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LOAVES + FISHES
APRIL/JUNE 2013

MICA (P) No: 104/03/2013

The Covenant Community Methodist Church Magazine

Joy is a Flag...
Academy Awards Winner

CUBA GOODING JR

gIfted hands

Each time you see this page

PRAY FOR CHRASS CHURCH

The true story ...
STEVEN ROLLAND BY CC 2.0

CONTENTS

HEART OF WORSHIP
Matt Redman
When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simpl...
EVERYONE
MATTERS!

REGULARS

EDUCATING
OUR CHILDREN
for today and tomorrow
28

MOMS AT WORK
Two CCMC moms share
40

Ask Ab...
(( WHEN WE

LOOK BACK
NOW, WE CAN
TESTIFY OF GOD'S
GOODNESS AND
HIS FAITHFULNESS
IN GUIDING US
STEP BY STEP IN
OUR LIVES.
...
Unexpected

MARRIAGE
STRESS
Rovik, Robert and Vibha’s elder son, is a co-founder of The
Hidden Good with Leon Heng, a pers...
ALLOWS
RELATIONSHIPS
TO RECOVER.
FORGIVENESS IS
THE SURRENDERING
OF OUR RIGHT TO
BE ANGRY AND
OUR RIGHT FOR
RECOMPENSE.

)...
ABIGAIL GOH

From Sunday
Christianity
to Christian
Discipleship?
By YAP KIAN SENG
FRUSTRATED ABOUT
THE DISCONNECT
BETWEEN ...
+
(( WORSHIP IS

NOT ABOUT US
GETTING TO DO
WHAT WE WANT
TO DO. IT IS ABOUT
GETTING A BIGGER
SENSE OF GOD IN
EVERYTHING WE...
To The Point

(( HOW THEN

DO WE MOVE
FROM SUNDAY
CHRISTIANITY
TO CHRISTIAN
DISCIPLESHIP?
THE TRUTH IS:
WE DON'T.

))

18
...
ALL PHOTOGTRAPHS: YAN SONG BY CC2.0

Moms+Daughters*

SINGING IN
HARMONY
by Pam Farrel & Doreen Hanna

						

mom is like...
decisions about relatively small
things that may be different from
the choices you would make for her.
Ask her first to pr...
ABIGAIL GOH

help! i have
NO TIME!
Three Time Management Truths You Need to Know

ecently an old CCMC friend
who migrated ...
3

1
◀
◀

U
R
G
E
N
T

4

2

needed to follow through.
Most of us tend to prefer avoiding the pain of discipline. It is of...
around me, however difficult it
may be sometimes. Help me not to
be conceited but to treat everyone
equally, regardless of...
E

EDUCATING
our children
ABIGAIL GOH

for Today and Tomorrow

they are

off

children

not

when

on the way

go, and eve...
(( Equipping

our children
with knowledge
without the
moral means
of
using that
knowledge to
benefit others,
will only ser...
PAUL

By profession, Paul was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3).

Paul went to Macedonia after having a
dream of a Macedonian man pl...
Francesco 'Architetto' Rollandin CC BY 2.0

Food for Thought

FATHER'S VOICE
Rules for Self Discovery:
1. What we want mos...
What you need:
Scissors, glue, 2 pairs of disposable
chopsticks.
What to do:
1. Cut out the pennants.

2. Cut out the symb...
News Bites

NEW CHOIR

40

The new CCMC 11 am choir was
formed by God's grace (pun
intended).
When the Worship and Music
M...
News Bites

42

the interest of privatization. Thus,
the Bohemia Piano Company
was formed when its employees
became the ow...
Songs & Singers

Zach Sobiech

ABIGAIL GOH

CLOUDS
JÖRG LOHRER BY CC 2.0

(( I WANT

EVERYONE TO
KNOW: YOU
DON'T HAVE
TO F...
ABIGAIL GOH

MOMS
aT
WORK

In 1819, the Malay scholar Munshi Abdullah complained:
'I felt really distressed when I saw tha...
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Loaves+fishes april june 2013

  1. 1. LOAVES + FISHES APRIL/JUNE 2013 MICA (P) No: 104/03/2013 The Covenant Community Methodist Church Magazine Joy is a Flag Flown High: Praise Pennant Craft WORKING MUMS SPIRITUAL EDUCATION – SHARE WHOSE RESPONSIBILTY IS IT? THE WAY TO CONNECT SUNDAY CHURCH TO WEEKDAY LIFE How to Better Manage Time sing IN HARMONY with your teens : umn col D new RAN S BITES B CH NEW CHUR By Popular Demand: Terry Ng’s Roast Beef and Gravy Recipes
  2. 2. Academy Awards Winner CUBA GOODING JR gIfted hands Each time you see this page PRAY FOR CHRASS CHURCH The true story of the world’s pioneering neurosurgeon. His mother gave him courage, his faith helped him believe, his brillance gave him the power to change lives. god's vision and wisdom for Pastor Phirun unity and dedication for chrass church leaders godly enthusiasm in the chrass youth THAT chrass church will be the light of christ CLAIM THE CHILDREN OF CHRASS FOR JESUS Chrass Church Dedication Service Saturday, 7 September 2013 Officiating ministers: Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup Rev John Benedict Foo and Rev Khoo Kay Huat CCMC Family Movie Night Saturday, 28 Sept 2013 * MGS Auditorium Dinner: 6.30pm sharp * Movie: 7.15pm Free admission & dinner Register with Sherlyn Yeung at lantana@starhub.net.sg giving the number attending and having dinner
  3. 3. STEVEN ROLLAND BY CC 2.0 CONTENTS HEART OF WORSHIP Matt Redman When the music fades And all is stripped away And I simply come Longing just to bring Something that's of worth That will bless your heart FROM CHENNAI TO CLEMENTI TO CCMC I'll bring You more than a song For a song in itself Is not what You have required You search much deeper within Through the ways things appear You're looking into my heart A family witness 6 I'm coming back to the heart of worship And it's all about You All about You, Jesus I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it When it's all about You It's all about You Jesus UNEXPECTED MARRIAGE STRESS Memories & child care 9 King of endless worth No one could express How much You deserve Though I'm weak and poor All I have is Yours Every single breath MOMS & DAUGHTERS SINGING IN HARMONY For dads and sons too Its all about you Jesus FROM SUNDAY CHRISTIANITY TO CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP? 18 Connecting Sundays with Weekdays 12 HELP! I HAVE NO TIME! Time management truths 22 4 5
  4. 4. EVERYONE MATTERS! REGULARS EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN for today and tomorrow 28 MOMS AT WORK Two CCMC moms share 40 Ask Abigail 39 Crafts for Kids (pull out) Crumbs 48 Good Things 44 Kitchen 47 Manga Hero 32 News 35 SOAP 26 Songs & Singers 38 Food for Thought 34 To the Point 17 Promptness Barometer Here's how we fared in punctuality on average for eight services from 7 April to 26 May. There's much room for improvment. Practise these tips regularly, especially on Sundays, so we can honour God with the time He has given us. 1. Make a commitment to arrive slightly ahead of time. 2. Plan for real world delays and give yourself time to spare. 3. Find creative ways to use pockets of time created by being early. Loaves + Fishes is published quarterly by Covenant Community Methodist Church Level 4, Methodist Girls’ School 11, Blackmore Drive Singapore 599986 Tel: 64669652 Fax: 64667470 Email: admin@ccmc.org.sg www.ccmc.org.sg MICA (P) No: 104/03/2013 Printed by Oxford Graphic Printers Pte Ltd EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Editor Rev John Benedict Foo 100% Please wait for the doors to open! Editorial Advisor Eddie Koh 80% I think there are some seats up front. 60% Someone is in my regular seat. 40% Looks like the faithful remnant are here. 20% Am I at the right place? Managing Editor Goh Eck Kheng AM 52% • 11AM 48% •9 Members Chong Cheh Hoon Lester Ng Contributors Benny Bong Paul Hawkins Marlene Koh Lee Yin Siau Susan Lim Leslie Quahe Robert Samuel Tan Buck Chye Yap Kian Seng ON THE COVER (from left) Kevin, Nicole and Jason Tong 6 A veryone matters here at Covenant Community Methodist Church! Regardless of your age or gender, you are always welcome to have fellowship with us as a community of covenant-keepers. More importantly, you are specially invited to journey together with us as we heed the call to walk the path of discipleship. Our heart’s desire is to trust God to grow us towards higher spiritual maturity and greater love for Him and others. We are passionate about helping every person enter into an intimate and dynamic relationship with God. There will always be times in our lives when we need others to come alongside us to help support and build us up. There will also be times for us to encourage and affirm others in their time of need. Perhaps this and subsequent issues of Loaves + Fishes can become a staple encourager in your life as well. Things matter in communities. Here at CCMC, we value your heart for the Lord. We value your desire to make a difference in your own family, in our church family, in your social circle, and at your workplace or school. God has gifted our church family with a whole plethora of spiritual gifts. This is evident in the recent Holy Week and Aldersgate services where we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the worship services with members coming forward to use their gifts for the glory of God. Let us all continue to roll up our sleeves and put our hands to the plow. You have in your hands a magazine that is filled with articles that are reflective, relevant and personal. Enjoy the gamut of thought-provoking and fascinating topics covered in this issue! May God bless your reading as He unveils to you a unique covenant community here in CCMC. Rev John Benedict Foo 7
  5. 5. (( WHEN WE LOOK BACK NOW, WE CAN TESTIFY OF GOD'S GOODNESS AND HIS FAITHFULNESS IN GUIDING US STEP BY STEP IN OUR LIVES. )) FROM CHENNAI TO CLEMENTI TO CCMC A Witness as a family of God’s direction, provision, and goodness upon our lives. By robert samuel 8 Called together for His Ministry One evening, I had gone to the northern part of Chennai (previously known as Madras) to purchase something. I was riding a motorbike then. When I was about to start the bike, I felt strongly that I should take another route back home instead of the shorter route I usually take. I had a friend, Dr. Prosper, who stayed along this longer route and I thought that I would just stop by and say “hello” to him. Dr. Prosper is a medical doctor and a businessman too. We were talking for some time and suddenly Dr. Prosper went to the phone (there were no handphones then in 1991) and called Vibha’s father and asked if he was interested in meeting a God-fearing Christian person, who could be a match for his second daughter. After some discussion (which I could not hear), he told me that he had set up an informal ‘meet-up’ with the Thacker family at St. George’s Cathedral where Vibha’s family used to go. God had showed me in a dream what my wife would look like, and when I first saw Vibha at St. George’s Cathedral, God confirmed that she was the one since I had already seen her face in the dream. There was no turning back from then. difficulties and hardships initially in our life but if we cling on, the Lord God will lift us up step by step and will establish and bless us in Singapore. We were reminded of Abraham and God’s calling upon his life and decided as a family to follow the path God has set apart for us. When we came to Singapore, because of the economic crisis, companies that had placed orders with the Belgian company I worked for cancelled orders and the business done that year was way below the target. My immediate manager wanted me to go back to India. However, because God’s word had already prepared us for the situation, we were encouraged to look at Him rather than the circumstances. We clung on. The Belgian company acquired an American company whose products were already popular in South East Asia and I was able to get the required business. When we look back now, we can testify of God’s goodness and His faithfulness in guiding us step by step in our lives – settling Set apart by His callinG Facing (from left): Rovik, Vibha, Rovina, Robert and Ronak. God had opened a miraculous door for us to re-locate to Singapore as a family through the posting by a Belgian multinational company in India. This was amidst the peak of the Global Financial Crisis of 1997. Before we moved to Singapore, there were many prophecies over us that there would be many 9
  6. 6. Unexpected MARRIAGE STRESS Rovik, Robert and Vibha’s elder son, is a co-founder of The Hidden Good with Leon Heng, a personal initiative by these two NSmen. Here, he tells what it's about and why it was started. "The Hidden Good started from a conversation I had with Leon Heng in the MRT. "It was about how people are apprehensive about sitting on the reserved seat even when the train is empty out of a culture of fear of being STOMPed or how people are so inclined to capture the negative aspect of Singaporeans and post it online. "It would cause a self-fulfilling prophecy of us being a lousy society. Truth is, we've witnessed and seen so many amazing acts of kindness and goodwill out there and there's very little celebration of that aspect of our society. "We decided that we would unveil this hidden good in Singapore and agreed that setting up scenarios would help establish a watchable video series people would enjoy, learn something from, and most importantly, share. We have two sub-series: 'The Singaporean' sets up situations for people to respond to and to prove that Singaporeans are not the busy, self-centred people we assume ourselves to be. 'The Great Hood Giveaway' aims to dispel the feeling that people would think you're weird if you did something good for them. "The Hood Factory will upload bi-weekly episodes in a twoyear timeline. Our goals are simple: 1) Get Singapore to celebrate and appreciate the good that exists, 2) Add to the conversation on what it means to be a Singaporean and part of our society. "It's been amazingly fun and exciting to see Singaporeans in action. It's affected how we respond to people in need as well – we're more acute of opportunities to step up. "We have a core team of 4 to 5, including our Creative Director, Jay Teo, who manages the technical side of things. Our regular videographers include Jonathan Tan Zhon Hao and Ser Joon Sin. The pool of people who volunteer their time and skills goes up to 20-30 people. Filming is done on weekends. Preparation and planning are done over the weekdays. "We also plan to have workshops/outreach sessions in schools and organisations to convey our message." 10 by benny bong my young family (eldest son was then just 4 years old and second son only 8 months old) with His security, provision and guidance in a land where we then had no family, friends or support to getting permanent residents status to become citizens of Singapore. All glory to the Lord Jesus! There has been no looking back since then... Rooted for His Kingdom We were worshipping in Bethesda Cathedral at Bedok since we were living in the east. When we moved to the west, we were looking for a family-oriented church where our children could settle and grow in God’s word and leading. We decided to try CCMC since a few friends had recommended it. The warmth and the fellowship of the members during our first day at CCMC pleasantly surprised us. Our children also wanted to continue coming to CCMC. Of course, the spacious car park was another big attraction. We have been attending CCMC for four years now and we are blessed week after week. There is only looking forward to: more of God's direction and leading in our lives for our family. ‘Forgive, yes. Forget…’ How often have we heard the expression, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget”? Perhaps we too have said this on an occasion or two, and there is some truth in this sentiment. Forgiving is an act of the will, whilst forgetting is not within our control. You cannot will yourself to forget.
 11
  7. 7. ALLOWS RELATIONSHIPS TO RECOVER. FORGIVENESS IS THE SURRENDERING OF OUR RIGHT TO BE ANGRY AND OUR RIGHT FOR RECOMPENSE. )) 12 that she will not discuss or ask any questions about his extra-marital affair. After all, did she not offer her forgiveness?
 As a family and marital therapist, I believe that forgiveness and memory should be handled appropriately. Forgiveness allows relationships to recover. Forgiveness is the surrendering of our right to be angry and our right for recompense. Its focus is not on the past but on the future; not on our feelings but on the importance of our relationship with those who have hurt us.
 Memory is the conscious effort we make to acknowledge the importance of the event, no matter how painful it might be. Memories allow us to learn difficult lessons. However, when the memory serves no more useful purpose, we need to let it go. We do this by refusing to dwell on it. We do this by having and remembering happier memories. * 'Let no man put asunder.' With these solemn words, we are reminded that no man should be allowed to come between a husband and wife. Whilst most couples do their utmost to guard against this, the invaders that ultimately undermine a marriage can take shapes and forms that we least expect.
 I want to focus on a disruption of marital harmony which comes in a rather innocent package. For most people, the arrival of a baby heralds the relationship moving to a new level. It can be another point of connection for the couple and a fulfilment of hopes and dreams. In some instances, it may even breathe fresh life to a stale relationship.
 However, some marriages are impacted in a negative way with the arrival of a baby. Husbands complain of being displaced as the centre of their wife’s attention.
 Couples exhausted by the constant tending to the needs of a vulnerable, helpless child may have little time and energy for each other, even less for themselves. In such circumstances, how can a couple prevent their marriage from slipping into the doldrums?
 Firstly, it is important to keep remembering that the basis of strength in a family is the strength of the couple’s bond. This bond will help weather the stress and strain of disrupted sleep every night to feed the baby. How effective they are at being effective parents is dependent on how well they synergise their role as father and mother.
 Secondly, even though their personal and couple needs may not be at the top of the list of priorities, they cannot be deferred indefinitely. Some couples may agree to postpone it temporarily, for example, till the child is off pampers or till he finishes PSLE, before they can expect to enjoy, on a regular basis, their own personal space and couple togetherness. This is assuming that the couple has only one child. If they have more, the period of their sacrifice for their children would be a longer stretch.
 But doting parents in Singapore who feel the kiasuism of giving their children the best possible education, tuition and enrichment programmes to be one up on the Tans next door will extend their time for parenting responsibilities right up to O-levels or beyond. By that time, their couple togetherness has become a hazy memory of their courtship days or early married life before the kids came. The sooner they learn to let go of their children, the better it is for their relationship as a couple and as parents who can provide a loving, harmonious home for their children to grow up in.
 Thirdly, learn to agree on how to raise your child. Parenting will uncover a myriad of differences in nurturing your child’s potential and moral values, ways to enforce discipline, allowing grandmother to indulge, etc. Parenting is a good test to see if you can compromise and agree on the upbringing of someone who means so much to each of you.
 The patter of little feet may bring a couple closer in their common goal to raise a child they can be proud of, or it could swing the other way, and rent the marriage apart when their frequent squabbles over the child’s behaviour or school performance start to erode the love they had for each other that had led to their exchange of marriage vows.
 (( COUPLES EXHAUSTED BY THE CONSTANT TENDING TO THE NEEDS OF A VULNERABLE, HELPLESS CHILD MAY HAVE LITTLE TIME AND ENERGY FOR EACH OTHER, EVEN LESS FOR THEMSELVES. )) Benny Bong, a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, is a family and marital therapist. ALL PHOTOGTRAPHS: GAIL M TANG BY CC2.0 (( FORGIVENESS For many, forgetfulness is an inconvenience, such as when we forget a name, telephone number or where we left our keys. But for a few, not being able to forget is a curse. This is true for the wife who complained that her husband would question her relentlessly and continually about her previous sexual encounters with her boyfriends. The fact that she has strenuously denied them, the fact that these were relationships before their marriage, and the fact that this was about alleged events more than 30 years ago, all had not stopped her husband from repeating these groundless allegations.
 Such memories have a corrosive effect on those who hold them. They may be recycled, recalled back to the present and in such instances, be re-lived. If the memory is painful, remembering them can be re-traumatising. Some memories can also be hurtful to others. They form part of the lens through which we view others. Thus, for the husband mentioned earlier, his regular accusations paints his wife as a loose woman in his eyes. His memory, not of an incident but of an accusation, repeated and repeated, begins to take a life and reality all of its own and threatens to tear his marriage apart.
 How do we as believers deal with difficult memories? Is it consistent for us to say, “I can forgive you but I cannot forget what you did” to someone who may have wronged us?
 I recall here the many Christian couples who struggle with infidelity and where the aggrieved spouse is faced with the difficult task to forgive. In some instances, when the unfaithful spouse confesses his infidelity, he expects his wife to forgive him. He also expects her forgiveness to mean 13
  8. 8. ABIGAIL GOH From Sunday Christianity to Christian Discipleship? By YAP KIAN SENG FRUSTRATED ABOUT THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN SUNDAY CHURCH AND WEEKDAY LIFE? LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT PULPIT TO GIVE ENOUGH JUICE TO PROPEL YOU TO NEXT SUNDAY? HERE IS A SUPRISINGLY SIMPLE ANSWER. Yap Kian Seng is husband to Mary, and father to three teenagers. An engineer by training, he has wide interest in theology and spirituality, and has studied at Regent College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His doctoral thesis is on Sabbath Keeping. Currently, he serves as an associate pastor in a local Church in Vancouver, BC. 14 O ne of the most common struggles many Christians face is aptly described in the title of the book by Laura Nash and Scotty McLennan: Church on Sunday, Work on Monday1. The authors bewail the dichotomy of faith and work, where people observe religious duties each Sunday, only to revert to a secular lifestyle from Monday. The cycle then repeats itself every week, where many a professed Christian hardly intersects with Wall Street or Main Street, let alone home base. This leaves many Christian believers a sense of discomfort and confusion about why their faith is largely disconnected from the real world. The book by Nash and McLennan is itself a sharp critique of the Church. They accuse the clergy of playing minimal or no role to help equip fellow laypeople with tools and resources to address this very dichotomy. Worse, based on their surveys, the Church does not seem to have any clue on how to help members in this regard. Maybe they have too many religious responsibilities. Maybe they believe their members already know best about what to do. Maybe, they do not have a clue how to connect Sunday to Monday in the first place. If that is the case, why should anyone be surprised if laypersons themselves are clueless? The presumed solution must be something that leads to a deeper sense of connection between worship and work. The presumed method is thus about learning the 'how.' The desire for ‘how’ gets louder each time anyone talks about the SundayMonday dichotomy. This call is a common one. In writing about work and faith, Gordon Preece2 concurs with both Nash and McLennan, arguing that the Church in general ought to 'shift its pastoral and mission priorities toward Monday.' Like Nash and McLennan, Preece observes in a similar way that there is a “disintegration of work and faith” among Christians as they move from Sunday to Monday. Their desire to marry faith and work is a noble one. The thinking is that as we make our faith more relevant to our work, our work becomes a better testimony of faith. As our work becomes a better testimony of faith, we will bring glory to the God of Creation. Unfortunately, articles like Preece’s tend to be understood more in terms of evangelism and outreach, and less in terms of what holistic faith is all about. Some call it friendship evangelism. Others call it workplace evangelism, or whatever. The trouble is, it reduces weekly faith into something like Christian marketing on the outside, after a weekend charging of one’s spiritual batteries on the inside. It is still a form of dichotomy. Like Nash and McLennan, for all good intentions, the Christian faith has become streamlined into some kind of an evangelistic outfit dressed in office attire. Here lies the problem: Our cluelessness about worship affects our understanding of our role in the world. In this article, I want to explore how cluelessness impacts our Christian life. If we are clueless about the meaning of Sundays, the purpose of the other six days, and the understanding of God’s will for all our days, we will remain clueless for many days to come. Clueless about Sunday Christianity; clueless about Christian discipleship; clueless about what it means to be a Christian in the first place. The key to it all is not the how-to, but the why. It is not the what, but the who. It is not the grasping and grabbing, but the giving and releasing that will lead us through the fog of cluelessness. Unless we are clear about worship, our words remain blurred. A) Clueless The biggest problem in any organizational or personal life is this: Lack of Clarity. On 9 September 1923, an armada of US destroyers was coasting down south from San Francisco to San Diego. All was going well until they encountered thick fog. Despite the poor vision, the captain of the lead destroyer maintained a fast speed of 20 knots, trusting in the skills and techniques of the highly talented navigator crews, as well as the familiarity of the Californian coastline. The USS Delphy led the way, with several other destroyers following the exact orders by the captain of the squadron. Soon, the lead ship crashed into the rocks of Point Arguello. The strong metallic hull of the great destroyer was no match for the rocks of nature. The USS Delphy’s hull split into two. Six other destroyers ran aground. Many sailors died. In one day, the US Navy lost more ships than all of World War I. All because of a lack of clarity. This reminds me literally of the King James translation of Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Likewise, management gurus often teach, “If we aim at nothing, we will probably hit it.” If we are clueless about Christian discipleship, or what it means to go to Church, we will most likely be clueless about what it means to be a Christian Disciple. B) Clueless About Connecting Sunday to Monday The symptoms of cluelessness are many. After all the flurry of religious activism, and the spiritual food that people get, the week subsequently knocks the heavenly Christian back to existential reality. What on earth does it mean to be a Christian in the workplace? What happened to all the Sunday highs? The flurry of questions includes: • How do I relate the Eschatological hope of heaven with the practical challenges of reality? • What did the Apostle Paul say about being a good engineer? • Is there anything that Luke the 15
  9. 9. + (( WORSHIP IS NOT ABOUT US GETTING TO DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO. IT IS ABOUT GETTING A BIGGER SENSE OF GOD IN EVERYTHING WE DO. )) 1 Laura Nash and Scotty McLennan, Church on Sunday, Work on Monday, Jossey-Bass, 2001. 2 Gordon Preece, Work, in The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity, edited by Robert Banks and R Paul Stevens, (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1997), p1129. 3 Marva Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995), p8. 4 James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013). 16 Physician has to say about being a good medical doctor? • What did the preacher say yesterday morning? • Oh brother! Why did I sleep through the sermon yesterday? Without a proper understanding of what Sunday means, our Mondays will be blurry. The assumption is that the pastor shares the Word on Sunday, the Spirit moves the people, and the people go into the world of work after that. Sadly, this is more difficult than what many of us think. The problem is, worship is not about us getting to do what we want to do. It is about getting a bigger sense of God in everything we do. C) Blaming the Clergy: Clueless About Mondays The clergy is to blame! So says Harvard and Stanford professors, Laura Nash and Scotty McLennan. In calling for greater involvement of the clergy beyond Sundays, Nash and McLennan propose dialogue and engagement throughout the week. They ask for clergy to be more involved and more interested in the working lives of the members. They ask the Church and religious staff to learn to see their ministries beyond the Church walls on Sundays. They implore them to venture into the offices, the workplaces, and the outside world, instead of cocooning themselves within the sacred walls of Church. Support the people. Engage with them. Help them. These are the pleas from the authors to the clergy, on behalf of a massive lay population, for help. • Help us connect our faith with our work. • Help us reconnect our understanding of God’s will for our lives. • Help us live boldly in this world as one integrated whole. People need help because they themselves are clueless about any link between Sundays and Mondays. They believe there is. The problem is, they do not know how to connect them. D) Blaming the People: Clueless About Sundays The people must share the blame! After all, if Sunday worship is about the people of God coming together to break bread, to sing praises, and to hear the Word together, working well is also a communal responsibility. We have a responsibility to pray for one another. We have a responsibility to exercise our gifts for the Church, our talents in the world, and our best for God. Maybe, it is the pastor praying and the layperson sowing. Maybe, it is the Spirit working hand in hand with each person obeying step by step. Maybe, it is simply being faithful to one’s work responsibilities are listed in the employment contract and executed according to the principles listed in the spiritual covenant. That still leaves a gaping hole on what it means to worship on Sundays. So what is Sunday all about? Let me offer some ways to clarify our thinking about worship. My professor, Dr Marva Dawn3, gives two brilliant insights with regards to worship. Firstly, worship is not about maximizing our time during a worship service. It is about 'wasting time' in God. In other words, don’t rush God to fit into our own schedules. Learn to take pleasure in letting God show us what it means to enjoy His presence. Stop the clock. Remove the watch. Just enjoy the presence of God. Worship Him! Secondly, Dawn is particularly concerned about the introduction of the 'how-to' thinking into Church and worship. Instead of Sundays being a day for worshipping God alone, it has become another work-day for Christians. In simple terms, six days you shall work in secular grounds, on the seventh day, you shall work on sacred ground. Dawn traces the problem to the indoctrination of marketing ideas into the Church since the 1970s. Such ideas include: • We have to make Church more relevant to society. • We need to draw up attractive programs to bring in the masses. • We need to reach out, even though it may mean dumbing down some traditional rituals that come across as archaic, boring, and irrelevant. • The ‘how-to’s are more important than the ‘who’s and the ‘why’s. If that is so, it is not surprising that people feel a sense of emptiness even on Sundays. The thinking is simple: If they do not have all the right fuel on Sundays, how then are they to drive on Mondays? This leads to a host of unhealthy expectations for all. The clergy is expected to feed the spiritual appetite of the masses. The laity expects their churches to help them meet the demands of the heavy workweek. The world demands more of the Christian worker, knowing his/her strong work ethic. This turns Church into a giant spiritual battery charging station, so that one can have enough power to last the grueling workweek. E) Bringing Clarity to Sundays and the Rest Dawn thinks otherwise. Worship on Sundays is much more. “Knowing that Christians are saved totally by God’s grace and not by any efforts on our part, the Church throughout the ages has understood that its task as an institution is to provide opportunities for the worship and praise of God and the educating and forming of its people for a life of caring for others in response to that grace. We might compare these two tasks to the two great commandments – to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to become the kind of people who will love our neighbors as ourselves.” Now, that is clarity. Love God. (( IF WE ARE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT SUNDAY MEANS FOR US, OUR MINDS WILL BE CLEAR ABOUT THE QUESTION OF FAITH AND WORK. WE WILL RECOGNISE THAT THERE IS NO DICHOTOMY BETWEEN SUNDAYS AND THE REST OF THE WEEK. )) Love people. Serve Others. Sundays is about loving God, loving people, and serving all. The same applies to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the next week. It then circles back to the same message: Love God, love people, serve others. This one message will blow away the fog of cluelessness. If we are clear about what Sunday means for us, our minds will be clear about the question of faith and work. We will recognize that there is no dichotomy between Sundays and the rest of the week. We will know that there is not one rule for Church and another rule outside of Church. I am always fascinated with methods and techniques. After all, I am an engineer by profession, and one who works all the time with technology and electronic gadgets. Even my books and reading material are increasingly either online or on my computing devices. I love it when things work. I beam with pride when I fix things well. I often dream about how to solve computing problems with maximum efficiency and minimum effort. However, when it comes to spiritual matters, such a mentality must grind to a screeching halt. Something else takes over. James K. A. Smith4 describes worship as 'imagining the kingdom.' In a recent book, Smith writes about the centrality of worshiping God for every believer, how that one mood of worship impacts the rest. At the end of worship is the sending out of the believer. It basically means that the work of the worshipper begins immediately after the service. According to James, 'the end of worship comes with a responsibility.' What this means is that there is no such thing as a SundayMonday dichotomy, as long as we all understand the link between the two ends of the Sunday worship service. Our mission to the world 17
  10. 10. To The Point (( HOW THEN DO WE MOVE FROM SUNDAY CHRISTIANITY TO CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP? THE TRUTH IS: WE DON'T. )) 18 begins immediately after the worship service. This is where the power of Mother Teresa’s ministry lies: the ministry of prayer. Each day, her Sisters of Charity wake up faithfully at 3-4 am to pray together before the beginning of a busy day. That is their formal point of worship. They practise the same simple truth: Love God (demonstrated in prayer); Love one another (praying together); serve others (serving all). F) Clarity about Religion and the Secular World How then do we move from Sunday Christianity to Christian Discipleship? The truth is this: We don’t. Whether it is Sunday or any other day, the same truth applies to each and every day of the week: Love God; Love People; Serve Others. If we are clear about what worshipping God is all about, we will automatically want to worship God through loving one another, and serving all others. At the risk of oversimplification, let me put it even more bluntly. We love God and worship God at each worship service together (Sunday Christianity). We love one another by living together in the ways of Christ (Christian Discipleship). We serve all others by upholding the truth of Christ everywhere we go (Christian Discipleship). Miroslav Volf, Croatian Protestant theologian, laments the state of religion in the secular world, and tries to make sense of why religions are getting such a bad public rap nowadays. He notes that Christians are rightly to be blamed for some of the 'malfunctions of faith'. He writes that, “the Christian faith has sometimes failed to live up to its standards as a prophetic religion.” For Volf, one of the major purposes of the Christian is to shape the lives of people in their communities. In order to do this, he proposes an ethic of doing good to all people, regardless of language, ethnicity, religious persuasions, or any other human differences. We are to engage the world in faith, through sharing wisdom with all, maintaining solidarity as fellow human people, and publicly engaging the world in order to bring about positive change and common good. A disciple of Christ will surely be excited about all of these propositions. It will all flow naturally from this simple truth: Love God; Love People; Serve Others. In summary, the reason for disconnected spiritualities is because of our mistaken belief that puts the cart of 'how-to' before the horse of 'love-to.' If we know the 'why,' we will do our level best to look for the 'how.' If we truly know God, we will naturally know what to do next. Life is not meant to be complicated. If there is a fog of cluelessness, slow down and stop if necessary. Then let the breeze of the simple truth to 'Love God; Love People; Serve Others' help us navigate through the often treacherous seas of life. There is no need to rush rapidly ahead. When our vision is blurred, it is important to pause or slow down, and stop when necessary to clarify our thoughts and our directions. Just having all the techniques and the knowhow does not necessarily mean we must use them straightaway. Finally, I know that there are some readers who will say to me: “Yeah! We have heard these two commandments before. There is nothing new. Tell me something new.” To that, I will reply: “If you have already heard it, memorized it, or analyzed it, there is one more thing you need to do. Do it.” Let me close with this thought by Andrew Murray, which sums up nicely what it means to be a disciple of Christ. “Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays.” Amen. who we worship TRUE WORSHIP WHO SHOULD WORSHIP You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve. Luke 4:8 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God— this is your true and proper worship. Rom 12: 1 All people and creation … Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created, Psalm 148: 1-13 WORSHIP AND PROCLAMATION Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 1 Chron 16:8-9 Worship whY we worship Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Psalm 150:2 God is present when we worship But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3 Worship together I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Psalm 22:22a In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You. Hebrews 2:12 Worship is our greatest love expression to God. It is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we do and say and the way we live. SOME FORMS OF WORSHIP Music Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Psalm 150: 3-5 Prostrate Moses quickly bowed to the ground and prostrated himself in worship. Ex 39:8 Bow and kneel O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Psalm 95: 6 Dance David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might 2 Samuel 6:14 Lift hands I lift up my hands toward your most holy Place. Psalm 28:2b ATTITUDES OF WORSHIP Heartfelt "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" Mark 7:6 Spirit and truth But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. John 4: 23, 24 Fear and awe I will worship toward and at Your holy temple in reverent fear and awe of You. Psalm 5: 7 Sincerity, Fidelity, Humility, Purity let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 By doing good Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased Hebrews 13: 15-16 19
  11. 11. ALL PHOTOGTRAPHS: YAN SONG BY CC2.0 Moms+Daughters* SINGING IN HARMONY by Pam Farrel & Doreen Hanna mom is like the orchestra conductor in the symphony of her daughter's life. Mom, if you tap your baron to the sheet music of Scripture, some amazing things can happen in your daughter's heart. Moms have a profound influence on us – for good, or not. Both of us feel grateful for mothers who cared for and influenced our lives in amazing ways. Our mothers' influence gave us a heart for serving others and the confidence to lead. A Doreen: I am grateful that God's divine plan purposed that I would be raised by a godly mother. I carried her simple words of wisdom into the lives of my own two daughters and now I'm beginning to see them passed on to my granddaughters. We establish traditions by the things we speak to the next generation (once again we see the power of our words). Pam: My mom would get a high mother rating because she provided a beat for my life that I could dance to. The resounding mantras of my mother's words echo in my heart: take the high road, be part of the solution, and search for God until you find Him. Her efforts matched her words that still echo in my heart each day as I rise to lead: "You can do this thing, Pam. Do it well." My mother is the first to point out her shortcomings, though. You also might feel inadequate in your motherhood role for some reason, but that's what is so wonderful about God. He takes our best efforts and adds Himself to the mix, in spite of any inadequacies we feel as a parent or any imperfections in our environment. 20 * For Dads + sons too. a life that is a series of beautiful notes? The traits your daughter needs to see in you are: (( MY MOTHER'S WORDS ECHO IN MY HEART: TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, BE PART OF THE SOLUTION, AND SEARCH FOR GOD UNTIL YOU FIND HIM. )) Security Industry Nobility Generosity These are the same traits to begin weaving into her own life so she can live out God's song for her. SECURITY We know that teen girls today face tough decisions. Your daughter needs to feel secure and safe in her relationship with you. Doreen: First and foremost, I believe there must be the element of trust between mother and daughter. As our daughters begin to develop physically, it generally comes with a growing spirit of independence. Peer pressure often adds to this new spirit of wanting to see and try things differently. I am talking about small things – like the way they dress, speak, comb their hair, and so on. I am not referring to choices that endanger their lives. Demonstrating your trust in your daughter is the greatest gift you can give her at this stage of her life. Allow her to begin making As the maestro of your daughter's life, what are the main chords God would like you to play in her heart so that someday she can live 21
  12. 12. decisions about relatively small things that may be different from the choices you would make for her. Ask her first to present the alternatives with their pros and cons. Then ask her to explain her decision and the reasoning behind it. Share your perspective and recommendations when she asks for them. There will be times when you must stand firm for what you know protects her integrity or her future. At times, you prove your love by saying ‘No’. God will hold us accountable for the manner in which we do that. INDUSTRY Being a mom, you KNOW how much work life takes. Your daughter needs you to model and build into her a strong work ethic. Take a look at Proverbs 31 and note all the verbs from parts of the chapter below about the virtuous woman: (( your daughter needs to see you as a woman who respects herself, and she needs to learn how to have self-respect so she can value herself as god values her. )) 22 She brings, she selects, she gets up, she considers, she sets about her work vigorously, she sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Reward your daughter’s hard work as creatively as you can. NOBILITY Your daughter needs to see you as a woman who respects herself, and she needs to learn how to have self-respect so she can value herself as God values her. In a world fraught with pressure and societal expectations, it can be a challenge to help a young lady see herself from God's vantage point and make choices that reflect that viewpoint. You demonstrate trust by verbalizing your encouragement and challenging your daughter to make her own healthy choices. You show your respect for her by remaining silent when she makes choices you might not agree with and you allow her to experience the consequences, either good or bad, accordingly. While you have been entrusted by God to protect and nurture your daughter, there will be times she needs to make her own decisions. There may also be times you must confront her unhealthy behaviors or choices. Pray for wisdom in this area. If necessary, seek advice from other women you trust and respect. Keep in mind that instilling nobility in your daughter also requires addressing her sexual purity. Generations X and Y have been equipped with many wonderful books, seminars, and DVDs on this subject for teenage girls and their parents. The recommendation is that you establish some quality time to be spent taking advantage of one of these resources. Success will depend on your own and your daughter's comfort level (keeping in mind that it is sometimes necessary to move beyond comfort to address what is important). We are blessed to serve a God who redeems our brokenness. If your daughter has made wrong choices in this area, remind her that God forgives and honors her repentant heart. Talk freely about the importance of making the choice, regardless of past mistakes, to move forward with a determination to view her sexuality as a precious gift, meant only to be shared with the future husband God has for her. GENEROSITY Equip your daughter to be generous and kind. One way of doing this is by your own example. Are you generous? Generosity doesn't (( YOU HAVE THE HIGH CALLING TO BE A ROLE MODEL TO YOUR TEENAGE DAUGHTER, WITH A DESIRE TO CREATE A BOND THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME. )) automatically mean monetary gifts, though that can be a blessing to others. You can be generous with your time. Do you give to missions or charity organizations? Even if you give a small amount, caring for the less fortunate teaches your daughter that helping others – even in different countries – should be a priority to her. Presently, you have the high calling to be a role model to your teenage daughter, with a desire to create a bond that will last a lifetime. Pam: One of the skills I teach parents to do when raising a teen (and especially when dealing with a prodigal child) is to parent ‘by faith and not fear.’ It is always better to influence from a place of faith – not fear: Fear says, "Don't get pregnant before you are married." Faith says, "I know you will make wise relationship choices." Fear says, "Don't drive drunk! Don't do drugs!" Faith says, "l know I will hear a great report about you from the parents and leaders when I see them tomorrow." Fear says to a daughter, "I don't trust you." This makes her think, “My parents already think I’m going to do it, so I will try it. (Whatever sin "it" is.) Faith says just the opposite, "I trust you. I trust that you will honor God. I trust that you will honor our family. I trust that you will honor your friendship circle. I trust you will honor yourself and your inner core values." This isn't to say that she won't make mistakes along the way. Part of the growing process (for all of us) is learning from our mistakes. The key is to consistently be a source of love, trust and truth for her. Remember the simple acrostic SING and soon you will enjoy see- ing your daughter dance to the song God placed into her heart and into the bright future He has for her. WHO’S IN THE CHOIR? Since we're talking about singing, now is a good time to point out that it takes many voices to move a young woman forward in her life; her mom, her dad, and her mentors create a choir of wisdom that surrounds her life and help her sing the song God intended for her. Let's take a closer look at mentor/mom relationships. A mentor is often a mother's best advocate! At times, a mentor will confirm things that you have said numerous times to that precious young girl of yours, but which have not previously sunk in! She'll return home and share her new revelation with you! Oh, those moments when we mothers must join in our children's enthusiasm and rejoice that they had such an epiphany without saying a word or rolling our eyes! Pray, all three of you – mom, mentor, and daughter – trusting God together for the growth, wisdom, and strength that every young woman needs in order to forge a fantastic foundation for life and love. Your daughter will feel loved and valued as she sees you both spend your precious time on her behalf. It takes a choir around a soloist to really highlight her voice; in the same way, loving adults surrounding a Modern-Day Princess will make her life SING! Excerpted from Raising a Modern-Day Princess, Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna, a Focus on the Family book. Copyright ©2009, Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission. 23
  13. 13. ABIGAIL GOH help! i have NO TIME! Three Time Management Truths You Need to Know ecently an old CCMC friend who migrated to Australia a few years ago came back for a holiday with his family. I met them several times during the week, catching up, chatting about old times and eating his favourite hawker fare. Just before he left, I asked if he still misses Singapore as home. He nodded slightly but said our lifestyle here is too hectic. I retorted half in jest, ‘sure, go back and watch the grass grow.’ Much as we may be defensive, we have to admit that the general perception of friends residing in other countries is that our quality of life in Singapore is compromised by the hurried pace, and time is at a premium and in general shortage. Yet, busy as we may be, prime time television still finds its way into most households, and our numerous golf courses are usually filled with busy executives. The truth is that all of us, regardless of lifestyle, will always find time to do the things we like. After work, sleep and daily routines, there will always be some discretionary free time, and more on weekends, where we have a choice on how we expend it. The Bible says, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21). This is also true with time, as we love what we find time to do. Truth #1: You will always find time for things you like or feel are important enough. By TAN BUCK CHYE 24 Time management is a misnomer that Albert Einstein understood as an oxymoron, as time is a constant that cannot be managed. Everyone has the same amount of time and it cannot be saved or stored. It is also a great leveler in that, eventually, time will catch up with everyone. The only instance in history where time stood still was when God delayed the sun going down for about a full day to let Joshua defeat the five kings of the Amorites (Joshua 10:13). Instead of trying to manage time, what we can do is to improve our self-management so as to make better use of time, as the Apostle Paul exhorted the Ephesians: ‘Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise.’ (Ephesians 5:15). And as the Psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12). John Maxwell said we choose our life by how we spend time. Indeed, that is so, and how we spend our time is the sum total of choices we make based on values and attitudes we carry, and principles we live by. To improve our stewardship of time, we need a closer self examination so as to improve self management. Truth #2: You cannot manage time; you can only manage yourself. The late Peter Drucker, revered as the father of modern management and a respected Christian leader, had advocated strongly that to be effective is to ‘do the right things well’. Good self management then is not about being more disciplined in working harder and efficiently in getting things done faster, but in recognizing and doing the right things well. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 10:10 that ‘If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.’ We need to sharpen and work smarter, not just harder. To this end, an important lesson can be drawn from what our Lord Jesus told busy Martha, that only one thing was needed at that time. To be effective, we need to focus on important things to pursue as priorities. Everything on our plates to be done can be segregated into four categories as shown in the diagram (( we choose our life by how we spend time. indeed, that is so, and how we spend our time is the sum total of choices we make based on values and attitudes we carry, and principles we live by. )) 25
  14. 14. 3 1 ◀ ◀ U R G E N T 4 2 needed to follow through. Most of us tend to prefer avoiding the pain of discipline. It is often easier to laze around and perhaps watch some TV instead of going for a sweaty workout. To stay focused on set priorities, we need to recognize the tradeoffs: in this instance, avoiding the short term pain of exercise will lead to a longer term pain of regrets when our health becomes an issue. We need this clear perspective to keep motivated in effective self management. Three Success Secrets 1. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. I M PO RTANT just above. We will naturally attend to the important and urgent matters in category 1 first. After that, time should be allocated to important matters in category 2, instead of being dominated by the tyranny of the urgent in category 3. Unfortunately, we often unwisely neglect the important matters in category 2 which may not appear urgent. These are what Stephen Covey in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People called the big rocks in our life, such as our health and relationships. We will not drop dead even if we do not exercise, and our loved ones will not disown us even if we do not spend time with them. Over a sustained period though, category 2 matters will eventually migrate into category 1. We get into stress and crisis when we get too many matters in the urgent and important category to juggle. Effective people will recognize priorities and proactively allocate more time to make sure these are attended to. 26 Truth #3: Vital few and trivial many; life will clutter if you allow it. For most of my adult life, I have adopted a four-pronged approach to self management in recognition of the three truths shared above; expressed in the acronym below on how I PASS my time: TIME Prioritise Act on plans Schedule daily Self discipline I pursue priorities proactively and set goals regularly to galvanize action plans, and avoid procrastination. My activities and tasks are scheduled yearly and monthly in advance, and also weekly and daily in constant adjustments. Above all, self discipline is Jesus said in Matthew 6:32-33 that we should seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all other things we need will be given as well. God is sovereign, divine and supernatural. Putting God first in our equation of life will keep us in His perfect and pleasing will. He is the Rock we should focus on and on which to build our foundation in life. He is our refuge and deliverer, and will bring all things to pass in His good time. Some years ago, I met regularly with a small group of marketplace Christians for weekly early breakfast devotion. One of them is a regional Chief Executive of a large MNC and we were wondering how he managed to join us regularly despite his busy travelling schedule. His reply was that his work and life were so hectic that he just could not cope without Jesus; and that was why praying and sharing with a group of brothers was so important that he would not skip it. Why labor and sweat in our fallen self when Jesus wants to carry us in His arms? He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30) Since I was born again in Christ some 12 years ago, I have always sought to put Him first in my life. I can attest to the fact, as most of you will agree, that God is a debtor to no man and His arm is not too short for anything. As we honour Him, our God will meet all our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). 2. Develop & Maintain SAFE Margins. When we live life on the edge, we risk squeezing God as well as other important ‘big rocks’ out when we get too busy. The unexpected can often be expected in life, and wisdom calls for margins to be built and developed to insure a good balance in our body, mind, soul and emotional well being. MARGINS Spiritual margin Ability margin Financial margin Emotional margin Spiritual margin is built in our devotional life with God; ability margin in not biting more than we can chew, keeping one’s health in check with a regular exercise regime and moderate eating; financial margin is living below our means and staying out of debt; and emotional margin is gained by spending adequate time with family, friends and having ‘me’ time. Life is not a race towards our graves to cross into eternity. Take time to smell the roses, as they say. For me, I find it useful to schedule regular buffer periods in each week. This allows me the slack to accommodate spill-over work, unexpected tasks such as writing this article for you, and time I can devote to thinking, reading and mediating on God in solitude. When we eventually meet our Maker, I don’t think He will be asking how we had spent our time. We are called to be fruitful here on earth, to be His salt and light shining for Jesus. Only a life lived for Him will be fruitful for eternity. That is why it is a privilege for us to be able to serve Him. It is my prayer that more brothers and sisters in Christ will be led to want to give more precious time to serve Jesus and to stand up for Him. If God has burned this desire in you, I look forward to hearing from you. No matter how much time you have or which season of life you are in, God will honour your desire. The little boy on the plains had just five loaves and two fishes. In the hands of our Master, five thousand were fed. Give your best and God will do the rest. 3. Enjoy Your Journey (( LIFE IS NOT A RACE TOWARDS OUR GRAVES TO CROSS INTO ETERNITY… FOR ME, I FIND IT USEFUL TO SCHEDULE REGULAR BUFFER PERIODS DURING EACH WEEK. )) Tan Buck Chye and his family has been worshipping in CCMC since 1999. He is currently the church's Lay Leader, Chairman of PPRSC, as well as a Local Lay Preacher. He is active in marketplace and men’s ministries. 27
  15. 15. around me, however difficult it may be sometimes. Help me not to be conceited but to treat everyone equally, regardless of whether society considers them lowly or not. LYNN LOW (TONG) God's Amazing Grace In this issue, the Tong family who S.O.A.P.s together, shareS their devotions with us. RAYMOND TONG Harmony S: Rom 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. O: Do I live in harmony with the people around me? Am I too proud to associate with those who society deems of a lower position? Am I conceited? A: This verse holds many reminders for me. Firstly, the call to live in harmony is an important one. From the driver who cuts into my path without signaling, to the client with unreasonable demands, God’s command is pretty clear. Be they fellow brothers or sisters in Christ, we are to live in harmony with them all, however difficult it may be. Secondly, do we smile and greet the cleaners and security guards we see? Or are those smiles reserved for important clients and business associates? Yet another reminder that God loves everyone equally and that we as Christians, are to do the same. P: Lord, help me to live as Christ did, in harmony with everyone 28 S: Romans 3:22-24 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. O: All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. Yet God, with loving kindness and abounding grace, through His Son Jesus Christ, made us right before Him. This righteousness which God has graciously given us comes through simple faith in Jesus Christ. A: All of us, whether male or female, young or old, poor or rich, good or bad, kind or unkind, are totally undeserving of God's grace. Yet God, through His abundant love and the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, delivered us from the consequences of our sin. It is through faith, the belief that Christ Jesus died for our sins and rose again, that we are made right with God and saved from our sins. P: Dear God, humble me to realise that I am totally undeserving of your grace, and yet through your wonderful love and sacrifice, your grace is available to all. I thank you that it is through your loving grace alone, not by my works or merit, that I am made right before you. Unworthy as I am of your grace, there is no sin too great to lessen the abundance of the grace available to us. Thank you, Lord. Amen! JASON TONG How He Loves S: Deut 11: 14-15 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. O: God is all powerful, he does not need to love me, nor do I deserve it. God could have chosen to make my life terrible, laugh at me, torture me, but God is love. He chose to care for each and everyone of us and for that we need to be grateful. We always will have the mighty and powerful God on our side because He first chose to love us. A: Do I deserve anything I have? No. Do I have any reason to judge or feel superior to another? No. I need to start realising how each of us is the same, undeserving, weak, but loved. Whether or not another one is Christian, I must love him/ her and not feel superior or judge, because I am as underserving. I must love them with the love of God. P: Dear Father, may I marvel at your power and majesty, but most of all, at your LOVE. May I desire to love others the same way as you love each of us. Amen. people there. When we read this verse, we find out that the goal of Timothy's mission is love. This stems from three things: a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. How do these three things add up to love? Verse 6 says that those who wander away from these things will have meaningless talk. Therefore, we must assume that these things bring meaning to whatever is said. A: How can I have love in my life? I need to embody these three important values that join together to form love. We must remember that the ultimate goal is love; that means it is the end point, the target which we want to fulfil. P: Dear Lord, help me to have love in my life. Help me to have a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith in order to achieve the goal which is love. Amen. NICOLE TONG Childlike Faith S: Matt 18:4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. KEVIN TONG O: Jesus told the disciples that whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. O: The command probably was Paul's instructions to Timothy to stay in Ephesus to minister to the P: Dear God, please help me have this childlike faith, this real faith, this innocent childlike faith so that I can glorify you in all things that I do. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. What Shapes Love S: 1 Tim 1:5-6 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. A: We must humble ourselves, be teachable and have faith that is unchangeable, that is there forever, real faith, like a child, an innocent child, to totally believe in Jesus Christ. That is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. SOAP A YEAR OF SOAP BY LAU SHI MEI Reading the Bible once through AND enjoying it. Check. What’s on your checklist of 'to do' things for the year ahead? For me, reading the Bible once through was rarely on my list. After all, previous attempts were either forgettable (I struggled through) or utter failures (I gave up halfway). And so for many years, my quiet time diet consisted of devotionals. My Utmost for His Highest, Our Daily Journey and Our Daily Bread were my faithful companions. It was a wonderful season of hearing from God through these trusted guides. I loved the variety and relevance of the messages. God spoke, and often it was powerful. In March last year, I was introduced to the world of S.O.A.P. – Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Just four simple steps to conquer the entire Bible. Armed with these tools, my Bible, journal and reading plan, I dived right into it. And I haven’t looked back since. Suddenly, the huge 'task' of reading the entire Bible in one year was made magically simple. Just focus on ONE thing that speaks to you each day. I was freed from the pressure of having to absorb everything at one go. Instead, I could pick out one verse (or a few) that really spoke to me, and meditate on those. S.O.A.P. helped me digest the Bible one tasty morsel at a time. No more biting off more than I can chew and suffering indigestion. Journalling down my thoughts also brought clarity and focus to what I was learning. It helped cement what I sensed God was saying to me. God is speaking to us, every day! My S.O.A.P. journals remind me of that. My spiritual muscles have grown too. I learnt to persevere through difficult passages in the Bible to uncover the ONE thing that God was saying to me. I learnt to think for myself – to draw my own observations and applications. Verses were read in context – making my understanding of the Bible richer and deeper. In the past year, the Bible has come alive in an amazing way for me. I am proud to say that I have read the Bible once through, AND enjoyed it! 29 29
  16. 16. E EDUCATING our children ABIGAIL GOH for Today and Tomorrow they are off children not when on the way go, and even they should Start turn from it. old they will Proverbs 22:6 DR PAUL HAWKINS In today’s world where children have access to seemingly limitless information on the Internet and all manner of opinions on the myriad of social media platforms, what role does education have in the spiritual health of our children and whose responsibility is it? 30 very child has an intellect that needs to be challenged and trained, a physical body that should be kept healthy and built up, emotions that ought to be positively nurtured, a will that requires modulation, and a spirit which must be inspired and elevated. Today’s educators are committed to training the intellect, the body and sometimes help to build boundaries for emotional stability. However, perhaps the most important part of a child’s makeup – his spirit – is frequently neglected. How does one train a child’s spirit through education? The above leads us into a discussion on the philosophy of education. Many switch off when the word ‘philosophy‘ is used. However, we are all in a sense philosophers because we have a way of seeing ourselves and the world around us. That is our philosophy of life – our worldview – which affects all we do. In An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, Dr Ralph Kneller of the University of California Los Angeles wrote, “To educate men wisely we must know what we educate them to become. To know this, it is necessary to ask what men live for – what's the purpose of life and what sort of life should it be? In any walk of life we must have a philosophy of our own in order to know where we are going.… We cannot deal adequately with any single subject until we have a working knowledge of what it means to exist, to know, to value, to inquire into things in general.” The late Dr Derek Prince, Oxford graduate and respected international Bible teacher stated: “One of the most urgent needs of our contemporary culture is to restore the moral foundations of education which have been eroded by a false, humanistic set of values.… To train the intellect, but (( ONE OF THE MOST URGENT NEEDS OF OUR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE IS TO RESTORE THE MORAL FOUNDATION OF EDUCATION…. TO TRAIN THE INTELLECT, BUT MAKE NO PROVISION FOR THE HEART, IS A PROCESS WHICH CREATES MORE PROBLEMS THAN IT SOLVES. )) – DEREK PRINCE 31
  17. 17. (( Equipping our children with knowledge without the moral means of
using that knowledge to benefit others, will only serve to reinforce selfcenteredness and selfishness we see so evident in the global community today. )) 32 make no provision for the heart, is a process which creates more problems than it solves.” Even the founders of Harvard University understood this as evidenced by the founding motto of the university: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning and seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself to prayer in secret to seek it of Him." Dr Abbott Lawrence Lowell, President of Harvard University (1909-1933) once visited a laboratory in the university where experiments were being done on earthworms to see if their behavior could be affected by outside stimuli. After the visit, he wrote, “[These earthworms] have been changed by this Harvard course, but I can’t say they are any better earthworms for having been at Harvard.” What a straight-forward statement. Are our children better for having been educated? Dr Harold Taylor, former president of Yale University in Student, Teacher and Values wrote, “Education is… a process of growth and development… the content of education is not a body of knowledge. It is a cluster of attitudes, feelings, perceptions, insights, abilities, and skills, of which the ability to think independently and clearly is of the first importance, and the ability to experience life fully and honestly is certainly of no less value.” We certainly would not disagree with Dr Taylor on the need to develop thinking skills but the need for character development is also of utmost importance. Perhaps that is what he meant by “the ability to experience life fully and honestly.” This is highlighted by John Alexander in Education: A Christian View when he states, “The overriding purpose of a Christian educator (and of a Christian school) is to help people gladly obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, to help a person learn to think; to construct good questions, to formulate true answers, to observe carefully, to analyze, to remember, to recall useful information, to employ imagination creatively and constructively, to associate ideas.” Thus, we must understand the need to educate our children in the whole truth, not selective information or mere knowledge. Dr Cornelius van Til, professor of apologetics at Westminster Seminary in the United States for forty years, wrote: “The end of all knowledge getting should be the attainment of an understanding of life as it is. Knowledge consists of knowing who God is, who man is, and what the external world is. God is the completely original and exclusively original personality which serves as the foundation for the meaning of all human predication. Only on this Biblical foundation can a pupil know himself or the world he lives in.” Equipping our children with knowledge without the moral means of
using that knowledge to benefit others, will only serve to reinforce self-centeredness and selfishness we see so evident in the global community today. How can we accomplish this character development? According to Os Guinness in Time For Truth, "Character was traditionally understood
as the inner form that makes anyone or anything what it is... Character was the deep selfhood, the essential stuff a person is
made of, the core reality in which thoughts, words, decisions, behavior, and relationships
are rooted. As such, character determined behavior just as behavior demonstrated
character. Character was who we are when
no one sees us – but God," One could call this the result of spiritual education. For years I have always reacted to the statement, “Parents have the ultimate responsibility for the education of their children.” I didn’t know why that was the case. It seemed to put a heavy weight on my shoulders that I was unable to joyfully bear. Over the years, my wife and I have realized we are not capable of meeting all of our sons’ needs. We have had the privilege of living in a Christian community which has provided a Christian school for our children and I have been involved in its direction and leadership for many years serving as teacher, headmaster and overseer. During a conference with my associates in the faculty of education where I served as associate dean, this issue came up. Because of the open relationships in the group I was free to say, “Every time one of you says that a parent carries the ultimate responsibility for the education of his children, I react. Can we find out why?” An intense discussion followed resulting in the following understanding: A parent carries the ultimate accountability for the education of his child, but it is a shared responsibility with the body of Christ. When it was first verbalized my response was, “Yes, that’s it!” I knew we had hit on something that I had been trying to verbalize for years. The statement freed me from a heavy weight. I understood that the spiritual/character education was my responsibility, but it also required others in the body of Christ to be responsible. In that way, it made me accountable to the body of Christ how I taught and brought up my children. There is no doubt our children are facing a troubled world and need to be equipped to handle the issues that they will face, many of which we older generations have not faced. We are required to take a closer look at their needs. Of certainty, one hour a week of religious instruction is no longer sufficient. Home, church and school must function together in a reinforcing balance to prepare this unique generation to face the world most adults have not faced. If the local church does not fulfill her responsibility to work with the parents and the Christian educator, we will not see God’s purposes fulfilled for this generation. It is not just the responsibility of the parents. It is the responsibility of the whole body of Christ whom parents are accountable to. Dr Paul Hawkins serves in Youth With A Mission and was formerly dean of the faculty of education in YWAM's University of the Nations. 33
  18. 18. PAUL By profession, Paul was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3). Paul went to Macedonia after having a dream of a Macedonian man pleading with him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (Acts 16:9). Born in Tarsus, circumcised on the eighth day, an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew and a Pharisee, zealously persecuted the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. (Philippians 3:5-6). Z Saul met Jesus in a blinding light on the road to Damascus and was converted (Acts 9:3-7). IA On his second missionary journey, Paul saw an altar to 'the unknown god' in Athens and proclaimed to the Athenians that God had been revealed by Jesus Christ (Acts 17:16-34). BLAM! DAMASCUS BOOM! BOOM! UNKNOWN GOD CRASH! CRASH! Manga by GILLIAN GOH In Damascus, Ananias baptised Saul and Saul was healed of his blindness (Acts 9:17-19). On his third missionary journey, Paul preached in Jerusalem and was arrested and sent to Caesarea where he testified before Felix and King Agrippa (Acts 21-25). Saul set out on his first missionary journey to Cyprus (Acts 13:4-6). Saul (a Jewish name associated with King Saul) changed his name to the Latin name Paul (which means 'small') (Acts 13:9). Paul claimed trial before Caesar. He was shipwrecked on the way to Rome (Acts 27). BLAM! SAUL CY PR US HELP! ZZ Paul and his friend Silas were imprisoned for casting out a spirit from a slave girl. God caused an earthquake and they escaped (Acts 16:16-34). SAAAUL! SAAAUL! WHY DO YOUU PERSECUUUUTE MEEE? THIS W Y TO A Z MACEDON ANTIOCH PAUL CRASH! BOOM! Paul was imprisoned and wrote a number of his letters to the churches while in prison (Acts 27) before he was martyred.
  19. 19. Francesco 'Architetto' Rollandin CC BY 2.0 Food for Thought FATHER'S VOICE Rules for Self Discovery: 1. What we want most. 2. What we think about most. 3. How we use our money. 4. What we do with our leisure time. 5. The company we enjoy. 6. Who and what we admire. 7. What we laugh at. ― A.W. Tozer -------------------We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks. A unified Church is the only offering we dare present to the coming Christ, for in it alone will He find room to dwell. – Charles H. Brent -------------------Again and again in public and private devotion the Lord's Prayer is taken on hurried lips, and recited at a pace which makes impossible any realization of its tremendous claims and profound demands. – Evelyn Underhill 36 + BY LESLIE QUAHE My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. John 6:27 The two most beautiful sounds to my ears are the sound of my wife’s voice and the sound of my children laughing. This would be true for audible sounds that I pick up with my human ears. But I would like to add that the most beautiful sound to my spiritual ears is the sound of God’s voice. Many have asked me how they would know it is God’s voice and not their imagination. For many years, I struggled to answer that question with credence and not cliché. It is only recently that I realized the answer is to be found in spending time in His presence. That is to say, if we spend much time in His presence, we will start to recognize His voice. I remember watching several shepherds in Israel chatting with one another while their sheep intermingled. I wondered how they would sort out which sheep belonged to which shepherd? That question was soon answered when they got up to leave and each shepherd began to call out to his sheep. To my fascination, the sheep separated and followed after their own shepherd even though the shepherds were moving off in different directions and all calling at the same time. Looking at the different brand marks on the sheep, it was obvious none of them were following the wrong shepherd. We were city folk watching this phenomenon, but Jesus’ audience would have understood immediately what He was saying. From ‘lambhood’ the sheep would have learned to recognize the voice of the shepherd who had delivered, fed and cared for them. That is why they know his voice and follow Him. Just as we long to discern God’s voice, I believe He delights in listening in on us. The Psalmist has told us that He inhabits the praises of His people. When God listens in on our lives and He hears praise and thanksgiving, He graces us with His presence and He inhabits our praise. I have often listened in on my wife, Lin, playing with our daughters in their room. There is such an indescribable joy and peace to listen to them particularly when they get animated, and excited chatter is mixed with peals of laughter. As the sound of their joy fills our home and moves my fatherly heart, I can’t help but move to join them. How much more does our heavenly Father delight in our joy and praise. Fill your life and being with praise and thanksgiving and soon you will learn to recognise His voice singing and rejoicing with you. Leslie Quahe is a leader of Bangna Christian Fellowship in Bangkok. Joy g a l is the f he from t h wn hig y heart! flo fm astle o c * S NNANT PE RAISE P KE TO MA 37
  20. 20. What you need: Scissors, glue, 2 pairs of disposable chopsticks. What to do: 1. Cut out the pennants. 2. Cut out the symbols for the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s love, the Holy Spirit, and the Lordship of Christ. 3. Paste a symbol on each side of the pennants. 4. Apply glue along both sides of the dotted line on each pennant. 5. Put one chopstick on the dotted line, fold, and glue. 38 39
  21. 21. News Bites NEW CHOIR 40 The new CCMC 11 am choir was formed by God's grace (pun intended). When the Worship and Music Ministry leaders heard that our new pastor's wife, Grace, has a lovely singing voice and had experience conducting choirs, they asked her to form and lead the 11 am choir, and she agreed. Grace has proved to be a very able and encouraging conductor. Their son, Benedict, is our pianist, and eldest daughter, Angeline, sings as a soprano. Evangeline, their youngest daughter, helps to set up the chairs for our practices. The choir practises every Sunday from 9.30 am in the MGS Music Elective Programme Room. From the word 'go', it has sung at every 11 am service except when there are combined services. For a typical service, the choir sings a choral introit, an anthem during the offering, and a choral benediction. The choir currrently has 20 members, inclusive of conductor and pianist. Its first practice was on 21 April 2013, and made its debut, with a couple of reinforcements, at the 11 am service on Mother's Day. Grace was both speaker and choir conductor that day. The anthem was 'The Blessing Song', adapted for Mother's Day. Wong Yueh-ti, a soprano in the choir, said, "Although musical excellence is desirable, what is more important to our conductor is our heart attitude – singing the words with sincerity and conviction with the aim of blessing the congregation." Thus, Grace makes every effort to draw the choir's attention to the meaning of the lyrics of a song by explaining them clearly or by telling the story behind it. Yueh-ti continued, "The anthem that we are going to sing next month, 'He is No Fool', is based on the quote by the missionary martyr Jim Elliot – He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. When Grace first introduced this song to us, she took the trouble to tell us the story of Jim Elliot's martyrdom for the sake of bringing the Gospel of Christ to the savage Aucas of Ecuador. This is what makes our practices inspiring as they focus beyond technique to include discipleship." All are welcome to join the 11 am choir. If you are interested, please contact Maureen Wang at maureen.wang@ccmc.org.sg. ALTAR MINISTRY REVIVED The post-9 am service prayer ministry was re-started in March. Two teams of usually same-gender prayer partners, drawn from a pool of 14 members – each approved by the pastoral staff – pray with those from the congregation who require prayer support. CCMC GETS A BOHEMIA BABY GRAND PIANO When a church member heard that CCMC wanted to replace the electric piano in the chapel with a new electronic instrument, this member generously donated a Bohemia baby grand piano on condition of anonymity. Thus, our church has become the proud owner of a most distinguished, quality instrument. The Bohemia piano factory began making pianos in 1871. After Word War Two and the nationalization of commerce in Czechoslovakia, the government used the name Petrof for all the countries’ piano factories. In 1989, the new government began gradually giving back companies to former owners or creating management buyouts in 41
  22. 22. News Bites 42 the interest of privatization. Thus, the Bohemia Piano Company was formed when its employees became the owners. Bohemia originally handcrafted just vertical pianos, and its grand piano factory was built only in 2000, with an annual grand piano production of 180 pianos. In 2005, Bohemia was purchased by the famous German Bechstein company and Bohemia was once again brought to new heights. The total Bohemia production today is less than 2000 pianos in capacity, far below world demand. In fact, the 2001 full edition of Larry Fine's Piano Book, did not list any Bohemia piano because there was no Bohemia piano in the U.S. for him to review. In subsequent years, Fine consistently ranked Bohemia as a 'Group 2' high performance piano, a category dominated by small, cherished European brands. By comparison, Yamaha, Kawai, and all Korean pianos are ranked as 'Group 3'. The Bohemia piano line is incredibly lyrical and musical – qualities that have eluded massproduced pianos. News Bites THE BOOK BUS ROARS INTO SFSC COVENANT KIDS TEACHERS TRAINING Thirty-five Covenant Kids (CK) teachers met on Saturday, 25 May, at Pines Country Club to officially meet Pastor John Foo and his wife, Grace, and receive his teaching about the Core Truths of our Faith. In preparation for the training, the sub-committee for Church School curriculum comprising Lee Yin Siau, Tjio Bee Ann and Goh Eck Kheng had drafted SSOT – Simple Statements of Truth (e.g. God is all powerful; He used his great power in creation) drawn from the core truths. During the training, teachers were asked to choose Bible stories which highlights particular SSOT and core truths. In this way, CK will be better able to teach the core truths more comprehensively no matter what Sunday School curriculum is used. Pastor John began his talk by saying that he was given an impossible task: teaching the entire truth of the Christian faith in 45 minutes. He however, highlighted some key points that Sunday School teachers often find challenging to communicate. These included the Trinity, and creation in the light of science. Please continue to pray and join hands with CK teachers as they nurture the spiritual life of your children together with you. Two weeks' collection of new and pre-loved books in church for the Sembawang Family Service Centre (SFSC) Book Bus Project made some 500 quality titles available to 25 families in the centre's Kid's Read programme. The range, which would have warmed any librarian's heart, included books by such respected authors as Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, and Dr Seuss – all in good condition. Thus, a heavily laden Book Bus trundled up to Sembawang on Saturday, 2 June and the books were displayed in SFSC's Students' Care Centre. The programme that afternoon was in three parts. The children, mainly aged 5-8, were told stories from the Mooty Mouse series by it's author Jessie Wee, who had just a week before been given the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in Children's Literature by the Asian Festival of Children's Content organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore. Ho Sau Kuen, Director of SFSC, said, "Our children are usually quite active and I was initially a bit concerned about how they would behave. But they were engrossed by Jessie who is such a great story teller." While the children relished the stories, their parents attended a talk on the importance of reading for leisure at home given by Kenny Leck, the owner of independant bookshop, Books Actually. Kenny shared candidly about how his life was transformed as a child growing up in Toa Payoh by the books his taxi-driver father and housewife mother lavished on him. Kenny was so impressed by the project that he has volunteered to be involved in follow-up sessions. The highlight of the afternoon was choosing books to start home libraries. Each family had already received a set of Jessie Wee's books most generously donated by the author and a well-wisher. Following instructions, each child selected three books to take home; the number was lismited so that the children would make a more considered decision as to which books they really wanted. Parents were then reminded about one main point in Kenny's talk: Allow your children to choose the books that interest them; don't expect them to read books they are not interested in. Sau Kuen said of the pilot project, "Parents actually see the importance of reading and would like their children to read more but may not know how. Our Book Bus Project is the first step and we hope to organise more rounds so that more parents and kids will benefit." Thus, the remaining books will be kept for the next session. Books at home is the light to the opportunities of the world. We sincerely hope to see that happen in the SFSC community. If you have news and events you would like to share with the church community via Loaves+Fishes, please write to ccmcloavesfishes@ gmail.com 43
  23. 23. Songs & Singers Zach Sobiech ABIGAIL GOH CLOUDS JÖRG LOHRER BY CC 2.0 (( I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW: YOU DON'T HAVE TO FIND OUT YOU'RE DYING TO START LIVING. )) 44 How do I get my kids to wake up on time for church on Sundays? BY LESTER NG One day, Zach Sobiech, a Minnesotan teenager, came home from jogging with a pain in his hip. A trip to the hospital and an MRI later, at 14, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that inflicts mostly children. In May 2012, after exhausting all treatment options, he was told by doctors that he had a year to live. As a way to say his goodbyes, he penned the song 'Clouds', which was uploaded to YouTube in December 2012 Listening to 'Clouds', you do not hear a teenager resigned to misery and despair. Instead, it starts off with the bright chimes of a glockenspiel before Zach launches into a catchy and folksy melody with a voice CNN says is, “kind of reminiscent of Jack Johnson’s.” Dear Abigail, Well I fell down, down, down Into this dark and lonely hole There was no one there to care about me anymore And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge You were sitting there holding a rope And we’ll go up, up, up But I’ll fly a little higher We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer Up here my dear It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now As a song about facing death, 'Clouds' has served to touch millions of people around the world with its expression of bravery, hope and positivity. In a video on SoulPancake’s YouTube channel, Zach is described as “someone you can trust will always be smiling the next day despite his condition,” and this comes through in his music. Zach describes his own philosophy as, “It is really simple actually: it’s just try and make people happy.” With this outlook on life, Zach’s aim of spreading his message of making the world a better place is on its way to being accomplished. 'Clouds' reached No. 1 on the iTunes Singles Chart in May 2013. Speaking about the experience of battling cancer with her son, Zach’s mother said, “I think that is actually one of the blessings of cancer – that you kind of come out of denial and so, in doing that, things are better; life is richer, everything means more, beauty is more beautiful.” Zach's four-year-long battle with cancer ended on 20 May 2013. He had just turned 18 on 3 May. At his funeral, his friend and songwriting partner Sammy Brown shared, “He has taught me to see beauty and joy in everything… Life gave my friend Zach a lot – but life gave us Zach, and we can always be thankful for that.” The funeral ended with the congregation joining together to sing 'Clouds'. With his passing, Zach leaves behind a legacy of music through songs of love and hope. The lessons from Zach's life are ones that we can learn from. His life is a reminder of what is important in life: cherish the ones you love, be grateful for what you have and learn not to take a single day for granted. Get me to the church on time Dear Get me to the church on time, Same as when you get them to the airport on time. Leaving on a jet plane, Abigail Dear Abigail, ASK ABIGAIL I overheard some church members talking about a 5 o'clock service. The perfect one for my family, I thought. Hubby and I can sleep in on Sunday morning, we can take time to organise the kids and go out for brunch. So, last Sunday, we went to the 5 o'clock service and got there well ahead of time (unheard of for us at the 9 am service) but the auditorium was locked. So we went up to the chapel, thinking that the service might be there, but it was locked too. At first we thought we were too early, but at 5.15 there was no one around except for some rowdy people near the school field. If a service is going to be cancelled, it should really have been announced ahead of time. Frustrated Dear Frustrated, I am delighted to know that you and your family are game to try a new service. You are ace! There is, as you said, an advantage to going to church on time, indeed early. Although what happened is no fault on your part, you are advised that the baseline is to check the nature and times of church services well be-forehand. We do have a first service at 9 am, and a second service at 11. To avoid a double fault, please note that the said 5 o'clock service relates to the tennis service when CCMC members meet on the court for games. Still, I do invite you and your family to join in this love game. After all tennis is very Biblical. Genesis 41:64 says: Jospeh served in Pharoh's court. Following through, Abigail Dear Abigail, My MGS daughter announced yesterday that she no longer wants to go to CCMC. She doesn't want to go to school seven days a week. How can I change her mind? MG Mum Dear MG Mum, Send her for a lobotomy. Alternatively, tell her that she can do these things in school on Sunday but not on weekdays: (1) Wear her hair down (2) Wear her skirt up (3) Get dropped off in the principal's car park lot. (4) Meet boys (5) Ride the lift Mastering, Growing and Serving – Yours, Abigail Dear Abigail, The men served such an outstanding breakfast on Mothers' Day. Will they prepare breakfast for us the whole year through? Foodie Dear Foodie, I am on diet and you want to send temptation my way? Get thee behind me! Hoping to be svelte, Abigail 45
  24. 24. ABIGAIL GOH MOMS aT WORK In 1819, the Malay scholar Munshi Abdullah complained: 'I felt really distressed when I saw that it was women who sold in the market and women who hawked goods…' So, mums at work is as old as the history of modern Singapore itself. But the choice of occupations outside the home was limited until the education of girls took root, the first school being St Margaret's in 1842. With literacy, horizons widened and soon the opportunity of tertiary education gave women like Lee Choo Neo and Teo Soon Kim the ability to become the first doctor and barrister in Singapore in 1919 and 1929 respectively. However, this did not signal the start of the phenomenon of working mums. Most women, once married, resigned from work and took on the twin roles of wife and mother. This was even after the transformation of women's role in society with rapid industrialisation in the 1960s and 1970s, and the expectation that they contribute to the national economy. The lure of financial and psychological independance happened in the 1990s with significant impact. A survey in 1995 showed that 31 percent of women contributed to half or more of family income in dual-career households. By 2000, 45 percent of Singapore households were dualincome with 675,000 women in the workforce. This figure swelled to 942,000 in 2012. The challenge of work-life balance of Singaporean women has thus been called 'Three Paradoxes' in a 1999 study: the expectation of being both corporate amazon and super mum, facing conflict between work and family, yet still hitting glass ceilings in managerial positions. 46 MARLENE KOH Branch Head, SAF Counselling Centre, MINDEF Mother of three, aged 17, 13 and 11 Work is a sacred vocation. Is this true for you? Work is not only a sacred vocation, but I consider my vocation sacred too. In my job as a counsellor, I have the opportunity to help people deal with their struggles, and guide them in making better choices in their lives. As an SAF counsellor, I counsel service personnel in distress and help them negotiate transitions and downturns in life. I have met many young men who come to me with a variety of problems, such as, difficulties in adjusting to national service, in relationships, and their growing-up pains. I have also met and helped other personnel with career, marital, and family problems. Although I have considered stopping work, and have the opportunity to be a stay-home-mum, I have always felt I should continue working. This is because my work is meaningful and I can make a difference in many people's lives. God has given me this gift of be- ing able to help and encourage people, and I feel that I should use it fully. And, through the people that I meet and help, I have also gained in terms of perspectives, experiences and personal growth. What are your priorities in work-life harmony? My family comes first, above all my other commitments. I have learned to juggle multiple roles. I have found that a better way, as a working mother, is to be there for my kids as much as I can, and when it matters; and to also allow other caregivers (i.e., grandparents, home helpers, teachers, tutors, coaches) to play a part in helping me raise my kids. After all, it takes a village to raise a child, not just me. My kids have also learned that while my husband and I are deeply committed to them, we have other family obligations, work and church responsibilities to fulfil. They are proud of our achievements as we are of theirs. They also know the importance of dad and mum needing couple time. For a happy marriage is the pillar of a happy life. What challenges have you faced in balancing work and family? When our daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblas- tic leukaemia at the end of 2009. It was the saddest point of my life as a mother. The treatments that Rachel had to undergo were intensive and harsh; and any mother would know how painful it is to see your own child suffer. As if this rollercoaster journey with Rachel was not enough, I had to also be there for my father who came down with lung cancer in 2010. It was quite tough having to cope with two major illnesses in the family at the same time. But through it all, our family stayed tightly knitted – the kids learned to be more independent, and to appreciate the little good things that came along. My husband, David, was and is my greatest supporter, mentor and best friend. We knew we could count on each other no matter what happened. Together, we placed our trust in God, knowing that He would see us through be- (( I HAVE FOUND THAT A BETTER WAY, AS A WORKING MOTHER, IS TO BE THERE FOR MY KIDS AS MUCH AS I CAN, AND WHEN IT MATTERS. )) 47

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