2013 in Review: A Year of Open Doors

I can’t believe we’ve come to the end of another year.

In preparation for the new year, which I am calling the “Year of His Presence”, Ling and I have spent most of the last couple of days trying to remodel and reimagine our study room. The piano (not that I play it) and guitar will still be there, but we are setting a nice comfy chair right in the middle of the room where we can meet with God, read the Bible, pray and worship. It will be a space much like in the story Pastor Benny shared of the guy whose life changed as he met with God on his special rocking chair and in line with what Ken Lee recently preached about “making room for God’s presence”.

But even as we prepare for the coming year, it is always good to reflect back on the year that was.

The theme for this year was from Isaiah 22:22:

I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

What a wonderful promise for those who praise, because praise is the key to the open door. And it has indeed been a year of open doors and unceasing fruitfulness.

In January of this year, I had the privilege of going to East Timor on a short-term mission trip. Our church had been making a concerted and consistent effort to plant an indigenous church in the village of Kamalalera. It was the first time I had been on a third world mission and we were able to minister to a group of believers there. At this point in time, FCC is already on a program of training indigenous leaders towards planting a “church proper”.

Photo9

I also had an awesome holiday in Bali straight after the mission trip with some of my cell group who had come along on missions.

In February, I started a Certificate in Creative Ministries course at Metroworship Academy, the first course of its type in Perth. It was great connecting with other worship leaders in our city studying the course and being inspired by some amazing teaching.

In March, I had the privilege of leading worship as we inaugurated the House of Prayer for Everyone WA. I also had an awesome holiday with Ling in Melbourne as we celebrated her birthday. Needless to say, I came back with some excess weight.

In April, I began having talks with Ps Benny about taking up leadership in the worship ministry at FCC. It was a scary thought since I didn’t really want to have much involvement in local church leadership, but it turned out to be a highlight for the year!

In May, I had the honour of leading a worship segment at Global Day of Prayer. I also had an amazing time at our Young Working Adults Camp, and I’m pretty sure that during the camp, we discovered a new worship leader in our church 🙂

In June, I did my first ever “paid gig”! I was invited to lead worship at a Deborah Company conference and I served with an amazing team of musos from FCC and (then) Influencers City Church.

In July, our amazing worship director Lisa Palm started a new church plant, Kingsway Christian Church and Dave Wong took up the worship directorship. I had the honour of being his Assistant Worship Director. For a young person, Dave has shown a maturity beyond his years. He is fearless, full of conviction and passion and wise in his decision-making. I have been so blessed to work with Dave and our amazing leadership team. Thanks Dave, Yvette, Kimmy, EP, Lukey, Joe Wee and Addie for making it such a joy to help lead this ministry.

In August, Darren and I organised our first ever Warehouse Session. (I realised I never got the chance to blog on it!) The idea was we would just gather a group of worshippers, position ourselves in a circle, and just worship off our instruments. For many of us who serve in our respective worship ministries, it’s sometimes difficult to just tune out of the technicalities. In part, our faithfully presiding over our musicianship is part of the worship offering we give to God on Sundays. But we thought it’d be pretty special if, every now and then, we could just gather and worship without a secondary audience, without anyone to pastor, without worrying about a congregation.

So we hired a rehearsal studio and did just that. With musos from South City Church, FCC, Kingsway Christian Church and The Big Table, we just went for it for a solid couple of hours. It was a time of refreshing in God’s presence.

Here are some pics courtesy of the awesome drummer Clement Ch’ng!

Warehouse Session 1 Warehouse Session 3 Warehouse Session 4 Warehouse Session 5 Warehouse Session 6 Warehouse Session 7

In September, Dave, Lisa and I had the privilege of leading worship at a conference called “Festival of Light”. We met some amazing musos from other churches too who served with us on the team.

In October, I got to sing for Ray Badham from Hillsong. It was freakin’ awesome.

In November, I got to lead worship at FCC with my good friend Ps Yoy Alberastine. Ps Yoy used to lead worship at FCC before itinerating, but he’s come back into the worship team and we finally co-led together in our common home church!

In December, I graduated from Metroworship Academy! And my brother and sister-in-law had their first child (my niece, Emily). Sadly however, my sister moved to Korea to pursue a career in English teaching. Whilst I’ll miss her, I’m proud of the fact that she has taken the bold step to live and work in another country.

I thank God for another amazing year, for an awesome wife, great cell group, best ministry team ever, fantastic band and an amazing home church. Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store!

 

 

Young People are the Present

Last night at the Festival of Light conference, Shirley Brownhill (director of YWAM Perth) was speaking about the role of youth in God’s restoration plan.

She shared this amazing thought: that our young people are not just our future, they are both our present and our future!

Indeed, God has always used young people for His purposes! Samuel heard from the Lord when he was 5; David was 16 when he slayed Goliath; Mary was a teenager when she was chosen to bear the Son of God; Josiah was 8 when he reformed a nation.

We often so easily slip into a mindset of thinking that young people only possess passion and enthusiasm which still needs to be tempered by the wisdom that comes from age and experience. This may be so in the natural – but if we think this, we ignore clear biblical examples of how God can use young people, even children, to accomplish His purposes and plans. Indeed, God sees young people as his present mission force.

Case in point: I have had the privilege of serving in a worship ministry full of amazing young people. My worship director at Faith Community Church is only 23 years old. But he is functioning at a level well beyond his age (if we are to use age as a yardstick).

Over the last few months, I have seen him step up to the role of worship director, envisioning our worship team of over 40 people; forging unity amongst us and inculcating godly values. I have watched as he mobilised a team of musicians from different churches to facilitate worship at Festival of Light.  I was 34 years old before I started doing the things that he has been doing.

It would be wrong to think that perhaps God is accelerating his agenda for young people. In fact, as Shirley Brownhill shared, He has been using young people throughout Biblical and church history! Maybe it’s time for us to put aside our prejudices and open our eyes to what God is doing in his restoration plan!

Festival of Light

I’m excited to be part of the worship team for Festival of Light this weekend, an inter church conference celebrating Australia’s Christian heritage. My prayer that it will put in all of us a new passion to see God use us to forge a new Christian heritage for the generations to come!

Speakers include Col Stringer, Rajan Thiagarajah, Shirley Brownhill, Phil Howell and many more!

Dave Wong, Faith Community Church’s awesome worship director, and I will be leading worship along with some amazing musos from FCC, Victory Life, house of Blessing, Big Table, Kingsway and more!

Click here to check out the Conference website and to register. Entry is free!