Well, I'm back writing. Many people have told me that the last post was a very long time ago. I've thought hard about what to write and I really didn't know what to write.
Maybe the reason is that I've had to endure a season of dryness. The start of the year had been a difficult one for me, as I've had to endure being sick for extended periods of time, falling sick again, personal disappointments, discouragement, and even an increasing sense of frustration and despair with the way my life is going, feeling that I no longer have any control over it because of the demands of my work and my ministry (please pray for me!).
I've had thoughts of walking away from everything. I've shared this with my YSG and a number of other people. It's been a time of wrestling with God about my life, my faith, and my commitment to Him.
Last week, I was supposed to share devotions in school on this topic 'Rejoice Evermore', and I struggled through preparing it because I found it really hard to rejoice in my circumstances. I'm not sure how it went...but i guess God used it to begin a process of restoration in me. Even as I prepared to lead worship at chapel for today, and I went through the BB Easter Camp over the weekend where I was really tired out (I didn't go for Good Friday service as I was catching up on my sleep before camp).
During the course of the weekend, especially when i didn't go for any services, I began to seek God on why He chose to die for us, and also on the meaning of His resurrection and what it meant for my faith. It's quite difficult to put into words the blessing i received through this wrestling with God, but one of the things was that God illumined my heart today while I was leading worship during chapel in school. I had been reflecting on Jesus' resurrection and how because He lives today, I have hope. As I sang this part of the song even as the boys (usually) are not singing, His joy came flooding into my heart:
"As I look upon Your name
Circumstances fade away
Now Your glory steals my heart
You are Holy....
....evermore my heart, my heart will say...
Above all, I live for Your glory...
Even when my heart falls I will say...
Above all, I live for Your glory.."
-Evermore (2003, Joel Houston, Hillsong Publishing)
I just let go and worshipped God.
I'm not sure why I'm going through this rough season of my life. And I think I will have to continue going through it for some time. But one thing I know...I will have to continue hanging on to God...there is really a huge difference between hanging on to Him when all is well, and hanging on to Him when you are desperate and you know that if you let go, you might just fall far far away.
These verses comes to mind as i end off this post...
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights."
Today, I had to go to school and we had BB CARES. We had fall-in, and as I was leading the Company in prayer, it threatened to rain, and eventually started raining. So I prayed and asked the Lord to grant us good weather for the rest of the day....seems improbable especially when the rain just kept getting heavier and we were all formed up in the squads in the parade square, but God is good. The weather was GREAT! Perfect in fact, as it wasn't even sunny and hot. In fact, while it was raining, the sun came out, and the rain soon went away.
Flashback: last night, at prayer meeting
I just shared with the other two people at the prayer meeting, that when we pray, we must have faith. (Ezra 8:21-23) When we pray, we need to claim upon what we know God is, and trust Him to be faithful to answer our prayers. I also shared about what happened on 30th June during the fire conference:
Further flashback: 30th June, at FIRE Conference
Testimony 1: I felt that the Lord wanted me to be at FIRE conference. So after CCA in school, I rushed home to change before I rushed to the Indoor Stadium. I remember that I left my house at 7:20pm, and desperate to get a cab. I was walking out towards the other main road to see if I could get one. I was desperate, and I asked the Lord to get me there. Unexpectedly, I met this Malay guy whom I could vaguely remember. He said that he met me during a camp I organised for my school last year. He asked where I was going, and I said Indoor Stadium. He said he would send me, and I was just stunned.
Anyways to cut the long story short, he sent me to the Indoor Stadium, I went in and met with Sandy, Denise, Chinhui and Joshua. Sandy and Denise moved seats cos there were no more seats and they came to sit with me. I was thinking of going to the toilet and grabbing a bite, but one second after I reached my seat, the worship started. God is so amazing!
Testimony 2: Sandy mentioned that she wanted to pray and claim healing of her neck in Jesus' name. So we worshipped the Lord, heard the sermon and all, and when Reinhard Bonnke asked us to pray, I just remembered that Sandy wanted prayer for her neck. So I tapped Denise on the shoulder and said, let's pray for Sandy. I went over to her left and Denise was on her right. [fast forward a few weeks] Sandy testified that she had been healed. She had gotten off her medication and she did not feel any pain for her migraine and her neck when she was supposed to. In her testimony, she shared specifically that I was on her left, and Denise was on her right.
Why was this so important? Sandy had been asking the Lord to heal her and the Lord showed her the vision of what happened more than 2 years ago when the three of us went on the Reverse Bungee at Clarke Quay. Her slipped disc problems started shortly after that. On the Reverse Bungee, I was on her left and Denise was on her right. Coincidence? I don't think so. I have the faith that the Lord is able to heal Sandy and has healed her. To God be all the glory!
This blog is written with the intent to praise the Lord and to give Him the glory for all that He has done, and is still doing and is about to do in our ministry.
Back to prayer meeting....we asked to Lord to raise up more youths and leaders who will seek His face in our ministry. It is so important, especially when we do so many things and are in teh danger of running on our own strength and even running off in our own direction. May He continue to lead us and guide us.
One more thing, is that as we shared, God was speaking to us about the importance of His Word in our ministry. For transformation to take place, we need to begin to take God's Word seriously. God's Word must be preached faithfully. Without the Word, there will not be any transformation. May the Lord begin to change our ministry and grant us a greater hunger and thirst for Him and His Word!
That's all for now. Sorry if I sound incoherent as I'm really tired. Time to stop.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It's been such a long time since I wrote, I think i can't remember how to write or what to write already...but I shall try. Some things of note have been happening lately and I want to write it down before I get sucked into school again and have no more time for myself.
So what shall I write? Let's write about revival.
As usual, I tell my long-winded grandfather's story (please ask my piggy daughter and granddaughter) before I get to the point, so here goes...
Last friday (16th June), we had the sub-ministries gather to pray. Pray for the "Service Showcase" which would take place this coming Sunday. It seemed the most logical thing to do...after we finished painting our banners a few days before. It had been so fun(so beautiful when all the subministry banners are put together), and personally I was very encouraged by the many youths who turned up...most of them who came to paint also came to pray. Somehow I felt prompted that we should not go to God with a list of prayer items, as we often have a (bad) habit of doing, but I felt strongly that we should minister to one another as we prayed. So in went every ministry into the 'GAP' in the middle of our circle to be prayed for after they had shared all their prayer requests and concerns. It was an awesome time and I felt really blessed.
Towards the end we had a question about 'Revival'. I guess many youths have questions about 'revival'. I had also been having my own thoughts on it, but since it was brought up, and there were many youths around, it was a good time to address it. I feel that 'revival' is a term which has been loosely used in our ministry (and perhaps many other places too). Sermons have also been littered with this word. It arouses excitement, a longing for something great that God is going to do, a sense of great expectation. It is an ideal state, the images of which are described by others' experiences of the great revivals of old.
The sad thing is, that many youths (and perhaps even some leaders) have been greatly disappointed. They experienced God in an intimate way, felt His presence, and longed for more. They waited and waited, but the expected 'revival' never came. The unquestioning ones perhaps just abandoned the idea. The ones who dare to ask, perhaps question God about their disappointment.
Perhaps 'revival' has become an ideology. It has something similar along the lines of 'holy war' or 'enlightenment' or 'the perfect society'. We rant and rave about it, we preach it, we yearn for it, but we do not really know what it entails. We cannot really put our finger on what it really is. It becomes our driving force and our motivation, and when we work towards something of which we do not really know what we expect, there is a danger. Danger of disappointment, disillusionment, or even deception. For who can plan or program a revival? Are man's ways higher than God's ways?
Let it be clear that I am not an anti-revivalist. I do yearn for revival and I want revival to come. But we need to examine ourselves and look at where we are headed. If our church life consists of rah-rah and getting fired up and doing things for God, even whatever starts off with the best of intentions will end up in the flesh, if the 'revival' is late in coming. Beneath the external surface of saying the right religious words, raising of hands, and jumping rhythmically(or like a monkey, whichever applies), is the inner life which sustains the soul and the spirit of man. We need to feed on the Word of God (as one sister said) and rest in Him. Keep the Sabbath way of life and not drive ourselves to the ground with work and ministry. In short, we need to walk right. The Word of God is what sustains the inner man and effects the change.
How do we communicate revival to the youths? We need to keep it simple. When we use it loosely as a religious jargon, then 'revival' remains an ideology. When we break it down to identifiable characteristics and explain them, it becomes easily understood by the youths. It is what makes revival 'measurable', and in a sense, items in a checklist which the youths can, so called, check against what our ministry has and has not.
What were some of the marks of revival mentioned in the discussion? They were:
There are many others marks of revival, and what is central to these marks of revival is obedience to the Word of God. We need to be grounded in God's Word, to "build our house upon the Rock", for outward forms can only carry us so far and when the storms of life come, we will not be able to stand. Youths and leaders in YM must learn to cultivate their inner life, to feed themselves on the Word of God, and to spend time in God's presence. Only then will we be able to know our Shepherd's voice from the one 'who comes to steal, kill and destroy'.
We must be careful about where and how we are driving our ministry towards. My discernment is that striving towards a certain style of worship or certain outward forms of worship, if we do not constantly check our hearts, is akin to idolatry. Because if we are not careful, we no longer seek the Lover of our souls in our worship but the outward expression. We miss the point, and what a tragedy it would be, to be in the presence of the Almighty God but fail to worship Him. As Pastor Alvin wisely put it in the last combined service, YM needs to learn to express our worship to God in a way that is unique to Wesley Methodist Church. And I thought there is a lot of wisdom in that.
The revival will come. I believe that the Lord has put the vision in many of our hearts. But we must be patient. It cannot be at our timing, or when someone cries 'revival' when there is an indelible mark of revival (as listed above) that is observed or experienced in our ministry. It will come at a time as deemed fit by the Lord. And we will know it when it happens...not as a big bang, but gradually. As we faithfully fill ourselves with the Word of God, as the leaders faithfully feed their lambs with the Word of God, and as each of us faithfully serve with our talents, and glorify the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, He will continue to build our ministry up until we are mature and attain the full measure of the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. That is when we know that we are one step closer to the revival that we yearn for. As we draw closer to Jesus, we draw closer to revival.
In 1 Corinthians 12 and 13, Paul writes about Spiritual Gifts (that each of us has), and he writes about how each of us are members of one body (the way we should view ourselves), but the most important passage in context is still chapter 13 where he writes about love, because while Christ is the head and the members of the Body are held together by the ligaments and other soft tissue, love is the blood that keeps each of the members alive in the Body and brings nourishment and sustenance to the members.
As i prayed, i realised that the Service Showcase is not about glorifying the different members of the Body of Christ in YM, but it is about the love that each of us have for one another, because 'without love [we are] nothing'. When brothers love one another and live in harmony, God's blessing and anointing will come upon the ministry. May the Lord be pleased with what we do, and may all of our eyes be open to realise that we all need each other in the ministry, and we need to love one another.
Pray for Unity and Love.
The Lord bless you and keep you in His perfect love as you love your brothers and sisters around you.
Rain down on me,
Rain down on me,
Here in Your Presence I am free
Pour down like rain
Come touch me again
Lord, let Your Presence fall on me.
It had been a really blessed time at IGNITE conference at Cornerstone. A great time of refreshing hearing God's word and having an assurance of what God is doing amongst the youths in Singapore.
There were four leaders from YM who went, and I believe that the Lord touched us. When we came back to YM, it seemed as if the word of God that was spoken to us was like 'fire in our bones which we cannot contain'...we have a conviction that things can and must be done to bless and change YM...simple practical things. There seemed to be many things happening in the spiritual realm as well, many crazy things happening in the lives of these leaders in the week following the IGNITE conference. But it was also followed by a deeper desire to pray, to seek the Lord and to serve Him.
Last sunday, we did things differently. There may have been some people who were not comfortable with it (but that's not the point now, and I don't feel it's impt to deal with it). The presence of God was felt very strongly at the 1130am service, as we cried out to God for His glory. We had also asked the Lord to 'rain down' on us. As I prayed and asked the Lord to touch YM, the Lord impressed upon my heart, "It's raining."
Give Thanks...for His love endures forever.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever"
Amidst the business of Christmas and the start of the new year, i've finally found some time to write about what God has done since YM Camp. It has been a great camp, one in which the Lord taught many people about the deeper things of God, one in which many youths gaves their lifes, and, hopefully, surrendered to the Lord. It was also the time when the Lord revealed some dark things which had been hidden for a long, long time in some of our lives. God revealed to us the secret places that we had to surrender and I believe many of us took our secret place and made an altar to the Lord that day.
Right after camp, before I knew it, we were off to Thailand. It was my first trip leading a team, but I did feel a sense of anxiety and I was certainly stretched to the max, because at one time there were three teams and I was really all over the place in coordinating them. I was really stressed and the Lord did show me the ugly side of me. How true it is when the Lord wants to do His work of grace in us, He will reveal to us the sin in our human nature. I struggled alot with my impatience and my need to be in control. Well, i really didn't enjoy it, but I just had to press on. I guess my reward came when I saw how the Lord had worked in the lives of many of us on the trip. It was a real blessing. And it took some time to sink in after I came back to Singapore. The year trying to get YMOVE moving was really tough, but it's like, now, there are so many youths excited about missions, I don't have to worry about being stretched in the way I was this year. Indeed, " 'not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord." It is very humbling indeed to see that the Lord has raised up a people who are jealous for His name.
Today, at service, we were praying as usual. I asked God to touch our youths with his love, and at about that moment, the person at the piano was playing 'Jesus loves me'. God's love overwhelmed me as I was reminded of His He had spoken His love to me before through that song, and how we were trying to teach the Thai children to sing it when in Lopburi. How much we are YM really need to know the love of God! It is just so amazing! God has been speaking almost immediately in response to prayer lately and I believe that He is speaking to many more individuals in YM. We need to share about the reality of God and seek Him while He can be found!
On a personal note, the year has begun well for me. For the first time in my life, I am learning what it means to enjoy God's favour at work and in my life. It is truly blessed to be in the shado of His wings.
His love endures forever.
Some Thoughts Before YM Camp 2005
It's the time of the year again and some of you might be asking why am I not sleeping when YM camp is coming up later today, well, I can only say that I am really excited and I really would like to get some thooughts recorded down before I get more thoughts at camp.
It's been really hectic with YMOVE and everything coming up, and I feel like I can hardly breathe as I'm probably over-committed in too many areas. I feel like I'm stuck in this phase where I just have to keep working cos there is so much to do. The whole scale of YMOVE is just soo huge, and I am beginning to lose my cool. Oh Lord, please help me keep my eyes on You, and let my heart rest in You!
We had our last Saturday Combined Service at the end of last month, and as I looked at the 'Stoneagers' (12 stones) and the Crosstrainers, i am reminded that God has been faithful to YM, and that YM has grown and come a long way since two years ago where everything was still the bare minimum. God has been gracious. The leaders are beginning to move together. The youths are praying. Wow it is just so amazing!
Some time ago, I had the chance to read Nehemiah again. In Nehemiah, there are very detailed records about the Israelites who returned to Jerusalem and the parts of the wall that they were in charge of rebuilding. Many of them were just building, faithfully doing their own part, probably not seeing how the other parts of the wall were being built at that same time. But when you look at the whole picture, they were building up the city of Jerusalem. When I look at YM, I feel that we are doing the same. Many of us are working very hard in our own sub-ministries, building them up, but it is important to have the larger vision of God's ministry which we are a part of...the Body of Christ, that we are building up. It is a good time to revisit the book of Nehemiah again, especially as it was the book which we did for bible study when we kicked off the Youth ministry with the camp in 2002.
It's been a long time, and I feel tired too, but I believe that many hearts in YM are yearning for God to rekindle that flickering flame in our hearts again.
Dear Lord, please do not pass us by, but please do Your deep work in our hearts, that we may surrender the secret places of our hearts to You. Please fan into flame, a passion for Your Name in our hearts, that we may glorify You and live for You, each and every one of us. We want revival, Lord. We want revival. Open up the gates and do not pass us by...
God's provision for YMOVE and request for prayer.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
praise the Lord for His provision for YMOVE! As I may have shared with some of you, and as some of you may be aware, we opened another round of application for YMOVE, and at that time, we were short on leaders and people who could play the guitar. There was also a need for someone with experience in children's ministry for those who were going to stay over Christmas.
Well, four people signed up--2 leaders, and 2 youths who can play the guitar! One of these youths (not from our church, but has been to our YM camps) is also experienced with children's ministry in her own church! God is so good!
For myself, being head of ym missions has been pretty difficult, with the heavy demands of my school work I have always felt helpless to do much sometimes, and often things were not ideal as I deemed it. Some of you have prayed for me and the word from the Lord has been to just trust in Him. I have learnt through the Lord's provision that it is He who will move us by His Spirit. Shaocai and I just met to pray and discuss the trip, and we both were in agreement that in the space of one week, the shape of the team looks very different!
Now we have two teams of 15 youths and leaders, with one team staying in Lopburi and another team going up to Suphanburi to help out with a Christmas outreach in public schools for a few days before joining us back in Lopburi. It has bee really amazing and I am really excited about what God is going to do in the lives of our youths. Many of them are youths in the key sub-ministries of YM and ...well, I am just quite speechless now. Last year, the year of People of True Worship and Prayer, the Lord blessed YM in our worship and by teaching us how to pray. this year is the year People of the Great Commission and I am already excited to see what the Lord is doing in His faithfulness to Wesley MC.
Fellow leaders, I would like to ask of you to prayerfully consider supporting the team in prayer. Perhaps you could each commit to adopt a tripper to pray for him/her throughout the trip (and before too!). We need all the prayer support we can get, because the Lord is going to do a mighty thing in our ministry, not just through YMOVE, but also through the YM Camp and the Musical! And there is bound to be spiritual conflict. If you feel led to pray for our team (or an individual), please drop me a short note through email (email@example.com) and I will keep you in the loop of any latest news.
May we in YM keep on persevering in the Lord, for we know that He is faithful, and our labour in Him is not in vain!