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ISSUE 04/2016

26

ENVISION THE UNSTOPPABLE CHURCH

54

ENVISION SILVER FORCE

66

HEARTBEAT CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN FREEDOM

WWW. T R IN I TY . S G

82

TOUGH QUESTIONS THE MAGI, THE READING, AND THEÂ STAR


CONGRESS 2017

Experience the fires of revival and a manifestation of signs, wonders, and miracles at WAGC 2017’s Power Rallies


POWER RALLIES March 29 to 31, 2017 Trinity Christian Centre Trinity@Paya Lebar 247 Paya Lebar Road Singapore 409045

8pm

Grace Assembly of God Grace 1 355 Tanglin Road Singapore 247960

ADMISSION IS FREE

POWER RALLY SPEAKERS

Rev Jason Frenn has held more than 75 international crusades around the world, allowing more than five million people to hear the Gospel. He also is a bestselling author, occasional speaker on the television show Hour of Power, and has been a guest voice for the Washington Post.

Rev Nathan Morris gave his life to Jesus in 2002 after a life-changing encounter. In 2006, he launched Shake The Nations Ministries (STN) and began to travel to the nations. In these crusades, numerous documented miracles took place with the blind, deaf and crippled all testifying to their healing.

Rev Samuel Rodriguez is the Senior Pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in California, USA. One of Charisma Magazine’s 40 People Who Radically Changed The World, he also serves as the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization.

WAGC DAY CONFERENCE Join us for a time of plenary sessions and workshops taught by anointed speakers from around the world. Find out more at https://ag.org.sg/wagc/


Family

Christmas

COM B IN E D S E RV I C ES

F O R AL L AG ES

...................................... ...................................... ......................................


A Trinitarian Tradition

Fri, Dec 30, 7.30 - 10pm Sat, Dec 31, 4 - 7pm Trinity@Paya Lebar

...............................................................

Let us give thanks and partake communion together as a family or carecell.


T U O K R C A O D N BL E L YOUR CAnt events in

! 7 1 0 2

orta p m i e s e h t for

START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT BY

PUTTING GOD FIRST!

JANUARY

First Prayer Meeting (Fri, Jan 6, 8pm)

STEP UP TO

REACH AND SERVE THE NATIONS!

THIS ONLY HAPPENS ONCE EVERY

THREE YEARS.

Combined Service for all ages. New Year’s Day Service (Sun, Jan 1, 10am)

MARCH

Missions Convention 2017 (Mar 3-5) WAGC 2017 (Mar 28-31)

JUNE

Family Camp 2017 (Jun 5-8) Get ready to be emboldened and empowered!


A Quarterly News Magazine by Trinity Christian Centre

Advisor

Contributing Writers

Designers

Pastor Dominic Yeo

Pastor Dominic Yeo Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman Project Rescue Spain Amy Lin Debbie McDaniel Ern Chuen Lai Kwek Wei Ren Mack Eng Mary Lee Meng Yun Matt Ray Stephen Altrogge Theodore Koh Vaneetha Rendall Risner

Oxygen Studio Designs Pte Ltd

Chief Editor

Pastor Janice Chng Editors

Diana Lim Jessie Chew Editorial Team

Carol Lim Carrie Lam Hannah Tan June Teh King Rachel Koh Zhiguo Daniel Lye Hui Xian Maryann Goh Miranda Zhang Nyon Yit An Rachel Lim Rebecca Vinod

37/04/2016 Printer and License number

Oxford Graphic Printers Pte Ltd L004/02/2016

Advertising Sales and Admin

Jessie Chew For Ad Sales Enquiries

Tel: 6304 7721 Email: jessiechew@trinity.sg

Contributing Photographers

IGNYTE Photography Team Campus Photography Team Fyon Chew Noelle Lim Pufferfish Studio Renatus Photography Twenty4Frames

Company registration number 197802911H License number L004/02/2016 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express written permission is prohibited. Opinions and views expressed does not necessarily constitute the official stand of the church.

MICA (P)

Mailing Address

Singapore Post Centre Post Office PO Box 616 Singapore 914021 Email

connect@trinity.sg


BRIGHTEN up your CHRISTMAS

GQPL

COLLECTIONS - Precious at All Times -

The Lord‘s Prayer, "Our Father” is the cornerstone of our prayer life and The Lord’s prayer is meticulously crafted on this candleholder. ‘The Light of Christ’ candleholder is a decorative and functional piece that has transformed The Lord's Prayer into a sensorial artifact and captured the essence of the prayer in total splendor. This masterfully crafted votive candleholder enkindles a prayerful life, following the light of Christ, walking from darkness into light. "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." - Psalm 119:130

Purchase for a good cause For every ‘Light of Christ’ Candleholder sold through Manna@Paya Lebar, S$50 will go towards Trinity Christian Centre’s building fund. IPOS Registered Design, design no. 30201500973W

‘The Light of Christ’ Candleholder W 75mm by H 75mm 24K Gold Plated, S$398 NETT LOC candleholder features the prayer, “Our Father” artist, Justin Seow Produced by The Singapore Mint

Available for order now at Manna Bookstore!


BOUQUET

T hank You To the Pastoral and Administrative team of Trinity Christian Centre,

To the staff of Trinity and CCSS, I want to thank every single one of you for your prayer support during my spine surgery in February after a freak accident in December 2015.

This is a small token of our gratitude and appreciation of your ministry during the bereavement of our father, the late Koh Tak Leng.

Dear Trinity Christian Centre, Thank you very much for the fruit basket to Roy Low when he was warded at Singapore General Hospital. God bless the church and all her endeavors. With heartfelt thanks,

Marilyn Low Pui Fun

Thank God for His healing touch. I am recovering rapidly day by day.

(Messages have been edited for clarity and length.)

All glory to God! Sincerely,

Katie Tan

Your prayers and visits each time he was hospitalized cheered him up and also built up his faith to press on in the Lord. Thank you, too, for conducting the memorial and funeral services. We are deeply touched and thank you all. Gratefully,

Sharon Koh & family


C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K


ENVISION

22

THE #JUBILEE50K CHALLENGE Blessing our nation, shining for Jesus

UP CLOSE 50 26 THE UNSTOPPABLE CHURCH Becoming God’s unstoppable people

REAL LIFE MIRACLES My Father’s Journey to Water Baptism

88 TRINITARIAN HERO Set Designers

FOCUS 34 GOD’S DREAMS ARE BETTER THAN MY DREAMS When letting go is the best thing you can do

54 SILVER FORCE Using a lifetime of experience for His glory

36 THE UNWELCOME GIFT OF WAITING Understanding that the journey is just as important as the destination

40 4 BIG DREAM KILLERS AND HOW TO STOP THEM Learning to silence the naysayers in your life

32 DREAMS DO COME TRUE! Discovering how to fulfill your heart’s desire

43 WHEN YOUR CHILD IS A PRODIGAL Trusting God’s dreams for your children

48 WHERE IS GOD DURING INFERTILITY? Seeing God’s glory in every situation

HEARTBEAT 56 MISSIONS AT A GLANCE An overview of Trinity’s missions outreach from Jan to Sep 2016

57 MISSIONS REPORT A highlight of Trinity’s missions efforts from Jul to Sep 2016

58 THANK YOU TRINITARIANS FOR GOING TO THE NATIONS! Missions trips that happened from Jul to Sep 2016

60 TRAINING AND CONSULTATION A look into a T&C trip with Pastor Jan Cheang


issue 04

62

70

MENTORING PASTORS An update from the M2 Network

CCSS My Wish This Christmas

2016

PULSE

TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED

82

The Magi, the Reading, and the Star: Is this Astrology or Matthew’s Universal Gospel?

72

CARNIVAL MANIA! A Children’s Day Special

74 PLUNGE DEEP IGNYTE Worship Concert 2016

76 A NIGHT WITH GURMIT SINGH Sharing about the relentless love of God

66 CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN FREEDOM Project Rescue

78 SELFLESS LOVE Chinese Ministry’s evangelistic event

80 MORNING PRAYER Starting the day right. Starting the day with God.

QUOTABLE QUOTES 92 MOVING FORWARD INTO A LASTING LEGACY

18 VISION MONTH 2016 Moving Forward into a Lasting Legacy


SENIOR PASTOR’S MESSAGE

s i H g Makin

s m a e r D a Reality 1 6


DEAR TRINITARIANS AND FRIENDS, 2016 has been an exciting year for Trinity. From The Big Move to the finale of the #Jubilee50K Challenge, I’m encouraged to see Trinitarians experience breakthroughs as they choose to look forward and move forward with the things of God. When we choose to align ourselves with God, we find that our thoughts become His thoughts and His dreams become our dreams. That’s why Psalm 37:4 exhorts us to “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” For some of us, God has deposited specific dreams into our hearts. Perhaps 2016 was the year where you waited anxiously for a dream to come true. As the weeks and months went by, the hope you’ve been holding on to looks a little less bright. Now it’s December and a new year will soon be upon us. You might be wondering whether it’s time to dream new dreams. After all, why bother when dreams don’t seem to come true?

people to do extraordinary things. That’s why He’s in the business of making dreams come true. What He needs from us is a willingness to let Him operate as He sees fit. When we choose to believe that He is all-powerful and equipped with the resources of heaven, we can live each day knowing that God will turn dreams into reality (pg 32). Trinitarians, God’s dreams and plans for us are far from over. From the Silver Force (pg 54) to starting new worship centers, God is calling us into greater levels of impact and influence. As you and I continue to take up the cause for Christ in our families, carecell, and school/work, know that we go as God’s unstoppable leaders because we are His unstoppable church (pg 26). It’s with this promise that we can continue moving forward to make a lasting impact for His glory, bringing light into dark situations and peace in the midst of turmoil. Continue to shine for Jesus. Blessed Christmas to you and your family. See you at Watchnight Service on December 31!

Trinitarians, God’s dreams and plans for us are far from over.”

God loves to make the impossible possible. He delights in using ordinary

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PULSE

VISION

B y Lye

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Huixian

6

201 H T N O M


“Should I encourage her to come?” I wondered to myself. Fifteen minutes before Vision Rally (September 23, 2016) started, my carecell member Aries texted to say that, after a long and difficult day at work, she had a sudden, acute abdominal pain and would not be coming to church.

A

s a new carecell leader, I didn’t want to come across as unsympathetic or to disregard her well-being. However, that night, I decided to encourage Aries to give her pain and tiredness to Jesus and to come for Vision Rally. To my surprise, Aries replied that she would come! Shortly after Aries stepped into the Sanctuary, Vision Rally started and our guest speaker, Reverend Dishan Wickramaratne, did something that I wasn’t expecting. Before starting his message, he asked, “Which of you among us has pain? Stand up and let’s pray for one another.”

Reverend Dishan called for those who had received healing to go on the stage. About 65 Trinitarians went forward to testify of the healing they had received just minutes ago! Among the healed was an elderly lady who had suffered a fall several months ago. Before Vision Rally, she needed a walking stick. Now, she was able to make her way up to the stage without it. Praise the Lord! There was a spring in her step, a new energy that filled her body and spirit. Reverend Dishan used this moment to teach us an important truth: There are no superstars in the Kingdom of God, only children.

When many rose to their feet, Reverend Dishan commented that we were a very “pain-full” church. Laughter filled the Sanctuary. Aries turned to me in surprise and jokingly asked if I had told him about her pain. As the congregation members came together in prayer, Aries’ abdominal pain disappeared! She repeatedly poked her abdomen but did not feel that debilitating pain that was there less than an hour ago. Her eyes lit up in amazement.

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PULSE

“I did not heal these people,” he shared, “You did! It was your prayers that ushered in the power of God! You and I are anointed by God to deliver His signs, wonders, and miracles. Do we believe that we can? So, let me ask you a few more questions. Which comes first: the obstacle or the miracle? The need or the provision? The problem or the solution? Nothing happens without God’s knowledge. God has planned a way for us, even though we might think that He has just woken up from the sound of our prayers.”

• When Jonah was thrown into the sea, wasn’t the big fish already there to save him from drowning? (Jonah 1:15-17)

• When Hagar laid Ishmael down in the desert, wasn’t the well already there to save Ishmael from dying of thirst? (Genesis 21:14-21) 2 0

• When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, wasn’t the sacrificial ram already in the thicket as Isaac’s replacement? (Genesis 22)

• When Elisha faced the armies of Aram, weren’t the chariots of fire already there to ensure victory? (2 Kings 6:15-17)

• When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fire, wasn’t the fourth man already in the furnace to protect them? (Daniel 3:17-18)

• When the disciples were asked to feed the 5,000, wasn’t the boy with five loaves and two fish already there to allow the miracle provision to happen? (Mark 6) Reverend Dishan had only one message for us that night: God has already provided the solution even before the “problem” arises. We just need to open our eyes to see the provision and miracles of God. Many


times, we fail to look up and see His provision because we are too busy looking down at our circumstances. Over Vision Weekend (September 2425, 2016), Reverend Dishan exhorted Trinitarians to see that we are God’s provision to millions who have yet to hear the Good News. “You are God’s man. You are God’s woman. And God has a plan for you! Have you ever wondered why God didn’t take you to heaven the moment you were saved? It’s because we still have things to do on earth! Will we choose to lift up our eyes and see the fields that are ripe for harvest (John 4:35)?”

I, too, am learning to trust God for His work in my carecell members’ lives, to believe boldly as I pray and commit our “problems” to our mighty Heavenly Father. I am no superstar, but God can still use me when I choose to open my eyes and see the provision He has already set in place for us. Thank God for the renewed vision this Vision Month! 

There are no superstars in the Kingdom of God, only children.”

How apt a message for Vision Rally and Vision Weekend as Trinitarians rose up to commit a total of SGD13,060,933.12 in Vision Faith Promises. From the Main Services to our children in DiscoveryLand, Trinitarians committed to leave a lasting legacy by trusting in God’s provision through the financial slow-down and the various circumstances in our lives. 2 1


ENVISION

TRINITARIANS, THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE #JUBILEE50K CHALLENGE! As you blessed and proclaimed, we have transformed our world during the Year of Jubilee with 39,148 social media posts! As we moved forward to become greater blessers, the #Jubilee50K Challenge concluded by Blessing Our Nation where we asked God to remind us of areas of our nation that we could thank Him for and then blessing someone serving in that area.

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Blessed by the public transport system in Singapore, Eunice Nah blessed a bus driver.

Blessed by the education system in Singapore, Jessica Soh blessed the principal and teachers in her son’s school.

Blessed by the clean environment in Singapore, Kew Yoong Sian blessed a cleaner in his neighborhood.

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ENVISION

Let’s continue to bless Singapore by keeping the nation in prayer

OUR FUTURE (JEREMIAH 29:11) OUR LEADERS (1 TIMOTHY 2:2) • Govern in righteousness

OUR PEOPLE (1 TIMOTHY 2:1) • Remain united and

maintain a posture of thanksgiving

• Experience God’s favor

• Love one another

• Enjoy good health

• Build strong families

For God to • Appoint a new generation

of leaders who will govern in righteousness

• Continue pouring His favor

over our nation

• Stir Singapore to be a

greater blessing to the nations

Now that all of the pebbles are back, here’s a look at how they will contribute to our commemorative garden, and altar to the Lord marking this prophetic call.

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Though the #Jubilee50K Challenge has ended, the lifestyle of blessing and proclaiming continues.

Thomas Suresh continues to meet the needs of others.

David Ang continues to make #Jubilee50K a Kingdom priority.

Shauna Goh continues to sacrifice her time.

LET’S KEEP ON SHINING FOR JESUS!

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ENVISION

THE UNSTOPPABLE CHURCH By Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo

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I

f there’s one word that describes the Church, it would be “unstoppable.”

History has shown us that man’s efforts to stop God’s agenda from moving forward have been futile. Though many have tried, the Gospel continues to advance as men and women take up the cause for Christ. The Church is called to experience the type of victory where valleys are raised, mountains leveled, and oceans parted. We are the means in which people will see the manifest glory of God. The #Jubilee50K Challenge. The Silver Force. Planting new worship centers. Trinitarians, these are not the plans of man. Over the past year, God has brought us to greater levels of impact and influence. That’s what “Looking Forward, Moving Forward” is all about. However, what we’ve done so far is just one part of the equation. If you and I really want to move forward in God’s plans and purposes, both as a church and in our own lives, we also need to take hold of one important truth:

You and I are God’s unstoppable leaders and this is God’s unstoppable church! God hasn’t called us to be a passive or silent force. He has called us to be an unstoppable force! Nothing, not even spiritual warfare, should stop

us from fulfilling God’s mandate. The Bible promises that we are more than conquerors. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

• Moses was unstoppable against the forces of Egypt, causing Pharaoh’s army to be consumed by the Red Sea.

• Joshua was unstoppable against the walls of Jericho, causing the city’s walls to come crashing down. When God is with us, we will break through every obstacle in an unstoppable way. When we follow the ways of God, everything that hinders us will fall.

• Gideon followed God’s command to downsize his army. When Gideon obeyed, 300 men became unstoppable against tens of thousands.

• David trusted God (instead of Saul’s armor) and became unstoppable against the giant Goliath. How can we become unstoppable against the obstacles and giants in our lives?

BY WALKING IN HUMILITY This sounds like an oxymoron. How is humility linked with being unstoppable? When God makes us unstoppable, it is inevitable that pride will arise in our spirits. We may believe that the success we encounter happened through our own strength and effort. When egos start to puff up, remember what 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6 tell us, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

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ENVISION

Satan doesn’t want us to know how powerful we can be. That’s why he wants to derail us from experiencing the might of God.”

If we want God to be with and for us, we must learn to consciously and continually walk with a spirit of humility – to recognize that we are operating with His power and not our own. Let’s revisit these verses, adding on what the writers share afterwards. 1 Peter 5:6 – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” The mighty hand of God is a fighting force leading us into victory and breakthrough. When we walk in humility under God’s mighty hand, whoever comes against us is actually fighting God’s mighty hand! James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When we submit to God, God’s strength helps us resist the devil. That’s how we become an unstoppable and mighty force.

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Perhaps you’re in a season where you don’t feel unstoppable. Life is throwing so many obstacles in your path that you become discouraged. What’s the point of persevering when success seems nonexistent? Times of tremendous spiritual warfare can only result in one thing: a mighty breakthrough. If you and I want to see Him working in and through our lives, know that you will face an equal amount of opposition from the enemy. Satan doesn’t want us to know how powerful we can be. That’s why he wants to derail us from experiencing the might of God. Remain diligent, keep your eyes focused on God, and continue to follow Him in humility. Know that your breakthrough is just around the corner!

BY LIVING IN HIS PURPOSE Purpose gives us direction and propels us forward. When we know our life’s purpose, we have reason to get up each morning and push through the day.


Think of athletes like Joseph Schooling. Inspired to go for the gold after hearing stories from his grand-uncle Lloyd Valberg (Singapore’s first Olympian), Schooling was encouraged to develop his swimming potential at a young age. Closure of the Singapore Swimming Association’s Centre of Excellence did little to deter his Olympic dreams and a decision was made for him to move to the US for training. Battling homesickness and a grueling training schedule, Schooling made it to the 2012 Olympics but encountered “the lowest point of his…career” when he didn’t qualify for the finals. Four years later in the 2016 Olympics, he would beat his childhood idol, Michael Phelps, to win Singapore’s first gold medal.1 Joseph Schooling’s road to gold was not smooth sailing but his singular purpose saw him through every obstacle, propelling him to press on, day after day, until he achieved his childhood dream. God has a plan and purpose for each of us – dreams of men and women who dare to transform lives and impact nations. The issue is whether we dare to step into His dreams. For Esther, a young Jewish woman who became queen in a foreign land, this moment came when her people faced the threat of extermination. When shown the edict permitting the slaying of Jews, Esther grew afraid – for her own life. She had become a member of the privileged class with every earthly comfort and privilege at her disposal. When asked to help, Esther objected. Her excuse: royal protocol. If she approached her husband without being summoned, it was considered a felony punishable by death. What’s more, King

Xerxes had not summoned her for 30 days! That’s when Mordecai challenged her to see the broader implications of the edict. “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14) Queen Esther had a choice to make. Would she shrink back because of comfort and fear or boldly step into God’s purpose? In the end, she put her faith in God, calling for a three-day fast before approaching the king. Through divine favor and wisdom, she used her royal position to have another edict written so that the Jewish people were permitted to defend themselves against their enemies. Esther was an individual who chose to live out God’s purpose for her life. For us, we must recognize that our individual purpose is tied to the purpose of the church. The moment we lose sight of our collective, God-given purpose, is the point where we stop moving forward. In Mark 3:25, we are reminded that “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Imagine if we were part of a discussion where every person had a different agenda. An opportunity for collaboration becomes a time of dysfunction with people interrupting and talking over one another. The chances of getting things done: slim to none.

God has a plan and purpose for each of us – dreams of men and women who dare to transform lives and impact nations.” 1 Chua Siang Yee, “Joseph

Schooling: Pain behind the glory,” Text, The Straits Times, (August 21, 2016), http://www. straitstimes.com/singapore/ pain-behind-the-glory.

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ENVISION Purpose brings people together. Every carecell is made up of people from all walks of life. With so many different backgrounds, it’s inevitable that there will be conflict. Nevertheless, carecell members find a way to make it work because each person is held together by a single purpose: to be a corporate body of men, women, and children who carry Vibrant Atmosphere, live in Incredible Unity, are gripped with a Passionate Heartbeat, and arise in Strategic Leadership. Choose a purpose that bear everlasting fruit. Live God’s purpose for your life today.

• The Holy Spirit empowers and emboldens us After receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the early church grew bold in living out their faith, even in the midst of persecution. The threat of social stigmatization and death were very real, and yet, that did not stop them from proclaiming the Gospel. How about us? Though we may be bold in sharing with other believers, our boldness seems to melt away when it comes to our oikos. Suddenly, we become “007 Christians,” hiding our identity as sons and daughters of God. When we do this, we are no longer unstoppable because our testimony has been silenced for fear of being questioned or judged. Do not let the enemy silence our ability to be salt and light. Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, going boldly in all that He wants to do through us.

God-pleasing faith is one bolstered by the full conviction of His nature, Word, and power.” BY BEING EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 God is unstoppable and He empowers us with the Holy Spirit so that we can be unstoppable.

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• The Holy Spirit energizes us In the New Testament, we read of how the disciples and Paul constantly ministered to people, even when they were in jail. How did they do it? They were energized by the Holy Spirit! When men and women burn out in their walk with God, it’s often because their battery has gone flat. Instead of regularly recharging with the Holy Spirit, they operate as the world tells them to, firefighting until their tanks run out of water. The world will tell us to keep moving. God tells us to wait upon Him. Engage


your spirit-man through prayer and reading of the Word and be amazed by how much more we can accomplish by partnering with the Holy Spirit.

• The Holy Spirit enables us In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus agonized over what was to happen, crying out, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” Jesus’ humanity was so evident in this scene: He didn’t want to suffer the pain and humiliation of crucifixion. What’s amazing was His concluding statement: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) When the challenges of life come, what is our first prayer to God? Often, it is to ask Him to take us out of the difficult situations, or around our problems. Jesus was different. His prayer was to be taken through the obstacles. He understood His purpose and knew that only the power of God could help Him through torture and death. What’s more, it was the power of God that enabled Jesus’ resurrection on the third day! What situation do you need to go through? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you courage to face the fire. Believe that you will come out reinforced, refined, and rejoicing in victory.

BY HAVING GOD-PLEASING FAITH “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6

The type of faith God looks for is one unshaken by the trials of life. It is one that does the will of God, even when it’s uncomfortable and goes against our own preferences. God-pleasing faith is one bolstered by the full conviction of His nature, Word, and power. An obvious example is our prayer language. It’s easy to profess faith in Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals us, yet, our prayers for healing can be so feeble (“God, if it’s Your will, please heal my friend.”) If you truly believe that God heals, then you will pray with 100 percent conviction of His nature and power! What kind of faith do you want to demonstrate in your daily life? If you desire a faith that can move mountains, come to a place of conviction about who He is and what He can do.

Pastor Dominic Yeo is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Centre. Hear this message, and other sermons, at www.trinity.sg (Media > Sermons)

BE THE UNSTOPPABLE BELIEVER! God has great things in store for us and for this house. He wants Trinity to be a place where oikos are constantly connected to our church and carecells. He desires for miracles to take place at every platform. He longs for a church ready and willing to meet the needs of the world. Are you ready to be God’s unstoppable believer? Do you want to be part of God’s unstoppable church? Then choose to walk in humility, live in His purpose, be empowered by the Holy Spirit, and constantly demonstrate Godpleasing faith. 

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FOCUS

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Humanity was born to dream. Whether we’re staring out a window or fast asleep, dreams represent the deepest desires of our heart. It is the fuel that propels us to live ambitiously. Some dream of living the high life. Others dream of singing or acting their way into stardom. People can pour blood, sweat, and tears towards the remotest chance of success: as long as there’s a chance, they go for it! After all, the world tells us that we should pursue our passions, to live large and dream big. Is there a way to guarantee our sacrifices will result in success? How can we make sure our dreams come true? Perhaps the better question to ask is whether our dreams are worth pursuing. The dreams of man are finite, seeking personal glory. The dreams of God are infinite, seeking to bless others and ultimately bringing glory to Him. When God reveals His dream to us, something clicks inside. We grow excited because these dreams are bigger and bolder than anything we could ever imagine. Our initial euphoria is quickly replaced by fear and doubt. How do I go about achieving this Godsized dream? Where do I even begin? Before fear turns into full-fledged panic, remember one important truth: God loves to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. In fact, He wants to use you for His glory! The journey to achieving God-sized dreams is long and the obstacles are many. As you carry on, the temptation to give up will grow and giving up seems like the smart thing to do. Cut your losses! Stop fighting for the futile! Abandon ship! It’s in these moments when we need persevering faith, a deep assurance that God is guiding us step by step and bit by bit. Relying on the finite wisdom and strength of man can only get us so far. Relying on the infinite resources of God will take us all the way.

The dreams of man are finite, seeking personal glory. The dreams of God are infinite, seeking to bless others and ultimately bringing glory to Him.”

Achieving a God-size dream is possible. God promises that when He deposits a dream into our heart, He will also make the resources of heaven at our disposal. Let this section be a reminder that He is still in the business of making dreams come true.

God’s Dreams are Always Better Than My Dreams The Unwelcome Gift of Waiting 4 Big Dream Killers and How to Stop Them When Your Child is a Prodigal Where is God During Infertility? My Dad’s Journey to Water Baptism

34 36 40 43 48 50

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FOCUS

GOD’S DREAMS Are Better Than

I

MY DREAMS

’ve been thinking a lot about dreams lately.

You want to be president? You can do it.

Not the kind of dreams you have when you’re sleeping, but the kind you have when you’re awake. The kind of dreams that actually keep you from sleeping.

The dream of... ...starting a business. ...having kids.

You want to be a teacher? You can do it. You want to be a famous actor? You can do it.

God does fulfill dreams, just not my dreams.”

With enough hard work, you can make all your dreams come true. It’s sort of like Field of Dreams—if you build it, they will come. If you dream it, it will happen.

...becoming a missionary.

I’ll be honest: there have been times when I’ve bought into the dream machine propaganda. I’ve bought the books and read the blog posts and listened to the podcasts. I’ve written out “life plans” for myself, in which I sketch out all the things I want to accomplish over the next five years. I’ve purchased goal-setting apps for my iPhone (yes, I know I’m a nerd).

My generation has been told that if we dream it, we can have it.

But in recent months I’ve come to realize something very important: God isn’t in the dream-fulfilling business.

...getting married. ...signing a record deal. ...publishing a book. ...having a large house.

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Actually, God does fulfill dreams, just not my dreams. God is in the business of fulfilling His dreams. This theme runs through all of Scripture. God has a plan, a dream if you will, for each person, and He always fulfills that dream. Abraham and Sarah dreamed of having lots of kids together. God dreamed of them having one son together, who would, along with Abraham, be an instrumental part of an incredible covenant between God and God’s people. Moses dreamed of growing up in Pharaoh’s palace. God dreamed of sending Moses into the desert for 40 years, then using Moses to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Hannah dreamed of having a large family. God dreamed of her having a son, Samuel, who would be dedicated to the Lord’s service. The people of Israel dreamed of a Messiah who would come in power and destroy all the enemies of Israel. God dreamed of a Messiah who would come in weakness and humility and be crucified upon a Roman cross. The moral of the story? God’s dreams for me are better than my dreams for me, and God will always fulfill His dreams.

Deferred, deterred, and destroyed dreams can make your heart feel sick. They can make you question God.

Why God? Why am I still single? Why am I stuck in this job?

Stephen Altrogge is a writer, pastor, and knows a lot about Star Wars. Find out more about him and his ministry at https:// theblazingcenter.com/. Used with permission.

Why is my church still so small? Why can’t I have kids? Why am I still struggling in my marriage? Why am I still battling these health problems? To which God would reply (without minimizing your pain one bit): “You can trust me. Your dreams aren’t working out, but mine are. You are mine, and I have a plan for you. I will make it happen.” There’s a fascinating phrase in Acts 13:36. Paul says, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption…” God had a very specific purpose for David, and He ensured that David fulfilled that purpose. Once David fulfilled that purpose, he died and went to be with the Lord.

God’s dreams for me are better...and God will always fulfill His dreams.”

God has a very specific, good, wonderful purpose for you and me. He will fulfill that purpose. My dreams may not come true, but God’s dreams for me will come true. And the good news is: God’s dreams are always much better than mine. 

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FOCUS

THE UNWELCOME GIFT OF WAITING

W

aiting can be agonizing. It’s hardest to wait when I am uncertain about the outcome.

When I’m trusting God for the best, while at the same time preparing for the worst. It would be much easier if I had a guaranteed good outcome. Or at least a promise from God to hold on to. Or some reassurance to anchor my prayers. But God often seems silent when I’m waiting. I have no idea whether He’ll ever answer my prayer, so it feels like I’m waiting in the dark. I have read and reread Psalm 13:1–2, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me

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forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?”

No verse. No confirmation. Just silence on that issue.

O Lord, how long? I have asked that question many times. If I knew God would eventually answer my prayer with “Yes,” it would be different. But with no such assurance, even a “No” would often be easier than “Wait.”

WHEN GOD SAYS “NO” Several years ago, I searched the Bible to find a promise that would help me in the midst of a torturous wait. I wanted a word that I could “claim” – a verse that would assure me of eventual satisfaction. Something, anything, to cling to. As I was waiting, I read, “No unbelief made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:20–21). While I admire Abraham’s faith, this passage often frustrated me. Of course Abraham never wavered. He had a direct word from God. If I had a direct promise from God, an assurance of my answer, then I’d be content to wait, too. Abraham could wait because he knew he’d get what he wanted in the end. I wanted God to give me a promise like the one He had given Abraham. So I kept begging God for a sign. None came.

For years. And in the end, God’s answer was “No.” At first it felt unfair. And purposeless. I struggled to make sense of those seemingly wasted years. While I had grown closer to God, somehow I felt that I had received a lesser gift. I put it out of my mind after a while. It was senseless to keep dwelling on it. But whenever I read that passage in Romans, it stung. Why didn’t God tell me His answer from the beginning?

ONE MODEL FOR WAITING WELL Several years later, as I begin reading Romans again in my quiet time, I hesitate at Romans 4. It painfully reminds me of that time of asking and waiting. Feeling disconnected from Abraham, I decide to look at his life in Genesis. I see Abraham’s humanity in how he sometimes doubted God’s protection. He even tried to fulfill God’s promise on his own through Hagar. Perhaps he thought God needed his help and ingenuity.

It would be much easier if I had a guaranteed good outcome. Or at least a promise from God to hold on to.”

This part I can identify with. Abraham’s struggle with impatience feels all too familiar. Too many times I’ve tried to help God fulfill His plans – that is, the plans I’d like Him to have.

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FOCUS Plans that would give me what I want. What I think I deserve. As I study Genesis, I see that while Abraham was waiting, God was working. Molding his character. Teaching him patience. Building their friendship. It was in that 25-year wait that Abraham got to know God intimately. It was in those seemingly wasted years that God transformed him. And after decades of waiting, Abraham was ready for the supreme test of his faith, when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise. The son he had waited for. Then I see it. Why had I not noticed this before? Abraham’s faith wasn’t rooted

in the promise of descendants. If it was, he never would have taken Isaac to be sacrificed. He wouldn’t have relinquished what God had promised him years earlier. He would have clung tightly to Isaac, feeling entitled to this son. For Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s longawaited promise to Abraham. Abraham wasn’t clinging to his own understanding of the fulfillment of God’s promise. God could fulfill His promise any way he chose, including raising Isaac from the dead if He needed to (Hebrews 11:19). So ultimately Abraham’s faith lay in the trustworthiness of God.

THE MOST PRECIOUS ANSWER Abraham’s faith wasn’t in the promise alone. His faith was rooted in the Promiser. Because his faith

Waiting is not just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait.”

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was not in what God would do for him, but in God Himself, Abraham was willing to risk. He could do whatever God asked. He wasn’t holding on to a particular outcome. He was holding on to God.

To forge our faith. To make us attentive to His voice. To deepen our relationship. To solidify our trust.

Abraham’s waiting strengthened his faith. To prepare us for ministry. Taught him God’s ways. To transform us into His likeness. Showed him God’s faithfulness. Abraham knew that God would provide everything he needed. I have the same assurance that Abraham did – that God will provide ever y thing I need. As I let that promise sink in, I see my waiting differently. Perhaps God is making me, and you, wait for the same reasons that he made Abraham wait.

In retrospect, I can see that “wait” is the most precious answer God can give us. It makes us cling to Him rather than cling to an outcome. God knows what I need. I do not. He sees the future. I cannot. His perspective is eternal. Mine is not. He will give me what is best for me. When it is best for me. As Paul Tripp says, “Waiting is not just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait.”  

Vaneetha Rendall Risner writes primarily about issues of suffering and loss. She is a regular contributor to Desiring God and blogs at danceintherain. com. Her first book, The Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering, will be released in late October 2016. Used with permission.

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FOCUS

4 BIG

Dream Killers AND HOW TO STOP THEM

Y

ou have a dream in your heart. You fully believe God put it there Himself, and you’ll stop at nothing to work towards this dream. You determine in your spirit to work hard, keep your eye on the goal, even doing something every day that will make what seems so out of grasp, a reality for which you’ve longed.

pep talk begins. Yet your mind is filled with such self-doubt and fear. You listen to the lies whispered straight into your spirit, things you’ve heard from the past, broken records in your mind.

Enter on the scene – a dream killer.

You slowly swallow every one, believing them to be true.

“You’re not good enough” “You can’t do that.” “Look at what others have done, you don’t even compare.”

You share it with someone you trust, hoping to hear their wise thoughts and encouragement. Instead you find your dream busted to pieces by the time you walk away, with negative, cynical words. They have other ideas and dreams for your life, yours is surely not one of them. And they don’t mind letting you know.

You look at the calendar, contemplating how much time has already gone by, how very busy you are, and how long you really need to make this dream happen. You decide to put it off until tomorrow, because seriously, what’s one more day?

You look in the mirror, reminding yourself you must will to hold on. The

Dashed hopes. Halted dreams. Left sitting in the big pile of washed up

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wishes, now neatly filed in the bucket list longings of “someday I’d like to do that.” Though unintentional and often unaware, many times we go through life allowing certain voices to be too loud. And we fail to listen to the Voice that matters most, the One who quite possibly planted the dream down deep in your soul from the start. We believe the dream killers instead of the Dream Giver. We don’t have to live this way. We have a choice every day to listen to God’s calling and believe beyond doubt that He has great purpose for us in life.

NEGATIVITY From others or even from yourself. When we listen to this malicious chatter, it prevents us from moving forward. It’s suffocating. It’s discouraging. It takes focus off of God and magnifies every weakness we have. We can’t pursue our dreams when we’re filled with negative words and toxic people reminding us “how it can’t be done, why it shouldn’t be done, and 101 reasons why you’re not the person to do it.” The negative mindset can take many forms, but they’re all dream killers – cynicism, sarcasm, jealousy, bitterness, and even this one can be controlling – cold silence. “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21) Choose to listen to God’s voice over the voices of others. You have control over what you allow into your thoughts and mind and what you choose to believe.

SELF-DOUBT Quite possibly the biggest threat to your dream. Because if the enemy can get you to doubt yourself, he knows he’s pretty much won. Doubt will leave every longing on the table, with a list of reasons why you’re “not enough.” You’ll look at things from a million different angles, yet still come back to this one dangerous conclusion. You can’t do it. “God picked the wrong person for the job, I must have heard things incorrectly, was it really a dream God placed in my heart or just bad pizza from last night?” You stagger under the weight of all the “not good enoughs.” “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7) Choose to believe what God says about you. He’s the One who created you and put dreams and visions in your heart! He whispers to you, “You have purpose, you are valuable, you are amazing, your life has meaning.”

We have a choice every day to listen to God’s calling and believe beyond doubt that He has great purpose for us in life.”

FEAR Paralyzing, gripping, stop you dead in your tracks kind of fear. Fear of people, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown – it can take many different forms but they all lead to one result. You get stuck. You won’t move forward. “Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) Choose to trust God. Fear has won until you determine in your heart that

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FOCUS you will keep taking steps forward, no matter how small. Even with your knees knocking, and your heart trembling, you stare it right in the face, believing more in the power of God over you, than the fear that seeks to hold you back.

Debbie McDaniel is a pastor’s wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God’s hope though the everyday moments of life: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. Debbie invites you to join her at ​ www.freshdayahead.com.

PROCRASTINATION The lie – “You don’t have time.” But really the truth may be we don’t want to make time. It seems too difficult. It’s going to cost us something. We’re already weary from other life responsibilities, why add to the madness? Days slip by, into months, then into years. Time we can never get back. “It’s too late for us anyway,” we reason in our thoughts that still seek to urge us on. Or maybe, “I’ll get to it when I really have time to focus on it.” Yet that day never comes, because we mistakenly believe we have an endless supply of tomorrows. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Choose to pray and move forward as God leads and opens new doors. The truth is, we will always make time for what is most important to us. Maybe something else will have to go for a season. Maybe we can’t keep doing everything we’ve always done, in order to focus on achieving our dream. Joseph had a dream. From the time he was just a boy, God put a dream in his heart. And yet the dream didn’t just “happen.” It was a long journey through many dream killers that sought to crush it all. Sold into slavery by his own jealous brothers, he lived years of struggle, facing temptation, slander,

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imprisonment, disillusionment. I wonder how many times he felt forgotten. I wonder how many times he wrestled with wondering if he had missed it somehow. I wonder how many days he spent having to choose forgiveness for those who hurt him, having to choose to believe God when nothing seemed to add up right. No matter the dream killers set up in his path, the dream lived on. And one day, it came true. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. Wonderful, glorious, amazing dream. He inspired many by his words of wisdom and life; he helped to change the mindset of generations with his challenge to live free. Dream killers came. They took his life, but they could never take the dream. Because that dream lives on, still free, inspiring, and brave. Don’t let others steal your dream, giving them control to dash your hopes. It’s too important to lay it down so carelessly. Don’t allow fear, self-doubt, negativity, and procrastination to prevent you from going where He has led you to go. God desires to do great things through you. He gives purpose and calling. We only have one chance at this life. Make it count for His glory. “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end— it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3)  


WHEN YOUR CHILD IS A

Prodigal

E

lizabeth was a 70-something new friend who exhibited an unshakable trust in God. I was a young woman in search of a mentor. When I asked what contributed most to her strong and lively prayer life, she said, “More than 25 years of waiting for my prodigal son to return to the Lord.” Elizabeth sketched nearly three decades of heartbreak as she recounted the toll her oldest son’s drug addiction had taken on her entire family. Stephen’s habit had cost him a once-thriving business, then his home, marriage, and reputation. He’d become homeless and had been bouncing between jail and the streets for years. Elizabeth described having to change the locks on her home after he’d stolen money and jewelry from her on several occasions. “If you’d told me when he was 18 that this would have been his journey as

an adult, I never would have believed you,” Elizabeth said. Stephen had been a promising college student headed toward a career in medicine. When I met Elizabeth, I was the mother of three preschoolers. I, too, would have disbelieved that I’d experience a similar wait for my own prodigal son to return to the Lord. But as of this writing, it’s been 15 years and counting.

NO GUARANTEES When I first heard Elizabeth’s story, I hoped against hope that our family’s combination of faith, spiritual practices, and wholesome lifestyle would inoculate my children against wandering from their faith. My husband and I understood that the oft-quoted words of Proverbs 22:6: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it,” were not a guarantee of a positive outcome but an

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FOCUS exhortation to parents to be faithful and consistent.

We chose to home-school our children. We placed a high priority on both church involvement and community service. We encouraged each of our children to cultivate their individual passions—one in theater, one in sports, and one in music. We prayed with and for them. We owned our plentiful imperfections and failures as parents, and we apologized to our kids when we fell short.

turned 18, he moved from being an emotional but grounded young man to one who seemed to have shortcircuited. He dumped his old friends and began hanging around with guys he’d met at the warehouse where he worked to earn money for college. He began staying out all night and would call us when he found himself in over his head. One memorable call came at 1:00am when he whispered into the phone that he was crouched on the floor of a car, hiding, while a drug deal was taking place a few feet away. An argument had broken out between dealer and customer, and Kevin became frightened when guns were drawn. The confrontation was resolved without bloodshed, which only served to bolster

Despite what I believed Proverbs 22:6 taught, when I met parents like Elizabeth, I would still listen to see if I could detect some flaw in their parenting that may have led to the heartbreak of having a prodigal child. I was certain that if we redoubled our efforts and avoided the mistakes those parents had made, we’d be sure to have a different result with our own three children. With a wide array of Christian parenting experts to guide us, we were armed with sure-fire tips and techniques for every stage of the journey. Certainly that would ensure that our three would flourish once they left the nest.

THE SPIRAL Love, faithfulness, and godly intentions could carry our children only so far. Around the time our oldest son, Kevin,

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Kevin’s conviction that he was invincible and that our “religious” rules were both oppressive and unnecessary. He told us he was done with God. At first we hoped his disconnect from God was merely an effort to establish his adult identity. We continually assured him of our love—and God’s perfect love for him no matter what he said or did. We assumed that if he returned to God, his rapidly deteriorating life would get back on track. However, we continued to enforce our house rules. We insisted that he not use our home as a free motel, a place to come back to and crash when he was high or drunk. We sought pastoral counseling for him and us, and we asked trusted friends to pray.

THE CRASH Our household was in a perpetual state of crisis. Kevin’s behavior was disruptive and confusing to our two younger teens. Finally, friends living in another state who knew of our situation invited Kevin to move in with them. It would be an opportunity for him to hit the reset button on his transition to adulthood.

Kevin didn’t want to hit the reset button. He elected instead to move out of our home. He couch surfed, crashing at the home of one buddy after another. He lost a couple of jobs due to his drug use. We heard from him from time to time but saw little of him. He alternated between periods of sodden depression and manic activity. We began to wonder if we were dealing with mental illness in addition to Kevin’s disconnect from his faith. Was his drug use the cause of his problems, or was he self-medicating some deeper pain? Kevin was an adult in the eyes of the law, so we had no way to get him assessed and into treatment, and he wasn’t open to the idea at all. Around that time, Kevin fathered a child, our first granddaughter, Tess. He and Tess’s mother, Cassie, stayed together for a few years. We worked hard to rebuild a relationship with Kevin and get to know Cassie and Tess during the years they were together.

Love, faithfulness, and godly intentions can carry our children only so far.”

Kevin’s impulsive behavior and rollercoaster moods kept the trio bouncing from place to place for several years. We did what we could to provide support in the form of practical gifts for Tess, babysitting whenever we were in town, and groceries. We didn’t want to fund Kevin’s drug habit with cash gifts, but we wanted to make sure Tess was cared for. Cassie was more stable than Kevin was. She was able to hold a job, which

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FOCUS often left the chronically unemployed Kevin to care for his young daughter. At one point, we learned that a neighbor had called Child Protective Services because they suspected Kevin was neglecting his daughter. His drug use continued to escalate, and his relationship with Cassie crumbled until Kevin moved out. It has been an unexpected grace that Cassie continues to allow Tess to be a part of our lives. Neither we nor Tess have seen Kevin in more than a year, though he does send an occasional text message. We don’t know for sure where he’s living or what he’s doing to support himself, but we suspect he is living on the streets in a nearby city.

WAITING ALONG WITH GOD My mentor, Elizabeth, has gone to be with the Lord, but I think of her often these days. “Intercessors are not born that way,” she once told me. “They are made in the midst of impossible circumstances that teach them there’s nowhere else to go but to Jesus.” God used her son Stephen to teach her to wait with God in prayer. Kevin has led my husband and me to the same dependence on God.

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There hasn’t been a day in the last 15 years when we haven’t ached for the return of our prodigal son. We long to see him restored to a relationship with God and having access to the help he needs. The parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32) is a fictional story that invites us to experience the reality of a Heavenly Father whose waiting arms are open wide to us whether we stray or stay. The parable never mentions how long the father in the story waited for his wandering son to return home. The son’s first action, once he had secured his inheritance and left home, was to blow through his funds in a binge Jesus describes simply as “wild living” (verse 13). It doesn’t take long to party through a big bank account. But the rest of the younger son’s journey to the end of himself may have taken months, or even years. In the introduction to his book The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming, Henri Nouwen shares a sentence an influential friend spoke to him at a time when Nouwen was wrestling with a great many things. She referenced the parable of the sons, then told Nouwen, “Whether you are the younger son or the elder son, you have to realize you are called to be the father.”


When I read the parable of the prodigal, I recognize my own rebel ways mirroring that of the younger son, and I also own my sinful desire to be the self-righteous older son. As Nouwen’s friend told him, and I’ve learned through the long, hard wait in prayer for Kevin to come to the end of himself, we as parents are called to be the father. The love of this kind of father who “never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

BEING THE FATHER In our context, always protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering doesn’t exempt us from living with ongoing grief and concern. While we hope for good news, we exist in a state of low-level readiness to brace for another crisis or phone call bringing bad news. Holidays and birthdays are especially difficult, as these family times are shadowed by our sadness over Kevin’s absence and fresh waves of anxiety about what may be happening to him. Productive time with a licensed counselor has given my husband and me clarity about Kevin’s issues

and offered us tools to manage the ongoing grief and stress. We’ve found a wealth of helpful free resources and support about Kevin’s mental health and addiction at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The prayerful support of good friends has been a source of strength for us as well. In the early years of Kevin’s prodigal journey, my husband and I found that our family had become the subject of gossip. It took time, a few confrontations, and a lot of “seventy times seven” forgiveness (Matthew 18:21–22) to recognize that many of those who gossiped were speaking out of fear. Their fears were the same ones that caused me to question people like Elizabeth, trying to figure out what they might have done wrong in raising their children.

The author is a mother and grandmother and has written several books. Names and details in this article have been changed to protect the privacy of the author and her family. This article first appeared on ChristianityToday. com in February 2016. Used by permission of Christianity Today, Carol Stream, IL 60188.

I’ve found deep solace in remembering that Adam and Eve had a perfect Father and still managed to rebel against Him in epic style. It is a comfort to realize that this same perfect Father loves Kevin more than we ever could and is actively at work on his behalf. And He is at work in us, teaching us how to reflect His love by “being the father” as we wait with Him for our son to come home. 

There hasn’t been a day in the last 15 years when we haven’t ached for the return of our prodigal son.” 4 7


FOCUS

Where Is

GOD

During

S

Infertility?

unday in church my pastor said something that landed on me like a ton of bricks. My pastor is dealing with Crohn’s Disease and he had a bad week. Toward the end of his sermon on Matthew 5:11-16 he said, “I don’t want to waste Crohn’s.” That line was like an arrow to my heart.


My wife Christine and I have been trying since December 2014 to have a baby. Both of us are sick of waiting. We’ve done multiple tests, taken drugs and done procedures, some of which she’s written about before.

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Christine has written about how each period ends a sentence we didn’t want to end, how each month she hurts and aches for a baby. But here we are approaching two years later and nothing has changed. We’re not alone in this. It’s not something talked much about, but 1 in 8 couples deal with it. And this situation is why what my pastor said bothered me in such a great way.

 I don’t want to waste infertility. Our infertility must shine and glorify God. If He is the light of the world and we are the light of the world, then He must shine in us through infertility. If everything works for my good and His glory then infertility must, too. I can’t let my experience be only grumbling. Will we grumble to God about this? Absolutely. Where else can we go with our trouble? But I refuse only to grumble about this. Is infertility in and of itself a good thing? No, I don’t think so. But I know that God is up to something.

 There must be glory in our infertility.



His glory then infertility must, too. I don’t know how, but I trust that when I look back on this it will be like flipping over a cross stitch. I trust that God not only knows what He’s doing but that what He’s doing will be glorious.



Matt Ray is a youth leader, radio morning host and church elder. He lives with his wife in Waverly, Iowa, USA. He blogs at matt-ray. blogspot.com. Used with permission.

I trust that if and when Christine gets pregnant, it will be with our child planned for us. I trust that when we adopt, we will adopt our child planned for us. I trust that God sees our tears, hears our groans, and feels our pain, yet loves us enough to give us only the best. This doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying. This doesn’t mean each month’s cruel negative announcement doesn’t deeply hurt. But this does mean that I don’t want to look back at this period of infertility and realize I wasted it.

I can’t let my experience be only grumbling.”

I, by the grace of God, will live, either in this life or the next, to experience the glory of our infertility.

 Disclaimer: If you’re experiencing infertility and can’t find the ability to trust God in it most days, welcome to the club. This post was written on one of my good days. 

If everything works for my good and

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UP CLOSE

My Father’s Journey to

WATERBAPTISM It all started with my older brother. Slowly but surely, our entire family came to know the Lord. Here is our journey.

18

years ago, my older brother (a youth then) was invited to Trinity Christian Centre by a friend. After that, he started going for youth service and carecell at Trinity@Adam every Saturday evening. As the weeks went by, there was such a noticeable change in his life and demeanor. He was more patient, gentle, and loving towards me. I felt like I had a brand new brother. As his 11-year-old sister, I thought to myself, “This God must

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By Jasmin Por

be quite powerful to change him so much.” A few weeks later, I told him that I wanted to go to church. He brought me along and I received Christ into my life that faithful day in 1998. Through the youth ministry, we grew in our faith and commitment to God, spending more time in church and on church activities. Our free-thinking parents started to express their unhappiness towards our growing commitment and passion for this “Jesus.” Exam periods were especially


Dinner with my child, husband, and parents

rough because we had to fight and negotiate with them about going to church. There were also times that they didn’t allow us to go for youth camps but when they were held locally, we would sneak out to attend the services. Despite our parents’ opposition, we were so hungry for God because He was so real to us. We also wanted our parents to experience God the way we did. Whenever there was an evangelistic event, even youth ministry events

like Parents’ Day, we would invite our parents to come. In times of known difficulty, we told them we were praying for them. We also sowed into their lives with seeds of answered prayers. My brother and I never gave up and continued to pray for our parents, believing that God would somehow move in their lives. Our carecell and youth leaders also prayed with us, encouraging us to trust that God could do the impossible. There was a deep confidence that He would make everything beautiful in His time – that one day, our entire family would know Jesus. Three years later, the impossible happened. Our mother told us that she accepted an invitation from a friend to attend church. It turns out her friend was a Trinitarian! My brother and I were speechless and completely surprised – she would be coming to our church! God really works in wondrous ways. Soon after that, she received Jesus into her life and started going for carecell. We were so encouraged that she was growing in her relationship with God.

There was a deep confidence that He would make everything beautiful in His time – that one day, our entire family would know Jesus.”

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UP CLOSE We were one step closer to seeing our entire family saved.

If you have Jesus with you, you don’t have to be afraid.”

God knew that it would take time to slowly open our father’s heart. When mom’s carecell needed a new host, he agreed to open up their place on Friday nights. Though he never sat through the formal carecell meetings, he would often join for supper and fellowship at the end. This was a perfect opportunity for her carecell members to connect with him. Eventually, he started to attend church service with my mother when he was free. We knew that these were all baby steps he was taking towards Jesus.

One day, he confided in our mother about a conversation with his friends about ghostly spirits. Now a strong and fervent woman of God, she told him this truth: “If you have Jesus with you, you don’t have to be afraid of these ghosts or spirits.” When she shared a prayer he could use when he felt fearful, my father whipped out his handphone to type this “model prayer.” She immediately shared another truth: “If you don’t have Jesus in your heart, this prayer won’t work.” Then, she went in for the landing, “Do you want to receive Jesus into your life today?” “Yes, I want to,” he replied. There and then, my mother led my father to say the sinner’s prayer. God is so good, his salvation occurred a few months before I was to be married! As I look back on this “impossible” situation, I realize that God had stirred this desire to pray for my father so that I could partner with Him by interceding for his salvation.

2012 was the year that I was going to get married. It was also the year when God began to stir in my heart a deep desire to see my father receive Christ before then. “God, I believe Daddy will receive you into his life before I get married,” I prayed many times that year.

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Though my father started to attend services regularly, he was not ready to attend carecell. Eventually, mom started a new carecell because they moved to a new location. This carecell was also incredibly united in reaching out to him, always inviting him to join for outings and meals. Some of them even got his number and started connecting with him one-on-one. They persisted for almost a year, relentlessly asking him to join for carecell meetings. Then, one day, out of the blue, he said to my mother, “I’ll be going for carecell with you tonight.” My mother


was taken aback. She later found out that her Section Leader had been inviting him and he finally felt compelled to “give her face.” “But I won’t say much, ok?” he warned. That night, he was one of the most active participants during carecell. He started going for carecell regularly and soon used his guitar-playing talents for Glorify almost every week. Three years later, in 2015, God placed in my heart a deep desire to see him go through water baptism. Once again, I interceded for my father to take the next step in his journey with God. That was also the year when my husband, child, and I moved overseas. Being away made me value family even more and the desire to see my father water baptized grew even stronger. One day, my father sent me a WhatsApp message to see if I would be back in Singapore on a certain date. He wanted to apply for water baptism but checked to make sure I would be back to witness it. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I was overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness and power in moving in my family all these years.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” Acts 16:31

On March 12, 2016, my father publicly declared his faith in God. 17 years ago, I could not have imagined how God could do such a wonderful and miraculous work in my family. 17 years seem like a long time but what is a second, a minute, or years in God’s hands? Indeed, He truly makes everything beautiful in His time. 

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SILVER HAIR for the

SILVER FORCE During Watchnight Service, Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo called upon Trinitarians aged 50 and above to be part of his Silver Force – to use a lifetime’s worth of experience for His glory. We interview him to find out more.

ENVISION You have identified the Silver Force as Trinitarians who are 50 years old and beyond. There are also Trinitarians who will soon be approaching the Big 5-0. Why are you choosing to focus on this segment of the congregation? The latest population figures from the Department of Statistics Singapore show that over half of the nation is in their 40s and beyond. This is also true within our congregation. With better living standards and medical advancements today, the “silver hair” generation is blessed with good physical and mental health. In fact, as men and women approach this season of their life, some will do so with great anticipation. The prospect of retirement is very appealing because it equates to relaxation, a chance to shrug off commitments and pursue the pleasures of life. Yet on the other hand, many who approach their 50s (and beyond) also wonder if there’s more that can be done with the next lap of their lives. With Silver Force set in place, we are calling for this generation to embrace a greater sense of purpose. This generation has much wisdom and life experiences to offer to the Lord. In fact, they can continue serving the Lord with greater freedom than before – their children are all grown up (with families of their own) and they are done climbing the corporate ladder. More than retirement, God wants to “re-tire and refire” this generation, releasing them to contribute toward Kingdom-building.

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I believe this generation is a force to be reckoned with and can be used to transform the landscape of the church and the nations for His glory.

What has happened since the Silver Force survey? The needs of the church are great. However, it is important for us to develop a program that can be mobilized and sustained for the long term. After collating the results of the Silver Force survey (in the first part of the year), the Silver Force Executive Committee spent a considerable amount of time understanding the Silver Force: what skills/experience they possessed, their passions, as well as their availability. Out of this, the Silver Force Committee has identified several serving opportunities where the Silver Force can shine and thrive. They have also set in place processes so that the Silver Force would receive the level of training and preparation they need before being deployed. What are the plans for the Silver Force? Though there are many serving opportunities envisioned, we intend to launch the first three in 2017.

• Leading humanitarian Missions Impact Teams;

• Assisting in the development and teaching of LEAD courses; and

• Hospitality. If you are a Trinitarian with “silver hair,” God is calling you to be a part of His Silver Force! Many of you are leaders in the corporate world. Now it’s time to be a leader of the end-times force, daring to impact generations and nations for His glory. 


Members of the Silver Force Executive Committee share their heart.

I want to use the experience, talents, and time that He has blessed me with to do my bit for His kingdom – to encourage and work with a generation that I understand and identify with.”

–– James Ng Current Occupation: Semiretired businessman Former Occupation: 28 years of corporate experience ranging from civil service, manufacturing, financial services, and information technology

I want to serve with the Silver Force, a group of men and women with immense potential and enormous number of possibilities to impact communities for His glory.”

–– Ng Soo Kum Current Occupation: Homemaker

I wish to see the Silver Force of Trinity mobilized for God’s glory in the years to come.”

–– Andrew Lee Current Occupation: Semiretired businessman Former Occupation: Sales and marketing in the logistics sector for over 30 years

This is a God-given opportunity to serve the community with all the gifts He has given me.”

–– Elaine Lai Current Occupation: Project management in the info communications sector for 9 years. Concurrently studied as a part-time student at TCA College and obtained an MDiv last year.” Former Occupation: IT masterplanner (infrastructure) for high-tech developments, Director of Network Engineering for a regional internet service provider

I believe in the Silver Force generation. We can harness everyone’s skills and giftings to build God’s Kingdom.”

–– Roland Tan Current Occupation: Full-time investor Former Occupation: Marketing and development in the real-estate sector for 20 years

Be a part of the Silver Force by signing up online at www.trinity.sg

For the remaining half of my life, I intend to spur my peers to fight the good fight and finish the race that He has set for us. I am truly convinced that it’s time for our generation to channel our passion for His Glory!”

–– John Ho Current Occupation: Project consultant in the chemical and food sector

Engaging with the Silver Force community (through my business) has given me a better understanding on how we can be an active and vibrant body of believers.” –– Nathaniel Cheang Current Occupation: Semiretired businessman Former Occupation: Over 30 years in the telecommunication and electronics sector in a variety of management and advisory roles

I Want

Serving

To Meet

The

Needs

Church

Silver Force

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HEARTBEAT

MISSIONS Statistics for Jan - Sep 2016

GO

GIVE

MISSION IMPACT TEAMS (MITs)

5 77 19

AT A GLANCE

COUNTRIES India, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China

FIRST-TIMERS Trinitarians going for the first time

TRINITARIANS

7

MITs

85

HEALINGS

1,100 DECISIONS

1,200 DESTITUTE CHILDREN

in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand sponsored

GO

TRAINING AND CONSULTATION TRIPS

12 5 6

COUNTRIES China, Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Vietnam

27 TRIPS

34

MINISTRIES SUPPORTED


MISSIONS REPORT Jul to Sep 2016

CHURCH DEVELOPMENT

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

(Helping churches transform by impacting their ministries, ministers, and members)

(Helping rebuild communities through tangible acts of love so that they can experience the love of Christ)

In the third quarter of this year, Trinity sent two Missions Impact Teams to touch lives: one to Hyderabad, India and the one in partnership with Care Community Services Society (CCSS).

Trinity continues to champion causes locally and abroad, supporting 1,200 destitute children in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Partnering with a local doctor, optometrist, dentist, and nurses, the team that travelled to Hyderabad set up camps in order to provide medical services for 1,478 people living in the slums. Those who received treatment left with a smile, knowing that they had been cared for with love. The team also ministered to 226 children and 620 believers. A total of 237 decisions were made for Jesus over the course of this trip.

The church also provided financial support to Assemblies of God of Myanmar (USD10,000) so that the local churches could continue ministering to people displaced due to flooding and armed conflict in the state of Kachin.

In Singapore, a team spent quality time with 45 children at CCSS Stamford CareHut, engaging in fun activities while imparting Godly values into their lives. During the DEW Advanced Training Conference (August 17-20, 2016), delegates from Columbia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Taiwan came for a time of greater impartation in the inner healing and deliverance ministry. Trinity’s pastors participated in nine training and consultation trips to equip churches in China, Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. We thank God for how He is using Trinity to build up the nations, giving us the opportunity to impact 779 people in 50 churches since the start of this year. They were strengthened in faith and equipped to implement carecells. Many have seen the fruit of their labor as they launched their leadership and open carecells.

As part of our ongoing partnership with Project Rescue Spain, Trinity sponsored the attendance of three workers to the DEW Advance Training Conference so that they could better minister to victims rescued from human trafficking and prostitution.

BE A PARTNER IN PRAYER FOR TRINITY’S MISSIONS! • Missions Impact Teams: Journey mercy and effective, impactful lasting ministry • The Champions: For the children to know God intimately and fulfill their God-given destinies • Ambassadors and Trainers: Fresh breakthrough anointing and wisdom to help guide churches to transform

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HEARTBEAT

Thank You Trinitarians for Going to the Nations!

In the third quarter of 2016, we had the privilege of sending two Missions Impact Teams (MITs): one to India and another to the children in Care Community Services Society’s (CCSS) Stamford CareHut. We rejoice with those that have made decisions for Christ! Let’s also continue to pray for those that have yet to receive Jesus. May every seed sown continue to be watered and nurtured to fruition!

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JUL 22-28 HYDERABAD, INDIA 237 DECISIONS MADE FOR CHRIST “I’m thankful for how God brought a shift into my spirit to look beyond signs in the physical realm (salvation, physical healing) to the work that He was doing in the spiritual realm. I was concerned about whether the sick would experience physical healing, or the children would fully understand what we were sharing with them. During the trip, God reminded me that He never intended for our team’s ministry to be defined by the number of salvations or people who received physical healing. Rather, it was about us being His love wrapped in flesh and about the seeds that were being sown

into the people’s heart. Ultimately, salvation belongs to Him and will happen in His perfect timing.”

Desiree Yang

“Through the course of this local MIT, I’ve started to see these children through the eyes of Jesus, filled with love and not prejudice. I’ve also learned to be flexible and submissive, allowing God to reign over the plans and programs and asking for divine wisdom to adapt to the changes. I was blessed to see God doing His work through CareHut and how volunteers can really make a difference to the lives of these children. Indeed, their excitement and responsiveness over these three days affirmed that the things we said or did has deposited a seed of hope into each child.”

SEP 7-9 CCSS (LOCAL MIT)

Andrew Ng

45 LIVES TOUCHED 5 9


HEARTBEAT

&

TRAINING CONSULTATION The Inside Scoop

In the third quarter of 2016, our pastors participated in nine Training and Consultation (T&C) trips to equip churches in China, Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. What do our pastors do during these trips? We interview Pastor Jan Cheang, who partnered with Pastor Margaret Tay in Yokohama, Japan to find out what happened on this particular T&C trip. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED DURING THIS T&C TRIP. This T&C trip consisted of two parts: conducting a training course, and engaging in a personalized consultation with church leadership. As a church adopts the TCC Cell Church Model, they often go through a journey of ups and

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downs. At times, they can become discouraged or weary by the process. The ongoing support that we provide helps them to keep focus and be committed to their vision of discipleship and growth. Consultations are opportunities for us to reinforce what was taught during the training sessions, helping the church leadership evaluate the health of carecells and talking through some of the challenges they face. Sometimes, we provide suggestions on how they can improve their church/ carecell “infrastructure” to best support church growth. Through these platforms, we intentionally build relationships with church leadership. During my time in Yokohama, I saw the fruit of Pastor Margaret’s committed relationships with church leadership – getting to know them and demonstrating concern for their well-being – that gave her the ability to speak into their lives and minister to them.

HOW DID YOUR EXPERIENCE IN MINISTRY HELP YOU DURING THIS T&C? On this T&C trip, Pastor Margaret and I conducted the “Mastering 5Gs” course for the leaders, sharpening their skills in leading the five Gs of a carecell meeting (Gel, Glorify, Grow, Go, Gear Up). Although we were equipped with a Trainer’s Guide, Pastor Margaret and I had to rely more on our ministry experience because of the dynamic and fluid nature of the course – what we taught largely depended on the issues and questions raised. Moreover, local

leaders were given opportunities to do group role play so that we (the trainers) could provide feedback, improving their ability in using the 5Gs to lead a vibrant and purposeful carecell meeting.

WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU MADE DURING THIS TRIP? During introductions, I told the class that I was a bi-vocational pastor – holding a full-time job while serving as a Zone Pastor. A number of them came to ask me how I had managed my time, giving me opportunities not only to share “time-management/keepingthe-balance” tips but also to encourage them to rise up and serve God. I believe that my Trinity journey, being discipled from member to pastor through the TCC Cell Church Model, spurred the participants to believe that they, too, can be used mightily by God and bear much fruit!

I believe that my Trinity journey spurred the participants to believe that they, too, can be used mightily by God and bear much fruit!”

HOW CAN TRINITARIANS SUPPORT PASTORS GOING ON T&C TRIPS? Through prayer! Here are some prayer pointers to get them started.

• Protection, good health and strength • Favor with the local leadership and congregation

• Wisdom and prophetic insight during times of ministry

• God’s power and authority as they preach, speak into lives, and build faith 

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HEARTBEAT

MENTORING

Pastors AN UPDATE FROM THE M2 NETWORK

WHAT DOES HAVING A MENTOR LIKE PASTOR DOMINIC MEAN TO YOU?

Pastors Yoshio and Toyomi Sanga are the Senior Pastors of Grace Garden Chapel in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. In addition, Pastor Toyomi has been leading Trinity’s Japanese Ministry since 2012. We are grateful for the opportunity to find out how they have grown since joining the Ministry and Mentoring (“M2”) Network in June 2014.

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In Japan, pastors and ministers often struggle in their roles because it can be a very lonely place. The concept of peer mentoring is simply not part of our culture. When we met Pastor Dominic over 12 years ago, it was like meeting a spiritual elder brother, someone who has journeyed down the same path we were on. Pastor Dominic has also opened the doors for other leaders to be in a


mentoring relationship. It has always been my (Pastor Toyomi) desire for other women pastors to have a safe place where they can dialogue about ministry. That’s when he introduced me to Pastor Dowdy. In May 2015, Pastor Dowdy came to Yokohama for a roundtable session with 16 other female pastors. It was such a precious time because we felt like there was a place where we could share our struggles and seek godly council. These roundtables have become annual events we look forward to. We recognize that it is important to continue building confidence and unity in the next generation of pastors and leaders. In May 2016, we coupled our roundtable (with 18 female pastors) with the first Revival Conference, open to all ministers in Japan. Plans are now underway for the 2017 Revival Conference and roundtable (extending an invitation to 22 female pastors), as well as a non-denominational roundtable in October that year.

already established. The youth ministry (IGNYTE) and social arm (Care Community Services Society) are examples of that. We are so thankful that your pastoral staff is so willing to share their experience and strategies for ministry.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE IMPACTS THE TCC CELL CHURCH MODEL HAS HAD ON YOUR CONGREGATION? Over time, the TCC Cell Church Model taught our members to see that they were more than guests in church – they are stakeholders in His House and every person has a part to play in building it. That’s why it is so encouraging to see the younger generation rising up and using their creativity, and social media, for the Lord. One of the ways they do that is through music. Our youth ministry has birthed three bands (two all-girl and one all-boy) as a way

We believe God is calling us to be an apostolic church, impacting not just Japan but the nations.”

HOW HAS TRINITY SUPPORTED YOUR CHURCH AND MINISTRY? As our church transitioned into a cellbased church, we felt that the TCC Cell Church Model was suitable because it accommodated for cultural differences. As we integrated it into the church, Pastor Dominic and Trinity’s pastoral staff provided support in the form of training and consultation trips to oneon-one sessions.

Girl Group - CHARGE

Boy Group - ASK

We believe God is calling us to be an apostolic church, impacting not just Japan but the nations. As we look to strengthen our ministries and initiatives, we often draw from what Trinity has Girl Group - PUSH 6 3


HEARTBEAT

Prayer for Community Festival on meeting the needs of the youth, families, and people still affected by the 2011 disaster. Please pray that we will: Community Festival to impact the culture and reach out to their generation for Jesus.

• Experience favor when dealing with the local authorities;

• Exercise wisdom when applying for WHAT ARE SOME OTHER WAYS TRINITY HAS PARTNERED WITH YOU IN THE MINISTRY?

Our church places great priority in reaching out to the greater community, to be the salt and light for Jesus.”

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Our church places great priority in reaching out to the greater community, to be the salt and light for Jesus. When the earthquake struck Fukushima in 2011, we were heavily involved in helping victims of the disaster and Trinity’s support allowed us to reach even more people. From financial provision to manpower (three Missions Impact Teams), our church has been encouraged by Trinity’s partnership, especially since many agencies have pulled out of the Fukushima region due to fear of radiation.

the necessary licenses;

• Raise all the funds necessary to build the school; and

• Fill various roles with the right people (e.g., counselors, youth workers). 

HOW CAN TRINITARIANS CONTINUE SUPPORTING YOUR CHURCH AND MINISTRY IN PRAYER? Thank you for offering. Our church is looking to expand our social outreach by opening the “Fukushima Future School” in 2017. This school will focus

Partnering with a Trinity missions team in 2014


HEARTBEAT

CHRISTMAS Project Rescue Spain Trinity, thank you for making it possible for us to share the joy of Christmas to the victims of human trafficking in Spain.” 6 6

C

hristmas should be a happy time for all: a season spent with family, indulging on seasonal sweets and savories, and listening to carols.

For thousands of women who are victims of human trafficking in Spain, the Christmas experience is completely different. One survivor who is recuperating at a Project Rescue safe home tells us this. “Christmas was the worst time of the year. During this season, women in prostitution drank alcohol and cried a lot more because the misery of their situation was amplified. I was far from my country and family. I really wished I was home but I had no way of getting out.

At the club, the owner closed for Christmas Eve. Instead of enjoying the dinner provided, we got drunk and took drugs, doing whatever was necessary to drown our sorrows and find some form of mental escape. We were bracing ourselves for the next day when the club doors would fling open and men would come in for service. We didn’t want to look at them. It seemed like such a sick way to spend Christmas Day.” This year, she will celebrate her first Christmas with us, in freedom. Christmas celebrations at Project Rescue Spain start on December 1 when we decorate the offices and safe home. The air is filled with festive cheer while the women hang garlands


and decorate the tree. Excitement grows with each passing day as gifts begin piling up under the tree. Trips to see the snowy mountains and Christmas lights in the city are a must! The festivities culminate to a Christmas dinner where women who have graduated from our program “come home” for the holidays. Indeed, Christmas is a family affair at Project Rescue. It’s a night filled with games, feasting, and prayers thanking God for sending Jesus to earth. For many of our survivors, this will be their first Christmas with us, a season without pain, suffering, fear, or oppression. It is a precious time where they can truly celebrate God’s gift to humanity.

While there is rejoicing, there are girls in detention centers waiting to be deported and facing an unknown future. We bring Christmas to them: hosting a party, giving gifts, and sharing the meaning of the season. We plan to take Christmas sweets and hot chocolate to the women on the streets, leaving each of them with a beautiful gift and a card with words of hope. Trinity, thank you for making it possible for us to share the joy of Christmas to the victims of human trafficking in Spain. We truly appreciate your prayers and support. May Jesus, the light of the world, continue to illuminate the dark streets and detention centers, showing His love and hope to each woman. 

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Over the years, the Trinitarian magazine has blessed many readers with articles about God and how He works powerfully in lives of His people, inspiring many to walk in greater faith. Distributed for free, the Trinitarian is a magazine that is passed from household to household. We invite you to support this publication by advertising with us! Available online at no additional cost, your ads can go even further. For advertising rates, contact Jessie Chew (6304 7721, jessiechew@trinity.sg). Thank you in advance for your partnership to shout out God’s faithfulness, one issue at a time.


My Wish This

HEARTBEAT

Christmas

My wish is that more people will choose to rise up and use their talents for the community.”

–– Genevive My wish is that there will be more networking opportunities for our staff in the social services sector.”

–– Anthony Counsellor, CARE Prison

My wish is for good health, strength, and resilience for all our CareHuts staff.”

Head of CARE Youth

My wish is for more partners willing to work with us to meet the changing needs of our society.”

–– Soon Onn Head of CARE Prison

My wish is for CCSS to become more prominent in the social service landscape.” Social Worker, CARE Prison

Youth Worker, CARE Youth

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–– Lydia

My wish is for our beneficiaries and their families to receive more blessings. Gifts like supermarket vouchers and rations are very helpful for them.”

My wish is for the children in d’Klub to enjoy more outings and be exposed to more enrichment programs like Art Jam.”

–– Michelle Programme Executive, CARE Youth

HR Officer

–– Sarah-Jane

We will be opening two more CareHuts in 2017! My wish is for more partners to support us in our programme to reach out to our students and their families.”

Case Worker, CARE Prison

–– Christina

My wish is that kids will receive deeper love and care from their families and that they will experience true joy.”

Head of CARElderly

–– Wee Woon

–– Siew Tin My wish for the continued wellbeing of all our staff at CCSS.”

–– Wee Long

Head of CAREKids

–– Fong Min Projects Manager, CAREKids

My wish is for our elderly beneficiaries to enjoy more activities that promote active aging.”

My wish is for society to be more accepting to exoffenders and supportive in their integration regardless of their offence.”

–– Soon Onn Head of CARE Prison

YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO MAKE WISHES COME TRUE! Visit our website https://www.carecom.org.sg/ (Be a Partner) to find out more.


$96

can provide

a low-income senior

with nutritious lunches for a month

We don’t ignore the basic needs of those in need Many disadvantaged elderly do not have sufficient funds for their retirement. To help ease their financial burden, we provide lunch meals 6 days a week from Mondays to Saturdays at our CARElderly Seniors Activity Centre. Besides meals, the centre also organizes meaningful activities to keep the elderly active and to empower them with a renewed sense of purpose.

Serving and Empowering the Community with You! www.carecom.org.sg fb.com/CareCommunityServicesSociety


PULSE

l a v i n r a c a i n a m pecial S y a D ’s en A Childr

As part of the annual Children’s Day celebration, October 8-9, 2016 saw Trinity’s DiscoveryLand turn into a theme park overflowing with fun and excitement. Kwek Wei Ren shares more.

... d... ... d u Th Thu Thud I heard the shuffling of footsteps and boisterous banter. I looked up to see throngs of little beings coming for their “Jesus Loves Me” sticker. Carnival Mania has begun! As the school year comes to a close, especially for those who had completed the PSLE, it was evident that the kids need only do one thing: play! With more than 10 different activities ranging from a bouncy castle slide, the fast-paced Fan It, to Sticky Tic-Tac-Toe and Ping-Pong Eggs, the children were spoiled for choice as groups travelled from one activity station to the next.

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Shrieks of excitement came when prizes were doled out while cries of agony abounded when teammates dropped the ball, especially during the high-intensity game of captain’s ball. Popcorn and candy floss flowed, fuelling the fun with a well-deserved sugar rush. Carnival Mania was not just a time for DiscoveryLand kids to bond — it was also an opportunity for them to invite oikos! Of the 1,100 children that attended, 162 were first-time visitors (FTVs) — many with their parents in tow who left to attend the main service. In their messages, Pastors David Sashi and Wendy Ong reminded each child that, regardless of appearance and personality, they were precious to Jesus. Praise God for the 202 decisions made for Him that weekend!

disappeared down the hallway to enjoy the rest of their weekend. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus opened His arms and heart to the young: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.” DiscoveryLand is a wonderful place where our children can be used by God to fulfil the Great Commission. Let’s continue to be stewards of His little ones, continually seeking to provide them with an environment to grow (in spirit and in truth), and to live out their faith (in word and deed). 

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”

Isaiah 43:4

Alas, the event was soon over. Parents lined up to collect their children and goodie bags were presented as they departed. “I can’t wait for next year!” I heard them say as the children

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PULSE

Worship Concert 2016 While the evening of a public holiday eve (September 26, 2016) could have been spent elsewhere, a group of youth chose to spend it in the heart of Paya Lebar. Little did they know that they had come for the most happening concert of the year. Theodore Koh shares more.

It was incredible to see how they danced, praised, and lifted their hands, all in worship of the awesome God.”

W

hen the command was given (“DOORS OPEN!”), over 1,300 people streamed into the Chapel for a worship concert like no other. From the sights and sounds of dance and music, excitement and anticipation never left the room. It was the happening place that Sunday evening! We saw IGNYTErs plunging deep in evangelism and worship. Even before the concert, we had heard testimonies of how IGNYTErs overcame their fears and stepped out of their comfort zone to invite friends to the concert. It was this willingness to exercise faith that allowed us to witness an amazing 40 decisions for the Lord! From the first row of seats to the last, a sea of youth were plunging deep. It was incredible to see how they danced, praised, and lifted their hands, all in worship of the awesome God.

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After guest artists Sarah Cheng-De Winne and her husband Mark De Winne shared their life-changing encounters with God, His presence was so strong that many were touched by His love. The altar area was filled with youth ready to respond to Him. IGNYTErs left not just with a powerful an encounter from God. There was a renewed sense of purpose of what it means to declare the name of Jesus. We’ve caught a glimpse of what happens when worship meets evangelism and it’s not going to stop here. We are ready to take what we have experienced that night into the world, plunging deep to make an impact on this generation. Indeed, our fuel is the love of Christ, propelling us to declare so that all may know that the One that we worship is the true and living God! 


Though Plunge Deep required an admission ticket, a few parents asked to be part of the action. Here’s what one of them had to say about their experience.

“We had no tickets to IGNYTE Plunge Deep. We sneaked in 45min after concert started and sat at the last row. I was deeply touched by the sharing of Mark and Sarah. No condemnation, only renewals. At some points, the concert atmosphere was electrifying. At 10.30pm, the youths didn’t want to leave. Cheers to IGNYTE pastors for the work they are doing with the youths. Always amused how they can get these youths to sacrifice a holiday eve or stay up whole night for prayer. Tonight I understood. Praise God for these godly men who have such a heart for the youths.” — Lily Koh (Edited for clarity.)

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PULSE

A Night With

GURMIT SINGH By Ern Chuen Lai (Zone 1 Leader)

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H

e was a familiar face in our evening television shows, a loud and uncouth frizzy-haired construction contractor in yellow boots exclaiming lines like, “Don’t play-play!” Today, he is the host of the nation’s biggest shows and events ranging from Don’t Forget the Lyrics to National Day Parades. Yet, beyond the limelight, even a celebrity as successful as Gurmit Singh struggled with a past filled with anger, fear, and hopelessness. From August 27-28, 2016, he shared his powerful testimony with IGNYTE – how God found him in his brokenness and restored him. In the lead-up to this event, IGNYTE charged onward in Relentless Belief, taking on the challenge to invite oikos. The IGNYTErs fervently sought God, believing that there would be a mighty move of His presence when the day comes. As a leader, I was blown away by the faith of my Secondary 1 and 2 carecell members as they collectively invited 50 oikos to the event.

of a Heavenly Father who, in His mercy and power, rescued him in the darkest moments of his life. One of the oikos I brought, a man that rarely cries, shared he was moved to tears when Brother Gurmit shared about God’s miraculous healing of his mother from stage four cancer. A total of 50 people responded to God’s love by making decisions for Jesus and we believe that countless others were touched by Brother Gurmit’s testimony. Truly, we can find rest in the Father’s steadfast love, for it is “a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress” (Psalms 59:16, NLT). Having tasted and seen such a love, IGNYTE will not remain silent. We know that the powerful move of God is just a foretaste of greater things. We believe that, in the days to come, His love will touch and redeem many more lives into the Kingdom. 

Truly, we can find rest in the Father’s steadfast love, for it is “a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress”. Psalms 59:16, NLT

Hebrews 11:6 declares that we serve a God who challenges us to live by faith and rewards those who earnestly seek Him. As a ministry, we experienced this truth when a total of 1,062 people (including 100 FTVs) attended the event. As Brother Gurmit shared his testimony, God’s presence was tangibly ministering to the congregation. Brother Gurmit’s message focused on the relentless love of God, one that pursued him even when he was still a rebellious and angry sinner. He shared

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PULSE

By Mary Lee Meng Yun ( 李梦芸)

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W

hat is love?

In the latest musical drama, Selfless Love (October 22-23 2016), the Chinese Ministry partnered with Tammy Chow and members of Trinity’s Creative Ministry (Ariel Lim, Alan Sim, Rachael Li) on a 14week journey of selflessness, giving of their time and talents so that their oikos could experience the love of Jesus. Every segment of the drama – from conception to set design, logistics to publicity – presented an opportunity for members of the Chinese Ministry to understand the sacrifice needed for Kingdom-building. Selfless Love revolved around the story of Hui Yi (Tammy Chow), a mother who spent a lifetime sacrificing so her children could have the best. Her son, Tian Shou (Alan Sim) becomes a career-minded man while daughter Yi Fei (Ariel Lim) grows up to be a social-media addict pursuing all the pleasures of life.

also forces Tian Shou and Yi Fei to reflect and discover the true meaning of love: one that chooses to restore, sacrifice, and complete others. The presentation ended with a reflection by Pastor William Toh who explained that the selfless love of a parent mirrors the selfless love of Jesus for all humanity. Sister Evelyn Ng also shared about the moment she responded to Jesus’ selfless love and how she relied on it to forgive her father. We thank God that 1,203 people were able to hear about the selfless love of God where 31 of them made decisions for Christ during this event.

Disheartened at being forgotten, she relies on the love of Jesus to continue loving her children selflessly.”

As the Season of Love continues, the Chinese Ministry will continue reaching out to their oikos for a series of carecell events (Love Connection), ending with Love Testimony – carecell Christmas parties where members will proclaim and testify God’s love. 

Family gatherings become troublesome events to slot into Tian Shou and Yi Fei’s schedule as Hui Yi becomes less important in their lives. Disheartened at being forgotten, she relies on the love of Jesus to continue loving her children selflessly. Crisis rocks the family when Hui Yi is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. With tears in her eyes, she confesses her greatest fear: forgetting the goodness of Jesus and the bonds she has with her children. The diagnosis

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PULSE

Morning Prayer By Diana Lim

F

or most of us, giving up two precious hours of sleep is unthinkable. Traveling all the way to Trinity@Paya Lebar in the wee hours of the morning is impractical. Why go to church when it’s not even on the way to work? For about 250 Trinitarians, the desire to seek and encounter God at Morning Prayer (November 14-18) overcame every logical reason to go about the morning “as per normal.” Audacious Fervor was definitely at work when one of our IGNYTErs, 13-year-old Dominic Toh, invited his classmate Ignatius for Morning Prayer. When IGNYTE’s adult leader Dorcas Keow shared the Gospel with Ignatius, he made a decision for Jesus that very morning! Read of the faithfulness of God to those who gave Him the “first fruits” of their day.  8 0

“There’s something special about setting aside the first part of the day to spend time praying in God’s presence. Each day was a reassurance of who He is in my life as we called upon the different names of God. I encourage everyone to take time to come for Morning Prayer, to be refreshed and ministered to before starting the day!”

–– Gavin Yang, Student

“It’s really a privilege to enjoy God’s presence in the early morning. Jehovah Sabaoth, indeed He is the ‘Lord of Hosts.’ Powerful and allknowing, He is taking control of my life, my studies, and my family. Indeed, when we serve in this church, we serve as one united family. Our prayers support the church to move forward.”

–– Zou Jingjie, TCA College Student

“Having to wake up two hours earlier than usual to come for Morning Prayer made me realize the importance of setting time aside each day, despite being tired, to seek God. There was an alignment as God revealed different things in my life that I needed to give Him control. As I learned to let go and let God, there was a divine exchange and I am truly blessed to serve an all-powerful God.”

–– Briana Renee Ong, Student


“I attended three mornings and was reassured that God is Jehovah Jireh in my life and Jehovah Nissi over my work situation. “I decided to go for Morning Prayer because I wanted a glimpse of God. Work has been tough since my department lost a team member and another colleague went on long leave. While I came to draw strength, God filled my heart with His joy every day. Perhaps that’s what it means when the Bible says, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength!’ I could still smile and laugh in my office even when there was so much work to be done. More than that, God worked things out in my office, bringing balance to the work load distribution and even providing a new staff who will join next Monday! God is indeed Jehovah Nissi (‘The Lord is My Banner’). I simply asked in boldness and He answered me!”

–– Grace Tan, Finance Executive Officer

While worshipping on Wednesday morning, God reminded me to pray for healing on my feet – they had been swollen for some time. By Friday, the swelling completely subsided despite an entire day of walking on Thursday. God is my healer!

–– Jennifer Wong, Nurse

While I came to draw strength, God filled my heart with His joy every day.”

“Though I am still adjusting to life as a full-time working mom, I chose to start the day by seeking God first thing in the morning. Even though I was running on less than three hours of sleep, I didn’t feel the lethargy throughout the time of prayer! The divine exchange and spiritual fuel top-up was worth it. Thank you Jesus for the times of refreshing. You are so faithful, indeed those who seek the Lord lack no good thing!”

–– Michelle Lee, Public Relations Manager

“In order to attend Morning Prayer, I had to forgo my morning peak hour earning (of $100) to attend. But God will never shortchange us. By the end of each day, my total takings are more than other days! More than His divine provision, I found the Morning Prayer to be beneficial for people like me to seek and encounter God. Praise the Lord for revealing Himself.”

–– Sammy Ong, Taxi Driver

(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.)

“Morning Prayer is a place to encounter the awesome presence of God. These five days have brought me deeper in encountering Him and understanding of who He is. I learned to seek God’s presence and not His presents. Through this time, I’ve come to realize that God is my provider, protector, and shield. I will be victorious over my circumstances as He is my banner and commander. It was indeed an opportunity to align back to Him.”

–– Roland Tan, Full Time Investor 8 1


TOUGH QUESTIONS

The Magi, the Reading, &

Star

the Leading of the

Is this Astrology or Matthew’s Universal Gospel? By Rev Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman

A

s we enter into the Christmas season, images of the nativity scene will become a common sight in public areas and churches: infant Jesus sleeping peacefully in a manger while being adored by his parents (Mary and Joseph), shepherds, several farm animals, and three magi. Of the four Gospels, only two of them (Matthew and Luke) document the story of Jesus’ birth. Moreover, only Matthew documents the visit of the magi who “saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2) Why did Matthew believe it important to include the thoughts and actions of these men engaged in the practice of astrology?

ASTROLOGY AS PRACTICED IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST Let us first set astrology in its ancient context so that we are able to understand the world to which it belonged. Astrology is the art of foretelling events by the positions and movements of the stars (astēr). It is traced back to the ancient Persian or Babylonian magoi (magicians) who were considered experts in reading the positions and movement of the stars, divination, and sorcery. The magos (or the astrologer (astrologos)) established relations between humans and the heavenly bodies, believed to be personified divine beings, in order to predict how the stars and planetary movements predetermined human life on earth (in general) and human destiny (in particular). Thus, astrology

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TOUGH gave rise to the notions of fatalism1 and determinism.2

THE ORIGINS OF ASTROLOGY Scholars such as David Browna , Westenholz b, and Oestmann, Rutkin, and von Stuckrad c, who have extensively studied ancient astrology, and many others d agree with them that astrology originated as early as in 3000 BCE (“Before the Common Era”) in the Mesopotamian world, particularly in Babylonia, where it flourished as a science and art of its own kind. The Babylonian priests observed the solstices and equinoxes and charted the motions and cycles of the planets almost accurately. Their observations and theories based on these celestial movements formed an important constituent of astrology. The following are some of them. 1. The earth is a miniature counterpart of the heavens. Everything that exists or occurs in the heavens is duplicated in the objects and events on earth. All life and activity on earth are influenced or controlled by these heavenly bodies. Therefore, a proper knowledge of these phenomena would reveal the moods and actions of the ruling deities and make possible the foretelling of events. 2. Any important undertaking may be initiated only after securing the good will of the gods by offering to them gifts and prayers (astrolatry). Astromancy, or consulting the stars (i.e., the gods), is necessary to predict the destiny of humans because human destiny is fixed and

predetermined by the planetary movements, but it is also susceptible to changing anytime given the capriciousness of the stars and planets (i.e., gods). e 3. One of the aspects of astrology is what was known as the horoscopic astrology, according to which the appearance of any unusual phenomenon in the sky was an omen of important events to come. For example, the births of illustrious men were heralded by the appearance of “signs and wonders” in the heavens. The story of the magi in Matthew’s Gospel seemingly belongs to the third worldview. In Chaldean (or Babylonian) astrology, the constellation of Cassiopeia, which presided over Syria and Palestine, brought forth an unusually bright star every three hundred years. This constellation, according to McIntosh, was known as “The Woman with Child.” He elaborates with the following: “To an astrologos, the appearance of this star would mean that the Queen of Palestine had brought forth an heir to the throne. If this were the case, it would be most appropriate to go and pay homage to the future king. It was this star which was believed to have appeared just after the birth of Jesus and must, therefore, have been the one which Matthew’s magi observed and followed.” f

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Yahweh is not capricious; He remains faithful and does not waver in His covenant and promises.”

1 A mindset or an

understanding that all events in human life are predetermined by fate, controlled by some celestial bodies against which human beings have no control and therefore, cannot control or change.

2 An idea similar to fatalism: BIBLICAL PROHIBITION OF ASTROLOGY For the Jewish people, the Old Testament strictly bans every aspect of astrology. Deuteronomy 18:10-14

An understanding that every human act, happening, and decision happens according to some pre-ordained fate or destiny, determined and controlled by celestial entities, deemed to be gods.

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TOUGH QUESTIONS summarily outlaws several practices that were in some ways constituents of ancient astrology. “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord

your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.” Notice also the following references that prohibit the use of these practices, even going as far as to pronounce death sentence on its practitioners.

BIBLE VERSE

CONCLUSION/OUTCOME

Exodus 22:18 – “Do not allow a sorceress to live.”

Sorcerers are not allowed to live.

Exodus 20:4 – "You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."

Making and worshipping any image of "anything which is in heaven above" (i.e., stars) are strictly forbidden.

Deuteronomy 5:8 – “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”

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Leviticus 19:26b – “Do not practice divination or seek omens.”

Practicing divination and seeking omens are forbidden.

Leviticus 19:31 – “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”

Mediums and spiritists defile the land.

Leviticus 20:27 – “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.”

A medium or a spiritist must be stoned to death.

Zephaniah 1:4-5 – “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests— those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek…”

The Lord will cut off from the land those that worship the host of heaven.


TOUGH In the New Testament, the book of Acts records four instances where the Christian missionaries confronted a magos outside of Palestine.

• Philip encounters Simon in one of the Samaritan villages who practiced magic (Acts 8:9).

• Paul confronts Bar Jesus, a Jewish sorcerer (Acts 13:6).

• Paul exorcises a female slave with a spirit of divination for which he and Silas were imprisoned (Acts 16:16).

• In Ephesus, many who had practiced sorcery burned their magic scrolls (Acts 19:18-19). The foremost reason why the Bible strictly forbids astrology, and every other related practice, is its monotheistic principle that there is only one God, Yahweh, who alone possesses the ultimate authority both to censure and censor all such practices.g Yahweh established a covenant with His people. For instance, God told them that He would take them as His own that they might know Him as their God who had brought them out from under the yoke of the Egyptians (Exodus 6:7). He would walk among them and be their God and that they would be His people (Leviticus 26:12; cf. Jeremiah 30:22; Hosea 2:23).

The gods of the ancient Near East were notoriously capricious, believed to bestow blessing and inflict curses as their mood dictates. However, Yahweh is not capricious; He remains faithful and does not waver in His covenant and promises. As the Creator, He controls the rain and gives His people fruitful seasons and bountiful harvests (Cf. Acts 14:17). The stars, as created by God (Genesis 1:16; Job 9:9; Psalm 148:5; Amos 5:8) are His handiwork (Psalm 8:4). Only Yahweh, as the Creator, has the power to use cosmic forces to control the succession of the seasons, time and weather, and human life on earth (Job 38:33). His throne is above the stars (Job 22:12).

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah, is the heritage of all humanity.”

MATTHEW’S UNIVERSALISM AS THE PURPOSE OF HIS GOSPEL We now return to Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew was a man who lived with two conflicting thought-worlds: that of the ancient Near East (i.e., the Mediterranean/Mesopotamian region); and the one dictated in the Hebrew Scriptures. While the former accepts astrology, the latter prohibits it. Moreover, based on the brief overview above, it is established that Christians cannot commend astrology in any form. Matthew would certainly have felt the tension between these thought-worlds

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TOUGH QUESTIONS but still chose to include the visit of the magi in his account of Jesus’ birth. There must have been a purpose for doing so. We must, therefore, set the magi against the overall purpose of Matthew’s Gospel.

–– Rahab, a Canaanite (Matthew 1:5); –– Ruth, a Moabite (Matthew 1:5); and –– Bathsheba, a Hittite (Matthew 1:6). • The meaning of the name, Jesus

God reaches out to earnest inquirers by revealing Himself in a way that is meaningful and intelligent to the person.”

Since Matthew devotes much space to Old Testament quotations in his Gospel, some biblical scholars suggest that he writes primarily to convince the Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of David, and the one to whom the Old Testament points.h The problem with this view is that it severely restricts the scope of Matthew’s Gospel to persuading Jews that Jesus is the fulfillment of all their messianic expectations.

• The magi came from the east to By including the presence of the magi, the scope of Matthew’s account expands to a universal perspective that salvation is available to both Jews and Gentiles. Although Jesus was born as a Jew, His work is universal. The Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah, is the heritage of all humanity. The following portions of Matthew’s account lend credence to this position:

• In Jesus’ genealogy, Matthew refers to at least four Gentiles who were the ancestors of Jesus:

–– Abraham, a Chaldean when God called him from Ur (Matthew 1:1; cf. Acts 7:2-8);

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(“Jehovah is salvation”), that He will save people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), implies that sin is part of the human condition. Salvation, therefore, is a human need and is possible only through Jesus. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus commissioned His disciples to proclaim repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all nations (Luke 24:47).

Jerusalem. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commissions His disciples to go into all the nations to make disciples of all nations. This anticipates that there will be, in future, a pilgrimage of all nations that the prophet Zephaniah had anticipated (Zephaniah 3:9-10) to worship Jesus, the King. The visit of the magi was the first instance of such a pilgrimage. The visit of the magi is a unique experience in that no other New Testament book documents a parallel episode. It is unique also in that their observation of the stars led the magi to Bethlehem to pay homage and prostrate before Jesus, who, according


TOUGH to their reading and the leading of the star, was the king of the Jews.3 Today, God leads us through the Scriptures. From Genesis to Revelation, they reveal God’s character and plan for humanity. Therefore, we no longer need to depend on astrology (as a religious belief and practice), for humanity now has full access to Him through His written Word.

CONCLUSION The account of Jesus’ birth reveals the full extent of God’s love for the love-starved world, fulfilling His promise to provide humanity with a savior. The magi, men who traveled thousands of miles to worship a king, did so based on their reading of the stars. Though the account does not specify the type of the king the magi sought (i.e., an earthly or a heavenly ruler), it shows that God reaches out to earnest inquirers by revealing Himself in a way that is meaningful and intelligent to the person. Matthew presents the story of the magi as the first instance that anticipates the universal dissemination of the Gospel of Jesus. For believers today, our role in spreading the Good News is to embody the love and grace of God, and become visual texts that invite those around us to embark on their own journey to seek the God we worship and serve. 

Sources consulted a. David Brown, Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology (Groningen: Styx, 2000).

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

b. Ulla Koch-Westenholz, Mesopotamian Astrology: An Introduction to Babylonian and Assyrian Celestial Divination (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1995). c. Gunther Oestmann, H. Darrel Rutkin, and Kocku von Stuckrad, eds., Horoscopes and Public Spheres: Essays on the History of Astrology (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2005). d. For example, Roger Beck, A Brief History of Ancient Astrology (Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Publishing, 2007). e. G. J. Railey, “Demon” in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (eds., Karel van der Toorn and et al, 2nd ed.; Leiden, Boston, and Köln: Brill, 1999): 235-240. Here 235. f.

Christopher McIntosh, The Astrologers and Their Creed (New York: Praeger, 1965), 15.

g. Ida Zatelli, “Astrology and the Worship of the Stars in the Bible,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 103, no. 1 (1991): 86-99. Here 87. h. D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 157, 158.

3 The Greek term proskyneō, translated “to

worship,” can also mean “doing obeisance (homage) to, prostrate oneself before, and do reverence to.” The following last two statements may come here. Translating “worship” in the latter sense is better suited to the context in Matthew primarily because this is what the commoners did and were expected to do when they entered the royal presence. The magi may not have worshipped Jesus in the Christian sense of the term but did their reverence to a Jewish royal figure.

Rev Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman has been a faculty member at TCA College since April 2010. He earned his Ph.D in Biblical Studies from the University of London. Dr Babu’s teaching interests include the New Testament, contextual theologies, and literary and historical studies.

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UP CLOSE

TRINITARIAN HERO

Set Designers Amazed by the set designs in our Christmas and Easter productions? Did you know that they were all conceptualized by Trinitarians? Nyon Yit An interviews Simon Lim (East District) and Diane Yeo (South District), pictured here with the Props and Sets team, to find out about the team behind these works of art. Plus, get a sneak peek of the upcoming Christmas production!

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Which Trinity productions have you served in? What were your roles? Simon: I’ve been involved as a stage and set designer for every Easter and Christmas production since 2011. Diane: I started serving as a stage and set designer about five years ago. So far, I’ve served in four Christmas productions and several Easter productions. What is your role in the upcoming Christmas production (Who Needs Christmas?) and what does the role require? Who do you work with and how do you work with them? Simon: I work with many talented people across the creative spectrum. From graphic designers to qualified architects (like Diane), each person comes with special skill sets and experiences. The design process usually begins when the creative director works with the team to come up with the overall creative direction. Once the direction is approved, Diane and I will translate that into a feasible design concept for each scene. Thereafter, we’ll work closely with the Props and Sets team on the construction methods for the backdrops, props, and sets. For the sets that are large and heavy, we bring in external contractors to work alongside our volunteers. Diane: The first part of my role is to generate ideas and conceptualize for a production’s stage sets. For this, I have to understand the story as well as any requirements the production directors might have.

After our designs have been approved, I draw out the stage sets to scale and prepare blueprints for the Props and Sets team to follow. If external contractors are required, I’ll help with the tender process. I work closely with Simon, a veteran in our production set design team. He’s really creative and always willing to guide me on the design and requirements for the sets. When there is too much work to do, we figure out how to split the tasks. Why did you choose to serve? Simon: I consider it a privilege to serve God and disciple the next generation of designers, helping them stretch and grow in various capacities. Diane: I have been immensely blessed by God throughout my life, and I thought using my skills and talents (as an architect) to serve in this ministry would be a meaningful way to give back to Him.

When I design sets for these productions, I know that they are for a higher purpose – a channel used by God to speak to our oikos.”

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UP CLOSE What’s the difference between doing this in the marketplace versus the ministry? Simon: I’ve been a commercial/ hospitality interior designer for 30 years. Serving in this area enables me to use my skills, passions, and talents to be a blessing. It has been a rewarding experience serving and learning together with other designers and encouraging them to serve God with their talents.

Serving in this area enables me to use my skills, passions, and talents to be a blessing.”

Simon: I love the exceptionally big fireplace in Home for Christmas. It was intentionally designed that way to achieve the theatrical effect of a warm and cozy home on a big and cold stage. It turns out that Pastor Dominic loved it too! When it remained on the stage for almost a year, every Celebration Service was an opportunity for me to think of ways that I could have done the set differently.

Diane: When I design sets for these productions, I know that they are for a higher purpose – a channel used by God to speak to our oikos. There is a great sense of satisfaction and joy when I see people responding to the altar calls because I can see how my time and talents have contributed to bringing in the harvest. What are some of your favorite moments from the different productions you’ve worked on? Diane: The two-story stage for Once Upon A Star was one of our more technically challenging pieces. When we saw it come together (inn on one side and cave with manger on the other) and in use, the effect was phenomenal. It was really cool and I’m so happy we managed to execute a unique and original idea from the team. How have you been blessed through serving in this ministry? What has God taught you? Diane: These productions are opportunities for me to grow. I’ve learned so much about design and broadened my horizons through working with such a talented team.

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Simon: The most important thing is not the design or the design team but God Himself. Our role is to make sure God’s message is heard and everything we do points back to Him. I’ve also been blessed by working in amazing teams to see God’s message successfully delivered production after production.

SNEAK PEEK INTO

What would you say to those who may be keen to join the ministry? In what ways can they use their time/talents to serve in the next production? Simon: If you are passionate to serve God in this creative process, we welcome and encourage you to volunteer for our upcoming productions! We are always looking for the following talents.

• Stage designers (interior designers, architects, 3D exhibition designers, product designers, landscape architects, environmental designers, artists, or you might simply be someone who just loves to sketch and create)

We’re going digital! This year’s Christmas production will utilize a large LED as a part of the set design, contrasting vibrant images using the LED screen like a “black canvas.”

• Graphic designers (signage designers, multimedia artists)

• Multimedia content designers (experience in computer graphics, arts and design, multimedia content and animation)

• Contract administrator (quantity surveyors with experience in the tender process and the preparation of a simple bid document) Diane: You will always receive more than you give to God! 

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QUOTEABLE QUOTES

VISION RALLY 2016

MOVING FORWARD INTO A

LASTING LEGACY The sermon series, “Moving Forward into a Lasting Legacy” was covered over a span of seven weeks. Below are excerpts from each sermon, focusing on elements that enable us to live our lives fully for the Lord. Compiled by Mack Eng Empowered Vision, Part 1 Aug 20 & 21 Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo

While God has a vision for you individually, the ‘you’ is also a collective you. Your destiny is woven with the destiny of the church.”

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Empowered Vision, Part 2 Aug 27 & 28 Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo

Trinity is not a local church, it is a global church. Our impact is not just the community, our impact is the world, we have a global impact because God has a global agenda.”

Edifying Community Life Sep 3 & 4 Pastor Danny Leong

The core tenet of humanity is to help someone in need.”


Emblazed Spirit Life Sep 10 & 11 Pastor Dennis Lum Dean, School of Theology, TCA College

Many people come to church and they assume the posture of a consumer. That is not right. We are a family and within God’s family, every one of us has responsibilities.”

God gives us spiritual gifts not so that we can feel good about ourselves. God gives us spiritual gifts so that we can serve Him; to be a better servant to others.”

Exuberant Faith Sep 17 & 18 Pastor Melvin Lim

The magnitude of our expression of our faith is proportionate to the depth of our relationship with our God.”

Extravagant Giving Sep 24 & 25 Rev Dishan Wickramaratne Senior Pastor, People’s Church Assembly of God

There is no luck with God, there is only a plan with God and you are God’s plan.“

Extraordinary Service Oct 1 & 2 Dr Jim J Adams President, Life Pacific College

The key to your breakthrough is not about having more faith. It is to step out and say ‘God, here I am!’ and to obey.”

He is here, always for all of us, never disappointing us, never leaving us empty but always empowering us to make a difference in the lives of others.”

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Trinitarian Magazine Issue 4/2016  

Trinitarian Magazine Issue 4/2016

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