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Posts Tagged ‘Christian Small Groups’

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Last night my Small Group hosted a farewell gathering in honour of our outgoing Pastor-in-charge.

Early next year Rev. Law Hui Seng will be leaving Grace Methodist Church to further his studies at the Sabah Theological Seminary, Kota Kinabalu.

Clearly a man after God’s heart, Rev. Law will further develop his gift in the Bahasa Malaysia (BM) language.

With the intent of becoming a good role model to the BM congregations, Rev. Law will undertake his Master’s degree covering cultural barriers and the making of matured discipleship among the indigenous people.

More than 30 church members and guests were present including Pastor Connie Yong and her husband Pastor Wong Lik Kai, my church’s Chairman Michael Lee and his wife Michelle.

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We also invited the Sunday School carolers from our church for the joyful occasion. Praise Lord for their wonderful singing and glad tidings!

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Each Christmas carol received an enthusiastic applause from us!

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Here’s a memorable group photo for the album!

Do enjoy the video we made to appreciate our loving and dedicated shepherd.

Pastor Law has been our church for the past nine years and more than often we take for granted that he will be with us forever.

Thank you dear Pastor for all you have done for us. From our Small Group we wish you well and leave you with this verse from Numbers 6:4,

The Lord bless and keep you.

Remember we’re just a phone call away so keep in touch often!

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welcome

“A new command I give you: Love one another; as I have loved you, so you must love one another,” said Jesus to his disciples in John 13:34.

This verse comes to mind as I try to document my Pastor’s exhortation during a Small Group combined gathering held recently.

The gathering, arranged by Pujut zone leader Alex Tiang, consisted of six groups.

Its primary purpose was to meet and fellowship with one another.

Pastor Rev. Law Hui Seng emphasized on the importance on Small Groups as they are the building blocks of the church.

The good Pastor is spot-on on this point.

Recently the United Methodists hired New York-based Towers Watson consultants to assess the declining spiritual health of the 32,000 congregations in the United States.

The researchers constructed a “vitality index” to measure each church. To help in their assessment, the experts interviewed Bishops, District Superintendents and people in the pew. In the report one of the four key areas that fuel vitality was small groups and programmes.

“Small Group is also like your second family,” reminded Rev. Law. “Not only you study the Word together but also bond with each other like brothers and sisters. You can even rely on each other for help and advice under trying circumstances.”

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Pic depicts George Whitefield preaching in the fields

In his second part of the exhortation, Rev. Law talked about George Whitefield.

Largely forgotten today, George Whitefield was perhaps the best known religious figure in the 18th century. He was also one of the founders of Methodism in America.

A celebrity in his time, Whitefield was a preacher capable of commanding thousands on two continents through the sheer power of his oratory. In his lifetime he preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million hearers.

Testimonies from Small Group members
During the gathering, some members came forward to share how their lives have been impacted because of Small Group.

“There are times when I feel so tired after coming back from the office,” said Michelle Chee, a banker by profession. “But the thought of hosting the Small Group in my home uplifts me immediately. In fact you will get recharged as you fellowship with your members. It’s definitely a blessing when you host a Small Group,” she encouraged.

Sharings

Nurse Lina Kana was apprehensive when the Small Group gathering was first proposed to be held in her house.

“I couldn’t see the need of joining a Small Group. Friday night was my Tai-Chi night hence I was reluctant to sacrifice my exercise. But my Small Group leader Dasline and his wife Jessy were not pushy. With my husband around, they held the gathering in my home despite my absence. When I returned home from my exercise, the whole group was still there to fellowship with me. Over time I was greatly humbled and touched by their love and care, and decided to come on board.”

Another member Richard Lin used the “brick and mortar” metaphor to describe Small Groups.

“I used to think that our meeting on Friday evening is like a visit to the petrol kiosk to top-up my spiritual wellness that has depleted over the weekdays. Now I view it differently. My Small Group has become an integral part of my faith. We are like the mortar to bind the brick wall (church).”

Zone leader Alex Tiang also echoed what Rev. Law had said earlier.

“The members should not only grow spiritually but also in numbers. Ideally a group of ten is intimate enough. Invite new friends or the present church congregation who has not joined any group.”

The Small Group Ministry is clearly crucial to the health of every church regardless of size, ethnicity or jurisdiction.

The gathering started with a pot bless dinner.
The gathering started with a potbless dinner

Answering the Bible quiz as the Zone leader looked on
More heads are better than one when it comes to bible quiz

Group pic
One for the album

Photographer: Ricky Law

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Oh no, don’t take my pic, bemoaned cute Nathan during a combined Small Groups gathering in my church last night.

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Until recently, I would describe myself as in “call waiting” mode for church-related mission trips.

“Call waiting” is a feature available on most phone networks. This useful feature shows the calling party’s ID while the called party is already on the line with someone else. Often it is up to the called party to decide whether he or she wants to respond to the caller.

For years, my Pastor has prompted me to go to “the ends of the earth” but his encouragement seemed to have fallen on the deaf ears of a disobedient Christian.

As a Small Group leader, I had never gone to any missions-related trips and I would justify my non-participation by saying that it is sufficient that I am serving the other needs of the church.

I’ve never prayed to God to use me in the missions ministry; perhaps it’s because I’ve never felt the need to go in that direction or maybe I was reluctant to depart from the comfort zone of urban dwelling.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9

But I didn’t expect God to send a match that would change my course.

Towards the end of last December my Small Group members Richard and his wife Joyce resolved to serve in the Short Term Missions (STM) for the whole of this year.

This type of commitment calls for a trip every quarterly.

Though Richard and Joyce were new members in my church, I was amazed by their bold decision.

When Richard first invited me to join the first trip in last March, I politely declined him in an incoherent manner. My wife Roseline was not pleased by my response, and chided me for being insensitive to our own Small Group member.

The month of June came recently and Richard again extended the invitation of the second trip. This time I accepted without hesitation. On hindsight my wife also played a large role in influencing me to participate.

Twenty-one of us left on June 12, 2010 in a convoy of five cars. Our destination Longhouse Rumah Tatom, is 320 km away from Miri. Three other participants drove from Sibu to join us at Stapang, Oya.

Our initial journey was all but smooth.

We met with the first obstacle after driving for about an hour. A sister-in-Christ in my car received a nasty bump on her head as we were cruising along the uneven road at Bekenu. After applying first aid, we decided to stop by Bintulu General Hospital so she could receive further aid.

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The second obstacle was more dramatic – our car engine stalled as we were nearing Bintulu. However we did not waver knowing He would not forsake us for doing His work. We called for help and a replacement car arrived and we were on our way again within the hour!

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We arrived safely at the 38-door longhouse Rumah Tatom around 3:30 pm, welcomed by our host Mr. Tading Ak Rumpang and Pastor Jonathan Nora of the Selangau Iban Methodist Church.

Since our schedule had been set back by an hour’s delay due to the car breakdown and detour to the Bintulu General Hospital, we quickly proceeded to carry out what had been tasked – Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry and Women’s Ministry.

Having the gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. – Romans 12:6

God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary work.

As a novice in missions trips, I was amazed to see the different gifts applied for the purpose of ministry from each team member.

Husband and wife team San Lin and Cynthia were much appreciated by the children in the Sunday School activities.

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Chiew Moi’s exceptional storytelling skill was manifested when she narrated the story of The Prodigal Son in Bahasa Malaysia.

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The unseen hands in the kitchen were a great blessing to us. Though assigned as photographer, I was unexpectedly called to help in the F & B category. Remembering that one needed to be flexible under such circumstances, I happily obliged. My first experience of using wood for cooking was enjoyable despite the scorching heat.

We praise and thank God for answering our prayers in Rumah Tatom.

There was the tale of a drunkard man turned sober – he married and settled down, much to the relief and joy of his family. His mother subsequently requested Pastor Jonathan to remove the charm ornaments in her home. Testimonies from youths (in written and oral form) on how they were transformed after accepting Christ inordinately warmed our hearts. Showing unprecedented action of faith, a sister-in-Christ Madam Jelawa, even stepped forward and agreed to be our coordinator in Rumah Tatom!

When you feel impelled to help fill a need, when you are inwardly driven to serve – listen to those thoughts. You don’t want to miss God’s call. – Cindy Hess Kasper

We drove home to Miri the following day. Though the trip was short, I knew we had done our best to sow and plant the seed of God’s love.

Near or far, everyone should at least go once on a mission trip in his or her lifetime – not only to impact others, but also to allow others to impact us.

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Because in the process of recognizing our own smallness, we’ll be embraced by God’s greatness.

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Health screening @ Taman Tunku
Last Sunday my wife and my church small group member were among the many volunteers at Dewan Taman Tunku when more than 400 people from all walks of life benefited from the free health screening similar to last year’s project undertaken by Grace Methodist Church.

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Last Saturday night I paid a visit to SMCGC as the English-speaking Christian Small Group held its last session for this year.

Most of its members are from Curtin.

The three-month long holidays will commence once their exams end this week.

My sons Aaron and Abel have been active serving in SMCGC for a couple of years now.

Here are some of the random shots I took during their warm fellowship. As you view the pics, you can see much of God’s grace, :p.

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This is one of my fav angles, :P.

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Group pic with pose, :p.

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Celebrating a birthday. Lights were dimmed.

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Peter (standing) lead in the ice-breaker. A Final Year student from the School of Engineering next year, Peter has been active serving since his youth days at Wesley Methodist Church, Sibu. I praise Peter for he serves our Lord wholeheartedly. And he’s a good cook too! :p.

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My sons enjoying themselves, :p.

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And so did she, :p.

The Small Group will meet again in Jan 2010. Time really flies! :p

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Last night we celebrated the birthday of our Small Group member, Kristy. All of us contributed a dish and we had a great time of fellowship.

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We sang the birthday song with much gusto!

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Because Kristy and her husband are hearing-impaired, they sang the birthday song using Sign Language. Their two sons are normal and proficient in the Sign Language too.

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One for the album from the ladies, :p.

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