Asia Update #3 – 3.2011

Right now, it is hard to describe everything that I am feeling and to put it in words. All I know is that my trip to Singapore this time around has been probably one of the best trips for me in the last 4-5 years. There was something about this trip that was different from all the other trips out to Singapore. Therefore, I spent some time reflecting on my plane trip from Singapore to Jakarta in order to process everything that I was feeling.

I can probably sum up the last 2.5 days in Singapore with three words: relationships, renewal, and reaffirmation.

1) RELATIONSHIPS. Even though, Singapore is one of the greatest cities in the world, I am coming to the realization that what I find most enjoyable about a city are the people that I have built a relationship with over the years. Sure, there are many culinary experiences that would make any person envious. There are spectacular sceneries that take your breath away, but ultimately, a person can get quickly bored and become indifferent to the sensory overload. However, when a love for a city is rooted in a love for the people in the city, then it is a whole different story. When I get to see the leaders of HMCC of Singapore, my heart is just overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness for the partnership we have in the Gospel. I love it when I am able to just sit down with the key leaders and hear all that God is doing in the church. I also love meeting new people – whether they are new to the church or people just off the streets. There is something about special about the unique people that God brings our way. More particularly, in the last few months HMCC-SGP has seen more international Chinese students coming out to church. They are from mainland China on a scholarship program that will keep them in Singapore for 10 years (4 years of school, 6 years of service to the Singaporean government). This was one of the greatest highlights for me because I was able to talk with them and share the love of Christ.

2) RENEWAL. As we get older and as we understand more of who we are, we have a clear idea of knowing what energizes us or what exhausts us. It is very apparent that I am not a meeting (formal) kind of guy. I am more free-flowing and I like to take life in the moment. I love the quintessential teaching moments where life lessons are learned as we do life together. The more structured the times together, the more I feel as if things are forced, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and dictate where things should go. With all this being said, I was renewed in my spirit as I was hanging out with people in Singapore. In fact, times of spontaneous conversations and discussions of various things were phenomenal as we just allowed the Spirit to direct our time together. Another thing that energized me was hanging out with the Chinese national students. I was shocked to hear that some of them have never heard of the name of Jesus. Yes, we are talking about people who have never had a witness of the Gospel in their lives. I don’t know why but this excites me. I guess it fuels the passion that I have for evangelism. An interesting thing happened as I was talking with these Chinese students. I told them that in very movie that they have ever watched, where they were moved (emotionally) or even cried, there is a Gospel message. I was a bit discombobulated when they asked, “What does the word, ‘Gospel’ mean?” Therefore, I rephrased it and said, “When movies are very good, there is a Christian story behind it.” Then they prodded them to test this theory. After a bunch of movies were names, I proceeded to make the connection for them (i.e. forgiveness, unconditional love, acceptance, redemption, hope, etc). Sometimes I don’t do very well with people who have been churched, but when it comes to doing ministry on the frontlines, where some people have either turned away from God or do not know about who God is, I find myself being energized in my spirit. Even though on this trip, I have been averaging about 4 hours of sleep, there is nothing that compares to the strength that God is providing.

3) REAFFIRMATION. As I have been talking with people in HMCC-SGP, I am just thankful that the global pastors and I took the step of faith and decided to lay down the foundations of this church plant. There are many good churches here in Singapore, but some things that are not emphasized as much are: non-superficial biblical community, non-shallow accountability, non-programmatic discipleship, and non-reproducing evangelism. I don’t know what it is but I think the region of Asia just has a preoccupation with things being “bigger and better.” This is why when we decided to get things moving, there were some raised eyebrows as they heard that we were going to initially start the church as a “house church.” After this trip to Singapore, I am more confident and 110% sure that starting the church when it did (which went against all human conventional wisdom) and in the manner of how we started (house church model) was the will of God. When I heard the two testimonies during the baptism service, my mind started racing – “What if we didn’t start this church when we did?” “Would we have heard these testimonies of God’s powerful work in a person’s life?” I love it when God affirms (and reaffirms) things in our lives. It is as if God is saying, “keep at it, you are headed in the right direction!” God’s timing is impeccable. In fact, it is meticulous and matchless. When we live our lives with an unrivaled trust and faith in an awesome God, then we open the doors of opportunity for God to do incredible things.

I think I can do this for the rest of my life. I am truly a blessed man.

People mingling together as we start the baptism service

Sharing the “Christian story” in all the good movies

Jasper sharing his testimony about how God can change anybody’s heart

Ivy sharing about God’s grace and redemption to a prodigal daughter

Rachel joining in the baptism reminded me of the importance of investment

A group picture with the baptized candidates

One of Chinese national’s first b-day outside of her country. She was blessed.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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