As it is in Heaven

A glimpse of what it might be like when we worship God in heaven.

at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
   to the glory of God the Father.


What’s the point of Life?

If you want to find out, join us at Church of Singapore (Marine Parade) this Saturday, 4th Feb, 3pm.

youthalpha is a place meant for you to ask anything!

Anything at all! About God, the universe, creation, evolution, morals, religions, etc..

Hope to see you there!

Sing on Sundays

A video that a classmate shared with my class:

Are we not all convicted? At some point of time in our Christian lives, we must have felt a bit like that, if not a lot. Many times we sing on Sundays, we just “go through the motion”. We sing the songs because we are expected to. I must confess there are some times I can sing the songs without even thinking about what I’m singing! I know the lyrics so well that my mind can be thinking about other things while singing.

Isaiah 29:13
The Lord says:

   “These people come near to me with their mouth 
   and honor me with their lips, 
   but their hearts are far from me. 
Their worship of me 
   is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Worship is about the posture of the heart towards God. Singing without meaning is not worship at all. Singing is merely a tool to express our worship to God, and we do have many other ways to express it. The first time worship was mentioned in the Bible was when Abraham was tested to sacrifice his son on the altar. In Genesis 22:5,

He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham saw the sacrifice of his son as worship to God. Now let me clarify, that the act of sacrifice is not worship. The act of obedience was. Only sacrifice in true obedience to God’s instruction is worship. So we not only worship God with song, but with the lives that we live- in complete obedience to God. This is the posture of the heart that produces real worship. With that in mind, we can also ask ourselves if we are really surrendered to God. Many times we declare our surrenderedness during altar calls and camps. But the act of surrender is a daily affair. The decision we make at the altar is only positional surrenderedness. The lives we live in obedience to God is true surrendering and thus, true worship.

Next, let’s talk about singing of His love only on Sundays. 😀 Is this Biblical? Of course!

Philippians 4:4
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

If everyday is surrendered to the Lord, then we must be in constant acknowledgement and awareness of the life that we are living- a life that seeks to glorify God. Personally, when I received this revelation, my heart was so full of God that every moment of the day, I could not help but sing and praise the Lord! Even when there was no song in my heart, I would speak and praise God for who He is. When I am walking to school, to church, on the bus, at home… This may sound weird at the start, but it is only a natural response when we stand in awe of His holiness and love. We just cannot help but want to praise Him! Praising God should be an every day affair.

The last point I would like to draw from the video is that worship is wholly and totally about God. It has got nothing to do with our song preference, the style of the worship leader, or whether the song ministers to us or not. So what if we’ve sung that song for years? Or if we feel dry and don’t feel like singing songs  at all? Worship was never about us. It’s about our Holy and Almighty God! When we sleep early the previous night, or leave home early so that we won’t be late- those are all acts of worship to God. Let us do our best to make sure that when God comes to receive our worship, we have the best performance we can give to Him.

Let’s make sure we live out what we sing, say and commit in obedience and worship to our God.

What language do you speak?

I’ve started school at School of Ministry yesterday, and it has been really awesome. Every moment during the lectures, the Holy Spirit was ministering to me and changing my heart and my life. This week we’ve been learning about Praise and Worship, and I felt compelled to share on a certain issue here.

Being through 2 years of National Service, many guys would know the way people speak in there. Every single moment of the day, I would hear various expressions of anger, discontent or injustice through words. Now these words are so commonly used that they become part of people’s speech, whether they are using it in anger or not. Of course, I am referring to vulgarities.

I believe that Christians would generally not speak like that, but how about things like “Oh my God”or “damn”? They may seem less harmful or less vulgar, but they are not.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
Exodus 20:7

Our God is the creator of the universe, the strong and mighty God who gives, who takes away, who judges and gives mercy. He is the God who loves and sent His Son to die for us. He is the God who rose from the dead. He surpasses all time, who was, who is, and is to come! If we proclaim Him to be our one true God, how can we, with the same mouth use His name to curse!

You must understand that we are talking about something serious here. It is not “try to reduce the number of times you say it”, or “maybe we can use words that don’t talk about God”. You would have missed the point. Too often we see God as our Closest Friend, our Provider, our Strong Tower, our Refuge and Strength. These are not wrong, but when was the last time we acknowledged God as the great and mighty God, the King over our lives?

Our generation of youth are seeking God fervently, taking part in Charismatic activities. They want to seek and know and feel God in their lives. The want the power of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God. But they have not known the fear of the Lord. That our God is one who commands all respect and all glory in all ways. We are but little humans greatly indebted to a God who never needed to care about us!

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
James 3:9-12

Fresh water and salt water cannot flow from the same spring. Likewise, if your heart has been changed by God and transformed into the likeness of Christ, you cannot help but speak good things that edify and build up. Only a heart with anger and hatred can bear vulgarities.

For all other forms of cursing and useless words, do you not know that we will be judged in the end for every word that we said? Every good word and every idle word, we will be judged.

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 

For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:33-37 

God not present?

Recently, during one of the sermons in a youth camp, the speaker gave an altar call for the congregation to respond. No one did. Not until he called for a third time before people started coming forward. The next few days, the youths were more open to the altar calls, but some felt that he was too forceful, and was preaching and ministering by human strength. People were saying, “I can’t feel God’s presence with this speaker”, or “I feel that he is not speaking from the Holy Spirit”. After much thought and reflection (as I was being ministered to in the camp too), here is my response to these issues.

I must say first that God’s presence is never limited- He is not limited to the kind of place you’re in, the people you are with, or even the pastor giving His Word. God chooses exactly when and where He wants to minister to His people. However, I believe that God prefers to make His presence felt in certain conditions. Let’s see what the Bible says about God’s presence:

Matthew 18:19-20
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Does the Bible say “only where there is an anointed pastor, there I will be?” or “only when the praise and worship is spirit-led, there I will be?”

Not at all! As long as two or three gather in God’s name, there He will be. You see, God loves being with people who are hungry and thirsty for Him. He loves making His presence felt when His children, gathered in His name, so strongly desire to know and see and hear from Him. From Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. God is found and His presence is felt when His children seek Him with all their hearts. There is no where in the Bible, and never has God said that His presence will only come when the pastor is Spirit-filled! The pastor does not bring God’s presence; instead, God’s presence is invited by the hearts of His children. So if you were to ask me about the sermon on the first night, I personally believe that the youths were not hungry for God enough- they were not expecting enough, and wanting enough to hear from God that night. When hearts are not open to God, it is no surprise that God’s presence cannot be felt. God will not force His way into lives which do not expect and desire Him.

With that, I want to personally encourage everyone to then, seek God with all your hearts. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and it is in us that He dwells. Therefore, God’s presence should not only be expected during youth camps, services, altar calls or congregational praise and worship. We should be expecting His presence in our lives every single day! In our personal worship and communication with Him, we should be feeling God’s presence surely and strongly. Of course, I believe that God does move more powerfully in camps and such, as that is when many are gathered in His name to seek Him. But that should not limit our connection with God through the Spirit. God gave each of us the Holy Spirit so that we may individually experience Him in our very personal ways.

What this means is that even if the praise and worship may not be spirit-led, or if the pastor is not speaking from the Spirit, we can still be ministered to. Yes, it is true that God uses these people to minister to us, but Christ has died for all, so that all may commune directly with God, and all may have the Holy Spirit in them. It is ultimately the Holy Spirit who ministers to us. Therefore I challenge all of you- that even when the music is bad, or the message is boring, you allow the Holy Spirit to still minister to you. Be still and prayerful as you seek to hear God speak into your heart. He is not limited by the pastor or the music team.

Now, what happens when “I feel that he is not speaking from the Holy Spirit”? First, we must examine our hearts prayerfully.

Sometimes our preliminary judgement prevent us from hearing what God has to tell us. When we start to judge the speaker in our hearts, we subconsciously make a decision that the speaker is boring/bad/not anointed, and we close our hearts to what he preaches. From then on, we start to judge every point that he makes, and try to identify flaws in his preaching so as to justify our decision reject his message. This is one thing that we should all watch out for, before we fall into the trap of pride and judging others, preventing the Holy Spirit from ministering to us.

When you feel that your heart is right, and you still feel troubled and not at peace, it may be that you have the gift of discernment, or have a spirit of discernment. The Holy Spirit may be prompting you, or perhaps even warning you about the things that you are hearing. Some of it may not be correct or true. In that case, do highlight it to your leaders or mentors, and don’t forget to check it up with the Bible on your own!

In the end, humans are always fallible and prone to make mistakes. God however, is not, and He can choose to minister to you in any situation. So do keep your heart open to hearing from Him. In our relationship with God, the most important thing isn’t ministry, leadership or serving. It is the relationship itself- that is what God treasures most, and what we should too.

YPM Camp has just concluded and I am finally taking a good break. Oh, I’ve ORDed by the way, congrats to me! Then I’ll be going for a 3 month Bible course in Tung Ling Bible School, and I’m really looking forward to it! If you’re interested, here’s the link:http://www.tungling.org.sg/school-of-ministry/ I believe they take registrations until the very last minute.

I’ve chanced upon this link recently and thought I’d share it with you guys: http://theresurgence.com/2011/12/15/bet-you-cant-resist-the-temptation-to-watch-this

So many times we try to fight temptation and recurrent sins in our lives, but the battle is never against it. Christ has already won the battle over sin when He died on the cross, and as children of God, we too are victorious over it. The thing is, we were created to have some purpose, some sort of idol in our lives. We seek to fill our lives with things that are fulfilling. That’s why we indulge in material possessions, sexual sins, and perhaps even ministry in church. These are the wrong idols to fill our lives with, because they will never be as satisfying as a true and direct relationship with God.

Only when our lives are so fulfilled by the presence and love of God that all other things of the Earth will fade. They will no longer be attractive to us compared to the beautiful connection that we can have with God. So fighting temptation is not about resisting the attraction, it’s about fulfilling our thirst for purpose with something transcendent, perfect, and lovely- God.

Not Many

A joyous occasion may be once, and a mission trip many.
But many go to celebrate, few go to encourage.

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