Bishop tells new Deacons and Elders:
You are God’s messengers, total commitment to Him is necessary
NEWLY-ORDAINED DEACONS AND ELDERS have been told by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon that they are God’s messengers and total commitment to the One who sends them is necessary.
He reminded them that the Methodist itinerant system is a system of sent messengers. is is biblical – Jesus kept identifying Himself as the One who was sent by the Father.
He added: “God is pleased when His messengers remain faithful and trustworthy no matter what.”
He was speaking at the Closing-cum-Ordination Service of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference during its 35th Session at the Tamil Methodist Church on Nov 13, 2010 at which he ordained the Rev Anilkumar Samuel as an Elder.
The Bishop relayed the same message at the Chinese Annual Conference’s Closing-cum-Ordination Service at its 35th Session at Charis Methodist Church on Nov 18.
Here, Pastors Andy Goh Yik Wah, Boey Kok Yeow, Christopher Louis Kong Chung Dai, Peter Pan Seng Tai, Albert Ong Huat Meng and Seet Keng Tat were ordained as Deacons, while the Rev Anne Lim Ai Lei and the Rev Chan Kok Chuon were ordained as Elders.
Entitled “A Trustworthy Messenger”, the Bishop’s message was based on the text from Haggai 1. Haggai, he said, was “the Lord’s messenger”. Haggai had a message to deliver, and the message was, “Give careful thought to your ways.”
Reminding the ordinands and congregations of the importance of their response to God’s message, the Bishop said first, they have to fear God, and second, they have to obey God.
This is always the right response to the faithful preaching of God’s Word, and the faithful ministry of God’s messenger.
The Bishop said that while God sends His messengers and they are expected to be trustworthy by being faithful to Him and to faithfully deliver His message, it is not easy to be a trustworthy messenger for there are many temptations and obstacles.
Firstly, spiritual neglect of one’s own life will result in disaster. In Isa 42:19-20, God laments over His blind servant and deaf messenger Israel. “Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but you have paid no attention, your ears are open, but you hear nothing.”
Imagine a deaf messenger. How can he convey the message when he is deaf? e Lord’s messenger cannot be faithful and trustworthy unless he keeps in touch with the Lord and keeps hearing the Lord.
Secondly, poor response can bring discouragement. Herein comes the first temptation. When there is little or poor response to his message, the messenger can dilute or change his message to make it palatable or to win the applause of the people. In Mal 2:7-8 God rebukes the unfaithful priests who had changed their message.
The Bishop then told the story of Senator Mark Hatfield asking Mother Teresa how she could bear the load of feeding and nursing so many children and people in their last days in Calcutta, and Mother Tersea replying: “My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.”
If the first temptation comes from frustration, the second temptation comes from fear. To be faithful to God by relaying His message faithfully can bring strong opposition and even death.
Paul knew that personally, said the Bishop, and that was why he asked for prayer in his ministry as God’s messenger (Eph 6:19-20).
Guard against ‘spiritual viruses’: TRAC President
AT THE ORDINATION-CUM-CLOSING SERVICE during the 35th Session of Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on Nov 25, 2010, TRAC President Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup warned the ordinands and the congregation to be protected against “spiritual viruses”, which he named as:
• FALSE and fanciful doctrines;
• CARNAL TRICKERY of human beings; and
• PLOTTING OR SCHEMING of human beings against one another.
What is the critical ingredient that will ensure that we arrive at the ultimate aim of equipping the saints and ourselves to enable all of us to build up the Body of Christ so that there is unity and maturity of faith, he asked.
The key, he said, is that every part [of the Body of Christ] must do its share by speaking the Truth in Love. “Speaking is integral to equipping, edifying and ministry, and what Paul is exhorting us (every part in the Body of Christ) is that we do all that in love.”
At the service, Mrs Teresa Wilborn was ordained as a Diaconal Minister, Pastor Chia Chin Nam was ordained as a Deacon, and the Rev David Gwee Hock Soon was ordained as an Elder. Mr Kim Seah was installed as TRAC Vice-President.
Entitling his message “ The Ministry of the Whole People of God”, the Rev Dr Wee said that it is the saints who are to do ministry and edify the Body of Christ, but “ministry is what every one of us has to do”.
“It is not only the work of the pastors. Neither is it something we farm out to the Lay Ministry Staﬀ or other full-time staﬀ. Nor is it something that those who are elected into the Local Conference, or the LCEC, or any committee. Every part of the Body has to do its share.
“I am also speaking to all of us here who are in vocational Christian ministry, otherwise called the ‘full-time’ ministry, especially pastors.
“We are not just called to do ministry, which we must, but integral to our calling is equipping and edifying others so that the masses in the Body of Christ are the ones who will do the kind of ministry that will impact and have far greater reaches that we in these oﬃces can.”
He ended his message by urging those present to respond to the pastoral ministry.
Story by Peter Teo ■ Picture by Daniel Lie