Baptisms and Transfers -- 26 Sep 21
With great joy and thankfulness, we welcomed 13 new members to GBC last Sunday. May their proclamation of faith and the glory of God encourage and strengthen you.
On 26 Sep 2021, we celebrated the baptism of Ng Shao Wen, Chelsea Foo, Dong Yibing and Meliza Tan; and welcomed Chua Shi Yun, Daniel Chen, Colin Tan, Einson Pang, Miracle Grace Ong, Lawrence Goh, Daisy Goh, John Goh and Chng Eng Ching via transfer of membership. We give thanks for these treasured possessions of God and how they have encouraged us with their obedience and desire to follow God, echoing Psalm 73:28 of the call to worship:
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
Before the baptism, Ps Oliver explained that baptism is an outward sign of an inward spiritual reality. The very act of baptism does not save, but is a symbol pointing to the spiritual transformation when a person responds to the call of the gospel by repenting of his sin and turning in faith to trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for his salvation. Baptism serves as a visible picture of our death and burial with Christ along with our spiritual resurrection with Christ (Rom 6:1-4). It not only identifies new believers with Christ but also identifies us all as members of God's people.
As Shao Wen, Chelsea, Yibing and Meliza underwent baptism, they each shared how they came to know and trust Jesus as their Saviour:
Ng Shao Wen
Shao Wen grew up in a Christian family and struggled with his faith as he grew older and began to drift away from God. He shared how God pursued him and placed him in a Godly community to draw him near and remind him of God's overflowing grace and mercy,
Thankfully, by His grace, when I entered university, God placed me right in the middle of a group of committed and loving Christians, who were all very willing to journey with me, pray with me and encourage me to seek God again. Ever since then I started to open my heart to God once more, allowing Him to soften my heart little by little. However, I remember I was feeling helpless once again, but this time with my academics. During one lecture where I felt so lost, God spoke to me through the passage of Paul praying for God to remove the thorn in his flesh. When I went back to my room that night, I searched up the passage, and then I realised, God wanted to tell me about 2 Corinthians 12:9, where it says, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” At that moment I immediately praised God, for I know that He has never left me, and still loves me even though I tried running away from Him. God loved me so much that He sent Jesus to die, rejected on the cross so that I can be reconciled with God, and never be alone.
In her testimony, Chelsea shared how God has been pursuing her and how the emptiness in her life reminded her of her need for Him,
God’s grace has always been so profound and so good in my life. Even when I was an unbeliever, God has placed many good Christians in my life who showed me His grace in tangible ways. I don’t think my account of how God has called me to Christ was a coincidence. God was in purposeful control the whole time. Perhaps, He wanted me to experience life as an unbeliever so that I could see how much I needed Him in my life. He was merciful to reach out and stir the spirit in me and called me. He wanted me and the people around me to see how the Holy Spirit has transformed my life, my values, my attitude, and the way I behave. I am to be a testimony to God’s grace.
We are so encouraged by Yibing's testimony of how studying the Gospel of John with one of our members, Swee Hin, and hearing his testimony have opened her eyes and heart to Jesus, and she has also come to taste that the Lord is good. She shared,
Coincidentally, at the peak of our confusion, our professor started a Bible study of John’s Gospel. Those few weeks worked as a light into my mind. We started by studying the seven miracles of God in John’s Gospel. It is really impressive how seven small stories could contain such a wealth of wisdom and a depth of insight into life. My initial confusion went away… I learned that God did not tolerate our sins, and He grants grace to people who don’t deserve it. He told me through His Word that, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn 14:27) My heart was so much at ease. Prof Teoh has taught me to always be humble and that education was to get to know who God is – an important aspect of life to consider. God’s Word and the testimony from Prof Teoh on how he came to Christ opened the door for God to come into my heart.
Meliza shared how she was initially resistant to the gospel, not understanding why she had to change or believe in God, but a study of the Bible with her fiance, Kevin, opened her eyes to the gospel truth to put her trust and faith in Him, rather than in herself and her strength. She shared,
However, I agreed to spend some time reading the Bible together with Kevin, and I got to know more about God and the Christian faith through those sessions. While my knowledge increased, the main turning point came during the Circuit Breaker period last year, as my company was in the events industry and thus my job was badly affected by COVID-19. This period was rather tumultuous and full of uncertainties, and I felt that the future was bleak. I also realised that trusting entirely in myself and my own abilities was not sufficient. God spoke to me during this period through His Word, and I decided to take a leap of faith and try praying and entrusting all my hopes and fears to God. Thankfully, God chose to bless me with His peace and reassurance, which helped me keep strong during those difficult times.
We praise God for how He has brought (L-R) Meliza, Shao Wen, Chelsea and Yibing to believe in the wonderful truth of the gospel and rejoice with them as they obeyed Jesus' first commandment to believers to be baptised. You can read their full testimonies here.
Apart from the four baptised members, we also welcomed nine new members via transfer of membership. Below are snippets of how God has worked in their lives and you can read their full testimonies here.
Einson shared how he drifted from a regular church goer when he was a youth to suddenly stopped attending church; and how God brought him back through a church community in Australia:
I was blessed to have several older students and adults in Australia take me under their wing, patiently answering the questions I had, as well as living lives which I could not explain or understand. Despite my doubts, I kept attending church and fellowship because I was impressed with the character and discipline they demonstrated. I don’t remember a single transforming moment, but over time, I was struck with the realisation of how completely sinful I was, and how only God could save me.
All was not smooth-sailing, and there were periods of forgetfulness and falling away. Nevertheless, I was constantly reminded of the goodness of God through the Bible studies and sermons I attended. I learnt that I could trust God completely because He would never leave me nor forsake me and ultimately, anything that happened to me was being worked for my good.
Chua Shi Yun
Shi Yun shared how God met her where she was and filled her with the desire to adorn the gospel for His glory,
I grew up in a non-Christian family, where the secular values of Singapore – familial loyalty, academic success and moralism – were priority. I was deeply loved by my family and was largely able to fulfil their expectations. I never questioned those values until I left Singapore for university. Stripped of the security of my family, I started to recognise that none of these secular values that I had imbibed could bear the weight of my expectations for fulfilment in life.
The Lord met me in that moment (or life stage) of vulnerability, through Christian friends who faithfully shared their lives with me and invited me along to Bible study in church and on campus ministry. Through months of Bible study and clear Christ-centered preaching from the pulpit, God opened my eyes to see that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet 3:18). That sweet knowledge of my union with Christ, and the gift of the Spirit indwelling in me, has reoriented my life’s desires away from the secular values of this world, to the eternal glory of God.
Daniel shared how God revealed Himself to him when he was questioning the place of God in his life,
But God was working to reveal Himself to me. While visiting a friend’s church, we sang a song with the lyrics “You’re the only one who died for me, gave your life to set me free”. And I realised that if I truly believed this, then this should affect my entire life, not just a small part. I repented and sought God’s forgiveness shortly before moving overseas. It was there that I received teaching from the Bible that deepened my understanding of my faith, through participation in church and in Christian fellowship. I grew to recognise the authority of the Bible as God’s living word, how it shows that I can’t be accepted by God on my own efforts, and how it speaks of the amazing grace and forgiveness that is offered to all sinners because of the price Jesus paid on the cross for my sin.
(L-R) Einson, Daniel and Shi Yun (with their children: Nathan, Leah and Josiah).
Colin saw God’s hand in the encounters he had leading Him to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins, acknowledging that He is the Lord of his life,
I was a high achiever and worshipped idols. I remember one lunchtime with my colleagues, I was rude to one of my colleagues. I insisted unkindly that he was thinking wrongly in a certain way. In my interaction I felt an almost out of body experience: observing and sensing that I was instead the one who was wrong. Fearful of ending up in the psychiatric hospital, I realised in my desperation that I needed the Light.
My uncle, who was my neighbour, came out of our block as I was returning home. How merciful is God! After speaking with me, he shared about Jesus and prayed the Sinner’s Prayer with me. And when I opened my eyes, the sky was blue and the grass was green! It was as if the Light had found me!
Lawrence shared how God has proven that He is real by guiding Him through life and through answered prayers,
I came to know about Jesus when I was in Primary school and visited my aunt’s church. But I did not know that Jesus died for sinners and that I could trust Him for salvation. Years later, during my university days, my friend brought me to church again and I was saved, just by grace, through faith. That was at the end of 2000. I totally could not figure out how a loving God would send His Son to die for me, but I trusted by faith, turned from my sins and since then, God has proven that He is real through answered prayers and guiding me through life.
Though she heard the story of Jesus, Daisy did not trust in Jesus till she recognised her own sinfulness and the need for a Saviour. She explained,
I was introduced to the story of Jesus during my time at Teachers College when I was studying to be an English teacher years ago. While it introduced the life of Jesus and what he did, no one shared with me that I had sinned and needed Jesus as a Saviour. Hence, I did not believe in Jesus then, and was not saved... A Bible was also given to me and I read the first book, Genesis. When I learnt that God is the creator of the world and humans, I immediately turned from old life and trusted that God created us and that we did not evolve randomly from animals. I confessed Jesus as my personal Saviour and trusted that He died to save me from my sin.
We are so encouraged by the sharing and display of the gospel in Lawrence and Daisy's life, drawing their son, John, to know and trust in Jesus:
My Dad and Mum have shared with me about Jesus since I was young when they read the Children’s Bible to me. I believe that God is real and trust Jesus as my Saviour. I obeyed the Bible to be baptised when I was 7 years old, on 18 Nov 2018.
Recently I was afraid that I am not a good boy and have sinned and that God may not save me because I am a sinner. When I shared with my parents, they shared with me that when I trust in Jesus to save me, He surely will save me, because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Chng Eng Ching
Eng Ching shared how a faithful Christian drew her to want to learn more about Jesus,
When I was 19 years old, I attended The University of Texas in Austin and I stayed temporarily with a devoted Singaporean Christian named Faye. Her dependence on Jesus drew me to want to learn about Jesus. Having attended Saint Nicholas Girls’ School in Singapore for ten years, Jesus was not unfamiliar to me. As I was already introduced to Jesus, it was not difficult to start reading the Bible and attending Bible study as I desired to find out more about Jesus.
My mind was opened to God and I attended many Bible studies and asked many questions. One night, my Bible study leader asked me if I was ready to invite Jesus into my life through prayer and I agreed. Soon after, I was baptised in the summer of 1991.
(L-R) Colin, Lawrence, John, Daisy and Eng Ching.
Miracle Grace Ong
Miracle Grace could not join us for service but she shared in her testimony how she grew up being exposed to the gospel since young and how her "life as a Christian has been a journey, one where I do not remember the exact time when I decided to follow Jesus." She shared,
As a child I knew that God was my Saviour and my Help in time of need. However, as I grew older, I began to gradually understand the gravity of God’s love for me, that He sent His only Son to save a wretched sinner (Jn 3:16) like me from death. Though I am still a sinner who faces temptation to choose worldly things and many a times turn away from God, I thank God for the grace He has given to open my eyes and daily change my heart to be more in tune with His.
We warmly welcome these 13 new members and pray that we will provide a safe environment for them to grow and to exercise their gifts, that we will build up one another as we journey with Christ as a family of God. Our hearts are full of thankfulness!
You can watch the baptisms here: