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the most memorable and precious morning of 2010.

I have decided to be as candid as I can because I want to capture the incredulity of the events that have unfolded in its rawest elements. This incident, to me, is a demonstration of God’s grace and divine timing, as well as His faithfulness in my life (especially ever since I stepped into full-time ministry). Some people may choose to express their joy in a different manner but this is how I will do it, so don’t judge me. Instead, rejoice with me for every word shared in this post comes from a heart of being humbly thankful for the favour that God has kindly bestowed upon me. I was actually reluctant to write about this because I was afraid of sounding pompous; however, this event has left such a mark in my memory that it would be travesty not to engrave it into my heart and mind. My sole intention is to give God the full glory for what has happened.

Ever since IDMC 2010 concluded, I’ve spent an abundance of time with the Lord and it’s been thoroughly enjoyable. It’s something I cannot describe with words; I’ve been waking up much earlier everyday just to have more time with God. If you want to get a glimpse of how I feel, just do what I do – spend time with the Lord. I have a newfound vigour and desire in wanting to cultivate a deeper journey with God and I absolutely revel in it! I remember telling the Lord how wonderful it would be if I could journey with someone who really knew how to grow deep with God… But I digress.

I had dinner with LK on Monday and (I’ll withhold the details of our conversation but) I encouraged him to email BL from CEFC. When I got home that night, I decided to give LK a head-start by googling for BL’s email. At the end of IDMC 2010, I had already wanted to drop EC an email and so when I searched for BL’s email, I also searched for the last correspondence I had with EC, which was dated back to 2009. He had agreed to meet me if his schedule allowed. Unfortunately, that meeting didn’t materialise.

Writing to EC is different from responding to an email; busy men do not have the luxury of time to read long-winded emails, so I needed to be efficient with my words – and it takes time and effort to condense your thoughts. Nonetheless, I clicked on the “Reply” button and left that window open for me to compose my response later on. I was also trying to clear my backlog and was replying to many other emails. The clock struck midnight and I decided to retire to bed so that I could get up at 6am to read the Word.

I depend on my Nokia alarm to get me out of bed. At 5:55am, without the typical snoozing, I sprang out of bed because I was hungry for the Word. As I switched off the alarm on the E71, I also saw the emails that arrived in my mailbox in the last six hours. I saw an email from “Edmund Chan” and I swear the croutons in my eyes leaped out of its socket. Needless to say, I powered up my laptop immediately and zeroed in on that one email. I was sure it was some server screw-up and that it was an old, resent email.

But no, it was really EC – the man himself. (Okay, I know Christians cannot idolise other people but HELLO, THIS IS THE REVERED REVEREND EDMUND CHAN OF IDMC AND CEFC – PLEASE, EXCEPTIONS APPLY. Aiya, whatever. I’m just being frank here with my emotions, wearing my heart on my sleeve…) His reply was simple; he wanted my contact number so that he could call me to arrange to meet me before he went on his travels again. I saw the reply before that and apparently I sent him an email I had intended to send to one of my leaders to confirm our lunch meeting time and venue! I was so embarrassed by this boo-boo!

I composed myself quickly and replied his 5:45am email at around 6:00am. Three minutes later, my Nokia E71 rang.

“Hello, may I speak to Joey please?”

>>> HI PASTOR EDMUND. (INSERT MUTED EXCLAMATION MARKS HERE!!!) WOW. I AM HONOURED.

I was starstruck. Not that it mattered at all, but I apologised for the previous email that didn’t make sense. He chuckled and told me he believed in divine appointments. I was still starstruck. Then he told me that he was free that morning and asked if I was free. HELLO WHAT DO YOU THINK!??? So I audaciously asked if he was free to meet for breakfast at 7am at the Bukit Batok Central McDonald’s. He agreed and we put down the phone. And I literally SKIPPED to the basin, SMILED as I brushed my teeth, SKIPPED back to my room, SMILED as I changed into my clothes, SKIPPED out of home and SMILED all the way to the main road to flag a taxi.

I texted HY immediately and asked her to call me. Enthusiastically, I told her what had transpired and she was convinced there and then, that she was dating a little boy. I also updated my Facebook status, not to show off, but to use it as an outlet to release the adrenaline pumping in my bloodstream!

Both of us were going to be late so when I arrived I waited outside the McDonald’s, and anticipated the arrival of my V-V-VIP. There was still no sign of EC at 7:20am, so I decided to inspect the inside of McDonald’s. From the outside, through the glass panels, I caught sight of a middle-aged man writing something in EC’s latest book, “Growing Deep in God”, and this following was what really went through my head, in sequence:

“Woah God, divine confirmation ah? You send someone who just bought his book to assure me that I’m definitely meeting Pastor Edmund ah?”

“Cannot be right – don’t tell me someone has been stalking him… I’m not prepared to share Pastor Edmund with anyone else this morning ok! I waited one full year for this meeting!”

“Okay, maybe Pastor Edmund arranged to meet me together with someone else… Aiya, ok no choice, beggars aren’t choosers, I’ll just have to learn to share… What to do…? It’s already a privil-”

!!!

“EH HELLO YOU STUPID BOY THIS MAN IS EDMUND CHAN!!!”

So, I composed myself again because I didn’t want to appear too eager for fear that I would scare him away. THIS WAS IT. I AM ABOUT TO MEET THE MAN! I walked up to the table, caught his attention, gestured that I am he whom he is meant to meet (HAHA SORRY COULDN’T RESIST WRITING LIKE THAT!), shook his hand and stuttered through this sentence: “Hi Pastor Edmund, I’m Joey. I was waiting outside.” Of course, as soon as I said it, I felt like a dimwit trying to justify why I was late. I could only offer a quick riposte of, “Sorry, I couldn’t recognise you because of your missing moustache!” (Yeah, he shaved it off.)

Finally, there I was, seated in front of quite possibly my greatest inspiration of a man of God. I didn’t know where or how to begin, so I asked him if I could buy him breakfast. He simply said, “No, let me buy you breakfast instead.” I nodded my head, still starstruck of course, and (for the life of me I do not understand why I) took out my wallet and went to queue up with him. He asked me what I wanted and told me to return to my seat. “Let me serve you.” I was almost helplessly humbled beyond humility and inspired beyond inspiration by his role-model example of servant-leadership.

He asked me to say grace and instantly I wanted to recite the grace I composed, but I was nowhere near being composed enough to utter it without making a fool of myself. So I prayed simply and sincerely – thanking God for this wonderful opportunity to sit at the feet (well, almost) of a man who is completely devoted to Him. I have never felt so happy in a fast food restaurant before, eating Sausage McGriddles; every mouthful tasted divine.

He broke the ice with some getting-to-know-you questions and there I was, happily over-answering every single question like it was the last question he’d ever ask. When ice-breakers were over, he asked me three extraordinarily simple questions, point-blank.

“How old are you?”

>>> I turn 27 next month.

“When did you accept Christ?”

>>> 15 years ago, when I was in primary six.

-a short pause-

“Would you like me to mentor you?”

-MY MOUTH OPENED BIGGER THAN A HUMPBACK WHALE’S-

>>> W-W-WOW! Y-Y-YES! It’d be my honour, privilege and absolute delight to be mentored by you!

Do me a favour here and fill in all the blanks for me, okay? EVERY EXTREME EMOTION OF ELATION AND DELIRIUM – YOU IMAGINE IT – BECAUSE I PROBABLY EXPERIENCED IT. Thank you, very much. (:

He proceeded to spell out for me what he expected of me as his mentoree and laid the ground rules for our mentoring relationship. Then he explained why he asked those questions, and everything suddenly made sense to me. But what was more astonishing was how God was involved in this truly divine appointment. He told me that God had spoken to him about me already. To keep the account brief (because I’m unsure how much I’m permitted to say), he told me that he shaved off his signature moustache because he was mourning for a mentoree who suddenly passed away over the weekend. However, God comforted him by telling him that He would send him a new spiritual son.

And that was when my email was accidentally sent to his mailbox.

***

The adventure didn’t stop there.

We ended our inaugural mentoring session at 9am and he asked me where I was headed to. I told him that I was heading to GII to lead devotion for a group of youths. He offered to send me there. As we approached the destination, I asked him to alight me outside GII because it was troublesome to turn in and out of the narrow basement car park. Nevertheless, he made a right turn into the compound and said,

“How could I pass up on the opportunity of watching you teach?”

I’d be a millionaire if I got a dollar for every time he stunned me that morning.

So I guided him to the car park, got out of the car, entered the lift with him, and walked to the classroom where the youths were waiting. I opened the door, exchanged morning greetings with everyone, held the door for EC to enter, then as calmly as I could, said, “This is Pastor Edmund”. The only person who knew who he was, was EL. EC was EL’s hero; you should have seen the look on her face when EC appeared after me. She immediately contributed to my a-dollar-for-every-stunning-moment-morning.

I have never taught with so much nerve before. When I asked the class to share their reflection on Proverbs 1:1-7 (the passage I’ve selected for the morning devotion), guess who also answered with a bag of nerves? No prizes. At the end of my 30-minute session, he sat me down by the vending machine and conducted one of the most enlightening debrief sessions I’ve ever attended. Throughout those three precious hours, he shifted a number of my paradigms and challenged an equal of my perspectives; I was tremendously sharpened that morning.

At 10:15am, I escorted him to his car and bid him farewell. That morning, I caught a glimpse of the remarkable leader and mentor that he is reputed to be. This is a morning that I will forever remember because it was a grand display of God’s faithfulness and goodness in my life.

***

If I didn’t send him an email a year ago;

If I allowed myself to be discouraged by those who sniggered at me when I boldly declared (by faith) that one day he’d mentor me;

If I gave up after failing to make an appointment;

If I weren’t discussing about BL with LK over dinner on Monday;

If I didn’t help LK search for BL’s email and remembered about that email from 2009;

If I didn’t click “Reply”;

If I wasn’t clearing my email backlog;

If I didn’t casually tell the Lord about my desire to find someone to teach me how to grow deeper in Him;

If I didn’t wake up to spend time with the Lord at 6am;

And this is just my part of the story… After this incident, I have become a firm believer of a God of divine appointments, a God who rewards beyond my imagination, and of a God who answers prayers – no matter how simple or casual they may be. My God knows my needs and He supplies them accordingly for His glory. I am also convinced that if you want really want something, and have the faith to receive it, you have to take action and go on to pursue it. After all, if you never ask, you never know. Oh God, I’m glad I asked!

I love You, Lord and I can’t wait to grow with and glean from your servant EC. I still cannot believe that You would send a man of his calibre to be my spiritual father and mentor. Truly, truly, it is my honour, privilege and absolute delight to call You my Lord, my God and my Father who knows my heart’s desire. I’m madly in love with You. Thank You for Your grace and favour that I definitely do not deserve. May I glorify You wholeheartedly through this newly established relationship.

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what does it mean to say “grace”?

Often we say “Grace” before partaking in meals as a formality without fully understanding its significance. I believe that “Grace” and grace is a gift from God as well as unmerited favour; we need to consciously remember that the food on our tables, though acquired by with our own resources, is still an indication of God’s providence in our lives. I say Grace because I want to give God the credit and the glory for the meal before me and so I engage my sentiments; I do not say Grace lightly.

I believe that saying Grace properly, seriously and appropriately has five main benefits which I’ve assembled in an alliteration. It gives you:

1. Perspective – If I may reiterate, I believe that all meals, big or small, cheap or expensive, are evidence of God’s goodness, faithfulness and providence in your lives. Most of the time, the meal is paid for with your money (someone else’s if you’re receiving a treat). Depending on your age, your money comes from either your parents or your job. Remember that it’s God who gave you your parents and your job. Surely, that reminds you of where your meal came from.

2. Purpose – When our hearts and minds are tuned into the right perspective, it helps us to answer the why of our communion. Besides eating for sustenance and survival, we should remember once again, that we should eat for God’s glory (note that the italics are not on the verb eat but on the presupposition for). Now, read carefully and get this – anything that is not done for God’s glory is naturally not for God’s glory; leaving God out of it would equate would equate to sin and that happens when we do not eat for God’s glory. More on that here.

3. (God’s) Presence – I find that praying together with fellow believers before meals is especially helpful in reminding us of the lingering presence of Christ, whom I believe is seated with us in every meal. In other words, saying Grace is the act of inviting God’s presence into the fellowship. There’s a holy repercussion in this acknowledgement – that our words and actions would carry intentionality and serve to build one another up, divert attention back to God and also be littered with grace.

4. Proof – I learnt this when I was working in Shanghai, away from an environment that is used to witnessing Christians suddenly bow their heads and close their eyes in public arenas to whisper a word of prayer before meals. Don’t underestimate how this mere act of coming before God to give thanks heightens other people’s awareness of your faith and whose you belong to. I’d like to think that saying Grace could prove “to be a wonderful witness for Christ to all the people” (John Piper).

5. Praise – I state the obvious; Grace is an expression of our genuine gratitude to God for the food – which is why we say, “Thank You”. I opine the inaccuracy of asking for the food to be “blessed”, simply because it already is a blessing that we are eating it! (Besides, to ask for the food to be blessed when it is already blessed reeks semblance to my former pagan practice – what‘s the point?) This analogy is exaggerated, but imagine the thankfulness we’d render in the light of famine or starvation.

I really enjoy JP’s writing and preaching. (I’m an ambitious dreamer, and I believe that one day, I will meet him in person.) There was a period of time that I recited his three well thought-out and excellently-written meal time prayers at all my meals; he wrote it for his own family’s use and at every meal they recite it together, from memory. I had actually wanted to revive this habit, but I was inspired to write, memorise and recite my own version, for my own family’s use.

So here it is, making its official debut, Joey Asher’s all-day “Grace”:

For All Meals, Anytime, Anywhere
Our gracious Father, we recall
Your true providence, both great and small.
The food ahead proclaims Your grace;
Let’s be still, Your presence we embrace.
We’re thankful, Lord, for nourishment;
Renew our strength, this good communion.
Our words, our deeds, they make You known;
We’ll proceed, for Your glory alone

top ten reasons to leave church.

It’s been over a decade since I joined Grace Assembly and never once did I consider leaving church for greener pastures or stiller waters. Grace, like ACS, has played a big part in making me who I am today and there is little possibility that I’d want to leave. Of course in the last 13 years, I’ve seen countless people – both pew-warmers and high-profile leaders alike – leave church. Some exit for legitimate reasons and some do not; I’m not in the place to judge. I’ve never been one to hold people back should they opt to venture elsewhere – I’ve always seen it as a personal choice.

This “Top Ten” list looks like it’s going to be a weekly release (you can read the previous list on the desired ingredients of a worship leader here). For this week, if I may, I’ll muse about the top ten church-exiting justifications I’ve gathered over the years. I won’t elaborate on each point because I want to leave its details to your interpretation and imagination. My adapted observations are based on an official research conducted. If people do leave church, this is what they might say:

  1. “The church doesn’t seem to be growing spiritually.”
  2. “There’s little significance in my meaningless ministry.”
  3. “My church friends are so judgmental and critical.”
  4. “The preacher is weak, non-expository and not engaging.”
  5. “There are too many changes – no stability, no consistency.”
  6. “The environment is so superficial and artificial – a bunch of hypocrites.”
  7. “I don’t even know if my church is doing God’s work.”
  8. “Socially, it’s such an elitist and exclusive culture – not my cup of tea.”
  9. “There’s no grace when I share my problems with my pastors and leaders.”
  10. “My pastor doesn’t walk his talk – he’s just another hypocrite.”

You can find other variations and a more methodical breakdown here, here, here, here or here. However, allow me to turn the tables a little – here are the top ten reasons why you should stick around in your church:

  1. “The church doesn’t seem to be growing spiritually.”
  2. “There’s little significance in my meaningless ministry.”
  3. “My church friends are so judgmental and critical.”
  4. “The preacher is weak, non-expository and not engaging.”
  5. “There are too many changes – no stability, no consistency.”
  6. “The environment is so superficial and artificial – a bunch of hypocrites.”
  7. “I don’t even know if my church is doing God’s work.”
  8. “Socially, it’s such an elitist and exclusive culture – not my cup of tea.”
  9. “There’s no grace when I share my problems with my pastors and leaders.”
  10. “My pastor doesn’t walk his talk – he’s just another hypocrite.”

Believe it or not, should you choose to go, you will always be able to identify another problem with your new church. At the end of the day, there is no perfect church; but if there was one, you wouldn’t be in it. So, be loyal, be patient, stick around and be the difference in your church (but if God tells you to leave, do it quietly and quickly). Don’t jump ship on a sinking boat; there’s no pluck in that. (But maybe, just maybe – no offence here – when you do jump ship, the original boat may actually start to float! Then maybe we’d say, “Good riddance to bad rubbish”.)

I’ll conclude this post with something I found on the net – “Note to pastors and youth ministers who choose to live in denial: this list does not apply to YOU and YOUR church, only to other churches and other youth groups that are not as spiritual, strategic, relevant, cool, committed or emerging as you are.”

I hope my second top ten list was helpful in expanding your perspective of being in your church.

what’s your itch?

The itch of a healing wound is caused by the growth of new cells underneath the old scab. New skin cells would be growing underneath there, and as they form a new layer of skin, then the scab becomes more tightly stretched over this zone of activity. This can make it feel itchy. The itch sensation for burn survivors may be a tingling feeling caused by nerves re-growing, or from dry skin caused by the lack of natural oil production since oil glands may have been damaged or destroyed by the burn. As the nerves grow and start to receive and send messages, they may create that itchy feeling. The skin in this area will be a lot less thick than everywhere else, so these new nerve cells will be under a lot more pressure. Most people say that itching is a sign of healing. It is best to avoid itching of the wound. If it becomes too much of a problem, speak with the doctor or nurse. They may order medications by mouth or some topical cream to help make this more tolerable. (Source: WikiAnswers)

Although WikiAnswers tell me what I already know, albeit in a more scientific explanation, reading it does make me feel a little more reassured about this unbearable itch that I am experiencing as my wounds heal.

This gets me thinking about itches. The natural consequence of itching is scratching. We all know that scratching at a healing wound only serves to provide temporal relief but actually causes longer term damage and prevents the injury from healing even faster. But all that head knowledge still doesn’t stop an itching person from scratching, does it? It’s a natural reflex action; I itch, I scratch – I’m satisfied.

It’s like that with life; we see a new gadget in the market, the itch comes, and we scratch. We don’t realise that we are actually just enjoying momentary pleasure. We forget that perhaps, there’s a house, car or marriage to save for. Still, we go all out to satisfy that itch, forsaking the longer term goals. Same goes for cars, promotions, positions, holidays etc etc etc.

Recently, I received an SMS from a friend who had an opening for a Regional Marketing Manager job. I think he sent it to me because he probably thought I had a chance of getting it. Was I tempted? Well, maybe. Did a bigger paycheck entice me? Well, perhaps. Did this make me itch? Yes. But I am glad I did not scratch. I knew full well that whatever I was doing with my life at this point in time was in line with the will of God. And that satisfies the itch of all itches (if you know what I mean).

Hence, it reinforces the opinion that I could always be happier, but I am situationally contented. That’s something I’ve lived by for the last half a decade and it’s something that I would continue to live by, by His grace alone.

Refer to the quoted text above. Interestingly enough, “If [the itch] becomes too much of a problem, speak with the [D]octor”. Well, I’d like to think that there is tremendous wisdom in that! If in our spirits we start to feel itches that aren’t meant to be there, or are there to distract us, then let’s consult the Doctor Himself for the remedy! Let us learn to realise since it’s hard to fight the lures of this world, let’s look to God and rely on His grace to see us through every itch of life.

Think twice about scratching. It leads to bleeding.

leaving a legacy.

For this blog, I refrain from narrative writing, but I want to testify of God’s goodness, so here it is.

This afternoon, just before my champs headed for lunch, I taught them Steve Green’s “Find Us Faithful”. For some reason, I was impressed to do this last night when I was seeking God for them. As it turned out, this simple one-song singspiration unexpectedly evolved into a powerful time of ministry. As the tears streamed, hearts responded, eyes turned, emotions stirred, hands raised and commitments evoked, I’d like to believe that God was doing a work of renewal and refreshing in their perhaps jaded journey.

I prayed over them and challenged them to remember why they have decided to be a part of REAL. And as I prayed, I was convinced that we cannot and will not be able to accomplish the upcoming work and undergo the remaining training by our own strength and motivation. We have to and must turn to God, for it is His grace that would see us through and His power that would be perfected in our weakness. I felt so much passion dripping in my prayer and God’s anointing really moved me to tears.

In a week, three would depart from this group and in a month, I’d graduate the remaining 12. (I anticipate it to be a bittersweet sentimental moment.) I reminded them again that the success of REAL is not about what happens or is completed in these two months but about who they will turn out to be in the years to come. What is the legacy that they desire to leave behind for future REAL participants and the current and next generation of young people? What is the legacy that you want to leave behind for others who would come behind you?

So before the REAL team writes their own song, I hereby declare this timeless classic to be REAL programme’s official theme song. The ministry in L4R7 was undoubtedly the highlight of today. God’s presence was so strong in the room; I believe we were standing on holy ground.

Find Us Faithful
by Steve Green

We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us, let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Chorus:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Repeat chorus

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

if it was up to us, we’d already be struck dead.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

I’m confident that almost every believer is familiar with this verse; it’s like our perpetual get-out-of-jail-free ticket and our permanent licence to do (pretty much) whatever we want and get away with it. Of course, if you are a mature believer, you’ll slowly realise that God’s grace should empower us not to sin some more, but to sin no more; the grace of God should empower us to do what the truth demands. I think I’ve mentioned that somewhere in one of my earlier entries.

Now, the question that I’d ask is, “Who or what is God faithful and just to?” That was what I posed to my REAL champs this afternoon, at the aftermath of their Old Testament Overview, where they learnt that the overarching theme of Exodus is the faithfulness of God by His demonstration of fulfilling what He has promised (i.e. Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt).

A knee-jerk response to the above-mentioned question would be He is faithful and just to me or He is faithful and just to my repentance. Think about it for a little bit longer. Do you really think that God’s forgiveness and cleansing was based on you or to your repenting efforts? If it was so, you’d be already be struck dead! I’m inclined to think that if God was really just to us (i.e. as a judge would demonstrate justice in a court), we’d get the death sentence ten times over simply for being unable to meet the requirements of His laws; after all, it is stated that the wages of sin is death (ref. Romans 6:23).

Thankfully for us, God is just to Jesus Christ, not us. That’s the reason why God has forgiven our sins and has cleansed us from all unrighteousness! By taking the fall for us, Christ presents us righteous before God. I’m convinced that we are absolutely too sinful and unholy to be in the presence of a holy God but we are allowed access because when God views us, He sees the atoning sacrifice of Christ and not our sin. By the sheer unchangeability of what Christ has already done for us on the cross, we can therefore approach God with confidence, knowing that we’ll be forgiven and cleansed every single time. God is faithful to what Christ did in our place.

We’ll never be able to fulfil our side of the promise, unlike Christ who has already fulfilled His and therefore, permits us to have communion with God. Now, that’s what I call a demonstration of a promise! I gave God the glory as I saw the REAL kids nod their heads away as they learn a new truth and it is my prayer that you will be liberated as you discover a new way to apply this familiar scripture into your life.

scrunitising yourself.

It seems that blame-shifting and responsibility-shirking has become ingrained in our systems. Time and again when something goes wrong, we never fail to push the blame to someone else and absolve ourselves of all fault. It happens everywhere – home, school, work, ministry and with friends. We are always reluctant to believe that we can be at fault, or at least, we have too much pride to admit that it might just be our mistake.

For instance, I’ve seen many people join and leave their church. More often than not, when they exit, they will find a pastor to crucify, a preaching style to criticise or a leader to cuss. I managed to do this of course, but in a less violent way. When I decided to leave my former church for Grace, I politely gave reasons like “you need to be 18 before you can serve”, “when the pastor preaches it’s like he’s scolding us” and of course the timeless classic of “it’s a family church that’s too cliquish”.

Surely we are familiar with these “justifications” when we considered leaving our church:

“Oh I prefer a more expository style of preaching.”

“The leaders are too demanding.”

“The youth group has too many rules.”

“I feel that I can’t grow anymore because the teaching is too basic.”

I think I recall BH (who happens to be one of my favourite speakers) saying something like this before, “If there was a perfect church, you wouldn’t be in it“.

Well, what is my point then? I think it’s always easier to change ourselves than to change other people.

  • Before you complain about your imperfect church, ask if you’ve been a good member.
  • Before you lament about your nagging mother, ask if you’ve been a good child.
  • Before you carp about your boring job, ask if you’ve been excellent in all your tasks.
  • Before you grumble about your substandard school, ask if you’ve been a good student.
  • Before you whine about your unsatisfactory grades, ask if you’ve been studying hard enough.
  • Before you grouse about your small allowance, ask if you’ve been a good steward of money.
  • Before you mutter about your weird cell, ask if you’ve been putting effort to unify everyone.
  • Before you kvetch about your disloyal friends, ask if you’ve been a reliable buddy.

So I urge everyone to do some self-scrunity once in a while. It may do you more good than harm.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

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