Teachers For Life

On Friday, we celebrated Teachers’ Day. All of us have fond memories of teachers who have impacted and changed our lives. We often forget the people we might have encountered along the process of work, but a teacher, we almost never forget.
We remember them not just for the subjects they taught us but, more than anything, for out interactions with them. These interactions comforted us, affirmed us, gave us confidence, directed us in the right path, and let us know that someone cared.
 
In truth, the task of teaching and instruction is inescapable for all of us. As parents, we’ve to teach and raise our children. In the workplace, there’ll always be newer staff whom we need to show the ropes to. In our families, we’ve nieces and nephews whom we interact with and guide. In our circle of friends, we teach one another new things we’ve learnt.

We pass on life lessons all the time to those around us. Our actions, character and life convey an unspoken instruction to those we come into contact with. This is a task that none of us can escape. If that be the case, may we not decide today that we want our lives to be a positive lesson to those around us?
 
One of the favourite titles of our Lord Jesus is Rabbi, or teacher. His life was exemplary and effective. People saw His ministry, His love and integrity, and they came to Him for instruction. He was asked by His followers to teach them how to pray and how to grow in faith, among many other things. He corrected them when they had contentions among themselves. He answered their questions when they were confused. He taught in parables and explained things they did not understand. Above all, He empowered and sent them out.
 
The one thing that isn’t obvious about being a good teacher is this last thing – to give permission and to release.
 
It’s said that a good leader creates followers, but a great leader creates leaders. Might this not be insightful when we consider the greatest role that teachers play? I’m quite certain a teacher’s objective is never to keep a student with him/her forever. Instead, the great joy of any teacher is to see students promoted from their class to the next level and achieve success beyond themselves.
 
This is exactly what our great Rabbi did. There was a moment in the Lord’s life when He announced to His followers that He’d not be with them physically any more. But, instead of sadness, He said it with joy and expectation. He said so because, in His absence, they’d have the opportunity to rise to greatness themselves. In fact, Jesus declared to them that ‘greater works’ they’d do because of His departure back to the Father.
 
I can’t help but be amazed by how much Jesus limited Himself during His ministry on earth. He restricted Himself geographically such that He remained only in parts of modern day Israel. He limited His audience primarily to the Jews. He left no standing institutions, buildings nor organisations. He wrote no books (though HE IS the Word). Yet, in contrast, His ‘students’ went well beyond the boundaries of Israel to the uttermost parts of the earth.

His ‘students’ have reached billions compared to the thousands that He,Himself ministered directly to. They planted churches, established Bible schools, and created charities. They’ve written books, constitutions of nations, and scholastic works that have changed the world.
 
Doesn’t this give us a sense of measurement that’s so different from what we’re accustomed to? Maybe true success is not about what we’ve accomplished but how we’ve engendered others to rise to greatness. That’s what makes teaching such an admirable profession. It’s to fully employ our skills and energy, not to aid ourselves but help others reach their highest potential.
 
Teaching is a ‘humble’ profession. Yet without it, there’ll be no presidents nor prime ministers. There’ll be no entrepreneurs nor doctors. It doesn’t matter which station in life we’re at, we can all look back to see a teacher who stood tall in our lives and made a lasting impact. We salute, in our midst, in every sense of the word – our ‘teacher’.


Ps. Lim Lip Yong

Passion Triumphs Over Personality

Whenever we talk about being passionate for the Lord, we often hear people say, “…but I’m not like that” or “It’s not me to be so loud and vocal”. And then we launch into this lengthy discourse of trying to convince the person that God has already deposited passion in us, citing examples from our favourite soccer or basketball team winning the championship to how freely and naturally we express our emotions when watching a touching movie.

Sometimes, I think the only outcome from those discourses only proves that our adrenalin and tear ducts are working. More often than not, we leave them feeling bad or worse, condemned.

Well, here’s my little version of why I believe passion triumphs over personality. Pray that it’ll make sense to you.

19 August 2019 will be a day to remember for me because read more…

Hurt By God

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”

Isaiah 53:10 is a well-known messianic prophecy and picture of Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead hundreds of years before it happened. The bruising is the crucifixion and death of Jesus, making Himself an offering for sin. Verse 10 says it was the Father’s pleasure to do this. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.

In the early days of my Christian walk, I used to have trouble reconciling how the Heavenly Father could find delight in bruising and hurting His own Son. Jesus told Peter in John 13:7, “You do not understand now read more…

A Hero of the Faith

This week, I had the privilege of having a meal with my hero in the faith – the evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. What a man. What a legacy. At almost 80, he’s still lucid, still strong, still full of the Holy Spirit, and still on FIRE. I related this story to Bro. Bonnke, of how I first met him in 1998.

I was a young pastor, with a fledgling ministry, and I get a call inviting me to lunch with the evangelist. It was a dream come true. I remember driving to the luncheon, praying all the way there, hoping I wouldn’t say anything embarrassing.

There were eight of us and the conversation revolved around what was happening in Africa. I took a deep breath, and I asked Bro. Bonnke to explain how the anointing works and how I could flow in read more…

The Journey of Faith

Over this weekend, we cross Singapore’s 54th year as a nation. I can consider my journey as a Christian living in Singapore and God’s faithfulness to us as a nation, but I’m thinking about my heavenly citizenship – I want to tell of my recent visit to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This is my most unforgettable encounter with a giant of faith in our lifetime. Words are insufficient to express the immense overwhelming presence of Evangelist Billy Graham when I stood on the grounds. Although he’s no more with us, who he was and all he’d done while on earth was tangibly felt that day.

As I entered the grounds, the first place I stood at was the grave of Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham. Memories, recollections of the innumerable scenes of thousands read more…

I Want To Help

A group of us has been in the United States of America this past week attending a conference on church growth. The unique thing about this conference is that it doesn’t advertise the conference. News about it spreads only through word-of-mouth. Into its 9th year, the 6,000 tickets for this conference get snapped up within hours of its release each year.
 
The vision is to help 1,000 churches break the 1,000 growth barrier. It isn’t focused on showcasing a lineup of incredible speakers but structured more like a school. Hundreds of their staff and volunteers walk around everywhere, ready to answer any question you may have about how something runs in the church. Everything you see and encounter is curated to reinforce what’s taught during the sessions.
 
Over the three days of the conference, read more…

From Calling to Covenant

I’m often asked regarding the calling of God “How do I know the call of God in my life?” or “How do I know if God has called me into full-time ministry?” And I’ve come to realise that while giving them some guiding principles and advising them that “You’ll know when the time comes” was helpful to a certain extent, I wasn’t really answering their question. Neither will I be able to fully do so.

I can share from my personal testimonies of God’s divine leading and providence in my life, and listeners will be wowed and encouraged by my journey of faith in the Lord. Yet, as sincere as that may be, I’d then see an ‘encouraged face’ turned into a ‘blank face’ because, after all, the calling of God is a personal journey that you need to embark read more…

A Place For You!

What an amazing time to be alive! I’m so excited that it’s Cell Month once again – where we get together to celebrate and build the Body through the cell community.

We can never underemphasise the importance of community in the Christian faith – it’s a place for transformation, edification, and fellowship. If you watched the Cell Month video last weekend, you’d have gotten a sneak peek of what cell’s all about.

1. A Place For Transformation

In 2001, Malcolm Gladwell authored a secular marketing book entitled ‘The Tipping Point’. A tipping point is when an idea, product or movement becomes accepted by the masses. One of his studies revolved around John Wesley and the Methodist Movement. ‘Wesley realised that if you wanted to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behaviour, a change that would read more…

The House That Built Me

Over 10 years ago, we planted a tiny plant in our garden, slightly more than a foot tall, not knowing that one day, that tiny plant would grow into an imposing, gigantic tree that would dominate our entire garden and even the street we’re on.
 
It’s now grown to well over 60 feet, but it hasn’t come without a cost. The roots of the tree now spread threateningly all over the garden, absorbing much of the nutrients, and the whole area around it is just sandy. No grass seems to be able to grow, because it cannot compete. So, really, the tree has been able to rise but only at the expense of the rest of the other plants in the garden. 
 
My point? There’s no such thing in the Kingdom of God as read more…

Community Is Life-Giving

We set aside each July to focus on life as a community as part of our church journey. And when we belong to the cell community, we can walk this journey out.

Community is life-giving and Scripture exhorts us that we’re better together than alone. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, ‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’

This idea of community develops from the sense of responsibility we have for one another and we’re encouraged to take care of our brethren while following the Word of the Lord. God created us to desire companionship and we do better when we have someone to love, serve with, have fun read more…

Are You Stupid?

There’s a word that’s banned in our family. Actually there are lots of words that are disallowed in our home – profanities, rude language, angry vituperation, and the list goes on.

Essentially, that’s what you get when you’ve three boys in the home. Still, my wife, Wendy, hates it when we use the word ‘stupid’ on one another. I agree, we don’t use the word for its literary value, but more as a means to hurt one another.
 
But, guess what, the Bible uses the word ‘stupid’! If you haven’t read Proverbs recently, it’s time to make it one of your regular reads. After all, the whole book is about wisdom and, if there’s something we desperately need in all our lives, it’s more wisdom.

The word actually appears three times in the Bible, read more…

What About You, Daddy?

Four Sundays ago, on 26 May 2019, after I had served at the last service for the weekend and sent off some guests who were in town, I went to pick up my little boy, David, from the Children’s Church office as he had stayed back to play with his friends while waiting for me.

We came back to my desk and it was already 2.15pm. I was hungry and remembered I had a hot dog which was meant to be my breakfast. As I was about to bite into the bun, I suddenly remembered that my wife had texted me earlier to settle David’s lunch. So I offered him the bun.

What he did next touched my heart deeply. He asked me as he held the hot dog in his tiny hand and pushed it towards me, “What about read more…

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