Meeting Up With Blogging Friends

It was pleasant to meet up with blogging friends of yesteryears. I have been blogging a long time and in the course of these years I have met some fellow bloggers and chatted with them. Well it so happens I met with a few of them in recent months. 

With one of them, Terence Yeo, we planned morning ride to the Jurong Lake Gardens, culminating with a brunch at Taman Jurong Food Centre. The day was cloudy and pleasant. The weather prediction was that it would rain but thankfully he was already on the way when I informed him of my wet weather plans. Too late. But as it turned out, it hardly rained. 

Terence Yeo and myself

We talked about a range of different things. Terence has always been well informed and has intelligent views on all kinds of information and news whether biblical, extra-biblical, or current news and events. Of course, we also caught up on personal matters and talked about what we have been up to and about our families over a meal of the famous bak chor mee of Taman Jurong. 

A fortnight later I met up with Jeffrey Teo and pastor Joshua Lye, two acquaintances from long ago. We met at the Republic food court at Westgate and caught up after a period of about a decade. I was very apologetic because I had forgotten an earlier appointment with them.

Big changes have taken place since I last met them. Jeffrey Yeo who is one of those serious runners who travel overseas to do races, had moved to an Assembly of God church, and Joshua had planted a church, which meant he was a bi-vocational pastor for several years, until he recently answered God’s call, “left his nets” and went into Singapore Bible College’s Master’s program. I shared with them some of the things happening in the church and I was happy to hear that both of them are still very much involved and interested in the church at large, and what’s going on today in the world.

Pastor Joshua, Jeffrey, and I

Joshua was a participant in a revival among the members of the Lutheran Church of our Redeemer at Duke’s Road. I asked if he minded if I linked him to Galven Lee and Sina who are collecting Singapore revival stories, and he did not mind. I thought such a story is worthy of retelling over and over again, recorded for posterity to read and be inspired at what the Lord can do when hearts are open to him. Just think about it, the Lutheran Church experienced some form of renewal among some of its members the extent of which I am unsure. Evidently it did not spread as widely in the denomination as the renewal that spread in the Anglican denomination.

I have referred quite a few of these pockets of revival in schools and churches to Galven and Sina and they are very earnest and diligent in seeking such stories so if you know of any let me know in the comment box, and I can pass the tip to them.

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Facets of Pastoral Work I Enjoyed

Teaching God’s Word

Equipping the saints is not a cliché for me but a major reference point for pastoral ministry. It is therefore not surprising that teaching God’s Word through sermons and Christian education courses was something I found great joy in. I loved teaching the Bible and every year I devoured books on preaching, and experimented and incorporated new homiletical insights, ideas and styles into my preparation and delivery. I found satisfaction when I received feedback that the adaptations were effective, and concerned when they fell flat. I also enjoyed the development and execution of Christian education curriculum. I enjoyed running Life in the Spirit seminars to help members receive the baptism of the Spirit, and conducting membership and foundational courses for new believers. 

Pastoral Care and Mentoring

Another facet of ministry that I enjoyed was meeting with leaders and members individually and giving them pastoral care, personal counsel or coaching. Patient listening to members’ concerns and struggles is a powerful way of equipping and helping them move towards wholeness. When I first began pastoral ministry in the 1980s, visiting families in their homes was the norm, but gradually I noticed that with the formation of home cell groups, the pastoral care that came through cell groups lessened the need for pastoral home visits unless there were special needs or circumstances involved. Still, it was the one on one sharing and sharpening of life that I found fulfilling.

Blogging as Ministry

Halfway in my forty years of pastoral ministry, I stumbled into blogging through my son Joshua’s suggestion. At that time around AD 2000 I began blogging on Xanga to reach out to the youth in church, and later moved my blog to my own website. Somehow this website was blessed by the Lord to influence its readers. Readers from around the world read the blog. The blog was cited in the Asia Wall Street Journal, the Straits Times, and in books and articles. The discussion was very active and beyond my ability to monitor and I saw that blogging allowed for conversation/discussion and thus was a good platform for teaching and influencing thought and attitudes. I enjoyed this thoroughly as it also led me to see my writing as an extension of my teaching and pastoral ministry.

Soul Care

Later in the last decade of my pastoral ministry, I was more interested in spiritual formation and spiritual direction. I saw how waiting on God in silence in a retreat setting with a spiritual director to guide helped me recover from a burnout, and I became convinced this kind of ministry to be vital for the spiritual health and vitality of pastors, church leaders and members. I completed a Master’s program on Christian Education and Spiritual Formation with AGST Alliance, went for annual silent retreats, and searched for spiritual director formation training. The whole area of spiritual formation of the soul became a focus for me.


During the last five years of my role as senior pastor, I also became more engaged with issues of pastoral succession and sought to equip a team of new ministry staff so that when I retired, the church would have a leadership team able to feed, care for and lead the church. My main concern was to equip them to do what would be a major means of equipping the saints – the Sunday sermon. As this was my main strength, I designed a simple program to give them opportunities to develop their preaching ministry. They have all been trained in Bible Schools but I wanted them to apply what they have learned in a systematic way and with peer group supervision and encouragement. I enjoyed this coaching role in the last five years of pastoral work.

If leading, feeding and caring are the main roles of a pastor, then I would rank the roles in order of personal fulfilment this way: 1) feeding, 2) caring and lastly 3) leading. 

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The journey of faith

We live in a world where it is expected that you know which direction you are heading in life. It is desirable you have a plan. It looks impressive: you have figured it out, you are ahead in the game, you are in control. People nod in approval. They are impressed and the probing stops. 

What if you have no plans of what you will do, for instance, after retirement? What if you said, “I do not have a plan. I don’t know. I am giving God a blank page.” Such answers go against the grain. It goes against common sense and conventional wisdom. It shows a lack of preparation. It surprises some people and they try to hide their surprise, and change the topic, as if to protect you from further embarassment. 

I am one of those without a plan for post-retirement. Actually, my old self-reliant me would have a sustainable, convergence plan. But I have deliberately refrained from strategizing. I do not even have a tentative plan. I want to rely on God more.

For me personally, it is okay, even imperative to not know what lies ahead. God is weaning me from self-reliance and self-sufficiency. He is teaching me to follow in the footsteps of Abraham, my ancestor in the faith, who obeyed even though he “did not know where he was going” (Heb 11:8b). It’s a journey of faith. He will lead me and I will end up being where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. In the meantime, I want to be content with being with God, until He reveals what I am to be doing for God. Both “being” and “doing” are important but the order is paramount: the former must precede the latter. 

Already He has shown me two things He has already written on the blank sheet. He wants me to write; and second, to journey with younger pastors. Therefore, I will begin to obey Him with these two divine directives. I will obey, and watch and pray to see what develops from these steps of faith. 

Recently, I was hiking when a vista captured my attention. I stood there and saw a path that disappeared into the foliage. I could not see beyond a bend. What I could see were several large rocks at the beginning of the path. I took the photo above.

In silence I stood still and pondered. Suddenly I realized I was on holy ground. I was in front of the burning bush and God was reassuring me that though I may not have charted a map for my future, and did not know what the future held, He was with me at this beginning of my journey, as certain as I could see those rocks.

This reminded me of Thomas Merton’s honest and humble prayer:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust You always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.”(Thoughts in Solitude)

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Write what you see

The blank page is no longer a blank page for me. As I delight in the Lord, and observe the desires that the Spirit fans aflame in my heart, I get an idea of what the Lord wants of me in this new season. Writing is one of them. 

Therefore, I need to start writing in simple faith and obedience. What better way than to return to blogging. Even if the traffic and eyeballs may have gone to Facebook, Instagram and all kinds of other social media, blogging is a great way to build a rhythm and discipline of writing. It’s a way to get the ideas flowing, and I am trusting that the Lord would help me surface some themes and burdens that can be turned into an e-book.

Writing three paragraphs seems such a small first step, but I should not despise small beginnings. The more I faithfully obey the Lord, the more he will add on, and inspire and sharpen. As I have been reading the book of Revelation, one of the phrases that attracted my attention was: Write what you see. Its another prod to me to Write, write and keep writing. I am also reminded of prophecies from prophet Amos Jayarathnam, and others, exhorting me to Write. So write I must.

Lord thank you for stirring this desire to write. I will take steps of faith to do so – even if they are tiny steps. Let your anointing be present to make words flow from my fingertips and fly off into cyberspace and land on hearts that are open and hungry for you. May those words find root, resonance and stir holy desires for more of You. Amen.

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Website hacked and restored

I am unsure what happened but my blog, which had been down for three months, is now restored. This is not the first time my blog had been hijacked and used to re-direct traffic elsewhere. I am thankful that Vee my friend managed to get it up and running again. Thank you Lord.

Praying that it will be stable and safe. I will use a complicated password. Hope this helps.

My heart is full and lots have happened in my soul. I have a lot to write but this is still a test post. The enforced silence has increased my desire to write. Looking forward.

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