General Superintendent Greetings
At the turn of 2021, Singapore entered into Phase 3 of reopening, easing restrictions and allowing the resumption of many more activities in our nation. Many of our churches have since restarted services on-site.
Coming to church is no longer the same. Seat reservations are needed. Our preferred timings are no longer available. We can’t sing our hearts out unto the Lord. We can’t fellowship in church after services. We leave quickly in separate paths once services end.
But before we get so focused on what we can’t have – Church is FIRSTLY about God.
It’s not about returning to what we had before COVID-19. It’s about returning to the Lord’s house with reverence and honor.
Are we a people with deep conviction or are we directed by convenience? How passionate are we for the Lord? Are we willing to change our schedules and be inconvenienced to be back in the house of the Lord?
Is God FIRST in our hearts? Do we truly believe that “one day in the house of the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10)? The new norm is a true test of our convictions. It will require us to press forward despite the changes.
We need to press forward so that we will not become complacent and think that we have arrived. As Paul exhorts the church in Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it…”
We need to press forward with a Correct Perspective.
If you haven’t been eager to return to the house of the Lord because services are still available online and being on-site requires more effort, you need to change your perspective.
The online church is not the new norm. God is not and cannot be relegated to a screen presence. It’s not a matter of technological advancement. Rather the new norm is a deep resolve to seek the Lord with greater discipline and dedication.
Just as how athletes push themselves physically to be race-ready, there are spiritual disciplines that cannot be compromised if we want to be disciples of Jesus Christ! Paul, the apostle, had that correct perspective that was the right posture for growth.
Our lives should revolve around God. He isn’t an agenda on our calendar where we attempt to be more efficient in fulfilling a spiritual duty. Jesus is the center of our lives and the church!
Once we get a correct perspective, we need to live it out!
“But one thing I do…””
We need to press forward with a Core Purpose.
It’s hard to press forward in one direction if you are pulled in all directions by various priorities. The Bible is very clear “seek first the kingdom” (Matthew 6:33), “love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength” (Luke 10:27), “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2).
If we look into the word “one” – it means the main thing. It refers to the one thing that is before all others. It’s what is done FIRST.
Paul was stating his emphasis. His one thing, his main thing is living “heavenward”. Everything he did stemmed from his core purpose. Paul was relentless in preaching the Gospel from town to town, prison to prison – because his core purpose was to live for God. To make Christ known. To raise disciples. To plant churches.
I believe the church whose core purpose is heavenward in Christ Jesus is a powerful church. COVID-19 may have brought about limitations and restrictions – but if our core purpose is heavenward – we will be unlimited and unstoppable in Christ!
I believe the Christian whose core purpose is heavenward in Christ Jesus is a powerful Christian. COVID-19 may have brought about inconveniences – but if our core purpose is heavenward – we will be determined to overcome every challenge that seeks to dilute our passion for God!
When our core purpose is Christ FIRST – it will be seen in how we press forward in doing missions in this new climate. It will be seen in how we press forward in coming back to the house of the Lord. It will be seen in how we press forward in reaching the lost, in serving, and in discipleship.
As we press forward into 2021, let’s examine our hearts and our purposes. As the Spirit of God reveals the place of God in our hearts, let’s take time to align and let Christ be in the center of our lives.