Intense

We had an amazing time of worship last Sunday.

Pastor Yoy began the service by exhorting the congregation to engage in praise, prayer and the prophetic.

From my earlier post regarding last Sunday’s setlist, I shared about how we needed more of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our services. It was the same message I shared to the team was we prepared and rehearsed.

Quite amazingly, at about 9 mins 15 seconds into the worship (as you will hear in the recording), one of the lead intercessors in the church got up to release this word:

In my dream, I saw the window burst open up from that end [of the auditorium] and a mighty rushing wind burst forth from there and suddenly the glory of God began to flow down from that corner until it filled the whole auditorium. And then I saw the people of God lifting up their hands and as they praised Jesus I saw the whole ceiling covered with doves and as we continued to worship, the doves began to land on their heads. As we cry out to God, God will break forth and the glory of God will come and fill you and touch you.

Okay, so I think I might freak out if the whole ceiling was filled with doves, so thankfully, I think this intercessor meant figurative doves. But it really confirmed for me that we had in faith taken the right direction in our worship, because I never shared with the intercessor what I had shared with the team.

What I can say about the worship time that ensued was that it was intense. Really intense. Probably one of the most intense times of worship we’ve corporately experienced for a while. Later on, another intercessor told me that she felt that there was a real breakthrough atmosphere in the service.

I’m so thankful to God for the amazing team of musicians, singers and technicians who caught the vision that I had shared with them and came, not only with their musical giftings, but also with faith and anticipation.

May God continue to intensify that sense of His presence and the revelation of His glory in our midst!

 

Weekend Ministry with Ray Badham

Ray Badham Photo

I had the honour last weekend of serving with Ps Ray Badham as he led worship at Faith Community Church. Ray is a music director and songwriter at Hillsongs and currently serves as principal of Hillsong College. One of Ray’s songs, “Magnificent” has gone around the world and was most recently re-recorded on Darlene Zschech’s album Revealing Jesus.

Ray led worship with Fantastic Team 3, a great bunch of humble and capable musicians.

Whilst the rehearsal was gruelling (even more gruelling I suspect for Ray who had just arrived in Perth a few hours earlier), I learnt a lot about the hard work that goes into the preparation phase. Because we went over a lot of the details of transitions and turn-arounds, the delivery of the set went really smoothly on Sunday and there was a powerful sense of God’s presence.

Needless to say, our team really enjoyed ourselves (even Caleb our drummer, who shouldered most of the load).

We also got to ask Ray a lot of questions under the guise of taking him out for dinner and lunch!

I am really grateful to Ray for his servant leadership and for our amazing team for supporting him so well.

Last weekend, we also saw the return of Ps Yoy Alberastine to FCC’s worship team. Yoy and I have been close friends for some time even though we had served in different churches, but we both had a heart to see churches connect together through worship. So when I came to FCC, I had always hoped to serve together with Yoy with the team. Unfortunately, around that time, Yoy had just begun his itinerant ministry. Yoy has been a defining influence in my own ministry after I had met with some 8 years ago, and we continued to serve together in various capacities in inter-church events. So I felt a real sense of joy when we finally got to share the platform together at our home church last Sunday!

On a sad note, last week was one of our vocalist’s last day with our team. Tim Loy has been serving with us for some time and was one of the individuals I connected really well with early on when I first joined the church. Tim has just answered God’s call to go to Kingsway Christian Church and help with the pioneering work. I really admire his courage and conviction for taking the step of faith, especially when he felt that a lot of things he had been praying and hoping for in FCC was starting to come to pass. I was told that when Timmy first joined the ministry, he was a bit of a “rascal”. But five years on, he is passionate in his pursuit of God, a ministry leader and a leader in the marketplace. It is a testament to how people’s lives can change when you believe in them! We are going to miss you Timmy!

Songlist for Global Day of Worship Perth

I’m glad to announce that after a lot of prayer and thought, we’ve finally crafted the songlist for Global Day of Worship Perth. I really appreciate Pastor Yoy’s and Derwin’s input into shaping all the songs that we had to choose from.

Here it is:

SONGS – PART 1 (LIVE STREAMING)

  1. Shout to the Lord (A) // Mel Crothers
  2. You are good (A) // Lester Ong
  3. You (A) // Derwin Bong
  4. Our God (A) // Yoy Alberastine
  5. Rooftops (E) // Celesti Weck
  6. Your Presence is Heaven (Bb) // Derwin Bong
  7. Jesus at the Centre (D) // Yoy Alberastine
  8. How Great is Our God (B) // Sung in Noongyar, Tagalog, Afrikaans, Chinese, Bahasa and English

SONGS – PART 2

  1. Cornerstone/The Solid Rock (C) // Lester Ong
  2. I See the Lord (E) // Stephanie Truscott
  3. You’re Worthy of it All (A) // Yoy Alberastine
  4. You Deserve the Glory (A) // Stephanie Truscott
  5. Worthy is the Lamb (A) // Mel Crothers
  6. Hosanna (I see the King of glory) (E) // Celesti Weck
  7. Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher) (E and up) // Lester Ong
  8. History maker (F) // Yoy Alberastine

At Converge earlier this year, we tried doing How Great is Our God (World Edition). This time, we are aiming to incorporate the local indigenous language, Ngoonyar, along with Tagalog, Afrikaans, English, Malay/Indonesian and Mandarin. This reflects the multicultural nature of the Australian church landscape.

I encourage you to make the effort and come be part of this momentous event!

I Heard Angels Singing Today

Today, I heard a sound in worship that I had never heard before in all my years in worship ministry. It left me completely in awe of God.

Here’s the context.

This weekend, Faith Community Church is having its Intentional Disciplemaking Church Conference (IDMC). Intentional disciplemaking is one of the redemptive gifts which FCC brings to the church in Perth. I sensed that for FCC, this wasn’t just another conference, it was a defining moment for the church as it moves into its next season of growth.

As some of you may know, I was recently accepted into FCC’s worship team. My first rostered session is actually on 16 September. But last night, after the first session of the Conference, Pastor Yoy Alberastine came up to me and asked if I could back-up sing for him because he was going to lead the worship at the start of the Young Working Adults and Family Zone Plenary Session (which happened this morning). He said together, we’d blow the roof off the place. I love it when Yoy talks like this. What he means is that God was going to visit, so I agreed, and this became my first time on-stage at FCC. And what a memorable occasion it was.

As the session began this morning, Pastor Yoy encouraged the congregation to give their all in worship. He said that the realm of the dance wasn’t exclusive to the youth, and that he had been in camps where elderly people would dance before the Lord for an hour without stopping. So he encouraged the congregation to come before the Lord without any inhibitions. It was great to see the adult members of FCC coming down to occupy the “mosh pit”.

I believe that this set the scene for what was to come.

As we went into our last song “Consuming Fire” there was suddenly a sense of outpouring of God’s presence that was unmistakable. It was as if the Holy Spirit was responding to our cries of “there must be more than this” and “Lord, let Your glory fall”. And as we broke into free worship, the congregation began to sing out and pray spontaneously.

And here was the unusual sound that I heard: rising up from the open singing and prayer, I heard loud chanting, the sound of a crowd roaring. I couldn’t make out any distinct words, and it was like nothing I’ve heard before. The closest thing I could describe it as was that it was similar to a bunch of soccer hooligans at Wembley stadium chanting together.

My first reaction was that there was something wrong with my earpiece, so I stopped singing. Then I thought maybe it was our East Timor missionary praising loudly at the front (he was such an inspiring sight!), but then it couldn’t have been the sound of just one person. I thought I was just hearing things in my head, but I didn’t really want it to stop. The roar was rising.

At the end of the session, I asked if Yoy heard what I heard as well. Without batting an eyelid, he said “when the heavenly hosts join in worship, it’s a completely different thing.” Could it be that angels sang with us this morning?

I thought maybe it was just the two of us who heard the sound , so I asked a few other people. My wife Ling heard it too, and so did another friend of mine in our cell group. Others whom I asked did not hear anything unusual.

Now, I am convinced that for the first time ever, I’ve heard the sound of the heavenly hosts joining us in congregational worship.

It was significant for two reasons. Personally, I felt as if God was affirming to me, “you are in the right place”. And secondly, it was as if the favour of God was pouring out over FCC in this new season as if saying to the church, “you are heading in the right direction”.

I now have a greater insight into Zephaniah 3:17:

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

I have always believed this in a metaphorical sense, but now I believe that supernaturally, God can and does audibly sing over HIs people to tell them that He is delighting in their worship; that as He joins in our singing, He is bringing us into His eternal perichoresis.

One of the Craziest Weekends Ever

I would have to describe it as one of the craziest weekends ever.

It began with an 8 am start for the Asian worship session of Converge 2012, kicking off an entire day of non-stop worship for the city of Perth with different teams coming in to lead worship at Wesley Church, right in the heart of the city.

It was a wake-up call for the city of Perth, probably because Clement played his drums ultra loud and Darren pumped up his amp. The acoustics of Wesley Church probably amplified everything by a factor of 4. But it’s a sound of praise that needed to be heard in the city.

Even though there was probably only about 40 or so people attending, there was a real sense of the presence of God as we worshipped. The band (consisting of worshippers and musicians from different churches) just flowed together beautifully, like we had played together for years instead of having only had a couple of rehearsals beforehand. It was an inexplicable synergy between the team members, all of whom are friends and worshippers I deeply admire.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but the music was also being pumped out through external speakers. We were filling the streets of the city of Perth with the praises of God!

After an extended time of free worship, we began to pray (as it was Pentecost) for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all the different churches represented by the people who were in attendance. Clem started prophesying on the drums, which I interpreted as the sound of breakthrough for our churches – that God would bring fresh anointing, strength, vision and growth.

We ended with the prophetic song “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble”. I really sensed that spiritual mountains were shaken that morning. I sensed that the darkness over the city was trembling because the saints had joined in one song. The darkness was trembling because all the streams were flowing as one river: the Catholics, Charismatics, Uniting Church, Presbyterians and Anglicans. The brokenness of the church was being washed away.

After that session, quite a number of people came up to me to say that they thought something quite special happened that morning. As Pastor Yoy describes it, heaven and earth had converged.

Clem was especially blessed. It was his birthday and the Lord marked him with favour. You will see in the picture above that as we were praying, the cross at Wesley cast a shadow across his back. What a picture (thanks to Darren!).

After the session, we gathered outside the church to celebrate Clem’s birthday and Wendy Yapp had us wrap the week’s knitting (which was symbolic of the knitting together of prayer) around us and then around the building. The knitting went about half way around the church. Here’s a picture of the band “knit together”:

Here are some photos of some of us spreading the knitting around the church:

After that, the sound of war cries and congas filled the church as the African team led by Arlene Gregory began to worship. It was vibrant in colour, sound and spirit.

We came back in the evening for the last session of the Day of Worship called “Hear the Nations Worship”. During the session, we wove into our worship elements of Gospel-style (led by Stephanie Truscott), Messianic (led by Kathy Susnjar) and African worship (led by Arlene), declaring the words of Revelation 5 that every tongue, tribe and nation will be represented before the throne of God. We finished the evening singing How Great is Our God in English, Indonesian, Chinese, Tagalog and Zulu.

Here is a picture we took at the end of the evening:

We were told later that tens of people were coming into the church throughout the evening, drawn to the sound of praise!

After that night, I was exhausted.

But the weekend was not over yet. As I was attending the Friday night session of Converge, Patrick Chen of Zion Praise Harvest invited me to lead a worship slot during the Global Day of Prayer (on Pentecost Sunday), which his church was hosting. He was bringing together 35 to 40 different churches and ministries to participate. I was told to pick a song, get to the service half an hour earlier to do a sound check and… that was it. Mentally, I couldn’t picture it.

So I just chose the song “Come Holy Spirit”, a song I love and I thought captured the Pentecost theme.

When I got to the meeting this afternoon, I was given a runsheet that had planned the meeting (incorporating the 35 odd ministries) right down to the minute. Zion’s administration and planning skills are second to none.

But it was amazing how God orchestrated unity even though I came into the picture quite late in the piece. It just so happened that I was given the slot just before the Transformation session, the opening Scripture passage of which was Luke 4 (“the Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me”). The song I had chosen (quite in isolation of the planning) fit perfectly. I was amazed at how God brought unity even in the programming!

So it’s been an amazing, action-packed weekend.

When I went to Global Day of Prayer, I was asked “what ministry do you represent?” It seemed that everyone had come representing a church, intercessory ministry, marketplace ministry or some other organisation. I didn’t really know what to say. I couldn’t say I was representing my church because I wasn’t even part of the church worship team.

In the end, I just left it as “Lester Ong”.

As we were preparing for Converge, I had said to the different worship teams that we shouldn’t see ourselves as working towards the end of Converge; rather, we should see Converge as a time for the birthing of new destinies. And I think that’s probably where God is leading me. This Converge weekend has been the beginning of something. There is not yet any designation for it. It doesn’t have a cool ministry name, logo or constitution. It is the beginning of worshippers gathering together to lift up the name of Jesus in the city of Perth and for no other name. I can’t wait to see what that will look like.

Another Awesome Rehearsal

I just got back this evening rehearsing with the band for Converge “Hear the Nations Worship” night. It was another time of refreshing in God’s presence.

I came to the rehearsal with quite a great deal of stress. I was busy at work, but also busy trying to finalise everything for Converge and my mind was in a million different places. And then I caught a cold. So I took today off work (it should have been sick leave!) to try to organise the songlist for our rehearsal. I also thought I would spend some time with the dog as well as she was starting to feel neglected with all our busyness and filled-out schedules.

But it was like all the stress melted away as we worshipped. We began just by simply praying together which really helped us maintain our focus. After a couple of tricky fast songs (which required a good deal of concentration) we came to the turning point when we started Stephanie Truscott’s gospel worship set. There’s something about gospel music that just gets your toe tapping and body moving. And I sensed that God began to imbue us with a sense of freedom as we sang “I’m So Glad, Jesus Set Me Free”.

As we started worshipping to “Beautiful Saviour” there was just a wonderful overlay of vocals singing the names of God and I just felt like I was spirited away into another realm. It felt like the song that never ends. As we went back into the bridge “I could sing forever, Jesus I love You”, we’d be hit a with a new wave of praise bubbling over.

It was such a beautiful time.

I really am blessed to be serving with such a wonderful and anointed team.

So let me introduce you to the team facilitating the Converge Day of Worship Finale (sorry I forgot to take a photo this time):

// Worship leaders: Me, Pastor Yoy Alberastine (Faith Community Church/Sonlife Church), Shaw Cheong and Stephanie Truscott MOSAIC Church)
// Vocals: Me, Pastor Yoy, Shaw, Stephanie, Ling, Wai Kin Wong (Full Gospel Assembly)
// Bass: Jon Teoh (FCC) (he just joined us tonight and he’s awesome!)
// MD and keys: Daryl Tan (Firstlight)
// Electric Guitar: Chris Mayne (Lifestreams Church)
// Drums: Ash Tie (New Covenant Community)

And here is the mega songlist in case you are preparing:

// Ancient of Days
// You are Good (Israel Houghton)
// Hosanna (Brooke Fraser)
// You’ll Come
// I See the Lord
// I Exalt Thee
// Gospel Worship with Stephanie Truscott
// Messianic Worship with Kathy Susnjar
// Beautiful Saviour
// Worthy is the Lamb
// You Deserve the Glory
// Shout to the Lord
// African Worship with Arlene Gregory
// We Speak to Nations
// How Great is Our God World Edition (in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tagalog and Zulu)

I think the last song is a significant prophetic enactment and prefigurement of what will happen at the end of time when the nations gather before the worthy Lamb who was slain, giving Him glory, honour, power, wisdom, strength and blessing.

I’m really looking forward to Saturday!

If Only All Rehearsals Were Like Today’s

I have just come back from an amazing rehearsal with the Converge Asian Worship band at the Hen House rehearsal studios.

It was an interesting evening. As I was collecting the six pizzas for the band, Darren had gotten to the studio early and sent me a picture of the studio. Apparently, one of the walls was painted with a fairly confronting mural of a topless female angel. I wasn’t really sure how the team would feel about it, so I was stressing out a bit.

To my relief, we all laughed it off and thought it was a pretty funny situation, almost slighty ironic. But for the protection of the wider church, I don’t think I’ll post a picture of the room. Here is a “safer” picture of Darren, Yvonne and Ling on the “clean” side of the room.

And here’s another shot taken at the end of the rehearsal of the whole team, courtesy of Darren Woon (from Lto R: Darren Woon, me, Jun Wee, Gabriel Tan, Addie Choon, Derwin Bong, Yoy Alberastine, Yvonne Mohan, Ling Chua, Clement Ch’ng), and also taken from the “clean” side of the room.

I did come with plenty of faith however, to the extent that I thought that maybe, just maybe, as we were worshipping, the mural might supernaturally melt and all the other bands in the surrounding studios would come and see. They would be amazed and say “what God is this who dissolves unholy murals?” and we would then lead them to Christ.

Okay, so that didn’t eventuate, but every now and then, as we were deep in worship, I would just peek out of the corner of my eyes just to see whether perhaps some of the paint might start to come off.

Anyway, after we had eaten some pizza and introduced ourselves to each other, I told the band that it was great to work with anointed worship musicians whom I have admired and for whom I have the highest esteem. In fact, when I looked at the band, I realised that I had worked with most of the musos and singers before and I had longed to work with them again – so today was the opportunity!

I then wondered what it would be like if Converge wasn’t what we were working towards? What if, like Pentecost, it was the birth of something? What if it was the beginning of more times of worship together across churches, at a grassroots level? What if it sparked a movement of passionate worshippers and psalmists joining together across the city?

With that thought, we started running through the 15 songs on our songlist.

One of the songs which Derwin had chosen was “One Thirst” by Jeremy Riddle (good choice, Derwin!). When I first heard that song earlier last week, something had clicked and I somehow knew that that song would capture the heart of what we were trying to do.

Most of the band were pretty unfamiliar with that song, however. As we listened to it on my iPhone, Pastor Yoy said that we should approach it more pensively and prayerfully, almost in an “IHOP” style. What he said rightly set the tone for that song.

As Derwin began to lead that song, the music started to take on a life of its own and the various worship leaders began to sing over the top of the song. We must have gone for about half an hour of the most amazing worship I’ve experienced for a long time. It was like we were soaking up the presence of God and God’s weighty glory somehow descended. Alas though, no melting mural. Instead, we just experienced wave after wave of God’s presence as intercession and prophetic singing flowed.

In times like these, you are just too scared to do anything because you don’t want to be the one responsible for ruining the move of God. That was how real the presence of God felt. I understand more why the “fear of God” is associated with His presence.

And Yoy began to pray that there would be a convergence of psalmists, priests and prophets in this city.

And I prayed that as the church stood in visible unity, there would be a breakthrough atmosphere in our city that would affect our society and transform its values. That all our churches would experience the intensity of God’s presence that we experienced just then.

I don’t think we really wanted to stop.

And I wondered if it would be like this on the actual day itself. I wondered whether our worship would keep flowing like a mighty torrent that can’t be stopped. Whether God would break free from our programs. Whether the whole day would just be seamless. Whether the other bands that came on the day would simply fold into this one. Whether worship would just start and never end. Whether Pentecost would really come like it did at Azusa Street and change the face of the church and the city all at once.

If only all rehearsals were like this one. If only all worship services were like this one! I can feel the mountains tremble, the singers roar. I can sense the time of jubilee coming, when all the streams flow as one river, when the brokenness and fragmentation of the church are washed away, and young and old will turn to Jesus. Tonight didn’t feel like just another rehearsal. It was a prayerful prying open of the windows of heaven over our city.

Songlist for Asian Worship

I’m really excited about Converge. After months of planning, we are nearly there and I’m getting to do what I love the most: working together with the band!

And I’m excited to be working together with a great team of friends from different churches all of whom are not only skilled musicians, but also have a big heart for God’s glory.

So I want to invite you to head down to Wesley Church on the corner of Hay and William Streets in Perth on Saturday 26 May 2012 to worship together with us from 8 am to 10 am.

We are expecting and praying for the manifest presence of God to encounter each worshipper that will birth destinies for the city and the nations!

Yoy Alberastine, Gabriel Tan, Derwin Bong and I will be leading worship. So exciting!

If you are coming down to join us, here is the anticipated songlist to help you prepare:

// Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher) (Sidney Mohede/Israel Houghton)
// You are Good (Israel Houghton)
// You are Good (Bethel: Brian Johnson and Jeremy Riddle
// Great in All the Earth (Starfield)
// Our God (Chris Tomlin)
// Come Holy Spirit (City Harvest)
// One Thirst (Jeremy Riddle)
// Revelation Song
// Here in Your Presence (New Life Worship)
// Great is the Lord (Steve McEwen)
// Overcome (New Life)
// With Everything (Hillsong)
// Jesus Be The Centre
// Rise (Hillsong)
// Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble

It’s going to be an awesome time!

Converge 2012: Knit Together

It’s been amazing how God has led me here.

About 7 years ago, I met Pastor Yoy Alberastine in a cafe to talk about worship and the city. We must have sat there for about 4 hours just dreaming about what it would be like if worship leaders across the city connected together. The spiritual implications would be huge. Yoy had some personal involvement in something like this in the Love Singapore movement, but could it be done in Perth?

As things go, I got too busy with my own ministry to even pursue that dream. The dream got shelved like those books you buy but never get around to reading, but every now and then it catches your eye as a gentle reminder that it’s still there.

Last year, I had the privilege of being part of the Commonwealth Prayer Initiative which saw a huge number of churches get together in a 24/7 prayer movement (known as Converge) over the week that CHOGM came to Perth. It was a foretaste of what could be achieved when the church of Perth stands in unity.

This year, I found myself on the organising committee of Converge 2012 to help organise the program for one of the days: an entire day devoted to worship and magnifying God in the city. On the one hand, I’m excited because it’s like God reminding me to finally dust off that dream and start getting into it. But to say I’m daunted by the task is to put it mildly.

The theme for this year’s Converge is “Knit Together”. It takes its inspiration from Colossians 2:2:

[For my concern is] that their hearts may be braced (comforted, cheered, and encouraged) as they are knit together in love, that they may come to have all the abounding wealth and blessings of assured conviction of understanding, and that they may become progressively more intimately acquainted with and may know more definitely and accurately and thoroughly that mystic secret of God, [which is] Christ (the Anointed One).

True unity in the church can only be achieved when the hearts of God’s people are “knit together”; intertwined. It is the key not only to abounding wealth and blessings (which in this context is secondary), but ultimately to knowing and being intimately acquainted with Christ. As John says, we can’t really say we love God unless we love our brothers and sisters.

Christ and His grace is the mystery of God hidden through the ages, but revealed through His body – the church. Paul says in Ephesians 3:8ff:

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms…

Through the church, united and knit together, God displays His manifold wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realm.

I believe that as the church joins together in apostolic worship and intercession, God will make a statement to the spiritual realm of this city that Perth belongs to Jesus and that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.

So seven years later, it seems that God is leading me to take steps of faith towards seeing the dream of the church being united in worship. It’s not going to take just one event to make it happen, but at least the process has started and the future is glorious.

Blessings Reel – February 2012

I’m a few days late, but reflecting on the month that’s passed, I am amazed by the goodness of God in our lives.

As I have said, this year is the year of Unceasing Fruitfulness. And like the Tree of Life in the book of Revelations which bears twelve different types of fruit, we can expect twelve different manifestations of blessings each month of 2012.

A fruit has its origin in the seed. Once the seed is planted, it germinates and grows into a tree. When the tree is mature, it begins to bear fruit. The DNA of the fruit however is in the seed. In other words, an apple seed can only bring forth apples.

Our seed however is Christ, for in Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

Galatians 3 says that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for “cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (v13). Paul goes on to say that Christ redeemed us in order that we might receive the blessing of Abraham.

In verses 16ff, Paul says:

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds”, meaning many people, but “and to your seed”, meaning one person, who is Christ.

The blessings of obedience to the law is now available to us through the Seed, i.e. Christ, not because of anything we can do, but because of God’s grace through faith. So we can expect to receive blessings of health and healing, prosperity, peace, salvation, favour, divine help, guidance, wisdom, God’s presence, joy etc through Christ, the originator of all blessing.

For me February has been a month of closures. On one day at work, I had three complicated cases come to closure, the most spectacular of which was a guy who had claimed that he was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of his ex-wife. When the Immigration Department assessed his claims, they said that he did not have a strong case. To be honest, I didn’t think he had a strong case. But I responded to the Department’s concern the best I could. After several weeks, I was still not optimistic; I thought his case could be rejected at any time. But to my surprise, and quite miraculously, the Department agreed with my submissions and granted him permanent residency. He was so happy he started telling everyone what a great day it was, including the guy who made us coffee at the coffee shop!

But the greatest closure for us was the fact that we had finally found a church to belong to after 7 months of wandering. And we sense that as one chapter closes, a new door has opened for us in Faith Community Church and we are excited as to what the future holds.

So I’m thankful to God for the blessing of new beginnings.

As we move forward in this chapter, I want to finish off this post by acknowledging some wonderful people who have walked alongside us, supported us, encouraged us and dialogued with us over the last 7 months, in no particular order: Ps Daniel Ho, Ps Judy Low, Shaw Cheong, Wai Kin and Anna, Joanna and Dan, Bernard and Vicki, Pastor Yoy Alberastine, Pastor Binh Nguyen, Pastor Benny Ho, Wendy Yapp, Cao, Cindy, Joe, Jos, Louis, Mons, Stephanie Truscott, Derwin, Derek, Jenn Yong, Joy, Samson, Addie, Sharon, Adrian and June, Esther, Matthias, Dave and Yvonne, Juls, Jade, Esther, Bryan, Clem, Drew, Amy, Alan, Adrian, Matt, Jess, Pastor Koon Hee and Jin, Darren, Chi Yen, Edmund and Sharon and so many more of our friends who had coffee with us, hung out with us, served with us and just generally poured into our lives during this last season: even if it was just over a meaningful meal together. We learnt a lot and heard your hearts. Thanks so much for sharing in the journey!