Do You Remember the 23rd Night of September?

I know the first line of Earth Wind & Fire’s hit song very well – “Do you remember the twenty-first night of September?” – except, for me, it’s not the 21st but the night of the 23rd that I remember.

While waiting for the train that night, I snapped a picture of the arrow just for fun. As recorded in my first book, Say To Archippus:

The next day, as I reviewed the post, the Lord prompted me to look more closely. Although the arrow was the object of the photo, it was the red line about the arrow that came into focus. I remember remarking, “Something’s blocking the arrow from moving forward.” And as soon as I said that I realised, “Hey! I’m that arrow and something is blocking me from moving forward!”

Soon enough, the Lord removed that line, inviting and allowing me to move forward with the assignment of Archippus Awakening.

This brief post is to mark the significant date of 23 September 2013: that night, the Lord used a simple visual device on the floor of an MRT platform to direct me into my kingdom assignment.

It’s been five years. Archippus Awakening just celebrated her 4th Anniversary on 3 August 2018. The Lord has opened many doors for the message of awakening to be declared – in Singapore and abroad. Soon, over the weekend of 3-8 October 2018, Team Archippus will bring this message to Guam, USA.

Just a few days ago, I shared this little arrow episode at the commissioning of Archippus Awakening’s second publication, Alignment Check. When Sujuan (designer) proposed an arrow for the cover design, it reminded me of the MRT arrow. Unknown to her, I had also been using the same visual to demonstrate the advancement of the kingdom of God. In the same way, before anyone can move forward, every believer must also find his or own alignment with the Lord and the purposes of His kingdom.

I firmly believe that the kingdom of God continues to advance and He graciously invites His people to participate in all He is doing. Dear Archippus, you are included too. Get on board. Do not allow anything to block you from what God has already prepared for you (remove the red line).

Focus on the aligning. Let God do the assigning. Move forward for Jesus and His kingdom.

To order SAY TO ARCHIPPUS and ALIGNMENT CHECK,
email archippusawakening@gmail.com.

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What has 38 Oxley Road got to do with the Church?

Our Little Red Dot has caught the world’s attention again.

However, this time, it is not for something Singaporeans can say we are proud of. Yes, I am referring to the recent family feud involving the Lee siblings concerning 38 Oxley Road.

As I considered the exchanges across the numerous platforms, this question popped into my heart: “What about the Church?”

The Church of Jesus Christ is both the family and the house of God. Everyone agrees that Church is not a building or a place we go to, but the people of God. But when it comes to executing the Father’s will, not everyone is in agreement how Church is to be.

There are the same accusations of power play, over reliance on an institution, over dependence on one prominent personality, and the pushing of personal agendas. Some say that we must demolish the establishment, others shout a vehement ‘No!’, whilst others are willing to consider options along the spectrum. And so, the siblings in Christ continue to squabble over what to do with the house, taking to social media to air our views with articles, videos, memes and hashtags.

Meanwhile, as the world watched the Lee saga unfold, the world is also watching the Church. As the Lee siblings risked tarnishing the name of their father and Singapore’s founding father, might we be doing the same to the Name of our Heavenly Father when we fight against one another?

I have had a heavy ministry schedule over the past two months. Four church camps in June. Launched Archippus Awakening’s pilot mentoring aligning process on 1 July. KINGDOM101 resumed last Wednesday 5 July. On Sunday, I preached at two churches. In between the services, I found myself missing Serene and children dearly. The family has been so supportive, never complaining whenever the work of the ministry takes me away from them. That afternoon, I had a deep yearning to be with them. Thankfully, no one had any appointment that night (can’t presume these days with teenagers) and the Lim Tribe went out for dinner.

Exhausted from teaching and preaching, I didn’t talk very much. Just being with Serene and the children was enough for me. Over dinner, around the table, the children engaged with each other. They talked, they teased one another, they laughed together. Half the time, in the noisy restaurant, I couldn’t make out what they were talking about. But it didn’t matter one bit. My heart was filled with joy just watching them interact with one another.I thought to myself, “This must be how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children loving one another and enjoying each other’s company.” I know I felt it that night, and it felt really good. My prayer is that the Lim siblings will continue in this love and friendship with one another, come what may. In John 17, Jesus prayed for believers, siblings in Christ, to be one. For sure, this would please our Father in heaven.

Thankfully, the Lee siblings have agreed to take things offline so that what is family can be kept within the family. This will benefit a far bigger cause, that the Prime Minister and his government will not be distracted to do what they have been elected to do – govern Singapore through these challenging times. After all, it’s not just 38 Oxley Road but the greater house of Singapore that Singaporeans must be concerned with.

Perhaps the Church – the elect of God – can learn from this episode. Would we, the family and house of God, be willing to set aside differences for the greater cause of the kingdom of God? Sure, the house must be set in order, and that we must do. But there is a much larger picture of the kingdom of God that will require brothers and sisters in Christ to stand together.

Personal, ministry and denominational agendas cannot be the order of the day. It has been, and it will always be, about the Father’s will, is it not?

These thoughts were first shared in Henson’s July 2017 Newsletter. To receive One Day At A Time newsletter updates directly in your mailbox, subscribe here.

Good Friday Reflections: God Is In Control. He Really Is!

Jesus and Pilate

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are you not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” John 19:10-11

Spending some quiet time this Good Friday morning, I read this passage and these verses caught my attention.

This was the moment of reckoning. Pilate had already declared that he found no fault in Jesus – three times (John 18:38; 19:4, 6)! And yet, the Jews were adamant, insisting that Jesus be crucified. Everything laid in the hands of Pilate.

Or so it seemed.

All power belongs to God. This means that the power that Pilate had, was given by God. In other words, God allowed Pilate the power. Could God have withdrawn it at that moment? Of course. Did He? No. Instead, He allowed Pilate to wrestle with how he would use his power, or abuse it.

Power comes with accountability. Although Pilate sought to release Jesus (John 19:12), he bowed to public pressure. Although he sought to remove himself from the responsibility of crucifying an innocent man, it did not remove the fact that he did not judge justly. That is sin.

There is sin, and there is greater sin. It may have ended with Pilate, but it began with someone else. Who was Jesus referring to? Judas? The religious leaders? The people who demanded his crucifixion? Think about it. Have we all not been guilty of this? One wrong word. One careless act. One piece of juicy gossip. And how that has sparked a chain reaction of consequences. Not only is that sin, it is the greater sin.

Silence and submission. After these verses, Jesus spoke no more. He had made His point and He demonstrated it through silence and submission. To argue with Pilate would be to argue with God. To appeal for clemency would be to oppose the Father’s will. The Lamb of God went silent, ready to be led to its slaughter.

God achieves His purpose. How bizarre does it get? God seemed to have left it to the choices and decisions of men and yet, His purposes were accomplished through them. Instinctively, we would want to jump in, to save the situation, to restore order. But God remained totally in control and achieved His purpose amidst the shouts of “Crucify Him!” and the declarations of “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15) How do we understand this? The free will of Man and yet, the sovereignty of God. Wow!

Upon reflection, I find these points oddly comforting, but also extremely challenging.

The power play in the world increases with each passing day. I am reminded that these have no power if it had not been first granted to them by God. For sure, power in the wrong hands would be bad news for everyone. And yet, through the hand of Pilate, God brought good news! Clearly, I must learn to see that ultimately, all power belongs to God and He is still in total control. In this, I am comforted.

But this comfort does not come without a challenge.

For me, the question is, “How can I remain silent and submitted to the will of God amidst the chaos and confusion in our world today?” When does a Christian make a stand and when does he suffer in silence? Do we fight for our convictions? And if so, how should we fight, remembering the words of Jesus to Pilate in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” How do we apply this as people of His kingdom?

I wish I had a ready answer for this, but I don’t.

And so, my Good Friday reflections continue, as I ponder again the example of Jesus, the One “who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth, who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;” (1 Peter 2:22-23) and how I am to follow in my Master’s steps.

 

 

 

Kingdom Connections Can Appear Messy

Messy Cables

I took this picture last Sunday when we gathered on stage to pray before service started. As I bowed my head, my eyes were drawn to the twisted bunch of cables on the floor. To me, that wasn’t a very pleasant sight and if I had my way, I would gladly unplug and unravel these cables so that they could then be neatly labelled, arranged and placed.

Then I felt the Lord say to me, “That’s how kingdom connections look like sometimes. They can appear quite messy but as long as these are rightly connected, the power and signals flow, the sounds are produced and the message is declared!”

It’s been just over a year since I left the employ of the church. In the initial weeks and months, I didn’t quite know what to expect. As an itinerant minister, I was on my own now with no organisation or name to lean on. Admittedly, there were moments when I felt a little lost.

Sure, I had my coffee catch-ups here and there. Old contacts started calling on me. I made some new friends along the way. New doors opened for more name cards to be exchanged. Without doubt, it was exciting (still is!) and I learned a lot (still do!). I tried to remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit, seeking to discern which meeting would lead to something more. Really, I tried. Given the way I am wired, I want to see everything neatly packed and organised. I wish God would graciously co-operate with me and sort people and events according to my filing system.

But that’s not the way the kingdom works. Regardless how well a meeting goes, I just never know how things will turn out. I hate to admit it but I don’t get to make things happen. It’s not up to me! On my table are some stacks of name cards and over time, these have gotten thicker and yes, messier. Some I may never hear from again. And some I will connect with more meaningfully in ways I can never orchestrate nor fathom.

I’m learning that’s how kingdom connections are. They don’t always join cleanly or clearly in straight lines and with pretty labels. Yet, in God’s sovereignty and perfect design, He connects and He directs. And when kingdom connections come together, the power of God flows through these conduits and the message of the kingdom is boldly proclaimed, reaching not just ears but invading and penetrating hearts for God’s kingdom purposes.

The messy and twisted cables were a very good reminder – especially to one such as I with perfectionistic tendencies, at times fringing on OCD – haha! In my next meetings, I will use my task-oriented gifting to intentionally enjoy the great fellowship, scrumptious food and aromatic coffee … and leave God to handle the right connections for His kingdom, in His way and in His time.