A New Milestone
Written by Ps Alby Yip
Zion Bishan celebrated our 25th Silver Jubilee last year. Beginning last Saturday, 24 October 2020, we have started on a new milestone onto the next lap towards our 50th Golden Jubilee Anniversary, should our Lord Jesus tarry in His return. What would the next 25 years look like for us in Zion Bishan? What should our focus be since we are starting on a new milestone.
This thought has been on my mind since I started preparing for the anniversary message. I have no idea up till the morning of our anniversary day itself. So I thought I would just go for a run around Bishan, pray and hear from God. As I ran, my thoughts were constantly disrupted by the face of the aunt of two of our church members whom I was reaching out to.
When I finally finished, I was sure God wanted me to visit her at the Assisi Hospice. But the clock read 1.20pm. I had barely an hour to my next meeting at 2.30pm and then anniversary starts at 4pm. I reasoned with God to postpone to another day or even after the service. I actually told God that I needed the time to rehearse the sermon.
But God impressed upon my heart—Assisi is not that far, just go! I was still thinking about what can be done given that I have less than an hour. My concerns were unfounded. The lady replied to my greetings with the lament, “I have not died still.” That opened the door for me to talk to her about life, death, and life after death, heaven, hell, Christ and salvation.
She prayed to receive Christ, and even indicated that she was ready to be baptized any time! How marvelous is God’s work! But God was not done with answering my initial question, “What should our focus be?” The next day, Sunday, after anchoring the 3 and 5 pm services, I went by Assisi again and met our two church members who were also visiting.
We talked to their aunt about her prayer the previous night, and within 10 minutes of my reaching, she asked to be baptized. What was there to stop her, or rather God’s work in her? But God’s work did not stop there. After we prayed and baptized the aunt, the daughter of an elderly patient at the next bed, upon hearing our baptism and prayer, asked if I could pray for her mum.
As I talked to her, her daughter asked if I could also pray with her mother to receive Christ. After explaining to her mother about Christ and His salvation, I asked her if she is ready to believe in Jesus. Her daughter excitedly started recording as her mother nodded her head to the questions I asked her about the Gospel. She prayed to receive Christ!
Another surprise. I found out that the daughter was not a Christian! It was her Christian sister who had been reaching out to her mother and her mother had always resisted the gospel. Somehow, this non-believing sister when overhearing the baptism and prayer was moved to reach out to her mother for Jesus. Indeed, God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.
Saturday, Sunday, then Monday, a church member suddenly felt intense pain but couldn’t reach his doctor. Our church doctors recommended a combination of pain medications, which incidentally, Vivienne is taking. So we brought the medication to the house. We also brought along Chinese song sheets to sing with the member and his wife.
The wife’s mother was visiting them unexpectedly at the same time. Her mother had been to church but had yet to accept Christ. After the singing, I approached her mother and asked if she was ready to receive Christ into her life. She replied resolutely! That day turned out to be the birthday of the church member who had taken ill. So we celebrated two birthdays, a physical and a spiritual birthday!
So what was God’s reply to me on my question on what should our focus be as we start on a new milestone? This Word of God came to me, and to you: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2)