Grace and peace to one and all in the name of Jesus!
As I sit to pen this newsletter, a quarter of 2011 has already sped by. Much has taken place and I sense that even more will unfold as we remain alert in the Spirit to discern global events and catastrophes. Although tempting, I will not write about this hot topic of end-time signs as much has been said and written about it. For example, right after the Japan earthquake and tsunami, cyberspace was crammed with proclamations of God’s wrath and judgement! I believe the Lord gave me a peek into His heart which led me to write Japan Tsunami & God’s Heart.
Instead, in this update, I will share my own journey and perspectives in a season of deeper seeking and searching. These have been expressed through my blogposts over the past two months and you will find links to the full articles as I recount them in this newsletter. My desire is that these reflections and thoughts will provoke you, stir you and cause you ponder more deeply your own relationship with God. And if you are not yet a Christian, that the Holy Spirit will convict you of your need of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
It has been said that there is an urgency and that time is running out. With this burning in my spirit, I found myself working harder and trying harder! With that came frustration, anxiety and disappointment when others simply wouldn’t move at the same pace with me. One day, I was promptly reminded that God is not in a rush. The key is to work with Him and not run ahead on my own wisdom nor strength. That would be disastrous. Then, a message from this year’s LoveSingapore Pastors’ Summit really blessed me. In Exodus 33, Moses was willing to forego the promises of God if the presence of God did not go with him. How many of us can sincerely say that? Promises are nice; but with His presence, He says, “I will give you rest.” With that, I realised that it is not more time we need, but more wisdom to discern and redeem God-given opportunities. Need More Time? addresses this and it is a post for all busy Singaporeans.
With these firmly etched in my heart, I thought everything would now be ok. Well, it wasn’t. I found myself dry, thirsty and totally discontented. At first, I wondered what was wrong with me! Then, it hit me. The fresh revelation of the presence of God caused me to want Him even more! I wanted more of Him, and I wanted to know Him as I am known by Him! Truly, nothing else can satisfy. As I wrote in the post, In the Dryness of Praise, the presence of God ‘cannot be created, generated or hyped up at all.’ I found myself even more desperate for God, and Him alone. I will do my best for Him, but ministry and churchy activities all pale in comparison to the expectation of a greater glimpse of His glory. Oh, God knows I am praying for a breakthrough that only He can give. I honestly believe that it is not Christianity that will see me through the final days, but a revelation of the glory of God that will render me totally unshakeable come what may.
That said, I hasten to add that it is not just a spiritual experience I am seeking. I am fully aware and totally mindful that this glimpse of His glory, if I may be so granted by His grace, came at a high price. Jesus died on the Cross for me that I may have access into His glory! In my life and in my preaching, I must never forget this. And I praise and thank God for my wife who reminded me through two cross words. By the same token, lest I minimise, trivialise or ornamentalise the Cross as we are all prone to do, the note found on the desk of an African Martyr served as a grim reminder of the cost of discipleship when one decides to deny himself, to take up his cross, to follow Jesus come what may. Indeed, the cost of discipleship is high. But more recently, I was led to contemplate if the cost of non-discipleship might in fact be higher? No easy answers here, but no less provoking.
Even as I journey and plod along, the work of the ministry continues. We praise God for numerical growth at Covenant Vision Christian Church. Though encouraging, our focus continues to be on spiritual growth as we seek to make more disciples for Jesus. To this end, April will see the launch of seven Discipleship Groups involving more than 80 people with their key values as Accountability, Body-building and Commission. And so, we begin a new initiative that would prove challenging but the investing into lives for the Kingdom is never a waste of time. In due season, by His grace and strength, we look forward to good fruit and a great harvest.
Covenant Vision School of Ministry’s Certificate in Practical Christian Ministry took in 53 new students for its January 2011 Intake. On 26 & 27 Mar, the School had its annual Encounter Weekend at Fort Canning Lodge, attended by a total of 82 students, alumni and instructors. The theme “Times of Refreshing” was timely and appropriate as we learnt once more about Relationship and the Rest of God. The altar was full when participants were invited to repent and to return that they might be refreshed and restored! All praise and glory to God for revealing Himself so wonderfully and personally to each and everyone.
Finally, some family news. The Lim Tribe celebrated two more birthdays in the past two months. Ruth turned six and Anna Joy turned two in February and March respectively. Serene and I celebrated our 16th Anniversary on 11 March; yes, the day of the tsunami. Even so, there is such significance in that for many marriages are experiencing their own earthquakes and tsunamis. That we have been blessed with a wonderful relationship (not without love, hard work and sacrifice) is something we do not take for granted and constantly give thanks and praise to the Lord for. May He use our relationship and family to be a blessing to others around us.
As always, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you for journeying with us. Your comments and feedback, as do your prayers and support, have been a constant source of encouragement to us, affirming our ministry and all we are doing for the Lord. I do not wish for these updates to be additional spam to you, but that these articles and perspectives would serve, dare I say, as a prophetic voice in these times. That said, if you do not wish to receive further updates, please feel free to unsubscribe without feeling bad at all. Conversely, if it has been a blessing to you, feel free to forward the newsletter to your friends, or even invite them to subscribe for future newsletters. For more regular updates on my thoughts, ministry and family, you can also subscribe to my blog at www.brohenson.org.
I feel led to close this update with Numbers 6:24-27 … “The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
In His love and for His glory!