The BIG 5-0. I guess it’s a milestone of sorts and one that should be marked and observed. It is, after all, a celebration of having lived life for half a century. Surely, it deserves more attention than the usual, annual birthday routines.
I believe it was March last year, at 48 years old, that the reality of turning 50 dawned upon me. Instinctively, the idea of staging a mini-concert crossed my mind. Yes, I would gather my friends who would also turn 50 in the same year and we would put together a little show to the glory of God! That seemed like a good idea but the Lord had other plans for me.
Quite soon after my 49th birthday, as I entered my 50th year, God began to reveal the next steps. Just over a month later, the instruction came for me cross over into new ground. That meant stepping down as a pastor of CVCC; and later, as dean of CVSOM. From what seemed like a safe and secure ministry track, I was taken back to square one – stepping out again and not knowing where I am to go! In my year of Jubilee, the Lord wasted no time in hitting the RESET button. Thankfully, by His grace, the next assignment in Archippus Awakening was shown clearly to me on 27 Oct 2013. With this seed planted in the womb of my spirit, I carried this baby over the next 40 weeks before holding a prophetic event to mark the birth of Archippus Awakening on 3 Aug 2014. With all the attention and focus on this new assignment, there was simply no time to think about how I should celebrate my 50th birthday.
And so, two days ago, on 24 August 2014, yours truly turned 50, by the grace of God. At the stroke of midnight, my wife whispered, “Happy Birthday.” When the children got up that morning, still bleary-eyed, they headed straight to my room and wished me with a big kiss and a big hug, “Happy Birthday, Daddy!” We went to church and then got home to open the cards and presents that each had specially prepared with love.That night, we treated ourselves to a scrumptious buffet spread – just our family, together with my parents and aunt. We didn’t even have a birthday cake but that suited me just fine. Five big candles would have been nice but nothing could have replaced the glow and warmth of my family. Yes, it was a very simple and quiet affair but no less significant. I was happy to have spent it in that way with the ones I love and cherish deeply.
That day might have been spent very simply but I must also acknowledge the others who remembered and celebrated with me both before and after. It was especially meaningful to have had an earlier joint birthday dinner with my sister (another August baby) and her children when they were back in Singapore. My Diploma students blessed me with a blueberry cheesecake when we gathered for class last Thursday. On Saturday, the Archippus Awakening Prayer Team came to my place for intercession and we ended with fellowship and a blackforest cake – another favourite of mine! Of course, thanks to the Facebook community, I received so many well wishes and prayers online. And last evening, our haverim (group of disciples) surprised me, collaborating with Serene to drop by for dinner and another little celebration!
Fifty years old. Five decades of having experienced God’s grace. In this new season, it is clear that there are new things to learn and new mountains to conquer. The race has begun and the work has already started. I am glad that there was no big birthday bash but just a simple marking of a milestone and a consciousness of having entered into the next decade of life, one that must be lived entirely for the glory of God through the fulfilment of my assignment in Archippus Awakening.
And the word for this new season? … “No eye has seen , no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9 In other words, although I have lived 50 years, although I have tasted the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness, although I have experienced His power and provision … I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! AMEN!