25 Nov 2012
Alright, today we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Now those of you who have been in church for a good period of time, you will realize we do not celebrate anniversaries every year. In fact, the last one we celebrated was four years ago on our 21st anniversary. Now, of course, some of you will begin to ask why do we not celebrate anniversaries? I mean, are we not a grateful people? Do we not believe in looking back, looking at our roots and see how God has prosper us? Well, the truth is, we believe it's good to be thankful. But every year as we approach our anniversary, somehow, the events of the coming year seem to be so exciting, the potential to be so great, that it sort of overshadows the blessings of the past year. And so, every year, we say, “Come on, let's just use this time. And let's talk about today and what we can do tomorrow rather than look back.” It's almost like a young, energetic guy. Young, energetic people are not very good at looking back. They tend to be excited about today and the future. But when you get older, when the legs are not so strong, you sit in your OSIM chair, and you talk about the good old days because the future is not so good. Thankfully, after 25 years, we are not in our OSIM chair, we are in a Copthorne chair, but let us never ever be in an OSIM chair.
And so, God help us today, as I think today is the appropriate day. 25 years. Time to pause. Time to look back, look at our roots, time to thank God. But this service will not just be a nostalgia service. The first half will be looking back. The second half is let's look forward to the next 25 years. I think Singapore is on a new phase. The past 25 years Singapore was a regional player, a regional city, a lion city. The next 25 years, Singapore I believe will be a global city. In fact, personally I believe it will be the unofficial capital of Asia. Right? Don't tell Xi Jinping that alright, Hu Jintao that but I believe this will be the capital of Asia, unofficial but very influential. How will we position ourselves for the next lap? So first, let's look back at our roots.
Look back at our roots: First root
We have two distinct roots, very distinct roots. First one can be traced back to Shenton Way. Now, for you, Shenton Way is just a street. 25 years ago, Shenton Way was the street. It was the wall street of Singapore. You see Singapore before that was a port. We were basically a port; trade went through us. About 25 years ago, the government said let's make Singapore a financial center. So, they built Shenton Way, invited banks to come in, large numbers of banks came in and it became the, today we will say, the Marina Bay of those days. Since then, it's been superseded by Raffles Place and Marina Bay. But in those days, it was exciting, and our first roots can be traced there. I had just been saved. I'm got saved at the age of 33 at that time when I established Shenton Medical Group, which was the dominant Medical Group in Shenton Way, and after I got saved, I did what I knew how to do. I didn't know how to preach, but I got a big fat Bible and I opened it and put it on my doctor’s table. And those foolish enough to be trapped, sat down and say you actually read that and then they got a free sermon. And now the beautiful part about being a doctor is you have a captive audience. They can’t say I'm running off now. You try to track in Orchard Road they run, in my clinic, they sat there until I say you can go. And so, victim after victim came through and today all the elders of the church are victims of Shenton Medical Group. Almost all the early deacons were also victims of Shenton Medical Group. And later they will tell you about how they were trapped. But it was a wonderful way to share and soon there was Bible studies in every lunch hour, and so on. And that became one of the main roots of GLCC.
Look back at our roots: Second root
Today, there are a disproportion number of doctors and lawyers and finances rather in this church, you can understand why alright, it came from a medical group in a financial center. Our second root was in Botanical Gardens very different. In those days, Botanical Gardens was a place where Filipino domestic helpers would congregate. There was no Lucky Plaza at that time, they did not congregate there. And they would come, and they would sit under the trees in Botanical Gardens. My wife was saved six months after me, she and three friends decided to visit these people under the tree, under the trees. And so, with little tracks they went, and they shared the gospel to these Filipinos under the tree. Slowly, some of them became regulars. Every Sunday, you'll see them at this particular tree, they sort of had favorite trees and slowly, the group, my wife and her three friends would invite them to go under a big tree, which I'll show you later. And a little service began there. Now, because they were ladies, they couldn't throw their voice, the group was quite large. After a while, I was roped in to be the preacher. I couldn't preach but I had a loud voice at that time. Still do. And so, that was the second root of GLCC. And so, these are the two roots of Gospel Light Christian Church.
After a while, there were enough believers in Shenton Way, enough believers in Botanical Gardens, and we said we needed to have a Sunday worship place. So, what was between Shenton Way and Botanical Gardens, it was Orchard Road. So, we started our first service in a fancy hotel called Hilton Hotel. Right, at that time, we had no name it was called Paul Choo’s group. We hadn't any idea of a name. On the first Sunday, this untrained preacher went with his untrained organist wife, who was just learning the organ, and we set up shop in this little hall, little room in Hilton Hotel and hope that people would come. We had invited people and lo and behold almost 20 people came. Okay, sounds very impressive. But be careful of statistics alright, always be careful of statistics. Half of those people were my relatives, alright. Alright, was my children, my wife, my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, my father and my mother, so they didn't have any choice. Right. So, on day one, we had almost 20. I think it was 18, if I remember correctly, so I didn't have to preach just to my kids. And from then on, that little group grew, and we have since moved, this is our ninth place, by next month or so will be our 10th place. So now you know why GLCC is never very concerned about place. People say if you keep moving, the church gets smaller, we have found it doesn't make a difference, right? You keep moving because we focus on people not on bricks or building. And if you focus on people, people will come wherever you are, right. So, we have now, this is our ninth place. We are a migratory church, started under a tree in a medical clinic and rub in a hotel. And probably when the rapture comes, we will all be lifted up from a hotel too. Alright, so God has been good to us all these years. Now. Those are our roots. And what I will do now is to let pictures show, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let's get some pictures. Am I doing it right now? Okay, can we get lights off, there's going to be a few pictures here. That was our first GLCC service. That tree is still in Botanical Gardens. If you go to the main gate where you know the old main gate near Gleneagles hospital, you walk in there, go about 20 meters into Botanical Gardens, and you will see that same tree you will see the same branch that is GLCC, alright. One day, we will carve our name on that tree and put GLCC was started here. Well, maybe one of you will do it for me, right? Okay, this is one of our earliest groups when it was still a little group and from then on, we gather under that tree for at least I think five to 10 years after that as an outreach post of GLCC. That's my wife, that was my daughter. And that was our first real service, okay, under a tree. So anywhere in the world is a good place to worship.
Now we move up market very quickly to the penthouse of Tong building. Now some you may wonder where Tong building is, you know, the Rolex building next to Lucky Plaza, it’s a very nice building. The owner of that building was a patient of mine, another victim of mine, and he led out his penthouse every Sunday to hundreds of us going in. We had roughly about 100 Filipinos every Sunday after about a year after we started, and about 70 to 80 Singaporeans alright about a year after. He let us use the place free, we had a beautiful penthouse from the tree to the penthouse that is really quite move up. All free. And this is our prayer meeting. From day one, GLCC, we started Sunday service, we started prayer meeting on Friday night, and we never missed a beat. Prayer meeting was almost as well attended as church service. So, every Sunday, sorry, every Friday they would gather in my house, and they would pray. Let me show you some pretty girls here. If you are near you will see these pretty girls. That pretty little girl is Betty Lim. Right? That is Cat Yeo. That is Yuit Keen. This little boy will be ordained a pastor today, alright, that's Eugene Yeo, that's Victor Ang, and the rugged handsome guy is Pastor Vic, alright. We were all young and handsome once. Alright. That is Lick Tien. Right? That’s me there and my wife at the back.
Alright, so every Friday night, we would gather in prayer, we will just pray literally for about two hours or so and then chit chat, makan (eat in Malay) until about midnight. And then it was a feature of our church, up till today, the elders of the church pray every single day, Monday to Friday morning. Alright, so this feature of the church continues today. Alright, our first Sunday school outing, I heard it is a carpark or something at Bukit Timah Hill. Now just to show you, this little Sunday school girl is Hau Chan right? That is Hau Chan, don’t mixed up. She wasn't a Sunday school girl. She was a Sunday school teacher. That's Victor Ang. That’s Suh Jiuan. And okay, so these are our Sunday school in the early days. This is our first youth choir. Every Christmas, though we were like 60, 70, 80 people, we will rent a hall as big as this, expecting 300, 400 people. Every Christmas from almost the very beginning. And we will go Orchard Road, invite them in and usually fill the hall pretty much and it was an outreach. We never had a Christmas service as a you know, a little sentimental thing. It was always outreach service. So, from day one, there was an outreach. Do you recognize this little girl here? That’s Pastor Jason's wife, Winnie, right? I remember she blew her trumpet. She was a trumpeter. She blew her trumpet and miss a whole stanza. Winnie, correct me if I'm wrong. She was so panicky, she missed a whole stanza, but it was a good loud trumpet. Right?
This is our crack team. Our first combined church camp. We were tiny, we were like maybe less than 100 people and we combined with Calvary BB church with a few maybe 1000 over people, and we beat them at volleyball. We trash them at volleyball, right? And our grand prize was a bag of peanuts. I still remember that. And our star player was this handsome young guy called Tony Lim. And then this great handsome guy. Pastor Victor, right? That's me in case you didn't know alright. Okay, so that was our combined camp.
From the very beginning GLCC has always focused on missions. Day one, I said our church will focus on missions. Missions will not be a part of our program; it will be the part of our programs. So, from beginning our budget has always been assigned more to missions than local church, some years up to 80% of our money, went to missions. From day one, we were involved in missions. It's not like once a year go for mission trip, we were actively planting. At this time, I had already work in Cebu, Cebu City. And one day we brought our church, very early trip or maybe one of our first mission trips, and they all came expecting a holiday, including Elder Leong right there. And then as you walk down, there was a crowd and I said, “Why don't we preach?”. And he said, “Lick Tien, will you preach?”, if I remember correctly, and he thought I was joking. I wasn't joking. I do not joke. I'm a very serious guy. So, there he was given a mic. And he preached and there was a crowd maybe wondering what in the world is he saying? And so that was one of our early mission trips. I think that's Winnie if I am not mistaken. Alright, this is a slum in Cebu where I started my first mission work.
Alright, finally we move on up market to 360 Dunearn Road and today, that building we outgrew that building in almost no time. It was like, we were there for like three years, four years, and it was already getting tight. We had almost three morning services in that building. And I think we learned a lesson, don't build a building. Because when you build a building, you're saying God, please don't make us too full, otherwise, we have to move right? But if we're free to move, then God will allow us Expo, Padang, National Stadium, whatever, right? As the Lord moves us. Alright can we get the lights on, at this point, I would ask the elders just to share a little bit about their memories. We're all men. So, sit back in your OSIM chair, relax, they will share a little bit about their memories of GLCC then afterwards we move to the second phase of our message, which is about the future.
Pastor Muk’s Sharing
Okay, okay, just share with you how I was trapped, and became one of Pastor Paul’s victim. I must say it was a wonderful trap. I was back from Ireland after graduating and working for a few years in the Republic of Ireland. And then when I was back in Singapore, I was looking for a job as well as a church to worship in. So as was looking for a job and then as you know, he was a boss of Shenton Medical Group. So, I went for an interview. And during the interview, Pastor Paul found out I was looking for a church. So, he invited me to join his church service. And my first service attending GLCC was in International Plaza where the waiting area was. And I must say, one of my memories of GLCC was it was a Biblical church. And then we stand firm in the Word of God, and we take the Word of God as a final authority.
My second memory was GLCC was very much a family and we really treat one another as a family. You saw a photo where we attended Friday night prayer meeting, as Pastor Paul Choo’s previous residents, and we will go to his house, and we will pray. And then after that, we have a fellowship where we have some simple makan (eating), under the huge fig tree in his previous house. It was a wonderful time, we really enjoyed the family spirit, and we did not want to go home until he chases us home. I believe going forward GLCC can still maintain this kind of a family spirit in us. And by in the shepherd group, in the small group that we are going to have, and we will not lose this family spirit.
The third memory I remember is GLCC is a place where we can really serve God with joy and with ease and with flexibility. That we can serve God without any boundary. I remember after I joined GLCC not long, we moved to our IALC and Sister Nancy, not sure whether she's here, she found out that I can play the piano and then straight away she said, “Muk you can play piano. Why don't you play for us during the worship?” I wasn't a very great pianist but since there was no other people who are already playing so I just step forward to play but after a while they have more accomplished pianists came along so they took over the music ministry. But after that I went to Botanic Garden and to reach out to the same tree that Pastor Paul showed you and we really have a wonderful time there with deacon Colin Chong, with Brother Soh. We went there every Sunday, week after week and we will lay out the map there, we have a simple lunch, we invite the Filipino domestic workers to have lunch and share the gospel with them. I must say that it's so easy to find a place where you can serve God in. And I remember, even the downtown Bible study, I was put in this new clinic at Kappa Tower and Pastor Paul will run a Bible study day every week. And one day he told me that I'm going away next week, I was expecting him to say, we will not have any Bible study. But he wasn't. He says, you do the Bible study next week. I wasn't prepared at all, you know. So, that was my first time, but I enter into the Word ministry. But really, thank God, it has been a wonderful journey. Alright, so I think that this is a place where we can really find that we build on the Word of God, we can have a family spirit, and we can have a joy of serving God together. Thank you.
Elder Leong’s Sharing
Well, this morning is the first time that I saw the picture of myself in Cebu standing in front of the crowd. It brings back memory. Let me tell you my version of the story. So yes, we were on this mission trip, my very first one, and my very first trip to Philippines. Everything looked pretty unreal. So, we were at this place called, Isom. And yes, Pastor Paul asked me and said, “You know, there's a crowd, will you preach?” Be the man? How can I say no? So, I said yes, after all, I have shared the gospel with Filipinas in Botanic gardens and I have also preached in the church, when Pastor Paul was on his mission trips. So I went, and he said, I give you a translator. So, I proceeded with a translator, and I asked him, are you coming? He said, no, I'm staying put. So, I walked with the translator to that place, that place is a fish market. So, as we walk, there were puddles of water on track, and then these half naked children were running over the place. Then I look at the people and I turned around, and I saw one young man carrying something heavy. It looked like an amplifier. I looked behind him. There was another one carrying something on his shoulders. It was a big horn, loudspeaker. So, I asked my translator who was walking next to me, and said, are these our people? He said yes. And I really got a shock. So, I say, where are you going to get power supply? These fish market and then you know, these are just shags. He says don't worry, and I realized that I had not prayed. So very quickly, I said, God help me. So, we were there preaching with a microphone and this big horn loudspeaker. And we started with the little children around then the crowd gathered. And I think that day the translator, he did a better job than I did. Now that was not the end of the story. When I went back, and I met Pastor Paul, told him how things were. He said, Thank God. The Rumenese did not come and disturb you. So that was really an experience. That was my first time.
Now, in 1980, my wife Yuit Keen join Shenton Medical Group as a doctor. In 1981, I joined the Central Provident Fund board, which is near to Shenton Way, so it was my daily duty to fetch my wife from her clinic. She was that time I think, in charge of the Straits Trading branch. Now after a while my fetching her became, you know, compulsory attendance at Bible study. Pastor Paul started his Bible study at Shenton Medical Group at Straits Trading and from there things just progress. And we thank God that we started this church GLCC, and I will let you know that of the original 10 persons who put their names in to form a society to form this church. Out of the 10, eight are still here.
Now in the early days, (applause) thank you. In the early days of our church, we are a church on wheels, migratory very nomadic. And today, we still have this nomadic spirit, we are still moving around. On the average, I think we are about two plus years at any one place. Now in those days, our church on wheels means that everything is carried around very mobile, you will find that our car, the boots of our cars are full of foldable chairs. We have a portable rostrum. And we have a loudspeaker system or the hymnals. Everything, even the Holy Communion trays and so on, is all in the boots of the cars. And sometimes, of course, we will ask Victor Ang or Sin Jong, can you bring these chairs back with you? Well, what they did not know is that subsequently every Sunday is their duty to bring the chairs and then carry the chairs to wherever he is, the layout, the chairs, and so on. So that's how we went and actually work like clockwork, nobody needs to instruct anybody exactly what they need to do, and things just work out. The unity was fantastic. So, it is my prayer that our church will not settle. We have always been an outward looking church; we go to where the needs are. And is my prayer that we will continue to be so, we have always been supportive of the leadership. And actually, the few of us, I can’t imagine that after 25 years, we are still together. Right? We thank the Lord for that. It is my prayer that there'll be support for the leadership, and the church will grow from strength to strength. Thank you.
Pastor Victor’s Sharing
I was one of those who was foolish enough to open my big mouth and say, “Oh, do you really read that book?” You see, I started working in Shenton Way, and I was on the upper floors and Shenton Medical Group was on the lower floors. And whenever I was sick, I will just ask my secretary, can you just make the earliest appointment for me to see any doctor? You know, there are about four or five doctors in there? And my secretary will always say no, no, not any doctor, you must see Doctor Paul Choo. It takes some time, you know, sometimes he caught a fish and he spent maybe 10, 20 minutes with one patient. So, you know, we have to wait outside for so long. But again, went in there and one day, I opened a big mouth and got caught.
And from there on, I find that the Bible studies and then he started a church lo and behold, and that's how we got into there. I remember also in those days, the first thing they asked me to do was to take a look at our church constitution. So, I expected to see a lot of things about our doctrines and all these things. But it wasn't, it only was about maybe four or five pages, it was more or less like a company's document. So, in short, we had to do a complete revamp of the constitution to state our doctrines and our method of governance and so forth. And in the process, I think we invented the board of elders, which I didn't find any other church. So today we are involved in installing Pastor Jason into that board as well. I think the highlight for myself probably in the year 2003 again at our anniversary service where I also became a pastor of this church on that day, 2003.
We very quickly became involved in the other portions, the other roots of our church, which is the mission side. And in those days after Botanics started sometime then we find that a lot of Filipinos and Filipinas actually congregate along Orchard Road. And as you saw, we had Tong building at one time and then we had another place offered to us behind Lucky Plaza, which we use for inviting the Filipinos to our services and my wife was involved in cooking for them and so forth but one thing that is quite memorable was that I used to follow my wife go out around Orchard Road and she will do all the talking and all the inviting, she did all the fishing. And when the fish is caught, I was the one who let the fish to the room. So, I just wonder what those ladies were thinking, following a young man going up in a lift and to the top penthouse. I don’t know what they were thinking about right or walking along the bedroom going towards a house. And then I was wondering what the other people are thinking and why these men bringing girls going up to the rooms. So, I was wondering, but anyway, it was a good time. We had plenty of people coming in for the Filipina services both at Tong building and Jalan Lada Puteh behind there as well. So for me also, the mission side extended forward into what we call Goducate now which is our missions arm of the church and then again, we have a brand new, I will call a branch of GLCC. And today I think we are happy to do that as well. Right? So, I'm happy also today, Eugene, my son will also be ordained as well. Thank you.
Alright, be careful when you join GLCC, you might end up as a social escort, you might end up as a chairman carrying chairs or whatever else, right? So just be careful right before you sign your membership. Now, today, I want now, as we look back at our roots, I want to now try to connect it to our future, to the future. Right, Singapore, I believe is going to take off, and how will we be in the next lap. There will be great changes in this country, there will be great challenges in society, great pressures all over the place. And as we enter the next 25 years, we must be ready for it. So, there are five things I want to emphasize today that we as a church must have as we enter the next lap, right?
The first thing I believe is, we need to be Christ centered. What I mean by that? As we enter the next 25 years, we must preach Christ. A lot of people will be preaching very nice sounding messages, promising many, many things that will seduce people, promising health, promising wealth, promising popularity, promising mega-this and mega-that. But we as a church as we move into this very, very enticing new era, we must still preach the simple message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We will not use tactics, we will not use all the sale stock, we will lift up Christ and preach Christ crucified, the Christ, the Son of God who died for our sins. Right, now, that's going to sound very old fashioned, in the new era. That's going to sound like is that all you're going to preach? Is that all that is offered?
Mission: Leading Generations into a Life-changing Relationship with Jesus Christ
Alright, so our job is to lead generations to Christ. Not to some mega thing, not to some charismatic preacher, not to some stuff that we promise people. We lead people to Christ. And I tell you, even from the early days, Apostle Paul, I want you to notice the word, “For I determined” (1 Corinthians 2:2), why does Paul need to determine to preach Christ? Why? Because it's so difficult just to preach Christ. Why is it so difficult just to preach Christ? Because Paul writes, “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, unto the Greeks foolishness,” (1 Corinthians 1:23) Unto Singaporeans, old fashion, unto Singaporeans is that all? Right, when you preach Christ, they're going to say, like, you mean your church, just does that? “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and Christ, the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24) And Paul goes on to say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” (Romans 1:16a) We have to remind ourselves; we must not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Wherever we go, we will preach Christ and draw men to Christ, not to church, not a fancy place, not a convenient place. Christ. We will lead generations to Christ. And we must determine to do that, we must not be ashamed.
So, as we enter this new generation, this new era, may we never forget to lift up Christ and God will draw all men unto him. Preach the simple message, Christ and Him crucified, Jesus died for your sins. Never be ashamed to say that. Never be ashamed to stretch your arms and say Christ died for your sins on the cross. He took your sins, He paid the price for your sins. That is the power of God unto salvation, not the persuasion and the apologetics and all the isms and all that stuff. It's Christ, we will preach. God help us. If we don't preach Christ, close shop, close Gospel Light, it's a waste of time. We are not here to preach anything except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Now, how do you preach Christ, if your life is not Christ-like? How can you preach the gospel of love, God loves you, God sent His Son from heaven to earth, came right down, went on the cross to die. How can you preach that if your own life is not a life of love? How do you preach the gospel of love when your life is not a life of love? It'll be a cross message; we will be hypocrites. Talk about God love us. How do I know God loves me until the messenger who carries that message loves me? So, we must preach Christ crucified in a Christ-like way. What is the Christ-like way of preaching the gospel of Christ? What did Christ do? What did He do? “Christ went out towards the people; Christ reach out towards the people.” (Luke 8:1) You know, all religious leaders, gurus, you know what they do? They sit, they sit in the temple, they sit in their church, they sit in whatever, and people come to them. People come and pay homage, respect, etc. to them. People bring gifts to them. People kiss their feet and kiss their ring and kiss the whatever. Well, Jesus Christ never had an office. Frankly, never had a home. Because he was always reaching out. We show love by reaching out to people. We cannot walk around and say I love you, you know? And look lovey dovey and put hearts all over our shirt, wear a heart shirt to show people. How do people know you love them? Can they read your heart? People know you love them, when you take the effort to reach out to them. That's how people know. I mean, if I love myself, why should I reach out to you, I want you to reach me. That's how the world is, isn't it? When we go everywhere, we stand there and wait to be served. In fact, a lot of people come to church the same way. They come to church and say why nobody greet me. Why nobody comes to be my friend?
My friend, we show love by the simple, very simple way Jesus showed love by reaching out. How did the people of Israel know he loved them? He went to them, that's what he did. It was a hot sun. It was a long walk. And yet he walked out, and he loved them. He didn't say I love you; I love you and send SMS saying I love you. The best way to show love is to reach out. Now if this church wants to preach the gospel of love, we better show we love and how do we show we love, let's reach out to people. Reach out with your eyes, when people come into church look at them, don't ignore them. Reach out with your smile, smile at them. Reach out with your hand, shake their hand and greet them. Otherwise, how would they know you care? Imagine they came in and saw 1000 people that ignored them and they come in and the preacher preaches with all his heart about love. You know the guy sitting there will say, “Hypocrite. Rubbish. What love? 1000 guys here, nobody looked at me, nobody greeted me nobody smile. I mean, this guy has the gall in the guts to go and talk about love? What a joke.” If you want to show love folks, reach out. But reaching out sometimes has its dangers. If a young guy reached out to a pretty girl, people say, “Ah you trying to cot the girl, right?” If you reach out to Bill Gates that came in, people say, “Well you want business, right? You want money.” So be careful sometimes reaching out has its drawbacks.
But what did Jesus do? Very interesting. This passage is taken from, the context of it is this. John the Baptist had been in jail for some time, and he wasn't quite sure, is Jesus really the Messiah? He heard bad things about Jesus, I guess slanderous things about Jesus. And if he was the forerunner of Jesus, why was he in jail? If Jesus is really the Messiah, why am I, his messenger, in jail? So, doubts began to come into his mind is this Jesus, really the Messiah? So, he sent messengers to ask Jesus, are you really the Messiah? And when the messengers went to Jesus, this is how Jesus answered them, I want you to note very, very clearly. “Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John the Baptist, what things you have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised,” (Luke 7:22) All those are miracles right? Definitely, I'm the Messiah. But I want you to see the closing phrase that seals it all, that confirms it all. What is the last phrase? “the poor, to the poor, the gospel is preached” (Luke 7:22). Now, that is the closing remark. You know why? You know, how do you know I'm the son of God? Because God is love. And I tell you what love is. Love is willingness to reach out and reach down. Hey, we reach out to the big shots, you know, everybody reaches out to the big shots. Imagine a big shot comes, everybody's smiling. Everybody's shaking his hand, Obama went to Myanmar, everybody shakes his head. That's not love. But when a beggar comes, and all of you went out, made an effort to reach out, that confirms your love is not for self. It's real. So may this church be Christ centered by preaching Christ. Don't apologize for the gospel. preach Christ, don't dilute it with, “but you also get this and that and that”. Christ and Him crucified, that is the gospel, he rose from the dead, proved he paid for our sins. That is the gospel, know it well and speak it all the time. If you know nothing else, know John 3:16 and know that Christ died for your sins on the cross. He paid the price, he settled it, and he proved it by rising from the dead. That's the gospel, but also have a life that matches that God so love the world (John 3:16). Because you also love the world. And you reach out to the world. May God give you Christ centeredness in your message, and in your life.
All right, let's move on. We must be spirit dependent. What do I mean by that? If you try to preach the gospel, in the eloquence that you have, and you say, “Christ died for your sins, He paid for the price of your sins.” You know, and you say, with gusto and you say with emphasis, and you say with volume. Will people get saved? Salvation belongs to God. Salvation is God's work. Our job is to preach the gospel, but we must depend on the spirit to make things really work. That's what he says there. “Without me, Jesus said, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) You can preach. You can persuade. You can smile. You can also irritate people. But you can't save anybody. You need to be spirit dependent. Alright, so may we as we enter the next lap, be totally spirit dependent. What does that mean? You see, we are living a generation where we believe we're well trained. We have resources, we can do a lot of things. But without the Holy Spirit, you can do nothing. Sometimes you say, “All I need is discipline. All I need is to put my resources to the job. We will do something as a church.” If you're not spirit dependent, you will do nothing. Nothing of value. You will just waste time and waste effort. So, what is spirit dependent? Alright, we need to be spirit dependent. If we want the victory, it's not by diligence, it’s not by hard work, it’s not by proper training, it’s not by education. It's by faith. This is the victory, even our faith, faith in who? This verse you must know, for spirit dependency. This verse you must know Galatians 2:20. If you do not know this verse as a believer. If you're not a believer, know John 3:16. If you are a believer, know Galatians 2:20 because you have received Christ, where is he now? If you're a believer, He is no more on the cross for you. He's in your heart now. Right? “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, I'm crucified, right? But I'm still alive, yet not I but Christ lives in me. The life which I now live in the flesh. I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Let me give an explanation. You want to be nice to some visitor in the church. You say, “Alright pastor, you told me need to be Christ-like. I'm going to be reaching out. But pastor. I'm not the outward type. I'm the shy type. I'm not the type who can make a conversation, and not a conversation.” What does Galatians 2:20 say here? You are crucified. I don't care whether you can talk. I don't care whether you're the talking type. I don't care, you are non-material in the equation. Who is material? Christ. Alright. So as you stand, it says, as you now live life in the flesh, trembling flesh, scared flesh. Visitor comes you say, I'm supposed to greet him. But I'm scared. So, what do you do? The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith. So, I say, “Lord, your courage please. Lord, your courage please.” Go to your ATM alright. You know ATMs, right? Did you know that there is an ATM in your heart? Limitless because it's Christ. And the pin, let me tell you the pin number: F, A, I, T, H. We all share the same pin and so as I say, “Lord, your courage”.
You don't need to feel anything alright, you don’t need to feel. When you go ATM and you press, you don't get a feeling then the money come. No need to feel. After you press, money come, money come okay. You know it. Feeling and faith don't mix okay. Lord, your courage. So, you go out there, no feelings needed. You step out and you say, “Hi, I'm Paul.” And the guy says, “So?” Wow. Back to ATM, quickly back to ATM. Lord, your patience before I punch him. And ATMs very fast, there is no crash, not like DBS alright. No computer crash, it works all the time. No holidays. This ATM by the way is not to get money to buy a Sentosa Cove house, alright? This ATM is only for you to be Christ-like and then you say, “Lord, your patience.” And then you give your smile. And then you don't know what to talk. “Lord, your wisdom, please.” And then you will say, “Oh, I heard you're from Redhill.” The guy said, “No, Tiong Bahru”. Right? And then say, “Lord, Next word, please.” Are you getting on it? Are you following the trend? The life which I now, every moment we have problems, every day we face problems, what do you do? Grit your teeth, say I will do it, I can do it, if I disciplined myself, if I pull myself together? You will die. The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in whom? In the Son of God, where is he? Right here (in our hearts). That's called spirit dependence. And moment by moment, as you find your hands empty, go to the ATM called Christ. He is the original ATM. Not for self, but for service. Not for your ego, but for you to be Christ-like. This ATM only dispenses grace for you to be like Christ. That's why Christ lives in you, get it? He's there. He's available. He accessible but it's not automatic. He's not going to pop out, nobody goes to ATM, automatically money jumps out at you. No, you have to press the pin and the pin is called faith. And if we want to be Christ-centered, Christ-preaching, Christ-behaving, we need to be spirit dependent. Because in this era, people don't like to depend on anything. People believe we are so good, so capable, we can trust ourselves.
Alright, so we move on. Number three, prepare for the new world by being God-glorifying. How do we glorify God? What do we do to glorify God? Alright, it's in the Lord's Prayer. Jesus taught us how we glorify. “After this manner, therefore, pray, Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:9-10) Where is God's kingdom on earth? Where's God's visible kingdom? Right here, alright. This is God's visible kingdom. Nobody knows. The unbeliever does not know any other kingdom of God. He doesn't know how many wings an angel has. He does not know what is up in heaven. He only can see you as representatives of God's kingdom. And what's God's will for this kingdom? What does it say? Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) What's the will of God in heaven for us? That we will be one big happy family let me tell you that. The father in heaven and his children together of all races, all tribes, all ages, all socio-economic backgrounds, rich and poor, one big happy family under the fathership of God. That is the will of God in heaven. So, what's the will of God on earth? Same. How do we glorify God? By being one big, happy family, that's how we glorify God.
The world sees us. The world does not know what God looks like, the world does not know whether God is good or bad. The world thinks God is all kinds of things. You represent God on this earth. You are God's kingdom on this earth, you are the visible group. When people walk into our church, what do they see? A bunch of people self-centered? Bunch of bored people dragging their feet to church late every Sunday? What do they see? Well, what they should see is every Sunday a family reunion is what it is. Sunday is a family reunion that's what it is. We are all children of God; we all share the same blood. I may not know you just like I don't know all my relatives. But when there's a family reunion, hello uncle, hello Auntie, hello. Everybody is your brother, your cousin, your everybody. You walk around you shake hands with everybody, happy that you are part of this big family. That's what a family reunion is. Is this what church is? Is this what GLCC is? Or is it people just rushing in to hear the lecture? Are we a classroom or are we a family? God forbid we become 10,000 20,000 50,000 whatever will ever become a classroom and one batch comes in, one batch goes out, one batch comes in, and one batch goes out to attend the lecture. That's the day, close shop, because we want glorify God.
Now big groups all over the world that gather for sports, for Lady Gaga, Kpop, they are bigger than us. But are they one happy family? No, they strive, they fight, they punch each other, they see who can get to the front seat before the rest. You know, what the world needs to see is that this is a family. Yeah, we have cliques, there’s nothing wrong to be in cliques. You'd like to meet people you know, speak your language, nothing wrong. But when we are in cliques, we are in cliques not to look down on other cliques, but we're cliques so we can help other cliques. That's a world of difference. GLCC needs to be a big family. Anybody walking in, gets into anywhere here and say, “Wow, I've never seen so many people so happy. Everybody seems so happy to be at this place. The poor guy is also not out of place. The poor guy is also not pushed to one corner. Everybody's helping everybody. Things are working. Everything seems so amazingly wonderful.” God glorified. May GLCC always be a family visible to the world. Because they can see our smiles, they can see us helping, and so on.
Right? Let's move on. Bible believing. In these days, as we enter the new era, everybody's an expert, you know that? Once you have Google, everybody thinks he is an expert. What he reads is His truth. I'm a doctor now. But I cannot compete with the many doctors that pop out because of Google. No order doesn't work. Bali Green Works. No, no Bali blue works. Or Bali orange works. It depends on what you read. Everybody's an expert, you know that. And so, it is with religious things. In religious things, when there's a rift, the fight is more furious. And so, everybody will say, music is no good. I don't like the music in this church. I want you then not to argue, not to fight, but to ask yourself one question. What does the Bible say about music? Not what you say, not what you like, not what the latest Google article you read says, what does the Bible say about music? If the Bible is not our final authority, there are too many authorities in the new generation, and we will split over everything. Well, when I read the Bible, let me tell you what I see about music. Almost nothing. Hey, music is very emotional to us. We love this music. We hate that kind of music. That's how it is. But then on the Bible, sad to say, to all those who want to fight on this, the Bible says very little on it.
Some will say we must have baptism, because my church that came from is very strong on baptism. Well, read your Bible. Yes, baptism is mentioned, Jesus didn't baptize, Paul said he only baptized a handful of people. And the rest of the time the Bible is pretty much silent on it. Oh some will say versions, I don't like this version, that version I will split with you. You mean God didn't know that there will be translations? God knew there will be translations but let's look at the Bible. Did God say, be careful of versions that are going to be corrupt? I'm sorry, I don't see that. You know, we can fight about a lot of things. But if we have a final authority is the Bible and with everything people say we say, “Okay, I like you sharing your opinion with me. But can you show me the passages in the Bible? Can you show me how excited God was about this topic?” And you'll be surprised that almost all the things we fight over are not based on the Word of God. Some tradition, somebody's preference, somebody's dreams, and so on. We want to enter the new generation, GLCC must be a church, filled with people who know the Bible, who spend more time reading the Bible than articles on the Bible, than books about the Bible. Get into the Bible. I want to assure you, God didn't write a Bible you can’t understand, I want to assure you that. God's a perfect author. Humbly go and read it. He will show you what you need to know at that point of your life. You will not know everything in the Bible, nobody does. But as you grow, you will need to read more and understand more. So today I say GLCC must have the Bible as our final authority. What does the Bible say on this topic that excites you so much, that you want to split, want to leave, you want to do whatever.
It says “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3) We have to endeavor to keep the unity. Though we have the same Holy Spirit is us, the devil wants us to split about everything. You know, it's hard to keep a family of four people just together. Imagine when we have real unity because of the same spirit, people walk in, they see real unity. Wow. 1000 people, different backgrounds, and yet so united. Isn't that amazing? I have a family, they say, I can hardly unite with my wife and my two kids. And here's 1000 people, they never quarrel and never fight. There's no politics in this church. Wow. Isn't that God glorifying. But we need to endeavor to keep that unity by always having the Bible as our final authority, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth.” (John 17:17)
Right, so, and lastly, we must be a house of prayer. As we get bigger, and I believe we will, as we get more resources, better trained men, great preachers in this church, great administrators, great financial resources, you know something? We will think we can do it all. Then we will not look for men of prayer. We will look for men of personality, men of preaching, blah, blah, blah. Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” (Matthew 21:13) What have men made the house of God today? “A den of thieves?” (Matthew 21:13) Is it new? Is this band of thieves new? No. Religion is the easiest way to make money. When you come here, it's very easy for you to believe this guy standing here. That's why you're here in the first place. When you go and buy a car or an insurance policy, you go with a mind that says, “Is he cheating me?” But when you sit in this pew, and these chairs here, the chances are you're going to say, “Give it to me.” And so easy to make the house of God a den of thieves. But we must find men who learn to cry out to God for help and resources, not men on pulpit to cry out to their members for resources. There are very good preachers today who know how to preach money out of your pocket, folks. But we want in this church, men who go on their knees and pray God will bless them, not the congregation will enrich them. God help us to have men of prayer. When I look for a young man, or anyone to be a preacher in this church or leader in this church, number one, what's his prayer life? Smart people that are not on their knees can turn the church to a den of thieves. On their knees. At the end of it, this church will rise no higher than our prayer life.
You know, I tell you a little secret about the four elders here. As you can tell we are very different personalities. You know, something that has kept us 25 years, never a real quarrel, never a fight. Though our style is different, because our personalities are different, they probably think why is this guy so hasty, so loud? I think why are they so slow, so quiet? They are so different. But I tell you what has kept us. We pray together. When we pray together, we realize our heart is the same. Though our personalities are very different, our heart is the same. We want the same things. We want to see the lost saved, we want to see Christians Christ-like, our heart is identical. And that is what kept us together. We don't pray together as a church, the devil will say, “You see that guy is so slow, he's so lazy.” And then they will say, “You see that guy, he is so hasty, he is so compulsive.” And one day. While we pray together, we say God made us different, but with the same goal.
So today as we see these five things, as we see our roots now let's tie it all up. Let's try to tie it up. What will Singapore be? In the next 25 years, Singapore will be a land of migrants, let me tell you that. Whatever the government says the necessity is many migrants will come in. Are we going to complain? Are we going to say wow, they took my MRT seat or are you going to say wow, the mission field has arrived. 25 years ago, when they came to Singapore in Botanical Gardens, what did we do as a church? Let it by? It's just news? We reach out to them. Now, will we reach out to the millions that will come into our shores? The mission field is right here. Will we, as a church be ready for the mission? Millions that will be here.
Number two, Singapore will be the unofficial capital of Asia. This is my prediction, it's not a prophecy, okay, I'm not a prophet. But as more people come to Singapore, political leaders come, educational leaders come, financial leaders come to Singapore for training, for meetings, will they leave with light on them? Or will they leave Singapore and say, “Wow, Marina Bay Sands so beautiful. Wow, the icon of Singapore is this casino.” Or will they leave and say, “Wow, in my short stay in Singapore, I heard a message that was unbelievable.” What would be the Singapore the next 25 years? I believe we can reach the city. That's our roots. We started in Shenton Way. Will we not go back to Marina Bay? Will we not reach the city? This is our roots, except now, the soil is more fertile and it's much bigger. Will we be a gospel light in the city of Singapore, the CBD of Singapore? The prosperity gospel infiltrated; the prosperity gospel saturated the CBD because we moved out. Are we ready to move in? With what we have and say God, “Here am I”, if I can just open a Bible on my desk, I will open my Bible on my desk, but I believe God can use us and when we impact CBD Singapore, likely we will impact Asia, half of the world.
Lastly, Singapore will be a transport hub, transportation, amazing. Fourth terminal coming up, I don't know where they'll find space for it. But you know something? From Singapore you can go anywhere in the world, like that. Singapore passport, beautiful. Will we use it to go to Phuket for our next holiday or will we use it for missions? I'm not saying a holiday in Phuket is wrong. Don't get me wrong. We need holidays. But is that all you will do? Or will you say, wow, we can reach Asia, we can even have direct flight to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and whatever else. You don't even know to pronounce it but there is a direct flight.
You know GLCC after today, we started I said one in eight. Eight of us in GLCC must support one full time missionary in the field. You know today we have 200 workers in the field. We have planted over 40 churches on the field. If I look at this group here, I say one in five, for every five of you, one guy support on the field, thank God for that. When we say one in eight, people laughed at us. They say you mad if the whole church can support one missionary is good. Let me tell you we have 200 on the field today. I hope today we will look at our roots. Beggars don’t scare us. CBD we have our roots, missions, our roots. Will you dream? Will you be humble on your knees, lowly before God but dreaming big before God?
More Episodes from Pastor Paul Choo:
18 Jun 2023
12 Mar 2023
27 Nov 2022
20 Nov 2022
24 Dec 2021
16 Jun 2021
20 Sep 2020
13 Sep 2020
Episodes from other sermons:
23 Jul 2023
18 Jun 2023
28 May 2023
07 Apr 2023
12 Mar 2023
25 Dec 2022
20 Dec 2022
11 Dec 2022