“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not… Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” - Deuteronomy 8:1-7
Pastor Simon Yee started off this year’s Advance by reminding us of the need to recall God’s goodness. He told us it was time for leaders to be unhurried, reflective and open in our sharing. He quoted Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living”, and urged us to take time to examine our lives.
In order to better serve our family, community, cell and church, we need to slow down, contemplate and comprehend what we have been doing. We need to pause and fine-tune our methods before we proceed. For instance, are we using our gifts and involving others to do better? Do our actions align with our goals? These questions caused us to delve into deeper thoughts.
As the Advance proceeded, we were taken on a journey of recounting God’s goodness in the past, present and future.
Together with the 144 who joined in, we recounted personal stories that best illustrated our journey in FCBC. For many of us, these stories stirred up faith within us, and we were honoured to have the 144 in our midst, testifying of God’s goodness in their lives.
“We have much to be thankful for,” reminded Pastor Simon repeatedly. As Singaporeans, we are very blessed; and as FCBC members, we have so much to be thankful for. God has blessed us to be strong in equipping and discipleship. Our teachings, backed by scriptures, are balanced and relevant for ministry. We are also strong in our marketplace engagement, through TOUCH Community Services. We, who inherited the pioneering spirit, have indeed created wave after wave of impact. And best of all, we have genuine and sincere leadership.
Next, Eddie led us through a numbering activity to identify our perception of FCBC at present. We were to select on a scale of 1 to 10 what best represented present FCBC, as compared to our ideal SG60. A mixture of assumptions, sentiments and truths were suddenly brought to light. Behind the concerns we revealed, Pastor Simon emphasised the need to clarify these issues. We need to be exact, and if needed, an extended session to brainstorm solutions.
Interestingly, through this Advance, we found our old nature being confronted. Who are our neighbours? Who are our teammates? It was apt when Eddie quoted John 15:12-13, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
We do make erroneous judgement as well. We were led in a tent building activity, where we were blindfolded. We were blinded to the fact that there were missing parts to the tents and it was totally chaotic. Without collaboration with the other group, we would not have been able to build our tents. We realised that wrong assumptions, coupled with a desire to win, delayed the completion of our task.
During this Advance, there were many opportunities to share openly within our small group. By then, after weathering the ‘storm’ of tent-building, we had drawn closer and were able to candidly share our fears and concerns. Through the life of Gideon, Pastor Simon warned us of the danger of cowardice and compromise. We are to challenge our battles in faith and arise as conquerors over our fears and feelings. To do better as a team, we were exhorted to be humble, transparent to leadership and others-centred. That is the essence of unity.
But as Jesus promised, we are not alone in this journey. We have our helper, the Holy Spirit, who has given us gifts to better serve Him and others. It was exhilarating and surprising for some who found our giftings through the spiritual gifts questionnaire. It was a wonderful time of rediscovering ourselves.
The seven spiritual gifts are:
In 7 years, we will be celebrating SG60. What does the future hold for FCBC? In our respective groups, we brainstormed and drew up impressive mind maps and pictures to celebrate our future. It was a heartwarming sight to see them all pinned up. These are our hopes for us, our next generation and the nation.
What then does it take for us to bring in the multitudes? We may not have the physical lame in our midst, but many Singaporeans are crippled in their careers, finances, marriages and relationships. To see signs and wonders among them, we must arise in compassion, conviction and collaboration. Pastor Simon taught us through the story of John and Peter healing the lame at the gate named Beautiful (Acts 3:1-10).
We must guard the entrance named Beautiful in our hearts. We must respect even the poorest. Allow God to surface any darkness in our hearts. Authenticity and purity shall bring forth authority, and anointing for the ministry shall flow through us to those around.
What a beautiful way to end this Advance. Jesus, our Beautiful gate. Amen!