The Joy Of Having My Children Serve Alongside Me

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Over the weekend, I had the joy of having Aaron and Esther (our 3rd & 4th) serve alongside me at Archippus Awakening‘s very own Awakening Event, AWE2016. Whilst many think this is only natural for a pastor’s or a minister’s children, I do not take this for granted at all. No, not for one moment.

To be clear, my children have, on many occasions, accompanied me on my various ministry engagements at camps, retreats, meetings and church services. Each and every time, I am very thankful to have them with me, but I do not expect that to be so, as if it is a mandatory requirement for the Lim Tribe. Of course, there are times when Serene and I make a collective decision for the entire family to be present. Then again, there are also times where we ask the children if they’d like to be involved.

And that was the case for AWE2016. David and Sarah (our 1st & 2nd) were unable to join us, and Aaron and Esther said “yes”. Aaron was promptly assigned to man the sound board and Esther would look after the projection needs. It was really wonderful to see them readily assume their responsibilities without fuss or complaint.

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The moment we reached the hotel, they took to their stations to set up whatever needed to be set up. Throughout the event, they did what was required, and gamely took on whatever else came about, whether planned or unplanned. Whatever they were unsure about, they simply learnt it along the way, on the job!

Being a part of the technical team also meant having to be present earlier than others, which also meant eating faster and having to wake up earlier in the mornings for the Kingdom Prayer Initiatives. Aaron also took on the additional role of photographer, which saw him shuttling from the sound board to moving about the room to capture the best shots.

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I watched and observed them with much pride and joy. Young as they are (14 & 13), they understood what it meant to serve with and alongside their dad, contributing to a greater purpose of God’s kingdom. And I dare say they gave and did their very best.

This episode also gave me a deeper appreciation of what it must mean to our heavenly Father when we give of ourselves to align with His plans and purposes. Consider this: If I can experience the joy of having my children support me in my assignment, imagine the joy in God’s heart when we readily, obediently, and gladly do the Father’s Will!

 

Family Break at Club Med Bintan

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I can’t believe I didn’t blog about our little break to Club Med Bintan last year. Instead, I merely featured the photos in our November 2013 newsletter.

Well, this year, in deciding on a break for the Lim Tribe, we decided on Club Med Bintan again. The location is near enough and there are activities for our entire range of children. And best of all, it’s buffet after buffet so we don’t need to think about what to order or where to go for meals. When it’s time to eat, we simply grab the plates and load ’em up!

One year later, the four older ones were fairly independent and spent most of their time with the Teens Club. They made friends and enjoyed the various activities around Club Med – trapeze, kayaking, beach games, archery, table-tennis. Serene and I spent our time with the three younger ones – mostly at the pool and the beach. I managed to get in a session of squash with Aaron; and even went for a short mountain bike ride with David.

I had just recovered from a bad bout of flu so it took me a while to adjust and to settle in. Physically, I was very tired and drained. Emotionally and mentally, admittedly, my mind kept straying, thinking of the message I had to prepare and preach the moment I got back to Singapore. And a few days later, I would fly off to Kidapawan City, Philippines, to speak at a Prayer and Leadership Conference. Yes, that means at least another five messages to pin down. Even so, it was good that I was ‘forced’ to do nothing. It was not easy at all but it was definitely needful. My body and mind sure needed the rest and space. Unfortunately, by the time I finally settled down, it was time to head home and back to the grind of the work of ministry.

I’ve learnt my lesson though. The next time we plan a family break, it’s best not to schedule anything so closely after the break. Well, it’s easier said than done; especially when there is much development work to be done for a new ministry like Archippus Awakening and for one in itinerant ministry. Still, it’s a good reminder and consideration to keep in mind. It’s one thing to simply do it for the family and totally another to be there for them. I must confess the little momentary lapses. But as I look back, it was time and money well spent with my wife and children.

Club Med Cherating next?

Turning 50: Simple and quiet but no less significant

 

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The BIG 5-0. I guess it’s a milestone of sorts and one that should be marked and observed. It is, after all, a celebration of having lived life for half a century. Surely, it deserves more attention than the usual, annual birthday routines.

I believe it was March last year, at 48 years old, that the reality of turning 50 dawned upon me. Instinctively, the idea of staging a mini-concert crossed my mind. Yes, I would gather my friends who would also turn 50 in the same year and we would put together a little show to the glory of God! That seemed like a good idea but the Lord had other plans for me.

Quite soon after my 49th birthday, as I entered my 50th year, God began to reveal the next steps. Just over a month later, the instruction came for me cross over into new ground. That meant stepping down as a pastor of CVCC; and later, as dean of CVSOM. From what seemed like a safe and secure ministry track, I was taken back to square one – stepping out again and not knowing where I am to go! In my year of Jubilee, the Lord wasted no time in hitting the RESET button. Thankfully, by His grace, the next assignment in Archippus Awakening was shown clearly to me on 27 Oct 2013. With this seed planted in the womb of my spirit, I carried this baby over the next 40 weeks before holding a prophetic event to mark the birth of Archippus Awakening on 3 Aug 2014. With all the attention and focus on this new assignment, there was simply no time to think about how I should celebrate my 50th birthday.

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Triple Three treat!

And so, two days ago, on 24 August 2014, yours truly turned 50, by the grace of God. At the stroke of midnight, my wife whispered, “Happy Birthday.” When the children got up that morning, still bleary-eyed, they headed straight to my room and wished me with a big kiss and a big hug, “Happy Birthday, Daddy!” We went to church and then got home to open the cards and presents that each had specially prepared with love.That night, we treated ourselves to a scrumptious buffet spread – just our family, together with my parents and aunt. We didn’t even have a birthday cake but that suited me just fine. Five big candles would have been nice but nothing could have replaced the glow and warmth of my family. Yes, it was a very simple and quiet affair but no less significant. I was happy to have spent it in that way with the ones I love and cherish deeply.

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With Helena and her children at Starz, Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa.
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With Archippus Awakening intercessors.

That day might have been spent very simply but I must also acknowledge the others who remembered and celebrated with me both before and after. It was especially meaningful to have had an earlier joint birthday dinner with my sister (another August baby) and her children when they were back in Singapore. My Diploma students blessed me with a blueberry cheesecake when we gathered for class last Thursday. On Saturday, the Archippus Awakening Prayer Team came to my place for intercession and we ended with fellowship and a blackforest cake – another favourite of mine! Of course, thanks to the Facebook community, I received so many well wishes and prayers online. And last evening, our haverim (group of disciples) surprised me, collaborating with Serene to drop by for dinner and another little celebration!

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Blessed with a blueberry cheesecake from Hilton Hotel by CVSOM Diploma students.
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Must teach these disciples never to shout “SURPRISE!!!” so loudly at a 50 year old man.

Fifty years old. Five decades of having experienced God’s grace. In this new season, it is clear that there are new things to learn and new mountains to conquer. The race has begun and the work has already started. I am glad that there was no big birthday bash but just a simple marking of a milestone and a consciousness of having entered into the next decade of life, one that must be lived entirely for the glory of God through the fulfilment of my assignment in Archippus Awakening.

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And the word for this new season? … “No eye has seen , no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9 In other words, although I have lived 50 years, although I have tasted the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness, although I have experienced His power and provision … I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! AMEN!

The Birth Control Mindset: Anti-Abortion Is Not Necessarily Pro-Life

Picture taken from Generation Cedar's website www.generation cedar.com
Picture taken from Generation Cedar’s website http://www.generationcedar.com

This morning, my wife posted the article “The Connection Between Birth Control & Abortion: Is the Church Really Pro-Life?” on Facebook with the comment: Food for Thought. I read it and decided it was good enough, provocative too, for a re-post or a share on my own wall. In it, the writer addresses “the birth control mindset” very well (and before you jump to any conclusions or defence, please read the article first to fully appreciate the writer’s distinction and definition of such a mindset).

“Hear what I said: “the birth control mindset.” This is a very important distinction. I am not saying, nor have I ever said, it is a sin to use birth control or that a Christian can not, upon careful prayer and discernment, space children. It’s not a discussion about specific circumstances, or sick mamas or hard pregnancies.

The “birth control mindset” is one that treats new life too lightly, fails to give proper authority to the Creator, assumes absolute control over fertility and consequently establishes (either consciously or not) that the idea of “normal” family size is two or three children.

The birth control mindset inadvertently becomes hostile to the practice of forgoing birth control. And herein lies a great problem.”

Indeed, just because Christians are against abortion doesn’t necessarily mean that they are pro-life. On the one hand, the Church speaks out boldly for the protection of life for the unborn, yet on the other, advocate and practise the prevention of life for the yet to be conceived too. The birth control mindset has become a way of life in today’s world, even for Christians, usually rationalising and justifying it as a responsible act. Or to sound more spiritual, that they are not called (?) to have many children.

So does this mean that we who have grappled with this birth control mindset just cannot wait to have more children? I know of some couples who are like that, but that’s not us. We have been asked many times before, “Do you want more children?”, a typical large family FAQ. Well, the answer I give is, “I am happy with the number I have at the moment.” And that has been the answer since we decided to let God plan our family size some years ago. Let’s be honest. Raising children is tiring and calls for many sacrifices. If I had my way, I would do what many have done … STOP. But the truth is, we have chosen to let God have His way in our family, and that means being willing to submit to His plans, regardless the number.

Now, I know that sounds very commendable and full of faith. But do not be deceived 🙂 Each time we found out we were expecting another, let me say that it was not without anxiety or concern. We had to keep reminding ourselves, and still do, that if God has chosen to bless us with a child, He would be faithful to enable us to care for and to provide for this child too.

And so, we have seven lovely children today. I said lovely, not perfect. Is it easy by any means? You’ve got to be joking! Just read some of my parenting posts (rants!) and you will see that we have exactly the same challenges as anyone else, if not more (multiplied by seven, of course)! And for the record, it is not funny when people jokingly pop questions like, “So are you going to stop?” or “Is No.8 on the way?” or “Have twelve la, like Jacob!” Firstly, it really is none of your business. Next, since I do not have two wives and two maids, like Jacob, don’t compare me with the biblical patriarch. And finally, in case you didn’t know, you really should be asking, “Is No.11 on the way?” Yes, unfortunately, Serene has suffered three miscarriages, one in 2007 before Anna Joy (our youngest), and two after in 2012. As such, in God’s books and ours, it’s ten and we are looking forward to the day we get to meet our other three children 🙂 But I digress…

So, back to the question, “Is the Church really pro-life?” Well, on the surface, it appears so. But from real-life, on-the-ground interactions with both clergy and laity, our birth control mindsets are sadly not much different from the world.

Oh, and as expected, as at the point of publishing this post, my Facebook share only garnered one LIKE … from a single male.

Ashley Madison in Singapore: When Even Negative Publicity Is Great Publicity

The Straits Times, 7 Nov 2013, B4.
The Straits Times, Thursday, 7 Nov 2013, B4.

It is not surprising that Ashley Madison is pushing its way into Singapore despite protests. But does this concern the website that promotes extra-marital affairs at all? Does it even bother them that our minister has openly declared that such websites are not welcomed in Singapore? Absolutely not!

And that is precisely the point. Evil has no regard for morals! They don’t care one bit. Greed knows no bounds. As far as they are concerned, it is a legitimate business and as long as there is a demand for such services, they will supply it. Simple Economics101. And being the devious website it is, even negative publicity is great publicity. They just got thousands more hits for free.

In today’s online world, sadly, anything goes. The authorities can attempt to block it but there are still ways around it. In these last days, we must be aware that evil will stop at nothing for the time is short. We who know and understand biblical prophecy must not be caught off-guard. These things will take place at increasing and alarming proportions! Let’s face it. Regardless the efforts and restrictions of the government, needful and helpful as these may be, it is the sinful lustful heart of the individual that must still be dealt with. Businesses like Ashley Madison know this only too well and are capitalising on it big time.

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In my post, “Say No to Ashley Madison in Singapore“, I remarked that Christians have a responsibility to speak out in the public arena against such filth. At the same time, in our private lives, we must determine to work at our marriages and families, refusing to give any ground to the evil that pervades our society more and more.

I believe we will see more of Ashley Madison, or the likes of it. Whilst I do not support it one bit, I must be careful not to give them all the credit. In some crazy sense, the founder of Ashley Madison is not inaccurate when he said that the breakdown of marital cannot be entirely attributed to his website. With or without this website, sin rules in the lives of those who have not known the saving work of Jesus Christ. Clearly, the wages of sin is death; and in this case, it is bringing death to marriages and families. It is only the transforming work of Jesus in men and women that will make the difference.

As a minister, it breaks my heart to see marriages and families affected and devastated by such adulterous liaisons. I will do my part to help as many as possible, sharing with them the hope and victory they can have in and through Jesus. That, I believe, would be time and energy better spent than giving more publicity to Ashley Madison.

To join the petition against Ashley Madison in Singapore, LIKE the Facebook Page “BLOCK ASHLEY MADISON FROM CORRUPTING SINGAPORE“.

Pedophilia Officially Classified as Sexual Orientation by American Psychology Association

Pedophilia Officially Classified as Sexual Orientation by American Psychology Association.

Hands up, those who agree that this it is utterly, totally, absolutely, shockingly, horrendously, deplorably ridiculous! And yet, the time has arrived where insanity and foolishness are the order of the day 😦

The headline of this Charisma Magazine article says it all, doesn’t it? You don’t even need to read the full article to be sickened by such an announcement.

Without doubt, we are living in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil 2:15) where people call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).

Indeed, every parent needs to pray like never before — but make sure it is done with eyes wide open; don’t let your children out of your sight.

NOTE: Since posting this yesterday, some astute readers have checked the American Psychology Association website with attempts to verify the report. Also, Charisma News has added this paragraph to the above article: “UPDATE: The AFA cannot substantiate its research on this issue, though many agree with its interpretation. Please click here for an updated story with new facts. The AFA is a trusted source in Christian media, but some are disputing its claim. We reached out to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for an official statement and have not yet received clarification. We will update the story if the APA responds.” Regardless, this does not alter the fact that we do live in challenging and interesting times, one that calls for Christian parents to be very aware of the present environment our families are exposed to.

Saturday 29 June 2013: Family Day?

Saturday 29 June 2013. This would be an interesting date and day to watch. Not only in the natural, but also in the spiritual.

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The Straits Times, Tuesday 23 May 2013, Home, B10.

This date will mark the end of Singapore’s National Family Council‘s (NFC) month-long National Family Celebrations 2013. They have designated it as Family Day Out, and families are encouraged to spend that day together, visiting places of interest or participating in activities and events together as a family unit. And specifically at 6:29pm, the NFC hopes everyone would call, tweet, text or hug their family members because “6:29 is Family Time”.

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The Straits Times, Tuesday 23 May 2013, Home, B12.

Coincidentally, or otherwise, the Pink Dot Movement will also be holding their 5th rally at Hong Lim Park on 29 June. As we know, this group that represents the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders) seeks to establish these ‘alternative’ expressions of love and relationships as fully acceptable and mainstream. Put another way, LGBT relationships that include same-sex unions and marriages are hoping to be recognised as “family units” by society, not to be frowned upon nor discriminated against at all. This rally has been gaining momentum and popularity since its first event in 2009. The high point is when congregants, comprising LGBTs and non-LBGTs, adults and children (family), form a giant Pink Dot to show their support for this cause.

Without thinking too much, these are simply two separate events. But are they? Events and dates are not determined overnight, at least not for these of such scale, size and significance. The question is, which came first? Is the Pink Dot Movement riding on and taking advantage of the NFC’s efforts, cleverly positioning themselves as a family-related event to the unsuspecting man-on-the-street? Or might the NFC be subtly supporting the Pink Dot Movement’s event, thereby sending a message that the family is being re-defined to include LGBT relationships? If not, would the national agency change anything so as not to send a wrong signal? Or would they gently request the Pink Dot Movement to consider shifting their Hong Lim event, at the risk of appearing as discriminating against LGBTs?

Surely, there are no easy answers or solutions, not that these are necessarily desiring to find any alternative (no pun intended). Am I suggesting that I know something, that I might have an idea that there is more than meets the eye? No, not at all. I am just a concerned Christian Singaporean parent, wondering where all this is leading to and how I am to respond. Indeed, 29 June is a date to watch. I may have no control over these events taking place in the natural, but I can and will pray because the authority I have is in the spiritual.

All said, I guess I shouldn’t make too big a deal of it. After all, it might really just be pure coincidence that both events are taking place on the exact same day. But why then did the two articles appear on the exact same day in the Straits Times, one page after another!? Sigh, there I go again — I will just wait and watch to see if the Pink Dot will be formed — at 6:29pm.

Related Post: The Need To Rebuild the Walls Around Families