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Practical Help as a Common Grace of God

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How can we help the strugglers in our midst? Yanadi, our Christian Education Ministry Worker, points us to some resources to help us help others.

We just concluded the EQUIP series on The Gospel and Mental Health. Ps Jacob and Tarryn from Redemption Hill Church, Singapore taught this series. We also had testimonies from our own members, namely, Wen Xiu, Zexuan, Hannah, and Ps Oliver.

This series was not planned in the beginning. However, as our Elders discerned increasing needs in this area from our members, we decided to start this series. Our objective was to cultivate conversations on mental health in our church community, with the hope of developing a culture where, instead of relying solely on the professionals, the church becomes God's primary instrument of care and support for Christlike growth. We also hope for the church to be a safe place where the Gospel is applied tenderly yet boldly to those of us who struggle.

Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
—1 Thessalonians 5:14

In this verse, Paul calls Christians to discern when discipling others, to understand their needs and situation:

  • The idle are to be warned, not encouraged or helped.
  • The fainthearted are to be encouraged, not helped or warned.
  • The weak are to be helped, not warned or encouraged.
  • Sometimes, it's a mix of more than one. We ought to be discerning and be patient with them all.

When Ps Jacob mentioned, "We struggle to empathise and engage emotionally." 

I thought to myself, "Oh... That's me!"

And I am grateful that I am not alone. However, finding out that I am not alone is not an excuse to be complacent, but rather a reason to grow together. We are reminded from Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus, our High Priest, empathises—or more accurately, sympathises (Greek: sympathesai)—with our weaknesses, yet did not sin. This verse provides a reason for those of us who struggle to sympathise to learn and grow in sympathy toward others, yet to not sin.

There was much helpful information shared. But there was one that I do not want any of us to miss out on. And it is this:

When caring for someone who expresses suicide ideation, we can bring him/her to Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of any public hospital, for example, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and National University Hospital (NUH), and inform the medical worker (nurse or doctor) that we are bringing the person to A&E because of suicide ideation.

Here are some helpful mental health-related resources that we have compiled thus far:

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(You can download the pdf here.)

And here are the books that were recommended in the sessions:

  1. Christians Get Depressed Too: Hope and Help for Depressed People by David P Murray
  2. Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications by Michael R Emlet
  3. The Counselor’s Guide to the Brain and Its Disorders by Edward T Welch
  4. Instruments In the Redeemer's Hand: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp
  5. Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships by Edward T Welch
  6. Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life by David Powlison
  7. Saints, Sufferers, and Sinners: Loving Others as God Loves Us by Michael R Emlet

So Church, let us care for and support those who are struggling with mental health challenges in our midst. Let us warn the idle, but encourage the fainthearted and help the weak. If there is one key takeaway from the four testimonies, it is this: our friendship and presence that point the strugglers to Christ. This goes a long way in supporting and encouraging strugglers. Of course, a meal together over sumptuous nasi briyani would not hurt either!

A closing thought, do take heart from Psalm 107:4-32 as reminded by Wen Xiu. We may face different struggles, but let us all thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to humankind.

What’s next? We plan to start a Book Club that will read Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward T Welch together, starting July 2021, every 3rd Saturday of the month, from 1030am to 1130am, on Zoom. If you are interested, scan the QR code below to register or register here. (Deadline: 30 June 2021)
equip-side-by-side-registration

One way to cultivate a culture of support and care is by attending our monthly prayer meeting where we can share our hearts, pray, and be prayed for. So, I would invite us to attend this month's prayer meeting on Friday, 25 June 2021, at 8pm over Zoom. Rolland, one of our incoming Ministry Interns this year, will share from Philippians 4:4-9 on Joy to us, if our Lord wills it. This is an excellent opportunity to pray for those of us who are struggling to find our joy only from and in Christ.

Lastly, if you struggle with mental health challenges, please feel free to approach one of our Elders. The list of Elders can be found here:
https://english.gracebaptistchurch.sg/church-leaders