Living A Life Of Significance

>>> Mandarin version of this article 活出生命的意义

Dear Ministry Partner,

“For we are God’s masterpiece. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others” (Ephesians 2:10, Living Bible Translation).

Photo by EDDY KLAUS

Are you tired of going through the motion of living the Christian life? Are you weighed down by the demands of life, work and family that leave you desiring for more than what your present way of life offers? Allow me to share how we can live a life of significance in different seasons of life.

Living a life of significance begins with the understanding that we are masterfully created for God’s purpose to help and bless others (Ephesians 2:10). Receiving Christ into our lives is the beginning of an adventure in living out our unique calling by faith, conforming to His likeness, and being a blessing to others.

At Cru Singapore, we are embarking on LiveSg – a three-year initiative that aims to encourage people to L.I.V.E. significantly in the following areas:

Loving God And Others

We believe that a life of significance is first and foremost anchored in a personal relationship with God, in whom we find our true identity and purpose for living. As believers, we must seek to live purposefully in view of God’s design for each of us.

Igniting Our Passion

God has given us talents, gifts and passion in life. A spark is ignited in us when we live out our calling and know that we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. Each of us must find our personal passion, and integrate it with our season of life and our calling.

Venturing Out In Faith

Take action to live out our personal passion and mission. In thus expressing ourselves, we may need to step out of our comfort zone to serve God and people around us.

Encouraging Someone

When we are a positive impact on others around us, we will experience much joy and satisfaction. A timely word of affirmation, a Spirit-led time of prayer and ministry, or a thoughtful act of service can work wonders in encouraging someone going through a rough time. We simply need to be intentional and avail ourselves to God.

Living a life of significance requires us to make choices. When we choose God’s ways, He will align our steps with His purpose and unique plan for us. You can take the first step by signing up for the LiveSg 8-Day Challenge. We have enclosed a flyer on this challenge (in the hardcopy mailer). Do have a look to find out more.

May you L.I.V.E. faithfully and significantly for Him!

 

Blessings,
Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader



活出生命的意义

亲爱的事工伙伴,

“我们原是祂的工作,在基督耶稣里造成的,为要叫我们行善,就是上帝所预备叫我们行的” (以弗所2:10)

你是否厌倦了周而复始的基督徒生活?你又是否被生活、工作和家庭的责任压得喘不过气来?你目前的生活方式是否让你觉得无法满足?让我与你分享如何在人生每一个阶段都活得有意义有价值。

要活出生命的意义,我们首先要明白我们是上帝精心的创造,为要完成祂的心意,去帮助和祝福他人(弗2:10)。从我们接受基督的那一刻开始,上帝就呼召我们踏上征途,凭信心活出我们个人独特的恩召,效法基督的样式,使他人蒙福。

Cru Singapore 正准备以三年的时间来推动 LiveSg – 鼓励和带动人们在以下四方面活出生命的意义:

爱神爱人

我们坚信与上帝建立个人的关系是活出生命意义的先决条件。唯有在这个基础上,我们才能明白自己真正的身份和我们人生的意义。身为基督徒,我们要按照上帝造我们的心意去寻找生命的意义。

点燃热忱

上帝赐予了我们独特的才干、恩赐和热忱。当我们活出上帝的呼召和领悟到祂在我们生命里的心意时,我们就能发现自己的热忱。我们还要根据我们目前的人生阶段,将热忱与我们的使命合起来。

信心迈步

然后我们要根据所领受的热忱和使命积极地行动起来。这也许意味着我们要凭信心迈出脚步,走出我们的舒适地带,去服事上帝以及我们周围的人。

鼓励他人

当我们积极正面地影响身边的人,我们也会感到非常喜乐满足。一句适时的肯定、一段由圣灵带领的祷告关怀时光、或一个体贴的相助都能够在他人面临困难的时候给予他极大的鼓励。我们其实只需要把自己献给上帝,留意每一个能鼓励人的机会。

如果我们想要活出生命的意义,我们就需要做出抉择。我们一旦选择遵行上帝的道路,祂就会使我们的步伐与祂为我们所安排的旨意和计划靠拢。你现在就可以跨出第一步,加入LiveSg 八天的挑战

愿你忠心为主活出生命的意义!

 

上帝祝福你,
蓝国贤
会长

 

The Master Becomes a Servant

Painting by 'Waiting for the Word'
Maundy Thursday — a call to love and serve one another like Jesus (image by: Waiting for the Word)

What is Maundy Thursday? The word comes from the Latin ‘Mandatum’ — which means Mandate or Commandment. It refers to the command Jesus gave to His disciples at the Last Supper (John 13:34,35).

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus’ mandate to us is simple: love and serve one another. He modeled it by washing His disciples’ feet — the Master becoming the slave. A humble yet profound act that foreshadows what would come next, when He would give His life for them.

For the disciples, Jesus did the unthinkable act. Only slaves would bow down, roll up their sleeves and wash their dirty, sand-soiled feet. It was a revolutionary act that took them completely by surprise. No wonder, at first, Peter refused to let Jesus wash his feet.

Here’s a God who did not just say it, he showed it. (Romans 5:8) His humility and majesty are unmatched. I am once again captured by this clear demonstration of love by my Master. He humbled himself to wash my feet… I have been commanded to do likewise.

‘Who’s dirty feet is God asking me to wash today?’

‘What do I need to give up for the sake of another?’

Oh, I how I need to die to my self-will, my self-importance, my need to feel validated. I pray this hymn echoes the prayer of your heart, as it does mine.

“Lord take my life and make it wholly Thine
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine
Tale all my will, my passion, self and pride
I now surrender, Lord, in me abide”

(3rd stanza from Hymn ‘Search Me O God’)

Listen to a fresh arrangement of this hymn here.

(This article was originally published here on 28 March 2018, and is used by permission


Why It Pays to Be Absolute about Truth

Even when everyone else is absolutely sure it doesn’t exist


(Image credit: Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash)

The idea of absolute truth has fallen on hard times. Claiming something is really true is not only unpopular, it is often considered foolish, arrogant, and even immoral. In such a hostile climate, many Christians are hesitant to pay the cultural price for clinging to the concept of absolute truth.

Why, then, would anyone still want to promote and defend such a notion? Much more can be said, but we will explore just four basic ideas that demonstrate why it pays significant dividends to uphold the idea of absolute truth.

1. It is philosophically congruent

First and foremost, when properly understood, the concept of truth possesses the character of being absolute. If something is genuinely true, it cannot simultaneously also be false or impossible. One of the great fallacies of our age is the self-refuting claim that there is no absolute truth. Is that absolutely true? If so, it self-destructs. It cannot be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth.

2. It provides assurance and security

When something is absolutely true, it is true whether or not anyone believes or is aware of it. Real truth is not subject to the whims of power, opinion, or the latest fad or fancy. It is reliable and has an enduring quality that transcends time and space, giving assurance and security in the midst of changing times and circumstances.


(Image credit: Photo by Ahmed Saffu on Unsplash)

3. Might does not become a right

On the other hand, when people abandon a commitment to absolute truth, they are far more likely to be taken in by whatever suits their fancy — even ideas and practices that end up being dangerous and damaging to personal and societal flourishing. In addition, the powerful are far more likely to actively promote and enforce their version of reality, especially when they are personally benefitted.
When people abandon a commitment to absolute truth, they are far more likely to be taken in by whatever suits their fancy
Without a concept of absolute truth, there can be no appeal to an external and reliable source of evaluation and accountability. It becomes power play against power play rather than a spirited exchange of ideas and the reasons for adhering to or rejecting them. Might becomes right, a source of oppression and greed.

4. It encourages genuine and fruitful exchange of ideas

This problem of oppressive power-plays leads to a key reason why it pays to be absolute about truth: it engenders the genuine and fruitful exchange of ideas. There is a critical need in our time for candid moral and intellectual debate. Contrary to the mantras of some, not all perspectives — religious or otherwise — are created equal. Some ideas, by their very nature, are worthy of rejection, not because they are culturally and politically unpopular, but because they do not stand up to the test of moral and intellectual scrutiny.

The bald exercise of power is a poor substitute for thoughtful and respectful discussion and debate over the things that matter most. But when concepts of truth are relegated to the category of “alternative facts,” and moral standards have been deemed “personal preferences,” there is little room for reasoned disagreement and genuine learning.

Conclusion: A bigot or not a bigot? – That is the question

No matter how loudly and adamantly postmodernists insist all truth is relative and not absolute, all normal people still maintain — justified or not — that what they believe is actually true. The problem is not in believing some things being true or false. What’s wrong is condemning a certain class of people for believing something solely because they believe differently than you.

As Greg Koukl (The Story of Reality, 24) puts it:

“Since everyone — religious person, atheist scientists, skeptic—believes his beliefs are true, it has always struck me as odd when some have been faulted simply for thinking their views correct. They’ve been labeled intolerant or bigoted for doing so. But what is the alternative? The person objecting thinks his own views correct as well, which is why he’s objecting. Both parties in the conversation think they’re right and the other wrong. Why, then, is only the religious person (usually) branded a bigot for doing so?”

Of course, the real question all of these raises is, how? How do we determine whether something is true, false, possible or impossible, likely or unlikely? I suggest we start a conversation about this and see where the truth might lead. I think that we will ultimately find that it absolutely pays to be absolute about truth.


你测验及格吗?

亲爱的事工伙伴,

最近正逢学校考试时期。不论学生喜欢测验与否,那是学生生涯的一部分,也有助于他们掌握并且应用知识。

即便从学校毕业了,我们继续在个人信仰及品格修为方面被测试。诗人写道,“上帝啊,祢试验我们,熬炼我们如熬炼银子。祢让我们陷入网罗,把重担压在我们的背上。祢让别人骑在我们的头上。我们曾经历水火,但祢带我们到达丰盛之地。” (诗篇66:10-12,新译本)。

是的, 神试验众人。 神藉着生命中的种种试验炼净我们归回神自己的形象样式。这些试炼或许包括身体抱恙、复杂的人际关系、个人经济或事业前景不明朗、还有齐家安老的挑战。我们得拖着不断耗损的身心寻找各种出路。是的,理智上,你我或许知道凡事必需信靠 神; 作为一介凡夫俗子,我们努力想理解这些试验/试炼背后的含义。

容许我分享二三心得,或许能帮助我们会意人生所遭遇的患难。

首先, 神的试验是为了塑造我们,叫我们成长。

神就像一名良师,知道你我的底限并且不会让我们遭遇过于所能承受的(哥林多前书10:13)。生命里的逆境宛如炉火提炼金子,为要去除其当中的杂质。

被炼净的过程往往是痛苦的,但为了促进成长,也是必要的。许多属 灵的领袖经历痛苦的试验,并非由于失脚,而是 神要完全他们信心,并且在他们的生命里彰显祂的权能。

其次, 神的试验只论及格与否,不计分数。

若我们从中能更加忠心、(在真道上)站立得更稳、更爱人如己,即是通过试验。我们虽然不完美,却得以借着神的恩典持之以恒。我们若失败了,那是因为对 神、对人心生苦毒。我们对 神的回应堪比试验一样重要。虽然如此, 神充沛的恩典叫祂扶持失脚的人(诗篇37:24)。

最后, 神的试验要炼出配得为主所用的精金。

经过试炼的人好像纯金,他的生命可以反映出 神的荣耀(约伯记23:10)。我们的信心与品格经过精炼可以成为实在的祝福!

愿上帝祝福你,
蓝国贤
会长

参阅原文
AHMAD OSSAYLI 摄影

Did You Pass the Test?

Dear Ministry Partner,

This is the season of school examinations which are very much part of a student’s life. While no student likes tests, these are necessary for the mastering and application of knowledge.

Even after leaving school, we continue to be tested in the area of faith and character. The psalmist writes, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:10-12, NIV).
Yes, God tests us! God refines us to be conformed to His image through the trials in our lives.
Yes, God tests us! God refines us to be conformed to His image through the trials in our lives. These trials may include health issues, difficult relationships, job and financial uncertainties, and marital and parenting challenges. These drain us emotionally and mentally, causing our hearts to be heavy-laden as we seek solutions. We know we need to trust God but, being human, we struggle to understand why trials happen.

Here are some lessons that help us make sense of our lives’ trials:

FIRST, GOD’S TEST IS DESIGNED FOR OUR PERSONAL GROWTH AND CHARACTER BUILDING.

Like a good teacher, God knows our weaknesses and will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Like gold being purified in a fiery furnace, the trials of our lives help to sieve out the “impurities” in us.

The refining process in the furnace of fire is often painful, but necessary for development. Many godly leaders have been through painful trials not due to poor decisions, but because God wanted to teach them lessons of faith and demonstrate His sovereignty in their lives.

SECOND, THERE IS NO GRADE FOR GOD’S TEST – ONLY PASS/FAIL.

We pass the test when we emerge better – more faithful, more secure and less self-seeking. We will not be perfect but we continue to persevere in His goodness. We fail when we become bitter towards God and the people around us. Our response to God is as important as the test itself! However, even when we fail, God’s grace abounds and He will uphold us with His hand (Psalm 37:24).

FINALLY, THE DESIRED OUTCOME OF GOD’S TEST IS REFINED GOLD

God’s test finally results in a faith refined by gold, prepared and ready for the Master’s use (Job 23:10)
Like refined gold, we will reflect the glory of God in our lives. The refinement of our faith and character becomes the real blessing!

Blessings,
Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader

Photo by AHMAD OSSAYLI

Top Posts & Pages

天空之眼

亲爱的事工伙伴,

《天空之眼》(Eye in the Sky)电影里,军事行动使用备有摄像机的无人机 (从空中) 辨认锁定恐怖分子。无独有偶,身处如今高度保安的环境,我们四周都有闭路和移动摄像镜头记录我们的一举一动。科技除外,尚有一目光不离我们左右。大卫王提到,“耶和华的眼睛看顾义人,祂的耳朵垂听他们的呼求。” (诗篇34:15,新译本,下同)。

耶和华的眼目察看世人

祂一直在寻找祂的羊。祂看见我们的需要、我们背负的担子,以及隐藏的痛楚。我们经历难处的时候,祂深深关切。大卫王又说“耶和华亲近心中破碎的人,拯救灵里痛悔的人,…” (诗篇34:18)。祂的恩典源源不绝地在艰难的日子临到我们。因此,我们可以不定睛在当下处境,转眼仰望那无所不察、为我们的益处按时成全一切者。

世人只看外在, 神却鉴察内心。祂那渗透的目光如同火把照亮我们里头的黑暗深处。 神看见我们心底的诸般意念,并终有一天会要我们一一交代。希伯来书的作者告诫说,“被造的在 神面前没有一样不是显明的,万有在他的眼前都是赤露敞开的;我们必须向祂交帐” (希伯来书4:13)。让我们的生命生活在 神、人面前无可指摘。不要躲藏或行在暗里。

“耶和华的眼目无所不在;坏人好人祂都鉴察。”

(箴言15:3)

耶和华的耳倾听

创造宇宙及托住万有者垂听我们的祷告。就如母亲竖耳不忘新儿的哭声, 神也一样聆听我们心里的呼喊和无语的忧伤。祂耐心留意、明白我们那支离破碎的倾诉。我们祈求时安静心思亲近 神。我们需要就近祂的胸怀、在主里再次确认祂掌管万有。

“义人哀求,耶和华就垂听,搭救他们脱离一切患难,…。”

(诗篇34:17)

属 神的人永不落在祂的视线范围以外 (参阅诗篇139)。祂无时无刻不看顾祂的羊。

“耶和华的眼目遍察全地,一心归向祂的,祂必以大能扶助他们;…。”

(历代志下16:9a)

 

愿上帝祝福你,
蓝国贤
会长

参阅原文
IAN NORMAN 摄影

Eye in the Sky

Dear Ministry Partner,

In the movie Eye in the Sky, unmanned drones equipped with cameras were used to identify and pinpoint terrorists in a military mission. Similarly, in today’s heightened security environment, we have closed-circuit and phone cameras everywhere recording our movement and actions.

Besides technology, there is another pair of eyes trained on each one of us. David writes, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15, NIV).

God Sees Everything

He is constantly on a lookout for His children. He sees the needs, burdens, and pains we carry with us. He cares deeply for us when we are undergoing a difficult time. David also reminds us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). His ever-sufficient grace reaches out to us in those trying times. Our eyes do not have to be on our own circumstances, but on the One who sees everything and works everything out for our good, in His time.

While man sees only the external, God looks at the internal. His penetrating gaze is like a torch that shines into the hidden areas in our lives. God sees our inner motives and will one day require us to account for them. The writer of Hebrews warns us that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable” (Hebrews 4:13, NLT). Let our lives be above reproach, before man and God. Do not hide or live in darkness.

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3, NIV)

God Hears Everything

The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is attentive to our prayers. Like a new mom whose ears are constantly tuned to the cries of an infant, God is constantly tuned to our heart cries and the unspoken pain in our hearts. He listens patiently to us and empathises with us when words do not fully express our prayers.

It is in prayer that we still our hearts to listen to God. We need to hear His heart and His assurance that He is in control.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17 (NIV)

We are never out of range of God’s sight (cf. Psalm 139). He watches over us 24/7.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NIV)

Blessings,
Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader

Photo by IAN NORMAN

你的内心是平静安详的,还是四分五裂的?

亲爱的事工伙伴,

在我们这个快节奏的世界里,内心的平静安详成了珍贵之物。很多时候,我们会发现自己是多么渴望能从纷乱吵杂、压力重重的生活中退出来,到一个安静的沙滩或公园去。但是,生活中所要肩负的各种责任,例如:照顾年幼的孩子和年老的父母,在期限内完成工作任务等等,常常使我们内心焦虑不安,完全找不到平安的踪迹。

如果我们希望内心平安,我们首先要与上帝和好(与上帝平安共处),还要拥有上帝的平安。

与上帝和好说的是我们在上帝面前的地位。在罗马书5:1,保罗写到,“所以,我们既然因信称义,就借着我们的主耶稣基督与神和好。”(新译本)基督在十字架上的死已经修复了我们与上帝的关系。我们不再生活在恐惧中,害怕上帝的刑罚。作为上帝的儿女,我们可以呼叫上帝为阿爸父。

但是,一旦我们的生命里有未承认的罪,我们与上帝的平安共处就会遭到破坏。罪会切断我们与上帝的交通,造成我们与上帝之间的隔阂。当大卫王心中隐藏着罪孽的时候,他感到上帝沉重的手压在他的身上(诗篇32和诗篇51)。

我们的上帝满有慈悲怜悯,当我们向他坦白的时候,他要施恩于我们,赦免我们的罪。如果我们因为犯罪而失去平安,恢复与上帝平安共处的办法就是认罪。“我们若认自己的罪,神是信实的,是公义的,必要赦免我们的罪,洗净我们一切的不义。” – 约一1:9

拥有上帝的平安形容的是当我们依靠上帝的时候,我们平和的心境。当我们把焦点放在我们人性的软弱上,当我们依靠自己有限的见解来应付问题的时候,我们的焦虑就会夺去我们内心的平安。使徒保罗写到:

“应当一无挂虑,只要凡事藉着祷告、祈求和感谢,将你们所要的告诉神。神所赐出人意外的平安,必在基督耶稣里保守你们的心怀意念。弟兄们,我还有未尽的话:凡是真实的、可敬的、公义的、清洁的、可爱的、有美名的,若有什么德行,若有什么称赞,这些事你们都要思念。你们在我身上所学习的,所领受的,所听见的,所看见的,这些事你们都要去行,赐平安的神就必与你们同在。” – 腓立比4:6-9

当我们将充满忧愁的心带到上帝面前,当我们转而思念上帝的美好以及他的属性,上帝就会将他的平安赐给我们,使我们有平和的心来面对人生中的挑战。

 “坚心倚赖你的,你必保守他十分平安,因为他倚靠你。” – 以赛亚26:3

愿上帝祝福你们,
蓝国贤
会长

PATRICK NG 提供绘画

Are You At Peace Or In Pieces?

Dear Ministry Partner,

In our fast-moving world, peace of mind has become a prized commodity. Oftentimes, we may find ourselves longing for a retreat to a quiet spot in the beach or park amid the hustle and bustle of a stress-filled world. However, the anxiety we bear as we undertake various responsibilities in life, such as caring for our children and aging parents and meeting deadlines at the office, often shatters any semblance of peace we have.

In order to have peace of mind, we must have peace with God and the peace of God.

Peace with God refers to our standing before God. In Romans 5:1, Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ’s death on the cross has restored our relationship with God and we no longer live in fear of God. As His children, we can call God Abba Father.

Yet, this peace with God can be broken when we have unconfessed sin. Sin short-circuits and creates a barrier in our relationship with God. David felt the heavy hand of God upon him when he harboured sin in his life (Psalm 32 & 51).

God is ever merciful and gracious to forgive our sins when we come clean with Him. To restore our peace with God, we need to confess our sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Peace of God refers to our state of being (or mind) when we trust in God. The anxieties we carry can often rob us of God’s peace when we focus on our human frailties and rely on our limited understanding to solve problems. The apostle Paul writes:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4: 6-9 (NIV)

When we surrender our troubled hearts to God, and dwell on His goodness and character, He gives us the peace we need to face life’s challenges.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” – Isaiah 26: 3 (NLT)

Blessings,
Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader

Illustration by PATRICK NG

与主耶稣共进早餐

亲爱的事工伙伴,

 

我们在某些人生阶段中,有时会觉得彷徨与迷失方向。我们有时觉得迷惑,因为我们尝试在目前的困境中明白上帝的旨意而不得要领。当前途不明确,而我们一直期待上帝的显现,也许我们已经开始在这等待中觉得疲乏。 (more…)