Saturday, January 31, 2015

Irresistible Church

The Irresistable Church
Text: Acts 2:42-47
Rev Dr Kow Shih Ming 
1st February 2015
on Day Zero of our church campaign to ready though the bible, Acts and  Epistles. 
More than 4000 participants.

Learning to become the kind of church wants us to be
That we will be irresistible to God!

Church is not /should not be a human organization.
The early church was marked by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The church is a spiritual identify birthed by Holy Spirit.

Major themes/ practices of a church

Emulates Christ
Yield to God

Sunday, January 25, 2015

the gift

This is a first for me: sketchnote of a Mandarin +Chinese dialect Hokkien and Cantonese evangelistic outreach meeting at Wesley Methodist Church.
And the wonder of it all I DO NOT HAVE A GOOD GRASP OF CHINESE LANGUAGE. (Those who know me will know that this is true.)

We had brought dear friend to the meeting. As I was listening to the message, I said to myself, "Hey I can actually understand much of what he is saying". By the time the speaker came to the anecdote of the farmer wrapping pig dung I told myself I should do a sketch note. So I did!

The speaker was Moses Lim 林益民,a popular TV entertainer.
His testimony was about his rise, his fall and his restoration.

His comic entertaining way can be seen in his introduction

"Why are you here today?"
"And some might answer...."
"outside very hot- here got air-conditioning..."
"at home have to look after grandchildren- here can relax..."
"here got free buffet....... "

Yet Moses counters, "You are here by divine appointment".


Moses Lim was a freelance comic entertainer when Colour TV broadcast was started in Singapore in the 1970's. He had the opportunity to get part time contracts with Channel 8 (Chinese language channel) and was given the Tuesday slot with Malaysia TV as a hot rival for eyeballs.

As he put it

"not handsome
no six pack
only one big pack"
 yet his show was a popular success.

He was promoted to the Monday slot, then Sunday slot, then English channel (Channel 5)

He also got recording gigs regionally, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, with an eye for China. He was popular also for company annual dinners and other private functions.

When asked

"How is it you are successful?"
his stock answer was "Because I believe in Jesus... Jesus has the same standard yesterday today tomorrow"
But when asked further "Why is that so?"
he always turned that question away, because he did not have an answer.

Then he was called to meet the boss of the TV station.
The boss had a "part time contract" for Moses Lim to sign.
"Why does a part timer need a contract to sign?" he wondered.

"When there is a job we will pay you at this rate"
"When there is no job there is no pay"
So far it was not different to what had been happening.

At the bottom line was a clause "no outside work allowed"
He refused to sign. 
He thought his outside contracts at $3000 a gig could sustain him.

What followed was an unofficial ban that lasted 4 years.
No one would admit there was a ban on hiring Moses Lim.
But there were no offers for TV work for 4 years.

And those who called him for outside jobs vastly reduced the pay.
"Can you come to perform at our annual dinner?
"Yes of course"
"How much"
"Same as last time ($3000)"
"No cannot:
Now you not TV personality:
 Only $300"

Bitter pill to swallow!

So Moses did what all Singaporeans like to do.

Complain to God.
Complain complain complain.
Complain while walking.
Complain while sitting.
Complain while eating.
Complain when in bed.
Complain when in toilet.
Four years of complaining.

And God did not seem to answer.

But God did answer, eventually, in God's perfect time.

One day Moses saw in the newspaper SPH the newspaper company was going to open their own TV station.
"The answer to my prayers" Moses thought.
"I will freelance for Channel U and Channel I, the newspaper TV channels."

But this was not to be.
Instead the number two boss at Channel 5 called Moses.
The number one boss (who had instituted the unofficial ban on Moses) had moved to the newspaper TV station.
Moses was welcomed back to Channel 5 and Channel 8.
The long drought had ended.
The solution was not in the way Moses had thought,
but by God's own special way.


This anecdote is about timing:
A rural farmer had a son who was successful in the city.
Son got married and wanted the in-laws to meet  his father.
But son thought his father was a bit of a  country bumpkin,
so arranged for wife and in-laws visit father in the countryside.
Son instructed father to dress well and wait by the roadside for the bus that would bring son and family to village.

Father did as told.
Dressed in nice clean clothes he stood by the roadside and waited.
And waited.
And waited.
But the bus did not come.

But a pig did.
And as the pig passed the farmer there was a big malodourus outpouring of pig flatus and pig faeces.
All over his robe.
Farmer's response?
"Organic fertiliser!"
"Must wrap the precious gift and bring back to the farm."

So farmer hung his robe on a tree and stooped down to wrap the pig dung in a big leaf.
While he was busy wrapping his precious package in a big leaf the bus arrived.
Out came the city folk.

"What are you doing father?" son asks.
"Its organic fertiliser, son.
but why are you late?"

Moral of the story
People often late but God never late.
His timing always right.

Some say all religions teach us to be good
This may be so,
but Christianity is the only one to promise us eternal life.

Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same.

He is always with you.

A story is told of a person was walking along the beach with Jesus.
There were two sets of footprints in the sand.

Later on there were only one set of footprints.

"Where were you Jesus?" the person complained pointing at the footprints.
"Those are my footprints" came the reply, "and I was carrying you".

Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks.
Will you open the door and let him in?

For years Moses Lim prayed "Lord I want to sit more comfortably in the aeroplane".
God heard and answered his prayers:
 enabling Moses to slim down from
120 kilogram to 76 kilogram.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound"
Song written by slave trader John Newton, who had a conversion experience in the midst of a severe storm at sea.

Jesus has a gift for you
When things are going good for you your praise of God may not be real.

But after hardship, the lows
when you have experience release and relief
when your trust in God has been established
then your praise is real.

God knows the perfect timing.

Are you ready for the gift from God
the gift of life?

(NB the flow of this sketch note is rather stilted due to my limited understanding of Chinese.)

20150125 Father's eyes

Sermon topic
In the Father's eyes
Rev Gladwin Lee
25 January 2015
Wesley Methodist Church Singapore.

Centre ring: title
Middle ring : Blue: sermon notes
Outer ring: Yellow: what I hear God saying 

Text: parable of the prodigal son

Is as much about the elder brother as the younger brother 
elder brother strives hard to get approval from the father

Many of us are approval addicts
Striving hard to please God
By bible study
By fasting
Yet God loves you simply because you are His son.

Sin is not just breaking the rules
Sin is also trying to put ourselves in God's place.
Where obligation replaces devotion....

Story is told of three men
Catholic father
Methodist pastor 
All three agreed on importance of converting people.
They agreed it was a bigger challenge to convert a bear.

Catholic father came back with a converted bear and arm in plaster cast.
Fought with bear and converted bear.

Methodist pastor came back in wheelchair and  with a converted bear
Got beaten up by bear but converted bear.

Rabbi came back In hospital bed, no bear.
"perhaps I should not have started with circumcision"

(Moral of the story
Not conversions for numbers sake but because you care for people.)

Obnoxious older brother behavior tends to drive others away.

Over breakfast coffee. Wife says I dreamt I was in a jewelry shop buying a diamond ring.
Husband; it must be coming true. I had the same dream and your father was paying the bill.
(Moral of the story: don't disrespect father, fatherinlaw)

Older brother showed disrespect by making father come out of the house: by making father beg him to come into the house.

God's Grace is such that he wants all his children to come home.

Rev Gladwin brought his two brothers on a scuba trip.
Somehow his two brothers went missing and he feared that he would not be able to bring them home.
Fortunately his brothers although lost, found another dive boat which rescued them and returned them safely to Rev Gladwin.

The father saw the son from far away.
The father ran to the son and expressed tangible love with robe ring and shoes.
Son was restored and forgiven. freedom from the past.

How are you dressed
As slave or as son?
Do you wear shoes that are  the gospel of peace?

As son, you have permission to enter the throne room.

We are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

The yellow balloons contain my response to the sermon, 
It is like what I hear God telling me.
The first message is:
There is nothing I can do to make God love me more.
and it's colllolary
nothing I do will make God love me less.

There is joy in heaven when the lost is found.
What am I doing to seek and save the lost?
How intentional am I in telling my story?
His story?

As I rejoice in my freedom from sin,
I remember it is not in my own strength, but by the blood of Jesus.

Am I dressed as slave or son?

Am I behaving as slave or son?

The sons of Ishmael are also sons of Abraham.
Do you hear the call to bring them into the fold?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

20150118 Be followers of the way

A classic sermon illustration

Rev Benjamin Lee
18 January 2015
Wesley Methodist Church
Bible Text: Matt 7: 13-14

This passage was turning point in the sermon on the mount.
The easy way is the wide way
easy to manoeuvre
no regulations
leads to death.

For Dr Piot when he landed in Africa to investigate the first known outbreak of Ebola in 1975, the aircrew bid him "farewell, goodbye" in French rather that "see you again".
He had two choice: easy or hard.
Easy was to pack up and go home.
Hard was to labour dangerously.
Piot chose the hard way:
as a result thousands of lives have been saved.

We have two choices: easy way or hard way
Eternal life is at stake.

The bible passage begins with a command rather than an invitation:
Enter through the narrow gate.
The gate is so narrow you have to leave your baggage behind
Leave your past sins behind.
You need to trust God
Put your trust in Jesus.

The narrow way leads to life
The narrow way requires
 purity of heart
and can be said to be restrictive 
and is hard to travel on.

Yet liberating
His yoke is easy, his burden light.

Rev Benjamin had a turning point in his life when one sunday in church sitting in 4th back pew on the right he understood three key points
God will never leave you
Seek and you will find
Knock and the door will be opened.
From then on he decided to follow the narrow way.

A middle age couple was once lost amidst a dense bush of rhododendrons:
below the dense plants nothing grew..
is this a parable of your life
trapped by the lure of the world
in sin so nothing grows?
Are you following the easy way?
Do you need to change directions?

A captain of a battleship saw some light ahead
signalling to the light he sent a message "steer 10 degrees north"
came the reply "steer 10 degrees south".

Angrily he replied "I am captain: steer 10 degrees north"
came the reply "I am 3rd class seaman steer 10 degrees south."

Even more angrily he replied "I am captain of battleship: steer 10 degrees north"
came the reply "I am 3rd class seaman of lighthouse : steer 10 degrees south."

What sort of directions are you following?
Will the path you follow lead to death or to life?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to have a good 2015

Pulpit view
Perfect Sketchbook
9X14 cm
100% cotton paper

The bible text was Joshua 1:1-11

Joshua was about to cross the Jordon into the promised land
We stand poised for 51 weeks of 2015
Will it be a good year?

God had three promises
Promise for Blessing
Promise for Victory
Promise for God's presence

Promise for Blessing
Where your foot standsI will give you that lad

The issue was not property
The issue was security
This was a promise of blessing

Promise for Victory
Nothing will be able to stand against you

Promise for God's presence
God says I will not fail you
I will not abandon you
I will be with you to the end of the age.

God has three promises for us
Promise for Blessing
Promise for Victory
Promise for God's presence.

Every promise comes with a premise
An expression of faith is needed to activate the premise

RELEASE your fears to God
Trust God
Jesus brought/ bought us eternal salvation
Trust God for the next 51 weeks
God has been faithful to you in the past
Trust him for the future 

RECEIVE God's word in your life.

RESPOND to God's word in obedience.

READY yourself for action
Nourish the body
Prepare weapons to overcome the enemy