ENVISION Secrets of the Tent
FOCUS Being Intentional in the Marketplace
up close Real Life Miracles From Burned Out to Heart Ablaze
WWW. T R IN I TY . S G
TOUGH QUESTIONS How Should Christians View the Physically and Mentally Disabled?
A Quarterly News Magazine by Trinity Christian Centre
Pastor Dominic Yeo
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Up Close and Personal With Trinity’s Board Leaders in the marketplace and ministry
Missions at a Glance An overview of Trinity’s missions outreach from January-March 2018
Secrets of the Tent Uncovering the importance of connecting with God
Being Intentional with God Through Spiritual Disciplines The what, why and how of spiritual disciplines
42 GROWING DEEP IN THE Tent of the Carecell Carecells and why they matter
60 56 Real Life Miracles From Burned Out to Heart Ablaze
Intentionally Together Strengthening the marriage by engaging with God
64 Family Altars Establishing God’s tent in the home
74 Missions Report A highlight of Trinity’s missions efforts from January-March 2018
76 Pastors’ Conference 2018 Leading and Discipling Toward a Thriving Church
78 Missions Convention 2018 Making His Heart, Our Heart
82 Missions Carnival 2018 Having fun while giving to the nations
84 Enhancing Christian Leaders TCA College’s inauguration of the MACL
86 CCSS Happenings Care Community Services Society
36 Intentional Engagement
Easter 2018 A journey through the significance of Easter
THE Assemblies of GOD OF SINGAPORE’S 90th Anniversary Celebrating nine decades of God’s faithfulness in Singapore
14 What’s Behind THAT Door? DiscoveryLand’s Easter Event
16 Trinity@Adam Updates Celebrating the groundbreaking ceremony
88 You Are BE(LOVED) IGNYTE’s Valentine’s Event
90 Into the Deep IGNYTE’s Poly Camp 2018
Trinity@Bukit Batok Celebrating the start of our Chinese Service
Ar!se IGNYTE SP Empowerment
Launch of the APCCS A significant day for the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in Singapore
Lose Control The First IGNYTE Worship Experience of 2018
46 Being Intentional in the Marketplace Breaking five common myths about work and faith
96 Preparing for Life After Graduation Campus Grads’ Camp 2018
QUOTABLE QUOTES 104
98 Tough Questions How Should Christians View the Physically and Mentally Disabled?
SENIOR PASTORâ€™S MESSAGE
g n i f n o w a D OF A
y a ew D
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Dear Trinitarians, God is doing a new thing! With Trinitarians embracing the call to go back to basics this year, it has been extremely exciting to see expansion of all kinds taking place in this house. In the area of prayer life, greater participation at our monthly Church Prayer Meeting has moved it from the Chapel to the Sanctuary. With more Trinitarians taking their Word life to the next level, we’ve seen LEAD course attendance increase by 20 percent. As our youth grow deeper in their Spirit life, their services and events have become places of tangible God-encounters with six recorded healings. In our three-part worship sermon series Audience of One, we came together to grow in our desire to experience the manifest presence of God in our lives. Since the launch of Trinity@Bukit Batok’s Chinese service (pg 18), the Chinese Ministry has experienced an overall growth of seven percent – a testament to the spiritual hunger of this community in the western part of Singapore. Exciting things are also happening in the carecells! As new leaders are commissioned and carecells are multiplying, we see men and women daring to operate as
Spirit-filled and Spirit-empowered Trinitarians. Trinity@Jakarta is also experiencing growth with the commissioning of its first batch of Spiritual Parents and preparations to move to a bigger venue. It is the dawn of a new day, a new season for Trinity. With my appointment as Chairman of the newly-formed Alliance of Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches of Singapore (pg 20), the church is moving into a place of even greater impact and influence. Every Trinitarian must, therefore, rise to our responsibility as God’s strategic leaders. As stakeholders and guardians of this house, you and I must remain committed to covering Trinity in prayer, interceding so that the deception and plans of the enemy will be thwarted and God’s agenda fulfilled. While God has done many things in the past few months, He desires to do much more. At the same time, God cannot release more into our lives until we are ready and able to receive. As we approach the second half of the year, it’s time to ask ourselves this: Are our tents enlarging? Are our tent curtains being stretched out wide? Are our cords lengthening? Are our stakes being strengthened?
Personal life transformation will happen only when we are prepared to be molded. Physical and spiritual increase will come only if we are prepared to contain all that He has in store for us. That’s why this issue’s Focus section is devoted to helping us grow in intentional engagement (pg 36-73). When we intentionally engage with God and with one another, we expand our capacity for more of His blessings and breakthroughs in our lives, families, communities, and nations. In the second half of this year, make a fresh commitment to unlock the secrets of the tent (pg 24). Persevere in practicing spiritual disciplines, modeling godly values in the marketplace, seeking God together as a family, and engaging in the corporate tent of carecell life. Dare to believe for greater things, persist with intentional engagement, and get ready to see God move. Trinitarians, let’s get ready to see a mighty move of the Spirit in our lives, families, communities, and nations. It’s time to be enlarged, stretched, lengthened, and strengthened for His glory!
Friends, the salvation of our loved ones will come only if we are prepared to nurture and disciple.
From the 10-Day Prayer Guide to weekend services, many gained a new understanding and appreciation for the Easter Season.
As Trinitarians gathered to partake in a special communion on Maundy Thursday (March 29), Pastor Danny Leong led the congregation to celebrate the perfect love of Jesus through the bread and the cup.
Who will roll away the stone? Why do you seek the living among the dead? What are you talking about? Over the weekend (March 31 and April 1), Pastor Gerald Tan expanded on the message of Easter by leading the audience through a series of questions to unlock the blessings of God in their lives. We thank God for the opportunity to lead 132 people to make decisions for Christ this Easter season. May they continue to experience the abundant life that God has destined for each of them.
It wasn’t the trial that put Jesus on the cross. It was the love of God the Father has for each of us. – Pastor Gerald Tan
A treasure awaits in the
Easter Event By Sharon Sam and Ng Ziyu
On March 30, DiscoveryLand hosted What’s Behind That Door?, an open-ended interactive drama where 549 children and their oikos came together to decide how the story would go. Do you believe in the power of God? In the presentation for children aged 4-9, our children partnered with a special guest from the past, Simon Peter, to help the main character (Tiny) answer this question. Through various games, interactions, and a sharing by Pastor Wendy Ong, they learned that God has the power to help us overcome every problem we face in life. Can you put your hope in God? To build the faith of our Pre-Teens (ages 10-12), the presentation’s main character (Tim) faced many of the issues that they face today – difficulties in school, home, and with friendships. Testimonies and a message by Sister Phebe Ngan were shared to demonstrate a powerful God who cares about every aspect of our lives.
God is My Healer! (age 12), a frac ture d toe For Pre -Te en Timothy Lim compete in a national threatened his chances to ore the event, he bef competition. One we ek d, trusting in His Go to n atio commit ted the situ tor’s visit the following power to heal. During a doc frac ture was completely we ek, he was told that the cee d to compete! pro healed and that he could
God is My Str ength! For Pre-Teen Sarah Ong (age 12), the late nights and intense studies for her Primary 3 exams brought her to a place where she wanted to give up. Ever y night before going to bed , she would pray for God to intervene, and in one of her prayers, He showed her Isaiah 40:31 – ”But thos e who hop e in the Lord will renew their strength . They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.” With that verse in her heart, she pressed on and excelled in her exams! From this experience, she is confident that God will lead and guide her through her upcoming PSLE.
We thank God for bringing 118 first-time visitors to What’s Behind That Door? and allowing 85 children to make decisions for Jesus!
I was very touched by Sister Phebe’s testimony and through What’s Behind That Door?, I learned to anchor my hope and trust in God at all times because He will provide for all my needs. I will ask God to guide me to make the right choices in life because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.“ Estella Chng, age 12
God is with me and I don’t need to be afraid. Leanne Lim, age 8
I experienced how God can help us do difficult things and overcome hardships.
Joy Choo, age 11
God is bigger than our problems. Titus Chew, age 7
God is powerful and God loves me. Justin Tan, age 5
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 1 5
Trinity’s Board and leadership team pastors met on the grounds of Trinity@Adam for a groundbreaking ceremony on April 25! With Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo away for ministry, Executive Pastor Danny Leong gave a short sharing about what Trinity@Adam represents – a sanctuary whose successful completion will be the conduit for salvation and life change for many.
Official signing of contract on May 9 1 6
As I stood there at the groundbreaking ceremony, it brought me back to the time when I stood here for the first groundbreaking service over 30 years ago. In the 1980s, Trinitarians were all so united and focused on raising funds to build our own church. I remember how my husband and I committed our rainy day savings to be part of the first down payment for the land. It was a tremendous step of faith and I am still overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness to us.
Having grown up at Trinity@Adam, the groundbreaking ceremony was especially meaningful to me because it represented God’s promise to His people and the generations to come. It is also a reminder of the Trinitarians who believe in our God-given destiny and look towards the greater things He has prepared for us! Pastor Gary Chia District Pastor, IGNYTE (Trinity’s youth ministry)
At that first groundbreaking ceremony, I felt like we had arrived at our own Promised Land. After years of nomadic church life – moving from the American School, RELC, and various cinema, conference, and concert halls – we finally had our own home! As we continue to leave a legacy and forge forward into the Decade of Expansion, I believe that many more generations will testify of Trinity as their spiritual home. Having tasted of the Lord’s goodness and provision, we march on with full confidence that He is with us. Angela Heng Board Member
Trinitarians, thank you for giving and praying to see the successful completion of Trinity@Adam. Persevere in giving and praying so that we can continue expanding for His glory.
Trinity@ Bukit Batok Celebrating the start of our Chinese Service
May 6 was a day of celebration for our Chinese-speaking members with Trinity@Bukit Batok’s first Chinese service. Led by Pastor Christina Onn, 158 people (including seven first-time visitors) filled the movie hall to worship God and hear His Word. We rejoice with the one who received salvation that day!
It’s a joy to see a Chinese Service at Trinity@Bukit Batok because it’s very close to my home. I took this opportunity to invite my pre-believing son for service and he accepted my invitation! Praise the Lord! Sharon Peh
The cinema setting helps me to focus on worshipping God. Ng Thiam Chye
When it was announced that the Chinese Ministry would start at Trinity@Bukit Batok, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. On the morning it launched, a group of faithful brothers and sisters came as early as 7:15am to help with the setup. By 7:45am, everything was put in place, RGB and the worship team were practicing, and the Celebration Hosts had been briefed. It was an incredible demonstration of unity as we embark on this new venture together. Liau Nam Yong
I have been trying to reach out to my cousin for some time. In April, he finally accepted an invitation to attend my carecellâ€™s care event where they shared the Gospel with him. At that time, he was not ready to receive Christ. Since he lives in the West, I also invited him to the first Chinese service at Trinity@Bukit Batok. After one of my Spiritual Parents shared the Gospel with him at the FTV Lounge, he said yes to Jesus! Since then, he has started attending my carecell in Clementi and Chinese service on Sundays. Dickson Yew (Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.)
The start of a Chinese service at Trinity@Bukit Batok makes church very accessible for those of us who stay in the West. Not only does it give us more time to spend with family, we also have many eateries around here too! Rina Lee
The launch of the Chinese service at Trinity@Bukit Batok means that we can take the Gospel into the heartland. Carecell members who could not attend Trinity@Paya Lebar have been faithfully coming for service here. We also have many Mandarin-speaking oikos coming for service! Kwok Shou Vien
h c n u a L S C C AP of the
im By Diana L
A total of 89 pastors and leaders from 56 churches were represented at The Alliance of Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches of Singapore (APCCS) launch meeting on April 19.
It was a significant day for the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in Singapore as we formed an alliance that not only echoes our theological convictions but provide a network of relationships where pastors from Pentecostal,
Charismatic, and Independent churches are able to connect with one another, and seek assistance and support. Listening to Rev Dominic Yeo (General Superintendent, The Assemblies of God of Singapore) and Rev Yang Tuck Yoong (Chairman, Festival of Praise churches) share their heart for this alliance, I was humbled by their motivations. These leaders already have so much on their plates as senior pastors of large churches. They could have stayed within the walls of their churches yet their heartbeat to be a blessing to the larger body of God pushes them to do so much more.
I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that says this: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The journey to pastor and lead a church can be lonely for many pastors. We know this even among the Assemblies of God churches in Singapore, which Trinity is a part of. Our regular times of fellowship, prayer, and ministerial retreats are precious times for every Assemblies of God minister. Being part of a larger denomination provides support, spiritual leadership, and guidance on various matters. But not all churches in Singapore have such a network to draw strength and share resources – and often walk the journey alone without a fellow minister or mentor to share the burden. On August 3, 2010, The Straits Times reported that there are about 700 churches in Singapore. Although the National Council of Churches (NCCS) represents about 250 churches in Singapore, it still leaves a large 60
over percent of churches needing support and representation. While the APCCS is not a denomination, it is an official network of churches that seeks to form a bond of unity, close the ranks, and render support and guidance between churches that will strengthen the overall Church in Singapore. Churches that come under the APCCS umbrella will have an official body to interact with authorities and represent their churches’ needs. Indeed, “two are better than one!” I am confident that two official Christian bodies, the NCCS and APCCS, will be able to cover a wider ground of churches, provide greater support to fellow ministers and develop a stronger representation of the collective Church in Singapore.
Ninety years ago, an Assemblies of God missionary couple arrived in Singapore. While surprised by their destination (they thought the boat was bringing them to Hong Kong), their decision to stay and serve this nation has borne much fruit.
Celebrating nine decades of Godâ€™s faithfulness By Diana Lim
Over the years, The Assemblies of God of Singapore (AG Singapore) has grown from strength to strength as over 22,000 members in 44 churches live out the denominationâ€™s four core beliefs of salvation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and the second coming of Christ. 1
On May 4, 720 guests celebrated God’s faithfulness with a 90th anniversary dinner at Orchid Country Club. In an atmosphere of praise and thankfulness, we were privileged to have President Halimah Yacob as our Guest of Honor. As part of the celebration, AG Singapore presented SGD 90,000 to four self-help groups so that financial assistance could be provided to underprivileged students throughout the nation. When two children were interviewed about receiving this assistance, I was moved by the wisdom and maturity beyond their years. Elfian Ziqri, aged 8 and the youngest of five children, was asked how he would spend the money received. Without a second thought, he replied that it would be shared with the Mendaki as they have been helping his family. We probed him further on whether there was a toy he wanted or stationery he needed. His eyes gleamed as he replied “I want to buy my mother a bag.” Another recipient of the assistance, Pon Vinitha (age 15) who lost her father in an accident last March, 1. https://ag.org/Beliefs/Our-Core-Doctrines
shared how this provision is such a “once in a lifetime” moment. The money received wasn’t going towards a movie or fast food that any teenager would love to do, but to contribute to the family’s need for rent and basic necessities.
"I believe the leaders of tomorrow are the leaders of today. As such, I pray the financial assistance sown by The Assemblies of God of Singapore will sow a seed of hope for these students, regardless of race and religion, so that they will have an equal opportunity to discover their potential and move toward the fulfillment of their dreams." Rev Dominic Yeo, General Superintendent
As we forge into our centennial anniversary, let us do so with a spirit of unity and desire to see transformation in our land. May we endeavor to do all things together for the glory of God.. 2 3
roug h h t s c i to bas t k c a b Going engagemen al ic Yeo ention Domin r
io By Sen
“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.
And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 8
Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua, son of Nun, did not leave the tent.” – Exodus 33:7-11
Moses was a legend. The 10 plagues. Parting the Red Sea. Having mountaintop experiences with God. However, the mountaintop encounters could not happen without investing time in the tent. God has ordained for every man, woman, and child to walk in the miraculous and supernatural. That will only happen when we choose to go back to basics – to come back to God, our source of power and strength, and draw from Him. If you and I want to be people of breakthrough and miracles, we must understand and live out the secrets of the tent, specifically, the tent of meeting in Exodus 33:7-11. Let’s start with some context. Exodus 33 happened right after the Israelites constructed the golden calf (Exodus 32). Their sin was so great that God abruptly ended His mountaintop meeting with Moses to bring up what was happening below. God’s anger was so great that He wanted to eradicate the Israelites from the face of the earth. When God’s judgment came upon them, the Israelites finally understood the severity of their sin. They had no idea whether God would speak to them again or
whether God would continue to speak to Moses. In the midst of this uncertainty, Exodus 33:7-11 revealed a loving, faithful, and gracious God – One whose lovingkindness is better than life and whose gracious mercies are new every morning. Through the tent of meeting, God demonstrated a willingness to avail Himself to His people despite their sin and sinfulness. The tent of meeting was more than a physical structure. Its construction foreshadowed the dwelling of God in the tabernacle (Exodus 40), the temple (1 Kings 5; Ezra 6:13-18), and finally, in our hearts (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16). With each instance, we see His deep desire to be with us. We see how He made ways for us to be with Him. We see that it is His heart’s desire to guide us along the straight and narrow path. You and I live in a sinful world that seeks to pull us in many directions. Like Moses, we need to be intentional about engaging with God so that we do not stray or fall away. To be a people of breakthrough and miracle, we need to be in total alignment with God. That starts with understanding and practicing the secrets of the tent.
1 Your ENGAGEMENT will determine your DESTINY “Now Moses used In this year of going back to basics – a time where you and I are called to enlarge, stretch, lengthen, and strengthen – we must first understand the plan He has for each one of us. We are destined to be victorious, to be overcomers in Christ. That will only happen when we commit to regular engagement with God. In verse 7, the word used demonstrated that Moses would often and always engage in this activity. For him, carrying and entering into the tent was a habit and a lifestyle because it was the place where he sought the presence and will of God. Many of us fail to walk in the supernatural, or stray from His perfect will, because our tent is a place we enter on an ad-hoc basis – we enter the tent only when
to take a tent...” there is an emergency. While God is faithful to meet us in our times of need, He desires to be more than a panic button. Regularity in intimacy is key to knowing God, to hearing Him and being with Him to the point of saturation. As we choose to abide in God, He abides in us, bringing us into a level of intimacy that goes beyond head knowledge or a surface-level relationship. In Jeremiah 29:13, God promises that “You will seek Me and find Me if you seek Me with all of your heart.” Just as He availed Himself to the Israelites, God avails Himself to you and I. To be people of breakthrough and miracle, we must commit to regular times of personal engagement with God – a lifestyle of entering into the tent to seek God at all times and in all circumstances.
2 PERSONAL INTIMACY is the starting point of LIFE “Now Moses used to take Intimacy with God only happens when we take personal responsibility for our faith. The tent we pitch cannot belong to someone else; we must use our own tent. We cannot let someone else take the tent for us, nor can we use someone else’s tent. Just as Moses took his tent, we need to take our own tent. We cannot ride on the coattails of someone else’s faith. Husbands and wives, you cannot live on your spouse’s faith or your children’s faith. Children, you cannot live on your parent’s faith. Carecell members, you cannot live on your Spiritual Parent’s or Leader’s faith. It is our personal responsibility to engage with God. But isn’t it enough to attend weekly service, carecell, and Church Prayer Meeting? It is not about the corporate tent. It is about a personal tent. Corporate gatherings alone do nothing if we do not come to seek God. The vitality of corporate worship is directly related to the vitality of our personal worship. If we want to experience true joy, then we must personally enter into His presence (Psalm 16:11).
But isn’t it enough to serve the house and do ministry? It is not about the ministry tent. The secret is what happens in our personal tent. While there is spirituality and vitality that comes from serving, what will happen to us when we stop? We cannot depend on doing the works of the ministry to nourish our spiritual life. Giving without receiving will burn us out. It is in the tent of meeting where we meet with God face-to-face and where He releases life into our spirit. When we personally engage with God, that is the place where we will experience life and life more abundantly. Don’t think for a moment that we can ride on someone else’s tent, hide under the corporate tent, or replace it with the ministry tent. Moses demonstrated the need for us to take up our own tent. Today, take responsibility for your personal time with God. Make it a priority to regularly enter into your own tent so that new vitality can be injected into your spirit.
3 Your PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT will lead to CORPORATE EXPERIENCE “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch In Hebrew, the word pitch goes beyond the English definition of setting up a tent. It involved a continual spreading and stretching of the tent curtains. As a Jewish leader, Moses would never have been without his entourage. The Bible records that Joshua was in the tent (verse 11). Therefore, it is entirely possible that there were others who had accompanied and followed Moses into the tent. When we have intimacy with God, it will naturally inspire others to come along. That’s why I exhort all parents and leaders of this house – from Spiritual Parents to Section Leaders – to grow in intimacy with your Heavenly Father so that your children and members will be inspired to follow suit. When we engage with God on a regular basis, the atmosphere of engagement will inspire others to do likewise. That might explain why Joshua did not leave the tent even when Moses went back to camp.
What does it mean to stretch and spread our personal tent? It is about learning how to worship God, go deeper into His presence, and hunger for more of Him in our lives. When we learn how to worship God personally, we will be able to worship God corporately. The longer we have been a Christian, the more we need our personal times of engagement so that familiarity does not rob us of fresh and new encounters with God. Weekend worship services have a certain ebb and flow and if we are not careful, it can routinize us. We can clap for the sake of clapping and lift our hands because it’s the chorus of a song. Friends, if we allow ourselves to operate on autopilot, our “worship” will become a show. That is why it is so important to have vibrancy in our time of personal engagement with God. When we know how to worship God alone, we will know how to worship God with others.
4 The PRICE YOU PAY for worship will correspond with your BREAKTHROUGH “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it
outside the camp some distance away...” Unlike the Tabernacle which was situated within, the tent of meeting was pitched outside the camp. While we don’t know how far the tent of meeting was, various translations indicate that it was “afar off” (KJV), “far outside” (NLT), and “a good distance from” (NASB). Every time Moses wanted to go to the tent of meeting, he would have to leave the camp and walk a considerable distance. In other words, meeting the Lord cost him something. King David understood this concept when he said that he would not sacrifice to the Lord offerings that cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). In this convenience-oriented and instant world, we have lost sight of what sacrifice really looks like. What’s alarming is how pervasive this attitude is in the church.
“8:30 and 11:00am services don’t work for me. I need a service that starts at 9:45.” “I don’t like attending carecell because they never start on time and always end late.” God’s revelation comes when we are willing to pay the price. There’s a price for breakthrough. There’s a price for engagement. While salvation is free, discipleship has a cost. Following the Lord has a cost. Growing in personal worship has a cost. For Moses, the cost was going “outside the camp some distance away” to seek the Lord.
God’s revelation comes when we are willing to pay the price.
What price are you willing to pay to get serious with God? If you and I are willing to do whatever it takes to pursue Him, He promises to direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6), meet our every need (Matthew 6:33), and give us the abundant life (John 10:10).
“I’m not willing to wake up early to do my Time Alone With God.” “It’s not worth traveling all the way to Trinity@Paya Lebar for Church Prayer Meeting.”
5 The MEETING place is not a gathering place “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away calling it the
tent of meeting.” Many of us enjoy gatherings where we can meet new people or catch up with old friends. While there’s a time and place for such activities, the tent of meeting was different. In verses 10 and 11, we read that “As Moses went into the tent [of meeting], the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke to Moses…face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” Through this, we see that the tent is a place of intimacy. For Moses, this was a place where he had direct access to know the will and heart of God. The tent is also a place of revelation. Prov 19:31 reminds us that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Through the tent, having direct access to God means that He will
disclose divine plans and strategies to us so that we do not labor in vain. As we retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, the tent also becomes a place of life – times where God can minister to us and recharge our spirit. The wear and tear of life will take a toll on us. If we find ourselves overwhelmed by the challenges and commitments of life, make a conscious effort to step away from it all. Reduce the risk of meltdowns and burnouts by putting aside to-do lists to engage in strategic withdrawal. Set aside time for God, be intentional in seeking Him, and allow His presence to minister to you. Be assured that He will respond by giving you the wisdom, courage, and strength to push through.
6 Access to God is your PRIVILEGE, but you must COME “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away calling it the tent of meeting.
Anyone inquiring of the Lord...” The tent of meeting was not reserved solely for Moses. Verse 8 tells us that anyone inquiring of the Lord could enter. It was an open invitation for anybody who knew they needed Him. For us, this open invitation to God has been made possible through the finished work of Christ. It is one thing to know of our privilege. It is another to exercise it. To enjoy God’s presence, He requires that we make the journey to the tent. While the pillar of cloud might have been daunting to the Israelites who stood at the entrance of the tent, the truth is that there were others inside with Moses. They didn’t have to stand outside. They could have been like young Joshua who dared to enter into the presence of God. Whether it’s weekend services or carecells, don’t stand afar and watch everyone else enter into the presence of God. Direct access has nothing to do with how “holy” we are. Nothing we can do will earn us an audience with the King. Direct access is a privilege we have simply for being His children. It’s a privilege He wants us to exercise because He desires to embrace us and to reveal the secrets of His heart.
What is stopping you from coming into the tent? Sin? Apathy? Pride? Feelings of unworthiness? Many times, we hear the Lord speaking to us in service but hesitate to respond to the altar call. It’s easy to say to ourselves, “I can deal with this later.” Friends, God tugs at our heart because He wants to help us deal with issues right then and there. Responding to an altar call is about choosing to lay aside all that hinders us from experiencing God’s chain-breaking and life-transforming power. Coming before God will cost us our pride by acknowledging that we need Him.
It is one thing to know of our privilege. It is another to exercise it.
Beyond altar calls at church, coming into the tent means that we stop seeking answers from other sources or other people. God isn’t a spiritual crutch for the weak – He is the Lord of all, the Alpha and Omega. We need to recognize that it is impossible to live without Him. Anyone inquiring of the Lord can enter into the tent of meeting. As sons and daughters of the Most High, choose to come before Papa God. Lean upon Him and believe that He will enable you to have fresh revelation and breakthroughs.
7 God’s gate is a PUBLIC entrance, not a private access “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away calling it the tent of meeting. Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.” If you walk in certain neighborhoods, you’re bound to come across gates with signs that say “Private Access.” God’s gate is different. It is open and available to all. Access has nothing to do with our spirituality, gender, or status. Access is all about our willingness to enter into His presence. Stop giving yourself excuses to stay outside the gate.
God has given us the privilege and declared that anyone can come. When Moses went to the tent of meeting, Scripture records that the Israelites watched from afar. Perhaps they didn’t feel worthy enough to join him. Given that the journey was in full view of the entire camp, perhaps they were concerned about what others might say if they went to the tent.
Public access means that we can bring others into the tent.
Friends, the judgment of man means little in comparison to the judgment of our Almighty God. It’s time to stop bringing our “buts” before the Lord. It’s time to start recognizing that His gates are wide open. God publicly declares His love and acceptance for all. Public access means that we can bring others into the tent. Our personal engagement with God cannot remain a secret. The corporate engagement we have cannot remain a private affair. Friends, our tent is wide enough to include those who need to
hear the Gospel and experience the power of God. We are the salt and the light. That is why we should regularly invite oikos to the tent and constantly testify of God’s goodness. Do not hesitate to extend an invitation because of fear of judgment. Don’t discount how God can use you to minister to them. The God that abides in us commands that we host His presence everywhere we go. Dare to step out and believe that you can be a conduit of God’s presence and love to those around you!
As we reflect on the seven secrets of the tent, it’s time to take charge of our spiritual walk by building and entering into the tent.
God desires to remain connected and involved in our lives, promising to meet with us when we choose to come to Him. As we reflect on the seven secrets of the tent, itâ€™s time to take charge of our spiritual walk by building and entering into the tent. Be a people who intentionally engage with God. Start asking Him to help remove all the
obstacles that stop you from entering into His presence. As you seek Him with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, get ready to experience God in ways beyond your wildest dreams. As we come together to seek Him, choose to extend the tent of meeting so that many more can come and encounter the God of miracles and breakthroughs..â€ƒ Pastor Dominic Yeo is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Centre. Hear this message, and other sermons, at www.trinity.sg (Watch > Sermons) Follow him on social media at @PDomYeo
In this fast-paced and technologically driven world, few people appreciate being kept waiting. Every second to the school holidays feels like an eternity. Hanger overtakes us when our food doesn’t come fast enough. 4G browsing isn’t fast enough – we need to upgrade to 5G! With the ever shortening attention spans and patience, what’s most worrying is how much of the “instant culture” has permeated into our spiritual lives. While the Christian life is a blessed life, it is far from easy and certainly not one of instant gratification. When we receive Jesus into our hearts, our bad habits and sinful inclinations don’t magically disappear. Every day is a battle against the flesh as we “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) Nor does being a Christian make our lives trouble-free. Illnesses, setbacks, and disappointments remain a reality. On top of that, we become the targets of ridicule and hostility because of our relationship with Jesus (John 15:18-20). While we can trust God to keep His promises, when and how they are fulfilled is completely up to Him.
42 Growing Deep in the Tent of the Carecell 38 Being Intentional with God Through Spiritual Disciplines
Frustration, irritation, and doubt are common emotions we battle as we wait for God to move. With so many things that seek to pull us away or drag us under, personal and intentional engagement with God is crucial in keeping our faith personal, vibrant, and strong. When Jesus likens our relationship with Him to a vine and branches (John 15:5), it is a reminder that we cannot get through life without Him. In the ups and downs of life, He desires to be our constant. He desires to be an active part of our lives. What He needs from us is to exercise our privilege of direct access on a regular basis. When we consciously and consistently make room for God, we expand our capacity for more of His blessings and breakthroughs. When we live out the secrets of the tent (pg 24) through intentional engagement, we become men and women who walk in the miraculous and supernatural.
With so many things that seek to pull us away or drag us under, personal and intentional engagement with God is crucial in keeping our faith personal, vibrant, and strong.
Whether life is smooth sailing or on choppy waters, be international about engaging with God on a regular basis. Read on to find how you can do so as an individual, with your family, and through the carecells.
50 Up Close and Personal with Trinity’s Board
46 Being Intentional in the Marketplace
56 From Burned Out to Heart Ablaze
64 Family Altars
60 Intentionally Together 3 7
By Rev Dr Edwin Perona and Jessie Chew What does it mean to be intentional? What are the different ways we can engage with God on a regular basis? Find out more about engagement with God through the practice of spiritual disciplines. Read on to understand what they are, why we need them, and how we can develop them.
What are spiritual disciplines and why should we engage in them? God calls every Christian to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) Put another way, we are called to follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). While it’s entirely possible for you and I to initiate this process of “replacing old, destructive habits with new, life-giving ones,”1 pursuing them on our own will only affect short-term change. To have lasting inner transformation, we must engage in spiritual disciplines
– activities that help to make our heart, mind, and spirit receptive to what God wants to do in and through our lives. “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” – Galatians 6:8 Paul’s analogy of sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:8 reminds us that Christlikeness and spiritual growth requires us to do our part by engaging with them on a regular basis.
How many spiritual disciplines are there? In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster expands on 12 spiritual disciplines that he classified into three main categories. • inward disciplines (meditation, prayer, fasting, study) • o utward disciplines (simplicity, solitude, submission, service) 3 8
• c orporate disciplines (confession, worship, guidance, celebration)
Described as “classical disciplines,”2 Foster concedes that this list is by no means exhaustive, rather, these are disciplines that have been practiced by Christians throughout the centuries. In this year of going back to basics, the regular practice of spiritual disciplines are ways to help us grow and strengthen our Word, Prayer, and Spirit life.
Growing in our How can we grow in our Word life? There are two ways to grow in the Word: through meditation and study. Meditation is the act of reflecting upon the Word of God. Studying is the act of analyzing God’s Word – understanding, interpreting, and evaluating its contents to uncover His truths.3 Find a time and place where you can have uninterrupted time with God. Get ready to hear from God by inviting His presence and opening your heart to Him. Read God’s word slowly and reflect on what it says. Frameworks such as “God, Me, SPACE” can help reveal God’s truths. Respond to the revelation God brings. Keep a record of your TAWG by journaling His revelation to you and how you will live it out.
Does Trinity have platforms to help with our Word life? Deepen your understanding of the Bible through LEAD’s Bible Series courses! From Genesis to Revelation, our pastors will guide you through the various books of the Old and New Testament.
Why is it important to study the Word of God?
In an age of relativism where truth is fluid and subject to personal preferences, it is important for our lives to be shaped upon solid and unchanging truth. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:9 The Bible is God’s instruction manual to humanity, a gift that is infallible and unchanging. Therefore, every Christian has a responsibility to ensure that they are reading His instructions carefully, basing his/her perceptions and values upon a sound interpretation and understanding of its contents. “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any doubleedged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12 As we read the Bible, we must allow the Bible to read us. This starts by giving it full authority to shape and re-shape our hearts and minds. It continues when we demonstrate the Word of God through our words and actions. In this way, the Bible comes to life as we make it an active part of our everyday lives.
1. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, pg 79 2. Celebration of Discipline, pg 1-2 3. Celebration of Discipline, pg 80 and 84
Find out more about our LEAD courses by going to www.trinity.sg (I want to develop my potential > LEAD)
Growing in our
Why does prayer matter?
How can we grow in prayer?
Of all the spiritual disciplines, prayer is the one discipline that brings us into direct communication with God, our Heavenly Father. While God is holy, He is loving. While God is almighty, He cares about the little things. Through prayer, our intimacy with God deepens because we experience every facet of who He is in a very personal way. Over time, His thoughts will become our thoughts and His heartbeat our heartbeat. What better way to grow in Christlikeness than through prayer!
Growing in prayer requires two things: perseverance and consistency. Stretch your prayer muscle by using it on a regular basis for a few minutes each day, adding on with each day or week. Use specific Bible verses or tools such as the five-finger prayer or certain bible verses to guide your words.
Prayer is also the means He provides for us to present our needs and troubles before Him. Prayer is the way we acknowledge who He is in our lives and confess our dependence on Him, trusting in His provision and perfect timing to see us through every circumstance. “Prayer is the sense of a need for God and the call for God’s help to supply that need.” – E.M. Bounds
Go beyond individual prayers by engaging in corporate prayer. Join fellow Trinitarians 15 minutes before each Main Service for pre-service prayer or at our monthly Church Prayer Meetings (every first Wednesday). Cover the church in prayer for one hour every quarter by being a part of Prayer 365.
To sign up for Prayer 365 send an SMS to 79777 in the following format: P365<space>NRIC (e.g., P365 S1234567B) The day before mobilization, Trinity will send you an SMS with a link to the prayer pointers.
Deepen your understanding of prayer through following LEAD courses: “Growing in Prayer,” “Breakthrough in Prayer,” “Praying for your Children,” and “Healing and Salvation Through Prayer.”
Find out more about our LEAD courses by going to www.trinity.sg (I want to develop my potential > LEAD)
Dare to become a prayer warrior who carries God’s heart and mind!
Growing in our Why does our Spirit life matter? Our Spirit life matters because God created us to operate in the Spirit. “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit…” – Romans 8:9 Humanity is more than a physical body – God created us to be spirit beings. What’s more, the moment we receive Jesus into our hearts, the Holy Spirit enters into our lives to guide us towards Christlikeness and empower us for everything God wants to do in and through us. Whether we’re looking for guidance through a difficult situation, seeking direction for a new season of life, or simply wish to grow in obedience and Christlikeness, it is the Spirit who reveals to us the right strategy, illuminates the right path, and helps us make the right decisions. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25
To keep in step with the Spirit, we must learn to be sensitive to His leading. That requires us to remain committed to hearing from Him and heeding His direction.
How can we grow in the Spirit? Growing in the Spirit requires us to constantly engage in Spirit-filled prayer (speaking in tongues). Stretch your capacity for Spirit-prayer by starting with a few minutes each day and adding on with each passing day or week. Experience and partake in corporate, Spirit-filled prayer through our Main Services and Church Prayer Meetings. Deepen your understanding of the Holy Spirit through our LEAD courses! In “Holy Spirit and I,” discover who the Holy Spirit is and why He is so vital in our Christian Walk. Learn how to operate in the Spirit through “Prophetic Ministries 1 & 2.”
Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline
J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays Grasping God’s Word: A HandsOn Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible
Find out more about our LEAD courses by going to www.trinity.sg (I want to develop my potential > LEAD)
Turning disciplines into a lifestyle God’s intent for spiritual disciplines is to facilitate lasting inner transformation. As we engage in various spiritual disciplines, we demonstrate a desire to make God our number one priority in life – to surrender our will for His will and our plans for His plans.
As we turn spiritual disciplines into a lifestyle, believe that perseverance will lead to great breakthroughs. Commit to strengthening the foundations of our Word, Prayer, and Spirit life so that we are ready for whatever expansion God has in store for us.
Siang Yang Tan and Douglas H. Gregg Disciplines of the Holy Spirit: How to Connect to the Spirit’s Power and Presence 4 1
While itâ€™s important to be intentional about our personal tent, God also calls us to be a part of the corporate tent. Joining the congregation for weekend services and monthly church prayer meeting is just the start. Go deeper into the corporate tent by joining a group of like-minded Trinitarians in a carecell! Read on to find out how Trinitarians have been blessed by making the carecell an integral part of their lives.
When my wife and I first visited Trinity, we were overwhelmed by how big and busy the celebration service was – it was a place buzzing with people. We were very grateful when friends invited us to carecell. There, we quickly discovered that Trinitarians genuinely cared for one another regardless of background. We were very grateful for the structured children’s program so that the children could be nurtured at the same time. Carecell was a place that met all our needs. Having been blessed by carecell, my wife and I felt God’s prompting to step up by serving. We went to the Spiritual Parenting and Carecell Leader courses to equip ourselves when the need arose. When our carecell multiplied, we were honored to be able to serve God in a leadership capacity. Tan Shih Shiuan Carecell Leader, North District
Being part of a carecell helped me see the importance of community living. As a body of Christ, we are commanded to use our gifts to build each other up. I saw how coming together as a carecell makes us stronger, united in purpose and vision. Being in the same journey with likeminded brothers and sisters increased my courage to step up to become a leader. Each of us has a personal responsibility of aligning ourselves to God’s purpose and plans in the church. Setting aside time to meet every Friday for cell is commitment. That comes from believing that it matters. When one is in the company of likeminded believers, such as the carecell, we will be challenged to grow! And the enlargement, stretching, lengthening, and strengthening will follow suit. Jennifer Yew-Yeo Associate Leader, South District
My Carecell Leader was instrumental in my rise to leadership. When I was a member, I was often late for carecell meetings, but my leader demonstrated relentless belief – encouraging me to attend carecell and even cooking dinner for me. Carecell was the place where I witnessed how the Christian community supported one another in good and bad times. When I saw how the members cared for one another, I realized that I could no longer lead a selfcentered life. Carecell became the place where I allowed God to transform me and enable me to serve Him as a leader today. Lee Tiew Boon Carecell Leader, South District
When I first came to Trinity, I wasn’t serving in any ministry expression for a few years. Thankfully, I was in a carecell and they modeled for me what it was like to love and serve God. Through the ministry of the carecell and their prayers, I have stepped up in faith to take on Spiritual Parenting and become part of a core member in a Ministry Expression! Francis Ng Spiritual Parent, South District
I used to be very reluctant to pray. However my carecell was a safe place where we all learned how to pray together and witness how God answers our prayers. I’ve grown and learned how to pray like a child without fear. I have also taken a step of faith and joined a Missions Impact Team last year and it was beautiful knowing that I had a ’family’ in my carecell who supported me in prayer throughout the missions trip. Without the carecell, I wouldn’t have been able to fulfill this great commission or have a breakthrough in serving God! Edna Ng Member, South District
Through the carecell, we learn to love God and love His people. We have grown as disciples through the strong culture of serving through various platforms and Ministry Expressions, caring for and praying for one another and using our gifts collectively to win the world for Christ. Each week, regardless of how we feel, attending carecell is a must! Jonathan Ang and Valerene Tan Spiritual Parents, West District
Being in a carecell helped me to grow in my spiritual walk. Carecell is a place where God’s great commission and ways are encouraged and practiced. The sharing of God’s word and real-life testimonies in the carecell continually spurs each of us to grow spiritually and to live out God’s word. This in turn propels each member to reach out to their oikos and bring their faith and godly values into their families, friendship circles, and workplaces. It is a privilege to serve as a leader as I have more opportunities to partner with God in advancing His Kingdom. Priscilla Lock Associate Leader, South District
When I first joined a carecell, I was very shy and timid. When asked to pray, I was so nervous that I couldn’t utter a single word! My leaders and pastors saw beyond the ’timidness’ and sowed much into my life. They persevered and I eventually stepped up to be a Spiritual Parent. Being a recipient of their investment of love and time really touched my heart. I became a leader because I recognized that loving God meant loving His people. By serving Him as an Associate Leader, I have greater opportunities to touch the lives of others, and I believe the seeds sown will be multiplied for His glory. Kimberine Ng Associate Leader, West District
The carecell has enabled me to grow in God. Through the encouragement of the Carecell Leaders, I have stepped up to attend the Spiritual Parenting course and many other LEAD courses. Both the carecell and LEAD courses have equipped me to take up a bigger role in fulfilling God’s plan for me to impact my community. Above all, I have benefited from the learning and my walk with God has progressed! Ong Kok Chye Member, West District
As a very ’young’ Christian, the carecell was a safe place and non-judgmental environment to ask questions. It was also in carecell where roots of serving in church were deepened as we learned that serving is a privilege and an act of worship.
The carecell has prayed and interceded for me through my difficult times and I have encountered God’s intervention in various episodes of my life. I love how there is a family that encourages one another to attend LEAD classes. Through DEW, I encountered God’s deliverance, but the godly counsel available to me through the carecell enabled me to have my breakthroughs in God. Through the carecell, I learned the importance of staying close to God as one body of Christ and how crucial it is to have a community of faith that encourages me to meditate on God’s Word and live it out! Hannah Goh Member, West District
Andre Tan Carecell Leader East District
Move deeper into the corporate tent by joining a carecell! In person Go to our Information Counters during weekend Celebration Services and ask to be connected to a carecell
Online Go to www.trinity.sg (I want to connect with people > Our carecells) to complete our digital form
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 4 5
Intent ional Breaking five common myths about work and faith By Azaria Sih and Jessie Chew Work and faith. These two aspects of the Christian life can seem as incompatible as oil and water. Yet, Paul reminds us that we are all Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) – men and women who have been entrusted to represent Him everywhere we are placed. That includes representing Him in the marketplace. Read on as we break five common myths about work and faith.
Work is a curse that resulted from the Fall. Long hours. Tight deadlines. Demanding bosses. The daily grind that leads to Monday blues. Many things about work make it tempting to believe that its existence is a consequence of the Fall (Genesis 3). Now before we shake our fists at Adam and Eve, let’s take a look at what God has to say. The first mention of the word “work” is in Genesis 2:2, when “God had finished the work He had been doing.” What had He been doing? He was bringing creation into existence (Genesis 1:1-31). What did He think about His work? He said it was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
What’s more, God also gave humanity a command to work in Genesis 1:28, to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” In the book Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller explains that the commandment to work is about “continuing God’s work of forming, filling and subduing.” Since the commandment to work came before the Fall, we are assured that work is biblical. God’s design is for humanity to work!
My identity is based on my job. Many things can influence the way we see ourselves: heritage, possessions, status, accomplishments, and the opinions of others. The pitfall of relying on any (or all) of these things is our identity becomes reliant on our circumstances.
While it’s God’s design for humanity to work, our occupation was never intended to be our identity. No matter what happens – the good, the bad, or the ugly – who we are is unchanging because our identity comes from God and God alone.
Since we spend the majority of our adult lives at work, it’s easy to see how our occupation can play a large part in shaping our identity. We aspire to have titles that are well-regarded by society like “Senior Vice President” and “CEO.”
Deeply loved and wonderfully made, we are His handiwork and created to do good works (Psalm 139:14; 1 John 3:1; Ephesians 2:10). When God opens a door for us to take a certain job – no matter what title it holds – we can be assured that God has a plan and a purpose for us there.
When we do well in our roles, we may push God into the background by attributing our success to our own efforts rather than crediting it to His grace and favor. When, despite our best efforts, assignments and projects take a turn for the worse, self-esteem plummets as we begin to question our abilities or blame God for our misfortune. As peers rise up the corporate ladder faster than we do, jealousy and competitiveness can begin to creep into our spirit. We begin to question why we are not as successful and wonder if it’s because we give God too much of our time.
In the midst of performance evaluations or retrenchment exercises, we can be at ease because it is Christ in whom our identity is based. It’s not just who we are but whose we are.
No m a tter wh at h a p p – t he g ens ood , t h e ba d , o r the ug ly – wh o we a is unch re anging bec a u s our ide e ntity co mes fr G od a n om d G od alone.
Ministry belongs in the church, not the workplace. We may think that only the people in full-time ministry are doing God’s work – those in the marketplace are just doing work. The truth is that God wants us to be His salt and light wherever we are placed, including the marketplace. Our desk can become our pulpit as we seek to demonstrate godly principles and seek every opportunity to make a godly difference in our spheres of influence. Our workplace becomes our ministry because He can use us to be a living testimony – a desire to see God work in our workplace.
work “It’s important to recognize that lds. wor e arat and God are not sep an Our work is meant to serve as we e aus bec ship wor of expression es.’ rific sac ng ‘livi be to ed call are Though we may not always be the able to bring God explicitly into ry eve that is h marketplace, the trut d Go of ce sen pre the ts Christian hos we , ians itar Trin As r. /he him within es of also carry the vision and valu do.” we ing ryth the church into eve er – Eugene Cheng, Board Memb Read more about how Eugene in the practices marketplace ministry with al son article “Up Close and Per 50. pg Trinity’s Board” on
Before enjoying lunch, take a moment to bow your head and give thanks. When colleagues ask you what you did over the weekend, don’t be afraid to share that you went to carecell and church. Encourage those going through a hard time with personal testimonies of how God moved in your life. When there are evangelistic events, invite pre-believing colleagues to experience the vibrant Christian life for themselves. “The mission from God is not to free us from work, but to redeem us for good work.“ – Gordon Smith, Christian author
Choose to make God a part of your work life and get ready to see Him move!
Work is not the place to find an encouraging community. While it’s tempting to be a “ninja Christian,” keeping our faith under wraps can actually be a disservice. When we dare to identify ourselves as Christians in the workplace, we can be pleasantly
surprised to find other believers in our midst. Some organizations even have lunchtime prayer groups or Christian fellowship. If they don’t exist, have the courage to start one!
Work is my priority right now. Everything else can wait until I am more established. When promotions depend on our ability to perform, it is easy to believe that work has to take priority over everything else – our faith, our family, and our need for self-care. Without the proper boundaries, exceptions quickly become the norm as we allow work to become our number one priority. Often, the first thing to be compromised is our time with God. We forgo our Time Alone With God because “God will understand.” This goes against the most important commandment of the Christian life – to put God first in all things. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:27-28
Soon, we leave behind the most important relationships – those with our physical and spiritual families. We skip carecell because of Friday night networking sessions. We forgo weeknight family dinners because of a constant pressure to work long hours. Though we physically attend family functions, attending to the never-ending stream of emails makes us emotionally disconnected and distant. If you find yourself in these scenarios or asking yourself “How will ______ impact my career?” it’s time to take a step back. Don’t allow the temptation of wealth and status pull you away from the things that really matter in life: your relationship with God, with family, and with yourself.
There is no separation between the “secular” and the “sacred.” The workplace is our ministry because He desires for us to be His salt and light in the marketplace. Take your faith beyond the four walls of a church by being His living testimony. Above all, celebrate work because it is another opportunity He gives us to worship Him with our lives.
After graduating with a degree in chemistry, Azaria hung up her lab coat and has been in the banking industry for the past eight years, taking a short break in between to go for AlphaTrack. She serves as a Carecell Leader with young adults in the South District. In her free time, she enjoys walks in the park, sweating it out over a good tennis match, watching plays, and being a photographer.
Jessie has been a member of Trinity Christian Centre’s Corporate Communications team since July 2015. Prior to that, she spent six years in a big-four accounting firm assisting financial services companies in regulatory compliance projects. She and her husband (another bigfour accounting alumni) co-lead a carecell in the East District. When she’s not busy with her TCA College assignments, she enjoys going for Crossfit, drinking all manner of caffeinated beverages, and traveling.
“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 4 9
ith Up Close and Personal w
Can the marketplace be our ministry?
According to Board members Eugene Cheng and Wong Ming Fai, the answer to that question is a resounding ‘yes!’ Read on to find out more about how they demonstrate biblical leadership in all areas of their lives – in the marketplace, in the church, and in their families.
Wong Ming Fai
What is your Trinity story? E I came to Trinity as a young adult in 2001 after hearing good things about the church. After attending services for a while and being connected to a carecell, I decided to stay because of her vision and values. Trinity’s focus on missions and reaching the lost was something that resonated with me. After graduating from university, I put God in the backseat as I focused on my career in investment banking. Even after marrying my wife, Sarah, in 2008, our focus remained on our careers. It took a major illness for God to bring us back into alignment with Him. Though difficult, we are grateful for the experience because it was His reminder of our God-given destiny.
It was this experience that motivated me to go through AlphaTrack where God reignited my heart to serve Him in whatever ways I could. Eventually, I became a Carecell Leader in the North District and have been serving in that capacity ever since. I am grateful for the opportunity to directly impact lives for His glory. Read Eugene and Sarah’s Real Life Miracle by scanning this QR code. Share their story with your oikos by picking up a copy of Real Life Miracles from our magazine racks!
M During national service, a friend led me to Christ and then brought me to Trinity. It was here that I drew closer to Him through various platforms. One of the reasons I committed to this church was the close relationships I have with many brothers and sisters in Christ over the years. Though my first carecell has gone through various rounds of multiplication, many of us still keep in touch, being 5 0
there for each other through the various seasons of life – dating, marriage, and having children. In my early years as a Christian, I also felt that God wanted me to stay so that I could be trained as a leader. Over time, I grew from member to Spiritual Parent to Carecell Leader. Today, I serve as a Section Leader in the West District.
As the newest members of the Board, why did you choose to stand for election last year? E Stepping up to be a Board member was a journey for me. When I was asked by Pastor Dominic to stand for election, my initial response was no as I was already carrying many different responsibilities. He advised me not to be hasty – to take it home and pray it through with my wife. Though hesitant about taking on another semi-executive type role, God reminded me of using my talents to be a blessing.
I also had to grapple with how I could manage the responsibilities of being a Board member. My job at the time required me to do a lot of traveling and I didn’t see how it was possible to manage both I decided to stand for election for a few reasons. By standing for election, I wanted to put my conviction to the test. If I considered Trinity to be my home church, then would I be aligned with the things God wanted to do in and through this church?
alongside the district ministry at the same time. Just as nominations were about to close, God responded by opening relevant doors. I knew that it was a sign from God, but He wasn’t done with me yet. While I was nominating other people into the Board during the Annual General Meeting, the Holy Spirit checked my heart by asking me if I would write my name. After some mental wrestling, He asked one final question: “Do you accept this nomination? If so, write your name down.” With that, I finally surrendered and wrote my name down. As you can see, the rest is history. Being on the Board also offered a valuable learning experience. Though I have been in Trinity for many years, I felt that there is still much to learn. I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with Pastor Dominic and other more experienced Board members to understand how to work through the various matters concerning the church.
How has your experience on the Board been so far? E
Being on Trinity’s Board is serious stuff! The church is large and the decisions we make will impact many lives. That is why I am so encouraged by the commitment and dedication of each Board member. Despite hectic schedules, they have a passion to serve this house.
Given the variety of gifts, talents, and experiences of the Board members, I am certain that God was the One who put us together so that His will and purposes could be done through our leadership of the church.
Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about matters that are completely new to me. As a member of the Building Committee, I’ve gained exposure to a subject matter that is totally different from what I’ve done in the past. I am grateful that I have been able to learn from Danny Yeo – someone who has years of experience in the committee and the industry – on how to approach issues, make decisions, and manage team dynamics.
One thing that I appreciate about the Board is that they are men and women who think through the issues and dare to ask questions. They have a heart for the church – sacrificing their time and talents to ensure that the church achieves her God-given vision.
Tell us more about what you do in the marketplace. How has that experience translated into your role as a leader in Trinity? E My marketplace experience has been very diverse with involvement in strategic and financial corporate leadership, investment banking, and accounting. Currently, I am part of the management team of a company in the aviation sector, overseeing multiple aspects of the organization: strategy, transformation, growth and business development, governance, and risk management.
can become so focused on fellowship that its purpose (evangelism, nurturing) and objective (multiplication) can be forgotten. That’s why it is crucial for me as a Carecell Leader to be strategic in planning ahead. Vision-casting is also something that I bring into my ministry – helping members and leaders embrace our purpose and objective so that we can move towards it together.
One of the things that I have brought into my ministry is the value of strategically planning forward. A pitfall of the open carecell is that it
M After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Computer Science, the focus of my career has been entirely on the technology sector. Currently, I am the Chief Information Officer of a public agency.
we have the right system and structures in place? What best practices can be adopted into our current practices? Are we spending our finances in the right places? These are all questions that also come up during Trinity’s board meetings.
My leadership experience in the marketplace has helped in my role as a member of the Board. As a member of the management team, I have to look at things like governance and controls. Do
In addition, I am also very interested in how Trinity uses technology, and I do hope to find like-minded Trinitarians to work on this area in the future.
' When I look at Trinity's
vision from a business perspective, I see how each aspect
of it can be incorporated and lived out in the marketplace. 5 2
How has your leadership experience in Trinity translated into the real world? E How I operate in the marketplace is based on the concept of biblical leadership – to lead with biblical values such as the fruit of the Spirit, especially in times where worldly wisdom would say otherwise. It’s important to recognize that work and God are not separate worlds. Our work is meant to serve as an expression of worship because we are called to be “living sacrifices.” Though we may not always be able to bring God explicitly into the marketplace, the truth is that every Christian hosts the presence of God within him/her. As Trinitarians, we also carry the vision and values of the church into everything we do. When I look at Trinity’s vision from a business perspective, I see how each aspect of it can be incorporated and lived out in the marketplace. Having vibrant atmosphere speaks of a culture where we engage in practices that demonstrate biblical values.
M Growing up, I was always drawn to the hard sciences because of its definitive nature. Answers were either right or wrong and I liked that. My leadership experience at Trinity helped me appreciate the “fuzzier” parts of life, especially human relationships, and I have greatly benefitted from that. I am grateful that Trinity gave me my first opportunities to be a leader. In ministry, everyone is a volunteer. Therefore, the motivation to serve
While it’s easy to allow office politics to divide us, incredible unity speaks of developing a culture of care and teamwork despite the differences or pressures that may arise. When it comes to passionate heartbeat, it boils down to meeting a need. Every business exists to meet a need. More than that, every business has enough resources to meet the needs of society. Though we may not be explicit in sharing the Gospel as profit-oriented organizations, we can demonstrate the Gospel by using our resources to touch lives. Finally, strategic leadership is about how we help others navigate the corporate world with biblical values in mind. This is especially true for those who lead teams and have people working under them, giving them the opportunity to lead and influence individuals. While it’s tempting to just focus on targets, a successful business is one that focuses on building its people – to make sure that the people who go through our departments and organization come out better than when they came in. and grow come from a very different place. Having strong relationships is vital in bringing people to their God-given destiny. Through serving as a leader in Trinity, I’ve grown in being more consultative – to operate in the gray by considering factors such as emotions, perceptions, motivations, and group dynamics. My leadership skills have been sharpened by learning how to navigate the people aspect of things.
Having strong relationships is vital in bringing people to their God-given destiny. How do you juggle the responsibilities associated with the Board on top of family, work, and existing ministry commitments? E The honest answer is that it’s hard work. For me, I look at life in five buckets: my walk with God, family, ministry, Board duties, and my marketplace responsibilities. I would be lying if I say that they never conflict with one another – they often do. To juggle all these responsibilities, I put in place certain guidelines for my life. First is to acknowledge that the conflicts are real.
Second is to accept that I am imperfect and need to surrender all these things to God, trusting that He will guide me through them. The third is to prioritize. Many times when life starts to get overwhelming, I force myself to take a step back so that I can refocus on my relationship with God and His purposes for me, carrying a deep confidence that He will see me through everything else.
M The cliché-yet-honest answer is a very supportive wife. Without her, it is impossible for me to be so involved in the ministry. She does a fantastic job of caring for our three children – Jan (11), Ian (6), and Hannah (3) – while I’m engaged in ministry or Board responsibilities. I am also thankful for having mature leaders in my section. They do a great job in nurturing and discipling those under their care. Their
dedication means that I can entrust a lot of the responsibilities of the ministry to them. Knowing when and how to draw boundaries is also essential. I make it a point to carve out time for my children and go on dates with my wife. Do other times compete with family time? Definitely! While there is flexibility to allow for last-minute or urgent things, I look out for red flags such as spending too many consecutive late nights away from home.
What do you do to maintain strong relationships with your family and with God? E With our busy lifestyles – my wife and I often travel for work – time is very precious in our family. Though it is tempting to forgo ministry to spend time with the children, we made a decision to honor God by serving in whatever capacity we can, modeling and explaining the concept of servanthood so that they can appreciate what it means to serve God with their lives.
Since my children are still quite young, my girl (Christie) is four and my son (Daryl) is two, the key thing Sarah and I do is to model biblical relationships and values. As husband and wife, we make it a point to demonstrate that “daddy loves mommy” and “mommy respects and honors daddy” (Ephesians 5:33). We also model godly behavior by praying before meals and before they go to sleep. Our daughter has reached an age where she can say simple prayers and we encourage her to keep up that spiritual discipline.
When I go to Board meetings, I explain to them that daddy has to help the church so that they could have a good time in Nursery and DiscoveryLand. When I have to spend time on ministry-related meetings, I explain to them that daddy is helping others grow in their relationship with God, just as I will do with them.
My wife and I desire for our children to have a deep and personal relationship with God.
part of their bedtime routine, we pray through the Power Word before they go to sleep.
One of the things we do to develop this is to reinforce what was taught in church. We pay a lot of attention to the Power Word – asking them what it is and how they can apply it in their lives. As
We also do things to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving in our children. During prayers, we thank God for things that happened during the day like good food or a good time out.
Knowing when and how to
is essential. While there is flexibility to allow for last-minute or urgent things, I look out for red flags.
Burned Out Heart Ablaze to
Discovering the true purpose of work By Lye Huixian
Does work matter to God? After burning out in his dream job, Jared Koh struggled to answer this question. Through a season of seeking God in AlphaTrack, he discovered the answer to this question and so much more.
Burning out in my dream job Arranging flights and vehicle arrangements. Booking hotels and restaurants. Arranging and rearranging visit schedules. With each passing day, my dream job in a highprofile public agency felt more and more like a nightmare. “This is not what I signed up for!” I repeatedly grumbled to myself, “Shouldn’t I be doing more substantial things like analytical work and policy-making?”
Though I was paid a premium and often attended high-level events, I didn’t feel a sense of purpose in what I did. The long hours, being on-call 24/7, and the “every man for himself” culture was taking a tremendous toll on me. Sleep was a luxury. Time with family and friends was brief and
infrequent. I was often late for carecell and had to cut back on serving. Time Alone With God became one-way prayers where I would ask God to help me with work situations. I felt myself burning out physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After a season of prayer, I decided to let it go by tendering my resignation. “Was I a failure for not persevering? Didn’t God give me this job in the first place?” I asked myself over and over again. “If I had stuck it out, could I have made a positive impact through my work?” Feeling a need to seek His direction for my life, I signed up for Trinity’s AlphaTrack program to discover my God-given destiny.
Experiencing and living out the heart of God In AlphaTrack, God started to transform my heart and mind. It changed the way I see people. I began to see them through God’s eyes and experienced God’s love for them. Initially, I dreaded going for street evangelism and counted down the days. God used these moments to teach me the importance of obedience and trust. I even dared to share the Gospel to complete strangers in Mandarin! Through the missions impact trip (my very first), I saw first-hand how many people were hungry for God and how we could do so much more to bring heaven to earth. AlphaTrack also changed the way I interacted with fellow Christians. In the beginning, I was impatient with some fellow AlphaTrackers because we were so different in personality and working style. I learned to have patience, to look beyond the person’s quirks and encourage others more. AlphaTrack wasn’t just about getting things done. It was also about helping others have personal encounters with God.
One of the highlights of AlphaTrack was being an emcee for the Children’s Day event #SuperStrongOnes. Though it was challenging, God used it to show me the importance of childlike faith. No matter how old I am, I can always trust my super strong God!
I did not need to earn His love. He loves me simply for who I am.
Above all, AlphaTrack changed the way I relate to God. In the past, I interacted with Him the same way I interacted with my work. I approached ministry with a spirit of excellence because there was a self-imposed pressure to perform well. While God loves a spirit of excellence, the truth I learned was that I did not need to earn His love. He loves me simply for who I am. It was in that truth that I began to be sure of my identity in God and His love for me.
A new vision for the future While I wished AlphaTrack could last forever, I knew that this journey would eventually come to an end. While AlphaTrack gave me a time to recharge and seek God, I knew that at some point, I would have to leave this cocoon of faith and go back into the marketplace. During AlphaTrack, I sent out numerous job applications in hopes of securing something right after the three months were over. As the weeks and months
passed by, I waited for responses that never came. I had no idea what life would be like after AlphaTrack. Though anxiety was growing, God kept pointing me back to Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
UP CLOSE As I continued to seek God for direction, He renewed my passion for the public sector. During a session with Pastor Jonathan on speaking in tongues, we were instructed to do it nonstop for two hours. I struggled in the first hour because I was distracted by every small sound and constantly battled the temptation to nap.
As I persevered and pressed in, my focus sharpened and I was drawn into the very presence of God. When He spoke to me about working in a specific public agency, I was initially taken aback. I didn’t think I was suited for the organization and I didn’t think I would even get in. Nevertheless, I took a step of faith and started putting together my application for their Associate’s Program.
God opens doors in the marketplace On the day I submitted the application, I received an email from a very senior official that I had previously worked with. Not only did he affirm my ability to contribute to the public service, he also shared that he had sent a recommendation to that same agency on my behalf. What an amazing affirmation of God’s direction for me!
an associate. What’s more, my experience will be better utilized in that role!
Or so I thought. When I didn’t hear from the public agency for over a month, the anxiety crept back into my mind. During Morning Prayer in November 2017, there was an altar call for those who needed a job and I went up to receive prayer. As I was being prayed for, I felt the burden of anxiousness being lifted off. Later that day, I got an email from the public agency.
With each round of interviews came assignments that had to be submitted within 24 hours. Some of them clashed with carecell and prayer meetings. Though I struggled with completing the assignments versus “church stuff,” I decided to trust God by honoring Him with my time.
At first, I was dismayed by its contents. I was not eligible for the Associate’s Program. Instead, they wanted me to consider another permanent position. As I read the job description, I realized that its position was one rank higher than 5 8
God’s faithfulness continued to follow me. As I prepared to interview for this new position, He sent me a Trinitarian to mentor me through the process – someone who had previously done this same role.
Indeed, when we honor God, He will honor us! When I shared my first assignment with my carecell, their ideas turned out to be the ones that impressed the interviewers. Just before going into the third interview, a fellow Tracker prayed for me and shared a vision of morning dew – declaring that it would be a refreshing time. During
the interview, the interviewer commented that it was "refreshing" to hear my ideas and perspectives. Less than a month after AlphaTrack, I signed a contract of employment with the public agency. The entire process happened within 1.5 months –
extremely fast for jobs in public service. Not only do I have more time for family and church, God has also provided me with a very supportive work environment. There is even a Christian community that comes together to pray for Singapore and encourages one another on a weekly basis.
Work as worship During my time in AlphaTrack, I reflected on what was truly important in my life. I discovered that work, while important, will never be meaningful if it did not honor God. As I returned to the marketplace, I took with me a conviction of what God desires for me – to be salt and light in the marketplace and, by extension, in the nation of Singapore. Being in public service is still challenging. The hours can be long and the daily grind can take its toll. What has changed is my perspective on work. God opened the door for me to go back into public service. Through this experience, I know God does more than providing for our needs – He also brings us to fulfill His plans. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
In the past, I used to do everything in my own strength. Today, I rely on the strength and wisdom of the
Lord to see me through each day. In my previous job, I questioned my purpose. Today, I know what that purpose is – to impact my sphere of influence for God. With each assignment, I perform with excellence because I know that my gifts and experiences are meant to be a blessing to others. Doing the “small things” has become much easier because I know that God is looking for faithfulness and obedience in all things. With every interaction, I exercise grace and love because I know that I carry the presence of God – He can and will use me to build up the people around me.
Work, while important, will never be meaningful if it did not honor God.
When we know our God-given purpose, we can persevere through every situation and circumstance. When we choose to rely on God, He is faithful to see us through. When we set aside time to seek Him, we don’t need to fear burn out because He becomes our source of strength. No matter where we are in life, may we adopt the posture of faithful servants who take our talents and use it for His glory!
Strengthening the marriage by engaging with God
There’s always three involved in a successful Christian marriage: a husband, a wife, and God. We ask our Silver Force Marriage Mentors for advice on how to build strong marriages by placing God at the center of the relationship.
Why is it important for husbands and wives to engage with God together? Engaging with God together is important to ensure that we agree with the direction He is leading the family – He is not a God of inconsistency. Colin and Susan Lincoln Married for 36 years
God is the critical third party in our marriage so the “cord” doesn’t come loose. As He is the One who brings a man and woman together in holy matrimony, He will also be the one to keep the marriage healthy and vibrant. God breathes life into our interaction with each other so that our marriage is a relationship that is active and growing. He unites our differences and is the only resource from whom we can receive wisdom and discernment for this complicated union of two independent individuals. Brian and Shirley Koh Married for 25 years 6 0
As we each draw closer to God, we are also drawn closer to each other through this shared experience of loving God and becoming more like Him. By being accountable to one another, we can encourage and spur each other on to grow in our walk with God. Lawrence Yeo and Wang Look Keah Married for 36 years There are too many things in life that we don’t have answers or solutions for. Coming to God together is a physical and spiritual reminder of how much we depend on Him in our everyday lives. By making engaging with God a lifestyle, the times spent together in pursuit of Him will only serve to strengthen the marriage bonds as you spur each other on to grow spiritually. Terence Wong and Nora Choy Married for 33 years
What is your advice for couples who wish to establish a regular time with God together? Both husband and wife must choose to make engaging with God a priority. Schedule time to share what God has been doing in each other’s lives. Take every opportunity to pray together, committing every aspect of life to Him. Dive deeper into the Word together. Serve God together. Put time with God as top priority in your schedules. Lawrence Yeo and Wang Look Keah Married for 36 years
Each spouse must commit to growing and developing their own Time Alone With God. Only through personal engagement can spouses then bring their relationship with God to another level as a couple. In times of sharing, don’t misuse the platform to “tell each other off.” Be sensitive to what your spouse is saying and to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
We must choose to look beyond ourselves and look to God for all things and situations. Living with another person is not easy and your spouse is no exception. With God as the center of your marriage, work to deepen your love for each other as you trust and see how God turns each other’s weaknesses into strengths in your relationship. With that in place, establishing regular time with God together will come naturally and easily.
Michael Wong and June Chan Married for 22 years
Colin and Susan Lincoln Married for 36 years
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12
What encouragement can you give to a spouse who wants to engage with God but their other half does not want to? 1 Peter 3:1-2 reminds us of the importance of our living testimony to our pre-believing spouse or spouse that does not share the same spiritual fervor as we do. “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.“ Though this verse is addressing a wife’s conduct to husbands, I believe its principle is equally applicable for Christian husbands to their wives. Be strong in your Time Alone With God. Salvation and spiritual growth are things that cannot be rushed into and without a strong relationship with God, it will be impossible to persevere. In moments of frustration, resist the temptation to react negatively to your spouse’s apathy, defensiveness, or hostility by surrendering your emotions to the Lord. As much as we love our spouse and want the best for him/her, we must remember that God loves our spouse even more and He has a wonderful plan for his/her life (Jeremiah 29:11). Colin and Susan Lincoln Married for 36 years
To be a strong Christian witness to your spouse, remember that it’s about consistency. Consistently exercise grace. Consistently demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit especially in tough and trying situations. Consistently interact with your spouse in a loving and respectful manner, even if it is not reciprocated. Your spouse will come to experience God through your words and actions. Be attuned to your spouse’s needs and invite him/her to the various church platforms that can meet the needs (e.g., Life Skills Seminar, LEAD courses, carecells). Offer to accompany him/her but do not insist that he/she must go. Most importantly, undergird all of your words and actions with fervent prayer. Salvation belongs to the Lord and only He can soften hearts. As you exercise total reliance on God, remain hopeful that He will turn the heart of your spouse towards Him. Believe that you and your spouse will, in His time, love God together.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford Streng then your ma rriage by com ing for LEAD’s Ma rriage Serie s course s.
Weatherproof Your Marriage
Love Me True
You Talk, I Talk Sex and But Who’s Listening? Sexuality
setting boundaries, safeguarding your marriage Every marriage will have good days and bad, sunshine and storms.
gender and personality differences Differences are inevitable in marriage. It can either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone in establishing a healthy and strong marriage.
Studies have shown that in marriage, a woman’s greatest need is love while a man’s greatest need is respect. How can spouses meet these needs?
Strong, godly marriages are the bedrock to strong families, churches, and societies. Communication remains the quintessential key to successful marriages.
Let’s talk about sex – in a godly marriage. Sex between spouses is a gift from God. It’s designed to bring greater intimacy, bonding, and enjoyment in a way no one else can. Strengthen your marriage as you learn to apply God’s truth on sex and contemporary sexual issues.
Weatherproof your relationship to withstand the storms of life. Understand the subtle issues that can slowly chip away at your marriage. Be equipped with practical handles to better protect relationships with your spouse and family. Hear from our panelists and discover how to continue building a great marriage today.
In this course, we will be looking at the nature of differences, the common and underlying causes of conflicts and, above all, how to handle the differences in a godly and constructive manner.
Come and learn Biblical principles on love and respect as well as practical handles to successfully enrich your marriage.
Be inspired and equipped to communicate effectively with each other and bring your marriage to a deeper level of intimacy.
Find out more about our Marriage Series by picking up the latest LEAD Brochure or visiting www.trinity.sg (I want to develop my potential > LEAD > Courses).
ur God with all “Love the Lord yo ith all your soul your hear t and w streng th. These and with all your day that I give you to ts en dm an m m co hear ts. are to be on your lk your children. Ta Impress them on sit at home and u yo n he w em th about n ong the road, whe when you walk al up.” d when you get you lie down an 6:5-7 – Deuteronomy
Children are a gift from the Lord and parents have the awesome responsibility to raise them in His ways. This can be done in part by establishing a family altar – regular times where the family comes together to learn and apply biblical values into everyday life. Hear from our pastors about the importance of establishing a family altar and find out ways to make it a part of everyday life.
Why is it essential to establish a family altar? Family altar is so important because if we do not allow God to shape our lives, our minds, and our hearts, the world will. Romans 12:2 tells us this: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I like how The Message translated this same passage: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” As the spiritual head of my home, I desire to lead my family to fix our attention on God so that we will be changed from the inside out - to allow the Lord to transform and shape our thinking so that we will grow to be more like Him. Pastor Titus Thevathasan Father of Levi (10), Leeona (6), and Leroy (2)
Family altar is an important way to remind ourselves that we need God and we need to put God as the first priority in our family. Pastor Victor Toh Father of Raena (8)
Family altar is important because discipleship begins at home. As parents, we have the joy, privilege, and responsibility to demonstrate and model for our children how to live out our faith, how to grow our relationship with God, and how to practice various spiritual disciplines. Pastor Melvin Lim Father of Matthew (5)
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3 (NLT)
As parents, the most important thing we can leave with our children is a legacy of faith and hope in the love and goodness of God.
As our children are blessings from God, my wife and I were determined to do our best to raise them up in the ways of the Lord and impart godly values that will stay with them for life. Having a family altar is one way of doing so.
We can give them money but they can spend it all away. We can give them an education but we cannot guarantee that they will have a good job. We can give them health but cannot promise that they won’t suffer from illnesses.
Pastor Edward Lim Father of Chloe (26) and Inez (24)
Pastor Johnathan Lee Father of Hannah (25) and Odelia (22)
If we help them encounter God’s love so that they can have faith and hope in His love and goodness, we have given them the most precious thing of all – a strong faith to meet all the challenges of life.
What advice would you give to families who wish to (re)start the family altar? Build up anticipation and excitement in the kids. Inspire them to love this time and not see it as a chore. Your posture towards family altar will impact them deeply. Regardless of the challenges, persevere even when your children don’t seem to be engaging – God can speak to them even in the chaos and you’ll be surprised by what they repeat back to you! Pastor Titus Thevathasan Father of Levi (10), Leeona (6), and Leroy (2)
A strong partnership between husband and wife is critical to ensure the continuity of family altar. Both parties must shoulder the responsibilities of preparing and engaging the children, ready to tag-team when necessary. Sister Esther Lee Mother of Elkan (3)
Family altars are very hard to establish if children do not see their parents having a genuine love for each other in their relationship and experience godly values in their everyday lives. Parents don’t have to be perfect but they must demonstrate a life that is committed to loving God, loving each other, and developing the fruits of the spirit. If parents cannot walk the talk, children will find little reason to heed godly instruction, no matter how wellintentioned it is. Family altar can even seem hypocritical to the children and a mockery of God’s goodness. Establish credibility by committing to Christlikeness. If the marriage relationship is less-than-ideal, consider seeking the help of professional marriage counselors to begin repairing the relationship. If your children have been hurt by your behavior in the past, be willing to apologize and seek their forgiveness. When your children see this change in you, they can be motivated to do likewise. Pastor Johnathan Lee Father of Hannah (25) and Odelia (22)
Establishing family altars takes practice, patience, and perseverance. Pastor Melvin Lim Father of Matthew (5)
It’s important to understand that there’s no template for family altar because every family is different.
It’s never too late to start one. Our children are our children for life – regardless of age!
Start with something well within your family’s ability in terms of frequency, duration, and activities. Remember, you’re not replacing a Celebration Service! Be open to adjusting to suit your family’s rhythm. Make family altar a time that is a joy to have, not another “duty” in the midst of everyone’s busy lives.
Of course, there will be challenges to starting a family altar when they are older. Consider the following guidelines:
Pastors Alan See and Melina Hee Parents of Hannah (21) and Andrea (16)
If your children are older, establishing family altar will be more challenging because your children may have grown up without fully subscribing to godly values.
• F ind a suitable time: dinner or after a family activity • Share testimonies: all of us have something to share if we think hard enough • P ray for one another: short prayers will suffice • C omplement one another: be mindful that it should be complementing not commenting Pastor Edward Lim Father of Chloe (26) and Inez (24)
While it may not be possible to turn back the clock, parents should endeavor to demonstrate love to them and encourage them to do likewise in all their relationships. Continue to be there for them through every struggle and celebrate the victories. Pastor Leslie Lam Father of Nicholas (29), Pamela (26), and Dominic (23)
What does family altar time look like at this stage of your family’s life? Infants and toddlers
Infants and toddlers
Our main objective for Elkan at this stage of his life is to model the practice of prayer and worship. Since Elkan is in daycare from 7:30am to 6:30pm (both my husband and I work full-time), time with him is precious so family altar is also our bonding time as we engage in prayer and worship together. To minimize distraction, we do family altar right before he sleeps as a part of his winding down routine. Since Elkan enjoys music, he readily engages in times of worship. When it comes to prayer, we invite him to lead but sometimes, he will want us to lead and he repeats after us. Through family altar, we have seen Elkan pick up our prayer language. We take time to read to him. Sometimes, it will be a bible story but recently we have used the Trinitarian for our night reading – using it as a way to explain what Trinity does for missions and inviting Elkan to pray for the children, which he does. Sister Esther Lee Mother of Elkan (3)
Young children (ages 4-9) In this season, family altar takes place on two nights – Tuesday and Saturday. Since Tuesday is our rest day, it was an easy choice for something within the week. With Raena going for DiscoveryLand on Saturday, having family altar later in the evening is the time when we reinforce the lesson for the week. Pastor Victor Toh Father of Raena (8)
Family altar happens 3-4 times a week for about 20 minutes. We do this right before the girls go to bed. During this time, they get to choose a Bible story to read. After that, my wife or I will share one thing that the story reveals about God and what it means for us. Before ending with prayer, we take time as a family to thank God for something that happened during the day. This is to build a culture of gratitude and thankfulness for God’s goodness in our lives. Pastor David Sashi Father of Sonia (5), Asha (4), and Anya (4 months)
Young children (ages 4-9) Family altar is the time where we help our daughter become more aware of the reality of God in her everyday life. That means involving Him in every aspect of our lives. My husband and I are conscious to share about God throughout the day. Before we start driving, we commit the day in prayer. During dinner time, we talk about God and before she sleeps, we close the day in prayer. Pastor Chang Wai Wai Mother of Gloria (8)
Toddlers and young children (Multiple ages) Family altar takes place every night in my children’s bedroom for about 10-30 minutes, depending on practical considerations such as homework. As a family with children of various age groups, family altar can be chaotic. Though our children have an eight-year age gap, we make it a point to include everyone. Our youngest is involved through observation and we taught him to put his hands together during prayer and say ”amen.” We gather together and spend time in prayer where my two older kids will each say a prayer before my wife or I pray for everyone. We read the Word of God and talk about it in the context of our behavior, reactions to recent events or situations in our lives. This helps our older children see its immediate and practical application in their lives. My kids also look forward to our once-a-week “little church” where we spend time worshipping together before prayer and the Word. Pastor Titus Thevathasan Father of Levi (10), Leeona (6), and Leroy (2)
Young Adults When my children were younger, we had weekly times called “Family Council” where we testified of God’s goodness, complimented each other, discussed family matters (such as pocket money and holidays), and prayed for one another. We also took turns to record the minutes so that we could have a record of what needed follow-up. It also helped improve their essay writing at the same time! Now that our girls are young adults, we do an adaptation of this over family dinner on Sunday evenings. During that time we go through some of the issues they are facing, particularly challenges in the workplace. While the workplace and work culture today are different from when we started in our career, godly values to live by remain the same. Pastor Edward Lim Father of Chloe (26) and Inez (24)
Pre-Teens and Teens (ages 10-17) At this stage of their lives, our family altar is not a specific “sit down” time. Rather, we utilize moments throughout the week to have open conversations with them. The key is to help our children make God a part of everyday life – relevant faith. During meals or free times during the week, we talk about current issues and challenges, bringing God into the picture by sharing how we can live out our values and convictions. During one-on-one time, we pray, read Scriptures, and ask agespecific questions on their faith. Who is God to them? What has God spoken to or touched them? We help to point them back to God as the source of their lives and, ultimately, come into alignment with Him. Pastor Wendy Chang Mother of Charis (17) and Elise (11) 6 9
Recommended family altar activities forâ€Ś Infants and toddlers Make family altar very simple and part of the night time routine so that they are not tempted to run off and play. When praying, use very simple language. Keep repeating the same prayer language. At this age, their minds are like sponges and they will pick up on what you say. Sister Esther Lee Mother of Elkan (3)
Young children (ages 4-9) Use existing tools such as the DiscoveryLand power word or weekend sermons to start a conversation with them.
Young children (ages 4-9) Teach them how to manage disappointments with godly values (e.g., self-control, discipline, honor). These are important skills that they will carry into their adult lives. Pastor Gary Chia Father of Gabriel (9)
Young children (ages 4-9) Help them to see that God is interested in their lives and wants to be a part of everything that they do. Dare to share your life with them â€“ the ups and the downs. Allow them to see that you are human and in need of God. Pastor Victor Toh Father of Raena (8)
Pastor David Chng Father of Jared (9)
Pre-Teens and Teens (ages 10-17) Encourage them to read the Bible on their own. Help them live the authentic Christian life by encouraging them to serve. When issues arise, discuss how they can apply godly principles to overcome them and share relevant testimonies on the reality of God in our lives. Pastor Kenny Sng Father of Javan (14), Keagan (12), and Ian (10)
Pre-Teens and Teens (ages 10-17) Maximize informal family altar time and teachable movements. Be open to hear their point of view. Instead of telling them what is right and wrong, help them discover and come to their own convictions. If you have your own faith stories to tell, share them! Most importantly, cover them in prayer. Pastor Johnathan Lee Father of Hannah (25) and Odelia (22)
Pre-Teens and Teens (ages 10-17) Let them ask questions about their faith and engage in meaningful conversations. Be willing to learn from and with them. Pastor Wendy Chang Mother of Charis (17) and Elise (11)
Young Adults Young Adults Move from structured family altar time to less formal times. Transit from the role of teaching and talking to learning and listening. Regularly share about what God is doing in your lives and ministries. Encourage them to live out their faith in the workplace and all other areas of their lives. Pastor Edward Lim Father of Chloe (26) and Inez (24)
If your children are overseas (as two of mine are), commit to keeping in touch via WhatsApp, Skype, or other electronic means. Encourage them to actively live out their faith through regular sharing of Scripture and YouTube clips. Arrange for regular electronic family altar time and make it a platform for mutual accountability, prayer requests, and testifying of Godâ€™s faithfulness. Pastor Leslie Lam Father of Nicholas (29), Pamela (26), and Dominic (23) 7 1
What are the challenges you encounter and how do you overcome them? Infants and toddlers The biggest challenge we encounter are all the distractions in the room â€“ whether it be soft toys or their inability to sit still beyond a certain amount of time. Family altar is a journey of molding for both children and parents, especially in the area of patience. Nevertheless, my wife and I persevere because it is important to demonstrate the importance of our time together, to teach them that this is something we do as a family. Pastor David Sashi Father of Sonia (5), Asha (4), and Anya (4 months)
Pre-Teens, Teens, and Young Adults For teenagers and young adults, family altar can be a challenge because they are starting to form their own beliefs, values, and identity. Formal family altar time may work but consider informal times like dinner where different ones can, for instance, share about how God is speaking to them. The key is to find teachable moments â€“ instances where we can point our child back to God. Since these instances happen right when our child has a need, teachable moments can serve as powerful ways to help our child strengthen their faith in a very personal and relevant way. Pastor Johnathan Lee Father of Hannah (25) and Odelia (22)
As a father and grandfather, Pastor Danny Leong shares about what it means to leave a strong spiritual legacy for his children and grandchildren. When my children were growing up, my responsibility as their father was to be their provider, protector, and nurturer. Now that they are all grown up, I see myself as more of their mentor and friend – someone they can turn to for advice, spiritual support, and prophetic words of encouragement. With the birth of my grandson, Blaze, my role has changed. My wife and I take to heart the importance of modeling our faith and demonstrating godly affection to him. We sing bible songs, talk to him about God’s creation, and regularly speak into his life. When Rev Samuel Rodriguez was ministering in Trinity, he shared about how his grandfather would regularly pray in the Spirit over him as a child. From that, I saw the importance of praying in the Spirit over my grandson as a way of imparting faith and declaring God’s destiny into his spirit. I thank God for my grandson because of the spiritual revival that he has brought into my life. As a father, I was more focused on caring for my children than appreciating them as God’s wonderful creation. As a grandfather, it is my privilege to
observe him grow and develop. This gives me a new appreciation of God’s amazing creation and grace. Grandparents, I want to encourage you to be godly examples for your children and grandchildren. Dare to ask God for a spiritual vision for your family. Deuteronomy 11:13 and 21 can be a place to start: “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul…so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” Enable them to see, hear, and feel our devotion to the Lord. When they hear our prayers of thanksgiving, they become aware of the goodness and greatness of God. When we faithfully serve God, they too will be encouraged to love and serve Him as well.
Missions AT A GLANCE IMPACT GO MISSIONS TEAMS (MITs)
Trinitarians began embarking on missions trips in the second quarter of 2018. Find out how God used them to minister to the lost in the next issue of the Trinitarian!
AND GO TRAINING CONSULTATION^
COUNTRIES (Albania, Myanmar)
^ Does not include preaching and exploratory trips
MISSIONS REPORT Trinity’s missions endeavors 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 leaders. Every Trinitarian has a part to play when it comes to missions. From March 8-10, ministers from over 20 nations came to be refreshed and equipped at Pastors’ Conference 2018 (pg 76). During our annual Missions Convention from March 9-11, Trinitarians young and old were challenged to make God’s heart, their heart (pg 78)!
Trinity@Jakarta Regional Center Plant January was a very significant month for Trinity@Jakarta with its first water baptism service (January 11), launch of the first fellowship carecell (January 25), and first membership service (January 29). Trinity@Jakarta also participated in its first Missions Faith Promise on March 11, committing a total of IDR 1,770,700,000 that will go towards missions endeavors in Indonesia and beyond.
Training and Consultation Trinity continues to equip churches from around the world through training and consultation trips. This quarter, our pastors went to Albania to conduct the Prophetic Ministries 1 Conference and Myanmar to conduct a Discipleship Camp.
Sponsorship of Children
1,609 destitute children in four countries (India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand) are supported by the giving of Trinitarians. Through your financial support, these children have opportunities to develop intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially.
Statistics for January – MARCH 2018
Destitute Children in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand sponsored
UPDATES ON THE CHAMPIONS — MAERIM CHILDREN’S HOME
Be a partner for Trinity’s Missions – Pray, Give, and Go!
Through a partnership with Home Alive Foundations, we thank God for the opportunity to be a part of the lives of 30 children through The Champions@Maerim.
Trinitarians, thank you for sowing into the nations by praying, giving, and going. 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.
The Champions@Maerim ceased operations in March 31, 2018 as our partners were unable to renew the land lease for the home or find a suitable place for relocation despite our best efforts. We are thankful that every child has transitioned into other children homes with some returning to their villages. We want to thank every Trinitarian who prayed, gave, and came through the various missions trips. We also thank our Ambassadors, Sister Cal-lin Neubronner and Brother Wang Zhi Chao for sowing into the lives of the children. Through their ministry, many made decisions for Christ and excelled in their studies. May God continue to move powerfully in the lives of these children.
Pray • M issions Impact Teams: Safe travels and God’s manifest power to be seen through their ministry • The Children: To know God intimately and grow in favor with God and man • A mbassadors and Trainers: Fresh anointing, and impactful, lasting ministry • E xpansion Endeavors: Divine alliances and wisdom for the leadership
Let’s continue to pray for our children that are in The Champions@Chiangmai City.
’ s r o Past erence Conf
A core part of a minister’s development is the ability to be empowered and equipped – times where they can grow and be fed. Led by our main speakers Senior Pastor Dominic Yeo, Resident Apostle Rev Naomi Dowdy, Pastor Dr Tom Manning, Pastor David Doery, and Rev Ong Sek Leang, Pastors’ Conference 2018 (March 8-10) was a time where 391 delegates from 22 nations could come to Trinity@Paya Lebar for a time of impartation and refreshment, giving them the tools needed to carry on in the work of leading and discipling toward a thriving church. Trinity stands ready to disciple pastors and ministers for Kingdombuilding. It is humbling to hear testimonies of ministers that have been blessed by Pastors’ Conference 2018, an affirmation of our call to be a leadership church.
Pastors’ Conference 2018 was a time of soul-searching, re-committing, and anointing. I am thankful for insight on how the church can break into the nations and be a blessing to them. M.K. Babu Senior Pastor Sacred Assemblies Fellowship New Delhi, India
I was refreshed and reminded that we need to do the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Through the conference, I was also reminded that we need to put greater focus on our children, the next generation of leaders. Rosel Ismael Assistant Pastor Full Life Community Church Guimaras, Philippines
I have learned the importance of intentionally planning the teaching of our church and ensuring that all ministries are on the same page. I plan to share what I’ve learned here with our Senior Pastor so that we can begin implementing some of these things in our church.
Every time I come to Trinity for a conference, I’m always challenged to do more, seek God more, and move even further for God. The opening sessions helped me see the bigger picture of what we are called to do – the vision that God has for our church in this season. I will definitely be taking back what I’ve learned to my team so that we can discuss ways to bring God’s vision to pass
Alice Lele Women’s Ministry Leader River of Life Assembly Mumbai, India
Kaloyan Kudomanov Lead Pastor, Inspiration Church Sofia, Bulgaria
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.)
Missions 2018 By Imelda Lie
As Christians, we are familiar with the big names in spreading the Gospel such as Peter and Paul. Woven into their stories are countless unnamed individuals who also put their lives on the line so that the Gospel could progress. At this year’s Missions Convention (March 9-11), our guest speakers, Pastor Dr Tom Manning and Pastor David Doery, reminded us about the importance of unsung heroes in God’s missional endeavors.
On the night of Missions Rally, Trinity was transformed into a culture fest. Many showed up in ethnic costumes to participate in various activities such as cultural performances, traditional games, global food tastings, and a play staged at our beautifully-lit garden. Beyond the festivities, Missions Rally was a passionate invitation for us to embrace God’s passionate heartbeat for the nations. That night, Pastor Dr Tom Manning began his sermon with Acts 9:23-25.
Instead of paying attention to Paul, the great missionary, Pastor Dr Tom Manning brought our attention to the last verse and asked the congregation. “Who was it that went to the wall with Paul?” Who was it that took the rope and lowered it so that Paul could escape? There are no names given of those who held the ropes, those who put their lives at risk so that Paul could escape. As you began to think about that you began to realize that is just like the kingdom of God. Countless people have taken the ropes. As they take the rope, they hold it and do what God calls them to do even if nobody knows their names. I call them the rope holders.”
Our church is made up of many rope holders – men, women, and children who contribute with unceasing prayers, faithful giving, and a willingness to be used for God’s plans and purposes. Every week we see Celebration Hosts giving out bulletins, Traffic Marshals bearing the heat to direct traffic, Worship Leaders coming in early to practice for service, teachers and helpers who care for our children and teach them the ways of the Lord. They serve God passionately though few of us know them by name. “The reality is that the kingdom of God is made of people who do incredible work for God. It’s made up of individuals who do what God has called them to do. They do what they know in their spirit. They fulfill their calling. They fulfill an unction. They use their gifts to expand the kingdom of God and they don’t worry about who will know what they’re doing.”
In an age where everything is instant, the work of rope holders does not reveal itself directly, especially in the missions field. Yet, we embark on it together because of a strong confidence that God will enable us to be fruitful in His time. That is why Trinity can be a local church with global impact â€“ equipping churches, discipling leaders, providing humanitarian aid, and sharing the Gospel to the nations. Regardless of our role, Missions Rally was a reminder that each of us has the same call to take the message of hope around the world. During the Missions Weekend, Trinitarians had the opportunity to answer the missional call to partake in Godâ€™s global agenda and make His heart our heart.
At Trinity@Paya Lebar, Pastor Dr Tom Manning shared what it means to have a passionate concern that propels us to do something â€“ to stretch our hearts and plant a seed through our giving. At Trinity@Bukit Batok, Pastor David Doery similarly challenged Trinitarians to step into partnership with God through an offering of faith rather than giving out of comfort. Trinitarians rose to that challenge, choosing to be rope holders by committing a total of SGD 10,684,028.34 to the Missions Faith Promise. Trinity@Jakarta also participated in its first Missions Faith Promise on Sunday, committing a total of IDR 1,770,700,000 that will go towards missions endeavors in Indonesia and beyond.
When I received a Missions Faith Promise card, I decided on the amount to give. In previous years, I always forgot to give. In order not to forget this year, I gave my Faith Promise on April 1. I took an offering put my amount under "Missions Faith Promise" and gave it during offering time. At that moment, I felt happy as I realized I made a commitment and fulfilled it. Audrey Tay, age 12
What’s next? “A rope holder holds on until the job is finished.” Missions Convention is over, but it’s not the end. Our praying for Missions shouldn’t cease after completing the 14 Day Prayer Guide. Our giving shouldn’t stop when we’ve fulfilled our Missions Faith Promise for the year. Our going shouldn’t end when we’ve returned from a missions trip.
A rope holder holds on until the job is finished.
I don’t think the work of a rope holder ever ends. It is often a thankless job, but we must remember that it’s never about making names for ourselves. We hold the rope because we want to glorify one name – the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2018 By Joseph Teo, a Ministry Intern assigned to DiscoveryLand
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." â€“ Matthew 28:19
The call for a missional heart is not something reserved only for adults. Held at Trinity@Paya Lebar and Trinity@Bukit Batok, Missions Carnival is an annual affair that allows our children to be a blessing to the nations. While planning for Missions Carnival 2018, the committee of DiscoveryLand teachers sensed it would be a time where our children would learn three things: how people around the world need to know the love of Jesus, what it means to go out of their comfort zones to reach the lost, and to gain greater awareness of Trinityâ€™s expansive missions endeavors.
I learned to give to missions! Enoch Tan, 9 years old 8 2
The many weeks of planning paid off! The first day of Missions Carnival was filled with so many children that our teachers and district helpers had a hard time moving around! Carnival tickets in hand, the children lined up excitedly to play at their favorite carnival booths or purchase their favorite treats. At Trinity@Paya Lebar, the star of the show was a massive bouncy castle at the corner of the Summit. What was particularly heartwarming was how our children went out of their way to be a blessing to their oikos, purchasing coupons for them and joyfully showing them around. After an hour of non-stop fun, the children gathered together for a powerful time of Praise and Worship before hearing a word from Pastor Susie and Brother
I liked the games! I also liked having the opportunity to bring my friend to church and learn that we should give to missions. Vera Tan, 10 years old
Melvin about what it means to make His Heart, Our Heart. We praise God for the 988 children (including 76 first-time visitors) that took part in this yearâ€™s Missions Carnival. Demonstrating that missions can also happen in our backyard, 41 of them also made decisions for Jesus that weekend!
No one is too little to pray and give! In addition to raising SGD 16,535 through the sale of carnival tickets, our children also participated in the Missions Faith Promise the weekend before, committing a total of SGD 84,504.40 to Trinityâ€™s missions endeavors.â€ƒ
I had fun and learned how the church is helping people!
Esther Chiang, 7 years old
I learned that we should feed children who are poor.
It was very fun! I am happy that we are a blessing to the nations through Missions Carnival!
Dorothy Chew, 12 years old
Matthew Lim, 5 years old
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.)
The residency week has been the start of a divine journey towards the next level of my ministry!
The Master of Arts in Christian Leadership’s Inauguration By Rev Dr Simon Cheong, Program Director, MACL January 22 was a significant milestone for TCA College with its inauguration ceremony for the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL) – a joint partnership program with Life Pacific College, USA. The MACL offers Christian leaders and ministers the opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills through a twoyear curriculum – developing biblically-grounded leadership by equipping them with new organizational strategies to stay relevant and bring a breakthrough in their ministry or workplace. Offered online with two, oneweek residencies, the first cohort of 10 students from different nations had come together for
their first one-week residency. Also in attendance were Rev Dr Naomi Dowdy (Founder and Chancellor of TCA College) and Dr Remi Lawanson, who brought greetings from Life Pacific College. After an opening prayer from Rev Dr Wilson Teo, Rev Dominic Yeo’s (Vice-Chancellor and Interim President, TCA College) exhortation emphasized the importance of being F.I.T. for full engagement in leadership today – understanding the importance of formation so that they could achieve the goals of impact and transformation. As our students prepare to grow in their leadership skills, we believe that God will begin to download new and exciting initiatives for their ministries.
Sharpen your leadership edge by being part of MACL’s 2019 cohort! To find out more, visit www.tca.edu.sg (School of Leadership) The closing date for applications is October 30 The first residency will be from January 21-25, 2019 8 4
Pastor Frank Smit General Director of Care Cell System, Centro Biblico International, Columbia
Coming to residency week was like stepping into a banquet. I was able to feast on the rich knowledge, insights, and experiences of the faculty. It left my mind stimulated, enriched, and certainly thinking about the impact of leadership in my own life and my church. Pastor Brian Wong Associate Pastor, Singapore Christian Canaan Church, Singapore
The residency was powerful and transformational. These sessions not only prepare me for a paradigm shift in leadership but, more importantly, a desire to demonstrate servant leadership. Pastor Florin Lee Pastor and Head of Bible School, AG Church Asansol, India
Be Empowered for Ministry! School of Counseling • Master of Arts in Counseling
School of Leadership Master of Arts in Christian Leadership *
• Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling
School of Theology (English Department) • Certificate in Ministry
• Diploma in Theology
• Bachelor of Theology
• Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies *
• 基督教研究 文凭
• Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies
• Master of Arts in Ministry • Master of Divinity * Online programs starting in 2018
• Continuous Learning Program
• 道学硕士科 • 神学硕士科 • 持续学习 课程
Happenings By Sherlyn Tan
At CCSS, our mission is to serve the community by influencing and equipping individuals and families for empowered living through all generations. A Night Out CCSS’ Inaugural Charity Movie Screening CCSS organizes several charity events every year to raise funds for the operational needs of our programmes and services. On April 26, we hosted our inaugural charity movie screening of Avengers: Infinity War, an event that raised over SGD 70,000. With the majority of our beneficiaries coming from low-income or disadvantaged families, this movie screening was also an opportunity to treat over 160 beneficiaries and their families to a night out.
I am glad that I could watch the movie with my family. This is my first time going to the theatres. – Jun Kai^ ^ Name have been changed to protect the beneficiary’s identity
Leaving Our Mark CCSS’ Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon From food servers at Carefé Express to befrienders at the CareElderly Seniors Activity Centres (SACs), tutors at CareHut after-school student care centers, and tutors to lowincome youth in our d’klub program, CCSS is blessed to have 330 volunteers serving alongside us. On April 21, we hosted over 130 of them for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. The theme of the event, Leaving Our Mark, was an affirmation of the positive influence they have in the lives of our beneficiaries. Over 30 volunteers were honored for their strong spirit of volunteerism with long service awards. “I first heard about CCSS through Trinity Christian Centre,” See Onn shared. “The reason I volunteer is to serve the less privileged and it is my way of paying it forward for the blessings I have received.” This year will be the seventh year of See Onn’s volunteering journey. “He is a committed volunteer leader that has been a caring father figure to the children,” a CCSS staff affirms, “He is always nurturing and encouraging towards them.”
To discover partnership opportunities with CCSS, please contact Liao Shan Shan at ShanShan@ccsscares.sg or +65 6304 7638. 8 6
If you’re interested or want to find out more, please contact Calvin Tay at email@example.com or +65 6304 7639.
The weekend of February 10-11 saw 1,138 youths (including 112 first-time visitors) for IGNYTE’s Valentine’s Event, BE(LOVED). Excitement coursed through the air as IGNYTErs waited for the Chapel doors to open, ready for their oikos to encounter God.
LL WE A
D LO V E TO B E T N A W
HO BY W BUT
ne ValentSai w Sing Yee By
Laughter filled the air as our emcees, Sister Janis Teo and Brother Benjamin Voon, broke the ice with an exciting game that tested our reflexes and got us out of our comfort zones.
I could relate to James’ character because I went through a similar situation. I didn’t know why I had to face all these challenges, but I still chose to trust in God. Through BE(LOVED), God reminded me of that time and how He was with me, showing His perfect and unfailing love for me in ways I never expected. I am assured that He will be with me through any and all that will come. Timothy Sng, Zone 2
As the drama unfolded, the audience directed the steps of the main character (James) via an Instagram poll. Should he cheer his love interest (Amanda) up? Where should he take her out for a date? Should he confess his feelings to her?
affections spurned by Amanda, and reeling from a huge fight with his family. Defeated and alone, James asked a question that is in the heart of many youths:
Beneath the surface of puppy love was something much deeper as the audience followed James through his family struggles and self-esteem issues. In the end, James finds himself betrayed by his best friend, his
This question hung in the air as Pastor David Sashi started sharing. “We all have a choice in who we want to love and who we allow to love us. In spite of our sin, God still loves us simply because we are His beloved.”
I was prompted to invite my friend to BE(LOVED), even though I only occasionally saw him on the bus. When he responded to the altar call to accept Jesus, I was overjoyed! I believe that it was because he felt the love of God that he responded. Praise God!
“Is it too much to ask to be loved?”
We thank God for this powerful revelation of His love, enabling 34 people to make decisions to step into His love and follow Christ. Our prayer is that every youth will choose to come back to their first love and rest in His faithful love for them!
Neo Yi En, Zone 3
Being involved in BE(LOVED) has been a humbling yet rewarding experience. I praise God for my eight classmates who came – the most number of oikos I have ever invited! Seeing how God used me to sow seeds into their lives reminded me of how good and awesome our God is!
In spite of our sin, God still loves us simply because we are His beloved.
BE(LOVED) reminded me of a verse that I had read eight weeks ago on a sleepless night. I felt comforted knowing that God’s love was with me and that God remembered me. God’s love is perfect and unconditional. Even when I feel unworthy at times, He reminds me that He will always love me. His love gives me strength when I am weak and peace when I am troubled. Genevieve Teh, Zone 1
Abigail Leong, Zone 3, cast member (Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 8 9
By Esther Lau IGNYTE’s Poly Camp 2018
What does it take to go into the deep? From April 2-5, 2018, 115 poly IGNYTERs embarked on the journey at Forest City Hotel, Johor Bahru, to find out. The journey was not for the faint of heart, requiring them to step into the deep and go where they had never gone before.
Every segment of the camp was filled with activities that helped campers discover what was needed for them to go into the deep. Campers were challenged to abandon themselves – their image and expectations of self – to God, to be grounded in Him, compelled to go through tough obstacles with courage, faith and trust and make a decision to follow Jesus no matter what.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” – Isaiah 43:2
During each night service, Pastor Janice Chng led the campers in a time of going deeper. The first message, “His Heart, My Home,” had the greatest impact on me. God broke through the many walls I had set up and after that night, the molding truly began. As each night went by, God was digging deeper and deeper into my heart. He restored my identity, my purpose, and my heart for intercession. He transformed my mind and reminded me of my value and destiny in Him. David Soh, age 18
To conclude the camp, Pastor Gary Chia shared a message from Luke 6:46-49, leading campers to make personal commitments to be the person they want to be for God. How far can they go? It’s not the destination that matters but the journey. Every IGNYTEr left transformed and ready to go into the deep with God. Praise God for what He will do in the days to come!
In “My Frustration, His Fashioning,” I started to evaluate whether I held any disappointments in my life during the time of prayer when God dug deep into my heart. As I allowed Him to heal me, I felt a warm sensation encompassing my heart and knew that it was His love. “I love you daughter, I am your Father,” He told me as I was enveloped in His divine presence. Gladys Lim, age 24
When I asked my parents for permission to attend Into The Deep, they decided I could go if I brought my grandmother along. I wondered if it would be awkward bringing her along since all the campers were youth. When I shared this concern, IGNYTE was so enthusiastic about my grandmother coming and made many arrangements to make sure she was comfortable, like giving us a room close to the dining area so that she would not have to walk too far. This was my first IGNYTE camp, and I was touched to see my peers worship God with all their hearts. Though the sessions were long, I never felt bored because I yearned to hear more of God’s Word. During the sermons, different ones would talk to my grandmother so that she wouldn’t feel left out. She even let the pastors pray for her healing for a pain in her leg. The day after camp, her pain was miraculously gone! It has been weeks since Into The Deep and my grandmother’s leg remains pain-free. Though she has not accepted Jesus into her heart, she has shared about her healing with some relatives. “It’s real!” she tells me excitedly in Mandarin. Jewel Yu, age 20 (Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 9 1
By Genevieve Tan
Birthed from a vision of a passionate youth ministry, IGNYTE held its very own SP Empowerment for its 200 youth leaders (Spiritual Parents and above) on March 16. Titled AR!SE, it symbolized a posture of gearing up to do great exploits in our generation, as leaders were challenged to rise to the next level of faith. The morning stations games at the 100 Plus Promenade near Kallang Wave Mall taught us what it meant to walk by faith, keep the faith, share the faith, and pray by faith. In the afternoon, we came back to Trinity@Paya Lebar for a time of workshops and roleplays. Leaders chose to step out of their comfort
zones and learned how to reach out to First Time Visitors (FTVs) and fellow IGNYTErs who are different from them because they are precious to God. Emmanuel Wong age 16 The activities and workshops in AR!SE affirmed me of the reasons why I wanted to be a Spiritual Parent â€“ to partner with God so that lives could be changed.
AR!SE concluded with a night segment dedicated to prophetic prayer. The Holy Spirit flooded Theatrette 2 as leaders gathered together to pray against all forms of sickness, calling for sleepiness to be broken, blindness cured, and long-time injuries healed in the name of Jesus.
Felicity Tay, age 18 At the start of this year, I started having trouble sleeping, escalating from having only six hours of sleep to waking up every hour. It affected my mood and ability to concentrate in school. I managed to get more sleep during the March holidays, but it was still interrupted. When I asked God for just a few more hours of sleep, He would respond with a question: “Will you ask for more?” I didn’t press further because I figured it was already good enough to get just a little bit more. During the night session, God asked me the same question. It was then that I realized my understanding of what God can do was so limited, and this has prevented me from really experiencing God’s power. Along with Sister Shufen, I dared to ask God for complete freedom and for the first time in months, I slept for nine hours straight. God has used this experience to teach me to ask boldly because asking any less could limit what God would do. To God be all the glory!
Lim Ruey Hsuen age 15 When Pastor Gary called for healing, I felt God urging me to respond. I had a lump on my underarm for over a year that hurt whenever it was pressed. As the leaders prayed, I was overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit and fell back. When I got up, the lump was gone!
Benjamin Cheong, age 17 When I was six, I underwent surgery to fix my hip. That surgery left me limping. I had been praying to God for a long time to heal me because I love to play football. At the night prayer, the surge of faith was so strong. I went up to the altar to ask for healing. As I was being prayed for, I could feel the pain subside. When they asked me to test the healing, I realized that I was no longer limping!
I thank God that AR!SE was a time where God could use me for His glory. Two days before, the vision in my left eye suddenly deteriorated. The next day, my vision in my right eyes was also affected. My world was literally in a blur. Having been part of the planning committee, I was determined to stay until the end but halfway through, it got so bad that I had to leave to see a doctor. He couldn’t determine the cause and admitted that it was unusual. When I prayed about this, God told me
this: “If you choose to walk by faith and not by sight, you can be that living testimony for your generation.” With that, I came back to church for the night session and responded to the altar call for healing. After a time of prayer, I opened my eyes and I was completely healed! May we remain convicted of the clarion call to AR!SE to a higher level of faith and AR!SE to the greater things of God!
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 9 3
The First IGNYTE Worship Experience of 2018
By Abigail Leong and Bryan Tan
Over the weekend of March 18-19, IGNYTE’s first worship experience of the year, Lose Control, was held at the Chapel – a time where our youth could experience how it was like to be free and let loose in worship, surrendering everything to God and experiencing a breakthrough in worship. For three weeks, a small team from IGNYTE’s Worship Ministry came together to plan the event. From songs to music arrangements, stage decorations and publicity, the committee worked hard to
Lose Control was a refreshing experience for me. Although this was my first time in IGNYTE, I felt His presence while worshipping. Seeing the entire congregation go all out for Christ made me feel really comfortable in that atmosphere of worship. Jonathan Ang, age 22 9 4
ensure that every part of the event was smooth. Band members demonstrated a spirit of excellence by putting in many hours of practice, giving their very best to God. Sharing from the book of Job, Pastor Gary Chia’s message focused on loving God for who He is in our lives – not just because we demand or expect to receive His blessings. Losing Control was not about our expectations or ideals but about simply letting God work and loving God freely.
Though I’m going through a lot right now, Lose Control was a time when I felt touched by God’s love. When the altar call was made, I was hesitant to go up because I’m quite shy. With some encouragement from one of the pastors, I decided to step out and receive Jesus into my heart. Khoo Wen Jing, age 18
The theme song (“Only Jesus”) spoke to and touched the hearts of many. Desperate for more of God, some came before God on their knees and sang with all their hearts. IGNYTErs raised their hands high in declaration of His faithfulness and victory over their lives. Chains were broken, lives were restored, the broken were healed, and the lost were found. That weekend, 944 people (including 25 first-time visitors) experienced the tangible presence of God in the Chapel and we praise God for the opportunity to lead eight people to make decisions for Jesus. May we continue to live a life of constant worship to our awesome God. Lose Control means letting go of human strength to depend on God, to guard my faith by giving all to God and trusting in His plans and purposes. It has been a long time since I prayed and worshipped that long and I’m grateful that He taught me how to press in even in tough situations. Though I felt alone, He reminded me that I am not because He is with me.
Lose Control was my first time back in church for a long time. It felt so good to be able to worship God through all the songs. At the altar call, I chose to surrender to God and decided to attend church again. Low Kai-Ser, age 16
Even though Lose Control was held on Sunday morning and many of us were sleepy, God’s presence renewed and refreshed us. It was great to see so many IGNYTErs giving their best in worship. No matter how the storms of life rage, God will speak to and tame them.
Love God for who He is and not what He can do for you or bless you with. – Pastor Gary Chia
Shaun Lim, age 15
In Lose Control, God revealed that my imperfections do not disqualify me from serving Him. I choose to put everything down and let Him take over. Jonas Cheong, age 16
Alan Han, age 21
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 9 5
R O F g arin p e r P
e f i L n o i t a u d a r G AFTER
p 20 m a C s’
Gr ad ng s u uel Leo p m a m S y B Ca
Every year, many fresh university graduates enter the working world with big dreams for the future – dreams of climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, making a tangible impact in the community, and living a life dedicated to serving God’s house. Armed with these aspirations in one hand and graduation certificates in the other, they take their first step into a world of endless possibilities. To prepare Campus students for life after graduation, the Campus Ministry held its annual Grads’ Camp from January 27-28. From managing finances to handling important work
relationships, many topics were thoughtfully chosen to provide biblical insights and impart godly values. Speakers such as Pastor Wendy Chang, Pastor Margaret Tay, and a variety of marketplace Trinitarians (including Board member Khong Yew Cheong) shared their experience through engaging workshops and talks.
Pastor Wendy taught me that our work matters to God. He created humanity to work. Instead of working to fulfill my selfish desires, I will choose to work as worship unto Him. Low Sze Ting on the workshop “Theology of Work”
The workshop provided me with a new perspective of how God uses all of our work – big or small, simple or complex – to care for His creation. Our role is to do our work well to fulfill God’s purpose. Timothy Lim on the workshop “Discover God’s Way to the Finish Line”
The wealth that we possess belongs to God; we are simply stewards. Understanding that has helped me shape the way I will manage my finances in the future. Haruki Chua on the workshop “Godly Stewardship of Finances”
I was reminded to “keep above the line” – to be accountable and take responsibility for my actions instead of blaming others, finding excuses, or being in denial. Cassandra Mun on the workshop “Managing Important Relationships at Work”
In the closing sermon, Sister Phebe Ngan reminded the graduates that the unique gifts that God has given each of us are so that we can fulfill His dreams.
The sermon helped me become more self-aware of what God has given me, a clearer ministry, and career direction so that my talents can be developed and used for His glory. I am really amazed by how God has really given everyone different gifts so that together, as a body of Christ, we can live for His Kingdom’s purpose. Ho Yi Xin It might be difficult to find our footing at first, but with the assurance of our identity as God’s wonderful creation endowed with unique gifts, there is assurance that we can run the race that God has set aside for us.
(Testimonies have been edited for clarity and length.) 9 7
How Should Christians View the
Physically AND Mentally Disabled? By Rev Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman
Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in any society. These inequalities are manifested through various disadvantages in the social, cultural, and economic domains. Given this reality, in recent times, disability studies have become prominent. There are works from medical, scientific, and social studies reflecting critically on different physical and mental disabilities.1 How should Christians view the physically and mentally disabled? We start first with a brief understanding of how God views humanity as His creation that has been made in His image (imago Dei).
TOUGH Understanding Imago Dei The concept of the “image of God” (imago Dei) first occurs in Genesis 1:26‑27 when God creates humans in His “image” (tselem Elohim) and “likeness” (demuwth), making humanity similar to or representative of God but not identical to Him. It is this distinction that sets humanity apart from the rest of creation. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:26-27
Only four other places make mention of the image of God – Genesis 5:1-3; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9 – none of which explicitly detail how humanity exhibits the image of God. As a result, many views and interpretations have been offered throughout history.2 Some see the image of God as a physical construct – the way humanity looks – in the same way as Seth’s relationship to his father Adam is described in Genesis 5:3.3 Others argue that the image of God relates less to our material form but our spirit being. According to J. Richard Middleton, the word tselem in Psalms 36 and 734 is translated into words like “shadow,” “phantom,” “fantasies,” and “dream”5 – connoting human life as momentary and transitory, not limited to physical form.
1. Some helpful studies are, HenriJacques Stiker, A History of Disability, trans. William Sayers (Ann Arbor, MN: The University of Michigan Press, 2009); and Nick Watson, Alan Roulstone, and Carol Thomas, eds. Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 2012). 2. Some helpful studies on the image of God are, David J. A. Clines, “The Image of God in Man,” Tyndale Bulletin 9 (1968): 53-103; and Henrik Bosman, “Humankind as being Created in the ‘Image of God’ in the Old Testament: Possible Implications for the Theological Debate on Human Dignity,” Scriptura 105 (2010): 561-571. 3. J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (USA: Brazos Press, 2005), 45. 4. Middleton, The Liberating Image, 45. 5. Ibid, 46.
Defining Disability6 Various fields of study have created models from which we can understand disability.7 As a theologian, I do not have the expertise to discuss disability from a medical perspective and will, therefore, follow the social or minority group model.8 Under the social or minority group model, disability is defined in
terms of shared experiences of discrimination and oppression. While disability may have some basis in physical or mental differences, scholars insist that it is the social meaning attributed to such differences that makes disability significant. It is less about what one can or cannot do but how individuals are seen, objectified, and treated by society at large.9
6. Scholarship makes a distinction between “impairment,” “disability,” and “handicap.” An explanation of these distinctions is outside the scope of this article. For a descriptive study on this, consult Sheila A. M. Mclean and Laura Williamson, Impairment and Disability: Law and Ethics at the Beginning and End of Life (Abingdon, U.K. and New York: RoutledgeCavendish, 2007). 7. See Deborah Beth Creamer, Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 22-33. 8. This paper will also refrain from discussing the impact of disability vis-à-vis gender differences. 9. Len Barton, ed. Disability and Society: Emerging Issues and Insights (New York: Longman, 1996), 13.
10. Creamer, Disability and Christian Theology, 25. 11. Ibid. 12. Rosemary Garland Thomson, Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 5.
As a result, persons are judged “disabled” by objectification and exclusion,10 making disability more of a social construct where the issue is not a person’s “lack of ability” but the prejudicial, exclusive, and oppressive attitudes and barriers he/she must endure.11
According to Garland Thomson, disability is, therefore a “culturebound, physically justified difference to consider along with race, gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality.”12 She reiterates that although physical differences exist, “their socio-political meanings and consequences are entirely culturally determined.”13
13. Ibid, 7. 14. On disability, particularly in the Old Testament, consult, Jeremy Schipper, Disability Studies and the Old Testament: Figuring Mephibosheth in the David Story (New York and London: T & T Clark 2006); Saul L. Olyan, Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008); and David Valle Sastre, Disability in the Bible: Beliefs and Connotations of Disability in Biblical Manuscripts: A Qualitative Study (Master of Philosophy Thesis; Oslo: University of Oslo, 2016). 15. For instance, deafness and blindness (Leveticus 19:14), mental disability and blindness (Deuteronomy 28:28), and impeded speech, muteness, deafness, and blindness (Exodus 4:10-11). 16. On Holiness Code, see Jan Joosten, People & Land in the Holiness Code: An Exegetical Study of the Ideational Framework of the Law in Leviticus 17-26 (Leiden, New York, and Köln: Brill, 1996). 17. On the idea of beauty in the Bible, see, for instance, Krzysztof Sonek, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in Biblical Narratives: A Hermeneutical Study of Genesis 21:1-21 (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009); and Richard J. Bautch and Jean-François Racine, eds. Beauty and the Bible: Toward a Hermeneutics of Biblical Aesthetics (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013).
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Representations of Disability in Scripture14 Before going further, it is important to recognize that biblical representations of disability belong to different time periods and geographic-social locations. Moreover, given that data on this is exceedingly limited, it is impossible to reconstruct the ancient times about mental and physical disabilities and how they were perceived. Therefore, textual representations of disability are all that we have to work with. Scripture offers various categories for persons with “defects”: the blind, the lame, the mentally disabled, persons with skin disease, the deaf, and the mute. Furthermore, in the biblical texts, all the “disabled” are classified together, suggesting that there is something innately common among them.15
Physical Disability The Holiness Code in Leviticus16 contains binary oppositions such as clean-unclean, holy-common, wholedefective, honored-shamed, blessedcursed, beautiful-ugly, and lovedhated. Blindness, a “defect,” may also be cast as a curse (e.g., Deuteronomy 28:28). In the same way, the person classified as “without defect” might also be categorized as “beautiful” (e.g., Daniel 1:4; Song of Solomon 4:7).17 Those whose bodies are considered normal are privileged in a number of ways over those whose bodies are deemed “defective.” For example, in Leviticus 21:17-23, priests with “defects” such as blindness, lameness, or damaged genitals are not allowed to offer sacrifices to the Lord.18 This privilege belongs
TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED
exclusively to priests whose bodies lack “defects.” Thus, the binary classifications in the biblical texts inform us of the stigma a person with any disability can experience in any community.
Mental Disability In Scripture, the mentally disabled are often subject to the contempt of others (e.g., 1 Samuel 21:14-15; 2 Kings 9:11), and associated with devalued characteristics such as weakness, vulnerability, dependence, and ignorance. The narrative found in 1 Samuel 21:10-15 (David feigns mental disability to escape harm at the hands of the Philistines) is helpful for us to identify behaviors that those in biblical times associated with mental disability.19
“So [David] pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands, he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. – 1 Samuel 21:13 The “insanity” (halal) in this narrative speaks of two specific behaviors. The first is the saliva that runs down David’s beard. Olyan clarifies that drooling is a common characteristic of those who have
lost muscle control on one side of the face and, therefore, unable to close their lips entirely. Such a loss of muscle control could have been a result of a stroke that can also lead to mild, moderate, or even severe mental incapacity.20 The second behavior is more difficult to explain because multiple interpretations are suggested. While the NIV translates that David was “making marks on the doors, the doors of the gate,” the Septuagint 21 records otherwise: “he drummed on the doors of the gate.” Today, drumming is a behavior often associated with severe mental incapacitation and/or autism.22 We find a different representation of mental disability in 1 Samuel 16:14-23 and several related texts (e.g., 1 Samuel 18:10-16; 19:9-10; 20:30-34) – passages that record Saul’s mental anguish and his erratic, aggressive, and threatening behavior towards David. Saul is tormented at intervals by “an evil spirit” (1 Samuel 16:14-16) but capable of speech and rational behavior when he is unaffected (1 Samuel 16:17, 19). As a result, modern-day commentators suggest that Saul exhibited symptoms of paranoia and manicdepressive illness.23
18. S. J. Melcher, “Visualizing the Perfect Cult: The Priestly Rationale for Exclusion,” in Human Disability and the Service of God: Reassessing Religious Practice, ed. N. L. Eiesland and D. E. Saliers (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998), 55-71. Here 59. On able-body according to the New Testament, see Stephen D. Moore and Janice Capel Anderson, eds. New Testament Masculinities (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003). 19. For a fuller treatment of mental disability in the Old Testament, see Olyan, Disability in the Hebrew Bible, 62-71. 20. Olyan, Disability in the Hebrew Bible, 68. 21. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. 22. Olyan, Disability in the Old Testament, 68. On the social background of “madness” in the Old Testament, see MadalinaVartejanu-Joubert, “Madness and its Social Background in the Old Testament,” Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem 6 (2000): 175-182. 23. See P. K. McCarter, Jr. I Samuel (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980), 280-281.
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Stigmatization and Marginalization In the Old Testament, mental and physical disability is viewed as a curse from God as punishment for disobedience. One example can be found in Deuteronomy 28:15, 28-29.
The image of God is a matter of perspective. It is in the eye of the beholder.
24. “Honor is the positive value of a person in his or her own eyes plus the positive appreciation of that person in the eyes of his or her social group. In this perspective, honor is a claim to positive worth along with the social acknowledgement of that worth by others. Honor is linked with…respect.” See Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, “Honor and Shame in Luke-Acts: Pivotal Values of the Mediterranean World,” in The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation, ed. Jerome H. Neyrey (Peabody, MS: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991): 25-65. Here 25-26. 25. Olyan, Disability in the Hebrew Bible, 68.
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“However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you…The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness, and confusion of mind. At midday, you will grope about like a blind person in the dark…” Another way in which the disabled are devalued is through the lack of honor24 and esteem accorded to them by those who interact with them. A primary example of perspective was Achish’s reaction to a (supposedly) insane David.
“So [David] pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands, he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, ‘Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?’” – 1 Samuel 21:13-15 Disabled persons were often shown in association with other stigmatized and socially marginal types such as the poor, the widow, the fatherless, and the alien. There is also an association with devalued personal characteristics (e.g., weakness, vulnerability, dependence, ineffectuality, ignorance, bad judgment) and negative reactions (e.g., divine rejection, contempt. Cf. Deut. 28:28-29).25
Imago Dei, Revisited The social or minority group model is helpful to see the limits of the human body as a natural aspect of being human. It provides a way of making sense of the question at hand. Disability theories argue that “disability” is actually more normal than we perceive since every person experiences some form of limitation as an inevitable, essential part of his or her humanity. Seen another way, our prejudice and the condescending attitude toward disabilities is a disability in and of
itself. Viewing those with mental and physical disabilities as “burdens” or “very different from us,” is a thinking that incapacitates us from fully understanding the depth of humanity and, by extension, God Himself. We want Him to define His image in the way it appeals to our eyes. But His image is not visceral. In Genesis 2:7, we read that “the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” From this perspective, the image of God is equated with having
TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED
breath, a soul, and a self. From the moment of conception in the womb, the moment an embryo begins to palpitate with life, it begins to exhibit the full expression of the image of God, affirming that every human life has innate dignity. How do the physically and mentally disabled exhibit the image of God? “Exhibition” is an intentional act. The “disabled” do not do it intentionally. They exhibit it by being themselves and by their humble acceptance of their limitations as part of their humanity.
Every human has life, light, and beauty. These are innate to everyone. Therefore, we must treat them as if that’s all we see in them. The image of God is a matter of perspective. It is in the eye of the beholder.
“People say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I say the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing you are the beholder.” – Salma Hayek, actress
Sources cited Bautch, Richard J. and Jean-François Racine, eds. Beauty and the Bible: Toward a Hermeneutics of Biblical Aesthetics. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013. Bosman, Henrik. “Humankind as being Created in the ‘Image of God’ in the Old Testament: Possible Implications for the Theological Debate on Human Dignity,” Scriptura 105 (2010): 561-571. Clines, David J. A. “The Image of God in Man.” Tyndale Bulletin 9 (1968): 53-103. Creamer, Deborah Beth. Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Joosten, Jan. People & Land in the Holiness Code: An Exegetical Study of the Ideational Framework of the Law in Leviticus 17-26. Leiden, New York, and Köln: Brill, 1996. Malina, Bruce J. and Jerome H. Neyrey. “Honor and Shame in Luke-Acts: Pivotal Values of the Mediterranean World.” Pages 25-65 in The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation. Edited by Jerome H. Neyrey. Peabody, MS: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991.
Middleton, J. Richard. The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1. USA: Brazos Press, 2005. Moore, Stephen D. and Janice Capel Anderson, eds. New Testament Masculinities. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003. Olyan, Saul L. Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Sastre, David Valle. Disability in the Bible: Beliefs and Connotations of Disability in Biblical Manuscripts: A Qualitative Study. Master of Philosophy Thesis. Oslo: University of Oslo, 2016. Schipper, Jeremy. Disability Studies and the Old Testament: Figuring Mephibosheth in the David Story. New York and London: T & T Clark 2006. Sonek, Krzysztof Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in Biblical Narratives: A Hermeneutical Study of Genesis 21:1-21. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. Stiker, Henri-Jacques. A History of Disability. Translated by William Sayers. Ann Arbor, MN: The University of Michigan Press, 2009.
McCarter, Jr., P. K. I Samuel. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980.
Thomson, Rosemary Garland. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
Mclean, Sheila A. M. and Laura Williamson, Impairment and Disability: Law and Ethics at the Beginning and End of Life. Abingdon, U.K. and New York: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007.
Vartejanu-Joubert, Madalina. “Madness and its Social Background in the Old Testament,” Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem 6 (2000): 175-182.
Melcher, S. J. “Visualizing the Perfect Cult: The Priestly Rationale for Exclusion.” Pages 55-71in Human Disability and the Service of God: Reassessing Religious Practice. Edited by N. L. Eiesland and D. E. Saliers. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998.
Rev Dr Babu Immanuel Venkataraman has been a faculty member at TCA College since April 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the University of London. Rev Dr Babu’s teaching interests include the New Testament, hermeneutics, contextual theologies, literary and historical studies, and theory of ideas.
Watson, Nick, Alan R Roulstone, and Carol Thomas, eds. Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2012.
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Trinitarian Magazine Issue 2/2018