Baptisms and Transfers -- 15 Mar 2020
On 15 March, we had the great joy and privilege of welcoming 18 new members into the GBC family!
Hannah Ng and Javier Yeo joined us via baptism while Rebecca Fong, Malcolm Seah, Yeap Keng Teck, Chong Sing Nee, Michele Nguyen, Jim Li, Andrew Wong, Thomas and Julie Hamilton, Marcus Ng, Audrey Lim, Roxanne Then, Luke Choo, Jocelyn Lang, Cheryl Chew and Liao Yun Mu joined us via transfer of membership. We thank God for these precious treasures of His whom He has entrusted us with.
L-R: Malcom, Keng Teck, Sing Nee, Javier, Hannah, Rebecca, Michele, Jim, Andrew, Thomas, Marcus, Audrey, Roxanne, Luke and Jocelyn (Julie, Cheryl and Yun Mu are not in the photo).
Given that there are 18 new members, we could only provide a short snippet from their testimonies in this blogpost. We encourage you to get to know each of them personally and love and encourage them in their walk with God, and allow them to love and be an encourager to you as well.
Pastor Ian started the baptism service by explaining that the baptismal pool is an illustration of a grave, and what Hannah and Javier would be going through is a picture of what God has done through the gospel in their lives: being buried with Christ to shatter the bonds of sin and rising up to identify with the life of Christ and henceforth being bonded not to sin but to grace.
Although Hannah was raised in a Christian home where "reading the Bible, singing songs of praise, and praying were the norm", Hannah did not "fully understand nor experience the depth of these various spiritual practices" till God touched her and opened her eyes to who He really is during a youth retreat in her middle school years. She wrote of her daily struggles to obey after knowing God,
"It became clear to me that although God gave me a new heart and nature—one that is capable of following Him—I still feel this inner battle day by day between my desires to obey God and my desires to find pleasure in sin. Sanctification is sometimes a slow process, and I began to understand what it meant to take up my cross daily in obedience to Christ...I know that such a change is impossible without the sovereign mercy and grace of our God."
Hannah testifying that she has embraced Jesus Christ as her Saviour and her intention to follow Him all the days of her life.
Javier shared how God revealed to him that what he needs is God and not that perfect score or perfect job. He wrote,
"After religiously devoting the whole first year to my studies, I got the good results I coveted. Surprisingly, it wasn’t contentment that I felt; it was emptiness. It soon dawned on me that I would always be working tirelessly for the next big thing in life...The realisation that all that painstaking effort will be nullified in death broke me. I was just as purposeless as before...
...The Gospel showed me that I am truly nothing; that I can do nothing; that I am God’s creation and that it is the Creator who gives meaning to the creature. The Gospel showed me that I ought not to live life for myself. The things of the world are not eternal, but I am made anew in Christ (2 Cor 5:17)...I thank God for the grace and sovereignty He has showed me in leading me out of my earthly and spiritual distress. I pray to mature in His Word that He may use me for His sovereign will."
Javier being buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in the newness of life.
"When I was 14 years old, someone handed me a Gospel tract while on my bus ride to school. I read it and believed the Gospel. 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' (Jn 3:16)
...Throughout my years as a Christian, I have been through many trials. My mum had cancer and died. But I am grateful that she trusted in Christ before the Lord called her home. Jesus said, '...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. He came and save the lost.' (Jn 10:10-11) Through all my trials and difficulties, I have seen God’s grace and faithfulness. I’m very blessed to be a Christian."
L-R: We celebrate with Javier and Hannah and warmly welcome Rebecca.
"It was only last year, when I was met with a motorcycle accident in Krabi, that His Word changed me...I prayed every day until my operation, as I was desperate and had no else to turn to. I experienced a peace that calmed my fears and worries...After surgery, I was unable to walk for six weeks. I spent the time praying, reading and studying the Bible. I listened online to Gospel-centred sermons. My previous cell leader constantly checked in on me, making sure that I discussed with him any questions about the Bible. It was only then, that I truly understood the Gospel and was convicted by it, that Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son was sent to die for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day, so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life and reconciliation with God. I repented of my sins and placed my faith whole-heartedly in Jesus Christ and His Word."
Yeap Keng Teck
"I had always known about the story of Jesus, but never before did it feel so important. I needed forgiveness. I needed someone to save me. As I turned to Christ and put my faith in Him, a sense of His love and forgiveness for me overwhelmed me. I knew He bore the punishment for my evil on the cross and I was forgiven, once for all. But it didn’t stop there. God gave me a new heart to desire what is good and a relationship with Him. He is my Creator, Saviour and King. As I laid down my will and submitted myself to God, life has never again been the same. Words fail me to tell of all the love, joy and peace I have gained from knowing Christ and from growing to know him more."
Chong Sing Nee
"Like how the disciples’ eyes were opened after Jesus’ resurrection, I finally came to understand through the Scriptures that salvation is by grace through faith alone, in Christ alone and for God’s glory alone. My past does not matter anymore, and the shackles of my sins are gone—all because of what Jesus has done on the cross. Only when I grasped the truth was I set free. 'For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.' (Rom 8:2)
Truth is, I still sin and fall. However, if we repent, seek God and turn from our sinful ways, we will be forgiven. (2 Chr 7:14)"
L-R: Malcolm, Keng Teck and Sing Nee.
"Curious to find out more about the Jesus they sang about and loved, I read the Bible, about one page a day. Looking back, I can see God slowly opening my heart and convicting me of my hypocrisy...
Several shaky years after my decision to follow Jesus, I was finally baptised with my now-husband, Jim, in 2015. God has been faithful, and I have been blessed with support from Christian friends and family throughout the years. Knowing that God will 'never leave or forsake' (Deut 31:6) me gives me the confidence and courage I lacked as a child; and knowing that 'in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose' (Rom 8:28) helps me pull through during trials and challenges. It is still a daily struggle to pick up my cross and follow Him but I am looking forward to sharing this journey with the rest of GBC."
"The turning point came when a minister at St Peter’s Barge challenged me bluntly after an afternoon's one-to-one: 'What’s stopping you from believing?' Almost by instinct I responded with, 'It’s me.' The light had shone through, and my self-centred rebellion against God, driven by pride and self-ability, became abundantly clear for the first time.
God’s ultimate punishment for rebellion is death. But now via God’s grace through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, I have been redeemed from this path of destruction and given a new identity. This means my worth is no longer determined by my CV and what I can achieve today."
"The notion of having and desiring a personal faith arose when I was about 15. The process of conversion involved God convicting me about how I viewed the gospel. Instead of preserving the façade and veneer of being a good, church-going, Christian boy, I was confronted with the fallen man that I was, and my need for reconciliation and salvation solely through Jesus Christ. Romans 7:24-25 properly encapsulates this – to recognise the wretchedness of self and the death we deserve. Paul concludes by thanking God for the life and freedom that Christ Jesus has graciously brought us into. Romans 8 then continues to celebrate our opportunity to experience the life and freedom from sin and condemnation, the identity and standing we have as God’s adopted children and co-heirs with Christ, and the Father’s everlasting love for us."
"Although I do not know the exact date on which God saved me, I am confident that He has done so because of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in my life. He continues to change my desires from wanting everything for myself to wanting to serve God and others with my life. I have been freed from sin to a life of joyful purpose—living for the glory of my Creator and King. As an early teen, God gave me a desire for His Word, using it to convict me of sin, encourage me to follow Him, and instruct me in living a holy life. Since university I have followed God’s leading on faith to serve in West Africa, to teaching secondary school in Florida, to working as a youth pastor, to serving in Indonesia, and finally to Singapore. Through it all, God has impressed upon me that He has created me to glorify Him by making Him known—throughout the earth! He showed me His purpose for my life, leading me to trust in His divine plan and will instead of my own (Jn 3:30!)."
L-R: Michele and her husband Jim, Andrew and Thomas.
"While away at college, I completed evangelism training through the church I attended. I slowly began to catch the vision of sharing my faith. If trusting in Christ truly was the best thing to happen to me, then why was I not sharing it with all I came into contact with? As I began to better realize the good news I had to share, a desire to serve God with all that I had was fuelled inside of me. At this point, I resubmitted all areas of my life to God’s service. I was a senior in college, majoring in communications, and dreaming of working in a big city for an advertising firm. God convicted me of my desire to live selfishly, and I began to feel the call to serve in foreign missions."
"Did I think that I used to be worthy? Was that biblical? In that state of mind, I experienced the Holy Spirit revealing Gospel truth to me. The mercy of God led me to view just a small expression of my wretched soul, and it already led me to think I was beyond the saving grace of God. The Holy Spirit brought to mind Scripture I had read, and it breathed new life.
'But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) Everything I had done before, good or bad, didn’t matter. All that mattered was what God had done for all of us: sending Christ to die for us, while we were still sinners.
I recalled praying then, that if I were to do any ministry, I would need the help of God, for I was so lost and helpless to do any good thing on my own, what more to teach the Bible. This formed the bedrock of my life and ministry: Gospel originated, Gospel empowered, Gospel centred."
"For a long time, I thought being Christian meant being a good person. And I thought I was Christian because I thought I was a good person...Thankfully, God opened my eyes to see.
...As I was guided through an open Bible, I came to see that I was a sinner, utterly dead in my trespasses. But God had done a miracle work. Through his Son, Jesus Christ, He provided a way out of the domain of darkness, out of sin and the wages of sin, which is death, into the kingdom of His marvelous light. I saw my need for the Saviour, when I saw the wretchedness of my soul and that righteousness was not found in me, not in any good work I might do, but in the person of Jesus."
"It was at this point that my then-leaders challenged me to look to God’s Word for answers (which eventually led me to the book of Ephesians). They also invited me to a Bible study and, eventually, to GBC as well. Around the same time, God moved in my life, allowing for certain reconnections and reconciliations to occur, years after the initial incidents had taken place. I never thought these would be possible to resolve, yet God did so. This reminded me of Ephesians 2—the greater separation of God and man due to sin, and the eventual reconciliation and unification that is possible only through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
I witnessed and was encouraged by the unity of the body of Christ, which reflected that of Ephesians 4:15-16. I was finally convicted of the truth, not my own but according to God’s word."
L-R: Marcus, Audrey and Roxanne.
"Hi I am Luke and life before Jesus was a life of chasing feelings of excitement, comfort, love, happiness and independence to drown out the harsh realities of life.
I realised my need for a Saviour during a sober moment of reflection. I saw how my relentless and frenzied pursuits were meaningless. I was so empty and out of control despite being stuffed with emotions and self-righteousness. It was at this point that I understood how far I had drifted from the light. Life had lost its lustre. I was lost and began to search for truth and meaning.
...The gospel gives hope and is the truth that can be lived out. This changed my lifestyle and habits. I still struggle a lot with past and present sins, but love and grace are now the two recurring themes in my life. I can wholeheartedly say that I am what I am by the grace of God."
"I grew up in a Christian family, and I don’t think I’ve doubted the existence of God before. But knowing that He exists, and actually coming to know and trust Him are completely different things. I first encountered the Gospel in full when I studied the Book of Galatians. That was the first time I had studied a whole book of the Bible in depth. The Gospel was laid out clearly before me: We are all sinners, utterly depraved and destined for destruction. Christ came to save, not because of anything we had done to deserve it but only because of His mercy and grace. Having been saved, we are called to obey Him and live a life devoted to Him. This laid the foundation of a life that started to desire to turn to Christ and obey Him."
Luke and Jocelyn.
"I grew up in a Christian family and attended church services all my life, but never fully understood what it meant to find rest and assurance in my identity as God’s beloved child. I professed to be a Christian but was always highly anxious and desperately searched for my sense of self-worth in achievements, relationships and approval from others.
...God mercifully placed people around me who brought me to a local church where we studied the book of Romans together. These weekly studies and meditating on God’s Word with other Christians helped me realise the importance of learning how to read the Bible accurately for myself and submitting to the authority of God’s Word and letting God’s Word shape my worldview...As I continued to dive deeper into His Word, I was convicted that my identity should be rooted in Christ and Christ alone, and only by living under His rule and reign can I find true satisfaction and rest."
Liao Yun Mu
"Before I met Christ, my life was aimless and without purpose. I often questioned why I existed. My heart was full of anger and unrest, and I was often cynical. Even though I was born into a Christian family, I did not know the Gospel until 2009, when I was in Secondary 3. I was invited by a fellow classmate to a prayer group called SHOP, where we had weekly worship/prayer/Bible sharing. When singing one of the worship songs, the Holy Spirit revealed to me the gravity of sin and the immense contrast with God’s holiness. I did not know how to react to the shame of my sin, in light of God’s holiness. However, I found that God’s grace through Christ Jesus is freely and mercifully given to us to forgive our sins, if I repent and follow Him. I broke down crying and spent some time reflecting on the Gospel revealed to me through that song. Honestly, I cannot remember what song it was, but it moved me in such a way. I was convinced it was from the God whom I had claimed to know from young, but in reality did not."
We thank God that even in these challenging times, He continues to call men and women to Himself, and for the encouragement that these new members have given us as they share how God is working in their lives. We pray that God will convict us of our obligations to steward these lives well, to love them well and give them a safe space to exercise their gifts for His glory.
Given the Covid-19 situation, instead of welcoming these new members with handshakes and hugs, we are welcoming them with elbow bumps :)
You can watch the baptisms and worship service here: