The 2 Phinehas

There are many life examples recorded in the Bible for our learning and admonition so that we learn from the good ones and don’t repeat the mistakes of the bad ones. Our positions in these stories are very similar – they at the beginning, and we at the end of age. Truth is, we’re just as capable of messing up in our time as they were in theirs (1 Cor 10:11-12).

With that in mind, I want to briefly look at the life of two Phinehas in the Bible and draw some important lessons for our learning. Same name but two very different outcomes – one ended well, while the other ended tragically.

The first Phinehas was the son of Eleazar (Exo 6:25) and the grandson of Aaron, the high priest. He was known for his zealous act at Shittim. On that fateful day, the atmosphere in the camp was sombre as God instructed Moses and the leaders to kill those who had joined in worshiping Baal of Peor. Just then, one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

When Phinehas saw this, he took a spear, went into the man’s tent, thrust it into the “sinning couple” and killed them. The plague against the Israelites stopped, but not before 24,000 people had died (Num 25:5-9). God commended Phinehas for having stopped Israel’s fall to idolatrous practices brought in by the Midianites, and for stopping the desecration of God’s sanctuary. For this zealous act, God promised Phinehas and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was “zealous for his God”, and made atonement for the children of Israel.

The second Phinehas also came from a priestly lineage, being the son of Eli, the high priest (1 Sam 1:3). It’d be safe to assume that he’s been taught to observe God’s commandments and God’s ways. Yet he and his brother Hophni committed great sins against the Lord – they defiled the Tabernacle, scorned sacrifices and offerings made to the Lord, which are holy, and slept with the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The Bible described them as “scoundrels who had no respect (regard) for the Lord or for their duties as priests…” 1 Sam 2:12-13 (NLT). The ending of this second Phinehas was tragic – he died in battle with the Philistines, and his wife on hearing of his death, gave birth to a son, whom she named “Ichabod” which means “The glory has departed” and then died as well.

The first Phinehas was consumed by a holy conviction to defend God’s Name and honour, whereas the second Phinehas had totally no regard for the Lord; whether his actions had displeased and hurt the Lord. God said this in 1 Sam 2:30 (NLT), “… I will honour those who honour me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.”

Jesus too was consumed by the zeal of the Lord when He drove the people out of the temple courts, who turned God’s house into a money-making business centre (John 2:13-17).

You may ask, “How can we lose the zeal of the Lord?” 
One way is through compromise – when pleasing people (including yourself) become more important than pleasing God; when attracting people becomes more important than attracting God. Increasingly, we need to be able to discern what’s holy unto the Lord and what’s a compromise (Lev 10:3).

I believe “the way you win them is the way you keep them!” When you win people with programmes, you’ve to keep coming up with new programmes. Else they’ll go somewhere with newer and better programmes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that programmes are not important. It’s when these things distract us from the main focus – God.

When you win people by presenting your needs, when those needs are met, they’ll leave you and find other places with greater needs. When you win people with the Presence of God and a heavenly vision, then God will sustain them for you. So do all it takes for God’s Presence to abide in you!

My friends, what’s consuming you right now? Is it the zeal and passion to uphold and defend God’s name and honour? To represent Him correctly and accurately to all people? Or just working toward living your dream of the “blessed life”?

Which of the two “Phinehas” will you choose to be?

Pastor Kevin Koh

Learning to Stand

It’s amazing how often this has happened in my life, that when things go wrong, they all go wrong at the same time. Or when demands and pressures come, it all seems to happen at the same time. Life just doesn’t dish out problems and difficulties evenly so that we can cope better. There’s no regularity or predictability when it comes to the storms of life. It isn’t something you can schedule into your calendars. While in the midst of one of those intense periods, here are some thoughts that I gathered:

1. Let your comfort zones be challenged
Humans all have a tendency to drift into a place of greatest comfort. Whether it’s when we’re wriggling into our little nook on our favourite sofa or finding that place of maximum efficiency at our work place; read more…

Cornerstone, A Place Where Dreams Are Made

Joyce Theng, a member of Cornerstone, recently shared this amazing testimony. She said, “I have been taking the same bus route ever since I started attending Cornerstone. I have never paid any attention to the shops along the road until this evening, before the 5pm service. There’s a pub along the road and the signboard had these words: “Legacy- where dreams are made”.  When I looked at it, a wave of sadness swept over me and tears welled up in my eyes. This is a pub. I was communicating to God in my mind and I said: “Father, why has it got to be a pub? Please forgive me and the church. Please Father, is there a church where your dreams for the people be made?” Then, the words just flashed in my spirit and mind: “I will reveal to read more…

God’s Dream Team

The pastors and heads of department have just returned from an intensive 3-day planning summit for the purpose of “charting the future course” for Cornerstone. The meetings consisted of prayer, worship, reports and planning. The summit provided an integration of God’s dream and plan for Cornerstone to be woven in and through the leadership. How does such a process take place? Let me explain. 

Dutch Sheets made the following statement in his last visit to Cornerstone: “God first dreams before He creates.” The Bible says much about dreaming, and it’s enlightening to discover that the concepts of dreaming and creating are found in the following Hebrew word: “yatsar” which means “to create”. “Yetser” is a slightly different form of the word, which has the meaning of “imagination, conception, and thought”. So the power to create begins with the read more…

Thankful for My Singapore

On the 9th August, our nation celebrated her 52nd birthday, and what a bash it was, with the Marina Bay skyline serving as a backdrop. As always, my family sat glued, watching the National Day Parade live on television. And as always, we sang the songs patriotically, laughed at the outrageous costumes, teared when the National Anthem was being sung, talked about our National Service experiences, but one thing is for sure, we were all proud to be Singaporeans.

I love my country and I love my people, regardless of race, language or religion. The evening before, my wife and I were with 6,500 other Christians at the “Day of His Power” at Suntec City, thanking God for Singapore and praying for her. The day after, we were with the Festival of Praise, Pastors’ Gathering, praying read more…

Consolidating the Vision Part 2

“Awake and arise! Take up your positions in Christ and man your posts!” This was the closing exhortation from Pastor Kevin Koh’s bulletin article last week. I’d like to build upon some of his thoughts regarding the vision for Cornerstone and the Singapore Church. Let’s be honest. There’s much to digest and it’s vital that we’ve a streamlined understanding as to what God is doing. The following three points of interest may help to bring that needed clarity: 1. The rain prophesied over Cornerstone; 2. Singapore’s upcoming National Day; and 3. The 2018 prayer and fasting for revival.

This week, Singapore will celebrate 52 years as a nation. It’s a time to pause and reflect upon God’s goodness and favour. The miracle of Singapore has parallels with Israel in Nehemiah’s day. Both Israel and Singapore were led read more…

Consolidating The Vision

There were fun moments as laughter filled the room, with the “oohs and the aahs” and the loud “Amens!” Then there were moments of silence and deep contemplation as hearts were gripped by the powerful messages delivered through God’s messengers. Shown on some faces were the resolved looks of those who had broken through and were ready to charge forward with the Lord. Yet there were those who came somewhat heavy-burdened because they needed an answer and clarity from God when they returned home. They were tired of “doing church” and maintaining status quo. Hence they found themselves at this crossroads, a decision point where the future of their families and ministries would hinge on the decision made here.

Such was the heightened atmosphere of the recently-concluded Cornerstone Global Network (CGN) Summit where 70 participants from 18 nations read more…

Do Not Despise the Day of Small Beginnings

This week, we’ve many of our pastors from the nations converging in Singapore for our annual Cornerstone Global Network Summit. This is an annual event for the pastors to reconnect relationally and to renew our visions for the work that God is giving to us. These meetings that we have each year are immensely enjoyable and inspiring. It always amazes us what these pastors are accomplishing in the nations and how we’re impacting literally hundreds of thousands of lives collectively.

Yet as I reflect on many of these relationships, I see and recognise God’s unseen hand orchestrating our journeys to allow for our paths to intersect. I see also the years of faithful labour, enduring difficulties, and humility in these pastors that have caused them to see growth and enlargement in the ministry that they’ve been entrusted read more…

Strong Dominant Churches

Last week, I had the privilege, together with my wife and Dr. Rolland Baker, to speak at the “Kingdom Mandate Conference” in Miri, East Malaysia. Between 400-500 people showed up for the 2-day conference and for a city like Miri, that’s a great response. But what an amazing time we had! 

The presence of God was powerful and the whole conference operated with clockwork precision.

I want to go on record to say how proud I am of our two firebrands, Pastors Sabrina Low and Rachel Bulan. They started the church just a couple of years ago with a handful of people and it’s now becoming a dominant spiritual force in Miri. They’ve many young zealots and firebrands in the church today and I can confidently predict that they’ll soon impact the city in ways we read more…

As One!

Over the past weeks, Pastor Yang gathered some pastors and intercessors of Singapore to cast the vision of a 40-day Prayer and Fasting Movement in 2018. This is in response to the prophetic word given by Lou Engle on Mar 16 at the Kingdom Invasion Conference, that “there’s a cyclical review coming to Singapore in 2018, to see if we’ve fulfilled what was prophesied by Billy Graham in 1978, that Singapore would be the Antioch East.”

At both gatherings, there was such a spirit of unity and atmosphere of expectancy of what God’s about to do in this nation. Jesus prayed about this unity in John 17:22-23, “…that they may be ONE, just AS We are One; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved read more…

Understanding the Jerusalem Council

What was the purpose of the Jerusalem Council at the commencing of the Early Church? In short, it allowed for the discussion and addressing of the Jewish and Gentile cultural divide that proved a hindrance to kingdom advancement. It’s important for us to consider carefully what was at stake. 

The Gospel message was gaining traction, yet the Church was now confronting a moment of crisis. The decisions taken would determine whether this movement would be taken to the next level. Is there a message for us at Cornerstone and the Church at large?  

These thoughts are fresh in my mind in reflecting upon the Kingdom Wealth Conference of this past week. There’s so much to digest as a result of these meetings. The parallels between the Jerusalem Council and the modern Church read more…

Faithfulness Redefined

I overheard a conversation between two friends in a church and it went something like this – “He’s a very faithful man. He comes to church every weekend and has been a Christian for a long time.” That set me thinking about the word “faithful” and its true meaning, as I recalled what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

This parable began with the master, prior to his long trip, giving some talents (money) to his servants, each according to their own ability. It ended with the master returning and asking each of them to give an account for the talents entrusted to them. The servant who had received five talents went and traded (invested) with them, and made another five talents. Likewise, the servant who had received two talents gained two read more…

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