Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
When Pastor Colin learned that we’re moving to Timaru, he told me right after one Sunday worship service, “Please don’t go without us praying for you”. Knowing and experiencing how important prayer blessing is, I told him we will still be here next Sunday.
We are set to leave for Timaru on 14 August. This is a big move for our family but we have to because a relevant job opportunity has come.
Living in North Shore area, particularly in Glenfield and Forrest Hill suburbs in the past nine months, we have fostered relationships among church mates and a group of Filipinos.
As we were packing our things and finding ways how to dispose our car and the few pieces of furniture, I can’t help but think how one could easily dispose material things when moving.
I mean, you can sell or give your things easily but you can never let go of the friendships that you have made, especially when they are bounded in Christian love.
We can’t avoid feeling sad realizing that we won’t be seeing Glenfield Baptist Church for some time. Still, we rejoice in the truth that Christian relationships are the treasures that one could have forever, both on earth and in heaven.
So, on 12 August 2012, we attended worship service at Glenfield Baptist Church. Pastor Colin called us to the altar and he and the congregation prayed for us. I won’t say it’s our last worship service with them.
Glenfield Baptist fulfils the meaning of church to us and I’m sure the welcome won’t end each time we visit. Growing up experiencing the power of prayer, I don’t want to miss any opportunity of gaining the blessings of Christian love wherever I am.
In moving to Timaru we are embarking on a new chapter of our faith journey in New Zealand. So far, it is through the prayers of friends and family that we have achieved tremendously in faith. Glenfield Baptist Church has provided us the needed sanctuary.
Our hearts are forever grateful for all of you. Let us pray without ceasing as our faith journey continues.
“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
One statement of Jesus that has a deep and significant impact on me is “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
I read and memorized this verse when I was a small kid attending one of the summertime Daily Vacation Bible School or DVBS. What started then as rote memorization, became gradually a journey to my search for the abundant life.
I was born of parents who are both theology graduates and I grew up with them working from church to church. Because we lived from parsonage to parsonage, I would often say jokingly, “No permanent address” when asked where do I live.
Experiencing the economic and psychological hardships and challenges of being a son of a rural pastor, I would always wonder about that abundant life that the Great Teacher expressed that He came for us to have.
But how can I affirm my confidence on the abundant life that Jesus Christ promised when I experienced injustice, dishonesty, corruption, jealousy, envy and all kinds of strife through and among the very faithful followers of him?
Where is abundance when you went through hunger and poverty because opportunities have become scarce after you made a stand for what is right?
Of course, it is easy to understand what abundant life is in the context of the material world. I grew up with the carnal understanding that to live a life of plenty is to always have more than enough food to eat and you have lots of money to experience living the lifestyle of the rich, like a good house, cars, travels, parties and anything that a person or family could wish for.
Thus, while keeping in my heart and mind the questions I had, I chartered my course towards prosperity. My goals were to study hard in high school to get a college scholarship, graduate a course that would be my ticket to get high paying jobs, do well in my chosen career and finally, live comfortably in affluence.
Then I was well on my way to fulfilling my goals, sailing smoothly, successfully achieving victories left and right. However, later on, after almost a decade of searching and chasing, I reflected at all my striving and struggling using all the gifts that God endowed me to gain the prosperity that I sought, I found myself living a meaningless life.
I exhausted all means to meet my goals but at the end of the day, I found out that when everything in life redounds to achieving financial gain compromising the basic values of truth and justice, I can not find real peace and happiness.
So where could I find true abundant life if it is not present in having material affluence alone?
Life has never been so very fulfilling. Surprisingly, the more I focused on having my fullest potential be used for him, the blessings keep coming and coming. Indeed, Jesus Christ has come to give life and have it abundantly.