'SOULCRAFT: the art of discerning, applying and enjoying the wisdom of God in every aspect of life.' It is difficult to imagine a topic that should be more central to the concerns of BGST staff and students. 
The full title of this week's Good Book is Soulcraft. How God Shapes Us through Relationships, by Douglas D. Webster (Downers Grove: IVP,
1999). I have found it the most personally challenging of all the books I have read this month, while 'in charge' of the Good Books column. Webster does not present us with a series of tips on how to enjoy better relationships, be more fulfilled spouses, more successful parents, or whatever. Rather, he deals in turn with the topics of singleness, friendship, marriage, sexuality (including the misuse of sex), raising children, divorce, and death, all of them aspects of life which Christians will encounter at one time or another, either at first or second hand. Webster shows how acknowledging the lordship of Christ can transform our attitudes in all these areas of life. His main thesis, indeed, is that these are the primary areas in which our loyalty to Christ is tested and deepened: if we fail in these areas then we will have seriously compromised our witness to Christ.
Webster is pastor of a Presbyterian church in San Diego, and a husband and father as well. One of the strengths of the book is the way the author interleaves biblical exposition with examples drawn from his own experience. His discussions of marital problems, sexual purity, church discipline, the breakdown of relationships, and mourning show the kind of sensitivity (and firmness) that can only come from having had to apply biblical truth to real-life problems. I particularly liked his comments on weddings ('By design soulcraft aims for a wedding to serve the marriage, not a marriage to become an excuse for a wedding… Making marriage the thing that matters in a wedding is a spiritual discipline worth every ounce of energy a couple can give'); and on 'table fellowship' (family meals) as an important focus of a Christian family ('Make meal time an opportunity for fellowship in the Lord, for a meeting of the minds, for sharing each other's lives. Remind yourselves through prayer at the beginning and Bible reading and prayer at the end of each meal that you are the people of God. Centre your time on Christ and make your table fellowship into the Lord's table'). But really, one would have to quote the whole book in order to display all the 'gems of wisdom' on offer here.
All in all, I rather regret that I have to return this book to the Library so that it can be displayed as the week's Good Book. If you borrow it, please return it quickly! (PES)

Readers may have noticed that Dr Philip Satterthwaite has been the main contributor to this month's BTW. Next month Mrs S.M Peck takes over. Isn't it interesting getting to know the faculty staff  through their choice of 'good books'? We hope this rostering idea lends a certain freshness to BTW and gives you even more reason to take a look at it every week. (PK)

Mr. Quek Swee Kiang, brother of our Dean, spoke from 1 Peter 1:1-12 and related the text to evangelistic work being done among unreached people groups today. It is not possible to give many of the details of what he said, but here is the the general outline. 

In Peter's day believers were harried by human authorities, yet used by God to fulfil his purposes in Jesus Christ (vv. 1-2); they were protected by God through faith in the Risen Christ (vv. 3-7); and they were sustained by the presence of the Risen Christ, so that they could rejoice in him, (vv. 8-12). That was the experience of the believers to whom Peter wrote, and it is what followers of Jesus among unreached people groups experience today. This is an exciting time, when Christians have the means to present the Gospel in innovative but faithful ways and thus find a hearing among groups who have previously been unresponsive. Such work can be costly and the need for prayer is urgent. Mr. Quek concluded with a searching challenge: Our wondrous Lord leads creatively to reveal his presence and purpose today. Are we in step with him?

At the second of Dr. Satterthwaite's 'Occasional Lectures' it was announced that the next lecture in the series ('Where did our Bibles come from? Canon of Old and New Testaments') will be given on Friday 10th August. But this was a bad idea, as many will be away for the National Day weekend. Accordingly,
the third lecture will now be given on Friday 24th August, starting 7.30 p.m. Dr. Satterthwaite apologises for the oversight and for any inconvenience caused.

Readers are reminded of the Public Lecture on 'Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth' to be given by Dr. Robert C. Newman at the sanctuary of Zion BP Church on Saturday August 4th, 7.30-9.00 p.m. Dr. Newman has written and thought much about this controversial topic, and the evening is sure to be an interesting one. Please come and bring a friend!
 

Staff movement:Dr Ng Peh Cheng will be attending the Asian Theological Association's general meeting in Kuala Lumpur from 6 - 10 August. Faith Phua will be on leave from 3 - 7 August. 
 

Chapel this week (1st August) will be led by Library and Admin staff.

A Word from the Library

The library staff would like to thank many of you for returning items to the shelves. However we have observed that these are not always correctly shelved. Sometimes these items may not be discovered at all and we would have to replace them. So we would like to encourage library patrons to leave items on the library trolley for reshelving. If you really find it hard to kick the old habit you might want to check that you have shelved the item correctly by verifying with the next 4 to 5 items on the item's left and right as well as the shelves above and below. We thank you for understanding and for co-operating with  us.

Last week, we were grateful for Mr Clement Chua who has started helping us in the library. He is helping Daisy to digitalize (or is it digitise?) our school photos. Look out for this young gentleman! 

Readers are reminded to visit http://bgst.edu.sg/lib/journel.htm for links to their favourite journals. Full-text, sample articles, description, and subscription rates are found in these links. This web-page also provides information on the completeness of our current journals and the list of journals that we have archived but are no longer subscribing to. At the moment we are looking for donors for our current journal collection. Please contact Lee Pin at lib@bgst.edu.sg if you or someone you know would like to contribute to BGST in this way.

'There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.'
- Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940). Russian-born US poet, critic. At press conference, Washington D.C on acceptance of US poet laureatship.

A Prayer for Peace


O Lord, calm the waves of
this heart; calm its tempest!
Calm yourself, O my soul, so
that the divine can act in you!
Calm yourself, O my soul, so
that God is able to repose in
you, so that his peace may 
cover you! Yes, Father in 
heaven, often have we found
that the world cannot give us
peace. O but make us feel 
that you are able to give 
peace; let us know the 
truth of your promise; the 
whole world may not be 
able to take away your
peace.

Soren Kierkegaard
(1813 - 1855)
 

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