Updated: 5 April 2020
Dearest brothers and sisters in Christ,
You are all constantly in our thoughts and prayers – how are you?
Many of us tuned in to PM Lee Hsien Loong’s national address on Friday 3 April with sinking hearts. Globally, the pandemic is spreading, and locally, despite recent social distancing measures, new coronavirus clusters have sprouted, and so our government is taking the decisive move to apply a “circuit breaker” from 7 April.
The additional tightening of measures will mean that even small teams will not be able to gather to record and live-stream our Sunday services from the church sanctuary, as we have been doing. With sadness, we have chosen to move pre-emptively, to stream home-based recorded services from today (5 April) onwards.
Why haven’t we waited until next Sunday? In the words of Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong, ”we must assume that the virus is circulating within our own population. There will be undetected carriers amongst us. Each and every interaction we have with others may well be the link that causes the virus to spread and causes a new infection cluster.” If we rightly understand the spirit of the new regulations, we are already part of a nationwide effort to fight rising spread. We need not wait until 7 April to act in love for our neighbours and do our part to minimise physical interactions.
How, then, shall we gather as God’s people, around His Word? Hebrews 12:22–24 has amazing encouragement for us, because the writer reminds us that all who believe in and are saved by Jesus don’t “come to a mountain that can be touched”,
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.Hebrews 12:22–24
Friends, when we gather physically as the LP family, we’re also part of the heavenly church that God has gathered around Himself and Jesus! This reality of the heavenly gathering remains, even when we can’t be physically together.
As we move to home-based recorded services, you might notice some changes in format (such as the absence of the LP lectern, the use of lyrics-videos on YouTube, modifications to the service order, etc). But the essence of our church gathering remains the same – we are seeking to bring to you the Word of God through songs, prayers, Bible reading and sermons, so that we can participate together virtually at 11:30am on Sundays.
This COVID-time picture of LP is part of the unchanging heavenly church, and, most importantly, the Hebrews writer invites us to assemble joyfully! So do gladly expect to receive an sms from us to join our service at 11:30am, and be comforted and encouraged by the joy of being close to Jesus and therefore with one another in spirit.
For our cell groups, the Luke Bible studies resume the week starting Monday, 20 April, but before then you might enjoy meeting up virtually over the following.
- Good Friday video messages recorded by the English Presbytery and available on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (8, 9 and 10 April) at 9am at http://epeasterconvention.org/
- Sharing and praying about Easter lessons from our Easter service (12 April) and the following Sunday service (19 April)
During this time when our Sunday School is unable to meet, may we remember and practise the truth that discipling our children is our responsibility as parents. For those who require additional resources on top of the Wonder of Easter devotional that we have recently sent out, our Sunday School will publish a schedule for the book Gospel Story Bible that you all are using with your children. Our Sunday School will contact you about the resource and offer help with using it with your children.
During these times let us continue to pray for our world, Singapore and all leaders.
The Lord bless you and keep you, as we look forward to meeting again face to face. Indeed He is near to all who call on him in the truth of Jesus (Psalm 145:18).
Pastor Yuk Yee on behalf of the pastoral team and elders and deacons court.
Updated: 27 March 2020
Dearest brothers and sisters in Christ,
All around the world this week, countries went into partial or full lockdown, with many flights re-routed or cancelled. We in Singapore received tighter measures to restrict the further spread of COVID-19 infections. And we’re to brace ourselves for the return of 200,000 overseas Singaporeans. What has been going through your mind in response to all this news, friends? I caught myself half wishing those people would just stay where they are so that Singapore can keep our infection numbers down. It’s very tempting, at times like this, to seize any and every precaution that seems to offer us a measure of safety.
In this light, Luke 4:1–12 speaks to me. It’s part of the larger section (Luke 2:41–4:13) that we’re studying in our small groups this week. Here’s Jesus in the wilderness, and the devil exploiting all his possible fears –
- Hey, Son of God, you’re hungry with no food in sight (v.2);
How tempting, for Jesus to satisfy his own hunger rather than trust in his Father.
- Hey, Son of God, you’re humbled instead of glorious (v.6);
How tempting, for Jesus to get glory by worshipping Satan instead of going to the cross.
- Hey, Son of God, you’re vulnerable without assurance (v.9).
How tempting, for Jesus to demand divine protection and dramatic, instant “ministry success”, rather than taking God’s way – the long, slow preaching of the kingdom of God and the gathering of a team of weak men and women.
It’s very tempting, isn’t it, to seize any and every offer that looks to us like safety.
But our Lord does not give up. He does not give in. Jesus wins the battle with the devil in the wilderness and ultimately on the cross of Calvary.
As we’re bombarded by COVID-19 news feeds, let’s not forget how significant Jesus’ victory is: Jesus died in my place so that I no longer need to fear death. God’s Son didn’t just watch a sin pandemic from afar or flee the infection zone. He chose to enter a diseased, infected world to stand with us, as one of us, in order to bring us life with him. I can go to Jesus in prayer about anything, including COVID-19 challenges yet to come,knowing that the one who defeated the devil on my behalf is with me to help me in my time of need.
What about you, friends? What temptation or struggle are you facing this season? Perhaps it is fear, anxiety or a lack of thanksgiving. Let’s take this time to remember that Jesus has drawn near to us – may we draw near to him and bring our struggles to him.
Let us also remind one another who Jesus is and what he’s come to do.
- Cell groups, even though you’re not able to meet physically during this period, do continue to find other means like meeting through Zoom or Skype. If you have difficulty with this, do let our office know.
- Encourage one another with text messages, calls, cards or notes. (Our elders, pastors, cell and ministry leaders are looking out for you, but you don’t have to be one of them to care for others.)
- Make sure our news feeds are also Good News feeds. We are hoping in the coming weeks to put more content on our website to encourage you, but in the meantime do consider the following:
May our good Lord bless you and keep you.
Pastor Yuk Yee
for our Pastoral Team and Elders & Deacons Court