Monday, November 9, 2009

Fill Up Your Faith Tank

Last Wednesday, a local tabloid, The New Paper, reported on the rising divorce rate among couples who are above 50 years old, and highlighted the tragic case of a 54-year-old woman who committed suicide after her 59-year-old husband confessed to having an affair for the past 6 years and wanted a divorce.

At first, I regarded this report only as a commentary on a current social phenomenon as Singapore becomes a progressively aging society but this report took on a whole new meaning for me after my wife asked me, "Did you look at the pictures?"

Actually, I only glanced at the pictures as I had concentrated on the written report but as I took a closer look at the pictures and wondered what my wife was fussing about, she pointed to the guy in the blue shirt and said, "This guy looks like Pastor Gabriel!" (from our church, New Creation Church).

While I cannot confirm it, I think the guy in the blue shirt is indeed Pastor Gabriel and hence it is highly likely that this couple or either one of them attended New Creation Church. My immediate thought was "How could this happen to them if they were attending NCC regularly?" To be fair, I don't know the couple personally and have no idea whether or how long they have been attending NCC but this tragedy does set me thinking: week after week, thousands file into the Rock Auditorium and overflow rooms for Sunday church service but how many have truly absorbed the gospel of grace into their spirit?

I suspect Pastor Prince may be wondering about the same thing too as I find that he usually repeats his series on "righteousness" after a few seasons. I remember that Pastor Prince once said that he does this over and over again to drum this into our hearts.

The people of Isaiah 6:9 "Hear and hear continually, but understand not; and see and see continually, but do not apprehend with your mind.", are we like them? No, we are not because God tells us, "I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT), which is why Pastor Prince's constant drumming is a good tactic since "faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ." (Rom 10:17, NLT)

That is also why I keep listening to the same sermons on CD or MP3 over and over again; often, it is only after many many listening sessions that a truth which Pastor Prince preached in a sermon finally dawns on me and sinks into my heart.

Do you know that faith, like physical fitness, cannot be stored indefinitely? Just as you need to exercise regularly to build up and maintain your physical fitness, you need to keep hearing the "Good News about Christ" over and over again to build up and maintain your faith. Just listening to the sermon preached by the pastor when you attend church on Sunday is not enough. Go and buy sermon CDs and listen to them as often as you can during the week.

Faith needs time to be built up and maintained. Don't wait till a crisis strikes, just when you need faith the most, and you suddenly discover that your "faith tank" is nearly empty. Start listening to the "Good News about Christ" over and over again NOW.


Lambano.Cristo said...

Hi Bro.
First I like to thank you for a very timely reminder of our need to keep hearing the Good News over and over again. For we the righteous shall live by faith and faith comes by hearing the word of Christ over and over again indeed.

I am from NCC, I have the same thought running through mind when I recognized Pastor Gabriel in the picture too.

However, I also need to point out that either of the parents may not necessary be attending NCC and for that matter may not even be believers themselves. I have known of occasions when NCC pastors may just visit the bereaved family during the wakes or funerals conducted by other churches (or even by other religions) and minister to the family with members who are attending NCC.

Just like in this case, Pastor Gabriel may just happen to be there to minister to the family which has members from NCC. The background of the picture does resemble the Mandai columbarium, guess taken before the cremation.

Of course, we do not know for sure whether if the parents are really attending NCC in this case. We can only pray that the Shalom peace of Jesus rest upon the family and God will turn the whole tragic situation around for good in time to come!

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Lambano.Cristo,
I agree with you that the couple may not be attending NCC. However, I did mention in my post that "I don't know the couple personally and have no idea whether or how long they have been attending NCC".

blogpastor said...

WE shouldn't be surprised at such for even the greatest exponent of grace, St Paul, who preached the gospel in its fullness and glory, dealt with incest, disunity, abuse of spiritual gifts, law suits, among the early churches to whom he wrote instructions and corrections.

Like you said, peoples' faith needs to be built strong and wholesome.