– To live a life so different that we offer others a choice.
When I first took this photo 4 years back, I immediately liked it a lot. It might not be stunning or breathtaking, but it represents a kind of life that a minority of people live, a life that go against the flow, a life that says we will not conform to what the society today regards as norm, a life that says we will not fit ourselves into what the world today regards as success, the alternative life.
Pastor How preached a heartfelt message a few days back during UR Camp revival night, though I am not a university student yet, but I was impacted nonetheless. Sitting there in revival night, hearing all the stories and testimonies of young adults/students choosing to live the alternative life, I just felt so moved, and yet so proud to be in Heart Of God Church, to be among these heroes and heroines, changing the world around us bit by bit.
When a school camp cheer requires participants to speak vulgarities, one stood up and said that he will not want to participate in it as he is a Christian, and speaking vulgarities is against his values…
When a professor played a movie with many sexual scenes for a film study project in a lecture hall, a group of 4 students stood up and walked out of the lecture hall, and contacted the lecturer afterwards that they will not participate in this project even if it means that they will not get graded for it…
A well to do family, good results, good background, all set to go overseas and study in a dream college, decided to stay in Singapore, so that she can be in church serving and give her best years to God…
Being offered prestigious internship position, gave it up to be part of church internship programme…
Not forgetting our very own Pastors, who first showed us what it means to live an alternative life, giving up a huge bonus and a journalist job in the largest newspaper company in Singapore, The Straits Times, giving up his father’s multi-million dollar business, Pastor How and Pastor Lia started Heart Of God Church, a place where broken teenagers found hope, where purposeless young adults found meaning, where dreams are built, love is found, a different breed of people who chose to live an alternative life are born.
Pastor shared with us that if we want to make a difference, we must first be different. Our lives and choices will confront the people around us, that they have to think/re-think about their lives, and be aware that there is a different path, an alternative life.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
I am ready to live the alternative life, a life on the altar.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
“The economy of the Kingdom of God is quite simple. Every new step in the Kingdom costs us everything we have gained to date. Every time we cross a new threshold, it costs us everything we now have. Every new step may cost us all the reputation and security we have accumulated up to that point. It costs us our life. A disciple is always ready to take the next step. If there is anything that characterizes Christian maturity, it is the willingness to become a beginner again for Jesus Christ. It’s the willingness to put our hand in His and say, ‘I’m scared to death, but I’ll go with You, You’re the Pearl of great price.” – John Wimber
Just thinking about the quote from John Wimber that Pastor How shared with us in church last weekend as he preached about Faith-based Decision Making.
Father, I am willing to take every step with You, I am willing to be a beginner again for You.
Here I am, send me…
It has been a hectic week for me, though tired, but I simply love what I do.
I was one of the hosts to a group of guests from overseas, hearing their stories over dinner just made me amaze at how God works in each and every single life. One came to know God after being healed of leukemia at the age of seven, one experienced God after a failed relationship, one came back to God after 20 years of being in the “wilderness”, one encountered God in an overseas conference in His timing, and one believed in God after a miracle happened to a game that he was playing.
Different stories, but the traces of the hand of God are in them all…
Different lives, but the love of God touches them all…
I came to Heart Of God Church as a proud and arrogant 13 years old. Growing up in a traditional Chinese family, I was taught by my parents that if I want to get something, I must do something to deserve it. If I want to eat my dinner, I must first do housework. If I want to go out and play during holidays, I must first do well in my exams. There is this saying in China, that every parents expect their son to be a dragon, and expect their daughter to be a phoenix (望子成龙,望女成凤). And my parents were no different, at Primary 3, I was already attending up to 5 tuition classes in a week, and when I could not get the top in my cohort, my parents decided to send me overseas to study (which is why I am here today).
I came to church which the same mentality in my mind, and when I first heard the story of Jesus dying on the cross for us sinners, I could not comprehend it in my mind. I could not understand why will this Jesus die for people when they have not even done anything to deserve it, why will this Jesus die for us knowing that we are sinners and many people will still sin, why will this Jesus die for someone like me who struggled with pride, insecurities and emotions.
I found my answer in my first Easter service after attending church for almost a year, Pastor How shared that Christ died for us simply because He loves us and we are His creation, His children. Just like how a baby only know how to cry, how to create messes, but the parents will love the baby still. The baby do not have the do anything to deserve his parents’ love, but they love him SIMPLY because he is their child. A metal nail was given out to everyone during that service as a remembrance of what God had done on the cross for us. As the worship song started, I could not stop crying, His presence overwhelmed me, His love filled me, it was probably the first time in my life that I felt so loved though I am not perfect. I lifted up my hand, and responded to the knocking of God at the door of my heart.
8 years have passed, and there was not a single moment that I regretted that decision. Over the years, I have grown out from my pride and insecurities, I am not perfect, I still struggle at times, but I know God is still working in me, I know that this is just the beginning of what God is going to use me to do.
Standing in services every single week, as I look around, different backgrounds, different lives, different stories, all broken, all thirsty, all desperate, but God takes them all.
Come to the Father
Though your gift is small
Broken hearts, broken lives
He will take them all
The power of the Word
The power of His blood
Everything was done
So you would come
It’s been 9 years since we reached the Champions League final, 10 years since we finished in the top 2 in the league, and 11 years since we won the title…
I remember the days that I was still a kid, sitting in front of the TV, watching the likes of Bergkamp, Vieira and Henry tearing the opponents apart, watching Henry score goal after goal, watching them becoming The Invincibles. That was when I started supporting the Gunners. (Despite my father being a Manchester United fan)
It’s not easy being an Arsenal fan at times, looking at crucial players like Van Persie, Fabregas and Nasri leaving us (I think a part of me died when Henry left), looking at talented players like Arshavin, Podolski not fulfilling their potential (The list will probably get longer if Ramsey, Wilshere and Welbeck remain like that).
Last year’s FA Cup victory was disappointing, but this year’s victory is dominating. This was the kind of football and flawless display that Wenger has been promising for years.
“I think of course we can push on, why not?” Wenger said after the game.
Can’t wait for the next season!
Sometimes we wonder why our church always want to talk about evangelism…
Sometimes we wonder what keeps our Pastors and leaders going all out building the church for the past 10 to 15 years…
Sometimes we wonder why is everyone in HOGC always passionate and convicted about reaching for the lost…
“The good on Earth is a glimpse of Heaven.” – Pastor How
During Heaven series a year back, Pastor How shared with us that all the good on earth like love, friendship, joy, laughter all just a glimpse of Heaven.
Which conversely, the bad on earth is just a glimpse of Hell… Hatred, bitterness, betrayal, insecurities, jealousy, pain…
It will not just be for a few days, weeks, months or years, it will be for eternity, there is no end to it, it is like a never ending circle.
God knows exactly how Heaven and Hell is going to be like, that is why He exclaims in
1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Why will our pastors want to go through all the difficulties to build a new home for the church to have a bigger place to worship in?
Why will the service operations ministries work so hard for every single service?
Why will the worship team musicians practice and rehearse week in week out to perfect their craft?
It is all because of – Heaven.