I miscalculated and arrived fifty minutes early at the industrial building for the Sunday service in the Rivers of Life Church, where I was the guest preacher. I joined the intercessors in the prayer room because fifty minutes is a long time to wait, so why not soak in his presence. Two elderly ladies were praying with zest and faith. As I listened, I heard what was on their hearts: the community outreach, the children, the pastors and leaders, Singapore government, the Sunday service, and for me too. I joined in and prayed for the young people in church.
After that I had a brief chat with Pastor Justin (see above in the middle) who had stepped down as lead pastor and was shown into the office of Pastor Andrew Foo, who is the current lead pastor. All three walls of his office were filled with shelves from top to bottom, overflowing with books. Sign of someone with the gift of teaching. He remarked honestly, “I have not read all the books”. Of course, it’s the same with most pastors, we want to read, and book purchases and book gifts, fill our shelves, but our intention and desire fall prey to church needs and work most weeks. He quipped, “Even if I cannot read all of them, some say osmosis works when you are surrounded by books.” I was led to the front and took the opportunity to take a photo of the two pastors because I knew after the service I may not have the opportunity. Pastors are usually occupied on Sundays. Thankfully, he told me beforehand there would be time for lunch after the service, as I am a curious person.
The service began with some intro music and the Lord’s Table, which they conducted every Sunday. They have these plastic containers with grape juice and a wafer at the entrance and as led, we partook of the elements. Some prophetic words were given by Andrew, and I know that many pastors from the Covenant Pastors fellowship are prophetic. Osmosis? More of iron sharpens iron, and transmission of anointing I believe.
I must say the worship team was impressive each and every one of the members, but particularly the drummer. If they do transfers like in the English Premier League she will fetch a huge fee. Kidding. The worship was free flow and I could sense the presence of the Lord and it certainly emboldened my preaching. After the sermon, I gave the altar call as I usually do, and people responded, as the Spirit moved over them, and there were some manifestations of the Spirit in holy laughter and falling under the power. I then remembered the intercessors praying for the tangible presence of God in the room. God answered their prayer that morning.
After the service I went off for lunch with Pastor Andrew at Han’s nearby and I must say it is always a joy to fellowship with pastors. So much in common to talk about I hardly remembered the taste of what I ate. I heard the story of his calling and marriage, how he was “charismatised” while a Presbyterian, worked with the late Canon James Wong for a few years, and counts my Tung Ling classmate Dr John Sim as a mutual friend, and even knows Rev Dr Kong Hee pretty well. He also worked with Dr Augustine Tan and learned a lot about the deliverance ministry. I remember Dr Augustine Tan of the early years of charismatic revival: he had a precious anointing, and I remembered him preaching in my home church too. I thought he was blessed to have had such mentors to work with and learn from.
Faithful to the vision
I also learned about the steadfast dedication of members to minister to the residents of the rental flats in Henderson. It took many years of loving and patient work and relationship and trust building before some of the residents’ lives were transformed as they turned to Christ. I salute churches that do community outreach. It is tough work but precious in God’s eyes. I was impressed also with their partnership with a pastor in Medan, working with the locals there to plant and grow churches, and even helping to build schools. This ministry has grown and expanded to other parts of the island too. Ps Andrew himself went many times to do training of pastors and workers in Vietnam, Indonesia and India. The Rivers of Life church is fulfilling its destiny. The rivers of living water that Jesus promised to all who thirst and believe flows out of the church to needy people near and far away. They are doing their part in fulfilling the Antioch calling upon the Singapore church. I was very encouraged.
I also found out that Paul Ooi, the founder/entrepreneur of food and beverage business, Penang Place is the chairman of the church board and his daughter, Jemima Ooi, is amazingly used by God in missions in Africa.
I read what Ps Justin wrote in their website, “In early May 1996, God gave me a vision that He will bring together a people they will glorify Him by flowing together as his River of Life, blessing people through Christian Servanthood, Evangelism and Missions.” It has been about 27 years. I believe that they have been faithful to that vision. May they press on until they hear the Master declare, “WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!” This is the bottom line that matters.
I enjoyed preaching at this church and beginning to get to know the pastors, the church and its rich history. I drove back with a song in my heart.
Do read about my other visits to other churches HERE.