an attempt to justify the temporary silence.
Special promotion… This week only:
- A 40% school assignment due on Friday evening. I’m preachingpresenting, of course.
- Preaching on James 4:13-17 at both R-AGE services over the weekend.
- Chairing Winistry (R-AGE @ GII Leaders’ Meeting) on Saturday evening.
- Combined Rhema committee meeting on Sunday afternoon.
- And oh, did I mention that my Macbook Pro crashed on Monday? Yeah, graphics card died.
I will write regularly next week. I promise.
For now, I covet your prayers.
a five-year prequel in-the-making.
I joined the intercessors at the weekly Prayer Room Ministry this evening and I was tremendously blessed by the brothers and sisters who were present. The pastoral staff are rostered to attend this time of prayer and it was my turn tonight – so I went there with a heart to minister to these intercessors. However, it was I who left the prayer room feeling absolutely ministered to. Anointing flowed freely through the powerful time of prayer and I take comfort knowing that Grace AG has a team of faithful intercessors. I thank God for them and I am inspired to lead our weekly PUSH to a whole ‘nother level.
At the end of the hour-long session, they prayed for me and a number of them released words of accuracy and prophecy into my life. For instance, I know God has called me into this season of youth ministry to lead, preach and mentor – And I kept hearing the intercessors, most of whom I did not know before tonight, pray these exact few words over me. It was like when these words were verbalised, it amplified in my head – so imagine the throbbing volume in my mind! I must say that it was an extremely faith-building session tonight to say the least; it was as if God was reassuring me of the specific things I needed to do during this time of service.
But the event that takes the cake – and the highlight of my evening – was when the chief intercessor closed in prayer. As she closed, she released scripture to me, which practically got me grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t recall which version she used, so I’ll just show four different versions of Deuteronomy 33:24-25.
New International Version – About Asher he said: “Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.”
New Living Translation – Moses said this about the tribe of Asher: “May Asher be blessed above other sons; may he be esteemed by his brothers; may he bathe his feet in olive oil. May the bolts of your gates be of iron and bronze; may you be secure all your days.”
English Standard Version – And of Asher he said, “Most blessed of sons be Asher; let him be the favorite of his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil. Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.”
New American Standard Bible – Of Asher he said, “More blessed than sons is Asher; May he be favored by his brothers, And may he dip his foot in oil. Your locks will be iron and bronze, And according to your days, so will your leisurely walk be.”
Now, get this – I checked with her if she knew my baptism name. She said she only knew that I was “Joey A. Tan” – according to the name on the roster given to her. She thought it was a “happening” thing to do to have that “A.” in my name. I told her that I chose to be baptised as “Asher” in 2005 because of its befitting meaning – blessed, joyful and happy – I felt these adjectives truly represented my personality, especially “joyful and happy”.
The funny thing is, I’ve always skimmed through the word “blessed” and gave its significance little thought; maybe it was because it was such a common word. But tonight, I found new insights into my baptism name from a passage of scripture that I’ve never read before – even through my meticulous decision-making process of selecting a baptism name!
She was stunned and awed by the “coincidence”. I mean, of all names – there were 12 tribes of Israel! – she chose Asher! And from an obscure book like Deuteronomy – how often do you get people referring to Deuteronomy!? And she didn’t know me or my baptism name previously! Seriously, WHAT WERE THE CHANCES of that happening!?
I was extremely humbled by what the Holy Spirit was doing in my life tonight. So there I was, with my eyes shut, head bowed, sporting an ear-to-ear grin and whispering, “I love You, Lord” (almost instinctively and uncontrollably) again and again until she said finally said, “Amen”. Excuse me everybody, but WOW! – tonight was truly an extremely special and anointed experience which I will remember for the rest of my life each time I see my baptism name.
Tonight’s “coincidence” was five years in-the-making; I don’t know if you get this or if it even makes any sense at all, but it’s like the Lord omnipresently KNEW in 2010, that I would select “Asher” for myself way back in 2005. A jaw-dropping episode indeed – I’m stunned, baffled, astonished, amazed and absolutely dumbfounded. Thank You, dear Lord – Your grace is enough for me!
For now, I will be meditating upon those two seemingly obscure verses. I’m buzzing with anointed excitement.
a prayer request for good sleep.
My attempt at sleeping early last night to make up for all the sleep debt that I had been accumulating over the last weeks failed miserably. I slept intermittently and woke up at 2:30am, unable to sleep anymore. My eyes were wide open and my mind was alert. I had too many thoughts in my head and I felt so overwhelmed by all these thoughts because it was all over the place and it covered almost every single aspect of my life. It was as if my mind couldn’t and doesn’t stop working. So I pulled out my mobile phone and started typing away. I must have written a pretty long entry because I only stopped at nearly 4am and yet I still couldn’t sleep. So I tossed and turned in bed until it was 5:30am and then when my body couldn’t take it anymore, I finally slept.
When I woke up at 8am, I felt like I didn’t rest at all. Even though I went to bed at 9am!
My cough and blocked nose worsened when I arrived at the office and I could “taste” the mucus in my nose – you somehow know you’re down with something when you taste the “sick” kind of virus-y mucus. I made my way to the doctor’s at 4:30pm and told him about last night’s sleeplessness. And how it has been like this for some time. He told me what I had already guessed. I even googled it last night after writing the note.
I have insomnia.
And for the first time in my life I will be taking sleeping pills and relaxants to help me sleep. My doctor said that this would help to reset my very messed-up body clock. I’ll be on medical leave tomorrow and I really do hope to get uninterrupted slumber tonight.
On one hand, I’m thankful that I have such an active mind but on the other hand, if I go on like this, it will be quite damaging for my body. I’m extremely exhausted, to be honest. I’ve carried around a throbbing headache the entire day and it was so bad that I couldn’t properly prepare cell lesson tonight. I’m also preaching this Saturday. I need to recover!
Pray for me, will you? I just want to sleep well. I badly need the physical rest. Thank you.
wisdom from my favourite hunk in Perth.
As I attempted to clean up and archive the notes in my computer today, I found pearls of wisdom from CS. These were the things I remembered from his sharing with me over an afternoon coffee session in Clementi Central, way back in March. Re-reading it, I realised that wisdom and righteousness are timeless and evergreen – such advice never gets mouldy or irrelevant, regardless of which stage of life you’re at or in.
“When people are against your ideas or what you share, involve them in prayer and ask them to bring it to the Lord in prayer too.”
This exhibits “Show your enemy the other cheek” in a different perspective. When you operate this way, it becomes unmistakable when God speaks to both parties. When we pray, He confirms and works, and even the most opposing opinions can work together, compromised and accepted, for the sake of working towards achieving His will. At the end of the day, all the glory will have go to Him for He enabled what was humanly impossible to be possible.
“There’s no winner in an argument. Someone will lose.”
CS’ sentiments on arguments confirm what I’ve always subscribed to – that I’d rather lose the argument than lose the relationship. (In the last six months, I realise that I have actually been practising this principle. And while it’s not easy deliberately losing – I’m being honest, I am a competitive and outspoken person and I have a man’s pride! – I’m actually at peace with it because I don’t find it a need to prove myself to anyone or to convince others of my ideas.) Conversely speaking, when you do prioritise people over problems, you may actually win both. Win them over and naturally they’ll be more inclined to listen to you and be opened to your ideas; they may even sway towards your argument and stand with you. Over the years, I’ve learnt that people are more willing to listen to you when they know that you have their best interests at heart. Ironically, they need to be first convinced of your affections for them before they are convinced of your argument.
“No matter how high you climb, there will always be areas you’ll need growth in.”
The day will come when you no longer have any man (or woman) above you in a hierarchal setting, but the Lord Himself. This is the greatest test of humility and teachability. The two most poisonous words in a confident, mature and experienced person is, “I know”. This arrogant phrase single-handedly puts people off in correcting you and giving you feedback. Always adopt an attitude of learning regardless of how old, wise, experienced or mature you are in a particular situation. The moment you stop learning is the (tragic) moment you stop living.
announcement! change of address in 2016!
I had intended to post a very (x 1 million) long entry, which I am currently still writing, but I can’t contain the joy anymore and I must declare it immediately. I promise though, that the elaborated entry will arrive in the coming days (if not, weeks). For now, HY and I are delighted to announce that we have, by the amazing grace of God, successfully selected a four-room flat in the coveted HDB Built-To-Order project called SkyVille @ Dawson, and we cannot wait to receive the flat in the coming years. I PROMISE – details to be released soon! But for now, here’s what our future home will look like!
The following pictures were all taken from here; this link is also the official website for this project. Our address in 2016: 87 Dawson Road #11-XX, Singapore 141087. (I ought to keep the unit number secret for security reasons…) Oh man, HY and I are super overwhelmed by God’s goodness! We have had one crazy journey with the Lord and we have so much, so much to thank God for! Thank you for all your prayers! HY and I are on our way to becoming property owners! Can’t wait! Can’t Wait!! CAN’T WAIT!!! (((:
anticipating the future with thanksgiving and hope.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it was a one of the most momentous nights for HY and I, and certainly the most significant landmark of our journey together yet. And because we try not to count chickens before they hatch, we won’t announce what we’re celebrating over until we actually secure it – this keeps us praying without complacency until 10 June. And as we began the night declaring, “Blessed be Your name, whether You give or You take”, we’ll continue to pray with hope, in the attitude of an open-palm surrender. Chat us up if you want to share our joy. And please, continue to keep us in prayer! After tonight, HY and I can only declare the goodness and faithfulness of God – this episode has certainly pushed our faith to another level. How can we keep from singing His praise and giving all the glory to Him? We experienced a miracle tonight for God answered our prayers beyond all our expectations. It went better than we had speculated, for sure!
But speaking of speculation… I shall divert your attention to something I found on a website, which would be really ridiculous if it actually happened to SMRT in the future.
let us never patronise God.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
– Psalm 50:12 (New American Standard Version)
This is one verse in the Bible that severely humbles me every time I read it; it keeps me on my toes because I’d never want to patronise God and offer Him mere lip service. Do I really think that the omniscient and omnipresent God doesn’t know what’s truly in my heart, beneath every word and deed? Who am I kidding? There’s no hiding from Him my insides. Each time I revisit this verse, I force myself to examine my private worship – for that determines the authenticity and power of my public worship. I’ve always believed that spiritual authority comes from time spent with God.
How can we even offer God something that He already has? What exactly is God hungry for? I’d like to believe that He is hungry for your praise and worship, devotion and thanksgiving, and your prayer and supplication. This sound extremely far-fetched but the truth is, God is after His own glory. And when you give Him the glory that is rightfully due to Him – I borrow JP’s thoughts – you are completely satisfied; it’s a place of gratification that nothing on earth can take, to know that you’re in the will of God.
Praise magnifies God’s being. Magnification isn’t making the subject bigger, but enlarging the subject in your perspective. Faith magnifies God’s doing. When God plays a bigger role in your life, the enemy and yourself plays a smaller role. That is why when you are in trouble, you ought to worship God, so that your faith can be built and that your perspective can be straightened out through God. And like the song we are so acquainted with, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
Our response then, in the light of this verse, is to be a worshipper – one who directs and diverts the glory to God. And I believe, as absurd as this next expression may sound, that this is how we should feed God. Then maybe, God might speak to us; perhaps this is why we conventionally have a time of praise and worship before we hear God’s Word through a sermon. Worship is like ploughing the ground and the Word is like the seed being planted.
Hence, don’t be a casual worshipper if you want God to speak to you. Remember, God doesn’t need you to worship Him, so do not offer half-hearted worship – it has to be wholehearted, nothing less! If He was hungry, He wouldn’t even tell you. After all, the whole world (including you and I) already belongs to Him.
“Speak to me / And tell me all the things I need to know / I want to hear You now / (Can You) speak to me / I’ve opened up Your Word to free me / I want to hear You now” – Audio Adrenaline