14 Years of Following Jesus

Today is 8 July 2014.

Each year, on this day, I take a moment to reflect and recount how 14 years ago, on 8 July 2000, Jesus invited me to follow Him. And so, what I am doing is nothing new; except, this year is especially significant. Having gone through a major transition in 2003/04, leaving the business to step into full-time ministry, the Lord has taken me into yet another transition, this time, stepping out from a church-based ministry to develop a ministry of my own.

The LoveSingapore 40Day Fast material through which the Lord spoke and called me to follow Him.

As I wrote in Follow Me: It’s Been 9 years: “The past 9 years have been the most exciting years of my life and I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg.  There’s more, for sure!” Interestingly, in 2012, the Lord showed me the word “abundance” and that sparked a new hunger and thirst to seek Him for all that He has in store for me. Two years later, that seeking has directed me into the next leg of my journey of serving Jesus through the expression of my present assignment, Archippus Awakening.

Even as I look forward to new things, new lessons and new experiences, it is important for me to acknowledge all that the Lord has allowed me to learn and the people He has led into my life and ministry. Firstly, I give thanks for Rev Francis and Sis Shirley who gave me the opportunity to partner them in Covenant Vision Centre when I first stepped out. In 2007, they entrusted me with the development and operation of Covenant Vision School of Ministry. When Covenant Vision Christian Church was birthed in 2008, I was commissioned as pastor and later ordained and positioned as the Deputy Senior Pastor. Without their prayers, support and encouragement, I would never have been able to learn so much.

Next, I am thankful for all the pastors and ministers – men and women of God – whom I have come into contact with. As I observed and interacted with them, it has deepened my understanding and broadened my perspective of ministry, as well as my own walk with God. Through the School, I am thankful for every student that has allowed me the privilege and honour to speak into their lives. Unknown to many, their Dean and Instructor has also often been the Student, silently learning and growing. In the Church, I give thanks for each and every member. Whether leading them in ministry, working with them in various projects, or ministering to them in their situations and challenges, these have shown me so much. I could go on, but time and space will not allow me to list everyone and every experience.

That said, this acknowledgement would not be complete if I do not mention my wife, Serene. Ever since the Lord called me 14 years ago, she has always been the one who is ever ready to obey and respond. Back then, when I asked her when I should step out, she said, “Anytime.” In Oct 2013, the Lord gave the word of stepping out and crossing over to and through Serene. I thought it only referred to my pastoral position but Serene was fully convinced it was for me to let go of everything. She was right. On 1 July, I ceased being the Dean of CVSOM. Together, over the past 14 years, we have gone through so much – as husband and wife, as father and mother, as fellow sojourners. In this new season, I sense that we will grow even more as fellow ministers and co-labourers for the Kingdom of God.

And finally, but definitely not the least, our children 🙂 In 2002, it was only 2yo David and 1.5mo Sarah. Today, they are joined by Aaron, Esther, Ruth, Deborah Hope and Anna Joy! Whether they realise it or not, every experience that I go through, they go through too, albeit in different ways. I am so thankful for their prayers and support, and especially their understanding when Daddy is away and unable to pray for them before they sleep. They are such a blessing and joy, both individually and collectively as the Lim Tribe.

14 years … wow! And yet, this is nothing compared to others who have served the Lord for decades since their youth. I’ve often remarked that there is a sense of regret that I wasted so much time when I was backslidden in my season of waywardness. That said, I have also come to know that God can redeem anything and in Christ, He will redeem the kairos that I have missed and turn this next season into the most abundant and fruitful of years for the sake of His name and kingdom! AMEN!

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!!!

Fresh Bread Please

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The moment I stepped out of my car, I recognised the smell that greeted my nose. Indeed, nothing beats the sweet fragrance of freshly baked bread!

It jolted a childhood memory of how my parents would stop by a traditional bread shop each week to pick up a loaf of bread. This was not done early in the morning, mind you, but late at night, on our way home. Sometimes, I would already be asleep in the back seat. But when the car pulled up and the door opened, I was promptly awakened by the smell of fresh bread. Sadly, many of these traditional bakeries have closed, replaced by industrialised versions of bread. How refreshing it was when I stumbled upon this little bread shop that day!

This episode got me thinking. As a preacher and teacher of the Word, am I serving fresh bread? As an itinerant minister, it is not uncommon that I may preach the same message more than a few times across different congregations. Am I serving recycled or fresh bread? Having been a preacher in a local church, where I address the same congregation on a regular basis, have I been guilty of peddling the same phrase or idea over and over again?

Today, the internet is like a supermarket, hypermart more accurately, for Christians. Just google and there are thousands of messages to pick from. You don’t just get bread, but bread of all kinds of shapes, colour and variety! With added multi-vitamins and supplements no less; not to mention loads of artificial colouring and preservatives that prolong shelf life. For sure, there is choice – and consumers love choice – but is this really the same as the good ol’ fresh bread that is fast vanishing from our community?

I can’t speak for others. All I know is that I have an awesome responsibility when I take to the pulpit to deliver the Word of God. Firstly, my relationship with Jesus must always be alive and fresh. After all, He is the Bread of Heaven and of Life. When I proclaim the Word, it is Jesus that I proclaim! Secondly, my intake and revelation of the Word must also be current and fresh. It’s one thing to share a recipe for bread; and yet totally another to serve fresh bread straight out from the oven. Yes, the truth of God when allowed to bake in the furnace of life’s experiences takes on a different dimension. Thirdly, I have to be conscious of certain pet topics and passages that are obviously my favourite. The Word of God is more than that! How convenient it is to camp on these than to engage in expository preaching where every issue must be approached, examined and presented afresh! Fourthly, when I state certain truths or convictions more than once for effect, I must learn to present these in fresh ways and not simply draw upon a ready menu. Otherwise, what may have been fresh before would quickly become recycled and stale. And that is definitely not how I would like Jesus and His Word to be perceived and received!

This is my desire: that when the Word of God is preached, it will be as the serving of fresh bread, where the aroma of Christ the living Word will awaken every saint who may be fast asleep in the back seat! And so, to all who have the opportunity and privilege to proclaim the Word of God: “Fresh bread please!”

 

Just in case you missed it…

May 2014 Newsletter Pix

On 2 May, I sent out the MAY 2014 issue of my bi-monthly newsletter via Mailchimp. In case you are not subscribed to this list and missed it, just click here to read and be updated with the latest developments. I am making this special effort because in this newsletter update, I announce the new ministry that the Lord has led me to develop since stepping down from being a pastor earlier this year.

In the past six months, many have asked me about my next steps and I haven’t been able to say anything … until now. Now that it’s announced, I can speak more freely about Archippus Awakening (yes, that’s the name!). Even so, many details are not settled yet and I am taking it one step and one day at a time. Please pray along with and for me. In the meantime, read May 2014 Newsletter, visit the Archippus Awakening Website (subscribe to the blog) and LIKE our Facebook Page.

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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.

 

Of Almond Trees and Trumpet Trees

We all know that God’s timing is perfect. And yet, when certain events take place almost ‘coincidentally’, we are still surprised and awed by how God has orchestrated everything so wonderfully!

Allow me to share one such recent incident…

When the Lord began to reveal the next assignment to me in Oct 2013, He spoke through Jeremiah 1:11, asking me as He did Jeremiah, “What do you see?” Jeremiah’s reply was, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” Digging a little into the significance of the almond tree, I realised that it was called the “awake” tree, the first to blossom in spring when others remained still in wintery slumber. Instinctively in my spirit, I knew that I would be involved in yet another awakening.

almond tree
Picture Source: golona.blogspot.com

Six months later, after a lot more praying and processing, things are clearer now. Sensing that it is now time to share my next move with my Senior Pastor, I sought an appointment with him. On the morning of Thursday 3 April, I shared the ministry with him. The very next day, trees blossomed all over Singapore, following a long, dry spell. It is truly quite a sight of white and pink. But what is even more interesting is that the blossoms resembled that of the almond tree, except these are trumpet trees! What’s more, the month of April is always associated with spring!

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I was so awed by this sight along Bishan Road that I specially made a U-turn to take a picture of it.

As we know, biblically, the trumpet is symbolic of the prophetic voice. Since seeing these blossoming trumpet trees, there has been an excitement in my heart. It is as if the Lord is affirming the steps I have been obediently taking by faith, not really knowing or understanding how or where these will lead. And yet, the moment a step is taken, doors open and new opportunities are presented. Through this picture of blossoming trumpet trees, which to me is representative of the almond tree, I believe the Lord is saying this to me, “My son, you are on the right track. The message I have given to you to declare, be bold to prophetically declare it for the season is now that the word must go forth to accomplish all I have send it forth to do.”

After Jeremiah’s reply, God said in Jeremiah 1:12, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” In the same way that the Lord assured Jeremiah, He is assuring me that I won’t be doing this all on my own. My part is to merely declare the message He has laid upon my heart; and God will do the rest.

Amen and amen!

When Is It Right To Be Hard-Headed?

Anna Joy Hard HatI didn’t plan to say it but it just slipped out of my mouth. Last Thursday, as I shared my next move, I used the words “forehead like flint” to describe the focus I am to have in developing the ministry that I have received in the Lord. In my spirit, I know that there is work to be done and it will require tenacity and a certain doggedness to keep at it.

This morning, in my devotional time, I recalled these words and opened my Bible to the book of Ezekiel. The context was something I was not prepared for. And yet, it was needful for me to be reminded that I may be duly prepared.

“Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.” Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.” Ezekiel 3:8–11 (emphasis mine)

Ezekiel was sent by God to speak to the children of Israel; but he was warned that not everyone will receive him, nor God’s word through him, readily or kindly. For sure, God’s word is given for the good for His people, whether these are words of love, comfort and blessings, or words of rebuke or warning. As God’s servant, Ezekiel was to declare HIs word faithfully and boldly. Yet, he was not to expect 100% hit rate all the time. On the contrary, Ezekiel had to be prepared to be rejected and even ridiculed. No wonder then that Ezekiel needed divine enablement to remain strong and resolute to speak as he has heard and not be dismayed or discouraged along the way.

This is indeed a very timely word for me as I embark on a new season of ministry. It’s been six months since the Lord instructed me to step down from being a pastor, and three months since I officially made that move. I sense that another new door has opened for me and I have just begun to step through it. The words that the Lord has laid upon my heart must no longer remain good thoughts or intentions, but must be preached as He gives me the opportunity. Whilst I believe that the Lord will grace me to be effective for His name’s sake, I also know that not all will respond favourably. Understandably, there will be critics, skeptics and cynics but like Ezekiel, I am not to be dismayed or discouraged.

If there’s any time for me to be hard-headed, it is now. If there is ever a need to be ‘stubborn’, I must be ‘stubborn’ with the things of God and all that He has assigned to me to accomplish for His Kingdom. I must not allow anything to stand in the way or to pull me down. Yes, by His strength and grace, my face will be strong and my forehead will be harder than flint!

Dear friends who have been following my blog and journey, thank you for your continued support. Please pray for me so that I will stay true to the Lord’s call and be found faithful when He comes. Stay tuned for I will be announcing my new ministry very soon. Let me know if you sense the Lord leading you to partner me; but be prepared for the ride and a journey of hard-headedness 🙂