(Sharing 1 July 2010)
What would be better?
Helping a needy person
Being helped by God
Ref: <Ps 41:1>
Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
This is what I asked Rev Leechull to pray for me in my letter to him. I really hope to speak "the words of God" to people even in everyday living. This has been in me a long time, and it has brought me much godly sorrow if I can tell people besides me "you are important person" or "do not look down on people" yet the words do not have the meaning, contents and the very words of the gospel so that the words would ring in the minds of people after I am not around with them. My words are really limited, and I discovered that there is a discipline in my heart reminding me that the words may actually stumble people if I just tell non-believers and worldly believers of these. For example, today, I tell a person that I respect his views on religions, but deep inside, I really hope I can leave some seeds of the gospel in his mind to sprout and grow. In the camp, Rev Leechull spoke about how he shared to his parents on the gospel in the new-found light. He thanked his parents and yet he could use the words of God to bless them. I can thank my parents, but I am praying that I will be struck so much by the gospel and be mesmerized by it so much that I can see "meaningless and vanity" in everything so that I can speak words of Christ <Acts 4:12> yet do so in the right spiritual atmosphere to them. To my colleagues too, I kept on training in this for the past few months but I have never quite got it. In the camp, I saw how you quoted and testified how you can bring comfort yet at the same time give the gospel’s words to people. There is "blessing people" materializing in the earthly manner, yet there are words of blood in the cross. I can see that Rev Leechull loved Christ from his very heart, and I hope His Spirit can come upon me so that I can talk to people correctly (evangelism). This includes living with my wife, and I am repenting before the Lord of how I should love her, wait for her, pray for her with a total new Spirit. But it includes much more people because the bulk of my time is spent in IBM, living in the midst of people. This is the spirit of the doors of evangelism calling out to me.
On 28th June 2010 morning prayers, I tried to think how some people can just be so street-smart so that they can convince people straightaway. When I asked the Lord to give me these skills, the Lord immediately rebuke me (tenderly yet clearly) that I should not pray for psychological skills, for I am a person called by God and have met God not by psychological transformations in my heart. I believe that people who can explain and see through the intentions, attitudes and motivations of the heart can be used greatly by God because the things of the heart are so close with the things of our inner spirit but they will not be used by God if they do not know the Cross; I believe that people who can sing so well that their voices convict, touch and move people’s hearts towards Christ; I also believe that similarly, people who can write psalms and songs to move people’s muddle-headedness towards Christ. However, the Lord is telling me something deeper. It is the Spirit of the Cross Message. The power of the minister cannot lie. The sheep of Christ will find their way to the minister who has the Cross Message. It is not the message, but the intricate inner thoughts of the minister which pleased and moved God to bring people to Him through that minister. Paul said in <1Co2:1-5>, "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power." Paul also said in <2Co 3:1-3>, "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." If our hearts and minds are a demonstration of the Spirit’s power of the Cross, the hearers will meet the Father and have their faith rest on the Father’s power, then their testimonies of blood are the very sufficient and complete evidence of the minister. I tell you, I am not captured by wise words, but by the Cross-ings of love in a minister. That is why I am most captured by SgMy Camp’s final day message – I teared the most out of the Cross-ings of discipleship and shepherding of Rev Leechull.
The one month of South Korean trip in March/April 2010 made me realize the greatest thing that has happened to me in the camp — What it means by "the cross." Behind every Korean pastor in the 3 churches that Rev Leechull recommended me through Sophia and that I went to, I never stopped shedding tears. I shed tears because I really need their spiritual atmosphere as I tested and approved working there in South Korea – doing technical work and being with people with wisdom. But I shed tears much more because I was moved by the Koreans loving the Lord. There is a spiritual wind of the Cross blowing in every of the churches I have been to, even though I do not know the Korean language at all, and sometimes, there were no translations at all. At Rev Cho Yonggi’s church, I glanced through a few books written by him at the bookstore, and I found a pastor whose heart is really touched by God, a person who really faced God and loved Him truly. He was not anyone who just comforted people of prosperity, when he wrote about how he admired his mother-in-law who prayed continually, and when he wrote that "problems are to break a person into pieces so that he could meet Christ". I could also felt the same Spirit in the other 2 pastors in the mega-churches. Pastor Oak Han Hum questioned about God’s very heart in the people who said they loved the Lord again and again, and I was moved because I saw people who loved the Lord. When I hear Pastor Kim Sam Huan speak, even though through translation, I was slowly driven to prayer without me even knowing about it. He was speaking like Stephen Tong, yet he went down to the very youths in the choir (about half the congregation are choir members!) to speak to them, smile with them, and encourage them. I was more moved when I see youths loving discipleship training at Sarang Community Church, where I thought that discipleship training may be boring to younger people. Yet, this sight taught me that the GOSPEL IS ABOVE ALL. I had a totally new understanding of the cross. The Cross is above all culture and race. The Cross has its unique Identity and creates a batch of people having their own culture and thinking, so that people will recognize them and call them Christians — people who just look like Jesus Christ. We cannot stereotype the Westerners, Koreans and Chinese at all – you never know what the Cross can do to potentially make everyone of them similar to Christ. Yet, also during the one month’s stay in Korea where I kept listening to Rev Leechull’s messages for all the time I was not working (when back in the hotel), I heard one message talking about Korean churches going downhill because of their pride – they need to repent, repent and repent! (That is by Pastor Oak Han Hum, by the way.) When I heard that, I understood the cross that Jesus really meant, the love that always re-discovers, and the Spirit that is never limited to convict sins and move the rejoicing of saints in the Christian world. At the camp, I shed tears each time Rev Leechull shared, and it was like the same tears I shed back in South Korea (like Jerusalem) — the tears that happened because of the concerns of the very concerns of God = I know that I have found the Spirit of Christ. The messages spoken out of having the Spirit of the cross can never lie. They will tear the very pure sheep of God hungering for God’s Word. I only pray that Singapore church and my messages are and become the "demonstration of the Spirit’s power".
The question remains of how to give God’s word to people, so that they will carry their own cross. Having the cross is the greatest blessing. The very thing that pains me is that I am swayed so very easily by some little success so that I will easily forget the cross of Jesus. Do you think that it is easy to work in the world, to just reject the temptations of money/fame/women, or even lead a successful small group? The easy thing is not that you will have prosperity, but I discover that the most difficult thing is that when you have prosperity, do you have the Spirit of discernment of the Cross to be convicted to cling onto Jesus instead of the demons of muddle-headedness, demons of dizziness and demons of fantasies of prosperity? I am born inferior and lowly, and therefore, the first motivator is to taste abundance and success. But never did I know that the greatest temptation is not about having hurts, but the greatest terrorizing temptation is pride! Therefore, if you are in a state of spiritual battle, do not aim for the better. If you get the problems solved, you will be over your head. If God allows more problems, you are really blessed.
The Lord gave me three challenges to pray through this week:
1) Giving people God’s words – in fact, it may not mean a lot of words (sometimes, people who have not heard the gospel needs to hear more, for everything will be new to them, but sometimes, deeper prayers are needed for those who have heard). It does not mean giving people what they need; it does not mean giving people the bridge towards God; but it means giving people God Himself. The sheep of God definitely knows the voice of the Shepherd Jesus Christ. We tell the very words of God to tell them to meet God in the full. If not our words should ring in them and remind them to God when their timetable arrives.
2) Rediscover the reason of doors of evangelism not being opened though I may have already proclaimed "Lord, I accept that I am the main character of this era through Your given conditions". Tell me that it is not something missing in me that I need repentance, but that there is something that I need to repent totally because my whole spirit is wrong, and I need to rediscover the Spirit of loving the Lord and loving my neighbors. This is in loving God’s word so much that everything dims. I think the hymn "He Lives", where the author of the hymn wrote,
"I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He’s always near."
Look — I always challenge myself about this: Who is your best friend on earth? If your thought moves to a human friend at first thought, it is not that you are missing the meaning, but that God is not real enough in you!
"You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart."
I am always captured by these words. I mean, we could use all sorts of reasons to explain to people why we think He is the only way out of so many religions. It is not simply saying, "There is something lah, I don’t know how to explain". It is not trying to bridge people by explaining the spiritual dimension, or explaining that man needs to meet God with His photograph, etc. It is by saying "He lives in my spirit!" As simple, yet as deep and profound as that. If you are filled by the Holy Spirit (note: "Holy" means the Cross of Christ), you will see people’s need of Christ and pray for them no matter what they say or hurt.
3) In the family, small groups, church, and even in our company, we will meet with people who have conflicts with one another. My character often just wants to leave them to their troubles and I just want to live my happy life myself. Yet, I find that I cannot leave them alone in their troubles as I begin to love life. In fact, I just hope my hearing senses could be better in picking up "gossips" as I want to know what is happening in their lives. I pray that I might have a total new understanding in being a peacemaker. It is so easy to be a hypocrite to one (I have one or two such past that I could not erase – I was so disgusted at myself when I recalled) and to another, comforting both, yet it is so difficult (to need to shed blood) by comforting both with the words and challenges of God. We tell people to meet God as God’s children, not to tell people to live in harmony with one another. This is why the eight beatitudes include, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God". When we are God’s child, we love lives; we will then bring people to face God themselves and we are the very ambassadors of God doing so; if they find challenges, we are proven also to be like God Who brings a sword between the two to bring more discipline to point to God; if they find harmony, we are proven to be like God because not many can do so by the Cross, and the Cross heals interpersonal relationships between people in a moment. It is not the fault of people in great interpersonal problems, but the problem of the minister who distrusts God’s Word in solving, needing street-smart practicality side-by-side with the gospel. No, the gospel brings practically. They cannot live side-by-side. Once the minister understands in meeting God’s Word, that particular door is opened in that moment.
After sharing, the challenges of the Cross may be too great. It is true that the reasons why we still feel accused, discouraged, struggles and having no strength are because we still love the world more than Christ. But the Lord also causes us to be in such a state always. This is what I learnt this week, and up till now, about four days.
Let us take time to shepherd and be compassionate to bless those in accusations, discouragements, struggles, and having no strength. I applied the sharing from Rev Leechull sent 28 June 2010 to myself as I really needed it in the realms of spiritual battles. There is always a Cross-road given to us by God. But we should be free if there is the Spirit of God.
" 故此你们要顺服神 , 务要抵挡魔鬼 , 魔鬼就必离开你们逃跑了 . 你们亲近神 , 神就必亲近你们 "< 雅 4:7-8>
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." <Ja 4:7-8>
" 所以你们要自卑 , 服在神大能的手下 , 到了时候他必叫你们升高 . 你们要将一切的忧虑卸给神 , 因为他顾念你们 . 务要谨守 ` 儆醒 , 因为你们的仇敌魔鬼 , 如同吼叫的狮子 , 遍地游行 , 寻找可呑吃吃的人 , 你们要用坚固的信心抵挡他 , 因为知道你们在世上的众弟兄 , 也是经历这样的苦难 . 那赐诸般恩典的神 , 曾在基督里召你们 , 得享他永远的荣耀 , 等你们暂受苦难之后 , 必要亲自成全你们 , 坚固你们 , 赐力量给你们 . 愿权能归给他 , 直到永永远远 , 阿们 !"< 彼前 5:6-10>
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." <1Pe 5:6-10>
When you restore faith, the enemy just runs away and escapes! How we do restore strong and unmovable faith? This is not to let your spirit or inner heart wander about in thinking messily or thinking chaotically, but to quiet before God, to restore God’s word, restore the Holy Spirit’s comfort and admonishments. Go to read the bible, listen to the messages, go into the realms of prayers, then you will see the heavenly kingdom already descended upon your spirits and the place where you are; and then gradually step-by-step follow the Lord’s leading, to the things that must be done today ( sleep enough, eat and drink sufficiently, bring a heart of thanksgiving, play being a spouse, parent, colleague, minister, each period has enough trouble on its own to bear – let it worry itself ), then you will very quickly see the Lord bestowing all kinds of beautiful gifts and rewards!
We are still in this flesh of the body, and still remain in this dark world of culture at this time, therefore, we cannot let any one subtle moment of spiritual slumberness, but we must keep on putting efforts to preserve the Holy Spirit, and the things that He tells us is to "following the Lord in the peace" in His steps. Let us continue to learn together and enjoy that portion of inheritance hidden in all things and all times around us!