A Family Set Apart

Dear Wesley Family,

I hope you had a great start to the new year! 

I tested positive for COVID on the second day of the year. What followed was a pretty rough week as I went through what I felt were like a thousand needles piercing my throat. It didn’t help that my wife also tested positive two days after I did.  

I remember preaching at the services on Sunday, 1 January, that I would take the next step in my discipleship journey with regard to my roles as husband, father and son in my family. God kept me to my word. Through this COVID trial, I have learnt to appreciate my family anew. My wife took care of me even when she was down herself, my son played his part and my parents cooked meals for us. I am truly grateful to the Lord for my family. 

I am also thankful for the church family. Many showed their concern through texts and prayers. Others supported with care packages. My family really felt the love poured out by the church community. The church was truly with us. 

I am humbly reminded of the important role that our family and the church community play in our lives.  

It is our desire in our directions this year to see a revival of love, care and support for each other through discipleship in the family Church family and our own families.

I believe that such revival can happen when we set apart our church family and biological families for the purposes and glory of God.  

To set ourselves apart is consistent with the biblical idea of being holy.  As God is holy, He is set apart because there is none like Him. In the same way, we are to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:1516). 

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua declared before the Israelites, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 

At the end of the conquest of the promised land, right at Shechem where the whole of Israel was called to renew their covenant with God, Joshua made a declaration of outstanding commitment to set apart His clan, household and family to serve the Lord and not bow down to the idols of the land.  

First, we are to be set apart in the posture we take. 

Joshua declared that the people of God needed to fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth as they put aside all other idols (v14).   

Will you make that your spiritual posture where your own family is concerned? As a family, you can posture yourselves to be spiritually right with the Lord, and this will be the spiritual stance you take, even before anything happens.  

I pray this will always be the spiritual posture of Wesley as a church family. God will always be the centre of our church and we will serve God and no other gods. This is our spiritual posture as we go into this year with our programmes and activities. 

Next, we can be set apart through the choices we make. 

Joshua asked the people of God to choose.

They had to choose whom they would serve. The gods of the land or God who had brought them through the conquest of the land. 

So it is with our families and the church family. We must choose whom we will worship. Will it be Christ, or the gods and values of this world?  We must choose how we are to worship God with our lives and grow in our discipleship in the new year. 

What choices will you make for discipleship in your family? What’s your next step of obedience? 

Finally, we must be set apart through the path we follow

Joshua knew that if he and his house were to serve the Lord, they would walk a path which the Lord would provide. It would not be an easy path but it would be a rewarding one. Joshua had witnessed the goodness of God in providing for the Israelites as they conquered the land. God would be no less faithful if he and his house now serve Him in the land.  

So it is with us. Our families and church family are to be set apart for God for the paths He has called us to take. It will be a path where we receive God’s sufficient grace and empowering strength as we stay faithful as His courageous servants. 

What does a family set apart look like for you? 

Let the Spirit of God grant you that vision. 

Let the Spirit of God fill you with godly courage. 

With His grace and strength, you will set apart your family for our Lord through the right spiritual posture, the right choices and taking the right path. 

As you do that, may His peace and love be yours. 

Have a most blessed 2023. 

Ps Ray

(Rev Raymond Fong, Pastor-in-Charge)

What Does a Family Set Apart Mean to Me 

Rev Lilian Ang:

Two incidents changed my view of what it means to belong to a family. Both were related to family trips overseas. While on a holiday with my brother’s family, my nephew included my name in the customs declaration together with his family.  When I asked my sister not to buy travel insurance for me as “I have no family”, she scolded me and said, “Am I not your family?”  For me, being set apart as a family begins with a sense of belonging in my extended family. It is to intentionally take hold of every opportunity to connect, bond and strengthen family ties. It is to participate in God’s redemptive work and yet be willing to yield to His perfect timing. It comes with much prayer, patience and perseverance. While I hope to see everyone in my extended family saved and sanctified, God’s work cannot be rushed. The process may be long but what a great privilege to be part of this on-going discipleship in the family. 

Rev David Ho:

1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…”. To be part of God’s spiritual family is not something that we can accomplish out of our own strength, ability and credentials. It is God, in His mercy, who has chosen and called us to be set apart for Him. We can only be set apart by embracing the work of Christ on the Cross. Though we live in the world, God’s family is meant to be distinct and separate from the ways of the world and point to the truth and love of God, through how we live and relate to one another. We are to love people as God does, share His invitation with them, that they, too, will hear His call and join His spiritual family.

Rev Benjamin Lau:

The day we decide to follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, we are all called to live a life that is set apart for God, a life that is holy and different from the values of the world. So that means we are to make intentional efforts to cultivate a life that grows in holiness together, be it in our nuclear families or the wider church family. On the home front, my wife and I hope to reflect this intentional step of being set apart for God with our eight-monthold daughter. We will cultivate habits such as praying with her before her meals and reading the Children’s Bible together with her every night before she sleeps. These are just some of the intentional steps we will take to grow in holiness together as a family.

Alvin Tay, Chairperson, Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC):

A family set apart is one that is empowered by God to go and Make A Difference. We are Made Right with God, to Walk Right with Him – to carry out His purposes for us, individually and together as a family, whether in church, the marketplace or in society.

Thanks to God’s amazing grace, my family was made whole again. My wife and I not only have two sons now, but also two God-loving daughters-in-law, and a grandson to come. Out of love and gratitude to God, the six of us now serve Him in various ways, according to the spiritual gifts given to us by God. As head of the household, I will affirm, as Joshua did in Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Cheryl Seow, President, Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS):

For me personally, this means that God has chosen my husband, my daughters and me for His Glory. As a family, we are set apart to reflect God’s love to one another and to others. Our family life is to be holy before God, built on the firm foundation of Christ’s teachings, and not conformed to the world. As a wife, this means submitting to and respecting my husband. As a parent, this means teaching and modelling biblical truths to my daughters, and being intentional with my words and actions so as not to exasperate them. When faced with family relationship challenges, I am to practise daily humility and forgiveness toward my family members. This is part and parcel of loving others, as God loves me.

Read also: Road to Renewal

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