What, then, is the difference which He has made to the whole human mass? It is just this; that the business of becoming a son of God, of being turned from a created thing into a begotten thing, of passing over from the temporary biological life into timeless ‘spiritual’ life, has been done for us. Humanity is already ‘saved’ in principle. We individuals have to appropriate that salvation. But the really tough work – the bit we could not have done for ourselves – has been done for us. We have not got to try to climb up into spiritual life by our own efforts; it has already come down into the human race. If we will only lay ourselves open to the one Man in whom it was fully present, and who, in spite of being God, is also a real man, He will do it in us and for us. Remember what I said about ‘good infection’ . One of our own race has this new life: if we get close to Him we shall catch it from Him.” (Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis, pp. 156-157)
There was a man who employed a maid and gave her a job description. She was to wake up at 7 every morning and prepare breakfast for him and his elderly sick mother and make sure she took her medicine. Later she was to clean and tidy the whole house and do the laundry. After that she was to cook lunch for his mother and to make sure his mum took a nap. Later she was to cook dinner and take his wheelchair-bound mother for a walk in the nearby park. After dinner she was to iron the clothing and prepare his mum for bed. On Sundays she had her day off, and he would take care of his mum then. The maid did her best to follow the job description but she often failed and faltered, and she did her best to cover her failures.
The man fell in love with the maid and confessed his love for her. She responded in kind and soon they got married. After the wedding, the man took out the old job description and tore it away and said to her, “You are now my wife. We have a love and trust relationship with one another. We do not need a job descriptions. Do as your love dictates.”
The wife did everything she used to do for the man, now her husband, and his mother, now her mother in law. However she did even much more, giving them both much love, affection and she bore three children. She did more than her old job description and with more love, energy, purpose, devotion and faithfulness.
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of written code. (Rom 7:6)
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.(Gal 5:18)
Stalled car and stalled mind
My thoughts jumped about like monkeys in a tree. I had to tell pastor Lawrence Koo of Agape Community Church about what happened. He may have to be prepared to speak instead, as I was to be the guest speaker in his 4pm church service on Saturday. Maybe I should call for a tow truck. I should get a cab, but can I leave the car here on busy Bukit Timah Road? I could not get him, so I messaged him and hoped he read it.
My car had stalled in the middle lane near Eng Neo Avenue, but I managed to slowly guide it to the side with my hazard lights on. The stalled car was hampering traffic on lane 3. Somehow I managed to get the car going again, with the air-con switched off, but the car stalled again along the main road, and I managed to guide it into quiet Dunkirk Road. Hailing a cab, I dashed to Toa Payoh where the church meets in a cozy red auditorium, that could easily pass off as a cinema.
Pastor Lawrence Koo
The singing had already begun and Pastor Lawrence was glad to see me and I was glad I was only 10 minutes late. My thoughts still wandered about while others worshiped. Lord, give me Your peace and I entrust the situation to You. Before I knew it, I was graciously introduced. Pastor Lawrence and I first met when we went together to visit Willow Creek Community’s Church conference about a decade ago. He is a widely respected Assemblies of God minister who during his Bible college days planted a church in Seremban, Malaysia which today is one of the more notable churches in that town. We have caught up on various occasions since then . He went frequently to the annual Leadership Summit hosted by Bill Hybels’ church. What a wonderful thing it was when he actually brought the Global Leadership Summit (an abridged video version of the Summit) to Singapore several years ago and chaired the executive committee for several years. He provides able and loving leadership to Agape Community Church and chairs the denomination’s Bible college, A.G.B.C. It was evident there was a strong bond of love between pastor and congregation.
Before I knew it I was at the sleek modern pulpit and despite a slow start managed to gradually connect with the congregation that comprised mostly young families. I preached to them some fundamental truths of what the Father has done for us from gospel-rich Ephesians 1: 3-7. I talked about the Father’s love for us: how He wants to bless us; how he had chosen us, and adopted us as his children. The message was peppered with lots of relevant illustrations and analogies and applications.
Chong’s car diagnosis
The service ended and the people were friendly and Lawrence introduced me to Chong, an expert with cars. They were very kind and drove me to my stalled car. Chong took about 25 minutes to investigate the problem thoroughly. His diagnosis: radiator problem. You can drive back but do so without air-conditioning and keep sight of the temperature gauge. As I drove off, I thank God for this kindness, and was happy to be safely home and to have the car to use on Sunday.