Our Methodist Family in Malaysia rejoices with our brothers and sisters in the Wesley Methodist Church, Johor Bahru, on this occasion of your 50th Anniversary.
This celebration of thanksgiving to our gracious and sovereign God is further deepened and enriched by the fact that we are blessed to remember how we are loved by overseas missionaries such as the Rev WS Reinoehl. He saw the potential for planting a church in Johor Bahru even though he was the Superintendent of the Port Dickson Methodist Centre then in 1965. He covered the 200 miles journey monthly, each time staying for a few days doing preaching and visitation.
It is a joy to note that this church has grown from strength to strength – to give birth to the latest congregation the Nusajaya Methodist Church at Taman Bukit Indah II on 17th January 2015.
As you move on to the next half century of God’s kairos “purpose moment” as a congregation in pursuit of being a “church after God’s own heart” may you remember John 14:23 – Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
A vital and distinct mark of disciples and followers of Christ is that they exhinit a sincere and genuine love for the Lord that is demonstrably accompanied by obedience to God and His revealed Word. The mutuality of the Lord’s love for the faithful believer will then be evident in the way the intimate pressence of God is manifested in his or her life. Then the people of God will not have pangs of “homelessness” and emptiness within their hearts personally and communally.
Keeping God’s revealed Word is never more severely challenging in our generation when many countries today have chosen to oppose the Biblical teaching of marriage by legalizing homosexuality and gay marriages. These include the so called “Christian nations” of yesteryears such as the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America in May and June respectively this year. This is indeed a frightening prospect, with grim consequences, that is spreading on a global scale.
On this occasion, we also remember with thanksgiving the faithfulness of the different generations of God’s people in this Church – overseas, local, pastors, leaders and members – who have laboured willingly and sacrificially to honour the Lord. In such a moment, we are reminded that the Church is much larger than what is only seen now, that there is the “unseen Church” that transcends time, space and that of mere visible and tangible appreciation.
This will keep us humble in a “selfie generation” and also stir and encourage us to filfil our roles and responsibilities in the Kingdom of God, that by the Holy Spirit, others after us will also find us faithful.
Today, as part of God’s larger Church in Malaysia and this world undergoing unprecedented trying, turbulent and tumultuous times, let us hold on to the unchanging, eternal assurance given to God’s people since the Garden of Eden: “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Let us ever live and thankfully celebrate this 50TH Anniversary to the glory of God with this great certainty.
Rev Dr Ong Hwai Teik
The Methodist Church in Malaysia