I have been teaching a series at our church called, “Your New Life in Christ”, exploring and highlighting the fullness of our new life in Jesus Christ. The scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here”. The Christian faith goes beyond just attending church meetings or doing “Christian things”. It should permeate every area of our lives: our desires, thoughts, affections and ultimately our actions.

Worldliness which is defined as “being overly concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than spiritual existence” is one of the main threats to this new life that we have in Christ. The bible defines worldliness as “…conforming to the pattern of this world….” (extract from Romans 12:2). Its threat is quite subtle and may go unnoticed by the believer who is worldly. It takes a constant comparison of our lives to the word of God to highlight its symptoms.

The ultimate aim of worldliness in the life of a believer is to turn their affections away from God and to make them deny the faith, like Demas in the bible (2 Timothy 4:10).

As believers, let us move away from worldliness by renewing our minds with the word of God (Romans 12:2) so that we can finish our Christian race with joy.

Our New Life In Christ

Someone told me a story a while ago about a man who saved up to travel on a ship from England to America. This was in the 18th Century and in those days, the only way you could travel on that kind of journey was by sea. It took him a long time to save up for the fare, probably a year.

When he set out to travel on the ship, he took a couple of moulded loaves of bread and jugs of water to feed himself on the journey. Whilst on the journey he kept to himself in his cabin below deck. Once in a while, he would come on deck and observed that the other passengers were joyous and feasted on all sorts of delicacies and used all the facilities on the ship. He pondered on how unfortunate and uneventful his life was compared to the people on deck. Afterall, he thought, his fare only availed him of just a little cabin bed in the low end of the ship.

Three weeks later, the ship arrived in the States (America) and everyone was getting off the ship. Whist they were all leaving, the captain of the ship was thanking everyone for taking the journey on the ship and was shaking their hands.  When the man, whom I’ll call Johny (not his real name) got to the captain, he shook his hand. The captain then made a comment to Johny, “Mr Johny, I noticed that you kept to yourself quite a bit whilst on the trip”. Johny replied, “Well, my fare only availed me the little cabin bed and nothing else, so I just kept to myself”. In utter surprise the captain said to him, “Johny, all the facilities of the ship including the banquet were all included in your fare!”. Johny was so shocked and surprised. He had missed out on all that was available to him on the trip.

This is similar to some of our lives as believers. We sometimes think that all there is to our faith is just saying yes to Christ. Then it’s just a struggle from then on in terms of our faith. We might fail to realise that God has provided so many things for our journey, thus missing out. God has provided the Holy Spirit to help us, he has provided power and authority to deal with life situations and provided all that we need for life and godliness.

Let’s not be like Johny in our Christian walk. Let’s get to know all that Jesus has provided for our journey here on earth.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

Discipleship – Knowing God

If you are like me, I often feel that I am not progressing with God if I am not “doing” things for God.

I came across a passage in the bible a few years ago that I found to be quite insightful. That passage highlights that the life worth living focuses more on knowing God, rather than just “doing” things for God. Jesus said in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Apostle Paul, whom God used to write over a third of the new testament, stated in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”. His aim in life was knowing God.

Let’s re-align our primary focus as believers to knowing God, even as we do our bit to extend the kingdom and the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to be a disciple?

One big question has been running through my mind over the past few months: “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?”. Is the measure of discipleship how much of the bible I know? implying “knowledge only” discipleship. Or does it mean more to be a disciple of Christ?

A closer look at the bible, especially the book of Acts gives us a look into the lives of the early disciples of Christ.  In their instance, discipleship was not just “knowledge only”, it touched every area of their lives. It shaped their world view, their relationships, how they perceived society, how they lived their lives, the choices that they made and so on.

It appears that discipleship goes beyond just “knowledge” of the bible. It is a lifestyle that aims to be like Christ. Jesus said in John 8:31, “….If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples”.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

The Gospel – The reality

I recently travelled to a country in the East and what really struck me was how deeply interwoven their cultural beliefs are with their day to day life. Their beliefs dictate who they got married to, how they got married, what they ate, the clothes they wore, their outlook to life, etc. Their beliefs were “heart deep”.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ transcends culture and reaches beyond this present life. If we really take the Gospel to heart as believers, it should inform our choices, our worldview and our very existence.

Let’s make a conscious decision, today, that we’ll become “heart deep” disciples of Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit. That way, our faith will be evident to everyone around us.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

The Life Worth Living

What would your response be if I asked you the question, “What would make life worth living for you?”. You might say, “my life would be really worth living if I became famous and wealthy”. Another person might say, “my life would be worth living if it were problem-free”. The responses one would get to this question would vary depending on everyone’s personal circumstance and aspirations.

However, God has planned a life for every human being that is really worth living. He states in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Let’s focus on God’s plan for our lives, so that we can really live the life that is worth living.

-Pastor Benson

Real Rest!

When I think of rest, what comes to my mind is a couple of weeks off from my busy schedule: not travelling from place to place and burning the candle at both ends to meet deadlines. Just relaxing from the hustle and bustle of life.

The only challenge is that once this rest is over, I am back again into the treadmill of life and the cycle starts again.

However, I have come to realise that there is a kind of rest that I can maintain even when I am in the thick of the hustle and bustle of life. This rest is found in Christ. It is not just the physical rest, but rest in what Christ has done for me and in me. A rest that starts now and lasts forever. Hebrews 4:10 states: “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his”.

Let’s seek to enter the higher and long-lasting rest of God, in Christ Jesus.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

Happy New Year!

One of my new year resolutions a few years ago was to join a gym and begin the “healthy and fit lifestyle.” So, I enrolled at a local gym with my new gym gear. When I got to the gym, I noticed that it was really crowded, and I could hardly find a free training equipment. The training instructor, my gym tour guide at the time passed a comment which has stayed with me till this day. He said, “The Gym is usually full at this time of the year, January.  In March things would have evened out, as they’ll be fewer people”. He implied that most of the people in the gym at that time were mostly people who had made the “New Year’ resolution to be fit”, but they would slowly throw in the towel when the excitement had died down and they were faced with the mundane daily exercise schedule. Needless to say, I stopped attending the gym after a few times due to the rigour involved. I was one of “those New Years’ resolution people”.

The morale of my story is that we often make new years resolutions to study the bible more, pray more, ……. the list goes on and find out that we are not able to stick to our decisions and desires. This is often because we try to do it in our own strength. However, God states in the bible, in Zechariah 4:6, “…. Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty”. Let’s depend on the Holy Spirit to help us keep to our God centred new years resolution and I am sure, we won’t be like “those New Years resolution people” who give up after a few months.

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson

Would you have chosen a manger?

If you had the opportunity to choose where you were born, what would your choice have been? Where would you have chosen? Jesus, being God had this choice. However, He chose to be born in a manger, not exactly the most convenient place.

We have been studying the book of Mathew in the bible and what I have seen constantly is that God’s view point is totally different from the popular world view. He did not prioritise some of the things that we would normally take to heart. Instead, He focused on fulfilling his mission, which was to obey God the Father at any cost and to redeem mankind from the clutch of Sin.

As the year finishes off, I think we should take time out to prioritise our goals and dreams for next year. However, let’s do it from God’s view point for our lives. As we do so, we can begin to enjoy eternal life from now. Jesus said in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson