A prayer for City Harvest Church

Our Father, 

You are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. You are upright and all Your ways are just. 

With our heads bowed down before You, and our hearts broken over Your church, we admit that we have failed You before the eyes of the watching world. We thank You for Your forgiveness through the mercy of Christ. 

We pray for all churches in Singapore. Purify us with holy discipline; fill us afresh with Your Spirit; and consecrate us to glorify Your name. Grant us the grace to despise fame, embrace simplicity, and renounce the desire to be rich. 

We call on the Spirit of grace to assure, comfort and strengthen the City Harvest Church. May they stand firm, steady, and united during this time of increased pressures. Give the church and its leaders great peace.

We remember those in prison and pray that You will visit them with Your love, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. May the enforced times of confinement and quiet be transformed into moments when You draw near to them and whisper Your faith, love and hope. Watch over their families at home and keep everyone in the love of God. 

Lord, let what has happened make the church in Singapore more dependent on You, more in communion with You, and more like You in Your lowliness, poverty and obscurity. 

In Jesus’ Name we give thanks. Amen. 

 

Serving men from the marketplace

The pastors initiated some pastoral care when we found that a number of men were between jobs. They were mainly professionals  in manufacturing, retail, finance and service industries. We formed a WhatsApp chat group with Wai Tuck as a co-ordinator. We called it Men In Transition. We met them for prayer and meditation (lectio divina), sharing, and meals periodically.

Reflection, lectio divina, sharing and prayer

Last week Tom Cannon and I met them for a few hours of reflection on their vocational history. We got them to draw a timeline and reflect on the high and low points of their years of working life. We asked them to ponder how God was present in their careers, using Old Testament Joseph’s timeline as an example. It opened their eyes. Then Tom led them in a lectio divina on the passage Isaiah 43:1-7. This was followed with a time of sharing their reflections. We listened to their stories of pain, victories, struggles, weaknesses and wrapped up everything by bring these to the Lord in prayer. The Lord was present to impart peace and comfort.

Men in Transition having lunch at The Ranch

Then we proceeded to The Ranch for a $10 set meal. Lovely morning; wonderful fellowship! To do work that encourages, enlightens and give hope to people you care about is such a satisfying thing.

Monday sabbath

I do not keep the sabbath as a law, but I live by the wisdom of sabbath. Christ is my sabbath. In Christ I have entered a spiritual rest from all works and labouring to earn salvation. However there is wisdom to be drawn from God’s idea of rest, remembering, and relishing one day a week.

One day in the week, usually Monday my day off, I choose to slow down to rest and avoid the kind of work which I usually do. I take time to meditate and pray. I try to delight in everything throughout the day. I rest.

The noise without and the noise within is stilled with quiet waiting before God

This Monday morning, I cycled to the Japanese Garden and found a bench facing the disused golf course of the now defunct Jurong Country Club. The government seized it for its vaunted development of the rapid rail station and peripheral mixed development.

Slowing down takes time. I was sitting there still and silent for 40 minutes. My thoughts were everywhere. So I sought to focus on my physical senses especially the sense of sound and touch. It helped. I shut my eyes, felt the cool breeze, and listened. Immediately, I heard the distant and faded pounding of a piledriver– thud, thud, thud. I heard something that sounded like a motor boat in the distance. There was the sound of excavators at work. There was the chirping of small birds and sometimes the squak of the heron. A golf cart rolls by behind me and I can hear that too. Must be the park management staff. Even the crickets whistle incessantly. A lot of construction work is going on at the fringe of the Jurong Lake and some even in the Chinese Garden.

Slowly my wandering thoughts which were like distracting monkeys jumping all over the branches of my mind, calmed down and quietened, as though asleep. Finally I did come to a place of restfulness and I meditated on the stages of prayer and the life of prayer that Jesus lived. Some lovely thoughts and took some notes of the insights.

Parents coaxing their child to smile in a child photography session in open air

I rounded off my time with the Lord cycling around the Chinese Garden and saw this couple having a photo shoot of their infant child. It was the first time I have seen a child photography session in the Chinese Garden.