Each year, dictionaries will monitor the different political and socio-economic trends of the past year to determine the word of the year. For 2016, the words were post-truth (Oxford), Brexit (Collins), surreal (Merriam Webster) and xenophobia (dictionary.com). The words for 2017 have just been announced and they are youthquake (Oxford), fake news (Collins), feminism (Merriam Webster) and complicit (dictionary.com).
What is the word of the year for you? Would the word be a result of what you have gone through? Or how you hope the next year will be? Or would the word be that which holds you steady no matter what you have to go through?
If you asked the Apostle John for his input, he would tell you that there is only one Word for him: Jesus. And that would remain the same. Not just for one year. But for every year to come.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3 ESV
In introducing Jesus as the Word, John opens his gospel with “In the beginning was the Word…”, paralleling Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…”. He deliberately replaces ‘God’ with ‘the Word’. John cannot make it any clearer: the Word is God, Jesusis God.
The Jews would not be unfamiliar with the phrase the word of the Lord in the Hebrew Scriptures. In Genesis 15:1, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. In 1 Samuel 3:21, God revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. I used to read these verses and imagined a bunch of words flashing and appearing before these men in cool, animated computer graphics, no less. How wrong I was. It is only many years later that I would learn that the Word of the Lord is God Himself. More than just spoken oracles, prophecies or the recorded Law (or the Bible as we know it), the Word is the very Person of God, revealed in the person of Jesus.
But what about the Gentiles who had no idea of the Hebrew Scriptures? Here comes the ingenuity of John, as led by the Holy Spirit.
To the Hellenistic mind, the Word – logos – is a power that created the entire world, the cosmos. More than just a linguistic device to illustrate something, or a string of descriptives to communicate a thought, the Greeks understood logos as a reasoning, a principle, a wisdom. It is this logos that created the world and holds all things together. John was declaring to the Greeks that this Word is not just a power or a force, not just a concept or a good idea, but a person, the very Person of God Himself, Jesus. Everything can be explained because creation is the result of the logos, of divine logic.
But that is not all …
“In him (the Word) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5 ESV
There is life in the Word. If He created the world which we live in, then He also created humanity that lives in this world. That’s us! We exist because of the Word. But we were not created merely to exist in our short span of life on earth. The Apostle will reveal in John 10:10 that the Word came not just to give us existential life but that in Him, we might also have abundant life! And in believing, receiving and knowing the Word who is eternal (John 17:3), we also enter into the promise of eternal life.
Consequently, it is in appropriating this life that is in the Word that results in a light that shines, that overcomes darkness! Put another way, you can’t hope to shine any light of truth, righteousness or revelation without first experiencing the life that is found only in the Word and the True Light, Jesus. The world operates by a flawed logic and by fake lights. Don’t be fooled or distracted by these that appear bright and attractive. The logic of the kingdom of God often runs contrary to the logic and ways of the world. The ways of the kingdom will almost always seem illogical to one who does not know the Word for himself.
This should not be a surprise at all for the kingdom of God is upside-down and counter-cultural. And yet, it is the King of this everlasting kingdom who will have both the first and the final word. And rightly so, for Jesus is, after all, the Word, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last , ((Rev 1:8,11,17; 21:6; 22:13). Long after all the words of the years have come and gone, the Word remains. There is no other Word, because there is no other God.
At the end of 2018, another set of words will be announced as the words of the year. As descriptive as these may be, they only record the plight of a world that is lost in darkness, in need of the True Light. These only paint a picture of humanity trying desperately to make sense of its own logic, as if the coining of new words and expressions will help us gain a better understanding of ourselves. Truly, apart from the Word, apart from Jesus, our attempts of reasonings and wisdom all fall apart, for it is only He who holds all things together.
What is your word of the year? More accurately, Who is your word of the year, and the years to come? Don’t wait for another year to go by before deciding. At the same time, there is no need to chase for yet another prophetic word for the year to come.
As for me, I’m going with the beloved apostle who beheld the glory of the Word that became flesh (John 1:14), who personally experienced the Word of life (1 John 1:1). Like John, Jesus is my Word of the year, and for every year He graces me with breath and abundance on earth. And even when my time is done, He remains the timeless Word for me, for all eternity.
Make Jesus your Word, your God, your Life, your True Light, your Wisdom.
One moment, we are wondering what new year resolutions to make (or which to renew). And the next, we are wondering where the year went!
It’s November! Christmas lights and decor have all gone up in the shopping malls. Before you know it. the year will be over.
How has your year been?
Well, busy is not bad … if you have been moving on kingdom assignment for the Lord. But … if it has been just one big busy blur, may I suggest a little pit stop to review, to recalibrate, to realign?
Here comes my shameless plug for AWE2017.2. And I make no apologies for being upfront and bold. Reason? You have only ten days more to decide and to register. Yes. Registration closes on 10 November (there are ferry tickets to purchase and hotel rooms to book).
Date: 1-3 December 2017
Venue: Swiss-Belhotel Harbourbay Batam
Fee*: S$360/pax (twin sharing); S$460/pax (single) *includes ferry ticket, hotel accommodation and all meals
AWE2017.2 is Archippus Awakening’s fourth Awakening Event (AWE), and the second in 2017. I have seen too many awakened, only to fall back asleep. I have heard too many ask, “How?” and “What next?”
With all the teachings, programmes, seminars and conferences in Singapore, you’d expect every Christian to know and be very purposeful to know and discover kingdom assignments. Sadly, this is not the case.
For this reason, we have made these 3D2N getaways very intentional and intensive. It is an assembly of Archippuses with a common desire not only to be awakened, but also aligned, and finally, assigned!
AWE2017.2 will show you what an alignment check is all about that you may review your own journey, and move forward into the new year with clearer perspectives and purpose. We firmly believe that when we focus on the aligning, God will do the assigning.
Don’t take too long to pray and decide. This is the final call for AWE2017.2. Registration will close on 10 November.
Yesterday, Sunday 29 October 2017, our 6th child, Deborah Hope was baptised at Full Gospel Assembly. (And yours truly got to go the honours. *beam*)
After going through a series of teachings about baptism by FGA‘s children’s ministry, the 10 year old felt that she was ready to openly declare her faith in Jesus Christ. Needless to say, both Serene and I were very pleased, encouraged and thankful (praise the Lord!).
Being in full-time ministry, we have always tried our best not to put any pressure on the children where their own faith journey is concerned. Whilst we accept the responsibility as Christian parents to guide and lead them in the faith, we are also mindful not to over step our boundaries so that their relationship with Jesus is personal and real for themselves. As much as we’d love to see them baptised, we also do not want to rush them into this significant event prematurely.
As a pastor previously, I had the privilege of baptising David & Sarah in 2009, and Aaron & Esther in 2013. However, after I stepped down from my pastoral position, I did not get to baptise Ruth in 2014. No more a formal minister, I thought my baptising days were over (at least in a formal church setting). To my pleasant surprise, I found out that FGA encouraged parents to baptise their own children, and then to pray a blessing over them after they came out of the water. Yay!
In preparation for her baptism, we helped Deborah script her video testimony. Credit goes to Serene, who did a great job! I would have over-complicated the entire process whilst ensuring she was both biblically and theologically sound – haha!
On the day of baptism, Deborah Hope was so excited, beaming from ear to ear. She had such a glow on her face.
In the baptism pool (tank), Senior Pastor Rhordan Wicks asked her a few questions and Deborah confidently declared the certainty of her faith in Jesus Christ and her decision to be baptised. After that, I baptised my daughter and then proceeded to prophetically declare the Lord’s goodness and plans into her life.
As with the other five, Serene and I experienced great joy at Deborah’s baptism. We continue to pray for the Lord to lead her forward as she grows and matures in the things of the kingdom!
It’s October and ’tis the season for ghosts, zombies, witches, blood and gore. Yes, I’m referring to Halloween.
My position about Christians & Halloween has already been expressed. To me, it is very clear that “we as children of light should have nothing to do with anything that manifests the kingdom of darkness.” That said, I am also well aware that not all Christians hold the same view. And each year, we will get the same debate all over again (much like yoga, Christmas and Easter).
Take, for example, the article by Darren Wilson, “The Halloween Predicament“. Wilson is of the opinion that it is simply a matter of opinion. To those who think Halloween is harmless, it is fine to dress up as whatever and to freely celebrate Halloween. To support his position, Wilson quotes Romans 14:2-3 where Paul taught about the non-issue of food.
To be honest, it is quite a hermeneutical stretch to extend the non-issue of food laws to the participation of believers in a celebration that involves witches, demons and death.
“Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” 1 Cor 10:20-21
Also, whilst Paul said it is alright to eat food offered to idols in 1 Cor 8, he specifically told the believers in 1 Cor 10:20-21 not to partake of the table of demons thereby entering into fellowship with demons. In my humble opinion, I believe 1 Cor 10:20-21 relate more directly and clearly to the question of Halloween.
Then again, this is only my opinion as a teacher of the Word. And according to Wilson, “always remember that your convictions are your convictions.” In other words, whilst we are entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to share these with anyone else lest it “leads you down the road of judgment and condemnation of others.” It would seem that Wilson is more concerned about appearing judgmental to others than he is about stumbling others.
To make a very strong point, Ramirez opens the article with a statement from Anton Lavey, the founder of the Church of Satan: “I am glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year. Welcome to Halloween.”
According to Ramirez, Halloween is “very different from every other night in the witchcraft world”. It is as important to the dark world as Good Friday or Resurrection Day is to Christians. Halloween is celebrated as “the devil’s holiday”, or holy day, or a day set apart for devil worship.
By participating in the activities of Halloween, Ramirez warns that “you have turned over your legal rights, and you have dedicated yourself and your kids to celebrating the devil’s holiday. You have just made a pact with the enemy, and you are already sacrificing your children spiritually by dressing them up and changing their identity.”
Interesting. These are but two rather differing views from two Christians, both appearing in a reputable Christian magazine. One says that it is perfectly fine to celebrate or not celebrate. The other says that Christians should have nothing to do with Halloween for it is the devil’s domain. So, which is right?
Is Halloween simply a matter of opinion for the Christian?
Two years ago, I reported a milestone for this blog, One Day At A Time, when it achieved 200,000 views. Today, I am pleased to report that this humble contribution continues to be a voice in cyberspace, crossing the 400,000 mark.
When I started this website in 2007, it was an attempt for me to get more acquainted with the internet. It was a personal experiment to see if a nobody like me can make an impact in the digital space through the sharing of ministry updates, reflections and opinions. (Sounds noble? Not exactly. My first post “I’m Just A Regular Guy” exposes my original intent – I just wanted a space to be able to speak freely and to gripe if I have to – haha!) Needless to say, hitting the 100,000 marker (after six years!) was quite a thrill.
In an environment where blog stats are reported by the millions, I am well aware that 400,000 is only a tiny blip on the radar of digital content, if it is even registered. Even so, I have been greatly encouraged when what is written is read and shared widely.
Unlike others who seem to be able to write so effortlessly and regularly, I only write when prompted (or irked) and feel that something needs to be said about an issue. With the launch of Archippus Awakening, I now maintain two websites, carefully discerning which site each article should be posted on. Needless to say, this poses another time and resource challenge for me. (One Day At A Time carries more personal and general articles whilst the AA blog focuses primarily on helping saints be awakened, aligned and assigned for Jesus and His kingdom. For mothers, you’ve got to check out my wife’s website Building Up Moms for a treasure trove of practical tips.)
All said, this post is to celebrate yet another ministry milestone. Although I am limited by time and space, I am thankful to be able to reach many more through this digital platform. I don’t know who is reading or how these might be impacted. My part is to declare truth and pray that the Holy Spirit will convict hearts for Jesus.
Thanks to one and all for your support, encouragement and feedback. Keep reading and sharing! Let’s keep reminding one another to take it One Day At A Time, because our Lord’s mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness!
I chose to write this post on the Archippus Awakening website as the subject matter relates closely to all who identify as Archippuses, as soldiers of the Lord’s army. That said, this is also a good reminder for one and all as we consider our willingness to serve as the Lord assigns, whatever and wherever. Blessings!
Who would have imagined that the Elected Presidency would become such a hot topic in Singapore? To date, not everyone is convinced if it is necessary to have a reserved election that the next President would be one from the Malay community. Whilst that is still being debated, the discussion has moved to who is a Malay?
And with Mdm Halimah Yacob’s decision to run for the Presidency, a side story emerged – that of Mr Tan Chuan-Jin’s appointment to be the next Speaker of Parliament – surprising many and prompting speculations that the full minister (ex, as of 10 September 2017) has been demoted.
As the House convened today (11 September 2017), Mr Tan was elected as its 10th Speaker. Amidst all the views, comments and criticisms, it is the response of Mr Tan that has not only caught my attention, but also earned my respect.