This is often a busy time of the year, and amidst the flurry of activities, we also tend to be pensive and reflect on the year that has just passed. It's not uncommon to find "best of 2017" kinds of articles on all sorts of things -- books, movies, articles, memes, dog videos etc.
This kind of reflection is not merely sentimentality speaking. In fact, in many parts of the Bible, God calls His people to remember who He is what He has done for them. The people of Israel were commanded to do so (c.f. Deut 5:15, 7:18, 8:2) and numerous Psalms were written with this remembering in mind (c..f Ps 63:6, 77:3, 78:35 etc). Here at the Fellowship, we'd also like to pause and remember all that God has seen us through in 2017.
In 2017, we've worked through 7 series covering books from both the Old and the New Testaments. We started our year with the "Letters of Jesus" in the first 3 chapters of the book of Revelation. Though written to churches foreign lands thousands of years ago, we saw how the contents of the letters were still relevant to us in 21st Century Singapore. The rebuke and call to repent from false teachings and sins, the exhortation to persevere amidst suffering and the hope for those that persevere to the end are truths that are for us too.
Next, we looked at 2 books in the minor prophets -- Jonah and Zephaniah. The book of Jonah, as we came to see, was more than just a tale about a man and a fish. It was a book that showed how salvation really belongs to the Lord (Jonah 2:9), as He sought to extend His grace to a Gentile nation. Jonah showed us that God's plans will not be thwarted by a reluctant prophet. Our series in the book of Zephaniah (titled "Yahweh has hidden") might have been the first time many of us read this rather obscure book of the Bible. Zephaniah has two major themes: the judgement on the world and the restoration of God’s people on the ‘day of the LORD’, and led us to consider God as He has revealed Himself.
We also embarked on 2 studies to mark the 500th year of the Reformation. "Gospel concentrate" was our study in the book of Galatians, where we returned to examine the one true gospel, and were forced to consider if we've strayed or replaced it with other false gospels. In our "Doctrines of Grace" series, we examined the 5 doctrines of grace not by studying the works of Calvin, but by going back to the precious Word of God. More than just a theological position, these doctrines also have an impact on the way we live, think and love each other daily, until the Lord calls us home!
This year, we also had an evangelistic series titled "Meeting Jesus". Through Jesus' encounters with different people -- such as the hurting, the skeptic, the party goers, those who are ashamed -- we saw our Saviour's heart for His people. Many brought friends who are both Christians and non-Christians, and this was a good chance not only to have conversations about matters of faith, but also to show our friends what we do at Bible studies.
Our Advent series has become an annual tradition, as it forces us to slow down and consider the gift and hope of Christmas in a usually busy period. This year, we looked at the names of Emmanuel as described in the hymn 'O Come O Come Emmanuel', and pondered anew the meaning and wonder of "God with us".
If you've been at the Fellowship for a while, you've probably heard us say repeatedly that "we're not a church' and we're just a group of people that want to study God's Word together. 2017 has been a year where we've tried to be faithful to that, not only during our weekly studies, but also in life. Our "YA life hacks" blog series was one attempt at seeing how God's word is so relevant for our lives, and challenges some of the thinking and way of living as modern, young people in Singapore. God has also graciously provided the opportunity for us to conduct 3 rounds of Bible study leading trainings for those who want to learn how to read the Bible with another person or their friends in church.
2017 has been an eventful year for us and none of it was by the clever schemes nor eloquence of man. God's amazing grace was there every step of the way as we all sought to be obedient followers of Jesus, striving to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as God worked in us to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13). God willing, we hope to continue these things in 2018, and we're excited to invite you to partner and journey along with us.