half-time: this is why I like Philippines.
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. (:
Reflections on being courageous for the Gospel.
I guess it’s about time I breathed life into my blog, again.
Over the last weekend, I preached the final installment of “The Call of Duty: R-AGE digs deeper into Ephesians”. It was based on Ephesians 6:10-24 and the armour of God. I titled the sermon, “Is there courage in R-AGE?”. I had the luxury of having three weeks to prepare for this sermon (due to the combined adults and 180° Easter outreach services) and extra time meant that this sermon could pack more punch.
Most times at the end of a service, I always feel I’ve preached the worst sermon of my life, but surprisingly, I enjoyed preaching this one. Not because I tickled minds with interesting nuggets of information, but because I felt that I had executed the prophetic burden God laid on my heart for the youths. It’s similar to Apostle Paul’s cry for the believers in Ephesus – to boldly proclaim the Gospel. I challenged two groups of young people at the altar; those who used to preach the Gospel boldly and those who have never preached the Gospel boldly before – that the Holy Spirit would strengthen them to do so.
While I was thankful for those who responded, there were more who didn’t and I wondered why – was it due to my inadequate delivery of the message, their apathetic spiritual condition or simply because God didn’t plan it that way? Or was it something else beyond my comprehension? I couldn’t put a finger to it but it drives me to intercede more intensely for my beloved youths.
David Lee was the emcee for R-AGE @ GI and at the closing of the service, he echoed what I had actually said at R-AGE @ GII – that the responsibility of evangelism doesn’t fall on the shoulders of the leaders, pastors and those who are more fervent in their faith, but on everyone who calls himself a disciple of Jesus. How could we remain unmoved if the love of Christ has already moved us? It is my earnest prayer that R-AGE would experience the Father’s love first-hand!
“Stop evangelising. Instead, start loving people in the name of Jesus”, I first heard Ps Edmund Chan say that when I traveled with him to Perth last October. He repeated that statement at the recently concluded Grace Leaders’ Retreat and it was a sobering reminder for me. I had a short SMS exchange with Gabrielle Ong this morning and I encouraged her not to give up on proclaiming the Gospel to her pre-believing friends. I told her that one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the Gospel is to find opportunities to pray for people – you “speak life” into them and they get a chance to see your faith in action. It works!
Back to the sermon… Well, I’m not sure about other preachers, but the thing I enjoy most about preparing a sermon is how much I learn and am challenged through what I read and write. I already know what God would want me to do in response to my sermon and I look forward to walking in obedience this week. It is my prayer that R-AGE would take ownership of the souls within their communities who haven’t met Jesus.
Even as I type this, my heart is moved by the compassion Jesus has for the ones who are suffering and the ones who do not yet know Him. I am thankful for the Spirit’s reminder in my life – that my occupation isn’t one of a part-time youth pastor but a full-time Gospel preacher! I must never lose sight of reconciling others to God through the Gospel!
It’s going to be an awesome week, my dear friends. Let’s raise the shield of faith on each other’s behalf, gird up our loins with the written truth, wield the power of the spoken truth and advance the Gospel for the King! What a privilege to shepherd R-AGE – I am thankful for this season of my life. God is good.
new season, same reason.
Joey, man of God, as you take on the mantle to lead the R-AGE ministry that God has established through the hands of Pastor Douglas Frederick, which was then handed to me and Pastor Cuixian, always remember that the man is more important than the mantle. Your pursuit is first to be the man that God wants you to be in order that you can fulfill the mantle on your life.
Therefore, watch your life and doctrine closely. Flee from all kinds of evil. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight a good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Devote yourself to this generation of youths. With all your heart, proclaim the Gospel passionately, preach the Word diligently, teach and guide lovingly. Guard what has been entrusted to your care – the vision, mission and values of the ministry. Love and feed the young people like that of our Good Shepherd who loves and cares for us to a point of laying down His life for us.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Use the gift that was given to you by the Lord Himself through the laying of hands on you, to build the ministry from strength to strength, glory to glory!
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who gave His life for the church, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be honour and might forever. Amen!
— Reverend Ronald Yow
Outgoing Youth Pastor
@ R-AGE Handover Service
10-11 December 2011
What a privilege and honour.
This is it – LET’S GO!
continue to pray for R-AGE!
Do keep me in prayer too. 2012 looks to be a massive year with the increased ministry responsibilities, a lack of manpower resources, embarking on my theological education on a part-time basis with a full-time workload, and most importantly, getting married. Lots of transitions… Lots of grace needed… Lots of prayer coveted… May Jesus remain at the centre of it all…