Monday, September 26, 2005

Ministry House

Starting from the age of 11, I studied overseas living in 3 boarding houses in Singapore and Perth over 11 years. When the church started I stayed in a ministry house till Dinah and I got married in Jul 92. After we got married, we had different single leaders come stay overnight in our guest room for extended discipleship.

My buddy Lawrence is a min-house veteran. He stayed in 6 different ministry houses. He said it's 7 if you count the office when he was in-between ministry houses. He reminds me of Christ who lived with his disciples for several years, and Paul who lived with different apostolic teams with whom he traveled.

The purpose of a ministry house is to encourage discipleship through learning and sharing a Christ-centred lifestyle with other disciples. They are also a great way for singles to enjoy the benefit of Christian community.

A ministry house is started when a few guys (or a few gals) from a mid-size group come together and rent a place. Ministry houses like all homes have ground rules and there are 'house captains'. We provide guidelines and our leaders assist and advise house captains even though this leadership is not an official office in the church.

Today we have people staying in 18 ministry houses. Most come from overseas. We also have ministry houses when our go-teams land overseas for missions.

I'm sure those of us who live or have lived in a ministry house can sure tell a few blooper stories. The overall discipleship effect over the years has been good. We have seem many people (pastors included) growing in character and building close relationships, while serving the local church.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's Wednesday

Wednesday was the first day for our Staff Intern. Xue Ting is a third year accountancy student from Temasek Polytechnic. In fact her Polytechnic lecturer came to the church office last week. Xue Ting will be attached to Lean Choo, our church accountant for 11 weeks. Today I asked Xue Ting how she came to join our church. She told me her that her Chinese teacher in secondary four brought her to church in August 2002. Thank God for teachers.

Later that night Lawrence, Pat, Dinah and I brought Jeff and Claud out. We're having a belated birthday celebration for Jeff. He opted for Chomp Chomp and that's where we went. Lawrence and I've never eated so much cockles before. Then the birthday 'boy' suggested ice cream. We had nice ice cream. I guess this replaces the traditional birthday cake. Yes I ate too much (again). After this we went to fetch the kids from our sister's place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


We spent Wed night with pastoral leaders and staff. It was exciting to share about how to develop romantic relationships. Instead of arguing for courtship or dating, I put forth that romantic relationships should be about covenant with commitment as the key element. We all want to do a better job of learning and helping ourselves and others in relationships. We had a good time discussing this late into the night.

The weekend past was quite unique. Saturday was 'Marriage Enrichment' day. Dinah and I spent Saturday with almost 50 couples investing into our marriage. The couples came from across the church. You have to see the photos to believe the things that happened. Our guest speaker, Edwin Choy from the Centre for Fathering covered key areas in the afternoon. He said that it's all about covenant and commitment. This sure resonated with Wed night! We ended at 5:30 pm so there was just enough to go preach at our tertiary service.

Sunday was special. We had Pastor Dominic Yeo from Trinity Christian Centre as guest speaker. I have known him for over 5 years. This is the first time he is speaking for us. Amazingly he spoke on what we're going through right now - 'breakthrough'. It was great catching up in between morning services. Must catch up with him more. We had Vivien who co-led worship for the first time. She sure did a great job. Then Ying Soon's Breakthrough story was powerful. This week was enriching.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Every 3 months

It was great to have lunch with my old friend Alex after the service on Sunday. Then I spent the afternoon and that night working on a new lesson 'The Future of Love'. I have been working on this for almost 2 weeks now.

Before Sunday I was asked by a member on how he can pray for me. I had to think real fast. Most members see me preaching and leading people. They probably imagine me in key meetings. So I began to think about one role that that he may not know about.

Since I am in the midst of preparing a lesson and also since we plan our ministry in quarters or blocks of 13 weeks, this is how I'll answer...

"When you pray for me, pray that I get plenty of freshness and spiritual vitality in the teaching ministry. This is because I need to develop 7 sermons, 3 leadership lessons, 2 special messages and write several forewords every 3 months. Then I also help write proposals, policies and papers. Not to mention writing replies to questions that we get. Yes I do covet your constant prayers."

We play several roles in God's Kingdom. As a Christ follower, I thank God for giving us a sense of destiny - that God has prepared us all my life to carry out what He has prepared for us. I also thank the local church for giving my family the opportunity to play a part to serve.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's raining retreats

I almost couldn't get up on Mon, 29 Aug because yesterday was such an exciting day. My faithful wife was there to help me. I was up and about on Monday, a day of preparing for upcoming retreats.

Then it was raining retreats. Tue and Wed (30-31 Aug) was our planning and praying retreat for 2006 ministry. Tuesday is normally our day off but we needed to be here. Wed was to follow through on many matters before taking Thur off.

We spent Thur with my aunt from Canada. She is en route from Sabah to Canada. She had a great time sharing my childhood stories with my kids. I was glad to be able to catch up with her after so many years.

Fri and Sat passed by quickly as the weekend set in. Dinah was on duty at our Sunday morning services. I had lunch with a Nigerian couple who has been attending our church. It was a great time to get to know our guests. Later our family did not get to swim due to the weather. It was packing time again.

Mon to Wed (5-7 Sep) was the annual staff retreat. We met at the East Coast beach on Mon morning and we did a 'bike hash'. Then we took the coach to Kukup in Johor. This year the retreat venue was a fishing village by the sea.

We stayed in a house built on concrete columns. We arrived late afternoon and a few of us enjoyed the view and the sea breeze on beach chairs. The rest enjoyed board games and just catching up with colleagues. We celebrated Simon's birthday. There was a steamboat dinner followed by more board games, karoake singing and sea breeze on beach chairs. I was so glad to see good bonding among staff. I must mention that the wash room is quite basic so the ones who tend to spend a long time in the bath room don't anymore.

We awoke on Tuesday to fish porridge. Then we had devotion from morning till noon. It felt strange but good to have lengthy time with God. I sat there with the Bible, journal, sea breeze in my face, surrounded by fish farms and a community whose entire livelihood revolves around the sea. Civilisation seems distant and less attractive. At lunch we celebrated Cryst's birthday. Afternoon was a boat trip to the forest reserve in a swamp followed by an awesome excursion to a fish farm on the sea. I loved this floating farm learning experience. Then we went back. Evening started with a praise and worship followed by a seafood barbeque dinner. We had hilarious team presentations. Hope those photos don't get circulated. We capped off the evening with fireworks that Steven got.

Most of woke up later on Wed. We had praise followed by open sharing. Today we celebrated Jeff's birthday. Then we packed up and had lunch at the restaurant. The coach driver for some reason drove very fast on the bumpy road out. So I got this headache. We finally reached Singapore. We reached home and unpacked a little. Then we swam followed by more house chores. Later I read my blog and realised someone said I haven't updated my blog recently. So comes this post.