Whats Been Happening

I noticed that it has been almost a month since I last posted. I have been away in Arizona, USA visiting my son’s family for a month. We had a great time with his family, especially quality time with our grandchildren, who we missed greatly for two years. However, this joy was soured by a strange debilitating back pain that my wife suffered from. She is currently making a recovery from this after a few weeks in the hospital – glory to God and the prayers of church members and many pastor friends. God willing, I will write a blogpost about my vacation in Tucson, and about this medical emergency and God’s timely intervention. May his name be glorified always through our lives, both in joy or in suffering.

I have been in and out of hospital these several weeks, caring for my wife, as well as taking on the care of her older brother. It’s been tiring, challenging and frustrating at times but most times the grace and strength of God kept me going day by day. Sometimes anxious, sometimes full of faith, sometimes blur. The Bible readings during this period fell on Isaiah 40 to 55 and there were so many verses that spoke to my heart, encouraged me and my wife, and gave us faith and hope. The word of God feeds our soul with faith, hope and love. The rhema word helps me move from meditation into prayer seamlessly, and always lifts me up when I set my heart on his promises. The word is strengthening and in this trial I find myself on my knees with the open Bible and asking God to open my eyes and ears to his word.

I am learning how tough caregiving can be. I am now an admirer of all the church members who had to give care to their elderly or/and sickly parents, spouse or siblings. I salute them wholeheartedly with great respect. Now I experience for myself how much grace and strength and patience is needed to do this well. How we need to do it as though to the Lord himself. So much to learn. For one I have taken a day off ever so often to rest completely from caregiving and turn my attention to life-giving and life-lifting activities to attend to my needs. Can be as simple as cycling to Jurong Lake and having a picnic with myself. Take a walk at night with my camera and take pictures. Or having a leisurely breakfast at my favourite coffee and hawker fare. Or do chores and physical labour at home. Or idle and chill. Or learn to draw.

It is also a time I can focus on prayer and the word and some ideas for future books. I began to write out possible outlines for books on the subjects like: A to Z of Receiving God’s Word; the A to Z of Communicating God’s Word, A to Z of God’s Promises. Good ideas but I will see how these ideas develop. In the meantime, I have yet to edit and refine my first draft of the first book: A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work. Hmmm….need to do all these on my knees. Really need to pray for God’s enabling help.

Right now my concern is with some commitments I have made to lead a retreat, and to preach in my home church and other churches. WhatsApp a prayer to God for me in my endeavours and in my continued learning to be a caregiver.

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Authentic Johor Laksa

This Johor laksa is superb but they only serve it on Saturdays. I am talking about the stall called “Manis Bawang” across the street from my home. The Manis Bawang was boldly started by a Malay wedding company. They used to cater for Malay weddings and still do, but the Covid-19 affected business and they were bold enough to start a food business in the HDB block at Jurong East Street 13. They take pride in the authenticity of the Malay food they serve – “real Malay taste”. I must admit their food is consistent in the taste. The Johor laksa which I am a fan of is one such dish they serve with consistent goodness. 

I like laksas. I have tried the ones in Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Johor and different stalls in Singapore, but this fish-based laksa is one that always left a strong impression on me. I always said, “Shiok”. I always remind myself to relish it slowly but usually end up slurping it up more quickly than I wished – to my consternation. 

Sadly I believe the Michelin guys overlooked this Malay stall since it began only in 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic. They should check it out on a Saturday, and consider them for Bib Gourmand. Recently, I was surprised that quite a few hawker center stalls I have patronized before were listed as Bib Gourmand recipients: a roasted duck noodles stall at Yuhua Village Market & Hawker Center; the Tiong Bahru chew kueh and corner chicken stalls in Block 505 Jurong West Market; and the soon kueh shop at Yuhua Market & Hawker Center. But why are there no winners for Malay cuisine? 

Hope they do check these guys out. They are located HERE.

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Retirement: Graced With Identity

I was forewarned that the loss of identity would be a tough loss to manage. After all, for 40 years I served in the same church as a church worker, associate pastor and then senior pastor. My sense of identity must surely have been so entwined and defined by my job and role as the senior pastor of World Revival Prayer Fellowship. I was wary and anticipated some struggle. But I was surprised that the transition into retirement was so smooth and sweet. It had to be God’s grace.


Thankfully, I was never enamoured with the senior pastor’s job, role or title in the first place. I never held it with a tightened fist but with an open hand. I was willing to let go of it when push comes to shove. It felt nice to be addressed as, or referred to, and deferred to as senior pastor but the weight of responsibility and pressure that comes with it rapidly evaporates all the niceness. It was an onerous calling. This push factor eased and facilitated the letting go process required in retirement. It did not require a hammer to open my hands. I felt relief to let go of this role that is as close and all-embracing as my skin. 


During the six months since my retirement, I did not find myself grasping for a new role to fill up the loss in identity. I am still a husband to my wife, a father to my two grown up sons (and their wives) and a daughter, and a grandfather to my two grand-daughters. My new ministry role is still being etched out. I let God determine what is in this new chapter of life. I wait patiently as He helps me to locate avenues and platforms for my teaching gift, whether through guest preaching or writing or producing video content on YouTube. I take small steps and movements towards these God- invitations. 

However, circumstances can change and these are at best temporal roles and not stable, unchangeable or permanent. God has graciously provided me an unshakeable and eternal anchor on which to rest my sense of identity, an identity that is based on God’s adoption of me as his child. Since I was born again, I have been aware of my identity as his child. However, the sense or conviction of my identity deepened over the many years as the Spirit testifies to my spirit that I am deeply loved, His beloved child (Romans 8:16) despite all the trials and tests, when everything that happened around me said quite the opposite, that He was not treating me like I was His child. This deeply anchored sense of being His beloved child is so tightly secured that when temporal roles like being the senior pastor was removed, the waves and currents of people’s opinion or treatment could not move me much from where I am anchored. For this I am grateful to the longstanding assuring work of my faithful friend, the Holy Spirit.

It is a grace, something I do not deserve, and I am so grateful to the Lord for helping me transition this loss of identity that many have experienced after retirement. I have found the assuring work of the Spirit invaluable for this transition. It is something you too can experience if you would sit in quiet before the Lord, and cultivate a growing awareness of His presence with you in silence. 

“Lord, as I wait patiently in silence before You, heighten my sense of awareness of Your presence and movements within me – in what I sense, feel and imagine. Let me feel Your assurance and love again and again. Let me know I am Your beloved child in whom You are well pleased.”

What are your experiences when you retired? Share with us lessons you learned that helped you navigate the loss of identity that accompanies retirement.

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Songs For Pandemic Fatigue

Pandemic fatigue is what my pastor friends termed this feeling of frustration, anger, helplessness and depressed feelings. Repeated setbacks in Singapore’s battle with Covid-19 and the strict controls established for our protection make us want to blame somebody, rebel against rules, or resign in lethargy and despair.

When we are in such moods we Christians have resources that others may not have. Firstly, we have the Bible, the word of God that we can anchor our faith and hope upon, and renew our minds with the comfort from God’s many great and precious promises which strengthen us to go through all manner of trying circumstances. Give more attention then, to the listening of audio readings of Scriptures, or reading the Bible and underlining what resonates with you, and meditating on what speaks to you. Psalms is certainly one of the suitable book to go through as it contains a variety of laments that we could use to help us express our own lament and complaints to God. Emotional and mental health may be a thirty psalms away.

We can also turn to Christian songs and here I want to highlight and recommend a few songs for the treatment of pandemic fatigue. Lauren Deigle has a number of songs that will inspire, comfort and strengthen your faith in these tough times. She won a Grammy award for her song titled, “You Say”. It stayed on top the Christian Hot Song list for two years. The way she sings and the lyrics are powerful and moving.

Here are a few of them from YouTube. Trust that you will enjoy them.

These are songs I found helpful during this pandemic? Do share your favourite song.

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