Faith or Fear

As a church, we’re into a full month of increased precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19. We issued a set of advisories on the first weekend of February, and engaged a cleaning company to do a thorough cleaning and sanitisation of our facilities weekly.

The following week, we cancelled our Toddlers’ classes, all non-urgent meetings of over 50 people, introduced mandatory temperature-taking and weekly live-streaming of our services. We essentially trimmed our gatherings to just our weekend services, and on Feb 15, announced the cancellation of our Kingdom Invasion Conference.

These last four weeks have been intense as we sought to put measures in the church to ensure our members’ safety. For any other organisation, it’d be pretty straightforward. But for a church, there’s always a lingering question as to whether we’re acting in faith or fear.

This is what has made it intense for us. Even as we put measures into place, we’re often questioned – if not outright accused – about not having faith. On the other hand, other segments of the church call for even more precautions. Amid all this, we see a spectrum of responses from the Body of Christ in Singapore.

Some pastors called on members not to fear but to keep coming for services. Others cancelled their services and organised their congregations to function in small groups and watch services online. Looming at the forefront of everyone’s minds are the two clusters of Covid-19 cases reported in two churches.

 I’ve pondered over these things and wondered what God is seeking to say to us during this period. I’ve no definitive answers to offer but here are some thoughts for your consideration: 

1. Does precaution signal a lack of faith?

It’s interesting that, in our staff meeting this week, Pastor Dian shared how the concept of quarantines began in the Bible. If you didn’t know that, look at Leviticus 13 and 14.

Two chapters are actually dedicated to teaching Israel how to deal with situations with infections. It wasn’t just about infections on humans, but on properties as well. People who contracted infectious diseases had to be quarantined outside the camp and away from the community.

Infected properties had to be properly cleansed and left alone before being re-examined if the infection had been dealt with. Modern-day quarantines began in the 14th century, some 3,000 years after Leviticus was given to Israel. It definitely took some time for science to catch up with the Bible.

 Let me say this – taking precautionary measures is biblical!

At the same time, to what extent should those measures be? You may not know this, but the Kingdom Invasion organising committee has received our fair share of emails accusing us of acting in fear by cancelling the conference. We’ve been soundly rebuked for our lack of faith and acting in fear.

I sometimes wonder if people realise the gargantuan effort required to organise a conference like Kingdom Invasion. While we’ve a small team that works on each conference over a full nine months, when the conference nears, the entire staff in Cornerstone is required to pull off the event.

In fact, the entire church comes together to see the conference take shape and be executed excellently. All these have to be done on top of the added precautionary measures we must put in place – in church and at the conference. The logistical and manpower strain added on our volunteers and full-time staff was something that we had to seriously take into consideration.

 2. Crisis presents opportunity

In the midst of all this, we see a need for the local church to rise up in times of crisis to aid our communities. Part of the reason for cancelling KI is so that we can channel our finances, resources, and manpower to help our communities.

While we may not be able to prevent people with negative behaviour from panic buying, and acting in fear and selfish ways, we can tip the balance by responding with acts of kindness and faith. We can increase the presence and prominence of positive actions to overwhelm the negativity.

For this purpose, we started the ‘Cornerstone Cares’ initiative and, over the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed many amazing doors open for us to reach out to pockets of the community who have been most affected by the Covid-19 crisis – migrant workers, healthcare professionals, and even taxi drivers whose livelihoods have been significantly affected during this period.

I’ve seen our staff grabbing the Cornerstone Cares stickers and cards, going out to buy coffee and lunches for the security guards, cleaners, and workers around our building. I cannot imagine a clearer picture of faith than this. The best place for faith to be displayed isn’t within the four walls of the church, but outside. Fear makes us hunker down in what we consider safe places. Faith compels us to go out and keep loving people and trusting God for opportunities to minister to them.

 Let’s have faith, and show that Cornerstone Cares!


Ps. Lim Lip Yong

Betraying God

I was reading the usual passage of Scripture for Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread…”, when my eyes zoomed in on the word ‘betrayed’. Betrayal has to do with being unfaithful in guarding, maintaining or fulfilling the trust given, especially in times of need: it’s to deliver or expose someone to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty.

We find great comfort that, whenever we’re betrayed, we’ve a Saviour who can understand and identify with our pain, even as He was betrayed by His disciple Judas Iscariot, and even Simon Peter who denied Him three times. Yet, that day, in my time of searching my own heart, I found myself asking this question which we seldom ask, “Lord, have I read more…

When God Seems Silent

Upon receiving disappointing results for her first school assessment, my dejected daughter came to ask me, “Why didn’t God answer my prayer and help me in my test?” I immediately shot up an emergency prayer to heaven for inspiration to help me satisfactorily simplify a theological enigma for my 7-year-old.

Since the beginning of this year (2020), my family has been diligently incorporating the daily creed of ‘Praying First for ALL Circumstances.’ Before sleeping each night, we take Communion, recite Psalms 23, 91, and The Lord’s Prayer, and then pray for one another. That’s why I knew I had some solid explaining to do for my little one’s ‘unanswered prayer’ conundrum. 

My first attempt didn’t go down too well. “I think God answers all our prayers in His perfect way, but we’re the ones who see our requests as unanswered.” That read more…

Be Still

It’s amazing how quickly things change. Last month, my daughter woke up to tremors and snow-like ash falling outside her window in the Philippines from a nearby volcano. Meanwhile, the coronavirus erupted too, spewing panic like poisonous ash on unsuspecting populations.

Masks have dawned overnight like sandbags amassed to keep back swollen rivers. Once-teeming cities of millions in China have become ghost towns. Young and old, rich and poor now huddle behind feeble defences, hoping the virus won’t ‘Pompeii’ its way towards them.

The ‘Be still and know’ verse in Ps 46:10 begins with a frightful description of waters roaring, mountains shaking and being carried into the seas. It reads like a modern-day newspaper, and yet breathes hope into these chaotic events.

I found myself yearning to enter a time machine, propelled back to the feet of David. I’ve a read more…

Safe Under God’s Covering

I’ve spent a lot of time being upset about things I couldn’t do anything about and, along with it, the companions of guilt and condemnation aren’t too far away either. And it doesn’t help when you don’t have peace and are unable to enjoy life.

Psalm 5:11 says, ‘But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirit’. (AMP)

The key to trust is to develop a habit of learning to trust God at all times, in every area of our lives. Christians are called believers, and we should not be behaving like unbelieving believers. Often, we trust our friends, the bank, read more…

Not All Is Well

As we celebrate Chinese New Year, there are so many things to give thanks for. We thank God for the family that He has given us, the roof over our heads, the jobs that supply our needs, the community that we’ve planted ourselves in. Yet, for everyone who has, there are many other who have not. 

Perhaps rightly, as we celebrate a festival that’s all about abundance and prosperity, we should consider especially those who are in a place of lack. What can be sadder than to return home on Chinese New Year’s Eve to an empty house? Or to look around the reunion table, and see an seat empty that should’ve been filled. Or perhaps to be found under an ever-looming shadow of depression. While some are celebrating, others are shackled to their struggles inwardly. 

Genesis 34 is a read more…

Failing Forward

I know – Failing Forward isn’t a very exciting nor inspiring title to kick off a New Year’s blog. We’ve not even crossed the first month of the new year and we’re talking about ‘failing?’

People look forward to a new year because it presents an opportunity to start afresh on a positive note, a new beginning, much like a ‘reset’ button. Besides, this year isn’t just another new year. It’s the turn of a new decade. It’s the year of moving forward with a ‘20/20 vision’, filled with expectations of what the Lord is going to do.

I started this year experiencing quite the opposite. Things started ‘going south’ as each day passed. The things which I normally do well started to turn on me – I messed up a simple family lunch reservation, used the wrong choice of read more…

The Shaking, The Sifting & The Shaping

Let me qualify myself from the outset. I’m neither a doomsday prophet who continually spouts dark and foreboding scenarios, nor am I a dominionist who believes that Christians have to take over and monopolise the world before the return of the Lord Jesus.

I’m simply a disciple who wholeheartedly believes all that Jesus Christ taught, warned, and promised – and since spiritual revelation requires participation to be fruitful, I desire to be a spiritually-effective participant in what God is doing in the world these days.

Not surprisingly, 2020 has already begun choppily with riots in Hong Kong, fires in Australia, floods in Indonesia, the U.S. airstrike which killed an Iranian general in Baghdad, and the tragic air crash which killed 176 innocent passengers caught in the crossfire of a retaliatory Iranian missile.

According to End Times expert Michael Snyder, it read more…

Be Prepared. Be Ready. Be Vigilant.

People often ask me, as a pastor, what’s the one thing that influences the decisions I make with regard to the church. I’ll tell you right now, it’s my theology that determines my decisions, especially my theology on the last days.

The Word of God is very clear on what’s coming in the last days and, because I know what’s going to happen, it influences and has a bearing on every decision I make. I believe we’ve to have a crystal clear vision of what the future is going to be.

The apostle Paul preached that the Kingdom of God is entered into by many tribulations. Yes, salvation is a free gift. Yes, I’m saved by grace through faith. But tribulation is part and parcel of the Gospel and any pastor who neglects to warn his flock is negligent and read more…

Keep Your Lamps Burning Brightly

Attending Sunday School as a young girl, I often sang this song,
“Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray.
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Keep me burning ’til the break of day.
Sing hosanna! Sing hosanna!
Sing hosanna to the King of kings!”

A chorus like this seldom leaves you when it’s etched in your memory. It’ll cling to you like truth, if you allow it to wrap you.

One day as Jesus went up on a mountain, a multitude of ordinary men, women, and children followed Him. When He was seated, He said to them, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor read more…

Ask Yourself This

I should be writing something about Christmas. I know a year is almost over and a brand new one is just around the corner, and maybe I should say something about the new year. But somehow, I feel compelled to say something else. Something completely unrelated to this week of celebration, parties, gifts, and friendship. Instead, I ask us a simple question – Is Christ in us?
 
Is that even an appropriate question to ask in a blog addressed to Christians? I’d like to say that I’m taking the lead from the Apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, this is the exact question he asked in his letter to the Corinthians – to the Church, to Christians, to those professing a belief in Jesus.
 
If Paul saw fit to raise such a question in read more…

From God, With Love

During my recent ministry trip to India, I shared with a group of leaders from John 14:15 where Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” 
I was talking about the key to keeping God’s commandments and overcoming temptations.

For many years, I had tried my best to keep God’s commandments as proof of my love for Him. That was how I always interpreted this verse. However, I soon realised that it was tough to maintain this walk.

There were times where I felt victorious over temptations, but there were also times where I felt utterly defeated and let God down. It was both frustrating and discouraging to live life like a ‘yoyo Christian’ – one moment you’re up and the next, you’re down. I was striving to keep God’s commandments with my own strength.

Then one day, the Holy read more…

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