The Ark: a place of rest

The Ark at Village Hotel Bugis
The Ark at Village Hotel Bugis

The Ark is a Pentecostal church. What a unique name. Pastor Jimmy Hoo started this church after he left the Emmanuel Assembly of God. It is small fellowship of 30 plus and they worship at the Village Hotel Bugis at 390 Victoria Street on the 6th level. I got to know Pastor Jimmy on Facebook. I was introduced to him by Pastor Peter Sze who also helped linked up quite a few grace-based churches and ministers in the region. We met once with Joshua Lee, pastor Kevin Choo and another minister and talked shop over tea at Funan Center. He invited me to take the Sunday message and I was most happy to do so.

Pastor Jimmy Hoo and wife Mabel
Pastor Jimmy Hoo and wife Mabel

I took a cab there with my wife and my son who wanted to visit. It was the first time I stepped into the Village Hotel Bugis and the hotel function room was the size of two large classrooms. They also had a separate room for the children. I met with the members who were there early and we chatted with Pastor Jimmy Hoo and Mabel, his wife, who was very warm, hospitable and friendly. The service started at 9.30am and like the other grace-based church services I attended, the Holy Communion was conducted every Sunday. Soon I was at the pulpit and preaching a modified version of what I preached in my worship service the previous week at WRPF. I talked about how a Christian can still live under the old covenant and experience the miserable Christian life. I talked about what it meant to live under the new covenant. My main text was from Jeremiah 31:31-34. I drew my three main points and contrasts from the text itself, and drew sharp contrasts of what it would look like if you lived as a Christian under the old covenant or under the new covenant. I enjoyed partnering with the Holy Spirit in delivering the message.

After the service we had and early lunch at about 11.40am at a Bugis Junction food court. I enjoyed the nasi padang and the fellowship and warm banter. Inevitably from the topic of family, the conversation went to ministry and I heard a dramatic and  grace-filled story of how this sincere and humble couple were initiated into the message of grace, and how they moved from being burnt-out and effort-driven to a place of rest in the grace of God.

Though many people crowd the Star Vista to hear the grace messages of the New Creation Church, small churches like this also deserves better support and encouragement. I am sure there are people who love the grace message but prefer a small church setting where things are less concert-like and more family-like, less distant and more personal, where they feel less like a spectator and more like a participant. This is one church you may want to explore visiting and being a part of, if you want to learn to rest in His grace, and a have a stronger community life. Pastor Jimmy and Mabel are well equipped with the message, the experience and love to give you the care, the rest and community you need.

Christian Gospel Mission: tutored in grace for a mission at hand

Christian Gospel Mission

The church opposite former Keat Hong Camp

The former Keat Hong Camp was where national servicemen collected their soldier uniforms, caps, socks, belts and boots. As I stood at the worship hall of Christian Gospel Mission and looked out across Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1, I saw a large spacious bare land. Keat Hong Camp had been flattened. In its place, the Housing Development Board will be building thousands of apartment units. The harvest is coming to where the church is.

The Christian Gospel Mission, which first began in Jalan Cheng Hwa in Bukit Panjang, had relocated here, and has remained here for decades now. It is part of a stretch of shop-houses opposite what was once Keat Hong Camp. They are a church, a kindergarten and a student care center. They are Mandarin-speaking but the children of the original church congregation, have grown up and are mostly  effectively bi-lingual. They are about 70 members and with a good mix of young and old and middle-aged. They have a new pastor, a former teacher, and he has taken over from his father, Choo Fah Chong. He is pastor Kevin Choo and he preaches the message of radical grace. The church is currently adjusting well as they sit under teachings that bring a new perspective to the outworking of the Christian life.

Discussion during Sunday serviceGrace-based, bi-lingual, interesting service

The unique thing about this church is that besides being “grace-based” and bi-lingual, the church’s Sunday service has an interesting format that my Christian education director would have been proud of. After the singing, the offering and announcements, the church would break into discussion groups after the pastor gave them some directions. The fruit of the discussions of each group would then be shared, and the pastor would teach the word, using and referring to the input as he delivered the message. This is learning that is interesting, engaging, interactive and dynamic.

Teochew muay

Since I was a guest preacher they did the usual traditional order of service. I had an interpreter Joseph, who translated my message for the Pastor Kenny's message translated into Mandarincongregation. I spoke about “God’s Love Tattoo”.  One of the sermon illustrations I used was about Teochew muay. It tickled them so much that I heard this Easter service they had that after the service. They have a retired hotel chef, so their Teochew muay must have been plus, plus. I brought along a Pastor Kenny, Pastor Kevin Choo, Euclid, Josephfriend, Euclid, who had been trained for a year in the School of the Supernatural in Bethel.  He was a great help during ministry time when we prayed and prophesied over people who came forward with needs.They were friendly and hospitable and after the service, we lunched at a coffee shop nearby: Teochew muay…well almost.

Being equipped for a great mission

I left the place thinking of its potential: the congregation experiencing new beginnings in the gospel of grace; the vast numbers of new families that will have new beginnings in the apartment blocks that will be built within four years. For such a time as this, the congregation is being tutored and equipped in the truths of grace, and I pray the Lord’s word will prosper and bear fruit through their faithful stewardship of the gospel to the new harvest field in front of them.