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Thursday 星期四
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Prayer Meet
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Disciple Class

The Sharing from Disciple Class.

My Journey in Disciple Red 2016- Rita Manurung

I will do it when I am retired - I have said that many times and to many people. When 2016 loomed, I decided that the time is right and I must not procrastinate any longer. I told myself, "What could be more worthwhile doing now that I have all the time in the world"? However, I was still not convinced that I could stay the whole 34 weeks. I began to think of holidays, trips overseas and other fun activities that I may miss. I also have weekly choir practise, Taichi class and voluntary activities. Niggling doubts began to creep in especially after class started. I prayed about it.

Apart from me, other members of Disciple Red 2016 are young, boisterous and lively. This is so unlike any class I am familiar with and I have attended many courses or classes in my time. We come from different backgrounds, a wide span of age group, varying professions and not to mention different personalities and characters. After the first week, I started to doubt my suitability again but this is the only Disciple Red class that I can attend for 2016. If I drop out of this class there might not be one in 2017. I decided to pray more and persevere. I made the commitment and decide to participate wholeheartedly in all aspects. I tell myself not to think or worry about activities beyond my control. I also tell myself that if I make the commitment then I am the one who needs to adjust.

Our weekly classes are held every Sunday afternoon 2.30 - 5.00 pm. Sundays happen to be a busy day for me as I have another commitment right after service. As soon as service is over, I have to rush for lunch and be back for class punctually despite other duties.

Over the past 10 years, I read through the bible 3 times. My favourite books, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah I read more. Those not so favoured I read only dutifully. Now through Disciple Red, it is reading with a purpose followed by a discussion. I get to hear different viewpoints from scholars (through the video segments) and also from my groupmates. It is a valuable learning experience that I find refreshing, broadening and informative.

As we work our way through the books of the Old and New Testaments, we begin to get used to the way the Disciple Red classes are conducted. Classes are not tedious or boring as the format keeps changing. Most weeks we have group discussions. It is also very comforting to know that there is no right or wrong answer. We are free to express our viewpoints any way we want. But one thing is certain, we are expected to participate actively. The facilitators are there to guide the discussions and make sure everybody has a chance and will say something. At times when the class is small, due to the absence of some, we ended up taking turns at expressing opinions. Discussions are always sprinkled with laughter and shared experiences.

Within each week's lesson there is a part specifically dedicated to identifying and developing the characteristics of a disciple. I find this section very useful as it helps me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and to use my experiences, background and even expertise in my journey to becoming a disciple. This section also makes me see that I can and should use whatever I have in hand now.

All the readings I do very early in the mornings, usually from 5.30 - 6.30 am, when all is quiet and my mind is fresh and clear. Although the classes weekly are packed, we also have time to interact during the short breaks. This is when we share holiday experiences, happy moments, some personal sadness, light gossips while enjoying delicious cakes and pastries. Through the whole period we become closer often communicating through social media.

At the time of writing this, we are in the 30th week and looking forward to completion. Readings are definitely lighter now with only 3-4 short chapters from books in NT allowing me so much more time to contemplate on the "Marks of Discipleship" and my next course of action. I did not miss any class until week 27 and 28 when I was called to participate in an assignment overseas.

I would like to thank all the facilitators for their patience and resourcefulness throughout the course. I am so thankful by God’s grace I was able not only to complete the course, but also enjoy it. I know His hand will mould me into becoming a disciple. I also know my late father (Rev. J. Manurung, Methodist missionary 1949–1967) is smiling down on me. Looking back, Disciple Red was a breeze.

How Disciple Red Changed My Life- Amelia

I was baptized a few years back in 2012 and I remembered how joyful I am that day being called into Christ. When I recalled back the memories of being a Christian, I can say that I did not do much to glorify God. But then, what does glorify God really mean anyway? By going to church every Sunday? By offering or tithing? By praising God? Through prayer? By not committing sin? Surely, there is more than that.

Yes, I go to church almost every Sunday but that doesn’t make me a good Christian. Offering or tithing? Well, that’s because I didn’t involve in any other church activities so I give to lessen my guilt. Prayer? The truth is, I don’t really know how to pray. By not committing sin?? Arr..I’ll rather keep that to myself.

Before taking Disciple Red, there were times when I questioned myself what does it take to become a better Christian? I have been approached by my relatives especially my cousins, whom are non-Christian, asking me why I want to be in Christ? I simply replied “because my husband, Adrian is a Christian so I followed him.” Simple, easy and straight to the point. I don’t have to explain more. They stop right there and then, nodding their heads. Now I realized I’ve made a mistake. I wasn’t equipped at all to tell them about Christ. My lack of knowledge had prevented me to tell them about my God. I just let the opportunity slipped away when they are interested to know more. Not only that, I found myself getting discouraged easily too when friends whom are non believers provoke me on religious issues.

Before I was baptized, I was presented with a NIV bible from Adrian. What a thick holy book!! I did read it, on certain chapters only, but most of it I skipped or I read until ZZzz…I found some of the scriptures boring. Then after that, most of the time, it was in my drawer, untouched. No wonder it still looks brand new after all these years. Then one day, a sermon at the church challenged me. I remember there is one time in the church where they show a video about a congregation in China where they received their bible after a long wait. They were so joyful that some of them actually have tears of joy in their eyes receiving the bible as if they have found life and hope. I was so amazed with their experience, I started to read the bible that night but I found that I was unable to study the bible properly.

When Disciple Red course was ‘advertised’ in the church news bulletin, I took interest but hesitated as well. It took me two weeks before I registered myself into this course. I was rather blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in Disciple Red for the past 9 months? Yeah, almost. During this time, my understanding of Christ grew and I began to understand discipleship as a lifestyle. Taking up Disciple Red has been one of the life changing experiences for me.

By following Disciple Red course, I was given a study manual which allows me to study the Bible systematically not one day or two but every day for thirty-four weeks. If you think it is easy, well, you are wrong. It takes a lot of discipline and preparation. Sometimes, I do feel lazy but in order to complete the assignment, the course in another way is teaching and guiding us to be committed. It just takes a little effort to start the reading and the rest is history. The more I read, the more I want to know about God. Slowly, I developed the habit of reading the Bible. I would write down verses that I like as motivation, share those verses with friends through Watsapp and Facebook. Some verses act as healing words and some as energizers during hectic time at work. I really feel like God is right there beside me talking and lifting me up when I’m down. Life is more meaningful now as I learn how to walk through the day in communion with God.

The course also allows me to interact with God’s words as we share our response through our weekly meeting. It is really nice to listen to God’s stories and working with wonderful people in the course. Sharing with one another provides new insights of God’s word and God’s love for us. I can really see that God do speaks through all people. I learned a lot from my disciple mates even from the youngest in the group. It’s a joy to be able to hear what God has done in them and shaped their characters.

Another interesting thing that I like being in Disciple is praying for each other. It touched me so much when I know someone is praying for me. I feel love and at peace. Before this, I never knew prayer would be so powerful. Now, not only did I pray for myself, I also pray for people around me. Not forgetting giving thanks to God for everything He has done. Going through the scriptures taught me that to grow in Christ, we must be thankful for the wonderful times and put our trust in Him during difficult times. Things that we’ve been through whether it’s good or not can be used as a tool to share with others. As the saying goes, if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

My life is now much more colourful and is filled with a sense of belonging. Colourful because I know God way better than before and I know He is there every time I need Him. Through Him, nothing is impossible. I gained confidence through the course to speak about God and will make the effort to talk to others with faith. I am blessed I have a loving Father and I give thanks for bringing me into this Disciple course. I believe I have more to discover and I look forward to another adventure with God our Father.

Disciple Gold graduation sharing (20 November 2016) – Lim Re Gal

Good morning, pastors, leaders, brothers and sisters in Christ. My name is Re Gal and I am one of the twelve (pun intended) who graduated from Disciple Gold this year.

My journey with Disciple course started in 2007, 2 years after I moved to Kuching. Back then, Disciple Red was still called Disciple 1; and I was still childless and enjoyed all its accompanying privileges (eg free time, freedom of movement and so forth). The same cannot be said now.

When I joined Disciple Red, I knew that we had to complete 34 lessons and was only allowed to miss 4 classes. What I didn’t know was the rigor of the course – we were sometimes required to read through the whole book of the Bible (eg all 42 chapters of Job) in 5 days, and then attended the weekly 2.5 hours group study for further dissection of the book.
Punishing as it sounds, I enjoyed the course as I was able to scan through the whole Bible in 34 weeks, learn about the background and history of the books, and saw the common theme running through them. Another bonus of the course is - with over 30 weekly meetings, friendships blossomed. I started to make friends in this foreign land, and Kuching became more like a home for me.

After completion of the course, we were required to serve in a ministry of our choice. It was at that time that I was given the privilege to serve as a “scribe” in the LCEC. My firstborn came a couple of years later. Life was chaotic, but I signed up for Disciple Green in 2010. Once again, the Disciple course and fellow Disciple classmates helped me to steer myself to God in the hazy period of young parenthood.

Being a new parent, it was also at that time that I realized, in my mind as well as in my heart, the depth of God’s love to me – his fatherly care and selfless sacrifice to make me his child. And that realization, which coincides with the theme of Disciple Purple which I took in 2013, is chiselled into my mind – “Remember Who You Are”. Remember my identity in God (that I am a child of God, co-heir with Jesus etc – and the ransom paid is not cheap) and live my life worthy of Him.

Throughout the years, I am constantly reminded of yet another Disciple courses’ theme – “Into the Word, Into the World.” Some may impress others with eloquent speech and the wealth of Bible knowledge stored in their brains; nonetheless I’m more inspired by the embodiment of God’s love some of my Disciple classmates displayed. A sister works tirelessly for the special needs children, having a child with special needs herself. She remains faithful and resilient in spite of whatever hardships she has to endure. Another sister, a “foreigner” like me, made this fair land her home and taught us and our children faithfully over many years. A brother turned to God in his darkest moments and allowed God to make drastic transformation in his life. He now shares the gospel boldly and serves God faithfully. All these people and many more inspired me to remain steadfast and serve humbly in the ministries that I am in now, specifically Sunday School that I’m passionate about.

9 years after embarking on the journey, I finally completed my Disciple Gold, the fourth and last book of the series. And I am privileged to stand here today to share this – the Disciple course has reinforced my conviction of living not only as a believer, but as a disciple of God. Impacting lives and bringing God’s light into the world in our individual capacities. If you have not done so, I encourage you to take up the course next year and let yourself be spiritually nourished and challenged.

With this, I end my sharing. Thank you and God bless.