Arise

Based on a sermon by Pastor How.

“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” – ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭14:2-3‬

Through the ages, God has always been looking for that one man or woman. He constantly searches for that one person who would rise up to make a difference in their generation. Just one is all God needs. Though not many, there are heroes throughout history who have answered His call.

Today, God continues His search. He looks at our schools, workplaces, army camps, communities, businesses, and even social media for the ones who would make a difference in this generation. It’s time for us to arise.

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” ‭‭- Ezekiel‬ ‭22:30‬ ‭

God is just looking for one! One can make a difference. However, there is a short universal supply of young men and women who will seek God and hear His call. We can be the ones to do so. Instead of thinking it’s someone else or anyone else, why not think it’s no one else… but us?

There is great need around us in these times. And only the love & power of God displayed through us can comfort and restore hope in the people around us.

“This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” – Genesis 2:4-6

In the Bible, rain speaks about revival. God wants to send “rain” into our classrooms, offices, homes and lives. He wants to bring love, joy, peace, faith, miracles and reconciliation, among many other things into our midst!

However, God does not send the rain when there is no man to till the ground and do the hard work. Instead, He sends a mist. A mist is nice, but it’s nothing like rain. So the question is – do we only just want a mist in our lives? Or do we want to experience a rain too?

Don’t be satisfied with just a mist, reader. Arise! Arise to serve, lead and pray. If there is no one to take care of a harvest when it comes, it will all rot and perish! In the same way, if there is no one taking care of a revival when it comes, it will fade away.

God is waiting for us to rise up. If nobody is going to do anything, let us do something. Around us, people are hurting, dissatisfied with their lives, struggling with insecurities, trying to find a meaning for their existence; the list goes on and on.

All they need is for someone to rise up, love them and point them to Christ. Of course, it might not be easy all the time. But with God, all things are possible. He wants to change history and the world through us.

Maybe we won’t change the world as how heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. did. But we can change our world and make a difference wherever we are. It all starts with one. With one, God can multiply.

I believe the church that I belong to already existed in Heaven and in God’s imagination a long time ago. But before it became a reality, He was waiting for someone to rise up. And my pastors did. They worked hard, believed in the next generation and loved people despite their flaws. Even today, their heart for God and for others remain the same.

That’s why God sent the rain. That’s why I have a church now to call Home. That’s why I’m here writing to you today. So if you want great change, miracles and revivals to happen in your life and around you, arise. Seek God & His direction and go.

Never think that you are not good enough to do something significant. Here’s one last verse to encourage you.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” – ‭‭Acts‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭

Even though the apostles Peter and John were presumably uneducated and untrained, they could still make a difference! The Bible even mentioned that God impacted 5000 people through them.

What does that mean for us today? It means that it doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, you can make a difference. It doesn’t matter whether you have a diploma, a degree or a PHD, you can make a difference. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in church for a year or 5 years, or if you see yourself as trained or as a leader, it all doesn’t matter! As long as you are with Jesus, He will be with you and you can do anything.

So what are you waiting for? Arise.

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The Test Continues

After 2 weeks of making an impact in Europe, my pastor is finally back home with us! And in case you do not yet know, Pastor How is currently on a new series – The Character Test, which will continue with a second part this weekend. Here are some clips from Part 1 if you missed it:

Enjoyed what you just watched? Well, those were only snippets of the message that we heard 3 weeks ago! And the good news is you can hear the next part for yourself in person. Visit Heart of God Church this weekend and experience it for yourself! 😉

The Character Test: Part 1

“Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.” – Alfred Adler

That was the quote Pastor How used to begin his sermon last weekend. He was starting a new series on character because it is one of our most important assets as human beings. And just as Billy Graham once said:

“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” – Billy Graham

But how do we know if we truly have character? How do we know if it is lacking in some areas and we have to make a change for the better? Well, we just have to put it to the test and we will know. That is why this series is called The Character Test. There are a set of tests that we can put ourselves through, and by how we respond to these tests, we will have a clearer picture of our character. Our responses reveal the real us!

character-test

And it is so important for us to know our own character and the character of the people around us because all relationships are based on trust – every relationship. So if you have even a tinge of doubt about a person’s character, your relationship with him/her will be affected! This applies to God too! If we don’t know His character enough because we don’t read His Word enough or we don’t spend time with Him enough, then we will doubt even our perfect Heavenly Father!

And just like every relationship we have in life, our relationship with God is also based on trust; and trust is based on truth. If a person is always full of lies and deception, you will never trust him, would you? But because there is truth in our God, we can trust in Him and have a relationship with Him.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6

Now I must say at this point that this message isn’t for us to judge others and criticize their character; this is for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and become people of character. Because the depth of a relationship depends on the depth of trust present in that relationship! As much as we would like to have great friends, teammates, colleagues, bosses or even one day marry a person of character, we must first become a workmate, an employee, a leader, a friend and a person of character.

So how do we know if we are people of character and truth? We got to put ourselves through the following tests; because character is revealed by…

1. How we respond to failure

We are all humans, we are imperfect. And sometimes we make mistakes and fail terribly. But what do we do from there? That defines our character. Because we can either make progress and learn from our failures or make excuses and push the blame. It’s one or the other, we can’t do both!

So don’t push the blame to others, because we empower whoever we blame. If we blame someone else for our failures, we give them control over our lives & our destiny! If we blame the devil, we give him power. But if we take responsibility for our own actions, we will be able to control our lives and grow our character for the better! Because taking responsibility is the beginning of change, which will lead to progress.

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”” – Genesis 3:12-13

Of course, it is not easy to take the blame. As seen in the scripture above, it is our human nature to blame. So we got to go against the human nature to be a man of character. That’s one way we can identify a person of character, when we observe him/her when they go through failures and mistakes.


#2 How we respond to success

“Don’t let success get to your head; don’t let failure get to your heart.”

You know, failure isn’t the only way that the devil can get to you. If the devil can’t get to you through failure, he will try to get to you by success. Success is a great thing, but we must guard our hearts and our minds when we are at the mountain tops. Because the danger of success is complacency and pride.

For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.” – Proverbs 1:32 (NLT)

For us Christians, we must always remember to give glory back to God. Staying humble is so important because our talents, abilities, opportunities and education can get us to the top, but only our character keeps us at the top. So to see if a person has character, just look at him/her when they attain success!


#3 How we respond to temptation

Put it simply, if we cannot resist ice cream, we cannot resist the devil. 😄 Haha, I know it sounds funny but it’s true! If we can’t resist the everyday temptations of our lives, we will not be able to do great things. Ice cream is mostly just a harmless and relatable example that Pastor How is giving us, but it gives us a good illustration about character.

Because we need to have a characteristic of delayed gratification – the ability to resist what you want now in order to have what you want most. So for example, if you want to lose weight, you have to resist the temptation of eating your favorite ice cream! Or if you want to be successful one day, you got to resist having fun all the time and instead spend more time on studying and acquiring knowledge & wisdom! That is also how we can have character!


#4 Time

“In the short term, people are won over by charisma; in the mid term, people are won over by success; in the long term, people are won over by character.”

Relationships (like marriages) are supposed to be for the long term. Love at first sight usually never lasts. Because to know the character of a person takes time, and that is especially important when it comes to our future spouses. It takes time to know them, it takes time to reveal character. Beauty & charisma might catch attention, but it’s character that catches the heart.

For the potential husbands & wives, dating is the best time to watch the other person when he/she fails, succeeds or are tempted. Unfortunately, character is not revealed when everything is rosy and perfect. Real character is about consistency, which can only be revealed through time.

The difference between amateurs and professionals is consistency. Just like how we would want our favorite soccer team, hairstylist and local restaurant to be consistent, we should want to have character consistently.

character-test-2

And that is all for part 1 of The Character Test series! If you enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy Part 2 even more hearing it in person. Come visit our church if you’re in Singapore! We’ll love having you with us, and you’ll definitely have a great experience too. Hope to see you soon! 😉

p.s. 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.