Can’t believe we are in the 2nd day of the new year already.
Can’t believe it is 2015 already!
And can’t believe we are entering the 6th year of our Bible Reading and posting in this blog.
But as Preacher Simon Chin reminded us on the New Year’s Day Thanksgiving Service – there are lots of things for us to be thankful about – especially at the start of the new year. And we truly thank Jesus for His guidance and bringing us closer to Him through His word.
There are some changes to the Bible reading and blog posting this year.
First – we are now reading 6 days a week instead of 5.
Why not? 🙂 So dust off your bibles on the Sunday or click that app on your smartphone. A chapter on Sunday… that’s it!
Second – the frequency of the blog posting will be reduced to twice a week.
Some of the writers for the blog have been writing for 5 years and while the Lord has been merciful and inspirational, the frequency of posting has taken its toll on a number of us… and so we have reduced it down to 2 postings a week and 8 to 10 postings a month. Each posting will cover 3 chapters (except for today).
So l hope you have started reading yesterday… if not, its not too late to catch up as the 1st chapter is pretty short.
We are starting off with the book of Ezra. This same book will be studied by the Home Fellowships in Telok Kurau in preparation for the move to S7. Let’s dive right in.
Ezra records the time after the people of Judah have been taken captive into the land of Babylon and remained as exiles for 70 years.
It was always in God’s plan that His people will return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Holy Temple and City. But for the people in exile, it sure felt like there was no hope. There was nothing remotely that even suggested that they could ever go back … much less have the resources to start rebuilding.
… the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia …
~ Ezra 1:1
The Lord Himself initiated the actions that started this whole return.
Just consider this for a moment. And consider carefully what just happened.
There was no future. No hope. Nadah. Zilch!
Then God stirred the heart of the king. And he allowed the Israelites to go back. Not only that.. but to return and rebuild the house of God and to have the resources to do so.
Then reflect on our struggles in our church expansion plans. But God stirs the hearts, plots the way and provide the resources.
We now have Adam and W11. And very soon… S7.
Yes, there are still issue… but it all started to come into place – when God acts. And He is still acting today.
The question for us as we start this year is this.
God is working.
There were 2 distinct groups of people that reacted to the proclamation by Cyrus the king.
Can you see them here?
5 Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. 6 And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
~ Ezra 1:5-6
The first group was the one whose spirits God had moved.
Quite a number of them were willing to step forth and go back to Jerusalem.
Now consider this for a moment.
One would have thought that all of the exiled would have rushed to volunteer to go back. But that was not the case.
Perhaps they were contented with their lot in Babylon. Even though they were mostly slaves, second class “foreign talents” in a foreign land, they were familiar and “comfortable” with where they were. They did not want to upset their routine. While they were not exactly living in luxury, at least they knew what they were getting everyday.
Some of us are like that.
When we are asked to go to a new church to be part of the startup there, we hesitate. We are set in our routines.
Our friends are still in the old church. We are so used to taking the same bus, train or drive the same route and do not want to change – even though it may be nearer for us to go to S7 or W11, we hesitate.
But we need people to step up and go. We need people who are willing to step out to the unknown. To move to a place where the facilities are not great. To go where nothing really exist.
Just like those whose spirits God had moved.
Will you be one of them?
There is the 2nd group. Those who were around the 1st group who offered support.
The support here was monetary and material things. Even the king brought out what was taken from the temple from his treasury and gave it to those returning to Jerusalem.
The support group is just as important. Without them, the first group would not have sufficient resources to do the rebuilding work.
Today, it is the same.
We need resources for the building of the new church. Money helps. Material things helps.
But the most important support is that of prayers.
Prayers for the building of the 4th church. And also prayers for those remaining behind in the mother church.
Sometimes we are so focused on the needs of the next church that we neglect to consider that the mother church also needs support.
So as we enter this new year… let us consider which group we can be in.
Better still, let us be in these 2 groups… stepping forth when God stirs our hearts.. and offering support when the need arises.
May God bless the Church in 2015.