God Is On His Throne

No nation has been spared as the novel coronavirus came onto the global scene like a tsunami. Some have likened the ‘Circuit Breaker’, the nation’s comprehensive stay-home notice for all Singaporeans, as a time of confinement.

A confinement is traditionally associated with a mother recuperating from childbirth. It’s during this period that her strength is given time to renew, and her body to revert to its original state. And, if any thought that things would return to normal post-confinement period of 7 April to 1 June, we all now agree that things are never going to be the same for quite some time, even as we’re now in ‘safe transition’ Phase 2.

Resilience is key as we see the goalposts shift. And it isn’t just here in Singapore, millions are battling a loss of normalcy in their daily lives and the goalposts never shift in the direction that you want them to. Being quick to adapt, lead, and make adjustments coupled with uncertainty and unpredictability can be one’s worst nightmare.

“My mom is a domestic worker, so she has stopped working,” Valerie said. “As it’s going to be the month-end, and they’ve been home the whole month, I’m not sure if she will get paid. That’s my worry – if they’re going to be able to survive the next month of this lockdown.” 

Another commented, “Never in my life would I have thought I would get it. This virus doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, young or old. I could be out for a walk, and I wouldn’t know if the person beside me has it.”

As a church and believers in Christ, how have we adapted to this very fast-changing landscape and what is God doing in our midst?

Our beliefs in times of quarantine will challenge our concepts of what it means to minister and fellowship. There have been increased opportunities to reach a wider audience, and for many others, there have been opportunities to sample sermons from afar.

We’ve adjusted to new ways of life and relationships, much of it aided by modern technology. We actively engage our community, identifying a new emphasis on the collective need through Cornerstone Cares, Pastoral Care and Services programmes, and Cell Ministry to manage a new way of living.

Perhaps unknowingly, we’re changing the blueprint for how we live our lives in future via a vast range of virtual social programmes besides our online worship services. We’ve found innovative ways to communicate with people at a distance and have witnessed an encouraging sense of community.

However, an increased audience has inversely resulted in less active participation as congregants are much less involved in physically serving than before by watching church services online.

Will this ‘new normal’, with the convenience of worshipping at home in front of the television or a tablet remove volunteerism and stop people from returning to active participation and church attendance after the Covid-19 pandemic?

When the opportunity allows us to come together as a congregation, we must desire to return physically. I miss the gathering to worship our God together and can’t wait to return, even if it means no singing for now or smaller meeting numbers. Our worship to God includes more than singing – it’s a consecration to come together, a commitment to meet as one. We also look forward to meeting many new people who might have been unchurched and visiting because they had visited us via online services.

What will the ‘new normal’ of worshipping together look like until this Covid-19 crisis is over?

While uncertainties continue with the possibility of a second upsurge in cases as seen in some countries which had to re-impose former restrictions, we’ll abide by necessary measures put in place. Usual common practices may no longer be appropriate, like the way we greet each other verbally. Youth services and children’s church must take different platforms yet retain personal interaction.

Meeting for coffee and tea for fellowship between worship and Sunday School within the facility would not possible, especially during this ‘new normal’. And, online worship will continue as we begin to physically gather in smaller numbers for a start.

In this ‘new normal’, we thank God that He has kept us in a good place. But let’s believe together and pray for this crisis to end soon and that this ‘new normal’ will not be the norm for the church. Ps 16:5-8 is a beautiful display of God’s promises to us, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

And of this one thing we can be sure, God is on His throne and, since the Church is God’s idea, He will work His works through her. Praise the Lord!


Pastor Daphne Yang

A Plumb Line Cornerstone

As a young boy growing up in rural America, I was around a lot of building projects. Though I couldn’t do much, I’d carry things around the site, help hold a board, or a tool, or take measurements. Occasionally, I got to pound some nails.

Sometimes I’d get to hold or check the plumb line. This simple yet remarkable instrument was used to ensure a vertical line was ‘true’ or plumb. It was employed to make sure what you built wasn’t crooked; that, as the structure grew taller, it wouldn’t topple nor resemble a ‘Tower of Pizza’ (oops, Pisa – effect of being quarantined for too long!).

‘For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel, They are the eyes of the Lord which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.’ Zechariah 4:10

The read more…

The Pain of God

We’re already at the halfway mark of an unprecedented year – a year that nobody in their wildest dreams would have imagined playing out the way it has. Prophets in days past had given us inklings of such probable scenarios, yet the suddenness and magnitude of the devastation which ushered in this new decade was beyond human imagination and comprehension.

The shakings prophesied in the book of Hebrews certainly made a tumultuous entrance with a global bang, shaking everything that could be shaken, and violently!

Thus, it was with a sober spirit that I earnestly pursued the Father’s heart during the 50 days between Passover and Pentecost, inquiring of Him with an expectant heart and open ears. And He graciously revealed not just His plans, but a facet of His heart which took me by surprise. I read more…

Convenient Christianity?

In this ‘new normal’ of the post-Covid 19 era, companies, organisations, and churches must rethink their strategies and reinvent themselves from being a ‘physical organisation with digital presence’ to a ‘digital organisation with physical expressions and locations’. We’re very grateful that our weekday programmes featured on our social media platforms, our online teaching classes, and weekend services have reached people and places far and wide.

Now, with most things being accessible online and on-demand, I can have them delivered to me without leaving home, whenever I want it. But herein lies my concern – the ‘Oh, so convenient’, on-demand, instant gratification mentality.

I’ve not heard of anyone who changed their world (secular or sacred) and impacted their generation by living a ‘convenient life’. All paid a high price to see their dreams, visions, and burdens come to pass.

Imagine waking read more…

Happy 25th Anniversary!

Andy Goh is a pilot who has been in Cornerstone for many years. This week, he posted on his Facebook page a bulletin from the church dated Dec 10, 1995. That brought back so many sweet memories. I love that he has kept this for over 25 years and, if you want to buy it, I hear he is selling it at $10,000. Good buy! Mint condition. 
 
I recall in those days, our bulletins were photocopied, our songs were projected on an overhead projector, and we all had funny haircuts and wore strange clothes. Who could forget the bright and loud fuchsia pink and yellow blazers our ushers donned while proudly serving? But what was so timely was, just a few days ago, we quietly crossed our 25 years as a church. June 2, 1995 was the read more…

Radical Discipleship

Recently, while reading the Acts of the Apostles and preparing to teach a class on it, two characters in the book caught my attention – Stephen, the first martyr of the New Testament Church, and the Evangelist Philip (not to be conflated with the Apostle Philip) were not part of the apostolic leadership. Some may even argue that they’re peripheral to the main narrative of the Book of Acts. Yet their significant acts left a deep impact on my heart.

Stephen was described as being full of faith, power, and the Holy Spirit. He did great wonders and signs among the people. The men who opposed him were not able to resist the wisdom and the anointing by which he spoke. They were cut to the heart as Stephen preached, Saul being one of them. As they stoned him, the read more…

A Mind-Blowing Truth

It seems so easy to gloss over the weightiness of Scriptures because we’ve become so familiar in our Christian walk. I think one Scripture deserves much more attention from all of us.

“To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Rev 1:5-6

With one and half verses and 37 words, John the Revelator postulates something so profound and earth-shaking (I don’t mean to exaggerate here, but I mean it earnestly).
 
Consider the magnitude of what Christ has done for us here:
 
He loved us.
He washed us from our sins.
He washed us with His own blood.
He elevated us to become read more…

Words of Truth

I’ve heard this said, “Don’t mix your words with your mood, you can change your mood but you can’t take back your words.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently complimented our Prime Minister for controlling the Covid-19 situation effectively. It said his words turned out to be meaningful compared to other leaders. Two months after his first speech, we got over some huge bumps in the ‘controlled’ environment.

He communicated the situation to Singaporeans and I don’t think they’ve an easy job manoeuvring through some of the landmines. But what was key was their commitment to communicate, to keep the country in a state of peace and security amid uncertainties.

Our Lord Jesus was a master communicator and people were always amazed at His authority, power, and insights. His words evoked mental and emotional read more…

Caves of Hope

“David… escaped to the cave of Adullam.” 1 Sam 22:1

While you may not necessarily think so at the moment, staying home for a few weeks may not be so bad. Consider 3,000 years ago, David was involuntarily quarantined in a cave called Adullam. Now, a cave is not a very inviting nor desirous habitat. The indoor plumbing is horrendous. Beds are rock hard. Even a 2-watt bulb would be cause for celebration. Your wife will definitely not like the kitchen. And, no Netflix.

Still, if you plan to be there for long, you ought to head over to the stores to pick up a broom, mop, and a few supplies to make your cave a bit more homey. Put a few pictures up on the walls (if you can figure out how!) You shouldn’t have to walk far to read more…

Fulfilling The Great Commission Amidst Covid-19

For the past 10 years, our Couriers short-term missions programme would’ve been launched around this time to send our people out to the nations. Without fail, God always shows up in wondrous ways as they go – thousands are saved, healed, and blessed. Our Couriers volunteers come back rejoicing and transformed!

However, the Great Commission is not just an annual short-term missions programme. If that was our perspective and endpoint of missions, we’d have greatly failed. The Great Commission is Jesus’ final commandment to His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:16-20). Mission opportunities abound around us while we’re homemaking, working, commuting, etc, in Singapore or anywhere in the world. It’s to be our daily mission.

There’s a greater urgency for The Great Commission in the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many people read more…

The Key Is In The ‘Beginning’

If you’re like me during this ‘Circuit Breaker’ lock-in with young children, you start your day early with your morning devotions and emerge full of faith and grace. Then, when the clock strikes 8am, the first giant called ‘Home-Based Learning (HBL)’ is unleashed, followed by the second giant called ‘Work From Home (WFH)’ at 9am.

As the day wears on, these giants often end up fighting each other, competing for the trophy called ‘Wi-Fi connectivity’, with the winner enjoying smooth and seamless video conference calls and online streaming.

If you and your spouse are working, there’ll be this internal struggle within you – “Whose job is more important?”, so that the one with the ‘less important’ job will have to fight that HBL giant and rescue the helpless child. When it’s lunch-time, you think it was just read more…

’Ritardando’* Time

2020 began with a bang for me. On the first day of the New Year, I was caught on camera for speeding and slapped with a hefty fine and demerit points for failing to conform to a red light signal. The traffic light had just turned amber and I had thought I could make it across at my current speed. I was wrong! It wasn’t the happiest way to start the year, but I felt that the Lord was teaching me some precious lessons in preparation for the coming days of peril. 

Slow Down to Stop

For those like me who need a refresher course, amber means slow down and prepare to stop! Period. 

One of the characteristics of modern life is that of ever-increasing speed. Let’s be honest; even during this period of quarantine and enforced rest, it’s still very read more…

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