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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Centre of New Life: insightful Pentecostal pulpit

Two churches in one building

It was an interesting concept. Two churches sharing one building is not new. It had been tried in the Clementi Bible Center, shared by the Bible Church and the Mt Carmel Bible Presbyterian Church; and in Yishun Christian Church, shared between an Anglican and a Lutheran church. This was of a different model: like a semi-detached house where each church had their own separate living space. No bargaining nor quibbling over prime time or space. The Center of New Life, and Victory Family Center shares a building on a HDB church site in Jurong West opposite the National Technological University, across the highway. It made sense to share, what with exhorbitant bids for church sites despite their limited 30 years lease. More churches should find a partner to do something similar.

praise and worship by Pastor Navin

This visit to Center of New Life was prompted by wanting to visit the church some of my trekking friends attend. Linda Teo, Eric and Christine Ng, Jeffrey, and quite a few others are members there. They used to worship at Orchard Hotel but two years ago they jointly developed this present site with Victory Family Center. While retaining the city centre’s Sunday worship services, now in River View Hotel, the bulk of the church moved west to its present site.

Pastor Terence Ong

Insightful preacher

The unique feature of the worship service was the preaching. This is an Assemblies of God church. Pastor Terence Ong, a good looking tall young man in his 30’s, preached from the book of Acts. It was the commencement of a series and in conjunction with the preaching on Sundays, the church was urged to read and reflect on the book of Acts during the week. What was interesting was that the sermon I heard was an intelligent man’s message. This was not the typical Pentecostal message with the emphasis on inspiration, loud passion, moving people to action, and probing the conscience.  This was a message that gave insights and perspectives that were creative and progressive. It enlightened and gave you food for serious thought. This was a message for the educated, the professional, the thinking Christian.

The pastor began connecting with the crowd by making some humorous remarks about the elections. Smart move as  everyone was thinking of that anyway. Then he went into the text  to explain the  concept of the kingdom of God, and how it related to politics and power. This was not the traditional Pentecostal interpretive framework: he moved beyond that. Was I seeing one of a new generation of Pentecostal young preachers who were widely read, and have ventured beyond the traditional and hackneyed? (I did wish he mentioned something about mothers though – after all one of those who waited with the 120 was the mother of Jesus – and it was ‘traditionally’ Mother’s Day!).

With friends

The service started at 11am and ended at 12.45pm. Mingling among the members, I chatted with Jason Jin and Sam, both of whom were from World Revival Prayer Fellowship a long time ago. Went for lunch with the trekking group at Lam’s Noodles at TradeHub 21 in supremely humid and hot conditions. It was nice to just attend church: carefree, relaxed, and be open to receive.

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