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Taylor Swift says the old Taylor Swift is dead. What a shame

by | 30 August 2017, 11:00 PM

“I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined. I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!” snarls Taylor Swift in her latest single, Look What You Made Me Do.

The music video, which was the most viewed video on Youtube within 24 hours of its release – a position previously occupied by Adele’s Hello – has a grave message: The old Taylor Swift is dead.

But we know one thing never truly died: Her thirst for vengeance.


We should have seen it coming. From Picture to Burn (2006) to Better Than Revenge (2010) to Look What You Made Me Do (2017), a thread of animosity runs through her songs.

Time and time again, her songs have been targeted at individuals in her life and the wrongs that he/she/they have done to her.

High school bully? Check. Celebrity frenemy? Check. Ex-boyfriend? Many, many checks. Names may not be mentioned but we all know full well who she’s aiming at each time.

Her latest single? Let’s just say it points in a certain direction: West.

While the tunes are fun to sing along to, the pattern of vengeance in her songwriting is so constant and apparent that we have to stop and ask ourselves: Has Taylor gone overboard?

Because she seems so obsessed with revenge that she glorifies it.

Take Bad Blood, for example. While on the surface it’s a music video about female empowerment – or so claims her PR team – it is laced with snarky undertones with shots fired at Katy Perry. And she recruits an army of celebrity friends to back her up in the video.

Shaming another woman while masked behind a feel-good message about female empowerment is not empowerment.

It’s bullying. It’s hypocrisy.

The sad thing is that not only do people fail to see the bad in Bad Blood, the world lauded the unity – in ganging up on someone – as friendship goals, or in Internet terms, #squad.

Everyone lapped it up.

And that’s the problem. Like it or not, Taylor is a culture dictator. She sets trends, reinvents words and popularises sayings. I mean, I’m guilty of having her songs on repeat.

But even as we latch on to her catchy tunes and quotable lyrics, have we really thought about the recurring spiteful messages that she’s perpetuating?


Seeking revenge is not cool. It only breeds hatred and bitterness in our hearts.

I know. When you’re angry, the last thing you want to hear is, “Chill lah” or “What’s the big deal?” That feels like a dismissal of your feelings. Nothing validates your sense of injustice like a good dose of anger.

Anger is not a crime; it’s part of the spectrum of human emotions. But while we all get angry from time to time, we can’t allow it to rule over us.

Taylor seems so obsessed with revenge that she glorifies it.

And we especially can’t take our frustration out on another person. The immediate gratification of wrath may console us in the initial phase, but it will soon fester into a gaping hole of resentment that may never be satisfied.

Someone once told me that unforgiveness is like drinking poison, but hoping the other person dies. The harm is on us.


Another reason why Taylor’s new single chills me is how she justifies her hostility – by pushing the blame to those who had hurt her. I mean, the song title says it all.

With lyrics like “I don’t like the role you made me play” and “Look what you made me do”, it is obviously a victim narrative she’s crafting. It’s as though she was forced – by circumstances and/or people – into retaliation. Hey, she started it.

But we have a choice, we always do. We may not always have control over our situations, and we may not always have control over how others treat us, but we always have control over the way we react.

When we play the victim game, we are focusing on the wrongs the other party has committed, and allowing that to overshadow our own faults. It gives us an excuse to relinquish the responsibility for our own responses, pushing the blame to a secondary party.

But as soon as we choose to lash back, we are no longer the victims. We become the antagonists, perpetrating a vicious cycle of faulting and shaming.

Blame-shifting doesn’t get anyone anywhere. We need to own up for whatever we’re responsible for – namely, our reactions.

And as much as the subjects of Taylor’s every other songs have wronged her, she isn’t all that innocent either. Especially not when she escalates her carousel of personal feuds into full-blown circus shows, parading her enemies, with the entire world as spectators.


From titling her latest album Reputation to wiping clean her social media accounts to releasing Look What You Made Me Do as her lead single, Taylor is bent on revamping her image.

If she can’t save her American Sweetheart image, she might as well kill it and rebirth herself as the snake that writhes through the lyric video for the song.

But my heart aches when I see the person she’s chosen to become.

She’s a lyrical genius. Her songs were the soundtrack for my adolescence.

My heart aches when I see the person Taylor Swift has chosen to become.

I know every word of Teardrops On My Guitar by heart. I’ve blasted You Belong With Me in KTVs. I danced to 22… on my 22nd birthday.

But I can no longer take comfort in her lyrics, not when I know that the solace I gain is built on the assassination of someone’s character.

I guess I’ll be in mourning for the Taylor Swift of my teenage years for now.


Siqi loves to eat. Except for peas, egg yolk, cucumbers, livers, intestines. Among others. She also happens to be a writer.


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Forgive the unforgiveable: Ed Silvoso at Kingdom Invasion 2018

by | 16 March 2018, 6:42 PM

“Let me tell you the worst story I’ve ever heard,” Ed Silvoso told the thousands in attendance at Kingdom Invasion 2018.

“I met someone who had been raped by her father from the age of 2 to 17. As a result of the abuse, she became bipolar and had a split personality. Her schizophrenia resulted in episodes which almost saw her running her husband over in a car and killing her baby.”

This was a woman trapped in great suffering and pain. How could she be expected to forgive someone like her father?

Hurts that aren’t resolved go on constant replay for the rest of our lives.

The founder and president of Harvest Evangelism and the International Transformation Network followed this up with the story of a man whose wife was full of fear because she had once been robbed.

“Every night between 2am and 3am, the wife would wake up, scream and shake her husband awake, telling him there was a thief downstairs,” said Silvoso, speaking at the Singapore Expo on March 16, 2018.

“For 20 years the husband would faithfully check the house. One night, however, there actually was a thief in the house. He pointed a gun at the husband and said, ‘Give me all your money or I’ll blow your brains out.’

“I’ll give you anything and everything,” replied the husband cooly. The thief was shocked at how cooperative his victim was.

“… On one condition: You come up with me and meet my wife. She’s been waiting 20 years just to see you.”

Ed Silvoso at Kingdom Invasion.


Said Silvoso gravely: “Even though she was robbed only once, she was robbed every night for 20 years.”

His point was that many people still live in the pain of their past – every single day.

“Hurts that aren’t resolved go on constant replay for the rest of our lives. Especially hurts which are inflicted by people close to us. Those closer to us who hurt us; these are people we can’t simply delete from our memory.”

“We must dispose of the old things, the hurts inflicted on us — the traumas — by learning to apply God’s grace to them,” said Silvoso.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“The grace of God is designed to forgive our sins and also enable us to forgive the sins of those who have sinned against us — even if they have not repented,” said Silvoso.

“The moment we are saved, the grace of God comes and touches every terrible thing in our lives and turns them into new things. And that’s what the devil doesn’t want us to know.

“We have a choice to look at the person who sinned against us. We can look at them in the flesh, or in Christ.”


Silvoso then told another story about a girl and a father who encountered a bee. The girl was terrified of being stung by the bee, and ran behind her father. Her father caught and held the bee in his hand. In the process, he got stung.

The father showed the trembling girl the now-stingless bee, and said: “It can’t sting you anymore.”

That’s Jesus. Christ has already taken the sting for that terrible thing done to you – or by you. When He wrapped grace around the Cross, the emblem of the curse became the symbol of blessing!”

When grace is applied to sin, God can bring good out of a bad situation. Silvoso pointed to Stephen in the Bible. As he was being stoned to death, Stephen looked up and didn’t see the angry faces of men. Instead, he saw Jesus (Acts 7:55-56).

With his last breath, Stephen said, “Father, do not hold it against them.”

Watching all this was a man named Saul. Within a few chapters of the book of Acts, this great destroyer of the early Church had became Paul, the builder of the Church.

“Look at the power when grace is applied to sin. When grace is applied to sin, God can bring goodness out of a bad situation.”

“For your city to be transformed, we need to understand the dynamite power of grace so we can be set free – totally free.”


Silvoso then returned to his story of the lady who had been raped by her father. She asked Silvoso: “Pastor, why did this happen to me?”

Where was God while her father was raping her? “Fair question,” said Silvoso.

She had tried to kill herself twice in her life. The first time was at just 5 years old: She wanted to jump into the river after her mother beat her when she told her of the rape.

“Well, why didn’t you kill yourself then?” Silvoso asked her.

When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future: He is going to get thrown into the lake of fire!

“Her mouth began to twitch. And she remembered that Jesus was there with her at the river, and He had put His hand on her head.”

Eventually, through clenched teeth, she managed to pray to God about her father. “Even though I hate him, I forgive him.”

Silvoso repeated: “When grace is applied to sin, God can bring good out of it.” He prayed over her and she was healed, something clicked within her spirit — fusing her split personality into wholeness.

“Sometime later, I met her again. She didn’t have a split personality, she was whole. And she had a ministry for people who were abused. Today she is a mighty restorer of the downtrodden,” said Silvoso.


You can choose to forgive even if you don’t feel like it, said Silvoso.

Try this simple prayer, he suggested. “Father God, I confess that the blood of Jesus is more than sufficient to provide forgiveness for every sin, and that your grace is always read to overflow where sin abounds. I agree with the Scriptures that you will make all things work together for good — including the bad things that I now place under the blood of Jesus.”

He pleaded: “You have to choose in your heart to forgive. The grace of God has already touched everything within your soul. Now you just need to confess it with your mouth.

“We choose to forgive. We choose to forget. The pain will come back, but we must keep repeating our intention to forgive until it becomes a conviction. Don’t deny the anger — neutralise it by declaring, I am forgiven!”

Satan will keep trying to derail this process of forgiveness and healing, Silvoso added. But we have to stand firm and fight the instinct to dwell in past hurts.

“When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future: He is going to get thrown into the lake of fire!”


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Ditch the fear of man and preach the Gospel: Ben Fitzgerald at Kingdom Invasion 2018

by | 16 March 2018, 10:42 AM

For Singapore to live up to the call to be the Antioch of Asia, for souls to be saved – we need to deal with the fear of man, said Ben Fitzgerald.

“The fear of man is the Number 1 thing that cripples us from sharing Jesus,” said the leader of Awakening Europe and GODfest Ministries.

“God wants to set us free from the fear of man, because He wants to free you to see more people saved.

“We have a fear of human opinion, of rejection, if we share the gospel, if take it into our office. So we try to live in this grey area of pleasing everybody, but end up pleasing no one. And we don’t do what God wants us to do.

“Let me tell you – if you’re walking right with God, and you’re doing His thing – if even the most powerful person in the world has a bad opinion of you, it shouldn’t mean a thing. It shouldn’t even shake a leaf off your tree.”

Ben Fitzgerald speaking at Kingdom Invasion 2018


The 35-year-old, speaking at Kingdom Invasion 2018, said he came to this realisation after an incident where a pastor he admired walked up to where Fitzgerald had been standing, shook the hands of 6 people, approached Fitzgerald, looked him in the eye – then walked off without shaking his hand.

“I was upset. I was petrified. ‘What have I done wrong? Why does he hate me?’ All of this was in my head! Or was it?!” he recounted.

That’s when Fitzgerald starting to think about the source of his fear.

“God told me: ‘Ben, you’ve made mankind and their opinion of you an idol. You’ve made their opinion of you greater than My worth.’

“I fasted, and something told me to turn to Jeremiah 17:5. ‘This is what the LORD says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.’

“It floored me. I said God forgive me, I’m so sorry.”

“God told me: ‘Ben, you’ve made mankind and their opinion of you an idol. You’ve made their opinion of you greater than My worth.’

The question, Fitzgerald, comes down to: Where is your heart? Where is it planted? Where is the source it’s drawing from?

“Is it the opinion of man? You’re feeding from the wrong source – you’re trying to make a fake, false you. It’s exhausting and you lose the real you.

“By making a pseudo, false real, you end up being more rejected. God didn’t make a fake you to be loved. He made the real you to be loved.”

The age of social media doesn’t help, noted Fitzgerald.

“We’re in this generation of micro-judgments. In this age we’re living for the likes we get on Instagram and Facebook. We begin to validate themselves based on what pops up on a screen.

”If you have zero followers on Facebook and Instagram, but you have the love of God, let me tell you – you have everything.”


Speaking at the Singapore Expo on March 16, 208, Fitzgerald said that while there was much to marvel about Singapore as a nation, Christians have to keep focused on the main thing: The need to see more saved, on the island and in the region.

“Singapore and the nations of Asia must hear the Gospel. But you’ve got to be free of the fear of what everyone else thinks of you. That makes you powerless. God doesn’t want that for you,” said Fitzgerald.

“The only way the nations of Asia will truly thrive is if the Gospel is preached.

“I want better economics, better housing, all those things. But God doesn’t want a great economic system if everyone’s going to hell.

“The Gospel is not a secondary, or third-ary, need. It is the primary need.”

“If you don’t choose Antioch, you end up with arrogance or apathy”: Lou Engle warns Singaporeans at Kingdom Invasion 2018

In his personal experience, Fitzgerald said, losing the fear of man and replacing it with the right fear of God has led to boldness in evangelism.

“When I walked out of the fear of man, and just learnt to preach the Bible as it is written, I found more souls were saved!

“God wants us to be fruitful, to see more souls saved. We need to let go of the fear so that the Spirit can lead us into fruitfulness.

“Whatever the enemy has restricted and oppressed you with, we need to break it. We need to have a death party for fear.”

The only way to do this: Ask God to break this spirit of fear. Let go, let go of human opinion. Say, I’m sorry, God, for making mankind a bigger source – of validation, of affirmation, of direction – than You. Forgive me for disobeying your voice and trusting in people more than your love.

Take authority of the spirit of the fear of man. In Jesus’ name, bind and command the spirits of fear to leave.

Then be filled with the love of God, which teaches you to be full of the love for man – and preach the Gospel.

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Kingdom Invasion: The power of prayer intercession

by | 16 March 2018, 1:52 AM

The 40-year cyclical review of Dr Billy Graham’s prophecy over Singapore in 1978 has been ongoing rhetoric across multiple local churches even in the days and months leading up to 2018, recently fuelled by the passing of the great evangelist who took the world by storm.

But instead of holding its breath or crossing its arms in anticipation, the body of Christ has largely been rallying all members to intercede – prayers unceasing and hands raised – for the nation’s prophetic destiny. LoveSingapore, one of the largest church unity movements here, has even declared 2018 a “year of prayer” for Singapore.

The call to pray like never before was palpable at Kingdom Invasion 2018, with Lou Engle opening the night with an open challenge to fast and pray for 40 days to “lay down a conveyor belt for destiny to land”, and the presence of Suzette Hattingh, intercessor extraordinaire (in our terms) and founder of Voice in the City.

“Moses fasted for 40 days and transited into a new covenant. Jesus entered into His apostolic calling after 40 days of fasting. When Daniel understood the time he was in, he sought God and fasted for 40 days,” Engle reasoned.

“All hell will fight against this nation if she is to be the apostolic centre of Asia. We need to turn revelation into intercession.”

It is through prayer and fasting that our hearts respond to and align with the prophetic word from God, he said.

He also was joined by Hattingh several times during the conference so that she could share her expertise and wisdom on prayer intercession with the entire congregation. Hattingh had been invited to host break-out sessions on the topic.

In the early morning of March 15, 2018, before official conference hours, Hattingh held a special workshop on prayer. She began with an explanation on the root word for “intercession”: Paga`.

Paga`, a Hebrew word, is rooted in two different meanings.

“On one side, it is gentle,” Hattingh explained. “Like when we come before the Lord and simply worship.”

The other meaning of the word refers to a strong prayer. Comparing it to a man hammering a nail, she explained, “It is bold, and it is powerful.”

While both may seem contradictory, Hattingh assured everyone that they are actually two sides to the same coin.

“It is a parallel, not a contradiction. Both are from the Holy Spirit. We need to be both.”

Due to time constraints, Hattingh chose to demonstrate the “strong” side of intercession by explaining that our prayers must come from the Word.

Reading from Isaiah 55:11, she declared, “Satan can influence your emotions, but he cannot influence the activity of the Word. He cannot change the power of the Word that goes out!”

Hattingh continued, “It’s not about me, it’s about the Word. We are only a channel. As the channel, we use our voice to release the Word. The Holy Spirit will take the word from our mouths and fire them into the spirit realm.”

Following this lesson, she broke the audience into pairs and instructed them to pray from Psalm 46 as practice. Throughout the prayer session, she reminded them to pray using the Scripture.

“If you want to accomplish the harvest,” she said, “You have to pray from the Word.” The resulting roar of the praying crowd could be heard from the outer halls. Hammering a nail, indeed.

But the gentle side of paga` was also experienced later that morning, as Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor Bethel Church, Redding, preached on one of his pet topics: The importance of abiding in God, in order to host the presence of God.

He described abiding as a seamless connection with God, the way a branch seamlessly connects to the vine. It is the perfect relationship we were designed for, where our heartbeat is His heartbeat, His dreams are our dreams. And it is in this co-labouring partnership that the marvellous things of God will unfold here on earth, as it is in Heaven.

And in this abiding, this keeping of a deep affection for God and His Word, that Jesus was able to offer to all believers something once only offered to one man called Solomon: Ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (1 Kings 3:1-15)

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

If you abide in me, God says, if you keep that deep affection in place, and my words abide in you – I will be able to trust you with anything you request of me, because your desires will be the offspring of our relationship.

“These prayers that erupt from us in a place of abiding are shaped by the glory of God and His reality in our lives, and in answering those things, He is glorified,” Johnson said.

Our desires will be the offspring of a perfect abiding relationship with God.

“That a broken humanity can be redeemed to such a place where they can influence the heart of the Father – by this, He is glorified.”

Getting the audience to rise to their feet and accompanied by only a keyboardist, Johnson led the 3,500 strong crowd in an extended period of deep worship. “Take your time to abide,” were his only instructions.

The spiritual songs and whispered prayers that soon emerged from the solemn silence was undeniably paga` in its other form – gentle and beautiful.

In this momentous year for Singapore, the call to fight for our destiny on our knees is stronger than ever before. Intercession may not be the most intuitive thing for many of us, but if we want the Kingdom to invade earth, we need this seamless connection with the presence of God.

As Dr Ed Silvoso so nicely put it this morning: “When God says He will build His Church, He meant that he will build you because you are the Church!

“And the gates of Hades shall not prevail.”

Kingdom Invasion 2018 will run until Friday at Singapore Expo Halls 7/8. Night sessions starting from 7:30pm are free, subject to availability of seats. For more details, visit


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“Have the right finish line in mind”: Ed Silvoso reviews Singapore’s Antioch call to transform nations

by | 15 March 2018, 5:12 PM

Very often, the work of the church stays in the church. It’s a massive tragedy, said Ed Silvoso, who brought a powerful message of discipling the nations through the marketplace to Kingdom Invasion 2018.

“We’re bringing multitudes into the four walls of the church but never looking beyond,” the founder and president of Harvest Evangelism and the International Transformation Network told the audience in the morning of March 15, 2018.

“What goes on inside our four walls, inside the church building, should happen all over the city.”

In Silvoso’s words, the Church was designed to be an all-encompassing, ever-expanding movement – an out-going, dynamic people, not a static building. “Look how we have been fooled. Can you find the phrase ‘I go to church’ in the Bible? You are the Church!”

“I don’t know if you realise how religious we are,” Silvoso said, “What is needed for Singapore to become an Antioch is for leaders to choose the right finish line.”

“That finish line isn’t more people going to church – it is discipling a nation.

“It’s not about a bigger church, but the transformation of cities and nations.”

And to effectively disciple a nation requires moving out of the four walls of the church building and bringing the church to where people are: The marketplace.

The finished line isn’t more people going to church – it is discipling a nation.

This was a concept well-understood by the early church, which explains why the Gospel exploded across the world not from Jerusalem, the original religious centre, but from the merchant city of Antioch, where Paul brought his ministry to marketplace people.

Likewise, Silvoso believes we need revolutionary and radical transition from the religious to the secular, just like Saul, who is believed to have taken on the name Paul after ministering to the Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7, 12-13, 43).

It wasn’t just a turning away from his former life as a persecutor of the first Christians – Saul was a name steeped in his Jewish roots, but Paul was a Roman name that emphasised his citizenship.

That change in identity meant that Paul wouldn’t be perceived to the Roman authorities as a Jewish preacher, but a Roman one who had a “transformation ministry”.

Silvoso made a sharp point: “Paul wasn’t just an asset to the church – he was an asset to the community.” His ministry largely involved partnering with marketplace Christians, such as Aquila and Priscilla, and equipping them to take the Gospel to the rest of the community in tangible ways.

“Don’t try and reel Aquila and Priscilla into the church, go to the marketplace and work with them,” he said.

According to Silvoso, there are four types of Christians in the marketplace.


  • Christians who simply survive in the marketplace
  • Christians who apply biblical principles in the marketplace
  • Christians who operate in the power of the Holy Spirit in the marketplace
  • Christians who transform the marketplace

To make his point, he went on to share a few testimonies of transformative Christians who had the right finish line in mind. One was an ice-cream vendor in Phuket who – starting by praying over the ice-creams she sold – eventually brought 700 people to Christ. Her church has since grown to have over 20,000 members.

“Her scooter became a chariot of fire and her ice-cream cones were like arrows in the hands of a mighty woman!” Silvoso declared with a laugh.

“If you want to see what you’ve never seen, you have to do what you’ve never done.”

The other was a taxi driver named Gregorio Avalos who wanted to transform Argentina, inspired by the teaching of his pastor that to disciple a nation started by discipling a city.

He prayed over his taxi, even anointing it with oil, and began to serve passengers in Barrio Las Flores, where he lived – a city that was also the headquarters for a huge drug cartel.

The right finish line is when what goes on inside four walls once a week begins to happen 24/7 in the marketplace with signs and wonders.

Eventually, Avalos ran for and became the president of his neighbourhood association. God used Avalos’ new position to introduce men of influence to him, enabling the destruction of Barrio Las Flores’ drug bunkers. That meant they were now able to pave the streets and build sewer systems. Soon, they built a new hospital, school and train station.

In this new and safer city, people now felt safe to came out at night. And when evangelist Carlos Anacondia came to preach at a night rally, over 10,000 people came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.

Silvoso was beaming as he recounted this story. “Today an entire province is being discipled – all because one taxi driver had the right finish line in mind!”

What is needed for Singapore to be an Antioch? It’s for her leaders to choose the right finish line. It’s when what goes on inside four walls once a week begins to happen 24/7 in the marketplace with signs and wonders.

In closing, Silvoso called for a time of prayer.

“Pastors, give the church back to Jesus and God will bring you your Aquilas and Pricillas with whom you will transform the marketplace. Pray: Forgive me for calling it my church – I give it back to you. It’s your church, I am your servant. I humble myself before you.”

“Christians in the marketplace, give your job back to Jesus – give it back to God. Lord Jesus, I hear you knocking at the door of my workplace. I open the door and say, ‘Jesus, come in! I enthrone You.’

Kingdom Invasion 2018 will run until Friday at Singapore Expo Halls 7/8. Night sessions starting from 7:30pm are free, subject to availability of seats. For more details, visit


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Spiritual complacency erodes our inheritance: Bill Johnson at Kingdom Invasion 2018

by | 15 March 2018, 12:37 AM

“An inheritance is something somebody else paid for,” Bill Johnson said gravely. “But if we are going to continue an inheritance, to increase it, we need to pay an even higher price.”

Speaking on the second day of Kingdom Invasion 2018, the Senior Pastor of Bethel Church, Redding, cautioned the 3,500 strong audience against spiritual complacency.

Drawing from the life of King Hezekiah, Johnson shared about the king’s early days as a strong political and spiritual leader of Israel who reformed his nation, calling it back into covenant with God during one of its darkest and most corrupt seasons.

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.” (2 Kings 18:3-4)

Hezekiah was a man whom God Himself acknowledged as “a king like no other”, and unlike his predecessors, removed the high places of idol worship in his country and brought back worship as in the days of King David.

“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.” (2 Kings 18:5-6)

However, things took a downturn after he was saved from the mouth of death by a gracious act of God to heal his terminal illness and extend his life by 15 years (2 Kings 20). Johnson pinned the start of his ultimate demise on the king’s failure to offer to the Lord a sacrifice “equal to his miracle” after he was healed.

“But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 32:25)

“You could say it was a token response to a supernatural act,” Johnson said. “The moment I take something God’s done for me lightly is the moment callousness begins in my heart.”

Something must have changed in the king’s heart after his miracle, he continued. He not only failed to offer sincere thanksgiving to God, he even grew proud and flaunted his wealth to enemy nations (2 Kings 20:12-19).

And it was complacency enough to completely turn the tide on the legacy he’d earlier built as a king after God’s heart – right down to Hezekiah feeling glad when the prophet Isaiah declared God’s resulting judgement for his pride on future generations – because he would not have to personally live through them (2 Kings 20:16-19).

“’The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’” (2 Kings 20:19)

“I don’t know how King Hezekiah got to that point,” said Johnson, prompting the audience to consider their own lives. “But while everything looked right on the outside, there was no fire on the inside.”

Judgement fell upon the kingdom soon enough. His son Manasseh, who took over the throne at age 12, went on to become one of Israel’s most wicked kings – leading to a complete erosion of the spiritual inheritance left by his father.

Despite the fervour and favour his father once had for God, all came to naught as Manasseh rebuilt the high places that had been demolished, reinstated idol-worship and built altars in the tabernacle. Practice of witchcraft became rampant (2 Chronicles 33).

And if Manasseh was 12 when he became king, this meant that he was raised in Hezekiah’s extended years of life – years where he had already grown complacent with God.

While everything looked right on the outside, there was no fire on the inside.

“There were probably semblances of the days of worship decreed by his father,” Johnson conjectured. “But if Hezekiah’s passion for God was waning, Manasseh might very well have been raised on token representations of religion.”

That’s how fast the winds of destiny could turn from one generation to the next in the face of spiritual complacency. Johnson used the Matthew 12 analogy of the strong man (Matthew 12:29) and the unclean spirit (Matthew 12:43-45) to explain this further.

Like our spiritual forefathers who have contended for breakthrough, personally as well as in the local body of Christ, years of ministry and intercession “binds the strong man” – the evil strongholds in our lives – and makes way for God to move in.

This is what Hezekiah did in the early days of his kingship, and what revivalists such as John Sung and Billy Graham have done for Singapore.

But it’s easy to take our inheritance lightly, especially when it’s been freely given to us by those who’ve tilled the ground and sowed the seed before.

“After years of walking with the Lord it’s easy to get into a routine – to know how to sing the worship songs, dance along, talk like a Christian, but I could do all of that and never have my heart healed and transformed,” Johnson said in reference to Hezekiah’s backsliding and Manasseh’s upbringing and ultimate kingship.

“If the next generation does not properly occupy the inheritance given to it, if the house is found empty instead of filled with the presence of God – the stronghold comes back even stronger.”

“’When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.’” (Matthew 12:43-45)

And just like that, Hezekiah’s great spiritual inheritance from his reformation was overthrown within a generation – by a son whose name is now synonymous with corruption and evil.

Johnson’s question for Singapore was this: What will we do with our spiritual inheritance, the favour and blessing of the Lord upon our nation? 

He reiterated several times, “The problem is not with God’s favour and blessing. It’s how we respond to it.”

Like Lou Engle the night before and Heidi Baker who spoke before him, Johnson’s exhortation for Singapore was to not flaunt our inheritance or grow complacent in comfortable times – but to use favour and blessing for God’s purposes instead.

After all, this is but a small price to pay in light of the present and eternal riches God has faithfully rewarded his children with.

Kingdom Invasion 2018 will run until Friday at Singapore Expo Halls 7/8. Night sessions starting from 7:30pm are free, subjected to availability of seats. For more details, visit


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Forgive the unforgiveable: Ed Silvoso at Kingdom Invasion 2018

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Spiritual complacency erodes our inheritance: Bill Johnson at Kingdom Invasion 2018