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 Could God have withdrawn it at that moment?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.

 

 

 

How Was 2015 For You?

Family at A&W Melaka

Yes, all checked in and nicely settled into what will be my sanctuary over the next two days. As you might have guessed, I am on a personal retreat to rest in the Lord and also to receive from Him. It’s been a full year and I am indeed looking forward to a time of silence and solitude.

And since there’s no better way to get into His presence than to begin with praise and thanksgiving, that’s exactly what I shall do. To be sure, I have experienced so much of the Lord’s love and favour this year. Rejoice with me as I reflect on just 10 highlights of 2015.

1. 20 Years of Marriage: On 11 March, Serene and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary! Looking back, I still marvel at how we met; and even more significantly, how the Lord drew each one of us, individually and personally, to Himself. This prepared us to embark on a journey of faith and adventure with Him as a larger-than-normal family, a homeschooling family and a ministry family! Whilst Serene has always been supportive and understanding of the ministry demands I face, I confess that I have not always reciprocated adequately to her needs and challenges. I’ve learnt much over 20 years and yet, there are still many areas to improve in. Still, 20 years is a milestone to be celebrated and we will build on the foundation we have in Christ as we enter new seasons of our relationship and the family. [Read more…Marking 20 Years Of Being Together]

2. Me on the Trapeze: Surely, this is worth another mention. This may not seem much to some but at 50 years old, it’s a big deal for me to be able to execute the Knee Hang Catch at Club Med Bintan. Definitely the first and last time I attempt this acrobatic feat! Don’t believe? Watch the video. [Read more…I Believe I Can Fly!]

3. Intergenerational Ministry Trip: In January, the extended Lim Tribe went on a ministry trip to Tacloban Leyte, Philippines as part of TEAM ARCHIPPUS. This was the very first time three generations were involved – my father and mother, myself and three of my children (David, Sarah & Esther). It was really meaningful serving the Lord together as an extended family. [Read more…Houses for the People of Tanauan Leyte: Ministry Trip 22-26 Jan 2015]

4. One Day At A Time registers 200,000 Views: On 28 Sept, this blogsite registered 200,000 hits. Although it takes time to write and contribute articles, I continue to make an effort because I know many have been encouraged along the way. Going forward, it remains a challenge as I do not only manage ONE DAY AT A TIME, but also ARCHIPPUS AWAKENING. So, keep cheering me on by liking and sharing the posts 🙂 [Read more…200,000 Hits: Thanks for Your Support & Encouragement]

5. My Experience of Going Viral (well almost): Within a month of reaching 200,000 hits, someone shared my personal response to the City Harvest Case after the verdict was delivered. Over the next days and weeks, this post garnered thousands of views. As at the time of writing this post, it has exceeded 43,000 views! Not bad for a post written 3.5 years ago, back in 2012. Looks like we will be hitting 300,000 views sooner than expected 🙂 [Read more…A Personal Response to the City Harvest Case]

6. Three Homeschool Achievements: This year registered three milestones for us as a homeschool family. Our eldest, David, completed his High School Diploma as well as his SATs. Esther cleared her PSLE and Ruth, her P4 Exams. All three did very well and I am so proud of them. Of course, Serene deserves mention and definitely, full credit for her hard work. Now, we brace ourselves for David’s NS enlistment next year!

Gold Coast

7. The Lim Tribe Goes Down Under: For obvious reasons, it’s not often we attempt a major holiday for the Lim Tribe. This year, we thought it would be timely for us to venture a little further than the usual church camp escapades and destinations. Although a little last-minute (understandably), we planned and booked everything within two weeks (kudos to Serene again!) and flew off immediately after Esther’s last PSLE paper! Although it wasn’t much of a rest for Serene and myself, we sure appreciated the nice, cool, crisp, fresh air in Gold Coast … before returning to the haze! The children enjoyed the farm stay and most definitely, the theme park rides! Still thanking the Lord for His provision that we can enjoy such an experience.

8. Our Home Church: At the close of 2014, we felt that it was time to look for another home church. We went back to last checkpoint at Full Gospel Assembly and found ourselves staying put there. A key criterion for me was that the pastors and leaders must understand and support my kingdom assignment in Archippus Awakening (which they do!). At the same time, FGA has a vibrant youth and young adults ministry, which works out well for our growing up children. It’s been encouraging to see our children fit in well and involved in the ministries of FGA.

9. Kingdom Connections: On the ministry front, this year has been a time of meeting new people and making new friends. This has been a breath of fresh air as my circle of contacts expanded beyond what I had been accustomed to. I welcome these new exposures as it enlarges my perspective and challenges certain mindsets I may unknowingly hold to. More critically, I sense that the Lord is opening new doors and presenting new frontiers for what He has called me to do. It’s really wonderful to discover like-minded kingdom friends who really stand alongside you, and willing to travel with you on this kingdom journey! [Read more…Kingdom Connections Can Be Messy]

10. Archippus Awakening Milestones: I have already written about this in a separate post on the Archippus Awakening Website so I shall not repeat myself. Suffice to say that it’s been a great year, entirely by the Lord’s grace. Even so, I know that we have only just begun and the new year holds even greater promise for this movement. I just need to hear and move as He directs. Sound easy but it is not quite as straightforward, I assure you. And that’s why I am here on a personal retreat. [Read more…2015: A Season of Sowing]

What a year it has been! I know that the Lord has been with me through it all, and He will continue to walk with me into the new year. One of my favourite messages this season is Trekking Through Transitions, inspired by last year’s year-end reflections. Truly, the God who goes before us is also One who promises to walk closely with us. In that, we can be strong and very courageous to accomplish all He has assigned to us!

How was 2015 for you? May this encourage you too as you make your transition into the new year and into all that the Lord has in store for you!

Blessed Christmas from the Lim Tribe!

Christmas 2015 Family PixAmidst the fun, festivities and feasting, it is easy to mark the birth of baby Jesus and yet miss the significance of the coming Messiah. When Matthew recorded the birth account of Jesus, it was not only about a Saviour who would “save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21), but it was also an introduction that the prophesied and long-awaited King has made His appearance in the person of Jesus. This may sound obvious but let us not presume that everyone readily receives the rule and reign of King Jesus.

Like Herod, we are threatened by the prospect of losing control of our lives, to give up our power and position, to truly live for Jesus. Like the religious leaders, we are happy as long as the boat is not rocked, that we can fulfil our religious obligations. Never mind that prophecy was being fulfilled right under their very noses! Their knowledge of Scriptures affirmed it and yet they promptly returned to status quo, back to ministry as usual. Bethlehem was so near and yet, their hearts remained so far. Rather odd, for these were God’s people, supposedly crying for the Messiah to come.

Contrast this with the magi, Gentiles who went the distance. Their exposure to Scriptures moved them to an expedition with a Star. Having served in the courts of various kings and kingdoms, they knew that the One to come would be the real deal! They looked forward to the first Christmas not because of the presents or the party, but the Person of Jesus Christ. I wonder if we might have lost that hunger and desire for the true worship and service of the King?

As we look back to Jesus’ first coming, how many are ready for His second coming? Make no mistake – King Jesus is coming again! And when He comes, will He find Herods in rebellion, religious types playing church, or wise men and women who live circumspectly amidst evil days, truly kingdom subjects who are faithful in their kingdom assignments and ready to give account to their King?

This Christmas, don’t waste time over Starbucks’ marketing controversies, or get unduly upset that the words ‘Seasons Greetings’ are being preferred over ‘Christmas’. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the King, whatever the world says or however they try to remove Him. In my humble opinion, it is not whether Christ is mentioned in Christmas or not that matters. It is, however, of greater importance and significance that Christ be found ruling and reigning in your life.

Not a standard Christmas greeting, I must admit. Then again, the times we live in require an exhortation of a more serious tone. In the same way that birth pangs ushered in His first coming, the birth pangs that are being experienced around the world will also usher in the Messiah’s second appearance. As you enjoy the festivities of the season, our prayer is that Jesus the Christ be revealed afresh to you and your loved ones!

From our family to yours, have a blessed Christmas! Thank you for being a part of our journey through this wonderful year and into the next!

Henson & Serene
with David, Sarah, Aaron, Esther, Ruth, Deborah Hope & Anna Joy

 

The Experience & Joy of Being on Kingdom Assignment

IMG_5266I just returned last evening from Batam where I spoke at Bartley Christian Church’s Zone Camp. This was the second camp engagement in June, the first being Shekinah AG Church Camp. Next Monday, I will leave for Bintan to speak at Hakka Methodist Church’s Camp. To me, three camps in June is already quite a stretch to me (this is the first time I’ve ever committed to three camps!). Interestingly, I bumped into Pastor Benny Ho in Batam (he was the speaker for Jurong Christian Church Camp) and discovered he would be speaking at five camps this year! (No, I am not trying to compete with him at all – haha!)

Although the work of the ministry is demanding, as I move about my kingdom assignment through Archippus Awakening, I am discovering a very precious truth all over again. It’s not that this is new to me but I have come into a deeper appreciation of it. There are many Christian concepts and principles that sound good. When shared, many of us would very likely and readily nod and agree. But it is one thing to express intellectual assent with a particular truth and yet totally another to experience it first hand! And this is what I am experiencing afresh as I seek to faithfully fulfil this assignment which I have received in the Lord.

I have taught over and over about the grace of God, the favour and blessing of God, the power of God and the love of God. These are great truths! We would say AMEN and AMEN and AMEN! But in the past year of stepping out into the unknown, in the recent months of venturing into things that my little finite mind cannot grasp, I have experienced the depth of my heavenly Father’s love in new dimensions! In times of wrestling with weakness and even fatigue, I have experienced the sustaining power of His grace! In moments of doubt and anguish, I have experienced His presence, His comfort and His favour!

Not to appear facetious, but is it not accurate that many may declare a statement of truth and yet not perceive it to be true? That’s because for many it has remained largely cognitive and not experiential. How then can this be resolved? Quite simply, you can’t experience anything until you get to experience it! For this reason, the Lord invites us to participate in what He is doing. He knows that until we jump into something larger than ourselves, we will never come to an understanding or have a revelation of who our God is and what He is absolutely capable of!

Dear friends, I exhort and encourage you: Get aligned with the Lord and be on assignment for Him! It is when you take that first step of obedience that you begin to experience a deeper fullness of what it means to trust the Lord. Make no mistake! The assignments are not to show or prove how capable we are. On the contrary, God’s kingdom assignments will often expose how weak and how frail we are, yet at the same time reveal how good and how great our God is! This is the paradox of kingdom dynamics and living! Oh, how we love to think it is all about us when it is always about Him and Him alone! That said, kingdom purposes notwithstanding, the Lord in His sovereignty will use every kingdom endeavour to work a deeper work of transformation in each of us.

To this end, I’m beginning to understand, a little bit more, the words of Jesus, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt 16:25) If I only serve that I may derive a sense of achievement, importance or belonging, my Christian activity, however sacrificial, is largely self-serving. But if I am willing to lose myself to the purposes of the kingdom, dare I say in total abandonment, I begin to receive the greatest joy and satisfaction beyond what I can ask or imagine! This is because in relying wholly upon Him who has given the task that I may be enabled to complete the task, I get to discover that truly everything that I am and ought to be is found only in Him who is Life!

Truly, there is no greater joy than to be serving the Lord, to be on assignment with and for Him! I am just so thankful that He has made me worthy in Christ to participate in what He is doing in these final hours. May this humble reflection bring much encouragement!

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.

Pray For Those Who Are Teachers of the Word

IMG_1100

Yes, I am openly, boldly and unashamedly asking for your prayers.

Not that I am not aware of the immense responsibility that teachers bear but the weight and severity hit me this week as I prepared to preach a message entitled, “Keys of the Kingdom”. It dawned upon me afresh that teachers of the Word can actually make it or break it for believers.

Consider Jesus’ extremely strong words for the bible study leaders of His day. To these experts of the law, He said, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.” (Luke 11:42) What we teach matters.

In this case, these teachers prevented people (God’s people, no less) from entering into all God has for them. That said, this does not mean that we simply leave the door wide open for anyone. Keys do not only open doors, they shut them too! Today’s messages of love, grace and freedom are indeed welcoming, even if these are taught at the expense of holiness, righteousness and faithfulness. If we would carefully observe the whole counsel of God through His Word, we would see many instances where believers are warned of being shut out and not being able to inherit the kingdom of God. But no one likes to teach these things! For one, it’s not easy to declare such truths; and for another, you won’t be very popular.

As I delivered the message last night, I kept reminding myself, “Stay close to the Word. Preach from the text. Refer to the words of Jesus.” It’s not about my opinion at all. I want to teach from the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict hearts. One might argue that it is a matter of interpretation and it’d be hard to fault that challenge. However, that does not solve anything at all. The question is still, “Which teacher has the interpretation that is closest to the heart of the King and His Kingdom?” Did I teach accurately or inaccurately? Did I represent my King and Master adequately, or not? Once again, what we teach matters; especially when it concerns matters of eternal significance.

So, please pray for me, and for all who teach the Word of God. It is an awesome privilege that carries with it a tremendous responsibility. Thank you.

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers,
knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” James 3:1

 

From Cave Time to Wave Time

Source: http://tsun.sscc.ru
Source: http://tsun.sscc.ru

Those who have been following my blog and ministry will know that I chose to enter into a cave time of seeking the Lord sometime in January. Then, I had arbitrarily given myself a deadline of 15 April to work on my ministry manifesto. This date coincided with the appearance of the very first blood moon of the tetrad to come. I had chosen this date to remind of the urgency of the times, to keep me focussed and on track with what the Lord has given to me as an end-time assignment.

Over the weekend, I attended an awesome “Restoration of the Kingdom” conference and I learnt so much about Israel and the Kingdom; and even a precious object lesson. Through each session, I received so many things from the Lord and I began to see how my ministry fit in and how I should proceed! In my time with the Lord last Saturday morning, He revealed the following to me:

Coming Out: One key revelation was the realisation that the Passover actually begins on the evening of 14 April, crossing into 15 April. My selection of this date was initially made in relation to the blood moon but the Lord showed me a new significance in Passover. It was at the very first Passover that Israel came out of Egypt and began their journey into the promises of God. Similarly, the Lord has affirmed this date for me as my coming out of the cave, thereby beginning my next leg of the journey towards what He has called me to and into! Yes, I am coming out of the cave!

Resurrection: I just checked and the date of my posting From Cafe Time to Cave Time was 14 January. Symbolically, that was the day I entered the cave. Today, on 14.04.14, it is exactly three months of cave time. The number three is especially significant! On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish and rose to fulfil his assignment. More recently, I was challenged by the Lord to offer my Isaac to Him that He might raise Isaac in resurrection power. Having responded in faith and obedience, I know that this coming out of the cave also signifies a period of dying over the past three months (days) and now, it is time for new life in my ministry through resurrection power! I don’t think it is a co-incidence that I have been invited to speak on Resurrection Sunday – no prizes for guessing what I will be talking about this Sunday 🙂 Yes, not just out of the cave, but up from the grave!

First Fruits: Immediately after each Passover, Israel was asked to count, develop and then present their first fruits to the Lord. As they did that, God would ensure a harvest. As I sought the Lord for the buds of my first fruits, He pointed me to the ministry manifesto which I have written. The thoughts and ideas in them are the buds. I am to tag them, to water them with prayer and to develop them over the next seven weeks leading to the 50th day, or Pentecost. And as the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, so the Lord will anoint this ministry which will in turn bring in a mighty harvest for the Kingdom! So that’s what I am going to do over the next 50 days. I will present every idea back to the Lord as my first fruits, waving the sheaf before Him and trusting that He will pour out His Spirit afresh upon the ministry. Yes, I am looking forward to moving from cave time to wave time!

God’s Wave: Speaking of waves, I agree with Peter Tsukahira that God is doing a next big thing in and through Asia. According to George Annadorai, this might well be God’s last big thing as the curtain of history falls. I don’t want to miss this at all and I am so thrilled to be given an opportunity to participate. Peter’s closing words to us all at the conference: “Ride the wave. Catch the wave of God’s purposes.” Indeed! No more cave time; it’s wave time!

This is all so very exciting! And yet, I know that it is only but the beginning. There is so much more ahead! Thank you for reading and for journeying with me. I know that there are many who are praying for me, for Serene, for our children and this new assignment that I have received in the Lord. Many have also been asking what this ministry is. I have begun sharing little by little but after this Passover, I am coming out in full force to boldly declare and develop it. Stay tuned in and if the Lord is leading you to walk and co-labour with me, drop me an email at brohenson@gmail.com.