Taking Another Step Forward: Releasing My Isaac In CVSOM

On 1 January 2014, I officially stepped down as a pastor, in obedience to the Lord’s instruction. In the days that followed, and more specifically in March, I felt the Lord challenge me to give up my Isaac. I knew in my spirit that He was referring to Covenant Vision School of Ministry (CVSOM).

When I graduated from Theological Centre for Asia in 2006, I was given the opportunity to formalise CVSOM. From adhoc courses, I had a hand in designing the curriculum and naming the baby. In March 2007, the Certificate in Practical Christian Ministry was launched, drawing just 23 students for its first equipping course. After the first graduation of Certificate students, the Diploma in Practical Christian Ministry was introduced in 2009. To date, I have had the privilege and honour to see through six Certificate and five Diploma cohorts, and am presently journeying with the 7th and 6th batches respectively. The joy and satisfaction of seeing the students grow and flourish cannot be adequately expressed in words. Ministry is always about lives and there is no greater reward than to see the lives of brothers and sisters in Christ touched, impacted and transformed for God’s kingdom and glory.

Yes, CVSOM was my Isaac and the Lord showed me that it was time to release Isaac, to take a step forward, to move into a new season. I shared this with Rev Francis in early April and together we processed the transition and determined the right timing. Today, 1 July, the start of Term 2, I officially step down as Dean of CVSOM, handing the operational reins of CVSOM back to Rev Francis. [See CVSOM Announcement]

I am very thankful to Rev Francis for having given me the opportunity and guidance to develop and direct the School to where it is today. I am also very appreciative of each and every instructor who has stood and co-laboured with me, to pour into the lives of students. I must not forget the administrative support through a very capable and efficient team of which Sis Marianne stands out as one who deserves mention and credit. To the alumni, past graduates and students, many of you have become good friends and fellow workers in the kingdom of God. Your many words of encouragement and affirmation have been a constant source of strength and support for me and my family. Thank you to one and all! I have learnt so much and you have each been a part of this wonderful CVSOM experience and journey!

So what’s next? Truth is, I haven’t the slightest clue! All I know is that my God is still in the business of resurrection and He is One who “gives life to the dead” (Rom 4:17). When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it was simply to test the patriarch’s faith and obedience. We learn from Hebrews 11:17-19 that, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” What God had asked Abraham for, He promptly gave back in even greater measure! This is the God we serve!

Similarly, the Lord has asked me to give up my Isaac and this I have done by faith and in obedience. Of all my roles and responsibilities, CVSOM has been closest to my heart. Admittedly, it has not been the easiest of decisions. Yet, as sentimental and as precious as CVSOM has been to me, it cannot and must not replace my devotion to my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that the Isaac I have released can never be compared to the glory of the resurrected Isaac I shall receive in time to come. I don’t know when or in what form. My part is simply to direct all energy and attention to the development of Archippus Awakening and to leave every other detail to the Lord for He alone knows best!

I praise and thank God for CVSOM for it is entirely by His grace that the School has been such a blessing to so many. May CVSOM continue to raise even more who will minister in the name of Jesus, mature into the image of Jesus and manifest the glory of Jesus. To Him be all honour, power and glory!!!

I Am Blessed of God and You Can’t Reverse That!

As a young boy growing up in a Chinese culture, I was taught to always reject any negative word spoken against me, supernatural or not, with the Cantonese words, “Choy! Choy! Choy!” Up until today, I don’t even know what it means at all. It didn’t even occur to me to wonder if Christians should resort to such pronouncements … hey, as long as I was not cursed 🙂

Many years later, as a growing Christian, I was told to say almost the same thing, except it sounded a lot more Christian … “I reject that in Jesus’ Name!” Not wanting to be cursed, I dutifully and diligently applied that teaching. For example, if someone would remark, “Don’t get caught in the rain. You will fall sick.”, I would immediately say, “I reject that in Jesus’ Name!” You may laugh at this silly example but I really believed I could be cursed with falling sick if I didn’t promptly and reject that in the name of Jesus.

Thankfully, my understanding, conviction and position have all changed.

Gal 3:29 tells me that if I am in Christ (and I am!), I am Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise God made to him in Gen 12:1-3.  In that promise, blessings and curses are clearly mentioned. God told Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.” It doesn’t take a scholar to decipher what this means at all. Whoever curses Abraham will be cursed! God didn’t ask Abraham to reject anything, or declare anything at all. Instead, God will do everything on Abraham’s behalf! As a faith descendent of Abraham, this applies to me too. How cool is that?!

The clearest account of this in operation is found in Numbers 22-25. The children of Israel (Abraham’s physical seed) was on the move and Balak was terrified that Moab would be defeated next. And so, the leaders of Moab and Midian contract a prophet, Balaam, to curse Israel. Note what God says to Balaam in Num 22:12, “You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” Consequently, in Balaam’s first prophecy, he promptly declares in Num 23:8, “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?” In the second prophecy, he says in Num 23:10, “[God] has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.”

Israel didn’t even know what was going on! Balaam knew that he simply cannot reverse what God had already declared; he couldn’t undo God’s blessings! And if Balaam had cursed them, the Abrahamic Promise would kick in and he, and those whom he represented, would be cursed by God.

When I understood this spiritual dimension and promise, it was so very liberating. It didn’t matter what anyone said to me or about me anymore, whether in front of me or behind my back! In and through Jesus Christ, I have been blessed by God, an heir of the very same promise that God made to Abraham. I simply cannot be cursed by someone else! If anyone is crazy enough to try that, he brings a curse upon himself. If you don’t believe that, go ahead, try it and see if you are not cursed in return 🙂

Now, although there is no need for me to religiously (or superstitiously) reject a curse, I must be careful not to accept one. To accept a curse is to believe to a degree of conviction that what has been pronounced over you is true. For example, someone may say to you, “You are useless and will never amount to anything!” If you know who you are in Christ, let that remark pass. It means nothing at all for you know you are significant in Christ and will be used to God’s glory! God’s truth will prevail over the enemy’s lie. But if you consider it, agree with it, believe and receive it within your spirit, your faith in that declaration will yield its own negative fruit and consequence.

Now, this sounds really good, but I am also promptly reminded that I must watch what I say against another brother or sister in Christ or God’s chosen nation, Israel. The same principle applies. If I bless them, I am blessed. If I curse them, I am … yes, you guessed it … cursed. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will ear its fruit.” Indeed, what I sow, I shall also reap.

With this, we understand why Jesus teaches us to love and to bless no matter how ridiculous that sounds or how difficult it might be. Especially with those within the household of faith, we must always seek to bless and not curse, regardless how we have been hurt or disappointed by them. We must remember that we are all blessed by God and heirs of the promise of Abraham! This is so critical and yet often so lacking in Christian relationship; marriages, in particular. How sad and devastating it is when a husband curses his wife, and the wife in turn curses her husband. No wonder that marriage dies!

Today, I rest in the assurance that I am hidden in Christ, that if God is for me, there is none who can stand against me. It is more profitable for me to meditate upon and appropriate the blessedness of my state in Christ than for me to listen to the lies and condemnations of the enemy, through his agents, and believe, even for a moment, that I might be cursed. Indeed, I bask in the confidence of God’s blessings, cover and protection. I can just hear Him warn my enemies as He did Balaam in Num 22:12, “You shall not curse Henson, for he is blessed.”