament has many “one another” phrases. As Christians, we are involved in each othersʼ lives. We should be there for each other.
11. Discipleship means that we are concerned for the POOR. Do you know that the word “poor” in the Bible was used 4,000 times. Only the word “God” and “Christ” appear more than the word “poor”. Christianity must have the absence of PREJUDICE.
12. Discipleship involves practicing the presence of God through PRAYER.
13. True discipleship builds up and does not destroy.
5.“The Importance of Accountability” by Pastor Mel
To be accountable, means to be made responsible to a discipler or mentor, that we might be answerable for our SPIRITUAL LIVES and CONDUCT. Putting it another way, accountability means opening oneʼs life to a few carefully, selected, trusted, loyal confidants who teach BIBLICAL TRUTH, and to whom we have given the right to examine, to question, to appraise our spiritual lives and to give the necessary counsel for our spiritual welfare and GROWTH.