I would like to wish all Hermonites a blessed 34th Church Anniversary. Let us celebrate God’s goodness, grace and mercies towards us all these years. Indeed, God has been our Ebenezer in all senses of the word, for He has helped us thus far. Anniversaries are always occasions on which to look back with thanksgiving for God’s sustaining hand, and we will do so with the slide presentation at our Sunday Service. May the presentation refresh us on how God has led us through the past years.
On this 34th anniversary, we want to also look forward by reminding ourselves of the precious commodity that God has given us collectively. That is the gift of time. As we all know, each of us has a finite amount of time. Those of us who attended the BCPCIS Leaders’ Retreat (4 and 5 July) were also challenged to evaluate if time will reveal whether our churches were in the growth, stagnation or extinction phase.
In Greek mythology, Opportunity is represented by a statue of a man with wings on his feet, a large lock of hair on the front of his head and no hair at all on the back. The inscription that accompanies it is, “What is thy name? My name is Opportunity. Why hast thou wings on thy feet? That I may fly away swiftly. Why hast thou a great forelock? That men may seize me when I come. Why art thou bald in back? That when I am gone by, none can lay hold of me.” Not only is time finite, we know that it is precious, for the opportunities that time affords are also finite. Paul tells us that because of who we are in Christ, we are to walk in the manner worthy of our calling (Eph 4:1), and one outcome is how we are to manage this precious gift of time: Eph 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
The BPCIS Retreat was at Changi Cove, where we just had our church camp. At church camp, through the book of Joel, we were exhorted to repent and be faithful to God, in the light of the Day of the Lord. At the retreat, the speaker preached from 2 Timothy and exhorted all to persevere in preaching and teaching the Word also in the light of Christ’s appearance and His second coming (2 Tim 4:1). Twice in the same venue, the Lord seemed to be impressing upon me the urgency and singularity of the task. The opportunity to make disciples is now.
At the church camp, we learnt that the call of Joel was to repentance and a turning back in obedience towards God. And the prophecy of Joel 2 was fulfilled at Pentecost in Acts 2. The gift of the Holy Spirit thus enables us to put our faith in the redeeming work of Christ Jesus on the cross. Now, as believers, the indwelling Holy Spirit guides us to know how to deepen our relationship with our Triune God and walk worthy of our calling as we read the inspired Word of God. And this was reinforced again for me at the BPCIS retreat when 2 Tim 3:16-17 was expounded: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
So to me, the speaker’s answer of the BPCIS Retreat theme, ‘Strengthening our Churches’ was 2 Tim 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Similarly, with reference to our mission statement of wanting to glorify God by being and making disciples of Christ Jesus, God reminds us that He has provided the means by the preaching and teaching of His Word – all Scripture is profitable and it will make us complete and equipped. Now, what does it mean then for Hermon to redeem our time? From the church camp and the retreat, I’m reminded that it is the correct, constant and comprehensive application of God’s word in our faith community. Therefore, I invite us all to pray that our sermons continue to be expository; that in our CGs, we will help each other apply God’s truth relevantly; and that in our 3-2-1s we will journey relationally as disciples of Jesus.
Thus, at this 34th anniversary, I pray that the anniversary gift for all of us would be a meaningful one. May the booklet by Ryan McGraw, ‘How should I manage time’, help us to see in the light of eternity how we must ‘manage our time well in order to serve the Lord and His church well’. And be encouraged that we can ‘redeem the time because Christ has already redeemed our lives and our time. (For) You can make the most of time because Christ has made it possible for you to glorify and enjoy God forever.’
- Ps Daniel Tan