The next 12 years.
In the last newsletter, I celebrated 12 years since receiving the call to serve the Lord in a fulltime capacity. In that year, I turned 36; and 12 years later, I am 48 today. It suddenly occurred to me that in 12 years’ time, God willing, I shall be 60 years old!
By all counts, compared to others who responded in their youth, I am a late starter in the ministry. I must admit a sense of regret that I did not make full use of my earlier years in more productive ways for God. And yet, I know nothing is wasted in God’s economy and everything committed to Him can be gloriously redeemed for His glory. And that is precisely my prayer as I look ahead to the next 12 years.
By His grace and leading, I want to be able to sow into even more lives that these may be raised up as mighty warriors for Jesus. To this end, I need to be focused and not be distracted by every ministry demand. I want the next 12 years to be purposeful that time will not zip by in a blur through a packed schedule with little to account for. For sure, busyness is not necessarily fruitfulness.
In the natural, things are already picking up. Come November, Covenant Vision Christian Church will celebrate our 4th Anniversary. Weekly attendance has been averaging 180, at times closing in to 200. Covenant Vision School of Ministry is now preparing to receive new Certificate and Diploma students for 2013. The leadership team has been praying about the way forward and it will only get more challenging. How do I remain effective as a pastor to my local congregation and also as a dean to students and others from the larger Body of Christ? Back home, I will have an increasing number of teenagers, all needing love, affirmation and guidance from their father. No point me preaching about it, only to mess it up big time in my own backyard! Indeed, I must be clear with my roles and priorities, as well as have the discipline to say “no” however difficult that may be at times.
Something more. Yet, in my heart, I know the Lord is preparing Serene and me for something more. I can’t explain nor fully understand it, but circumstances have led us both to sense that we are on a threshold of a big move of God in our lives. Whilst this sounds exciting, the need to plod on before we make sense of anything can be both tiring and scary, though a journey with the Lord is never without its high points!
We had planned to renovate our flat in 2013. That has been brought forward and we are now in the midst of packing and moving out. And so, by the provision and timing of God, we get to enter into the next 12 years with a “new” house – at a fraction of what houses in Singapore cost these days! During this temporary displacement, God also made it possible for us to go for a family vacation, and it’s simply amazing how He has arranged everything so perfectly!
Still, the battle rages on … health-wise. Serene’s skin condition is not totally cleared but has certainly improved. By the Lord’s prompting, she gave her testimony at CVCC on 2 Sept, believing that full restoration will be received in His good time. Read her story in pictures and give God glory! Please continue to cover Serene in prayer – it’s been really tough going for her as she cleans and packs, the dust aggravating the skin once more.
For myself, I am nursing a condition called Temporo Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). You can read more about it in my blogpost. Regrettably, I brought it upon myself by pushing too hard and not resting enough. Through all the talking, counseling, preaching, teaching and worship leading, the muscles around the jaw joints and mouth region are all tense, tired and aching. Isaiah 30:15 says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest in your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” Guilty, as charged. Yes, repentance is in order; and rest too. I’m just so thankful the physio sessions have been helpful. I also know many are praying for me – thank you!
To this end, in preparation for the next 12 years, I am planning a personal retreat in December. This would be a good time to be still before the Lord, to seek His face and direction before diving into 2013. If you know of a nice “mountain” location where I can get away to be alone and be quiet, please share this with me.
Homeschool. As I write this update, Sarah is going through the PSLE. As long as she clears the benchmark set for homeschoolers (which is higher than the national requirement), she does not need to re-take the exams. Regardless, we know she will do her best to bring glory to God. Beyond P6, the children will continue to be homeschooled. David, being the eldest, has been our trailblazer (or guinea pig) where selecting a suitable route is concerned. After much research and prayer, we decided on a programme by A BEKA Academy. Through this, David will achieve a High School Diploma before his National Service Enlistment.
The five younger ones are all growing well. It will be two more years before it is Aaron’s turn at the PSLE, followed by Esther one year later. Both will take their very first piano exam next February. Ruth is enjoying her ballet classes and looks forward to it every week. Deborah Hope and Anna Joy are the best of friends, and it’s such a joy to see them enjoying their homeschool sessions together with Serene.
Saving the best for last, I give thanks and praise to God for my wife. I know I have said it before but Serene deserves mention over and over again. This is not meant to puff her up nor to place her on a pedestal of worship; not at all. I am just so grateful that the Lord has blessed me with a capable wife who loves and serves me and the children selflessly. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.” And it is so true! Although her ministry is primarily at home now, I believe the time will come when Serene is released to preach and teach too, and we will minister together.
The next 12 years. As mentioned earlier, God is working something in us through every challenge we face, positioning us for what is ahead. We just have to keep trusting Him, knowing that He is sovereign and what He has allowed in our lives is only for good!
That’s it for this update! Thanks so much for sharing our ups-and-downs in our journey of faith. Sometimes, I wonder if I should be so open with certain personal details, and if some may be offended or stumbled? Then the Holy Spirit reminds me about the need to always be real and authentic that through our weakness, God will receive all the glory! Contrary to popular belief, the Christian walk is not about people who seem to have it all together, spewing catchy clichés and living the perfect life. Rather, it is about imperfect people trusting in a perfect God who helps them hold it all together by His awesome grace! Hallelujah!
Thank you, one and all, for loving us through your prayers, words of encouragement and gifts! We appreciate your co-labour and partnership in the work of the Kingdom for the glory of our King and Master, Jesus Christ! Keep keeping in touch with us through One Day At A Time, Building Up Moms and Building An Ark In Singapore.
In His love and for His glory!