09 Jun 2013
Recap of previous sermon: Deception in modern times I
All right, today we continue on our series, deception in modern times. Last week or two weeks ago, we did deception in modern times and we dealt with a few things.
Number one, we dealt with the fact that knowledge - we live in a knowledge-based age. Everybody loves knowledge but knowledge alone is not sufficient. We realized last week that we cannot just measure ourselves by how much we know. God is not so concerned with how much information you can absorb. He is concerned with how much transformation in your lives Alright, so the bottom line is not how many bible versus you know, how much bible study you go to. The bottom line is, how's your life? How are your relationships? How is the relationship with your wife or with your mum?
Second, we learned about education. We are obsessed about education. This is our generation. We believe that with a good teacher, a good method, a hardworking student, that’s it! Everything will fall into place. Well, with spiritual things, that is not enough. Good Bible teacher, good Bible material, doing all your Bible homework, studying and all that but with no Holy Spirit? The letter kills. All you get is a big fat head and become a better pharisee. Alright, so you study the Bible, by all means study it. I'm not saying you don't. But you must partner with the Holy Spirit, the author of the book. The letter kills, the spirit gives life.
Now we talk about organization. I always say, well, if you have a good church, a good leader, good management, good organization, the church will grow. Now the organization will grow the church. What's most important in that whole organizational structure is prayer. Are we willing to pray? This church was born in prayer. The very beginning of the church we had overnight prayer. We prayed and we continued to pray daily. The elders continue to pray. The most important thing in the organizational structure is, where does prayer fit in?
And then we talk about comfort. How's your life? Well, Pastor, my life is fine and everything is going well. I guess God is blessing me. Really? The more important thing is, how is the comfort in there (referring to the heart)? Not around you. Is this (referring to the heart) at peace? Are you in the will of God? Do you know you're in the will of God? Do you know you're doing what God wants you to do? How is this? How's the comfort here? Not how's your bed? How's your condo? Measure that.
And lastly, what is church? Is church a neat, tidy place where all people like us? People who have left their visible sins outside the door and come together, look decent and look nice? Everybody has more or less the same status, social and spiritual status? That's not a church; that is a club. A church is a little messy. Jesus was accused. Why are you spending time, all the time, with publicans and sinners? What's up with you? Do you know who they are? They are sinners! Well, Christ came to save sinners and we are here to reach sinners. And sinners can be messy. And new Christians can be messy. If you have a baby in your house, you know what I'm talking about. New believers in a church will be messy. Alright, so we are not looking for that neat and tidy Christian club to join. God forbid the day where GLCC is all identical, stereotypical Christians. Now we want to see some messy lives come in. When a messy life comes in, how will we respond to that? Will you look up and down at this guy and ask, what is he doing here? Does he know where he is? Well, when we see a guy like that come in, we welcome him. We reach down to him. We reach out to him. We give him special care. He gets the VIP treatment because Christ came to save sinners. Those that are whole, those that are well don't need a physician. They can take care of themselves. They're doing fine. Right? But those who are messed up, they need help.
Deception in Modern Times II
Alright, today we continue with a few other possible deceptions. Not all will fit you, some will. I hope at the end when you go back, you can say, “Well, some of these I can identify with”. All right, number one, we'll see that there are four of them that I'd like to talk about. One, pastoring is a profession. Two traditions are worth dying for. These are myths, alright? These are myths. I am not saying these are true. I'm saying these are myths. Number three, obeying God is hard, man. Wow, serving God is hard. And number four, missions is an outing - five days a year and in some calendars, we have a missions program.
(1) Pastoring is a profession
Alright, let's start with ‘pastoring is a profession’. Everybody now wants to be a professional. We aim to be professionals. In our time, only a handful of people were professionals. You want to learn swimming, you find somebody to teach you to swim. Just swim lah, any uncle can teach you to swim. Now, you go to a swimming professional. When I went to the gym, the first time I went to a gym, I had no idea what to do with all these weights. I just looked at the charts, see what the other guys doing and then I tried it out and I was probably doing all wrong. It's okay, you learn. Today, you go to the gym, there is a personal trainer. A pro tells you what to do. Everything is professional. Everybody wants children to be a professional, somebody up there, somebody big and recognized. You know, in our culture, there are very few professions that you can actually put a title before it. In uniform groups, maybe you got Major, General, Colonel. But in normal society, very few. In our culture, ‘Dr.’ is one of the few - doctor, and all the moms want their children to be doctors. So they can say, “my son is a doctor” with a ‘Dr.’. What is the other one with something in front tou can put? ‘Rev.’ - Reverend. Very few can recognize that, all right. But the ‘Reverend’. If you ever call me Reverend, you go out there and I will deal with you personally, all right? When I was ordained, some people started to call me by this horrendous title. This is taken from Psalm 111. The entire psalm is about Jehovah God. All right. And then in Psalm 111, verse nine, it says, “He (God) sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded His covenant forever: holy and reverend is His name.” Wow. What's the word ‘Reverend’ there mean? Awesome. Am I awesome? I can figure that laugh out, all right. Awesome, very awesome. All right. You know, yet people love the title because, you know, it's one of the few titles you can actually carry. You know, what has happened over time is that the Reverend is licensed to just do a few things. You know, a doctor is licensed to do surgery. This is a church in Indonesia, all right? I have preached this church. That box, that birdcage where I'm standing up on, nobody can step on it. Nobody, except the Reverend. Now, I do not know how to preach in a birdcage. You know, I have ADHD, right? I have to walk up and down. But every time I go, I will plead with a pastor with all my charm. I say, “Sir, you know, I'm not used to standing.” He looks at you like, “Are you really a Reverend? All Reverends preach from that!” Most times, I lose my negotiation so I'm stuck up there, all right? And because I'm licensed to and if I preach from down there, people will think I'm not licensed. Nobody will listen to me. And that's what they tell me. Right? If I am standing here, I'm just an ordinary person, a layman, all right. And so pastoring becomes like a profession. You don't walk into a theatre and just do surgery. You need a license, right? And pastoring is now a profession. That is what people think. So you want to share the gospel with someone you say, “Pastor, come and share my mother!” “Well, I can't speak Hokkien.” “Nevermind, you are a pastor! You can share with my mother.” You know, then I go and share my broken Hokkien. The poor mother gets more confused. And all I say to this person - I said, “you know, the best person to share with your mom is you.” You say, “Pastor, how am I supposed to preach to my mother?” I am not asking you to preach. I'm asking you to prove. A changed life is powerful. If your mom sees something happen to you, something good, that is; hey, you have the pulpit to preach in a gentle way. And I guarantee you that is more powerful than the bird up there in the birdcage. That's not funny, you know, some of them are really high up. All right, it's really you feel like you're up there looking down at everybody. Okay, so today we have many people looking at a pastor as somebody very, very special. People love this division. People are on both sides of it. The clergy love it and the laity love it. The clergy like the prestige because they can’t be a doctor. You know, usually the idiot son becomes a Reverend, all right? The smart son becomes a doctor. This is a joke in most countries, right? The smart son becomes a doctor then the son who cannot study and cannot go to college, what do I do with you? Go to seminary. And then soon both my sons are prestigious, right? And you know, the clergy and the laity, both sides love it. The guy loves to be elevated. I am a professional, a pastor. I got status, I got power, etc. But let me tell you, the laity loves it too, you know. It is nice, you know, to pay a professional and he does a job for you. You don’t need to do anything? When you go to a doctor, you ask the doctor, “Doctor, excuse me ah. You are going to operate on me? Can we do it together?” You just lie there and sleep, all right? He does everything. When you call a lawyer to defend you, you just shut up. You sit down there and unless he asks you something, you don't say anything. He does everything for you. When you ask a mechanic to fix your car, you don't go in and meddle. He does everything for you. When you ask a professional tennis player to play, you just sit and watch, you understand? We like it that way, you know! We pay this guy called Pastor Jason and he does everything. My house needs blessing? Pastor Jason, come and pray for my house. Oh Pastor Jason’s prayer is so powerful ah. Reverend ah, awesome. Pastor, my mother is sick, come to the hospital and share the gospel with her. Pastor this, pastor that. Disciple my friend, my friend is a new Christian. You know, we love it, because somebody is going to do the job. You pay the guy something and he does everything for you. Both sides love it. But God hates it. God hates that.
Let's see what the pastor's job is. Is he a professional to do things on your behalf? To do things for you? In 1 Peter 5:1-3, “So I exhort the elders among you.” This is Peter writing, all right? The Great Apostle Peter is just an elder among you. “As a fellow elder, a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you.” What do shepherds do? Lead the sheep to the food. You don't eat for the sheep. You lead the sheep to the food. The sheep walks there, eats the food and drinks the water. A pastor leads people to the Bible, to love the Bible, to read it. “Exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.” It is so easy for a professional to make shameful gain. Let me tell you that. I am a doctor and it is very easy. The higher a professional you are, the easier it is to make shameful again. Because you don't know anything and I know everything. I can charge you anything. And most of the time, you just pay. It's not difficult. Lawyers can charge horrendous fees. Surgeons can charge - one of them, recently, 22 million or something to the Sultan of Brunei. Hey, it's easy as a professional to take advantage of people if you have that status, a dominion over them, to put them down and take advantage of them. “Not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” - so what is a pastor's job? Do something for you? No! Be an example so that you can do it. Pastor Jason's job is not so much to preach to you, but to be an example to you of what a Christian should be so that you will do that job in your house, in your office, in your area of influence.
Acts 20:28 says, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock”. It did not say “pay careful attention to your message” but to yourself. Be careful of your examples. A pastor's job is not to tell you what to do, but primarily to give you an example of what to do. “And to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood”. Also, 1 Peter 5:2 says, “... shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; for not for shameful gain, but eagerly …”. Notice that again, “shameful gain”, how easy it is for every professional. I hope lawyers go there and when you go into the law profession, you do, you enter the profession not to take advantage of people, not to lord it over them and make money out of them, but to serve. Well, as pastors, that's what we should be. We should be called, called to serve, and not called to dominate. All right, the main job of a Pastor - the laity don't like this. Ephesians 4:11, 12 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds” - that's a word for Pastor - “and teachers, to equip the saints (you guys) for the work of the ministry”. The pastor's job is not to do anything for you but to make sure you are trained to do what you have to do. It's not clergy and laity. They all want a pastor. Pastor Jason's job is to train you to do your role. Wow, this is so different from a professional. I have ever been to a professional that asked me to do his work for him. I don't go to a professional where he tells me that I will be a part of this surgery. No, I sit there, I pay you and you do. My friend, pastoring is not a profession. You do not have pastor Jason as a professional. He knows that. He is well aware of that. He wants to train. You didn't come here to be spectators in God's house, all right, nor to have someone between you and God. 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us “For there is one God, and there is one meditor between God and men, the man, Jesus Christ”.
You know, when I go to the field, I go to the mission field a lot, and every time I go there, people always say, “Pastor, come and pray for my mom. Pastor, come and pray for my sick son” or whatever. You know, it's so easy to go there and just pray. After that, I leave. What have I done? I stood between that guy and God. He has this idea that he needs my prayer. But hey, I'm leaving town tomorrow, you know? So when people ask me, “Come, Pastor, please pray. My mom is sick.” And I will always say this, “Let's pray together. You start. Nobody will pray for your mom as best or as good as you. You care for your mom. You're here. You pray and I will join you.” Don't stand between people and God - that's priestcraft. Every false religion has priestcraft. You know what priestcraft is? You can’t go to God except through me. I am the anointed one. You come to God through me and the sole agent. Wow, how horrendous. There is only one channel to God - that is, Jesus Christ. One God and one mediator. Don't add a pastor in there. A pastor's job. “Come and pray for my mom!” Yes, I will. We will pray together because your prayer through Christ is also heard.
Lastly, 2 Timothy 4:2-4 says, “... preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” What do you think the main passions of Singaporeans are? My gut feel are two things. Money, money, money, and sex, right? Those are the passions. And they will accumulate teachers that will feed their passions. Any gospel that tells you that you can make more and make more and make more will get the crowds because that is their passion. And another church that says you can do whatever you like because you are saved by grace; live! What is all this thing about rules and laws? Do whatever you like. Wow. I have two passions; I have freedom to just accumulate and accumulate and lust after money and sex! And it's sanctioned by God, hallelujah! This is nothing surprising, folks. It's always been their shameful gain, people. Pastors know how to feed the passions of these people and in the process, make shameful gain.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 continues with, “And will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” - stories, all kinds of stories, true or false. Alright, so I hope today in the church, we will understand that our dear pastor, Pastor Jason, is here to train you to work, to equip you to do your job. He will be an example, he will train, he will go alongside you, but he will not do your work for you. He's not a priest. He is our pastor, our beloved pastor.
(2) Traditions are worth dying for
Alright, number two traditions are worth dying for - this is another myth. You know, the Bible doesn't give us clear practices. It doesn't tell us how to do things because under every circumstance, it is a little different. The Bible gives us principles. Let me give you an example. One principle in Hebrews 10:25, “... not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”. What does this verse tell us? What is the principle? Christians could not be lone rangers. Christians should gather together and encourage one another. Now, how do you do that? Well, in our church, we do it in this hotel. That's how we do it. It doesn't tell us how we are to gather together. Some do it in the house - fine, that is church. All right. Some gather in Starbucks. In a lot of countries where I work, where it is hostile and people don't like us to gather in some worship place, you worship anywhere, under the mango tree or anywhere. It is fine as long as we are meeting together. You see, does it say here, “not neglecting to meet together in a nice church building”? No, it doesn't say that. What about “encouraging one another through the preaching of sermons”? It doesn't say that. But church service can be just us, the three of us sitting down, encouraging somebody over a cup of coffee, and sharing a verse. And if there's too many hostile beings around, don't even take out your Bible. Just share a verse or take out your cell phone and share a verse. “And all the more as you see the Day drawing near” - in other words, let's keep on gathering together. But you know what happens? We'll show you another little picture, all right. This is the church I regularly preach in in Indonesia. Eugene now is preaching regularly there. we'll see some features about this church that now have become die die must haves. Okay? See that cross? A lot of people if they go to church and there's no cross, that is not a church. When we first built our church at 360 Dunearn Road, people say “How come this church got no cross?” Does it ever tell us that a church must have a cross? Frankly, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the cross. The cross is the instrument that killed the Lord. Would you hang a gun around your neck that killed your mother? Are we to be Christ-centered or cross-centered? What's the deal about the cross? What I rejoice in is Christ is risen from the dead and not still stuck at the cross! That is no big deal to me but you know, for many people, if you don't have that, that's not a church. Then you see that thing up there? That's the birdcage, all right. This one is a bit higher. This is a lay man reading in his robes and all but a real clergy goes up there. Now you try taking away the pulpit. When we first tried to take away our pulpit and the church, wow! Hue and cry. How come, Pastor, that the church has got no pulpit? And I've told this story before that a guy came to our church and very seriously after service said to me, “can I talk to you straightaway?” I thought his mother had fallen down or whatever. He said, “You did not preach today.” This was a young guy, you know, pointing his finger at me. I said, “Why?” He said, “You never stood behind the pulpit.” Well, I wanted to say that I got ADHD but I didn't. And he said, “How can you preach without standing behind the pulpit?” So I said, “Do you think Jesus preached from the pulpit?” He said, “Maybe?” I said, “That is kind of strange, isn't it?” Just imagine Peter and John carrying the pulpit around, it is like carrying a coffin. But I didn't argue with him. I said, “Well, maybe. That's fine.” But you know, for him, he would never come back to GLCC again and he had brought a visitor who was a new believer, a seeker. And that seeker ended up in a mormon church and I think he's still there today because this guy wanted to fight with me about a pulpit. Pray tell me, where in Hebrew says you must gather around a pulpit? I don't know. Okay. What are these things called? Pews, alright. If you have never been to church, you ignorant people, those benches are called pews, all right? A bench in a church is spelled ‘p e w’, all right? It's just a bench but you know, for many people, if you don't have that bench there, it is not a church. Hey, this is a great thing, you know. Why was there a bird cage up there? You asked me why was there a bird cage? Because in the old days, there was no mic and the higher you are, the easier it is to throw your voice - simple as that! Sermon on the mount - why was Jesus on a mountain? To look down at people? No, to throw your voice! So people built it high so on the day of no mic, you cannot be shouting all the time. You throw your voice, big deal. And then later when the mic came, they stuck the mic to the pulpit. So you are locked there now. Thankfully, mine is stuck in my ear. And when my ear goes, I go. But you know, for some people, this is a big deal. What are these people holding there? They are holding pieces of paper, right? Song sheets and the verses of the Bible. Now this church runs 10,000 people. This is one of four services, all right? They spill out on the left, they spill out on the right and they spill out behind. One of four services. They run 10,000 people and imagine every time they have to print. Each time, so many sheets of paper because there are so many songs, so many verses. The service lasts three hours, two to three hours. Okay? If you ever have to sit on a bench for two hours, that's a challenge. For the ladies, your anatomy is different. You can sit quite comfortably. I know, my wife can sit for hours and say to me, “why do you keep fidgeting all the time?” Sometimes, two hours there - they sit there. If it is a special service, three hours. Nine choirs, because without choir, it's not a service. Wow. Where did Hebrews 10 say gather around the choir? I have not heard that. But that becomes part of life. And so in our old days when we had hymnals, we used to carry hymnals to church. We are always a migratory church. Imagine we have to buy 1,000 hymnals today and each hymnal cost 30 bucks, all right? $30,000 on hymnals? I can flash it all out for nothing and I can choose any number of songs. But you know when we change from hymnals to, God forbid, AV, people say, “Pastor, I think we are sliding down the slippery road of compromise.” Road from where to where? You know, for many people, all these things mean a lot.
Imagine this church, all right? A good friend of mine. One day they took away the pews - what will happen? Can you imagine if people came in and did not see pews, what do you think will happen in this church? Make a guess. I think everybody will stand at the door, gasp and walk away, because there is no more church. That's my honest opinion. But if the pastor did not preach the gospel, nobody would. If the pastor did not train the saints, equip the saints, as the Bible says he should, nobody would leave. What am I saying? People will die for tradition. They will make a stand for tradition. They will argue for tradition. But when the Bible is run over, rejected and thrown out? So what. You know, our church spends a lot of time sometimes having to appease people on these things. I'm telling you, in this church, when we put videos. You know, Jesus never taught without a parable. A parable is just a story. Some of our pastors are not the best storytellers so they use videos. Wow, we should see the feedback he gets. “Wow, what's happening to our church? They are showing a video.” I thought we are supposed to teach you the parables? Didn’t Jesus do that? Isn’t the Bible 70% stories? What's wrong with stories? A very secular story, some of them! To be honest, a lot of sex in it, adultery and killing - quite scary. But the truths are taught through that. And then you do a video. And wow. Pastor, you know, the devil is laughing all the way to the back. He's laughing because we are not fighting real battles. We are fighting each other over our preferences, what we grew up with. I like the pews, Pastor. I like this. I like that. My question is, what does the Bible say? Is this your house? Are we here to fit your preferences or are we here to preach the Bible truth? I thank God for Pastor Jason. He wants to share the truth. You guys don't go around and pick on things that are not even in the Bible. We want to preach truth from here. We must die for Bible truths. If anyone says that Jesus is not the Son of God, die for that, argue that and fight it. Anybody uses the word and twists and perverts it, for gain, for shameful gain, fight for it and die for it. But when someone takes away the benches of the church, say hallelujah. So what? What's the big deal? All right, I hope that this church will know how to fight God's battles, not our preferences. Whether you're Baptist or Presbyterian or wherever you come from, be biblical. The thing that will hold us together is not our roots because we all come from different roots, but the Bible, all right? So don't die for traditions and don't waste our church time on your preferences.
3. Obeying God is hard
Number three, obeying God is hard. Wow. This is so common. Wow, serving God is hard. I mentor pastors and honestly, I sit around and have coffee with the pastors and this is one of the common things. So how's life? “Sigh, ministry is hard.” And my automatic answer is, have you ever been a fisherman? Yeah, serving God is hard but catching fish is harder. Have you ever been a construction worker? “Last night, you know one of my members was sick. I stayed up all night to counsel, to help and to pray for them.” I say, “My friend, if you're a doctor, that is normal man. If you are a fireman you will stay up all night, you know.” Nothing! What's the big deal. But you know, people will never say, “Wow, working in the bank is so hard.” No, no, no - serving God, that's the hard one. What did Jesus say? “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30). Now there is a yoke and there is a burden but it's light. That's what God tells us, all right. But no, to the people of the world, serving God is the most scary thing and it is not just what people in the world say but people in GLCC. For us, good master. God is a good Savior. He is gracious. He is loving. He died for me, paid the price for me freely. I think almost all of us can say that. Amen, wonderful Savior. But you know, most of us will say, as a savior, he is good but as a master, he is scary, very scary. You know, it's almost like Jesus or God has two faces. On one side He says, “Come on. You all are sinners but come to me. Come to me. Trust me, I died for your sins. I paid the price for your sins.” And the moment you receive Him, He says, “Aha! I got you now. Now I'm going to torture you and make you miserable.” That's how most of us think. That's how most of us think. We have this idea that we can trust him as Savior and we can trust Him to get us to heaven. But if you ever allow your life to be led by Him on this earth, good luck to you. That's the reality. You know, so many people come to me and say, “Wow, Pastor! Your life is so hard ah. Every week you travel. Budget airline somemore; it is not very comfortable ah.” Sure. Jesus didn't say there is no burden or there is no yoke. But let me tell you, even if I had to sit at a little angle because my legs are a little longer, let me tell you - the butt is uncomfortable but the heart is comfortable. Are you with me? And I have to say to them, “My life is not hard. My life's better than yours. Much better than yours.” “Wah you live in this kind of hotel?” and I say, “You know what? My sleep is better than yours in that hotel.” “Hey Pastor, last night there were a lot of mosquitoes.” “I don't know, I fell asleep.” “The pillow is so skinny!” “I don't know. I'm asleep.” That is because I have peace - peace of God that surpasses understanding. You know something? If you think God is a master to make your life miserable blasphemy. Blasphemy! He came that you might have life and have it more abundantly, from inside flowing out, not from the pillow touching your hair and your head, but from your heart touching every cell in your body. Are you with me? Serving God is hard? You mean your boss in the office is better than God? Are you with me? Are you gonna say, “Yes, Amen. My boss in the office is better than God.” Rubbish! Your boss in the office has a better plan for your life than God has a plan for life? Nonsense! You can say with me that this is nonsense because you know the truth. But, but none of you will say my boss in the bank is better than God. None of you will say that. I don't believe so. Or none of you will say that the reward of my bank, the bonus is better than any bonus God can give me. I don't think you can say that honestly. Nonsense! You know in your head, but “the heart of men is deceitful” (Jeremiah 17:9). The head says, “Come on lah. Of course God is good what.” But the heart says, “I think I trust myself better. I better make a plan for my own life.” Then the head says, “How can your plan be better than God's plan? Are you okay?” My heart says, “Nevermind; I will follow my heart’s plan.” You see, the heart is deceitful and the devil encourages and the world encourages, and it is sad to say that pastors encourage them. Whenever I hear pastors sit down with me and they say that serving God is hard, I say, “say that again?” Then go serve the world! Go! Nonsense. But it said over and over and over again, “Ah, Pastor, your life is so hard.” I want you to know my life is unbeatable. I have a peace that the Bible says surpasses all understanding. I don't even understand. I cannot understand. Doesn't matter that it is a budget airline, it doesn't matter that the plane is delayed for 10 hours and it doesn't matter if there is no hotel room. It doesn't matter. Hotels can come and go, mosquitoes can come and go, but my God doesn't. The comfort He gives me doesn't. The Comforter never leaves me. Serving God and obeying God is not hard; it is the best. You know, I hope that when you all read the Bible and it tells you to do something, do it! Don't read the Bible to know something. I'm tired of that. Read the Bible to do something. Don't deceive yourself. If the devil wants to deceive you, that is his business - he is a deceiver. But don't deceive yourself, all right? The Bible says, ‘Be a do-er of the word. Obey God.’ You won't regret it. I have never known a man on his dying bed yet (maybe somebody, some nut) say, “Oh my god! I didn't serve IBM enough. I didn't serve OCBC enough. Oh my god, I wish I'd serve OCBC more.” It won't be that many men would say, “I wasted my life. I didn't serve the only worthy master.” Alright, so I leave you with that. Don't be part of this satanic devilish choir that says serving God is hard. That is a lie! Serving the world is hard. Serving yourself is harder. But serving God is wonderful. He is the only thing, only one worth serving. When you serve men - I've served men and I worked for bosses before. When you work for a boss, you got to get results. The problem with results is that you're not in control of everything. Okay, this is the bottom line. This is the number of bugs you are supposed to make, the number of patients you are supposed to see and whatever. You're not in control of that. Market conditions are out of your hands. World conditions are out of your hands but you have to get the bottom line. When you serve God, let me tell you, all you need to do is do your best and leave the rest. That is all! God just wants the best for you. How wonderful. How can you have stress? All you need is do your best. God takes care of the rest. God doesn't want geniuses, experts, gurus or superman. No! God wants your heart to say, “I'll do what you want me to do, Lord. That's all I can do. That is my two cents’ worth. That's it. You fill the rest.” Wonderful partnership. We serve men; different bosses come and different bosses go. When we try to serve man, you have this book to read and that book to read. You know, I'm no more doctor. I lost my license. Because to be a doctor, to continue to be a doctor, you need 40 hours of continuing medical education called CME. Why do we need that? I thought I'm already licensed. Because a lot of things I learned are no more relevant, are no more true. A lot of things I thought were true are now untrue. And now I have to read this new journal, which tells me some new thing. But then this new thing from the University of say, New York, is quite different from that which came from University of Oxford and Cambridge. Oh my goodness, what is truth? I don't know. I thank God that when I serve God, there is only one book - so simple. When you're a medical student, you can get muscles by buying books, big fat books. Thank God for one book. I know if I know that book, I know my God and know what he wants. Wonderful master. We are ending.
4. Missions is an outing Missions is an outing.
We live in an age of travel, right? The Bible says in Daniel 12:4 in the last days, man shall “run to and fro”. Today, half the church is gone on holidays. Everybody is having trips and going on holiday, traveling to and fro. Every year families have outings, family outing, and the ladies go on shopping outings while the men go on golfing outings, market outings. The churches? Missions outing. Every year, it is [art of the calendar - missions program. So for many people, missions is a outing. Five days here, there or somewhere, all right? So that is what we have come to understand missions as. I have shared with you, some of you, before the first missions outing we had. I think Pastor Jason was involved in that one which was to go to Northern Thailand, Chiang Rai. All right? In Chiang Rai, our youth team with another church’s youth team was to build a fence for the home. Now, you know, Singapore boys have never built anything, right? Some have never even seen a fence, all right. So here we send this wonderful team of 20 from our church, and there were 20 or 30 from the other church, or whatever. And we're going to build this fence for this home. So the poor pastor on the other
side has to buy the spades, buy the nails, buy the hammers, you know, 30 or 50 hammers, whatever. And a whole bunch of money is spent. And then we send this bunch of guys who have never built a fence to build a fence. Now, you know what the result is. The poor guy, the Pastor, is running up and down saying, “We shouldn't do this. You shouldn't do that. You shouldn’t do that.” So finally, the fence is completed. A couple of weeks later, a message from the pastor in Chiang Rai: “The fence fell down.” Hey, what do you expect? Our guys have never built a fence and now they go over there to build a fence, what do you expect? Tons of hours, of money, preparation, money spent buying equipment were all down and then it's history already - forgotten and we never learned our lesson. Next thing we did, we sent a youth expedition group from here - our best and brightest went to the Philippines to rebuild the computer room of a university. Some of you are here, the victims, all right. So we went there and we said, “All right, we will repaint all these ugly looking chairs.” They were all metal chairs and they were all rusty. So they had cans of blue paint and they painted the chairs. I remember it was blue, bright blue. And then the walls, I think they were yellow. They painted it. Wonderful. I had the honor of opening the centre. To my horror, when I looked at the chair, all the paint is peeling out already. They painted the paint directly on the rusty metal and you know, Singaporeans, we don't blame them for they never painted anything. And these are the best and brightest. Peel off. Wall? Oh my goodness. This kind of painting is kind of embarrassing, right? Some of you are here. You feel guilty, right? You know, that is our missions. The poor guys had to scrape the paint off - twice as much work. They had to redo the whole thing. Did we help anybody? But we did an outing. We did our missions. Honestly, in five days, what do you expect to do on a mission field? Bring your candy? Do a skit? Some people say, “Let's do a skit!” All right, the whole team comes together to do a skit but they forgot that the Thai children don't speak English. So the skit goes and then the translator says, “They are saying ... What you say? Ah okay.” You know, wonderful. And then at the end of it, the kind pastor says, “Thank you for coming. We are so thankful, so touched by the way you came, sacrificed and encouraged us.” You know Asians are very polite. If you were invited to a house and a woman cooked the most horrible food, what are you going to say? No, you will say, “Auntie, very nice!” You're a liar. Liar! Next time I should feed you again and you will die. All right? Learn to say, “wow, this is very interesting. I've never eaten anything like this in my life! Ooh, I don't think anybody's eaten anything like this in their life!” That's honest and true, right? And then run. But you know, the pastor won't say that to you. They're so polite and then they'll say, “Wow, thanks for encouraging us.” but actually want you to continue supporting them. Right? They are pragmatic. The money helps. They can build fences, they can do skits, they can paint chairs, and they are good but they got no money to buy paint. And to be honest, what are Singaporeans good at? Painting, skits, fences? No! Making money; that's what we're good at. Right? Our dollar is very strong. Singapore is not the painting capital of Asia, not fence capital. What is it? Financial. Okay. So what do we do? Don't go on mission trips? No, please go on mission trips. What does the Bible say? John 4:35 says, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” Why do you go on a mission trip? To lift up your hands to paint a chair? To open your mouth to do a skit? What must you bring to the mission trip? What do you bring to a golf trip? Bring your golf clubs. What do you bring to your shopping trip? Bring your credit card. What do you bring to a mission trip? Your eyes! So that you can see what? Harvest! The ripe harvest. You know something? It is very funny, the human heart. When you see a ripe harvest, you get excited. Whether it's rambutan, durian, mango, anything, chilies, anything! When you see the fruits hanging, you get excited and you want to pluck. If you are a boy, you chew it and you steal, alright? Because you can't get your hands off it. The Bible says, “lift up your eyes and look on the fields for it is ripe.” You know, do mission trips, please do mission trips, otherwise your heart gets hardened, your heart forgets. But when you see that there are souls dying, never hearing the name of Christ, then you will be moved. How do you help? Well, you could send funds in and help the harvest. That is one way it is called a combined harvest, right? You send money. Get a Jeep for them. Get a motorbike for your evangelists. Instead of building a fence you say, “My brother, Mr. Chatachong, no fence builders! Next year, we will get you a motorbike.” Wow! Then he can run all around. Instead of going to one village, he can do seven a day now because he used to walk and now he rides a motorbike. Send out our harvester! Another way you can do it? Send your men! Alright, some of you will know these are three Gospel Lighters - two anonymous and will remain anonymous and one not so anonymous. All right, they were not send to harvest rice, to be fair. They were not sent to harvest rice. That will be the most insane thing I could do, right? I know after 20 minutes, my dear Dr. Mark, a doctor who makes good money in Singapore, if he were to harvest for another 20 minutes, I need to send him to a doctor. He will have no rice and a backache. Wrong job, Mark. Wrong job! But that's what we do in missions. Are you with me? Does it make sense? Now Dr. Mark’s salary, I'm not telling you his salary. I know his salary but I am not telling you, all right. You have to calculate, all right? It is a hundred times more, at least, than a rice farmer’s salary. Mark, please stay home. Please spend one more day in your clinic. Take the money and employ one hundred guys. Can you do that? I'm sure Mark will do that. He didn't go to the Philippines to harvest rice, all right? So don't get me wrong, all right? He is not that dumb. I just sent them down to try to harvest rice. After two minutes they all said, “Wah, tired already.”. That's our training center in the Philippines. Okay, now the point is this: why do we go to do something we are not good at? Is it romantic? So we can come by and say, “I harvested rice!”? Sometimes we call those missions tourism. Alright, everybody likes ecotourism, adventourism, venture tourism, tourism, tourism. So, maybe. You know this fellow can harvest, the biggest one, can harvest 675 tons of wheat in eight hours. Scary ah? It can fill this whole place. I don't know how many halls like this one. While my grand GLCC team, three of them, probably will harvest 67 kilos, which is one bag of rice.
So what's the story? Let's help the workers. Let's have a heart for the workers. But let's help in the area God has gifted us. Fence building? Painting? Do a skit? We will need a translator. Send a dollar. That doesn't sound very good for Facebook. “I am in the Missions team.” What do you do? “I am still a doctor in Tampines.” Huh what kind of missions are you doing? “I earn money and I send to them.” But that is not romantic. There is no Facebook power. This one? Can! Wah suffering ah, Mark! Look at that poor guy, he is really suffering ah. Look at his hair, it is all dropping off, right? So tiring! But are we playing games? Are we serious about missions? Ask yourselves. SMCI, alright? Pastor Mike's gang - 68 full-time workers and 48 part-time workers. The salary of the full-time workers, the average salary of full-time workers, all college grads, all serving in hundred over campuses, their average salary is $170 Singapore dollars. I can say that Dr. Mark earns a lot more than that. I can say these three people here represent the income of this church. These three, their income, assuming this category, the three of them we can employ maybe 50 times more Filipino workers. These three will become 150 if they will just earn the money and send it or earn the money and send to buy a car or motorbike or earn the money for a SMCI complex so that the trainees can come in and Pastor Mike doesn't need to run around the hundred campuses to train them and get kidney stones in the process. All we need is a place to bring them in and train them. All right? SMCI is a serious business. It's a large campus ministry, probably the largest in Asia today.
How can we help? Go there? Yes. See the fields! Go with your eyes, go with your eyes! But how else can we help? Not the five days you are in the field. But the 360 days you are back here doing what God put you to do. But this time after having seen the field, when you work in your office, in your law office, your medical office, your bank, wherever, you say, “Lord, I am part of that team. I want to be a part of God's mission. And though I am sitting in this office, I am a part of that work.” You know when a soldier goes to war, how many people stay behind? When infantrymen go out there you know what? At least three must be behind him to provide the money, the logistics, the food, the air cover and everything. For one guy running around on the field, at least three must stay behind. Not romantic. No medals. Nobody knows you're working hard for the war because you're just growing wheat in your backyard! You won't get a medal for growing wheat. But you know what? In God's army, your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Everything you do for God will be recognized, whether Facebook recognizes it or fellow man recognizes it, God will. May God touch us to have serious missions. I really believe a missions effort is not an outing but an outflow. If God loves me and gave his son for me, I know the truth and I share it. And these people have never heard it, so what can I do to expedite that? Can I send a motorbike? Can I sell a car? Can I start a training center? What must I do? I don't want to play games. I'm not in the tourism business. I'm in God's serious business. May God help us.
So I hope today, you will go back and realize pastoring is not a profession, traditions are not worth dying for and I hope that you will realize that serving God is the best thing you can do and obeying God is the best thing you can do. And lastly, missions is not five days in the field but it is every day where God has placed me. If I can give not one cent for the work of God, that's fine. But having seen the field, I will pray for that work. I will pray every day. For some of our students, you don't have one cent to give so you pray. But it's not the five days on the field. It's everyday; an outflow of a grateful heart to God. So may God bless us not to be deceived. All these things are subtle. They're not overwhelming us but they are creeping into our lives. All these things, and I hope today with a little more awareness, we say, “I'm tired of deception. I want to serve God. I want to serve Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.”.
Let's close with a word of prayer. Father, thank you for this time. We pray that you will bless this time and pray that you will help these words to touch our hearts and change our lives. We pray in Jesus' name, amen.
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