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“If We Keep That All to Ourselves, We Simply Become a Well of Stagnant Water”

Timothy Lim | 29 August 2022

CH and Wendy with their three kids

If you just moved to a new country with kids to settle in a new school, a new role at the workplace to get used to, and no house to call your own, would your family prioritise serving in a new church?

CH and Wendy, both in their 50s, and their kids ages 18, 14, and 13 moved to Singapore from Shanghai seven years ago. They quickly joined Covenant EFC after a brief search. One of their first Sundays at church happened to be a Step-Up Sunday, a churchwide call to serve in various ministries.

“Serving is a critical part of being a Christian. It is the outpouring of the love we received from Christ. If we keep that all to ourselves, we simply become a well of stagnant water and cease growing.”

Critical part

Wendy gleefully answered to the call to serve. She invited CH and their eldest daughter, Natalie, to serve with her. CH and Natalie were reluctant at first but the family soon settled into a pattern of serving the Chinese ministry through worship and AV. Attending the Chinese service also became a part of their routine on top of attending the English service.

CH serving in AV at the Mandarin service

I asked very curiously why CH and Wendy decided to make this decision as a family. Given the demands of the modern workplace, there were many other good ways to spend time together. “Serving is a critical part of being a Christian. It is the outpouring of the love we have received from Christ. If we keep that all to ourselves, we simply become a well of stagnant water and cease growing,” Wendy responded thoughtfully.

Intimidated

In many ways, CH and Wendy were well prepared to serve in a multi-generational and multi-lingual environment. They have served in a Malaysian church with a slightly older demographic, in a state-approved Chinese church in China, and then in the English service of an international church. However, this does not mean that serving comes naturally and fuss-free. In fact, as their commitments in church grew larger, they were intimidated by some of the new assignments.

Wendy shepherding a group of elderly Chinese CG

Wendy initially felt clueless and disempowered to serve the elderly, but this was the ministry she was specifically asked to lead. Similarly, CH appreciated serving behind-the-scenes in AV, but was likewise called to lead a group of young families in Chinese ministry who were on the verge of leaving.

“Their ability to carry out such tasks with joy and enthusiasm comes from a deeper mooring in the Holy Spirit and a consistent transaction with the Lord, as they seek to daily become more ready to meet King Jesus.”

Deeper mooring

Today, Wendy is a Covenant Group Leader (CGL) for an elderly Chinese CG. She finds great joy in shepherding and doing life with them. CH anchors a strong community of young families who feel rooted and meaningfully engaged in Covenant EFC. Their ability to carry out such tasks with joy and enthusiasm comes from a deeper mooring in the Holy Spirit and a consistent transaction with the Lord, as they seek to daily become ready to meet King Jesus.

CH and Wendy with Ps Patrick of Mandarin Ministry and their CG composed of young families

We have a strong tendency to take a very human lens toward serving. Often, when we hear of opportunities, we look at our schedules and experiences to decide if it is a good fit. Wendy and CH advocate for a radical reversal of perspectives. They believe that life should be built around the people and communities God has called us to serve. We should continually pray for God to give us the capacity and capabilities to fulfill those responsibilities. Such a perspective frees us from worry and fills us with the empowerment of the Spirit.

This Step-Up Sunday’s call to serve is thus not so much a call to explore your spare capacity, but a call toward a radical reorientation in which our time, talents, resources, and families are re-availed to King Jesus as our first and foremost priority. God will handle the rest. Come join us by exploring different opportunities to serve.

 

About the author

Timothy Lim worships at WDL Centre. He is a member of his CG core team and served in Alpha. He is passionate about social inequality issues and migrant worker well-being. He currently volunteers at Cyber Youth Singapore, a charity committed to empowering youth-in-tech.

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Daniel 4:28-37
Mon, 30 January 2023

Where Is God in This?

Observation:

What can you learn about God from the passage?

Deeper Reflection
Daniel calls us to look at history – past, present and future – theologically. Embedded in Daniel is the theology of history. Daniel is about the sovereignty of God over human history. The history in Daniel spans from Israel’s exile to Babylon (Dan 9:1-2) to the time Jesus announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk 1:15; Dan 7:13-14), and beyond, until God’s people “reign forever and ever” with God (Rev 22:5; Dan 7:18).Israel was ruled over by the Babylonians (586-539 B.C.), followed by the Persians (539-331 B.C.) and then the Greeks (331-143 B.C.). The Maccabeans revolted against the Greeks (168-143 B.C.) and Israel became an independent nation under the Hasmoneans (142-63 B.C.) until Rome’s intervention in 63 B.C.30 In this long history, God’s people faced “distinctive problems thrown up by the Exile, by consequent involvement with world powers and their totalitarian claims, and by the long delay in achieving political freedom after the return to Jerusalem. As successive empires engulfed Judea, opposition would bring increased persecution, not liberation. The question arose, where was God in this?” 31Daniel is God’s answer to this theological crisis – with four key focuses. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:31-33 and Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:1-8 reveal the superpowers in history. God’s people will suffer in godliness in “a time of distress” under the rule of anti-God kings (Dan 12:1). But they are to rest in the sovereignty of God – “the Most High” who “is ruler over the realm of mankind” (Dan 4:25, 32) and remain steadfast in faithfulness to God (Dan 12:10-12).
29 Isaiah 14:24, 26-27 30 Harold W. Hoehner, Between the Testaments, The Bible Expositor’s Commentary, Vol. 1 (Zondervan, 1979), 184-189 31 Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel, Theology of, The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (Zondervan, 1997), Vol. 4, 502 (emphasis mine)
Application:

How do I look at the world and history through the sovereignty of God?

Prayer:
O Lord God Almighty, the only wise God, You have determined Your plan and purpose for the whole world, and Your sovereign hand is stretched out over all nations. For surely, as You have planned, so it will be, and as You have purposed, so it will happen. For the Lord God Almighty has purposed and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out and who can turn it back.29
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for Church Board: To be continually guided by the wisdom of the Lord in discerning the times and directing the affairs of the church
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self
 

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