It’s a topic I am familiar with: Running the Race. I have spoken about it before and have also written an article by the same title. Yet, one Saturday, when my Diploma students discussed it, one point hit me hard. Like many other verses, we can read it over and over again, and still miss the emphasis of the writer. That day, a key phrase in 1 Cor 9:24 rang out in my heart. In this significant verse, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” Do you see what Paul was trying to tell the Christians in Corinth? He wasn’t merely exhorting them to run the race, but to run to win! How many of us are really running to win?
Honestly, this is not the picture I see in my interaction with many Christians. In fact, for some, the Christian walk looks more like a stroll in the park. And for others, they need to be pushed and cajoled to get off the bench, much less run a race! Still there are those who would readily rationalise that they are not the competitive type; that it’s not about winning at all. Where did we get these ideas from? In case you missed the words of Paul, here it is once more … run in such a way that you may obtain the prize. Every athlete knows that for him to have even the slightest chance of winning, he’d have to be disciplined and not be distracted that he may train towards a clearly defined target. That requires perseverance, stamina and a whole lot of focus. With these in mind, how are you running the race? Are you running for leisure, or running to win?
In the course of ministry, I am always appreciative of how the Lord reminds and provokes me. Like running to win a race, I’ve come to realise that my spiritual life and ministry cannot be sustained without discipline, training, focus and rest. What a timely reminder as I pen this newsletter! As doors and opportunities are presented to me, it will get more and more challenging in every aspect. The needs and demands will increase and if I do not position myself for the long haul, it is only a matter of time before I crash out of the race! What a shame if in my bid to win, I forget to pace myself that I may complete the race. Without doubt, as I preach and teach this to others, I must also remember to observe the same principles for myself lest I be disqualified.
Continuing with the race imagery, the past two months have seen me simply putting one foot in front of the other as I pound the tracks of ministry. Allow me to review the lap markers:
On 18 & 19 Sept, I accompanied four teams from Covenant Vision School of Ministry for the students’ Ministry Trip to Batam. Incidentally, the School organised two Open Houses and it was very well attended. Applications for the Certificate Programme are flowing in for our January Intake. If you’d like to sign up, it’s still not too late. For more information, please visit www.cvsom.org.
On 26 Sept, I spoke at Christalite Methodist Chapel’s two morning services, exhorting the congregation to “Wash the Car”. On 1 Oct, I ministered at Faith Methodist Church’s Corporate House of Prayer Healing Service, bringing the message, “The Promise of Abraham” to encourage the people to receive the same promise, being heirs of Abraham by faith through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:29). On 10.10.10, the Lord led me to share “10 Keys to a Perfect Body” at Yishun Methodist Church – praise Him for such creativity and a great sense of humour!
Fairfield Methodist Church invited me to share on “Relationships That Glorify God” across four Tuesdays (5,12,19 & 26 Oct) at their Lunchtime Fellowship. It was a good time of meeting old friends and speaking into marriages, families and the marketplace. I brought the Family Seminar “Building a Household of Faith” to Wesley Methodist Church on 20 & 21 Oct and was very encouraged by the participants’ positive responses. Back in Covenant Vision Centre, I had the privilege to teach the series “Stand Strong” on 8,15 & 22 Oct. I was personally very blessed through the preparation of the series and even more blessed when I saw the Lord touch lives through the three sessions. You may wish to listen to it on Covenant Vision Media Centre. If you’d like to purchase a CD Set, visit our E-Store or Covenant Vision Centre.
As all these were taking place, another Ministry Team began preparations for the Davao Ministry Trip (10-15 Nov), coming together on Mondays to plan and to pray. I am pleased to report that the eight of us went and returned safely just two days ago. I went to be the Guest Speaker at the “Young Adults Conference: Shaping Our City” as well as to speak at the church services. Although we were invited to bless them with the Word, we ended up being blessed by their lives and ministry. The Lord opened our eyes to see a new level of worship by our brothers and sisters in Philippines. I learned that God can do great things through individuals whose hearts are yielded and submitted to Him. He fills these with vision and purpose for His glory. Ps Joel Acaso, the Young Adults Pastor who invited me, is one such person sold out for the Lord. Through this man, I believe God is raising a generation of young adults who will take the land for Him. What a privilege and an honour that we should have the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in South Mindanao, to impact Davao City for Jesus!!!
Now, for some family updates. David went through his PSLE and found it manageable. Thanks for keeping him in prayer as he sat for the papers. We now await the results in a fortnight’s time. Regardless the results, now that we have fulfilled MOE’s requirements, please pray for us as we plan the way ahead for David. Sarah is still battling with eczema, so your prayers are still much, much appreciated. There are moments of reprieve but no major breakthrough yet. Please continue to stand with us as we wait for the Lord’s perfect timing. A week before the Davao Ministry Trip, our family went on a short holiday with my parents and my sister, Helena, visiting with her three children from Southampton. 16 of us went up to Genting Highlands for a break, enjoying the cool mountain air; and for the children, the theme park rides … when it wasn’t cloudy, foggy or raining. It was an activity-packed 4D3N that left me physically drained, but still thankful for the time with my family, parents and sister.
Once again, thank you for being a part of my journey and life. Your love, prayers and support are always appreciated, for which I never cease to give thanks to the Lord for each of you. This is the final newsletter for 2010, and before we know it, we will cross into another new year with exciting new challenges and opportunities. Serene and I will continue to run hard in the race, knowing that you are there to run alongside us and to encourage us to keep keeping on. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and loved ones a very blessed Christmas and a great new year in the Lord! May our eyes always remain fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, especially as we enter a new season of serving Him in these last of the last days!
To God be all honour and glory!!!