Converge 2015

About this time fours years ago, I had the honour of participating in Converge, a whole week of worship and prayer which was planned by the Commonwealth Prayer Initiative to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting taking place in our city.

At the time, I was in-between churches, and not heavily involved in a particular church ministry, so I had a bit more capacity to serve the wider body of Christ in the city. It had always been on my heart that the church should be more than any one congregation. Converge (and serving with Wendy Yapp) started me on this new trajectory.

So it is apt that I get the opportunity to be part of Converge this year, with a focus on praying for the persecuted church.

But even more exciting is that I will be accompanied by some of my amazing team from Faith Community Church (Pastor Dave Wong, Joe Wong, Lydia Ling, Sam Ng, Addie Choon, Joash Ang and Caleb Leong) as we walk this journey together of broadening our horizons.

Tim Keller was asked in an interview recently about why, as a Senior Pastor of a successful church, he spent so much time invested in unifying and equipping the church at large. He responded, “in the Body, church growth that does not benefit the rest of the Body is not biblical. In the human body, cells that only benefit themselves are called cancer.” Wow! How often we tend to just focus on our individual churches and ignore the rest of the body that is around us!

My team is excited to be anchoring a one-hour session from 3 to 4 pm this Saturday 7 November at Wesley Church, corner of Hay and William Streets in the city. Join us as we take the hour to fill our city with His praises and as we lift up His glorious name!

There will be stuff happening the whole day, starting at 9 am with different groups anchoring prayer each hour, culminating in a special two-hour Blow the Trumpet prayer event anchored by Perth Young Adults and United Prayer!

It’s going to be an awesome day!

How Do We Have Great Faith?

Someone gave me a bookmark once which had a little sample of mustard seeds laminated onto it. I was surprised how tiny the mustard seeds were.

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”.

Really? How can an extremely tiny amount of faith (mustard seed-size) cause such a tremendous result (moving mountains)?

I am currently reading Tim Keller’s new book Center Church and he makes this observation about faith and salvation (which I think is equally applicable to whatever circumstances we might be facing):

It is not the quality of the faith itself that saves us; it is what Jesus has done for us. It is easy to assume that being “saved by faith” means that God will now love us because of the depth of our repentance and faith. But that is to once again subtly make ourselves our own Savior rather than Jesus. It is not the amount of our faith but the object of our faith that saves us. 

Imagine two people boarding an airplane. One person has almost no faith in the plane and the crew and is filled with fears and doubts. The other has great confidence in the plane and the crew. They both enter the plane, fly to a destination, and get off the plane safely. One person had a hundred times more faith in the plane than the other did, but they were equally safe. It wasn’t the amount of their faith but the object of their faith (the plane and crew) that kept them from suffering harm and arriving safely at their destination.

After I read that, it clicked.

We can have the smallest amount of faith, as long as we act on it (in this example, get onto the plane). When we do that, the result is entirely up to God because it is not the volume of our faith, but the Person in whom we place our faith that matters.

That’s why even a tiny amount of faith in God can cause mountains to move.

Recently, I was asked to organise the Global Day of Worship here in Perth. Of course, Wendy Yapp encouraged me to do it, but all I knew was that it was important that worshippers throughout the city join together to form a stream for unity. To be honest, I was daunted by the task of organising the event. I just like to worship together with other people, and I could happily just slip in and be part of someone else’s event. But to actually organise something myself – well, that made me feel so, uh, responsible.

And to be honest, I didn’t have much faith. I said to the team when we met up recently that I’d be happy if even a handful of people showed up. I was sharply and rightly rebuked! My teammates said I should expect the auditorium to be filled and that in fact, I should expect it to overflow until people would have to be turned away or might have to worship from outside. And the troops rallied around to try to make this vision into reality.

Now, just a couple of weeks later, all sorts of things are happening with promoting the event that I could not even have planned for or dreamt about. A Christian bookstore, a Christian radio station and some well connected network leaders are all on board to promote the event. Other Christians in the city have come alongside me to offer their help. It’s just been an amazing journey.

Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus said that the mustard seed might be the smallest of seeds, but when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants (Mt 13:31,32).

How you start may not always be how you end up. If we place our faith in God, no matter how much (or little) our faith, God is able to produce the results. It’s all about Him, not about us!