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BIBLICAL GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Issue No. 28

13 - 19 July 2009

GOOD BOOK

‘THE FUTURE’

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is you life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’       James 4:13-15

Do you know the Lord’s will for your life? If you do, then do you deliberately align your activities and aspirations according to that will? If you don’t, are you interested in discovering it?

What frightens or comforts you more - ignorance or knowledge? It depends very much on your concept of God isn’t it? Some are afraid of knowing His will because they feel it narrows their choices. So they rather remain ignorant as it gives them more options and space to create whatever they feel is best for themselves.

Others feel blessed because they rest in the knowledge that God knows the plans He has for them — ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jer. 29:11b)

We’re generally interested in the future because we’ve dreams. We’re not satisfied with maintaining the status quo. The future is a projection of our hope that looks for new promises, potential and possibilities. We don't want a mere repetition of the past or present.

But here’s the conundrum - we don’t want to abandon our past or present either. Even if we wanted to, we can’t, as these are our identity fasteners. They’ve to a large extent moulded us. We’re indebted to them. Whether we’re aware or not, they’ll continue to shape us. They’re still our established social anchors and will remain our comfort zone.

So, when we imagine the future, we’ll continue to project our ideas of past and present into the not yet. But here’s the difference ­— we add new dimensions, and upgrade our designs, all because we yearn for something better, more complete, fulfilling and meaningful. We want a qualitative improvement of our past and present.

Visioning a future is not an indulgent, novel activity. It’s a creative act that moves and motivates us to claim new territories and challenge old uncertainties. If you don’t dream dreams, you’ll eventually settle into a protracted cynicism that will kill your joy for living.

You’re made for better things. The moment you forfeit that innate curiosity about life’s purposes, your journey will come to a premature end. The sense of wonder and awe dies and your spiritual discernment stops to grow. And just like the tropical fishes in your aquarium that cannot make sense of the significance of the water in the tank, you will not be able to get a godly perspective of your life, much less your future. You only see through a mish-mash   of ad-hoc, routine and mundane exigencies.

Here’s the crux of the issue — we desperately need to look to God for directions. Any vision of the future, however meticulously crafted or well thought out, is distorted and futile if God is left out of the creative and determining process.

God is sovereign. Essentially, we don’t really know what tomorrow holds. The future is contingent on His will, not ours. We don’t get any added days or opportunities by chance. Our lives are in His hands. So as James urges, we’re to keep this firmly etched in our hearts and minds when we plan -’If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’

We can die any time, just like the memorable, self-explanatory maxim unapologetically affirms, ’Life is short; death is sure; sin is the cause; Christ is the cure!’

Our life on earth is very brief. Our cognitive and social structures, shaped by our past and present, give us a very biased and distorted vision of who we are and what we might become. We’re mere mortals saved by grace. We’re not God.

Want to enjoy your future? Link up with God and follow the old motto believers in the past lived by - ‘Deo Volente’ (Latin for “God willing’). You’ll never regret. It’s as true now as it was then.

- taken from ‘The Future’ in An Intentional Journey: Created Experiences,  Song Cheng Hock. Singapore Yung Shung Printrade Pte Ltd, 2008

FUTUREThe book is a series of devotional thoughts on life experiences to lead readers to “create and recreate their life experiences to an unintentional journey of discovery of what is possible or impossible. In this way, readers are helped to restructure the mundane to become meaningful and not to resign themselves to learned helplessness.“

Rev Song Cheng Hock is our Adjunct Faculty. He is teaching a course on “Preaching in the Church: Homiletics II” and will be teaching “Counselling Skills : Working with the Adolescents” in the next semester.

This book is on sale at BGST Bookshop.

Weekly Updates

The Chapel speaker for 22 July is Mr Joseph Dakhum (MTh student). Chapel begins at 12pm every Wednesday. You are welcome to join us.

News Bits

Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies
Mr Ian Yeo Eng Heng is a graduate of Curtin University of Technology (Australia) and is currently working as a Real Estate agent. He worships at the Mt Carmel BP Church and serves actively as a leader in a cell group and hospitality ministry. He is also working part-time in a foundation that helps the poor and needy.

Miss Priscilla Seah Swee Ling is a staff with Campus Crusade for Christ and a graduate of the National University of Singapore.  She worships at the Charis Methodist Church and is involved in a number of church ministries.

Master in Christian Studies
Mr Jeffrey Chua Hock Chuan is a global procurement manager and a member of the Logos Christian Church.  He is a graduate of the National University of Singapore (MSc) and Singapore Bible College (Grad DipCS).  His church ministry involvement includes Children’s Sunday School and cell group ministry.

NEW COURSE

Spirituality & Ministry (Work) MM260, 3 cr;
Lecturer: Mr John Chong Ser Choon
Dates: July 20, 27, Aug 3, 17, 24, 31, Sep 7, 14; (new starting date)

ser choonSer Choon graduated from Regent College (Vancouver, Canada) where he completed his Master in Theology degree (Spiritual Theology). His ministry experiences included pastoring a church, serving in mission mobilization with OMF (Singapore) and in a Bible College as the Dean of Students, teaching courses on Christian Spirituality. Currently, he is the Director of Trinity Life Centre, a ministry that he started in July 2004. His vision is to serve the Christian community through conducting spiritual retreats, teaching seminars on spiritual formation and holistic Christian living by drawing upon the richness of the spiritual traditions of the Christian Church down through the centuries. He has been a part-time faculty member with BGST since November 2007. He is married to Theng Yoke. They have two daughters and a son.

The goal for this course is to have students experience the process of integrating biblical teachings, personal spirituality and ministry/work, moving from conceptual understanding towards lived experimentation and experience.

This course will provide the opportunity to integrate theology, spirituality and ministry/work. We will explore how to work our way from biblical revelation through our personal spirituality into the life of ministry and work (in church, home and workplace). Students will work in groups to tackle one (at most two) actual ministry/work issues, working the issue from the biblical framework to implications on actual situations. (An individual integrative paper option can also be chosen.) 

For full course description, click on this link http://bgst.edu.sg/courses/pdf/mm260-09.pdf

31 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088454.
Tel: 62276815 Fax: 62276816  Email :
bgst@pacific.net.sg
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