Church of the True Light Camp 2017

The Church of the True Light camp at JEN hotel at Puteri Harbour

I was in two church camps this past June. One was my church camp in Bangkok. The other was the Church of the True Light (Anglican) camp held at the JEN Hotel at Puteri Harbour in Johor. I was the guest speaker at the camp and I developed the theme of LISTENING TO GOD. This was the third time I taught on contemplative prayer at different church camps in the last several years. Let me give an outline of some of the sessions:

LISTENING TO GOD IN THE GOSPEL:  Church and nationwide revival is great but while we pray and wait for the Spirit’s sovereign move, we need to dig deep wells and tap the living water table that will give us sustainable personal revival. The Trinitarian gospel is often thought of as what we receive only at the beginning of the Christian life. We actually need the gospel message all our life, throughout our faith journey. It is the gospel message that gives life and continually revives us.

LISTENING TO GOD IN THE SCRIPTURES: The word of God wedded to the Spirit is what gives us life and revives us. We do this by listening to God in ALL of scriptures, and in SOME of scriptures. The four movements of the classical lectio divina (divine reading) was taught and practised and discussed in groups.

LISTENING TO GOD IN SILENCE & SOLITUDE: God meets and speaks with us when we are alone and silently listen to God. This was the experience of Elijah when he ran in fear and panic from Jezebel. He could not hear God for his body and soul was drained by flight and fear, and his mind was filled with chatter of doubt and visions of death. God used silence and solitude to bring Elijah to a place of inner quiet so that he could again be revived to hear and obey God. This session was followed by a practice of silence and solitude.

LISTENING TO GOD IN DAILY LIFE: The review of the day or examen is a method of prayer which sensitives us to discern God’s presence, activity and communications with us. This session was followed by practice and group discussions.

LISTENING TO GOD IN TIMES OF CHOICE: We make choices, and our choices in turn shapes us. They can lead us away from the first love or towards a greater love of God. We have different choices to make in daily life but there are those impactful choices where more thought, prayer and counsel are needed. How do we do it well? And when we have the peace of God, how do we discern if its a true peace of divine origin or a false peace that comes from the flesh or the enemy?

LISTENING TO GOD IN THE SABBATH: Showed them how the sabbath could be celebrated as salvation and as wisdom, a way of life that God intended for our good and to shape our rhythm of rest, work and prayer. Celebrating sabbath is needed in maintenance of the fire in our hearts.

A SESSION AT A TIME

At the camp, I sort of lived out the day a session at a time. After finishing one session, I would prepare myself physically, spiritually and mentally for the next session until I hit the tape at the finish line. However I am thankful for all the mealtime fellowship with familiar faces (for I had spoken in their church camps a few times over the decades), and the power naps in between. One of the wonderful things about doing church camps is that you get to know the people better and as you do so the message becomes sharper in terms of application and relevance. Thankfully, all my materials had been prepared in advance. However there were still tweaks here and there to improve the material and the powerpoint.

CHURCH OF TRUE LIGHT & PASTOR VINCENT HOON

I admire the Church of the True Light (English congregation) for its giftedness in prophecy and visions. The Lord had sent Rev Vincent Hoon and gifted individuals there and the windows for the wind of the Spirit to infuse the church with the supernatural gifts suddenly swung open.

I got to know Pastor Vincent Hoon in late 1990’s when both of us came alone to the Love Singapore Prayer Summit and ended up sharing a room. We hit it off and have been meeting regularly for the last 20 years for peer mentoring, updating and prayer.

This Anglican church moved in the Spirit and their worship was soaking worship with opportunities for people to express themselves in dance and sharing insights. I was moved, inspired and learned much. The worship also helped me and God’s people get ready for what God had for them in the teaching and prayer workshops. I returned to Singapore soaked in the power of the Spirit.

MY HOPE

It shows that learning in the Spirit is mutual edification. We learn together, and we grow together, and we advance together in the faith journey. I trust that those in the camp, whose season it is to dig wells for themselves, now have the tools to do so and I pray they will persevere till they hit the water table! May they enter and enjoy sustainable, personal revival.

 

 

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Changes in OMF Bungalow, Cameron Highlands

The main bungalow building
The linked bungalow wing
View from the bungalow’s rose garden

I felt tired and I needed to take a break, have a good rest. So I tried OMF Bungalow. Usually at such late notice most rooms would have already been taken but thankfully and incredibly, there was “room in the inn” for the dates I wanted.

Payment

It wasn’t easy for a Singaporean to pay upfront as one would have to access a Malaysian account. Especially when you do not have much time to make the payment. Thankfully in my case I was given a reprieve and I paid up when I arrived at the bungalow.

Taking a bus there

I took the SGD99 Konsortium return night bus. It left Golden Mile at about 10pm, and after a stop at Yong Peng and several pee stops, we reached Brinchang, Cameron Highlands at about 7- 8am in the cool morning. The 27 seater bus had spacious and reclinable seats, so we had no difficulty sleeping. For an additional SGD30, I could have stayed a night (with breakfast) at Strawberry Park. It’s a tie up between the hotel and the bus company. The return trip is in the morning from Strawberry Park hotel at about 10am. The hotel is a short 5 minutes walk from OMF Bungalow.

Many changes but Mrs Chye remains the same

There were many changes that have taken place. However,  Mrs Chye the person in charge there provided an unchanged comforting presence. Her warmth and hospitality is OMF Bungalow’s vital advertisement.

Some of the changes we noticed included:

  • All the rooms now have attached bathrooms.
  • The dining hall and the sitting area were switched so that there would be space to serve more diners.
  • The TV-games room has been converted into a twin room with attached bathroom.
  • The pricing has moved upward too, including an end to discounts for pastors and missionaries.
  • There is no tea time. However you can help yourselves to free coffee, tea and biscuits anytime.
  • There was no TV, but now they have installed decent wireless.
Comforting unchanging Mrs Chye
New dining room
New sitting room
New furniture in the rose garden
With Chong Swee Tshung & Tau Fan former pastors of Community Baptist Church, Puchong

During this stay with my wife we slept, ate, rested, read, walked and prayed and met whoever was there during mealtimes. We also met with a few other guests at the bungalow and shared stories and encouraged each other in the Lord.

I returned feeling refreshed and more relaxed.

Please email o.resthome@gmail.com (attention: Mandy) for bookings.

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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve re-opened: the experience

When the Bukit Timah Hill first re-opened, I was not happy with the changes. Some of my favourite routes were blocked by fences. Old routes were re-routed for some good reason that I do not know. The old rugged, uneven, muddy paths had been made straight and flat and staired. Other hikers in the group were not happy too. The muddy and natural hill paths of the past had allowed us good realistic training for what we would find in many tracks and paths in the mountains of Malaysia and other South East Asian countries. Now it looked far from “natural”.

The Visitors Centre was the old one spruced up.
The new restrooms were airy and larger and moved to a better location.

After many months

Now months have passed. I have been hiking these trails again. My feelings of annoyance at the insensitivity and intrusiveness of the park authorities have subsided. I wished they had interacted with and consulted the hikers who used the place frequently. Or at least they would bother to explain why things have been changed, and why they needed to be changed. Maybe an exhibit or video at the Visitors’ Center to explain the why of the changes. Or guided tours by park of rangers for those who want to learn more about the logic behind the changes.  It was a great chance to educate the public about conservation and care of the forests. This was not done as far as I knew. I give them the benefit of the doubt though. They must have thought this through thoroughly.

Straighten the paths!
Make more steps, smaller steps, thousands of steps

There are advantages 

Over the months, I have gotten used to the new trails and find them convenient. On Saturday, we hiked in the drizzle and I certainly appreciated that my boots were not muddied, and I did not slip, and it was very safe to walk even in the drizzle. The new paths made the trails more accessible to more people because they are now easier and cleaner and safer. Most people used the main road to the summit and never ventured out to the side trails partly because they did not know the way, and partly because the paths used to be muddy, and uneven, and had twists and turns. am sure they will venture to the side trails now that they have been upgraded. These side trails are definitely more fun and work the muscles better and exercise your heart more.

Say Goodbye to muddy paths
Old path to the right fenced up. Turn left!
Use of the granite stones add variety to the paths
The greenery did not change. Thank God.
The miniature world is beautiful. God is into the details.

Accessible via MRT

If you have never hiked the Bukit Timah Hill, I encourage you to do so, especially now that it is more accessible by public transportation via the Beauty World Station of the Downtown Line. After you have had a good 1-2 hours hike, you have a good choice of restaurant or hawker food in the many shopping malls and hawker centers and restaurants, all within 5 minutes of the MRT station.

One of the things that puzzled me was why they did not build a multi-storey carpark like they did at MacRitchie. Why? I wonder if you had any questions after your visit to Bukit Timah Hill. Do write them in the comment box below.

 

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