Victorious

In every story
In every season
Jesus You’re always here
Through every Journey
In every blessing
Jesus You’re always near

We’ve come this far
Like You’ve promised
In You there is no fear
With grateful hearts
We raise an anthem
Our song our joyful tears
Your love has brought us here…

In You we stand victorious
In You we’re more than conquerors
Let our Church arise
Our hearts are on fire
We live to glorify

We lay our lives
On this altar
Jesus You’re worth it all
We bend our knees,
We surrender.
Jesus You’re all we see.
Jesus You’re all we need…

To God be the Glory
To God be the Glory
To God be the Glory
He shall reign forevermore!

Hi readers! If you’ve been following me on social media over the past week, you would have known that my church has just moved into our New Home! It was such an emotional and significant weekend for all of us, especially for those who have given in one way or another to the building of Heart of God Church over the past decade (and even before).

So in light of all that, the songwriting team of our church worked really hard especially over the past month to produce Victorious for the commemoration of this momentous day. And yes, those words you just read at the beginning of this post are its lyrics.

For myself, over the past few days, I’ve also been thinking on how to dedicate this week’s post to this historical weekend. But even after cracking my brain for a long time, I still couldn’t decide on the best way to approach it. Well that is, until now.

When I saw an Instagram post by Pastor Lia just awhile ago, I knew this was the way to go. Because seriously, this song captures & expresses every single thought and feeling that we all have as Christians in this church. Every line that we sang with this song during service just resonated so strongly with me. Allow me today to explain to you why.

“In every story
In every season
Jesus You’re always here
Through every Journey
In every blessing
Jesus You’re always near”

Some of you may not know this, but our New Home did not come into existence just like that. Our church has been through a long, sometimes arduous but mostly exciting journey to get to where we are! Throughout my 4.5 years in Heart of God Church, I’ve witnessed many things. I’ve been through many seasons with the church – mostly ups, but also some downs. I’ve heard and have been a part of many incredible stories that have birthed forth from the lives of others. There are so many different experiences we all share, but one thing remains constant – Jesus.

No matter whether we were journeying through the valleys or celebrating at the mountain tops, Jesus has always been there. At our highs, we have Him to thank for bringing us there. At our lows, we have Him to thank for lifting us up again and turning it all around for good. Looking back, Jesus has been the center of every story and every season in Heart of God Church!

“We’ve come this far
Like You’ve promised
In You there is no fear
With grateful hearts
We raise an anthem
Our song our joyful tears
Your love has brought us here…”

Even for our New Home, He has already given us a vision of this place since a long time ago. Our pastors and leaders would tell you how God has spoken to them and promised us this land. That is why none of us feared even though it took such a long time for our dreams to come into fruition. We always believed that with man, it may not be possible; but with God, ALL things are possible.

And indeed, after a long wait, He has fulfilled His promises to us! The road here may not have been as easy, smooth-sailing and quick as we’ve imagined, but God’s timing is always perfect, and the results that we got – more than anything we’ve imagined. Throughout this time of praying and waiting, we’ve also seen how God has moved for us in many different ways. It’s now not just man’s hard work that brought us here, but God’s love for us. That is why we are so happy and thankful to give Him all the credit and all the honour.

“In You we stand victorious
In You we’re more than conquerors
Let our Church arise
Our hearts are on fire
We live to glorify”

During the opening service last weekend, everybody’s hearts were just so unified under one cry – the cry of our hearts that was amplified by the chorus of this song. Because even though it was a weekend of celebration, victory and joy, it was also a weekend of thanksgiving unto God. Without Him, we would not have conquered all our battles as a church and as individuals.

Yet even after all these triumphs, we all knew that this is only the beginning of the great story that God is penning for Heart of God Church. This isn’t our destination and place to get comfortable in. It is our launching pad to the world and into the destiny that God has put in place for our church! As we begin this new chapter of our story, we’re going to change the world even more for Jesus.

“We lay our lives
On this altar
Jesus You’re worth it all
We bend our knees,
We surrender.
Jesus You’re all we see.
Jesus You’re all we need…”

Now, let’s talk about Imaginarium. Every single corner of our New Home is amazing and beautiful. I love all of it; you got to come check it out for yourself to know what I mean! Haha, I ain’t spoiling anything for you here. But beyond just the physical structures, I choose to see more. I see that beyond a chair, there was someone in church who sacrificed and gave their best financially. I see that beyond a room, there was someone in church who sweat buckets fixing and cleaning. I see that beyond a stage, there was someone in church who spent hours planning and working.

This is not just a building, this is the House of God and more. To me, Imaginarium isn’t just a place, it’s a story. In fact, it’s God’s story. The very existence of our New Home is a testament of God’s faithfulness and a memorial that glorifies Him. As I stepped into this place, I couldn’t help but be reminded again and again of the journey that God has brought us through. If not for Him, we will really not be who we are today.

So if anyone asks me, “How do you know God is real?” I will bring them to this place, show them around and tell them, “Because I see Him here – at every corner, in every person, in every life.”

But what about you? What do you see? If you have never stepped into Heart of God Church before, join us for our re-opening on the 20th! Come to this place and see it differently; you’re stepping on holy ground. Behind the tangible structures of wood, concrete and steel, lies the intangible stories of sacrifice, hard work and faith. There is so much I can tell you, but to write down all the stories here would mean
this little entry would never be completed, haha.

So today, I just really want to dedicate this post to God and to all the heroes that I count my privilege to be amongst every single day. Thank you Pastors, leaders and fellow church builders for giving your all since the beginning. Truly, every cent, every second, every effort was worth it.

“To God be the Glory
To God be the Glory
To God be the Glory
He shall reign forevermore!”

Advertisements

I Remember

As the late-January sun cast its light on my face,
I walked to the gate that led to that place.
Realizing now that it’d be my last,
I took a good look before I walked pass.

Walking through excitedly, I recalled the past.
I entered without purpose but departed with one.
For it is in these grounds where I encountered the One.
I remember.

Took the path I trod for four and a half years,
Then entered the elevator with many others.
We used to fit in just fine in this space,
But now we’ve grown too big to have breathing space.

In no time I found myself inside the hall.
It’s here where I learnt He gave me His all.
Jesus died for me so now I can live for Him.
I remember.

After a right turn I came to the shelves,
The place where I bought the first Bible for myself.
Then another turn up a unique flight of stairs.
These spiral steps led to a few rooms upstairs.

The Lounge was the first of them all that I saw.
It once was just a walkway, now not anymore.
But what I wanted to find was outside that door.
I remember.

The door led outside to a place named Alfresco.
It was there I had Bible studies a long time ago.
Before I knew it I was inside a big room.
It was none other than the Henderson Room.

Inside this room I remembered our beginnings.
Not only was it meant to be used for our meetings.
In here I was believed in and trained to serve,
Even though none of the above I had deserved.
I remember.

Next I found myself by the cafe.
It always filled me when I served for the day.
Turned around and headed on the path to the gents.
Here as an Usher I used to spend moments with friends.

And of course there’s that one room all the way at the back,
Where I spent hours at times, back to back.
There was where my gifts were discovered,
There was where my dreams were uncovered.
I remember.

The Media Room was what all of us called it.
Creativity and life always burst out of it.
In there was where all the magic happened.
But without the power of a team, nothing would happen.

Soon I found myself in a tight space.
Though cleaning equipment were stored in this place,
We used to worship and pray here before we had space.
I remember.

Last but not least I came to the cross.
Not just a stage shaped like a cross.
This was an altar where we laid down our lives,
With many of us committed to Christ.

On this platform testimonies were shared.
Through the miracles people knew that God cared.
From here the Word was preached without falter,
By the man and woman of God we both call “Pastor.”
I remember.

Indeed we’ve been through much as a church.
As we closed this chapter, emotions surged.
But many would know this is only the start,
As we enter our New Home all with filled hearts.

To my children and their children these stories I’ll tell,
And with these words I’ll begin my tale,
“I remember…”

2016: How To Have a Great Year

Hi readers, Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful 2016 so far because for me, the year looks like it’s going to be amazing. In fact, I believe it might just become one of my best years yet. As for why, I will get to that in a while; but for now, let me begin my first post of the new year by sharing with all of you what Pastor How preached over the first weekend of 2016. For those of you who do not know, Pastor Tan Seow How & Pastor Cecilia Chan, more affectionately known as Pastor How & Pastor Lia are the senior pastors of Heart of God Church – my spiritual home.

And just this past weekend, Pastor How preached a practical sermon on how all of us can make 2016 the best year that it could ever be. Here’s my detailed write-up of what he had to say:

P.H.D – we should all get it.

LOL. I know what you guys are thinking. No, I don’t mean we should all get a Doctorate of Philosophy. And that wasn’t what Pastor How meant too. Haha what he was trying to say is that for us to have a great year, we need the following 3 things.

PHD

1) Make Progress

The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. All of us, no matter how capable, always have areas in our lives that can be improved. So if we are able to make progress in all these areas in 2016, I’m pretty sure the year won’t be that bad after all. Even Pastor How wants to make progress. And over the past year, he did. Firstly, he launched a website last year and started writing. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you check it out! There are articles over there that really shifted my mindset, and it can do the same for you too. Secondly, if you came to Heart of God Church over the past year, you would realize that Pastor How started preaching without the pulpit and physical notes! These are just some examples of how progressive our Pastors are.

And you know what? They are still making progress today! Pastor How told all of us that he hopes to preach in Mandarin one day, currently a daunting task for him. So this year, he plans to pick up Mandarin all over again. But what about you? Are you constantly pushing & challenging yourself? For me, even as a writer, I want to make progress! I want to be able to produce quality articles in a shorter amount of time this year. We got to move up to the next level. We got to have a relentless drive for progress.

The question now is “How?” How do we make progress? Well first of all, we have to turn our experiences, both good and bad, into wisdom. We have to take some time to reflect and evaluate about 2015. What are some of the things we did right? What are some of the things we did wrong? Did we repeat our mistakes? The thing is, mistakes are only mistakes when we make it once. The second or subsequent times we make the same mistake again, it’s no longer a mistake anymore. It is now a decision.

It is okay to make many mistakes, as long as they are different ones! But if we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, it shows that we have not learnt anything from them, and have made a decision to do it again.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

In the famous words of Albert Einstein, do not be insane! We can’t just hope for a better year. Hoping doesn’t make the year better or different. I mean, did you suddenly get all your desires when the clock struck twelve on January 1st? Exactly. You see, the world and the people around us rarely change, and most of the time, we have no power to change them too. The only person that we have power to change is ourselves. And it’s only when we change, do we affect change around us.

Next, don’t blame others! When we experience problems or make mistakes, it is easy to put the blame on everyone else except ourselves. But what we do not realize is that blaming others is as good as giving someone else control over our destiny. When we blame others, we will not take responsibility for our wrongdoings, and as a result not change. And when we don’t change, we don’t turn our experiences into wisdom, and without gaining wisdom, we don’t progress.

An example that Pastor How gave is a person who is always late for appointments and meetings. If this person always blames the traffic for his lateness, instead of seeing it as his own fault, he will never change! But if he takes responsibility for his bad habit, he will take the necessary countermeasures against traffic jams, train breakdowns and overcrowded transport. He will leave his house earlier and never be late again! Progress.

Another common example is a student who blames his teacher for bad results. I mean, come on. If we keep blaming others, we are effectively removing power over our own lives and handing it to those people or things that we blame. We become like a weak pawn that can be manipulated by anything and everything. For me, I want to be the master of my own life. I want God to be the Master of my destiny! How about you?

Another way to see if we’ve progressed as a person is to look at our problems. In life, there will always be problems. That is the hard truth, and it is especially true if you’re moving forward. It’s simple physics right? When you want to move something forward, there is always friction. If you don’t want problems, the only way is to sit still and do nothing! So in a way, it’s sort of good when we have problems. The only thing is – have our problems progressed?

Yes, we will always have problems. But if we have truly progressed as people, so will our problems. For example, a boss can have manpower problems in the first year of his company. But if he has this same issue in the fifth, tenth and fifteenth year of his company, what does it show? It shows that he never learned to manage his staff! He never progressed! In the same way, our problems have to progress. Or else, we haven’t learned anything. That boss can have manpower issues in the first year, cash flow difficulties in the fifth, and welfare problems in the tenth; it’s fine! At least he has learned to solve different problems and progressed. Similarly, we got to think what are some areas in our lives that we would like to progress in. Start the year with the end in mind.

2) Make History

P stands for progress, H stands for history. If we make not just progress, but also history in the year 2016, I am sure it will be quite an awesome year to remember. But what defines making history? Well, ask yourself a question.

make-history
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Yes! When was the last time you did something for the first time? Making history does not necessarily mean doing something huge. It can be as simple as trying out something new! You’re making history in your own life. You can do something fun, something adventurous; don’t let your inner child die! Learn a new sport, a new language, a new instrument. Have a spirit of adventure and make milestones this year. For me, I am going to attempt to make a Lightsaber video, just for the fun of it! And also, I am going to read my Bible from cover to cover. But what is it for you? Start the year with the end in mind and list down some things you would like to do to make history. Don’t procrastinate and DARE to make history. As an example halfway through his sermon, Pastor How did something fun with all of us in church. He challenged us all to stand on our chairs. Now it may be something easy for you, but for some, it is history-making! Haha.

history-challenge

3) Make a Difference

Last but not least, for all of us to have an incredible year, we got to make a difference. Sure, making progress and making history on a personal level is a good thing. But life ain’t just about ourselves. Life should be about others. What will make 2016 even more significant is us going out there and doing something to love another person. If you have never done something like that before, maybe this is a good year to start. Besides, if you want 2016 to be different, you got to first do something different. If you want something you have never had before, you got to do something you have never done before.

So in summary, let’s get our P.H.D this year. I believe that as all of us make progress, make history, and make a difference, 2016 can be our best year yet. For me and the rest of my friends in Heart of God Church, this is probably already the best year for us. Oh I haven’t told you, have I? Over the past weekend, we just received the best news ever. After many months and even years of waiting, our New Home has finally been approved!

finished

That is why I said this could be my best year yet! I’m so happy to start the year with such a victory and as a matter of fact, we will be moving in very very soon. On the 31st of January, we will be having our opening service in the new premise! It will be super awesome, so I would like to invite you to come join us (though you don’t need to wait till then!). Especially if you have never visited us before, it’s time to make history. Haha, you’ll be blessed. See you soon!

The Movies of Fall/Holiday 2015

Just to Share: I know it’s already a little into Fall season right now in terms of movies, but better late than never right? Haha so without further ado, here are some movies I am personally looking forward to for the remainder of the year!

1. The Martian

Remember me saying previously that I have a thing or two for science-fiction? Yup, that was enough to get me interested in this movie. And of course, it looks really good with an interesting fresh plot. Based on the novel of the same name, we will be brought on a journey to Mars where an astronaut gets stranded on, finding means to survive while his crew mates on Earth struggle to return and rescue him. Seems like the kind of movie that would be engaging from start to finish.

2. Pan

Childhood fantasies will be relived this October when a new origin story is birthed forth on the big screen for Peter Pan. I mean seriously, the last time I watched a Peter Pan film, I was only 7 years-old! And like I said, I would always love a good movie about adventure. But that’s not the only thing that I’m looking forward to in the movie. I’m also looking forward to Hugh Jackman’s performance as Blackbeard, which so far, looks oddly interesting.

3. Goosebumps

Just as we were on the topic of fantasy, here comes another one in the genre, mixed with comedy and fun. Goosebumps totally reminds me of those Scooby-Doo movies that I used to enjoy as a kid! But honestly, I just want to see what this movie has to offer in terms of story too. Also, it’s been some time since I watched a film featuring monsters on the loose (not referring to those scary ones). So if it’s good, why not?

4. Spectre

Let’s change frequencies a little. 2015 has been a year of spy flicks, with the likes of Kingsman, Mission Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. But one of the most renowned agents, 007 is returning to bring a conclusion to spy films for the year. Well, at least from what I know, there aren’t anymore big ones coming out! And for the most of it, the James Bond films starring Daniel Craig have received great reviews so far, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. That is, after I’ve finished watching the previous installments first.

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Talking about movie franchises that I need to catch up on, it reminds me of The Hunger Games. But having watched none of its previous installments, I’m already hyped up for Mockingjay Part 2 by this trailer haha. Still, there’s no way I am stepping into the cinema without first finding time to watch the first 3 films! Being one of those movies that first kicked off the trend of films based on young adult novels, I’m confident this last installment in the series would give fans an epic conclusion that will not disappoint.

6. The Good Dinosaur

Pixar. The animation studio that has brought us Inside Out, my favorite film of the year so far, is going to bring us into a world where dinosaurs roam the Earth alongside Man. With Inside Out being such a great success both critically and commercially, it makes me both excited and worried for The Good Dinosaur. With 2 movies released in a year, and having the first one being so successful, people are going to have high hopes for the second one. So much so that it may not meet up to their expectations. But for me, I’m going to have faith in Pixar that they’ll deliver once again. Just look at how beautiful the film looks from the trailer!

7. Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

Probably the last big animation film of the year (that I know of); Blue Sky Studios are bringing the art style of the Peanuts comic strip into the larger canvas of a feature film. I’m always up for a good animation film and so far, the look and the animations of this movie looks really interesting. You can tell it’s not just your usual 3D animations, but with a blend of “hand-drawn style” animations as well. I’m seeing it as the kind of movie I would watch with some of my younger cousins & some popcorn during the holidays. How about you?

8. In the Heart of the Sea

Not the most edifying movie to watch I must say, with the kind of “disaster at sea” that it portrays. But I have a feeling it will be a great movie still in terms of plot, acting and visual effects. I’m especially looking forward to Chris Hemsworth’s performance outside of his role as a superhero in The Avengers. And did you know that this movie is directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush)? There’s great potential in this movie turning out to be phenomenal.

9. The Revenant

Academy Award® winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu is back in the director’s seat after his 2014 film Birdman won the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year. This time, it seems to be yet another Oscar-worthy film. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, The Revenant feels like a really intense and immersive film. According to reports, the making of the film had gone way over-budget and over-schedule because of certain ways the director wanted it to be shot. It seemed bad but I’m also looking forward to seeing the results of his decisions & everyone’s hard work on set. Who knows? Maybe DiCaprio can finally win an Oscar through this.

10. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

You’ve probably guessed this last movie that I’m most looking forward to right now, haven’t you? Hahaha everyone is looking forward to it! The Force is strong, but the hype for this is even stronger. I watched Star Wars as a kid, and I must say that when I watched the trailer above, just hearing the opening music alone brought chills to my spine. The rest of the trailer did what it set out to do – making us want to watch it again & again until the movie comes out. Oh, and it reminded me to go watch all Episodes 1-6 one more time. Soon I’ll be ready! Going to the cinemas this Christmas will feel magical.

Well, it always seems that my lists of “anticipated things” always ends up being a list of 10. But that wraps up all the movies that I’m really hoping to watch this Fall/Holiday. Hopefully I can suck out all the creative juices that they have to offer too. Haha, thanks for reading.