Monthly Archives: May 2011

top ten prayer needs – would you intercede?

On Tuesday, I led prayer time in the office and so I’d like to share the prayer pointers here. If you feel led to pray with me or are looking for items to pray for, I invite you to pray along with us.

  • the church-changing campaign: the 40 days of community campaign that might possibly define Grace AG.
  • the elders and deacons: board members with important roles and lay leaders with influence would serve with authority and anointing.
  • the general elections: voters to decide based on cognition and not emotion; campaigners not to make empty promises; Christian leaders to get voted in; wisdom, righteousness and integrity to be hallmarks of the next Parliament.
  • the internal revival: our repentance, God’s revelation, our reliance on God and for us to move into radical action.
  • the fathers of Grace AG: a spiritual awakening that would cause fathers to rise up in their roles and start connecting with their children, court their wives, concentrate on what truly matters, correct prioritising in their careers and consistent Christ-like conduct in all their arenas.
  • the Grace AG evolution: restoration and reconciliation of relationships; revival, revitalisation and renewal; redevelopment, rebuilding and re-appeal of the building programme; regeneration of leaders.
  • the Grace Retreat: in line with the theme, the Church must remember that church may be some members’ only opportunity of experiencing family; that we would bond-build-battle, in that order.
  • the next generation: that is not defined by age, for every generation has a generation after them; help the future generation to surpass the present generation; help the next generation reaching their potential as the current generation impart lives to them.
  • the state of the world: be it Bin Laden, earthquakes, persecution of churches or tensions between countries, the world is in a bad shape and we must intercede for it.
  • the weekend encounters: to approach weekend services with a sense of expectation and unexpectedness; preachers and worship leaders to have a word in season from the Lord to the congregation.

A few of us are truly sensing that something good is going to happen. Will you be a part of us or apart from us?

I love my church… part 1.

Probably our favourite photograph together, taken at the inaugural Rhema in 2006.

I have arrived at the 18th month of my journey with Grace AG and it has been an eye-opening experience. A perfect church doesn’t exist and Grace AG is no different; there are cracks and weaknesses in my church, just like there are in yours. (I’m throwing the “This-is-not-your-church-this-is-His-church” cliche out of the window – I’m not here to quibble over semantics.) But not everyone, be it a salaried minister or a serving member, will dare to make this statement:

“I love my church.”

And I’ve been privileged enough to meet men and women whom I’m confident will dare to make that statement – Lionel, Joel and Suhui, just to name a few. As for my colleagues, I only have superficial knowledge of the majority of them but I do have intimate knowledge of one man – Ps Ronald. And I know he loves his church. His passion for Grace AG has rubbed off not just on me, but on many others who have crossed his path.

One reason why I look toward Ps Ronald as a role model is that he is a home-grown pastor. (Sidetrack, but I humbly think that we need more home-grown ministers!) This man was once a rebellious teenager; he once served as a Sunday School superintendent; and I believe that in his 12 years serving full-time in Grace AG as a youth pastor, he has stepped on many toes in the name of advancing the church. I believe that all good leaders have an insatiable appetite to improve their organisation with whatever influence they have. Their attitude is always exemplary and inspirational. After all, attitude reflect leadership (Julius Campbell).

I am a passionate person and I am not ashamed of the way I communicate. A couple of days ago, I enjoyed a heated phone conversation with Ps Ronald; it was almost cathartic to have these occasional dialogues. No, we didn’t quarrel. I doubt we’ve ever quarreled outrightly. I love and respect him too much to fight against him. He has over the years led me by example and proven that he is fighting alongside me. You must have heard me say this time and again – everyone has a hero of faith and Ps Ronald is in my hall of fame.

I brought to him a couple of issues that were tussling in my head in an open and honest manner. And I didn’t mince my words. There aren’t many people who can convincingly tell me, “I know where you are coming from”, and have me believe them. And there aren’t many people who can make me feel like they’ve really heard what I had to say and understood every word of it. Ps Ronald is one of the few who can cut it with me.

I put down the phone and sent him a follow-up text:

Bro, sorry if I sounded rude or disrespectful. I do get carried away and am passionate in my arguments. Trust you know it’s nothing personal. I’m challenging the policy, not the person.

His candid response made me beam with pride – for who doesn’t want to be a reflection of their role model? This was what he replied verbatim:

Yes, miniature Ronald. Hahahaha. You brought up a good point…

And the rest I shall omit… Well, you may not make heads or tails of what Ps Ronald and I exchanged but that was a significant moment for me, even though he has affirmed me time and again that I remind him of himself when he first started out in ministry. I believe that there are many others on the staff team who are like Ps Ronald and I – people who love the church and want to see it grow and change for the better.

Are you an old-timer harping on the church’s distinguished history?
Let the young ones show you how much they will love the church!

Are you a young person discouraged by the church’s dismal destiny?
Let the older folks show you how much they still love the church!

My rhetoric to you tonight is – “Do you love your church?”
God knows the answer in your heart and Man will know the answer by your fruit.

No, Grace AG isn’t just my place of employment.
It is home – my home – and I will fiercely protect it.

fighting the temptation of depending on yourself.

Psalm 73: A Psalm of Asaph.

1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff! My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.

4 They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They aren’t troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace, and their clothing is woven of cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “Does God realize what is going on?” they ask. “Is the Most High even aware of what is happening?” 12 Look at these arrogant people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong? 14 All I get is trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

15 If I had really spoken this way, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked.

18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, swept away by terrors. 20 Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake. When you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this life. 21 Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

23 Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. 24 You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

27 But those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

(New Living Translation)

I’d like to believe that Asaph was like any one of us. He had real struggles too (in this case, being tempted to harbour righteous envy against wicked men) but more importantly he dared to be real before God. I think that is remarkable for a man of his calibre.

Day in, day out, I wrestle with efforted authenticity before God. I rest in the knowledge that God already heard what’s in my heart and therefore I am lazy to articulate it. Oh, you’d be surprised to count the number of inaudible, invisible and illusional conversations that I think I had with Him. After all, why say it when He already knows it?

Asaph for me does it so well. He laid down his guiding principles at the start and proceeded to come clean with God. He neither left out details nor hid his true disgust. Sometimes, I think God can’t handle it when I get too honest… It got me thinking – if I tell God bad things about people, am I not gossiping, albeit with God?

The resolve arrived in v15 – that key word “If”. He faced real temptations but he emerged better for it. And instead of complaining and leaving it there, he actually sought insight from the Lord. So many times I have failed to rely on the counsel of the Spirit and depended instead on my own wisdom in interpreting the matter.

Tonight, Asaph takes on the role of my divine mentor and it is from his experiences that I will learn. What a sobering reminder v27-28 is! The condition underneath and the conversation upward are what truly matter – these must be my primary concerns when I fight the temptation of depending on myself.

I shall chew on Psalm 73 for the next week.

Lord, help me to see Your power in my weakness. And help me to remember that I don’t need to act invincible in Your presence.

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