Category Archives: Church

Exposed Conference 2018

“It was very enlightening and useful, especially since it discussed the major issues a Christian is currently facing today.” – Cheryl

“It was an invaluable contribution to the Christian landscape in Singapore..” – Ruth

Features and highlights

Exposed Session 1: Panel – “A broken spirit and a contrite heart O God You will not despise..”

Freedom means not ‘you do anything’, but ‘you aren’t under fear anymore to follow truth’ – this panel shows us!

Excerpt:

Moderator: ..[C]an you give a headline of why you are here today?

Henry: First of all, I am very glad to be able to share my story with all of you today, and to have my wife alongside. We flew in from Hong Kong and arrived yesterday afternoon. About 8 years ago, I had been in jail for engaging in taking naked photos of underaged girls. The court psychiatrist clinically diagnosed me to be suffering from paedophilia, and he wrote in the court report that there will be no treatment for me as it is incurable.

Privin: ..I am a little more poetic.. Light (has come) – darkness cannot understand. If I should label myself with a worldly tag I call myself gay. Say gay and you will think of happy people, rainbows, parties, what not. Yes that is what they are but they are not. It is a pit of darkness actually. It is a pit of darkness that leads you to many other dungeons of darkness. Ten years ago I found light. And it is the light of our world. The Lord lifts me out of this pit. But each time I scurried back inside. And when I scurried back inside He still lifts me up and He turns me back from the pit.

Moderator: Thank you.. Henry you mentioned you were struggling with pedophlia.. Were you born that way or were there influences that you think might have resulted in your very unique attraction?

Henry: When I was 4, 5 years old, there were a few occasions that my dad led me to touch my mother breasts while they were having sex. I couldn’t remember whether I witnessed the whole sex process, but I am sure this happened a few times.

Starting from that time, I started to have a lot of sex fantasies. I fantasised on sexual scenes all the time, like when I was about to sleep, and traveling on MRT.

I started to engage in sex games with another young girl who is my close relative. She was only about 2 years old while I was about 5 years old, and we had these activities for 8 years until I was 13 years old when I became a Christian. Luckily, we didn’t have sexual intercourse. After I  became a Christian I confessed my sexual activities to my church mentors, who advised me to stop of course. They came to visit my mum and told her about the sexual activites. Since then, we stopped these acts.

However, even though I stopped those acts with my relative, I continued to struggle with sexual fantasies of puberty girls. When I was 19, it was the time the Internet became popular. I found some preteen girls websites and I was highly attracted. I don’t think pedophilia is a sexual preference I was born with, but the cause is highly related to my childhood sexual experience and the preteen girls websites.

(Note: Henry would later clarify with us that by “preteen,” he primarily refers to the age range of between 13-15.)

Moderator: Henry just to clarify – you were five years old when your dad got you in to “touch your mum?” That’s really young.

Henry: Yes it was. I could remember during that time when I was in kindergarten, I fantasised a lot – to have sex with my classmates and teachers.

Moderator: Wow. Often times we look at children as if they are invulnerable. I would tell you, as a professional counsellor. My own experience was that at five years old, I stumbled upon a pornographic magazine in my home. I didn’t know what I was seeing but I felt high within me. So my dad kept the magazine  but you know what, within days, I was climbing onto the bed opening up his shelves. I didn’t know what I was doing but I wanted to see the magazine again. Your story kind of reminded me.. 5 years old.. it affected me in later part of my years as I struggled with pornography.. I really want to say this as a counsellor that kids are very vulnerable. When you introduce a doorway into sexuality at a very young age, where you place stimulants before them, it can influence and affect their lives tremendously. We don’t need more encouragement to experiment with sex at that young age. I am very sure that your dad would not have done that if he knew the kind of influence it would have made in your life..

We are going to come back to this story. Now over to Privin. How about yourself? What’s very common out there is that if you are having same-sex attraction then you are born this way. I want to hear your opinion on that or what you think might have influenced you.

Privin: I have to work this in the reverse. 10 years ago, I became Christian in the darkest hour of my life. I was in a top school. It was a boys’ school. I was effeminate. The boys were not the kindest to me. They noticed. They bullied me. It got to a point when I started rejecting myself. There are two ways to go. One, I can reinforce my identity. The other, I try to fit in. Thank God I tried to fit in – because it failed miserably. So it was double the rejection.

When it was double the rejection, I rejected myself as a whole, depression set in. When depression set in, my grades started dropping. I was not myself. Willpower was gone. I was referred to the school counsellor. The school counsellor heard from me what kind of weird ideas I had of the world.  I was so depressed that I even rejected myself – there was no “ME”: I had these ideas of how we are born into the world with a brain that we have no control; it was given to us by our parents and their brains were given to them by their parents and so on and so forth. This brain when you come out of your mother’s womb interacts with an environment which you have no control over. Where is YOU? So I had no willpower at all.

I told this to my school counsellor and I believe she got a shock out of it. She’s seated amongst you today actually. I haven’t talked to her in about ten years. She’s now going to see the fruit the Lord has borne.

When I was referred to the school counsellor she referred me to Leo. Leo was a counsellor back then and you would think he would go through the routines of secular counselling – he did not. He listened to me and at the end of the session he asked me if I was willing to go for a talk with him and his cell group which I agreed to. I do not know why I agreed to it as well.

Moderator: I was very nice during the session maybe?

Privin: (Laughs.) We went to the talk – it was a talk by a prophet. The prophet just turned to me, he said my life is going to change. You know I  was new to all this and I thought prophet would always say such things. Little did I know such big words do not come by daily. And it did change. So that night, Leo prayed for me. And when he prayed for me there was revelation:

It brought back me back to a traumatic incident when I was five years old. My cousin was home and my father was around. He made my cousin sweep the floor and he threw sweet wrappers onto the floor. I got offended by that and I went up to him to just give a light slap on his cheeks. He got really angry. He carried me and he held me out of the window. It was so traumatic I was crying for hours after that. God brought me back to that incident just to tell me that I had resented my father and my problematic identity was because of that.

So you can see how gays out there without God in the equation will never come to such realisations. That traumatic incident would just have been a traumatic incident. But the Lord had to tell me I resented my father through that. It is very easy for gays to be thinking they are born that way because such traumatic incidents happen very early in their childhood and that’s the earliest memory they had of themselves being gay.

Moderator: Thank you Privin. Maybe I can help you share it in a chronological order. At 5 years old, a little incident at home – the dad held him out of the window. His life dangled before him – you didn’t know whether your dad will let go or not. But from that day onwards you rejected your dad. You have two main caregivers. One is the masculine version one is the more feminine version. So you rejected your dad. Then the only person you can turn to was your mum because you are going through so much turmoil, so you associated more and modelled after your mother. When you went to school you didn’t know that your mannerism was more like your mum and the children saw it. Kids being kids, don’t know how to handle friends who are slightly different from them. They started laughing; they started bullying and that wasn’t helpful. That caused you to be rejected further.

Privin: Yes my mother was my safe place. I took her as my role model in more ways than one. I became like her – my mannerisms – and the kids did not take well to it. They saw me as different.

Later on, a few months after I became Christian, the Lord again, showed me through a spiritual encounter…

(Click on the audio to listen to the whole panel from 17min onwards.)

Exposed Session 2: Finding Freedom in Surrender

Charis captivating the audience with her breathtaking sharing on freedom, intimacy and identity.

Excerpt

“I believe that we were created to have our identity and intimacy to align. I believe that it’s very important to everyone because we were designed that way. I believe that we are able to love when we know who we are. I believe that we discover who we are in the process of loving as well. I think that all these things have to be approached together. I believe that God is the original embracer of your individuality.. but not just in a physical way, but your spirit and your soul as well.. People are impacted when you see pass every layer to their spirit.. people are so used to being seen in boxes.” – Charis.

Exposed Session 3: Millennials ARISE – a Redemptive Vision and Mission of the Honour Generation

ARISE – Raphael inspires with his redemptive take on Millennials!

Excerpt

“The trait in itself is neither good nor bad. It’s how we use it, how we express it that makes a difference. When teenagers go through a phase called individuation the healthy expression of that is that they gain autonomy.. the unhealthy expression of individuation is rebellion. It is not an inevitable outcome that kids will grow up to be rebellious teenagers.. See millennials in a redemptive way… ARISE.. Authentic; Relational..; Inquisitive..; Socially Responsible..; Entitled.. hear me out, I will redeem this term..” – Raphael 

Exposed Session 4: Panel – Perspective on Law: Justice; Morals; 377a

Panel on Law Perspectives giving insights into biblical principles of justice

Excerpt:

Moderator: In the context of what we have been talking about – redeeming sexuality etc – do you think that biblical laws are still relevant in our lives?

Leo: .. The Law reveals who God is. Let me substantiate.. Now this conference – do you think we had objectives, or did we run it randomly? We had objectives. Same thing for law. Do you think God set his laws with objectives and purpose? Yes He does. Then you ask the second question. If He has a purpose for His laws, how about His purpose? Is it grounded on anything? Again if you ask this question, you realise His purpose and objectives are grounded on WHO HE IS. It’s not random. It’s not based on His whims and fancies. But the laws of God lends you perspectives into knowing WHO GOD IS.

Moderator: Do you have a concrete example?

Leo: If you study into the laws of God.. God has two principles behind His judicial system / law. The first principle – His laws are primarily corrective, or educative. This means that when God gives a judicial sentence, He does not seem to be so much to be doing so for the sake of punishment, but for correction or education. Secondly, I discovered that His laws are primarily preventive. What do I mean by this? If God has to remove an individual for the sake of safeguarding (protecting) the larger community, He would do it objectively and execute His justice.

Moderator: Since we are all presumably bible-believing Christians, are you able to show us how you got these principles, otherwise, why must we believe you?

Exposed Session 6: Biblical Justice and the Gospel

Part 1: What is God revealing prophetically through “1111” and the Gospel of the Kingdom

Further References:

  1. What is the Gospel of the Kingdom and why the “save souls” narrative is reduced: http://vow.sg/rediscovering-the-kingdom-of-god/
  2. A prophetic message – what God is saying to the Singapore Church: http://vow.sg/flooding-at-muar-house-what-could-god-be-saying-to-his-church/

Part 2: The critical piece to Intergenerational Restoration and the sin of indifference

Further References:

  1. Are we really saved? Two contradicting perspectives: http://vow.sg/reclarifying-salvation-the-debate-of-lordship-vs-easy-believism/
  2. Once saved always saved? What’s the missing condition? http://vow.sg/once-saved-always-saved-my-journey-towards-lordship/

Part 3: Closing conclusions on 1111, Biblical Justice and Intergenerational Restoration

Further References:

  1. VOW’s prophetic cry for the bride to get prepared for the Bridegroom: http://vow.sg/our-message/

“This conference is not by chance. There is a divine arrangement, collaboration that God had put all of us through.” – Ps Ian, 3:16 church

“I saw a picture of a spade, and I heard ‘dig deeper.’ I felt that God would use the conference to dig deeper into the foundations of things to strike at the core, to show everyone the heart of the matter. I sensed that God will use the conference to shine a spotlight on what He wants people to really pay attention to and focus on. When light is shone on these issues, it’s clear as day what they are and will be impossible to ignore.” – Raphael

“As I sit and listen intently, I can’t help but realised that it was a powerful prophetic moment where God’s spirit downloaded His vision and critical revelations. There was such congruence in the things each speaker shared that was beyond expectation – truth as indisputable, indispensable foundational bedrock for love; honouring our church fathers; justice and kingdom. Many teared when ministered to at the end. God proved to us that it was possible to impart His truth uncompromisingly and still carry it out with a strong spirit of love that will touch hearts.” – Leo, VOW

Thy Kingdom Come – Whose Role is it and What does it mean?

When God created Adam, He commanded Adam to “subdue” (steward) the earth (Gen 1:28). Primarily, this is a cultural mandate.

Physically, earth already belongs to God. Scriptures taught that all things were created in, for and through Christ (Col 1:16). Not a single inch of earth does not belong to the Kingdom of God.

But while there was ownership of the physical, God’s Kingdom culture still has to be cultivated throughout earth for her flourishing. This was the cultural mandate to Adam.

The Essence of God’s Kingdom

Let’s pause to think what a kingdom is. A kingdom is the realm where a king has dominion over. It includes the king’s subjects and His land, and his governance over them.

Now think about what a healthy kingdom should look like. A king may have subjects but what if his subjects are disloyal to him? The king may be overthrown in a coup and his kingdom lost in an instance.

Therefore, a healthy kingdom includes more than just subjects, lands and governing rules. It would include non-physical qualities like loyalty, willing submission, respect, trust, equity, justice, mercy, love, meaningful communication, strong relationships, welfare, wellness etc.

These non-physical values within the subjects make up the culture of the kingdom. Culture is like the ground zero reflection of the values of a people.

A healthy kingdom would have a flourishing culture. God knows this clearly. In fact, in God’s Kingdom, culture is His priority. Jesus Himself says: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation,” (Luke 17:20). He then declares, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (v21)

What’s “within” us are the intangible values we carry

What’s “within” us where the Kingdom of God is found? It’s none other than the intangible values God’s people carry. In God’s eyes, these intangible values are more precious than physical emphases. Hence, even while Adam was still physically around, Adam no longer advanced God’s kingdom, because he no longer carried the King’s values as priority. After his life got mired with sin at the fall, he needed to be redeemed and sanctified to be able to overcome sin. Otherwise, with sin overtaking his nature, his authority over earth will serve the devil’s purposes.

This thread of how God values the intangible i.e. priestly values, MORE than the physical i.e. priestly robes, is paramount to understanding what Kingdom on earth means, and how Kingdom advances i.e. culturally. It is consistent throughout Scriptures and God keeps emphasising  on it.

Remember what God told Samuel who was looking for the next king of Israel to anoint – “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7). This also after king Saul, a person of great kingly stature by physical measurements, was found to be ruled by sinful attitudes in his heart. So Samuel eventually anointed David, an insignificant shepherd boy, but whom God said, was “a man after mine own heart.” (1 Sam 13:14)

Israel grew powerful and prospered under David’s leadership, who then passed the throne to his son Solomon, who built God a glorious temple. Under Solomon, Israel became the wealthiest and most glorious nation on earth. World’s leaders paid tribute to them! If kingdom of God is measured materially, surely this is it! Yet God had no qualms judging Israel when king Solomon’s heart turned away from Him (1 King 11:11) – Israel’s glory was destroyed in one generation and the kingdom of Israel split into half! God is no respecter of material glory!

Less you think this pattern of judgement was unprecedented. On the contrary, it has always been characteristic of God. God almost destroyed Israel in their entirety for worshipping a golden calf (Exo 32:10); for disobeying him with unbelief in entering the promise land (Num 14:12). God destroyed the glorious temple Solomon built for Him. When God’s people do not submit to His Lordship or carry His priestly values, all physical, material, religious achievement mean nothing to Him.

Therefore, the essence of God’s kingdom is cultural, not physical. God rejects all our religious offerings when our hearts are not right before Him. But when our hearts are fully surrendered, we manifest the most basic quality of Kingdom – Lordship i.e. complete obedience to the King’s will.

Lordship i.e. complete obedience to the King’s will – the most basic quality of Kingdom

Only when God’s will is done can thy kingdom come. This is why Jesus taught, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” (Mat 6:10) In fact, salvation comes from Lordship; and once saved always saved i.e. assurance of salvation, only makes sense if the person has Lordship. Lordship inevitably will conform us into the King’s image (Rom 8:29); where we will bear the King’s value i.e. fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).

Hence, for the end of kingdom on earth, what God needs most are not big congregations, physical monuments, material wealth, or religion. What He needs is a people who would revere Him as King and exhibit His values as priests. This culture of Kingship and the counter-cultural values of this kingdom community will inevitably rub against the marketplaces of the world steep into other cultures. This is how salt and light impact communities and nations.

Is there Kingdom culture in your church? Among your community? Or are we just a bunch of religious people steep into religious routines? The converts we make are culturalised into a dead and irrelevant religion, making zero to little impact on the cultures of the marketplaces and nation. Are we content with church growth making quick converts without discipleship that produces disciples of nations? Are we content with preaching about all the means of what makes up kingdom but never pursuing God’s kingdom on earth as our end?

The cultural mandate given 6000 years back by the King to Adam is in fact the Kingdom mandate. And Christ recommissioned the Kingdom mandate to the church – through the great commission. The great commission states that we are to make disciples of all nations (cultural mandate), “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Lordship). Contrary to widespread practice, this is different from “converting everyone everywhere by getting them to say the sinners’ prayer.” Two important clarifications need to be made.

1. Disciples, not Converts

First is about discipleship. A sinners’-prayer-spiritual-conversion-focused-evangelism without subsequent emphasis on a lifestyle of Lordship leads to widespread nominal practice of Christianity. Such has never been God’s intent for what church is.

Examine carefully what Jesus said when he was asked by a law expert, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)Jesus didn’t answer as how modern evangelism methods would e.g. say the sinners’ prayer.

Jesus’ answer was straightforward: Do the greatest two commandments which is to love God with everything (Lordship), and love your neighbour as yourself (King’s values), (“all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” – Mat 24:40) and you will have eternal life! Christ’s answer implies that salvation comes from biblical living. Christ expects all believers to be disciples who surrender it all to follow Him (Luke 14:33).

Deviation from Christ’s Word and way has led to devastating consequences. During reformation, the “church” was a continental empire, but their might was used to suppress worship; and they killed hundreds of thousands to retain their power. In more recent history, Hitler’s Germany was 50% Protestant and 45% Catholic, but it did not stop the nation of “Christians” from embracing “Positive Christianity,” where Christ was presented as Aryan and the Jews denounced. One has to ask again – what’s the point of mass conversions when Lordship and the King’s values are compromised?

So here I say again. It’s never God’s intent for churches to be practising nominal Christianity without emphasis on discipleship / Lordship.

2. The Cultural Mandate is missing because we have not understood “Nations”

Secondly, the understanding of our cultural mandate is missing because we don’t understand why the great commission would use the word “nations”. This is partly because we have looked at the great commission in isolation, and had not considered it from the parts of Scriptures where He reveals His Kingdom heartbeat.

From “Mankind” to “Israel” to “Church”

God’s Kingdom heartbeat is revealed right at the beginning of creation, when He commanded the father of mankind i.e. Adam, to “subdue” the earth. After Adam failed, God called out Abram and said, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:8) and “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 22:18) While God would call individuals, it was clear that His greater purpose has always been for the world – its peoples and their cultures. God is jealous for His Kingdom on earth and has always been in the process of “calling out” kingdom agents who would advance His Kingdom culturally on earth! (note: even the word Church is actually “Ekklesia” in Greek which essentially means His “called out” ones i.e. kingdom agents.)

Note how God calls Israel His “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo 19:6). Israel was more than just “numbers” to God. It matters that His people manifest priesthood not by robes but by values. If they do not exhibit kingdom values, they denounce the very purpose God calls them out for. However, if they live according to their purpose, they would become a holy nation. A HOLY nation is a cultural manifestation, not physical. Again, it highlights what God is after – the cultural mandate.

But this spotlight on Israel then shifts to Christ – Israel’s Messiah. When Israel as a nation rejected Him, salvation went to the Gentiles, who gets grafted into His Kingdom. But less you think God’s story with Israel as His ekklesia is over – it’s just postponed till the times of the gentiles is fulfilled.

23 And they (Israel) also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved.. – Rom 11

A new entity unlike the nation of Israel emerges. Made up of both Jews and Gentiles, as “one new man” (Eph 2:15), the Church is unlike a nation. As an entity, they are not supposed to operate with political sovereignty, amass military might or possess territorial land. But the Church is His ekklesia nevertheless. Jesus emphatically taught all believers to pray daily, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Reexamine Christ’s statement. Isn’t that the Kingdom mandate? God wanted earth! All peoples; all cultures; all nations. Church is His chosen agent to advance His kingdom to earth, as mankind, and the nation of Israel once was!

But it is important to clarify: How would an entity not supposed to have political sovereignty, military might or territorial land bring about the Kingdom of God over all the earth? The answer is found in the gospel Christ preached and the life He lived.

Unlike modern evangelism which often fails to expound on Kingdom, the gospel Christ preached was the gospel of the Kingdom – about the Kingdom of God. And how was the Kingdom like? Christ laid down the most unbelievable standards of Kingdom living. The beatitudes (which I like to see it as the “be” attitudes) begins: Blessed are the poor in spirit.. Blessed are those who mourn; the meek; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness etc. These are non-physical values “within” the believer. Conventionally, kingdoms advance physically by sword and might. But Christ is telling people that the Kingdom of God is discovered in those who live counter-culturally with full dependence on God.

But the Kingdom culture was just too radical as an alternative reality to the world’s. How can anyone believe that by being meek, one can inherit a kingdom? Jesus showed the church how it was done. While Christ never preached His death and resurrection as the gospel, He DEMONSTRATED IT! Through which reveals the EVIDENCE of God’s Kingdom and the EPITOME of Kingdom living! By submitting His will completely to the Father’s even unto death, Christ won a lion-like victory over sin in a lamb-like manner. The love and power of the crucified Christ became a reality, through which the church overcame the shackles of fear, death, unbelief, bondage to sin and condemnation etc. They gained the ability to shine counter culturally, reflecting God’s justice, holiness and righteousness, as salt of the earth, light of the world. This is the alternative reality resounded by the gospel of the Kingdom, witnessed not by religion, but by the lives of all compelled henceforth, to live by the values of Christ their King.

Conclusion

Christ’s death and resurrection was The King’s best testimony about His Kingdom – and today, salvation through Christ forms the central piece of the gospel. However, we have dropped the whole context by which this central piece hangs from – the Kingdom of God. This has led to deep misunderstanding of the mission of the gospel, as we have reduced the end of “kingdom on earth through a culture of Lordship” to “make heaven-focused spiritual converts.” Without emphasis on Lordship as discipleship, and the cultural mandate as mission, the church has grown numerically by means of conversions but is largely devoid of Kingdom culture and the conviction to transform nations.

Spiritual conversions are not without merit – but it merely begins a process and is not the end. To “make disciples of all nations” meant that God is invested in the values of individuals AND the cultures of communities – from families to marketplaces to nations. There are considerations to at least three components. First is personal: Are we first and foremost a disciple? Second is communal / church: Are we making disciples? (not just converts) Third is societal: Are we discipling nations? God’s end is to move in and through these three components till all the nations in the world are culturally reflecting His Kingdom in heaven. Woe to us if we build church as our end; instead of perfecting her to be the means for God’s Kingdom as end. (On this note, I had written about God’s gracious 11th hour warning of judgement for the Singapore church with regards to our apathy toward justice and indifference toward truth)

Revelations 5 records the “beginning of the end”, when the heavenly seals are broken. Christ who was slain is the one worthy to “break the seals and open the scrolls.” As He did, the elders sang: “from every tribe and language and people and nation.. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God” (v9;10). The vision of God from creation in Genesis, to His end in Revelation, has always been about a Kingdom of priests who He could call His. He will soon return to see to the completion of His restoration of Kingdom on earth, but meanwhile, the church is to “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13) and to preach (plus live out) the gospel of the kingdom. 

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. – Mat 24:14

***

Some Resources:

  • The Old Testament Template – Landa Cope. One of the classics on how gospel is “reduced” if it is only salvation focused and not about discipling nations.
  • Myles Munroe’s take on Rediscovering The Kingdom. The cultural mandate very clearly explained. Well watched.

  • Dutch Sheets on how the great commission is about discipling nations to see God’s culture on earth:

  • NT Wright, scholar and academic on making God King on earth as He is in heaven. There are shorter versions of his videos online.

Flooding at Historic Muar House – What could God be saying to His church?

Around mid-July, my wife and I separately felt a prompting from the Lord that we should go up to Muar House.

Muar House is the historic birthplace of the intercessory movement in Malaysia and Singapore in the 1960s.

We prayed and God confirmed the trip. So on Monday, 7th Aug 2017, we drove up.

Little did we expect the Lord would have a message for us to bring back to His church. This is an account of the events that happened.

– On 8th Aug (Singapore’s National Day eve), it was raining heavily at Muar. At about 2:50pm, there was a black out at the Prayer House (caused by a short circuit), followed by flooding at the Muar House. The last time it flooded was in 2014 (then 1997). So flooding at Muar House is rare, and there have been occasions where Muar is flooded but Muar House is not.

– The night before the flood, M’s great grand niece had a strange dream. (M is the caretaker of Muar House and she was also part of the intercessory team in the early days). She dreamt of M and the Muar House, and there was an earthquake! The scene then quickly changed to her and her family running for their lives. She was terrified! Just then, an angel suddenly appeared and caught her up to safety.

– This girl is only 7 years old and she probably does not have a concept of rapture. She does not attend Sunday school or services or any Christian meetings because of parental objection. However, she told me her heart is full of Jesus.

– This girl does not live at Muar House. Her mother brings her over occasionally. She hadn’t come at all the previous week, but on 8th August, her mum brought her there. So the little girl couldn’t contain her strange dream and shared it with M. Imagine the timing!

– At first, M didn’t take the dream seriously. Then the flood came. And as M surveyed the extent of the flood, she saw a snake right at the entrance of the Prayer House! It held its head upright, all ready to pounce. M tried to use a rake to crush its head but it escaped.

– My family and M ended up gathering at the Prayer House to pray (Singaporeans were gathering at Suntec City to pray that evening too). While praying, my wife heard ship’s horns sounding. She thought it might be from the ships at Muar Harbour. M said it was impossible to hear the ships as the harbour is too far from the house. We interpreted that as “the ship is moving.”

– What could God be saying to the Singapore Church?

Lightbearers: Repent and Shine 

Singapore and Malaysia are intricately linked in our historical roots. Other than the prayer movement, Muar was also the last defended stronghold against the Japanese during World War II. When Muar fell, the Japs marched on almost unhindered into Singapore.

The timeliness of this encounter at Muar House is unfathomable, yet unsurprising. It is the message Voice of Wilderness has been trying to proclaim. Frankly, it is not the easiest message. Few people like warnings. Yet there has to be people to sound the call of urgency, of repentance, of alignment. “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!” That was how John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus to arrive as the Lamb. More so when He returns with a sword.

So don’t despise warnings. The nature of warnings is good. Warnings are biblical. God loves, so He warns.

The Bible is full of warnings. In the parable of the ten virgins (Mat 25:1-13), ALL the virgins went out to meet their bridegroom. All of them! But NOT ALL of them are prepared. We may ALL know that Christ is returning, but NOT ALL will be prepared.

When the bridegroom was delayed, ALL ten virgins got drowsy and fell asleep. All of them again! There comes a time when it’s night and we can’t work anymore. During that time, everyone will despair. Love will grow cold. Hearts will falter. Who can stand? Only the ones who are prepared with more oil. They have reserves. Oil is still burning in their lamps! There’s still light!

It’s the 11th hour! The players of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are in place and we are living right at the edge of the Armageddon showdown.

The 11th hour is a defining hour. The Bible describes that at the end of it, “the last will be first and the first will be last” (Mat 20:16, Mat 19:30). I believe this to be a time of sharpening such that those who are willing to answer His call will be enabled supernaturally to pierce into the darkness as His light.

On the other hand, those seasoned in ministry will need to reexamine our hearts and attitudes. Even the persevering church of Ephesus was warned by Christ for having forsaken their first love! (Rev 2:1-4) We need to repent and overcome – as per Christ’s warnings to the seven churches in Revelations.

For when the bridegroom arrives, even the virgins who were prepared, hardly have enough oil for themselves! (Mat 25:9) They are unable to help those who were unprepared. They themselves will feel like they are barely surviving. We will all be tested!

What foundations are we building our house upon? (Matt 7:24-27) Would we be one of those virgins who went in with him to the marriage? (Mat 25:10, KJV)

Consider Paul’s words regarding this,

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His deathIF, BY ANY MEANS, I may ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. – Phi 3:10-11. (emphasis mine)

Paul contended to be one with His Lord, not shying even from suffering and death, that he might ATTAIN TO BE AMONG THOSE RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD (Rev 20:6 terms this the “first resurrection”; ) at rapture (1 Thes 4:16-17 tells us first resurrection and rapture occur at the same event). If even Paul had not assumed to be automatically included among those in the first resurrection, I wouldn’t dare assert anybody, including myself, to be automatically included among those raptured.

Why did Paul strive so hard to ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION? Could it be these are the virgins who “went in with him to the marriage”? (Mat 25:10, KJV) In other words, this is the bride of Christ! And Paul strives to be!

Lighthouses: Turn on your Lights

The timing and manner at which the snake appeared at the doors of the Prayer House has great symbolism. The Prayer House is the most consecrated part of the whole Muar House. It represents the house of God. Snake often symbolises the devil. Remember the black out? The light of God’s house – the Church – has stopped shinning. Then, the flood came in. Water seeping into the house seems to signify that the foundation of the Church is being compromised. And the enemy awaits at the door, ready to ransack His people.

Water in the Prayer House

Prayer House corridor flooded

Many Christians have been taught erroneously that because we are Christians, by His grace, He will grant us salvation from all difficulties. No! Paul warns the church of how even Israel, whom we the gentile church has been grafted into, was rejected by God.

“Do not be arrogant, but be afraid, for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.” Rom 11:20-21

Similarly, John the Baptist – called to prepare the way of Christ’s first coming – warns,

“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 

And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Luke 3:8-9

If God demanded Lordship from Israel, the natural branch and the children of Abraham, He will demand Lordship from the Church.

Jesus Himself said at the Sermon of the Mount,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY he who DOES THE WILL of My Father in heaven.”  – Mat 7:21 (emphasis mine)

So where have we failed? I believe it’s aplenty. But this is where I sensed is THE issue God wants highlighted.

M tried to crush the snake’s head but failed. She said it signifies that the enemy has been identified, yet the collective church is unable to overcome it. I believe the enemy will be allowed to test the church, because the church had compromised. (c.f. Judges 2:20-22)

The passage M perceives God to be speaking from is Isaiah 59. Isaiah 59:19 says,“When the enemy comes in like a flood..” Interestingly, Isaiah 59:5 mentions the viper too. The passage of Isaiah 59 would give us the clue to what’s wrong with us collectively.

In Isaiah 59, God’s people has lost His favour. He stopped responding because of our iniquities. What iniquities? The theme of justice and truth keeps repeating:

  • v4 – “No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth”;
  • v8 – “there is no justice in their ways”;
  • v9 – “Therefore justice is far from us”;
  • v11 – “We look for justice, but there is none”;
  • v13 -15 – “In transgressing and lying.. uttering from the heart words of falsehood, Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails.. there was no justice.

The people of God are apathetic towards justice and lacking in love for truth. Instead, they became partakers of lies (v3- “Your lips have spoken lies”); partakers of murder (v3 – “your hands are defiled with blood”) and perversity (v3 – “your tongue has muttered perversity”).

I can’t help but relate these things to our time as well. Abortion. Morality. By our silence or apathy, we become complicit in supporting murder and perversion. And we are silent because we are apathetic towards truth and justice, which are priorities of God’s kingdom. Landa Cope, Darrow Miller, Dutch Sheets, Myles Munroe etc, have all implied we have practiced a “reduced” gospel.

For example, when the Great Commission says, “make disciples of all nations.. teaching them to obey ALL that He has commanded us” – it is reductionistic to see “souls saving” as the end of church. Souls, when truly saved, is meant to be the means towards kingdom as the end.

And when Jesus taught, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” He is not expecting earth to be physically alike as heaven e.g. earth to be filled with gold-paved streets – if that’s what you imagine heaven to be like. Instead, He is calling for earth’s culture – a non-physical element – to be a reflection of heaven’s!

Culture is the ground zero reflection of a people’s values. God commanded us His salt and light to steward creation (Gen 1:28) i.e. transform cultures. We do this by carrying His image (Gen 1:26) which He made it into our nature. When we become Christians, we are transformed first of all in our nature to carry the King’s values, through which we together form a counter-cultural community that impacts communities and societies – with God’s partnership (Mat 28:18; c.f. Esther, Daniel who impacted pagan kings).

This is why the Great Commission says, to make disciples OF ALL NATIONS (Mat 28:18-20). It has a personal (becoming a disciple ourselves), communal (make disciples of others) and societal (disciple nations) component. Many churches misunderstand or forsake their mission in part or in full. When lighthouses have not shone for their communities, darkness sets in. Worse, some lighthouses become partakers of darkness against His truth and justice.

So in Isaiah 59, God judges His people that they will themselves live with injustice, unrighteousness, and darkness rather than light (v9) etc. To what extent? Isaiah 59:15 hints of the kind of evil that perpetuates the culture: “he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” If an evil doer even “departs from evil,” he becomes a target for attacks i.e. “makes himself a prey”! We are talking about a totally fallen culture where being righteous comes at a heavy price!

15 So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;

– Isaiah 59

What would God do then? God’s nature couldn’t allow it. But because light bearers and lighthouses have abdicated their role to shine, God will take it upon Himself to restore justice.

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.
19 So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;

– Isaiah 59

Which leads us to the verse about the flood,

When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

– Isaiah 59:19

As the literal meaning here in v19 is unclear, and knowing that God also speaks allegorically or through parables (Mat 13:13; Luke 8:10), I am inclined to interpret this as possibly a prophecy of the rapture. When the enemy comes, God will “lift up” – rapture; “a standard” the remnants who had lived according to His standard; “against him” – against the evil plan of the devil. Interestingly, the Hebrew root verb for “lift up a standard” is nus, which means to flee; escape. This befits the idea of rapture.

I remain open that I may be wrong, but it helps that I haven’t seen how this interpretation compromise Truth or right living. And considering the manner of how this message had come, remembering the girl’s dream of how she got raptured, I find impetus to share this interpretation.

Conclusion

God’s word says,

“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:18)

There are many interpretations for this. Interestingly, if you read the passage in context, it is about the assurance of a just God who will return for His “chosen ones” crying out in prayer against injustice – day and night! For that, it implies two things. First, that injustices are grave but His elect are not partaking in that culture, and are persecuted for it. Two, there’s such a hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice that it drives them to cry out to God day and night. Would God find such a community in times of grave injustice? Or might He find the churches compromising?

This is the 11th hour to pray that God in His mercy will wrestle with us, like how he did with Jacob, turning the “deceiver” into Israel, the “overcomer,” from the inside out. Jesus wants to come for a purified, spotless bride. If God is yet our King i.e. if our flesh still rules over His will in our life; we must start praying that God will not give us rest – until we become His bride!

Do we know of the God who is alive and still speaks today? Do we still have ears to hear Him? Would we be prepared and be among those who “went in with him to the marriage” if He comes back today?

Watch this to understand why indifference to injustice is a sin God judges: