Being at a Place of Rest

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This morning I was at an “all churches in Singapore” gathering to worship our Father as one. I left the place moved and changed! There had been 2-3 testimonies, but I will just share one encounter…

Most of you might know I became one year older recently. I had my usual chat with God just reflecting and thanking Him for the journey this far. And at where I am today with God, I have arrived to a position and place of REST.

That REST is that of being secured of His love for me; that He will never forsake me or fail me. After all the trials and past experiences with Him, I am confident of His everlasting and unconditional love.

That REST is also founded on His grace; that I’m saved and fully accepted in Christ. There’s nothing more or less that I could do which would affect my position in Him. That’s the truth. It’s the cross and His precious blood.

So I was pleasant surprised but encouraged when a brother gave me a prophetic word of encouragement. Nothing bombastic but simply these words: “God takes great pleasure in you. He is pleased with you.”

Wow… Those words were like God Himself talking to me and finishing off the conversation or chat I had with Him 2-3 days ago! Simply amazing!

I hope my less-than-spectacular testimony would encourage you to find your place of REST in Christ; to know how much He truly loves you and the richness of His grace lavished on you.

If you have found that place, guard it tightly. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you out of it no matter what. Amen.

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Jubilee Day of Prayer for Singapore

Jubliee Prayer SG50.jpgToday, I was at the Jubilee Day of Prayer for Singapore with more than 50,000 from the Body of Christ.

It was definitely an appointment from God for my wife and I to be there, especially it being shortly after our return to Singapore. And the tickets were given to us!

As the session started, I was constantly welling up with tears of joy and thanksgiving.

Who are we?

Singapore is but a small nation, a little red dot. Despite this, look at what we have accomplished?

Our small in size and lack of resources have not prevented us to be overachievers and to grow in affluence.

Today, we are able to punch above our weight and stand tall among the other giant nations in the world.

But make no mistake, we are where we are because of His grace alone.

As a people, the Church must never forget that our success is because of His grace. It’s by His grace. And we must continue to stay strong in His grace.

The peace and prosperity that we are enjoying is because of God’s grace and mercy.

Where we are?

Sitting there before Him and in the presence of 50,000, I am grateful that I can be part of God’s Church at this defining period of the Jubilee.

I’m grateful for those spiritual leaders who have gone before us. I do not know them, but we are where we are today because they paid the price in standing in the gap.

I wish I could thank them personally, but I’m grateful for the pioneering generation of the unsung heroes of faith who have took up the role of ‘watchmen’ for our nation.

Their lives spent on bended knees cannot be left unrecognised or ignored. Today, the Church stands tall now on their shoulders.

Without them trail blazing His kingdom, we would not have a spiritual heritage as a Church in Singapore and to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

What are we to do?

I believe the Church is flipping the page towards a new era for Singapore in the year of jubilee.

The torch of the pioneering generation is going to be passed on to the next generation. And that generation has to step up to grab that torch to lead this nation as the next custodian and watchmen for Singapore.

What we see today of Singapore after 50 years is nothing in comparison to what lies ahead. Because each generation goes further than the generation preceding it.

God is not finished with His plan and purpose for this nation. And the Church is the reason.

It is my desire to be counted and be part of whatever He’s doing in and through Singapore, for I believe this is the reason He called me back!

Church, we’ve messed up

5-PRAYERS-TO-PRAY-AGAINST-SATANIC-ATTACKToday in His presence I wept.

I felt the anguish and deep grieving of the Holy Spirit from the aftermath of the recent development of the Supreme Court in making same-sex marriage legal in America.

Truth be told, the grief I felt is not so much because of what Obama did or the Supreme Court or even the LGBT. Because the legal law has never been the answer to address the matter of homosexuality.

The grief I felt is because the Church has messed up. Instead of manning up, we have shifted blame and looked at all the possible perpetrators except ourselves.

God have always reminded us that judgement will fall upon His people first as the custodian of the Gospel who are responsible to shine His light in our dark and fallen world.

So we, as the Church have messed up.

We were (and still are) the answer but we never did provide the answer in being the light for the world.

We had and have the authority to define marriage which is based on truth; to accurately represent and strongly defend this institution. But we messed up.

How can the Church have authority when people in general perceives “Christians divorce are at the same rate as non-Christians”?

How can we defend the sacredness of marriage between man and woman when the Church is constantly afflicted with scandals of adultery or sexual abuse?

Clearly because we have failed to firmly define marriage in society that other people groups are stepping in to redefine marriage according to their own pleasure rather than God’s pleasure.

We’ve messed up. Forgive us Lord. We repent. Please heal our land.

At this point, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He is Immanuel- God is with us. He is with us even in the midst of darkness. That’s His promise.

As long as His light shines,there is Hope. Unless the Church stands in agreement on His truth, we cannot reflect the fullness of His light to disperse darkness.

Without light, people will remain in darkness. And currently, the world is not able to see the Light through the Church.

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Loving one another as Christ commands

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“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

~ 1 John 4:19-21 (NIV)

I’ve learnt over the years as a Christ-follower that God’s love is redemptive in nature. He never tears down or condemns even if we’re wrong. This revelation is from my own fair share of personal failings toward others and experiencing His grace.

When we are wrong or even sometimes not, He chides and disciplines as He loves us. However, His ways are always with the intent to draw us closer to Him, never to chase us away from His presence. 

Hence, the approach may seem harsh or cold from our perspective, but the intent is redemptive, not judgmental or condemning. And I guess that is where we as the Church are confused. How do we love?

It is clear that appropriating His love in our lives or situations is never easy since we are still more flesh and His love is not easily comprehended unless encountered from glory to greater glory. However, loving each other remains the key command and action we need to uphold regardless of any situation. 

Apart from the above scripture, the apostle John also penned the new command from Jesus in the gospel of John in 13:34-35- Love one another so that everyone will know that you’re my disciples. From this, we can conclude that it is not theology or doctrines or righteousness that will lead people to recognize Christ and the Church. It is firstly His love. 

Although the truth- theology, doctrines and righteousness are also building blocks to our faith, but they need to be built upon LOVE and expressed from LOVE. For example, righteousness without love becomes self-righteousness. 

So brothers and sisters, let’s obey the call like never before in this end of days where the world is looking to the Church for answers and solutions to an evil and corrupt world. 

Let’s arise and demonstrate true love that is OF the Father, not for the Father. Loving the GOD of the word over the word of God. Our world needs to know WHO we know rather than what we know. And this begins with us, the Church. Amen.

My Read of the Month:

Title: Anointed for Business: How to Use Your Influence in the Marketplace to Change the WorldAuthor: Ed Silvoso
Published: 2002
Genre: Church growth/discipleship
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Ed Silvoso is one of the early proponents of the cultural mandate. I often draw divine inspiration from his teachings especially when I was fresh to the concept of “church without walls”.

Contrary from what the title suggests, this book does not teach about doing business or making  money. This book focuses on embracing God’s business of making an impact by discipling a nation as marketplace Christians.

Being not only a spiritual leader and evangelist, Silvoso is also an experienced business person. Hence, in his book he is able to eloquently blend biblical teaching with his experiences in redefining “ministry”.

Silvoso advocates the universal call for all Christians to use their secular jobs as a ministry vehicle for the gospel to be preached to, and heard by those within our sphere of influence.

“Today, skylines do not consist much of church spires but of the buildings that house the corporations that breathe life into commercial arteries of a nation,” explains Silvoso, “it is right there where the kingdom of God needs to be established.” And he  further adds that in order for transformation to take place, change has to come to the marketplace, and marketplace Christians must play a key role.

For instance in chapter 7: The Kingdom, the Church and the Marketplace, Silvoso points out that there were 40 major supernatural encounters recorded in the book of Acts. And interestingly, only one of them took place in a religious setting and the rest happened in the marketplace.

According to Silvoso, this highlights the truth that the Church should not be confined to a building or to a prearranged schedule of meetings. Therefore in order to start this change, Christians have to be released as ministers in the marketplace.

No longer must we take the regressive and passive approach in being satisfied in merely doing the Christian thing like going to church to do church but being a Christian who operates in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and applies God’s principles; being the Church and bringing God into the marketplace.

One part in the book not to be missed albeit controversial is found in chapter 2: Jesus in the Marketplace. Here, Silvoso debunks the traditional belief that Jesus Christ was poor when he was on earth. He presents evidence in the gospel to suggest that Jesus was well-to-do or wealthy. And inserts that Jesus himself was a businessperson in the carpentry industry and not a merely low-skilled carpenter that most of us are thought to believe.

Like most other books of a similar topic that challenges the nuclear church to recognise the call in the marketplace, this book does overly-focus the interest of the ministry in the marketplace and might downplay the relevance and importance of the ministry of the church in the process. In my opinion, both ministries need each other and have to work together strategically to effectively bring transformation to the city and nation.

Having said that, overall this book is a must-read for Christians to gain insights in how we as His people are to view and redeem the marketplace in a sustainable manner towards fulfilling the Great Commission effectively in this 21st century.

Who should read it: For pastors or church leaders, and Christian businesspeople or professionals.

My Read of the Month:

Title: The Church in the Workplace: How God’s People Can Transform Society
Author: C. Peter Wagner
Published: 2006
Genre: Church leadership/ Discipleship
Ratings: 3.7 out of 5 stars

There’s no denying that there is a nationwide sweeping movement of the Holy Spirit raising up His people in the marketplace in advancing His kingdom in this 21st century.

In Singapore, it seems most of us in the Body are just beginning to acknowledge and understand what God is doing through this movement.

Because for the longest time, believers were mostly taught and encouraged to rise up in their churches and in the process gave lower priority to secular work over church work. This has eroded God’s influence in the marketplace.

In this book, Peter does an excellent job in addressing this self-imploding crisis. He presents the two forms of churches- the nuclear church and the extended church and their different characteristics with their rule books. This truly helps to understand both camps and how to marry the two forms in forging a formidable force in bring heaven on earth.

What I found particular insightful was Peter highlighting the lack of spiritual governance in the marketplace from Mondays to Saturdays or the 9 to 5 window. And unlike the marketplace or extended church, the (nuclear) church has established its spiritual governance. This can be observed by how people would ‘naturally’ behave to a set of ‘Christian’ conducts or culture in the church.

Therefore, it is for this reason that God is raising up marketplace apostles and pastors to lead and govern His sheep in the marketplace towards discipling a nation. But for this to truly take place, we need to understand that Christian ministry is not confined to the nuclear church. And our secular work is equally sacred and significant.

The only fault that a reader may find with Peter might be his take on the current state of the nuclear church which might come across as a tat harsh. However though his views on nuclear churches (in general) may be negative, but I find that he isn’t far off from his analysis.

So depending on how you look at it or receive it, this book is an awesome reference book for church growth. And for Christians in Singapore, we can be encouraged that he mentions Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) and City Harvest Church (CHC) as role model churches that have moved the Church into the marketplace.

Who should read it: All Christians, especially pastors and ministry leaders.