Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


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Blaming God

We all find ourselves at times in vulnerable and unsupported positions (that’s what “lurch” describes). It may be a time of hardship and tragedy, or it may be a time of sin. But regardless of the circumstance, it should be a time of humility and dependence upon God. That is really where the trouble starts. The common tendency among people is to desire to point the finger somewhere else. There is an innate resistance in man to accepting blame or even natural disaster. And Who else is more available for our blame-casting than the very One with whom we all have to do? He never seems to make an effort to defend Himself against all the evil attributed to Him, and so we are safe in our accusations—or are we?

When There is Sin. Man has had a long time to develop his “pass-the-buck” strategy. The very first man on earth learned quickly how to assert the “He’s-Ultimately-Responsible” Principle: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen 3:12). You see, God was obviously responsible for the transgression committed by Adam (how shallow)! Or how about the “There’s Just-No-Pleasing-Him” Principle? When the one-talent man was confronted by his Lord, he excused himself like this: “Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou has not strawed: and I was afraid” (Mat 25:24-25). Makes sense, doesn’t it? The man was lazy and irresponsible, but it was God’s fault because God is too demanding on mankind! Or how about the “What-Does-He-expect-Since-He-Made-Me-Like-This” Principle? James wrote, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed” (Jas 1:13-14). Who really says that God tempts him? Well, anybody who asserts the following faulty syllogism: “I am human. Humans sin because they are human. God made me human. Therefore, God made me to sin!” James said that no man should be able to say such a thing! Ancient Israel often tried to lessen their guilt by accusing God: “Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? Are not YOUR ways unequal” (Eze 18:29). Being able to own up to our sins is absolutely essential to having them cleansed.

When There Are Troubles. I don’t know why people are so much more inclined to blame God than the devil for all their troubles. So many cannot seem to look beyond the momentary difficulties of life to see the ultimate promise of good for the faithful. The Israelites time and time again would lash out at God: “Why did you bring us out here to die?” We know, and they should have known, that He had brought them out there to give them a land which flowed with milk and honey! What about Job’s wife? You and I know that it was Satan (not God) who brought the tragedies upon that family. And yet, when the problems came, Mrs. Job was quick to assign the blame: “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.” (Job2:9)

Let’s use our Bibles and our minds. The good things in life come from God (Jas 1:17). He has done everything to take sins away – not cause them! He wants us to cast our burdens upon Him, “for He careth for you” (1 Pet 5:7). Let’s not blame God. Let’s honour Him.

Don’t give up!

Dalton Key

The principle of steadfast perseverance is repeated often and with emphasis throughout the New Testament. The early Jerusalem church was reported to have “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breading bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Paul later exhorted the saints in Corinth by writing, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). This same peerless apostle, himself a dogged doer of good works, again encouraged the Galatian brethren by writing, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal 6:9).

The Christian life is likened in Scripture to a race to be run. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Heb 12:1)

This race, the Christian race, is not a test of speed, but of endurance. The race begins at Gospel obedience and is meant to continue until death, or “unto death,” If need be (Rev. 2:10). Many begin the race with lofty ambitions and a blistering pace, only to tire quickly and retire at the first sign of adversity. Others run for some distance, but for one reason or another drop out before the race is run.

Blessed are those few who are steadfast, who run their Christian course to the end, who can say with Paul, “I have finished my course” (2 Tim 4:7).

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The “Isaiah” Attitude

Seven centuries before the Christ came, God had a job that needed to be done. He asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah replied, “Here am I; send me” (Isa 6:8). The willingness of the prophet to accept the task to which God referred was exemplary for those who seek to serve God in any time frame.

Notice some of the background of the “Isaiah” attitude. He had seen a vision of the Lord in His glory, sitting upon His eternal throne. Such a glorious God deserved the fullest service! Could it be that so few in the church and in the world have the attitude of Isaiah because they have never caught the vision of the Lord’s glory and power? Of course, He does not manifest Himself to people today in direct visions of glory as the one the prophet saw. However, He has enabled us to see the great measure of His glory, majesty, and authority through His Word. When men visualize His glory they will be more likely to serve Him.

Isaiah was very humble before the Lord and felt himself unworthy to be so near the Lord (Isa 6:5). So many are hindered from serving God whole heartedly because of pride. Pride prevents our assuming the role of servants. It makes us want to protect our dignity above all. Pride convinces us that we know more than God. It makes us think we can improve on God’s eternal plans. It makes us think our plans are more important than God’s. Until we learn to take up our “towel” (John 13:3-16) as well as our cross, and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23), the “Isaiah” attitude will elude us.

Isaiah humbly confessed his sins and his unworthiness before God (Isa 6:5). Many people refuse to obey the plan of salvation because they feel inadequate and unworthy. Many members of the church commit some sin and drift further away from God because they realize they have sinned. This is the classic “catch 22” or endless cycle of many lives: people sin because they refuse or fail to serve because they have sinned. The only solution is to break the cycle as did Isaiah — obtain the Lord’s forgiveness by following His plan for our forgiveness.

With the vision of God’s glory and the assurance of God’s pardon fresh in his mind, Isaiah was ready to go wherever God would send and to serve however God would assign. Oh, how the Lord needs men, women, boys, and girls, with the “Isaiah” attitude. When the call for workers goes forth this attitude will make us respond personally, immediately, and unconditionally, with a hearty,

“Here am I; send me.”

What costs me nothing

After David had been told by God to build an altar and worship God on the threshing floor of Araunah, this Jebusite offered the king the threshing floor and everything necessary to worship God. David refused the offer with these words: “Nay, but I will verily buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt-offerings unto Jehovah my God which cost me nothing: (2 Sam 24:24)

Would that all Christians had the attitude of David. Instead, they often show the very opposite disposition. David realized that an offering which cost him nothing was worth exactly that to him: nothing. God has always demanded the best that a person has—not what somebody else has (Lev 22:21).

All we have has been given to us by God to use for His glory and in His service. We are but stewards of these things (1 Pet 4:10). The Lord expects us to be good stewards, but giving what comes without cost to us is not practicing faithful stewardship.

The measure of our devotion, reverence, and love for God is in direct proportion to how much we are willing to commit to the service of God, or how much we are willing to sacrifice (John 12:3ff). Those who take the easiest, cheapest way to serve God are, in reality, servants of self, not God.

There is to be nothing cheap about our religion. It is to be the best we have—the same attitude that characterized David. “I will not offer… unto Jehovah my God that which cost me nothing.”


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Whispering During Services

I had occasion to visit the services of another congregation recently. I arrived late because I had preached at 6.00p.m. and could not get there earlier. I took a seat near the rear of the auditorium, unfortunately, just in front of two teenagers. I could hear them whispering during the song that preceded the sermon. This I thought about a little, but did not become excited.

As the minister spoke, I was constantly annoyed by the whispering that came from behind me. Even though I tried very hard to hear what the preacher was saying, the continual disturbance by these two teenagers let me get little (if anything) from the sermon. It was like trying to hear the weather report on the news over TV when the children are yelling, laughing and playing.

Theses two teenagers sang the song of invitation with as much fervor as any of the other worshipers present. I thought about speaking to them, but being a stranger in their service, I simply left. I could not but reflect that they did not know if I were a Christian or not, nor did they care whether I heard the sermon or not. They had no interest in the preacher’s sermon and through their muffled conversation killed the lesson for others who sat near them. I kept wondering why their parents did not check on them and stop their talking.

Those of you who whisper in church service, I appeal—either wait until services are ended or get our conversations over before they begin. I saw a little poster in the lobby of a church house one time that went like this: “If you must whisper, whisper a prayer.” I like that idea and encourage its practice. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40)

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The problem of distraction comes up every now and then. We have all experienced being disturbed by the cry of the baby, the movement of young children, the passing of notes and of course, whispering.

To the “noise-makers”: Be reminded of the importance of worshiping God in spirit and in truth. (Jn 4:23) God is in our midst when we worship and we must revere our Heavenly Father and be considerate to those around us too. To the “disturbed”: Let us be humble in correcting others and be patient while they grow in faith. (2 Tim 2:25-26)

We must not forget that Christ teaches us to be patient too. People at different stages of their lives face different challenges. Those who are strong, ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Rm 15:1) In short, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 5:16)

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Have you met the Tate Family?

Do you know how many of the Tate family belong to our congregation? There is one man, Dictate, who wants to run everything, while Uncle Rotate tries to change everything. Their sister, Agitate, stirs up plenty of trouble with help from her husband, Irritate. Whenever new projects are suggested, Hesitate and his wife, Vegetate, want to wait until next year. Then there is Aunt Imitate who wants our church to be like all the rest of the churches. Devastate provides the voice of doom while Potentate wants to be a big shot.

But not all of the members of the family are bad. Facilitate is quite helpful in church matters, and a delightful member in the family is Miss Felicitate. Cousin Cogitate and Meditate always think things over and lend a helpful, steadying hand.

And, of course, there is the black sheep of the family, Amputate, who has completely cut himself off from the church.

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Note: If you’re not familiar with some of the names of the “Tate” family, you may wish to look them up in the dictionary.


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Spontaneous Worship

“Spontaneous Worship” is one of the gimmicks employed by those who seek to restructure the worship. The idea is that of spontaneously bursting forth in song, prayer, or testimony. This practice is often observed in “youth meetings: and :devotionals.” Those in charge of these activities often (not always) seek to create an artificial atmosphere of mysticism and excitement by turning down the lights and asking those there to hold hands. Then an invitation is extended for any and all to participate by doing whatever they feel impelled to do: begin a song, word a prayer, or speak. The speaking is usually in the form of testifying as to how much more fulfilled and happy their lives are since they “accepted Christ.” The prayers are sometimes “chain prayers” in which all who desire are invited to participate. Spontaneous singing is not always exclusive of these special meetings, but often takes place a few minutes before the regular meetings of some congregations. One arriving prior to the announced time is shocked to discover the worship has already begun.

Authority for such worship comes not from the New Testament, but rather has its roots in the false worship of sectarian churches. New Testament churches were commanded to “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40).

The expression “in order” is from the Greek word taxis which has been defined by scholars as: “An arranging, arrangement, order (akin to tasso, to arrange, draw up in order), is used in Luke 1:8 of the fixed succession of the course of priests; of due order, in contrast to confusion in the gatherings of the local church, 1 Cor 14:40”. Spontaneous worship then is a violation of this command. While orderliness is included in the command, it
involves more. A practice may be orderly but not in order. Though the New Testament has not specified the exact sequence of the items of worship, it has specified what they are and that the services are to be by plan or arrangement. The number of songs or prayers used, whether the Lord’s Supper is observed before or after the sermon, etc., are things which may be varied from time to time and congregation to congregation, but this is not to be done haphazardly or spontaneously without plan or arrangement beforehand.

The idea of spontaneity comes from the Society of Friends (Quakers) who teach that one must wait until the Spirit moves him before speaking in their assemblies. We are told that they sometimes sit for hours before one feels that they Spirit has directed him to speak. This practice may also be derived from the Pentecostals who teach the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, modern day revelations, and speaking in tongues. Testimonial services come from Calvinism, which requires an “experience of grace” before one is admitted to membership in churches practicing this doctrine. While they speak of “testifying for Christ,” they are in reality testifying concerning themselves. The testimony of the apostles and inspired men of the first century is recorded for us in the New Testament. They were eyewitnesses of His resurrection and gave ample testimony of His Divinity. The idea of mysticism and excitement created by such things as turning down lights, etc., comes from spiritualism and the occult religions.

I believe that true New Testament worship has been restored, and any effort to modify will only result in perverting it and making it vain. There are those who accuse us of ritualism and traditionalism and attempt to cure this situation by adding the rituals and traditions of men. I plead guilty of practicing only those rites authorized in the New Testament and holding fast to the tradition of the apostles. Worship in churches of Christ can be improved and made more spiritual by improving the worshiper and not by modifying the worship.

There are many things in life
That we cannot understand,
But we must trust God’s judgment
And be guided by His hand.
The Lord is a stronghold to him whose way is upright.
Proverbs 10:29


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The Joy of Soul-Winning

Soul-winning is the most important work in the world. It alone was the sufficient cause for the Word to become flesh and dwell among men (Jn 1:14). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

(Lk 19:10) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

After Jesus provided the means through His atoning blood by which souls might be won and saved from sin, He sent His disciples out with the incomparable task of winning souls by preaching His Gospel. But soul-winning is not merely a task or duty, although it is certainly both. It is also a surpassing privilege that brings manifold joy each time a soul is won by the Gospel.

Soul-winning brings joy to Heaven.

(Lk 15:10) “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Since the first sin, the whole interest of Heaven has been the redemption of the human race. God spent several centuries bringing His plan of redemption to fruition.

(Gal 4:4) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”

Would it not be the wonder of all wonders if the Heavenly hosts were indifferent when men choose to obey the Gospel and be saved? The populace of Heaven is no less thrilled when the redeemed go out seeking the souls of those yet lost. How much joy have you hereby brought to the angels?

Soul-winning brings joy to the soul won.

After his baptism, the Ethiopian “went on his way rejoicing”. (Acts 8:39) “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

The joy of the discovery and obedience of the Truth, the release from the guilt of sin, the entering into a new life, and the hope of eternal life all combine to make the moment of conversion a source of incomparable rejoicing!

Soul-winning brings joy to the soul-winner.

(Ps 126:6) “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

There are many joys and thrills to be experienced in the Christian life, but only one outshines that of becoming a Christian: sowing the seed and reaping the harvest of a soul.

Soul-winning brings joy to all the saints.

When Paul and Barnabas reported the conversion of many Gentiles from their preaching efforts, “they caused great joy unto all the brethren” (Acts 15:3) ”And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.”

There are some few who could not care less whether or not the Gospel is taken to the lost, but most saints rejoice greatly at the news of every soul won, regardless of who won it. The genuine heart can never be jealous of nor indifferent to the success of others in winning souls. No wonder Solomon wrote: (Pro 11:30) “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”

Give Me One Soul Today

Lead me to some souls today

O teach me Lord, just what to say

Friends of mine

Are lost in sin

And cannot find their way

Few there are who seem to care

And few there are who pray

Melt my heart and fill my life

Give me one soul today