The Callerâ€™s Privilege
Real-Life Miracle: Mourning into Dancing
Confessions of a Social Media Addict
Are Guardian Angels Real?
S â€™ Y T I N I TR
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Contents Issue 02/2014
THE CALLER’S PRIVILEGE Exercise your God-given privilege today!
MOURNING TO DANCING Real-life Miracle
TRINITARIAN HERO A heart of cheer
CAUGHT ON TRINITY’S CAMERA
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU INVESTED IN YOUR MARRIAGE? How to avoid spiritual bankruptcy in your marriage
GREAT MARRIAGE READS Recommended books on marriage
THE HUSBAND AS A LEADER, LOVER AND PROVIDER One man shares his journey
DO YOU SPEAK MY LOVE LANGUAGE? Learn to show love the best way it is received
MISSIONS AT A GLANCE An overview of Trinity’s Missions outreach
MISSIONS CONVENTION 2014 Will you do your part?
Confessions of a social MEDIA addict How bad is it?
TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED Are guardian angels real?
PASTORS’ CONFERENCE 2014 More than 300 delegates impacted
TRINITARIANS DO THEIR PART MITs to Bangladesh and Cambodia
TRAINING AND CONSULTATION Training and Consultation trips
WHAT’S REAL? Children’s Easter 2014
SPIRIT-EMPOWERED BELIEVERS PRAYING FOR SECOND PENTECOSTAL OUTPOURING Christian leaders unite to pray for a second Pentecost
CALLED IGNYTE Poly Camp 2014
TRUE COLORS Easter Musical 2014
PERSPECTIVES ON FAMILY A CCSS social worker gives her view
Kudos to Raymond and his team, faithfully serving a hungry crowd. We have food for the body and even better food for our soul in church! How blessed we are! Yummy Jumbo hotdogs found only at Trinity@Adam this weekend. Milo for M and Kopi O Siew Dai for me.
My oikos were so surprised to see the church serving free breakfast. Thanks to my SL Uncle Raymond and his entire team for serving faithfully every weekend!
Pastor Dominic Yeo
Pastor Janice Chng
Cliff Lee Diana Lim Miranda Zhang Carol Lim Daniel Koh Ivan Koh June Teh
Kevin Kwang Lye Hui Xian Sharon Lim Will Yong
Chan Soon Onn David Sashi Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman Pastor Dominic Yeo Pastor Jeffrey Wong Pastor Margaret Tay IGNYTE Photography Team Juliana Ng Kelvin Low Prichelle Lim Pufferfish Studio Twenty4Frames
Big Detail Pte Ltd
I’m writing this to really thank the traffic marshal that helped my Mum and I on Thursday night after the Easter Presentation. It was one of my Mum’s few times to church, and it was the first time she drove and parked within the church. Because of double-parking, somehow all the other cars had left, except for the one right in front of our car. We waited for a while, but it was late and my mother was really tired. The traffic marshal who was there did such a good job directing her and guiding her, assuring her all along that she had to trust him for the car to come out smoothly. Although it was tight as both front and back were blocked, she came out really smoothly with a lot of help from the traffic marshal. The Easter presentation, True Colors, had already impacted her a lot, and I could tell that she was already moved. This incident with the traffic marshal prompted me to talk to my Mum about faith and taking the step to trust. She was really surprised and I think the incident really struck her about the importance of faith and believing that something can and will happen. Really want to say a huge thank you to the traffic marshal! I have no idea what his name is, but really want to appreciate him for what he has done! With Blessings,
Jean Lor Jun Ying
I was at Holland Village during the lunch hour. While waiting for a parking lot, a car from behind us took it instead. My son, Matthew, who was seated at the back said, “Papa, God will give us a lot!” I told him, “Well said,” and drove around to find other lots. After some time, Matthew said again, “Papa, you didn’t pray for a lot, right?” I said ok and we prayed. Then, we got a lot and parked the car! I thank God for the faith and wisdom given to Matthew. Praise God for Trinity, our Children’s Ministry, and all of you for molding my Matthew!
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firstname.lastname@example.org ISSUE 2/2014
Dear Trinitarians, From my family to yours, a Blessed Parents’ Day to all parents! Parenting is a privilege and a heavy responsibility. Whether our children are in their early stages, teenage years or adulthood, we constantly look out for them physically, emotionally and spiritually. We take time to shape their values and challenge their views on life. We encourage them when they want to give up, and let them fall at the expense of our heartaches so that they will learn to get up on their own. It’s easy to keep our children happy but it’s harder to raise them as God-fearing individuals who will make wise decisions. My prayer for each parent is that God’s grace, strength and wisdom will undergird you in being
the best parents to your children. Our relationship with our spouse impacts the way we raise our children. I’ve been married to my beautiful wife, Chin Inn, for 27 glorious years now. Together, we’ve been through many milestones, including raising our wonderful children, Natalie and Matthaeus. I thank God for Chin Inn. Her deep love for God and her unending support inspire me each day. Of course, we’ve had our disagreements, but if you ask me, I’d still say building a happy, godly marriage is one of the most fulfilling things in life. Granted, marriage isn’t always easy. And our current society is increasingly diluting the marriage covenant. As such, we, as Christians, need to strengthen our guard against such challenges.
Parenting is a privilege and a heavy responsibility. Whether our children are in their early stages, teenage years or adulthood, we constantly look out for them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
This issue we go back to the basics, the timeless truths of building a resilient marriage in God. Revisit some practical handles to invest into your marriage and bring out the best of it – p30. Closer to the hearts of many husbands and fathers – how do we fulfill the God-given role to be the leader, lover and provider of our families? One man shares his journey on p38. In our Real-Life Miracle section, Sandy Lim shares how God’s grace restored her and her children from her failed marriage – p44. Many times we have to let God deal with the issues within us to ensure that under the power of the Holy Spirit, we will grow to become the person whom He has created us to be. And that those closest to us can be inspired and also transformed by the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, we have to work to be the best spouse or family member to bring out the best in the people around us. Remember, you are not alone. When the going gets tough, call out to God. It is our privilege as God’s children to call out to Him. Jeremiah 33:3 says: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Church, I urge you to exercise this privilege – p22. As you flip through the pages, I pray that the stories and reallife encounters will touch your heart and life in a personal way. Enjoy the read and share them with your loved ones!
Senior pastor message 13
The vibrant atmosphere was palpable. You could feel the excitement in the air once you stepped into the Sanctuary. Join Daniel Koh, as he speaks to those involved in the True Colors Easter musical, which welcomed close to 13,000 people from Apr 17 to 19, 2014!
The Sanctuary was packed to the brim in trueblue Trinitarian tradition, and the audience was treated to a musical extravaganza revealing the true meaning of Easter. Husband and wife team dance
“It’s my first time attending an Easter musical. I thoroughly enjoyed the songs and drama. I felt that the message was very clear and powerful and I finally understood what Easter is all about. I have asked my friend to invite me to Trinity’s next presentation.” – Sophia Liu, visitor
“From this musical, I learnt we shouldn’t take things for granted, and that we should always cherish those around us, especially our friends and family. The singing was really great and the drama was fantastic. I will continue to go for such events.” – Casper Ong, visitor
Many were touched by the presentation and went down to the altars to be prayed for. Close to 300 people made a decision for Christ.
“I invited my Filipino excolleague, Eilily, to True Colors by sending her the video invitation. It attracted her and she came. She was so touched that she teared up during the show. When I asked her if she would like to accept Jesus into her life, she said, ‘Yes!’ Now, she is happily connected to a carecell.” – Grace Hee, South district “I spoke to a lady who responded to the altar call who said, ‘I don’t know why I walked out. I usually won’t respond, or even allow people to talk to me. It’s just not me. But I just felt like crying and somehow came out to pray.’ When I explained to her that she had experienced God’s love and received Him into her life, she beamed with joy! It was indeed the power of God’s presence!” – Mey Chan, West district
Mr S A Tan himself
“The scene of Jesus carrying the cross left an impression on my friend Sooling. She wondered why He would sacrifice His life when He did no wrong. When my friend and I asked if she wanted to respond to the altar call, she agreed. At the altar, God’s love overwhelmed her and tears of joy streamed down her cheeks uncontrollably. Now she knows that she no longer walks alone. Jesus is with her.” – Charmaine Thiang, North district 15
All hands on deck! Trinitarians young and old got involved by inviting their loved ones to experience God’s love at True Colors.
“I invited my friend, Alex to True Colors. He stopped going to church a few years ago but accepted my invitation. He shared that he was impacted by the presentation and learnt that God will always be there for us with outstretched arms if anything goes wrong. I asked him if he wanted to receive Christ back into his life and he agreed!” – Avery Tan, 13, IGNYTE
“I’ve been trying to invite my baby-sitter and her family to Trinity’s events over the last few years, but they hadn’t been able to come. This Easter, I invited them again, and my baby-sitter’s two sons Edmund, 14 and Adrian, 13 came. Both of them were touched by God’s love that day, and decided to accept Jesus. When I saw their joy after accepting Jesus, I was overjoyed too.
“I’ve been trying to reach out and invite my friend, Jia Min for service and Campus ministry events since last year. She came but was hesitant about receiving Jesus into her life. During the True Colors presentation, she was very touched and eventually turned to me and asked if I would accompany her down to the altar to accept Jesus!” – Amanda Ng, Campus
The following Monday, when I met their mother again, she shared with me that both boys had been reading the Bible the whole of Sunday, and even brought their Bible to school on Monday! They are now connected to our youth ministry and enjoy their time here.” – Chew Shin Jye, West district “I invited my friend Sean for True Colors and he was reluctant at first, but he later asked if our other friend, Kane could also come. So, I invited Kane as well and they both came. After the presentation they both responded to the altar call. I believe only God can present such opportunities to us where all these things get tied in nicely.” – Brandon Loke, 15, IGNYTE
“Since the start of 2013, I began reaching out to my roommate with hopes to invite her to church. However we lost touch when I went overseas for a period of time. Little did I expect that another friend had invited her to True Colors! Not only did she receive salvation, she was also connected to my carecell! Indeed, God’s ways are higher than our ways.” – Giselle Goh, Campus “Our carecell stepped out in faith to reach out and invite our loved ones to True Colors. And over 35 people came and heard about God’s love!” – Richie Choo, South district
FUN FIGURES BEHIND TRUE COLORS
23 264 12 songs costumes wigs 22
Highest number of costume changes for one person:
Fastest costume change for one person:
Weight of the cross:
Time taken to reconfigure the tomb:
bottles of make-up removal cream
Age of oldest and youngest cast member:
50+ and 13
The Cast and Crew Reveal their True Colors
What compelled over 200 amateur cast and crew to commit to weeks of practices, grueling dance routines, lines of emotionally-draining dialogue, a dislocated shoulder, sore voices and turning up for rehearsals despite just being hospitalized? Not for fame or fortune. Instead, they served faithfully (many unseen) so that the lost can receive Jesus at the revelation of God’s love. production including a scene I did 14 years ago. I consulted my wife and we both felt that I should participate. Plus, the thought of teaming up with Alfred again excited me.
Alan Sim Happily married to his wife of 14 years, Alan and Sally have three young children. A Trinitarian for two decades, Alan has participated in several Trinitarian productions, including Black and White and his very first, Life the Musical almost 18 years ago! What prompted you to participate in this year’s Easter production? Pastor Victor texted me about Trinity putting together a
How was reprising your role as a “modern Jesus” different 14 years later? As a father of three now, I felt the heart of our Heavenly Father resonating clearly in my heart. With each note, with each word, I felt that I was singing to the prodigal sons and daughters to return home. What challenges did you face? I kept asking myself if I was portraying Jesus sufficiently. The range of emotions in the song I had to portray was demanding! To prepare myself, I re-read the gospels and prayed. I stayed close to God and engaged Him. I knew that if I was going to play Jesus, I had to know Him more.
Also, my children fell ill one by one. I myself was warded for a three-day “staycation” at the hospital for intestinal infection. During the actual presentation, my throat was infected and I was coughing badly. My wife pumped me with honey, and the cast and crew handed me lozenges and herbal tea. It was a miracle that I could still sing! All I can say is that God was in control. This was probably the roughest Easter we’ve had, but we knew we’d see a great harvest and God showed Himself faithful! It’s very satisfying to see so many people coming to God. That made everything worth it!
Chen Siew Jin A pharmacist who used to have to work on weekends and late into the evenings on weekdays, Siew Jin is grateful God has blessed her with a new job that allows her more time to serve in church events.
What gave you the most joy from being part of the production? Seeing the altar full of people responding to God is overwhelming. Trinitarians had been praying hard and actively inviting their loved ones, and the production team had sacrificed so much sleep, sweat and tears. Seeing God use all that to bear fruit was just incredible. Will you continue participating in such productions? Definitely! Working closely with so many talented, dedicated people, who share a heart to glorify God, is a precious experience. I’ve fond memories of little things, like sharing a bottle of honey, or doing vocal warm-ups along corridors. I also loved praying together, because the Holy Spirit would just come and fill the place so tangibly. Through these productions, God allows me to partner with Him to bring salvation and new hope to people. What a great privilege!
Tan Ying Shi The civil servant and Trinitarian of 12 years has participated in at least nine Trinity productions, including
The Inn, The King and I, and Once Upon a Star. Ying Shi believes that one of the best ways of celebrating Easter and Christmas is getting involved in a production! What was challenging about any of the four dances that you performed? The Korean ballad requires one to act and think like the characters in the song. As one who dances more to words than rhythm and beat, it was a different experience as I didn’t understand the lyrics of the song and couldn’t sing the words. I had to also depend on my male partner, Johnnie, and strike a balance between letting my body rest on his arm and using my own core muscles for balance. Will you continue to participate in such productions? If God is willing, I would. I love what we can create. It is also a great way to worship God, celebrate Easters and Christmases and speak to an audience about God. Through it all, you learn more about yourself, about people and about God.
up... the platform needs to be re-programmed…” The softspoken software engineer is very much the “fix-it” guy both at work and backstage. A Trinitarian since 2007, Gerard is from the West district and is married with a two-year-old daughter. Was it challenging juggling work, family and the production? It was, and my wife and I had to really manage our time well. I had NSmen-training for a week in March, and my wife’s missions trip coincided that same week. I had to take my daughter to the first technical run! But thank God for a fantastic stage team that came together well to pick up my slack. I loved watching the cast and crew pray during the altar call of each presentation. It showed me that every one of us has our heart in the right place. You seemed unruffled despite of the many demands made of you. What keeps you calm and collected? Salvation is the work of God! I knew deep inside that even if there were major problems and we were incompetent in some areas, if we worked faithfully in partnership with God, He will fill our gaps. That knowledge kept me calm.
Gerard Setho “Gerard, I need this to be raised…can we have the lights
Easter bunnies? Easter eggs? Are they real? Our Children’s Ministry set out to quiz our children on what they think is the real story behind Easter. June Teh reports on this event that saw the coming of 966 children, with 299 children giving their lives to the Lord.
ver the years, Easter has been propagandised with chocolate eggs and cute bunnies for commercial purposes. Due to this, how many of our children actually understand the real meaning of Easter?
touched him through the crowd. The skit brought across a point so real that we serve a God of miracles and power. The children caught onto the gist of the sharing and understood that the God of them is real and powerful.
“Though it required my commitment, time and effort, while concurrently studying for my university exams, I am thankful to have been able to sow into the lives of the children with the gifts God has given me,” he said.
During our Children’s Ministry’s Easter event What’s Real?, a message was shared on the authenticity of Christ through various findings such as the mention of Jesus in the modern-day encyclopaedias and how the methodology of era differentiation, A.D (After Christ’s Death) is acknowledged worldwide and still in use today.
However, the children were not the only ones blessed by the event.
Jayne, one of the helpers at the event shared that it was heart-warming to see children as young as four years old wanting to know more about Easter.
I saw how the children fixed their attention on the cast as the cast performed a skit of how Jesus healed the bleeding woman instantly when she 20
Irene, a Children’s Ministry teacher shared how she was impacted by the atmosphere during the alter call and how she was touched to see how the children were fully immersed in the presence of God during worship. Andrew, a first-time committee and cast member for a Trinity event, was greatly blessed by the event.
Out of 966 children who came for What’s Real?, an astounding 299 children gave their lives to Jesus. Praise God! “It made me realize that God can minister to anyone, regardless of age,” she said.
“It was my first time to Trinity. I learnt that Jesus loves us and cares about us and we can always count on Him. I want to continue to come to Trinity!” - Lee Ying Tong, 10
“My favorite part was hearing the stories that Easter bunnies are a myth. I learnt that I can turn to God even if I have sinned.” - Evelyn Phua, 8
“I enjoyed the show. It taught me that Easter is about Jesus and Easter bunnies and eggs are not real.” - Toby Panhans, 6
“I learnt that Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead after three days. And He is alive today!” - Elissa Goh, 5
“This was my first time to a Discoveryland event. I liked everything about the event!” - Hin Zong Xuan, 6
> The callerâ€™s privilege
R’S PRIVILEGE by Pastor Dominic Yeo
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do
not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
> The caller’s privilege
Prayer is one of the greatest ways to encounter God.
believe all of us have heard the phrase ‘membership has its privileges’. When the queue at the bank is horrendously long and you happen to be a member of Privilege Banking, you immediately bypass the queue, with your banking needs served immediately. Privilege is powerful when you exercise it. Bully a child at the playground and you will hear them cry, “I am going to tell my Daddy!” And when Daddy shows up, the child wastes no time in lodging his complaint, ensuring Daddy hears them and acts on their behalf. Privilege is yours by relationship. As God’s children, God invites us to be a caller - to call unto Him and make full use of our privileges. 24
The Book of Jeremiah is set in the time when the nation of Israel was in captivity. Then, Jeremiah was a prophet to Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. And his message to Judah to repent of their sins and wickedness often fell on deaf ears. Already a slave to the Assyrians, Judah lost hope and vision. Adding to the pain of their suffering, they were conquered and enslaved again by the Babylonians that were a new rising power against the Assyrians. Every glimmer of hope seemed eliminated. The Israelites had lost their freedom through captivity and lost all vision for their future. When all hope seemed gone for Judah, as Jeremiah stood in the prison courtyard and everything around him was bleak and in despair, a word came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, “Call to me and
I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Prayer is one of the greatest ways to encounter God. When we pray, we come into His presence and align ourselves with Him and experience His purpose – God’s assignment for our lives. And Jeremiah experienced this when the word of God came to Him, inviting him to call, seek and press on in prayer. Prayer is to Call to God The word ‘call’ may sound rather weak or tame in English. However, when God used the word ‘call’, he meant the Hebrew word qara, which means to summon, proclaim or cry with great passion. Jeremiah was standing in the courtyard, looking all around
and wondering how Israel had come to that state. Looking down from heaven, God tells Jeremiah, “qara to me.” Many times, we think of God as the caller and we as the called. But in this context, we are the caller and God is the called. He gives us the privilege of calling out to Him in prayer. Many of us might think to ourselves, “Is God a servant, that we call upon Him and summon His presence like a genie in a bottle?” Definitely not. God is not a cosmic bellhop - He doesn’t immediately show up to meet our needs just because we pressed a button. However God says to qara to Him – to summon Him with all our might, emotions and passions. Prayer is our privilege to call to Him and look to Him alone. There is a place for silent prayer but in times of suffering and hopelessness, God wants us to call out to God for help and deliverance. Visit a delivery ward and you will hear the screams of mothers as the contractions take place. When there is great pain, God tells us to CRY OUT, to SHOUT. Many times we wonder why we do not receive. But how many times do we realize that we do not receive because we do not ask? (James 4:2) When my daughter needs something from me, she asks. She calls me. She doesn’t keep silent. Prayer is a Certainty… …of God’s Receipt When we call to Him, we have the assurance that God answers.
The Hebrew word for ‘answer’ is anah, which means to bear witness, to testify and to grant. When we cry out to God in prayer, God bears witness to all that we cry out to Him. It’s a certainty that He hears our cries and acknowledges our petitions. Have you been in a situation when you needed help and you called up customer service only to be put on hold and eventually dropped off from the connection?
“God says to qara to Him – to summon him with all our might, emotions and passions.” Our prayers do not get stored in God’s voicemail machine waiting to be downloaded only when He is available. His word promises us in Jeremiah 29:12-13, that when we call to Him, He will listen and when we seek Him, we will surely find Him. God gives us His guarantee. He will never fail you and He is never too busy for you. Even if you feel far away from Him, God hears your prayers. He is not angry with you, and neither does He ignore you. In fact the nation of Judah was in sin, yet God told Jeremiah
to call out to Him for their deliverance. …of God’s Action ’Tell’, in Hebrew is nagad, meaning to reveal, manifest, make known or give evidence for. When we call out to God, there is the certainty of God’s receipt and His action. When God answers our calls, He also acts upon it and brings manifestation to it, giving evidence that He hears and answers to what we call out for. It is important that we, the Church, learn to take hold of this privilege of crying out to God if we expect greater things to happen in the Kingdom of God. For when we do so, we can be sure that God will answer and make what we pray for come to pass – subjected to His will. But this privilege is only powerful when we exercise it. The sad reality is we, the Church, often do not use this privilege of calling upon Him. We hold back in fear of failure or apathy in life. Imagine if each one of us waves our “privilege call card” and exercises it in our lives, families and communities. What greatness would be unleashed in this world!
Name: P Expiry ETER JAMES : UNLIM ITED C REDIT 25
> The caller’s privilege
Prayer has Consequences …of impact and influence ‘Great’, in Hebrew is gadol, describing things as being exceedingly and extremely rich and prominent. This means that, in accordance with our prayers, God will manifest His power and reveal things that are God-sized – things only God can do! When God first created the sun and the moon, the Bible records it as two great lights (Genesis 1:16). The same Hebrew word gadol was used here. Even though Israel’s plight was about to go from bad to worse, God gave Israel a certainty that if they qara to Him, He will anah and nagad in great measures - gadol. You might be in great trouble and require a most marvelous deliverance. Call upon God and let Him reveal to you great and immeasurable things. … of breakthrough ‘Unsearchable’, in Hebrew is batsar, meaning ‘inaccessible’, ‘impenetrable’ or ‘impossible’. When God told Jeremiah to pray for the nation of Israel to be free, it was a picture that was totally unimaginable for them. Pray for freedom? How can it ever happen? Rebuild Jerusalem? How would that even be possible? But that was exactly what God told Jeremiah and Israel to do. It was inaccessible, impenetrable, impossible or even unfathomable. But no matter how ridiculous it sounds, God can and will do
it. Many of us may face the same situations in our lives. We may not be incarcerated in a physical prison, but we may find ourselves enslaved as prisoners in a spiritual, economic or emotional prison. You may have lost sight of your future and lost hope in life, and possibly even lost your faith in God. But God says to you today, “Qara to me and I will answer and show you great and unsearchable things.” Exercise your privilege and qara to God today! In Jeremiah 33:6-9, there were four amazing breakthroughs that I believe can happen for you as well. 1
Restoration of Prosperity In verse 6, God says Israel will enjoy abundant peace and security. The word ‘peace’ in Hebrew is shalom which means completeness, prosperity, health and peace from war. Israel could not comprehend the shalom of God but that’s exactly what God wanted to restore to them. Like the nation of Israel, abundant prosperity and peace can come into our lives. And when that happens, we will experience life more abundantly! (John 10:10)
2 Restoration of Freedom In verse 7, God says that He will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and He will rebuild
them as they were before. Some of us are incarcerated in a prison of sorts, whether it’s a sinful habit or a spiritual bondage, call out to God and have your freedom restored in Him! 3 Restoration of Spiritual Position In verse 8, God says He will cleanse [Israel] from all the sin they have committed against [Him] and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against [Him]. Let God wash away every condemnation and rebuild your spiritual walk with Him. 4 Restoration of Position of Honor In verse 9, God says that the city of Judah and Israel will then bring Him praise and honor before all nations on earth. God can restore that which was lost. When we call upon Him, God reinstates and establishes us, placing us back to where we fell from. Pastor Dominic Yeo is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Centre. Listen to this and other sermons at: www.trinity.net/ onlineresources/ sermons
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
Encounter God at Church Prayer Meetings! Wednesday Jul 2 . Aug 6 . Sep 3 . Oct 1 . Nov 5 . Dec 3 8pm Trinity@Paya Lebar, Level 4, Chapel
“Life is short. Have an affair.” This is the tag-line for the latest online dating website targeted at married couples who are looking to cheat on their spouses. Sounds ridiculous? But this is the world we live in now. Divorce rates have been shooting up and warped ideologies have been invading the institution of marriage. Hollywood actress, Gwyneth Paltrow, used the term “conscious uncoupling” as the reason for her divorce with singer husband, Chris Martin, citing it as a new concept of separation which can bring “spiritual wholeness” to both parties. Everyday, we are bombarded with such thoughts and if we do not guard our marriages, we will buy in to these ideas that dilute the marriage covenant. It’s time we go back to basics to revisit what is essential for Christian marriages to become resilient against challenges. In Singapore, according to the statistics of marriages and divorces, in 2012 alone, there were about 28,000 marriages but at the same time, there were close to 7,000 divorces. There is a great need to invest in our marriages, fill up love tanks, and understand our roles in a marriage covenant.
No head banging needed â€“ Just an open heart to put godly truths into practice. Are you ready? Read on.
How Much have you Invested in your Marriage?
Great Marriage Reads
The Husband as a Lover, Leader and Provider
Do you Speak my Love Language?
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU
INVESTED IN YOUR
MARRIAGE? To avoid spiritual bankruptcy in your marriage, it’s key to start investing now. Here’s how seemingly ‘small’ things can save you big in the long run. By Iris Delgado
sk any couple who has survived financial bankruptcy, and you’re likely to hear how the process can wreak havoc on all areas of their life. Few things put a strain on a marriage as much as when a bank account is depleted. Yet countless couples fail to realize the same principle applies in the spiritual realm. A marriage will not survive spiritual bankruptcy unless the couple starts depositing quality investments into the relationship. When you attempt to strengthen your marriage, however, realize you will likely face opposition. Satan 30
delights in tormenting Christian marriage by stealing faith and joy. Marriages without the practice of spiritual warfare are at great risk. To bolster against the attacks, make these 10 investments in your covenant to spark the fires of faithfulness for a happy marriage! INVEST in speaking truth and making right confessions
Be transparent. Don’t pretend. Be honest. The secret here is to do it in love, even if your spouse gets angry. When you speak the truth, you have nothing to hide. God always honors
List en up Sex Talk Each couple’s physical relationship is unique. Some couples couldn’t imagine a sexual encounter without music and candlelight. Others prefer silence and the cloak of darkness. For some people, exhaustion makes an evening rendezvous impractical; they prefer morning get-togethers. For others, even the thought of a morning sexual encounter is laughable. Preferred frequency of sex is also highly variable. Instead of taking your cues from Hollywood or from other couples, why not develop your own sexual style. Experiment. Explore new avenues of sexual expression. And above all, communicate. Talk openly, vulnerably, specifically, and regularly about your sexual relationship. We have observed a direct correlation between a couple’s level of sexual communication and their level of sexual fulfillment. (An excerpt from Fit To Be Tied by Bill & Lynne Hybels, 1997)
and rewards truth. Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speak truly, dealing truly, living truly] (Ephesians 4:15, AMP, emphasis added). We make the choice of either speaking creatively or destructively, positively or negatively, in doubt or in faith. Our choice will determine the measure by which God will answer our prayers. A negative confession will hinder a person from receiving the blessing. Making a right choice, holding on to it, and confessing your faith will cause “the power that works in us” to do tremendously and abundantly above anything we can ask or imagine (see Ephesians 3:20). The key here is the power that we have operating in us. You may be a novice, but when you speak truth and confess God’s Word, the power of God in you will equip you as a roaring lion against the attacks of the enemy.
INVEST in listening
Not listening is a major complaint among discouraged couples. The lack of attention belittles your partner. Some couples stay busy watching TV or working on their computers while their spouses are speaking to them. A constant lack of focused listening will cause a spouse to opt not to communicate about important things. The art of listening is learned; you have to purposefully pause from your own activity and thoughts to intently listen. I’ve heard many divorced people confess that the reason they fell into temptation was because someone other than their spouse was willing to listen. These people had no one with whom to share intimate feelings. Conversation is considered one of the top needs of a woman. She may be waving the red flags furiously but if the spouse is looking in the opposite direction,
Same sa but dif fe me rent
It’s ok to be different from your spouse. You can still enhance your shared values and synergize your marriage! Agree to Disagree Discuss candidly how both want to talk about it if the matter arises. Don’t publicly undermine or despise each other if there is disagreement. Accentuate common shared values Regularly affirm common beliefs Experience life together Go on vacations, watch movies, play games etc. together. Share your perspectives and insights with one another. (Adapted from Dim Sum for the Family by John Ng, 2009)
then eventually love walks away. Listening and good communication will also set the pace for a good sexual relationship. INVEST in praying together Prayer will be your most fruitful investment. Prayerlessness is like allowing spiritual parasites to eat away at your relationship. Communicate in the Spirit with your abba Father. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your friend and teacher. The practice of prayer must be a requirement for every Christian home. Without it, all the windows 32
and doors are open for the thief to come in: Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41, NKJV) Your personal growth depends on prayer. A healthy body needs food, and a healthy spirit needs prayer. In God’s presence the battles are won. Prayer creates a thankful spirit, and a thankful spirit brings joy into a marriage. INVEST in giving God the glory
Learn to give God the glory (exaltation, credit) for all the big and little things in your
life. Glorify Him because He is your Creator and Lord of all. When you give God glory, it brings Him pleasure. You and your spouse are literally saying: “God, we give you all the honor and all the glory. We exalt your magnificence and awesome splendor. Hallowed (sanctified, respected) be your name.” Go ahead and amaze yourself by glorifying God. He will be more than delighted to bless you and your home. Glorifying God also opens the door for appreciation and thanksgiving, whether your baskets are full or almost empty.
INVEST in communicating
The lack of communication was named as the top marital-relationship problem in two surveys I did, one on Facebook and one during a marriage seminar. The ability to interact in conversation about any subject is the fundamental principle of marriage. Communication isn’t always verbal though. Attitudes are expressed by a frown, a shrug, a smile; and these can be powerful. Yet without communication, there can be no wellbeing in a marriage. Many experts confirm that the lack of communication and understanding will create a rift that will eventually affect every other aspect of a marital relationship. Communicating must happen consistently and with understanding. Gutlevel conversations are necessary and must be open and honest. Your emotions must be made known to your spouse in such a way that he or she understands what you mean. Many times, keeping your feeling inward after a negative episode will cause animosity and bitterness.
INVEST in making time for each other and sharing interests
Plan for times of refreshing and enjoyment. Making time for each other communicates love and desire. Too much work and no play will eventually cause friction and arguments. Don’t allow busyness and boredom to settle in. The bustle of life will never disappear, but an unattended marriage could. Show interest in the things you both enjoy. Whether it’s dancing, playing golf, going to a concert, watching sports or cooking, do it together or allow each other to enjoy it. Husbands, enjoy her collections, her decorations, her outfits, her taste in art, her body. The key here is to support each other and enjoy doing things together.
voiced her displeasure. You take a major step in personal growth when you love your spouse more than you love yourself. INVEST in changing a bad habit
In his book, Invisible Imprint, Richard D Dobbins writes: “As long as a person can tolerate being the way they are they are not likely to change… Until the pain of remaining the same hurts more than the pain of changing, people prefer to remain the same.” Action is necessary to break a bad habit. The more we practice something, the better we get at it, and the more we do it.
If fishing, for example, is not your preference, then don’t complain if your spouse goes fishing. But the next time do something you both enjoy. The man who enjoys fishing and does it all the time while ignoring his wife, is acting selfishly and inconsiderately, especially if she has already
Don’t just read about it. - Is there a bad habit that you need to replace with a good habit?
How forg iv are you? ing
I forgive my spouse/My spouse forgives me: always sometimes seldom never When my spouse makes me angry, I: Shout back Pick up a knife Say, “I love you.” Keep silent (Source: Lonely Husbands, Lonely Wives by Dennis Rainey, 1989)
A bad habit becomes an instant reaction to negative situations. Anger, for example, instead of finding a solution, lashes out with defenses that cannot be justified by God’s Word. Bad habits produce bad decisions. To break an addiction, it will be necessary to take action, get help, go after the root, yank it out and make a decision to stop taking the drug of anger, lying, controlling, overspending or whatever it is. Your marriage will grow stronger every time you defeat a bad habit and replace it with a good habit. INVEST in forgiving
“Try to hold this simple truth in mind: Yesterday is gone. No matter what happened then, it’s over. Tomorrow may never come, so the present may be all we have,” writes John Marks Templeton in his book Discovering the 34
Your marriage will grow stronger every time you defeat a bad habit and replace it with a good habit. Laws of Life. Taking control of your thought life rather than seeing yourself as a victim will heal you of unforgiveness. When we forgive, we release those who hurt us. Unforgiveness is an attitude that constantly invades a person’s mind with thoughts such as: “Don’t come near me.” “I can’t stand you.” “You hurt me too much.” “I would rather see you dead.” I’ve been there. I wanted to see my father dead many times because of the abuse I experienced as a child. I chose to forgive my father when I understood the meaning of John 20:23: If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained (AMP, emphasis added). Once I made the decision to forgive, I was set free. The memories didn’t disappear, but the sting and hatred dissipated with time. Make
a powerful investment in your marriage: forgive! Go to an altar and leave your baggage there. Have someone pray for you. Be set free. INVEST in believing in God
If you’re praying for an unbelieving spouse, don’t give up. Continue loving your spouse and hating his or her sin. Keep thanking God for his or her salvation. Spiritual warfare is tenacious. You should never give up. Faith is always based on the promises of God, never on natural considerations. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by the natural conditions, we will never see a miracle. Faith is your assurance that God cares for you and your situation and He will do something about it. He needs your active faith and confidence as well as your obedience. Whether your unbelieving spouse decides
to walk out or allows God to transform his or her life, God will sustain you as you continue standing with unwavering faith. In the midst of a hellhole you can make it!
ays Pract ical Wount er c you can Enether God Tog Attend talks, seminars and religious events Go for talks and events e.g. LEAD courses together and discuss what you’ve learnt. Keep good company with great values Surround yourselves with good, positive people, like your carecell, who will affirm the good values in your life. (Adapted from Dim Sum for the Family by John Ng, 2009)
Have you ever wondered why Christ spent so much time in prayer? It wasn’t that He lacked anything. It was simply that through prayer, the faith that was in Him became activated, alive, and irresistible. And in this prayer-born faith, He went out to heal the sick, hush the storm, feed the multitude and show Himself master of all that was in the world. He showed that the greatest function of prayer is to create faith so we may be strong and gloriously overcome the world! INVEST in self-examining
Erwin W Lutzer says: “When something goes wrong in your marriage, rather than think that your spouse is at fault, try taking responsibility yourself. Your first thought should be: ‘I am at fault!’ One partner usually bears greater responsibility for the failure of the marriage, but seldom is one partner wholly responsible. A root cause in marital strife is that we seldom want to ‘own our own stuff’, as the saying goes. Search your own soul to grasp your part in the conflict.”
To ‘examine’ is to, “inspect, test, investigate and study something.” We have a hard time examining our own motives and actions. The blame game comes first. I find that humility is one of the greatest attributes we can possess. A prideful spirit will not allow people to truly examine themselves. When strife enters your marriage, ask the Holy Spirit to shine His flashlight into your heart to test if there is anything you need to own up to. Even King David practiced this: Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart (Psalms 26:2, NASB) Don’t wait until your health and youth start fading away to begin investing in your marriage. It’s crucial that you do it as early and as often as possible. Start today!
Iris Delgado is founder and president of Crowned With Purpose Ministries. She has a doctorate in theology and counselling and travels worldwide ministering with her husband, John. She is the author of Satan, You Can’t Have My Children and several other books. Reprinted with permission from Charisma, February 2012. Copyright Charisma Media, USA. All rights reserved. www. charismamag.com
e g a i r r a M t a Gre eads R
Guard Your Heart
by Gary and Barbara Rosberg In a world where marriages are constantly under attack, we need to be prepared to guard against the different temptations this world poses to us. Whether you are dating, newlyweds or even married for many years, this book and its companion workbook, Guarding Love, will equip you with the skills to weatherproof your marriage for different seasons and temptations you will face as a couple. 36
Fall in Love, Stay in Love by William F. Harley Jr.
It may be easy for us to fall in love, but how do we stay in love? Dr Willard Harleyâ€™s Fall in Love, Stay in Love takes us on a journey of discovering how to continuously fall in love with your partner through meeting the needs of one another. In the bookâ€™s 17 sessions, learn practical steps and plans on how to build and keep the fire burning in your relationship. Experience a romantic, passionate and lifelong love for each other!
The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage by Tim and Joy Downs
When we put two less-thanperfect individuals together, there is bound to be conflicts. And how we understand and handle these conflicts will either grow or end our relationships. The Seven Conflicts helps you to see conflicts as opportunities for growth and intimacy, rather than obstacles and problems. Identify the underlying causes of your rifts and deal with conflicts the way God intended us to.
His Brain, Her Brain: How Divinely Designed Differences Can Strengthen Your Marriage by Walt and Barb Larimore
His Brain, Her Brain shows us how our differences as males and females were divinely wired by God and when understood, can make marriages stronger and happier. Combining the latest brain research and over three decades of marriage and counseling, Drs Walt and Barb Larimore help us understand the unique design of the male and female brain and how they result in the different things that we do.
Trading Places: The Best Move You’ll Ever Make in Your Marriage by Les and Leslie Parrott
It isn’t easy to understand our partners from our point of views - we are different! That’s why we need to ‘trade places’ and put ourselves in their shoes. Drs Les and Leslie Parrott shows us how to trade places through a three-stepstrategy that will revolutionize your marriage to be more intimate and fulfilling than ever before. You won’t be stepping on each other’s toes anymore! Also, check out the free online assessment that will help you be more inclined to ‘trade places’ in your marriage. 37
The Husband as a Leader, Lover and Provider God designed man to be the leader, lover and provider of his wife and his family. Seems like a tall order, but with God as the center of your marriage, it is very doable. Trinity’s Board member Allen Loh and his wife, Pastor Wai Ling, speak candidly about how God has helped him fulfill these roles and blessed their family in the process. Miranda Zhang reports. 1
It isn’t easy to maintain the leadership role in your household. How do you do it? Allen: I remind myself that I don’t know the answers to everything. So, I pray daily for God’s wisdom in leading and that in all things, I hope to be a good testimony. I believe in setting a good example by not just talking but walking the talk. When it comes to making decisions, I take time to talk it through with my wife and family, and pray about it before
arriving at any decision. It’s important for me to arrive at a decision that is best for the family - be it school, career or general life choices. And once the decision is made, we move on. 2
How do you be a leader when you have a capable wife who’s a leader in her own right? A: Personally, I find that part of being a leader, at work, home or ministry, is to recognize the gifts and strengths of others, and
to release them in these gifts and strengths. Wai Ling has her strengths and weaknesses and I’ve mine too. It isn’t about who can be a better leader but how we can be more effective together as a team, complimenting each other. I thank God for my wife. I admire her for her obedience to God in stepping into His anointing to touch lives. I’m very proud of her and consider her as an equal, valuing her views and inputs. We communicate a lot and I take time to listen and comprehend her thoughts and feelings. The keys to our close relationship are communication, trust and respect. Pastor Wai Ling: Allen and I consult each other on everything. We don’t contradict each other in front of the children and extended family. He trusts and gives me the autonomy to run the household and make decisions regarding the
children and finances. I tend to over-analyze things and Allen would give me the space to talk things through with him. He’d patiently sit through long sessions listening to all my thoughts and emotions even if it meant hearing them again and again. He’d even take the initiative to pray with me. Based on his sensing, Allen would finally lead me to the best decision and the direction to take. When I still have ‘what if’s’ in my head, his assuring words would nudge me to move forward.
comfort zone. When we first got married, I was still thinking like a single person. I’m an introvert and I keep my thoughts to myself. I remember that when we came back from our honeymoon, we were in the cab ride home from the airport and the whole time, I stared out the window of the cab with my back facing her, not saying a single word. My wife got upset and rightly so! So I had to learn to be more conscious and to look out for her. Eventually, it became 2nd nature but it takes time.
If you are not the romantic sort, is it difficult to be a lover? A: What is the romantic sort? I don’t buy my wife gifts, flowers or chocolates most of the time. Being a lover is about making my wife happy and meeting her needs. More importantly, it’s to know and speak my wife’s love language even if it means stepping out of my
PWL: Allen speaks into my love language of doing acts of service. Despite feeling tired from a long day of work, he’d help out in whatever way he can. He’s a romantic at heart. Every day, he texts me things like “I love you very much”, “I miss you already”, “I’m so thankful that you married me” etc. He’d say to the children, “Your mother is the most beautiful woman
Allen is a very loving husband... I’m very secure in his love for me. This security propels me to be more confident of who I am and who I can be. His love liberates me to serve God more. in the world.” He enjoys time alone with me and would ask, “Can we do something by ourselves tonight or this weekend?” We go for long walks, tea, supper, movies, golf, short holidays, etc. Allen is a very loving husband. He meets my needs and accepts me completely the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m very secure in his love for me. This security propels me to be more confident of who I am and who I can be. His love liberates me to serve God more. 4
Actions speak louder than words. Agree? A: Yes and no. Both actions and words are needed. However, it’s not about
the actions or words themselves. It’s about the sincerity that comes from within. My wife is very easy to please and not a demanding person. As long as I’m sincere to her, she’s happy. My wife lets me do what I want as long as I get her permission. We are all good! Haha! 5
How do you balance being a provider and spending quality time with your family? A: We know that we have a finite number of hours per day to do some many things. When I’m at work, I concentrate on work but during the day, I do send texts to my wife and kids to see how they are. They’re still on my mind
when I’m at work. When I’m done with the work day, I’m done. If there’s critical work to be done after office hours, I’ll do it after they go to bed. When I’m with them, I treasure those times and give them as much attention as I can. I make a conscious effort not to look at my mobile phone when I’m with them. When our family goes out, I leave my phone at home. It’s more important to be connected with my family than my mobile phone. Of course as a young couple we work hard to provide for the family like all Singaporeans. There was one occasion when I was working at home on my laptop and my daughter came up to up to me to show me a drawing she did. I told her to wait as I was busy. When I was done with my work, I took
a look at her drawing of my wife and three kids playing at the beach. I asked her where Daddy was and she replied, “Daddy’s working”. That broke me. So I learnt that while work and providing materially for the family is important, being together and spending time with the family is even more important. I started to re-prioritize my life to be there for my wife and children first before work. Of course, it’s important to provide for the family. But what’s more important are contentment and stewardship. There’ll always not be enough. But in chasing for more there’ll be opportunity cost. What’s it going to cost? Wai Ling and I made a decision to have a single income family a long time ago. We’ve no regrets as one of us can be consistently there for the children especially in their growing up years. Each family has to decide on their own. There’s no right or wrong to it.
I truly believe what we have is God-given. We have to be good stewards of all that God has given us, including the material provision. To be honest, we’re not as well off as we were years ago. But we’ve no lack. As a couple, my wife and I manage our finances together. By God’s grace, as we give, God also blesses us with more. As parents, we teach our children how to steward their money. They have learnt at a young age how to manage their pocket money, tithe and save money for what they want. We, as parents, want to provide for them but I think the best provision we can do for them is to help them steward the finances they have now. PWL: I’m glad that we made the decision to have a single income family. I’m able to be around for the children especially in their growing up years. We couldn’t afford a lot of holidays or extras for a long period but we’ve
no regrets. Allen used to travel a lot for business which wasn’t easy for our family. But whenever he’s around, he’d spend a lot of time with us to make up for the lost time. He also tries not to bring work home. In terms of providing for us, he goes beyond the children’s education even to help them start out in their working lives and starting their own families. He also provides an environment for me to pursue further education, hobbies, working with children with special needs and ministry. Together we hope to consolidate our resources and work toward helping the underprivileged in the near future. 6
How has your marriage and family grown through the years as you manage these roles as a leader, lover and provider? A: Over the years, my wife has grown to be more supportive and understanding. She’d find ways for me to succeed in my different roles by prompting me. I remember one thing that Pastor Naomi Dowdy said about marriage: Don’t expect your spouse to change, you change for your spouse. That is wisdom. The main thing is to listen to each other, be mindful of the warning signs and do something about it. We thank God for His hand in our lives.
Do you speak my language
Learn to show love to your spouse the way your spouse can receive it best. Find out what love language your spouse speaks today!
Words of Affirmation Physical Touch Feels loved by encouraging words or compliments that are either spoken or written. E.g. Saying, â€œYou are the most beautiful person in the world!
Feels loved by connecting nonverbally. E.g. Hugging, holding hands, sitting close and even pleasant facial expressions.
QUALITY TIME Feels loved by spending time together doing things with undivided attention. E.g. Going on walks, doing things together, sitting or talking at home.
Do you speak my language?
ACTS OF SERVICE Feels loved by helping with something. A small action goes a long way. E.g. Assisting with the household chores or running an errand.
RECEIVING GIFTS Feels loved by receiving gifts. Doesnâ€™t matter how big or small. Itâ€™s the thought that counts. E.g. Giving small tokens or time, and remembering special occasions. Referenced from The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
> Real-life MIRACLE
Every one of us goes through turmoil in our lives, but where is God during these times? Sandy Lim shares with our writer, Lye Huixian, about how God showed up for her and turned her life around.
Iâ€™m a mother of three lovely children. Some time back, I lived the life of a contented housewife. My husband provided for the family and cared for us. One day, I discovered that he had been having an affair for a few years. I was devastated. My heart shattered. Many thoughts ran through my mind. Why did he have an affair? What did I do wrong? What was I going to do? Should I divorce him? And if I did, how would I support my three daughters? Would I lose custody of them? 44
I was at a loss when crisis hit my marriage. My inlaws told me to bear with it because my children were still young. After all, he still took care of this family and bore the financial burden for the family, such as the housing wages, food for the family and salary of our domestic helper. However, though I tried to overlook the betrayal, things could not remain the same. My husband and I quarreled frequently and our arguments got louder and louder, disturbing our neighbors with the constant noise.
My three daughters were then between the ages of two to eight and they were traumatized by our quarrels. My eldest daughter Crystal, who was old enough to know what was going on, hid in our wardrobe every time we quarreled and would not come out. I was pained by the trauma that she had to go through and this added to my frustration and helplessness. I wished I could take away the entire trauma that my daughters had to go through. Day after day, the frustration built up, and my husband and I lived like enemies under the same roof. The turning point came when my daughters asked if I had ever considered leaving him. Then, it struck me. This kind of living had to stop. By this time, he had kept his affair for almost 8 years. So, at the end of 2012, I filed for a divorce and by 2013, I officially severed ties with my husband. I assumed life would be better after the divorce. But it wasn’t. I felt really down constantly and worried about the smallest matters. My relationship with my three
daughters suffered greatly. Crystal became more rebellious, frequently locking herself in her room and ignoring my phone calls. And every time she spoke to me, we would only end up quarreling. I was at a loss of what to do. During this time, my youngest daughter Amethyst’s classmate’s mother, Sue called to ask me whether Amethyst could join her daughter for Trinity’s Sunday service. I allowed Amethyst to join them several times, but I did not join them as I came from a family of another religion. I did not know much about Christianity and did not like the idea of going to church. But Sue persevered in inviting me to church. Not long after that, she asked me and my daughters to go for Trinity’s Easter presentation, The Tabernacle. I agreed as I had nothing else to do that day. When I went for the presentation with my daughters, I came to know Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. I was overwhelmed and touched. In my heart, I desired such love, so I
I assumed life would be better after the divorce. But it wasn’t. 45
> Real-life MIRACLE
From three daughters. Sandy with her
responded by going to the front for prayer. But I hadn’t made the decision for Christ yet. The following week, Sue brought us to church again. My older daughters, Crystal and Sapphire attended the IGNYTE service, while Amethyst attended the Preteens program. During the service, I got to know more about Jesus. I was immensely touched by God’s love for me and decided to invite Jesus into my life. Upon returning home, I wanted to tell my daughters about my decision, while they too were excited to share something with me. 46
tal. ethyst and Crys left: Sapphire, Am
We then realized that all four of us had accepted Christ on that very same day! They shared with me that they had been attending Sunday school with their friends, but always did not dare to accept Christ for fear of my objections. But now that I had agreed to go to church with them, they finally mustered the courage to make the decision. It was amazing how God had arranged for us to make the decision on the same day! God’s blessings and care for my family did not end there. He blessed me with a supportive carecell and the love of its members greatly inspired me. Through seeing how they helped others in
difficulties, my perspectives started to change. I learnt not to worry so much and to see things in a positive light. Whenever I had problems, they would listen to me. They also would give me advice on how to get along with my daughters, which I also learnt from observing their own relationships with their children. Furthermore, I attended a parenting course in Trinity that taught me how to better parent my children. My attitude toward my daughters started to change; I became less shorttempered with them and started nagging less at them. Over the last year, my relationship with Crystal
improved tremendously. She, too, became less short-tempered and started sharing her life with me. We grew closer and would even go out and spend time together during the weekends. And when I felt there were things she could not share with me, I would encourage her to pray and trust God. After Crystal started attending IGNYTE, I have seen her grow to become more mature, responsible and disciplined. She also became more serious with her school work.
As for myself, Godâ€™s love for me helped me see myself in a different light. When I live in His love, I no longer live in insecurities or am haunted by feelings of inadequacies, for He has surrounded me with people who support me and is the provider of all my needs. Because of His love, I am able to release forgiveness toward my ex-husband and no longer harbor any grudges against him.
love from them and share this love with others who are in need. Their life of giving and sharing impacted me and changed my life.
Being in a community of Christian believers gave me the opportunity to receive
With joy, hope and love. Thank you Jesus!
I once lived a sheltered life and was totally defenseless when crisis struck. Now, God has transformed me and given me a new life â€“ a life full of zest and joy. But most of all, He has given me the capacity to live life the way it should be.
Godâ€™s blessings and care for my family did not end there. He blessed me with a supportive carecell and the love of its members greatly inspired me.
MISSIONs AT A GLANCE The first quarter of 2014 marked yet another exciting season in Trinity’s Missions.
Statistics for Jan - Mar 2014 GO – Missions Impact Teams (MITs)
2 18 2 141 -
Countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia) Trinitarians
GO – Training and Consultation Trips
Countries (Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam)
1,022 18 48
Destitute Children In Cambodia, India and Thailand Sponsored Ministries Supported
One highlight of the first quarter of 2014 was the Pastors’ Conference. More than 300 delegates from 20 nations gathered in Trinity for the three-day conference. Many of the delegates testified of how they had been blessed and empowered to bring their churches and ministries to the next level. (Read more about it on p52) At our annual Missions Convention, Trinitarians embraced God’s passionate heartbeat to pray, give and go so that the gospel can continue to be spread to the nations. We thank God for the children who have completed the program with us. And we continue to sponsor 1,022 destitute children in Cambodia, India and Thailand. We also sponsored other ministries including church planting works. In March, 18 Trinitarians went to Bangladesh and Cambodia to share the love of God. This was the first time that Trinity sent a Missions Impact Team to Bangladesh. The team ministered in four slum schools, to campus students. Their ministry, which was held in a place that was located far away from the capital city, greatly encouraged the people as they rarely received foreign guests. The team to Cambodia ministered to the children and youth that Trinity is sponsoring. Trinity’s pastors also went on training and consultation trips to equip churches in Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, United States and Vietnam. The people were strengthened in faith and equipped to implement the carecells.
MISSIONS REPORT FOR JAN TO MAR
Be a Partner in Prayer for Trinity Missions! Pray for: • Partnering Churches and Organizations - to have powerful encounters with God in their services and carecells • Future of Trinity’s Missions – for the birthing of new plans and strategies by the Spirit of God. • Our Sponsored Children - pray especially for the opening of two children’s homes in Thailand in July: The Champions@Maerim and The Champions@Chiangmai City. Pray for: • The children to transition well into the home and the school • The children to have God encounters and embrace good values and disciplines • Our ambassadors to have God’s wisdom and favor
MISSIONS CONVENTION 2014 At this year’s Missions Convention held from Mar 6 to 9, Trinitarians were gripped by the picture of the needs of the world and God’s mandate to go to the nations and meet these needs. Miranda Zhang reports.
aving been to many Missions Conventions ever since I joined Trinity, this year’s convention, held from Mar 6 to 9, was a little different for me. I had joined a Missions Impact Team (MIT) to Haryana last year and our team was involved in presenting the items we performed during our missions trip at the Missions Rally. Our team was thoroughly impressed with the dedication of all the volunteers and church workers who made this event possible. While observing all these people coming together to help, a thought popped into my head: Why do all these people give of their time, efforts and prayers to this event year-inyear-out?
The MIT that went to Haryana, India performing their missions trip item at our Missions Rally
Then, it dawned on me that it’s about more than this convention. As this year’s theme so clearly puts it – The World has Needs. God has a mandate. Will you do your part? 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, 1.78 people die every second and churches die without leadership renewal. And the list goes on. Our world’s needs are evident and growing. And as God’s called people, do we just stand by and watch another disaster go by, or do we rise up to what God has called us to do? Rev Gary Rucci and Rev Terry Hoggard, our guest speakers
Our senior pastor with guest speakers Rev Terry Hoggard (left) and Rev Gary Rucci (right)
for the event, challenged Trinitarians to step up and step out to serve in the missions field. To stop, and consider the needs of our world. Then, go to the nations with what they have and allow God to use and multiply them for great exploits in His Kingdom. With the powerful missional message still stirring the hearts of Trinitarians, a total of S$9,695,204.73 in faith promises was committed for missions. But there is much more to be done. Faced with the imminent needs of our world, will we do our part for God?
From Mar 6 to 8, over 300 delegates from 20 nations gathered for the three-day conference held at Trinity@Paya Lebar. The delegates were challenged to build a lasting and impactful Church for Godâ€™s Kingdom and many of them testified how they were blessed by the sessions.
“This is my first time here and I was inspired and blessed by the exemplary model, values, vision and leadership of Trinity.” – Pastor Paominlen Khongthang, India “Through this conference, I’ve picked up useful handles on how to manage change strategically in the areas of building the church and leadership, and to see the opportunities within the challenges.” – Chen, China “God has been speaking to us and challenging us in many areas during the conference. The greatest mindset change I got is for the local church to have a heart for transformation and practices going, growing and giving, then it can become a church of impact.” – Anthony Warren, UK
“This conference has taught me steps to make healthy changes in my church and ministry and as the senior pastor, the importance of looking for a successor.” – Pastor Roy Smit, USA “It’s my first time here and it’s been a blessing to me. I learnt the importance of building a strong team, as well as educating children and youth about God’s mission.” – Pastor Naoko Uchimura, Japan “This conference gave me a refreshment and strong motivation to pursue God and His purposes and the quality of shifting from success to significance.” – Pastor Stoyan Georgiev, Bulgaria “It has been very impactful to us. Our team of eight learnt outstanding principles of church growth which will help the body of Christ in our country.” – Pastor Philip Kimaro, Tanzania
Trinitarians do their Part The first three months of a year are often really busy, yet a group of 18 Trinitarians took time out from Mar 25 to 31, 2014 to answer God’s call to Bangladesh and Cambodia. Ivan Koh reports.
Needs: Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries where less than 1% of the population is Christian. On top of the social unrest caused by political instability, corruption and severe overpopulation, the people struggle with intense poverty and famine that has been made worse by climate change. As the sea levels rise, the increased flooding of salt water in the low-lying slum areas is eroding the soil. Many Bangladeshis are also losing their homes to rising storm surges. As a result, a lot of them resort to selling themselves and their children into bonded servitude for survival.
Setting Foot in
Bangladesh In order to make a difference, 9 Trinitarians from different walks of life came together to prepare for their MIT trip to Bangladesh from Mar 25 to 31, 2014. It was Trinity’s first MIT trip to Bangladesh, and we thank God for more than 1,900 children, youths and adults impacted as a result. Preparations began weeks before when the team planned and rehearsed for their intended ministry to the
children, campus students and adults. Despite the busy schedules, the team took time to pray and ask God for His purpose to be fulfilled in Bangladesh. And God’s hand was seen in many instances during their trip. One of the highlights of the trip was travelling out north from Dhaka to the city of Bhaluka to minister to the village people. “The journey was a good 3.5 hours long, and our van’s air-
(Source: CIA World Factbook)
The team conducting childen’s ministry in a school in Bhaluka. 54
conditioning had broken down,” recalls team member Yew Cheong, “But we experienced a breakthrough in the ministry there with seven salvations. Also, we later found out that the pastors were encouraged as we were one of the rare missions teams to make the trip to the outskirts to minister.” The team also visited the slum schools, performed skits and songs as well as conducted games for the children. “Even though we didn’t understand the language, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as we worshipped with clapping and singing in the few Bangladeshi words that we knew,” team member, Eugene shares. Being impacted by his first MIT trip, he shares, “It was the most meaningful trip of my life! Everything was a totally new experience for me and I had the chance to see God’s love for the people of Bangladesh. It was indeed a blessing to minister to the children and to be part of the team.”
Besides the young children in the slum schools, the team also ministered to campus students at the Student Fellowship Centre through skits and prayers. The team had set out to bless the people in Bangladesh but took home life lessons that deeply enriched their own spiritual walk. Team member Kia Hua commented that he was personally impacted by how the local church planters were willing to offer so much to God despite their level of skills or training and the obstacles they faced. Another member, Michelle told of how the experience drew her closer to God because of her regular time alone with Him. “As I drew closer to God, I found God’s heartbeat for missions pulsating within me,” she shares.
Children’s ministry in the slum school
All in all, it was a powerful first MIT trip to Bangladesh and is certainly the beginning of more to come.
Raising a New Generation in Needs: Following the traumatic Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia has a very young population with about 0.4% being Christian. One of the nation’s largest problems is its lack of education and basic infrastructure, especially in rural areas. Cambodia has one of the lowest annual incomes in the world and ranks as the second most corrupt nation in Asia – discouraging foreign investment and foreign aid. (Source: CIA World Factbook)
Cambodia At the same time the team set out to Bangladesh, a team of 9 Trinitarians also embarked for Cambodia from Mar 25 to 31, 2014, and touched almost 500 lives with 134 decisions made for Christ. The team ministered to the youths and children with the aim to raise a new generation of hope for that land. Despite many of the members having reservations on taking on a role that they were unfamiliar with, they still stepped up and allowed God to use them. “When I was assigned to be the journalist in the team, I really struggled because English has been my weakest subject in school. But God reminded me not to look within
myself but to rely on Him, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness,” shares team member Bee Lian. “Planning the three-day children’s program was scary as we didn’t have much time or experience,” Team member, Jennifer recalls, “Pulling up our socks, we gave our best and God pieced everything together.” As the team laid down their concerns and trusted in God, He brought about many breakthroughs in their ministry. They successfully conducted a three-day children’s program and organized sports days to bless the local children. For the youths, they planned a threeday youth program to enrich
their walk with God and impart practical tips on growing their relationship with God. “A boy at one of the events came up to me and hugged me for a long time,” recalls Jeanette fondly about how they were glad to be able to make a difference in these children’s lives. Fellow team mate Celeste also shares a similar story, “After the sports day event, I received an unexpected hug from the
children. It was a warm feeling and I felt loved and appreciated as though it was from God!” Team member Alec remarked, “I am blessed because I see how God uses someone like me that has no experience in Children and Youth ministries to bless them!” Many in the team are already looking forward to their next missions trip where they can see God’s hand and miracles working powerfully again! 57
TRAINING AND CONSULTATION The famous adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” best describes Trinity’s approach to empowering churches. For the first quarter of 2014, our pastors travelled to Bulgaria, SriLanka, Taiwan, Vietnam and USA and have seen tremendous impact and fruitfulness as they offer time, expertise and resources to train and raise leaders to effectively grow and lead their churches. Up to 95 churches were impacted and close to 700 pastors and leaders were equipped through these Training and Consultation trips! By Ivan Koh
Pastor Wendy conducting Carecell Leaders Training (CCLT) in Charlotte, USA
Pastor Larry and Pastor Frank conducting CCLT in Orlando, USA 58
Pastor Margaret in Charlotte, USA
Pastor Steven teaching CCLT in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sectional Leaders Training in Bulgaria
Pastor Christina conducting Spiritual Parenting Training (SPT) in Vietnam
Pastor Jeffrey conducting SPT in Vietnam
Spirit-Empowered Believers Praying for Second Pentecostal Outpouring Our Senior Pastor, Dominic Yeo joined a group of Christian leaders at Empowered 21, a global movement to worship, pray and plan for a second Pentecost. Charisma’s Christ Mitchell reports on the event.
ould the world experience a second Pentecost? That’s the hope of a global movement called Empowered 21, with organizers setting their sights on Jerusalem, where the first Pentecost took place. Recently, Christian leaders came from around the world to Jerusalem to worship, pray and plan for what they call E21. “It’s amazing to see how many wonderful leaders God has raised up to partner with this goal of seeing every individual touched by a real encounter with the Holy Spirit by the year 2033. It’s stunning,” Bill Johnson, from Bethel Church, said. 60
Oral Roberts University President Billy Wilson, director of E21, spoke at a recent event for global movement. “Tonight we stand on history and we come to worship the King of Jerusalem who is our Lord Jesus,” Wilson said. “Our big, big vision is bigger than all of us. It comes out of Habakkuk 2:14 that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. And the big vision is that every person on earth will have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit by Pentecost 2033,” he continued.
The first Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts took place on Mount Zion in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. During the next Pentecost, May 24, 2015, organizers of E21 are inviting Christians from around the world to pray for a fresh Pentecost on a new generation. “You know in Acts chapter 1:8 Jesus said after the Holy Spirit comes on you, you’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem first, Judea, sort of where we are right now, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. So the theme of the conference is to the ends of the earth,” Wilson explained. “We’re calling on believers from around the world to converge back on Jerusalem to celebrate the Holy Spirit, to look at what it means to
be Spirit-filled in the 21st century and to pray for a new generation to experience God,” Wilson said. As they prepare to pass the spiritual baton to a new generation, some leaders say they already see God at work. “Thank God E21 is doing transformation among the leaders in India. Unity has been the key,” Al Hollingsworth said. “I see Empowered 21 as the Body coming together again. So important. So necessary,” Dr Paul Dhinakaran predicted. “When brothers dwell together in unity, the Lord commands a blessing. And I believe the blessing of the end time is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
The leaders represent the spectrum of charismatic and Pentecostal groups. “It’s really end time stuff. I mean to have all these streams come together in the mountain of the Lord is, you know, something we dreamed of,” Cindy Jacobs said. Their next dream is Pentecost 2015. “To experience a fresh Pentecost in our generation will be life changing so your life will never be the same if you come,” Wilson promised. Reprinted with permission from Charisma, January 2014. Copyright Charisma Media, USA. All rights reserved. www.charismamag.com
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“Rev Dominic’s personal life, his leadership and the growth of Trinity Christian Centre will attest to it. You will find the teaching practical, workable, and inspiring; you will be impacted by the spirit of faith and boldness and discover a new level of anointing to see the fulfillment of your Godgiven potential.” Rev Ong Sek Leang Senior Pastor, Metro Tabernacle, Kuala Lumpur General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Malaysia
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Potential to Fulfillment God’s Design for Your Life by Rev Dominic Yeo
An excerpt taken from Chapter 7:
he token of reminder not only seals the faith experience but it will also teach the next generation that faith in God can be realized.
As the worship segment ended, the pastor went up to the podium and declared that it was time to give to God. You will not believe it, but a pandemonium broke out.
Some years ago, I went to Guatemala to attend a conference on intercession.
People cheered and whistled. The music started and I witnessed hundreds of
ushers coming out with what seemed like a huge sack that stretched from one end of the stage to the other. As soon as the worship began, people started coming forward to give to the Lord. I was taken aback by the way people were giving not only their money but shoes, rings, watches, and even clothing! Now, you have to understand that I was merely attending this conference and the money that I had with me was the cash advance that I had taken from my church for my stay in Guatemala. Hence, I was not thinking about making any offerings. All the while, I was telling God that the money that I had was not mine and that I had no intention of parting with it. As I got closer to the huge sack before me, I heard an internal voice telling me to empty all the money that I was carrying into the sack. A big debate went on in my head but before I could reach any conclusion, I found myself staring at a smiling usher. In a daze, I obeyed the Lord, taking every single note of the church money that I was carrying and putting it into the
sack. And then, as I turned around to return to my seat, God asked me to remove my shoes. Now, I was really starting to argue with God. I told Him that I needed my shoes to walk back to the hotel. But God was not interested in my shoes. Rather, it was what I had put into my shoes—more money. I have a habit of hiding money in my shoes, back pockets, shirt pockets, and any other place where I can hide cash, just in case I was pickpocketed. Out of obedience a second time, I emptied my shoes, shirt pocket and pants of all the money I had on me. All this time, I was wondering how I would get by the next few days. Yet, I still returned to my seat with joy in my heart. All of a sudden, the internal voice returned and I distinctly heard it resound inside me, “Son, open your wallet.” My immediate response was, “Lord, I emptied my wallet for you and there is nothing in there!” But the unmistakable voice of God urged me to look
into my wallet. Following the prompting, I opened my wallet, and I saw money in it! I instinctively reached into my shirt pocket, pants and shoes and found dollar notes in them as well! I experienced such a surge of faith that day, knowing that when I acted in pure obedience to His voice, I had broken into a new realm of miracles. Therefore, to seal my faith and to remind me that I can trust Him and take that extreme measure of faith, I kept a US$100 note from that conference to this day. It is a token of reminder for me, to help me remember my faith experience. To this day, whenever I am challenged in faith, I take out this note and remember His goodness and this wonderful miracle. It continues to inspire me to trust God for His miraculous provision, be it for my family, or for the church when I was involved in the church building program. Record your faith journeys or keep tokens, like photographs, to help seal and inspire your own faith walk.
Perspectives on Family What makes a family a family? Can a supposedly “broken” home still be considered a harmonious family unit exhibiting love and care? Care Community Services Society’s (CCSS) social worker, Chan Soon Onn shares his views.
As a social worker with CCSS, I have worked with individuals and what some may call ‘dysfunctional families.’ This term brings to mind negative images of families who are desperate and who have no way of helping themselves. This term also invokes thoughts of families which are breaking down and keep depending on help from either the government or from concerned members of the public.
husband had earlier planned to sell their flat and car which were both in arrears; that plan did not materialize because he was arrested and sent to prison.
Over the years, I have found this perspective of such families to be far from true. Instead, the perspective that I have discovered when I journey with many of my clients is one of resilience, grit and resourcefulness.
They had also borrowed huge sums of money from relatives and friends and were supposed to repay them every month. During the time when her husband was in prison, the arrears kept mounting and Mdm K was hounded constantly for repayments. She ended up renting out her entire flat and stayed with her in-laws just so that she could service the loan repayments. She took up a new job as an admin assistant to ensure that she could keep the family going.
Take the example of Mdm K, whom I got to know through her husband. The latter was imprisoned a second time for having consumed illicit drugs, and had only just been released. Because of her husband’s sudden incarceration, the family fell into huge financial debt as the
When I met her recently one day after her work, she had just sent her two children for tuition at a center known for helping children with dyslexia. I realized that evening that both her children were suffering from dyslexia, and that she had voluntarily signed them up for this extra tuition.
Not only was she the one who had to pay for the tuition, she was also the main person who had to fetch her children to and from the tuition center two to three times a week. In the course of our interaction, she never once expressed bitterness at her husband, nor did she engage in self-pity to earn her listener’s sympathy. Here was a family member who showed me what it means to be resilient even when the family was in transition. This was a woman who exhibited strength and resourcefulness, even when circumstances were highly unfavorable. There are more stories of such persons in our list of beneficiaries, who have soldiered on with courage and compassion for their family’s well-being and growth, despite facing various life challenges and stressors. The journey of life is not smooth-sailing all the time. There will be bumps and roadblocks along the way. When that happens, do we blame or grumble about the
people beside us for the unfavorable situation we are in, or do we tap on the resources (emotional, mental and spiritual) of our family unit to overcome the problem? When life transitions occur within the family, will you let yourself be battered by the flood of anxiety and stress that such transitions engender, or will you respond to it with a resilient character, trusting and hoping in God who will grant grace and mercy in every situation? No family is perfect. No individual too is perfect. This is a statement that seems so clichéd, but it is a genuine reminder to us that our families and individual members are all vulnerable to life’s unwelcomed surprises. Crises and transitions may hit us hard, and leave us emotionally and mentally weak. When such events occur, may we learn not to see just the weaknesses or deficits of each other, but embrace the strengths and resources of each one in your family.
- Chan Soon Onn is a senior social worker with CCSS. As the Head of Care Family Services, he leads a department that provides casework and counseling services to children, teens, families and ex-offenders. He has 8 years of experience as a social worker.
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TCA College’s School of Counseling is proud to announce the launch of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (MAPC) in January 2015! What is the MAPC? The Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (MAPC) is the third postgraduate degree offered by the School of Counseling at TCA College. The MAPC is for graduates who plan to pursue careers in church-related vocations and who desire to develop clinical counseling skills that will enhance their ministry as pastors, counselors in churches (full-time or para-counselors) or counseling professionals in Christian agencies and Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWO). This degree will also benefit those who desire to work as professional clinical counselors in the community, social service sector, agencies and institutions. How long does it take? The Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling program is designed as a part-time course that can be completed within 3-7 years. The
curriculum will be taught by the resident faculty from TCA College’s School of Counseling and School of Theology as well as adjunct faculty who are experts in their own fields. Does it meet the standards of Singapore Association for Counseling (SAC)? Graduates of the MAPC will meet the requirements of the Postgraduate Diploma in Counseling, a postgraduate professional counselor training recognized by the Singapore Association for Counseling, which includes a Practicum of 100 hours of counseling with supervision. (www.sac-counsel.org.sg) Who can register? And how? Interested applicants should be above 25 years old and have a Bachelor’s degree. Please call the Registrar’s Office at 6304 7602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our world is filled with grey areas. How does one live a life that’s set apart for God? 77 IGNYTERs tackled these muddy issues head on at our recent poly camp ‘Called!’ from Apr 7 to 10, 2014 at the Peacehaven campsite in Genting Highlands. Bro David Sashi finds out from some campers how they’ve been impacted by this camp.
“If anyone asked me how camp Called! was, I’d simply reply, ‘indescribable!’ Not because I’m too lazy to talk about it, but because of how much I learnt those four days spent on a cold mountaintop. It started off with a role in the camp committee, which was an amazing experience of hearing from God and trusting Him for what He wanted for the camp. And it ended off, with the most spot on, humbling, encouraging and downright fun four days of 2014 so far.
“I have gotten so much out of camp. It was truly an experience I’ve never felt before. Went into camp with much expectations. I had a heavy heart knowing that after camp, there will be changes that I may not be able to cope with. However, through camp, God assured me again and again that whatever He puts me through is for my own good and He will be with me every step of the way, there isn’t anything to fear. When God appoints, He anoints!” – Dorcas Keow, Temasek Poly
I hope that my fellow camp mates and I will remember that we are called by the Almighty one for His plans and purpose, and called to live a life that is worthy of being a follower of Christ.” – Andrew Ng, Nanyang Poly
“I had no intention to go for camp but after some persuasion from my friends and a really strong gut feeling, I decided to take a step of faith and attend. This is my first camp in Trinity. I didn’t really like to go for camp
because of previous bad camp experiences. Initially, I felt quite far away from God but on the first night, the pastors talked about letting go of sin. Then, I felt a tugging in my heart from God and I answered the altar call. Little did I know that this was just the first installment that God wanted to give me through this camp. On the second night, Pastor Melvin and Bro David opened the altars and I remember Bro David praying prophetically for me to trust in God more and also to break all the walls of distrust I had about God. I broke down and realized that I had been pushing God to a corner and not listening to Him, resulting in me making some bad decisions in my life. On the third day, I decided to open up to God fully and once again the altars were open. It was during this time that God started telling me the great plans that He had for me. Then, I realized that I had a call upon my life and I went up to answer the altar call. This camp has awakened my heart and I now have a
stronger direction on what to do with my life. I’ve also become a happier person. Many new friendships were forged in this camp and I’ve also decided to step forth and serve God whole heartedly.” – John Tim, Singapore Poly “I went to camp with many questions in mind, and an expectation of receiving answers from God. I received a vision from God previously, and strived to know the plan of seeing the vision come to pass. When I went to camp, I started asking God, ‘What am I supposed to do? How should I do this?’ I felt frustrated that I had this vision, but did not know what to do. However, during one of the services, God reminded me that I needed to first know the planner of the vision before the plan. I was really impacted by that, and realized that I was approaching the vision the wrong way. I’ve learnt that we have to first understand God’s heart and allow Him to guide us into fulfilling the vision.” – Odelia Lee, Ngee Ann Poly
“Being part of the camp committee has allowed me to grow stronger in my faith. Initially, I was actually granted a five-week overseas program by my school. Then, the opportunity came to be in the camp committee. I took the leap of faith and gave up the trip, which was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Never would I imagine how much I’ve grown from this camp. From learning to lose confidence in myself to gaining confidence in the Lord, to God’s voice being clearer than ever. I’m truly blessed by the camp! All in all, God never shortchanges and I know I am specially Called!” – Charmiane Joy Khor, Ngee Ann Poly
Confessions of a Social Me dia Addict By Isabel Ong
have come to a rather shocking realization: Facebook has become my best friend. Yes, in a world which refuses to let you have a good night’s sleep because of the incessant beeping of your iPhone or Blackberry, I am slightly ashamed to admit that I probably belong to the minority - people who enjoy being constantly updated on how my friends are doing, who recently got attached to whom, and the latest launches on ‘blog shops’ (online clothing stores). Keeping a blog for the past few years has also helped me chronicle major events in my life, and there are times I visit old blog posts just to see how much I have changed and grown. When I really think about how “well-connected” I am, I wonder what bearing it all has on my walk with God. The Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not put Facebook above the Lord your God.” Neither does the Bible state that the fruit of the Spirit is the number of followers you have on Twitter. 70
Hence, I can safely conclude that it is not morally wrong to tweet, nor sinful to read interesting blogs I stumble across. But for many in my generation, this is probably the dilemma we have to grapple with: is social media a help or a hindrance in Christian living? The erosion of our spiritual selves If there is any image I can liken social media to, I find that it pretty much resembles a grassy field filled with land mines. On the surface, things look happy and healthy, but place a foot in the wrong place and - “BOOM!” - a part of you goes missing. What I mean by this is that we tend to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to information that we never would have seen or read otherwise. For example, local citizen-journalism websites like STOMP usually contain articles on high-rise litter, inconsiderate smokers and the like, but there are times that more salacious “news” appears (and receives the most comments and views).
Trashy news-items may pique our interest, but that doesn’t mean we should let our minds be occupied with such information. So, while I love how easily accessible information is nowadays, I reckon it requires a lot more effort on our part to choose what we want to feed our minds with. What is infinitely more dangerous, though, is that our preoccupation with developing our online personas results in us eroding the development of our spiritual selves. A church friend admits that his quiet time with God has been hindered by his compelling need to see what others are up to on Facebook. Like many of us, he spends more time socializing online than actually spending time with God. And I have come to realize that when we prize how others see us more than how God sees us, it is inevitable that we neglect our spiritual selves. My pastor recognizes this danger well enough, commenting that an overreliance on social media
may lead us to want glory for ourselves rather than Jesus. It will be hard to right our balance when we fall, and I urge you to be careful with how you navigate this treacherous and unpredictable sea of information. The real testimony: how human we all are Severe warnings aside, I do see the value in utilizing social media, mainly because the best way we can ever share about Jesus is through our lives. I scour YouTube for songs by Christian bands and singers, and I follow brilliant writers like C S Lewis, Joyce Meyer and Max Lucado on Twitter so I can re-tweet meaningful quotes from time to time. In a way, you are sharing your personal testimony to a wider audience now – and how wonderful it is to share how human and
how forgiven we all are to our friends and strangers in the virtual world. My pastor opines that culturally relevant social media tools can be used to “redeem culture”. He tells me, “Most things are amoral in this world in that they can be used for good or for evil, and I strive to use culturally relevant tools for the purposes of God.” And I wholeheartedly agree with his views. With Facebook and Twitter, I can now keep in touch with my church mates every day of the week and pray with them if they are facing personal struggles or difficulties. I post YouTube videos of Christian songs that have moved me, and was glad to hear that a colleague (who is a prebeliever) felt touched by these songs too.
The heart of the matter On whether it is a help or a hindrance, then, I have to say that social media is both a help and a hindrance. Social media tools keep people connected to church and expand our ability to minister to others in need. At the same time, many of us may unconsciously privilege self-glory and self-satisfaction and neglect the nurture of our spiritual beings. For me (and for all of you reading this), a more relevant question remains: who will you follow today? Isabel Ong is a self-professed Starbucks coffee junkie who loves immersing herself in a good book. She recently hit the two-year mark as a working adult, and while shocked at how fast the years have flown by, is immensely grateful and thankful for all that God has blessed her with. This article was first published in IMPACT MAGAZINE, Volume 36, No 1, Feb & Mar 2012.
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“Are Guardian Angels Real?” By Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman
uideposts, a US-based Christian magazine offers a free e-book entitled, Angel Sightings: 7 Inspirational Stories About Everyday Angels on Earth. The Victorian postcard of a guardian angel watching over children crossing a narrow bridge is popular. We all know that angels exist from the Bible, such as Gabriel and Michael. But the question here is: Are “guardian angels” real? So, are there angels specially assigned to stay by our sides and guard us from harm? Is there one angel for every human being on this earth? Before we are able to answer this tough question, let me walk you through a short research.
Guardian Angels in Other Belief Systems Belief in guardian angels or in a parallel idea is common in many cultures apart from Christianity. For instance, Zoroastrians believe in the fravishis (a guardian spirit), the Babylonians in kari-bu (winged half-beast, half-human creatures who guard temples, home and buildings) and the Romans in genii (plural of genie; a guiding spirit).
Many Shamanic cultures believe in a “guardian spirit”. Shamanism teaches that guardian spirits protect individuals, tribes and clans, and provides magical or shamanic power. These guardian spirits can take animal forms and are believed to live literally within the body. In India, at the entrance of many villages, one can see a grove of deities. They are believed to be guardian spirits that ward off evil and protect the villages and their devotees. It is also possible to choose a deity as a god of one’s own liking, who then becomes a kind of guardian angel. Guardian Angels and Catholicism The idea of guardian angels is prominent in Catholicism. Catholics even observe a feast called the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Some of the church fathers, such as St Basil the Great, Origen, St Jerome, and St Thomas Aquinas and some Popes such as Pius XI and John XXII, agreed, based on Matthew 18:11, that there are guardian angels. Catholicism teaches that every person, regardless of race, age, religion, gender or virtue, has a guardian angel. The dignity of one’s guardian angel depends on the dignity of the person. For example, ordinary people have angels of lower ranks, whereas priests, bishops and kings have nobler angels. In fact, people are not the only beneficiaries of guardian angels. Everything in heaven and in the natural world has guardian angels. It is said that St Francis de Sales and St Paul of the Cross, would silently address the guardian angels of their congregations before preaching.
uestions answered 73
Focus According to lore, the guardian angel of Padre Pio, an Italian priest, helped him to understand foreign languages he had not learned and to have telepathic knowledge of secrets others had.
Therefore, the Scriptures rarely refer to specific guardian angels. The historic Christian Creeds – the Nicene and the Apostles’ – too do not contain an article saying, “I believe in guardian angels.”
Guardian Angels in Scripture While Scripture does frequently mention the existence of angels, its references to guardian angels are few.
Conclusion From the above, three conclusions emerge.
Psalm 91:11-13 says that God will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands. While teaching not to despise children, Jesus says in Matthew 18:11, “For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
2) As the Scriptures are almost fully silent about the idea of guardian angels, we can conclude that the idea of guardian angels in regard to the Christian walk is not the key emphasis of our faith as Christians.
In Acts 12:11, when freed by an angel from the prison, Peter says, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
3) As the historic Church Creeds do not contain an article of faith regarding guardian angels, we can also conclude that the Church Council thought of it as unimportant and inconsequential.
Hebrews 1:14 states, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
From these three reasons, while we are unable to build a theology or doctrine upon the idea of guardian angels, we can be certain angels do exist. What truly matters is not whether we have a specially assigned 24/7 angel stationed by our side, rather it’s to acknowledge that angels are real and that it is God who sends His angels to guide, protect, deliver and save different ones.
“God will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands.” 74
1) As many non-Christian belief systems hold a similar idea of the guardian angel, this idea does not seem to represent a distinct trait of the Christian belief.
Rather than seeking and looking for our guardian angel, the Bible invites us to focus our eyes on God and His promises: The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8); The LORD will go before you; the God of Israel will be your rear guard (Isaiah 52:12); and I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, the ultimate guardian we have is God Himself for He watches over us at all times.
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Group shot with the regular volunteers.
A HEART OF CHEER
By June Teh
Youâ€™ll hear their laughter before you see them. Meet Erolyn and Adeline, two of a group of volunteers behind the nicely-decorated baskets for Christmas gifts and Ang Pows for Jesus, as well as the materials our children bring home each week. June Teh finds out why they do what they do with such joy and gusto.
What exactly do you do? Tell us more! Erolyn: We decorate around 170 baskets for the Christmas gifts or Ang Pows for Jesus. For Cell Church Conference, we prepare the nametags for the delegates and all who are serving. Once every quarter, we segregate three months of consolidated children materials into their weekly themes and periodically meet to pack decision packs for events. Adeline: Currently, there are five of us. Three of them, in their mid-70s, help mainly with the Children’s Ministry materials. Sometimes we have to work through stacks and stacks of material, which can get quite overwhelming, so we talk and laugh and end up having fun while doing it. How did you start? A: I started back in the 1970s! It started with printing and folding church bulletins when Trinity services were held back in the Regional Language Centre (RELC). E: I started 10 years ago as a volunteer at the Cell Church Conference. Meeting others who took leave from their jobs to help out, I remember telling myself, “If they could do that, I – as a homemaker – should be able to do even more!”
Our dear Sis Wee, 86 and still serving strong! Any memorable experiences to share? E: There was this elderly lady who suffered from cancer. She would take a cab all the way from her home in the west to Trinity@ Paya Lebar to serve until her health failed her! Witnessing such devotion in serving God gave me a whole new meaning to what serving God was all about. Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” With this mind-set, I am always willing to serve in every way possible. A: The other volunteers are all living examples of faithful servants who hold a passionate heartbeat for God and have inspired me a lot. Erolyn possesses a big heart, always available to serve God and others. I look forward to bond with the people in this ministry and find great joy in serving God and blessing others with what I have to offer. I encourage everyone to join us in serving this ministry! Come serve with them!
Erolyn (left) and Adeline
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trinityâ€™s Contributed by: Prichelle Lim
S.U.M.O. (So U May Overcome) Contributed by: Jerlyn Koh
Trinity is a special place for Joshua and Cheryl, as this is where they met, fell in love, and now laid down their promise to marry each other! Our heartfelt congratulations to both of you!
Share your Trinity moments with us. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Contributed by: Joshua Teoh and Cheryl Choo 78
Share your Trinity moments with us. Send them to email@example.com
Sat, Aug 2 9am-4pm Trinity@Paya Lebar 247 Paya Lebar Road Everyone hopes for a marriage of a lifetime. Studies have shown that in marriage, a womanâ€™ s greatest need is love while a manâ€™s greatest need is respect. How do we meet these needs? Come and learn Biblical principles as well as practical handles to successfully enrich your marriage.