Top Stories

Sign Up for our newsletter now.

Faith

The year I said yes to Jesus

by | 29 December 2016, 1:35 PM

This story runs backwards. Stay with me.

APRIL 19, 2016. In the middle of Changi Airport, where I was bound for Boracay on my ad agency’s annual holiday, I stared at a Whatsapp message on my phone.

The chatter from the crowd queuing at the gate for the flight to Cebu suddenly became nothing more than a faint buzz, as though suddenly muted.

It’s time to talk about you and Thir.st.

My fingers responded on my behalf.

I’ve been waiting for this talk, actually.

APRIL 26, 2015. I was at a bench in church eating beehoon over breakfast with someone who had asked to meet me.

I didn’t know what the meeting would be about; I figured it had something to do with joining an upcoming media ministry. Another one of these church initiatives, I’d concluded. Coming from the creative line, I was used to such invites coming my way.

My breakfast companion, whom I had never spoken to before that day, shared about his idea for a website that would produce content tailored for young adults in Singapore, influenced by our faith and convictions. The project would be called Thir.st, after John 7:37.

What a great idea, I remember exclaiming.

Yes, he replied. Would you quit your job for it?

The beehoon lost its flavour.

DECEMBER 31, 2014. In Church, counting down to the New Year.

I had felt a stirring in my spirit as I prayed – that I was due for a season of transition. But even as I prayed, in my human heart, I was feeling the exhaustion of carrying the burden of having disappointed my parents with my choice of work.

I always felt I had a calling to creative communications. Even as a Business School graduate, I knew God had bigger plans for my gifts in writing and creative ideation, not just indulging in them as an extracurricular activity. My desire was to sink my hands and feet deep into that world, be professionally recognised for my abilities, spend the rest of my life serving the Kingdom of God as a legit creative director.

But entering the industry as a copywriter in a small creative agency right after college didn’t quite fall in line with what my parents envisioned for their bright, ambitious eldest child. So while I saw the hand of God guiding my steps into the place I would call my second home and family for the next four years, they feared for my future, something they reminded me regularly.

I loved my work, but the weight of their worry was enormous.

More than two years into the job, I was almost ready to raise my white flag as I presented them with my third agency Christmas card – we do one every year – and in it I had even declared that this would be the last time they would receive one.

I will be praying for God to show me where to go next, I wrote, hoping to appease them. But the real prayer I was making at the start of 2015 probably sounded more like this: Dear God, please show me where to go next and please make it a nice big agency that will make both my parents and I happy and proud.

And so I applied for a position in the advertising agency I had always wanted to join. I knew there was nowhere I really wanted to go if God wasn’t in it (Exodus 33:15), but if He wasn’t saying anything specific … well, then I’m going ahead.

The morning I woke up to discover I didn’t get the job – the deadline had closed without a word from the agency – my heart sank a little. Where do I go now, God? I wondered, and got up to prepare for a breakfast meeting I had agreed to in church.

ABRAHAM AT THE ALTAR

When the challenge to join Thir.st dropped into my lap (or plate of beehoon) that day, what scared me was that despite my head screaming “NO”, something in my heart resonated with a “YES”. No, this didn’t look like anything I’d imagined. But, yes, I did want to serve God and His Kingdom with my abilities.

Deep inside, I really wanted to say a final yes to Jesus. But I fought the call, of course, hoping my parents would be as horrified by this job prospect as they were with my existing career. They weren’t. I couldn’t believe it. That was my last defence. With great reluctance, I wrote my resignation letter for May 2015. At the time it felt like being hit by an arrow because I hadn’t run fast enough.

I’m resigning tomorrow, I said in a message after I printed the letter.

Wait, don’t, came the reply. The project wasn’t off the ground yet, I was told. All the other strands hadn’t yet fallen into place.

God was far from done. He had my yes, but he didn’t have my heart yet.

It was an Abraham and Isaac moment. Abraham, heartbroken but resolute at the altar where he had tied his only son, interrupted by the Angel of God just before he could slay him as he was instructed to. The relief must have been immense – as mine was.

Off I ran, hoping the worst was over and I had passed some divine test. Perhaps God will leave me alone now.

But He was far from done. He had my yes, but he didn’t have my heart yet. And over the next year, He would undo three of my biggest fears in saying yes wholeheartedly to Him, gently replacing them with His Truth.

Fear #1: I had been hit by a stray arrow I couldn’t outrun, that arrow being Thir.st.
Truth #1: My name was on that arrow, and He shot it purposefully at me. I was called by name.

Fear #2: I was leaving agency life for good.
Truth #2: I was joining the biggest agency in the world, to sit at the Creator’s meeting table.

Fear #3: I would never have the chance to win awards and be professionally acknowledged.
Truth #3: I already had God’s stamp of approval, I did not need Man to affirm it.

Slowly but surely, these truths sank into the depths of my heart even as I avoided the topic of Thir.st, throwing myself back into agency life. They popped up at the most random places – in conversations, in conferences, in shared articles on social media. Things were shifting inside me.

By the time I was told I was going to receive a promotion to Junior Creative Director, I wavered momentarily – You just had to make it even more difficult, God – but I knew my final answer. Saying “no” to Thir.st had become harder than saying “yes”. The cost of saying “no” had become greater than the cost of saying “yes”. I was ready. It was just a matter of time.

LAST CALL

Standing in the queue with my colleagues for the plane to the Philippines, almost a year after the challenge to join Thir.st, was the last place I thought the call would come again. It’s time to talk about you and Thir.st.

This time my heart was the one to respond: I’m ready to go whenever you want me on board.

It would be the last trip I would take with my agency.

"I've been waiting for this talk"

As I waited for takeoff, strangely seated away from the group, a prophecy someone had given me came to mind: “I see a plane in flight. God wants you to trust Him as He takes you from place to place.”

The engines started whirring faster. Acceleration kicked in, and I could feel us picking up speed down the runway. I closed my eyes, and the tears came.

Yes, God.

A thousand times, yes.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

/ joanne@thir.st

Joanne is a bundle of creative energy commonly heard before she is seen. She believes in the triune power of good conversation, brilliant writing and bold ideas. She also likes milo.

Conversations

We Recommend

The art of serving millennials in a Chinese church

by Jovi Ho

Work

Why you should stop grumbling

by Rhema Seng

Faith

Staying in your secret place with God 24/7

by Jason Chua, Burning Hearts

Faith

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.

Conversations

We Recommend

Culture

THIR.ST TALKS: Getting real with Hillsong Young & Free

by Thir.st

Relationships

If we both loved Him, why did God take us apart?

by Joseph L

Relationships

Do you see the treasure in your field?

by Charis Tan

Faith

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.

Conversations

We Recommend

Culture

1,000 stories later, a note from the Editor

by Edric Sng

Faith

Let Him love you

by Christine Teo

Culture

Confessions of a former bully

by Wong Siqi

Faith

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.

Conversations

We Recommend

Culture

So you didn’t like the sermon

by Gabriel Ong

Culture

The call to come home

by Thir.st

Money

“If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill”: Lessons and miracles over coffee with Jason Chua

by Joey Lam

Faith

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.

Conversations

We Recommend

Relationships

Are you waiting for “The One”?

by Roy Tay

Culture

The mask he wore to church

by Oliver Kuek

Culture

What I learnt from an adulteress

by Wong Siqi

Culture

The mask he wore to church

by Oliver Kuek | 11 July 2018, 5:47 PM

You know what it’s like being attracted to the same sex as a Christian?

I certainly don’t. And for a long time I lived without knowing what that tension was like – that double-life of fear and shame our brothers and sisters go through. I remained blissfully unaware until a few years ago, when one of my mentees from cell group texted me saying that he needed someone to talk to.

That was nothing unusual. Jonathan* and I had been having regular meet-ups so I figured he just had something a bit more pressing to share that night. We agreed to meet at a park after cell.

Jon was unusually quiet during cell. Not like he was one of the louder ones, but that night he was observably unresponsive – withdrawn almost. And even more so when we sat down to talk after that. By then, his face had taken on the pale and anxious look of a person about to throw up.

So I said, “Hey man, it looks like this is something that you’re finding pretty difficult for you to say. So, take your time alright? Don’t worry about the time, you can share whenever you’re ready and when you want to.”

Even with that word of assurance, we continued to sit by the river in silence. Jon’s eyes were fixed downwards to his shoes the whole time. Some minutes later, he began tearing.

I can only imagine the pain you’ve been experiencing this whole time, not having anyone to share this with.

“Hey. What’s wrong, Jon? You can tell me,” I said. Nervous words started to stumble out as he began sobbing: “I don’t even know how to say this.”

“I’m … Attracted to the same gender.”

Bombshell. For some stupid reason I had never thought about how to respond meaningfully in such a situation. My eyebrows might have raised for a split second before I caught myself and prayed as fast and as hard as I could. God, what do I say?

Seconds later, the words came. “Jon. Thank you … Thank you for telling me.”

I remember saying something along these lines: “That was incredibly brave of you to do, and thank you for trusting me. I can only imagine the pain you’ve been experiencing this whole time, not having anyone to share this with … Your secret is safe with me.”

Jon didn’t have any more words after I spoke. He looked so alone in the dim light which seemed almost to shroud him. I hugged him as he cried hard into my shoulder.

After Jon’s “confession”, we became closer as brothers in the faith. I know he knows I don’t judge him, but I bet he knows I’m just as clueless about this whole thing as he is. I’ve never really had to think about the perpetual tension he lives in: How the heart wants a person, and yet that same heart knows deep down it isn’t the right way forward.

And how do you live as a Christian with same-sex attraction? Unless you’re out of the closet, you basically have to put on a front and lie your way through questions about your relationship status, or just be single and celibate and hope no one asks too many questions.

How tiring it must be to live with these masks. And I believe there are ways we can do better in caring for brothers and sisters like Jon.

Why have I written this? I guess I want to say to the Christian who’s struggling with same-sex attraction, that I probably understand only a fraction of what you live through on a daily basis. From the strained hope of long having asked for this cup to be taken from you, to not knowing why I was born with such attractions – I can only imagine what it’s like being in your shoes.

To see how you have not been faithless in striving towards the godliness and self-restraint God has called all of us to compels me in my own journey. And if I’ve acted out of ignorance or entitlement, forgive me. I am not better than you. We all come from the same fallenness. As such we are all offered the same grace.

How then can we offer each other this same grace as Jesus Christ offers us, whether the struggle be same-sex attraction, anger management, addiction, pride, body image, illness, grief or loving others not like ourselves?

In my view, we can always do better as a Church, one body of Jesus Christ. We are one family, and if we love the family as much as we say we do we have to stand together, with each other; nobody gets left behind.

There is a Jon in every Church – possibly even in every cell-group. I think it’s not so much about how we can change him, but how we can bring each other closer to Christ.


Names have been changed for confidentiality.

Conversations

We Recommend

Faith

My journey through psychotic depression

by Renn Ng

Culture

Chris Pratt: “Nobody is perfect”

by Fiona Teh

Faith

Lessons on discipleship from a little dog

by Gabriel Ong

Article list

The year I said yes to Jesus

Staying in your secret place with God 24/7

Heart of hearing

In the face of persecution

Lessons on discipleship from a little dog

The mask he wore to church