As we approach the end of 2016, it is good to recall God’s blessings upon our church, one of which is our recently-completed Annual Camp at Hotel Puri, Malacca. A total of thirty-five brethren (including 19 from Calvary Jaya Youth Fellowship) attended the Camp from 6th - 9th December.
Our speaker, Rev Dennis Kwok, spoke on the camp theme, “The Fruit of the Spirit”, based on Galatians 5: 22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Rev Kwok emphasised that though nine virtues are listed, these can be summarised by that one virtue – “love”. Indeed, without love we are nothing. To further expound on the excellency of love, he described its 15 qualities found in I Corinthians 13.
Through his seven messages, Rev Kwok also highlighted the virtues that we must, as believers, cultivate in our daily lives. One of the marks of true saving faith is to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life. Clearly, one who does not show forth the fruit of the Spirit may not even be saved! Thus, we were urged to examine our hearts and make our “calling and election sure” (II Pet. 1: 10).
We thank God for the stimulating workshop sessions. Most of the questions focused on the world’s view in contrast to the Christian’s view of the fruit of the Spirit. The campers shared that the people of the world may carry out deeds of kindness. Some of them may do so with a hidden motive to enhance their position or with an expectation of some favour in return. Still, others hope to gain recognition or entry to heaven through their good works. Believers like us, however, are different. We are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2: 10). As such, our deeds of love and kindness are done “as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. 3: 23).
Brethren, let us take heed to the solemn warnings from God’s Word. Ask ourselves: “Am I a Christian?” and “Do I know the Lord?” If we answer in the affirmative, our lives must reflect the fruit of the Spirit. It is not easy to do all that is required of us as true believers. But we must press on. Let us make sure of our salvation by cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives. May the Lord grant us grace to apply the precious lessons learnt at the Camp.
CHURCH CAMP TESTIMONY
Thank God for safe journey mercies and His abounding grace in seeing all campers through our stay in Hotel Puri, Malacca. Though the camp was a short getaway of four days, it was nevertheless a refreshing time of mutual encouragement and joy in the Lord. He was also faithful in sustaining us in good health and giving us good weather which permitted us to head outdoors for our meals. Also, as a first-time camper, I thank God that everyone was especially welcoming, extending their fellowship and concern towards me.
In the introductory message, Rev Dennis Kwok began by exhorting us to be honest and check ourselves: Do we have true saving faith? Only with genuine faith are we able to have liberty in Christ. However, this does not give us the freedom to disregard the law; instead, we are to obey it as stated in Galatians 5: 25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Subsequent messages took us through an examination of the fruit of the Spirit, which are not nine different fruits, but a single one with nine attributes, namely love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We were firstly given the definition of each attribute, and then looked at the sources and degrees of them.
After each message, we were divided into workshop groups to share our individual experiences and discuss how we could live out the various aspects of the fruit of the Spirit in practical terms. It was encouraging to see how everyone was willing to share, that we might learn from one another’s struggles and ways to overcome trials.
As much as I am appreciative of the messages and workshops, the fellowship of brethren in Christ was likewise enjoyable as we played card games and charades which enabled us to become more familiar with each other. The Calvary Jaya brethren also invited us to have lunch and dinner, as well as a ‘satay celup’ supper. Thank God that there was never a time when I felt let-down or homesick!
Last but not least, I thank God for every camper and look forward to fellowshipping with everyone again in the next annual camp.
– Kelvin Li