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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The Young Christian Man

Life can be likened to a canoe trip on a river which constantly changes.  Here and there the trip is slow-moving and pleasant; you have time to consider the wonders of your surroundings—the beauty of the shore, the trees, the mountains, the sun and enjoy the trip.  Then, suddenly, the river can turn into a nightmare of white water.  Somehow, you have to steer your frail craft through dangerous rapids that could at any moment cause you to turn over.

We are always changing, and the world is always changing.  How can we remain true to Christ as we navigate the turbulence of change?  We should first understand those changes, and second, be equipped to deal with the spiritual challenges of each period of life.

Developmental psychologists today usually divide adulthood into three stages: early adulthood; middle adulthood, and late adulthood.  Each stage has its own “developmental tasks” and spiritual challenges.  The Bible deals with the special temptations and tasks of each stage.  We shall deal with the Early Adulthood (18—29 yr) in this issue.

The young man faces several “developmental tasks” like selecting a mate (or adjusting to unmarried status), learning to live with a marriage partner, starting a family, rearing children, learning to relate to the children of others, managing a home etc.

Then he faces and “age-thirty transition.”  Many men develop a “restless vitality” when they reach this age.  They feel they have not accomplished all they want to accomplish and must make some changes.  The Bible recognizes the category of “youth” and gives special instructions to those in that age group, because young men face many spiritual challenges.

 

Young men must decide whom they will follow.
Being young means making decisions—about marriage, children, and employment.  Those decisions can be confusing.  One thing will help the young man make the right decisions: choosing to follow Christ.  Once that decision is made, all other decisions will be made in keeping with that one big decision.

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Men who do not decide to follow Christ in their youth may find it harder and harder to turn to God as they get older.

 

Young men must flee youthful lusts
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

Of course, a man can be tempted to commit fornication or adultery at any age.  Older men may fall prey to lust because they mistakenly feel they are too old to be tempted. (1 Corinthians 10:12) “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” When men are young, however, their sexual drive is at its peak.  Therefore, young men have a special responsibility to watch out for temptation and to keep lust out of their heart.

 

Young men must begin to mature
In a sense, the business of being young is to get over it!  That is the major task of being young is to mature, so that one is no longer guilty of behaviour that would be classified as “childish”.  That is not a popular idea in today’s world, were many are slow to give up the “freedom” of their youth.

Paul, in contrast, said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. (1Corinthians 13:11)

When Paul told Titus to “urge the young men to be sensible (Titus 2:6), he used a word that he had already used of older men (Titus 2:2) “that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience”. He did not say, “Let the young men act foolishly, enjoy life, have a good time, and live for pleasure.”  The business of youth is to give up childishness.

What are some” childish things: we must give up as we grow up?

Hedonism—the idea that pleasure is the greatest good in life.

Instant gratification—the inability to see beyond the moment or recognize that momentary pain (work and sacrifice) will have long-term benefits.

Selfishness—the tendency to see the world only in terms of what personal benefits it (or other people) can provide, rather than, at some cost to oneself, seeking to become part of a larger cause for the greater good.

 

May the youths in our congregation continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ to become the future leaders of His church.

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How to Train Men for Leadership

One of the pressing needs of our brotherhood is great and godly leaders in the church.  However, leaders do not just happen—they are made!  We must realize that the Church has the responsibility for training these leaders.  Without doubt, some men are born with greater leadership ability than others, but this alone does not make a leader.

First of all, I would suggest that we start training leaders from their youth.  When children, from their earliest years, are taught by godly parents, by a strong Bible class arrangement, and from a strong pulpit, that as they grow toward adulthood, they must be willing to accept their responsibilities and obligations as they become qualified, we will have young men and women stepping in and working whatever capacity they can.

On the other hand, when we come in contact with a person who has obeyed the Gospel later in life and the person is manifesting the qualities of “leadership,” we should encourage him to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

We should not hesitate to encourage the man and woman in their twenties and thirties to begin, right then, to work toward the goal of becoming a godly elder and elder’s wife.  Many great and godly elders, preachers, and strong workers that we have in the church today never heard the simple Gospel of Christ until they were well past their teenage years.

Second, I would strongly urge that we show them “leadership.”  How many of our young people are going into the world without ever having seen true, Biblical “leadership”?  Rather, they have seen weak, insipid, vague “leadership” demonstrated by elders and preachers who test the winds of the wishes of the people before they make a decision, men who will stand for nothing and fall for everything!  By the example of such men, most of our young people are seeing the church as a democracy rather than a monarchy.

Last, but certainly not least, I would urge a strong diet of “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5) “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel”.  The number of elders, parents, and Bible class teachers who are to be blamed because they have failed to see the great opportunities of a Bible class situation will not be known this side of eternity.  Sadly enough parents have turned their responsibility of teaching the Bible over to the Bible class because they do not know the Bible, and in many instances, the teacher knows precious little more than the parent.  Uncaring elders without knowledge, unprepared and unqualified teachers, games, paste, and crayons will not lay the groundwork for a child who knows little about the Bible.

The strength of the pulpit should never be underestimated.  The preaching of the simple Gospel of Christ will help in training men for leadership in the church.  Rather than upholding principles of truth, righteousness, and holiness, of sending forth a clear message of condemnation of sin and urging repentance and conviction based upon Bible authority, our pulpits are turning the church into a “mutual admiration society,” a “make me feel good about me in my sins” gathering, a “let’s do something even if it’s wrong” attitude, a “toys, games, and yo-yos” complex that mistakes coffee, doughnuts, and gymnasiums for the “fellowship” of (1 John 1:7 )“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

As long as our colleges and our schools of preaching recognize the part they can play in the training of leaders, that they are a means to an end, and not the end itself (this is not to be understood as blanket endorsement of all of “our” colleges or all of “our” preaching schools)., then they likewise should be considered.  But when such institutions become “policy makers” for the brotherhood, with pulpits filled or emptied at the behest, or when they become “doctrine makers,” then they have overstepped their usefulness and should pass into oblivion.

We have a great and mighty task before us.  Le us put on “the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:13) “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”, that we might be able to train men for leadership in the New Testament church.


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A Father’s Love

Phil Littleford took his son on an Alaskan fishing trip with two other men.  In a quest to find some running salmon, they flew their seaplane into a secluded bay. The fishing was everything they had dreamed. When they had finished for the day, their plane was on dry ground. The fluctuating tide had left their plane twenty-three feet from the water, so they cooked some of their fish for dinner and slept in the plane.

When they awoke…. the tide had come in and their plane was drifting in the water.  They cranked the engine and took off. Unknown to them, one of the pontoons had been punctured and was filled with water. The extra weight caused the seaplane to crash within moments. Everyone survived, BUT they had no safety equipment on board. They used their waders as floating devices, but the frigid water was a deadly threat. The current was too strong for Dr. Littleford’s twelve-year-old son to swim against. The other two men fought their way against the tide and barely made it to shore.

The two survivors looked back from shore to see Dr. Littleford and his son, Mark, being swept out to sea, arm-in-arm. The Coast Guard reported that they probably lasted no more than an hour in the freezing waters.  The hypothermia would chill the body functions and put them to sleep. Mark, with a smaller body mass, would fall asleep first and die in his father’s arms. Dr. Littleford could have made it to shore, BUT that would have meant abandoning his son.  He chose to die with his boy!

You and I were lost in the sea of SIN!  Too weak to fight against sin’s current,

WE were without hope.  Seeing our terrible plight, the Heavenly Father did NOT abandon us, but rather He sent His Son to our rescue.  The Son of God reached out to us urging us to cling to Him for our salvation.  In order to rescue us from our sins, the Son of God gave His life.  He died – so that we might live!

Through His sacrificial death, the Son of God CONTINUES to reach out to ALL who are drowning in the sea of SIN.  ONLY those who “GRASP” His offer of salvation are saved.

To be saved… one must:
Embrace the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)

Repent of sin
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Confess Jesus
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

AND continue to cling to the Savior in obedience to His will
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

The love of the Father is too GREAT to be comprehended, but too IMPORTANT to be refused!

Will YOU not reach up to Him through your trusting obedience for salvation?

Daddy Had A Little Boy

Daddy had a little boy,
His soul was white as snow.
He never went to Bible class,
“cause Daddy wouldn’t go.

He never heard the stories of Jesus
That thrilled the childish mind;
While other children went to class,
This child was left behind.

And as he grew from babe to youth,
Dad saw to his dismay
A soul that once was snowy white
Become a dingy gray.

Realizing his son was lost,
Dad tried to win him back;
But now the soul that once was white
Had turned an ugly black.

Dad even started back to church,
And Bible study too,
He begged the preacher,  “Isn’t there
A thing that you can do?”

The preacher tried and failed, and said,
“We’re just too far behind,
I tried to tell you years ago,
But you would pay no mind.”

And so another soul is lost,
That once was white as snow;
Bible study would have helped-
But Daddy wouldn’t go.

Written by David A. Sargent


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The Christian Man And His Recreation

If we believe that the Christian religion relates to the whole of life, not just to those hours we spend in public worship or at work, then we must believe that God’s Word has something to say about our recreation, just as it does about our work and worship. What does it say? What principles can we find in the Bible to guide the Christian man as he engages in his recreation?

Realize that taking time for recreation is not wrong
God’s Word teaches us to work. However, it does not require that we work all the time. The Old testament law regarding the Sabbath Day demonstrates that God intended for man to take some time off from work to rest.

Jesus indicated in his own life the need for rest, for time off from the pressing problems and urgent tasks of His ministry. On one occasion Jesus said, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest for a while” (Mark 6:31).

Bring glory to God during recreation
Perhaps Colossians 3:17 would apply to our recreation, as well as to other areas of life: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the father.” This is also stated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:31.

How can recreation be “to the glory of God”? We can bring glory to God by refusing to engage in unethical, immoral, or illegal recreation. We will not, for example, be involved in gambling as a means of amusement, although millions of people around the world gamble regularly. This goes the same for alcoholic drinks, dancing and drugs.

Much of today’s entertainment appeals to our basest instincts; it may attract us because it offers sinful pleasures such as explicit movies, fornication, and prostitution. The Christian who seeks to keep himself “unstained by the world” (James 1:27), who chooses not to conform himself to the world.

(Romans 12:1, 2), We must fight against such temptations.
We can bring glory to God by always acting like Christians. Even people in the world recognize the responsibility to act properly in games. They want players to live up to an expected code of conduct.

If worldly people can tell the difference between players who abide by the rules and those who do not, Christians should live up to an even higher code of conduct. Our guidelines are imposed not only by the rules of the games, but also by the commands of Christ: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12) “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) Another way to bring glory to God is to give Him the praise for our ability to do well.
When athletes achieve something remarkable, they often say something like “I just want to thank God for giving me this ability.” They know where their great athletic skills came from; at least they are right about that.

Perhaps we should learn a lesson from them. We may think that God gives us the ability to sing, pray, or preach, but have the idea that any other talent we have comes from our genes, our desire, or our training. In truth, everything we have and are – including intellectual ability, writing skills, the ability to earn a living or any other talent – comes from God (James 1:17). If God has blessed us with the ability to excel at games, we ought to praise Him for that gift.

We can bring glory to God by using our recreation as an opportunity to make friends, with a view toward influencing them for Christ. Through recreation, Christians frequently get close to people who could through that friendship become receptive to the gospel.

Keep recreation in perspective
Whatever we do for recreation, we should keep it in perspective. Although “giving our all is important to us during a game, we must not let our recreation become all-important in our lives.

We can keep recreation in perspective by remembering the purpose of recreation. People in the world are deadly serious about sports. Christians also can be swept away in the tide of emotion that when that happens, we should stop and ask ourselves, “What’s this all about?” Why do we get involved in sports or games? We should do it for the good mental and physical health; for fellowship – for the opportunity to make, and be with, friends – for fun or pleasure; and for the glory of God. If we become so concerned about winning and do the opposite of what we should do, we should consider giving up that form of of recreation.

We can keep recreation in perspective by not allocating an inordinate amount of time and money to it. Christian men can be tempted to give priority to recreation over more important responsibilities. We need to remind ourselves that we should not spend so much money on games but rather give more to church. The same goes for spending time in recreation then spending time for our families or the services of the church. What, after all, is most important in life? Jesus told us to seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). Recreation cannot come before God, nor should play before family.

We can keep recreation in perspective by recognizing its relative unimportance compared to the saving of our souls and the souls of others. Think of Paul’s words; “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but  godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). We must, therefore, make sure that we do not get involved in recreational activities in such a way as to put our souls, or the souls of others, in jeopardy.

Make enjoyable activities more spiritual and spiritual activities more enjoyable
We tend to view life as having separate compartments: “work,” “worship,” “family,” “recreation,” and so forth. This, of course, is not the biblical way for the Christian to view his life. Christianity is related to all of life. We can learn to see life differently, to recognize that the lines separating different parts of our lives are imaginary. We should realize that life has unity; each part is affected by every other part.

Our recreation can become more “spiritual.” That is, it can fulfill a religious purpose. We can use this principle every time we have a Christian camp. There “religious” experiences and “fun” experiences merge; campers go from one to another almost without noticing the transition. Faith and fun blend when the church has fellowship dinner, as members eat and talk and laugh together. How much better it is for Christian to get his “recreation” and “enjoyment” in these ways than to indulge his desire for amusement in totally secular, sometimes even anti-Christian, environments.

Our “spiritual” activities can also become “more enjoyable.” Is it possible that our church attendance, our hymn-singing, our praying can become more enjoyable? To make this happen, we need not change everything – the way we sing, the way we stand, what we do in worship. Change, even in incidental matters, is not the key to enjoying worship. If Christians are to enjoy worship, the change required is a change of attitude. We should have the attitude of the psalmist: “I was glad when they say to me, ‘Let us go up to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1)    If we will change our attitudes, we can learn to enjoy singing, reading the bible, and hearing God’s Word preached. We can even learn to enjoy giving! When we do, we may be able to say, “My favorite recreation is to go to church.” At that point, our “recreation” and our “religious responsibilities” will have merged.

Conclusion
A single theme runs throughout these suggestions: During times of recreation, remember the presence of Christ, your responsibility to Christ.

Remembering these three things may revolutionize your recreation.

Furthermore, the result will be that, whether you win or lose, you may be sure of two facts: (1) Others will know that a Christian man has been among them. (2) You can win ultimately an “imperishable” crown (1 Corinthians 9;25), a “crown of  righteousness” to be awarded to you by the Judge of all the earth (2 Timothy 4:7,8)! This is a prize worth the struggle!


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The Matured Christian Man

That constantly changing river is more like life than we want to think.  Philosophers tell us that the only unchanging element of life is change. Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel called You Can’t Go Home Again.  The person who goes home is not “you”; you have changed since you lived there.  The place where you go is not “home” either; it has also changed since you left.

We are always changing, and the world is always changing.  How can we remain true to Christ as we navigate the turbulence of change?  We should first understand those changes, and second, be equipped to deal with the spiritual challenges of each period of life.

Developmental psychologists today usually divide adulthood into three stages: early adulthood; middle adulthood, and late adulthood.  Each stage has its own “developmental tasks” and spiritual challenges.  The Bible deals with the special temptations and tasks of each stage.  We touched on the Early Adulthood in the last  issue, and will deal with the Middle Adulthood (30—60 yr) in this issue.

From about thirty or forty to about fifty-five or sixty-five (no consensus exists as to when mid-life begins or ends), a man experiences numerous physical changes.  He can no longer run as fast or jump as high as he once could; he is likely to put on weight.

And either lose his hair or see it turn grey.  He may be sick more often.  While his earning power is likely to be high, he is also likely to experience stress—stress connected with getting older, as well as economic, emotional, and psychological stress.

The “developmental tasks” of middle age are these:

  1. Achieving adult civic and social responsibility
  2. Assisting teen-age children to become responsible and happy adults
  3. Developing adult leisure-time activities
  4. Relating oneself to one’s spouse as a person
  5. Accepting and adjusting to the physiological changes of middle-age
  6. Reaching and maintaining satisfactory performance in one’s career
  7. Adjusting to aging parents
  8. Acquiring a set of values and an ethical system as a guide to behaviour.

 

A mid-life transition typically occurs between thirty-five and forty-five, with individual variations.  This is a time of crisis, leading to change which may be closely associated with occupational factors.  In some cases, it leads to “serious emotional fall-out.  At this time some men, seeing old age peeking around the corner, feel obliged to prove that they are still young—by changing their appearance, for instance, or by having an affair with a younger woman.

The Bible does not, in any one passage, seem to differentiate between three ages of life, unless John refers to three ages when he addresses “children,” “young men,” and “fathers” in the same passage .

12 “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.”
13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”
(1 John 2:12-14)

The primary challenge for the mature Christian man is to provide spiritual leadership for the home and the church and the community.  Some may grow up in Christ and be good, but good for what?  They abstain from sin themselves, but provide no spiritual leadership to help others become pleasing to God.  As the Christian man matures, he should develop the qualities which characterize elders mentioned in I Timothy 3 as well as Titus 1.  Then, with those qualities, he should become a strong servant-leader in the struggle for right.

A second spiritual challenge of middle age is to keep one’s priorities in order.  At this stage of life, a man can easily become addicted to ambition, becoming so set on getting ahead and making money that he neglects what is most important in life: God, the church, his family, and his friends.  At this point in his life, the Christian man especially ought to remember Jesus’ words:  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).