Carmel Turns 54!
Rededicate Ourselves To The Lord
By Ps Ng Liang Wei
As we celebrate our anniversary, it is a time to rededicate ourselves. In this passage, we see that Joshua had led the People of Israel to some measure of success. Syncretism, and desiring to be like the world around them remained very real challenges. How do we dedicate our lives to our Lord?
“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”JOSHUA 24:14-24
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God. ”
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.
But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”
Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
“Yes, we are witnesses, ” they replied.
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.”
1) Fear the Lord and make our choice
As we grow in comfort, we increasingly make less distinct choices with and for our Lord. To fear the Lord is to revere Him, treasure His Presence and commands. We fear to bring grief to Him. Choosing to follow the Lord involves choice and focus. Firstly, we need to make a deliberate long-term choice who our Master is. Some of us struggle because we are trying to decide who our God is every week. If we are clear about this, our energies are now simply focused on working out the implications of the primary decision to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.
2) Dedicate with the power of memory
It is easy to forget what the Lord has done. Memory has two parts. Recalling the past in order to concretise our decision to remain faithful to the Lord is a key part to the process. Secondly, “we will serve the Lord’ indicates that there is a call to continually create new memories of faith and obedience. Christian communities make two common errors. We either forget the Lord and His acts too quickly or we stagnate in comfort and decline. Scripture cautions us against both.
3) Dedicate our lives by getting rid of the idols
Christian communities are consumed by consumerism and prosperity. In the text above, there is a clear call that we need to prune the idols in our lives in order to remain faithful. That clarity in our hearts is important. May I invite you to place your hand on your heart, and ask “Does Jesus reign?” if the answer is “no”, the process of ridding our idols must begin. Start by asking Him to help us identify these idols today and choose the Lord.
4) Dedicate as a community to God’s purpose
The distinctiveness of the Christian community is that we exist because of the Lord. We are to serve the Lord. A club is where members serve each other or arrange services for each other. A Christian community is founded on God and we serve the Lord and outsiders as well. Israel was called to bless the nations. As we celebrate our anniversary today, let’s not be a club; let’s accept the His invitation to be His Chosen People and bless the nations.
Mega Carmel Birthday Card
Let’s recall God’s grace and faithfulness in Carmel – the friends He’s given to walk with us, the words He’s spoken that changed our lives, and the surprises He’s given us to grow our faith in Him.
Looking forward, He’s also given us dreams for Carmel. What will Carmel look like in 5, 10, 50 years? Has God put any wishes for Carmel on your heart? If so, share them, read them, treasure them in your heart. At the right time, as the Lord leads, let us arise and serve our King!
Carmel History Book
Looking Unto Jesus was published to coincide with the 54th Carmel Anniversary. As an anniversary gift, Carmelites can look forward to receiving one book per household. The church office will mail it out in batches over the coming weeks.
Every year is a gift of grace. For those who are moved to give, a freewill offering for the book will be collected for the Church Plant Fund. You may give via bank transfer to OCBC Account 552-051880-001 and indicate in the remarks: Church Plant Fund.