Sunday morning I went with a friend to visit Bethesda Serangoon Church, as he is interested to visit a church with more traditional conservative services. The worship style was “open Sunday”, whereby anyone can spontaneously go up to the different microphones and offer to sing a hymn and/or give some edifying biblical verses. They gave a hymn book entitled “Christian Worship” which is very much shaped and designed like a Bible.
After that was the communion. It is quite different as compared to my church as they have a huge piece of bread and everyone peels a piece from it, and the wine is poured onto a few glasses and everyone drinks from the same glass. Everyone customarily takes out tissue to wipe the glass before and after they drink.
The sermon was actually pretty good. The preacher spoke about Jeremiah 27, in which the Israelites were given a message by Jeremiah to obey and submit to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. He mentioned an analogy of this harsh irrational instruction whereby the leader of Singtapore ask us to submit to Malaysia. He went on to talk about Job and suffering. The crux of the message was that life presents us with a variety of circumstances, some of which are tough, cruel and irrational. However, God is still Sovereign. Whatever happens, whether good or bad, is permitted by Him and true to His will and way.
It seems that God is speaking to me. Even as I went back to church for Teenedge service, Ps Whit spoke from Psalm 61-63. He said that throughout the Psalms, David was complaining and lamenting to God. God gives us permission to pour out our worries, concerns and complains to Him. However, we must continue to remember and maintain that God is sovereign over our lives, he is faithful, awesome, everlasting etc. We can never reconcile between the fact that God is sovereign, and that yet we have suffering in our lives. We will never fail to complain about the sufferings in our lives to God, but however, we must remember to praise God for who He is: omni-scient, omni-potent, caring, Abba Father. We must remember to be a little “schizo”: complaining to God, yet praising God.
(On a side note, it was encouraging that jon prayed with me during prayer time in teenedge..)
I was watching some of the promotional videos for Hillsong’s This Is Our God album. Mike Gugliemucci, from Planet Shakers, talked about his “Healer” song. It is an amazing testimony, he got cancer a couple of years ago, but he has remained strong and continued ministering to others and God. The video talks about his heartbeat, how he wrote the song, and how he overcome the obstacles. Even though he had to have an oxygen tube around his nose during the night of the concert recording, he persevered. God’s presence is evident in the video, and whenever I listen or watch it, I can feel the spirit pouring out of the song.
This song was with me during one of the toughest times of my life. Even though I did not really see the words of the song being fulfilled, God is still sovereign and true. He is still God, our Saviour, Healer, Creator, Maker, Father and Redeemer.
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
– Isaiah 53:2-5 (MSG)