The Vine Press – August 2020

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Will learning never end? When I was a young seminarian, I thought that there would be a point in time when it would. That there will be a time when I am “good enough”. That there will be a time when I would know enough about the Bible. That there will be a time when prayer would come naturally, and I would be a “steady” disciple-maker. And when I arrived at this stage, I thought I would be able to slow down and relax.

But as the years passed, I found the path of discipleship an inexhaustible one. This journey is longer and deeper than anything I had ever known.  Today, my posture towards the life of a disciple-maker is that it is one that will never end.  I have begun to challenge myself to be an eternal student of discipleship. That in all my days, I will strive to posture myself as a learner and follow in the footsteps of our Lord in all areas of my life. I am reminded of this in our recent DM Week 2020.

One session which personally stood out was the second session by Pastor Melissa. She shared that a trait of a disciple is being “teachable”. Over the course of this week, I have seen this trait in many of our church members: in their willingness to learn a new app. I have been personally encouraged and commend our church members who were challenged by technology yet strove to overcome it. Their perseverance reminds me of the words of Paul:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way.

Friends, this is my encouragement to each one of us. Let us continue to pursue discipleship with all that we have regardless of our age, achievements, or years that we have served as a Christian. The intention of DM Week 2020 is to give us a sneak peek into how discipleship ought to look like in our lives. It is my prayer for you to realise how inexhaustible discipleship is, and that the Lord will reveal an area in which the He wants you to grow and build upon. A final reminder: Our work of discipleship, of being a learner of Christ ends only when our Lord returns, or till He takes us home. Let us be faithful in posturing ourselves to be an eternal student of our Lord.

Written By: Pr Tan Yu Yong

STRETCHER BEARER

“Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.” Mark 2:4

The last 5 months have been anything but “normal”. The global pandemic has forced us all to experience what it feels like to be helpless, to lose our sense of control, to feel insecure and yes, even to feel anxious leaving the house. Some of us have yet to visit the hair-salon and prefer keeping the wild look over the risk of meeting the infamous SARS-CoV-2! One comforting reality is that we are not alone in our experiences. The global crisis has highlighted our vulnerability to poor mental well-being, including those of us who consider ourselves less susceptible to distress. This collective distress has demonstrated that we are all susceptible to suffering and that suffering is more manageable as a community.

The Church is called to be light in the midst of darkness. The Body of Christ must recognise, identify, and bear the burdens of those in distress. Friends of the paralysed man in Mark 2 not only knew about his needs; they responded to them with great effort and deep faith in Christ Jesus. The Church must do likewise for those who are suffering in silence for fear of being stigmatised. Experiencing mental health challenges is not a weakness. No one should be alone in this ubiquitous struggle. We ALL struggle. The Church needs to be this safe space where people can engage in self and communal lamentations before God and one another; where lives can be redeemed, transformed, and restored in Christ Jesus. Are you interested to be part of this safe space? Join us in the Stretcher-Bearer Dialogue Series that commences in August.

Written By: Dr Hera Lukman

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