The start of a new season


It’s been one year since I relocated back to Singapore from Vietnam. The landing wasn’t a soft and a smooth one.

On hindsight, it was necessary and purposed to help me get acquainted with the madness that’s comes with living in Singapore.

By faith, I decided to call it quits at a job with a local advertising agency some months ago as I felt I needed to withdraw to get a better sense of what God was doing in Singapore and how I could better operate (in Christ) here.

Whatever that had worked for me in Vietnam will or may not work the same here. And I had to find out how to operate effectively in this land.

Since this April I’d mostly rested, and I made sure I caught up with family and friends. I also got myself familiar with the local food and popular places in Singapore. Very much what I did when I initially landed in Vietnam in order to know the terrain well.

In military terms, one cannot fight effectively without knowing the terrain which could work for your enemy or for you.

What was interesting about that season of rest, was that with whatever attempted efforts in enquiring or securing a job opportunity, I always met with closed doors. It was demoralising.

Eventually, I recognised that God truly wanted me to rest. And to rest was to trust Him. So I rested.

After two months, I was beginning to feel anxious. Especially with my savings depleting. But at the same time I sensed in my spirit that the breakthrough I needed was around the corner. And that I would get the new job by end of the third month – this June.

This was subsequently confirmed by prophecy on two separate occasions by two different persons. But more importantly, there was an alignment with my wife and I where we were now in a new level of agreement as a couple on God’s plans for us.

True to His word and in miraculous fashion, I suddenly started to receive calls to arrange for interviews after submiting my resume. It was like the floodgates bursted open. Now I had at least 5 interviews lined up for the next following week. It didn’t stop there.

Out of the blue, I received calls from two referrals that offered me a role with their organisations. Both needed me to start immediately. I accepted one of them. And I started on the first day of this July!

Indeed, God is never too early nor too late. He is always on time as my Provider.

Now in my new season, I learnt how important we need to recognise the ordained season that we are in. Doing the right thing, at the right time will lead us to the right people and take us to right place. And it is effortless without striving.

I’m excited for what He has in store for Singapore (and Vietnam) and this time around I will be penning down more of my lessons, insights and thoughts from this new season that my wife and I are in.

Follow my blog, and watch this space!

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The potential in a seed

Again he (Jesus) said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Mark 4:30-32

What I’m reminded and inspired:

  • it’s about the Kingdom of God that Jesus is talking about, not an organised church or a church brand name or denomination
  • His kingdom always looks small, starts small. Almost goes unnoticed and undermined. But there’s huge potential in the seeds (that’s you and I)
  • His kingdom, the seed needs to be PLANTED. There must be laying down of SELF with private sacrifices in order for the seed to take root to start spouting with the life of CHRIST. Too often our focus and pursuit is on the public glories
  • And when His kingdom grows, it grows beyond anyone’s imagination and serves the purpose in being part of the environment and culture to be a blessing where we are enjoyed and not endured; we contribute meaningfully and not just merely consume
  • there are laws of the harvest to pay attention as well. Be the right seed; Plant in the right soil; Be patient with the growth process. It is God who causes growth and naturally will grow; We focus on the planting and watering – private sacrifices of communing with Him and leave the fruits – public glories to Him and for Him

Are you willing to be a seed? To rough it out as you begin small but with the big picture in mind? Not just thinking big and avoiding and undermining the seemingly small things.

Jesus said, “…Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds“.

Being a seed is to die to yourself and allow Christ to be King and His kingdom to be established in your life.

Choose faith, not fear

How does walking by faith looks like?

Recently, I participated in a high elements course. There were a couple of obstacles, but all from about 4-5 storeys high. And I had to cross over with nothing but a safety harness.

In spite of the fact of being secured to a safety harness, many including myself were overwhelmed by the fear of falling from that high place. There were some who were crippled by fear and failed to cross over.

However, once I decided to shift my focus on the fact that I would be safe even if I were to fall, I grew confident and  was able to walk across with ease.

So faith is trusting in Father God as your safety harness. He is faithful and is with you. That is a fact. It’s the truth.

Our God will not leave you nor abandon you (even if you fall!). And whatever the situation you’re in, you can rely on Him and walk through it. He’s got you in His mighty Hand!

Having faith does not mean that there is no fear. Fear is real. So faith works not in the absence of fear, but in the midst of it.

Everyday, choose faith over fear. We have a choice. That’s walking by faith. God is bigger than your fears and He will give you the strength to overcome each one of them.

Finally, if you’re wondering, yes that’s me in the photo. Haha…

Does Jesus know you?

whoisjesus1

You know Jesus, but does Jesus know you?

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

It’s interesting to note how many will say, “I know Jesus!” or “I serve Him” but in turn Jesus says, “I never knew you”. It’s like me saying, “I know Lee Hsien Loong, my prime minister… I serve my national service and pay my tax”… But I’m sure, he will say, “I don’t know who is Andrew”.

There is no personal relationship.

I’m concern how many of us, the Church especially in this day and age have equated our attendance or involvement with church events, activities or programmes as having a relationship with Jesus.

The reality is our relationship with Jesus is forged and deepened mostly out of the four walls of the church and in real life, not sheltered (but not apart from His Church).

For ie. How we obey Him in our sufferings? How we are surrendering to His will in challenging circumstances? How we remain faithful in the mundane humdrum of life? How are we extending grace to those around us?

However today, we people pay a lot of attention on the form and not the power. We want to DO more, we look for what to DO next, and we are engross in what we can DO. We are missing the plot.

Doing doesn’t mean you know Jesus. You can do a lot and accomplish a lot but find out that you do not know Him a lot or none at all. And that’s a horrific reality. You know that you know Him or He knows you when you bear His fruits; you BECOME like Him. Now that’s power!

We become like Him only because we are communing with Him. When we bear His fruits, it’s evidence of His life living and working in us. So today, don’t confuse form with power, and pursue His power and not the form.

So you know Jesus, does Jesus know you?

This day, choose Christ

Capture

My friends, Jesus came to draw us into a RELATIONSHIP and to destroy RELIGION which cannot save us from the dark influence of sin. Only through CHRIST, do we have the power to overcome sin in our helplessness.

So how do we know we are in a religion called Christianity and not in a relationship with Christ?

One word- FEAR.

1 John 4:17-18
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Are you living or practicing your Christianity out of fear or out of love? For ie. do you feel fearful or guilty when you do not pray / read the bible / evangelise / attend your church service / tithe?

I’m not saying we should not have these practices in our walk with God. But the question is “why do we do what we do?”. We are saved by grace to do good works. We do not do good works to receive grace to be saved.

The good works that we do ought to flow from the grace of God in our lives. And that produces faith and TRUE obedience that has power and not just the form.

How do you and I keep our relationship with God strong? 

Seek to know the truth (through the bible) as it reveals the character, thoughts and plans of God. With the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints, He puts the truth into an encounter to experience His tangible love and know His GRACE. This takes place from glory to glory.

As you grow deeper in His love, what you do won’t be determined (or coerced) by rules or law as you understand the principle and flow with His spirit. What you do will be driven or compelled by His love for you.

Religion is cold. It’s about following rules and presents a false sense of salvation and righteousness. What you do (including the good works or church work) is driven by fear. There is no life in religion but death. More importantly, you won’t find LOVE in religion. And certainly, you won’t experience GRACE in religion.

This day, choose CHRIST. Experience His love and know His grace for you.

Galatians 2:19-21
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Consecration in the New Covenant

Biblical understanding of “Consecration” from Ezekiel 43:18-27

Prayer

Old Covenant

There can be NO consecration without sacrifice. In the Old Covenant, blood was required to be shed in order for someone or something to be consecrated to be used by God.

A sacrifice is always REQUIRED to be consecrated- cleansed and fit for use as an instrument for God. And now in the New Testament, the good news is Jesus Christ is that sacrifice. He is the Lamb and His blood alone cleanses and consecrates you and I as His people.

But even in modern day Christianity, when we hear or speak of consecration we think the sacrifice is about us… “I must do more”…. “I must give more”…. “I must serve more”. This is not the truth.

Consecration is NOT about you and I doing good works. It is also NOT based on our performance. And trying to be worthy or to achieve spirituality. Consecration is not trying to be perfect cos we are not.

New Covenant

Consecration is about Jesus and Him as a sacrifice that makes us perfect and He alone qualifies us to be worthy to be used. You and I only need to believe wholeheartedly and be willing to follow Him unreservedly.

Today as a New Covenant follower, you ARE worthy and you ARE spiritual IN CHRIST even if you do not do any good works. It is entirely based on Jesus and His righteousness in you. It is He through the power of the Holy Spirit that will work in you to bear His fruits resulting in good works.

So when we speak about consecration, it is a life of rejoicing and living out of gratefulness of God’s grace of His sacrificial gift in Christ. Now, we do good works because we WANT TO, and not because we have to… c.f. 1 Peter 2:9-10

Living a consecrated life

Finally, consecration is about the BEING, not the doing. It is not to do more for Him and to be successful (defined by the world) for Him. It is simply to know Him and make Him be known with your life.

You and I need to always remain focus on following (study His life and teachings) and becoming like Jesus (living out His life in us).

My post-GE2015 thoughts: The aftermath

GE2015

Although I had been expecting the RULING PARTY to retain dominance, but I wasn’t expecting that their overall popularity would bumped up to 69.9%.

With the benefit of looking from the GE trend from 2011 and now, it is more clear that the people wants the PAP as long as they are listening and are for the people.

This tells me that majority of Singaporeans would stick to the one-party rule system as long as it’s the PAP and it’s working. They aren’t looking for change in terms of a more democratic system as most of us thought so from GE2011.

After GE2011, PAP responded in an effective and timely manner before GE2015 and they made sure we knew they listened. And I must add that their move to take full advantage of SG50 and NDR to appeal to our hearts look to have paid off.

PAP went all out

It’s interesting to note that Vivian Balakrishnan and Lim Swee Say were singled out and praised by PM Lee during NDR before the elections and they were both in the hotly contested GRCs. So that shows PAP was well ahead in preparation for the elections.

This GE, the PAP did not just go for the minds and hearts of the people, but also went all out against their contest. A stark contrast to last GE2011 where they displayed complacency. A good example is how they have used social media to engage voters. A lesson they learnt from GE2011.

So despite the gerrymandering, that already gives them an advantage, I fully commend them for the great effort poured in to earn our mandate. Congrats!

Reflect and regroup for the opposition 

For the OPPOSITION, there’s a lot more work needed to be done in becoming a credible party. For a start, do not position yourself as an anti-PAP party. Please la… Winning by hatred votes won’t get you far. Work harder on finding credible reasons for Singaporeans to want to trust you.

Also please be more strategic when you field candidates. It has to be more than just credentials and heart. Study and understand the demographics of the voters in the area you are contesting, and put candidates that voters can easily build affinity to.

If you lack candidates, please aim small la… Focus on winning on a SMC first then gradually work your way up. Get a seat first better than no seat right?

We know the political conditions are not favourable for the opposition. Hence, there’s an extra need to do more and show more substance in how and what the party can contribute in a tangible manner to Singapore. No more lofty ideas and hot air talk.

The trend and results show that Singaporeans won’t vote for the opposition for the sake of opposing.

Thirdly, please harness the power of the social media to engage more with voters to discuss and sell your ideas. Do capitalise on this platform to gain credibility by showing what you are doing on the ground. Learn from LHL and his team.

They learnt from GE 2011, but some how (with the exception of SDP) you did not.

Moving forward as a people

To us VOTERS, PAP is not = Singapore. No party is bigger than Singapore and we cannot keep looking at our past and not aspire for a better future. Playing safe does not keep us safe.

On the contrary, it is more dangerous to play safe as we won’t evolve and become relevant (while retaining our values) in an ever changing world. But of cos, if the incumbent party is able to produce progressive leadership, then that’s alright.

Also do know that “opposition” does not mean anti establishment or anti PAP. But I understand this notion is further reinforced by the sort of opposition candidates that are borderline crazy or psycho.

Standing on the opposition camp means having an alternative view or philosophy. However, the goal is the same of that to make Singapore better and stronger.

So it would do well for us if we respect a diversity of views and move to a collaborative stance where we do not leave any Singaporean behind.

Majulah Singapura!

Lastly, its easy to forget that Singapore is considered young as a sovereign nation at 50 years old. There’s still a long way for us to grow.

Borrowing a line from Deputy PM Tharman, one thing is for sure we are growing and building from a place of strength and not weakness. There is hope for our future!

So let’s continue onwards and United as one people. Majulah Singapura!