Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What Is This Good News That You Want To Share?

Are you a Christian? Yes? Then do you want your parents and good friends to become Christians too? Yes? Why? What's so good about being a Christian?

Well, for starters, we get to go to heaven after we die. Yeah, great, then what? When you share the Good News with your parents/good friends, is "heaven" all that you can offer them? Heaven is great but we get to enjoy heaven only after we die. Is there anything in this Good News that is good for us before we die?

When I was in my previous church (for about 30 years), I was not motivated to share the gospel/Good News with friends because basically, the Good News I heard wasn't that good; yes, I can go to heaven after I die but before that, I have to tread very carefully in all that I say and do because God will be very angry with me when I don't meet His standards. Hey, my friends seemed to be living rather happy and care-free lives, I wouldn't want to ruin all that with the burden of this "Good News".

That was then. Now, I can't help but want to share the Good News whenever an appropriate opportunity presents itself. Why? Has the Good News changed? No, the Good News has not changed, it has always been the same; it's just that my understanding of the Good News has changed because of fresh insights shown to me in my present church, New Creation Church.

In New Creation Church, I learnt that God is no longer and will never ever be angry with me for anything I do, because this Good News is not about what I did/will do but what Christ has done. In New Creation Church, I learnt that the Good News is not just about the life after but also the life here and now. I learnt that God heals, God protects, God provides. I learnt that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

The Good News which I now gladly share with people is that "heaven" does not come after death; "heaven" begins right here right now.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.
 1 The Lord is my shepherd;
      I have all that I need.
 2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
      he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    3 He renews my strength.
   He guides me along right paths,
      bringing honor to his name.
 4 Even when I walk
      through the darkest valley,
   I will not be afraid,
      for you are close beside me.
   Your rod and your staff
      protect and comfort me.
 5 You prepare a feast for me
      in the presence of my enemies.
   You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
      My cup overflows with blessings.
 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
      all the days of my life,
   and I will live in the house of the Lord


Monday, January 3, 2011

Shema Shema (Listen Listen)

I have not been working since 16 Dec 2010; I went on a 6-day trip to Bangkok with my family, mum, brother-in-law, sisters and nieces (11 of us in total). We had a great time shopping, eating, shopping (typical Singaporeans, eh?) and best of all, I even met my Liverpool hero, Steven Gerrard there!
StevieG and Me ;-)

After we came back to Singapore, I just lazed at home, watching cable TV all day long while my kids played their computer games. I should be feeling rested since I was basically doing nothing but somehow I felt tired instead, so tired that I even skipped NCC's Christmas service, which meant that I did not attend church services for the whole month of December.

Yesterday, my family and I made sure we attended NCC's first service of 2011 even though the timing of the first service has now changed from 9am to 8am, which meant waking up an hour earlier than usual on Sunday. After listening to Pastor Prince's sermon (check out Terence's sermon notes here), I felt energized! I felt more rested after two hours in church than two weeks lazing at home!

Pastor Prince actually preached about this yesterday ...
Terence's sermon notes:

Shema Shema = ‘hearken diligently’. Listen with inside and outside ears. Be fully ‘there’ when in God’s house. There might be a word in season waiting for you. Be fully present in God’s house and eat what is good and let your soul delight in abundance.
Isa 55:3 expounds the same point again. Incline your ear- humble your ear. Know when God is speaking through his mouthpiece to you.
Eat what is good – tov
Let your soul delight itself in abundance – deshen
How ? Isa 55:2 Just keep listening carefully – Shema Shema – hearken – hear diligently
Isa 55:3 – also incline your hear in humility when God’s speaks and come to him
Hear And your soul will live.
Sometimes, our soul is feeling blase and down. But when you hear the living Word from the pulpit, it becomes alive !

Yes, I realize now why I had been feeling so tired despite "resting" at home - I have not been listening to God's Word. Yes, Pastor Prince's sermon cds were playing in the background at my stall on and off for the last few months but I was just hearing background noise because I did not shema shema, I did not hear diligently. Yesterday, I did and I became alive.

Yesterday, I heard Good News. Yesterday, I heard God reassuring me that He is with me in the new year, protecting me and blessing me. Yesterday, I heard His Word for me for 2011. Shema Shema, Listen Listen:

You crown the year with Your bounty and goodness, and the tracks of Your [chariot wheels] drip with fatness.
Psalm 65:11

Have A Blessed New Year!