Loving Singapore starts in our homes: Day of His Power 2020
Image source: Day of His Power 2020
At the first-ever online Day of His Power, church leaders kicked off the evening with a heartfelt discussion on the state of the Church, sharing how they felt God was challenging the Body of Christ to build deep before going wide.
It was apt then that the next segment focused on one of the basic building blocks of the Church – families.
“Without strong families, the Church cannot be strong as well,” began Senior Pastor Ian Toh (3:16 Church) who sat down with Jason Wong from fathers’ movement Elijah7000 and Raphael Zhang from Focus on the Family Singapore to talk about the state of the family in Singapore.
While recognising the increasing efforts by churches to nurture strong families through their ministries, Wong observed that there was still a lot of “relational poverty” both in the community as well as the Church. Wong shared that official data on marital conflict and family violence showed that the pandemic had both weakened and strengthened families.
In his role as a Family Life Specialist, Zhang also noted that the circuit breaker had given many families more opportunities to foster closer bonds while staying at home. But there were also many others that saw existing tensions exacerbated and increased conflict.
REASONS FOR RELATIONAL POVERTY
Wong said while people would cite usual reasons for the lack of connectedness within the family, he believed that these were all just symptoms.
“We have no time for each other. We’re too busy at work. Husband and wife don’t know how to talk. Children are too preoccupied with YouTube and Netflix. We blame the culture of the day.
“But what is the root? What is the real issue? Why are people being drawn to porn? Why are people having relationships outside the marriage? Why are young people so drawn to gangs? What is missing?”
People with orphan spirits raise “orphans”.
Noting that all human beings were created to receive and give love, Wong shared that problems begin when our hearts are turned away from each other.
“We are distracted, we are preoccupied,” he said. “And what happens to the one who’s looking for attention, looking affirmation – looking for love?
“We feel rejected, we feel unwanted. We are not loved. Then what happens? Where do we look for this love? Where do we find affirmation?
“We will look for it in all the wrong places. And that’s the root issue – the orphan spirit.”
Having served as Deputy Director/Chief of Staff with the Singapore Prison Service earlier in his career, Wong shared that he saw first-hand what relational poverty could do to lives, manifested in the children who had been abandoned and abused as well as youths at risk.
“At the time, I was asking God: ‘Why do You allow me to see all these things?’ Singapore is so rich, yet we are so poor.
“We are a first-world nation – materially rich, but relationally poor; beautiful houses, but broken homes,” said Wong.
All human beings were created to receive and give love.
Wong continued by sharing a story about a mentee of his who struggled with anger towards his father. In one of their counselling sessions, while at his wits’ end, Wong asked God for help to advise his mentee.
“God just gave me a question to ask my mentee: ‘How was your father fathered by his father?’ And my mentee told me that his grandfather was never there for his father,” said Wong.
“That was when the Lord spoke through me to him – your father cannot give you what he has not received,” shared Wong.
“We can only give love if we have received love. But if we have received pain and hurt, we have ‘no choice’ but to pass down some of this pain and hurt.”
For Wong, that is the reason why people with orphan spirits raise “orphans” and perpetuate the cycle of familial conflict through the generations.
“But I thank God that we have God,” Wong said. “We are sons and daughters of God the Father. God has so much love – God is love. And out of the abundance of this love, we can overflow.”
To Wong, the Church can be a place where people with orphan spirits can begin to experience an outpouring of love by God the Father, within the family of God.
Zhang concurred with Wong, revealing that the orphan spirit was a significant aspect of his own journey.
“What that meant was that even though I do have parents, I had felt like I was on my own,” he explained.
“I had to fend for myself. I was alone in the world emotionally and I had to strive to get things because I couldn’t trust that someone has got my back. I couldn’t trust that there were loving parents looking out for me.”
Zhang lived life with great distrust of the people around him until God showed him that he needed to reopen his heart to his parents and to God.
This would prove to be a difficult journey for Zhang because the orphan spirit “coloured” the way he saw God.
In Zhang’s words, he had brought the same kind of “mistrust” between him and his earthly father into his relationship with God the Father, and it had hindered spiritual intimacy.
“If we don’t address this phenomenon of the orphan spirit, many people in the Church will function from that place of not really knowing God intimately,” he cautioned.
This, in turn, would prevent the Church from bringing the Father’s heart to the community.
A VISION OF A WEDDING
Sharing about how he had a received a vision while preparing for this segment, Wong said he saw a vision of a yum seng toast about to happen at a wedding banquet.
There was a stage with the cake on one side and the champagne glasses stacked up in the shape of a pyramid on the other. Then the bridegroom popped the champagne bottle, and started to pour.
“I saw the champagne coming down from the top, filling every glass,” said Wong. “And when a glass was full, it overflowed into the next glass.
“But at the same time, those cups at the bottom were like those with an orphan spirit, just waiting to be filled – just waiting for their turn. They’re empty.”
“I believe that this vision is going to happen. God the Father is going to pour forth His love.”
Drawing a link to fathers as the heads of their households, he explained: “If you are not filled, how can we even give? God the Father, He loved – that’s why He gave.”
“When we receive from God the Father, it overflows to our wife, our marriage, our children, into the church into the community,” said Wong, who is also the founder of Dads for Life. “Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
Responding to Wong’s vision, Pastor Ian Toh felt led to wrap up the State of the Family segment with a stirring, prophetic prayer.
Inviting viewers to join hands with their family members, he declared that the orphan spirit be forever broken in every home represented among those tuning in.
He said: “Lord, tonight we are asking You not for fame and fortune, wealth or the things of the flesh. We are asking for something right in the centre of Your will. We are asking for the Father’s heart to be revealed and poured out in every home.
“So, Father, answer this prayer, prayed in the centre of Your will. For we know unless families are strong, the churches cannot be healthy. Unless the churches are healthy, the nation’s destiny cannot be fulfilled.”
FROM THE HEART TO THE HEARTLANDS
Fittingly, right after Pastor Toh’s prayer for heart change came the final segment of the night, which challenged everyone who had been filled up with the Father’s love to spread that love to others around them.
Senior Pastor Jeff Chong (Hope Singapore) shared that for followers of Christ who have had their lives transformed by God, their unique contribution in loving Singapore would be to share the gospel.
“Why does God want us to share the gospel? Because only God’s love can truly transform nations and change lives for all of eternity.
LoveSingapore’s vision: A prayer and outreach group in every HDB and condominium block in Singapore.
Pointing out that 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB and another 15% live in condominiums, Pastor Chong said that if Christians would take responsibility for every HDB and condominium block, 95% of the population would have had the chance to hear the gospel.
“Wherever you are, maybe in your cell group or as a family – you represent Christ,” he said. “Christ placed you there to know, love and serve the people living in your block.”
To that end, he shared LoveSingapore’s vision to see a prayer and outreach group in every HDB and condominium block.
Pastor Chong’s encouragement was that loving one’s neighbours doesn’t have to be hard.
“We give out snack packs; we buy bread, fruits and desserts for our neighbours,” he said of his church’s efforts. “These are simple things that all of us can do.”
“I would like to encourage all of us to do these simple acts of love during this National Day,” said Pastor Chong.
“This year, because of the pandemic, the celebration will be done online, and people will be watching the parade from home. This would be a great time for us to connect with our neighbours.”
Finally, Pastor Chong’s call for Christians to bless their neighbours was resounded by LoveSingapore’s Chairman Lawrence Khong (Faith Community Baptist Church), who gave the closing exhortation by challenging viewers to a practical act.
“We are going to have the biggest prayer walk in Singapore, as we take this step of faith together,” he said, encouraging us to go out into our neighbourhood and pray over it.
Urging believers to “pray on-site with insight”, Pastor Khong said: “Let’s begin loving Singapore block by block.”
Missed the Day of His Power 2020 livestream? You can still catch up with the link below!