I know the first line of Earth Wind & Fire’s hit song very well – “Do you remember the twenty-first night of September?” – except, for me, it’s not the 21st but the night of the 23rd that I remember.
While waiting for the train that night, I snapped a picture of the arrow just for fun. As recorded in my first book, Say To Archippus:
The next day, as I reviewed the post, the Lord prompted me to look more closely. Although the arrow was the object of the photo, it was the red line about the arrow that came into focus. I remember remarking, “Something’s blocking the arrow from moving forward.” And as soon as I said that I realised, “Hey! I’m that arrow and something is blocking me from moving forward!”
Soon enough, the Lord removed that line, inviting and allowing me to move forward with the assignment of Archippus Awakening.
This brief post is to mark the significant date of 23 September 2013: that night, the Lord used a simple visual device on the floor of an MRT platform to direct me into my kingdom assignment.
It’s been five years. Archippus Awakening just celebrated her 4th Anniversary on 3 August 2018. The Lord has opened many doors for the message of awakening to be declared – in Singapore and abroad. Soon, over the weekend of 3-8 October 2018, Team Archippus will bring this message to Guam, USA.
Just a few days ago, I shared this little arrow episode at the commissioning of Archippus Awakening’s second publication, Alignment Check. When Sujuan (designer) proposed an arrow for the cover design, it reminded me of the MRT arrow. Unknown to her, I had also been using the same visual to demonstrate the advancement of the kingdom of God. In the same way, before anyone can move forward, every believer must also find his or own alignment with the Lord and the purposes of His kingdom.
I firmly believe that the kingdom of God continues to advance and He graciously invites His people to participate in all He is doing. Dear Archippus, you are included too. Get on board. Do not allow anything to block you from what God has already prepared for you (remove the red line).
Focus on the aligning. Let God do the assigning. Move forward for Jesus and His kingdom.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and anxious? Have you ever felt upset and frustrated? Have you ever felt alone and lost?
Yes, yes, and yes! Guilty, as charged.
Oops! I hope I didn’t stumble anyone. After all, how can someone serving the Lord, living by faith, moving purposefully on kingdom assignment have such experiences?! Well, you just met that someone!
I’ve always maintained that the work of the ministry is no walk in the park. As much as I’d like to inspire and encourage others with nice, pick-me-up statements and Instagrammable posts, I also believe in being real and authentic. And that means admitting and acknowledging that it’s not about mountian-highs all the time. There are moments – and quite a few I might add – that valley-lows are encountered and experienced.
In the past weeks, I struggled with such a moment.
On the surface, everything seemed normal. In fact, things must have looked quite good (have you seen my Facebook feed?). My schedule has been packed and I was kept duly engaged in my kingdom assignment of Archippus Awakening. Looking ahead, the trajectory seemed to be pointing up and up. My schedule is packed and there are more than a few items on the to-do list to take care of.
In Christian-speak, we would say that the Lord is enlarging the place of my tent! And yet … that was why and when the pressure mounted and concerns began to overwhelm. Yes, I found myself in one of those moments. Anxiety, frustration, helplessness, aloneness … you name it … I experienced it all! And the enemy was more than happy to help me feed on my self-pity, that I may sink even further.
Day and night, I wrestled with many questions and issues. At times, I even took it out on those around me. (I am not proud about this, but I did say that I would be real and authentic.) Everything felt wrong. But faith is not based on feelings, I preached to myself. Ya right, more easily preached than lived out. And so, the tussle went on.
Last night, the Lord graciously intervened, reminding me of Philippians 4:4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
There are many familiar words and phrases in this passage, but this was the line that hit me: “The Lord is at hand.”
Oh how I needed to be reminded of that!
My heart wanted dearly to please the Lord. However, amidst the many details to handle, I must admit that He did seem a little distant. In my bid to be responsible and faithful, I didn’t realise that my focus had shifted, ever so subtly. As the saying goes, “If you feel that God is far away, guess who moved?” Ouch. In Archippian parlance, I allowed myself to be knocked off alignment!
How that one little line ministered to me: “The Lord is at hand.”
Situationally, nothing has changed. There are still many things to take care of and to handle. But being assured of the Lord’s presence made all the difference!
I don’t try to rejoice. I can rejoice because the Lord is near! I don’t try to think positive so that I don’t fret. I don’t have to be anxious because the Lord is at hand! And that also means that I can boldly bring my concerns to Him and make my requests. Because the Lord is not too far away that He cannot hear me. He is near and very present! I don’t try to have peace. I have the peace of God because the God of peace is at hand, near me, with me!
Are you overwhelmed and anxious? Are you upset and frustrated? Are you feeling alone and lost? Perhaps, like me, you have lost perspective of who God is and where He is.
Take heart, my friend. It’s ok. Really. Remember … the Lord is at hand.
Everyone loves new things. And the marketing industry knows it all too well. Just look at all the advertising headlines and see if this isn’t so … New! Fresh! Improved! The Latest!
Even in Christian circles, one of the most favourite verses must be Isaiah 43:19 – “Behold, I will do a new thing …” Indeed, our God is a God of new beginnings and of fresh encounters. However, when interpreted through today’s consumeristic lens, it is all too easy to miss the context of what this passage actually says. As a result, this verse is often used as a marketing ploy for the next Christian activity, as a seasoned marketeer would, to bait, to entice, to attract.
But is God really doing a new thing? Or are we simply of such short attention span and so quickly bored these days that we need to make it appear as if God is doing a new thing?
Take my kingdom assignment in Archippus Awakening as an example. It’s been the same message since Day One, and continues to be so. I don’t know how many times I have declared it (lost count). All I know is that it remains relevant and I am still to share it whenever the Lord opens the door and presents the opportunity.
Honestly, it is tiring. And, having shared it over and over again, I do get a little bored with myself. (How many times can I tell the same jokes?) In the past weeks, it’s been the same message of Archippus Awakening at Bukit Panjang Methodist Church’s Leadership Retreat (27-28 May 2018), All Saints Presbyterian Church Camp (8-10 June 2018) and Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church’s Contemporary Service Retreat (14-17 June 2018). And in the next weeks? … you guessed it! … Archippus Awakening!
That said, the Lord has not given any new instruction; and so, I plod on. By His grace, although it seems old to me, it is new to those who are hearing it for the first time and God moves powerfully in their hearts! And this, I have experienced, over and over again, to the glory of the Lord. Clearly, it is not about what I think or how I feel at all. My part is to remain obedient and faithful to what the Lord has assigned to me!
Too often, and for too many, believers are looking for the next new thing. We are easily distracted and quickly bored with what we have heard or already know. This is why it is important to know our kingdom assignments. If not, we will always need more and more Christian activities to keep us occupied. And even worse, we expect these to be highly creative that we may be constantly engaged, that Christianity would be fun and entertaining!
Make no mistake! God is not here to serve my soulish desires and satisfy my fleshly cravings. On the contrary, I have been redeemed with the precious blood of King Jesus that I may be set free from sin, to serve Him and the purposes of His kingdom. God forbid that I be so influenced by today’s consumeristic culture that I pick and choose what I’d like to do or not do, based on how I feel.
This is why knowing our kingdom assignments matters. True fulfilment is found, not in what is new or novel, but when we fulfil that which we have received from the Lord.
And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord that you may fulfil it.” Colossians 4:17
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.
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?
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.