Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflecting 2009 - Part 1 Thanksgiving

Tonight is watch night service and there will be a segment on thanksgiving and reflection. After some thought, I decided I will draft a proper sharing. I timed... chum 6 mins sharing :P

Dear friends, I was encouraged to share this tonight with all of you as they affirmed me is the work of God’s hands in my family. How God brought my whole family to church during Christmas Eve this year and allowed me to plant His seed into every member of my household.

For many years, I constantly thought how nice to be able to bring my family to church on Christmas day to listen to the wonderful carols and watched exciting dramas staged by Bethel. The fact is I lacked of the courage to ask them. What stopped me probably was the fear of rejection. Finally God opened the door in Year 2007 December and gave me a chance to ask when my mom said she would love to hear children singing Christmas carols and wish there were a group in our house singing to her and my dad. I asked “Mom, if there is a combined service, will you be keen to go and listen the children sing?” Her reply why not? But however in 2008, there was no combined Christmas celebration and plus my dad and sisters were not keen and prefer to stay at home to cook a feast for my whole family.

In 2009 early this year, I started praying more fervently to God. I would constantly prayed for an opportunity to bring my family members to church for Christmas, as I was fully aware it would be a combined service by all 3 congregations this year.

When Christmas was 2 weeks away, I had yet to open my mouth to invite my family. Again was the fear of rejection. During the period I was quite emotional especially having the thought once I get married next year, it seemed even harder to reach to my family members. The thought of it made me so stressful and frustrated at the same time. I felt that God had granted me many opportunities for me to share but each time I fail Him because simply I fear rejection.

The turning point came just 1 week before Christmas. Elder Lee was the speaker for the Sunday service. He shared about the characteristics of God. It was not the first time I listened to this message. In GB, in my bible study with cell group, I read and learned the characteristics of God many times. But somehow that Sunday the sermon message hit me real hard. As Elder Lee presented verses and verses of who God is, I realize I underestimated God’s power of what He was able to enable me to share the gospel with my family. He is my Jehovah Jireh, The Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace. The sermon that day led me in tears thinking how silly I was not trusting God fully to bring my family to church. The very same day, I committed the following evening to convince my whole family members to church.

KG was a wonderful partner. He said in order to convince my parents to come to church, we must convince my 2nd sister. I agreed. With a strategic plan in mind, I talked to my 2nd sis and youngest sis. Immediately I faced great resistance. My sisters felt it was very boring and constantly said no. I must have been really desperate that I just cried out and said – I just need our parents to hear the gospel once! They kept very quiet and said what kind of service was expected. I simply said it was a drama play. It would be really good. You got to trust me. Finally I scored my first goal, they both agreed. My parents were rather easy going. When they saw my 2nd sis agreed, they too agreed. Thus the plan was early Christmas dinner celebration from 4pm to 6pm. Target to reach church at 7pm on Christmas eve. It was amazing how all this turned out at the end. Again I was quite fearful that they might back out at the last min, I sent out prayer request to my cell members for prayers support.

God is really good and I felt guilty now that I still didn’t learn to trust God fully at the point of time. Once prayer request was sent out, the very next morning I received a message from my eldest sister asking if she, her husband and the 3 children could gate crash to our Christmas service. I was jumping for joy singing Amen! My sister and my brother in law never crossed my mind because I was still thinking of tackling one family one year at a time. I had so little faith! I couldn’t believe that God could do more beyond my planning… and yet God just sent them just like this in 1 SMS! God Is GOOD!

24 Dec finally came. God brought my whole family and my sister’s family into Bethel for the first time. There was one more missing member, which was my brother. At the last hour, he decided he would drop by as well. I was quite shocked and wonder what was God really doing. By His Grace, His Hands brought every family member into this church. I thought I would only see this complete picture during my wedding day next month! But no!!

During the service, my brother in law and sister constantly asking me what did "Immanuel" meant. I explained God is with us. It was an assuring statement when I said it out loud. It reminded really God is with my family and me. My sister even taught and explained to her 5 years old daughter the lyrics of the songs that was flashing on the screen. It was such an affirming sight that I could clearly see God’s hands was at work. I didn’t have to do anything isn’t? The sermon msg 平安 led by Dr Chong Chee Pang ministered to my parents. My mom had attempted to fill in the response slip but for some reasons my dad stopped her. When I asked her on my way home, what did she wanted to fill in, she said she wanted to tick on finding more about church activities. To me it was the greatest response!

My brother missed the service and drama as he arrived late. But something my mom said that shocked me. My brother is very dear to my parents especially he is the only son in the family. She said if he was there earlier, she would make him accept Jesus Christ in his life. I probed and asked why, she said, since Buddha can’t save him, I think only Jesus can save him. I almost want to shout an AMEN on the spot.

I will always remember 24 December 2009, where the whole household including my niece and nephews were brought by God to Bethel and the seeds are now planted in my family hearts. All I have to do is to be faithful, obedient and trust in God to water and care for the seeds and allow the seed to take root and grow in His timing.

God is good.

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us

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