Here’s an abridged version of the sermon I preached at the final youth service of Grace Retreat 2012.
The story of our faith is unbelievable to a thinking mind and sounds like a fairy tale to non-believers; any argument made would probably be counter-argued. That’s why it is important for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit – so that He’d confirm our message and make the Kingdom come alive. Hence, let us not dilute the power of God through the Holy Spirit!
Authentic Christianity with the power of Spirit is attractive because it makes you want to want it. When God’s power shows up, people would naturally talk about it; and it is more persuasive than cutting-edge creativity or intellectual brilliance. We are limited by our own ability, but one act of the Holy Spirit changes even the most stubborn mind. But it is ironic that we still choose to rely on ourselves.
Always remember that the power we receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us (Acts 1:8) is mighty, miraculous, supernatural and environmentally-changing. That power was given to us for us not to be witnessing but to be a witness; it’s not what you do, but who you are. Therefore, be convinced that the Spirit is a catalyst for unbelievers to be drawn into the Kingdom.
On a personal note, I don’t want to lead a numerically large, but a spiritually powerless youth group. It is my prayer that R-AGE youths become Spirit-filled disciple-makers. After all, we are called to be a pentecostal Spirit-filled ministry. Let us not mute ourselves to the spiritual realm that the devil is trying to rule, but tap into God’s power that is available to all.
Be warned that the forces of darkness will not cower at our intellect or be intimidated by our creativity, but will shut down when they encounter a disciple who is filled with the Spirit. The best publicity for Jesus is when a Spirit-led demonstration follows a Gospepl proclamation. After all, it just takes one powerful, significant and authentic move of the Spirit to accelerate things to the next level. Aaron Kok (one of my youth leaders) can relate to that, I’m sure. Click here to read his powerful testimony.
In order to be catapulted into a Spirit-led way of life, I’d encourage us all to practise a PDA Lifestyle (I borrowed this concept from my wise mentor, Ps Edmund Chan):
- Personal revival – meeting God daily.
- Divine appointments – seeing doors open.
- Active obedience – responding with faith.
You see, if you dare to do the ridiculous, God will do the impossible. God is looking for young men and women to take spiritual risks, out of obedience to what God is saying. God is looking for (young) people who would potentially change their environments. So, R-AGE youth, would you be the next person God uses to do something extraordinary in your school, work place or home?
I aptly ended with a quote I picked up from AIYS 2012 (where this sermon was birthed at anyway):
For me, living an ordinary life is not an option anymore. — Peter Parker (aka Spiderman)
AIYS 2012 concluded with a riveting message preached by Ps Jesse Dedel. I’m still chewing on it but I thought I could share the same excerpt from the article he used in his sermon.
Well, if my youth group, church or nation is going to have a giant rise up against it, and it’s going to need someone with Someone in him who is greater than this giant, then I’d like to volunteer to be this someone with Someone in him.
Whenever children are born at a critical time in history, strange, supernatural things seem to go on in that culture. And people in high places know it. When those things take place, it’s in the demonic world that Satan puts out the contract on children.
In the records of the Bible each time a mass destruction of children fell on the world, a KEY LEADER was about to be born. Moses, Jesus – a deliverer was coming, and hell was afraid. As we’ve seen, the mass murder of children is not a new idea.
The contract is out again. It has come in our time, and it has come for our children. What does that say to us? What can we learn from this awful slaughter? We must ask ourselves: What is there about this generation that makes Satan so afraid? What does he see or sense coming that has triggered such an awful holocaust?
In the times of Moses and the Lord Jesus, that rage missed its marks. The targets of that destruction escaped each time. And the ones that got away did untold damage to hell’s domain. There is something precious and important about this generation, so deeply under attack.
It may well be the last generation before Jesus returns.
It may have among its ranks of survivors the makings of a major spiritual miracle.
There may be leaders-to-be rescued from the sword that will lead an entire generation of the abandoned, loveless, and lonely into the promises of God.
I believe that the children being born today are part of a whole prophetic generation God is bringing forth, and that’s why the enemy is trying to destroy them in any way he can – both physically and mentally. In the demonic realm the contract has gone out – and the contract on children today is greater than ever before in history. Much, much greater.
Source: Last Days Ministries
Tonight’s the final time I will fall asleep in Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio.
AIYS 2012 has been a blast. By lunch tomorrow, I’d have sat into nearly 70 (!!) classes – that’s like attending 10 IDMCs! I’ve learnt so much from the instructors here; there’s a truckload to take home – new knowledge acquired, a renewed passion, a lifted spirit and of course, new friends and ministry partners from around the world.
The Lord has spoken to me personally and through pastors and friends who prayed for me. That’s crucial because I know if God is for me, then I can proceed with His approval. The trick now is to not go ahead of God, but to trust in Him and wait for Him to pave the way for me in the things that He’s impressed upon my heart to implement.
I’m thankful to Grace AG for sending me to AIYS 2012. The next AIYS takes place in 2015 and I declare this by faith – I will bring my full-time staff team with me.
Frankly, I think I’ve already reached saturation point for lessons. All I want to do now is to reflect on the 60+ notes, distill the ones that challenge me and sieve out the ones that are applicable to R-AGE. AND PUT WHAT I’VE LEARNT INTO ACTION. Otherwise, it’d be pointless.
And speaking of action, I’m pleased that there’s no chapel service tonight because traditionally, the last night’s always reserved for Balut Party – a rite of passage for AIYS delegates. I’ll let the photos talk!
Watch me gobble down the hot chick! @ http://www.facebook.com/v/10150966084595973
Ps Julie Khoo gave an altar call last night and I responded to it – my first time at the altar since AIYS 2012 started. I asked God to confirm the things He had been putting in my heart because the weight was too heavy to bear by myself. I shared this burden with Brian, Jamie and a couple of others whom I shared meals with. I needed the Lord to give me strength, courage and wisdom.
In that 15 minutes kneeling down, two people came to pray for me; I recognised Ps Julie’s voice and I caught sight of a pair of red sneakers and realised it belonged to her assistant, Ps Danny Tan. Both of them had only arrived the day before and had no idea what God was doing and stirring in my heart the past week.
As I stepped forward, I wasn’t emotional at all, as expected – that’s just how I am. But I had faith; I knew God would speak to me. So I asked the Lord to help me remember this altar call experience.
Ps Julie and Ps Danny won’t know this until I tell them – both of them prayed identical things over me. And along with what the Lord had already revealed in my heart, I saw a complete picture of what’s next for me and what’s stopping me from getting there. Ps Julie prophesied over me almost immediately and described the vision she saw. When she laid her hands on me moments later, I broke down; I will never forget how the Lord broke my heart for R-AGE, its leaders and the campuses in Singapore. I had faith that God would speak, but I didn’t expect myself to weep this way.
With a new found confidence, I returned to my seat to record what I had received from the Lord. Amidst the seven things God revealed through Ps Julie and Ps Danny, I remember receiving this personal revelation as I walked back to my row:
“My burden is greater than my fear.
Your glory is greater than my burden.”
I skipped the after-service fellowship and retreated to my room. And as I wanted to remember that God gave this to me when I was in the Philippines, I opened up Google to translate that line into Tagalog, and posted it as my Facebook status:
“Aking pasanin ay mas malaki kaysa sa aking takot.
Ang iyong kaluwalhatian aymas malaki kaysa sa aking pasanin.”
The next morning, just before the second session began, I read aloud the Tagalog translation to my Filipino friend, Ps Welfert, just to share with him what God had done with me last night.
With tears welling up in his eyes, he told me that what I’ve read to him were actually lyrics from a Filipino worship song called, “Salamat Panginoon”! The essence of the song is about how God’s presence is bigger than my struggles, pains and worries, and how great favour will come with the Lord because He is control of what’s going on.
I WAS BLOWN AWAY.
It was a powerful moment for the both of us. Welfert got emotional as he shared the meaning of the song with me. God ministered to the two of us there and then – what a divine revelation and confirmation!
God is good, so good. And He is faithful – I know He will go before me. My confidence in the Lord for the task ahead is rising! Praise the Lord for the spiritual monument that He’s building in my life through AIYS 2012.
After being cooped up in school for a full week, I was glad to get a breath of fresh air outside the seminary. A group of us headed to the nearby SM Mall for dinner and were glad to gobble down two large pizzas in Yellow Cab Pizzeria; for obvious reasons, the majority of us wanted to avoid anything related to rice.
Meeting committed Christians from other nations has been an enriching experience. I always thought that talking about NS would bring Singaporean men together in conversation. Football might have the same effect on most guys. But I’m now convinced that the richest and deepest conversations revolve around what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in our lives.
I’m beginning to take an affinity towards Philippines; not just because of the comfortable Baguio weather or the more affordable standard of living, but because of the warmth of the locals. I’m convinced that if we had youth services in heaven, the chief ushers and greeters training team would be Filipino. The folks here are seriously and genuinely interested to talk to you.
I’ve never been left alone in a social setting for more than one minute. As long as the locals see that you’re by yourself, they’d instinctively take the initiative to engage you in conversation. R-AGE could really learn a thing or two from them. They’d make any newcomer or returning visitor feel welcome!
I’m only halfway through AIYS 2012 and I’ve attended nearly 30 classes! I like. (: