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Faith

Is it okay to want to be rich?

by | 7 December 2016, 11:15 PM

I used to be obsessed with money. It was something my family lacked, so wealth represented power, status and a worry-free life.

My family suffered in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. After Dad’s business folded, we had to sell the family car and learn to live simply. But it was still a struggle for Dad to provide for the family as the sole breadwinner, straining his relationship with Mom.

It got so bad I didn’t feel good adding to his burden, opting out of school trips to choral competitions in Europe. My schoolmates laughed at me. I even thought about skipping university at one stage, just to “save” $30,000 in fees.

Our money issues seemed like the root of all problems. Over time, I found myself enslaved by my fear of not having enough money. Even when I had money from jobs I worked, it was never enough.

But as I dipped my feet in the working world as a fresh graduate, I gradually got sick and tired of being stuck in that relentless chase. Jesus didn’t die for me on the Cross only for me to remain entrapped by the worries of this world. I don’t want to live discontented.

MONEY NO ENOUGH

I remember getting my first paycheque for a part-time job fresh out of junior college. It was exhilarating to earn my own keep for the first time in my life, but that quickly died the next few months and I started wanting more.

Eventually I left to join another company that offered me a higher part-time salary.

My striving continued into my undergraduate years. As a designer, I took on one freelance project after another, but the joy of seeing my bank account inching upwards was short-lived, and was always followed by a sense of emptiness.

I slowly realised that everything was meaningless, because I will never have enough.

Proverbs 16:26 tells us that “the appetite of labourers works for them; their hunger drives them on”.

The human condition means that we are always hungry, always yearning for more, but yet never satisfied.

ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE

Ecclesiastes 6:9 also talks about the appetite – the “roving of the appetite”, the Teacher calls it – which refers to how our affections move impatiently and quickly from one thing to another.

After I bought the DSLR camera I really wanted, I wanted a film camera and then I wanted a new guitar. And oh, the latest iPad Pro too!

How much is enough? Just a little bit more.

The human condition means that we are always hungry, always yearning for more, but yet never satisfied.

In our consumer society, it’s difficult to be contented with what we have. With online shopping, everything is just a click away, and we don’t actually feel the pinch of cash physically being taken out of our wallets. It’s effortless – and a dangerous pit of discontentment.

ONLY GOD TRULY SATISFIES

So how do we choose the wisdom of contentment over the foolishness of dissatisfaction?

I take great comfort in Philippians 4:12-13, when Paul writes:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

God will meet all of my needs abundantly in Christ Jesus. The secret lies in being content in Him. The love of God is something that lasts forever, surpasses all understanding and truly satisfies.

Jesus promised in John 4:14 that “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst”.

When we accept that only God himself can truly satisfy our deepest longings and desires, we stop trying to accumulate the things of this world for ourselves.

Money is never enough, but He is more than enough.

/ christina@thir.st

Christina is a designer who memorises Pantone swatches. She is an INFJ who loves matcha, 80% dark chocolate, beautiful typography and folk jazz. She also dreams of raising her own pet penguin one day.

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One Thing Gathering: You too are God’s one thing

by Thir.st | 20 July 2018, 3:00 AM

For the first time ever, the International Houses of Prayer (IHOP) based in various Asian nations came together both physically and virtually for the inaugural One Thing Gathering, hosted in Riverlife Church on Jul 19, 2018.

In collaboration with Burning Hearts House of Prayer, which has its roots in IHOP, a power-packed team from IHOP Kansas City (where the prayer movement started in 1999), including worship leader Misty Edwards, opened the livestreamed event on Thursday evening with 780 in attendance.

IHOP KC’s missions base director, Allen Hood, set the stage for the rest of the two and a half day conference with a moving exposition on Psalm 139. Using almost every verse from the 24-verse long Psalm, he urged the audience to see how much God loves them, the way King David, who wrote it, did.

Allen Hood preaching at One Thing Gathering’s opening night

“When you receive this revelation, there is no need for performance,” Hood told the crowd. “Because if you don’t hear God through this lens, Singapore, you will just be trying harder to be please a heavenly parent – just like you’ve tried to please your earthly parents.

“And who’s going to please a heavenly parent whom you think is always angry and mostly sad when He looks at your life?”

Before we rush ahead under the pressure of Psalm 27:4, the Gathering’s theme verse, we must start from a place of right identity: Knowing that before we even desire to make God our one thing, we are His.

“Psalm 139 is the verse of refuge from a life of demands and performance,” Hood said. “It’s the go-to Psalm for the rejected, the insecure, the religiously weary … Where those who are tired are beckoned to come.”

Carefully dividing the Psalm up into what he called “four rooms of truth”, Hood explained how David brings us through an exploration of four truths that will guide readers to a revelation of God’s immense love for each of His children.

Before we even desire to make God our one thing, we are His.

4 ROOMS OF PSALM 139

1. I am fully known and loved by God (Verses 1-6)

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
(Psalm 139:1-2)

Human beings long to be fully known and fully loved, and the lack of this is one of the most painful experiences. Most times, it is the places where we should be the most known and loved that are our greatest pain and loneliness – in our marriages, families, friendships and workplaces.

The good news is you may feel alone but you’re never alone. God knows you fully and perfectly – and yet He continues searching you.

What does it mean for God to search us? You can review what you know, but you can’t search what you already know. After all, what’s left to search when you have perfect knowledge? We get so bored so fast with what we know, the way we rarely watch movies twice or get tired of people we’ve gotten to know.

God perceives you even before you come into consciousness of who you are.

Yet God who knows you perfectly can’t wait to search you – like a proud father, He loves watching your life unfold in every season even though He already knows the beginning from the end.

He knows the most menial of things, like sitting down and standing up. He also knows the most fundamental things that make you, you – your thoughts. And before your thoughts even come, God knows them. God perceives you. He perceives you even before you come into consciousness of who you are.

And with that perfect knowledge and perception, God, like a good husband, still chooses to accept us, be with us and protect us every step of the way (Psalm 139:5).

2. I am never separated from God (Verses 7-12)

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
(Psalm 139:8-10)

How many of us retreat when we are too “known” or when it gets too close for comfort? Sometimes we try to flee from God, but even there He is there with us. Even Jonah, who avoided following God’s directions and wound up in the belly of a whale, couldn’t get away (Jonah 2:1-7).

Out of the depths we cry and God hears our voice – we cannot get away by accident or on purpose.

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.”
(Psalm 139:11-12)

That means we won’t even be able to separated in our mind or emotions – no shadow of depression, despair, anger, numbness or discouragement. Because the darkness is not dark to God – He will take the shadows and turn it to light, He will take the night and turn it to day.

Everybody suffers, but for believers, God has said He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), regardless of our circumstances, emotional state, and internal disposition.

He will take the oppression, break it and use it for your good.

3. I am lovingly handcrafted by God (Verses 13-18)

“For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
(Psalm 139:13-14)

In Genesis, God spoke creation into existence, but when it came to Man, He formed him with His hands. You see, God didn’t just speak you into being – He formed, knitted, made you. You weren’t part of a mass production line, you aren’t an anomaly, neither did you go unseen by God.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.”
(Psalm 139:17-18)

We don’t just meditate on Him, He meditates on us. God’s eyes are free to roam heaven and earth, yet He fixes His gaze on me – His thoughts are about me, and they are countless!

And here’s the best part: Not even death can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38). When we awake in His presence, we are still with Him. God has removed the last enemy of our souls – death – that He may dwell with His creation forever.

4. I am one with God (Verses 19-24)

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!”
(Psalm 139:23-24)

David only had a glimpse of what was coming, but we know the person of Christ. Through Jesus, God took on our form as human beings – He didn’t just write the manual of humanity, He became humanity.

He became one with us so that He can truly be with us and know us, the way Jesus told His disciples in John 15:15 that He can now be called a friend. He’s not just our Maker, He’s our Master (Isaiah 54:5); not just our God, but our brother (Romans 8:17).

He knows what it feels like to be wrapped up in shadows – He even knows what the depths of hell feel like because He’s been there.

Because of Jesus, God knows our frame, our emotions, our every season in life. He knows what it’s like to be rejected, broken, misunderstood and forsaken. He knows what it feels like to be wrapped up in shadows – He even knows what the depths of hell feel like because He’s been there (Acts 2:31).

And in the same way Jesus said, in His lowest moment on earth: “Father, I can’t feel you, but because You’re my Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46), we too can trust the words of His forefather King David in Psalm 139. There is nowhere we can go from our Father God, nowhere we can be hidden or separated from Him.

Hood ended the night with a few simple challenges. “If you’re suffering tonight, don’t suffer alone,” he said. “God is very near you. He is with you.

“Yearn to be with Him – cultivate that longing – and remove everything that hinders your relationship with Him.

“As long as you get this revelation of Him, you will long to be with Him.”


Happening from July 19-21, 2018, for the first time in Asia, the One Thing Gathering calls for young people who have purposed in their hearts to live with abandonment and devotion to Jesus, to do His work, be His voice and see His transformation in the nations.

To register your attendance, visit their page. Night sessions are free!

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Staying in your secret place with God 24/7

by Jason Chua, Burning Hearts | 17 July 2018, 6:51 PM

When people find out that I run Burning Hearts House of Prayer, they often say, “Jason, you look so young!” because we don’t normally equate young people and prayer together. We tend to think young people don’t usually like to pray.

To be honest with you, prayer was never something I enjoyed from a young age. But it was due to a season of burnout as a youth pastor that my own prayer journey was kickstarted. This was when the Lord gave me a measure of grace to learn how to enjoy prayer.

When that happened, the Lord led me to a place in Kansas City where the prayer room runs 24/7. For 6 months, I had to be there for 6 hours every day with just my Bible and my notebook. Nothing else. No iPad, no phone, just solely given to God.

And I can tell you from experience that if you have to spend 6 months having to pray for 6 hours a night and you don’t learn to enjoy it, you will be bored to death.

Even though I was a youth pastor, my capacity for God was really small – I could only give God my attention for 15-20 minutes.

I quickly realised this within the first few weeks, that even though I was a youth pastor, my capacity for God was really small. I could only give God my attention for 15-20 minutes before my mind would start drifting or I’d run out of things to pray.

I mean, I did all that I could. I prayed in tongues, I read the Bible – as many chapters as I could – I took out my prayer list and prayed for as many people as I could. I prayed for my father, my mother, my sister, my brother, my girlfriend, my dog … Everything.

And after doing all that I’d look at my watch and it would only have been 30 minutes and I’d have 5 and a half more hours to go! It was really a challenge. But through my time at International House of Prayer Kansas City, I learnt some handles and tools that I hope will help all of you cultivate a life of prayer.

PRAYER IS A GIVEN, NOT A GIFT

I cannot over-emphasise how important a life of prayer is, because that is our life in God. Some people think that prayer is a gift, that there are only a handful of people who are gifted to pray, who will be part of intercessory ministry.

I just want to debunk that to say that prayer is not part of the fivefold ministry: You don’t see the word intercessor in the fivefold.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ …” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Not only do you see prayer as one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), in fact, God calls His house a “house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7). So if you’re a part of His family, you are actually made to pray. If you’re a Christian, you are called to pray.

In Matthew 6:5-6 it says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. Then your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

This means it doesn’t matter how you feel – when you choose to make that space to come before God and and make prayers to Him; He is actually there. Whether you feel it or not, He is there, witnessing the very act.

To know that my Father who is in secret sees me praying and hears my prayer gives me great confidence and courage to keep coming to Him.

PRAYER IS MORE THAN WORDS

People ask me, “Jason, how do you have time to pray in secret … Or have time to pray for one hour?” I tell them I don’t really do that, not because I think an environment without distractions is not important, but because when you’re living in Singapore it’s agreeably hard – with little space and time.

Prayer, I believe, transcends time, space and your words. Paul said to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and I used to wonder how we can even do that. Does it mean praying non-stop: “Father, Father, Father, bless me, bless me, bless me”? Or non-stop praying in tongues?

I don’t think that was what Paul was trying to say. Prayer is so much more than the words we say. It is a state of connecting with God in that place of communion.

Which means I can be travelling somewhere in the MRT, and if I were to close my eyes and give my attention and whole awareness to God, I can have conversations within me and have this sense of connection with Him.

I believe that to God, this is prayer, because He does not just read our words – He reads our hearts. He reads our thoughts, He communes with us in every aspect of our being: Our body, our soul, our mind and our spirit.

I will have conversations with God throughout the day, using these pockets of time to meditate on Him or even recite simple verses and truths under my breath. This constant connection with God fills my mind space with Him, His nature and His love.

If you were to do this regularly, you will see yourself expanding in your capacity for God. That’s because you’re not being distracted by what the world throws at you; your mind is being set on things above, you’re constantly engaging and being connected to Him. This is how God can be involved in our daily lives.

You see, it’s more than just a space that we carve out in the room. The secret place is actually right here in your heart. We can be in union with God anywhere, at any time, in our every innermost being.

I just want to encourage you because it requires some spiritual muscle to do this, but as long as you begin to give Him that space, believe that God is there and that He sees and hears everything in secret.


Jason Chua will be speaking at The One Thing Gathering 2018, which will see hundreds of young adults unite with the International Houses of Prayer across the world to behold the majesty and beauty of Jesus.

Happening from July 19-21, 2018, for the first time in Asia, the gathering calls for young people who have purposed in their hearts to live with abandonment and devotion to Jesus, to do His work, be His voice and see His transformation in the nations.

To register your attendance, visit their page.

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Heart of hearing

by Pastor Lim Lip Yong, Cornerstone Community Church | 13 July 2018, 4:45 PM

Over the last couple of weeks, there were several things that deeply concerned me about God’s people. These are not new problems, but somehow, I sense the Holy Spirit placing an urgent emphasis on them.

The first concern is about our ability to hear from the Lord. As a pastor, my job is not to be an intermediary between God and His people. My office as part of the five-fold ministry is to train the saints and equip them, and that includes training believers to hear from the Lord for themselves.

Unlike traditional concepts of priesthood, where the priest or spiritual leader is the channel of communication between the people and God, Christianity does not hold to such a concept. God’s will is that all His people are able to hear from Him. His desire is that all should prophesy.

Yet one of the urgent needs in the Body of Christ is for God’s people to learn to hear from Him accurately and consistently. This does not happen overnight. Instead it requires for us to pursue His voice in a disciplined manner. Let me suggest a few things that we can do.

3 HANDLES TO HEAR GOD 

1. Read the Bible regularly

I’m a strong believer of the fact that God speaks to us primarily from His Word – the Bible. In my own personal life, this holds true. By this, I don’t mean that we should randomly open the Bible and hope for a suitable Scripture for our circumstances. Instead, as we read the Bible consistently and through a systematic reading plan, we’ll find the Lord speaking to us.

It’s uncanny how your daily reading will often coincide with something you’re asking the Lord about.

… pursue His voice in a disciplined manner.

2. Make room for God to speak

All too often, we want the Lord to speak to us, but we don’t make room for it. Say for example, we’ve an important decision to make. We all want to hear from God, but all too often, we make those decisions without taking time to hear from Him.

We often place a short time limit for God to speak and if He doesn’t speak by then, we’d make our own decisions. I want to strongly encourage us not to do that.

Most important decisions in our lives are not rushed. Decisions on a home purchase, marriage, relocation to a different country – these are all decisions that will greatly impact our lives. These are decisions also that we should take time to wait on the Lord until He speaks.

It’s uncanny how your daily reading will often coincide with something you’re asking the Lord about.

3. Be still

One of the most important keys for hearing from the Lord is to quieten ourselves to hear His still, small voice. Too often, our minds and surroundings are filled with too much noise for us to hear from the Lord. Since we’re listening for a still, small voice, we need to lean in and be silent so that we can catch what’s being said.

I suggest waking up early before the needs of the day press in on us. Alternatively, do it at night when everyone else is asleep. The instructions from the Lord is to find a secret place.

The second concern I have for God’s people is the issue of offences and bitterness.

Bitterness comes as a result of offences that are not dealt with in our hearts towards people. I don’t know how I can emphasise this in the strongest manner possible except to compare it with the most aggressive type of malignant cancer.

Bitterness absolutely destroys us. It results in terrible barrenness in our lives and is highly infectious. It’s a spiritual disease that the infected person often will not realise they’ve contracted. It clouds our perspective, impairs our judgement and fills us with negativity. In our own eyes, we’re the victims.

In our own eyes, we’re the victims.

How then do we deal with bitterness? The key lies in looking at the Cross.

A deep and full appreciation of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross makes it clear that Jesus alone is the victim. The most horrid injustice was done to Him. All the penalty of sin was placed on Him. Despite all that, Jesus forgave and gave His life willingly as a ransom for us – the ones who crucified Him by our sins.

You see, the Children of Israel came to Marah and found bitter waters. Moses was instructed to cast a tree (the symbol of the Cross) into the waters and the bitter waters became sweet. Can the most bitter experiences of our lives actually be transformed into the sweetest moments of victory? Yes, indeed.

There’s grace sufficient for us to overcome every offence and every bitter experience. I pray that we’ll take a serious examination of our own hearts on these matters.


This article was first published on Cornerstone Community Church’s blog, and is republished with permission.

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In the face of persecution

by Zeke Gao, Deacon of YCK Chapel | 13 July 2018, 4:16 PM

“If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (1 Peter 4:16)

Around the world, many Christians are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. This is especially the case for those living under severe religious restrictions experienced by nearly three-quarters of the world’s population. Just think about the May 13 suicide-bomb attacks on three churches in Surabaya which killed 15 people and wounded another 57.

Living in Singapore, it is often easy to forget what religious persecution really looks like, or take for granted the harsh realities faced by our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. However, studies by Open Doors USA revealed that the persecution of Christians is higher today than at other points in history.

Each month approximately 66 churches are attacked, 225 Christians are killed, 104 are abducted, and 160 Christians detained and imprisoned without trial. The persecution of Christians will likely remain a permanent feature of humanity until Christ comes again.

… if we truly desire to live a godly life and follow Christ, then persecution is to be expected …

Even at home, you may face persecution as a result of your declaration of faith. At school, at work, or even among your friends, your faith may be challenged. Those who like you may begin to have second thoughts about you, or see you in a negative light because you believe in Jesus.

How then should we respond to Christian persecution? Here are three ways to prepare and respond to persecution.

3 POINTS IN RESPONDING TO PERSECUTION

1. Expect it

Jesus and Paul warned that if we truly desire to live a godly life and follow Christ, then persecution is to be expected (John 15:20, 2 Timothy 3:12).

This is because we do not belong to the world but to Christ, and it is that very separation from the world that arouses its animosity. This trial of faith develops endurance, maturity and strengthens the character of believers (James 1:2-4) to make an impact for the Lord. So it is no wonder that the spread of the gospel often flourishes in the face of persecution (Acts 1:8, Acts 8:1).

Hence, when persecution comes our way, we should not be surprised. Instead ask the Lord for the courage to face it, and seek His purposes and wisdom for your specific circumstances. This way, acting on what the Lord impresses upon you will enable His truth and love to be communicated to others even in the most dire of situations.

… we do not belong to the world but to Christ, and it is that very separation from the world that arouses its animosity.

2. Lend support

Persecution also provides a direct opportunity for us to show appreciation, support and brotherly love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ both at home and abroad, in ways which we may not have otherwise known.

Amidst the hardship that our brothers and sisters face, we should resolve to comfort them and lift them before His throne in prayer. We can also take the initiative to partner with various missions organisations to take action where it matters most, or lend other means of support like financial or material resources.

3. Pray and press on

Finally, we can thank the Lord for those we love, and stand with them in their times of distress. Thank Him for His grace and patience with each of us, and ask for the courage to press on even in the face of persecution. We can also pray for those who would accuse or abuse us (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27).

As you read this, would you take a moment to pray for our brothers and sisters in Surabaya? Let us never grow cold or indifferent towards the persecution of Christians that is intensifying around the world.


This article was first published on YCK Chapel’s website, and is republished with permission.

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Lessons on discipleship from a little dog

by | 12 July 2018, 11:47 AM

Over a recent public holiday, I hung out with a few good friends at one of our homes. There, I met my friend’s new dog, Taurus, an adorable mongrel who’s painfully shy.

As we spent some time trying to connect to him — which was proving rather difficult — my friend said something in particular that really made me think: Raising a dog is really like discipleship.

MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE

I’m a tall man, so for one reason or another, Taurus was afraid of me. He would skitter past me whenever I walked near, and when I stood up in the living room he would not want to come out of his little indoor kennel.

My friend speculated that maybe while Taurus was a stray, a tall man once kicked him. She also mentioned that he’s a year old – so in dog years, he’s pretty much an angsty teenager.

After I made a few jokes about Taurus being cooped up in his room writing poems, I knelt down to Taurus’ level. And he immediately came out of his hole to eat out of my hand. I had brought myself down to his level, and engaged him with something he was interested in — kibble!

“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20)

It’s not that far a stretch to say that the real-life equivalent would be to initially engage a disciple on their terms, based on what they’re interested in. Baby steps before bigger ones. Just as my friend knew Taurus’ condition well, we also should know our flocks’ condition in caring for them (Proverbs 27:23).

MANAGE THE ATMOSPHERE

“Sometimes when I come back from work, I’ll run around the house and let him chase me, repeatedly yelling his name to get him excited.

“He’s only as excited as you are.”

That was what my friend told us about training and spending time with Taurus. Well, I tried that for a little bit before Taurus began growling at me — so maybe a bit more of Step One first!

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)

If you lead a cell group, or mentor someone, you’ll know that the temptation is to fall into a routine. Eventually you’re just performing a role, and that’s really dangerous. Leaders are responsible for the holistic atmosphere of the group, similar to how mentors are in charge of shaping how interactions play out each time they meet a mentee.

So will it be an “Oh, hi” kind of thing, or will we actually show up excited to teach our kids new tricks? And even as I was thinking about this, my girlfriend, who was playing with Taurus, said to me: “It’s caught, not taught.”

LOVE IS TENDER AND TOUGH

My girlfriend was having a lot of success with Taurus getting him to go through some of the tricks he’d already been taught. Armed with a handful of kibble, she would speak him to sternly, but reward him at the end of it.

I, on the other hand, was really only good at the rewarding part. I couldn’t bear to be firm with the little guy and I would just reward him regardless. So it came as little surprise when he didn’t really listen to me.

One truth that was reaffirmed for me was this: Discipleship that is “soft” love and sayang all the way will get you nowhere fast. There is definitely a time and space for soft love, but if you spend all your time listening — never speaking life into the person’s life — the person will stagnate. And that failure would be on us as leaders (James 3:1).

“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thess 2:7b-8)

As we left my friend’s place, we said goodbye to her and Taurus from behind the windows of the bus. When I saw how patient, kind and affectionate she was with Taurus, it really drove one simple truth home.

It starts with love.

Without love, all these things we know about discipleship are just processes or tips. Without love, there’s no point. In the first week that my friend got Taurus, one of the sweet (or morbid) thoughts that she had was of how Taurus would die in about 15 years. I think that the brevity of life has a way of making our love swell for our neighbour when we contemplate it in a healthy way.

Think of the faces in your cell group or those of your mentees. Start with the end in mind: What if you only had a year with them? Let this urgent kind of love be the fuel for shepherding them towards God.

/ gabriel@thir.st

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.

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