Watching and Waiting -- GBC’s Watchnight Service 2019
Neo Yi Ling shares with us how members of GBC gathered on the last day of 2019 to look back on the year that had come to an end and to look forward together to what God has in store in the coming year.
What has your year been like?
At the turn of the decade, members of GBC gathered to look back on the year that had come to an end and to look forward together to what God has in store in the coming year.
Elder Lup Meng’s family led the congregation through songs of praise to our great God who has been kind and merciful to us through the ups and downs of 2019.
Ps Ian leading the watchnight service.
A video compiled by Grace Tan presented some of the events that happened within GBC this year.
We had baptisms and transfers, our bi-yearly Church Camp, Vacation Bible School (VBS), Youth Camp, and more! Ps Ian reminded us of how God has blessed the church through His people who gave of their time sacrificially to serve one another.
Leong Kuan Yui and Hannah Yeo shared about some recent examples of God’s faithfulness to them. Here is a brief summary of Kuan Yui’s sharing.
Kuan Yui described the events that led to a 1.5-month hospitalisation in September due to an infection that arose post-operatively. It was a trying period for him as he normally led a very active lifestyle; being confined to bed felt torturous. He shared about how different church members visited him, prayed for him, were generous to him with their time and gifts, and how his care group held a bible study session in the hospital to be with him! “God didn’t create our physical bodies to last forever; what is more important is the spiritual state of our souls,” he declared. That period of time was one in which he prayed to God harder than he ever had in his life, after learning of the possibility that he might have to undergo further surgeries if the course of antibiotics he was on turned out ineffective. Yet through it all he was convinced that the good Lord allowed these things to happen for a divine purpose.
Kuan Yui encouraged us to share our problems with family or Care Group (CG) as "When you run alone, it is a race. When God runs with you, it is grace."
His advice to others who might be struggling through a difficult time now:
- Pray and ask for divine guidance – we cannot do anything without God.
- Share your problems with your family or Care Group (CG). When you run alone, it is a race. When God runs with you, it is grace.
- Trust the Lord who is in control. He will carry you through and something good will come out of it.
Elder Caleb Yap preached from 1 Peter 1:1-7 about “The Results of (This Year’s) Test”. He pointed out that in the past 10 years, whole nations have been transformed, whole countries have entered into disarray and it has been a tempestuous decade. In his letter to the church, the Apostle Peter was preparing the church to think about their circumstances under heat and duress. The people of God who were being tested were described as “elect exiles” (1 Peter 1:2) for whom grace and peace had multiplied.
The trials that God’s people were undergoing at the time of Peter’s letter were part of His divine purposes and work in the Christian’s past, present and future. The Christian is a person who has been born again (v3) and is destined for an imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance (v4b-5). In the present time however, life in the here and now is filled with trouble (John 16). We are grieved by various difficult struggles while being guarded through faith by God’s power (1 Peter 1:3b, 4, 6b).
What griefs or trials have God allowed you to endure this year?
While awaiting that glorious inheritance, we may have been tested relationally through withdrawn family members or loved ones, or trials of illness and physical deterioration. There may have been things we hoped for that disappointingly have not happened. But Peter in the Bible encourages us to rejoice in the grief that we experience through these trials. The result is a valuable faith that is more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). Such valuable faith can only come about through such a process of enduring trials. After all, it is the cross that leads to the crown.
Caleb urged us to first be crystal-clear if we are in Christ or not; to recognise the reality of experience that proves genuine fruit of being in Christ. He encouraged us not to waste our lives on lesser things in the new year but on the things that will endure - the souls of men and the word of God. We should internalise the Christian’s past, present and future hope, and not be surprised if “trials of various kinds” enter our lives in ways we do not expect. He pointed out that 2020 is full of holy opportunity to grow in dependence on God!
Towards the close of the watchnight service, we gathered in randomised groups to share about the moments in our lives in 2019 that God had used to cause us to seek deeper dependence on Him. It was a sacred time when we could be open with and pray for one another.
How has God shown His faithfulness to you in “the ups and downs” of this year?
Before You we kneel, our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your great name.
– "Before You I Kneel" (© 2012 GETTYMUSIC AND SEEK 1ST PUBLISHING)