Kanye Is Simply Kanye. Jesus Is King.

Judging from the number of articles across as many websites and platforms, it seems that Kanye West is quite well known.

Forgive me. Although the name does ring a bell, I have no idea who Kanye is. I only just discovered that his wife is Kim Kardashian. And I was promptly informed by my teenager when I pronounced his name wrongly (Kanye believe it?). Well, in case you are still in the dark (where have you been?), Mr West recently encountered Jesus and has been making waves all over.

But, no, this is not a post about Kanye West; whether his conversion is real or not. (For an objective commentary and response, I’d recommend Bill Muehlenberg‘s article: Kanye and Christ.) Instead, this post is about how normal Christians like us should respond when superstars and celebrities like Kanye confess and profess faith in Jesus Christ.

Rejoice
For starters, we rejoice when anyone – yes, anyone – repents and believes in the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. However improbable it may seem to you, nothing is impossible for God. That said, salvation is just the beginning; next comes the walk of faith and of sanctification. To this end, I appreciate Pastor Greg Laurie’s open letter to Kanye as a new believer.

Numbers Mean Something but Not Everything
It is heartening to note the massive spike in faith-based Google searches after Kanye’s “Jesus Is King” album launch. It was also reported that more than 1,000 people gave their lives to Jesus when Kanye gave an impromptu altar call at his concert in Louisiana. In terms of exposure and numbers, this is indeed impressive! I pray that these knew the difference between gettin’ up to the stage at a typical Kanye West concert and givin’ up their lives to Jesus at this Kanye West concert. On this note and at this point, it is not easy to tell if one has truly chosen to follow Jesus or is simply following a popular figure. Only time will reveal how many will stay on the straight and narrow way as disciples of Jesus Christ.

I make this comment in light of what we have observed from church history. When Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity in 313AD, it was seen as a step forward for the persecuted church. Thousands, millions, became Christians – or at least they considered themselves as such. Today, we understand that filled churches may look good; but in reality, Christendom or Churchdom is not the same as kingdom. Numbers mean something but not everything.

As much as we are thankful for Kanye’s reach and influence, our hope is not in some prominent person but in Jesus: He is still the only One who saves.

Revival Is Not Dependent on the Rich and Famous
I think it’s great that Kanye is using his mega platform to declare “Jesus is King”. However, we should not for a moment think that God needs big name influencers to reach the masses. Don’t get me wrong. Can God use superstars to bring about His purposes? Of course, He can. But does He need superstars to do that? Not at all. Revival is not dependent on the rich and famous; or the attractive and influential. In fact, God’s preferred agents and vehicles have more often been the weak, the foolish and the poor (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

Jesus Is the Only Name That Deserves Worship
Reading the various reports about Kanye West, I can’t help but remember the Lord’s prompting when He first gave me the assignment of Archippus Awakening in October 2013. I later recorded this conviction in my first book, Say To Archippus:

“I believe the days of spiritual celebrities and superstars are over. And in these last days, God will raise up the common man and woman to do great and extraordinary things in and through them. These are the Archippuses of our day who will know their assignments and be obedient to fulfil them!”

Say To Archippus, p26.

Since then, painfully, we have seen so many big names – pastors, leaders, worship leaders, influencers – stumble and fall. Allow me to clarify: God is not against spiritual celebrities and superstars. God is, however, against His people making too big a deal of anyone. Somehow, we have this perpetual propensity to put people on pedestals. Can’t we see that this does no one any good? – neither the ones who are worshipped nor the ones who worship the ones who are worshipped! (By the way, the other extreme of tearing and putting people down is not right either.)

Responding to a recent spate of certain known Christian figures leaving and questioning the faith, John L. Cooper, the lead singer of Skillet, said:

My conclusion for the church (all of us Christians): We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom.

John L. Cooper, Facebook Post

Well said, John. The truth is: Big name, small name or no name, Jesus is the only Name that deserves worship. You can be inspired or encouraged by Kanye, but it must still only be Jesus you worship.

Kanye Is Simply Kanye
If we are not careful, we will begin to accord Kanye special status, conferring upon him all kinds of spiritual titles. Even worse, we buy into the lie that only celebs like Kanye are able to reach the world for Jesus. Or we use it as a convenient excuse why we cannot do anything because we are not as talented or resourceful. We forget that to God, Kanye is simply Kanye, no different from anyone of us, a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

And Say to Kanye…
I believe what God said to Archippus through Paul, He would say the same to Kanye, and also to each of us:

And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord that you may fulfil it.”

Colossians 4:17

Whether known or unknown, we each have kingdom assignments to fulfil. You may or may not agree with what Kanye is doing or how he is doing it, but at least he is doing something. Granted that he is very talented and his Area of Operation is huge. But then again, to whom much is given, much is also expected (Luke 12:48). When Jesus comes, each believer will stand accountable before the King. Would it not be more productive to know and move on your kingdom assignment instead of commenting on Kanye’s or someone else’s?

Jesus Is King
I hope you can see why this post is not about Kanye West. I am not endorsing him. I am not promoting the album. I am also not criticising him. I have only used the opportunity to share some principles and to bring some reminders that ultimately, it is about Jesus; and how we each are to respond knowing that Jesus is King.

Kanye West is not the first celebrity to come to Jesus and he most definitely will not be the last. His declaration that Jesus is King has resulted in thousands listening to this Truth and singing along. Even so, let it be clearly stated that it is one thing to sing along with a song and its lyrics; but it’s totally another to live out the truth that the song declares. (Yes, it’s the same with Hillsong favourites.)

When all is said and done, it is not how many times the song or album is downloaded, streamed, played or sung; or if it even tops the Billboard charts. Finally, what matters is how many of those who declare “Jesus is King” will truly live for Him as their King.

Never Say Never

Each time I speak at a church for the very first time, I make it a point to share a photo of my family, affectionately referred to as “The Lim Tribe”. Especially if it is a large screen, our already larger-than-normal family appears that much larger and will immediately draw oohs, aahs and wows from the crowd. It works really well as an ice-breaker as it distracts everyone and gives me time to warm up and get used to the new location and congregation – haha!

Since my wife is not always with me at speaking engagements, I will then proceed to identify and introduce Serene. To keep it fun and light, I share four things that Serene said she never ever wanted to be:

  1. Never be a Christian
  2. Never get married
  3. Never have children
  4. Never stay at home

Well, we now know how that all turned out. Today, Serene loves and serves Jesus, is married to yours truly, is a mother of seven children, and also a stay-at-home homeschool mother.

Yup. Never say never!

More recently, Serene felt it would be good to write a series about each of these nevers to share on her website, Building Up Moms. I am so glad she did! More than just details about how these nevers became un-nevered, it is a testimony of how her entire life was impacted by God; and continues to be so.

I hope you will take some time to read about Serene’s 4 Nevers. In her casual and candid style, Serene shares openly and authentically with the hope that you will be likewise encouraged to acknowledge and trust in a great and faithful God.

Here are some snippets from each post to entice you:

No, there was no lightning and thunder à la Paul’s road to Damascus experience. But a very firm conviction that THIS IS THE TRUTH.

Never be a Christian

So I often wonder how did we end up together and have so many things to talk about? But talk we sure did. And we are still talking – thanks be to God!

Never Get Married

God did not just change my mind, but He changed my heart when He challenged me to walk my faith talk. Do I mean what I say when I say that I trust Him or not?

Never Have Children

It has been a humbling yet enriching and rewarding journey. It is indeed a privilege and honour to be a stay-at-home-mother, a role that I had previously pooh-poohed at. A role not to be taken lightly.

Never Be a Stay-At-Home Mother aka Housewife

Whenever we look back at these 4 nevers, our conclusion is that God has a great sense of humour. After all these years, it is hard to imagine how our lives would have been had God not intervened or if Serene had responded differently. All we know is that we have both learnt and grown so much.

Personal preferences, we all have. But to choose to let God take the lead is definitely the best way to go … even if it means letting Him un-never your nevers.

Do You Struggle With Perfectionism?

Hands up, those of you who struggle with perfectionism.

I see your hand…I see your hand…I see your hand. Welcome to the club!

My name is Henson, and I am a perfectionist too. There you go. I’ve confessed. And that is good for the soul, right? Nice. The problem is I still struggle with this dreaded perfectionistic tendency each time I get down to work. I find it hard to settle down until I deliver the ‘perfect’ piece of work.

There’s another word that doesn’t sound so bad – excellence. Yes, I want to be excellent in all I do because I desire to give no less than my best to the Lord. Isn’t that what Colossians 3:17 means when Paul wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”? Amen!

And yet, time and again, I fail to discern between excellence and perfectionism. As a result, I end up striving and stressing, relying on my own expectations of how things should or could be, instead of resting in the Lord and trusting Him for the final outcome.

This morning, I made a conscious effort to cast every care and concern over to Him. (That’s biblical too.) After my long list of petitions and requests, this thought popped into my head:

“God does not require a perfect work to work perfectly.”

Boom! No, there was no thunder or lightning, but BOOM! That silent thought reverberated so loudly that I knew it had to be the still, small voice of the Lord. It was firm, yet gentle. This was not a rebuke, but a reminder.

God is not upset when we strive to give our best to Him. However, it is not His desire that we end up fretting and worrying, taking it out on ourselves and others. In spite of our imperfections, God is still able to bring about His perfect work!

Mind you, this is not permission for us to cut corners or be shoddy in our work. The way we work must still be an extension and expression of our worship of God. That said, no matter how hard we try, or how well we do, it still falls far short of what He truly deserves. Yet, our less-than-perfect sacrifices are accepted because of His grace, because of the perfect work of Jesus Christ.

Without a doubt, I will continue to be excellent for Jesus. Thank God that His perfect work is not dependent on how perfectly I do mine. May I always be reminded to just do my best, and leave God to do the rest.

TheSugarBook: It’s Time To Say “NO” Again!

In October 2013, Ashley Madison tried to enter the Singapore market. Even when Mr Chan Chun Sing, then Minister for Social and Family Development, spoke against it, the openly adulterous website pressed on with its intended launch. Finally, thankfully, Ashley Madison was blocked. But was that the end of it?

Back then, I wrote in “Ashley Madison in Singapore: When Even Negative Publicity Is Great Publicity“:

I believe we will see more of Ashley Madison, or the likes of it.

Four years later, the likes of Ashley Madison has surfaced … in TheSugarbook.

Screen Shot of TheSugarBook website

Unlike Ashley Madison, TheSugarBook does not openly promote extra-marital affairs, but “a safe and discreet networking environment online”* for rich men seeking young girls, and vice versa. But, like Ashley Madison, it encourages hooking up for all the wrong reasons with absolutely no regard for its consequences.

*Wong Pei Ting: Dodgy messages and brazen requests: My 72 hours on TheSugarBook

One would have expected the government to act as it did in the case of Ashley Madison. However, whilst Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee says that the government “collectively objects” to such sites that “commoditise and devalue” relationships, they are not moving to block it at all. Instead, he says that “[t]he police will ‘keep a close eye’ on money-for-love dating platform The SugarBook as well as the individuals using its services, and will take enforcement action should there be any procurement of sexual services for payment”. Police will keep ‘close eye’ on dating platforms like TheSugarBook: Desmond Lee

It seems that the concern is more about illegal prostitution than it is about fornication, adultery, the demeaning of women, the hurting of young women’s lives, and the destruction of marriages, families and relationships.

My position remains the same as when I commented about the threat of Ashley Madison four years ago:

As Christians, we cannot and must not stay silent for we have been appointed to preserve society as salt and to shine the way of righteousness as light. We must take a stand, and at times, this calls for us to speak up and speak out against such decadent practices. This is not the time for apathy or nonchalance.

At the same time, we must protect our own marriages and families for these are under tremendous attack like never before. We must not presume that things are ok between husband and wife but instead work at strengthening and building the marital relationship. And lest you think children in Christian households are exempted from such negative influences, think again! By the time you realise that theirs is a totally different environment from what we grew up in, it might just be too late. The discipling of our children has taken on a new level of urgency. And as parents, that responsibility is squarely ours (and not the children or youth ministry’s)!

I am thankful and encouraged by those like Darius Lee who engage the public space, speaking up for what is right: Concept of ‘sugar baby’ misogynistic, demeaning towards women

Whilst I understand the reason for not blocking TheSugarDaddy, I cannot say that I agree with it entirely. As far as I am concerned, Ashley Madison and TheSugarDaddy both fall into the same category. Presently, there are more than 20,000 Singapore users (out of 75,000 so far – the target is 200,000 by June 2018). In my opinion, there should not even have been a question at all whether to block it or not.

That said, it is far too easy to expect the government to think and act on our behalf. And should anything go wrong, we just point a finger to blame. To this end, let us must not miss Mr Desmond Lee’s extremely clear signal: “At the end of the day, while we recognise that these websites undermine families and society, our best defence is for society, communities and our families to reinforce values that anchor us so that we do not succumb to such influences.”

In other words, the responsibility is squarely ours. Don’t pass the buck. When all is said and done, we make our own decisions and choices. And we must be prepared to live with the consequences of how and what we have chosen.

Sugar daddies have been around for the longest time. This is not a new thing at all. With or without TheSugarBook, these transactional relationships will continue to exist. Yet, however sweet the deal may appear to be, we must be reminded that, more and more, sugar has been identified as a major cause of ill-health, cancers and death. Yes, sugar kills.

And so …

To the young women of Singapore: You are wonderfully made, precious and loved by God the Father. You never ever need to trade your dignity and bodies for romance, attention, fame or money.

To the rich and wealthy men with lots to spare: If you really want to help younger women with financial needs, there are many other ways to do this without making use of their situation to fulfil your fantasies.

To marriages and families: Remain strong and resilient against the threats of the pressures and challenges of today’s world.

And especially to all hubbies and daddies (and that includes me too): Love your wives and daughters.

Say “NO” to TheSugarBook.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Blessings from the Lim Tribe!

It’s been another eventful year for the Lim Tribe!

Review and rejoice with us as you view the photo update in our November 2017 Newsletter. Give glory to God for how He has led and what He has done through Archippus Awakening in 2017: A Year To Get Ready. And also another year of encouraging Christian mothers through Serene’s website, Building Up Moms – check out the brand new look!

The Lim Tribe wishes one and all a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful year ahead! It is, and will always be, all about Jesus!

Henson & Serene
with David, Sarah, Aaron, Esther, Ruth, Deborah Hope & Anna Joy

400,000 Views but still taking it One Day At A Time

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.

Some of the more popular articles are:

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!

Seeing Jesus in Wonder Woman? Just Enjoy the Movie.

After reading quite a few rave reviews, I must admit that my curiosity was piqued, and my interest stirred, to watch the latest DC movie, Wonder Woman.

What’s more, I remember glancing the title of an article, “The New ‘Wonder Woman’ Is Really A Story About Jesus“, that made me want to watch the movie to see if it were really so. I deliberately skipped reading the article so that I would not have any preconceived notions when I went to the cinema.

In between ministering at church camps, and greatly in need of a break, to space out in front of a large screen, I decided it would be a good time for a movie night – yes, Wonder Woman!

As one used to a Lynda Carter Wonder Woman, it took a while to get used to a Gal Gadot one. Of course, everything is much sleeker, and the special effects much more impressive. I waited for the signature WW spin but the director decided to drop that move. And no invisible plane either! All said, the movie was enjoyable but that was about it – ok la.

Did I see Jesus in Woman Woman? Nope.

I suppose if I tried very hard to, I could force fit some theology into the show, and somehow make it look and sound Christian. Sure, I got the part about saving mankind. Yes, I heard the phrase about mankind being undeserving of redemption. And the final punchline: “Only love can save the world.” And yes, I did not miss the way Diana descended in the shape of the cross. But do these necessarily point to Jesus? Not necessarily.

Even so, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had missed the “Whoa Man!” moments of seeing the Jesus story. Back home, I searched for the article to read what it really said. And, oh man, was I even more disappointed. In my opinion, it is really a case of trying way too hard! Did the writer, M. Hudson, really see Jesus in Wonder Woman, or was she trying desperately to make Jesus into a wonder woman?!

On the point of love saving the world, let us be clear that this is no longer the exclusive chant of Christians. Almost everyone, religious or secular, is shouting this tagline of love! We cannot compare Wonder Woman with the love of Jesus just because she uttered this seemingly profound line. It may sound right and noble but let us not forget that the way she discovered and experienced ‘love’ with Captain Trevor was through a one-night stand after routing the Krauts in the village! Trust Hollywood to always associate and confuse love with sex. Perhaps Crosswalk.com missed or chose to ignore this little scene when commenting that Wonder Woman “should serve as an example of the love God has called us to show our neighbor” in their review “Wonder Woman and the Call for Christian Love“.

If you’re going to watch Wonder Woman, go enjoy it for what it is – a typical superhero story where the good guys triumph over the bad guys. Wonder Woman does not represent Jesus, and Jesus is not Wonder Woman. To this end, there is no need to try so hard to see Jesus in this movie, or to force it into a Christian message of love and salvation. Let’s not make it say what it didn’t mean to say. And for proper theology, read the Scriptures. You’ll find the real story of Jesus there too.

Maybe they will feature Wonder Woman in her invisible jet in the sequel, y’think?