PULSE #GENERATIONS: A PROPHETIC LEGACY WAGC 2017
ENVISION EXPANSION BY BREAKTHROUGH
UP CLOSE REAL LIFE MIRACLES HEALING ON GOD’S TERMS
WWW. T R IN I TY . S G
TOUGH QUESTIONS WHY DOESN’T GOD ANSWER ALL MY PRAYERS?
TCA COLLEGE IS MOVING ONLINE! Starting in 2018, TCA College will offer two of its programs online.
Be Empowered for Ministry!
Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies (GDCS) Part-time students are able to study onsite or online.
E IN NL PR OG RA
Benefit from the flexibility of our online programs!
• To remain culturally relevant in an increasingly digital world
• Choose how and when you will complete your weekly learning activities
• To overcome the obstacles of time and distance to equip more believers
• Conduct research wherever you have internet access with our online library
• To cultivate self-directed and criticallyreflective learners of the Word
• Concurrently pursue studies while maintaining a full-time job or ministry commitments
Take your Leadership to a New Level!
Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL)
A practical curriculum offered online with two one-week residencies.
Full-time ministers are eligible for a 40% discount for tuition fees. This graduate program is jointly offered through a strategic partnership between TCA College (Singapore) and Life Pacific College (United States). Pending WSCUC and ABHE approval. Life Pacific College is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
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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, firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you in advance for your partnership to shout out Godâ€™s faithfulness, one issue at a time.
A Quarterly News Magazine by Trinity Christian Centre
Pastor Dominic Yeo
Pastor Dominic Yeo Dr Richard Goetz Rev Sam Kuna Pastor Sabrina Chow Amy Lin Crystal McDowell Imelda Lie Chris and Irene Yeo Jimmy and Sarah Chiang Karine Eu Kelli Mahoney Faith Makinen Kwek Wei Ren Mark Forrester Poh Ee-Lyn Sarah Hamaker Tricia Leong Zoey Lee Tina Chen Yi Ting
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WHEN SIBLINGS GROW UP How to Get Along as Adults
EASTER 2017 A modern take on God’s timeless love
20 14 #GENERATIONS: A PROPHETIC LEGACY WAGC 2017
THE SILVER FORCE IN ACTION Updates from the first half of 2017
76 AI LOVE YËU IGNYTE’s Valentine’s Event
78 BATTLECALL IGNYTE’s Poly Camp 2017
80 32 REAL LIFE MIRACLES Healing on God’s Terms
TEDDY HUNG An amazing testimony of an ex-Hong Kong Triad leader
FOCUS Siblings: Friend or Foe?
LIVING OUT BROTHERLY LOVE IN OUR EVERYDAY LIFE The Great Commandment explained
58 7 QUESTIONS WITH PASTORS WENDY AND WAI WAI Life as colleagues and sisters
MISSIONS AT A GLANCE An overview of Trinity’s missions outreach from Jan-Mar 2017
63 MISSIONS REPORT A highlight of Trinity’s missions efforts from Jan-Mar 2017
SIBLING RIVALRY IN THE BIBLE And What We Can Learn From Them
MISSIONS CONVENTION 2017 Praying, giving, and going like never before
HELP! MY CHILDREN ARE LIKE ENEMIES! How to maintain the peace and promote good sibling relationships
45 7 BIBLE TIPS FOR GROWING CLOSER WITH YOUR SIBLINGS Demonstrating love, one action at a time
68 MISSIONS CARNIVAL 2017 Having fun while giving to the nations
72 FROM MEMBER TO MINISTER The Thai Ministry’s Fruitful Ministry
issue 02 2017
JOBS CONNECTION Trinitarians meeting the needs of others
QUOTABLE QUOTES 88
EXPANSION BY BREAKTHROUGH Entering into abundance and fruitfulness
70 WORLD AG TAKES ACTIONS AGAINST SLAVERY, HUMAN TRAFFICKING Doing our part to address social injustice
82 TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED Why Doesnâ€™t God Answer All My Prayers?
SENIOR PASTORâ€™S MESSAGE
ard Onw ith
n o i s n a p x E w
DEAR TRINITARIANS, As the second of six children, there was never a dull moment in our home. Whether we were playing together or quarreling with one another, the times I shared with my siblings were moments that taught me important life lessons: the value of teamwork, the need for conflict resolution, and the importance of loyalty. When Chin Inn and I were raising our young family, we were committed to imparting these same values in our children, Natalie and Matthaeus. Now young adults, they remain very close, traveling together and often confiding in one another. With so much sibling loyalty in action, I know that they will continue to be there for one another all the days if their lives. Sibling relationships are special. That’s why our Focus section is devoted to helping us cultivate stronger sibling relationships (pg 36-61). Parents, don’t brush aside your responsibility to impart godly values in the midst of conflict. Adults, don’t let clashes in personality or old hurts stop you from making peace with one another.
Choose to demonstrate selfless love to your siblings, both biological and spritiual, so that the world can see God through your words and actions. God’s expansive plans for this house are quickly unfolding. In the area of center planting, it is exciting to see Trinity in the West and Trinity@Jakarta taking shape. Continue to keep these endeavors in prayer. Though starting new things can be challenging and daunting, we can be assured that anything that is a God-endeavor will succeed. God has a decade of breakthrough for each of us, to break us out of our limits into the place of freedom. Don’t let the rest of this year pass without understanding your part in it! Hold on the promises of God, keep the right disposition, and take responsibility for the great plans He has for you and this church. Get ready for Expansion by Breakthrough (pg 24)!
Hold on the promises of God, keep the right disposition, and take responsibility for the great plans He has for you and this church.”
T hank You WAGC 2017
Dear Pastor Dominic, I just want to thank you so much for hosting us in Singapore. The Congress was amazing and your hospitality made us feel right at home. I also want to thank you for allowing our media team the flexibility to shoot and film the congress. It truly was a huge help to our trip and our church. When Dr Lee Younghoon was at your church, he mentioned several times how impressed he was with your media/production department. The atmosphere, the presence, and the effect that it has on the worshiper are the reasons that led Dr Lee to see if we can replicate what you have at Trinity Christian Centre. We truly are impressed by what Trinity does and would love to bring some of that into Yoido. Thank you and God Bless,
Yoido Full Gospel Church
Hello friends at Trinity, I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for the outstanding hospitality and servanthood. You are professional, anointed, and humble (the three necessary characteristics of any fruitful ministry). You are such a Christ-like example. It was an honor and privilege to minister in Trinity again, and Cindee and I take you with us in our hearts. Thank you for treating us like royalty. We look forward to our next time together. May the Lord richly bless you!
Dear Pastor Dominic, Warm greetings to you from hot Kolkata! I am sure you have heard it over and over again – WAGC 2017 was in a class of its own. Kudos and congratulations to the Singapore Assemblies of God Fellowship. You gave us every reason to feel a sense of “godly” pride as fellow Asians. I have no doubt people will remember the event for a long time to come. Sheila and I want to thank you for everything you and your team did to make our time at the Congress a wonderful and memorable experience. As always, the spirit of excellence, warmth of hospitality, and genuine Christ-like servanthood make the ethos at Trinity something every Church and ministry strive to emulate. Congratulations, too, on your two new roles as secretary of the WAGF and chair of the Commission on Sexual Exploitation, Slavery, and Trafficking. I have no doubt that you will bring the same degree of dedication, visionary leadership, and passion to these roles as you have to every other mantle God places upon your shoulders. With every blessing in Christ,
Rev Dr Ivan Satyavrata
Dear Pastor Dominic and Trinity Christian Centre, Words cannot express our gratitude for your service at the World Assemblies of God Congress. Your quality in planning, preparation, and implementation of the event was outstanding. From the energetic youth and dynamic worship to the powerful passing the baton service, workshops, and anointed preaching, it was all a memorable experience that the Generations attendees will never forget. Please convey our deepest appreciation to each one of your staff and every church volunteer who gave their time and resources for the success of the Congress. May I also congratulate you on your election as secretary for the WAGF. It will be a pleasure serving with you for 2017-2020, should the Lord tarry. For Christ and His Kingdom,
Rev Dr George O. Wood
Chairman World Assemblies of God Fellowship
Senior Pastor and Chairman The Assembly of God Church & Mission (Messages have been edited for clarity and length.)
By King Rachel
n March 29, I joined thousands of delegates for WAGC 2017, excited to encounter the power of God for three days and nights. Rev Dr George Wood opened the event with a timely word, encouraging us with Acts 16:22-25 for greater breakthrough: in times of difficulties and challenges, our knowing must be deeper than our feeling. In the next plenary session, Rev Dominic Yeo proclaimed that we are called to be the Davidic Generation. When he released these words, something immediately clicked in my spirit. I wanted to be part of that Davidic Generation, to deal with my giants so that the next generation would not have to – to help raise up the next Davidic Generation for God. How were we to move forward as the Davidic Generation? As Rev Barnabas Mtokambali, the third plenary speaker shared, by moving off the mountains of doubt, fear, and negativity.
the WAGF Executive Committee to the stage, giving each of them a baton in a prophetic act of passing the anointing and appointment of God to them. They, in turn, called full-time ministers up to continue passing on the baton, from those 65 and above, 50 to 64, 35 to 49, and finally to the youngest generation – those under 35. With each generation, the congregation prayed blessings and spoke against their struggles, declaring God’s rhema word over them. Through this, I was moved by how each generation of leaders carried different burdens, dreams, and visions – desiring to serve God with their best and see the next #generation rise to do more. When batons were handed out to all the delegates, God’s truth dawned upon me: the anointing and appointment were not just for those who have full-time calls. It was for all of us! As one body, we prayed over ourselves, our church, and
We are called to be filled, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
The next day, the fourth plenary speaker, Apostle Edwin Alvarez, drew from 1 Kings 19, speaking about the importance of passing down the mantle to the next generation, segmenting beautifully into the Heart-to-Heart Conversation where church leaders shared about what it meant to leave a Legacy in Succession – to choose successors for the church. A significant segment of the Congress was the Passing of the Baton. Rev Dr George Wood called
PULSE our nations, committing to be His prophetic generation wherever we are placed. If we want a revival in our church and around the world, Rev Dr Younghoon Lee shared in the fifth plenary session, then we must recognize that this is the era of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7) – we must partner with the Holy Spirit to see transformation and expansion happen. In addition, Rev Wilfredo De Jesús reiterated the power found in the spoken Word, leading the entire Congress to respond by kneeling before God in repentance and humility. It was a humbling moment when every person, regardless of appointment, cried out desperately for God on bended knees, causing a shift in the atmosphere and a divine exchange in the spirit. The final speaker of the plenary sessions, Rev Glyn Barrett, spoke four truths about our limitations versus God’s expectations. A perfect ending to the conference, we were
reminded that God’s expectations should be our inspiration! WAGC 2017 was an amazing time where God led every plenary speaker to build truths on top of each other, all without prior discussion on what would be shared! It was a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit, encouraging and affirming the different areas that God has been speaking to me about in the past few months. The sessions can be summarized by this: we are all called to be filled (Luke 4:1), led (Luke 4:14), and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14). With the Holy Spirit, everything falls into place and we will know how to face the difficulties and challenges that lie ahead. Therefore, it is “’Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). We can do all things, and live the “impossible,” miraculous life God wants us to live, because we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us. I am grateful to be called and empowered by the Holy Spirit, choosing to be the #generation that rises up for Jesus!
Every person matters! Trinitarians, thank you for availing your time and talents to host the nations!
Volunteers from Trinity
Airport Greeters and Transportation
Registration and Information counter
Communications, Social Media
Technical Team (Sound, Lights, Video)
Conference Hosting Team
Praise and Worship Team
Ushers and Workshop Facilitators
VIP Hosts and Servers
Project Rescue Booth
By Mack Eng 1 8
or this year’s Easter Services (April 14-16), Trinitarians brought oikos to experience what Jesus had done over 2,000 years ago. Each service started with a short musical depicting several scenes of the Passion Week: the victorious entry into Jerusalem, The Last Supper, Gethsemane, the mob demanding Jesus be put to death, His crucifixion, and ultimate resurrection. Contrasting the “traditional” backdrops were characters dressed in modern wear: townspeople and disciples in street clothes, Jesus in a white hoodie, and Roman soldiers in riot gear. When the mob persecuted Jesus and the soldiers crucified Him, I felt a dull ache in my heart. This depiction of His suffering reminded me of His grace and mercy. It was also a reminder that there are Christians in other countries who face persecution because of their faith in Christ. The Easter service didn’t end when the music stopped. On Good Friday, Pastor Wilson Teo’s message expanded on how the Passover of Exodus 12 (God’s salvation plan for the Israelites) foreshadowed Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross (God’s salvation plan for all of humanity). Just as the Israelites would be free from the bondage of slavery, humanity was now free from the bondage of sin! Over Easter Weekend, Pastor Sabrina Chow took to the pulpit to ask one important question: “Can you see how much God loves you?” Timeless, limitless, and all-powerful, God was willing to embody the frailty of man, to identify with our pain and suffering. Scourged so that we can be saved, Jesus is the greatest love
story ever told – a demonstration of God’s mercy and grace for us. Our God is a personal God, one that loves us more than we could ever imagine. He sent His only Son to die for our sins so that we can have a personal relationship with Him. What did man do to deserve such grace? This Easter, 90 men and women stepped forward to receive Jesus into their hearts. Regardless of the length of our journey with Him, new believers or otherwise, let us be propelled to love Him back – to serve Him cheerfully, bear good fruit and do all that is pleasing to Him. “On the Tuesday before Easter Weekend, I received a text message from an old friend. I was taken aback because we lost contact for many years. He asked if I was still attending Trinity because he wanted to come for Easter, sharing that he sensed it was time to return to God. That day, he brought two of his sons along; his wife and other son were overseas for the weekend. From the start of the musical to the end of the message, my friend was glued to his seat. I could sense that he was touched, the Holy Spirit doing a powerful work in his heart. ‘Did you enjoy DiscoveryLand?’ my friend asked his eldest son after service. The son shared how much he loved it and asked to come back. ‘Yes, we will come back to church next week with Mommy,’ he shared. I felt overwhelming joy when I heard those words. I believe this is exactly what the father felt when his prodigal son finally came home.”
In DiscoveryLand, our children were also reminded about God’s deep love for them through guest speakers Pastors Carmelo Dolendo and Wendy Ong. We thank God for the opportunity to share with 35 first-time visitors and give 37 children a chance to make decisions for Christ.
Power Words! “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36
“For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:14
–– Carol Lim 1 9
f Silver orce in Action! Since the start of the year, the Silver Force has been serving in many ways. Here’s an update of what’s happened so far.
LEADING THE WAY
Several members of the Silver Force have been working with the LEAD pastors to develop curriculum for LEAD and Life Skills Seminar course offerings.
WAGC 2017 Many gave their time and resources to volunteer during WAGC 2017. We thank God for their heart to serve the nations.
When we first heard about WAGC 2017, our first reaction was to do something different – to serve. Assigned to host the VIPs, we are thankful that God’s grace and wisdom were with us, ensuring that our guests got to their destinations on time. Though we were given permission to attend the plenary sessions and workshops, the schedules of our assigned VIPs meant that we were attending to them for the majority of the conference. Recently, we were thrilled to receive an email with access to the recordings – a reminder that we serve a God who will not short-change us when we serve faithfully.”
–– Nancy Lee and
Han Lee Kwang
I volunteered for WAGC 2017 because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do my part as a Trinitarian to host the nations. Assigned as an in-charge, I partnered with a pastor to lead a team of volunteers and a thirdparty transport company. Initially apprehensive about the role, serving in this capacity was a completely new experience for me. The biggest challenge we had was meeting ad-hoc and lastminute transport requirements. We had a good team of drivers who had excellent and selfless attitudes, serving cheerfully and without complaint. I thank God for enabling me to serve in a way that I have not done before. He stretched me so that I would depend on Him and not myself.”
–– Roland Tan
STRENGTHENING MARRIAGES Strong marriages make strong families. Strong families make a strong church. Ready to impart wisdom gained from decades of married life, several Silver Force members have started training to become mentors for Trinity’s newlymarried couples.
Marriage is not just a beautiful white gown and signatures on a certificate. Marriage is an intentional commitment to be together for life. Being married over 20 years has not been easy or perfect. With God, who is the centre of our union, we have endured many challenges that helped mature and grow our relationship with each other. It was these victories
We believe that strong marriages make a strong church. That is why we serve as facilitators in Trinity’s pre-marriage course, Before You Say Yes (BYSY). When asked to be part of Trinity’s upcoming marriage mentoring program, we agreed without hesitation. We want to continue doing our part to help strengthen the next generation of marriages.”
–– Lawrence Yeo and Wang Look Kean
that brought us joy, harmony, and peace to our home. As Marriage Mentors, we hope to share the lessons learned. In the midst of modern-day distractions and the society’s growing acceptance of divorce, we see it as a duty to help young couples walk through one of the biggest commitments of their lives.”
–– Michael Wong and June Chan
FIRST SILVER FORCE-LED MISSIONS TRIP TO CHIANGMAI With excitement, enthusiasm, and much anticipation, 12 members of the Silver Force (ages 54-70) went on its maiden missions trip from May 22-28, ministering at Trinity’s children’s homes in Chiangmai and Maerim with nightly devotions, a fun-packed Saturday, and a Sunday service for 60 children. With hearts and hands of love, they also gave The Champions@Chiangmai City home a fresh coat of paint. Jennifer Oliveiro, a trip leader, shared how surprised and anxious she was when asked to lead this trip. Leaning on the Holy Spirit, she agreed because of a certainty that
God knew what was best for her in this season of life. The other trip lead, Richard Lee, felt the same way. “I had mixed feelings. I was honored yet apprehensive but took a step of faith and agreed to lead.” For Alfred Chia and his wife Patsy (married for 39 years), Chiangmai was their first missions trip as a couple. “God calls us to go,” Alfred shared, “and since I’m healthy, we decided to go and show love to the children.” Be part of the Silver Force by signing up online at www.trinity.sg (Ministries > Serving Opportunities > Be Involved) 2 1
s a church, we’ve noticed a greater need for jobs among Trinitarians and their oikos. As a way of meeting this need, Jobs Connection was created to bring employers and potential employees together by publishing job vacancies free-of-charge. We thank God for many Trinitarian business owners and human resource personnel who have contributed to the listings. Here’s what they had to say about doing their part to meet the needs of others. “Jobs Connection is a very purposeful and practical initiative by the church during this economic downturn. It’s a joy and pleasure to lend a helping hand to Trinitarians and their oikos through this platform.”
–– Charissa Kok
“When Jobs Connection was announced, my desire to help was instantaneous – there were no second thoughts about stepping up. No matter how insignificant we feel, God has a gigantic plan for us. It is encouraging to see how God uses each of us for His Kingdom needs. In Esther 4:14, Mordecai reveals this truth: ‘…who knows whether you have come…for such a time as this?’ I feel blessed that God has positioned me in a place where I could help those in need.”
–– Kent Tan
“Jobs Connection is a great way of reaching out to fellow Trinitarians and oikos looking for a job. I’ve not only posted several jobs but also encouraged my sister (who is also in human resources) to post vacancies in her company. We pray that people will be able to benefit from this initiative.”
–– Angelique Koo
“I believe I am positioned in the corporate world for a reason – to be a blessing to others. That’s what Jobs Connection offers: a way to be that blessing. I trust that we can be vessels used by God to build His Kingdom.”
–– Yvonne Yap
If you are a business owner or human resource personnel, partner with us by filling out job vacancy forms at www.trinity.sg (I Want to Meet Needs > Serving the Community > Jobs Connection).
• One job vacancy form per position • All job listings will be featured for
two months. If the position is still available and you would like it to continue being featured, please resubmit the form.
• If the job vacancy has been filled,
please update our office by calling 6468-4444 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
h g u o N r h t k a re Y B N O I S N A P X E
By Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo
uring Watchnight Service, I shared from 2 Kings 6:1-7 and how it applies to us in this Decade of Expansion.
When the company of prophets came to Elisha (who represented God in this narrative), they had a revelation through that encounter: the place where they met with him was too small. Similarly, when you and I meet with God, we come to a revelation of our limitations, the barriers that keep us from going further. This is important because we come to a place of decision: either to live in our limitations or to do something about it – to engage in expansion and seek breakthrough. Just as the company of prophets realized their limitations, there was another group of people in the Bible who needed expansion and breakthrough: the Israelites. Let’s pick up from there.
Isaiah 54:1-4 “1Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4 Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”
As the people of God, we need to understand what expansion and breakthrough means for us as individuals and as a part of the body of Christ. That involves operating in three truths.
ENVISION WE MUST HOLD ON TO THE PROMISES OF GOD “…more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband…” – Isaiah 54:1b In those days, barrenness was a source of great shame and humiliation. It was perceived as a consequence of sin, a curse from God. For the Israelites, a people conquered and captured, Isaiah 54:1 was God’s promise that He would remove their shame and humiliation. He would be the one to take away the barrenness caused by sin. That promise still holds true for us today. It is in our barrenness and limitations that God promises more of His divine provision. Isaiah 54:1 sounds incredible. How could a barren woman be able to have more children when she doesn’t even have one? How could this promise come to pass? Moreover, this barren woman, is also described as desolate. In Hebrew ( – ׁשֹו ֵמ ָמהshomemah), this translates to being “devastated.” We’ve all had experiences where we went into something full of enthusiasm, only to be greeted with a setback or failure. We pursue a relationship to be rejected. We help a colleague and find out that they received a promotion by stabbing us in the back. Devastation can cause us to give up and shield up, building barriers and never daring to venture out in faith again.
By building barriers, we restrict the space we operate in and star t to cut ourselves of f from the world, eventually becoming barren and unfruit ful. This is why we need God to enable us to break through the barriers we have built around ourselves. The other meaning of shomemah, means “desertion.” In those times, barrenness was considered legitimate grounds for a divorce, giving husbands the legal right to leave his wife. Even if we have not been through the pain of divorce, I’m certain all of us have experienced a situation where someone we looked up to abandoned us or betrayed our trust. Abandonment is a reality of life. So is the pain of desertion. In times like these, it’s important to turn to God and remember His promise for our lives – a plan of hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Don’t give up! Remember and call upon His promises for He is the defender of widows and father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Shomemah also translates to “ruination” – a state where life has fallen apart. When there’s no stability in life, when our whole world seems to come crashing down, it is instinctive to start putting up more walls. Instead of protecting us, these walls do the opposite. By creating barriers and limitations, it will eventually cause us to experience a total breakdown. Whether we are devastated, deserted, or in ruination, God’s promise is that
He will bless us with abundance – we will have more children! While you and I may be confined by limitations, God will help us break through into abundance. While you and I may be barren, God will help us break through into fruitfulness. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like now. We must remember that they are yes and amen in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Hold on to the promises of God and trust that He will bring them to pass.
WE MUST KEEP THE RIGHT DISPOSITION As we hold on to the promises of God, we must do so with the right dispositions.
Disposition of Joy “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy…” – Isaiah 54:1a
The Israelites in their time of barrenness had nothing to sing about. They were in captivity. They had no land to call their own. Life under the rule of a pagan king was chaos. In short, they lost their sense of identity. Yet, God was telling them to sing and shout. It would have been easier for the Israelites to lament in pain and shame but God told them to do the opposite. At first glance, this is counter-intuitive. It seems crazy to sing and exclaim in joy when we are down in the dumps. Is God asking us to be hypocritical or “fake it ‘till we make it”? First, we must understand that there is a dif ference bet ween being joy ful and being happy. While they may feel the same, happiness is connected to our external circumstances. When life goes according to plan, happiness abounds. When things don’t go right, happiness disappears. Joy has nothing to do with our environment and ever y thing to do
When we sing for joy, especially in the midst of pain, we go against the grain of limitations, weakening the walls of limitations in our lives.” 2 7
Joy has nothing to do with our environment and everything to do with the state of our inner being.”
with the state of our inner being, our “in-vironment.” When our “invironment ” is filled with pain, we will look at the world through the lens of pain. When we are unable to get over past hur ts, we will view the world as a place of predators and us as the prey. Despite our pain, God says sing for joy. Despite our shame, God says shout for joy ! When God calls the barren woman to sing, He is actually calling her to proclaim change into her life – for her “in-vironment ” to transform the environment. That is why God wants us to have a disposition of joy. He knows that joy lifts us up. When we sing for joy, especially in the midst of pain, we go against the grain of limitations, weakening the walls of limitations in our lives. When we choose joy, something else happens. Joy fills us with strength. That’s why the Bible tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:12).
We need the strength of God in order to step into the breakthroughs of God. We need the strength of God to walk into the expansion of God. When we maintain an “invironment ” of joy, knowing that God is with us, we cannot be defeated for joy overcomes defeat.
Disposition of Faith A disposition of joy must be accompanied with a disposition of faith. “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy…” – Isaiah 54:1a When God is asking the barren woman to sing, He is also asking her to demonstrate faith. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Put another way, faith sees the accomplished before it happens.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” – Isaiah 54:2
Faith enables the supernatural to be in our midst.
The barren woman is also called to enlarge – to believe that God will make the expansion happen, to walk in faith because faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).
While having the right disposition is a start, it will not be enough. We will need to exercise something else.
Parents of small children will agree that the most delightful moments are the times when our children set out to please us, to trust us, looking at us and saying, “I believe you.” The same is true with our daddy God. It is our moments of faith – times when we choose to please, trust, and believe Him – that releases the hand of God, paving the way for miracles to take place.
We need to move beyond having a disposition of faith by taking responsibilit y – doing something as an expression of our faith. Let ’s go back to 2 Kings 6:1-2 from the Watchnight Message.
Many times when we seek the Lord for a break through, we pray once, t wice, and then give up. “ What ’s the point? ” we ask, “God isn’t going to answer my prayer.” Having a disposition of faith means that we don’t give up. Having a disposition of faith means trusting God even when the obstacles are still there. Having a disposition of faith means knowing that God will bring us to a place of freedom, fruit fulness, and abundance. Faith triggers the miraculous to come into our lives.
Faith activates open heavens so that we can do the impossible.
WE MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
“Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.” Just as the prophets exercised ownership and cooperation concerning their place of meeting, each of us has a part to play in the plans of God. If we don’t prepare ourselves for the breakthrough, the breakthrough can’t come.
Faith sees the accomplished before it happens.”
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent cur tains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” – Isaiah 54:2 To enlarge ( – רחבrachab) is to “make room.” If we believe that we are stepping into expansion, then it’s time to look at our lives to see how we can make room for the new things of God.
If we don’t prepare ourselves for the breakthrough, the breakthrough can’t come.”
Another definition for rachab is to “grow wide.” I’m not talking about an expansion to our girth. I’m talking about getting ready for a God who doesn’t just give us a blessing but pours blessing into our lives. Like the widow of 2 Kings 4:1-7, if we want the blessings to continue flowing, we must make room for it. Otherwise, the blessings will stop because our container is full. “For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” – Isaiah 54:3 Of the four verbs, stretch ( – נטהnatah) is the only one with a command: do not hold back (ְ – חׁש ךchasak). It’s very human to stretch and refuse to stretch further because we feel we are at our limit. However, God is telling us to keep going, to keep expanding. Just as a camping tent needs to be stretched tight to be an effective shelter, you and I must keep pushing
beyond our limits because that’s where God is going to do great things. When we look at leng then ( – ארְךa Ͻ rak), it ’s also about expansion from a posture of endurance – to keep holding on to God. Finally, to strengthen ( – חזקchazaq) is to “become mighty,” to “grow firm.” As we take responsibility in this decade of breakthrough, we must choose to continually grow, ready for the advances in store for us. God’s plan for this church is a Decade of Expansion. He has a decade of breakthrough for each of us, to break us out of our limits into the place of freedom. Just as He told the nation of Israel to sing, He is telling us to sing for what is to come.
Pastor Dominic Yeo is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Centre. Hear this message, and other sermons, at www.trinity.sg (Media > Sermons)
Keep the joy. Keep the faith. Take responsibilit y by get ting ready for the promises that will come to pass.
Healing on G d’s Terms Joshua Isaac was just starting his adult life when a severe back injury threatened all hopes for the future. Doctors advised against surgery, telling him that he would have to endure the pain for the rest of his life. Lye Huixian recounts his five-year journey to God’s miraculous healing.
uring my National Service (NS) in 2012, I was posted to the prestigious but famously-demanding Naval Diving Unit (NDU).
At 23, it felt like a death sentence. he problem? I had a fear T of water.
Through months of hard work, I overcame that fear and started putting my all into the grueling combat diver course – pushing my body with runs, swims, and weighttraining on off-days. Even when I injured my knee, I pressed on despite the pain. That led to an injury that could be heard every time I walked.
just a back sprain, I tried to force my body to continue on. An MRI scan showed a prolapsed, herniated disc at the L4-L5 spinal segment.
Permanently downgraded to a noncombat vocational training position, reduced to pushing buttons as a systems operator, all my hard work was for nothing. Faced with another setback in life, I felt like a complete failure.
I enjoyed the rigorous training and even considered signing on after NS, putting aside the dreams of entrepreneurship that God had already placed in my heart. However, all hopes of a Naval career were dashed after a few months.
Over time, the spinal injury got worse. Instead of carrying a backpack, I was forced to use a small suitcase to carry things around. Sometimes during carecell when the pain was unbearable, I was the only one sitting on a chair while everyone sat on the floor. During service, I couldn’t stand up without holding on to the seats. I was so embarrassed about my physical limitation.
During a training session in May 2012, I felt a sharp pain shoot through my back. Hoping that it was
The pain affected my sleep as well. It was difficult to find a comfortable position. Even after I fell asleep,
the pain often jolted me awake. I would wake up with a stiff back each morning. Train rides were also challenging. Every abrupt jerk would send pain shooting through my back. Desperate to get out of this misery, I sought the best doctors for a cure. To my disappointment, the two orthopedic specialists I consulted advised against spinal fusion surgery. It was extremely risky and there was only a 60 percent chance of success. Their conclusion: learn to live with the pain for the rest of my life. outtheravine
PURSUING GOD’S DREAMS
Just before turning operationally ready (ORD) in January 2014, I started thinking about life after NS. My passion was building design. However, during the God Encounter Meetings of 2013, He called me to leave that dream behind. It was time to prepare for the entrepreneurial life by pursuing a business degree. With the encouragement of my family, I pursued my entrepreneurial calling in 2014, an endeavor that required constant travel to India. Though the sixhour flights were difficult, rickety trains, rickshaws, and sleeper buses were worse. Every bump and pothole sent pain shooting through my spine. I had to grit my teeth and keep moving forward. outtheravine
outtheravine Trying to take the pain with a smile. November 11, 2013
Anxious for exercise, I modified my routine and went as often as I could. Benching, squatting, and any overhead pressing movements were now off limits and I was forced to use machines. Instead of the usual 20 kilogram plates, I was reduced to “baby weights” – dumbbells that weighed less than 1 kilogram. Unable to exercise as rigorously as before, my weight started to increase. This was another huge blow to my self-esteem.
The peace of God was so strong that I knew I couldn’t give in to doubt.”
outtheravine #findingcomfortinmydiscomfort. February 26, 2014
UP CLOSE The travel took a huge toll on my back. In October 2016, I found myself unable to move. The pain was so bad that even the smallest steps were excruciating. As I lay bedridden for the next four days, I recalled Isaiah 53:4-5. “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Claiming that promise, I cried out to God for healing over the next few months and went down for every altar call to seek healing. “I know you can heal me,” I told God with an expectant heart. But as the pain continued, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
outtheravine Pressing on to encourage others while waiting for my miracle. April 8, 2016
In these moments of doubt, I am thankful that my carecell and church friends were always there to support me. When I messaged about episodes of pain, they would respond with words of encouragement. During altar calls, I could feel them laying hands on me as they prayed. Their Audacious Fervor helped me press on in claiming my miracle.
HEALING, GOD’S WAY In March 2017, friends shared that Nathan Morris, a well-known healing evangelist, would be leading a nighttime rally during the World Assemblies of God Congress 2017 (WAGC 2017). Moreover, though I had not intended to go for the Day Conference, someone from my section blessed me with his congress package – there were lastminute changes in his schedule and he couldn’t make it. The Day Conference was a time where God really strengthened my faith, so much so that on the night of Pastor Nathan’s Power Rally (March 31), I forsook dinner to join the alreadysnaking line forming at Trinity’s lobby. I was determined to sit in the front rows and run down during the altar call, ready to claim my miracle. After lining up for almost two hours, I could only get a seat at the mezzanine of the Sanctuary. Pastor Nathan was so far away and though I was hopeful to see him when he moved from place to place, he never came upstairs to us. Though disappointed, I willed myself to remember that God was with me. Then, Pastor Nathan Morris shared these words with the congregation,
“I am just a man. You have got to believe in Jesus and not me. Don’t focus on the man but focus on Jesus!”
ou tth er av ine
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At that moment, I started calling on the name of Jesus. The peace of God filled my heart. I did not have to strive for my healing, I could just receive it! When Pastor Nathan asked us to test out our healing, specifically mentioning spinal problems, I twisted and felt that familiar, shooting pain. Though I didn’t receive my healing at the Power Rally, I continued to claim it, repeating it over and over again in my head. The peace of God was so strong that I knew I couldn’t give in to doubt. The claims of healing continued to play in my head as I stepped into the shower. As the hot water hit my back, I suddenly realized something was different – there was no pain! I was in disbelief. It felt too good to be true. Surely I would wake up to the usual morning back stiffness. Again, no pain. Could this really be happening? I had to test out my healing again, this time with a run. Instead of wearing the usual double-layered shoes, I wore the thinnest soledshoes and headed out. Expecting the familiar back pain, the only pain felt was from underused leg muscles. I started to praise God, knowing that I had been miraculously healed.
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That weekend, I carried all the bottled drinks for our carecell outing. Again, no pain! A follow-up MRI confirmed that there were no longer issues with my back. The same doctor who saw me writhing in pain a few months ago could no longer detect problems with my spine. Now charged up with faith, I started praying for healing in my clicking knee. That click was silenced. I received healing in my knee as well! As I reflect on my five-year journey to healing, I recognize that God had to bring me to a place where I could no longer rely on the strength of man. It was only when I relied on the strength of God, putting my faith in His Word, that I saw the miraculous hand of God at work. Praise God for my real life miracle!
The same doctor who saw me writhing in pain a few months ago could no longer detect problems with my spine.” 3 5
Sibling relationships are special. Unlike our parents, friends, or spouses, siblings are with us for the majority of our lives. We play together as children and collectively endure the struggles of academic life. We see each other enter the workforce, engage in romantic relationships, raise kids, and retire. Siblings are, for the most part, the longest-lasting relationships we can have in our lives. Sibling conflict is a normal part of childhood, something that has existed since the beginning of man. Left unchecked, it can breed resentment and bitterness that affect the atmosphere at home. Left unresolved, it can even affect relationships between future generations of family members. While clashes are inevitable, parents can use these situations to teach their children important values like honor, gentleness, self-control, and selflessness. By spending their formative years learning how to sympathize, compromise, and resolve issues, children often become men and women skilled in conflict management – an ability that will serve them well into their old age. What sibling relationships can I build if I don’t have siblings? Biological siblings are not the only means God
created for us to learn how to manage relationships. In addition to being a child of God, being a Christian means that we belong to a spiritual family, gaining brothers and sisters in Christ. In this church, we experience these spiritual sibling relationships by being part of a carecell – a small group of believers committed to encouraging and building one another up. Whether we’ve been a Christian for five days, five months, or five decades, we never outgrow the need for our spiritual siblings – people we entrust to speak God’s truth into our lives so that we continually trade in worldly values for Kingdom values. When clashes occur between siblings, whether biological or spiritual, Scripture exhorts us to live out brotherly love by making peace with one another. As a command from our Heavenly Father, you and I are called to demonstrate selfless love so that the world may see God through our words and actions. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:11-12
You and I are called to demonstrate selfless love so that the world may see God through our words and actions.”
Read on to find out how you can foster stronger relationships with your biological and spiritual siblings.
Sibling Rivalry in the Bible Help! My Children are Like Enemies! 7 Bible Tips for Growing Closer with your Siblings When Siblings Grow Up: How to Get Along as Adults Living Out Brotherly Love in Our Everyday Life 7 Questions with Pastors Wendy and Wai Wai
38 41 45 48 54 58 3 7
Sibling Rivalry in the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them
By Kelli Mahoney
It’s sometimes hard to get along with our siblings, and sibling rivalry can go much further than a few arguments. Here are some famous people of the Bible that had plenty of trouble getting along with one another, and how they provide us lessons in overcoming sibling rivalry.
CAIN AND ABEL
JACOB AND ESAU
THE STORY In one of the ultimate examples of sibling rivalry, Cain murdered his own brother. In this case, Cain was angry and jealous. Early on, God had accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. Instead, God gave Cain a warning about sin. In this case, his sin was an all-consuming jealousy against his brother.
THE STORY It isn’t uncommon for siblings to fight for their parents’ attention and love, as well as how some older siblings have a desire to be more dominant over their younger siblings.
THE LESSON We need to realize we all bring things to the table, and that God wants us to honor one another. The lesson of Cain and Abel is also a lesson in overcoming temptation and sin. Jealousy can lead to some angry and harmful feelings (or in this case, murder).
• Am I consumed by sibling jealousy? • Is there a sibling relationship
where God wants my heart to be made right?
• Will I allow God to help me
overcome sibling jealousy?
In this case, God had made it clear that Esau (the older sibling) would serve Jacob and that Jacob was the chosen one. Yet their father, Isaac, chose to bless Esau and Jacob’s mother arranged for Jacob to receive the blessing by deceit. Esau was clearly his father’s favorite due to his strength at hunting and Jacob’s greater attachment to his mother. It took over 20 years for the two brothers to reconcile. THE LESSON In this situation, the siblings’ parents weren’t very helpful in making sure the brothers got along. They were quite culpable in this situation, reminding us that parents have a role to play in tempering sibling
rivalry. While Esau said some terrible things, and Jacob played his part in his mother’s deceit, we learn that sibling rivalry and the harsh things we say to our brothers and sisters can be overcome. While it took a long portion of their lives for them to reconcile, it is possible to grow closer as we grow up.
• Is there a sibling, natural or “in
Christ,” that I need to reconcile with?
• Will I allow God to help me in the journey of reconciliation?
JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS THE STORY Joseph’s story is rather well known and another strong example of sibling rivalry. Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Jacob showed a great deal of favoritism toward his son, Joseph, because he was born of Jacob’s favorite wife. Joseph’s brothers clearly saw that their father loved Joseph more, especially after he gave Joseph an ornamented robe. This created dissension between Joseph and his brothers to where they shunned him and then considered murdering him. They would not even call him their brother. In the end, they sold him into slavery. It didn’t help that Joseph wasn’t all that mature and even gave a bad report of his brothers to their father. When he spoke to his brothers, he
somewhat taunted them about his dreams that show they would bow down to him. In the end, though, the brothers were reunited and all was forgiven, though it took many years and much tribulation to get there. THE LESSON One would think that Jacob would have learned not to show favoritism, but sometimes people can be a little thick-headed. So again, the parent played a part in fueling the fire of sibling rivalry. Still, this story is an example of how it takes two to have a rivalry. The other brothers weren’t very nice to Joseph and blamed him for his father’s mistake. Yet Joseph wasn’t exactly understanding, and he was a bit of a taunter and tattler. Both sides were wrong and didn’t take the time to understand one another. However, in the end, and after much trial and tribulation, the brothers reconciled.
Sibling rivalry and harsh things we say to our brothers and sisters can be overcome.”
• As a parent – Am I fueling sibling rivalry by playing favorites? Do I show all of my children that I love equally?
• As a sibling – Do I gloat when
mom/dad favors me? Am I someone that loves and honors my siblings?
THE PRODIGAL SON THE STORY A father had two sons. The elder son is well-behaved. He does what he is told and takes care of things at home. He is responsible and respects the way he was raised. The younger son is less so. He is more rebellious and soon asks his father for money so he can leave home. While out in the world, he parties, does drugs and has sex with random prostitutes. Soon the younger son, though, realizes the error of his ways, tired of all the partying. So he returns home where his father is overjoyed. He throws the younger son a party and makes it a pretty big deal. Yet the older son resents the attention, blasting his father for never honoring him after all his years of obedience. The father reminds the older son that all he has is his and at his disposal. THE LESSON While the story of the Prodigal Son is a parable about the Pharisees, it does provide us with actual lessons in sibling rivalry. It reminds us that we can sometimes get too far into our own heads, too self-absorbed, and we need
to remember that others may be going through things, too. We need to show unconditional love and not always be so concerned about ourselves. The older brother in the story was being petty and not very welcoming to his brother that finally returned to the family. Of course, that is something to be celebrated. The father had to remind him that the brother had always been there and that he had access to everything the father had. That was, in its own way, a life-long celebration and commitment. It is also a reminder that family love needs to be unconditional. Yes, the younger brother made mistakes, he hurt them, but he is still the brother and a part of the family.
• Do I look down at a sibling because of his/her “weaknesses” and flaws?
• Do I condemn a sibling because of a mistake he/she has made instead of demonstrating unconditional love?
• Will I allow God to teach me the true meaning of unconditional love?
We can sometimes get too far into our own heads, too self-absorbed, and we need to remember that others may be going through things.” 4 0
My Children are Like Enemies! If you’re a parent to multiple children, you’ll know that the home can become a war zone when siblings don’t get along. Here’s some advice on how to maintain the peace and promote good sibling relationships.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SIBLING ARGUMENTS TRUE FOR ALL AGES
FOR OLDER CHILDREN*
• Older child(ren) must always give in
• All siblings must be punished no
to the younger child(ren)
• Older child(ren) is/are superior to
and have nothing to learn from the younger one(s)
• Sibling rivalry is normal, a passing phase
• Competition among siblings is healthy
• When arguments occur,
someone must be in the wrong
matter who was at fault. A form of discipline that’s done in school, youth see this as a parent being unfair when the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
• Youth are old enough to resolve
conflicts and should be left alone. If youth do not learn appropriate steps for conflict resolution, resentment and bitterness can breed and affect the atmosphere at home.
*age 10 and above
PREVENTING THE FIGHT
What parents can do to establish good sibling ties
F OR YOUNGER CHILDREN^
FOR OLDER CHILDREN*
• Teach the value of respect.
• Focus on helping your children
Children are not to touch their sibling’s property without permission.
• Model how children should talk
to one another. No raised voices. Always say “please” and “thank you.”
• Be fair. Give differential treatment
based on the children’s likes and dislikes, not out of bias. If one child likes a certain kind of food and there is only one piece left, let him/her have it. If both children want the last piece of food, cut it in half.
• Involve older siblings in caring for the younger ones (e.g., bringing the baby bottle or diapers, telling a story or singing a song).
• Deal with the child’s heart before
changing his/her behavior. Encourage children to develop the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), helping them to process their thoughts, actions, and feelings to determine whether they are “fruitful.” Don’t underestimate a child’s ability to discern: they know what is right and wrong even at a very young age.
build their relationship with God. When their love for God is strong, they will allow God to mold their character to be more loving towards one another.
• Promote family bonding. Given
increasingly-independent schedules, incorporate times where the family will come together for activities everyone enjoys. Establishing this may be difficult in the beginning but don’t give up! Start small, like family dinner a few times a week. Have all mobile devices be put away so that there’s undivided attention.
TRUE FOR ALL AGES
• Pray for your children. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas where your child(ren) need specific prayer (e.g., their mind, their walk with God, relationships).
• Avoid all of the following actions • P erceived favoritism – Be fair in allocating time and resources.
• P utting down/criticizing one child in front of his/her sibling(s). • C omparing siblings – This can cause sibling rivalry by pitting them against each other. • Using one child’s bad behavior and subsequent punishment as an example/warning to the other(s).
REASONS FOR THE FIGHT Why are my children fighting?
F OR YOUNGER CHILDREN^
FOR OLDER CHILDREN*
• Developmental milestones
Younger children tend to take toys from their siblings. This means older children must learn to protect their toys.
(e.g., holding on to a toy for too long)
TRUE FOR ALL AGES • Differences in personality • A bad mood • Perception that parents are not being fair
• A desire to be irritating
In a society that primes youth to care only about themselves and their needs, siblings quickly forget that they are also called to look after one another.
(e.g., one sibling has more freedom than the other, one sibling has better things than the other).
• Lack of respect
One sibling doesn’t respect the personal space/feelings of the other.
• Unrealistic/unmet expectations One sibling feels that he/she isn’t treated the way he/she should be treated by his/her sibling.
A big thank you to the parents who contributed to this article. Jimmy and Sarah Chiang Parents of Esther (6), Samuel (4), and Uel (21 months) Karine Eu Mother of Gabriel (4) and Joel (2)
Poh Ee-Lyn Mother of Ethan (10) and Ryan (6)
Tricia Leong Mother of Luke (8) and Zacchaeus (6)
Chris and Irene Yeo Parents of Daniel (21) and Deborah (17)
^up to age 9
*age 10 and above
DURING THE FIGHT
What should parents do when siblings fight?
FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN^
FOR OLDER CHILDREN*
• Stop the situation from escalating
Parents don’t have to step into every dispute, especially when it is trivial. However, if youth are no longer in control of their emotions (e.g., shouting, physical violence, tantrum-throwing, spiteful words), parents must step in to correct behavior and reiterate appropriate steps for conflict resolution.
further. Give the children time to calm down before investigating.
• Listen to both sides of the
story. Show that you are trying to understand their point of view.
• Remind children of the godly
values the family lives by. Teach them how to apply it whenever a situation like this happens.
• Assure children that the family is
Reframe and reconcile Parents’ role in reconciliation and forgiveness is important because children must learn the posture of confession and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31-32).
here to support one another at all times. There will be no judgment made for wrong behavior.
• Reframe the situation. Be objective and ask what each child would have done differently.
• Replay the situation. Ask each child to apply what was learned.
• Have each child openly confess his/her part in the conflict.
• Guide the children to apologize. • “I’m sorry (name of sibling) for (wrong action).” • “I’ll be more (godly action).” • “Please forgive me for (wrong action).”
• Guide the children to accept the other’s apology. • “I forgive you for (wrong action). Please don’t do that again.”
• Praise each child for choosing to learn/adopt the right behavior and actions.
• Check whether both sides
have reconciled. Neither child should remain in a whiny/ argumentative mood.
^up to age 9
*age 10 and above
• Order a cool down period
(15-30 minutes) to stop the shouting/fighting and allow each youth to get his/her emotions in a good place.
• Reconvene to hear both sides of the story. No matter who started the fight, it takes two hands to clap. Both siblings are LISTEN wrong for allowing the dispute to escalate.
• Have each sibling
Reframe and apologize to each reconcile other for his/her role in the dispute. This is to affirm the importance of accepting responsibility for one’s actions. If either insists that he/she did nothing wrong, reiterate how he/she played a part in escalating the dispute. Be firm about verbalizing fault.
• Have each sibling accept the
apology of the other. This is to affirm the importance of extending forgiveness and moving on. Be firm about verbalizing forgiveness.
• Bring closure by affirming your love for each child with a word of encouragement and a hug.
s p i e l b T i B for
h t i w r se o l C Growing
s g n i l b r Si u o Y By Crystal McDowell
ust as we didnâ€™t get to choose our parents, we also didnâ€™t get to choose our siblings.
Some of us are blessed to be very close to our brothers and sisters. Unfortunately many of us can be estranged from them as well. Our earthly relationships can test our faith and give us to question God on how we can grow closer to our siblings even though we may be very different in our viewpoints and experiences. Here are seven Bible tips for growing closer together.
TIP 1: BE PATIENT “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2 Many times our siblings have their guard up with us and we don’t even know why. Perhaps they’ve never been healed or delivered from childhood hurt. We can’t take away their past, but we can be patient and resist the urge to judge or push them into a relationship. By patiently praying and trusting in God, we can eventually grow closer to them.
TIP 3: BE GRATEFUL “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:3 There are many people in the world who don’t have siblings. If we are blessed to have earthly brothers and sisters, we need to show our gratefulness towards having them in our lives. It’s very easy to get a card or make a phone call – just to keep in touch. Our gratefulness will be evident in our investment into the relationship.
TIP 2: BE TRUTHFUL “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15 Even though it’s not easy, we must strive to speak to our siblings in truth with love. They ought to know that we won’t lie nor would we attempt to deceive them. As we desire to grow closer to our siblings, the relationship needs to be built on the foundation of truth. As we speak the truth, the Holy Spirit can convict their hearts and draw them closer to Jesus.
TIP 4: BE KIND “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12 Parents aren’t perfect and therefore, neither are siblings. Sometimes it’s easier to speak or treat a family member more harshly than it is to a stranger. We become so accustomed to one another that we take each other for granted. Yet a kind word can many times heal old wounds so that siblings can become best friends for life.
TIP 5: BE LOVING “For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” – 1 John 3:11 Love is the mark of every true believer in Jesus Christ. The love that God has shown us through Jesus Christ should flow out of our hearts to our siblings. They will know we are real about our faith in how we show them love in our words and actions. There’s no faking or pretending if we are being led by the Spirit.
TIP 6: BE SENSITIVE “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” – 1 Peter 3:8 Sometimes family hurts run very deep within the hearts of our siblings. If we’ve been healed or protected by God’s grace – all the more reason, we need to be sensitive to the things that cause them pain. Our sensitive responses reveal how we are sincere in our desire to be close to them.
TIP 7: BE AVAILABLE “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” – James 2:15-17 Our availability to our siblings is one of the best indicators of our desire to be close to them. We may not be able to see or talk to them every day. However we can make greater efforts to reach out, even in a text or card. They need to know that we can be available when they are ready to talk or need advice on an issue.
SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS INSTEAD OF SIBLING RIVALRY
As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal McDowell has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www. whatchristianswant toknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http:// crystalmcdowellsp eaks.blogspot.com.
Satan and the world thrive off of division within families. However, God has called us to be the peacemakers not only on the job and community but also for our families. We may need to forgive and let go of the past in getting closer to our siblings. As we pray daily for them, let us seek God for wisdom and direction to get closer to them while we still have a chance to do so.
Grow Up How to Get Along as Adults By Sarah Hamaker
rothers and sisters are one of the few people in our lives who will be with us the longest. They are there when we were children and they will likely be around when we’re old and gray. Nearly 80 percent of us have a sibling, and for many of us, the bonds – whether good or bad – formed in childhood follow us into adulthood. “We often think there’s a demarcation line between our childhood and adulthood,” said Dr. David Hawkins, director of The Marriage Recovery Center in Seattle. “But sibling relationships don’t stop when we leave home.” Growing up, I didn’t have a close relationship with my five siblings, mostly because of the age gaps between us: three of my siblings are 11, 13 and 15 years older than me, while the two others (twins) are 14 years younger than me. That meant there weren’t a lot of shared family
memories from childhood adventures and scrapes. In adulthood, I’ve had to make new connections with my three sisters and two brothers. It hasn’t always been easy, but the rewards of having a closer relationship with them have been well worth the effort. “There is a unique camaraderie that comes with having that shared history,” said Sarah Phillips in Richmond, Virginia, of her two sisters, three stepsisters and one stepbrother. “It’s irreplaceable and often supersedes differences and difficulties. I’ve come to see sibling relationships as the natural school God uses to teach us what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ.” But for many families, navigating the waters of adult relationships with brothers and sisters can be tricky. For example, stories of brothers and sisters fighting over wills and having unresolved childhood hurts that harm present-day interactions abound. “We have a nation of siblings who have regretted not staying close,” said Hawkins, himself one of five siblings.
1. RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF SIBLINGS Our brothers and sisters are an integral part of our lives, and even if our interactions as adults haven’t been healthy, they still had a great impact on making us who we are today. “These are our first relationships – and thus some of the most formative – of our lives,” said Sarah. “No one will know or understand like our siblings where we came from and what shaped us.” “Your siblings know the real you,” added Ginny Hamlin in Corona, California. “There isn’t anything quite as comforting as being loved for who you are versus who someone thinks you should be or could be.”
2. ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S HAND IN YOUR FAMILY
Sarah* in Denver described her current relationship with her three brothers as “loving but a bit distant. While we enjoy each other, it doesn’t seem like we’ve known how to adapt and accept the very different individuals we’ve all become.”
Whether you grew up in a Christian home or not, accepting that God placed you in your family with your siblings is very important. “God placed us all in families, so these relationships should always be more important than non-family relationships,” said Lynellen Perry in Dumfries, Virginia. “Christian families are to model God’s relationship with humans, much as the church should. So when nonChristians see siblings that treat each other badly, why would they want to know Christ?”
Whether you have a fantastic relationship with your siblings as adults or one that needs improvement, here are 10 ways brothers and sisters can help their interactions with one another flourish, instead of flounder.
Like any relationship, we must take care to nurture ours with siblings. Frequent interactions will help to keep us connected with our brothers and sisters. “My sister and I come from a
Sibling relationships don’t stop when we leave home.”
3. KEEP THE BOND STRONG
FOCUS broken home where there was a lot of trauma, both emotional and physical,” said Hamlin. “There is a bond my sister and I share of having survived that environment that no one else can relate to. Today, we can talk about anything and for that, I’m thankful.”
4. EMBRACE THE DIFFERENCES Some characteristics will never change, and while we should expect growth – and experience it ourselves! – we shouldn’t presume a total personality change is going to happen, either. “There are some dynamics that might never change,” said Phillips. “I am a sensitive Type B who might normally take offense at too much straight talk from a stranger, but my little sister rarely offends me with her plain speaking because I am so familiar with her style of communication and ways of thinking.”
6. WORK TOGETHER As I’ve found out recently, having brothers and sisters can lighten the load when helping your parents in their twilight years. “As our parents grow older, I’m thankful to know my brother and sister will be available to help make decisions and absorb changes as they come,” said Elizabeth Spencer in Battle Creek, Michigan.
7. ADDRESS ANY PROBLEMS When a sibling relationship needs repairing, we shouldn’t hesitate to do the work necessary to get things back on the right track. “Be willing to communicate with your sibling, even though it may be painful,” said Tricia* in Fort Myers, Florida, who has gone through some difficult times with her two brothers and twin sister. “Be willing to try to understand your sibling’s point of view. Realize that even though you have been wronged, there is probably some wrong on your side as well.”
5. ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE We all have our good qualities and our not-so-good ones. When thinking of your brothers and sisters, focus on the positive, rather than the negative. “Look for the positives in them, even if it means going back to early childhood to find them,” said Jennifer* in Tampa, Florida. Phillips added that she describes her relationship with siblings overall as “positive, supportive and enduring.”
Spencer added, “Honest conversation in a safe environment with clear ground rules may be productive. Time doesn’t necessarily heal all wounds but it can provide perspective.”
8. LEARN TO LET GO Sometimes, we hold on to things that happened in childhood and allow those hurts to color our current relationships with our brothers and sisters. “I think humans tend to hold on to hurts from childhood no matter who inflicted them,” said Perry, who has one younger sister. “Non-
family members can be ignored when we’re adults, but family relationships usually keep us in contact with those who hurt us. That means the wounds keep getting irritated unless we take action to intentionally forgive.” “It seems to me that human nature is to recall the painful, difficult, heartbreaking or otherwise negative experiences more than the pleasant and uplifting ones,” said Jennifer. “We must choose to dwell on the good but it is easier to recall and dwell on the bad.” Living out our forgiveness can be hard but it’s vital to moving past the offense and continuing the relationship. “God teaches us grace and forgiveness, but even then, you have to remind yourself that the past is over because insecurity and hurt feelings can run so deep,” said Cheryl Hammond of Fairfax, Virginia.
“There are times when you might need to put a sibling relationship on hold,” pointed out Hammond, who had to step back for a time while her older brother wrestled with substance abuse and paranoia. “He wasn’t safe to be around, but we made sure we were there for his wife and children.”
10. HOPE FOR THE BEST
ur faith presses us to shower O them with kindness, rather than retaliate for wrongdoings. “Continue to pray for God to intervene in their life, but keep the door open for reconciliation,” said Jennifer. “Keep realistic expectations and hold out hope that with work and prayer, some sort of relationship can be established.”
verall, we should keep foremost O in our mind the call to love one another, especially those God has put in our lives as part of our family. “Be intentional about having a relationship with your brothers and sisters,” said Hawkins. “When all is said and done, you want to be able to say you did all you could to have a healthy relationship with them.”
9. KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY Sometimes, a sibling is on a self-destructive path that might require stepping away for a time or limiting contact. “For years, I tried to engage in a relationship with my brother, who had a gambling addiction. However, even though my efforts at communicating with him were out of kindness, he often responded by lashing out at me,” said Tricia. “The relationship became emotionally abusive, and I’ve had to limit my communication with him to birthdays and Christmas – but have left the door open for him to contact me if he desires.”
on’t completely write off your D siblings even if you have to take a break from contact for a season. “Friends and other relationships will come and go, but siblings have a deeper bond, even if they don’t actually like each other,” said Spencer.
Sibling relationships are the natural school God uses to teach us what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ.”
* Some sources requested only first names be used to avoid harming their sibling relationships.
IF YOU ARE THE FOCUS
Disputes among siblings are common. However, the Bible commands us to “live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). We ask Rev Sam Kuna for steps we can take to make peace with our siblings.
1. Determine the cause of the dispute. There are many reasons why parties can enter into a dispute. In the Bible, we read that the dispute between Paul and Barnabas was due to leadership styles (Acts 15:36-41). The conflict between Joseph and his brothers stemmed from the favoritism displayed by their father Jacob (Genesis 37). Here are a few reasons why we can be in dispute with our siblings. • Preferences • Values • Perceived favoritism from parents • Bullying • Physical aggression with physical and/or sexual abuse Exercise humility to accept how you have contributed to the dispute, including times of passivity or apathy. 2. Process your thoughts and feelings about the relationship and where you would like it to go. Is your ideal state reconciliation (having good relations and privileges restored to the state before the dispute occurred) or conciliation (maintaining peace and harmony in the relationship)? In accessing the possible outcomes, recognize the limitations. Joseph and his brothers could come to a place of reconciliation (Genesis 50:21). However, Jacob and Esau’s relationship went only as far as conciliation. With Esau in Seir and Jacob in Canaan (Genesis 33) – each party maintained separate lives after resolving the dispute. Accept that (re)conciliation may not be possible if the other party is not willing or able to move forward with the relationship.
3. Exercise wisdom in opening/ establishing a point of communication. Expect that the other party may retaliate with hurtful words or remain unresponsive. Understand that they have not had the ability to process their thoughts and feelings as you have. 4. Apologize for your role in the dispute and ask for forgiveness. In 1 Corinthians 6:1-11, Paul challenges Christians to demonstrate genuineness in making things right by taking the blame rather than winning a dispute. Verbalize a desire to make peace and move forward. If necessary, offer restitution to demonstrate genuine remorse and sincerity in your apology. As you reach out to seek forgiveness from your sibling, be aware that you will also need to forgive yourself for whatever happened in the past. You are wiser now, a better person. You have learned and have changed. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, focus on the future. 5. Know your limits. Exercise wisdom and discretion when interacting with your sibling. When it comes to restitution, consider if it is within your means to offer what is requested. Do not permit your sibling to use “emotional blackmail” – fear, guilt, or obligation – as a means of keeping the relationship going. While we are called to live in peace, the Bible is not unrealistic in its expectations for us to maintain it (“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18). When siblings are unresponsive or unrealistic despite your best efforts, choose to lift the relationship up to God and trust that He will bring peace to the relationship.
IF YOU ARE THE 1. Release the “right” to take revenge or retaliate by extending forgiveness, irrespective of whether the offending party seeks it. Forgiveness is ultimately an issue between you and God, a willingness to give Him your painful emotions and memories so that you can be set free. If the other party seeks forgiveness, verbally release it. This is to demonstrate your sincerity in making peace and moving on. Though Esau was extremely upset at Jacob for stealing his birthright (Genesis 27:41), there was no indication that Esau still wanted to take revenge in Genesis 33:4. Instead, he “ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.” There was acceptance back into the family and refusal to accept the restitution offered by his younger brother. 2. Put yourself in the offender’s shoes. Perhaps the most challenging step of all, consider the factors that caused the offender to hurt you: childhood issues, the possible emotional and psychological state when the offence was carried out. Though this does not excuse the person for causing you harm, developing empathy for him/her is about finding healing and recovery from the offense.
Empathy is what Joseph demonstrated in Genesis 50:20 when he told his brothers this: “You intended to harm me (actions that were painful and irreversible) but God intended it for good (to give our family hope and a future).” 3. If the other party wishes to establish a relationship, assess whether this is possible. In some instances (e.g., sexual assault, embezzlement, mental health condition, death), it is not possible or wise to seek an ongoing relationship with the other party. The damage done may trigger painful memories and psychosomatic reactions related to trauma – heart palpitations, shortness of breath, anxiety, fear, etc. The Bible only expects us to live at peace with one another (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14). For the offended in instances where (re)conciliation is not possible or wise, this is completed by choosing to extend forgiveness. 4. Use your pain for His glory. The pain of your experience gives you increased empathy and compassion for others facing the same/similar situation. Show others that healing is possible by walking with them through the process of forgiveness and empathy. Lead others to live in the freedom and victory that is found in Christ alone.
If both parties agree to move forward but are unsure about next steps, seeking thirdparty help – spiritual leaders, counselors, family therapists – is advisable because of their objectivity in providing practical solutions. For more complex disputes, seek the services of mediators, arbitrators, and lawyers.
Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ through the Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coach Institute. She’s also a freelance writer and editor, and her book, Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids from War to Peace, is available now. Sarah lives in Fairfax, Va., with her husband and four children. Visit her online at www. parentcoachnova. com for more ways to get along with your adult siblings. Reprinted with permission. Originally published on Crosswalk.com on June 18, 2015.
Rev Sam Kuna is the Dean of the School of Counseling in TCA College. With more than 30 years of experience in the field, he devotes his time to training the next generation of counselors. His areas of interest include youth and children, addictions, marriages, and professional ethics.
Living Out Brotherly Love in Our Everyday Life By Pastor Sabrina Chow
WHAT IS BROTHERLY LOVE?
love that one would express to his/ her biological brother or sister.
IS IT BROMANCE?
“Be devoted to one another in [brotherly] love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
IS IT ONLY BETWEEN BROTHERS?
rotherly love is for everyone who calls themselves a Christian, irrespective of gender or position.
Brotherly love is a concept that appears throughout the Bible. However, the specific word for this type of love (φιλαδελφίᾳ – philadelphia) appears only five times in the New Testament. It refers to a
When Scripture talks about brothers, it is not exclusive to the biological. In fact, a “brother” can also refer to another believer within the family of Christ. To practice brotherly love, we must engage in relationships that go beyond the functional or superficial. God gives us a perfect arena for us to do this: the church and carecell. After all, we are all in God’s family and families care for one another.
Why do we love one another? Four reasons: GOD IS LOVE “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8 The Essence of God is love. His very nature is love. If we profess to know God and love God, we must choose to love one another.
LOVE IS OUR HALLMARK “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35 You and I are called to follow after the pattern of our master, Jesus Christ. If He loves His church, then we must also love His church.
LOVE GIVES US A DEEPER EXPERIENCE IN GOD “My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love!” – 1 John 4:11-12 If we want a deeper experience in God, then we must love one another so that God can come alive in us.
LOVE IS A COMMAND “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
Love is not an option, it is a command from our Heavenly Father. That is why we cannot profess to be Christians if we do not choose to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How do we live out brotherly love in our everyday lives? 1. BY COMMUNICATING IN A LOVING MANNER “…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15 Conflict often starts not because we told the truth but, rather, because the truth was not communicated in a loving manner. Be it anger or frustration, the tone of our message can be the difference between reception and rejection.
• Talk face-to-face instead of sending an email or text message. Whether it’s email or social media, the internet can be a poor channel of communication because it does little to convey our feelings. Words can come off as being cold and unsympathetic.
Choose to go the extra mile by looking out for others and initiating help before it’s asked.”
If we need to correct someone or discuss a sensitive subject, choose to do it face-to-face to observe the person’s expressions and tones, demonstrating sincerity and understanding so that matters can be resolved amicably.
• Take a “time out” Communicating when emotionally upset or physically tired is a bad idea. Sometimes, all we need is a “time out,” taking a step back so that we can cool down or re-charge. In Before You Say Yes (Trinity’s premarital course) couples are taught to cool down before communicating so that conversations can be filled with grace instead of anger or frustration.
2. BY FORGIVING THOSE WHO HURT US “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. – Luke 17:6 Many people think that this passage is about having faith to do great things, but it’s actually about forgiveness.
We are all in God’s family and families care for one another.” 5 6
Forgiveness may be one of the hardest things we can do, especially when the other party is unrepentant, unyielding, and unwilling to apologize. Yet, Christ teaches us to forgive and to do it over and over again (Luke 17:3-4). That is why the disciples asked Jesus to “increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5) so that they could do the impossible task of forgiveness. Did you know that releasing forgiveness is also a matter of faith? If you choose to exercise this little faith; faith as small as a mustard seed, Jesus says you can, with His grace, release forgiveness.
3. BY APOLOGIZING AND MAKING UP WITH THOSE WE HURT “… if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24 Earlier I was addressing the offended. Now, I address the offender. A true disciple of Christ will make his/her relationship right with other believers before lifting up holy hands to worship God. It takes faith to forgive but humility to apologize, choosing to make things right when you know you are wrong. All is good when we learn to communicate in love, when we forgive those who have wounded us, and when we apologize to those we have offended. However, those are just the foundations. If we want to build brotherly love, we must go one step further. We must choose to be a friend. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13 Jesus is the greatest example of what a friend does, walking the talk by laying down His life for all of us. He asks for us to carry that same spirit, to lay down our wants and needs in order to care for others.
Here are just a few ways we can be a friend in a one-on-one relationship and within the carecell.
submitting to one another and being supportive of leadership when it comes to carecell endeavors (Philippians 2:2).
• Help one another With so much happening in life and limited resources, it is easy to put ourselves above others. Choose to go the extra mile by looking out for others and initiating help before it’s asked.
Keeping the unity also means choosing not to act out of selfish ambition, valuing others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3). That includes accepting the thoughts and opinions of others, especially when they differ from our own.
• Pray for one another When it seems like there’s nothing we can do about a situation, the best help we can offer is our prayer, keeping them in our thoughts and petitions to the Lord.
• Share life with one another To be a true friend, we must be willing to open up to each other. Make life more meaningful by sharing it with others, multiplying joy and ministering in times of trouble.
• Keep confidentiality
During the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
Pastor Sabrina Chow serves as a District Pastor with Trinity Christian Centre. A lively communicator with a passion for people, she shares the Word of God with relevance and simplicity. A mentor to lay leaders, her desire is to see men and women grow in truth and fulfill their God-given destiny.
If we can do these things and more, we can truly be said to practice brotherly love, demonstrating that we are disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Carecells are intended to be a safe place for members to share their lives with one another, to be honest about their struggles and stay accountable to their spiritual family. What is shared should remain confidential because a culture of gossip is a sure way to strain relationships and ruin trust.
• Keep the unity We cannot truly love one another without practicing unity, to be of one spirit and mind. That means mutually
with Pastors Wendy & Wai Wai Chang Pastors Wendy and Wai Wai Chang are more than just colleagues â€“ theyâ€™re also sisters! Nyon Yit An finds out how they keep their sibling relationship strong.
DESCRIBE YOUR SISTER IN A FEW WORDS.
HOW HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP EVOLVED OVER TIME?
Pastor Wendy: Calm and highly organized.
Pastor Wai Wai: We were quite distant last time because of our seven-year age gap. That meant we were in different life stages and there were almost no common things to talk about. When I was in Secondary 4, she was married. When I was in university, she lived overseas for a short while with my brother-in-law and niece.
Pastor Wai Wai: Prayerful, passionate, authentic, fierce (chuckles).
WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT YOUR SISTER? Pastor Wendy: Wai Wai has a heart to encourage people and always has a word that helps to build others up. She will make time to meet her friends and cell members. Between the two of us, she’s the nicer one (laughs). Pastor Wai Wai: My sis is a woman who lives out her convictions. For example, she values discipleship and will always make time for people under her care – to hear them out, share her thoughts and God’s word, and bring correction when needed.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP TOGETHER? Pastor Wai Wai: We grew up in separate households because our parents were busy working to support the family. My sis stayed with our auntie while I stayed with my nanny. I remember coming together over the weekends. That’s when she would be the big sister and take care of me. In fact, I saw her as a ‘mother’ as she had to take care of me and other house matters. Pastor Wendy: I remember fetching her home during the weekends and spending time with her. She was the baby of the house and I felt it was my duty to watch over and ‘mother’ her. I think I was very fierce and strict with her when we were younger.
There were three events that brought us closer together: when she came into full-time ministry, when I had a child, and when I had a critical illness. We started talking more because of the common topics. I thank God for orchestrating events that strengthened our relationship. Nowadays, we set aside time to eat together and share the load in caring for our elderly mother. Pastor Wendy: I thank God that we have more common things to talk about now especially when we are in full-time ministry together and also stay close to each other. We share openly about life, family, and ministry without fear of condemnation or judgment. We also help each other intentionally by fetching each other to work and caring for each other’s children. I am thankful that we relate to each other not just as biological sisters and colleagues, but also as sisters serving God together.
SHARE YOUR FAVORITE SISTER MOMENTS. Pastor Wendy: There are too many! One biggie was her wedding day. I was beaming and crying like a mother, so happy that my baby sister was finally getting married. Pastor Wai Wai: When we eat together (something we didn’t do much when we were younger). When she cried while praying for me during a difficult period. When she ‘paints my face’ (touch up my make-up) before I go on stage. When she proxy shops for my girl! When she holds the car door handle as I drive. There was one incident 6 0
when she screamed in the car thinking that I was going to knock down the Traffic Marshall!
HOW DID YOU HANDLE CONFLICTS IN THE PAST AND HOW DO YOU HANDLE THEM NOW? Pastor Wendy: It’s painful to think of conflicts in the past but I am grateful that we have matured over the years. We know each other’s temperaments and we have come to accept each other. We also allow the other to speak and correct us because we know it comes from a place of love and respect. Pastor Wai Wai: In the past, I used to avoid while she confronts (chuckles). Now, when we have conflicts, we will talk through
objectively and listen attentively. We have also learned to accept each other’s differences. For example, she is not organized (compared to me, the highly organized one), so I would give her reminders.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SIBLINGS TO STRENGTHEN THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER? Pastor Wendy: Be intentional about building the relationship. Make time for one another. Talk and talk more. Find common ground and do not focus on the differences. Accept differences and learn to speak without condemnation or judgment. Love lavishly. Pastor Wai Wai: Treasure family ties in each season of life – as a student, young adult, married and as a parent. Don’t take one another for granted. Add humor to conversations – laugh at ourselves at times. Talk through things together. Hear each other’s perspectives, values, and appreciate each other’s input. Carry each other’s burden and watch out for each other. Learn to bless. 6 1
MISSIONS Statistics for Jan-Mar 2017
AT A GLANCE
MISSIONS IMPACT TEAMS (MITs)
Trinitarians began embarking on missions trips in the second quarter of 2017. Find out how God used them to minister to the lost in the next issue of the Trinitarian!
TRAINING AND CONSULTATION
4 6 2
COUNTRIES Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam
DESTITUTE CHILDREN in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand sponsored
MISSIONS REPORT Jan-Mar 2017
Trinity’s missions endeavor exists to demonstrate a Passionate Heartbeat for God’s global agenda by empowering and equipping churches, organizations, ministries, ministers, and communities. This includes the establishment of, and/or support to, charitable and humanitarian works, as well as the equipping of pastors and church leadership. Every Trinitarian has a part to play when it comes to missions. In the first quarter of 2017, Trinity hosted the nations for the eighth triennial World Assemblies of God Fellowship Congress (WAGC 2017), demonstrating her commitment to the global Assemblies of God community (pg 14). In our annual Missions Convention, Trinitarians young and old were challenged to Embrace God’s Passionate Heartbeat for the Nations by praying, giving, and, going like never before (pg 64-69).
TRAINING AND CONSULTATION Trinity continues to equip churches around the world through trainings and consultations. This quarter, our pastors went on five trips to four nations (Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam), strengthening and empowering churches as they implemented the TCC Cell Church Model. We rejoice with them as they see God’s hand in the growth of their open carecells and leadership.
MISSIONS TRIPS Trinitarians continued to sacrifice their time and talents by preparing for missions impact trips happening in the second quarter of this year. Find out how God used them to impact communities in the next edition of the Trinitarian.
LANGUAGE MINISTRIES Locally, Trinity continues to be a blessing to the Indonesian, Filipino, Japanese, Spanish, and Thai communities through our language ministries. Read about how the lives of five changed forever through the Thai Ministry on pg 72.
SPONSORSHIP OF CHILDREN 1,200 destitute children in five countries (Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand) are supported by the giving of Trinitarians, providing opportunities for them to develop intellectually, spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally. We celebrate with one of our sponsored children from Yangon, Myanmar who received first prize as the Best Student in Education and the third prize in a track and field competition. Trinitarians, thank you for giving generously to missions, giving our children the opportunity to reach their God-given potential by providing access to education, clean clothes, and warm food.
SOCIAL JUSTICE In addition to active partnership with Project Rescue, an organization that exists to rescue and restore victims of sexual slavery, Trinity’s involvement in social justice continues to grow to greater levels of influence. As the World Assemblies of God Fellowship takes greater action against slavery and trafficking, Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo was elected to chair the newlyformed Commission on Sexual Exploitation, Slavery and Trafficking. Read more about this on pg 70. Trinitarians, thank you for giving your hands and hearts to the missions field, both locally and abroad. In this Decade of Expansion, continue to be part of Trinity’s growing missions endeavors so that more lives can be touched and impacted for His glory.
BE A PARTNER FOR TRINITY’S MISSIONS – PRAY, GIVE, AND GO!
Pray • Missions Impact Teams: Journey mercies and God’s manifest presence to be with them in their ministry • The Champions: To know God intimately and for joy as they grow in the Lord • Ambassadors and Trainers: Fresh anointing and an impactful, lasting ministry 6 3
s o n i s M is o n i t n e v o C n
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By Imelda Lie
n the weeks leading to Missions Convention, Trinitarians geared up to Embrace God’s Passionate Heartbeat for the Nations through 14 days of prayer and a two-part sermon series: Missional God and Missional Church. The sermons re-aligned us to God’s missional heart for humanity, a reminder of the missional purpose of the church.
started with surrendering my heart for God’s missional purposes, prompted by this year’s Mission Convention flyer.
Pray like you have never prayed before. Yes God, I will pray!
Give like you have never given before.
Yes! I will give boldly for Your mission! Since Trinity’s first Missions Convention 40 years ago, we have demonstrated a passionate heartbeat by embarking on mission trips, sponsoring destitute children, and equipping leaders with resources to grow their ministries (both locally and overseas). These are just a few of many ways Trinity lives out her missional purpose. This year, God was asking us to do much more. For many of us, the word ‘missions’ presumes grand tasks to be accomplished for His glory. While Jesus’ call to “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16:15) fits into this grand impression, missions really starts from wherever we are now. For me, it
Go where you have never gone before. Err, let me check my schedule.
Apprehension towards a missions trip revealed my heart’s condition: I had yet to fully embrace God’s missional heartbeat. If God can use a flyer to speak to me, imagine how much He can do for those of us willing to embrace His missional call.
When you remember the Lord, people live. But when you forget, people die.”
On the night of Missions Rally (March 3), Trinitarians got into the spirit by donning ethnic costumes and coming early for the cultural performances by our language ministries. Through their dance and song, I saw what God was doing through this local church,
HEARTBEAT a glimpse of what heaven would be like where every nation and tongue comes together to worship God. The message that night was a revelation about the true meaning of communion: what it meant to take the bread and drink the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ”The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 23
The simplicity of the Gospel lies with God. The difficulty of the Gospel lies with people”
“This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. When Jesus broke the bread and offered it to His disciples, it was more than the offering of His body. It was an invitation to join Him in paying the ultimate price for the Gospel. Jesus did not die for the salvation of one but for all of humanity. “You and I are here today because eleven men made a covenant with Jesus. Today, there are hundreds of millions who are waiting for this bread of life. Who will bring them this bread? Who will share with them this cup? When you remember the Lord, people live. But when you forget, people die.” 6 6
During Missions Weekend (March 4-5), the message was expanded to challenge each of us to live with a missional heart. Romans 10:13-15 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 13
How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? 15
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” As our speaker shared about his God-adventures, I was envious of his divine encounters and big stories. But big stories require big faith and big faith requires big sacrifice. “The simplicity of the Gospel lies with God. The difficulty of the Gospel lies with people. What was central to Jesus has become secondary to us, something we do if it doesn’t cost us too much.”
without a church, the millions that live without access to the Gospel, and many who live under the threat of persecution for their decision to follow Christ. For me, Missions Convention was like the Olympics or World Cup where people from different nations came together for one global agenda. The big difference is that, in the House of God, we are called to be more than just spectators. We don’t just watch what God is doing, leave without a change of heart, and look forward to next year. We have been called to participate in God’s mission for humanity! This year, Trinitarians chose to become a part of God’s missional agenda, committing a total Missions Faith Promise of $9,891,541 so that even more people can have access to the Word. Somewhere in the amount is my Faith Promise to God. As for a missions trip, I’m still checking my schedule but that doesn’t stop me from starting where I am now. I’ll continue to pray for the salvation of my family and share Christ with those (literally) closest to me. I am excited to see how God will use us to open doors so that many more will have access to the Gospel.
We’re fortunate to live in a nation where there is a church in almost every neighborhood. Sharing the Gospel with others is something we can do openly and in relative safety. I pray that the comfort, convenience, and safety we experience do not make our heart apathetic toward the hundreds of thousands of villages 6 7
Carnival 2017 By Kwek Wei Ren
olorful banners, balloons, and ethnic costumes pointed the way to DiscoveryLand’s annual missions carnival, an opportunity for our little ones to give to missions while having fun at the same time. Some started pointing out country flags they recognized. Others took out coupons to share with their oikos. With a dozen activity booths, the children were spoiled for choice during the Carnival. In the midst of the excitement, 1,006 children (including 82 FTVs) also learned that they were called to partner with God in reaching the lost. In one segment, Pastor Ee Lin led the children to Embrace God’s Passionate Heartbeat for the Nations by showing how the praying, giving, and going of Trinitarians to places was impacting the world for Jesus. Indeed, their small gifts, when multiplied by a great big God, could reach the nations. 6 9
World AG Takes Action
Against Slavery, Trafficking By Mark Forrester
INGAPORE — As a special World Assemblies of God Fellowship (WAGF) committee assembled in a major European metropolis in March, members saw firsthand the harsh world of sexual exploitation. Young girls scurried along the streets in frigid weather with no pants. To help keep them warm, mafia criminals occasionally tossed them a blazing scrap of cardboard. In the midst of this tragic environment, the girls soon saw how God was at work. Fiona* hosted the committee and showed members how her ministry is fiercely combating the ills of trafficking, freeing these young girls from their captors and providing them with a new life. “Seeing the safe house was very touching,” recalls committee member Brad Walz. “It showed us the hard work it takes to change these lives.” The committee, comprised of ministers, professionals, and academics,
presented its findings to the WAGF executive committee, which convened at the eighth triennial World AG Congress in Singapore March 29-31. The committee observed that a unique WAGF commission should serve the cause, due to the truly international nature of trafficking and exploitation. Even a single case can ripple across continents. Committee members also found the issue to be much more expansive than their original task of investigating sexual exploitation. In fact, a 2011 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime study found that 53 percent of those in trafficking environments are facing sexual exploitation. Another 40 percent are caught in forced labor or slavery. This led the WAGF to establish the newly formed Commission on Sexual Exploitation, Slavery, and Trafficking. “There are 67.9 million Assemblies of God adherents worshipping in more than 365,000 churches in 255 countries, territories, and provinces,” says George O. Wood, chairman of the WAGF. “This great global network, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can be a tremendous force in combating the tragedy of trafficking and slavery, which is happening all around us.” The new commission is chaired by the newly elected WAGF secretary, Dominic Yeo. Yeo pastors Trinity Christian Centre, a thriving megachurch in the heart of Singapore, and also serves as the general superintendent of the AG in the nation on the tip of the Malay Peninsula.
“We want churches to be aware of what is happening in their own backyard,” says Yeo. “We think of missions happening in a different area from where we are. Trafficking is happening right next to everyone.” The commission is made up of an array of Christian workers spanning five continents and has a fourfold mission of awareness, adoption, activism, and advocacy. A 20-point action plan also will jump-start the work of the commission. Yeo believes the breadth of the task ahead is all-encompassing. “We want every superintendent to be aware and to be an advocate,” Yeo says. “We want every pastor to be aware and to mobilize their congregation for engagement. We want every member to be an activist and advocate.” Meanwhile, Fiona – who also will serve on the new commission – remains hopeful about the progress this effort can bring. “This new commission is essential for the work of the WAGF as we are facing a real global problem of organized crime,” she says. “Through this commission, we’ll be able to network to address human trafficking throughout the world.”
We want churches to be aware of what is happening in their own backyard” – Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo
*Full name not given to protect her identity.
Used with permission from PE News (http://penews.org), the official news source of the Assemblies of God USA.
Member M inister G to
The Thai Ministry’s Fruitfulness
Interviewed and translated by Pastor Kim Chong Pae
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6
iven the transient nature of Singapore, Trinity’s language ministry pastors shepherd their flock knowing that many will return home. Though there is sadness when they leave, there is also joy because it is one more person who can take the Gospel beyond these shores.
For the Thai Ministry, birthed in 1996, we rejoice that seeds planted in five former members have borne much fruit. Today, they are serving as pastors in Thailand. Read about their incredible life journeys after Singapore.
One day, I received a letter from my sister in Hong Kong advising me to go to Trinity Christian Centre. When I attended for the first time, I was impressed by the welcome from my Thai brothers and sisters. Worshipping God brought comfort because the songs were very touching and meaningful to me. God gave me peace in my heart. The sermons were so true to me. Eventually, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Becoming a Christian was a turning point in my life. I was no longer interested in living my old life.
I returned to Thailand and wanted to repay God for my new life by following the example of Jesus. My call came when I read Matthew 9:35-38 (“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”) and Mark 1:16-20 (Jesus calling his first four disciples). My wife and I prayed about our calling and finally made a decision to serve Jesus fulltime. To be equipped for the ministry, I spent four years in Payao Bible College and two years at Bangkok Bible College. Pastor Choochat Seedawong Samarn Samakkee Church, Tak province
Thongsuk, a friend and colleague, invited me to attend English and music classes at Trinity in 1997. I am thankful that I had another activity that could keep me away from my vices. Eventually, I started to attend church. I had a burning desire to be in God’s house and nothing could keep me away, not even the rain! I served as a Celebration Host, welcoming people to service because I was so impacted by Pastor Giatisak’s care for others. With God’s help, I eventually quit smoking, drinking, and gambling. My wife and I returned to Thailand to work in Bangkok for four years before returning to my home village of Phetchaboon. God even opened the door for me to study at Wesley Biblical Seminary for two years. In Phetchaboon, my brother and sisterin-law pastored a church. When they moved to pastor another church, the leaders invited me to replace them. It has been an exciting journey, pastoring the congregation for the past seven years. Pastor Wirayutth Phankhot Phu Toey Church, Phetchaboon province On my second work contract in Singapore in 2006, I attended Trinity where Sister Damali shared the Gospel with me. After listening to a message by Pastor Giatsiak, I decided to accept Jesus into my life. Many people invested into my life, including my Spiritual Parent, Brother Phonthep and Pastor Tim. After returning to Thailand, a missionary couple from the US supported my studies at North-Eastern Bible College at Khon Kaen. Though I lacked courage to step into full-time ministry, I am grateful that God’s purpose and courage helped me to be who I am today. Pastor Phondi Namwiset Bethel Nongsonghong Church, Khon Kaen province
I was born in a poor family and had a Primary 6 education. After working in Bangkok for a season, I decided to come to Singapore for work. I met Pastor Giatisak at my workplace and he invited me to come and learn English at Trinity. After attending for about five months, I decided to accept Jesus into my life and be baptized on March 16, 1997. At the end of 2000, I returned to Thailand. With the help of a scholarship from Trinity, I was able to complete my undergraduate degree at Pentecost Bible College. The Thai Assemblies of God gave me another scholarship to complete my masters. Since 2007, I have served as the assistant pastor of my church. Pastor Chinnaphan Nanthasaeng Jaisamarn Phetchkasem Church, Bangkok
One day in 1997, I was working in Singapore when I received bad news from my family. I was so sad and often thought of suicide. Thankfully, a friend of mine at the worksite, Boonma, invited me to Trinity for service. Slowly, God healed my wounds. I was surrounded by brothers and sisters who cheered me on in my walk with God. I also experienced great joy when I served the Lord. After returning to Thailand, I studied at North-Eastern Bible College at Khon Kaen. Today, I pastor the church that I helped to plant in Bangkok. I thank God that He has made me the way who I am. My ultimate goal in the ministry is to see others receive the love of Jesus in the same way I have. Pastor Somkid Tonngoen Mahaporn New Vision Church, Bangkok 7 3
supports a child from
a disadvantaged family through a Saturday programme
of academic tuition and mentoring
for 1 year
We support the learning and developmental needs of children from low economic backgrounds Our weekly dâ€™Klub mentoring programme inspires and motivates children through activities such as character-building curriculums, science experiment workshops and group mentoring with volunteers. Serving and Empowering the Community with You! www.carecom.org.sg
“love” in Chinese
Love, love, love
“love” in Vietnamese
IGNYTE’s Valentines Event By Zoey Lee (Zone 2 Leader)
or IGNYTE’s annual Valentine’s event Ai Love Yêu (February 25-26), the organizing committee was determined to give IGNYTERs and their oikos an opportunity to experience the indiscriminate love of Jesus – a love that cuts through languages, backgrounds, and past mistakes.
Beginning on a high, the preevent party was a time for oikos to see church as more than a place for the Word. Through oneminute-challenge stations, a photo booth with handmade props, and The Pantry’s famous hot dogs, church was a place of welcome and connection. Through a love languages quiz, everyone discovered the language their heart speaks. A rebellious teenager looking for love in all the wrong places, our guest speaker Jennifer Heng shared how she endured two abortions as a teenager, living with the guilt of secret
shame for years. It was only upon encountering the love of God that she began a journey of redemption and restoration. Today, she uses her experience to walk with young women facing unwanted pregnancies at the Dayspring New Life Centre. Many were moved by Jennifer’s life story, reminded that “The Father loves us, the Father forgives us, and the Father is proud of us.” “An altar call was given after Sister Jennifer’s powerful message. As I went around and prayed for the youths, a person came to mind. Though I looked for her, she was nowhere to be found. As I got ready to leave, I saw her coming back from the altar call. I didn’t know what to pray for but shared the need to give her a hug. In that embrace, she cried. I believe God was doing a deep work in her heart that day and encouraged her to keep letting Him bring restoration in her life.”
–– Nicky Tay, Zone 1 Leader
“Through what Ms Jennifer shared, I was reminded that perfect love is found only in God because God is love! Three years ago, my best friend brought me to church where I gave my life to Jesus during a Valentine’s Day event. Though she left church for a while, I invited her back for Ai Love Yêu. There, she felt the love of God so tangibly that she re-dedicated her life to Jesus!
The Father loves us, the Father forgives us, and the Father is proud of us.”
Today, we live in confidence knowing that God loves all His children, no matter what. I am so inspired to shine God’s love into other people’s life so that they may know Him one day!”
–– Zhi Qi Lim, 18 We are thankful for what God has done in Ai Love Yêu, giving 1,141 youths (including 211 first-time visitors) the chance to experience His love. We also praise God for 20 salvations and 28 rededications made over the weekend. It will be exciting to see where His love will bring IGNYTE to in the year ahead. 7 7
rom April 3-6, over 130 poly IGNYTERs gathered at Pulai Springs, Johor Bahru, for Battlecall.
Prior to camp, God prepared the poly youth for camp by stirring something deep within them: the call to battle. The camp committee believed that our Warrior God was looking to empower the youth to advance into new frontiers, be willing to fight and emerge victorious. “The Lord will march forth like a mighty man, like a warrior He will stir up His Zeal; With a shout He will raise the battle cry and will triumph over His enemies.” – Isaiah 42:13
IGNYTE’s Poly Camp 2017 By Faith Makinen, Ministry Intern assigned to IGNYTE
God’s presence was powerful in every service. From beginning to end, there was a refreshing sense of freedom in every event. From the thrilling games to the workshops, every segment of the camp was filled with intentionally-planned moments to equip battle-ready warriors. This was especially true with sermons that challenged campers to rise up in victory, reminding each of them to not be tangled with the affairs of the world, to take new ground, and be obedient to God’s call.
It’s one thing to talk about going to battle. It’s another thing to face one. Since Jesus warned that the world will hate us for loving Him ( John 15:18-21), campers got a taste of what it meant to be persecuted for their faith. Made to take a plank position or kneel in submission, intense verbal attacks were hurled in their direction, ridiculing them for following God. In the midst of such pressure, many broke down in tears but some found the courage to sing worship songs. Their courage was contagious. Fear turned to praise. One by one, the campers joined in and the hall was soon filled with poly youth jumping with joy, praying in tongues, and reading out Scriptures. In this atmosphere of victory and unity, many were convicted to take their faith to the next level. A time of salvation. A place of re-dedication. A new beginning with God. In big and small ways, campers were impacted to soldier on. Many experienced a strong desire to see revival in their polytechnics, convicted to bring the fire of God into their schools. Nothing is impossible for those who stand firm in their faith, fight like warriors, and follow the call of God. All praise to God for what He has done at Battlecall and what He will do in the days to come!
“I wanted camp to be a time where God would give me courage to break the chains of fear and inadequacy. On the second night of the camp, we were told to declare who God was in our lives. I began declaring that God is my victory, my refuge, comfort, someone I can turn to, a faithful God. As these words flowed from my mouth, I could feel the strongholds and chains breaking in my life! What I learned was that when the enemy reminds me of the Goliaths, my response is to declare how much bigger my God is!”
–– Kenneth Ser, 18 “On the third day, during the persecution exercise, I was super proud of everyone for rising up and really battling for, but at the same time, the time got me thinking deeper about my faith. If I faced actual persecution, would I rise up and proclaim about God’s love? One thing I do know is that I’m willing to live for Christ!”
In this atmosphere of victory and unity, many were convicted to take their faith to the next level.”
–– Joslyn Eng, 17
Amazing Life Testimony of an ex-HK Triad Leader By Tina Chen Yi Ting
n May 14, the Chinese Ministry had the pleasure of hosting Brother Teddy Hung. The largest evangelistic event to-date. 2,530 people came to the Sanctuary to hear his amazing life testimony. Held on Mother’s Day, the event started with a tribute to mothers. “Where Has the Time Gone?” the worship team sang, commemorating their lifelong sacrifice for the family. To an audience filled with tears, Pastor Christina Onn blessed the mothers with words of comfort and encouragement.
Taking the stage, Brother Hung shared candidly about his past. Fourteen years ago, he was the most influential gang leader in Hong Kong. Though this brought fame and wealth, women and power, it all came at a terrible cost. Drugtrafficking, gambling, match-fixing – all these operations destroyed countless lives. Seeing his influence over the community, over 50 pastors attempted to share the Gospel with him. Viewing Jesus as the enemy of his life, Brother Hung quickly sent each pastor away, sometimes resorting to threats of violence. Seeing how drugs destroyed the lives of many, he was consumed with guilt and began to suffer from serious depression and insomnia. Despite seeing the best doctors, his condition became worse. One day, out of sheer desperation, he picked up a Bible and challenged Jesus to do the impossible. “If you can let me have a good sleep, I will trust you.” Instantly, he fell asleep. After waking up, Brother Hung
started to recognize how powerful Jesus really was. Eventually, he would receive Jesus into his life. Filled with the joy of the Lord, he started smiling, something his gang brothers had never seen before. Though he had accepted Jesus into his heart, it would take seven years for him to change his lifestyle. When his businesses started to lose money, when his gang brothers and mistresses started opposing his new life, he would lose his temper and curse Jesus. When businesses were forced to shut down, he contemplated suicide as a way to escape from God. In that moment of hopelessness, God showed him the finality of life after death by taking him to heaven and hell. That became the turning point in his faith. Brother Hung finally understood what God wanted him to do: commit to the transformed life so that he could lead his gang brothers to Christ. “The change in Brother Hung was so dramatic. So were his experiences with God, especially when he was healed from insomnia. When he talked about his encounter in heaven and hell, I too believed that heaven and hell are real. That’s why I chose to receive Jesus into my heart.”
–– Tan Poh Heok Bazl
“When I heard Brother Hung’s testimony, especially about his experience with heaven and hell, I knew I had to receive salvation. Now, I am willing to follow Jesus.”
–– Lin Xinhua
Filled with new conviction, he disbanded the gang, went to bible school, and partnered with several pastors to establish Victory Church – a place dedicated to sharing the Gospel with gang members and helping them to become disciples of Christ. As witnesses to Brother Hung’s journey of transformation, many close to him also came to salvation: former mistresses, gang brothers and even his own children. “Though a Christian for many years, my family still cannot understand my faith in God. This is something that discourages me. When I heard of how Brother Hung’s family and mistresses came to receive Christ, his experience encouraged me to keep living out my faith. That is why I decided to go to the front to rededicate my life to God.”
–– Tng Chiew Hia
Having left everything behind to follow Christ, Brother Hung’s life was also a reminder to every believer to walk the talk – adding credibility to the Gospel by committing to the transformed life. We thank God for the opportunity to help 26 people make decisions for Christ. We are also grateful for all of the Trinitarians from the main service who serviced alongside us, ensuring that the event ran smoothly. May the Chinese Ministry keep moving forward and expanding so that many more can hear the Gospel.
Brother Hung finally understood what God wanted him to do: commit to the transformed life so that he could lead his gang brothers to Christ.”
God Answer all my Why doesn’t
By Dr Richard Goetz, TCA College
any of us have had the experience of prayers that seem to bounce off the ceiling. If God doesn’t answer our prayer by an expected time or in a certain way, it is tempting to conclude that God doesn’t care or that He isn’t even there. Sometimes, we turn to prayer guides to pray more effectively. One example is the acronym ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication).1 While these can help make our prayers more consistent and meaningful, they can also be viewed as “magic formulas” to increase the chance of God answering our prayers. What prompts God to answer some prayers and not others? Is God unresponsive because we are not praying long or hard enough? Is there a way to guarantee that God will answer all our prayers? As with every aspect of the Christian faith, an incomplete understanding of God can cause us to develop unwarranted or unbiblical expectations about Him. Therefore, in order to answer these questions, we must first address a more basic question.
TOUGH WHAT IS PRAYER? To understand the biblical definition of prayer, we start at the beginning with what took place in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve’s rebellion (Genesis 3:1-7), God’s judgment against the serpent, the one who tricked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, was that its progeny would be defeated by the progeny of man (Genesis 3:15). This judgment that God’s promise of rescue and restoration (also theologically referred to as redemption and reconciliation) would be done in order that His name be glorified throughout the earth. 2 Tragedy concerning the offspring of Adam and Eve (Cain and Abel) threatened the fulfillment of this promise. With Abel’s death at the hands of Cain, who was qualified to crush the serpent’s head or uphold the lineage of the one who would? 3 By enabling Eve to conceive Seth (Genesis 4:25), God did more than demonstrate faithfulness in keeping His promise (i.e., continuing the lineage of Adam) – He extended an invitation for humanity to partner with Him in this journey of rescue and restoration. It was humanity’s choice to partner with God where we see the first recorded instance of prayer: “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26 – NASB). As biblical theologian J. Gary Millar
notes, “To call on the name of Yahweh is to cry to God to come through on His promises, and specifically to rescue and give life to His covenant people. It is prayer for salvation… [it] denotes ‘gospelshaped prayer.’”4
When the biblical prayers from Genesis to Revelation are examined, Millar distills that there are five types of prayers (calling on the name of the Lord), which God will answer since they are intricately linked to His promise to rescue and restore humanity. 1. Prayers for forgiveness (out of a posture of repentance) 2. Prayers to know Him better (out of a posture of pursuing Christlikeness)
1 Praise God (adoration) for who 3. Prayers for wisdom in order to live righteously (out of a posture of pursuing Christlikeness)
He is and what He has done
4. Prayers for the strength to obey/ love/live for Him (out of a posture of pursuing Christlikeness)
Thanksgiving – Express gratitude for all that He has done for us
5. Prayers for the Advancement of the Gospel (out of a posture of doing His will) 5 The following table demonstrates how various leaders in the Bible used prayer in this way – to ask or remind God about fulfilling His promise to rescue and restore.
Confess both who God is (infinite, holy, and good) and who we are (finite, sinful, and wounded)
Supplication – Present our requests, first for others and then for ourselves
2 Gary Millar, Calling on the
Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer. (Downers Grove, IL.: Intervarsity Press. 2016), pp. 26-27
3 Ibid., pp. 20-22 4 Ibid., p. 26 5 Ibid., p. 239
TOUGH QUESTIONS PERSON
Deliverance from slavery (rescue)
After delivering God’s message to Pharaoh, the Pharaoh’s response was to make life more difficult for God’s people by increasing their workload (Exodus 5:1-21).
Fulfillment of covenant for the Israelites to have their own land (restore)
We must examine the motives of our prayer: are we praying for the wrong things or the right things with the wrong motives?” 8 4
Upon hearing this pronouncement, Moses comes before God reminding Him of His promise of deliverance (Exodus 3:8-10).
Lineage of David to endure forever (restore)
God’s promise, in the form of a covenant, is given after King David solidified the monarchy over Israel (2 Samuel 7:5-16).
Israelites to have their own land (restore)
David responds with a prayer in the temple, praising God and asking Him to keep His promise.
Lineage of David to endure forever (restore)
After completing the Temple, King Solomon offers a prayer of dedication before the altar of the Lord.
Preservation of the Israelites (rescue)
In addition to praising God (1 Kings 8:22), King Solomon requests for God’s mercy to forgive and deliver His people from the hands of their enemies (1 Kings 8:30-40).
Establishment of God’s kingdom on earth (restore)
Upon the disciples’ request, Jesus taught them what we know as The Lord’s Prayer.
Divine wisdom and revelation (restore)
Paul shares with the church at Ephesus his desire for them to increase in spiritual maturity.
Greater understanding of one’s calling (reconcile)
The inclusion of requests for daily provision, forgiveness of sins, and strengthening against temptation was to be understood against the backdrop of the initial request – for God’s will to be done on earth.
TOUGH PRAYER “O Lord, why have You brought trouble upon this people? Is this why You sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and You have not rescued Your people at all.” – Exodus 5:22 “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promises You have made concerning Your servant and his house. Do as You promised so that Your name will be great forever.” – 2 Samuel 7:25-26 “…then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive Your people, who have sinned against You; forgive all the offenses they have committed against You, and cause their captors to show them mercy; for they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt…” – 1 Kings 8:49-50 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:9-13 “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that…God… may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you…” – Ephesians 1:16-18
From these examples, prayer was the means by which these five men poured out their hearts and souls out before God, passionately pleading, petitioning, even wrestling with Him, to come through on His promises. Prayer is not a one-way communication, nor is it passive. God wants us as covenant partners, 6 working with Him to see our prayers come to pass. In this way, prayer calls forth the following response: to live in the new reality of being forgiven, to act on the wisdom and strength God gives us to live for Him, or to be a willing instrument of Gospel advancement. We must be prepared to be part of the answer, obedient if God calls us to step out and follow His lead in active participation.
UNANSWERED PRAYERS What about prayers for financial success? Good exam results? A spouse? Does this mean that I should never pray for things outside of His direct promise to rescue and restore? Not at all. It is true that prayer is our way of sharing needs and desires with God. It is also true that prayer is how we can conform to His will and purpose.7 We have assurance that God will answer our prayers in His way and His time. That means accepting that God gives us no guarantees that He will answer our prayers the way we feel they should be answered.
6 The Evangelical Dictionary
of Theology, Walter A. Elwell, ed., “Prayer,” by D. G. Bloesch. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1984), p 867.
TOUGH QUESTIONS First, we must examine the motives of our prayer: are we praying for the wrong things or the right things with the wrong motives? In James 4:13, (“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money’” ), the writer provides that we don’t get what we pray for because they are not truly for kingdom purposes – we are more interested in extending our own glory instead of the glory of God. Jesus relays a similar theme in the Sermon on the Mount. God already knows our needs, therefore, we do not need to invest too much time or energy petitioning for them. Instead, we are called to “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to [us] …” (Matthew 6:31-33) What about prayers for healing? Are they not part of God’s promise to rescue and restore us? Maybe. God’s promise to rescue and restore our body is not limited to prolonging life in our present, physical form. It also includes receipt of a new, heavenly body (1 Corinthians 15). Even Lazarus died again after Jesus raised him from the dead. Therefore, any physical healing in this body is only temporary. Our present physical bodies will eventually cease to exist, replaced with a heavenly, resurrected body.
Though Jesus performed many healing miracles during His ministry on earth, these healings must be understood in the context of God’s ultimate plan to rescue and restore humanity. In addition to demonstrating God’s mercy and compassion to the broken and hurting, miracle healings were also testimonies of His power in and through the person of Jesus Christ, fulfilling the promise He made in Genesis 3:15: Jesus – descendant of Seth (Luke 3:38), the son of man and son of God – was the one who would crush the serpent’s head once and for all. Today, our requests for healing must be seen in the context of God’s current plans and purposes. We must, therefore, trust that God’s response is based on what would bring Him the most glory. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul writes that the thorn in his flesh was given to keep him humble. Though he pleaded with God three times to take it away, God’s response was this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, “No.” Paul’s experience forms the primary perspective Christians are to take regarding prayers: to accept God’s response, whatever form it might take, so that our life brings maximum glory to Him. If God allows us to experience suffering and deprivation, will we choose to rely daily on His grace so that His strength is made perfect in our weakness?
TOUGH PRAYING WITH GOD IN MIND
Praying, calling upon the Lord to do that which He has promised, is not easy. It requires persistence, patience, and response because there is no magic formula. As the Sovereign God – omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent – it is not for us to determine how He will fulfill His promise to rescue and restore, redeem and reconcile. That is why prayer requires absolute trust and faith in Him, coming to a place where we accept that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).
a. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Walter A. Elwell, ed. “Prayer,” by Paul Helm. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Books, 1988.
As our Heavenly Father, God loves us immensely and knows us better than we know ourselves. Therefore, if God decides not to answer our prayer requests the way we want them to be answered, we must trust His wisdom, allowing God to do whatever He deems best in order to maximize His glory and build us up spiritually for eternity.
b. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Leyland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds. “Prayer.” Downer’s Grove, IL. Intervarsity Press, 1998. c. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter A Elwell, ed. “Prayer,” by D. G. Bloesch. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Books, 1984. d. Millar, J. Gary. Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer. Downers Grove, IL. Intervarsity Press, 2016.
If God allows us to experience suffering and deprivation, will we choose to rely daily on His grace so that His strength is made perfect in our weakness?”
Dr Richard Goetz has been a professor of theology at TCA College since April 2010. He earned his Ph.D in Philosophy (Systematic Theology) from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Dr Goetz’s teaching interests include systematic theology, apologetics, and church history.
QUOTABLE ENVISION QUOTES
Compiled by Imelda Lie
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TRINITY CHRISTIAN CENTRE SUNDAY 11AM English Level 2, Sanctuary IGNYTE Level 4, Chapel Pre-Teens Level 1M, Theatrette 1
SATURDAY 5PM English Level 2, Sanctuary
Information is correct at time of printing and is subject to change
DiscoveryLand Level 4, Summit
Nursery 1 Level 2, Nursery Rooms Nursery 2 Level 2, Childcare Nursery 3 Level 2, Activity Rooms
IGNYTE Level 4, Chapel
English Level 2, Sanctuary
Pre-Teens Level 1M, Theatrette 1
Pre-Teens Level 1M, Theatrette 1
DiscoveryLand Level 4, Summit
DiscoveryLand Level 4, Summit
Nursery 1 Level 2, Nursery Rooms
Nursery 1 Level 2, Nursery Rooms
Nursery 2 Level 2, Childcare
Nursery 2 Level 2, Childcare
Japanese Level 1, Hostel Blk, Classroom H1 (2nd & 3rd Sun of the month)
Nursery 3 Level 2, Activity Rooms
Nursery 3 Level 2, Activity Rooms
Spanish Level 4, Classroom 7
Chinese Level 1M, Theatrette 2
Chinese Level 1M, Theatrette 2
Thai Level 4, Classroom 5
Chinese Level 1M, Theatrette 2 Filipino Level 3, Lecture Theatre 2 Indonesian Level 3, Lecture Theatre 1
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Trinitarian Magazine Issue 2/2017