When A Simple Shot Reveals So Much More

FullSizeRenderI couldn’t resist snapping this picture of my youngest, Anna Joy, at her desk.

The seven year-old is usually the first to get up each day. And without fail, like clockwork, she washes up, dresses up and starts her homeschool schedule. Yes, all by herself.

Serene and I have been asked many times how homeschooling is like. Is it all about freedom, being able to do what we want, when we want? Well, to a certain extent, we do enjoy that latitude. However, school is still school. And all learning, in whatever form, requires discipline.

Anna Joy has grown up in this environment of homeschooling all her life. Having watched her older siblings go about their routines, she began to establish one of her own too. Each day, in the Lim Tribe household, that’s pretty much the scene. Every child knows what he or she needs to accomplish, and each can be found at their own workstations, diligently completing what has been assigned. That doesn’t mean everything runs perfectly. Once in a while, you will still hear Serene’s voice ring out, “[insert name], you still owe me lesson number …!”

As I observed Anna Joy that morning, I couldn’t help but beam a little as a proud daddy. Yet, more than just a father who is pleased with the development of his children, my heart was filled with gratitude for a very hardworking wife and mother in Serene. To be sure, there has been much pain and sacrifice along this journey of homeschooling. Many tears too. And you can also add frustration and anxiety to the list. No one sees these at all. At times (and there have been many), even I miss the tremendous load that Serene carries, neglecting to be there with and for her, causing the journey to be a lot more difficult than it already is.

This picture of Anna Joy brings a smile to my face. In a while, the other workstations would fill up, one by one. Yes, it’s a lovely sight to behold. No, it didn’t happen by chance, or that we were somehow blessed with perfect, sinless, super-obedient children. It took diligence and discipline, a lot of hard work with consistency over the years. And a whole lot of GOD as we experienced His strength and grace over and over again.

An award-winning shot this is not. But it has caused me to pause, to reflect and to give thanks. I am so proud of Serene. I am so proud of each of our seven children. Thank you, dear Lord, for these awesome blessings You have allowed in my life!

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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!

The Lim Tribe: Serving the Lord Together

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This June, I spoke at three church camps (Shekinah AG Church, Bartley Christian Church and Hakka Methodist Church).

And for two of these, Serene and the children came along at the invitation of the camp committees. It was truly a joy for me to have them all serve alongside me in various capacities. Needless to say, I was very proud of each of them as they took to their tasks, desiring to do their very best.

Through their support and contribution, I had a beautiful revelation of the joy we bring to our Heavenly Father when we too serve Him, not out of duty, obligation or coercion, but with love, joy and gladness.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Marking 20 Years of Being Together

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I would like to write something as we celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary today. But really, I am at quite a loss for words. I can’t really describe what’s going on in my heart. I just feel a great sense of appreciation and gratitude towards Serene.

20 years is indeed a milestone in our relationship as man and wife. For sure, nothing is to be taken for granted and each moment we spend together is truly a gift from God, our Heavenly Father.

As I look back, I marvel at how the Lord brought us together … two people from very different backgrounds with very different interests. And yet, by His grace, our journey with one another has been one of new discoveries every step of the way. Who would have thought that we would one day be a couple in ministry? Who would have guessed that we would become a homeschooling family? Who would have imagined us having seven children?! Truly, with man, it is impossible; but with God, all things are possible 🙂 [Read “18th Wedding Anniversary: Music & Dance Wedding Video”]

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On this day, I give thanks and praise to God for Serene, for 20 years of His faithfulness in our marriage. I know that Jesus is to be my everything and my sufficiency (and He is), but I will be very honest to say that I cannot imagine life without Serene. She has been such a pillar of strength for me amidst the many things she has to look out for as a homeschool stay-at-home mother of seven children. Although the work of the ministry requires me to spend hours away from her and the family, since the Lord issued this full-time call to me way back in 2000, she has been 100% supportive. Serene may not be able to be with me physically all the time but there is never any doubt that she is with me, praying for me and fully behind me in whatever the Lord calls us to.

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My prayer is that our marriage will continue to grow, blossom and mature. We want our relationship to be an encouragement and a blessing to others. Above all, it is our desire that ultimately, our marriage and family life will always point to Jesus, to bring Him glory and to direct many others to Him and His kingdom.

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Blessed 20th Anniversary, Serene! Thank you for your love and support. I love you so very much! Without doubt, he who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22). Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all (Proverbs 31:29).

Read Serene’s blogpost on Building Up Moms: 20th Anniversary

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!

A New Year. A New Season. Stepping Down As Pastor.

Stepping Out Prayer

When Senior Pastor announced my decision to step down as a pastor of CVCC this morning at the very first service of 2014, it probably came as a surprise or shock to many. Understandably, it is no small thing for a pastor to relinquish his position, let alone one who holds the position of Deputy Senior Pastor. I can only imagine the many questions and/or speculations in the minds of people as they process this development.

After the service, quite a few came to shake my hand, expressing their surprise and sentiments. I am thankful for these who cared enough to approach me and to clarify what stepping down as a pastor meant. I am glad I had the opportunity to share with them so that there would be as little of a chance of any misunderstanding. Even so, I am well aware that word will get round rather quickly and conjectures will also abound. By this evening, a sister-in-Christ from another church had already heard about it. And the standard reaction, as expected, was, “Why? Were there problems? Are you leaving the church? What are you going to do?”

I’d like to address these FAQs in this post 🙂

This decision is not my own. It is a step of faith in obedience to how the Lord has directed me; and not just myself but also Serene. This is not a small decision and I am so thankful that Serene and I are in unity and in agreement, the Lord having spoken to the both of us. What seemed like a sudden announcement is really a culmination of two years’ of seeking, intensified in the last six months. Finally, sometime end-Sept-early-Oct, the Lord’s directive came so clearly.

Immediately, I shared with my Senior Pastor so that we could process this together. And that’s what we did over the past three months. In December, this was shared with the pastoral team, followed by ministry and discipleship group leaders, before today’s announcement to the congregation.

Officially, as of 1 Jan 2014, I am no longer a pastor of Covenant Vision Christian Church; no longer on staff. I am, however, still the Dean of Covenant Vision School of Ministry (under Covenant Vision Centre), for which I receive some financial support from CVCC. Serene and I remain members of the church and we continue to worship and serve there as a family.

We believe that the Lord has asked me to step down so that I can step out to step into a ministry He has prepared for me, to minister on a broader front across churches and organisations. What this ministry is and what it will look like, I only have a vague idea at the moment. As such, being released from my pastoral role and duties, I now have time to seek the Lord more intently for the next steps, and then to develop this ministry as He leads. Along the way, I will teach and preach as and when I am given the opportunity and privilege to do so.

And in case anyone is wondering … no, I am not starting another church 🙂

That’s pretty much what I am able to share at this point … until the Lord reveals the next steps. Please help us share this with others so that there will be as little speculation and negative talk as possible. Pray for us too. The way ahead is very exciting but it is also very scary, not really knowing what is around the bend, with seven children in tow … talk about leaving a comfort zone! That said, Serene and I are just so awed by the Lord’s love and grace, affirming and assuring us of His presence and faithfulness. In that and in Him, we rest.

To all at CVCC, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you as your pastor these past five years. I have learnt a lot and this experience will be put to good use to bless even more. We look forward to your continued support as we enter a new season of ministry that the Lord has prepared for us. To God be all glory!

Half-Boiled Eggs and Coffee Served With Love

It was a simple gesture this morning but one that meant so much. Although my wife was preparing to leave for some errands, Serene made the extra effort to fix me breakfast. Nothing elaborate, just my usual request for half-boiled eggs and coffee. But it meant a lot.

Not everyone may understand the amount of work Serene has, but I do. Managing a household of our size is really not easy. It is no wonder many impose the title of “supermom” onto Serene, one which she absolutely detests. If anyone has her hands full, it is Serene. Eggs and coffee may not seem like much to some, but to me, it means the world when served with love and sacrifice by my wife.

Henson & Serene Club Med Bintan

Meals aside, I am so thankful for Serene’s support in the ministry. If anyone would appreciate her husband to be around more, I believe my wife would like that. But given the nature of ministry, where engagements are usually at night or over the weekends, this is not always possible. And so, Serene adjusts and makes do with whatever she has, knowing that her sacrifice is really for our Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Because of her absence from the ministry front lines, given our large family size and additional household demands, some have even remarked that my wife is not with me in ministry, That cannot be further from the truth! Serene is 100% with me, supporting and encouraging me in ways that many don’t see and few can understand.

What I am most thankful for is that Serene and I are able to come together to pray. I never take this for granted at all! Whenever I ask couples if they pray together, the answer is usually, “No.” Truly, it is wonderful that we can share our concerns and struggles with each other, and then proceed to pray with and for one another, as well as for our family and ministry. Through prayer, we openly acknowledge that Jesus is Lord of our lives, our family and our ministry. In that, we do not struggle alone regardless the challenges that come our way. The Lord is with us and will see us through. He has done that before and He will do it again!

Well, this simple post started with eggs and coffee. I didn’t intend to write so much but each time I think about how the Lord has blessed me with and through Serene, I am filled with joy and gratitude. What can I say? I love my wife! And I never cease to give thanks to the Lord for her!

Visit Serene’s weblog, Building Up Moms, for articles and posts to encourage moms and wives.

Related Post: Appreciating My Wife