Biblical Graduate School of Theology
Friday Morning Memo
for Christmas 2000
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22 December 2000

Dear Friends,

A God-blessed Christmas to you!
from all who serve in bgst 

Chapel - Christmas in BGST

One person who seemed to like alliteration said that Christmas chapel was short, sweet and simple with fantastic food. That just about summed up our worship time together last Wednesday.
It was a half-hour worship time dwelling on the two comings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The closing hymn, Joy to the World, is just as appropriate for His second coming as for Christmas. When you next sing it, look at the words a little more carefully and see if you agree. Here is a composite description of the event. The worship time was smooth, and unusual in that there was no speaker. Someone commented on the absence of instrumentalists. Others found the worship time refreshing, and the opportunity to just sing and hear the word of God without additional commentary a blessing. The hope of His coming again made the celebration meaningful for another person. One particular student received inspiration for a task he is responsible for this coming Sunday!

Guests included co-workers from Zion B-P Church. Paul and Janine Vrolijk brought their twin infants, Hannah and Davita. And there were the regulars. The whole atmosphere was one of fellowship and acceptance. It was good to see all 24 of us talking freely and sharing with no apparent barriers. The food was ahh ... good, wonderful, excellent, ‘cook-two-days-and-finish-in-two-hours’, and more than enough. Here I want to record a huge THANK YOU to each one who contributed. 

Hidden talents aplenty were revealed. The fruit cake bakers spent two nights and needless to say, we did not take that long to demolish it. There were trays of mini agar-agar in different shapes and colours, and the English pudding! Lots more were there on the table at 12.30 last Wednesday. You missed that celebration? Well, make a date with us for the next one.

We thank Kok Wee for the colourful decoration in the room. The library team too put in many hours of work preparing the music. God is good and He gave us a blessed time of worship and fellowship.

This coming Wednesday is a public holiday so we meet for chapel again in the new year when our Dean, Dr. Quek himself, will address us.


Newsbits

  • Kindly note that with effect from January 2001, the Admin Office will not be open on Saturdays. 
  • Opening hours on weekdays remain unchanged ie. 9am to 6pm. 
  • There is no change for Library’s opening hours.
  • Do you remember that the staff and faculty will be away on retreat on 28th and 29th? We will be back to serve you on Sat, 30th, the last work day of this year!
  • It is probably the most appropriate course to open the new year: The Holy Spirit - the Lord and Giver of Life. Dr. J W Maris will begin his lectures on Saturday 6 January at 3 p.m. Have you registered yet? If not, call the office to do so. Brochures are available or you can visit the web-site for details and the full course description.

Happy Birthday to

  • Mr. Stephen Yung 26/12
  • Mrs. Lai-Teo Wei Fang 26/12
  • Mrs. Chai Chor Tiang 29/12
  • Dr. Ng Liang Wei 30/12

  • God bless you all!

Faculty Musing - psm

At this significant point of time, Percy Shelley’s words come to mind. In the early 19th century he wrote Ozymandias, a poem about a remnant stump of a once-great statue lying in the desert waste. Here are a few lines from that poem quoting the few bombastic words still visible on that wreck: 

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye mighty and despair!" 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, 
the lone and level sands stretch far away. 

As we come before the Lord with the year that is past, is our view of the Almighty God biblical? Do we see ourselves as God sees us? Or are we like King Ozymandias - a mere temporal totally self deceived man whose great life and works had no eternal value? Let us walk in obedience. 


Thinking Points                                                                                      by Mickey Chiang

Christmas Dreaming

Bing Crosby crooned about dreaming of a White Christmas. Other people were also dreaming around the time of the first Christmas. Who were they? 

Well, first an angel appeared in a dream to Mary’s husband, Joseph, and said, "Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit" (Mt 1:20). Then, "having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they (the Magi) returned to their country by another route" (Mt 2:12). Thirdly, "An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream . ‘Get up’, he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt’ " (Mt 2:13). Fourthly, when Herod died, "an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream" and told him to take the child and his mother and return to Israel (Mt 2:19). But when Joseph returned to Israel, "having been warned in a dream , he withdrew to the district of Galilee … and lived in the town of Nazareth" (Mt 2:22). 

Why did the angel appear to Joseph only in dreams, whereas angels appeared to Mary and the shepherds directly? Did Joseph have a heart problem, and would have died of a heart attack if an angel had suddenly appeared before him? Was a heart problem why the Magi did not see Joseph when they arrived at the house where Jesus was? Mt 2:11 tells us, "On coming (in)to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary". "House"? Not the manger? Whose house? Where was Joseph? Asleep already? For when the Magi had gone, Joseph had another dream! (Mt 2:13). 

Didn’t the Magi arrive at night? Was the door left open during the night? Was it because Joseph was so poor he was not afraid of thieves? Or did he trust God and his angels to protect Jesus and those around him? Or had Joseph, as the man in the house, in fact opened the door to the bunch of foreign strangers arriving at night, but the focus was on Jesus and Mary? And why were Joseph and Mary still in Bethlehem almost two years after the census that brought them to Bethlehem? Was it to escape the disgrace in Nazareth over Mary’s pregnancy before marriage?

Isn’t it amazing that each time an angel spoke to him in a dream, Joseph obeyed immediately? When the angel told him to take Mary home as his wife, Joseph did. When the angel told him to go to Egypt, he got up in the night and went. When the angel told him to return to Israel, didn’t he do so? And when the angel warned him about Archelaus, didn’t Joseph move to Nazareth? What a towering man of faith Joseph was! Will you obey so readily if an angel gives you instructions in a dream? 

Will you? Or has Mickey opened a can of worms with his dreaming? Voice your views / thoughts / sharing? Take time to e-mail us. May you have a beautiful Christmas! 


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